HE'S BACK AGAIN, AND BETTER
THAN...well, he's an EX again.
Pikachu-EX is not the first of his
kind, and he probably won't be the last. Don't be
surprised if we see a Pikachu-GX either in the future,
cause you know it's gonna happen. It'll also probably be
a promo with 130 HP that costs 2 Prizes, so keep that in
Anyways, more on topic! Pikachu-EX
has a couple of attacks that are similar to his first
incarnation, only worse. His first attack is the
coin-flip chancy Thundershock...excuse me, "Thunder
Shock" with the space, and it's a 2-for-30 with the
chance to cause paralysis. While the first Pikachu-EX
(that's XYP-84 in case you're wondering) couldn't cause
Paralysis, Iron Tail did allow you to do potentially
loads more damage for 1 Energy. Course that still relied
on you landing a lot of heads in a row, but I do feel
the current "Thunder Shock" is a bit overcosted for the
damage, even with keeping Paralysis in mind.
Then there's Mega Thunderbolt,
which is crazy powerful at 3-for-160. That's a lot like
the potential damage in Pikachu-EX (84)'s Overspark - it
costed 3 Energy and could do anywhere from 50-200
damage. Of course that really depends on how many
Electric Energies you discard from him, and since he
needs 3 Energy to use Overspark, he could be doing 150
damage if you toss them all out. Mega Thunderbolt on the
other hand just tosses out all the Energy for its damage
output, and that's what will kill it for this one.
Cause at least with the old one you
had the choice of how much Energy to discard.
Standard: 1/5 (while his attacks
would've probably been fine on a normal Pikachu or heck
Expanded: 1/5 (I'm not sold at all
on having a low-HP high-risk Pokemon with a set high
Limited: N/A (such is the nature of
Arora Notealus: While they can be
good sometimes, they can be a bit miserable at others.
Pikachu-EX here is just a bit too much investment for
not enough payoff. Sure, Mega Thunderbolt might let him
see some play, but discarding all your Energies to use
it isn't ideal, and Thunder Shock isn't made to keep
Pikachu-EX in the fight after a Mega Thunderbolt's use.
It's just set-up to losing 2 Prizes, so you better KO an
EX with him!
Next Time: Another promo...but is
it something new or old?
So looking at cards I thought we had reviewed but
hadn’t, I saw Pikachu-EX (XY: Black Star
Promos XY174). We looked at the other
Pikachu-EX (XY: Black Star Promos XY84,
so we may as well cover the second version to complete
the pair. In fact, they are quite similar, only
differing in attack selection, so until I get to those
what I say for one applies to the other.
Being a Lightning Type is very useful right now, mostly
because exploiting Lightning Weakness is still a useful
thing. Being a Basic is still the best.
Being a Pokémon-EX can still be a serious issue, but
they still define the format so it is obviously not
crippling. 130 HP is about the point where surviving a
hit is more likely than not, but it is a narrow margin,
especially for a Pokémon-EX. Fighting Weakness is
dangerous; no Weakness is safe but it is a Type that
specializes in hitting hard, hitting fast, and stacking
small damage bonuses. Even a lackluster Fighting
Type has the potential of scoring a low Energy (possibly
single Energy) OHKO against Pikachu-EX.
Metal Resistance is appreciated; -20 damage against a
single Type only means so much, especially with 130 HP,
but it is far better the typical lack of Resistance.
A single Energy Retreat Cost is low and easy to pay.
The card’s first attack is “Thunder Shock” for [LC],
doing 30 damage and giving you a coin flip to inflict
Paralysis on the opponent’s Active. It is a bit
overpriced, but still functional. For [LLC] you
can use “Mega Thunderbolt” to do 160 damage, but you
must discard all Energy attached to Pikachu-EX
itself. This too is overpriced. Reshiram (Black
& White 26/114, 113/114; BW: Black Star Promos
BW004, BW23; BW: Next Destinies 21/99; BW:
Legendary Treasures 28/113, 114/113, RC22/RC25) gave
us “Blue Flare” for [RRC], and with only a discard cost
of [RR] it does 120. A Pokémon-EX with a similar
up front cost, but needing to discard all
attached Energy, only does an extra 40? Once again
though, it may do enough to be adequate.
The previous Pikachu-EX (XY: Black Star Promos
XY84, XY124) had “Iron Tail” for [C], allowing you to
flip a coin until you got “tails” and do 30 damage for
each “heads”. For [LCC] you could use “Overspark”
to discard all attached [L] Energy and do 50 damage for
each. This gave it some minor potential in certain
decks capable of rapid [L] Energy attachment, but it was
shown up by other cards. The same is true of
XY: Black Star Promos XY174; pretty much the same
attackers outclass both of them: Raikou and
Zapdos (XY: Evolutions 42/108) in Standard
play, joined by several more cards in Expanded.
There may be some niche for them because of hitting key
damage amounts for just three Energy… with a little
boost. The main interesting thing is that both
Pikachu-EX seem comparable in quality. Thunder
Shock costs more than Iron Tail, but seems more useful.
Mega Thunderbolt cannot attempt to scale its damage, but
we don’t have anything to make the finer points of
Overspark relevant; you’ll be doing well to get [LLL]
attached to use the attack, and thus do 150. If
you figure out a deck that can attack [LLLL], then
Zapdos pops in as a non-Pokémon-EX still good for
170 damage (180 with Fighting Fury Belt).
So if you’re a Pikachu-EX fan, don’t give up hope
on this card quite yet, but don’t expect much out of it
for Standard or Expanded play. It isn’t a legal
option for Limited play, as I know of no official,
sanctioned Limited Format that uses promos. If
this were reprinted in a set (unlikely as Pokémon-EX
seem to have given way to Pokémon-GX), it would be a
decent enough inclusion, just remember you only play
with four Prizes here.
Both versions of Pikachu-EX avoid being pure,
vanilla, filler but will be fortunate to find a use as a
niche attacker; there are just better options already
available for both Standard and Expanded play. I
am not bothering to draw a distinction between today’s
Pikachu-EX and the former version we already
reviewed because the above score goes for the older one
as well; I was too generous the last time. At the
same time, I honestly am glad that at least they aren’t
all bad; you can see how they almost could have