Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Impact Crater: Plasma Freeze

Thundurus EX is finally here.

Hello everyone!

As the Plasma Freeze prereleases took place last weekend, we finally have all the scans from the set. So it’s time for another Impact Crater! As you very well know, in Impact Crater –entries, I take a look at impactful and not-so-impactful cards from the new set and analyze what they mean for the upcoming metagame.

I want to start by saying that Plasma Freeze is one of the most impactful sets of the season –probably the most impactful. The reason for this are the new Plasma Pokémon, which will help to produce whole new decks and if you are familiar with my Eye on Japan –articles, you know that they may become the dominating force in the metagame.

Ok! Let’s get going.

Thundurus EX / Kyurem EX

As always, let’s start with the most obvious good cards of the set. As you probably know, Team Plasma cards will have a heavy impact on the format in form of Thundurus EX/Deoxys EX/techs. Thundurus EX is already 50$ and Deoxys EX is about 60$. If you don’t need them desperately, I don’t suggest you order them just yet, because I believe that after the set is released, they will drop down to 30 dollars each and since the tins are released after Worlds, the cards will once again be only worth of 5-10 dollars. However, as most of you are going to Nationals or Worlds with the Plasma Freeze legal, it may very well be that you need to buy those cards with those ridiculous prices.

Thundurus EX is the main starter of The Plasma deck, because it can energy accelerate energy from the discard pile. With that you can play in your deck any type Plasma (or non-Plasma Pokémon) andmake all kinds of techs viable to your deck. Thundurus EX has decent HP; but most of all it has great first attack that helps you get prizes in the early game while energy accelerating your supporting attackers. In every game, you want to get Thundurus EX to the active spot in T1 and start Raiden Knuckling. With Raiden Knuckle, you are able to make even cards like Snorlax and Lugia EX playable! What you should remember is that Raiden Knuckle can get ANY energy cards from the discard pile like for example Double Colorless Energy or Plasma Energy. If Lugia EX would need to rely only on 4 Plasma Energy, it would be bad, but with the help of Thundurus EX, you have unlimited access to Plasma Energy, which really helps Lugia EX and other attackers that need Plasma Energy as well.

The reason why I put Kyurem in the same place with Thundurus EX is that it only works well Thundurus EX! Sure, you can try teching it to Blastoise but in the end, it’s at its best as a Landorus EX counter and helping to counter Thundurus EXs weakness. It’s also good to notice that Kyurem is a non-EX Pokémon, which this deck needs desperately in case of Klinklang, which would otherwise destroy Plasma decks.  

Kyurem doesn’t look on the paper that good. However, when it comes to Plasma deck, you should never play the deck without it (unless you want to have a lot of bad match-ups). I have seen quite a few Plasma lists (even in the UG) without Kyurem and there is one thing I can say for sure – Kyurem is a staple for any Plasma deck.  

There is also one thing that these two cards have  in common. Both can hit in T1 and against decks like Eelektrik, T1 Kyurem can be very devastating. Of course, getting a T1 Kyurem is a lot more difficult than you would expect, but it’s very deadly as well. However, getting a T1 Thundurus EX is almost too easy.

Deoxys EX / Team Plasma Badge

Deoxys EX is Plasma deck’s support Pokémon. However, in the end, you can combo Deoxys EX with any Plasma Pokémon or even with a non-EX Pokémon with the help of Team Plasma Badge, which makes any of your attackers a Plasma Pokémon.

Usually Deoxys EX just sits on the bench and increases the damage output of your other attackers. That is until your opponent is desperate enough to use Mewtwo EX, which Deoxys EX can OHKO easily. I don’t think it’s necessary to have the energy in your deck to attack with Deoxys EX if your decks’ attackers are otherwise strong enough, because Mewtwo EX will see a huge decrease in play (and has already seen a small decrease) and it isn’t that good against anything else. The biggest problem with Deoxys EX is at the moment its price, because it can be put into any deck with Plasma Pokémon or Team Plasma Badge. Darkrai EX/Deoxys EX - sure. Landorus EX/Deoxys EX- why not? The possibilities are unlimited with Deoxys EX and thus the price of the moment is justified.

Of course there is one positive thing. Mewtwo EX than has been controlling the metagame for over a year now, will be finally disappear almost completely from the metagame! Winds of change are coming.


Exeggcute is easily the most fun and versatile card in the set. It has ridiculously low HP – 30, but it can work as a tech in many decks and of course it can be fit to the infamous tier2 deck – Weavile/Exeggcute, which is very fun to play, but unfortunately it isn’t that competitive despite its success in Japan. At least, I haven’t gotten it working just yet consistently enough. Not to mention the donking factor…

Anyways, what can Exeggcute then be used for? Well, it can be used in anything that discards cards, but doesn’t necessarily want to discard cards. One of the best examples of this is any Empoleon variant as you can just discard Exeggcute with Empoleon’s Ability, get it back with Exeggcute Ability and then use another Empoleon’s Ability again. This way you just drew 4 cards without discarding any, because you can get the Exeggcute back from the discard pile the next turn. This saves your valuable resources a lot.

Another theorymonical use of Exeggcute is in Blastoise. I heard this idea for the first time from Mark Hanson, so props for him. If you play Exeggcute in Blastoise variants, you can get Superior Energy Retrieval active even after 1 card N, because you draw your turn card and then take Exeggcute from the discard pile. This can really make or break games. However, as Blastoise decks usually runs such a low amount of basics, playing a single Exeggcute can be very risky.

And these were just a few examples how Exeggcute’s Ability can be abused. I’m sure that players will find even more creative ways of using it in the upcoming season and I can’t wait to see Exeggcute in its full potential!


Absol is pretty much only good in Darkrai EX decks, but as Darkrai EX decsk are still tier1 decks, Absol is a highly important card against the metagame. The most important thing about Absol it is viability against Klinklang decks. Darkrai EX decks usually struggle against well-played and built Klinklang decks, but with Absol Darkrai EX decks are able to get the advantage. As Absol hits 20 + 20 for each of your OPPONENT’s benched Pokémon, it’s very important to keep Absol a secret from your opponent, because otherwise your opponent can play outplay Absol too easily. Granted, many decks in the current format play the full-bench nonetheless, because they need it, but the most skillful players are still able to outplay Absol even with decks that require the full bench.

Superior Energy Retrieval

I’m s sad that we can’t play the old Super Energy Retrieval, due to the small change in the name. Well, I think every one of you knows, the one and only deck, where Superior Energy Retrieval fits the best – Blastoise. However, before rushing 4 SERs into your deck, I suggest you take a moment to think, does Blastoise really need 4 of them. The answer is no. Especially in the early game, you rarely have over 2 Water Energy cards in your discard pile and Energy Retrieval does the work in these cases so much better. I am still debating whether 2-2 or 3-1 split is better, but one thing is for sure – you really can’t play Blastoise with SER anymore.

Float Stone

Those of you who don’t know, Float Stone is a tool that gives the Pokémon it is attached to a free retreat, thus: Keldeo EX + Float Stone = unlimited retreat during the rest of the game. That’s just how good Float Stone really is. However, I think it’s good to remember that if Keldeo EX+ Float Stone combo gets popular, Garbodors and Tool Scrapper will increase heavily thus making it less playable. However, I don’t believe that in Nationals anyone is predicting the metagame before they see it, so I think it’s a pretty safe play for Nationals. In the World Championships, it’s a whole another story.

I think it’s also good to debate, which is the better play, Switch or Float Stone. I would say that it COMPLETELY depends on the deck you are using. However, at the moment I am still leaning more towards Float Stone, because of its freshness, but I wouldn’t be surprised if at Worlds I would get back playing Switches again!


Kecleon is one of those cards that should have been printed 3-4 sets ago to make the game better. However, it seems that they wanted to make all the impact on the format once again in the set prior to Nationals and Worlds, to make things very interesting for players once again. Kecleo copies everything, from the attack of your opponent’s active Pokémon to its type! So, naturally it’s the best against Pokémon that are weak to themselves (i.e. Psychic Pokémon like Deoxys EX and Mewtwo EX). However, one thing that should also be considered is its viability to turn mirror games around. For example RayEels mirror. OHKOing Rayquaza EX with Kecleon? Nice. You can even copy Raikou EXs attack with Kecleon without sacrificing an EX-Pokémon to it. It can be very good also in Blastoise mirror matches, where to Keldeo EXs or Kyurem EXs face each other. Any deck that struggles with their mirror match-up should try this card out, because it can increase the match-up tremendously, because it’s a non-EX Pokémon.

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/or potential.


Ghetsis is bad. There I said it! As soon as I started playing Ghetsis, I noticed just how bad it actually was. Even though about 40% of decks are Item cards, hand sizes are very small in the current metagame. Why is that? Because Items are played immediately when you get them!

The only cards you may be able to shuffle back into your opponent’s deck are cards like Dark Patch, Hypnotoxic Laser, and Catcher. But they are the cards they want to use, so it’s pretty good right? Well, not exactly. Often you’ll end up HELPING your opponent with Ghetsis.

The following scenario happens ways too often with Ghetsis: Your opponent has a Juniper, 2 Catchers, and a Laser in their hand, which they don’t want to use in vain. You used Ghetsis, shuffle the Items back into their deck, draw 4 cards, and noticed that they are left with a single Juniper and you just saved them their precious resources! I can see Ghetsis be playable if Darkrai EX decks be 80% of the metagame, but as that will never happen, Ghetsis just isn’t worth the hype.

Tornadus EX (Plasma)

I think Tornadus EX is very potential starter for many decks. Shuffle& Drawing for 6 cards is never bad for a set-up deck, but I don’t think it works well in a Plasma deck. The usual weakness for starters is their low HP. However, as Tornadus EX doesn’t have that problem it can work exceptionally well in e.g. decks with Max Potion and stage2 Pokémon. I believe this card will do great things in rogue decks.

Team Plasma’s Poké Ball

Search for any Plasma Pokémon. Kind of obvious that it will be played in Plasma decks. But it’s only good in Plasma decks, so that’s why it only goes to The Small Impact Crater. It’s also good to mention that even though Plasma Ball seems broken, Thundurus EX WANTS to discard energy cards, thus making Ultra Ball a very good card for Plasma decks.


Preventing your opponent from using Items has always been a decent strategy and Dragonite with a huge HP amount has potential, because of that. Of course, being a stage2 eats away its credibility, but I wouldn’t be surprised even if it won a Battle Road or two.


One copy of Bicycle has made an entrance for many decks and that’s why I wouldn’t be surprised to see Electrode techs to pop out here and there as well. Of course playing a 1-1 line in the current fast format is very risky and it doesn’t suit any deck, but I think that drawing force is always welcome for some decks like Blastoise. After 1 card N, Electrode could be very well be the game-winning card for Blastoise decks.

Frozen  City

This card embarked a  lot of discussion ,when I first released my article about Thundurus EX/Deoxys EX. Why wouldn’t you use Frozen City in Plasma decks as there are some very common weaknesses in the deck? The one and only reason for this is that Virbank City Gym is just better! Frozen City’s problem is that it can be countered and it may not do anything, while Virbank does its magic in the turn, when you play it down. It’s a difference that should not be underestimated.


Weavile/Exeggcute is potential, but unfortunately only a tier2. I will try to fix it for Worlds, because I really want to play with a rogue deck in the Worlds’ this year, but I doubt, I’m able to do it. Nonetheless, Weavile is still a super-fun card to play with and something that this format has really missed – it’s a new age Gyarados, just with a lot smaller HP.

Mr. Mime

Mr. Mime, just like Kecleon, is something that the metagame has been longing for a very long time. A Pokémon that negates the damage done to the benched Pokémon! Just think about how many tier1 decks hit the bench: Landorus EX, Raikou EX, Darkrai EX, Kyurem… Almost every single tier1 deck hits the bench and Mr. Mime is able to prevent the damage. Still, Mr. Mime may not see any play do to Pokémon Catcher, which makes Mr. Mime just another easy prize for many decks. There sure is a lot of potential in Mr. Mime as many magical numbers of the current metagame come from the 30 bench damage, but is Catcher able to surpass Mr. Mime’s wall? That is the question that can’t be truthfully answered, before the new metagame starts forming.

Life Dew (ACE Spec.)

Last, but not least, there is Life Dew. Life Dew decreases the prize drawn from the Pokémon it is attached to by one. So if you KO a non-EX Pokémon you don’t draw a prize and if you KO an EX-Pokémon, you get 1 prize - a HUGE difference. Life Dew is great, because I’m sure that we’ll see very creative ways of using the Life Dew/Sableye combo and I can’t wait to see what people will come up with. Being able to give up 9-12 “Prizes” per game is truly remarkable. I think I just got an idea for my Nationals deck…


As previously said, Plasma Freeze is the MOST impactful set of the season. Plasma Pokémon will start disrupting the old tier1 decks a lot and a lot of new techs will make their way into their decks. It will turn around the whole format, which has been pretty much the same ever since Landorus EX was released (that is like over half year!). I like the way Pokémon likes to disrupt the metagame just prior to the biggest tournaments and give a chance to anyone, who is creative enough to come up with something new. New sets are the one thing that a deck builder like me always waits for a lot.

Anyways, I hope you enjoyed the analysis and got something out of it. It’s time to start covering the decks of the new format, so feel free to leave a comment about deck would you like to see an article in the next few weeks. I’ll have my Nationals in the 2nd weekend of June, so don’t expect anything too gam-breaking until then. I can’t guarantee I can make a “new” Hammertime this year, but I try to come up with something big and surprising for Nationals for sure!

Feel free to comment on everything and anything.

Thanks for reading!


  1. "I like the way Pokémon likes to disrupt the metagame just prior to the biggest tournaments and give a chance to anyone, who is creative enough to come up with something new..."

    ... or spend few hundred euros for a few pieces of flashy cardboard.

    I´m playtesting to find a deck that has at least some chance against Plasma deck. Plasma has been way too powerful in my playtesting, and it doesn´t seem to be so that I could get all those Thundurus´and Deoxys´before Nationals...

  2. if you are looking for a nice counter deck there will be definitely no way around darkrai with enhanced hammers to get rid of the special energy the deoxys/lugia/thundurus combo will use. still darkrai seems to be a very solid contender for nationals and worlds though.

    I look forward so much to the use of Plasma Badge. With Plasma Freeze this format offers so many possibilities i won't be suprised if people come up with some crazy deck combos and hopefully consider cards, that maybe never made it into competetive gaming so far. We'll see.

  3. I think a few of your assessments are based too much on opinion and not on status of the game.

    Electrode most likely wont see play despite its obvious uses. Tournadus EX is not a good starter for any deck as it is a EX support pokemon with nothing going for it.

    Absol is fine in Darkrai, but its too slow and cumbersome to really be a game changer.

    Execute is well worthless period.

    Also I dont forsee Deoxys staying ever above 20 with the common pulls of him I have been seeing. Full Arts will be costly same with thundarous but that is about it.

    However I normally agree with your postings this one I feel is flawed.

  4. quad cobalion ex pair it with garbodor xDDDD

  5. Esa what do you think of a rogue Ampharos DRX + Frozen City? Obviously you need Team Plasma Badges, Deoxys EX etc., and you have no Hypnotoxic Laser to help you, but you spread around a lot of damage quickly between 5 damage counters each time they attach an Energy, a few Hammers to force them to reattach Energy to increase the efficiency of the Energy lock.

    Obviously it kinda flops around against Darkrai, Eels and Plasma Basics, but do you think it has a positive matchup against the other decks?

  6. For life dew you could play sableye aagron and recycle the life dew with junk hunt.

    1. Spent last night testing that. Plasma Basics runs it over too hard, and it can't disrupt Blastoise's setup. AMAZING Rayeels matchup and I feel it has an advantage against Darkrai decks as well.

  7. For Imittack to work (Kecleon) does it need just the "amount of energy" from the attack its imitating or does it also require the same color?

    For Example: Latias EX's Barrier Break requires (R)(P)(C) - does Kecleon need RPC or just 3 energies total?

    Which then leads to another issue, do I need 4 total energies? 1 for Imittack and 3 for Barrier Break?

    1. Yeah you need the exact energy requirements. No you don't need 4 energy.

    2. So EXACT energy requirements are then SAME ENERGY TYPE as in the example above for Latias EX - RPC ?

      Which then as Esa mentioned "For example RayEels mirror. OHKOing Rayquaza EX with Kecleon? " I'm assuming then that I would need something like RLLL in order to OHKO my opponents Rayquaza EX then? And I'm also assuming, since I'm imitating this attack that I would also discard my energies as well?

      I guess the easiest way to find out will be via Pokemon TCG online...

    3. 1. Yes, but exact energy requirements it means the same type and amount if energy.
      2. In the RayEels situation, it would actually just be RLL because of weakness.
      3. Yes, you would discard energies.

  8. Kecleon seems like the ultimate troll. Imagine a mirror match of Blastoise/Black Kyurem EX and Kecleon swings in and copies Black Ballista. I would lmfao if that happened.

  9. LuffymcDuck: Well, to be honest even though Plasma will be very dominant, counter decks are always a lot cheaper. There really isn't any other expensive EXs in the format other than the Plasma ones and they will be expensive only for a moment. In fact, at the moment even I don't have money for the Plasma deck, so I have already came up with a great and cheap plan a! And the deck I'm going to play at Worlds Championships will be cheap as heck as well.

    Morris; Yeah, Darkrai EX won't disappear anywhere and even though I love Hammertime, I don't think that Darkrai EX really needs Hammers to have an even fight against Plasma decks. It's that good.

    Thomas: True, Electrode can be pretty useless in the beginning, because the format is fast enough atm, but I believe we will see it in the future once the game settles down.

    However, I must stand behind my Absol statement. It really is broken in Darkrai EX and just makes Klinklang an unplayable deck. not to mention that with PoisonCombo and Dark Claw it is able to OHKO a 170HP Basic. With only 2 energy! When it comes as a surprise, it really is a game changer.

    Exeggcute has potential to be a great tech (especially for Empoleon decks), but of course its full potential will be shown only later in the season.

    Also, I don't know about the pulls of Deoxys EX, but the fact that everyone wants 4 copies of it, makes it the most expensive EX in the game at the moment.

    Venkata: Well, to be honest, I think stage2 decks are dead at the moment. NO matter how youy look at it, Basic decks are just too fast, powerful and more consistent. If someone wants to win a tournament, they must run a Basic deck or a stage1 deck like Garbodor or Eeletrik. JMHO.

    Anonymous2: That's true! I even wrote to my Underground article about it.

    Kevin: Just like you were answered. It's good to really notice that when it comes to Rayquaza EX, its weak to itself thus decreasing the energy requirements for the OHKO by one energy.

    Anonymous6: I think that will be a lot more common scenario than you would first think of, haha! I can't wait to see Kecleon in action, because especially in Blastoise and Eelektriks mirrors it's sick.

  10. How's quad sig gonna be affected? I love running quad sig even with its flaws. Pairing sig with latias seems cool but what are your ideas for countering plasma with sig? It just seems impossible with the speed and power of kyurem and deoxys decks..

    1. Quad Sigilyph won't be affected much by the upcoming metagame. Primarily because it already nose-dived last metagame, and even in BW-BCR it was gimmicky and only did well at the Cities level.

      But to improve the deck and give it a fighting chance against Absol, Kyurem, Shred Rayquaza/Victini, Black Kyurem regular/Blastoise in general...

      Yeah you're screwed man. Every single tier 1 deck has a fine non-EX attacker that can decimate Quad Sigilyph. Klinklang at least doesn't get OHKO'd by everything on that list. Quad Sigi does though.

  11. Haha, thanks for the shout-out on Exeggcute Esa :P

    Right now, we're working on a decent rogue that has some potential to beat the metagame. Not sure on the optimal way to build it though. Still... it looks promising. I think Mr. Mime is also a big Rogue-aiding card as it greatly aids Stage 2 setup decks. And there are a lot of Stage 2's that are bad primarily because their Basics can be finished off via snipe. Or if not, they enter the game damaged, and become easy Catcher-targets.

    Like... Reuniclus could be viable again. That is a very, very powerful card.

  12. Esa, i sent you a e-mail, hope you can give me a response :D Thanks :D

  13. I think the leafeon is best. Its 1 colorless energy move does 20× the number of energys your opponent has in play, plus its a grass type so it doubles all damage to keldeo/blastoise decks.

    1. I run it in my keldeo blastoise deck for saftey

  14. I think life dew works best with dragonite. They cant scrap your tool and if they KO you they dont take a prize. Maybe use a few recycles to get it back. What do you guys think?

  15. Leafeon with darkrai? Could that ever work?


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