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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Top 10 Plasma Storm
#10 -
 Black Kyurem EX

- Plasma Storm

Date Reviewed:
February 4, 2013

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 3.75
Limited: 4.25

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

#10 Black Kyurem-EX


Hello and welcome to the start of our countdown of the top ten cards from Plasma Storm, right here on Pojo’s CotD. These weeks are always my favourite because we are guaranteed some good (and interesting) cards to look at, and I’m always fascinated to see what my fellow reviewers have picked.


We kick off with Black Kyurem-EX, a card which I don’t mind admitting that I rated a lot higher than #10 on my list. At first glance, it’s hard to see why: this seems like a fairly standard mascot EX Pokémon. It’s a Dragon Type with the expected 180 HP, a huge retreat cost of three and two attacks. The first, Slash, is reasonably priced but underwhelming (three Colourless Energy for 60 points of vanilla damage), while the second is very expensive and does a ton of damage.


Ah, but it’s how much damage that makes this card good. Black Ballista hits the very significant mark of 200, giving it enough power to score a one-hit KO on just about anything you will ever see at a tournament. Now before anyone points it out, yes I know that Tornadus-EX w/ Eviolite and Aspertia City Gym will barely survive. I am also aware that a Cinccino NEX can block it with a Smooth Coat coin flip, as can Crustle BCR with Sturdy. A Wailord DRX with Giant Cape can also take the hit. However, only the first scenario is ever going to happen in a tournament setting, and even then it’s a stretch (and one that is countered by Tool Scrapper).


So, Black Kyurem will in effect OHKO everything . . . for a price, and that price is pretty steep: two Water, one Lightning and a Colourless Energy, three of which need to be discarded. It’s pretty obvious that not many decks will be able to meet that cost, in fact at the moment only Blastoise BCR-based decks will be able to pull it off, thanks to their unlimited Water Energy acceleration and four copies of Energy Retrieval. At this point, some people may be thinking ‘hang on, Blastoise decks play Keldeo, and that can OHKO anything anyway. Why would we need to run Black Kyurem and off-Type Energy just to do the same job?’ The answer is that Black Kyurem is just that much more efficient. For Keldeo to score a OHKO on a clean EX it needs six or seven Energy attached (more if the Defending Pokémon has Eviolite). It then becomes a target for a Mewtwo-EX revenge KO and takes all that lovely Energy to the discard pile with it. Black Kyurem, on the other hand, does the job for just 4 Energy and the discard means that it isn’t vulnerable to Mewtwo afterwards.


Black Kyurem won’t replace Keldeo-EX. The Pony’s Rush In Ability is too good, and it’s still a devastating attacker when used carefully. Moreover, unlike Black Kyurem, it isn’t susceptible to being hit for Weakness (Both Rayquazas and even Giratina-EX could be an issue for the Dragon). Nevertheless, a card that takes down anything for four Energy is going to get played in a deck that can accommodate it. If you’re playing EX Pokémon and you’re facing this, you have a problem: three Black Ballista, and you just lost the game.




Modified: 3.75 (Black Ballista is amazing. I would have scored this much higher if there were more decks that could use it)

Limited: 4.5 (with 180 HP, it can just sit there and use Slash if it has to)

Jebulous Maryland Player

Black Kyurem EX
Black Kyurem EX is a Basic Dragon Pokemon with 180 HP.  It is weak to Dragon and has a retreat cost of 3.  It gives up 2 prizes when it's Knocked Out.
'Slash' costs 3 colorless energy and does 60.  Not spectacular at first glace, but it is the magic number to OHKO (Shining) Rayquaza.  Plus it doesn't matter the energy type, so it can be splashed into any deck (if that Rayquaza is giving you trouble I guess).  Other than that, it isn't too spectacular.  It'll 2HKO Dragon EXs, which isn't that great because you'd be giving up 2 prizes in that exchange.  60 on anything else isn't great, maybe for Squirtle hunting.
'Black Ballista' costs 2 Water, 1 Lightning, and 1 Colorless.  It does 200 and you discard 3 energies.  With so much Water, it just screams 'Pair me with Blastoise!'.  200 is the magic number when it comes to OHKOing anything (except Wailord with Giant Cape).  Though that scenario is a little bit unlikely, you will see an EX with 180 HP and an Eviolite more often.  This attack guarantees the OHKO.  This will come in handy when we start seeing Lugia running (flying...) around and you need to get it off the field ASAP.  It's great that you don't have to worry about weakness too.  The 3 discard is actual very bad, but with Blastoise and Energy Retrieval, it's not a bad price.
So this will probably a 1-of in Blastoise/Keldeo.  It might be thrown in with KlingKlang since that runs Prism/Blends.  It's a great counter attacker, though I guess this card going up against Rayeels won't be fun (hence the 1-of).
Modified: 3.5/5
Limited: 3.5/5
Combos With:  ...
Questions, comments, concerns: jebulousthemighty@yahoo.com


Once again it is time to dive into a new set, and we begin with our Top 10 picks from the set.  Officially, I am calling them my “Top 10 Promising Picks of Plasma Storm”, but I think I am alone in that.  The list is not mine alone: as usual Pojo solicited lists from all the Card of the Day reviewers, then averaged out the results to compile a master list.


Our number 10 pick is Black Kyurem EX (BW: Plasma Storm 95/135).  Before we even get into the meat of the card itself, it is already noteworthy as there is no Full Art version; Japan received this card as part of the “Black Kyurem EX Battle Strength Deck”.




Miscellaneous: Normally a section I would put in later as a catch all, in Pokémon the kind of traits listed here often affect the entire card so we’ll lead with it.  In this case it is pretty obvious it is a Pokémon-EX: the very name references it while the spot that would normally have Pokédex-style flavor text instead has the basic rules text reminding you that this Pokémon is worth two Prizes when KOed.


Pokémon-EX pretty much dominate the format, though not without help, and more than one has failed to secure a place in a deck, or at least in a deck for long.


Type: Black Kyurem EX is a Dragon-Type Pokémon, allowing it to hit all other Dragon-Type Pokémon for double damage due to Weakness, and so far nothing is Resistant to Dragon-Type Pokémon.  This is actually pretty well in line with the video games; there Dragon-Type attacks only hit Dragon-Type Pokémon for double damage.  Steel-Type (Metal-Type) Pokémon in the video games do take only half damage from Dragon-Type moves, but as the TCG only allows one Resistance on a card; it a conscious design choice, but it is uncertain how long it will last.


In terms of support, the Dragon-Type has Altaria (BW: Dragons Exalted 84/124; BW: Boundaries Crossed 152/149; BW Promo BW48) and Gabite (BW: Dragons Exalted 89/124).  The former is a Stage 1 with an Ability (Fight Song) which adds +20 damage to the attacks of your Dragon-Type Pokémon.  The damage boost only applies against Active Pokémon, but multiple instances of “Fight Song” will stack, increasing the damage bonus accordingly.


The Gabite in question is an Evolving Stage 1 who’s Ability (Dragon Call) allows you to add a Dragon-Type Pokémon to your hand once per turn.  Again, this stacks in that each Gabite with Dragon Call may be used once during the turn.  Neither of these two have proven been useful enough to maintain a presence in the competitive scene, but are still worth noting; they may just lack the correct partner.


Stage:  As a non-Evolving Basic Pokémon, Black Kyurem EX enjoys many benefits in this format.  Fundamental mechanics of the game result in Basic Pokémon being faster into play and less resource prone than Evolutions, and if that weren’t enough there are even multiple cards with benefits that apply only to Basic Pokémon.


Hit Points: Black Kyurem EX sports the maximum HP score seen on Pokémon-EX: 180.  This is higher than any printed score save Wailord (BW: Dragons Exalted 26/124) and several other Pokémon-EX.  Even without additional support, only the biggest attacks are going to OHKO Black Kyurem EX outside of its Weakness.  This allows you to throw it up front with as much confidence as you can afford this format.


Weakness: The Dragon-Type Weakness actually isn’t too bad; the simple fact is that it is still the newest Type having only been officially introduced in the west in BW: Dragons Exalted.  While most fully Evolved Dragon-Type Pokémon (yes, that includes non-Evolving Basic Pokémon) can OHKO Black Kyurem EX due to the Weakness, not every deck is packing such a Pokémon.  The hardest hitters just save on resources, such as needing to discard Energy, if that.  Few see a dramatic shift such as going from a 2HKO to a OHKO.


Resistance: No Resistance is the worst Resistance: sometimes this is justified because the video game Types don’t line up with the TCG Types.  Black Kyurem EX is based off of a Dragon/Ice hybrid in the video games, however, and of the three video games Types it Resists, one (Electric) is an easy TCG conversion (to Lightning-Type).  Given that no Dragon-Type currently has Resistance of any kind, this is almost certainly an intentional balancing agent, but I do wonder if it is necessary.


Retreat: The chunky Retreat cost of three is hard to pay and debilitating even if you can, so pack something to lower your its Retreat, bypass manually retreating whatsoever, or to build your deck so you can handle Black Kyurem EX being stuck in the Active position.  It isn’t all bad news, however; this makes Black Kyurem EX a legal target for Heavy Ball, and as a Basic Pokémon it is a “one and done” deal.




Attack#1: Slash in the TCG has always disappointed me.  In the TCGs, it is a pretty straightforward move, but in the video games this simple attack has an increased likelihood of scoring a “Critical hit” for double damage.  On Black Kyurem it simply gives an inadequate 60 points of damage for (CCC); 20 or 30 points shy of where it needs in order to be competitive.  The cost is also slow without tapping acceleration.


Attack#2: Black Ballista is the card’s big attack: (WWLC) plus a three Energy discard buys a massive 200 points of damage; without protective effects nothing survives that in the TCG, and even with them the list of competitive examples is short.  It isn’t an easy cost to meet; four Energy is always a challenge and here it requires to different, specific Types.  T of the requirements are (W) and one is (L), restricting the acceleration options and if you can’t accelerate the card risks being KOed before it can attack at all, let alone use Black Ballista.


The attack isn’t based on anything from the video games (to my knowledge), but it does a decent job of reflecting the Black Kyurem of the video games.  There it has a Base Attack score of 170 that surpassed only by Deoxys (Attack forme), and a still quite impressive Special Attack of 120 (average for fully Evolved Pokémon is 83, and the max is 170).


Synergy: Slash exists so you have an option if you can’t afford Black Ballista, but suffers for multiple reasons.  Black Ballista hits so hard that it shouldn’t need lead in or follow up damage.  Slash is thus wasted if you aren’t KOing something with it, or setting up to KO something with a follow-up Slash the next turn.


As stated, both attacks really need Energy acceleration to be accessed in a timely manner; this restricts what decks can effectively run Black Kyurem EX and further reduces how likely you are to access Slash significantly before Black Ballista.  Black Ballista has a single (C) Energy requirement, making the wide open (CCC) cost of Slash almost useless.  A more specific and thus expensive Energy cost could have given us a Slash that was much more useful.  Of course if the card proves good enough, Slash may be an intentional bit of “nerfing”.




Card Family: There are many cards with Kyurem in the name, but only one other Black Kyurem EX: BW: Boundaries Crossed 111/149, 145/149).  It has the exact same stats and actually similar attacks.  The first requires (LCC) and still only hits for 60, but you get to flip a coin and Paralyze the Defending Pokémon on “heads”.  The second attack requires (LLWC) and deals 150 points of damage, but has the drawback of stating you can’t use said attack again next turn.


With BW: Plasma Storm, I actually believe the BW: Boundaries Crossed version of Black Kyurem EX is worth reconsidering.  The Hypnotoxic Laser/Virbank City Gym combo, hyped since it debuted in Japan and which we reviewers have already brought up numerous times, looks to be more than just hype.  If it proves strong enough, it would allow the older version of Black Kyurem EX to use its second attack for a OHKO against anything lacking special protection and with 180 or less HP… which is most of the format.


Fortunately despite the seemingly similar Energy costs, that single Energy difference in the big attack – a second (L) instead of a second (W) – means they really shouldn’t be used with the same back up, so I don’t believe they will ultimately clash for deck space.


There is also a card that references Black Kyurem EX; Crystal Wall.  While attached to a Black Kyurem EX it sets its maximum HP to a staggering 300.  As it is hard to recover and too easily lost to Tool Scrapper, I do not consider it worth your Ace Spec slot unless it is the only Ace Spec card you own.


Modified: Black Kyurem EX is set to become the new clutch attacker in Blastoise (BW: Boundaries Crossed 31/149) decks.  Keldeo EX (BW: Boundaries Crossed 49/149, 142/149) is already fantastic; a Pokémon-EX you can drop from hand, load with Energy, and if you have enough (W) Energy potentially OHKO anything in the game.  Its Ability also makes it easy to get into the Active spot, making surprise drops a reality.


This makes Black Kyurem EX seem redundant; Keldeo EX can already score OHKOs and running Black Kyurem EX requires running Blend Energy WLFM, Prism Energy, or basic Lightning Energy cards in the deck… which Blastoise can’t accelerate via its Deluge Ability.  You’ll have to manually retreat (or run and use a card like Switch) to get a surprise Black Kyurem EX you drop the Bench active as well.  How can it be worth the effort?


Losing a completely uninjured Pokémon-EX, possibly one sporting an Eviolite or being boosted by Aspertia City Gym (but not both) is quite a shock for most decks.  Keldeo EX requires foolish amounts of Water Energy to it to reach that damage.  Due to how its attack works, Keldeo EX can’t hit 200 even, but 190 points of damage requires seven (W) Energy attached, while 210 requires eight.  This in turn makes Keldeo EX a OHKO for a Mewtwo EX (BW: Next Destinies 54/99, 98/99; BW Promo BW45), and devastating to lose even through the usual 2HKO.


Black Kyurem EX has to be used carefully, but when it is the return is worth the hassle.  One use of Black Ballista can cripple an opponent’s set-up, and taking down a rival Pokémon-EX will ensure breaking even in terms of Prizes.  Doing that for (WWLC) instead of (WWWWWWW) finally starts making sense.  Any extra shots after that are still expensive, but quickly add up.  Three shots are unlikely, but if each hits a Pokémon-EX you’ve just won!  Black Kyurem EX also is harder for Mewtwo EX or Grass-Type attackers (both Keldeo EX and Blastoise are Grass Weak) to deal with than Keldeo EX.


Blastoise decks largely just need to tweak what they already run to incorporate Black Kyurem EX.  Energy Search allows Skyla to grab a lone basic Lightning-Type Energy, and Energy Retrieval can add it from the discard to the hand no problem.  Revive can allow a lone Black Kyurem EX to be used more than once, and Super Rod can accomplish both of the above, provided you have the draw search power to get the desired card(s) targeted back from the deck.


Unlimited: One could build a donk deck around Black Kyurem EX, but unless your area is obsessed with lesser played decks, it is a lot of work for very little reward.  The presence of “the Baby Rule” and Focus Band, coupled with the significantly lower HP of older cards makes it bounce between the extremes of overkill and near OHKO.  All this is before factoring in first turn win and lock decks.  Seems like more trouble than it is worth.


Limited: This is not a good candidate for the infamous “39 Energy + Basic Pokémon” deck, as it is too slow to build up and Black Ballista may not be powered up in time for a finisher (or emergency shot).  Unless you built up surplus Energy beforehand, you also won’t be able to attack the turn after Black Ballista, even with Slash.  A lucky pull (and successful usage) of Ether could speed things up, but not reliably.


The good news is that Black Kyurem EX is still a must run; it just has to be worked into whatever else you are running.  Slash isn’t good enough to back a solo deck, but should often allow Black Kyurem EX to at least break even before being KOed.  If your deck allows you to run the needed Energy for Black Ballista, that is just a sick bonus.




Unlimited: 1.5/5


Modified: 3.5/5


Limited: 5/5




Black Kyurem EX is essentially a weapon for Deluge decks, possibly a few others that can use less reliable combos to quickly power up Black Ballista for an almost guaranteed OHKO, even against other Pokémon-EX.  It likely won’t replace Keldeo EX as the main attacker, but Blastoise decks likely will need only a single copy, saved for OHKOing problem opposing Pokémon or simply to push for two last Prizes a little more reliably than with Keldeo EX itself.


On my own list, Black Kyurem EX actually clocked in at the number nine spot.

Mad Mattezhion
 Professor Bathurst League Australia

Hello everyone, it's a beautiful Monday and we have our Top 10 Promising Picks from Plasma Storm (title shamelessly stolen from Otaku) to share with you over the next two weeks. Today's contestant is the energy-hungry Black Kyurem EX.
On the positive side, Black Kyurem has the healthy 180 HP, the usually important Dragon type and both of it's energy types currently have good acceleration (through Blastoise and Eelektrik respectively). This is all important because of the best attribute of the card, which happens to be the big 200 printed in the bottom right of the frame.
In the negative column however, there is the filler Slash Attack (which has no synergy at all with the powerful Black Ballista), the heavy retreat cost of 3 and the awkward [w][w][l][c]-plus-triple-energy-discard attack cost for Black Ballista.
So why did this card make the list? Because between Blastoise, Eelektrik and the excellent new draw Trainers recently released, Black Kyruem EX has a chance to become the new king of the 1HKO. With Blastoise to bring Kyurem online in a single turn, Eelektrik to return lost [l] energy and the power of Poke'mon Catcher for choosing your targets, an attacking Kyurem would be guaranteed to KO whichever Poke'mon you most need removed.
Of course, energy-devouring glass cannons get printed pretty regularly and this card would wind up in the unplayable pile if not for a few extra details. The compatibility with Blend Energy WFLM and Prism Energy is important, as is the existence of Keldeo EX which can not only handle regular attacking duties when the heavy guns aren't strictly necessary but can get Kyurem back to the bench for Eelektrik to work it's mojo (or just to get Black Kyruem out of the way if you only wanted the one Black Ballista per game). Finally, we have some decent Lightning type attackers as well, with Raikou EX, Zekrom BW and the Colourless all-stars (Mewtwo EX and Registeel EX) as secondary beatsticks if you have a preference for Eelektrik.
In the final analysis, Black Kyurem is the new 'in-case-of-emergency-unleash-everything' card. Black Ballista will take down any one target no matter how tough and it can be powered up quickly thanks to the energy acceleration options available, but I wouldn't expect to get more than one attack in a regular game due to the discard penalty either wiping your energy store (if you went the Blastoise route) or forcing you to switch out (Eelektrik at work).
I expect to see Black Kyurem EX mostly popping up in Blastoise/Keldeo builds alongside a light Lightning splash, but if you want to do something crazy by chaining multiple Kyurems together with both Blastoise and Eelektrik in your deck, the new Colress and Bicycle may just provide enough draw power to let you get away with it. At the very least, a single copy in your collection opens up a world of Tech options for your Water/Lightning builds.
Modified: 4 (the format has all of the right support pieces to reliably power Black Kyurem EX up and there is currently no way to survive a 200 damage hit, but I'm a little leery of the lack of staying power with all of your energy being thrown away)
Limited: 4 (this is the only format in which the Slash attack will see any use, since if you can use Slash in Modified you should be able to kick it up a notch to attack with Black Ballista. Still, Colourless requirements on such a big body make it an auto-inclusion and if you happen to be in Water and Lightning, so much the better)
Combos with: Blastoise BC, Keldeo EX, Eelektrik NV, Scramble Switch

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