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Ness's Nest
with Jason Klaczynski
September 3, 2010

The Top 50 Pokémon Cards
of All Time
#'s 41 thru 50

 

Below I've ranked what I believe are the Top 50 Pokemon cards of all time. Now, you're probably wondering, how did I determine which cards were better than others? Well, for each card, I considered three different things:

 

#1 The Strength of the card

Self-explanatory. How good was the card? Did it win games? Was it easy to counter?


#2 Longevity of the card

Over the card's lifespan, how long was this card good? Some cards were legal for more years than others, so I don't consider a card that was good all four years it was legal much better than a card that was equally good for the two years it was legal. Instead, I try to look at it by averaging its strength over its lifespan, but weighed slightly in favor of ranking the card in its prime.

 

#3 Versatility of the card

Cards that can be played in more decks are better cards. That's why you'll see a lot of trainers at the top of this list: these cards weren't just good, but they were used to win games in a variety of decks. You'll also see Pokemon that are used for Poke-Powers higher than a lot of Pokemon that require a specific type of energy.

 

Another way to interpret versatility was if a card was playable in both Standard and Modified. I gave a small bonus to cards that were good in both formats.

 

Not familiar with Standard and Modified?

Standard is the first tournament format used in the Pokemon TCG. It allowed players to use all Pokemon cards. While it technically still exists today (called "unlimited"), the last legitimate tournament for it was held in 2002, so anything from the first three sets (Base, Jungle & Fossil) rotated out in 2002, as far as me, common sense and this article are concerned. 


Standard Game

------

 

The second format, called Modified, began in 2001. The first modified format allowed cards only from the Team Rocket, Gym Heroes, Gym Challenge and Neo: Genesis expansions. In the modified format, the oldest four or five sets rotate out at the end of each year, or "season." This keeps the game interesting and also makes access to tournament-legal cards easier for new players. Modified is the official format of all sanctioned Pokemon TCG tournaments today, and the annual Pokemon TCG World Championships.


Modified Game

 

Overall, I spent over 16 hours re-arranging and moving cards off & on this list. After all, ranking cards isn't a perfect science. For those of you that are long time players of the Pokemon TCG, you will be taking a trip down Pokemon memory lane. And for the rest of you who never really played competitively, I'm sure you'll still get a kick seeing which cards had the biggest impacts on the game.

 

#50 Mew ex (Legend Maker)

Formats legal: Modified (2006-2007)

 

There was one combination of cards that made Mew ex strong and that combination won me my first World Championship. The idea revolved around using Mew ex to copy Manectric ex's Disconnect attack after playing either a Battle Frontier or Cursed Stone stadium. In 2006, almost every deck was devastated by one of these two stadiums. (Remember, Stadiums used to count as Trainers in 2006.) The main reason you used Mew ex to attack rather than Manetric ex itself is because you wanted to be able to repeat this attack. If you attacked with Manectric ex, you could lose your ability to repeat Disconnect after it was knocked out. This relentless barrage of one attack would shut decks down, and many of the games the deck won were by simply using Disconnect on every turn that wasn't the first or last turn of the game.

   

 

 ------------------

 

#49 Electabuzz (Base, Base 2)

Formats legal: Standard (1999-2002)

 

A powerful, quick basic that was usually paired with Hitmonchan or Mewtwo. Electabuzz's fighting weakness was its only issue, but when cards like Mewtwo & Scyther scared players from playing Hitmonchan, Electabuzz became even stronger.

 

 

 ----------------

 

#48 Ancient Technical Machine [Rock] (Hidden Legends)

Formats legal: Modified (2004-2006)

 

Ancient Technical Machine [Rock] worked great because so many decks during its lifespan involved using Rare Candy to evolve their basics directly into Stage 2 Pokemon. Picture your opponent has just played three Rare Candies to evolve three basic Pokemon into Stage 2s. This situation would usually look grim for you. However, using the Stone Generator attack on Ancient Technical Machine [Rock] turns all these Stage 2 Pokemon back into basics. Now, your opponent has just wasted three of their four Rare Candies!

 

There was a neat trick with this card, too. It involved the fact that players would often attach Double Rainbow Energy and Scramble Energy on the Stage 2 Pokemon they evolved from Rare Candy. When you used Stone Generator and turned them back to basic Pokemon, these energy cards would be discarded, since they cannot be attached to basic Pokemon. 

 

As if the card weren't strong enough by itself, it was even deadlier when paired with Dark Tyranitar & Dark Ampharos. Attaching an Ancient Technical Machine to Dark Tyranitar and using Stone Generator was extremely powerful, because all the Stage 1 and Rare Candied Stage 2 Pokemon would turn into basics, and then immediately take Sand Damage. Then, when your opponent re-evolved his Pokemon, Dark Ampharos' Darkest Impulse would put two more damage counters on them. If you repeated this process the damage would accumulate and the second or third Stone Generator would often wipe out half of your opponent's board!

       

 --------------------- 

 

#47 Recycle Energy (Neo: Genesis)

Formats legal: Standard (2000-2002), Modified (2001-2003)

 

Recycle Energy wasn't just great against Energy Removal & Super Energy Removal, but worked great with Super Energy Removal. You could choose Recycle Energy as your energy to discard, which would return it to your hand. The card was great in unlimited where Energy Removal & Super Energy Removal were rampant. Additionally, it allowed you to get away with less energy than you would usually have to play, since it would never go to the discard pile from play.

 

 

 

 -----------------

 

#46 Focus Band (Neo: Genesis)

Formats legal: Standard (2000-2002), Modified (2001-2003)

 

Focus Band was a card that dominated the Modified format. In a format where players built powerful evolution cards like Feraligatr & Blaine's Arcanine, games were often decided on Focus Band flips. Flipping heads on Focus Band meant your powerful Pokemon survived another turn. This meant two things: your opponent wouldn't get a prize that turn, and your opponent would have to deal with another attack from your surviving Pokemon. Focus Band could also be attached to baby Pokemon to force your opponent to need two favorable coin flips for a KO. This was particularly useful when trying to buy turns to set up when you were falling behind.

 

It did see some play in Standard, too, often attached to baby Pokemon and other low HP basics that were otherwise easy to KO.

 

 

 ---------------- 

 

#45 Spiritomb (Arceus)

Formats legal: Modified (2009-)

 

Spiritomb was one of the first cards that actually provided an answer to the trainer-heavy SP decks that have dominated the last two seasons. It slows the game down, and allows evolution heavy decks to set up without being run over by the speed and disruption SP decks gain from cards like Energy Gain & Power Spray.

 

 

 -----------------

 

#44 Ditto (Fossil)

Formats legal: Standard (1999-2002)

 

Transform allowed any energy attached to Ditto to provide any energy type. This meant Double Colorless Energy could be used to provide two of whatever energy types you needed. This made Ditto easy to power, and a great counter to Mewtwo & Sneasel.

   

 

 -------------------

 

#43 Luxray GL LV. X (Rising Rivals)

Formats legal: Modified (2009-)

 

It's not just a speedy attacker, but an option to run in any deck to allow you to KO weak Pokemon, or trap high-retreat Pokemon active. Free retreat makes it even better. The only issue with this card is its fighting weakness makes it an easy target for Toxicroak G.

 

 

 

 -----------------

 

#42 Call Energy (Majestic Dawn)

Formats legal: Modified (2008-)

 

 

Going first in Pokemon is often a disadvantage because you aren't allowed to play Trainer, Supporter or Stadium cards on the first turn of the game. Good players relied on Supporter cards like Roseanne's Research and Pokemon Collector to get their basic Pokemon out so that they could evolve next turn. However, if you play first you cannot play these Supporters and you will need to wait until next turn to fetch your basic Pokemon. Call Energy allows you to get your basic Pokemon out turn one, so they can be evolved on your next turn. This allowed Stage 2 decks to get Claydol out quickly, which helped them draw into the cards needed to evolve the rest of their Pokemon.

 

Don't think Call Energy is just for evolution decks, though. It also works in some SP-Pokemon decks, allowing you to get 3 SP-Pokemon out on the first turn, and immediately use Power Spray.

 

     

 

--------------------------- 

 

#41 Wigglytuff (Jungle, Base Set 2)

Formats legal: Standard (1999-2002)

 

Wigglytuff was the first evolved Pokemon to actually have success in the Pokemon TCG. Do the Wave combined with one PlusPower scored a one-hit KO on Hitmonchan, Electabuzz, Scyther and Mewtwo, four cards that dominated the early years of the game. Wigglytuff could go off on turn two via Double Colorless Energy, but was kept in check by Super Energy Removal.

 
      

 

 


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