Today’s card offers a solution to the biggest problem
facing deckbuilders today:
how to make decks more consistent. However, as you would
expect, there is a certain amount of downside involved.
EX may have a virtually useless attack and pitiful HP,
but it does have an excellent Ability in the form of
Stellar Guidance, allowing you to search your deck for a
Supporter and put it in your hand. In a format where we
are almost always dependant on Supporters for draw, this
is fantastic: search him out with Level or Ultra Ball
and grab that Juniper or N you are so desperate for. He
can also serve as a way to search out more ‘techy’
Supporters played in lower quantities (such as
Of course that low HP (and the scary possibility of
starting with him) means that
Jirachi is a bit of a risky card to put in a
deck, but with any consistency boost being so highly
desirable, it’s not surprising that a lot of player have
decided that Jirachi EX is
worth that risk.
Modified: 3.75 (more consistency . . . at a price)
Hey guys, welcome to a stellar card of the day! You
know you've been secretly wishing for this guy to show
up again, and he has! Making wishes come true across the
world for players everywhere, here is Jirachi-EX!
Now the most interesting thing about Jirachi-EX is his
appearance in the Nationals; about half of the top decks
overall (in Junior, Senior, AND Masters) featured
Jirachi-EX in a small support role. Support how?
Hypnostrike is an okay attack that deals 60 damage and
puts both Active Pokemon asleep, but that's naturally
not what I'm referencing.
The TCG has been very Trainer-oriented in recent years,
and it's common to find a deck running multiples of
Juniper/Sycamore, Skyla, Ultra Ball, Rare Candy, and
especially Hypnotoxic Laser. The first couple I listed
are Supporters, which as you know is limited to one per
turn, but they're have been extremely beneficial
Supporters that everyone wants to run. That's where
Jirachi-EX comes in with her Stellar Guidance: when you
play him from your hand, he lets you snatch up one of
those Supporters from your deck and add it to your hand.
This is a great utility Ability, with a variety of
targets and uses. Say your opponent just took advantage
of you dominating to play N, limiting you to one card in
your hand before annihilating your attacker. Well now
what? You draw into Jirachi-EX. Suddenly, that
disadvantage doesn't matter, as you can play Jirachi-EX
down, add a Juniper/Sycamore to your hand, and instantly
refresh yourself, ready for another attack or even to
potentially punish your opponent later with an N you
draw. Or maybe you don't need draw power but an Item.
Play Jirachi-EX, search Skyla, and then search for the
Item of your choice. The combos are endless!
Jirachi-EX provides for a lot of versatility in decks
and can make for a great support card. However, it is
important to note that you have to play Jirachi-EX from
your hand to get the effect off, which opens up a couple
of weaknesses. Obviously you need room on your Bench,
but once Jirachi-EX hits play, he's vulnerable to being
Catcher'd and beaten with only 90 HP, and that's a big
trade-off. Of course, that's a chancy course of action
for the opponent to take, and chances are you've got the
upper hand with that handy Supporter you drew!
Modified: 4/5 (versatility is a big deal, as you can
see; in fact it's worth it to run 1 Jirachi-EX just for
the Supporter even if he's worth 2 Prizes!)
Expanded: 4.5/5 (hey look, MORE Supporters to grab!)
Limited: 2/5 (in his own set, he's got a grand total of
3 Supporters...if one of them wasn't Juniper, I'd have
straight up gone 1)
Arora Notealus: Hmmm, does Full Art look better or
Regular Art? Both are all like, "I'm dazzling!"
Next Time: He's gonna rock you like a
This week are looking at some of the cards that played role at the
U.S. Nationals, as a precursor to the pending World
Championships. Today’s review stars Jirachi-EX (BW:
plasma Blast 60/101, 98/101). Jirachi-EX
showed up in six of the twelve top finishers for the
U.S. Nationals: three in the Junior Division, two in the
Senior and one in the Masters. That’s a pretty solid
showing, so let us discuss why.
Jirachi-EX is played purely for its Ability,
though its other characteristics are in some ways better
and some ways worse. It is a Basic making it easy to
fit into decks and play to the field. It is a
Pokémon-EX which makes it unable to tap certain support,
a target of certain counters and of course, worth an
additional Prize when KOed. Of course, being a
Pokémon-EX is normally good for fantastic HP, and
good-to-great attack/Ability pairing or multiple
attacks. Here… not quite.
Being a Metal-Type doesn’t contribute much, though at least that
does mean if you run a Klinklang [Plasma] deck it
would be protected from Pokémon-EX and if you were so
desperate you needed Jirachi-EX to attack a
Kyurem [Plasma] with Jirachi-EX, you’ll score
double damage. Metal Resistance is seeing a comeback on
recent Lightning-Types but you really shouldn’t be
attacking with this card. The 90 HP is… terrible. Yes,
it makes this card Level Ball compliant, and that
is an important feature, but it does mark Jirachi-EX
as an easy two Prizes. Now thanks to the crazy damage
outputs we see, Jirachi-EX wasn’t likely to get a
score much higher than this, so technically 90 HP is as
good as it gets… until we lose Level Ball, at
which point even 100 will be a tad better.
Its Fire Weakness is quite dangerous; sometimes one is fortunate
and low HP makes Weakness meaningless, but all the major
Fire-Type attackers with some success have a smaller
fallback attack or variable damage output, and Weakness
puts Jirachi-EX into OHKO range of such things.
Even if it didn’t, as a Pokémon-EX, any Fire-Type that
hits for 20 points of damage just needs a Silver
Bangle to still score the OHKO! Jirachi-EX
actually has Psychic Resistance, and while it doesn’t
often matter, every now and then it comes in handy,
usually because it moves Jirachi-EX just out of
easy OHKO range. The Retreat Cost is good; just one,
and of course you can often zero it out.
Like I said, the Ability is why the card gets played, but first
let’s get the attack out of the way: for [MCC]
Hypnostrike hits for 60 points of damage and both Active
Pokémon (that includes Jirachi-EX itself) are
afflicted with Sleep. This is 30 points below being
mediocre, and as such should only be used in extreme
desperation. It isn’t as bad as it could be; at least
many forms of Energy acceleration (including something
simple like Double Colorless Energy) can help
fuel it, but its certainly not worth using except under
the most desperate of circumstances.
Which at last brings us to Stellar Guidance, the Ability that makes
the above worth dealing with: when you Bench Jirachi-EX
from your hand (except during set-up), Stellar Guidance
triggers and you may search your deck for a Supporter
and add it to your hand. As such, any Pokémon search
(at least that could target Jirachi-EX) doubled
as Supporter search. For the average deck this can be
an amazing boost to consistency. Besides allowing
Level Ball, Ultra Ball or Jirachi-EX
directly to save you from Supporter lacking hand, they
also can be used to snag useful non-draw Supporters. Lysandre
is the best example, as it quickly ascended to staple
status (usually as a single or a pair), and its set-mate
Blacksmith is also important to Fire decks.
There are also many “borderline” Supporters that before
were lucky to make it into decks with Ability based draw
power; while still rare and perhaps not worth the
effort, Jirachi-EX still makes them better.
All that comes at that high cost, however; one slot from your deck
is fine, but one spot on your Bench can be a huge issue.
Set-up decks that otherwise would love to run
Jirachi-EX have to skip it because (for example)
that’s one less “Round” Pokémon. It is tricky but
possible to run Jirachi-EX alongside yesterday’s
Garbodor, but Garbodor usage in general is
also a mark against this card; without its Ability its
nothing but a liability. There is always the risk of
opening with it (and thus not even getting a Supporter
out of the deal) or being forced to burn it because you
just need a Benched Pokémon to not lose. The same
Lysandre it looks brilliant for fetching also makes
easy sport of it and both sniping attacks and damage
counter moving effects (as seen in
also turn it into an easy two Prizes. You can’t relax
ever while Jirachi-EX is on the Bench; I know I
try to save it for the final two Prizes if possible
(when the fact I didn’t finish off my opponent’s
attacker doesn’t matter).
So for NXD*-On, Jirachi-EX isn’t a staple but its a fine
card that works in a variety of decks, though
playtesting is required to make sure that its part of an
optimal build. For the forthcoming BCR-On and BW-On
formats, I see nothing indicating it won’t remain in a
similar position. For Limited, you just need to answer
Did I pull a Supporter worth the slight
risk of opening with Jirachi-EX?
Did I pull a Pokémon-EX I should run as
a +39 build instead?
Modified (NXD*-On)/Modified (BCR-On)/Expanded (BW-On):
3.5/5 - There are legitimate risks to running Jirachi-EX,
but its Ability truly is great so its just a matter of
finding out if it is part of a particular deck’s optimal
build. Yes, the exact same score and message for all
three, so I combined them.
Limited: 4.75/5 - Caitlin, Iris, and Professor Juniper
are all present this set (Iris even comes in
regular and Full Art), so its likely but not guaranteed
you’ll get at least one Supporter in all your packs…
plus you might draw into your Supporter before
Jirachi-EX, suddenly making it a splashable but
risky attacker. More than likely, you’ll be using it if
you pull it.
Summary: I wasn’t sure at first, but now I am convinced that Jirachi-EX
really is something you need to consider for all decks,
though a significant amount will be justified in
skipping it. It definitely has influenced the game as
it makes that “lucky Lysandre” a lot more likely.
*After further checking, I still haven’t been using the preferred
notation for BW: Next Destinies. Personally I
always favored NEX, DEX, DRX, and BOX for BW: Next
Destinies, BW: Dark Explorers, BW: Dragons
Exalted and BW: Boundaries Crossed because it
gave the sets a pattern… but if you don’t see (or care)
about such things, such a thing becomes confusing. As
such, my apologies and hopefully this is the last time
I’ve got to mention something like this.