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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Top 10 BREAKthrough

- #1 - Parallel City

- BREAKthrough

Date Reviewed:
November 26, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 4.00
Expanded: 3.90
Limited: 5.00

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

Yeah, you knew this was coming. The first and (so far) only Stadium to have 2 completely different effects based on how it's played? That is exceptional! Parallel City is a completely unique card that can be played differently in different decks depending on the situation! 

So how does it work exactly? Well, Parallel City can be played to have either side facing you, which for simplicity's sake we'll call the Forest Side and the City Side. The thing to keep in mind is that both Sides have an effect that is harmful to the player, depending on which side comes up. I do wonder what a similar card with beneficial effects would play like, but that's speculation for later. 

If you've played the card with the City Side facing you, then your boon is that your Grass, Fire, and Water Pokemon have their attacks weakened by 20 damage BEFORE Weakness and Resistance. Now that's a fairly specific set of Types to choose from, but this sort of thing doesn't work on Decks of other types - Fighting, Colorless, Psychic, etc. - so it's not so bad for those decks. This means that chances are, you're only going to have the City Side face your opponent if they're playing Grass, Fire, or Water. 

But then the Forest Side is facing you, and that one is much more dangerous. With the Forest Side facing you, your Bench gets shrunken down, keeping you from having more than 3 Benched Pokemon at a time. You'll have to get rid of any other Benched Pokemon you've got in play if you have more than 3, which given the presence of Sky Field could be as many as 5 other Pokemon - all to the discard pile! That actually could be potentially nice if you're playing something like Night March or Vespiquen, but it could also really harm you if you're playing M Rayquaza-EX, whose main attack (if he's not a Dragon) depends on having a LOT of Bench-sitters, though most decks will continue to maintain their most important Bench-sitters from getting discarded. 

So what's the verdict on this card? Well, it's a dramatic piece of tech in the midst of the Stadium Wars that can alter the very playing field. Some decks will make use of it for sure, while others may not bother with it as much. There's no doubt though that any deck that can profit off of the Forest Side while enduring or remaining unaffected by the City Side will make the most out of this card, or even decks that can deal with the Forest Side while restraining their opponents with the City Side! The versatility in this card is pretty extreme, but really this is a card for skilled players to look at and think, "Alright...pick your poison." 

Rating 

Standard: 4.5/5 (it's going to be a prominent player in the metagame, I can feel it!) 

Expanded: 4.5/5 

Limited: 5/5 (best case, your opponent loses a good chunk of their army for almost nothing! worst case...well, it is the only Stadium in the set) 

Arora Notealus: Interesting to point out, the design of the "Parallel City" on this card resembles that of White Forest and Black City, a pair of version-exclusive towns in the Gen V games. You'd end up with Black City if you bought Black or Black 2 and White Forest if you had White or White 2. The interesting part about them though is where they appear - they're technically on the same part of the map! So in one version, you've ended up with a City, but there's a parallel to it that is actually a Forest - crazy, right? 

Weekend Thought: Do you agree with our Top 10 list? What cards would you like to have seen on the list? Are the BREAK cards everything you wanted in a non-EX Evolution BREAKThrough, or...maybe not. Don't worry, these are just the early ones, and even the early Megas weren't that great! Seriously, who even plays M Blastoise-EX, am I right? 

...shhhh, no tears, only dreams...


Otaku

Our number one pick from the latest set is Parallel City (XY: BREAKthrough 145/162).  This is a Stadium card so it faces steep competition for getting into what is usually (but not always) a necessary place in decks (typically two to four slots).  You can only play a single Stadium card per turn and only one Stadium card may be in play at a time, which applies to both players.  Towards the latter half of the BW-era we received some amazing Stadiums like Tropical Beach and Virbank City Gym that are still used competitively even today, and the XY sets have brought us some Stadiums that are just as good like Silent Lab and Sky Field.  Some Stadiums are purely generic and can work for any deck, like Battle City but most work at least a little bit better in decks prepared for them.  Some help a deck by strengthening its own strategy while others are about disrupting the opponent’s, with a few that do both at the same time. 

Parallel City is unusual in that it has two very distinct effects and while they both apply at the same time, each only affects a single player: the direction you play the card indicates who has to deal with what effect.  The text is even oriented so that it is rightside up for the player who is being affected.  So if the top half of the card is facing you (which means the name and all text but what applies to you is upside down) you will find your Bench constrained to just three spaces; if you have more Pokémon in play than that when Parallel City hits the field and you’re selected for this effect, you discard Pokémon from your Bench until it is small enough, much like what happens if you have built your Bench over the normal five Pokémon limited while Sky Field is in play and then have to shrink it back down when Sky Field has been removed.  This effect can be crippling for decks that need a massive Bench, such as those build around M Rayquaza-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 76/108, 105/108) and its “Emerald Break” attack; they are usually hurting when they can’t keep Sky Field in play, but this further cuts the damage output.  For some decks this will hardly matter at all; typical Primal Groudon-EX/Wobbuffet (XY: Phantom Forces 36/119) decks shouldn’t often mind. 

Most decks in general will be inconvenienced, but it isn’t likely to be fatal in and of itself; they will just have to make do with a less fleshed out set-up.  Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108, 106/108) makes things a bit odd though; if you can get and keep Parallel City in play before Shaymin-EX hits the field, you can really slow down an opponent’s set-up by preventing setup, or at least forcing them to keep more cards in hand.  If you drop Parallel City facing this direction after your opponent has a full Bench and some cards are Shaymin-EX, you risk helping them out by discarding a set-up Pokémon which has already served its purpose.  There is a sweet spot in between, usually because of an opponent having an incomplete set-up where they might have a Shaymin-EX or two down but not much else on the Bench; Parallel City can be quite painful if at that point when they may be down to zero or just one space on the Bench. 

So what about the other direction?  Attacks done by “this player’s” [G], [R] and [W] Pokémon do 20 less damage.  That isn’t a huge reduction but it can lead to some simple but costly mistakes.  If you are trying to calculate damage for Vespiquen (XY: Ancient Origins 10/98) or Flareon (BW: Plasma Freeze 12/116) it can help larger Pokémon-EX (especially Mega Evolutions) edge out of OHKO range.  This effect isn’t really as likely to matter though as the other side, making this usually the “safe” option for a player that runs few (if any) of the afflicted Pokémon-Type. 

Both sides have an issue in that they are largely passive; unless your opponent has more than three Benched Pokémon or you get kind of obscure or general (you have a self-damaging Pokémon of the correct Type, you just needed to discard an opponent’s Stadium, etc.) there isn’t an immediate payoff from using the Stadium.  It is possible to play this card for zero benefit.  This card has some real use (another counter for M Rayquaza-EX if used well) and being just a Stadium you might run a single copy of (for Bench-heavy match-ups or I suppose against the appropriate Pokémon Types) it is easy to include in a deck, but at the same time it is merely “really good” and not great.  Go ahead and enjoy it in any and all formats, especially the novelty of the two-sides, different effects design. 

Ratings 

Standard: 3.5/5 

Expanded: 3.35/5 

Summary: Another worthwhile addition to the card pool, but one that is mostly useful for annoying specific strategies and not something you’ll be likely to max out or build a deck around, Parallel City ranks so high because there wasn’t as much fierce competition as some of the other more recent sets.  Plus it was a pretty obvious card to pick so ranking in fourth place on my own list plus what aroramage scored it allowed it to take the top spot.  It did managed to beat the previous two picks by four points, which isn’t a huge margin but isn’t tiny, either.


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