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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Tornadus #98

Emerging Powers

Date Reviewed: August 15, 2011

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 3.75
Limited: 4.75

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being the worst. 
3 ... average.  
5 is the highest rating.

Back to the main COTD Page

Combos With:


Welcome back, Pojo readers! I hope that all of you enjoyed Worlds this past weekend, and are now looking forward to the new season. Today we start a new week of reviewing cards from the new Emerging Powers expansion, starting with one of the new genie-like Pokemon, which happens to be the only pure Flying-type in the video games. Today's Card of the Day is Tornadus.

Tornadus is a Basic Colorless Pokemon. Colorless is an excellent type to be, because Colorless Pokemon can use any Energy type without penalty, and thus fit very well into any deck. 110 HP is also pretty good for a Basic Pokemon, only slightly lower than Reshiram, Zekrom, and fellow newcomer Terrakion. Lightning Weakness is rather unfortunate due to the presence of Zekrom and Magnezone, Fighting Resistance is great again the random Donphans, Machamps, or possibly new Krookodiles running about. Finally, a Retreat Cost of 1 is decent and payable.

Tornadus has two attacks, both of which are supposed to combo with each other. Energy Wheel costs a single Colorless Energy, and allows you to move an Energy from one of your Benched Pokemon to Tornadus. This attack really isn't that great, as you're not going to want to waste the time moving an Energy through an attack when you can simply attach a Double Colorless Energy, and then accelerate the third some other way, like Typhlosion or Emboar. Speaking of getting three Energy onto Tornadus, Hurricane deals a fairly good 80 damage for the cost of three Colorless, with the side effect of having to move a basic Energy from Tornadus onto one of your Benched Pokemon. This is a fairly strong attack with little drawback, as most of the time you will be able to easily replenish the Energy moved, all while potentially powering up your Benched Pokemon, meaning that it does a decent job of setting you up as well.

Modified 3.5/5 I think that Tornadus is easily one of the best cards from Emerging Powers. Being Colorless allows it to fit into any deck, its beefy 110 HP allows it to function as a powerful Basic if you want to increase your deck's Basic count, and its decent Hurricane attack and Fighting Resistance allow Tornadus to be a decent Donphan counter or all-purpose secondary attacker. Not all is fun and games for this Cyclone Pokemon, though: Weakness to Lightning means that Zekrom, Magnezone, and even Pachirisu OHKO with very little effort. That being said, Tornadus's flexibility is one of its strongest points, and this is a card that will probably see quite a bit of play this format.

Limited: 5/5 Tornadus is, simply put, a Limited bomb. It has amazing HP for a Basic, has Colorless Energy requirements, and does 80 damage consistently with very little drawback, even powering up the other Pokemon on your Bench. If you're playing Sealed there's no reason you shouldn't throw this into your deck, and if you're drafting, this is easily a first pick.


Welcome to another week of CotDs, though this week is a little special for two reasons. First we are going to be reviewing at least some of the cards leaked from the next set, BW: Emerging Powers. Second if you weren’t paying attention the 2011 Pokémon World Championships were this weekend! Most of the top performing cards I saw (second hand via other people’s reports – I was no where near the World Championships) are cards we’ve reviewed recently, and as this isn’t a tournament report I’ll skip the details and just say that it gives the staff a much clearer picture of what this format is shaping up to be.


So today we look at Tornadus, who continues the Black & White-era trend of Big Basic Pokémon! Being a Basic Pokémon makes it simple to drop into play and easy to fit into decks. Tornadus is a Colorless Pokémon and unless this set adds some, we don’t have any Colorless support or counter cards in Modified nor is Colorless Weakness/Resistance currently an issue as most popular decks lack either.

Tornadus enjoys a beefy 110 HP, only 20 points less than the record setting Reshiram and Zekrom from the previous set. Only the strongest attacks will OHKO it, and only the fastest, hardest hitting decks have a chance of taking it down turn one. The Lightning-Type Weakness will aid some decks in that, but fortunately the one deck that I could think of with a realistic chance of taking Tornadus down on the very first turn of the game would already have been using a Lightning-Type attacker, Zekrom. This becomes fortunate in that Zekrom will be forced to “overkill” Tornadus since it would have OHKOed Tornadus even without Weakness being a factor. Similarly, Magnezone Prime will either need a PlusPower or else still remove two Energy cards when attacking, though this won’t be an issue first turn. This Weakness is still unfortunate, but it will be the less obvious times when it hurts, like being taken down by Zekrom using Outrage when it only has four damage counters on it.

Tornadus does enjoy Resistance, and it is even a relevant Resistance: Fighting -20. Donphan Prime is the main expected Fighting Pokémon for competitive play, and as long as that remains so this still comes in handy: Tornadus will be able to survive two unaided Earthquake shots from Donphan Prime, and as you’ll soon see Tornadus is no slouch in dealing damaged either. Tornadus also enjoys a single Energy Retreat Cost. This is a common value on a Basic Pokémon but less so for big basic Pokémon. You should be able to get it out of the Active slot pretty easily.


Tornadus has two attacks. The first is just not that good: for (C) Energy Wheel lets you move an Energy from one of your Benched Pokémon to Tornadus. I don’t know if this was an emergency fallback option for the card or part of some anticipated combo, but it seems to fall into the “great ability, lousy attack” class of attacks. I am sure there are a few realistic uses for this attack, but mostly it is just there as a placeholder and perhaps late game if you’re desperate and out of Energy; it then keeps the drawback of the second attack from ruining your offense entirely. Simply put there is little to no benefit of sending this up front and having it take an extra hit just to salvage some Energy that might be on another Pokémon, especially when the attack only moves a single Energy card! This would have been killer as Ability, of course. Did I mention that without Energy acceleration, this attack is useless first turn?

The second attack is good: Hurricane delivers 80 points of damage for (CCC) and forces you to move a Basic Energy card attached to Tornadus to one of your Benched Pokémon. It is obviously too early for rulings, but based on how it is worded I am assuming if you use all Special Energy on this card, you don’t have to move anything at all. While the effect is probably primarily meant as a drawback, a savvy player can turn it to his/her advantage by making sure Tornadus doesn’t “lose” as much Energy when it is KOed. Indeed this is probably why it only affects Basic Energy cards: if it worked on Special Energy it would open up several combos, most useful being saving a Double Colorless Energy by moving it when you expect to be KO’d next turn. While not as hard hitting as some big attacks, for a Basic that can use any Type of Energy it is about as fast and strong as you could hope for without a crippling drawback.


I like to think of this as the “Big Basic Back-Up Pokémon” or “Big Basic Pokémon For The Rest Of Us”. By that I mean that this is not as good as Zekrom or Reshiram, but is a suitable back-up (whether being used as an opener or a closer) for either of them, and is almost completely generic for deck design: if a deck runs Double Colorless Energy, a deck can afford to work in Tornadus as an opener/cleaner. It isn’t an opener in the purest sense unless specific conditions are met, first turn it can’t use its “good” attack and possible not even its poor back-up attack. If you partner it with a second opener that doesn’t need your first turn Energy attachment or you have some form of Energy acceleration in your deck, it can come right out the gate.

As stated earlier, it can be to your benefit to constantly be sending a Basic Energy card from Tornadus to your next attacker, even if it is just another Tornadus. This is a refreshing change from the two dominant Big Basic Pokémon (Reshiram and Zekrom) since those two actually need decks dedicated to them to repeatedly hit as hard as they do. 80 points of damage is less than what you’ll get from those two but their drawbacks are more severe and 80 points of damage will OHKO all but the biggest Basic Pokémon unaided. It will also KO the smaller Stage 1 Pokémon set just about anything else up to be taken down with one more hit the next turn.

I really think we might see a return of the classic “Haymaker” style deck now that we have yet another Big Basic Pokémon to build a deck around. Zekrom/Pachirisu/Shaymin decks can now flesh themselves out with both Bouffalant (Revenge version) and Tornadus and while the mid-game performance is still weak, early and late game are covered. There are one or two other cards needed, but they are either coming out in this set (Pokémon Catcher) or coming in future sets if translations are accurate (X-Transceiver, an Item that searches your deck for a Supporter). Of course without know every card that is coming down the road I could be horribly wrong, and such a deck must hit hard and fast enough to prevent everything else from setting up, or it faces an extremely difficult uphill battle. We’ll be looking at another Pokémon that easily fits into this deck tomorrow, but that card fits a little too well and Tornadus can cover the Fighting Weakness of Zekrom and Pachirisu.

In Unlimited, this card isn’t bad but I can’t think of where it’d be used that something else wouldn’t be better, and that of course already starts with the assumption you’re playing in a slightly laid back area or one that prohibits use of the now brutal first turn combos available in Unlimited due to the rules changes we got with Black & White. Even in this “nicer” scenario I’d think combo decks have better specific options. If the first attack was any good this might be different, but this is a format where (CCC) is one Energy too much for a Basic to be fast. You might, might find a slight use still as an opener with a Call Energy attached, as this would allow you to perform a useful set-up role and if your opponent doesn’t burn resources to deal with Tornadus, a single Double Colorless Energy will make them regret that.

For Limited play, this is a must run unless the rest of the set is almost mono-Lightning, or at least dominated by that Type. All the good aspects about this card improve, and the negative become less problematic. It even has Energy requirements that allow it to fit into any conceivable deck (unless there is something that allows for an extremely low Energy build).


Unlimited: 2/5

Modified: 4/5

Limited: 5/5


Tornadus is going to be a presence, but exactly how much of a presence is still up for debate. It won’t dethrone Zekrom or Reshiram because they still are bigger, hit harder, and to take full advantage of Tornadus will require a similar level of support. Many decks could make good use of Tornadus without tapping its full potential easier than they can Reshiram or Zekrom, so it is quite, quite realistic to expect it everywhere at least for the next month or so.

Deck Garage

8/15/11: Tornadus(Emerging Powers)
Huh, wait what? Writing CoTDs? Uhh...sure?
Tornadus continues the post-BW trend set by Reshiram and Zekrom, where legendaries are AWESOME! Honestly, remember the days where legendaries had 4-energy attacks that only did 70 damage, and had disastrous effects to boot. Oh, the days...of two sets ago. But I digress.
The basic stats are all pretty solid for a basic; 110 HP is nice, colorless is always good in a format with DCE, any resistance is nice, really, and while there are Lightning types see play, I'd argue that Lightning weakness isn't nearly as bad as last format, because Magnezone and Zekrom are built to one-shot Pokemon anyway, and weakness isn't as much of a factor. Speaking of last format, Hurricane looks awfully similar to Garchomp C Lv. X's Dragon Rush, in that it's a 3-energy attack for 80 damage. In some ways, Hurricane is better than Dragon Rush; Hurricane can't snipe off the bench, for example, and moving energy to your bench is arguably worse than discarding it, but Tornadus' advantage is that it's a basic, whereas Garchomp C, while considered a basic by the game rules, was basically a glorified Stage 1 because of the Level X. Garchomp C is still better, if only because it's an SP, and therefore gets all the awesome SP engine tricks we all know and love, but Tornadus is a very acceptable substitute, considering the format. I should also mention its first attack, because it's useful due to its synergy with Hurricane, but I can't really add anything to it that you, the reader, couldn't figure out for yourself.
Modified: 3.75/5

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