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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

Top 10 New Pokemon Cards of 2016

#7 - Trevenant BREAK - XY BREAKpoint

Ratings & Reviews Summary
Standard: 3.25       Expanded: 3.50      Limited: 3.50
Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

Trevenant BREAK itself is...okay. He has decent HP and a decent attack in Silent Fear, which does 30 damage every turn to all of your opponent's Pokemon, and since it's just placing them down, it's usually not affected by anything that they've got. But on his own, he's not doing that much. 

What really makes Trevenant BREAK - or really any BREAK Evolution for that matter - is what Trevenants he can BREAK Evolve from. The biggest Trevenant to use was Trevenant (XY), which could lock down an opponent from using Items during their turn. It made combating Trevenant BREAK very difficult, seeing as he could shut down Items rather effectively. Post-rotation, the Trevenant from BREAKpoint became the default Standard, which could still cause trouble with Worry Seed upping the Retreat Cost and Energy Press providing a powerful smackdown on Pokemon with lots of Energy as an alternative to Silent Fear. 

Trevenant BREAK has seen a lot of play to be sure, but he might not see as much in the growing days to come. For the time being, there's not a crazy Trevenant in sight, but if one does pop up, we may see a resurgence before the eventual rotation that takes him out. That oughta at least be a while though. 

Rating 

Standard: 3.5/5 (on his own, he's alright) 

Expanded: 3.5/5 (but with the right Treve, he's gonna get...heavy) 

Limited: 3.5/5 (OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH) 

Arora Notealus: OHHHHHHHHHHH-kay then that happened. Needless to say, Trevenant BREAK has had presence, and it's possible that he and other BREAK Evolutions will have presence, but what I wanna know is what's the real plan going forward? Sure, okay, maybe GX will replace EX, but what's gonna happen to BREAK Evos? Just another gimmick? I'M ONTO YOUR SHENANIGANS, POKEMON COMPANY!! 

Next Time: I'm arrested for challenging authority, and somebody wins Worlds! WHAT A TWIST~


Otaku

Yesterday’s eighth place finisher was a card that probably should have made our Top 10 for its expansion (and also my review for it should be up by the time you’re reading this).  Today’s seventh place subject - Trevenant BREAK (XY: BREAKpoint 66/122) is in a similar boat, though I’m a little less pained that its initial review here was not a part of a Top 10 list.  Of course I’ll explain why through this review. 

Trevenant BREAK is most obviously a BREAK Evolution, in this case of the Stage 1 Trevenant.  This means it operates as a “worse” version of a Stage 2; same amount of cards and time to hit the field, but no access to Stage 2 specific support, only generic Evolution support as the only thing specific to BREAK Evolutions is a single counter (Starmie BREAK) that hasn’t proven itself yet.  There are some advantages to being a BREAK Evolution, but it is all relative and based on them being an add-on to their prior Stage.  BREAK Evolutions retain access to all attacks and Abilities from their prior Stage, as well as using its Weakness, Resistance, and Retreat Cost as its own.  I don’t recall if any BREAK Evolution could Evolve from something with an Ancient Trait, but that’s, the rare shifting of Type, and specific name based effects are all a Pokémon can “lose” from BREAK Evolving, which is usually a significant strength as they become less pseudo-Stage 2 and more pseudo-Pokémon-specific Tool, if you’ll pardon my pained explanation.  Trevenant BREAK is a Psychic Type, and as we know from how it has been used it definitely cashes in on such a thing as Dimension Valley, Mystery Energy, and in some builds even Wobbuffet (XY: Phantom Forces 36/119; Generations RC11/RC32). 

Weakness/Resistance isn’t directly an issue, though does matter when you use an attack from the underlying Trevenant; Psychic Weakness is found on many Fighting and Psychic Types, while Resistance is found on nearly all Darkness and Metal Types.  While the Resistance is more common, the combination of -20 being balanced while x2 damage is not (in the favor of the attacker) and the specifics of the metagame have kept this a relatively neutral aspect of the Type.  Members of the Psychic Type cardpool that aren’t restricted to working in Psychic Type decks, but which do still work a bit better on Type, also have proven to be a small bonus for Trevenant BREAK and some of the decks built around it.  Its 160 HP is tied with the maximum found printed on actual Stage 2 Pokémon, and only 10 to 20 shy of typical Basic Pokémon-EX attackers; this gives it a good chance of surviving an attack while active.  With a lot of help, it might even survive two or three.  Weakness, Resistance, and Retreat Cost all are supplied by Trevenant… but all currently legal versions share the same bottom stats so until a future release changes things, you’re looking at Darkness Weakness, Fighting Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of [CCC] which are very dangerous, occasionally handy, and something you’ll have to burn a few deck slots to manage, respectively.  Trevenant BREAK has a single attack, “Silent Fear” for [PC], which yields a three damage counter spread that hits all of your opponent’s Pokémon.  More or less adequate for the investment, but Dimension Valley makes it a good (but not great) deal. 

All of this matters (for better or worse) to the success Trevenant BREAK has experienced, but now we’ll get to the heart of the matter as we look at the rest of its Evolutionary line.  I will not be doing my usual thing where I cover every single other version of these lower Stages that is available; as this is a year end review I’ll only cover what has proven worthwhile and important.  That still begins with the Basic Stage as Phantump (XY: BREAKpoint 64/122) matters.  While still a small, easy to OHKO Psychic Type Basic Pokémon with Darkness Weakness, Fighting Resistance, Retreat Cost [CC], and just a single attack, that attack is “Ascension”.  For [C] you may search your deck for a card that Evolves from Phantump and then Evolves into it directly from your deck.  This not only gets around typical Evolution lock tactics, but it means you can speed into a Trevenant Turn 2 (that is, the first turn of the player going second).  Why would that matter?  Trevenant (XY 55/146) is why.  Reviewed here as the third best card of the original XY expansion, and then again here as sixth most important card lost to Standard play via set rotation this year, it is a 110 HP Stage 1 Psychic Type with Darkness Weakness, Fighting Resistance, and Retreat Cost [CCC].  It also provides the attack “Tree Slam” and the Ability “Forest’s Curse”.  Tree Slam is decent, doing 60 for [PCC] plus 20 to up to two opposing Benched Pokémon, but Forest’s Curse provides one-sided Item lock while this Pokémon is Active. 

Trevenant BREAK and the preceding Phantump are from the same expansion; their release meant preexisting Trevenant decks not only could rush out Trevenant (XY 55/146) on T2 without having to use Wally (though it was still included in those decks for T1 usage) but also meant next turn you could add 50 HP and a two Energy attack (that became one with Dimension Valley).  I don’t know if I can explain how important Item cards are to a newbie that just decided to read this article on a whim, but for everyone else, you don’t need an explanation for why one-sided Item lock via Ability is worthwhile, even when it requires running a Stage 1 (and its BREAK Evolution) and keeping that Pokémon Active.  The specifics of the metagame further rewarded Trevenant BREAK decks; they went the full on “control” route, so that not only did you lose access to Items, but you could expect things like Crushing Hammer, Enhanced Hammer, and/or Team Flare Grunt to strip away Energy after a turn, while Head Ringer would ensure all Pokémon-EX needed two turns to power up, and Mega Evolutions couldn’t use Spirit Link cards to avoid giving up a turn.  Well, barring certain countermeasures of course.  Any and every deck had to adjust to losing access to Items, with some doing a better job than others.  Night March, Vespiquen (XY: Ancient Origins 10/98), and their variants also tend to be quite vulnerable if they cannot get a good start prior to Items being locked down.  Their lower HP scores also left them vulnerable. 

So… how are Trevenant BREAK decks doing now?  They are dead in Standard play, as they lost Trevenant (XY 55/146).  They also lost several other important cards (like Dimension Valley), but the remaining legal Trevenant (XY: Black Star Promos XY94; XY: BREAKpoint 65/122) is nowhere near as powerful as its predecessor.  It has the same game relevant stats, but its Ability “Nervous Seed” just adds [C] to the attack cost of Basic Pokémon, at a time when we actually have decent blend of Basic and Evolution attackers.  Its attack “Energy Press” costs [PCC] and does 70 damage plus 10 for each Energy attached to the opponent’s Active, which compliments its Ability and is better than Tree Slam but not enough to overcome losing Forest’s Curse, Dimension Valley, etc.  Another big blow is Garbodor (XY: BREAKpoint 57/122) and Greninja (XY: BREAKpoint 40/122).  The latter was a rival for Trevenant BREAK pre-rotation and still is a strong choice for Standard afterwards, while the latter stepped up now that Standard play has no easy way to remove Pokémon Tools.  Both shut down Abilities, and without the Item lock, Trevenant BREAK decks just become damage spread decks with a bit of disruption added in; not totally disarmed but probably an easy enough win.  Klefki (XY: Steam Siege 80/114) even provides a way for Garbodor to be triggered while under Item lock, though it is a short term solution.  Did I mention Hex Maniac yet?  That or a lucky Lysandre can also restore Items to most decks for a turn; they would be bigger issues except most decks don’t run more than 2-3 combined and are relying on VS Seeker (plus Battle Compressor in Expanded) to really make use of them. 

In Expanded play, they remain a strong deck because one-sided Item lock, good damage counter based spread (which is harder to block), focusing on a non-Pokémon-EX, and disruption/control elements are a potent combination.  You can see why Trevenant BREAK was a winning deck towards the end of the previous Standard Format even though it didn’t win any age bracket at the 2016 World Championships (though it did take second in the Junior Division and third in the Senior).  For Limited play, not that you’ll likely get an opportunity to use it there, Trevenant BREAK is quite strong.  The Phantump from this set being the one with Ascension helps greatly, though that only gets you to this sets Trevenant (you’ll still have to draw or have a lucky search card to reach Trevenant BREAK).  If you do, though, its damage spread and HP can be quite overwhelming, and unlike in Standard and Expanded play Trevenant (XY: Black Star Promos XY94; XY: BREAKpoint 65/122) has a good chance of proving worthwhile. 

Ratings 

Standard: 3/5 

Expanded: 3.5/5 

Limited: 3.5/5 

Summary: Trevenant BREAK is a good example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.  In Expanded play it still has access to those parts and thus its deck is still strong.  For much of this year it had that same access in Standard play and was strong.  Lose those bits and now in Standard it’s a dead deck even though Trevenant BREAK remains legal.  If a new Trevenant were to release, or the card pool/metagame shift enough to make the current option worthwhile, Trevenant BREAK could prove useful again, so I settled for giving it a fairly average score in Standard play, and just a bit above average in Expanded. 

Trevenant BREAK tied with yesterday’s Darkrai-EX (XY: BREAKpoint 74/122, 118/122) at seven voting points.  I had Trevenant BREAK as my personal sixth place finisher, so unlike yesterday it ranks this due to more than my own efforts.  Seventh place is at worst just a touch high, but probably a pretty good place for this card.  While as much of a non-entity in Standard play as something still legal can be, it spent about a third to half the year as one of the top Standard decks and again remains strong in Expanded play.  That isn’t the best a card has managed for 2016, but it is definitely worthy of the Top 10.  Tomorrow’s sixth place finisher only edged out both Darkrai-EX and Trevenant BREAK by a single voting point.


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