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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Pikachu-EX
- XY84

Date Reviewed:
Sep. 28, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 1.75
Expanded: 2.13
Limited: Promo

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

It was only a matter of time before everyone's favorite electric mouse got an EX card all to himself. Sorry Raichu, maybe next time. 

Pikachu-EX is a lot smaller than most Pokemon-EX, having only 130 HP to his name. This is probably one of the bigger drawbacks to playing him, as you're more likely to lose 2 Prizes with him before you get the opportunity to go huge with either of his attacks. Iron Tail is that theoretically infinite attack that only costs 1 Energy, but in order to keep going huge, you'd have to flip heads...a LOT. For each heads you flip in a row though, you get to deal 30 damage. And in case you're wondering what the chances of you flipping X amount of heads in a row is, let's give you a good idea: 

1 Heads - 50%
2 Heads - 25%
3 Heads - 12.5%
4 Heads - 6.25%
5 Heads - 3.13%
6 Heads (enough to KO a Pokemon-EX) - 1.56%
7 Heads - 0.78%
8 Heads (enough to KO most any Pokemon in the game) - 0.39% 

So keeping that in mind, what's your likely average? Well since there's really no limit to how many heads you can flip, the average might be considered higher, but because you only need to flip 1 Tails to stop the Iron Tail Train, you can guess that 1 Heads is about average, 2 is generous, 3 is pretty lucky, and if you're able to land enough to KO anything in the game, you should stop playing Pokemon TCG and start buying lottery tickets while also becoming increasingly wary of any sort of fireworks you might use to celebrate your victory. 

If you're insistent on using Pikachu-EX though, he does come with another attack. Overspark costs 3 Energy and forces you to discard all the Lightning Energy you've stored up on Pikachu-EX, and in the end it deals 50 damage for each Energy discarded. So at around 3 Energy, assuming they're all Lightning, that's 150 damage - a number you'd need 5 Heads in a row for Iron Tail to even match. So already you've got a much more consistent and stronger attack to use, but the drawback of losing all that Energy means Pikachu-EX is a bit of a glass cannon - sure he can deal a lot of damage, but he's openly frail at so many points, it's honestly surprising when he ISN'T KO'd in one-shot. 

Collectors rejoice, Pikachu-EX will really bring out the shine in your binders. Competitive players? Take a pass. 

Rating 

Standard: 1/5 (a chancy coin flip or an all-out blowout? not the best attacks on a Pokemon to begin with) 

Expanded: 1.5/5 (let alone an EX with only 130 HP) 

Limited: N/A (BUT AT LEAST IT'S SHINY!!) 

Arora Notealus: I'd worry about the TCG status of Raichu if he can't even get an EX whereas his pre-evolution and mascot of the franchise can get one. Luckily, Alolan Pokemon have been confirmed to get their own special cards, so it's only a matter of time before Surfing Pikachu and Alolan Raichu end up hanging out drinking Sitrus Berry Smoothies on the Tropical Beach. 

Next Time: Wait...what's that buzzing noise?


Otaku

Our third subject is Pikachu-EX (XY: Black Star Promos XY84, XY124), unusual in that it is a Pokémon-EX counterpart to what is normally an Evolving Basic Pokémon.  Being a Pokémon-EX means this card is worth an extra Prize when KO’d and has to deal with certain card effects that punish a player for using Pokémon-EX (either by affecting the Pokémon-EX in a negative manner or excluding it from otherwise beneficial effects).  Pretty obvious, but as this is Pikachu-EX, it cannot Evolve into Raichu.  It is a Lightning Type, so it can hit some popular cards like Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108, 106/108) for double damage; in fact many Types have something Lightning Weak, because Lightning Weakness is associated with the Flying-Type (but mostly a chunk of the Colorless Type).  Some BW-era Fighting Types enjoy Lightning Resistance like Landorus-EX.  Cards that specifically counter the Lightning Type aren’t too common or effective.  Lightning Type Pokémon specific support is also fairly limited, but includes Flash Energy to negate the Weakness of the Lightning Type to which it is attacked, Rough Seas for some healing spread, and Zebstrika (XY: BREAKpoint 49/122 to keep the damage of Lightning Types from being affected by the effects on the other player’s Active Pokémon.  They enjoy some Lightning Energy acceleration tricks - Magnezone (XY: BREAKthrough 54/162) in Standard and Eelektrik (BW: Noble Victories 40/101) in Expanded - and some very good attackers but apart from Jolteon-EX, they tend to take over a deck like Manectric-EX and M Manectric-EX.  Lightning Weakness being reasonably common helps keep the Type threatening, even though their aren’t the most well developed or represented otherwise. 

Pikachu-EX has 130 HP; this is substantially higher than other Pikachu cards (they tend to clock in at around 60 HP) and is a great bonus for being a Pokémon-EX but at the same time it is still low for a Basic Pokémon-EX.  They usually have more like 170 or 180, with only a few successful examples like Jirachi-EX or the previously mentioned Shaymin-EX clocking with less but still proving worthwhile.  Pikachu-EX will need a Fighting Fury Belt just to go toe to toe with the typical Pokémon-EX beatstick, or with many other beatsticks on relatively even footing because it isn’t just 130 HP, but 130 HP worth two Prizes when KO’d.  It’s Fighting Weakness is dangerous; in Expanded the Type has multiple ways of adding +10s or 20s to damage that not only all stack, but will be doubled into +20s and +40s by Weakness!  The attack of a Fighting Type that does any damage at all can thus be built up to OHKO level.  Flash Energy can help with that, but as a Special Energy it is quite vulnerable to cards like Enhanced Hammer.  Pikachu-EX enjoys Metal Resistance, which means at least on one match up it’s going to take 150+ damage for the OHKO; depending upon which Metal Type attacker is up front and swinging, this could matter, but it isn’t guaranteed.  Still far better than nothing.  The Retreat Cost of [C] is not better than nothing, because nothing (or a zero Energy) Retreat Cost is the best!  Still, just one Energy is very, very good and so the only reason you might not be able to afford to manually retreat Pikachu-EX is because either it was already KO’d due to the low HP, or because Energy is scarce due to one of its attacks.

So what are the attacks?  The first is “Iron Tail” for [C]; you flip a coin until you get “tails”, then the attack does 30 damage times the number of “heads”.  So even odds of doing 30+ damage or doing nothing at all, at least before other factors.  Sometimes you’ll get a nice, lucky hit out of it, but mostly just zero or 30.  If it was 30+ instead of 30x, it would be a good attack but as is, it is mediocre since at least it is inexpensive.  For [LCC] Pikachu-EX can use “Overspark”; the attack has you discard all [L] Energy from Pikachu-EX itself and then does 50 damage for each Energy discarded in this manner.  Before considering the rest of the Pokémon, this can be poor, good, or great.  Let’s say you have a Lightning Energy and Double Colorless Energy attached; you’ll only discard the Lightning Energy and do 50 damage.  It is nice you can power up against the next turn without doing anything fancy, but three for 50 and a discard is bad.  If you’ve got two sources of [LL] attached and Energy of another Type, then it will be harder to reload, but you’ll do a decent 100 damage for three Energy up front and a two Energy discard.  Manage to use [LLL] and you’ll score 150 for a three Energy discard cost; reasonably good though falling just a bit short of important numbers in Standard.  If you can slap [LLLL] or more, it’s pricey but it also reaches OHKO territory, eventually for anything that actually can be OHKO’d by a Basic Pokémon-EX.  The mixed blessing of having this card on a Pikachu-EX is that it probably isn’t going to survive unless your opponent can’t keep up with your OHKOs, so dumping all of its Energy isn’t much of a drawback. 

So what does this have to compete against?  Not quite legal yet, but close enough I ought to have made this a twofer or perhaps bumped another card from the docket, Pikachu-EX (XY: Black Star Promos XY174) directly competes with its counterpart for deck space, since they share the same name.  This Pikachu-EX has the exact same stats as today’s version but with two different attacks.  For [LC] it can use “Thundershock” to do 30 damage and flip a coin: “heads” is 30 damage plus the opponent’s Active is Paralyzed, while “tails” is just the 30 damage.  For [LLC] it can use “Mega Thunderbolt” to do 160 damage, but it must discard all Energy attached to itself.  Thundershock costs about [C] too much or else needs to do more, but Mega Thunderbolt hits a sweet spot to avoid otherwise being a poor deal; with a Fighting Fury Belt it will do 170, enough to OHKO a lot of other Pokémon and easily set up most others for a 2HKO.  Otherwise Mega Thunderbolt would be inferior to Overspark; it costs more both upfront ([LLC] versus [LCC]) and with the discard (all Energy versus all [L] energy).  If Fighting Fury Belt proves to be enough to keep a Pikachu-EX alive, then it might make XY: Black Star Promos XY174 the better version.  Assuming you can keep either fueled, and assuming no other beatsticks are better. 

Other Energy intensive Lightning Type Basic beatsticks are Jolteon-EX, Raikou, Raikou-EX, Zapdos (XY: Roaring Skies 23/108; Generations 29/98) and the oft reprinted Zekrom (Black & White 47/114, 114/114; BW: Black Star Promos BW005, BW24;  BW: Next Destinies 50/99; BW: Legendary Treasures 51/113, 115/113).  You’ll note that we’ve got two Expanded only options (Raikou-EX and Zekrom) and three that can work in Expanded or Standard.  Jolteon-EX is mostly about stall and can pretty easily work off Type as it has a single [L] requirement in each of its attacks.  Raikou provides a solid beatstick you can pump up by attaching more and more Energy to it.  Raikou-EX provides a good 100 damage snipe attack.  Zapdos is more a personal thing; I like having a single Energy attack plus Fighting Resistance instead of Weakness.  Zekrom was once one of the dominant attackers in the game, way back when it first released.  Now it is still a solid beatstick, again lacking in power compared to the others but a simple Double Colorless Energy can get its first attack up and running.  None of these are super thrilling as main attackers, with the non-Pokémon-EX mostly taking advantage of being worth one Prize but hitting hard enough to set up for 2HKOs.  Raikou can shoot for OHKOs but it takes a massive amount of Energy, while Raikou-EX is mostly about taking out Bench targets.  So the real competition might be the various attackers which are easy to splash or use [L] Energy: Lugia (XY: Fates Collide 78/124), Lugia BREAK, Lugia-EX (XY: Ancient Origins 68/98, 94/98), Mewtwo-EX (BW: Next Destinies 54/99, 98/99; BW: Black Star Promos BW45; BW: Legendary Treasures 54/113), and Rayquaza-EX (BW: Dragons Exalted 85/124, 123/124; BW: Black Star Promos BW47). 

Rayquaza-EX is of particular interest because its main attack is basically a better form of Overcharge: “Dragon Burst” costs [RL] and lets you choose to discard either all attached [R] or [L] Energy to do 60 damage times the amount of Energy discarded.  So bigger damage yield but you’ve got to include a source of [R] Energy and of course, it is Expanded only.  Pikachu-EX might make for an interesting partner for Eelektrik in Expanded, but I suspect Rayquaza-EX will remain preferred (working a few Fire Energy isn’t too difficult).  For Standard, I have yet to get a Magnezone deck working, but Pikachu-EX does address one of the issues; brute force without having to load a Lugia-EX or Raikou with large amounts of Energy.  Four or five Lightning Energy isn’t low, but Lugia-EX only hits harder if the opponent’s Active is also loaded with Energy or like Raikou needs a lot more Energy to hit those OHKO thresholds.  It may also be possible to exploit Max Elixir and Energy Switch in a Lightning Type deck lacking Magnezone, so that Pikachu-EX can still hit the field as a surprise attacker, or slap an Exp. Share on it and hope either it distracts the opponent from something more important or becomes your glass cannon to shoot for your last Prize(s). 

A third option may present itself once XY: Evolutions hits; the Electrode in that set has an Ability that KOs itself and the it attaches itself to one of your Lightning Type Pokémon to provide [LL].  Be pretty risky, but if you can keep your opponent from ever setting up anything to OHKO Pikachu-EX and/or hit the juiciest targets and/or shift to/from a one Prize attacker, just maybe the whole thing can be its own deck.  For now though, I am thinking Pikachu-EX has a niche in Magnezone decks, which would matter more if they prove competitive.  At least my limited, first hand experience with Magnezone decks is that they are amazing when they set up and the Abilities don’t go down, but the decks are prone to bad opens and and many folks are running cards to shut down Abilities.  As none of this involves tournament results (or even a proven list), could just be I don’t know how to run it properly.  In Expanded, it gives you an option if you want an Eelektrik deck without Rayquaza-EX but a similar level of damage output; Eelektrik decks aren’t what they once were, but they are still a known and proven quantity so at least that is a slightly better position.  Pikachu-EX cannot be used in Limited play, but should it be re-released in a set it would be a good pull and a must run so long as you could work in a good supply of Lightning Energy and didn’t pull the kind of Basic, Pokémon-EX good enough to run on its own as well.  Because Pikachu-EX is not one of those Basic Pokémon-EX; on its own it would be too quickly KO’d. 

Ratings 

Standard: 2.5/5 

Expanded: 2.75/5 

Limited: N/A 

Summary: Pikachu-EX is a glass cannon that currently needs a good method of loading it.  Overcharge isn’t a huge bargain, but it is efficient enough that if you can make something like Magnezone work with it, you can trade Pikachu-EX and four or five Energy to take almost everything else in the game out with one shot.  Pikachu-EX might even survive as it isn’t a true glass cannon, just small enough to be an easier OHKO than typical Basic Pokémon-EX beatsticks.  This feels like a puzzle one is about to solve, but then can’t because of a missing piece or two.

 

Ever since the era of Pokémon-EX began with Next Destinies, I always wondered when – or if – a Pikachu-EX would ever happen. Fast forward a few years and, alas, we now have one! Unlike many of the promo cards released in special boxes and collections, this card is actually kind of playable, at least relatively speaking. There are a few shortcomings with the iconic yellow mouse, but I think it could have potential to be a sleeper pick in the new Primal Clash-on Standard metagame.  

With a meager 130 HP, Pikachu-EX is in range to get KO’d easily by a number of popular attackers, such as Volcanion-EX and Zygarde-EX. A typical Pokémon-EX normally has around 170 HP – fortunately, Fighting Fury Belt can bulk up the little guy while giving it an extra 10 damage attack boost to boot. As far as attacks, we’re really just concerned with the second attack because coin flips are rarely worth it. Overspark makes you discard all Lightning Energy attached to Pikachu-EX, doing 50 damage times the number you discarded. This attack can potentially deal some massive damage and KO pretty much anything in its path. However, having to discard all Lightning Energy is a huge drawback. The obvious partner for Pikachu-EX would be Magnezone, whose “Magnetic Circuit “Ability allows you to attach as many Lightning Energy to your Pokémon as you want during your turn. Indeed, I have played this deck before and have had some moderate success – it’s pretty cool to take OHKO’s with a Pikachu!  

Unfortunately, there are better attackers out there, namely Raikou from BREAKthrough. Not only does it have a solid attack, but its Ability provides damage reduction – effectively making it have more HP than Pikachu-EX – and it only gives up a single Prize Card. I could see a single copy being of Pikachu-EX being played just for the surprise factor, but generally speaking I would prefer Raikou. That said, without any form of Tool removal, the mouse might just be more playable than ever. Overspark can hit for 210 damage for 4 Energy with a Fighting Fury Belt, just enough to KO M Mewtwo EX (Y). It can also OHKO M Rayquaza EX, a Pokémon that has gotten a lot of hype since the start of the new format. Perhaps the biggest hindrance, though, is Garbodor, a card that has become extremely popular in Standard. By shutting off Magnezone’s Ability, it effectively makes you have to power up Pikachu-EX with manual Energy attachments each turn, making it too difficult to pull off more than a single Overspark, if that. What’s worse is that the lack of Tool removal that benefits Pokémon like Pikachu-EX also makes these Garbodor variants really powerful; I don’t think we will see any remedy for this problem anytime soon. (The Rattata from the upcoming Evolutions set can remove a Tool Card with its Ability but also gets shut down by Garbodor’s Garbotoxin Ability.) 

In Expanded, I have seen many competitive players take advantage of Pikachu-EX’s high damage output in Eelektrik-based decks, which rely on the Stage 1 Pokémon’s Dynamotor Ability to accelerate Lightning Energy every turn. Again, Raikou is the primary attacker here for obvious reasons, but Pikachu-EX can surprise opponents and take KO’s out of nowhere. Otherwise, the mouse doesn’t really see an appearance in Expanded, though perhaps Magnezone decks could shine eventually, thanks in part to Tropical Beach being legal in that format – the ability to quickly set up Stage 2 decks is crucial in a metagame dominated by big, Basic Pokémon-EX. 

Ratings 

Standard: 2/5
Expanded:
1.5/5
Limited:
N/A 

Summary: Pikachu-EX is one of the more playable cards of the XY Black Star Promos. Its Overspark attack can quickly dish out huge amounts of damage, at the expense of discarding all of your Energy. Its low HP and Weakness to Fighting-types make it susceptible to being quickly KO’d before you can power it up, but with a Fighting Fury Belt and a bit of quick setup, the payout could justify the gamble. It makes for a solid addition in a budget deck such as Magnezone in Standard, but with Garbodor running rampant it is hard to say whether the yellow mouse will see play in the competitive scene.


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