Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Impact Crater: Emerging Powers

Hello and welcome to The Deck Out!

Today’s blog is about the new set Emerging Powers and the cards that will bring the greatest change to the metagame. So, let’s get started!

Pokémon Catcher #95

I had to start with Catcher because it’s the most obvious of them all and it’s Catcher that makes the difference to this format if we compare it to this year’s World Championships’ format. Catcher lets you switch your opponent’s active Pokémon just like Pokémon Reversal – the only difference being that Catcher doesn’t require a flip. You might first think that decks that have played Reversal in their lists just change Reversals to Catchers and nothing else changes. That’s not true. Catcher will have a much greater impact and it will defins the metagame just because it isn’t a flip card.
When Catcher weren’t in the format, there were actually decks that didn’t play Pokémon Reversal (just look at the top2 of Worlds Masters and you get the picture). With Catcher in the format, there just isn’t a reason not to play it. MagneBoar can easily tech at least 1 Catcher in the deck and it’s easily searchable with Twins. Because of Junk Arm you can also just play it in the early game and change the game with just 1 Catcher. The great thing about Catcher is that you don’t have to worry about the flip; you are able to KO just that Pokémon you want just about any time.
Even Vileplume decks can play nowadays Catcher because it – again – is searchable with Twins and can be quite devastating against Pokémons with big retreat like Emboar just before you lay down the Plume.
Because Catcher will be so played you have to usually run at least 3 copies of it in the deck that doesn’t work with Twins engine. You have to be fast and if you want to beat slower (usually trainer lock) decks you must be able to KO their key Pokémon before they evolve. For that, you need early Catchers or they will get you. Running 4 Junk Arms helps as well.
Switching your opponent’s active Pokémon and hitting to bench has always been the key elements in popular and successful decks (remember Luxchomp). Catcher brings these elements to every deck’s access without a worry about the coin flip. It can be used in so many purposes that only your imagination sets the limits to the use of Catcher. I encourage you to think different ways of winning with Catcher other than getting cheap prizes. Catcher will probably be the most impactful card of the format for the many sets to come.

Beartic #30

In my opinion Beartic is overhyped. I just like to discuss it because it’s hyped. In theory Beartic is great: it has the magical 130HP which brings it out of the OHKO zone with Vileplume, its first attack is almost broken and combos with Vileplume as well and we finally have the Water Pokémon that will bring the judgement day for Donphan and Reshiram which reign because of their Water Weakness. In real life Beartic is bad: It needs 2 energies to hit 50(3 if you don’t have DCE). It autoloses to free retreat Pokémon (ever heard of Yanmega Prime) and even to Reshiram if they get their set-up ready before you lay down the Plume.
The biggest problem with Beartic is probably it’s type. It’s like a wish that was never granted. It’s seems like a good Water Pokémon but it doesn’t do the things we want Water Pokémon to do – OHKO Donphan, Reshiram, Emboar, Typhlosion etc. And, in fact, it only works - even in theory - well with Vileplume.

Gothitelle #47

The Magic Room one. In my opinion Gothitelle is great for the game. It makes people to think about building their decks. Before Gothitelle, Vileplume was the only truly trainer-locking card in the format and it was almost impossible to use in a competitive deck. That’s why people could easily throw 4 Candy’s, Junk Arms, Reversals, Communications to each of their decks and not to worry about trainer lock. All decks were fast and reliable because there wasn’t anything to stop them from working.
Now we have Gothitelle. Gothitelle is also fairly balanced card from PCL because it has again the 130HP which makes it playable. What makes Gothitelle more playable compared to Vileplume is that it doesn’t shut off your trainers (you can use Catchers but your opponent can’t – that’s what I call game control). It has to be active – yes – but that isn’t that much of a set-back because it, in fact, can even take the 6 prizes you need in a game. Gothitelle even has its own energy accelerator in the format (Jirachi with Shaymin). These 2 cards make Gothitelle even better. The only problem is how to keep Gothitelle alive but it’s easily managed with Reuniclus(BW), few legendary Digimons(Zekrom and Reshiram) and Max Potions or Blissey Prime.
The only problem in my opinion with Gothitelle is that it’s a one deck miracle. Reuniclus is the only way to keep it playable and once you have an opponent that OHKOs Gothitelle all the time you have faced an auto loss. Trainer locking is a great strategy in a Pokémon TCG as well but I think Gothitelle should be a little bit more versatile like Manectric ex in the past. Hitting to the active Pokémon 30+20 for each Psy energy just isn’t enough for me.

Tornadus #89

This must be the most underrated card of the new set. And I understand why. We are used to see that great legendary Digimons have 130 HP and they hit massive 120 damage. Tornadus has only 110HP and hits for 80 so it can’t be good – can it? Yes it can and the reason is already explained before in the blog. The reason why Tornadus is a good card is that you don’t have to hit anymore 120 damage to take a prize card. You can simply bring out the Cyndaquil T1 or T2 to the active position with Catcher and deal “only” 80 damage which surprisingly is enough. Heck, Luxchomp’s peak damage was 80 and it was still the best deck in the format.
Tornadus isn’t a great card in the late game but you don’t always even have to go that far if you get T1 Tornadus, begin the game, and have a Catcher in your hand or your opponent’s has something worthwhile to KO as an active Pokémon. If you however have to go to late game Tornadus helps you with that too. Its Hurricane attack lets you move a basic energy card from Tornadus to bench. So when Tornadus is KOed it will always have only 1 DCE attached to it and you lose almost nothing. When the time comes for Tornadus to get KOed, you will probably have already a fully set-upped bench with a prize lead.
Best thing about Tornadus is that it’s a Donphan counter that can be put in any deck just like Yanmega Prime. Some may claim that Tornadus is worse than Yanmega because Yanmega needs no energies to hit and has a free retreat. The thing which makes Tornadus better than Yanmega is the minimal 10 damage more it deals with Hurricane compared to Yanmega’s Sonicboom. This 10 damage makes the Donphan Prime to 2HKO range which forces them to Max Potion/SSU their Donphan every single turn to avoid KO. For Yanmega it takes 3 hits to KO Donphan which means, Donphan would never be KOed.
Tornadus can be put in almost any deck with DCE but the best it works in deck that can energy accelerate it T1 with cards like for example Pachirisu and Shaymin. If you go first in the game there is a big possibility that you have 2-prize lead before your opponent can even evolve their Pokémon.

Bianca #90

Bianca is a Professor Birch reprint so at the first sight it seems that Bianca will be as little played as Birch. The only difference in this format is that we don’t have any more cards like Claydol(GE) or Steven’s Advice. Hand sizes are usually 6 or below. Bianca draws to 6 cards so it usually gives you at least 1 card whenever you use it.
The cards that make Bianca playable in any deck are Junk Arm and Pokémon Communication. If you have 6 cards in your hand in the beginning of your turn and use Pokemon Communication to search a Pokémon, you have 5 cards in your hand. Then you use a Junk arm and search for a Rare Candy to evolve just searched Pokémon. You suddenly have only Bianca your hand and are able to draw total of 6 cards! That’s as good as Steven’s Advice in its full glory. That was only an example so of course you are not able to draw 6 cards every time but just using Junk arm and the trainer you searched for lets Bianca draw 4 cards. That is better than any straight draw card in the format.
Bianca is also a great card for a recovery after Judge. With using Judge, your opponent tries to disturb your game but when you have Bianca in your hand after Judge, there is a great possibility that your opponent has only helped you in the game.
I have never liked shuffle & draw cards that much and as we already have straightforward format with lots of trainers and Catcher I think Bianca is one of the best draw cards in the format.

Cheren #91

Cheren lets you draw 3 cards. Just the card I was waiting for I don’t know how long time. Of course all decks don’t want to use Cheren because they have to disturb with Judge or draw with Juniper or get the hand to the same size with Copycat but there are decks that benefit greatly of Cheren
First we have T1 decks like Zekrom which just love to draw 3 cards without any setback because you can usually get a T1 Zekrom with a well-build Zekrom with 11 cards(opening hand + turn card + Cheren).
The second deck where I can think Cheren might be useful is Vileplume variants. When I played Mew/Vileplume/teches I liked to use Cheerleader’s Cheer just because I didn’t always want to use Sage’s because Sage’s can get too ugly sometimes.
TV Reporter was played as well as Mary’s Request was played. That’s why I think Cheren will find its place in the format as well in the decks that just want to draw cards without discarding(we already have enough discarding drawing cards like Sage’s and Juniper).
Cheren’s only drawback is that after Judge it isn’t always enough. Thankfully Cheren won’t be the only draw supporter in your deck so Judge won’t cripple your deck completely. And drawing Cheren from Judge is at least better than drawing a Copycat after Judge.

Crushing Hammer #92

I was hoping that this card would come in BW so I could put into my Worlds deck 4 Reversals, 4 Crushing Hammers and 4 Junk Arms and blame coin flips for my each loss – j/k. It’s true that I wanted them to print this card in the BW but no for that reason.
While flipping is always annoying, we have to settle for Crushing Hammer (Formerly known as ER2) just because without flip Crushing Hammer would be imbalanced.
Crushing Hammer works best in straightforward decks that have only 1(max 2) main hitters and don’t need many resources for setting up. Good example would be T2 Donphan that focuses mainly on Donphan and Earthquake.
In this format Crushing Hammer is less playable than before and that’s because many Pokémon (just like Donphan) only need one energy to hit their best attack. Discarding energies is always annoying but it’s a fact that easier way to get rid of your opponent’s active energies in this format is to simple KO them. This format is mostly all about OHKOs (hopefully that changes soon) and when OHKOing there is no need for discarding energies.
Crushing Hammer won’t be that played in the beginning of the season except in fast very straightforward decks but it will surely bring an impact to the format later on this and next season.

Max Potion #94

This card would have been in earlier seasons a bit imbalanced but in this format it in fact makes the game better. Max Potion increases the deck options of decks and there is even decks that can be built around Max Potion (everything with high HP and 1 attack cost).
Max Potion gives you more healing options (which of course is good) and Blissey Prime is no more the only card that can heal properly. In many decks you have to now decide which is better – Blissey or Max Potion.
One thing you must remember about Max Potion is that you NEED a high HP Pokémon to get it working properly. It’s no good to try combo Yanmega Prime and Max Potion even though in theory it sounds great. Yanmega’s HP takes care of that you won’t ever be able to use Max Potion because it’s always OHKOed.
The only problem in building a deck around the Max Potion is that once your opponent’s notices what you deck is about and has a way to OHKO your Pokémon(which isn’t most times even possible) you have an auto loss. Max Potion based decks will work as long as they’re not BDIF and no one is countering them. Once everyone has in their deck a Pokémon which OHKOs your Pokémons, you’re done.

The small Impact Crater

In the small Impact Crater lies the cards that have only small impact to the format.

Great Ball #93

I should say Master Ball. I wonder what’s the meaning of this name change. Maybe the Master Ball will get reprinted and get a great effect its name deserves. But that’s enough about Master Ball. Great Ball lets you check the 7 top cards of your deck and put a Pokémon from the 7 cards into your hand. I can see it working in 2 kinds of decks – decks that have a great amount of Pokémon and in the very straightforward decks where communication isn’t that good because of low Pokémon counts. Great Ball will see play but not much as Pokémon communication.

Thundurus #35

Thundurus is a friend of Tornadus but it isn’t as versatile or good as its friend. Thundurus’ weakness is the most horrifying in the game and it hits only for 80. At the moment it will probably work best with Zekrom and the PachiShaymin-engine. Its attack also discards energy which is way poorer effect than Tornadus’ but the first attack “charge”, is why it’s in this list. With Charge you can get T2 80 damage every single game if you open with Thundurus. After Charge you can also move the energies from Thundurus to another of your Pokémon with Shaymin so it can work like Electrike and Voltorb in Zap-Turn-Dos.

That’s it for Emerging Power’s Impact Crater! Remember to leave your opinions and comments about today’s blog in the comment box below so I can develop my blog, thanks!

// Be back to The Deck Out this Friday when I’ll analyze how to build a working Gothitelle deck!


  1. Nice card analysis of the new set. Gonna look forward for some more stuff from you.

  2. Hyvää settiä, jaksoin lukea kokonaan. Taustakuvasta myös plussaa.

    BTW, pitäiskö tänne kommentoida in english, kun blogi on englanniksi kirjoitettu?

  3. Tony: Thank you for the comment!

    Gaselli: Ei nyt varmaan vielä ole kielellä väliä, mutta jos tätä joskus lukee jotkut muut kuin suomalaiset niin sittenhä olisi hyvä käyttää englantia, että kaikki voisivat osallistua keskusteluun. Koska nyt jos katsoo tilastoja niin 90% on suomalaisia blogin katsojista ja muut ovat aika tasaisesti jakautuneet ympäri maailmaa, Yhdysvallat tulee kakkosena ja Ruotsi kolmosena.

  4. I'm a bit suprised you're praising Bianca that much. Let's face it: Bianca is better than Cheren ONLY if you have 2, 1 or 0 cards in your hand. And if you have that few cards, are you sure you wouldn't prefer PONT over Bianca in that situation? Bianca is good as a Poké-power (Magnetic Draw) but not that good as your Supporter for the turn, as there are better alternatives.

  5. Keen player: Well as I menntioned, I'm not a big fan of Shuffle&Draw so of course it's a personal preference. I have tested Bianca in only 2 decks but in the both decks it has worked very well(5-6 card every time). It's good because(as I also mentioned) of Junk Arm and Communication. I like straight draw better because it keeps off the "well I had Candy in my hand but not the stage2 Pokémon and now I have the stage2 Pokémon in hand but not the Candy" situations. That's the scenario you often run into with Shuffle&Draw. Of course Bianca isn't the best straight draw card ever but it's the best we got at the moment. And to why I praise it so much is simply because I want the usually underrated cards to stand out from my blog. Pokémon has no absolute facts so I like to make people to think alternatives and not to go with the mass without thinking things by themselves.

  6. This Tornadus thing is new for me. I didn´t expect that card is that good. Good techs and good article.

  7. You forgot to mention The Mighty Common Basculin Killer Fish, which has the power to kill every water weak pokemon in the format.

    Nice article other wise.

  8. Why to insist on the Digimon joke? It's kind of unfair to them


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