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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

Top 10 New Pokemon Cards of 2016
#2 Greninja BREAK - XY BREAKpoint

Ratings & Reviews Summary
Standard: 3.75     Expanded: 3.80     Limited: 4.00
Back to the main COTD Page

 


aroramage

Who would've thought we'd get 2 BREAK Evolutions on this list? Let alone one at #2? When BREAK Evolutions first came out, they had a lot of problems. They were an extra Stage above, they took up deck space, and as a result if they were even remotely playable, they were an investment in and of themselves. If you were playing a BREAK Evolution, chances are it took up most of your deck space.

With Trevenant BREAK, he had the benefit of having a playable Stage 1 with an amazing Ability. But with Greninja BREAK? Working at effectively Stage 3? How could he even begin to compete?

Even past me didn't think the chances of Greninja BREAK were that great - "Cause let's face it, when was the last time you saw a BREAK Evolution deck in a competitive environment?" Well Greninja BREAK was the one that broke the mold, and looking at most of the decks focused on him, it's not hard to see why.

Let's start with the line-up - Froakie is a must simply because of evolutions, but Frogadier is also frequently run - at 4 copies no less! Why? Well Frogadier (BKP) has the attack Water Duplicates, which doesn't do anything...except throws more Frogadier in the deck to the Bench. This thins out the deck and quickly sets you up for more Greninja opportunities - which in turn, means more Greninja BREAK. The Greninja of choice is currently Greninja (BKP), who utilizes Shadow Stitching and Moonlight Slash to deal significant damage while working well with Greninja BREAK's Giant Water Shuriken! 

Because of the deck's intense focus on getting Greninja BREAK out, there's not a whole lot of room to pull out with another Pokemon. Enter in Talonflame (STS), whose Ability Gale Wings allowed it to be played on Turn 1 and whose Aero Blitz could deal damage and get out the pieces needed to play Greninja BREAK as quickly as possible. This led to decks like those run by Bert Wolters and Cody Walinski, both who made the Top 8 in the Masters Division at Worlds, the latter of whom even came in 2nd place! 

Add in additional Water support like Dive Ball and Rough Seas - alongside Bursting Balloon which kept attackers at bay and punished them severely if they didn't - and fill up the rest with staples and Water Energy, and you might as well call this "Greninja BREAK Turbo!" Bert even threw in a Wally in his build to accelerate the Evolution process as early as Turn 1, as well as Delinquent to turn things in his favor, while Cody opted to go with an extra Super Rod for the recovery on Energy and Pokemon Ranger to deal with any ill effects from certain Pokemon. 

The deck has seen a lot of success as a result of these modifications, and while it's a little hard to say whether or not Greninja BREAK himself is responsible for them, there's no doubt that the deck has seen a lot of success. In much the same manner as M Audino-EX from before, Greninja BREAK shows that if you can build a deck around his strengths, he can easily Giant Water Shuriken your opponents into the dust, paving your way to victory. 

...alllllmost. 

Rating 

Standard: 4/5 (once again, I underestimated Greninja BREAK's talents the first time around) 

Expanded: 4/5 (but seeing a few decks surge in popularity and seeing the overall success of the deck, I can say he's probably one of the stronger BREAK Evolutions around) 

Limited: 4/5 (and that's pretty good to boost my opinion of him in any case)

Arora Notealus: If I were ever a competitive player, I'd say this is the deck I'd play this format. It's a lot of fun to play, works really well, and it features one of my most recent favorites in the Pokemon world! Can't go wrong with that~ 

Next Time: And the crowning champion of 2016 is...


Otaku

Our second place pick for the top 10 cards of 2016 goes to Greninja BREAK (XY: BREAKpoint 41/122).  For simplicity, we aren’t officially including Greninja (XY: BREAKpoint 40/122) and Frogadier (XY: BREAKpoint 39/122), but they very much contributed to Greninja BREAK having such a large impact this year. 

Greninja BREAK (XY: BREAKpoint 41/122) is a Water Type, which mattered more than I realized at first.  It wasn’t because anti-Water effects haven’t proven that good, nor was it because Water Resistance is only found on some BW-era Grass Types; those are appreciated, but not a big deal.  Exploiting the Water Weakness found on some Fighting Types and nearly all Fire Types matters, but what I think has proven crucial to Greninja BREAK is Water Type support.  Unlike in Water Toolbox a.k.a. Blue Box decks, it isn’t about what other Water Type Pokémon complement Greninja BREAK… in fact what I believe is the preferred approach to the deck runs just the Greninja BREAK line plus Talonflame (XY: Steam Siege 96/114).  Same for effects that reward [W] Energy usage; it is just those found on the Greninja BREAK Evolution line.  What makes being a Water Type significant to Greninja BREAK is that as the BREAK Evolution of a Stage 2 Pokémon, essentially a Stage 3 Pokémon that requires a significant amount of time and cards to set up.  So even though Dive Ball, Rough Seas, and Splash Energy have proven worthwhile elsewhere (well, not so sure about Splash Energy), it is here where they proved vital. 

Greninja BREAK has 170 HP, making it as big as many Basic Pokémon-EX and as such just as capable of surviving an attack, if not a little more so as the there is one anti-BREAK Evolution effect that makes them easier to KO, while there are many more anti-Basic Pokémon and anti-Pokémon-EX effects of that nature.  Greninja BREAK copies the Weakness, Resistance, and Retreat Cost from the Greninja from which it BREAK Evolves, as well as any Ability or attacks present on that card.  The only other thing Greninja BREAK itself brings to the table is its “Giant Water Shuriken” Ability; while Greninja BREAK is Active you may discard a Water Energy from your hand to place six damage counters on the opposing Pokémon of your choice.  That’s some serious Ability based sniping, even before we consider what the various options for Greninja could contribute.  As this is a year end re-review I won’t be listing all possible options, just focusing on what was used.  Froakie (XY: BREAKpoint 38/122; XY: Black Star Promos XY138) isn’t brilliant, but at least it has 60 HP and an attack that can try to Paralyze to stall for time.  Frogadier (XY: BREAKpoint 39/122) is essential to the deck because of its “Water Duplicates” attack; you end up sacrificing one Frogadier (and turn’s attack) to get up to three more in play.  Not only that, but instead of having to Evolve they are put directly from deck to your Bench.  There are decks which are quicker and/or more reliable, but not when it comes to swarming a pseudo-Stage 3. 

There are two Greninja proven to be worthwhile for this deck, with a third that came out more recently and which might be worth consideration.  As Greninja BREAK will gain any Abilities, attacks, and bottom stats present, I’ll look at these with my usual level of detail.  Greninja (XY 41/146) is a 130 HP Stage 2 Water Type with Grass Weakness, no Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of [C].  It brings the Ability “Water Shuriken” and the attack “Mist Slash”.  Water Shuriken allows you to select an opponent’s Pokémon and place three damage counters on it for the cost of discarding a [W] Energy card from hand; unlike Giant Water Shuriken on Greninja BREAK the original doesn’t care about being Active and so can also work from the Bench.  Mist Slash requires [W] and does 50 damage which isn’t affected by Weakness, Resistance, or any effects on your opponent’s Active Pokémon.  Greninja (XY: BREAKpoint 40/122) is also a Stage 2 Water Type Pokémon with 130 HP, Grass Weakness, and no Resistance, but it has a free Retreat Cost with two attacks.  The card’s two attacks are “Shadow Stitching” for [C] and “Moonlight Slash” for [W].  The former does only 40 damage but also shuts down Abilities during your opponent’s next turn, while the latter does 60 damage with the option of bouncing an attached [W] Energy from itself so that the attack does an additional 20 damage.  XY 41/146 and XY: BREAKpoint 40/122 have been proven partners for Greninja BREAK, with XY: BREAKpoint 40/122 proving more important.  While another way of spreading damage counters is appreciated, that free Retreat Cost makes it easier to pull off multiple Giant Water Shuriken in a turn, while Shadow Stitching denies much needed Abilities or Moonlight Slash delivers the hardest hit a Greninja can for a single Energy. 

Greninja (XY: Black Star Promos XY162) has the same stats as XY 41/146, but two attacks like XY: BREAKpoint 40/122.  The first is why I am bothering to mention this card: “Aqua Shower” costs [W] and hits all the opponent’s Pokémon for 20 damage.  For [WC] it can use “Dual Cut” to flip two coins, good for 60 damage a piece.  Supplementing the sniping of Giant Water Shuriken with spread could prove useful, especially as the former is an Ability while the later is an attack and I don’t think anything protects against both at the same time, using the exact same effect.  Dual Cut is probably unimportant though if you’re desperate it does have the highest potential damage of attacks found in Greninja; while one of the four possible outcomes from two coin flips will be zero damage, and two will be 60, the final one of four is 120 damage.  Again let me stress that this one is unproven; XY: BREAKpoint 40/122 is the go-to option for Greninja BREAK decks and should be two to four of your Greninja cards.  Some builds use a XY 41/146 or two because it brings a great Ability and good attack to the table, but it is not an option for Standard Format play anymore.  I doubt XY: Black Star Promos XY162 is worth it at all for Expanded, but perhaps a copy makes sense in Standard play.  Surprisingly, even though we’ve reviewed multiple Greninja cards, of what we have discussed today only Greninja (XY 41/146) and Greninja BREAK have received prior reviews, here and here (respectively).  Go ahead and get a laugh over how I underestimated Greninja BREAK. 

It didn’t occur immediately but Greninja BREAK would eventually become one of the top decks in the twilight of the 2015-2016 Standard Format, with the second and eighth place finishers for the Masters Division of the 2016 World Championships running the deck (specifically the version that uses Talonflame).  Rotation hurt it, but not enough to kill the deck.  In both Expanded and Standard play if still can and has managed to top cut.  This is one of the many anti-Night March decks that is good in its own right (after all, no Night March in the current Standard Format).  For Limited play, while it is likely a pain to pull the full line Greninja BREAK should be a beast once it hits the field, aided by the fact the entire line is (at least relatively) good. 

Ratings 

Standard: 3.5/5 

Expanded: 3.6/5 

Limited: 4/5 

Summary: Greninja BREAK decks are one of those times I am so happy to have been wrong.  It doesn’t score as high as one might expect because as a BREAK Evolution, it relies heavily on the Pokémon from which it will BREAK Evolve, and in this particular instance on most of the entire Evolution line.  Several very good cards come together to form a great deck.  Plus it was better prior to rotation, when it had better answers to certain counters and Night March to provide juicy targets. 

Greninja BREAK took second place with 24 voting points and showed up on all three of we reviewers’ individual lists, taking third place on mine.  It lost out to tomorrow’s number one pick by five voting points.


Zach Carmichael
Had this at #4 on his Top 10 List


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