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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


White Kyurem

- Boundaries Crossed

Date Reviewed:
February 1, 2013

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 1.50
Limited: 3.33

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: See Below

Baby Mario
2010 UK National

White Kyurem (Boundaries Crossed)


Remember the first Black and White set? Remember how we gazed in awe at 130 HP Basic Pokémon that hit for 120 damage? Remember how they pretty much defined the format for a while? Well, their glory days were pretty short-lived and since we started seeing the EX Pokémon, those other big Basics have all but disappeared from competitive play (you do still see the occasional single copy of Zekrom in Eelektrik decks). Funny how something that once seemed ridiculously overpowered can get outclassed so quickly.


White Kyurem from Boundaries Crossed is a reminder of those days (less than two years ago). It’s a Dragon Type Basic Pokémon with a big 130 HP, Weakness to its own Type, and a Retreat cost of two. Sadly, it isn’t even as good as the old Zekrom and Reshiram cards . . . not by a long way.


The reason for this is sub-par attacks. Instead of the threatening Outrage which dared an opponent to launch any attack short of a OHKO, White Kyurem has Damage Rush which is one of those ‘flip until you get tails’ attacks that is theoretically capable of infinite damage but will almost certainly end up doing 0-40. In place of the guaranteed 120 that you get from Bolt Strike or Blue Flare, we have Cold Fire which can do 120, but only on a coin flip (otherwise the damage output is just 80). The Energy costs are higher too. You need a Fire and a Colourless to use Damage Rush, not just the Double Colourless that Outrage requires, and Cold Fire needs four Energy, not three, and needs two different Energy Types to use.


If you want a big Basic Dragon Type to counter other Dragons, you are much better sticking with non-EX Rayquaza or even the secret rare Kyurem from Dragon Vault. This card would have been outshined by the other Unova Dragons even if it had been released at the same time as them . . . now it’s just binder fodder.




Modified: 1.5 (flippy and underpowered)

Limited: 2.75 (can take a few hits, but very tough to power up)

Jebulous Maryland Player

White Kyurem
White Kyurem is a Basic Dragon Pokemon with 130 HP.  It is weak to Dragon and has a retreat of 2.
'Damage Rush' costs 1 Fire and 1 Colorless energy.  You flip until you get tails, and it does 20 times the number of heads.  So you're looking at around 20 damage, unless you have luck on your side.  Like all flippy attacks that don't at least guarantee some damage, I don't like it.
'Cold Fire' costs 1 Fire, 1 Water, and 2 Colorless energy.  It does 80, and if you flip heads, does 120.  This is better (flip-wise).  The attack is ridiculous though.  It should not cost 4 energy to do 120, especially with the wierd energy requirement.  You can just run Reshiram/Zekrom/Kyurem.  Unless you are trying to hit for weakness... but that isn't as prevalent these days (at least not at any of the tournaments I went to).
I don't think this is a great card.  The only time I've seen it played was at a pre release tournament.  My one beef with the dragons that have the multiple different energy costs is that they are underpowered.  I would think that you would have to work harder (or build your deck better) to accommodate for them, so a reward of more damage seems necessary.  Just my thought.
Modified: 1.5/5
Limited: 2.5/5
Combos With:  ...
Questions, comments, concerns: jebulousthemighty@yahoo.com


We close out our week with White Kyurem (BW: Boundaries Crossed 102/149).  Black Kyurem and White Kyurem didn’t fair too well with their Pokémon-EX versions; let’s see how one of the “plain” versions does!




Type: White Kyurem is a Dragon-Type Pokémon.  There is some support for the Type, but it hasn’t seen a lot of play lately and that isn’t likely to change as said support comes in the form of two easy to OHKO Stage 1 Pokémon: Altaria (BW: Dragons Exalted 84/124; BW: Boundaries Crossed 152/149; BW Promo BW48) and Gabite (BW: Dragons Exalted 89/124).


The good news is that you can hit any other currently released (or known about) Dragon-Type Pokémon for double damage, as they are all Weak to each other, and you will never have to worry about Resistance.  Personally though, this is another card that makes me crave the return of “dual-Type” Pokémon; in the video games White Kyurem is Dragon/Ice hybrid.  Given how significant it is to its character, not based on TCG Type-Matching potential… though as “Ice” is represented as part of the “Water” Type in the TCG, it would help more than it hurt.


Stage:  As a Basic Pokémon, White Kyurem enjoys being the Stage that by fundamental game design is the easiest to put into play, the fastest to put into play, and requires the least space in your deck: one slot equals one copy.  Those aspects also make them inherently superior at using “search” cards; an Ultra Ball gets you the total package, unlike with an Evolution.  By design of the current card pool, all Basic Pokémon enjoy the support of cards like Eviolite, Prism Energy, and Skyarrow Bridge.


No wonder this Stage dominates the format.


Hit Points: In the video games, White Kyurem has a great HP Base Stat, slightly above average base Defense Stat, and an above average Special Defense Stat, so the card’s 130 HP is appropriate.  It is also the maximum score seen on Basic Pokémon that lack special rules (such as Pokémon-EX) in the TCG.  Outside of hits from other Dragon-Type Pokémon (due to Weakness), most decks will have to push to score a OHKO, and even amongst the competitive seen, some may just fall short.  Unfortunately, a 2HKO is still more or less a given.


Weakness: As already mentioned, White Kyurem is weak to Dragon-Type Pokémon, and this condition is common to the entire Type.  It also is likely the best Weakness for it to have; as a Dragon/Ice hybrid in the video games, it takes double damage from Fighting (one of three Types that make up the TCG Fighting-Type), Rock (another one of three Types that make up the TCG Fighting-Type), Steel (Metal-Type), and of course Dragon-Type Pokémon just like the actual card.


Fighting-Types are widely played, both as the main attacker in decks and as a back-up, so it is one of the worst Weaknesses to have right now.  Metal-Type decks are expected to be popular and stronger again thanks to newly released in BW: Plasma Storm.  Dragon-Types are not expected to see much of a change, which means you are mostly concerned with Rayquaza (BW: Dragons Exalted 128/124); Dragon Vault 11/20) and Rayquaza EX (BW: Dragons Exalted 85/124, 123/124), the latter of which just OHKOs White Kyurem for two Energy discarded instead of three.


Peaking ahead at BW: Plasma Storm, it is unlikely to make a difference as the Dragon-Type Pokémon in that set expected to perform well already OHKO White Kyurem.


Resistance: The lack of Resistance is irritating.  As so few cards posses Resistance, it isn’t even a draw back so much as a missed opportunity.  In the video games, White Kyurem is Resistant to Water, Grass, and Electric type moves, all at the half damage level.  As such, Lightning-Type Weakness, while only marginally useful, would have been both appropriate and appreciated… but despite Dragon-Types being known for their Resistance to several Types in the video games and even in some TCG incarnations (when they were part of the Colorless-Type), having no Resistance is frustratingly the current direction.


Retreat: White Kyurem requires two Energy discarded to retreat, and due to the card pool, what appears to be a more or less average score is actually the worst for Basic Pokémon right now.  Free remains the obvious best, and thanks to Skyarrow Bridge, a Retreat cost of one is better than it normally is (and it is normally quite good).  Thanks to Heavy Ball, larger Retreat scores have a silver lining, especially on Basic Pokémon since we don’t have to mess with lower Stages.


In the current format, any Retreat cost over two requires something to lower it, a method of bypassing it, and/or the capacity to “tank” the Pokémon in question so that it can endure being in the Active slot, even prematurely.  Yes, some decks will even have access to all three because tanking is hard and sabotaging a manual retreat is not uncommon.  Yes, you will often be able to afford discarding two Energy to manually retreat, but it will also set most decks back to far to do it, thus a Retreat of two carries the baggage of higher scores without the fringe benefit.




Attack#1: “Damage Rush” is a “flip until tails” attack which does 20 points of damage times the number of “heads” you flip, and at a cost of (RC).  On average, half the time, the attack whiffs.  Again on average, half of the remaining times (a quarter overall), you are only scoring 20 points of damage.  The remaining “average” quarter of the time, you hit for at least 40 points of damage, which is the minimum return I would like.


In short, this is an overpriced and/or underpowered attack.


Attack#2: The second attack is “Cold Fire”, the name of one of the two Starter decks for BW: Boundaries Crossed, which contains both a holographic and a normal version of this card.  For (RWCC), Cold Fire does 80 points of damage, plus another 40 if you get “heads” on a mandatory coin toss.  When you get “heads”, you get the return I expect for this kind of investment, and when you get “tails”, Cold Fire comes up 10 points of damage shy of what it takes to 2HKO most Pokémon-EX, or OHKO key (plain) Basic Pokémon, like Sigilyph (BW: Dragons Exalted 52/124).


Still, Cold Fire should average 100 points of damage, the minimum I want to see for four Energy, and enough to 2HKO anything without protection.  It is still a little low for the Energy invested due to the awkward presence of both (R) and (W) Energy requirements (they don’t share the same Blend Energy), but enough to trade blows with several Pokémon-EX due to White Kyurem being just outside of easy OHKO range for most.


The costs also don’t preclude it from most other forms of Energy acceleration.  Prism Energy is an option to help with the awkward Energy cost, and the two (C) requirements are easy enough to meet with most acceleration; even Double Colorless Energy can handle it.


Synergy: The good news is that we don’t have some strange third non-Colorless Energy requirement slapped onto the card, and since both attacks require coin flips, Victini (BW: Noble Victories 14/101, 98/101) is doubly useful (more on that later).




Card Family: There are no other versions of White Kyurem, and the card does not Evolve.  There are several similarly named cards, but nothing else ties directly into this card in terms of game mechanics.


Modified: What brought this card to my eye was my attempt at finding a Basic Dragon-Type Pokémon with sustainable fast attack or reliable attack, preferably both.  My goal was to see if I could back it with Altaria, to pump its damage up so it could outpace Pokémon-EX.


This card does not deliver both, but somewhat sadly, it doesn’t have a lot of rivals.  Rayquaza (the “plain” version) is the only Dragon-Type with a strong single Energy attack, and when you are relying on it most of the game, discard cost (to your deck) becomes too debilitating, especially if you are trying to back it with anything else.  Everything else requires at least two Energy (usually three) and none of the others had a better, reliable “big” attack.


So, if there anything you can do well with this card?  For better or worse, this is a Pokémon for those that love coin flips.  All the competitive decks that might enjoy a splashed in Dragon (and thus can handle the Energy costs with few or no modifications) have better choices for the same effort.  If you do love coin flips, you can back this with Victini to improve your coin toss results.  The drawback is Victini is a small Basic Pokémon easily OHKOed, but the upside is it is also easy to search and to bring back via Revive.  Hitting it also means ignoring White Kyurem.


Druddigon (Dragon Vault 17/20) could also fit in such a deck; its opening attack is reliable, affordable, but weak as (CC) buys 20 points of damage and a flip for Paralysis.  The second attack has a cost of (RWC), which the hypothetical deck would need to meet anyway for White Kyurem, and said second attack has you flip two coins and do 80 per “heads” so it too would benefit from Victini.


Unlimited: In a word “no”.  It doesn’t make for a better first turn win or lock deck, and we have better options for attacking as I don’t see a need for a Dragon-Type attacker in this format, and if I did Rayquaza has enough tricks here to address the massive amount of discarding it would involve.


Limited: As is so often the case, Limited is where an otherwise underwhelming card can shine.  This card is not good enough to just run with 39 Energy.  It is however good enough that if you can afford the Energy Type mix you should run it; I don’t recommend just running it with Fire Energy as Cold Fire is the better attack, especially here.  The 130 HP of White Kyurem is only surpassed in this set by Pokémon-EX and Stage 2 Pokémon; everything else at best ties with it.




Unlimited: 1/5


Modified: 1.5/5


Limited: 3.75/5




Outside of Limited play, White Kyurem isn’t going to be worth the effort of running, though if you insist you could make a flip focused deck out of it with right cards and hopefully have some fun.

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