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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Countdown: Top 10 Plasma Freeze Cards

#1 - Deoxys EX  

- Plasma Freeze

Date Reviewed:
May 24, 2013

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 4.5
Limited: 4.13

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
Seniors
Champion

#1 Deoxys-EX 

Whenever a card is printed that increases the damage you can do, it will very often see play. Why? Because the aim of the game (mostly) is to take Prizes faster than your opponent and being able to do this in fewer attacks with the help of some damage boosting will go a long way to make sure that happens. Think of Expert Belt, Crobat G, the classic PlusPower, Special Dark Energy, Hypnotoxic Laser . . . and now think of our #1 card from Plasma Freeze: Deoxys-EX. 

Deoxys-EX is a Team Plasma EX of the Psychic Type. The 170 HP may be 10 short of the maximum, but is certainly nothing to complain about. The Weakness to Psychic probably has players thinking about Mewtwo-EX, but Mewtwo usage is on the decline for the moment, Deoxys will often not have Energy attached, and the Weakness cuts both ways. The only thing to really dislike about the card is the awkward Retreat cost of two. It’s not something you will really want to pay with Energy, so decks which run Deoxys really need to think about including some switching Trainers. 

The main attraction with this card is the Ability. Power Connect adds 10 damage to the attacks of all your Team Plasma Pokémon, and yes it stacks, meaning that you get an extra 10 damage for each Deoxys you have on the Field. This is great for getting your Plasma Pokémon hitting the numbers they need for the OHKO. With three of these Benched, Thundurus-EX’s Raiden Knuckle does 60 damage and can one-shot evolving Basics, and a Lugia-EX or Kyurem can take out a clean EX Pokémon with the help of Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym. Even if you can’t manage the one-hit, multiple Deoxys will put any opponent under a lot of pressure by getting heavy damage on the Field early game, making the job of cleaning up later that much easier. It shouldn’t be forgotten that the benefits of Deoxys can also be applied to any non-Plasma Pokémon if they have Plasma Badge attached, and this will lead to the creation of some new and interesting decks. Imagine a Darkrai-EX with boosted Night Spear, or Landorus-EX and Cobalion-EX having their cheap but low damage attacks being turned into something much more threatening. 

Speaking of attacks, Deoxys-EX does have one and it’s . . . not bad. That’s surprising really as they usually attempt to balance cards that are powerful on the Bench by giving them poor attacks (see also Garbodor DRX, Eelektrik NVI). The one big downside is that Deoxys cannot boost its own damage, or the damage done by other Deoxys (as stated in the text for Power Connect). Nevertheless, in the right circumstances it can be effective. Helix Force costs one Psychic and one Colourless Energy and does a base damage of 30. However, if it has Plasma Energy attached, it will do another 30 for each Energy attached to the Defending Pokémon. This can make it an effective attack against something like a Keldeo-EX which has a stack of Energy on it, and it’s also pretty good against Mewtwo-EX, which will fall to a OHKO if they have two or more Energy attached. It’s not the best weapon in Plasma’s armoury, but it’s better than you think and can certainly be used to take some Prizes if necessary.

Deoxys-EX feels like a card that the designers have tried to balance by making it a 2-Prize EX Bench-sitter with an Ability that doesn’t even work on its own attack. While this may have prevented the card from being outrageously broken, it still leaves us with an extremely powerful support Pokémon for a new top tier deck type. The EX status even helps in some ways as 170 HP means that any opponent is going to have to devote a decent amount of resources to KOing it while ignoring the threat posed by any main attacker . . . and of course there’s a high chance that any knocked out Deoxys will be easily replaced by another.

Be prepared to be sitting opposite a row of these during the upcoming tournaments, being forced to make some mental calculations and coming up with answers which you won’t much like. 

Rating 

Modified: 4.5 (one of the best support cards for aggressive decks that Pokémon have printed)

Limited: 4.5 (bulky, and has plenty of Plasma Pokémon in the set to work with)


Otaku

Welcome to our number one Promising Pick of Plasma Freeze: Deoxys EX 9BW: Plasma Freeze 53/116, 111/116)!

 

Stats

 

Miscellaneous: Deoxys EX is a Team Plasma Pokémon, but as there are currently no other version I will not bother referring to it as “Deoxys EX [Plasma]”.  As you know just from reading the name, it is a Pokémon-EX, but make sure you let the full impact of that hit you; not just that a Pokémon-EX gives up an additional Prize when KOed, but that BW: Plasma Freeze brings the number of Pokémon-EX “counters” up to nine: Bouffalant (BW: Dragons Exalted 110/124), Jolteon (BW: Plasma Freeze 34/116), Klinklang (BW: Plasma Storm 90/135), Scizor (BW: Boundaries Crossed 94/149), Sigilyph (BW: Dragons Exalted 52/124; BW: Plasma Freeze 118/116), Vaporeon (BW: Plasma Freeze 20/116), and Victini EX (BW: Plasma Storm 18/135, 131/135).

 

In the video games and even in the TCG, Deoxys cards have multiple “formes”; different appearances that affect game play.  The artwork of Deoxys EX (both versions) indicates the “Normal Forme”; it seems doubtful that we will get any other formes, though I am pleased the card designers remembered to present both regular and Full-Art versions as having the same forme.

 

Type: Deoxys EX is a Psychic-Type Pokémon; Psychic Weakness is mostly going to be seen on Mewtwo EX and (if the hype ends up being even partially substantiated) itself.  Considering Mewtwo EX originally rose to fame by being a great card that was the only worthwhile counter for itself, the Psychic-Type is good at hitting Weakness.  It does have to deal with Resistance, though: Darkness-Types and Metal-Types are usually Psychic-Resistant, and Darkrai EX usage is not expected to drop and early indicators are that Plasma Steel decks (built around the aforementioned Klinklang [Plasma]) aren’t gone yet.

 

Considering Type-support, Psychic has Gardevoir (BW: Next Destinies 57/99, BW: Dark Explorers 109/108) which… hasn’t really had a good showing; I recall one significant finish for competitive play by a Gardevoir-backed deck, but if others have done well, it isn’t making it to my eyes or ears.  Overall though, this is at least an “average” if not a beneficial Typing.

 

Stage: As a Basic Pokémon, Deoxys EX enjoys setting the pace for this format; Evolutions are considered “slow” and “underpowered” because this card pool contains so many amazing Basic Pokémon, capable of opening the game with strong attacks and taking a hit from each other, while those that Evolve usually don’t do either.  If that wasn’t enough, there are even specific pieces of Basic Pokémon support like Prism Energy.

 

Hit Points: 170 HP is just 10 away from the maximum we’ve seen printed on any Pokémon-EX, and just 30 away from the maximum we’ve ever seen printed in the history of the game.  There are some combos that can boost HP higher that do see play, but for the most part it doesn’t get much better than this.

 

While 170 HP is great, it isn’t as safe as it used to be; we also have more combos for generating damage than we used to, so most decks can push themselves to either OHKO 170 HP or pseudo-OHKO 170 HP (using Poison damage between turns, or spread from an earlier attack to set-up for a KO by the next while still taking down whatever was already Active).  The good news is that the decks that can easily OHKO a 170 HP Pokémon reliably can do so to pretty much any HP score.

 

Weakness: Psychic Weakness is not a good thing to have, but it is expected on Psychic-Types in the Pokémon TCG (despite video game Psychic-Types being Psychic Resistant).  The good news is that Mewtwo EX usually uses its X-Ball attack, which does damage based on Energy attached so the 170 HP of Deoxys EX forces Mewtwo EX to use a combo to up its damage (either directly or by attaching extra Energy to it); with just the minimum Energy required by X-Ball and no other tricks save hitting Weakness, Mewtwo EX falls 10 HP short of a successful OHKO.

 

Resistance: Deoxys EX has no Resistance, which is pretty common on modern cards but still by default the worst Resistance a Pokémon can have.  Unlike many other examples, it is somewhat justified by neither video game Resistance converting to the TCG well as they (Fighting, Psychic) were each combined with two other Types when converted to the TCG… Types that either should hit for normal or even double damage.

 

Retreat: A Retreat Cost of two is mediocre; we have a format where almost every deck wants to have an alternative to manually retreating at full cost to shake attack effects and enable combos.  A free Retreat remains the best, with one still being good as well, but paying two Energy to retreat is now functionally almost as expensive for most decks as paying three.  Effects that flat out bypass a manual retreat or zero out the actual cost work just as well for higher Retreat Costs, and those higher costs (three and up) qualify for Heavy Ball, leaving a cost of two arguably worse than a cost of three.

 

Effects

 

Ability: Power Connect is a great Ability.  There is some confusion due to the template of older cards; there is an old ruling about self-referencing, but it is an old ruling meant for cards from before the Black & White era of sets as back then, any time a Pokémon referred to itself, it used its own name.  So when a recent card like Deoxys EX mentions “Deoxys EX” in its effect text, it means any card named “Deoxys EX”, including itself.

 

So yes, Power Connect increases the damage done to Active Pokémon by attacks from Team Plasma Pokémon, excluding cards named Deoxys EX (any card named “Deoxys EX”), at plus 10 points of damage per copy of Power Connect you gave in play.  Whether you have one Deoxys EX or four in play, none of them are benefiting from Power Connect.  Even when you have a Pokémon that can tap Power Connect, you must be careful; remember that self-damage would also be increased, and “excess” damage does you no good.

 

Excess damage is just what it sounds like: damage done in excess of the target Pokémon’s HP score.  This is a common thing, as few attacks line up evenly scoring OHKOs, 2HKOs, 3HKOs, etc. but when you boost damage, it gets even messier.  Whether you are keeping one attacker alive long enough to hit twice for 90 points of damage, or setting up two so that each can hit for 90 once before being KOed/switched out, anything with less than 180 will have excess damage inflicted (before effects that increase, decrease, or flat out prevent damage).

 

When it comes to Power Connect, this means a lot of attackers (as a reliable 90 points of damage per turn is quite common) won’t need Power Connect to score a 2HKO.  This does not make the Ability bad; it is still a great Ability.  It does make it easy to misuse.

 

Attack: Helix Force is terrible if you don’t have a Plasma Energy attached: (PC) for 30 is well below the going rate.  If you have a Plasma Energy attached, the attack isn’t guaranteed to be great, but it is likely to at least be “average”: Helix Force does not just 30 points of damage, but 30 plus another 30 points of damage per Energy attached to the Defending Pokémon.  Only Pokémon that attack efficiently with a single Energy will take less than 90 points of damage (usually enough for a 2HKO).  Even with one of the two Energy required being a Plasma Energy that is a good deal, as many heavier attackers that will have three or more Energy attached will take big damage.

 

It is important to note that a Mewtwo EX that just used X-Ball, unless somehow protected, is a OHKO for a Plasma Energy enhanced shot from Helix Force, and as I’ll mention in the Usage section it isn’t hard to power-up Helix Force in a single turn.

 

Synergy: There is no synergy between the Ability and the attack; they don’t actively clash but the wording of Power Connect means it ignores Helix Force.  This is likely necessary for balance; try playing around with the numbers and see what happens with a swarm of Deoxys EX if Power Connect.  Even if you couldn’t maintain a full four, three of them together (before Weakness, Resistance, and attack effects) would do a solid 60 for two.  When all the expected combos (see below) were factored in, Helix Force would be very likely to score OHKOs and you might even be able to abuse Max Potion and Eviolite.  As long as they don’t mix, Power Connect and Helix Force are good, possibly great but not “broken”.

 

Usage

 

Deoxys EX can tap Basic Pokémon support; Eviolite to reduce damage taken, Prism Energy allows you to easily fill off-Type Energy requirements, Revive allows you to play a Basic Pokémon from your discard pile to your Bench, and Skyarrow Bridge can drop its Retreat Cost to a slightly better “one”.  All search will also be more efficient, as one Pokémon searched equals one Deoxys EX on the field (instead of needing to set-up as with an Evolution line), and that transitions well into the Team Plasma Support.

 

For a quick overview that isn’t worried about quality but listing options, check here; I’ll just focus on the highlights like Team Plasma Ball.  Team Plasma Ball is an Item that as you would expect, snags a Team Plasma Pokémon; this means they can greatly improve the odds of getting Deoxys EX for the cost of just playing Team Plasma Ball.  Colress Machine (with Plasma Energy) allows Deoxys EX to go from no Energy to being attack capable in a single turn.  Team Plasma Badge allows any Pokémon save Garbodor (BW: Dragons Exalted 54/124, BW: Plasma Freeze 119/116) to tap Power Connect for bonus damage.  Garbodor can’t because as a Pokémon Tool, Team Plasma Badge will activate the Ability of Garbodor – Garbotoxin – which shuts down other Abilities like Power Connect.

 

Hypnotoxic Laser doesn’t care about Deoxys EX being a Team Plasma Pokémon, but it will effectively increase the damage being done.  Colress doesn’t care either, but when Deoxys EX is swarmed, it naturally benefits from a deck that fills its own Bench.  Of course, any Team Plasma Pokémon that attacks for damage can potentially benefit from Power Connect.

 

Deoxys EX is perhaps the backbone of Plasma Basic decks, which utilizes potent Team Plasma Basic Pokémon like Lugia EX, Kyurem (BW: Plasma Freeze 31/116), Thundurus EX, and usually one or two others tailored to the metagame (or at least anticipated metagame).  Those three are the most common, and will also be supported by Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym.  This allows the smaller weaker attacks of Kyurem [Plasma] and Thundurus EX to score big hits, upwards of OHKOing smaller (or Type Weak) Pokémon and 2HKOing larger ones.  Lugia EX ideally just makes use of Power Connect boosting is damage and possibly hitting something already damaged so that it can take advantage of its Ability, which won’t trigger due to Poison damage, but if the full boosting is required it is better to take the KO without scoring an extra Prize than to take no Prizes at all.

 

Many more Team Plasma Pokémon benefit from Deoxys EX, and I would not be surprised if at least one becomes a standard for Team Plasma decks.  So potent has it proven that it is a major reason for the rise of “Plasma Proxy” decks, where support like Power Connect and Colress Machine elevate a Pokémon bearing Team Plasma Badge to new highs.  While most won’t pan out, almost any Pokémon that was already at least borderline competitive are getting second looks thanks to the combination of Team Plasma Badge and Deoxys EX jumping damage easily.  Perhaps the best examples are Cobalion EX, played because Team Plasma Basic decks are resulting in a major spike in Special Energy usage and Cobalion being able to hit hard (when backed by the Plasma Proxy set-up) while discarding said Energy, and Empoleon (BW: Dark Explorers 29/108; BW: Plasma Freeze 117/116), whose Attack Command can finally hit OHKO/2HKO levels; perhaps that is why the latter was reprinted as a Secret Rare this set?

 

Future: Deoxys EX will likely see a decrease in play because we are eventually getting counters to Team Plasma, but additional support and the strength of what we already have makes it unlikely Deoxys EX will disappear completely.  Instead it looks like it will be a significant part of the format for the foreseeable future.

 

Ratings

 

Unlimited: It won’t help more advanced First Turn Win decks, but classical donk decks that don’t rely on Seeker shenanigans might consider a Team Plasma variant.  Lock decks may similarly enjoy from increased damage.  They have to give up Focus Band for Team Plasma Badge in most cases, however. 2/5

 

Modified: There is little reason for any deck using a Team Plasma Pokémon as an attacker to forgo Deoxys EX; at least one copy is pretty much a staple, and swarming them in the twos, threes, maybe even a full four count being a legitimate strategy.  Thanks to Team Plasma Badge, even non-Team Plasma Pokémon are getting in on the deal. 4.5/5

 

Limited: This is not the Pokémon-EX to try to run with the “plus 39 Energy” strategy.  Without the capacity to quickly and reliably get Plasma Energy onto it, even by Limited standards Helix Force is a “meh” attack (technically an improvement from being absolutely horrible).  If you pull any other Team Plasma attackers you plan on running and pull this, you will want to run Deoxys EX just as a Bench-sitter.  If you do pull a Plasma Energy, it can be a good attacker in a “real” Limited deck, though with about the effectiveness of a Stage 1 as you have two cards that have to come together to be useful. 3.75/5

 

Summary

Deoxys EX may seem an unusual choice for the number one slot, though it is somewhat nice that one of the figureheads for the new set ranks as the best.  When one stops and considers how well Deoxys EX combos with the bulk of what makes the Top 10, and how it has sired or at least helped to sire two major, broad deck archetypes (possibly adding variants of existing archetypes), it looks like Deoxys EX is going to live up to most of the hype it generated.

 

I had Deoxys EX in my number three slot, below my number two pick of Team Plasma Ball and Thundurus EX, two cards it works well with and all three of which are solid on their own or while supporting other Pokémon.  Later results have called this into question, but I mostly attribute this to how close things are between much of the Top 10.

 

Lastly I’ve got to sell off more of the treasures and trinkets I’ve amassed over the years, so please check out my eBay sales here.  If they haven’t already sold, you’ll find Pokémon Organized Play deck sleeves, with more items (Pokémon and otherwise) to come!  Pojo.com is not responsible for any sales, and merely kind enough to allow me to link to my auctions.


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