Welcome to our number one Promising Pick
of Plasma Freeze:
Deoxys EX 9BW: Plasma Freeze
Deoxys EX is a Team Plasma Pokémon,
but as there are currently no other
version I will not bother referring to
it as “Deoxys
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
Jolteon (BW: Plasma Freeze
Klinklang (BW: Plasma Storm
Scizor (BW: Boundaries Crossed
Sigilyph (BW: Dragons Exalted
52/124; BW: Plasma Freeze
Vaporeon (BW: Plasma Freeze
Victini EX (BW: Plasma Storm
In the video games and even in the TCG,
Deoxys cards have multiple “formes”;
different appearances that affect game
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
Deoxys EX is a Psychic-Type Pokémon;
Psychic Weakness is mostly going to be
Mewtwo EX and (if the hype ends up
being even partially substantiated)
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
It does have to deal with
Resistance, though: Darkness-Types and
Metal-Types are usually
Darkrai EX usage is not expected to
drop and early indicators are that
Plasma Steel decks (built around the
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.
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
If that wasn’t enough, there are
even specific pieces of Basic Pokémon
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
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
The good news is that the decks
that can easily OHKO a 170 HP Pokémon
reliably can do so to pretty much any HP
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
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
has no Resistance, which is pretty
common on modern cards but still by
default the worst Resistance a Pokémon
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
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.
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
So when a recent card like
Deoxys EX mentions “Deoxys
EX” in its effect text, it means any
card named “Deoxys EX”, including
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
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
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.
Helix Force is terrible if you don’t
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
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
It is important to note that a
Mewtwo EX that just used X-Ball,
unless somehow protected, is a OHKO for
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.
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
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
As long as they don’t mix, Power
Connect and Helix Force are good,
possibly great but not “broken”.
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
Skyarrow Bridge can drop its Retreat
Cost to a slightly better “one”.
All search will also be more
efficient, as one Pokémon searched
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
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
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
Garbodor (BW: Dragons Exalted
54/124, BW: Plasma Freeze
119/116) to tap Power Connect for bonus
Garbodor can’t because as a Pokémon
Team Plasma Badge will activate the
Garbodor – Garbotoxin – which shuts
down other Abilities like Power Connect.
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
Deoxys EX is swarmed, it naturally
benefits from a deck that fills its own
Of course, any Team Plasma
Pokémon that attacks for damage can
potentially benefit from Power Connect.
is perhaps the backbone of Plasma Basic
decks, which utilizes potent Team Plasma
Basic Pokémon like
Kyurem (BW: Plasma Freeze
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
This allows the smaller weaker
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
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
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
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?
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
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,
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.
Team Plasma Badge, even non-Team
Plasma Pokémon are getting in on the
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.