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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 White Kyurem

- Fates Collide

Date Reviewed:
May 27, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 1.5
Expanded: 1.5
Limited: 3.0

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

Well now, this is very interesting! Never would I have thought to see one of the Kyurem forms as just a Water-type. Most of those have been Dragon-types - in fact, outside of the original Kyurem cards, this is the only other Water-typed Kyurem, and Black Kyurem still doesn't have one of those! Nifty, eh? 

Trivia aside, White Kyurem comes in with all the benefits of a non-evolving non-EX Basic Legendary - 130 HP, Retreat Cost of 3, and attacks that are...interesting, to say the least. Burning Icicles costs 2 Energy and deals 40 damage, with an added benefit of doing 20 more damage to 2 of your opponent's Benched Pokemon if he's got any Fire Energy attached. Dealing 80 damage in one turn for 2 Energy is pretty amazing in its own right, but running Fire Energy alongside Water Energy doesn't seem like an immediate go-to. Not saying it's impossible to run into Water-Fire decks, but they don't strike me as being very common...or that any strategy currently available would run both. 

Blizzard Burn doesn't exactly help White Kyurem's case though. It's a 3-for-130 strike, which is amazing...but then it's completely reversed by the inhibition of being unable to attack with White Kyurem on your next turn. Ideally you're KO-ing with this attack, cause while 130 damage is a LOT of damage to deal with, it still can only 2HKO most Pokemon these days, and because of its own restriction, it can't even do that! 

Needless to say, White Kyurem's better off sticking to the EX treatment, or at least in the Dragon Typing...at least there, he can get both his Water and Fire Energy...technically. 

Rating 

Standard: 1.5/5 (can't say that his first iteration as another Water-typed Kyurem card was that stellar) 

Expanded: 1.5/5 (really, the original's better, and that's not saying much) 

Limited: 3/5 (at the very least though, he could see some good play in Limited)

Arora Notealus: I wonder if they'll ever come out with a Water-typed Black Kyurem...that requires Electric Energy and also has an attack that paralyzes himself... 

Weekend Thought: What do you think of this week's cards? Sorry about the lackluster ending on this week, but hey, at least the opening was strong! And that Kingdra-EX holds some promise, like that Delphox! Huh? Huh?? Maybe? Eh...


Otaku

We conclude our week with White Kyurem (XY: Fates Collide 21/124; XY: Black Star Promos XY128).  This is a Water Type, which means it hits some Fighting and nearly all Fire Types for double damage thanks to Weakness, will have to deal with some Resistance (BW-era Grass Types), some weak anti-Water Type (one side of Parallel City), and an ample helping of support.  Said support can be broadly classified in four varieties.  The first variety includes the cards like Dive Ball and Splash Energy which only work for Water Type Pokémon; they may have counterparts in the other Pokémon Types (for example Grass has Revitalizer and Herbal Energy) that are similar but still distinct, filling the same role but in a notably different manner.  Then there are cards like Archie’s Ace in the Hole; not every Type has its own Supporter, but some of the others do as well and there is even Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick which is just Archie’s Ace in the Hole but for Fighting Types.  We have some shared support like Rough Seas, which does expressly stated it only works for Lightning Types and Water Types, but nothing else can use it.  Then we have more general support that favors the Water Type, usually because it is a Water Type Pokémon with [W] requirements in its attacks or its effects involve [W] Energy.  They can (and often are) used with other Types, sometimes being the only [W] card in an entire deck.  Blastoise (BW: Boundaries Crossed 31/149; BW: Plasma Storm 137/135; BW: Plasma Blast 16/101) and Keldeo-EX are the most famous examples of this.  This much support is great, even if specific examples of it are not; this is one of the best supported Types in the game. 

White Kyurem is a Basic Pokémon, which gives it many natural advantages as the game mechanics and pacing favor Basics above all other Stages.  There are some anti-Basic effects, but there are also bits of Basic Stage support, so on top of being a legal Pokémon with which to open the game, no waiting to put it into play so long as there is room, no additional cards required to enter play, and several less well defined benefits that directly result from those three, it has been and remains the best Stage for a Pokémon to be.  Since we are so used to using them, I’ll remind us both (whether you needed it or not) that this is not a Pokémon-EX.  Though I’ll often be comparing White Kyurem to them, that is just because they are such a huge part of the format; even if White Kyurem doesn’t measure up, as it only gives up the normal single Prize when KO’d and is a Basic Pokémon, it may still come out ahead while doing less than an Pokémon-EX or an Evolution.  Speaking of which it has 130 HP, which for a Basic Pokémon that is not a Pokémon-EX is great.  We haven’t reviewed it (yet) but so far there is only a single “regular” Basic Pokémon with a higher printed maximum HP score, Snorlax (XY: Fates Collide 77/124), and it just bumps it up to 140.  Until this latest set, 130 was the maximum and while it didn’t guarantee surviving a hit, it was solid enough to go either way. 

Unless of course Weakness is involved; White Kyurem is Metal Weak.  No Weakness is the best to have, but as that wasn’t likely an option for the card, Metal Weakness is actually pretty good.  Not only is it different from some key pieces of Water Type support like Blastoise and Keldeo-EX, but while both the Grass and Metal Types have some strong attackers, the Metal Types seem significantly less represented in competitive play.  The lack of Resistance is typical, but a bit less easy to ignore since we are dealing with a 130 HP Basic; I’m saying it may have had a real chance to matter, though given the card’s video game Typing of Dragon/Ice, the three options (Water, Grass, Electric) don’t translate as well to the TCG.  The Retreat Cost of [CCC] is chunky; pack an alternative to paying it at full price, if not avoiding the cost entirely.  It does allow White Kyurem to make use of Heavy Ball and Heavy Boots, but so far nothing has made good use of the latter.  Heavy Ball does sometimes help, but given that White Kyurem also has Dive Ball to search it out, that seems unlikely.

 

So diving into the card’s effects, we find it has no Ability but two attacks.  The first is “Burning Icicles” for [WC].  It does 40 damage and if you have a source of [R] Energy attached, 20 to two of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon.  If you remember yesterday’s review I was disappointed with the “Knock Back” on Grumpig (XY: Fates Collide 31/124) doing 50 for [PP] and forcing the opponent to change out his or her Active afterwards… but I stated it in a somewhat odd way.  Today’s card is why.  40 for two is still poor, but probably better than that Knock Back attack because the attack costs [WC] and is the opening move on a big, Basic Pokémon.  In a sense it is almost like this attack costs [WR] but by pricing and wording it this way, you still can do 40 if you can’t meet the [R] Energy requirement and attacks like “Foul Play” used by Zoroark (Black & White 71/114; BW: Black Star Promos BW09; BW: Next Destinies 102/99) still have to met that [R] Energy requirement to get the full effect.  Burning Icicles isn’t a great attack, but it looks decent; remember that decks which are the most vulnerable to Bench damage are probably packing something that blocks Bench damage. 

The second and “big” attack on White Kyurem is “Blizzard Burn” for [WWC].  This does a 130 damage, but places an effect on White Kyurem itself preventing it from attacking again the next turn.  If we ignore that damage output is effectively halved as White Kyurem can’t attack the turn after, then 130-for-three is a good deal and enough to build upon.  Add in a Fighting Fury Belt, Muscle Band or Silver Bangle add enough extra damage that the classic Hypnotixic Laser plus Virbank City Gym combo brings it up to an effective 170/180/190 damage before Weakness or Resistance.  If you take out a Pokémon-EX you still are coming out ahead (at least in Prizes, if not resources) should White Kyurem be OHKO’d right back.  It also means the effect of Blizzard Burn doesn’t matter.  If you do survive, there are combos to deal with that drawback; this is the kind of attack effect that “rests” on the Active Pokémon and is considered to reset if it leaves the Active slot.  Bouncing it means resupplying all that Energy, but Benching and re-promoting just requires a double Switch or (more likely) Keldeo-EX plus Float Stone. 

We have to consider what else White Kyurem is competing with, though.  First would be other versions of itself.  We have BW: Boundaries Crossed 102/149 (reprinted as BW: Black Star Promos BW59) and XY: Black Star Promos XY81.  Both are Basic Dragon Type Pokémon with no Resistance, no Ancient Trait, no Ability, and two attacks.  BW: Boundaries Crossed 102/149 has 130 HP, Dragon Weakness, and a Retreat Cost of [CC].  Its first attack is “Damage Rush” and requires [RC]; Damage Rush has you flip a coin until you get “tails” and does 20 damage times the number of “heads”.  The second attack is “Cold Fire” for [RWCC], which does 80 damage plus has you flip a coin: “heads” means +40 damage, while “tails” means you just do the base 80.  We actually looked at this one when it was new here.  While power creep means its attacks are effectively weaker, Double Dragon Energy and Reshiram (XY: Roaring Skies 63/108) mean these attacks are also much easier to afford.  Not enough to make this worthwhile, though.  XY: Black Star Promos XY81 has 120 HP, Fairy Weakness, and Retreat Cost [CCC].  Its first attack is “Hyper Beam” for [RCC] doing 40 damage and giving you a coin flip to discard an Energy from the opponent’s Active.  Its second attack is “Flare Blizzard” for [RRWC] to do 120 damage, plus the attack’s effect states it cannot use Flare Blizzard on your next turn.  Both attacks are noticeably overpriced, again even when we include Double Dragon Energy and Reshiram they aren’t worth it.  It is a pretty card though, released as a Full Art promo that was released as part of the “Hoopa-EX Legendary Collection” outside of Japan; in Japan it was part of the “Legendary Shine Collection”. 

That isn’t the last card we need to compare today’s White Kyurem with, though they did show why I wish it had been a Dragon Type: even with the [W] Energy requirements, Double Dragon Energy and Reshiram made it possible to power it up in a single turn, plus in Expanded one could try Altaria (BW: Dragons Exalted 84/124; BW: Black Star Promos BW48; BW: Boundaries Crossed 152/149) to boost the damage being done to the opponent’s Active.  Wanting to boost the damage is natural, but this specific lament is because of Kyurem (BW: Plasma Freeze 31/116).  It is a card we’ve reviewed twice before with each being part of a Top 10, though it might be more obvious if I refer to it as Kyurem [Plasma], one of the potential main or backup attackers in typical Team Plasma decks.  Apart from the name and being a Team Plasma Pokémon, its attributes are the same as today’s White Kyurem.  Its attacks are very similar as well; Kyurem [Plasma] can use “Frost Spear” for [WC] to do 30 damage plus 30 to an opponent’s Benched Pokémon or for the same [WWC] as White Kyurem it can use its own Blizzard Burn for 120 damage.  Frost Spear is much easier to use but does 10 less to the Active and a total of 10 less to the Bench (20 to two Benched Pokémon being 40 total damage), while its Blizzard Burn is actually a little weaker.  Kyurem [Plasma] hasn’t always been a top attacker, but even with Team Plasma decks not not making a showing in the last two weeks of the Spring Regionals, Kyurem [Plasma] itself is still pretty strong. 

So what does (or did) Kyurem [Plasma] have going for it that White Kyurem doesn’t?  This is where it all comes together; the Dragon Type support I mentioned parallels some of what made Kyurem [Plasma] great for a time, then good, and still solid even if it isn’t winning events.  Deoxys-EX provides +10 damage to Team Plasma Pokémon not named “Deoxys-EX” via its Ability, and that bonus could stack.  You had Colress Machine and/or Thundurus-EX (BW: Plasma Freeze 38/116, 110/116; BW: Black Star Promos BW81) to attach extra Energy (from the deck or discard pile, respectively), with Colress Machine not costing you your attack but only working with Plasma Energy while Thundurus-EX [Plasma] worked with any Energy (including Special Energy cards).  In a format where - like now - many decks were relying on Pokémon-EX these combos meant fast damage that was often from a non-Pokémon-EX but still scoring OHKOs or setting up for easy 2HKOs (sometimes even a multiple KO) the next turn.  White Kyurem lacks the support to do that… but what can it do with the support it has? 

In decks that can quickly power it up, it is a solid 2HKO machine against almost anything that currently sees competitive play; the exceptions are stuff it can OHKO and stuff completely protected from damage by Basic Pokémon.  In Expanded, this might earn it a spot mostly a TecH in Blastoise decks.  Keldeo-EX is already there as both a main attacker for its Ability, so you’d be able to ditch the “cannot attack next turn” effect.  It is possible the deck could even include a basic Fire Energy to get the Bench spread for the few times when that would also be useful; there is enough basic Energy search and recovery cards already present in the typical Deluge deck.  The real reason this isn’t a big deal is that even if White Kyurem ends up squeezing in there, I’m not seeing any Deluge decks placing for the first two weeks of the 2016 Spring Regional Championships; unless the addition of XY: Fates Collide cards change the final two weeks, then we have just found a niche use in a has-been deck. 

If you want to be a bit more creative, though, there is another route; focus more on White Kyurem itself.  In both formats you’ve got tricks like Max Elixir to help speed up Energy attachments; maybe Palkia-EX (XY: BREAKpoint 31/122) as well or instead.  In Standard it will have to be about 2HKOs but in Expanded you could use Hypnotoxic Laser, Virbank City Gym, and the correct Pokémon Tool to take out things below Mega Evolution HP levels.  Zoroark (XY: BREAKthrough 91/162) can use Float Stone to pull off the same trick as Keldeo-EX in Standard, but for a bit more room.  There maybe be three strikes against this deck idea already, though; it is completely untested, I haven’t even heard murmurings of it anywhere, and several pieces of support seem like they do more good elsewhere.  In Limited, you can finally enjoy White Kyurem; you might even risk running it and it alone, though odds are too good your opponent can overwhelm your 130 HP before you can take all four of your Prize cards in this format.  Don’t sweat the Bench damage for Burning Icicles; if you can manage some basic Fire Energy in the deck go ahead, but even without it 40 for two is decent here, as is Blizzard Burn even when you have to give up an attack.

Ratings 

Standard: 2.25/5 

Expanded: 2/5 

Limited: 4/5 

Summary: White Kyurem is another card where it seems like one simple, plausible change (in this case, its Type) would make a world of difference.  White Kyurem isn’t actually that bad of a card though, with solid attributes and effects, but there isn’t a place for it right now in competitive play.  Nothing currently doing well can make good use of White Kyurem or if it could, it has something as good or better.  White Kyurem itself is not good enough to forge its own path, so in the end it comes across as barely mediocre.


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