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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Top 10 Cards of 2014

#3 - Yveltal EX

- XY

Date Reviewed:
Dec. 29, 2014

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 4.42
Expanded: 4.75
Limited: 4.93

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being the worst. 
3 ... average.  
5 is the highest rating.

Back to the main COTD Page

Baby Mario
2010 UK National
Seniors
Champion

#3 Yveltal EX 

Remember when we first saw Mewtwo EX’s X Ball attack? We thought it was one of the best ever printed. But just like Apple Inc., the Pokémon card designers didn’t stop there: they made a slight improvement and sold it to us again a couple of years later as Evil Ball. 

That said, Yveltal EX is a very different card from Mewtwo EX: it’s not a format-warping splashable counter to itself, for a start. Instead it is a very powerful card that has proved itself highly adaptable in a strategic sense, and this has proved to be the secret of Yveltal EX’s success. 

On release, it took over the role of main Dark attacker from Darkrai EX – a feat in itself considering how great that card has been. The un-capped damage from Evil Ball made it the perfect card to work with Dark Patch and deliver the big KOs. The rotation of Patch, and Sableye DRX for that matter, had some people worrying about the future viability of Yveltal EX, but they need not have bothered. It turns out that one of the best offensive cards in the game is pretty good at defence too: with Hard Charm, Super Scoop Up, and Max Potion it can be a very effective tank with the Y Cyclone attack scoring two-hit KOs and keeping Energy in play. Of course, you can still get aggressive with Yveltal EX when needed – even without Dark Patch to help it out. 

Some cards need the right format to be successful; some cards are dependent on having the right support. Yveltal is playable whatever, and that is the sign of a very good card indeed. 

Rating 

Modified: 4.5 (still going strong)

Expanded: 4.75 (he gets all his toys back)


aroramage

Like Lysandre was a modified Pokemon Catcher, Yveltal-EX looked like a modified Mewtwo-EX, complete with Punishing Energy-Stacking Evil Ball Goodness! Rather than being multiplicative like Mewtwo-EX, Yveltal-EX instead added on an additional 20 damage for each Energy attached to both Active Pokemon, making it so that it could always do 20 more damage than Mewtwo-EX's X Ball.
 
Naturally, it's a shoe-in for Dark decks, and in its early lifespan, it got the advantage of teaming up with Darkrai and Hydreigon as well as getting support from Dark Patch. Once the rotation hit, you'd think that Yveltal-EX would've seen less play, but once Furious Fists came back, so did Yveltal-EX. It's one of the few Dark Pokemon to not have a Fighting Weakness/Psychic Resistance, so it's a big play for Dark Decks against their ultimate weakness.
 
Of course, if Yveltal-EX were ridiculously powerful, it'd be as widespread as Mewtwo-EX is, but considering that its Evil Ball needs a Darkness Energy, you'd have to be running Rainbow Energy to run it in anything outside a Dark Deck. The question at that point becomes why would you be taking your time with Yveltal-EX when you can splash in Mewtwo-EX just as easily? Not to mention rather than simply resisting the Fighting menace, Mewtwo-EX can prey on one of its more common Weaknesses.
 
Still, Yveltal-EX is a powerful card and not one to be taken lightly. He's just as dangerous as any Mewtwo-EX can be, and he's gonna be sticking around for a long time.
 
Rating
 
Standard: 4.5/5 (if only because Dark decks aren't quite as fast as they used to be)
 
Expanded: 5/5 (with Dark Patch support, this guy's so much better)
 
Limited: 5/5 (it's hard to go up against something that can wreck you with an attack like Evil Ball, let alone power up others of its kind by shifting Energy around with Y Cyclone)
 
Arora Notealus: Xerneas and Yveltal are both really unique Pokemon, and thank goodness GameFreak changed up their "mascot dragons" line-up. Don't get me wrong, Dragons are a neat type whose rarity deserves something like "legendary," but it gets a bit stale when every "legendary" is a dragon. Here's hoping they don't revert back with Gen VII! Also the XY story makes way more sense with Yveltal than Xerneas, trust me.
 
Next Time: You all probably saw this coming.


Otaku

Welcome to the third and final week of our Top 10 Cards Of 2014 Countdown!  As we skipped both Christmas and the day before (obvious reasons are obvious).  The lists were collected and averaged out from the CotD crew to create the rankings for the master list.  As with our Top 10 lists for individual sets, reprints are excluded: without this rule cards like Double Colorless Energy place (if not place high) most years.  For my own list, my main guideline was card impact.  I evaluated each card according to breadth of impact (how widespread its usage/response to its usage was), depth of impact (how deeply it affected the decks that used it/needed to counter it) and time of impact (how long did it affect how we played in 2014). 

Our third place finisher and first card reviewed this week is Yveltal-EX (XY 79/146, 144/146; XY Promos XY08)!  You can read the original review of the card here from last February when the set was still quite new.  So what has changed since then?  Three more sets, a format change (NXD-On to BCR-On) and a new format for Organized Play being added (Expanded, giving you a BW-On format). Of course, this was shortly after I ended up taking a vacation from reviewing (that was supposed to have been permanent), so I didn’t actually review the card myself.  I’ll remedy that by running through it quick (by my standards) before getting to what its about now. 

In short Yveltal-EX had the best typing possible at the time and still a good Type (especially in Expanded where it retains its direct Type support; Weakness isn’t overly common and Resistance started showing up via Fairy Type Pokémon, but usually aren’t a factor.  Being a Basic is still the best of course, Pyroar (XY: Flashfire 20/106) and its Intimidating Mane being the only real hiccup there.  Being a Pokémon-EX is mostly negatives in terms of actual cards (stuff that counters it or fails to support it and of course, being worth two Prizes) but this status is why everything else about the card was allowed to be so great.  It has a solid 170 HP (a small but significant difference from the current printed max of 180 seen on Basic Pokémon-EX); it usually will last for two attacks but it can and will be OHKOed by several decks if they can get their full set-up going.  Lightning Weakness isn’t good but outside of a few cards it also isn’t bad, even with Dedenne (XY: Furious Fists 34/111) while Fighting Resistance has become more useful thanks to XY: Furious Fists giving Fighting-Types such a huge boost when they already were a top Type.  The Retreat Cost of two is mediocre but most decks pack something to aid in retreating and Darkrai-EX is a natural partner for another Darkness-Type (allowing Dark Cloak to zero out the Retreat Cost). 

The attacks built upon that great foundation, and unlike its spiritual predecessor/actual rival Mewtwo-EX both are used regularly by Yveltal-EX in competitive play.  Evil Ball really is a slightly more expensive but better X-Ball, doing 20+20 per Energy attached to both Active Pokémon.  20 more doesn’t seem like much but due to several other cards that can be comboed with it, it ended up being enough for some important OHKOs (let alone 2HKOs).  Y Cyclone was dismissed by some at first, much like how Psydrive is rarely used by a Mewtwo-EX, however actual results verified what some other players already had realized; you could use it to still set-up for a 2HKO (or take a OHKO against the smaller half of the format) while moving an Energy off of Yveltal-EX.  What seems like a drawback ends up merely being a feature: it makes the most obvious method of countering it - using something that also hits harder based on Energy attached like Mewtwo-EX or the aforementioned Dedenne - less effective by 20 or 40 points of damage (40 or 80 if Weakness is involved) and most often used to save attached Special Energy cards by moving them to your next attacker. 

It definitely was weakened by both the loss of support it once had (at least in Standard) plus seriously, that Dedenne seems made just to be a counter for Yveltal-EX that doubles as a decent opening Pokémon.  So how does this translate to this “impact” concept which I seem to be fixated upon? 

Breadth: Not universal but widely played.  If a deck can reasonably accommodate at least a few copies of basic Darkness Energy or a full four copies of Rainbow Energy, said deck could run Yveltal-EX (earlier in the year or in Expanded, Blend Energy GRPD and Prism Energy also count) and possibly should.  There are now several decks that don’t run it, but the number that can or do is still staggering, so the card received high marks here.  Most of what topped it were - of course - Trainers of a most generic sort that are usually run as at least a single (and some in multiples) for nearly all competitive decks.  It will often take a backseat to whatever is new (or newly empowered) by recent releases, but a lot of us keep coming back to it. 

Depth: Yveltal-EX was not the most influential card in terms of depth, that is how significantly it influenced the game, but it is significantly influential and easily in the top 10 of this specific category.  Actually, if Mewtwo-EX didn’t exist, Yveltal-EX might have been more significant but similar to how Tool Scrapper blunted the impact of Startling Megaphone, players were already prepared to shift to lower-Energy strategies (at least as much as a given deck and strategy could) because Mewtwo-EX have already made that an important skill.  Unlike with the Tool Scrapper/Startling Megaphone situation, the differences between the two proved more relevant; when Mewtwo-EX was strong, players could just run their own copies to counter it.  Yveltal-EX could answer another, but since it wasn’t Weak to its own Type this didn’t result in a highly probable OHKO (as with Mewtwo-EX versus Mewtwo-EX).  The additional 20 points of damage, as mentioned earlier, also proved significant as a strategy that just barely worked against Mewtwo-EX wouldn’t against Yveltal-EX.  For actual Darkness-Type decks, it also provided a pure powerhouse to compliment what they already had in attackers… which was pretty much everything but a pure powerhouse. 

On top of all of this, in Expanded (and for basically half the year in Standard) Yveltal-EX had access to Dark Patch.  Prepping a T2 Yveltal-EX wasn’t as easy as Mewtwo-EX (which just needed a Double Colorless Energy) but Yveltal-EX could use Dark Patch, which coupled with its already extra 20 points of base damage meant for your effort you were hitting much harder; early game hits by Evil Ball or Y Cyclone were a thing, the latter usually moving a Double Colorless Energy to your next Yveltal-EX, so that without significant countermeasures, your opponent was getting counterattacked the next turn.  Again, while Yveltal-EX couldn’t secure the best deck in format for the entire format (possibly never quite being the true best), but (and this overlaps with Breadth) Yveltal-EX also receives some of the credit for players giving Stage 1 cards another look.  I’ll be honest, I thought Raichu (XY 43/146) was high quality filler when I first saw it… but thanks to exploiting Weakness on Yveltal-EX (and later getting through Intimidating Mane for a Circle Circuit OHKO with a Muscle Band or Hypnotoxic Laser and full Bench), it proved I had been wrong to assume Stage 1 Pokémon all but gone as serious attackers.  Pyroar and its Intimidating Mane are more responsible, but still, in an unexpected way Yveltal-EX helped and that in turn deepens its impact on the metagame. 

Time: Yveltal-EX was released in XY, so that at worst it could tie with anything else that made the list (barring some promo I may be forgetting).  As this is a list for all of 2014 and not just how 2014 finished, plus the fact that the earlier you go back, the better this card ends up performing thanks to Dark Patch and the lack of Intimidating Mane as well as less competition for being an attacker (especially relative to this list).  Indeed this was the area where on my sublist, it was part of a threeway tie for first place.  The next highest rated card on my own list only scored 1.5 points higher.  To avoid potential confusion, I did the kind of scoring where 10th place was worth a single point, increasing by one point per place until a 1st place finish was worth 10 while ties awarded the mean value of the slots occupied e.g. a three way tie for first through third meant 9 points apiece for the cards involved. With three categories the best anything could do was 30 and nothing actually topped all three lists… as opposed to our usual card scores out of five at the bottom of the review. 

Ratings 

Standard: 4.25/5 - Not a general use card but relatively widespread; it often shows up as a main attacker or secondary attacker in enough decks that it outranks some cards that I consider one-per-deck staples.  Unlike some other popular attackers it also doesn’t own most of that strength to other supporting cards, save Double Colorless Energy and perhaps the usual damage boosting tricks. 

Expanded: 4.5/5 - As above, only it regains Dark Patch which is huge.  It would rank even higher but here, we have more Lightning Type decks owing to Eelektrik (BW: Noble Victories 40/101) also “returning” (when compared with Standard). 

Limited: 5/5 - Either you run this and 39 non-Basic Pokémon cards or you work this into whatever else you do pull; in Limited three to five basic Darkness Energy cards aren’t too much to ask for this powerful of a Pokémon-EX.  Facing Darkness Resistance could be an issue if you face a mono-Fairy-Type deck but with the raw damage output, you still have a good shot at securing the win and while your Lightning Weakness could be exploited, it requires your opponent got lucky with Rare or better cards. 

Summary: Yveltal-EX is a scary card and for more than the obvious.  Not only is it a strong attacker with a scaleable attack, but it is at least unsettling that “a better Mewtwo-EX” (or at least something just as good) seems less dominant relative to Mewtwo-EX in a similar place in its lifespan.  That entirely has to do with the rest of the metagame: Mewtwo-EX didn’t have a previous generation’s worth of Pokémon-EX to compete with straight out of the box.  I ranked Yveltal-EX as my number two pick for 2014.  It was beaten by both my number one pick and tomorrow’s CotD… and while I don’t completely agree I certainly understand why tomorrow’s pick managed such a feat.


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