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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Top 10 Cards Lost To Rotation

#10 - Jirachi EX

- Plasma Blast

Date Reviewed:
July 27, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.88
Expanded: 3.93
Limited: 3.50

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being horrible.  3 ... average.  5 is awesome.

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

Over the next couple of weeks, we enter a sort of dry spell as we wait for the next set to come out, but until that time, we find ourselves in the midst of another rotation period. You may recall we did something similar last year just before the terrifying Furious Fists expansion came out in September, and so we find ourselves in a similar position here in late-July till Ancient Origins comes out in a couple of weeks. And MAN, does that set look interesting! 

But enough about that! We've got cards to review, cause unless you're playing Expanded, you're not gonna be seeing much more of them! To recap: the last rotation cut us off from Next Destinies all the way up to Dragons Exalted, leaving us in a Boundaries Crossed-forward format that has had its own fair share of ups and downs. Several powerful cards from the earlier days of BW were reprinted in Legendary Treasures, keeping them fresh in the format, whereas newer more powerful - and subsequently more dangerous cards - began to see play. 

Now we're losing a mighty handful of cards ranging from Boundaries Crossed, Plasma Storm, Plasma Freeze, Plasma Blast, and the Legendary Treasures set itself - from Blastoise with his Deluge ability to Dusknoir's Sinister Hand, from Exeggcute's regenerative Propagation to Exeggutor's Blockade strike; on top of that, we're losing some major archetypes such as the great Plasma deck of olde, VirGen, and even Flareon's Vengeance. And now we're going over our personal Top 10 cards lost to the rotation, starting off with one of many searchers, Jirachi-EX. 

Jirachi-EX got to see a lot of play since his release due to his Stellar Guidance ability, which essentially was a, "Play this to get a Supporter," kind of play. And given the variety of Supporters one could grab, it made sense to have one in the deck as a staple to getting just what you needed - an "N" for disruption perhaps, a Sycaper to draw out a new hand, a Skyla to retrieve another card from the deck, or even a Lysandre to single out a target. No matter what it was, if it was a Supporter that saw play, Jirachi-EX would easily be nearby to snag it. 

There aren't too many cards one could consider staples in this game, but that's what made Jirachi-EX fairly notable. 

Rating 

Standard: 4/5 (well he is rotating out, but that's not going to be until after Worlds at least, which means the official rotation happens September 1st) 

Expanded: 4/5 (his low HP does make him a huge target after being put in play, but ideally you're grabbing the right Supporter for your situation such that you don't have to worry about that) 

Limited: 3/5 (I was a bit harsh on Jirachi-EX for the quantity of Supporters in the set rather than the quality; you've got Caitlin, a "return X cards to draw X cards" Supporter, Iris, who boosts your damage based on how many Pokemon are in play, and Sycaper. Not a great variety, but they definitely can help win games in this format - especially Iris!) 

Arora Notealus: My first review of Jirachi-EX came in just after the Nationals last year, and to be honest, I was nowhere near as well-versed on the TCG as I am nowadays. That whole week was basically an introduction to competitive TCG builds for me, and it was a great learning experience to see what cards made it to that level of play. If you're looking to get in on the competitive scene, taking a look at some of the National decks and even the Worlds decks is always a good idea to give you an idea of how the pros build their decks! 

Next Time: Now for everyone's favorite high-flying ace!


Otaku

Welcome to our “Top 10 Cards Lost To Rotation” list!  With XY: Ancient Origins still a few weeks away, the announcement that the next format would be XY-On (XY: Kalos Starter Set and a few other odds and ends included) and the fact I just love it when we do countdowns, this seemed like a good time to do this.  Granted a better time would have been after Worlds but I got impatient and the others went along with me (thanks fellow CotD crew)! 

So our list is composed of cards that will soon only be Expanded legal… barring possible reprints that we weren’t able to confirm yet.  I don’t know about the rest of the group but first I painstakingly went through set by set to see what was lost and realized… that was almost certainly a waste of time.  There are a lot of cards being cut that never saw even a hint of competitive play in addition to those that never quite panned out or were relevant but currently aren’t.  I then decided to base my list primarily on the results of U.S. Nationals; it seemed as good a “snapshot” as any and so I went through the Top 8 decks of each age group, looking for cards that were going to rotate out.  I looked at both how often they were used in terms of deck counts and actual number of copies of the cards played, weighed against how the decks using them finished and how many of the card could have been used.  After getting it down to 30 cards this way, I then looked at what lacked a replacement at all and then what lacked a good replacement.  Then my results were averaged out with the other reviewers who submitted a list. 

First up is Jirachi-EX (BW: Plasma Blast 60/101; 98/101), originally reviewed here as part of our “Top 12 Promising Picks of Plasma Blast” and then again here as part of a week of cards that played a significant role at the 2014 U.S. Nationals.  I do my usual breakdown of the card in the second one (missed the first, apparently) so I’m just going to do a quick recap.  Being a Psychic Resistant, Fire Weak Metal-Type rarely matters and neither does the attack.  The Ability (Stellar Guidance) is what gets this card played as it allows you to turn compatible Pokémon search into a Supporter, though at the cost of having Jirachi-EX eating up space on your Bench.  Its 90 HP makes it an easy (almost guaranteed) OHKO and as a Pokémon-EX it is a tasty target, though the silver lining is that when it first released Level Ball was legal (Level Ball => Jirachi-EX becoming a popular play in appropriate decks); it should be noted that Level Ball is supposed to be reprinted in XY: Ancient Origins making this combo more relevant again. 

So how have things changed since those older reviews?  The main thing is that Jirachi-EX has some competition (and of course a replacement for when it does rotate).  At first I thought that Jirachi-EX usage might be totally eliminated by Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108, 106/108); after all Shaymin-EX provides draw power via its “Set Up” Ability, allowing you to combine it with your actual Supporter use if you do have one handy and fake being one if you don’t (but have it or a search option).  Several decks have been demonstrating how amazing this can be.  While I tend to favor Shaymin-EX I have had several times where I wished I had a Jirachi-EX in the deck, either in addition to Shaymin-EX or instead of it.  We have some significant Supporters in our decks that we don’t like to max out, and whether it is getting the perfect draw card for your current situation or a Lysandre to press for game, there are times when that is more valuable than taking a chance on drawing until I have six cards in hand.  In particular is when your hand gets clogged up (such as against certain locks): Shaymin-EX can be totally dead in hand or only get a few cards where Jirachi-EX could again get the exact Supporter you need, at least so long as said Supporter is in your deck. 

Using both would be clearly superior except we’ve got the kind of format where opening with a Jirachi-EX or Shaymin-EX can cost you the game: not just as they are both smaller Pokémon that aggressive decks might donk or pseudo-donk, but because even if you have other Pokémon in play, giving up two Prizes so easily makes it hard to stage a comeback.  Shaymin-EX can bounce itself with an attack if you can get it powered up in time (harder than it sounds depending on the build and the opponent) but that doesn’t always work out, another area where it outperforms Jirachi-EX, but at least personally I know I’m in trouble when I open with one.  Space in decks is tight as ever, so rarely can you afford both and while I know the math and that the odds of opening with one or the other (even in a deck where you aren’t running both) are not great, neither are they insignificant, especially thinking of it through the course of an entire tournament and not just the individual matches or games. 

For the remainder of its time in Standard, Jirachi-EX is not a card to forget about; you might not end up using it but it is always worth asking yourself “Should I try to work one in?”.  Level Ball really does help it to shine a little brighter and in Limited play, you have to ask yourself if it is worth the risk, which will include knowing whether or not you have enough worthwhile Supporters.  In the unlikely event you are engaging in Limited Play with BW: Plasma Blast boosters, there will be Iris and Professor Juniper to shoot for; the risk of giving up an easy two Prizes in a format where you only start with four and where you have a serious risk of starting with or drawing into the few Supporters you do pull (and run) before Jirachi-EX can even show up lowers what would otherwise be an almost true must play. 

Ratings 

Standard: 3.75/5 

Expanded: 3.85/5 

Limited: 4/5 

Summary: Jirachi-EX is a card I’ll miss for Standard play and will not forget when working on Expanded deck.  It isn’t as big as it used to be, but it isn’t bad just facing direct competition thanks to Shaymin-EX.  Plus additional Ability negation from Silent Lab and Wobbuffet (XY: Phantom Forces 36/119), which weren’t available when this card was reviewed either time past.  On my own list, I had this as #12; 10 doesn’t seem like a huge stretch.


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