Sometimes it is good to start with
dessert… but is this one of those times?
This week of Card of the Day
reviews focuses on a solid variety of
cards from BW: Plasma Storm.
We’ve looked at the best, so it
is time to pan for gold amongst the
We begin with
Vanilluxe (BW: Plasma Storm
37/135); will it be a sweat treat or is
running it a recipe for defeat?
Vanilluxe is a Water-Type Pokémon;
there is no specific Type support,
though they have some good Pokémon in
their ranks and there is support for
In terms of Weakness and
Resistance, both exist but Water
Weakness actually sees play even in some
competitive decks while Water Resistance
seldom if ever does, baring metagame
shifts I am unaware of presently.
As a Stage 2 Pokémon,
Vanilluxe will struggle to keep up
with the big Basic Pokémon (usually
Pokémon-EX) that dominate the Modified
Even if it manages to trade blows
with them without falling behind, since
you’re investing an extra turn of
waiting and at least two extra cards of
resources, it will require significantly
more effort. As
Vanilluxe takes up so much space
itself, it may find itself choosing
between dedicating spaces needed for
stability (getting itself out reliably)
and capability (what it can actually
accomplish in a deck).
Vanilluxe has just 130 HP; this is
great for a Basic Pokémon (unless it is
a Pokémon-EX), but pretty much
everywhere else it is now lamentably
The metagame is now at the point
where several prominent attackers are
either going to OHKO
Vanilluxe outright or effectively
OHKO it when
Hypnotoxic Laser and
Virbank City Gym are factored in.
It isn’t all main attackers, and
but even some that miss can add one more
piece to the combo.
The slight upside is that it does take
resources; few decks can score the OHKO
without an appropriate resource cost, be
it combos as just mentioned or a hefty
Energy discard cost.
The actual Base Stats found on
the video game counterpart to
Vanilluxe, the Base HP and Defense
scores are nine and two points below the
average for fully Evolved Pokémon,
respectively, which would lend itself to
a slightly low HP score… but the Special
Defense score is 12 points above
If HP scores in the TCG had more range,
this would justify being below average,
but with scores as “squished” as they
are and the format as brutal as it is,
they might as well have given it another
10 HP for the “functional” (not
mathematical) average Stage 2 score.
Vanilluxe has Metal Resistance like
most Ice-Type Pokémon, which is probably
somewhere in the middle of the spectrum
for Weakness, leaning towards being
“less bad” than most others (only “None”
Referencing the video games, a
pure Ice-Type like Vanilluxe has damage
doubling Weakness to Rock-, Fighting-,
Steel- and Fighting-Type attacks.
Given past examples, that pretty
easily justifies either Fire-Type
Weakness or Fighting-Type Weakness
(which consists of the video game
Ground-, Rock- and Fighting-Types).
Fire-Type Weakness actually would have
been best; right now Fire-Types are
struggling even factoring in a rise in
running them as off-Type attackers to
counter the fear (whether warranted or
Klinklang (BW: Plasma Storm
90/135) backed Metal-Type decks.
Fire-Types in Modified are all
Water Weak: if “None” isn’t an option
for Weakness, best to take double damage
from something you hit for double
damage, especially when it isn’t doing
well in the metagame.
As for the “Plasma Steel” decks, the
reason why Metal-Type Weakness is
tolerable comes from three things.
First a lot of hype for the deck
is fading; if you haven’t found credible
articles challenging the potency of
Plasma Steel decks, you need to look
again (though I think they still have
Second, even if they do prove
good the deck’s best attacker is
Cobalion EX (BW: Plasma Storm
93/135, 133/135), whose “big” attack
doesn’t apply Weakness.
The other attack on
Cobalion EX and attackers in the
deck are less impressive, but will enjoy
that boost, so it isn’t completely
The third and final reason is that
Fighting-Type Weakness would have been
so much worse; it isn’t as common to run
a Fighting-Type attacker splashed into
your deck as it was before BW: Plasma
Storm hit, but it still can happen
and would pick back up if a new deck
made it important.
True, a few of those attackers
are Water Weak, but not all of them are
and unlike Fire-Types they have a proven
Vanilluxe has no Resistance, but
this time it isn’t just because
Resistance is uncommon in the TCG, but
because Ice-Type Pokémon “Resist” only
one thing in the video games: their own
This is where I will resist a
full on rant, but the video game “Type”
taxonomy system fails in many ways and
the Ice-Type is one of the big
It seems redundant since it
doesn’t just represent “cold” but also
“ice” itself, which is merely “cold
+water”… making things redundant with
Plus you can test things in the
real world; ice versus ice comes down to
other properties (shape and mass) while
equal amounts of cold and heat cancel
Yes, that is the “short” version.
Perhaps the only true “good” point of
the card is that even as a Stage 2, it
has a single Energy Retreat cost.
There isn’t a convenient trick to
zero it out like for Basic Pokémon (Skyarrow
but a single Energy is pretty
reasonable, plus one of the attacks on
this card can also help.
The Ability to easily vacate the
Active slot has become quite, quite
important in light of
Hypnotoxic Laser use.
Enefountain works with just one of any
Energy to hit for 30 points of damage;
not good in and of itself but it allows
you to attach up to two basic Energy
cards from your hand to one of your
Pokémon in play, including itself.
Energy acceleration is a potent
effect, and this works with any basic
Energy Type, opening up more combos.
It is nice that it isn’t just
restricted to Benched targets, but you
can’t spread the attachments out,
Blizzard requires (WCC), making it
fairly easy to run off-Type (just
Blend Energy WLFM or
Prism Energy), and allowing it to
tap most forms of Energy acceleration in
It hits for 70 points of damage,
which is just a bit shy of what seems
competitive; it can’t OHKO the biggest
Water Weak Pokémon or 2HKO most
It does have a solid effect
though; a 10 points of spread damage to
soften up targets on the Bench.
Vanilluxe could find a way to
survive multiple turns (or set-up
multiple times fast enough to keep up
the pressure), you would have a chance
for Bench damage to accumulate giving
good odds of repeated Blizzard use
hitting that OHKO against Weakness/2HKO
against everything else range.
It even helps that it lessens the
impact of Water Resistance: not that
said Resistance is a regular sight in
The two attacks do compliment each
other; Enefountain attaches enough
Energy that you can either choose to
Vanilluxe to prep the next one or
two so that they need just one manual
attachment to use Blizzard.
If your opponent surprisingly
lacks an offensive, you could even have
Vanilluxe attach to itself.
It is only unfortunate that this
assault falls just a little short of the
needed standards, even before factoring
in other concerns.
There are four versions of
Vanillite, four versions of
Vanillish, and two other versions
(for three total) of
All are Water-Type Pokémon with
Metal-Weakness and no Resistance.
The options for
Vanillite are BW: Noble Victories
27/101, BW: Next Destinies 31/99,
BW: Dark Explorers 33/108, and
BW: Plasma Storm 35/135.
They all Basic Pokémon with
single Energy Retreat costs, in addition
to the traits shared by the entire line.
The attacks all fail to aid in
set-up or disrupt the opponent early
game, which are important for Evolving
Basic Pokémon to be more than
placeholders for their Evolved forms.
The attacks are all
disappointing, so just choose from
BW: Next Destinies 31/99 and BW:
Plasma Storm 35/135 for their 60 HP
scores (though that is only 10 points
higher than the other two).
falls into the same trap: BW: Noble
Victories 28/101, BW: Next
Destinies 32/99, BW: Dark
Explorers 34/108, and BW: Plasma
Storm 36/135 are all Stage 1 Pokémon
sharing the common traits of the line,
and are all pretty much filler.
BW: Dark Explorers 34/108
has 70 HP while the rest all have 80,
but either amount is paltry; the
designers really need to “front load” HP
scores if they want to have a format
like we have now; neither score is out
of FTKO range… which means they are well
within OHKO range for later turns.
The Stage 1 forms don’t provide aids to
set up and they don’t provide adequate
back-up/opening attacks, especially
factoring in their small HP scores.
Pick an 80 HP version and go with
it; either it will have a single Energy
Retreat cost or it will have one attack
capable of stalling for a turn (via
This means we can move onto the
BW: Noble Victories
29/101 and BW: Next Destinies
33/99 have the same Stats as today’s
Vanilluxe, save a slightly more
expensive Retreat cost of two, which
isn’t good but it isn’t really bad:
you’ll need alternatives to manually
Retreating at full price, but in this
format you would need that anyway.
Both have seen some competitive
play in past decks (and in the previous
format) that featured them, though they
weren’t amongst the major, dominant
BW: Noble Victories
29/101 has two attacks, the first for
(WC) and the second for (WW); not slow
but, unable to effectively tap Energy
acceleration, neither are they fast.
The first attack was the
important one; two coin flips for 40
points of damage per “heads” and if at
least one is “heads” the Defending
Pokémon is Paralyzed.
When backed up by something to block
Vileplume (HS: Undaunted
Victini (BW: Noble Victories
14/101, 98/101) to further increase the
good odds of scoring Paralysis, it
didn’t hit overly hard but your opponent
tended to only get a shot in once every
four or five turns.
Unfortunately without backing
Vileplume in a format where decks
already need to be prepared to shake
Poison and/or Sleep from
Hypnotoxic Laser, no deck should be
vulnerable to this tactic.
BW: Dark Explorers
33/108 has an Ability that acts as a
Escape Rope once per turn, which is
useful but not worth a Stage 2 slot.
It saw some use to exploit
Abilities with both “once-per-turn” and
“only-while-Active” restrictions, and
possible to eliminate problem attack
clauses like “This Pokémon cannot attack
on your next turn.” or “This Pokémon
cannot use this attack next turn.”
(BW: Dark Explorers 63/108,
107/108; BW Promo BW46) and its
Dark Cloak is usually a better deal:
running a source of (D) Energy and a
Pokémon-EX is usually less of a problem
than running a Stage 2 Pokémon.
Dark Cloak zeroing out Retreat
scores also makes Crushing Ice (the
attack on this
Vanilluxe) an abysmal attack.
The lower Stages for this line aren’t
going to help it but don’t hurt as much
as they could: their Stats are poor but
most Evolving Basic and Stage 1 Pokémon
are this bad).
Vanilluxe (BW: Dark Explorers
33/108) might be worthwhile as a single
if you can justify running today’s card
in a deck, but that requires you have
room for it.
As usual, there is little reason to play
this card in Unlimited.
The format doesn’t seem open
enough for such a card, and instead the
usual decks will continue to dominate
even though they have been weakened by
Computer Search becoming an Ace
As usual, there is little reason to run
a Stage 2 in Modified.
If Enefountain was an Ability
this might have spawned a new archetype
but attacking to attach Energy when that
attack is on a Stage 2 Pokémon is too
slow, and with the high probability of
Vanilluxe not surviving more than a
turn (when you do successfully Evolve)
only come out one Energy attachment
ahead for all that investment.
As usual (thankfully this time), this
card can really shine in Limited.
If you pull this line and you
don’t get a big, Basic Pokémon worth
running on its own with 39 Energy (give
or take a few useful Trainers), you
really should add this line.
The HP should last a while here
unless your opponent was fortunate
enough to pull and draw into the
Hypnotoxic Laser and
Virbank City Gym combo or running
into an already prepped attacker.
Even if you only use Enefountain
to set-up, you should get a worthwhile
If you can run enough
Water Energy to hit with Blizzard,
spread damage is extra useful in Limited
where building on the Bench or hiding
injured Pokémon on the Bench is standard
is actually a fairly well designed
Pokémon; the format shouldn’t be so fast
and hard hitting that this card can’t
compete, but it is.
Not the best way to start of the
week, though if you enjoy my rants about
the game it certainly provided a good
Vanilluxe cannot accelerate Energy
fast enough or hit hard enough to
justify making room for or building a
deck around this Stage 2 Pokémon.