Thursday, February 21, 2013

Impact Crater: Plasma Storm

The most overpriced card of the current format!

Hello everyone!

Due to my very tight schedule with school, work, ECC and other things, the Impact Crater of Plasma Storm is later than usual. Nonetheless, there are a lot of interesting and potential cards in the set. Especially some cards are very (over)hyped. I was a bit disappointed that Plasma Storm wasn’t allowed in the ECC, because it shapes up the metagame quite a bit.

I think the main thing about Plasma Storm, is that even though some cards are listed in the Impact Crater NOW, it doesn’t mean that the cards have an impact NOW. Most of the cards in Plasma Storm get a lot better after the release of BW8 and that’s when we are able to see the main potential of those cards. However, thankfully there are also cards that will have an impact of the metagame right now. Let’s see what Plasma Storm has to offer!


Hypnotoxic Laser + Virbank City Gym

Just like always, let’s start with the most obvious one. Hypnotoxic Laser is just like a PlusPower, with the exception that it poisons your opponent instead of adding 10 damage. On top of that, if you flip heads, your opponent’s Pokémon will be asleep! Ok, so it’s a bit better than PlusPower, so what’ s so good about it? Well, Vribank City Gym is the card, which does the magic here. When Virbank City Gym is in play, everyone puts 2 additional damage counters on the Pokémon, which are poisoned between turns. Now, Hypnotoxic Laser is a 3 PlusPowers in one card! Not to mention that if your opponent doesn’t retreat their Pokémon, it has lost devastating 90 damage only because of Poison when it’s their turn again.

Of course, just like PlusPower, Hypnotoxic Laser will be mostly played in fast, Basic decks. Probably the thing, which shakes up the balance of the metagame the most is Darkrai EX being able to OHKO a Blastoise with Hypnotoxic Laser, Virbank City Gym and Dark Claw. This will also give a very tough time for Keldeo EXs. The first impression of these cards really is that Darkrai EX will be stronger than ever and stage2 decks (especially Blastoise) will have tough time surviving in the upcoming metagame.

There is of course a downside of this card combination as well. They will add some more donks to the format and make evolution decks even less playable. However, before you start ranting about how Basic decks are overpowered now – a quick newsflash – Blastoise really wasn’t a “real” stage2 deck in my opinion. It just accelerates the energy with Blastoise sitting on the bench, letting the already good Basic EXs do the job for it. I never enjoyed Blastoise and am glad to see that it will have a tougher time in the upcoming metagame. And when it comes to Basic EX decks controlling the metagame, well, there is nothing we can do about it as long as Pokémon keeps on printing overpowered EXs. You just have to adjust to it and play the best decks in the format, if you are a competitive player.

On the other hand, this combination will also give a new perspective for the big EX mirrors. Keldeo EX will become a very popular tech, because if your opponent happens flip heads from the Hypnotoxic Laser, you may be in trouble if you don’t have a way to get your Pokémon from the special conditions. Even Audino may see some play even though it only removes one Special Condition.

Lugia EX (Plasma)

The most expensive card. It must be good then! Yes? Yes? Nope. Half of Lugia EXs price come from it being a Lugia EX (a collector’s dream) and the other half come from the hype it has received. Getting 1 additional prize is of course, but just when looking at the attack, you’ll notice that it lacks something. First of all, it needs 4 energy for its attack. Not only this is a huge energy cost for a EX without a proper energy acceleration, it also requires a Plasma Energy on to it to attack! If you want to play Lugia EX in your deck, you must build the whole deck around it, because not many decks can abuse Plasma Energy at the moment. In fact, the only card that can really abuse Plasma Energy is Lugia EX and can you build a proper tier1 deck around an EX Pokémon that can only hit 4 times during a game? I think you know the answer.

The reason why it’s in the big Impact Crater is obvious – it will be good in the future. Thundurus EX is enough to make Lugia EX playable, because it can get Plasma Energy from the discard pile. Something no really playable card is able to do at the moment.

Black Kyurem EX

Pokémon that can hit for 200, yes please. Usually Pokémon such as Black Kyurem EX are forever alone, because they can’t find a good partner with them. But thankfully, Black Kyurem rewuires LWWC for its attack, so all you have to do is put a Kyurem into your Blastoise deck and you have the most fearsome combo of the format in your hands. Granted, discarding 3 energy is a big nuisance and at the moment, Black Kyurem EX won’t be in its full potential, but once again you have to wait one more set to see Black Kyurem EXs full power. With Super Energy Retrieval, energy accelerating Black Kyurem EX becomes too easy.

Even though, I’m not a fan of Crystal Wall, because it’s a Tool Ace Spec, it can be very devastating with this Black Kyurem EX. A Pokémon that is able to hit 200 and has 300HP is not a laughing matter. I mean seriously -300HP! I wonder, if I ever live to see the day when Wailord EX has 1000HP. I sure hope not.


Colress is a card that I don’t really know what to think of. When you open with it and have a basicless hand, you want to scream, but when you get the Colress in the mid –or late game, it can turn the game in your favor. At its worst Colress draws 0 cards. At its best, 10 cards. At the moment, I run 2 Colress in most of my decks just due the fact that it’s broken in the late game. That is, as long as your opponent has a lot of Basic Pokémon on the bench.

What I especially enjoy about Colress, is that it bring new kind of skill back to the game. When playing with Darkrai EX deck, you could just thin out your deck and play all the Darkrai EXs on the bench and not really care about anything. However, after the introduction of Colress, it really matters how many Pokémon you have on your bench. If you don’t run Corless, you don’t want to play ANY additional Basics on your bench, because every Pokémon on your bench is one more card for your opponent. And the one additional card can be the card, which wins your opponent the game.

Colress Machine

Colress Machine is almost bad at the moment, because there aren’t that many Plasma Pokémon in the format, but it will soon get very good. Attaching 2 energy per turn is never bad, and when you combine it with the best Plasma Pokémon, you will get yourself a very good card.

The one thing I want to emphasize about Colress Machine is that, it isn’t equivalent of Energy Gain of SP Pokémon. The reason for this is that Enhanced Hammers will probably become more popular due the increased amount of special energy in the format and that Colress Machine is completely useless if you don’t have Plasma Energy in your deck. Especially in the late game, Colress Machines will prove to be completely dead cards, because you probably have already played all your Plasma Energy. Unless you are building a T1 deck, you should never play more than 3 Colress Machines, the 4th will ALWAYS be a dead draw.

Dowsing Machine Vs. Scramble Switch

I can easily say that Scramble Switch is probably the most underrated card of the whole set. I was SHOCKED to see that Dowsing Machine was more expensive than Scramble Switch in all the internet card stores. As soon as I saw that, I went buying some Scramble Switches before the price increases. You can’t really theorymon these cards, but if you think that Dowsing Machine than Scramble Switch, I suggest to give a try for Scramble Switch. You’ll notice that it will grow to you very quickly and soon you will wonder how did you live without Scramble Switch before you had it.

When it comes to the Dowsinh Machine, it’s popularity probably becomes from the viability of Junk Arm. However, I think it’s good to remember that when Junk Arm wasn’t a staple, almost no decks played it! Some – in my opinion bad – LuxChomp lists played one copy of Junk Arm, but I think there were better cards for that one open spot. And it’s the same now. You can play only one ACE Spec. in your decks and you don’t really want to give the space for a card like Dowsing Machine, which will be a life-saver only in random situations.

The current top3 of the ACE Specs. in my opinion, looks like this.

1. Scramble Switch
2. Computer Search
3. Gold Potion / Dowsing Machine (Depends on the deck)

You must also not to forget just how good Scramble Switch becomes thanks to Hypnotoxic Laser and the increase amount of Special Conditions in the format. One additional Switch is never a bad thing since mobility is everything in a quick-paced metagame like this.


Ether lost its chance to be the great new card. Since it wasn’t released in the new set, Virbank City Gym and Hypnotoxic Laser will take over all the decks now and Ether + Pokedex engine doesn’t have the space needed. It’s pretty ironic that one set can make such a big difference. I’m being negative here and say that Ether will be forgotten before it even become popular. All the decks have too many cards they want to play and Ether and Pokedex are the first cards to being cut from the decks.  

We’ll see if I’m right about this, but I’m pretty sure that I am. Ether is theorymon card at its best and isn’t able to live up to its hype anymore. This may of course exclude the T1 decks like T1 Darkrai EX variants, which some players might try out.

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 and potential.

Klinklang (Plasma)

All the Klinklangs are the same. As long as the metagame is against them and people are prepared for them, they can do nothing, but if people have forgotten about them… Then Klinklang will start wreaking havoc. It was the same with the BW Klinklang, which won the U.S. Nationals since there wasn’t enough Hammertimes (at least against the Klinklang) and it’s still the same. If a Plasma Klinklang deck faces a pure EX deck like Mewtwo EX/Landorus EX, it’s almost an autowin for Klinklang. The 1-2 Terrakions or Bouffalants won’t be able to take the necessary 6 prizes.

In Japan, people have started to play Victini (the one that hits 100 damage) in their decks if they don’t have any other answer against Klinklang. Overreacting? Maybe, but at least they turn one autoloss match-up to an autowin match-up and in the end that can make or break the whole tournament.

Victini EX

Victini EX reminds of the good ol’ days, because it only has 110HP even though it’s an EX Pokémon. Due to its HP, it’s a very risky play, but thankfully it’s only a support Pokémon – a starter to be precise – and not a bench sitter like e.g. Celebi EX. Even though attaching two energy in one turn is very legit, I’m not a fan of Victini EX and the reason for this is the TOO low HP of Victini EX. Granted, Victini EX is at the moment one of the only cards that can abuse the full capability of Lugia EX, but it still can’t make Lugia EX based deck to win a Darkrai EX deck – which will be the most popular deck in the upcoming metagame.

Victini EX is highly interesting and I’m 100% sure that it will see play someday. But not today.


Manaphy is my favorite starter of the set. I already have a Speed Keldeo EX deck planned with Manaphy and it has worked extremely well in the test games. If I get bored with the metagame decks, maybe I’ll give the deck a try. Manaphy is only playable during this one short period of time, because after Thundurus EX is released, there is no point of playing Manaphy. So, I must make the most out of Manaphy, while I still can! Combine it with Fliptini and you have a great starter for any Water attacker.


Gallades are almost always good. This Gallade is also good. To be more precise, it’s OK. Making 20x for each energy in play is an attack that would have been a very strong attack for almost any Pokémon in Pokémon TCG history, but now it’s not enough. Remember the 300 HP Kyurem? You would need 15 energy to OHKO it and even 8 energy to 2HKO it. Crazy! Not to mention Darkrai EX, which has a resistance to Gallade and requires 10 energy if you want to OHKO it. In addition, Gallade only has 130HP and is a stage2 Pokémon. And you should somehow be able to fit an energy accelerator to the deck!? Just how in the world should that be possible with a power creep like this?

Snorlax (Plasma)

Snorlax is one of my favorite Pokémon of the set and it’s not, because of its attack, but its Ability. Preventing your opponent from retreating is always cool and it can be very good in situations, you might not be able to even image! The only drawback in Snorlax’s Ability is that it has to be the active Pokémon, so one Catcher is one to get rid from the lock. However, once (if) Catcher is rotated out, Snorlax will be able to create a stall deck, you have never seen! I’m really looking forward  for that day.


With Plasma Storm, we get everything we wanted to get from Boundaries Crossed and more! However, the set still has a LOT of filler cards and once again includes over 130 cards. In order to get a good amount of the cards you want to get, you must buy at least 3 boxes. The other option is to trade the cards you want, but what I noticed in the ECC, everyone wanted the same cards! “Do you have any Hypnotoxic Lasers for trade?”. Well what do you think…

The most impactful cards of the set will by far be the PoisonCombo and Scramble Switch. Or at least, they will be the most played in the States Championships. I really want the next set to be smaller, so it would be prudent for a poor player like me to buy boxes as well and not just singles.

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment on anything! Especially if you think that I missed any card from the set. And what’s your opinion about the ACE Spec. war? Who shall rise victorious?


  1. Well pretty much agree on everything that is here (skimmed through the small impact crater but w/e). Just want to ask if you could specify how big of a difference you think there is in running Scramble Switch and Computer Search. Obviously depends on the deck, but I would say Computer Search, while less powerful, I would favor it over Scramble Switch in most decks not named Landorus/Mewtwo.

    About Klinklang do you think people should play like 3 Hammers in their Darkrai/Sableye/Poison decks to combat Klinklang if they think it will see play or do you need more or less or Victiny?

  2. I do think the Ace Spec war does depend on the deck, you've just go to weigh the advantages of each, I'm currently running CobalionEX/Klinklang and use Dowsing Machine.

    My reasoning was that I run pretty much every card in high multiples, a lot of deaw support, 4 Skyla and 2 Tropical Beach so I don't feel I need Computer Swarch to get to anything more quickly.

    I have a heavy line of Switch/Escape Rope and BW Klinklang tech so I don't see me needing Scramble Switch, I could just run another switch and Dowsing Machine gives me access to an extra.

    Because I have a BW Klinklang I have the option of running Max Potion so I think Gold Potion would be a waste of my Axe Spec slot.

    Overall Dowsing Machine seemed the best choice and the situation has come up a lot where I have 4 Catcher in my discard pile and so the opponent thinks a bench EX with damage on is ok and I Dowsing Machine back one for game.

    Overall I do think you can always put them in a list of usefulness but that list differs for each deck.

    1. I am running that deck to it rocks but i don't have any ace specs

  3. I think that articuno/lugia/keldeo/blastoise will tear up the spring regionals

    1. Articuno will never get anywhere in this metagame due to the impact of hypnotoxic laser everyone will run a lot of switch cards or Keldeo EX.

    2. You could use full heal to hold out because it can paralyze opponents

    3. What your your pokemon line up look like for that?
      4-3 blastoise
      x2 keldeo ex
      x2 lugia ex
      x2 articuno ex?

      seems way less powerful then the Black kyruem ex version, and the plasma energy just slows down blastoise, you would need a ton of water energy and plasma energy...

    4. It could work without articuno,which is probelematic

  4. How do you play the Speed Keldeo ex??

  5. I run Gallade with Ho-oh EX and it works to great effect. It has even beaten Darkrai. So I wouldn't discount Gallade. And not just because it is my 2nd favorite pokemon :)

  6. I agree that the most underrated ace spec is scramble switch. I love that card, and it has won we a bunch of games. I wouldn't use it in decks that can move energy easy. But it's still a great surprise. And can swing games in a big way. Also it pairs well with max potion.

    I am not your typical player though, I run Lugia ex in my ray eels deck. That surprise gets them every time. I play against lots of Darkrai Sableye, and taking two prizes off sableye is great.

  7. It sound like that gallade is a copy of gardevior ex from the classic ex's.

  8. I pulled four Crobat Plasma, can you make any decent deck out of Crobat/Virbank? Maybe Sigilyph and Mewtwo EX? What list would you try?

    1. 4x crobat
      2 meloetta

      Maybe you could add a next destenies scolipede just a tought.

  9. Anonymous1: I think Hammers are enough against any deck without energy acceleration. Unlimited Poison and Hammers are enough against most decks.

    When it comes to the ACE Spec. war in general, it's true that it's mostly dependant on the deck, but I would usually favor Scramble Switch or Computer Search. However, of course there are some decks, where Dowsing Machine could to the much needed trick.

    Also, Articuno EX isn't playable. Most people will have a way to get rid of Special Conditions due to the Hypnotoxic Laser, so paralyzing isn't the way to win games. It's probably one of the worst EXs of the set.

    I'll also make the article about Speed Keldeo in the following weeks. Look for it!

    Anonymous: Crobat isn't really playable sorry : ( I don't want to advice for you to play Crobat, because it can't really be competitive in the current format, because it's a stage2 Pokémon. If you want to play Virbank with a Poison Pokémon, I think almost anything is better than Crobat!

  10. esa, can you please tell me when the next rotation will occur?

  11. with gallade couldn't u use gardevoir to half the energy count?


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