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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Top 10 Boundaries Crossed Countdown!

#5 - Keldeo EX

- Boundaries Crossed

Date Reviewed: Nov. 12, 2012

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 4.07
Limited: 4.40

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:

Baby Mario
2010 UK National

#5 Keldeo-EX (Boundaries Crossed)

Hello and welcome to the second part of our Boundaries Crossed top 10 countdown here on Pojo’s CotD. Everything from now on in is almost certainly going to be a top tier card that you will be seeing a lot during City Championships. I actually had Keldeo at #5 on my list as well, but since it was submitted, I’ve started to revise my opinion of this card, and I think it should be placed higher than this.

What you have here is a Basic EX Pokémon with 170 HP – not quite top of the range, but close enough. The Water Typing hasn’t mattered much recently, but with Landorus-EX expected to be a big card in the coming format, it’s starting to look more than useful. The Grass Weakness is just about the best thing you could hope for on the card (certainly a lot better than Lightning). Right now there are zero playable Grass Pokémon that are capable of countering this card. The closest would be Virizion NVI, but that would either need Vileplume in play, or to be doing Leaf Wallop for the second time and have a PlusPower! Looks like we might need a Verizion-EX at some point in the future. The only downside to Keldeo is the Retreat cost of two: as usual, this is a pain to pay, and just shy of making it searchable with Heavy Ball. I have to say though . . . when you see what the card can do, anything less would be ridiculous.

Keldeo’s Ability – Rush In – makes me wonder if the translators were making some kind of pun here (foals rush in where angels fear to tread), but the Ability itself is absolutely no joke: once during your turn, if Keldeo is on your Bench, you may switch it with the active Pokémon. Obviously, this is great in a dedicated Keldeo deck if your opponent tries to buy a turn by using Pokémon Catcher on your support Pokémon (usually Blastoise), but it also means Keldeo has wider applications as a tech card against Paralyse Lock strategies (Accelgor DEX, Thunder Wave Tynamo + Fliptini etc). If your main attacker is Paralysed, you can search out Keldeo, Rush In, then retreat again (Darkrai-EX or even Skyarrow Bridge will help with the cost).

This Ability alone would be enough to get Keldeo some competitive play, but the fact is that he also has a pretty good attack too. Secret Sword seems underpowered at first glance, doing just 50 damage for three Energy of any Colour, but actually it is capable of OHKOing any card in the format (yes, even Wailord!), because the damage increases by 20 for each Water Energy attached to Keldeo. This gives you some nice flexibility with the card: yes, you can use it as a tech attacker with a few Water/Prism Energy splashed (sorry) into the deck, or you can go all out and exploit the attack fully by partnering Keldeo with the Energy Accelerating Blastoise from the same set to create a very powerful new deck archetype.

Really, the only thing I don’t like about Keldeo-EX is the one billion (approximately) references to My Little Pony that it has generated so far on Pokémon websites. Please don’t do this. Overall it’s a great card with very high utility for a Pokémon: centrepiece of a new deck, or handy Paralysis/Landorus counter . . . how you use it is up to you. This is a card you should be trading for, or holding on to if you were lucky enough to pull it.


Modified: 4.25 (top 3 card in the set, for sure)

Limited: 4.5 (big powerful Basic to build your deck around)


Welcome back, Pojo readers! We're continuing our Boundaries Crossed countdown this week, and this week is full of some of the best cards in the set, so be sure to check back to see what you'll be running into at Cities this year. We'll kick things off this week by reviewing one of the most hyped EXs to come out in some time, which happens to be #5 on our countdown. Today's Card of the Day is Keldeo-EX.
Keldeo-EX is a Basic Water Pokemon-EX. Water-types haven't been all that common before the release of Boundaries Crossed, but both Keldeo-EX and Blastoise are going to change that with their amazing synergy. As a Pokemon-EX, you can expect Keldeo to have a ton of HP and good to decent attacks and abilities, since your opponent takes two Prizes for Knocking it Out. 170 HP is good for a Pokemon-EX, as Keldeo should be able to take one or two big hits easily, especially if they aren't for Weakness. Fortunately, Keldeo is weak to Grass, which is a relatively dead type in Modified right now, so Keldeo can run up against the metagame without fear of being OHKO'd. Sadly, Keldeo has no Resistance, but it does have a Retreat Cost of 2, which will generally be easy to pay (though often you probably won't have to, but I'll get to that in a minute).
Keldeo has an Ability and one attack. Rush In, the Ability, allows you to switch your Active Pokemon with Keldeo if Keldeo is on your Bench. This is amazing for a number of reasons. First, it really limits your opponent's ability to stall with Pokemon Catcher, as Keldeo will simply get around that problem. Second, it allows you to Super Scoop Up a damaged Active Keldeo, play it down again, power it up with Blastoise's Deluge, and then Rush In again to give the opponent another beatdown. Finally, since Rush In can be used pretty much any time, it diminishes the need to running as many copies of Switch in a deck as one might normally run.
Secret Sword, Keldeo's attack, starts off at 50 damage for three Colorless Energy, but does 20 more damage for each Water Energy attached to Keldeo. Note that this effect DOES include the cost of the attack, so Keldeo will do 110 damage for three Water Energy. Secret Sword's scaling damage is great, as you can easily get into most OHKO ranges with little effort (130 damage takes care of many commonly played support Pokemon at four Energy, and 170 damage at six Energy scares off a lot of EXs). Since the attack scales due to Water Energy, Keldeo is a perfect partner to Blastoise, and is probably one of the best attackers of the Rain Dance archetype we've ever seen.
Modified: 4/5 Keldeo-EX is a great EX with an amazing Ability, great attack, and has perfect synergy with a very powerful supporting Pokemon, Blastoise. Therefore, you can expect to see a lot of Blastoise/Keldeo decks at your City Championships this year. The deck is incredibly powerful, even if Blastoise is a little slower than other commonly played support Pokemon like Eelektrik and Sableye. All in all, Keldeo is a very powerful attacker that you should be prepared to deal with for at least the next few months, because it's really good (if not the best EX in the set).
Limited: 5/5 Keldeo is an excellent Limited Pokemon, but works best in dedicated Water decks. 170 HP is monstrous in Limited, and both Rush In and Secret Sword do a lot of good work here as well. As with most Pokemon-EX, Keldeo should easily outmuscle the rest of the format, and once Secret Sword is powered up, will probably rack up a KO per turn.
Combos With: Blastoise

Jebulous Maryland Player

Keldeo EX
Keldeo EX a Basic Water Pokemon with 170 HP.  It is weak to grass and has a retreat cost of 2.  It is an EX, so you get/give two prizes when it's knocked out.
'Rush In' is an ability (not a nationality) that allows you, once per turn, to switch your Active with Keldeo EX if Keldeo EX is on your Bench.  This is good because it's a free Switch.  This gets rid of any status condition (sorry Accelgor and status decks).  It can also nullify Catcher stalling.  The only drawback would be Keldeo EX not having any energy on it.  If you can't retreat him (or attack), you are only buying yourself time.
'Secret Sword' costs 3 colorless energy and does 50 damage.  It also does 20 more damage for each Water energy attached to it.  So in Water decks it would be doing 110 minimum.  That's pretty much how much damage Darkrai EX puts on the board.  So that means this guy has to be up in the good EX league.
It is, but it depends on the deck.  Just teching it in may not be super effective.  It could be used to help Eelektriks that get Catchered, but that's not really a good idea.  It can be better teched into Darkrai decks that don't have Switches (since status conditions hurt them).  Throw a Dark Energy on it and now it can retreat for free when Darkrai EX is out.
The best use (at least right now) is pairing with Blastoise.  Blastoise's ability lets you attach multiple Waters, so it can power up Keldeo EX fast.  We'll have to see how that deck fairs though.  It is more viable than Emboar at the moment.  The deck's biggest use is taking out Landorus EX, since it hits for weakness.  Though if Landorus isn't played much, then will this be played?
Modified: 4/5
Limited: 4/5
Combos With:  Blastoise
Questions, comments, concerns: jebulousthemighty@yahoo.com


If you’re reading this, then I forgot to write an actual intro.


Keldeo EX, like all Pokémon-EX, is a Basic Pokémon based on a “Legendary” Pokémon from the video games. As a Pokémon-EX it is worth two Prizes when KOed, so it will need to live up to at least some of the hype to be worth that. Since Pokémon-EX can use all the groovy Basic Pokémon support regular Basic Pokémon can, it is a good start.

As a Water-Type, Keldeo EX enjoys hitting some prominent Fighting-Type Pokémon for Weakness, though the usual bearers of Water Weakness, Fire-Types, see little to no play right now. Water Resistance is also quite common, but on the highly underplayed Grass-Type Pokémon. There isn’t any actual Water-Type support, but Blastoise (BW: Boundaries Crossed 31/149) is big support for basic Water Energy.

170 HP is just 10 points shy of the maximum seen on Pokémon-EX, 10 points higher than any currently legal Stage 2 Pokémon, and besides the record setting Wailord (BW: Dragons Exalted 26/124) with its 200 HP; it also dwarfs all currently legal Stage 1 Pokémon as well. Keldeo EX should almost always be able to take a hit, and often two before going down. Even its Weakness isn’t a guarantee; Grass-Type Pokémon don’t really have a successful deck and only a few see play splashed into what does see play.

Keldeo EX has no Resistance, and while annoying the lack of Resistance is so common I don’t penalize for that, so we’ll move onto the Retreat; you’ll have to discard two Energy if you need to manually retreat this Pokémon, but thanks to the Ability (which we’ll get to next), that won’t usually be necessary. Sans the Ability, it is low enough that it often can be paid for, but it will usually set you back.


Keldeo EX possesses Rush In (an Ability) and Secret Sword, an attack for (CCC). Rush In simply allows you to promote a Benched Keldeo EX to the Active slot; while simple, it is very practical and a good Ability. When we get to Usage, I’ll explain why it is surprisingly important to the card.

Secret Sword does 50+ damage for three; 50 for three isn’t good but the plus is an additional 20 points of damage or each (W) Energy attached to Keldeo EX. As such, if you have even a single source of (W) Energy attached, you’ll score an adequate 70 points of damage, and if you have at least two, Keldeo EX becomes a significant attacker. There is no limit specified, though it is probably unwise to dedicate too much Energy to one Pokémon unless you’re going for the winning KO (or preventing one for the opponent).

So Secret Sword is a very good, possibly a great attack. I have heard some compare it favorable to X-Ball, and especially in the right deck it is indeed better, but without a source of (W) Energy, its only purpose is hitting key Pokémon for Weakness, though it is nice that it can use almost any form of Energy acceleration if you are not concerned about pumping up the damage. Having 50 points “base damage” gives it a superior return when backed with (W) Energy, but X-Ball feeds off of the Energy of both Active Pokémon and doesn’t worry about Energy Types.


Keldeo EX has already received a lot of hype as the main attacker to pair with the Blastoise mentioned earlier. The combo provides an instant powerhouse, so long as the rest of the deck can set-up quickly and maintain that set up; there is a real concern with getting Energy into hand to attach. My own experience with the deck is quite limited, and the impression I get from those who have is that the deck could be great (dominating the format), and it likely will remain good (something that can win a tournament without extenuating circumstances).

As we are discussing Keldeo EX and not Blastoise itself, I’ll focus on how important Rush In appears to be; Blastoise attaches Energy via an Ability that is similar to several from recent formats, and the decks built around said Abilities have had issues. Rush In addresses one of those issues; if an opponent attempts to strand anything up front without Energy, Rush In makes it a waste. If you’re slow to set-up, you can also use multiple copies of Keldeo EX and Rush In to force your opponent to spread the damage around… if that would be preferable.

Keldeo EX does not require basic Water Energy for its damage bonus, so it is actually a reasonable choice to splash into a deck that either uses Prism Energy and/or Blend Energy WLFM. A single such Energy will give you a solid 70 point hit, and as stated most forms of acceleration can fill out the rest of the Colorless attack cost. Two such Special Energy will give you a competitive 90 points of damage per turn, enough to threaten an unprotected Pokémon-EX with a 2HKO.

A word of caution when using Keldeo EX in Modified; Shaymin EX (BW: Next Destinies 05/99, 94/99) was already seeing play in at least a few competitive decks because it is a potent finishing blow; its second attack requires just (GC) which decks that use it can meet in a single turn, and it does 30 points of damage plus another 30 per Prize card the opponent has taken.

Its small 110 HP makes Shaymin EX risky to bring out early, but against Keldeo EX said attack can score a OHKO even past Eviolite with only two Prizes having been taken… and while small, Water Resistance forces Keldeo EX to attach four Energy for a OHKO… five if Shaymin EX has an Eviolite. That is a lot of Energy to risk if the opponent can field another Shaymin EX, and for the record the Blastoise I keep referencing is also Grass Weak.

For Unlimited, with Computer Search now a one-per-deck card (barring some really strange ruling), the speed might be shaken up enough for the new Blastoise to make a solid deck; a similar deck built around the Rain Dance Pokémon Power/Poké-Power has long seen play in Unlimited, and sometimes been amongst the top decks. Such decks are the most likely home for Keldeo EX, though any deck wanting a big Water attacker and capable of providing at least some source of (W) Energy could consider it; there are many, many more choices for Special Energy here.

Keldeo EX remains a solid attacker here, though with most decks capable of ridiculous damage (making high HP less impressive) I would likely stick with attacker I remember being used in decks that attach large quantities of basic Water Energy: Suicune (EX: Team Aqua vs. Team Magma 94/95). While smaller, it bounces Energy from itself for extra damage; while inferior in all other respects, bouncing the Energy solves the problems with reclaiming it from the discard, and as such you can attach all of it and bounce all of it to offset lower damage.

For Limited play, Keldeo EX is a must run but you must be very, very careful since it is worth two Prizes when KOed and in Limited you only start with four. The fact that Grass-Type Pokémon are more likely to see play is also important, though very few could OHKO Keldeo EX. All the normal factors of Limited apply, so the lower average HP scores, lower average attack damage, Ability to work without any (W) Energy if it must, potential to just keep building if an opponent doesn’t take it out, and Ability to by pass retreating to promote itself all become spectacular!


Unlimited: 3/5

Modified: 4/5

Limited: 5/5


Keldeo EX is probably the best Water-Type attacker we’ve gotten in a good while, and definitely a worthy Pokémon-EX. It technically can function in any deck, though if a deck can’t provide at least a single (W) Energy to it, it will be quite substandard. In the decks that can accommodate it, it is a force to reckon with.

On my own list, I had Keldeo EX in the number five spot as well, though I now actually consider it the fourth best card of this set. More on that when we cover the card I actually had in my number four slot… which should be later this week.

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