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Ness's Nest
with Jason Klaczynski
September 6, 2010

The Top 50 Pokémon Cards
of All Time
#'s 31 thru 40

 

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.

Click here to see card #'s 41-50

#40 Medicham ex (Emerald)

Formats legal: Modified (2005-2006)

 

Medicham ex dominated the 2005 format, with Wise Aura crippling every deck's reliance on either Pidgeot's Quick Search or Magcargo's Smooth Over. Without these powers, decks struggled to set up and Pure Power could pick off anything on the bench while a hopeless Pokemon was stranded active by Pow! Hand Extension. One of the neat tricks with Pure Power is that you could avoid taking prize cards until a later turn, which worked with Rocket's Admin., Pow! Hand Extension, and also prevented your opponent from effectively using Scramble Energy.

          

---------- 

#39 Double Rainbow Energy (Team Aqua vs. Team Magma, Crystal Guardians)

Formats legal: Modified (2004-2008)

  

Double Rainbow Energy was legal at a time Double Colorless Energy was not; so, while many cards that had a two colorless attack costs would have preferred it (Nidoqueen, Ludicolo, Dark Tyranitar, Dark Ampharos, Gardevoir & Gallade in 2008), they settled for Double Rainbow Energy. Of course, the drawback of -10 damage was often insignificant, while the bonus of powering almost any attack you can think of made it a great addition to some decks. Cards like Dusknoir & Infernape were two of the strongest combinations.

    
 
     

----------  

#38 Dunsparce (Sandstorm)

Formats legal: Modified (2004-2005)

 

Dunsparce was the set-up card in 2004, with all evolution decks running four. It grabbed three basic Pokemon, allowing you to evolve them on your next turn. You could also use Sudden Flash to stall if you found yourself in a desperate situation.

 ------------

 #37 Pow! Hand Extension (Team Rocket Returns)

Formats legal: Modified (2005-2006)

 

There were some cool tricks this card let you pull off. Combined with Rocket's Admin., Pow! Hand Extension took away valuable special energy cards, trapped high-retreat Pokemon, allowed you to KO vulnerable benched Pokemon. Countless comebacks in 2005 & 2006 began with a crucial Pow! Hand Extension.

    

----------- 

#36 Holon's Castform (Holon Phantoms)

Formats legal: Modified (2007-2008)

 

Holon's Castform powered attacks on Pokemon that would be otherwise impractical for decks to use. This included Lugia ex's Elemental Blast and Steelix ex's Mudslide. The card also worked great with Mew ex's Versatile Poke-Body to provide the necessary energy to use any attack in play. It was easily accessed with cards like Holon Mentor, and was also a great opening Pokemon in decks that played high amounts of Delta Pokemon.

     

 -------------------------

#35 Metal Energy (Neo: Genesis, Expedition, Ruby/Sapphire, Delta Species, Holon Phantoms, Emerald, Unseen Forces, Power Keepers, Mysterious Treasures, Secret Wonders, Rising Rivals, Undaunted)

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

  

   

The first Metal Energy could be used to reduce damage non-metal Pokemon did to themselves by 20, which worked great with Rocket's Zapdos and Chansey. After metal energy was rewritten in Ruby/Sapphire, it still remained a powerful card with Metal Pokemon. Stacking several Metal Energies on a Pokemon like Dialga G LV X can be a pain in the butt for your opponent to KO.

    

 ------------------

#34 PlusPower (Base, Base 2, Diamond & Pearl, Secret Wonders, Platinum, Unleashed)

Formats legal: Standard (1999-2002), Modified (2007-)

  

Any solid card that let you score quick wins is going to be on this list. PlusPower has ruined many unlucky Pokemon players' days, with opponents drawing through their decks looking for as many copies as they could to score a turn one win. Of course, it was always good midgame to turn attacks that were just short of a KO into a KO. It would eventually come back to modified and see some play, but never had the same strength it had during its first few years.

 --------------------------------

 #33 Mewtwo (Promo)

Formats legal: Standard (1999-2002), Modified (2000)

 

A great counter to Hitmonchan and a powerful, speedy attacker. Mewtwo was seen in many decks until Neo: Genesis released two strong, psychic-resistant basic Pokemon. Energy Absorption was a great combo with Super Energy Removal.

    

#32 Hitmonchan (Base, Base 2, Platinum)

Formats legal: Standard (1999-2002), Modified (2009-)

 

Hitmonchan was a beast during the first year of Pokemon. It's high HP and cheap attacks allowed it to run over decks with fast KOs. It wasn't until Scyther was released that this card would be kept in check. Even then, it still saw play.

 

Reprinted in Platinum as a gimmick, it is technically legal in Modified, but no longer a strong card.

--------------------------------- 

#31 Scyther (Jungle, Base 2, Platinum)

Formats Legal: Standard (1999-2002), Modified (2009-)

 

Scyther was the first card that effectively countered Hitmonchan. A free retreater with a colorless attack, Scyther was a solid Pokemon to open with, and splashed into just about any deck during the first year it was released. It saw play in 2001 and 2002, too.

Like Hitmonchan, Scyther was also reprinted in Platinum, but only as a gimmick, and is not a viable tournament card.

 

 

 


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