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Ness's Nest
with Jason Klaczynski
September 7, 2010

The Top 50 Pokémon Cards
of All Time
#'s 21 thru 30

 

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

Click here to see cards #'s 31-40

#30 Rocket's Zapdos (Gym Challenge)

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

 

Rocket's Zapdos was a speedy basic that fit into the same theme of trainer-heavy decks as Hitmonchan, Electabuzz, Scyther & Mewtwo. Electroburn could one-hit KO other high HP basic Pokemon. With no weakness and combo-ing well with Defender, Metal Energy and Gold Berry, Rocket's Zapdos was not an easy KO, either. 

        
    

 -------------------------------

#29 Crobat G (Platinum)

Formats legal: Modified (2009-)

Pokemon that are 10, 20, and 30 damage away from KO are no longer safe as Crobat G, combined with Poke Turn brings extra damage out of no where. It prevents players from retreating heavily damaged Pokemon to avoid KOs as Flash Bite can pick them off on the bench. Additionally, it occasionally works like Base Set's PlusPower to score a quick turn one or two KO.

  

-------------------

#28 Poke Turn (Platinum)

Formats legal: Modified (2009-)

 

It allows you to re-use Crobat G's Flash Bite, save your damaged SP-Pokemon, and has a variety of other intricate tricks. Easily accessible via Cyrus's Conspiracy, Poke Turn is just one of the many reasons SP-Pokemon dominated 2009 & 2010.

   

 ------------ 

#27 Gardevoir (Secret Wonders)

Formats legal: Modified (2008-2010)

 

The focus of my Worlds-winning deck in 2008, Gardevoir had so many things going for it that made it good. For one, it fits easily into the same deck as Gallade, since both evolve from Kirlia. Secondly, all legitimate Modified decks had to run a variety of supporters to be competitive, which gave you more Telepass options. There were some supporters your opponent couldn't even play, because if they did, your ability to re-use them each turn would surely lose them the game, namely Cyrus's Initiative and Judge. One helpful Supporter opponents could rarely avoid playing was Bebe's Search as they needed it to evolve their Pokemon. As soon as your opponent played Bebe's Search you were guaranteed the option to fetch any Pokemon from your deck every turn Gardevoir remained in play. This allowed you to keep the swarm of Gardevoirs and Psychic Lock attacks coming.

        

--------------------------------

#26 Lass (Base, Base 2)

Formats legal: Standard (1999-2002)

 

Lass was actually a mediocre card in the early years of the game, where it was occasionally used to solidify an advantage when you had your opponent in a bad spot. However, it became a staple in every deck after Cleffa debuted in Neo: Genesis.

 

 -------------------

#25 Broken Time Space (Platinum)

Formats legal: Modified (2009-)

 

Broken Time Space allowed evolution based decks relying on Claydol's Cosmic Power to be extremely fast. Broken Time Space also works in combination with Super Scoop Up, allowing you to return high HP evolved Pokemon to your hand, then instantly re-evolve them back into play.

    

 ----------------------

#24 Rocket's Admin. (Team Rocket Returns)

Formats legal: Modified (2005-2006)

 

One of the greatest comeback cards of all time, Rocket's Admin. was a card that rewarded skilled players. A well-timed Admin. could sometimes reverse even a 6-1 prize deficit. The card paired well with EX-Pokemon, which gave up two prizes. After your opponent KO'd your first EX-Pokemon you could immediately hit them down to four cards and limit their options. Then, after a 2nd KO hitting them to two (or one) was devastating.

  

 ----------------------------

 #23 Feraligatr (Neo: Genesis)

Formats legal: Standard (1999-2002), Modified (2001-2003)

 

Feraligatr was never a great card in Standard, but it sure was a beast in Modified, claiming several STS titles. In 2001, Feraligatr decks claimed six of the Top 8 slots in the 15+ division. Fueled by two Gym Heroes trainers (Misty's Wrath & Trash Exchange), Feraligatr's Riptide attack could score a one-hit KO anything it encountered. Meanwhile, it's high HP put it out of one-hit KO range for most of your opponent's Pokemon. 

  

-------------------------- 

#22 Cyrus's Conspiracy (Platinum)

Formats legal: Modified (2009-)

 

Half the decks you played in 2009 and 2010 ran four of them and that's not changing anytime soon. Cyrus's Conspiracy offers an almost unfair Supporter engine to already powerful SP-Pokemon. Access to your choice of SP Radar, Energy Gain, Power Spray & Poke Turn anytime you need them is what keeps SP decks fast, consistent and disruptive.

        

 -------------------

#21 Sneasel (Neo: Genesis)

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

 

The first card to ever be banned from a Pokemon tournament, Sneasel was a powerhouse that usually one hit KO'd 70 HP Pokemon for two energy. This included Hitmonchan, Electabuzz, Rocket's Zapdos and Scyther. It's free retreat, lack of weakness, and psychic resistance just added to its strength. The only thing keeping this card in check was Energy Removal & Super Energy Removal. So what did people do? They ran it with Slowking so their opponents couldn't even play those cards.

       
    

 

 

 


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