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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Kingdra EX

- Fates Collide

Date Reviewed:
May 25, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.15
Expanded: 3.00
Limited: 4.65

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

Back to the main COTD Page


Otaku

Today we tackle Kingdra-EX (XY: Fates Collide 73/124, 122/124), a Dragon Type Basic Pokémon-EX.  Being a Dragon Type is pretty good because of Double Dragon Energy, but unfortunately as we’ll see, while Kingdra-EX can use the card, it doesn’t really help it out a lot.  There are other pieces of Dragon Type support, but the Energy is the big thing.  There are also explicit Dragon Type counter cards but so far, none of them have proven important (or particularly effective).  Nothing Resists Dragon Types but unfortunately almost nothing in the TCG is Weak to them either (only BW-era Dragon Types).  All in all, Kingdra-EX doesn’t get much out of its Typing.  Being a Pokémon-EX guarantees giving up an extra Prize when KO’d, being the target of certain detrimental effects, and being unable to access certain beneficial ones.  It also means the card in question may have better attributes and/or effects than its “regular” counterparts, but I believe only the improved HP is guaranteed (and sometimes the bonus is quite low).  One other benefit that only applies some of the time is that so far, the only Evolved Pokémon-EX are Mega Evolutions; if a Pokémon like Kingdra, which is normally a Stage 2, is released as a Pokémon-EX it instead is a Basic Pokémon.  This is a huge advantage as being a Basic is currently (and has been for a while) the best for the usual reasons; least cards required to hit the field, least amount of time required to hit the field, can be your opening Pokémon, and a natural synergy with certain card effects (often for the preceding reasons).  There are some anti-Basic Pokémon effects, but there are also some effects that specifically favor Basic Pokémon, and the net result is that being a Basic remains the best. 

Kingdra-EX has 170 HP; the lower of the two typical Basic Pokémon-EX scores.  Competitive decks are usually shooting for this amount as at least an occasional OHKO.  Those doing nothing but damage usually try to reach 170 damage rapidly, reliably, and repeatedly, but if an attack has the right kind of effect or is designed around damage spread, it may fall well below either OHKO or 2HKO levels.  170 HP is a good score, it just isn’t exceptional like it seemed when we first received Pokémon-EX.  Fairy Weakness is probably good; Fairy Type decks aren’t heavily used, even though they exist.  Just watch out for Rainbow Force decks built around and named after the first attack on Xerneas (XY: BREAKthrough 107/162), the familiar Fairy Transfer decks built around and named after the Ability found on Aromatisse XY 93/146), and some much more obscure decks; it is worse than it sounds as these decks only have a few (combined) recent quality finishes.  No Resistance is typical, though it would have been helpful.  Moving on we have the Retreat Cost of [C] which is nice and low; you’ll still want an alternative to manually retreating (especially at full Price), but when you actually need to pay to retreat it ought not to be difficult to both afford it up front and in the long run. 

Kingdra-EX has two attacks, the first of which is “Big Storm” for [C], doing 20 damage and discarding any Stadium in play.  The damage isn’t much but neither is the Energy invested, and the effect can be handy; just remember it is not optional so your own Stadium card will also be discarded should you have one in play.  The second, larger attack is “Dragon Trail” for [WCCC].  It does 60 damage plus 30 more for each basic [L] Energy attached to Kingdra-EX (that is, the attacking Pokémon).  At least in Standard and Expanded, the only basic Energy cards that count as [L] are basic Lightning Energy cards, but in the past there have been ways to change a basic Energy so that it provides a different Energy Type than printed.  If you use nothing but Lightning Energy cards plus a source of [W] to fuel the attack, Dragon Trail hits for 150, enough that a Muscle Band would allow Dragon Trail to OHKO 170 HP Pokémon.  Larger targets (as well slightly smaller if Muscle Band isn’t available) require a fifth Energy card.  Energy attached to an Active can be quite vulnerable, both to cards like Team Flare Grunt and to being lost when the Active is KOed (especially against attacks that get a damage bonus from Energy in play).  Still this is a good, solid attack.  Is it enough to justify running Kingdra-EX in competitive play? 

Maybe.  In the immediate future, probably, because we love playing with “new toys” even in the competitive sphere.  In the long term its options are decent because eventually rotation will eliminate some of its competition (more on that later).  It is in the short term, beyond the immediate future but well before rotation where it probably won’t see much use.  All are predictions that could prove quite wrong, of course.  As for what to use with it, in Standard and Expanded we have Magnezone (XY: BREAKthrough 54/162) to enable massive commitments of Lightning Energy with its “Magnetic Circuit” Ability.  There are also multiple ways to initially search out later recycle the Energy from your discard pile after Kingdra-EX is KOed; as most of it will be basic Lightning Energy, Clemont remains an option (but mostly if you are concerned about Item lock).  If you can get and keep Magnezone in play, then powering up Kingdra-EX over and over again to OHKO anything lacking protective effects becomes a significant strategy.  In Expanded, you might also consider Eelektrik (BW: Noble Victories 40/101) to attach from the discard pile instead, but it’s “Dynamotor” only attaches one [L] Energy at a time and to something on your Bench, so you’ll need to swarm them.  It is worth noting that somewhat similar decks have been successful in the past, but less so in more recent times.  For example, Blastoise (BW: Boundaries Crossed 31/149; BW: Plasma Storm 137/135; BW: Plasma Blast 16/101) has Archie’s Ace in the Hole to not only hit the field in one turn, but from the discard and without its lower Stages.  There are other attackers for Kingdra-EX to compete with as well. 

In Limited play, Kingdra-EX looks to be a good pull.  Just to do some damage while discarding a Stadium means it is worth splashing into decks that can’t even use its big attack.  Remember you can retreat after an attack or two and unlike in Standard or Expanded play, your opponent isn’t going to have a Lysandre handy.  If your deck is running on mostly Lightning Energy with room for a few (about three) basic Water Energy or even mostly Water Energy with room for a handful (I’d say about five) Lightning Energy you can enjoy it as a nice, big attacker that can probably win you the game once it is ready, unless your opponent has a massive lead and/or incredible field already happening.  It is also a good candidate for a +39 build where you only run Kingdra-EX for Basic Pokémon, with the rest of your deck being mostly basic Energy cards of the appropriate Types.  Unless your opponent has a lucky setup (including sufficient resources to run one of the eight Fairy cards in this set), you will most likely overwhelm him or her.  Remember that in Limited you only must take four Prizes, not six. 

The +39 strategy is riskier now thanks to the Evolution Packs making it so that even with bad pulls you still can build a solid Limited format deck at a Pre-Release, but still often worthwhile.  As I ended up having both the time and space this review, those eight Fairy Types in this set consist of the Common Basics Jigglypuff (XY: Fates Collide 65/124),  Cottonee (XY: Fates Collide 70/124), and Snubbull (XY: Fates Collide 68/124), the Uncommon Stage 1 Pokémon Wigglytuff (XY: Fates Collide 66/124) and Whimsicott (XY: Fates Collide 71/124), the regular Rare Mr. Mime (XY: Fates Collide 67/124), the Holo Rare Basic Pokémon-EX Diancie-EX (XY: Fates Collide 72/124), and the Holo Rare Mega Evolution M Altaria-EX (XY: Fates Collide 69/124).  All but the Pokémon-EX are either Evolving Basics (and thus weaker in damage output), require a source of [Y] Energy (less easy to splash), or require coin flips (thus being unreliable): Snubbull is all three and there isn’t an Evolved form for it this set!  The Mega Evolutions are going to be almost impossible to beat, but are also much less likely to be pulled. 

Ratings 

Standard: 3.15/5 

Expanded: 3/5 

Limited: 4.65/5 

Summary: Kingdra-EX is a solid beatstick looking for a good home.  Maybe, like Black Kyurem-EX (XY: Plasma Storm 95/135) it will find it, or maybe it won’t; that Black Kyurem-EX replaced Keldeo-EX before itself being replaced by other attackers, including a return-to-form Keldeo-EX so things can shift dramatically.  So I’m going to score it just a bit into the happy side of “average”, a bit lower for Expanded where there is more competition, and quite well for Limited.


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