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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

Steam Siege Top 10 - #4 - Yveltal BREAK - Steam Siege
Date Reviewed: Aug. 16, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary
Standard: 4.0       Expanded: 4.38       Limited: 4.75
Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

Our other noteworthy addition is Yveltal BREAK, who comes in alongside his own reprint from the XY set. And hey, that one saw a lot of play, so will Yveltal BREAK leave the same impact? Or would there be a better version he'd work with? Let's find out! 

Yveltal BREAK's only addition outside of more HP is his attack, Baleful Night. It's a 3-for-120 strike that throws on more damage to the opponent's Benched Pokemon to the tune of 30 damage. Course, this only really affects those Pokemon with damage counters already on them, but that's still really good! Stacking on damage on damage, it's always a great thing. And even 30 damage is a lot - if Rough Seas proved anything, it's that 30 is a magical number in its own right to hit every turn. 

So which Yveltal is the best to pair up with BREAK Evo? Honestly, the Yveltal (BKT) looks the most appealing here, at least in terms of partnering up. His Pitch-Black Spear attack is the only thing that can hit Benched Pokemon, though it's geared mainly towards Pokemon-EX. At the very least, Fright Night could keep your opponent from being able to effectively Mega Evolve with Spirit Links or use Fighting Fury Belt to power their attacks, but aside from that, Yveltal (BKT) isn't that appealing. 

On the other hand, the Yveltal (XY) reprint is a classic must-have in any build, and so just by that token, it's more likely to be this one that runs with the BREAK. Oblivion Wing is too good a charge-up to ignore, but it doesn't lead into Baleful Night at all. And compared to Darkness Blade, well Baleful Night is a straight upgrade. So while it's not a perfect fit the way Xerneas BREAK is, I do think Yveltal BREAK could see play in the popular Yveltal builds that have somehow remained a constant presence in the game since XY started. 

...oh yeah, don't use this with the promo. It's not going to do much better. 

Rating 

Standard: 4/5 (high damage output is relatively balanced all things considered)

Expanded: 4.5/5 (the extra half point is for the Dark support that comes from here) 

Limited: 5/5 (cause all we needed for Yveltal was more Darkness) 

Arora Notealus: So evil bird of death or rainbow deer of life? Which BREAK Evo is better? Only time will really tell, but for our list, Yveltal just barely beat out Xerneas.  

Next Time: But he did tie with our 3rd place pick... 


Otaku

Just missing out on the top three of our countdown is our number four pick Yveltal BREAK (XY: Steam Siege 66/114).  As a Darkness Type it will only be able to exploit Weakness on some Psychic Types, while all Fairy Types other than BREAK Evolutions have been Darkness Resistant.  There are also some specific anti-Darkness effects, but none are worth using competitively.  For good Darkness Type support (Pokémon or Energy) you have to look to Dark Patch in Expanded, maybe half of Reverse Valley or all of Shadow Circle.  The Type’s real strength comes from some fantastic Pokémon that belong to it like Yveltal-EX, Zoroark (XY: BREAKthrough 91/162), etc.  Being a BREAK Evolution is just what I said yesterday: the simplified pecking order is Basic, Stage 1, BREAK Evolution of a Basic, then the rest.  Mechanically, the BREAK Evolution of a Basic Pokémon is a Stage 1 that cannot actually make use of effects that specify they work on a Stage 1.  You can make use of cards that work on Evolutions in general; for example Wally can search out an Evolve a Yveltal into Yveltal BREAK, and without waiting a turn to Evolve normally, at the cost of your Supporter (note that this is not me recommending this course of action).  Yveltal BREAK has 150 HP, enough to likely survive a hit; this is on par with a Stage 2 and only 20 to 30 points shy of typical Basic Pokémon-EX. 

Weakness, Resistance, and Retreat Cost will be supplied by whichever Yveltal you choose to BREAK Evolve from, as will any Abilities or attacks on that card.  Yveltal BREAK itself brings the attack “Baleful Night” for [DDD]; it does 120 damage which is good for the Energy that is going into it, plus 30 damage to each of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon that already has any damage counters on it.  120-for-three is pretty good; not as impressive when it requires three specific Energy (at least they are the same Type), but still good.  The effect is potentially good, as it can do between zero (opponent has no Bench or at least nothing damaged on the Bench) and 240 more points of damage (Sky Field is in play and opponent has eight Pokémon on the Bench each with some damage already present).  Without some deck specific combos, you are unlikely to get much of a bonus, though it does make it questionable for your opponent to try and hide something injured on the Bench.  There are multiple ways of getting some damage or damage counter based spread going; here the hang up is that past successful examples may not be the most efficient under these circumstances while cards that can do it fast and easy haven’t proven particularly strong in the past.  We have multiple proven ways of protecting the Bench right now in both formats, which is also an issue to discuss further.

However for now we’ll consider our options for Yveltal: XY 78/146 (reprinted as XY: Black Star Promos XY06, Generations RC16/RC32, and XY: Steam Siege 65/114), XY: Black Star Promos XY32, and XY: Steam Siege 65/114.  All are Darkness Type Basic Pokémon with 130 HP, Lightning Weakness, Fighting Resistance, and Retreat Cost [CC].  Yveltal BREAK inherits these bottom Stats, so we should detail them.  Lightning Weakness is another of those “bad but not the worst” Weaknesses floating around  The biggest danger comes from there being too many useful targets already popular in competitive play with Lightning Weakness; if Yveltal BREAK joins their ranks there may already be counters players are familiar with and if Yveltal BREAK does not join their ranks, those counters are already out there for other stuff like Yveltal-EX and Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108, 106/108).  Fighting Resistance is greatly appreciated; both general and Fighting-specific support provide access to buffs that either ignore Resistance or add 20 damage to effectively neutralize it, your opponent is still committing additional resources to the KO.  Plus as Fighting Types often are about stacking bonuses, this is another bit of math your opponent has to keep straight; if they whiff or waste resources on overkill, that benefits you.  The Retreat Cost of [CC] is low enough you can often afford it up front (sometimes it won’t even matter in the long run), but high enough you sometimes just as often cannot.  Include some outs to Retreating at full cost. 

XY 78/146 (and its many other printings) has two attacks, “Oblivion Wing” and “Darkness Blade”.  The former does 30 damage while attaching a [D] Energy from your discard pile to one of your Benched Pokémon.  The latter does 100 damage and requires you flip a coin; “tails” means this Pokémon cannot attack the next turn, “heads” simply means no drawback.  Oblivion Wing has proven quite useful for setting up other attackers, especially in the Standard Format that has long since lost access to Dark Patch; Darkness Blade is overpriced or underpowered given that it is 100-for-three, there is a significant drawback effect that applies approximately half the time, and the Energy requirements aren’t friendly Double Colorless Energy.  However the nature of the format has minimized most of this; between the times when this Yveltal would be OHKO’d anyway, when a player can reset the attack effect, and/or when you just need something that is not Yveltal-EX to attack, Darkness Blade will do.  This card has proven quite good in its own right, and while it has only been reviewed once before it was as the fifth place pick from the original XY expansion. 

XY: Black Star Promos XY32 also has two attacks, but this time they are Air Crash for [DCC] and “Wings of Destruction” for [DDCC].  Air Crash does 50 damage and gives you a coin flip to discard an Energy from the opponent’s Active.  Wings of Destruction does 80 damage, plus another 40 if your opponent has Xerneas or Xerneas-EX in play.  The good news is that both of these attacks are priced to make use of Double Colorless Energy but a 50% chance of discarding an Energy attached to the opponent’s Active is not worth doing 40 damage less than the preferred going rate of 90-for-three.  Pokémon-specific counter attacks rarely work well, and Wings of Destruction is no exception; for the energy involved you really need a base damage of 120, not 120 after the Pokémon-specific bonus.  What is more, remember that all Xerneas and Xerneas-EX we have currently received are Darkness Resistant, so it will only be an effective 100 damage: even if both Xerneas and Xerneas-EX were seeing heavy play, this just wouldn’t be worth it.  While looking at Xerneas (XY: Black Star Promos XY31) and its similarly priced and worded “Light of Life” attack, it brings up a good question: is the wording open enough that other naming variations based on the appropriate Pokémon will trigger the damage bonus?  Really not sure as I can read the parenthetical inclusion of the Pokémon-EX counterparts to either mean anything with the correct Pokémon in its name, or just the usual versions plus their Pokémon-EX counterparts.  Good thing it probably won’t matter for competitive play.  This version of Yveltal did not get a review from us in the past. 

XY: BREAKthrough 94/162 brings an Ability and a single attack to the table.  The Ability is “Fright Night” and while this Yveltal is Active, Fright Night prevents Pokémon Tools effects from applying.  It also has the attack “Pitch-Black Spear” which costs [DCC] and 60 damage to the opponent’s Active, plus another 60 to a Benched, opposing Pokémon-EX of your choice (if there are any at all).  Fright Night is the main attraction, as there are just so many important Pokémon Tools it can short circuit; all the stuff we tend to normally think about like Fighting Fury Belt, but also things like Spirit Link cards.  Remember things like “Garbotoxin” on Garbodor (XY: BREAKpoint 57/122) or “Tool Drop” on Trubbish (BW: Plasma Storm 65/135) will still be able to count a negated Tool as being present, so Garbotoxin kicks in and shuts off Fright Night (so that the Tools then regain their effects) and Tool Drop still does added damage.  Fright Night affects yourself as well as your opponent; that is Fright Night only working while this Yveltal is Active is a neutral trait; you can still make use of Tools on other cards or even this Pokémon while it is Benched, but your opponent can also use this to manipulate the effect as well with commonly played cards like Lysandre.  Also while I like the name, Pitch-Black Spear suffers because sometimes your opponent won’t have anything on the Bench to hit (60-for-three is bad) and even if they do, you’ve got to get lucky for them to have an Active and a Benched Pokémon you can take down quickly.  We reviewed this version here, where I mention that had our top 10 for XY: BREAKthrough been a top 15, this would have been the 15th place review. 

So should you run Yveltal BREAK and if so, which Yveltal should you run with it?  Or is it another BREAK Evolution that is just going to be used as a pseudo-Tool to upgrade its lower Stage.  The answer is “Yes” to all of these things.  The most likely use for this card is to simply upgrade XY 78/146 and XY: BREAKthrough 94/162.  Fighting Fury Belt can give XY 78/146 more HP than Yveltal BREAK and buff both of its attacks, but being able to still take advantage of Basic support means still being subject to Basic counters like (Jolteon-EX and its “Flash Ray”), and Darkness Blade is barely less expensive than Baleful Wind, plus has that nasty drawback that is just “tails” away.  BREAK Evolving won’t directly up the damage of Oblivion Wing or Darkness Blade but it provides a more modest HP bump while leaving room for a Muscle Band or other Tool.  With Muscle Band Baleful Wind can swing for 140 to the opponent’s Active alone.  Muscle Band is still a common enough deck sight and Lysandre is still a staple, so 140 HP against a 140 to 170 HP target means you then use Lysandre on the next turn to bring up a new target, and with one attack either take two KOs (and three or four Prizes) or set up for another KO from Bench damage the next turn.  XY: BREAKthrough 94/162 cannot make use of Fighting Fury Belt while it is Active, so Yveltal BREAK is more valuable to it.  Pitch-Black Spear can hit two targets at once and potentially set up for Baleful Wind, but the time and resources it takes for big bonus damage means this is not a major selling point.  Fright Night still is though and with something that can 2HKO most opposing Actives.  These Yveltal are already run together, which is good for Yveltal BREAK.  

If you want to focus on Yveltal BREAK, then you can add in various forms of spread.  Crobat (XY: Phantom Forces 33/119) and Golbat (XY: Phantom Forces 32/119; Generations 31/83) have been a common source of this, but I am uncertain if they are worth it here.  You’re adding more Lightning Weakness to a deck that will most likely include not only Yveltal/Yveltal BREAK itself, but Yveltal-EX and Shaymin-EX.  Stages 2s are still space intensive as well, but the big thing for me is that the unless you burn a turn attacking with Golbat or just get a great setup, you’re only affecting one or two Benched Pokémon at a time.  I do not know if I have any good alternatives, but  some that have at least a tiny bit of potential on paper are Forretress (XY: Flashfire 60/106), Spinda (XY: Primal Clash 115/160), Team Magma’s Secret Base.  Forretress is a Stage 1, so still another Evolution line, but its “Thorn Tempest” Ability places a damage counter on all of your opponent’s Pokémon, including his or her Active.  A 2-2 line should suffice, though be careful not to pull off the spread too soon.  You may invest more heavily as well; Thorn Tempest hits the opponent’s Active as well as the Bench, so you have more opportunities of hitting key numbers for OHKOs and 2HKOs.  Forretress doesn’t have a great attack, but for [CC] its “Iron Crash” does 20 plus 20 per [C] in the Retreat Cost of the opponent’s Active; if a deck already has Double Colorless Energy then this can occasionally be a decent attacker. 

Spinda can use its “Uproar” attack for a single Energy to do 10 damage to each of your opponent’s Pokémon; enough to get going and while Spinda is probably going down in one hit afterwards, this is much less complex and requires as little as a single card slot (though I recommend two for better reliability).  Using an attack though makes it slower.  The final option that occurred to me is Team Magma’s Secret Base.  This is perhaps the lowest impact option of all.  It won’t work on Team Magma’s Pokémon but that is unlikely to matter.  What will matter is your opponent will always have a chance of discarding your Stadium before Benching Pokémon.  Their opening Pokémon won’t be affected at all and neither will any Evolutions put directly into play.  So for Standard and Expanded play, seems like Yveltal BREAK should see at least a little play and maybe a bit more if Baleful Wind pays off.  Expanded might make it better; you’ll have Silver Bangle to bump up damage against Pokémon-EX even more, plus tricks like Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym to further damage the opponent’s Active.  For Limited play, XY: Steam Siege 65/114 is a great pull; you’ll have to also have it to use Yveltal BREAK which (along with needing a Darkness Energy heavy deck) are the only drawbacks to the card.  Baleful Wind won’t often get its damage bonus, but that could be because your opponent knows the usual Limited tactic of retreating something badly injured to avoid giving up a Prize won’t work; 150 HP and 120 damage should suffice regardless. 

Ratings

 

Standard: 4/5 

Expanded: 4.25/5 

Limited: 4.5/5 

Summary: Yveltal BREAK isn’t a brilliant card, but it has a firm foundation with Yveltal (XY 78/146) being more or less a staple for Darkness Type decks in Standard play, and still often used in Expanded.  Yveltal (XY: BREAKthrough 94/162) isn’t a slouch either and is sometimes used with the original Yveltal.  Building on what already works doesn’t guarantee it will see play, but it means reasonably good HP and an additional attack should get it some play.  Still not worth the scores I just gave it; this is based on the idea that some successful deck will evolve around Yveltal BREAK and its Baleful Wind as the focus and not just a bonus. 

Yveltal BREAK received 12 voting points, beating out Xerneas BREAK by just one point.  Of those 12, half came from me ranking it as my fifth place pick.  This was enough to let it edge out my fourth place pick, Xerneas BREAK and in hindsight I think I am glad it did.  Yveltal BREAK tied with tomorrow’s third place finisher; with two lists and cards that appeared on each my usual tiebreakers wouldn’t work, so I hedged a bet on the game post rotation.  We’ll discuss whether or not I was correct tomorrow.


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