Monday, October 29, 2012

Impact Crater: Boundaries Crossed

Keldeo EX rushes in to save
the format.

Hello everyone!

As has finally released all of the scans from Boundaries Crossed, we now all the cards of the set, which means it’s time for another Impact Crater! I’m glad that I didn’t do an Impact Crater earlier about the Boundaries Crossed, because as you know it missed some key cards when compared to the Japanese Freeze Bolt set. However, even though the loss of some cards really hindered the playability of the set, the set still surprising amount of playable and especially interesting cards. Interesting doesn’t necessarily equal competitive, but you have to start from something, right?

As you know, in Impact Crater, I analyze all the most playable and the interesting cards and since the set has 150 cards, this Impact Crater also includes a big bunch of cards. I was positively surprised just how many interesting cards the set has even though I’m still very disappointed due the lack of cards like Ether, Escape Rope and Bicycle. As there are so many cards I need to take a look at, let’s get going!

Landorus EX

Just like always, let’s start with the most obvious card that causes impact on the metagame. In Boundaries Crossed the most hyped card is Landorus EX. At this point, everyone should be very familiar why Landorus EX is so good, because it has been hyped forever and I’ve analyzed it in the free parts of my UG articles, as well as in my last Eye on Japan –article. However, if someone has completely missed, why Landorus EX is so good and expensive, let’s take another look at the card.

Just like every very good card in this format, Landorus EX is a Basic EX-Pokémon. The strongest Basic EXs of this format are so good, because they have great attacks and massive HP. Landorus EX is no exception. First of all, Landorus EX has whopping 180 HP, so it’s almost impossible to OHKO. Landorus EX also has a resistance to Lighting, which makes it a bit better. However, the reason, which makes Landorus EX SO good is its first attack and type and not the HP or resistance. Landorus EX is obviously a Fighting type Pokémon, which makes the whole tier1 weak to it: Darkrai EX, Tynamo, Deino – you name it.

Landorus EX’s first attack “Hammerhead” hits 30 to the active Pokémon and to one of the benched Pokémon. This combined to the ridiculous type advantage Landorus EX has over the tier1, a T1 Landorus EX causes trouble to all Eelektrik and Hydreigon variants. Hammerhead is so good especially against the stage decks, because it KOs very quickly all the Basics that aren’t able to evolve in the first few turns. Landorus EX is even more aggressive than a T1 Mewtwo EX or a T2 Darkrai EX.

Landorus EX’s second attack is also very interesting, even though it isn’t a key factor to its success. Land’s Judgment hits 80 with 3 energy. It sounds pretty mediocre, but there is a catch. If you discard all Fighting energy attached to Landorus EX, it hits 150 damage! This makes Landorus EX even better against decks like Eelektrik and Hydreigon. With Land’s Judgment you are able to OHKO Eelektriks even without discarding the energy and you’re even able to OHKO a full HP Hydreigon when you discard the energy. 50 and 150 are the perfect amounts against the top decks of the format.

Landorus EX is the most hyped card of the set, and even though the lack of Ether in Boundaries Crossed made it worse than it was in Japan when Freeze Bolt was released, it’s still more than a competitive card in the upcoming Cities format. However, the most interesting question is, is Landorus EX worth the $40-50 it costs in Troll&Toad? Not it isn’t – yet. However, after Plasma Gale is released in the west, it may very well be worth the $40. Landorus EX is very good, but it simply can’t match the brilliance of Mewtwo EX and Darkrai EX.

Keldeo EX

Keldeo EX is a fitting card to analyze as the second card from Boundaries Crossed, because most of its playability comes from the hype of Landorus EX. Keldeo EX is pretty much playable only with Blastoise from BC and you can call it a one deck wonder – at least at the moment. Landorus EX counters most of the tier1’s Pokémon, whereas Keldeo EX is a straight counter to Landorus EX. With only 2 Water energy and one any energy attached to it, Keldeo EX OHKOs Landorus EX, because Landorus EX is weak to it. Also, with 3 Water energy, Keldeo EX OHKOs Landorus EX even if Landorus EX has an Eviolite attached to it.

Blastoise/Keldeo EX seems like a complete copy of ReshiBoar. And as we know, Reshiboar was never a very good deck and had some great inconsistency issues. What makes Blastoise/Keldeo EX so much better? Keldeo EX’s Ability. With Keldeo EX’s Ability, you’re able to switch Keldeo EX from the bench to the active spot – like with Switch. Blastoise (just like Emboar) has a too big retreat, so if you would like to run Blastoise without Keldeo EX, you should run 4 Switches. The free spaces that Keldeo EX opens to the deck (since you don’t have to play Switches), are able to boost the consistency of the deck enough for the deck to be really competitive. Pokémon Catchers become almost completely useless against the deck since Blastoise and Keldeo EX both have big HP and you can’t stall by Catchering. There really are no free prizes against the deck.

One thing worth noticing is also Keldeo EX’s weakness, which is Grass. It isn’t Lighting, which makes it so much more playable. The only Grass Pokémon that really is played in the current format is Shaymin EX, and Keldeo EX OHKOs Shaymin EX back very easily – only with 3 energy – so Shaymin EX isn’t a real issue for Keldo EX. Countering Keldeo EX with Shaymin EX is like countering Mewtwo EX with Mewtwo EX, you know, you’ll get OHKOed next turn.


Blastoise makes big impact on the format just because of Keldeo EX. However, you can say it’s the other way around as well. Keldeo EX makes big impact only because of Blastoise. Blastoise is a Water type Emboar. It has big HP, big retreat, a weakness, which is almost non-existent (Grass) and it attaches any number of Water Energy from your hand to any of your Pokémon. It isn’t better than Emboar, but the cards it works with (mainly Keldeo EX), makes Blastoise a real challenger between tiers 1 and 2.

Some of Blastoise’s competiveness can be thanked for Squirtle as well. Squirtle is a rare card, because it’s a Basic of a stage2 and has an Ability. Not just any Ability, but an Ability that prevents all damage done to it as long as it’s on the bench. A real Landorus EX counter or a real Landorus EX counter?

Computer Search (ACE Spec.)

Ultra Ball, which lets you search for any card from the deck – I’ll take it. However, since Computer Search is a new type of card – ACE Spec. You’re only allowed to play one of them in your deck. I never thought Pokémon would reprint Computer Search in any way, but I’m happy they did. Before more ACE Specs are released, Computer Search will become a staple in 90% of the decks. It adds consistency, it works very well in every deck and it’s insane when combined with Skyla and Sableye. 

Remember, you aren’t allowed to play the old Computer Search (for some odd reason), so good luck at pulling the one Computer Search from the boosters you buy or finding it somewhere with a reasonable price tag on it.  

Gold Potion (ACE Spec.)

Gold Potion is probably one of Boundaries Crossed’s most underrated cards, because Computer Search takes all the attention when it comes to ACE Specs. Gold Potion heals 90 damage from 1 of your Pokémon without drawbacks. You know very well how good Max Potion is, even if it discards all the energy cards from the Pokémon you use it on. Heck, even Potion is playable in certain decks! Gold Potion should be played in every deck that is consistent enough even without Computer Search. There are some decks, I wouldn’t play without Computer Search, but there are also decks that I would prefer Gold Potion over Computer Search. A good example of that kind of deck would be any Empoleon variant, which is very consistent even without Computer Search and doesn’t really need extra consistency like that.


I love Ditto and you should too. I’m soon going to write a whole article based on Ditto and the reasons why you should love Ditto as much as I do, so I won’t get too in-depth with Ditto in this entry. Ditto is one of the most versatile cards in the current format and in Pokémon TCG versatility is almost as important as consistency. Ditto won’t be a staple in every single deck, but it will be in many decks. And the decks that play Ditto, get a huge advantage thanks to Ditto – in a way or another. However, as said previously, about that later this week/next week.


Skyla is the most interesting Supporter cards printed in Boundaries Crossed. I’ve always wondered, would a Supporter card that is able to search for any card be played? Since Skyla almost does that, here lies my answer. Skyla searches for a Trainer card, and as we know, with Trainer cards we can search in this format everything except Special Energy cards. You can search Energy Search with Skyla, and then search for Basic Energy or you can search an Ultra Ball with Skyla and then search for Pokémon. The only card that lets you search for Special Energy cards in this format is Computer Search. So, in theory Skyla lets you search for any card in your deck.

The problem with Computer Search and Skyla, is that if Computer Search is prized, a deck that relies on Skyla/Computer Search Engine is completely ruined. Skyla/Computer Search engine works especially well with any deck with Sableye (and preferably stage2 Pokémon) since you can reuse Computer Search thanks to Junk Hunt. And searching for any card every turn + using a supporter in one turn not only sounds broken, but also is broken. However, you must be careful not to rely too much on ACE Specs no matter what deck you’re playing, you only have 1 copy of them available. Skyla/Computer Search engine opens once again new possibilities for a deck builder who likes to test different draw engines and in my opinion, this is always welcome, especially in a very supporter-stale metagame like ours.

The Small Impact Crater

In the small Impact Crater lies the cards that have only small impact to the format, but which are worth mentioning, because they are interesting or good in the future.


It’s very often that PCL makes Flygon a good card. This time it’s no different. Flygon is a Dragon Pokémon, which gives it an edge over other types. However, the reason why Flygon is interesting, is its Ability, which does 10 damage to each of your opponent’s Pokémon between turns if Flygon is your active Pokémon. This can be very good if you can get a free retreat to Flygon somehow and combine it with hit-and-run attackers like Accelgor. Things get even more interesting if you can put Flygon and a hit-and-run attacker into a same deck with…


Dusknoir is one of those cards that have unbelievable potential. Its Ability lets you move your opponent’s damage counters as you wish. It sounds crazy and it is crazy. Last time we had a card like that (Absol EX) it ended up being in the winning decks of the U.S. Nationals and World Championships. However, unlike Absol EX, Dusknoir is a stage2 Pokémon, which makes it worse. In this metagame a lot worse. It has no real surprise factor (except with my beloved Ditto) and it’s weak to Darkrai EX, which is never a good thing. However, even if Dusknoir won’t break through in the current format, it will be good in the future as well – or at least I hope so.


Hugh is a sorry attempt to make the current format’s Supporter pool more versatile. I must admit that Hugh has a very interesting game mechanic, it forces both players to draw or discard until they have 5 cards in your hand. After a late game N, it really isn’t good, because it lets your opponent draw those cards as well, but in any deck that mulligans a lot, Hugh can be very devastating, because you’re able to force your opponent to discard a lot of cards.


Audino is once again a very interesting card. And only due its Ability. Its Ability lets you discard it from your hand and work as a Heal Energy – Heal 10 damage and all Special Conditions from your active Pokémon. I really can’t make up my mind on this card – is it playable or not? Healing 10 damage can be very crucial in certain match-ups, but is Audino worth the space? In the current format, I would say no, because you don’t have that much time to heal your Pokémon and you can’t afford opening with Audino, no matter what deck you play with. It’s also good to remember that the current format has no Basic searching supporters like e.g. Pokémon Collector. Searching for 3 Audinos and using them all at the same time could really change the direction of the game. But once again – the question remains – is it worth the space?


Vileplume must be one of my all-time favorite cards. When Vileplume is in play, it gives 4x Weakness to every Pokémon in play. This gives a possibility to build an anti-everything deck with every type of attackers that hit with cheap energy cost and that are able to OHKO even cards like Darkrai EX with only one energy. I’ll certainly take a deeper look into this card in the near future.


When it comes to anti-EX cards, first we had Sigilyph that was mediocre and now we got Scizor, which really isn’t that much better. Scizor denies all effects of attacks from EX-Pokémon with its first attack. Just like Sigilyph, Safeguard like Pokémon have three main issues in the current metagame – speed, Raikou EX and Pokémon Catcher. It isn’t the time of Scizor yet, but I believe that once the metagame slows down, Scizor may have some potential.


Raticate is the first card (correct me if I’m wrong), which puts your opponent’s Pokémon down to 10 damage without a drawback. Usually in Pokémon TCG, these kind of cards have always been Life Drain type attacks that require flip. Raticate’s most obvious companion is of course Amoonguss, because its Ability lets you do the required 10 damage, which Raticate’s attack misses. However, the problem is energy acceleration – Raticate needs 3 energy, so a single DCE won’t be enough. Boost Energy reprint, plz?


Ahh, the amount of potential and interesting cards of this set, which will probably NEVER be competitive. Crustle is once again one of these cards. Its Ability is familiar to everyone who has ever played the video games – you can’t KO Crustle, if it doesn’t have any damage counters on it.

I saw so much potential in this card that I tried to build a Crustle/Potion/Max Potion/Gold Potion/Blissey deck, but naturally it failed miserably. Maybe in the future, I’ll try to get Crustle working again, but at the moment the energy cost is once again too much to deal with. Why can’t Crustle do a decent amount of damage with one energy??

Town Map

Town Map is the 61st card of every deck. When you use it, you’ll play rest of the game your prizes face-up. Sounds legit, but the fact is that it’s worse than Alph Litograph and even Alph Litograph was rarely played. In fact, it saw almost no play. The even bigger problem with Town Map currently is that your opponent KNOWS when to N, when he/she sees, which cards you draw from the prizes. Turning your prizes face-up and having N in the same format, doesn’t really increase the potentiality of Town Map!

Black/White Kyurem EX and Ace Specs for them

I remember the day when I saw the Wailord from Sandstorm. It had 200 HP. 200! Can you believe it?? When I first heard about it, I thought it was a fake card. However, Pokémon has once again wanted to take one step further with the new Kyurems. Black Kyurem gets its HP increased to 300 HP with the ACE Spec. tool while the White Kyurem hits for 200 with its ACE Spec. When I first heard about these, I wasn’t convinced. And after testing them, I still aren’t convinced.

This is due the energy costs of these cards. They both have pretty much impossible energy requirements you have to met until you want to attack with them. At least at the moment. There is no way you can prudently energy accelerate 2 Fire enegy and 1 Water energy to your Pokémon in a fast enough manner. The same goes with Black Kyurem, 2 Lighting energy and 1 Water Energy. Who comes up with these combinations? Someone who doesn’t want to make these cards playable, I suppose.

And you don’t really want to use your decks’ ACE Spec. space for Crystal Wall or Crystal Edge. Every single ACE Spec. that has been reveal this far in Japan is better than these two ACE Specs.

In my opinion, these two cards are probably the worst two EXs printed so far in the current format. I guess that’s ‘nuff said.


To conclude, I really can’t blame Pokémon for making an uninteresting set. This deck has more interesting cards than any set for a long time. However, it’s important to understand the difference between competitive and interesting. Boundaries Crossed is full of interesting and potential cards, but overall it only has a few playable cards. And that’s not a good sign when the set has over 150 cards. I’m sure there are some cards that you think that I missed (e.g. Stoutland or Tangrowth) that also seem to have some potential, and if you do feel like some card needs analyzing, just let me know and I’ll give you my opinion about it in the comments!

There are a few cards in this set that will become a staple in many decks. That’s why I recommend you to buy every single card you need from this set as individual copies and not try to get them via Boosters. That is if you aren’t a collector, because it’s so much more cheaper to buy 1 Computer Search and 3 Landorus EXs than to buy 5 booster boxes just to notice that you draw 1 Computer Search and 2 Landorus EXs from those 5 booster boxes!

As always, feel free to leave any comments, questions or opinion regarding the new set! I’m more than happy to interact with everyone.

Thanks for reading and happy card hunting!


  1. Very excellent article Esa!

  2. I don't think Town Map is worse than Alph Lithograph, because Skyla is in the format. When you have Skyla in hand, and are about to take your first prize(s), you could play Skyla (or Computer Search) to get the Town Map first, and play Town Map, then attack and take your optimal prize(s). Sure you risk getting N'd, but then at least you put those needed prize(s) into your deck where you might draw them again. When Alph Lithograph was in format, there was no simple way to get it when you needed it, except by luck of the draw.

  3. By the way, your comment on the old Computer Search is not an official decision yet. You're still to abide by the 2012 Floor Rules at the moment; which based on no major card type change (see Bill) allows it to be played without reference.

    Careful with offhand comments like that. If you cause a run on the card you may have a LOT of people angry with you for making them waste money. :)


      You should be careful when trying to sound superior and condescending.

    2. You should be careful when linking to an unofficial forum about a change that would require a change to the floor rules on, not a "clarification" - it's pretty clear cut by the book. If I ruled this way at Cities, I would fully expect to be written up and _suspended_ for my conduct as a judge, as players are not expected to follow Pokegym for the rules they need to attend a tournament.

      Thank you and goodnight.

    3. It is to your honor to say players "don't trust unofficial forums", however it seems you don't know how official are the answers given in the "Ask the Rules Team" forum of Pokegym.

      The "Ask the Rules Team" forum of Pokegym is hold by the maintainers of the Compendium, which is a document recognized by TPCi as a resource for Tournament Organizers. Their policy is to only tell official knowledge on the Ask the Rules Team forum. If you ask anything on the official forum for TOs (, the same guys will answer you.

      So, in short, any thread in the "Ask the Rules Team" forum of Pokegym, and anything in the Compendium, are official. Both threads are in that particular forum.

    4. The "Ask the Rules Team" forums are for rulings on published rules. Procedural proofs have now been posted in these "official" forums (and the Professor Forum) that it is a rules CHANGE, not a rules clarification. A change to the Tournament Rules must be posted on and replace the existing Tournament Rules document before it is legal.

      So no, these forums and the Compendium are not places for the publication of rules changes. They are places for the publication of details and precedents on existing rules. This has been proven to not be an existing rule.

      We'll see what gets published officially Nov 7. They have quite a few weeks before Cities to get it right, whatever they decide to do.

      It's interesting how the factions are divided, too; the main proponents for banning the old Computer Search are TOs and Profs that receive significant amounts of prerelease product and own card shops. Profs and TOs that are not card shop owners are against. This is a conflict of interest against the terms of the Professor Program. Funny how the guy here going on about how it's "wrong" to allow reprints at all is selling unopened prerelease boxes under the table.

    5. Fun fact: North America is not the center of the world. International Regionals are right now during November, those with Boundaries Crossed legal are 1 or 2 weeks away, so if they want to change their decision they better should tell it ASAP.

      Debates about whether they should accept the old Computer Search or not belong to Pokegym's "TCG News & Gossip Discussions" forum. Please come back when anything official will say "yes, the old Computer Search is legal" contrary to the current situation.

  4. Another great article, Esa! One question, though. Do you think Stoutland could be viable in some way, and if yes, what pokemon should it partnered with? What's your opinion of the card?

    1. With a Stage 2 Pokémon (slow), having a Fighting weakness (one of the easiest to abuse), a high cost attack (slow to load) and your strength relies on being Active (in a format with Catcher), you don't have a lot of options.

      Quad Stoutland is slow but then you are not concerned by Pokémon Catcher. Using an energy acceleration implying Pokémon (Eel, Dark Patch coupled with Sableye and Energy Switch, Ho-oh EX + SSU) gives target for Catcher but accelerates the deck. With a hit&run Pokémon you are able to attack earlier but still the concern of Catcher.

      On being quicker to setup, both Sableye and Tropical Beach are options to considerate. Sableye is a Catcher target to break the lock, but hey, Sableye makes wonder when you need to setup at any cost. Tropical Beach is not a Catcher target, but your opponent could also use it, thus making your lock weaker, unless you use that other stadium that boosts Colorless's HP after setup.

      After seeing if it is possible, is it viable? Lillipup has at most 60 HP and a Fighting weakness so Landorape EX is here. Energy acceleration is either slow or costs you Catcher target to break the lock, and take into consideration that Lillipup is also a Catcher target. By the time your opponent sees a Lillipup onto the field, his best bet is to keep these Catcher just to be able to use a supporter on its first turns: at most Stoutland do average damages for heavy and a lot of energy, so any deck that finished their setup don't have too much to worry. That's the thing to take into consideration: having no supporter is really a mess when you absolutely need to power up an attacker, and this happens during the first turns, when you try to get a Stage 2 Pokémon. Whiff it and that's bad for you.
      Fighting decks have a field day, Rayeel decks have nothing to worry considering the damage output, Darkrai/Hydreigon decks might be in troubles but then Sableye could get those Catcher, Max Potion, Dark Patches he needs to Dragon Burst or just makes either the lock or the damage output useless.

      As Esa said, there are interesting but non competitive cards. Stoutland is far from being competitive for now.

    2. Screw that. Just run Quad Stoutland with Exp. Share and DCE, and swing for 90 from T2 until the end of the game.

      And then get destroyed by Landorus.

      Look at Stoutland again when Togekiss comes out.

    3. Edit: Nvm, forgot Togekiss needed to be active.

      Look at Stoutland again when Landorus is banned.

  5. Anonymous1: Thanks a lot!

    Crawdaunt: Aww yeah that Liepard. Interesting indeed...

    Wildforce: To be honest, I think Charmander is much more interesting than Charizard! It has potential outside Charizard decks and is a very rare type of card in this format.

    Pikabruce: True, but I wouldn't want waste my turn supporter on searching for Town Map. The format is so fast that do you really have time for using your supporter just to look at your prizes O_o

    Anonymous2: True, but I believe the ruling will stay that way. And even if the old Computer Search would be allowed to use, it doesn't change main point of this article - there is no point of buying a boosters if you are a competitive player. It only makes the argument stronger! But yeah, as Anonymous3 provided those links I believe its pretty much settled already. I have also asked Japan for the confirmation, and will be getting an answer soon.

    Anonymous4: I think Zarmakuizz pretty much read my mind with his answer :D By far the biggest problem of Stoutland is its Fighting weakness combined it being a stage2, combined to its huge energy cost, combined it working only when active. Very interesting, way too difficult to use at the moment.

    1. Esa, the Japanese don't have the reprint rules we do. To my knowledge, they are only allowed to use current printings. The tournament rules on reprints, as printed on, are quite clear cut on this matter. It should not even BE a debate.

    2. Esa: You are welcome. :) Have fun with Dittoast!

  6. Esa did u read the email i sent you? :( sent it like a week ago~

  7. Just a note about Gold Potion: in all the scans I've seen of it so far, it says heal 90 damage from your ACTIVE pokemon, not just any pokemon. Kind of lessens its usefulness, eh?

  8. I take it something like this would have been bdif had we got Ether?

    4 Sableye
    3 Darkrai EX
    2 Landorus EX
    1 Mewtwo EX

    Frankly, I think a rush deck like this would have been bad for the game.

  9. How about Celebi-EX?

  10. Rush decks are horriable for the game. If they were to bring back major support for stage two decks like BTS or the old version of rare candy than a rush deck would be fine because stage two decks would be on the same speed level. The current meta and metas to come are dominated by several EX's(Darkrai, Mewtwo, Keldeo) and a support pokemon(Hydreigon/Eel/Blastoise). If they brought back old rare candy and Broken time space you would see a multitude of deck popping up and garchomp becoming tier one.

    The Game has become to fast for any solid stage two only strategy like Magneboar or likes to work. We need some support to slow the game down even more or speed up evolutions.

  11. Hey Esa,
    How can you beat Blastoise/Keldeo with your Darkrai/Landorus deck. It seems the deck has such a bad match up against Blastoise. Any advice?

  12. Ether will come to the west eventually, so in my opinion it's just a bad thing they delay the inevitable thus keeping the stale metagame the same. Donks are never good for the game, but Landorus EX can donk many games even without Ether.

    Kaiwen Kuan: If you aren't able to be a lot faster than them, you're in trouble. It's also good to notice that I don't even know if Landorus/Darkrai EX is even that playable at the moment since they didn't release Ether. After the next set the match-up will be better since you can energy accelerate Landorus EX much faster.


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