Monday, November 7, 2011

Impact Crater: Noble Victories

N will be as popular among players
as he is among girls
Hello and welcome back to The Deck Out.

The release of the new set - Noble Victories - is very close and some of you may already own cards from the new set. When a new set is released there, it has always at least a little impact on the current format and metagame. In the Impact Crater - series I’ll analyze all the cards of the new set that will have impact on our current format and explain why. There will be also new combos and new metagame deck ideas along the way so be sure to read the whole entry carefully!

You can find the Impact Crater –article of the set Emerging Powers here. Without any more delay, it’s time to find out what lies in the Impact Crater of the Noble Victories.


Just like in the last Impact Crater entry I started with the most obvious one. Back then it was Catcher, now it’s N. N is a reprint of maybe one of the best cards ever printed. With the word “best” I don’t mean that it’s the key for every deck to victory but it’s the best for the game in general. Like Rocket’s Admin, N will bring more balance to the current format.

N’s effect makes both players shuffle their hands in their decks and then the both players draw as many cards to their new hand as they have prizes left. If you have played in the 04-06 seasons you already know what this means. If you haven’t  – it means multiple things.

First, it makes slower decks more viable. If a deck uses Twins to set-up, it means that it’s in the early game behind prizes. In the decks that need a lot of set-up time to get the deck going, N works like a Professor Oak’s New Theory and Judge at the same time. You still get to draw 6 cards but the more prizes your opponent is drawing, the fewer cards he/she is drawing every time you use N. As you must have noticed, the current format’s best deck is Zekrom and with what does Zekrom dominate the format? Speed. N cripples every deck that uses speed to win games and that’s why it will hurt Zekrom very much.

Second, you don’t lose automatically once you get a slow start. The thing I’ve hated the most in the current format is that once you get a horrifying start, there is no coming back. If you get a hand like Cyndaquil and 6 energy with Typhlosion deck, you’re probably done unless you get a few god topdecks. Sometimes the topdecks can’t even help you, you’re done if the opponent gets a fast start and starts controlling the game with Catchers. The great thing about N is the earlier mentioned disturbing + drawing effect. Judge can disturb your opponent but it doesn’t help you to set-up. N does the both things - disturb and draw - at the same time, which makes it a staple in almost every deck.

Third, it makes the metagame more versatile. The fact that N makes your opponent draw only 1 card when he has only 1 prize left is huge. It makes using new strategies possible and decks that have never been thought of viable. Things like Electrode Prime may very well see a huge increase in popularity because giving prizes to your opponent and then using N is something simple but at the same time brilliant.

I have seen the power of Rocket’s Admin 2 times in the World Championships with my own eyes and I can guarantee that N will be game-breaking card that will make the game better than it has been in very long time. In the World Championships 2005 I played LudiCargo with Rhydon(HL) tech. In 2
games I was 6-1 behind prizes and was able to make a comeback with Rocket’s Admin. I WON 2 games even though I hadn’t drawn a single prize at one point and my opponent had already drawn 5. I wonder when was the last time you were able to do that in the tournament.


Archeops is one of those cards that is close to reprint but isn’t a reprint. However, the thing that makes Archeops mentionable in this set is its ability, which we also have seen before. The 3rd set ever released in the Pokémon TCG was Fossil and it has a card called Aerodactyl. Aerodactyl’s Poké-Power was similar to Archeops’ – both players are not allowed to evolve ANY of their Pokémon as long as this Pokémon is in play. Also, Rare Candy can't go through Archeops' ability (THE OFFICIAL RULING)

Archeops is a fossil Pokémon so getting it into play isn’t an easy task and now because the Fossil game-mechanic has been altered once again there is many things to analyze. So, Archeops is a stage1 Pokémon but getting it into play isn’t as easy as to get Donphan Prime to play. To get the Basic form of Archeops into play you need a trainer card called “Plume Fossil”. Plume Fossil’s effect lets you check the bottom 7 cards of your deck and play Archen you find there into play like a Basic. This means you have to get just lucky to find Archen from the bottom of your deck – right? Not necessarily. One of the most underplayed cards of the format helps you to find Archen from the bottom of your deck – the card is Research Records. With Research Record you can put any card from the top 4 cards of your deck on the bottom of your deck. It means that with Plume Fossil and Research Record you are able to already cover 11 cards from your deck. That is probably enough as long as you play 4 Archen in your deck.

Probably the biggest impact Archeops has on the format is that we will see a small decrease in the amounts of Evolved Pokémons in the decks. That’s not because Archeops will become much played but because Archeops exists! The fear that Archeops spreads for Evolved Pokémon is the biggest impact is has on the format. Combined with Jirachi Archeops autowins any deck that has Evolved Pokémons as their main attackers( e.g. Yanmega/Magnezone). Even though they are able to evolve their Pokémon before you are able to get Archeops into play you can devolve them back any time with Jirachi and just laugh at their face when there is 60 HP Pokémon everywhere attacking for 10 or 20.

Probably the funniest thing about Archeops is that it won’t be that played even though its ability is ridiculous. At the moment the best deck in the format runs only Basics and it’s the BDIF you’re usually countering, right? Well, Archeops does nothing against Zekrom so you can forget about that. Archeops is a great card with a superb ability but its only impact is that Basic decks will gain even more popularity. And when it comes to playing Basic decks – there are more cards that will increase the amounts of basic decks as we can see next.


Eviolite is a Pokémon Tool – a rare card type nowadays. Eviolite is attachable to any Pokémon but its effect works only on Basic Pokémons. If Eviolite is attached to a Basic Pokémon any damage done to that Pokémon is reduced by 20. Ok, so Eviolite is like a Defender for Basic Pokémons. What’s so good about that? The fact that it stays with the Pokémon it’s attached to as long as the Pokémon is in play.

As you may have already figured out, there is one deck it works very well in – Zekrom/Tornadus. So they are making Zekrom/Tornadus an even better deck? Simply put – yes. Thankfully it makes not only Zekrom/Tornadus but any Basic Pokémon better. There are some very good new Basic Pokémons in this set as well, which benefit from Eviolite as well but I’ll get back to them later.

If Archeops wasn’t enough for Basic Pokémon decks to get better in your opinion, I guess Eviolite will be. Probably the best thing about Eviolite is that it isn’t a broken card. If you want to put Eviolite into your deck, you must take off some cards. This will probably make your deck a less consistent, which isn’t a good thing. The more good cards PCL makes for certain deck, the more challenging the deck building will become because you want to put every good card into your deck. And in my opinion, that’s a great thing.


As you know, Kyurem is a water-type cousin of the legendary Digimons Zekrom and Reshiram. And it looks a lot of like them. It has the same Outrage attack as Zekrom and Reshiram. It has the magical 130HP and its retreat cost is 2. But that’s about the similarities.

The most important thing about Kyurem is its second attack, which needs 2 Water and 1 Colorless energy. The attack does 30 to each of your opponent’s Pokémon without a draw back. Kyurem doesn’t hit itself and it doesn’t need to discard energies. It just hits 30 everywhere and that’s it. I love the fact that Kyurem doesn’t have a setback because I’m a huge fan of spread decks. Kyurem makes spreading a viable choice for winning the game once again, which is a great thing in my opinion.

Kyurem also has its own energy accelerator already in the format – Feraligatr Prime. Feraligatr is very much like Emboar because it lets you attach Water Energy as much as you want but it lets you attach them only to Water-type Pokémon. That’s a negative thing but it doesn’t ruin Feraligatr Prime completely. In my opinion Feraligatr Prime isn’t probably the best card with Kyurem but I’ll get back to building a working Kyurem deck in my future blog entries.

Kyurem has weakness for Metal, which was a good sign before but because of the next card I’ll be reviewing, it may not be the best weakness. Undamaged Kyurem with Eviolite is almost impossible to OHKO for many decks so Kyurem will surely see some play just like the other legendary Digimons. However, Eviolite also gives Kyurem problems because if its facing a Basic deck which has a lots of Eviolites on the field its spreading damage is reduced very much.


Cobalion is probably one of those cards that will split the opinions of the players but I’m one of them who see a huge potential in this card. Cobalion has 120 HP which is of course good for a Basic Pokémon, it has weakness to fire which is of course horrible because of Reshiram and it has a retreat of 2, which is ok. It has resistance to Psychic, which is only natural for a Metal Pokémon like Cobalion.

At the first sight, its attacks are also just ok. Its first attack needs 2 energies and it hits 20 +20 more damage for each energy card attached to your opponent’s active Pokémon. You hit 80 against Zekrom and even more against Gothitelle. It will also be a great Kyurem counter and an even better counter against the upcoming Mewtwo EX.

Cobalion’s second attack is what makes it annoying. With 2 Metals and 1 Colorless you are able to hit 80 and the Pokémon you attacked isn’t able to attack next turn. This attack works just like Beartic’s Sheer Cold but hits more damage. It’s annoying and makes things difficult for decks like Zekrom/Tornadus if they aren’t prepared against this with a Switch army.

Cobalion’s only problem is that it isn’t easily loaded in the current format. The first thing that pops into my mind is Electrode Prime because it can get Special Metals along with normal energy. Cobalion also benefits from Eviolite because of the Eviolite and Special Metals it can be considered as “tank” card. No matter what you think about Coballion, you’re guaranteed to face these things in the tournaments.

Super Rod

I can’t describe how happy I am that they reprinted Night Maintenance/Nightly Garbage Run once again. There have been so many situations where I’ve longed for this card to be released that it’s like a dream come true. For those who don’t know what Super Rod does, it’s simple – it’s a trainer that lets you take a combination of 3 Basic Energy/Basic/Evolved Pokémon from your discard pile and shuffle them into your deck.

The great thing about Super Rod is that after you have used it, you are instantaneously able to use a Supporter after that. So even though Zekrom is able to KO your both Solosises and your 3rd one is prized, you can just use Super Rod put Solosises back your deck and use Collector to put them into your hand. All this in the same turn. The other great thing about being a trainer is that it can be used with JUNK ARM. This makes Super Rod playable in every deck and it makes using decks that use discarding draws like Sage’s and Juniper easier. In the World Championships this year I was forced to discard 2 Typhlosion Primes with Juniper – you have no idea how much I longed for Super Rod back then…


Victini is a funny card because its power lets you re-flip all the coins from the attack you’re using (but only once). Thankfully there aren’t that much flipping in the format nowadays (excluding the opening flip) and Victini also takes a bit of the luck factor away. There aren’t many attackers that Victini is capable of helping but 2 Pokémons come quickly into my mind.

First there is Sharpedo with Strip Bare (Triumphant). Strip Bare hits with 1 Darkness energy 20 damage and flips 2 coins. If both of them are heads your opponent discards their entire hand. Thanks to Victini, you’re now able to reflip Strip Bare if you missed the double heads first time. This will increase the chances to hit double headses a lot and it’s almost 50-50 chance hitting double heads with 2 tries. I’m sure this will be a great fun deck and in the best case scenario it may even be a tournament deck combo.

The other card Victini can be comboed with is the other Victini from the set. With just 1 energy it hits 120 damage – IF you flip double heads. Victini makes flipping more fun but at the same time it will probably make your opponent irritated. Flipping double heads is always considered as “lucky” so when you Strip Bare their hand away T2, you aren’t guaranteed to see a happy face on the other side of the table.


Here is a strange one. Eelektrik is a stage1 Pokémon but it’s more playable than its stage2 version. Eelektrik takes a Lighting Energy card from the discard pile and attaches it to itself. This can be a great combo with anything that discards energy or needs to be loaded all the time.

One great combo is with Zekrom and Tornadus. Eelektrik reminds me of Dragonite d of the past because its ability is the same. I’m pretty sure Zekrom/Tornadus/Eelektrik will become almost as popular deck as Typhlosion/Reshiram because Eelektrik is an uncommon card. It’s very easy to get hands on and that’s always a good thing.

Eelektrik is also played in Japan with Zekrom and Mewtwo EX so you’re guaranteed to see this card more in the future even though it wouldn’t break through in HGSS-NV format. When I first wrote this article I put Eelektrik in the small impact crater but I changed my mind because I see a lot more potential in Eelektrik now than in the past.


Just because of Durant this set is awesome. Durant is a card that – once again – makes this game a little bit more versatile and interesting. Durant is a Basic with 70 HP, which attacks with 1 Metal energy. What does Durant attack? It discards a card from the top of your opponent’s deck for each Durant you have in play. Being a Basic Pokémon makes Durant playable that because it’s not too difficult to get 4 Durants into play T1.

Durant is a milling card. Milling hasn’t been a viable way to win games in years. Last time I remember building an almost working milling deck, it was back in the 2007-2008 season when Rhyperior(DP) was released. It’s funny to think that Rhyperior discarded 3 cards only when you evolved (it was a stage2 Pokémon) it and it was almost playable – Durant discards 4 cards T1 on and still can’t be considered as a broken card. It’s all about Power Creep. Back in the 2007-2008 season Durant would have been considered as a broken card but now because the game is so much faster, it’ll be challenging to make Durant even win games.

Durant makes the game fresh and I can’t wait to use Durant in the tournament. As soon as I saw the first translation of Durant, I knew that I was going to make a Durant deck and make it as tournament-viable as possible. Winning games with something else than just getting 6 prizes is so much more fun. I applaud PCL for making a decent milling card for once! I’ll be doing a Durant article so look forward to it if you’re a milling fan as well!

Small Impact Crater

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


Virizon is a decent addition to the companion of the good Basic Pokémon. Virizon draws 2 cards with 1 Colorless energy so it’s a good starter in Virizon based Basic Pokémon deck. Its second attack hits 40 for 2 energy and if you attack with the same Virizon next turn, it will do 80 from that turn on. It would be great if Pokémon Catcher weren’t in the format. Catcher just takes away the effect of the attack and you’re doomed to hit 40 for almost all the time. However, with Eviolite, Virizon can be hard to KO for anything else than Zekrom or Reshiram.


Tornadus is great and Thundurus only ok. Landorus is with Thundurus. It’s able to load itself with its first attack, but it has no any other energy accelerator in the format. The reason why Landorus can be considered as an ok card is that it counters Zekrom fairly well with Eviolite. It has 110 HP and Resistance to Lighting. With Eviolite, there is no way for Zekrom to OHKO Landorus. Landorus may be seen in decks as a tech to counter Zekrom.


I don’t like Hydreigon but because it has received a bit of hype I’ll look into it. Hydreigon can be compared to Base Set Charizard – pure awesomeness but a tier3 card. There is no way in this format for Hydreigon to succeed because it’s spreading ability isn’t that good and it’s energy cost is too huge. Not to mention it’s a stage2 Pokémon. If you get Hydreigon be sure to trade them away once there is at least a little hype on it.


I have long waited for a card that takes away the weaknesses. This cards works with decks that have the tank effect. However, because of Catcher you must run this card in a trainer lock deck otherwise it will be eliminated very fast. Leavanny will probably see play only in Gothitelle decks because people counter them Mew Prime etc. Psychic things. Running 3 stage2 Pokémon may seem like madness but it has been done before and it will be done many times in the future.


This is a last minute addition to the article so that’s why I put it into Small Impact Crater. I surely underestimated this but once I saw it again I was sold by its quality. I’m not sure how much it will impact the whole format because it’s once again only a one deck wonder with Vileplume but I’m pretty sure that Chandelure/Vileplume//Dodrio will become a strong deck in the upcoming format. Chandelure has a great weakness because no dark is played at the moment and spreading without attacking is very nice. I hope to see a lot coming from this card because I love trainer locking decks and this gives one nice addition to Vilplume/X decks.


Noble Victories will be a great and game-changing set no matter how you look at it. It introduces a lot of new strategies for winning games with N and Durant and it adds many good cards in the old metagame decks. It may overweight Basic Pokémon but it still brings balance to the game and doesn’t make Zekrom an even better deck. I’m eager to see how the metagame changes to a more versatile way once this set is released and I already have lots of deck ideas and blog entries coming thanks to this new great set.

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment!


  1. You know that Archeops is countered by Rare Candy? As in the ruling is that Rare Candy is still useable with Archeops on the field. Apparently that ruling was made for the prereleases.

  2. Sounds interesting but I don't believe that before I see the official ruling.

    The "old" Rare Candy bypassed the Archeops rule. However, since the new Candy is just like Pokémon Breeder from the Base Set and it wasn't able to counter Aerodactyl back then I need more info. I already checked the Compendium and someone had asked it but never got an answer(obviously because the set isn't officially released).

    I think will just have to wait for the official ruling. We'll just have to wait if they add to Rare Candy the normally evolving part of Pokémon Breeder. If they don't add it then Rare Candy can be used through Archeops but this is only speculation.

    Good point and thanks for the comment, I will edit it later when the ruling comes official.

  3. Will Noble Victories cards be legal in the upcoming Regionals?

  4. Anonymous: Not in the U.S. because it will be released 16th of November and Regionals will be held in 12&13 of November. However, in most European Regionals/States it will be legal.

  5. N will just make juniper ( and perhaps bianca) better ! now you will see decks running more copies of juniper ( and perhaps bianca) as a counter to N.

  6. Great article Esa. Just a few other cards that I thought of:

    Terrakion, as a revenge KO'er in Donphan decks.
    Rocky Helmet to counter Gothitelle (if played before the lock)?
    Bisharp (Metal type) to counter Kyurem possibly, since its attack costs are Colorless.

    Any word on these? :D

  7. I'm really looking forward to getting some N, Eviolites and Super Rods and putting them in my deck.

    Like the poster above me said, Rocky Helmet seems kind of interesting. It'll make decision making for the opponent just that little bit harder, like when to use catchers and who to catcher out. Have to test whether it's worth the space in certain decks though.

    It'll also be interesting to see how big kyurem decks get and how the metagame responds to damage spread. Serperior and/or Blissey could get more popular, but then lunarock will become popular too.

  8. I seriously yhink that you underestimate virizion, if the world allows vb it, it can and will be awesome.

  9. Anonymous: Yeah N will have a huge impact on how people build their draw engines because you have to maximize the draw if you end up getting a 1 card hand.

    Aaron&oTYo: Rocky Helmet seems only theorymon to me. Trainer lock won't disappearing anywhere and that's one of the huge problems. Also, if you're playing against Gothitelle and want to attach it before the Gothi arrives you must have either 4 of them in the deck or get lucky. That's why it can't be really imo be considered a good card. Most decks want to prevent getting OHKO:ed,not deal additional damage and that's why I think Rocky Helmet won't be that played.

    I tried Bishard and I think it's horrible :D The damage output is way too low and it folds immediately to Zekrom and Reshiram so no.

    Nick Sinard: I hope I could hype Virizon more but I can't be if I want to be honest. Virizon would be good if Catcher wasn't in the format but because most decks play 3-4 Catchers, Virizon loses SO much power. Attacking 40 for 2 energy isn't that good. Also, it has the horrible fire weakness so it loses automatically to ReshiPlosion as well, which isn't accecptable in this format.

    Thanks for comments and sharing your thoughts! Please comment more if you have anything to say, I'm happy to answer anything!

  10. I'm just thinking, why you didin't mention Vanilluxe? I have built Vanilluxe/Vileplume and have only lost twice, once to Cobalion/Kyurem/Electrode (because I flipped 4 tails) and once to Durant (discarded both of my Vileplumes). It has average damage and almost autoparalyze + you can't use switch under trainerlock.

  11. SL: I don't like Vanilluxe, nuff' said xD

    To be honest, I've never liked paralyzing as a game winning strategy. First, it's a flip card, sometimes the odds are simply against you and you double tails, gg.

    Second, it can never become even near to BDIF. If it will ever do well in tournaments, it has the same problem as Gothi - it's way too easy to counter. People start playing Unown CURE in their decks and Vanilluxes magic is gone. Also, the Metal Weakness you mentioned isn't god as well.

    The only good thing about Vannilluxe is that it's Water Type. But it doesn't really matter. With ne heads you pralyze them, with double heads, you just OHKO every fire Pokémon. And Vileplume/Vanilluxe should be way too slower than Zekrom or Reshiram based decks so I see no future for it.

    It's playable but I don't see any real future in it because of its lack of versatility.

  12. durant really has made the game more fun. imagine a durant/kyurem/ kyougre&groudon legend deck ? thats spread damage plus decking out strat in one =)

  13. Rare Candy overrides Archeops :

  14. Zarmakuizz: Nice, I was just looking for that. Well that means that Archeops pretty much sucks.

  15. Oh wait, there is more :

  16. Zarmakuizz: Whoa! Thanks, haven't been following the discussion. That's very cool.

  17. "Esa: Eelektrik takes a Lighting Energy card from the discard pile and attaches it to itself."

    A fix is needed on that sentence. Eelektrik gives the energy on one of your benched Pokémon, not to itself. This could have been figured out by the rest of the text you wrote. I just had an urge to point about that misinformation.


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