Hey look, Nidoking got a BREAK!!
Boosting himself up to 180 HP,
Nidoking BREAK comes with the move Toxic Drill. It's a
bit of a reincarnation of Base Set Nidoking's Toxic,
only given a huge amount of damage dealing 3-for-120 and
applying the Poison x2 effect. And that's on top of
whatever else your Nidoking had before, so that's pretty
neat! Tack on the additional damage from something like
Virbank City Gym, and he's practically set!
Unfortunately that combination only
exists in Expanded, so in Standard, Nidoking just has to
deal with what he's got coming. Toxic Drill is a bit
underpowered in that case, and he can either be combined
with the Nidoking from this set or the one from Steam
Siege, which really isn't that phenomenal without a few
other Evolution Pokemon around and about. In Expanded
you've also got the Fighting-typed Nidoking, but all
things considered changing his Typing to Psychic in
order to take advantage of Toxic Drill and a few extra
HP isn't really worth running the two together when
you've got such amazing Fighting support.
So Nidoking BREAK ended up barely
making my list if only cause of the combination of Tail
Swing from the Nidoking and Toxic Drill here, but that's
probably not the greatest thing in the world if he's at
the bottom of a Top 10 list. It's like trying to pick
out which rock glistens more in a pile of dirt.
Standard: 2/5 (Toxic Drill has a
lot of promise for damage)
Expanded: 2.5/5 (but without any
kind of boosting, it alone can't do much)
Limited: 3/5 (such is the way of
Arora Notealus: I'm always a bit
torn with Nidoking cards. On the one hand, I like seeing
these interactions with other cards that make things
really come together and complete. On the other hand, I
can't stand the lack of competitive viability that comes
with abiding by flavor. If only there were a way to make
something that combos with other cards into a viable
deck strategy that's flavorful AND powerful!
Next Time: AND NOW FOR JUST SUCH A
STRATEGY!!...just kidding, it's just another reprint.
But it's a doozy.
As promised yesterday, it is time to review Nidoking
BREAK (XY: Evolutions 45/108). Being a
Psychic Type allows Nidoking BREAK to hit a many
Fighting and Psychic Types for double damage thanks to
Weakness, but it also means you’ll have to eat -20
damage from the Resistance on most Darkness and Metal
Types. I know of know explicitly anti-Psychic Type
effects, but there are a few beneficial effects that
only apply to them like Dimension Valley and
Mystery Energy, with those two being the ones really
worth scrutinizing. There aren’t any worthwhile
effects that apply just to [P] Energy, though there are
some really great Psychic Type Pokémon that - while
often quite functional off Type - usually have access to
their full potential in a mostly or mono-Psychic build.
Being the BREAK Evolution of a Stage 2 Pokémon basically
makes Nidoking BREAK a Stage 3 card; without
shortcuts it takes four cards and four turns to reach,
and the fastest plausible shortcut would be Benching
on a turn and either
using Rare Candy to Evolve directly into
Nidoking on the next turn, and that same turn using
Wally to reach Nidoking BREAK.
Using Wally that turn to Evolve into Nidorino,
then next turn manually Evolving into Nidoking
and another Wally to reach Nidoking BREAK.
So possibly you can reach Nidoking BREAK in just
two turns, but you’re giving up two Supporters or one
and adding in an Item to the process (a concern due to
Item lock and needing both it and the Stage 2
form in hand at the same time). Nidoking does
sport 180 HP, the same as a typical Basic Pokémon-EX and
so enough to usually survive one attack. That
isn’t guaranteed though as many decks can score OHKO’s
regardless of Type, and the Psychic Weakness gives
multiple noteworthy attackers an increased chance of
pulling it off as well. As a BREAK Evolution
Nidoking BREAK will inherit the Weakness,
Resistance, and Retreat Cost of whatever Nidoking
it BREAK Evolved from as well as any Abilities or
attacks on that card. Nidoking BREAK itself
sports a single attack called “Toxic Drill”, which for
[PPC] does 120 damage plus afflicts the opponent with
“double Poison” (that is, the Poison Special Condition
where it places two damage counters between turns
instead of just one). In terms of Energy, this is
a decent attack; Toxic Drill should score a pretty
reliable 2HKO against larger targets, and a OHKO against
small to medium sized ones. For all the effort it
takes to reach this point, however, it seems lackluster;
sure Nidoking BREAK has 180 HP, but you had to
Evolve three times and invest three Energy cards.
none of the available Nidoran♂,
Nidorino, and Nidoking thrilled me.
Some have effects that pertain to Nidoran♀,
Nidorina, or Nidoqueen but none work well
once you factor in how many cards are going to be
involved, and even the most impressive of those -
Nidoqueen (XY: Primal Clash 69/160) -
isn’t worth the effort of running either Nidoking
(BW: Plasma Freeze 58/116) or Nidoking (XY:
Steam Siege 45/114). Running two (or more!)
Stage 2 lines was once a common, successful practice,
but now it leaves a deck insufficient room for things
like TecH or even the usual cards required for a
reliable setup. Nidoking (XY: Evolutions
45/108) doesn’t share reference any other Pokémon, and
is probably the best fit for Nidoking BREAK.
You can probably use any Nidoran♂
you like, while Nidorino (XY: Evolutions
44/108) has both the best HP and Retreat Cost of the
other Nidorino (plus you’ll want some Rare
Candy as well). The attacks on Nidoking
(XY: Evolutions 45/108) as well as its Psychic
Weakness, lack of Resistance, and Retreat Cost of [CCC].
That Weakness is pretty dangerous thanks to cards like
Mew (XY: Fates Collide 29/124), Mew-EX,
Mewtwo (XY: Evolutions 51/108), and
Mewtwo-EX (BW: Next Destinies 54/99, 98/99;
BW: Black Star Promos BW45; BW: Legendary
Collections 54/113), and the Retreat Cost means
you’ll need some extra space for tanking, assisting in
changing out your Active, or both.
Those aren’t deal breakers though, but Nidoking (XY:
Evolutions 45/108) doesn’t bring particularly useful
cards to work with Nidoking BREAK. “Rumble”
costs [PC] and does 40 damage while preventing the
Defending Pokémon from retreating during your opponent’s
next turn. At a glance that looks like it might
complement Toxic Drill as you could strand a poisoned
target in the Active slot but both are attacks; how
often would you not just use a second Toxic Drill to
secure the KO? Tail Swing does give you an option
if Toxic Drill is overkill, which is plausible thanks to
the combined damage from the attacks being 220 and
Poison having placed up to four damage counters (two
each between turns phase) if it isn’t treated. May
as well get some damage spread. Still, that is
pretty general, and many other attacks (let alone
Abilities) would have been a much more welcome fit.
I mentioned Nidoking (Base Set 11/102;
Base Set 2 11/130; Legendary Collection
31/110) since the art for Nidoking (XY:
Evolutions 45/108) came from it, and XY:
Evolutions is aping the card selection of Base
Set. It has an attack that inflicts double
Poison, so perhaps that is why Nidoking BREAK has
it as part of its one attack. So should you use
Nidoking BREAK in Standard play? I can’t
recommend it, but you may if you wish. Same for
Expanded, where it enjoys better support but suffers
more counters. No idea about what to run with it
beyond Dimension Valley (where it is legal).
Limited is a different; you’ll need a lot of luck to
pull the full line, but as long as you don’t have
something better that requires you exclude it,
Nidoking BREAK and its lower Stages are a welcome
addition to your deck.
Looks like Nidoking should have taken time to
practice with its new BREAK form instead of immediately
going off to face Son Goku… wait, wrong nostalgic purple
monster that recently returned with a golden form. Nidoking
BREAK isn’t bad, but it isn’t especially good.
I am pretty hard on BREAK Evolutions of Stage 2 Pokémon
since they act like Stage 3 Pokémon, and Nidoking
BREAK is definitely no Greninja BREAK…
however its score also reflects that it just doesn’t
have anything worthwhile from which to BREAK Evolve.
Should we get a Nidoking worth using in a deck
that has room for at least a TecH copy of Nidoking
BREAK, it might be worth considering.