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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Countdown: Top 10 Plasma Freeze Cards

#8 - Absol  

- Plasma Freeze

Date Reviewed:
May 15, 2013

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 3.50
Limited: 4.50

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

#8 Absol 

Since Dark Explorers was released (this time last year, in fact), Dark has been just about the best supported Type in the TCG. Darkrai-EX itself, with the Dark Cloak Ability, Sableye with its Junk Hunt, Dark Patch, Dark Claw . . . there really is a big upside to running Dark Pokémon these days. Except that apart from the two I just mentioned, Dark Types have not really had much in the way of good Pokémon to work with (Zoroark never seems to be worthwhile). When it comes to attacking, if you want something other than Darkrai, you have to look to off-Type attackers such as Terrakion NVI, Mewtwo-EX or Bouffalant DRX. What Dark decks really needed was a non-EX Dark Type that could take advantage of all that support. Now, at last, it has arrived in the shape of the #8 card in our top 10 countdown. 

Absol is a Basic Pokémon with a very nice 100 HP. Nice because it puts it just out of OHKO range for those things that will hit for 60 damage and use the Laser/Virbank combo. He’s Plasma and Dark, so benefits from the two best sets of supporting cards in the game (not that you are likely to see them in the same deck). As you would expect, there is a slightly bad Weakness to Fighting, and a handy Resistance to Psychic. The Retreat cost of one is good, but won’t usually matter if you have Darkrai-EX out. 

We can more or less pass over Absol’s second attack because it will rarely, if ever, be used. Fearsome Shadow costs one Dark and two Colourless Energy and does 60 damage. It’s a poor return by today’s standards, even with the useful effect that lets you take a look at the opponent’s hand. Nope, the reason this card will be played is for Mind Jack, an attack which costs just one Dark and one Colourless Energy and does 20 damage plus 20 more for each Pokémon on your opponent’s Bench. 

Usually I would steer away from an attack where the opponent can control the damage output so easily by just not Benching things, but the fact is that Absol is a Pokémon who is there to deal with the kind of decks that need a large Bench such as Plasma Basics and Klinklang. Using Dark patch, Absol can power up in one turn, and with 5 Pokémon on the opponent’s Bench he can do 120 damage, or 140 with a Dark Claw (enough to KO most Stage 2s), or even 170 if you add in the Laser/Virbank combo . . . and that’s enough to knock out commonly played EX Pokémon like Mewtwo, Thundurus, Tornadus, and Deoxys. That, of course, is before you start factoring in any previous snipe damage from Darkrai-EX’s Night Spear.


I see two possible roles for Absol in this format. Firstly, he will be run in pretty much every Darkrai deck as a non-EX auxiliary attacker that gives the deck an answer to Plasma Klinklang and is extremely effective against decks that keep a full Bench. Secondly, he may have a place in some kind of Plasma toolbox style deck, where the power of Mind Jack can be boosted still further by Deoxys-EX. If I’m honest, though, it will mostly be Darkrai decks where you see this card. Absol gives them something they have needed for a while now, and the popularity of Darkrai ensures that this is something you will be seeing in future tournaments. 


Modified: 3.5 (New toy for Darkrai to enjoy)
Limited: 4 (solid Basic with very usable attacks) 


Happy midweek, Pojo readers! Today we're reviewing a new Pokemon that could have a very nice role in existing Darkness decks. Today's Card of the Day (and #8 on our countdown) is Absol.

Absol is a Basic Darkness Team Plasma Pokemon. Darkrai-EX and Sableye still see tons of play, and since that deck isn't going away any time soon due to its amazing support and survivability, if Absol can fulfill a niche in the deck, it could easily see some play. As a Team Plasma Pokemon, Absol can be fetched with Team Plasma Ball, get support from things like Colress Machine, and is also immune to Frozen City damage. As for stats, 100 HP is good on a non-evolving, non-EX Basic Pokemon; Fighting Weakness could be a problem against Landorus, though its usage is dropping; Psychic Resistance is always helpful against Mewtwo and Deoxys; and a single Retreat Cost is easily paid for, even if you don't have a Switch handy.

Absol has two attacks. Mind Jack starts off at 20 damage for a Darkness and a Colorless, but does 20 more damage for each of your opponent's Benched Pokemon, for a maximum of 120 damage for two Energy! This attack works nicely in Darkrai variants as a secondary attacker, as the Benches of many common decks (Darkrai, Deoxys/Thundurus, Blastoise variants) are often full these days, making this attack very efficient for its cost. Of course, this attack is also crazy good in Limited, where you'll easily be able to hit 100+ damage per turn and score multiple KOs if you opponent has already played many Benched Pokemon. The second attack, Fearsome Shadow, does 60 damage for a Darkness and two Colorless, and also allows you to look at your opponent's hand. 60 damage for three Energy is average by most standards, and while looking at your opponent's hand can be very useful sometimes, most of the time you'll end up just sticking with Mind Jack.

Modified: 3.5/5 The Disaster Pokemon is surprisingly powerful in a metagame full of huge Pokemon-EX and heavy hitters due to its pure attacking effiiciency. The ability to deal 120 damage for two Energy is very rare, even among Pokemon-EX, and therefore, Absol will definitely see some play. Additionally, because Absol isn't a Pokemon-EX, your opponent will only get one Prize for Knocking it Out, where it can easily take down an EX by itself, pushing the Prize trade into your favor. While Darkrai-EX decks will still want Darkrai as their main attacker, Absol is an amazing one- or two-of that can work fantastically in situations where your opponent has many slow Pokemon-EX or relies heavily on having many Benched Pokemon. If your opponent is playing a Darkrai-EX variant in the coming Battle Roads and Nationals, you'll likely see an Absol or two in the deck.

Limited: 5/5 Absol is bonkers in Limited. Mind Jack deals crazy amounts of damage in most circumstances, and even if your opponent stops playing Basics, you can just Fearsome Shadow for some consistent damage. Plus, the ability to look at your opponent's hand is always great, and works nicely with other cards like Ghetsis if you manage to pull them.


Today we look at our number eight Promising Pick of Plasma Freeze, Absol (BW: Plasma Freeze 67/116)!


Will it be Absol-utely great or abysmal?  Maybe something in between?




Miscellaneous: Absol is unsurprisingly a Team Plasma Pokémon, but as it is the only Absol currently legal I won’t bother referring to it as Absol [Plasma].  As usual, the actual benefits of being able to access Team Plasma support will be addressed in the Usage section.


Type: Absol is a Darkness-Type Pokémon, allowing it to tap potent Darkness-Type support such as Dark Claw and Dark Patch.  You won’t enjoy hitting double damage that often, as Weakness is quite rare on competitive Pokémon.  In fact, the reason I am not glossing over Darkness Weakness like normal is that a lot of players seem to be experimenting with Drifblim (BW: Dragons Exalted 51/124) due to its Shadow Steal attack and the expected spike in the number of competitive decks relying on Special Energy.  Nothing is Darkness Resistant.


Stage: Absol is a Basic Pokémon, which is good since this is the dominant Stage of the format.  It is also important because of the card’s Type and attacks, but more on that in Usage.


Hit Points: 100 HP is good but not great for a Pokémon right now; this is low enough to be a probable OHKO for most decks (especially if they have any damage boosting effects) but is forgivable as this is a Basic Pokémon (as opposed to an Evolution) and is not a Pokémon-EX (and thus is only worth one Prize when KOed under normal circumstances).  Yes, it is a bit strange to call an HP score that isn’t likely to survive a hit “good”, but then again this is a strange format where 100 HP, just 30 below the maximum for a “plain” Basic Pokémon, is so easy to OHKO.


Weakness: Fighting Weakness is not a good thing, though I don’t think I can meaningfully call it one of the worst Weaknesses to have right now; Darkness, Dragon, Lightning, Psychic, and Water-type Weakness is pretty painful right now.  The big difference here is that the most prominent Fighting-Type attacker in competitive play is Landorus EX and its “big” thing is abusing its first attack that will enjoy the damage bump, but won’t end up scoring a OHKO without a lot of help.  Then again, with just 100 HP in the current format, most other common attackers are going to score a OHKO regardless of Weakness.


Resistance: Absol actually has Resistance, which is always nice to see.  In this case, it is the Psychic Resistance that is common to most Darkness-Type Pokémon, but with the most common Resistance being “None”, it is still nice to see.  Unlike the card’s Fighting Weakness, the Psychic Resistance of Absol is likely to matter when you encounter Mewtwo EX or perhaps Deoxys EX (if the latter becomes as popular as I expect) or even the Drifblim that I cited earlier; scoring 120 points of damage is still depressingly easy this format, but this bumps Absol out of “probable” OHKO range to “possible” OHKO range.


Retreat: Absol has a Retreat Cost of just one; this easy to pay for most decks and can even be zeroed out with Skyarrow Bridge or Glaceon (BW: Plasma Freeze 23/116) or of course Darkrai EX (Absol does need a source of (D) Energy to attack, after all).




Attack#1: Mind Jack requires (DC) and hits for 20 plus 20 more for each Pokémon on your opponent’s Bench, giving it a base damage range of 20 to 120.  The bad news is that most decks in this format don’t have to have a large Bench.  The good news is that with attack capacity so high, many if not most decks prefer to have a Bench on the full side, so if your opponent doesn’t “set-up” for Mind Jack then you are at least forcing them to avoid the otherwise optimal plays.  When the Bench is large, the damage is simply great.


A few decks either can’t easily or just won’t want to fill the Bench, though this attack can at least hit for its underwhelming 20 points of damage, which is still better than nothing especially given that this card has additional damaging boosting options others are lacking.  The Energy cost is also easy enough to meet in a single turn in decks using Colress Machine and/or Dark Patch, another important consideration.


Attack#2: For (DCC) “Fearsome Shadow” hits for 60 points of damage and reveals your opponent’s hand.  This attack is disappointing as it was just 10 points shy of being not good, but “adequate”.  It will require a bit much to boost the damage to something worthwhile with it just starting at 60 points, and while seeing your opponent’s hand is nice, it isn’t worth this attack requiring three Energy to use.  In fact I would much rather not see my opponent’s hand and hit for 10 more points of damage let alone the extra 30 it would need to match what seems to be the minimum competitive going rate of 90 for three.


Fortunately once again all is not lost; the Energy requirements are very open to Energy acceleration.  The attack isn’t good enough to justify including such acceleration, but if a deck already runs Double Colorless Energy, Colress Machine, and/or Dark Patch, you shouldn’t have too hard a time powering up Fearsome Shadow in a single turn even starting with no Energy on Absol.  Other more deck specific options can also work assuming there is a reason to run Absol and a source of (D) Energy with them.


Synergy: The attacks have better synergy than the Energy costs normally indicate thanks to being Plasma Pokémon and the first attack being pretty good.  Normally I would be annoyed that the (DC) to (DCC) structure makes it so the first attack is superfluous, but for a card that has so many options to meet that (DC) Energy cost, Mind Jack looks like a real winner.


Fearsome Shadow is a let down, but because Mind Jack may be expected if Absol usage catches on, being able to dedicate what amounts to one extra Energy for 60 points of damage will periodically be worth it because your opponent is counting on Mind Jack just hitting for 20 or 40.




Card Family: Absol can tap the Team Plasma card pool for additional support; noteworthy examples of this are Deoxys EX (so Power Connect can up damage), Thundurus EX (Raiden Knuckle can provide Energy acceleration), and Hypnotoxic Laser (especially with Virbank City Gym) can provide extra damage.  This is on top of the already mentioned Colress Machine/Plasma Energy, Dark Patch, and Dark Claw (not that the latter are Team Plasma support).


Combos: There are no “magic combos” for Absol, just applying what I have already mentioned.  An opponent that fills his or her Bench could face an Absol that was played from hand, powered, and promoted to Active all in a single turn and have it swing not just for at least 120.  The card can tap Dark Claw for an additional 20 points of damage, upwards of four copies of Deoxys EX (if a deck has reason to run both) for an additional +40, and the expected Hypnotoxic Laser/Virbank City Gym combo to place an additional three damage counters between turns.  Getting all that out together at once against an opponent with a full Bench is highly unlikely, but would yield an effective 210 points of damage.


As usual, the important thing is what this can mean for an “incomplete” set-up; Dark Claw with Hypnotoxic Laser/Virbank City Gym combo, something fairly easy for a most Darkrai EX decks to furnish, allows Mind Jack to hit for at least 70 points of damage; one Benched Pokémon then jumps that to the magic 90 points of damage that sets up for a Darkrai EX follow up KO.


Future: More Team Plasma support is coming, but not as far as I am aware not a whole more and what I’ve seen translations of doesn’t show a lot of promise with Absol.  Additionally, specific counters to Team Plasma Pokémon are coming, which could hurt this card’s usage.




Unlimited: Absol isn’t useful until your opponent has a big set-up and here that means you probably have pretty much lost. 1/5


Modified: Absol is a probable play for most Darkrai EX decks; some love it, some hate it, but it is hard to argue with adding a Basic attacker that can hit harder than Sableye, possibly take a hit, and doesn’t have to worry about the three major “block all damage” protective effects in the game (Safeguard, Plasma Steel, and Bright Down), all of which block Darkrai EX.  Might see some use elsewhere as well since it isn’t too hard to power-up. 3.5/5


Limited: As usual, Absol will effectively be bigger and hit harder due to the nature of this format.  Your opponent’s Bench size may be pretty random, but now the 60 damage from Fearsome Shadow is worth the effort and seeing your opponent’s hand is more useful when it isn’t easily altered (how many players are likely to pull Professor Juniper?).  The Energy costs are even friendly to running in a two or three Type deck.  The only reason to skip this is because you pulled a Pokémon-EX that is best run alone, or this was the only Darkness-Type Pokémon you pulled and you pulled enough other stuff you can’t justify the space for Darkness Energy. 4.5/5



Absol is a card Darkrai EX decks have been waiting for; a Basic Darkness-Type Pokémon with at least one solid attack that isn’t also a Pokémon-EX.  Of course, by now some are more comfortable relying on the alternate strategies that got them through until now and if protective effects die down it may not be worth the slot just to have a better single-Prize attacker.  Absol was my number nine pick, so not spot on, but pretty close.

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