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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Kyurem-EX

- Ancient Origins

Date Reviewed:
October 15, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.00
Expanded: 3.13
Limited: 4.63

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

Tired of dealing with the same old Pokemon-EX? Want to go back to the days when big Basics was usually just 130 HP legendary prints? Or maybe you'd like something from the good ol days coming back in a modified form? Give a Pokemon the EX treatment and make it better? 

Enter Kyurem-EX! 

...again! 

So Kyurem-EX here is reminiscent of Kyurem from waaaaaaaaaaay back in Noble Victories similar to how the last Kyurem-EX in Plasma Blast was. And by that, I mostly mean he stole an attack off of that Kyurem. Whereas PLB Kyurem-EX nabbed Outrage, AOR Kyurem-EX here grabbed Glaciate, which for a hefty 3 Energy (2 of which need to be Water), he'll hit the board with 30 damage to all of your opponent's Pokemon. This is a quick way to inflict a lot of damage and set up most of the board for lots of KOs all around, and now with a bit more body to him, he can last a bit longer to deal more damage overall. 

The nice thing about this though is the addition of the legendary ICECALIBUR!! With this frozen sword of the gods clutched between his claws, Kyurem can swipe across the foes and turn them into frozen statues, keeping them in place! Although it does cost one discarded Energy, it does keep the Defending Pokemon from attacking next turn, forcing a switch from your opponent if they want to be able to hit Kyurem-EX on their next turn! 

So you've got an old-fashioned AOE attack in Glaciate and a stern staunch "NOPE" in the form of ICECALIBUR!! Sounds pretty neat...buuuuuut that attacks do cost quite a bit. Sure, you could run this as a secondary attacker with Primal Kyogre-EX and benefit from Tidal Splash (it's about the only real means of Water acceleration at the moment), but you might honestly be better off with Regice, since while it doesn't do the whopping 130 damage that ICECALIBUR does, it does protect itself with its Resistance Blizzard much more than ICECALIBUR, which only marks off the Defending Pokemon rather than the Blizzard's general EX clause. 

Still, don't let that make you overlook Kyurem-EX - he's still very powerful, and Glaciate alongside Tidal Splash can wrack up the damage counter to a point where even Regice can start KOing things on his own if your opponent doesn't take action. And in a game where action is a necessary function to win the game, getting frozen in place is a dangerous lockdown. 

Now to make sure it ain't too clunky... 

Rating 

Standard: 3/5 (a fairly solid Pokemon-EX in his own right, just needs a little support to get off the ground with those expensive attacks, and he combines well with some of the other Water decks out there alright) 

Expanded: 3.5/5 (Blastoise!! he makes this work much more smoothly, meaning Kyurem-EX could be a deck type of his own, though it's also not an absolute necessity) 

Limited: 5/5 (an absolute must-run; more damage set-ups and ICECALIBUR in a set without Switch make things difficult for your opponent to work around) 

Arora Notealus: ICECALIBURRRRRRRRRR!!! 

Next Time: Another one of those mystical four-legged fish!


Otaku

I need to preface this article by pointing out that I still haven’t learned of the results for the second week of the Autumn Regional Championships.  I won’t bother with excuses: just know that if I state something that is clearly contradicted by who/what won in the second week, it is because I really don’t know it and not because I’m trying to argue against facts already in evidence.

Kyurem-EX (XY: Ancient Origins 25/98, 86/98) is a Water-Type in the Pokémon Trading Card game (in the video games, it is a Dragon/Ice Dual-Type).  There are some “anti-Water-Type” cards but they aren’t very good; you might encounter them in Theme Deck matches or similar restricted cardpool situations, but that is about it (though they can be problematic there).  Water Resistance used to be pretty typical of Grass-Types (namely the TCG Grass-Types that were also at least part Grass-Type in the video games) during the BW-era but seems to have been phased out for the XY-era; you’ll encounter it often enough for it to be an issue, but mostly because of the danger of forgetting it when calculating damage yields as opposed to it being a more serious problem.  Water Weakness is almost universal on Fire-Types and is seen on a decent chunk of Fighting-Types; it isn’t the best Weakness to hit but it should do you some good.  The support for the Water-Type is present but not as thorough as the top Types in the format; a Type being the best does not mean the best decks or cards in the metagame must belong to it and indeed, some Water-Types are key parts of the current top decks in Expanded.  Part of this may be because a lot of the best this Type has to offer isn’t restricted to its kin; tricks like Keldeo-EX with Float Stone can function in almost any deck while the well known Blastoise (BW: Boundaries Crossed 31/149, BW: Plasma Storm 137/135, BW: Plasma Blast 16/101) can behoove anything that can run on (mostly) basic Water Energy cards.  All said, it is a nice start. 

Being a Basic Pokémon is unambiguously the best right now: fewest cards to get into play (just itself), no time spent waiting to Evolve and a natural synergy with many card effects due to both of the previous traits.  If that wasn’t enough, in Expanded there are even a few pieces of Basic Stage support.  Being a Pokémon-EX though has some big, built in drawbacks for only the possibility of benefits: unless the specific Pokémon-EX has an effect to counteract it, all give up an extra Prize when KOed, are excluded by certain beneficial effects and are the target of certain negative (at least for them - usually quite positive for the card that has it) effects.  Pokémon-EX are usually allowed better attributes and effects than non-Pokémon-EX (especially when compared to other Basic Pokémon) and that at least holds true for this card’s HP: it has 180 HP, 50 more than we’ve seen on a Basic that is not a Pokémon-EX and only exceeded by Mega Evolutions, Wailord (BW: Dragons Exalted 26/124), Wailord-EX, Team Aqua’s Kyogre-EX and Team Magma’s Groudon-EX.  Nothing is totally safe from being OHKOed in the current cardpool: even stuff with effects specifically to protect against such a thing can be bypassed!  180 is tricky for most decks to rapidly, reliably and repeatedly OHKO; one of the three is probable, two of the three is common but all three at once only shows up in a few decks (though it includes some of the top decks in the current format). 

Metal Weakness is not best Weakness to have: that is “none”.  It isn’t the safest of the current Weaknesses to have (I think), but neither is it the worst.  The main place I expect to encounter a Metal-Type attacker is in a Bronzong (XY: Phantom Forces 61/119) deck which (based on Week 1 results) is going to focus on M Rayquaza-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 76/108, 105/108) as the main attacker, and that can already OHKO you regardless of Weakness.  It still matters of course, such as when your opponent running such a deck can send up a Heatran (XY: Phantom Forces 63/119) or similar alternate attacker for a OHKO and only risk giving up a single Prize if you OHKO it back.  The lack of Resistance is the worst, but it is also the most commonly seen.  The Resistance mechanic is also far less influential than the Weakness mechanic (...that is a good thing!) so it feels like more of a missed opportunity than a real defect.  Finishing off the bottom of the card is the Retreat Cost of [CCC]; this is pricey enough (both up front and in terms of recovery) that even with Energy acceleration you still should run something to bring the cost down or avoid paying it all together.

So at last we come to what Kyurem-EX can do and that is “attack”: no Ability or Ancient Trait here.  For [WWC] it can use “Glaciate” to hit the opponent’s Active and Bench for 30 damage (each), while for [WWWC] it can use the awesome sounding “Icecalibur” attack to deliver a 130 point blow to the opponent’s Active, with the added effect that you discard an Energy attached to Kyurem-EX itself and then the Defending Pokémon cannot attack during your opponent’s next turn.  The way it is worded, I think discarding an Energy is an effect and not a “cost” (for the few cards where that would matter) and it does not seem worded so that the final effect (Defending Pokémon cannot attack next turn) is dependent up the discard (which will likely never matter, but just in case).  Before getting into specifics, this is a card that will need Energy acceleration, and not something easy like a Double Colorless Energy.  Of the noteworthy options, I think you’re down to just Blastoise or M Kyogre-EX, which also makes the [C] cost seem kind of pointless; might as well be another [W] and give the attacks a bit more damage.  Without any Energy acceleration, it would take three whole turns to do anything and four to access the “big” attack on the card. 

Glaciate is a not a new attack, showing up first on regular ol’ Kyurem (BW: Noble Victories 34/101, BW: Black Star Promos BW44, BW: Legendary Treasures 43/113) and even for a very brief time playing a role in an established deck.  I am unsure how useful it is right now; with Sky Field and accompanying full Bench a not uncommon sight, you could be looking at up to 270 points of damage but against no Bench it is just the 30 to the Active.  A Bench of two is required for a just barely adequate return, with three being solid and four or more finally seeming “good”.  Icecalibur jure barely delivers adequate damage for the investment, but I’m not so sure about the effect: getting out of it should just require Benching the Defending Pokémon, with anything else (or the same Pokémon if you can get it Active again) then attacking with no problem, while you are still out an Energy.  If you push to get into OHKO range of typical Pokémon-EX (170 or 180 HP) with say Muscle Band plus Hypnotoxic Laser plus Virbank City Gym, the discard becomes purely a penalty because Knocked Out Pokémon cannot attack anyway.  For the purposes of a 2HKO, you have just enough before defensive buffs so that is probably the intended purpose.  The attacks have no synergy save common Energy Types, barely staggered cost and the fact that the weaker attack might set-up for the second to finish something off.  That might sound like a lot but the only aspect not common to most Pokémon is the Bench damage setting up for future Icecalibur hits (and again, that makes the Energy discard and effect rather pointless).  It really feels like we’ve got two supporting attacks with one made overly large to try to pass as a “big” attack, and it doesn’t work. 

There are a lot of cards with “Kyurem” in the name, but the TCG only limits counts based on name (maximum of four, barring basic Energy cards) or specific text on the cards (like Ace Specs), so with one exception we won’t worry about the likes of Black Kyurem, Black Kyurem-EX, Kyurem, White Kyurem or White Kyurem-EX… but that still leaves us with two other “plain” Kyurem-EX, though they are not Standard legal (only for Expanded).  The older of the two has been released four times: twice in BW: Next Destinies (38/99 and 96/99) then once as BW: Black Star Promos BW37 and BW: Legendary Treasures 44/113.  The more (but not most) recent is BW: Plasma Blast 30/101.  The only game relevant differences between these two and today’s card are the attacks, and each still has two.  BW: Next Destinies 38/99 (and reprints) can use “Frozen Wings” for [WCC] to hit for 60 damage and discard a Special Energy from the opponent’s Active Pokémon.  For [WWCC] it can use “Hail Blizzard” to hit for 120 damage, but can’t use the the attack twice in a row without “resetting” its effect.  We reviewed it back when it was new and were pretty generous; it was part of the first wave of Pokémon-EX and we assumed that cards like Mewtwo-EX would be rare, instead of roughly once-or-twice-per-wave.  Even if it was good then, it isn’t good now, with both attacks being overpriced or underpowered or perhaps even both. 

BW: Plasma Blast 30/101 sports “Outrage” for [CC], hitting for 30 damage plus 10 more for each damage counter on itself, while for [WWCC] it can use “Gigafrost” to do 150 damage, but you also have to discard two [W] Energy from itself.  These are better attacks than the older version, though Gigafrost is still a little overpriced.  It was also reviewed when it was new and I think the numerical scores for it are about right, though I may have been a bit generous in the written details.  Simply put it is a solid beatstick but most decks that could/would consider it had (and still have) better options, though the release of Muscle Band keeps it a “solid” but surpassed beatstick for decks with [W] Energy acceleration.  I don’t think there is any real synergy between these cards and the different versions; I guess Glaciate does help set-up some 2HKOs for Gigafrost.  The thing is, the real competition is coming from elsewhere. 

First the exception I mentioned earlier: Black Kyurem-EX, specifically BW: Plasma Storm 95/135.  The name is different so only overall deck space keeps you from maxing out both should a deck call for it, and much like the other versions of Kyurem-EX it is quite similar to today’s card: different Type (Dragon), different Weakness (Dragon) and different attacks (though still two total).  “Slash” for [CCC] does a vanilla 60 and is basically an emergency fall back attack (60 for three is about 30 shy of acceptable).  “Black Ballista” needs [WWLC] and discards three Energy from Black Kyurem-EX itself, but the reward is 200 points of damage.  Even the off-Type Energy requirement didn’t keep it from becoming the attacker for Blastoise decks, including during one of the deck’s previous times in ascendance.  The main reason it isn’t anymore is that Mega Evolutions finally took hold and with them, HP scores that regularly exceeded 200: once Black Ballista stopped being a reliable OHKO, it stopped being worth the hassle.  Which brings us to the real reason today’s Kyurem-EX just doesn’t seem worth it: too many better options (that still are better options). 

Keldeo-EX has 10 less HP and what I believe to be a riskier Weakness (Grass) but you get its “Rush In” Ability and its “Secret Sword” attack.  Both are amazing, though at times their value has waned.  Right now though both are great and have made it the “big bruiser” attacker for Blastoise decks once again.  Suicune (BW: Plasma Blast 20/101) and Regice (XY: Ancient Origins 24/108) are “protected” attackers, each with an effect that prevents damage and effects by attacks of Pokémon-EX.  Articuno (XY: Roaring Skies 17/108) is flippy but its Ancient Trait (Δ Plus) let’s it take an extra Prize when it scores a KO.  All of these gain some benefit from Glaciate, but even if that was enough, since we are discussing Expanded that means the original Kyurem is an option to use the exact same attack, but on a 130 HP body worth only a single Prize.  Plut its Outrage attack is fairly nice as well.  In Limited play it’s a great pull, but not as good as you expect of a Pokémon-EX.  Why?  While the attack effects and the attributes are marvelous for Limited, the Energy costs make it clunky to mix with other Types and a bit slow for my liking to run completely on its own.  You certainly can and expect some great results, the margin for error however is much smaller. 

Ratings 

Standard: 3/5 

Expanded: 2.75/5 

Limited: 4.25/5 

Summary: All hope isn’t lost for Kyurem-EX, but I’m not seeing much of a use for the card.  It has some decent but pricey attacks on a solid enough foundation, but everything it does, something else does better and the package deal doesn’t beat out the next best thing.


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