This review should be posted on
Wednesday, September 11th,
Unless you are quite young you
will know that this marks the
anniversary of “9/11”, the massive
terrorist attack that rocked the
United States of America
This is also the first
anniversary of the first “high level”
follow-up attack against a U.S. Embassy
Please take a moment of silence
for those who died in these events, and
for the heroic actions of those in
Otherwise I encourage you to
learn about both because it seems like
you never get all the facts the first
time you look, and there is a lot of
misinformation about both.
We will now review
Haxorus (BW: Plasma Blast
Unfortunately I am writing this
while under the weather and while still
debating if my normal template is the
best choice, so I’ll be “free-styling”
my review today.
is a Stage 2 Pokémon, which is already a
huge mark against it; this format was
made for Basic Pokémon and even though
much of that was due to Pokémon-EX, even
many of the “regular” Basic Pokémon have
The imbalance is at the point
where I honestly can’t tell if
the-powers-that-be wanted Basic Pokémon
to be dominant but accidentally gave us
a few worthwhile Evolutions or if
several that were intended to be
competitive weren’t as well endowed as
said creators thought.
I’ll resist getting into the
finer points of where they went wrong.
140 HP seems to be a functional
“average” for competitive Stage 2
Pokémon (as opposed to the actual mean
This number is still not safe
from being OHKOed, but few decks will
find it easy; card intensive combos or
exploiting Weakness are in order.
As a Dragon-Type,
Haxorus maintains the tradition of
being Weak to its own Type, so
exploiting Weakness is dangerous and as
many Dragon-Type Pokémon (that see
competitive play) have tremendous damage
output, useless because it just results
in pure overkill.
Resistance will never be a
problem, at least with the current card
pool, because nothing is naturally
While there is Dragon-Type
support, it is on Stage 1 Pokémon that
don’t Evolve into
Haxorus so I don’t expect it to
The lack of Resistance is common, not
just to Dragon-Type Pokémon but to most
Pokémon; a missed chance at improving
its odds of survival, but not worth
The Retreat Cost of (CC) is worth
pointing out; this is currently the
worst amount possible.
The format is such that
retreating is an important strategy and
most decks will include alternatives to
retreating, cards to lower Retreat Cost,
and sometimes both… which makes higher
Retreat Costs less of a problem.
So why is (CC) so bad?
Lower is still good, allowing you
to be less dependent upon what I just
said, and higher makes a card a legal
Heavy Ball target; being a
Heavy Ball target isn’t a huge
improvement but with effective
difference to play being so small it
functions as a “tie breaker”.
Haxorus won’t be able to rely on its
stats to get it into play… what about
Dragonaxe is the kind of thing
that used to make a card; scalable
For an initial cost of (M),
Dragonaxe hits for 40 points of damage
per (M) Energy attached to
So a single
Metal Energy or
Blend Energy WLFM means 40 points of
damage, two means 80, three means 120,
Unfortunately we lack a really
good way of getting that Energy onto
Haxorus and even if we had it, there
are other Pokémon that would benefit
more unless they were somehow excluded.
So what about the second attack?
Strike of the Champion requires (FM) and
a Team Plasma Pokémon.
That is good, right?
Actually no, it is not.
Double Rainbow Energy and
Holon’s Electrode, and
Holon’s Magneton all rotated out of
Modified years ago.
While the former would have been
the most beneficial, all those cards
were ways of making this cost a lot
easier to meet.
Even if we had “regular”
Rainbow Energy back, this is a
format where a Stage 2 has to work to
get two Energy on it before being KOed.
Can it be done?
Absolutely, but it mostly works
on sacrificial plays.
There is renewed interested in
Garchomp (BW: Dragons Exalted
90/124; BW: Plasma Freeze
120/116) because of recent cards and the
shifting metagame, but there you have an
amazing single Energy attack that can be
“spammed” long enough to periodically
get its second attack powered up… plus
said second attack was just about
bringing bigger damage.
Here the first attack just needs
more Energy to bring “big damage” while
the second attack is just good for
automatically KOing Team Plasma Pokémon…
one can just run
Silver Mirror to frustrate Team
Strike of the Champion does
nothing if the Defending Pokémon
isn’t affiliated with Team Plasma!
Team Plasma decks are in a weird place
right now; being one of the most common
and strong decks in the format, but also
just receiving a lot of counters before
we really got to see how that played
Plus the most common variants are
going to still stand a chance of OHKOing
Haxorus, let alone its lower Stages
(none of which are impressive) before it
even hits the field.
Team Plasma decks just need a
non-Team Plasma attack (or to have
massive OHKO potential) to overwhelm
Haxorus can do, and in a format of
OHKOs and 2HKOs investing onto an Energy
intensive Stage 2 Pokémon (if you are
relying on Dragonaxe) doesn’t seem
This is a format about First Turn Wins
and lock decks, but even if you decide
to play things a bit less ruthless there
are plenty of better choices for raw
Dragonaxe can be better utilized
here, but it still doesn’t stack up
favorable to other options.
This trashed unprepared Team Plasma
decks, unless they can just outpace it
or have adequate non-Team Plasma Pokémon
in the deck.
Most decks could run a
Silver Mirror or two to at least
temporarily be as frustrating to Team
Plasma, albeit from defensive play
instead of offensive, but it would be a
lot easier and wouldn’t leave you
vulnerable to everything else.
Here we go!
Dragonaxe is amazing here, and
damage output is low enough you should
have time to build while opposing HP
scores are low enough you won’t have to
build up as high to get to OHKO level.
The lower forms are decent by
Limited standards, and
Axew (BW: Plasma Blast
67/101) is amazing if you also managed
to pull an
The Energy requirements prevent
it from being an automatic must-run, but
odds are if you pull this line, you
should use it and build your deck
is another example of a Team Plasma hard
counter, with its second attack
automatically KOing a Team Plasma
Pokémon, be it Basic or Evolution,
Pokémon-EX or “regular”, but being a
Stage 2 Pokémon itself the strong damage
output of the average Team Plasma deck
has a good chance of keeping up with it.
You have to be taking out other
Stage 2 Pokémon (do any Stage 2 Plasma
Pokémon see regular, competitive play?)
or Pokémon-EX and on most turns.
Team Plasma decks often have good Energy
acceleration so even taking out a big,
Basic attacker isn’t a guarantee you
won’t be OHKOed back the next turn… and
all of this falls apart if they have a
solid non-Team Plasma Pokémon to attack
with in their deck.
Against everything else,
Haxorus just can’t mount a good
offense, at least not fast enough.
Haxorus made my Top 20, but mostly
as a novelty.