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Yu Yu Hakusho
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Vs. System

Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Rhyperior #77

- Primal Clash

Date Reviewed:
April 13, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.13
Expanded: 2.20
Limited: 3.75

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being horrible.  3 ... average.  5 is awesome.

Back to the main COTD Page


Behold the master of rocks, the mightiest of the rhino-iest, the beast from the eastern part of the mountains, it's Rhyperior!! OH MAN, AND HE'S GOT AN ANCIENT TRAIT AND AN ABILITY, THIS MUST BE GOOD!! 

Rhyperior here has the Omega Barrier Trait, which we've looked at a few times before. This is good, cause it means your opponent can't tag Rhyperior with any Trainer cards. So that prevents them from messing around with Rhyperior's Hammer Arm, that hefty 4-for-100 attack that takes off the top card of their deck. It's a bit too hefty though, but hey, that damage'll go up with all that Fighting support! And on top of that, Rhyperior - heck, ALL of your Pokemon take less damage thanks to the power of Rock Wall! How much you ask? 


...oh, and that'd be AFTER Weakness and Resistance. 

I suppose that's okay for attacks on your Bench - it'll keep Primal Kyogre-EX from OHKOing SOME of your guys, but for the Active Slot? When you've got a lot of things in the format running around that help tack on damage in increments of 10-20, reducing it only by 10 is...abysmal. I'll give Rhyperior some credit though, he does have 160 HP which is higher than a lot of Stage 2s, but that doesn't mean it'll save him for more than two turns. 

Never mind all the investment he takes, he's just not good enough for competitive play. Stick to casual with this guy at best. 


Standard: 2/5 (he's got a lot going for him, but he could be a LOT better for a Stage 2) 

Expanded: 2/5 (about the same here) 

Limited: 3.5/5 (given the overall lower damage output of the format, shaving off 10 damage from most attacks is pretty good, and dealing 100 in kind isn't half-bad either) 

Arora Notealus: Rhyperior always struck me as an unusual Pokemon just from his appearance, but he's still pretty good. He's a physical powerhouse usually, so all things considered, this emulates him pretty well. I wouldn't be surprised if, should they finally decide to make evos appropriately powerful again, Rhyperior was one of the ones leading the charge. 

Next Time: Your ship looks pretty sturdy. Would be a shame if something took a bite out of it.


Welcome to another week of XY: Primal Clash reviews folks!  As we continue to check some of the stuff that didn’t catch our eye sooner to see if we missed something good.  We begin with Rhinox.  I mean Rhyperior (XY: Primal Clash 77/160).  I know what you’re thinking; no this wasn’t an excuse to make a Transformers reference in my reviews (though I should have thought of that sooner) but yes, this is a lame opening joke. 

Rhyperior is a Fighting-Type, which is probably the best Type to be right now; it has great indirect support, solid direct support and three Types (Colorless, Darkness and Lightning) are all either largely or mostly Weak to it.  There is the drawback that there is an anti-Fighting-Type card or two but those aren’t seeing competitive play and it is one of the more common forms of Resistance you’ll encounter but “no Resistance” is still far, far more common.  What is an obvious, major concern is that this is a Stage 2.  Evolving into it manually will be time consuming but Seismitoad-EX is still plentiful enough that one doesn’t want to rely heavily on Rare Candy.  Exeggutor (XY: Plasma Freeze 5/116) has made it a bit risky to try to rely on just Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick as well, though its far less popular than Seismitoad-EX variants.  So the good news is you’ve got three options but all three have blatant drawbacks. 

Rhyperior has 160 HP, the highest printed on a Stage 2 but sadly still not guaranteed to survive a hit, even after we take out decks that specialize in pseudo-OHKOs or OHKOs via raw damage… but it is almost as good as it gets before you jump up to Pokémon-EX.  The Grass Weakness is obviously a potential exploit for opposing decks, but the main Grass-Type attackers seeing successful competitive play are still Leafeon (BW: Plasma Freeze 11/116), Genesect-EX and Virizion-EX.  I’m still digesting data from the State Championships and while it was looking like VirGen was on its way out then it looked like it might have been the smart play and of course it can be fun when there isn’t an Age Group included along with the data.  My apologies for lacking a firm answer.  I didn’t include Exeggutor in the list because I’m not sure how big of a deal Weakness is when facing that deck.  The lack of Resistance is a disappointment, but the Lightning Resistance we’ve gotten used to seems to have vanished in the XY block.  The Retreat Cost of four is massive and you’ll either need a means of reducing it, bypassing manually retreating or a way to block/heal the damage while stuck Active.  Fortunately for Rhyperior, the first two have been and still are common to decks while the last one… is already built into Rhyperior. 

Rhyperior has an Ancient Trait, an Ability and an attack.  The Ancient Trait is Ω Barrier, which protects Rhyperior from the effects of an opponent’s Trainers done directly to Rhyperior (excluding Stadiums and Tools).  So Lysandre can’t force a Rhyperior up from the Bench, Hypnotoxic Laser can’t afflict it with Special Conditions, Crushing Hammer can’t discard attached Energy, Startling Megaphone can’t discard its Pokémon Tools, etc.  Escape Rope can’t force Rhyperior out of the Active slot but it can force it up into the Active position (unless of course another Ω Barrier Pokémon is up front); being promoted from the Bench is an indirect effect.  The Ability continues bolstering the cards defense: Rock Wall soaks 10 damage done to your Pokémon by attacks from an opponent’s Pokémon (after Weakness and Resistance) and the wording means it does stack.  A lone Rock Wall is pretty minor, but puts it about on par with Pokémon-EX that have 170 HP; while it is much harder to get into there are effects that can either bypass or shut off the Ability, Rhyperior is only worth a single Prize and doesn’t have to concern itself with the various anti-Pokémon-EX cards. 

Which just leaves the attack: Hammer Arm has appeared before and this version requires [FFCC], hits for 100 damage and discards the top card of your opponent’s deck.  100 for four Energy isn’t flat out bad but its a bit low in my opinion; seems like you really need to get 120 to 130 for four unless the effect is amazing, and discarding a card from the top of your opponent’s deck is not.  The current format is strange; discarding effects can be awesome or awful and it’s all about “how much” and “when”.  Several decks have cards they want discarded or at least can easily handle being discarded, some players run Lysandre’s Trump Card in almost everything (like me, whether or not it is a good play) and there are even some decks that want to discard but pack a Lysandre’s Trump Card because they need deck out/bad discard insurance.  In fact, Stage 2 decks in general strike me as wanting Lysandre’s Trump Card because too often they will have to toss things like crazy.  The main thing to take away is that the attack leaves the card slow on the offensive and not so great even when it gets going; you can offset this with the various Fighting-Type (and general) buffs but that will be in lieu of other approaches you might want to take (more on that later). 

We still need to run through our options for Rhyhorn, Rhydon and other Rhyperior.  There isn’t too much for this line, but at least there is enough for you to have a choice (and not all from one set).  For Rhyhorn, the decision is between XY 60/146 and XY: Primal Clash 74/160.  Both are Basic, Fighting-Types with 80 HP, Grass Weakness, no Resistance, a Retreat Cost of [CCC], no Abilities and no Ancient Traits, so it will come down to the attacks.  XY 60/146 has two; for [F] it can use Dig Out to do 10 damage and discard the top card of your deck, but if it was a [F] Energy you then get to attach the Energy to itself.  Unfortunately, Strong Energy doesn’t count as [F] Energy when not already attached to a Fighting-Type.  Its second attack is Horn Drill for [FCC] and 40 damage.  XY: Primal Clash 74/160 has just one attack: for [FF] it can use Take Down to hit for 40 to the opponent’s Active and 10 to itself… the latter of which sadly won’t be stopped by Rock Wall (should the appropriate Rhyperior be Benched) because Rock Wall doesn’t stop self-damage.  Still, as Dig Out seems too likely to backfire in a competitive build (which often run less than 20% basic Energy) and it needs three to do 40, go with Primal Clash 74/160 so that if you’re stuck attacking, it might be possible to power-up and get in a solid hit.  Obviously something that aided in set-up would have been preferred. 

Rhydon nearly mimics what we saw with Rhyhorn: your choices this time are XY 61/146 and XY: Primal Clash 75/160 and they are both Stage 1 Fighting-Type Pokémon with 100 HP, Grass Weakness, no Resistance, no Abilities, no Ancient Traits but this time they both have two attacks and XY 61/146 enjoys the slightly superior Retreat Cost of [CCC] to the Retreat Cost of [CCCC] that  XY: Primal Clash 75/160 bears.  The attacks on XY 61/146 are Horn Drill for [FCC], doing 50 points of damage and Mad Mountain for [FFCC], doing no damage but instead requiring two coin flips with the attack doing nothing unless you get double “heads”.  If you do get that result, you mill your opponent’s deck good for one card per damage counter on Rhydon.  It also got a review a year ago here.  XY: Primal Clash 75/160 has a bigger version of the Take Down attack found on its set-mate, this time requiring [FCC] to hit for 50 and still 10 to itself.  Its second attack is Horn Drill for [FFCC], which does a flat 70 damage.  The difference I mentioned in Retreat Costs doesn’t really matter but I’ll still take XY 61/146 (unless testing proves otherwise) because while the card really needs a good one or two Energy attack instead, I’ll take 50 with no self damage over 50 with 10 self-damage for the same cost and 70 for four is so overpriced I’ll take my chance with the crazy attack that might somehow result in a lucky deck out - while it will probably never work the opponent just seeing it could work as a threat to throw off their usual tactics. 

Thanks to there being a second Rhyperior this set, we still have two of those to run through: XY 62/146 and XY: Primal Clash 76/160.  Differences between today’s version and these two (besides attacks) are that XY 62/146 has 10 less HP and neither of these have Abilities or Ancient Traits (no surprise there).  XY 62/146 was reviewed here; the review may a year old but still seems pretty accurate.  Rock Blast is nice in that its finally a low Energy attack; for as little as [F] you can use it.  It also does something that has proven quite valuable for attackers like Mewtwo-EX and Yveltal-EX: it scales with the Energy used, though in this case only with the Energy attached to Rhyperior and when we pay attention to the full text we realize that its not actually aping those two, but Malamar-EX (or would be except Rhyperior predates Malamar-EX): you get a coin flip to try for damage per [F] Energy attached to Rhyperior.  This “kind of” works for Malamar-EX because it has a somewhat useful Ability that triggers when Energy is attached to it, does 60 per coin flip  and while its attack needs [DC] it counts all Energy attached to it whereas Rhyperior needs less to start but only counts [F] Energy and does 50 per “heads”... besides the other obvious difference of Basic Pokémon-EX versus Stage 2 non-Pokémon-EX plus an attack that risks doing no damage risks wasting all the damage buffs available to Fighting-Types (if the attack did 10 plus 50 per heads then at least those damage bonuses would always apply).  Does the second attack (Rock Wrecker) save it?  For [FFCC] we get 130 damage, a solid foundation for buffs but sullied by the attack text, which ignores both Weakness and Resistance (never a good trade) and Rhyperior can’t attack the next turn.  Why this card was mistaken as being good enough to warrant such restrictions while Yveltal-EX (released in the same set) didn’t, we may never know. 

So what about XY: Primal Clash 76/160?  Very different effect text but overall a similar pattern.  Besides that 10 less HP, its first attack is Rock Shower for [FFC].  The good news is that it can do some sizable spread damage.  The bad news is not only does the Energy required make it slow but its coin flip based with no guaranteed minimum damage (not that the buffs would apply to any damage except against the opponent’s Active).  You flip three coins and do 20 points of spread per “heads”.  Obviously all “tails” is rubbish, but a single “heads” is still pretty poor, double “heads” is just “okay” and three “heads” is pretty good… but for needing three “heads” it should be great.  To give you an idea, you could run Kyurem (BW: Noble Victories 34/101; BW: Black Star Promos BW44; BW: Legendary Treasures 43/113) and for the Type-shifted price of [WWC] hit for a flat 30 damage to each of your opponent’s Pokémon.  If we ignore Stage and Type and comparable card pool, the attacks actually line up… but like I said we are basically ignoring the rest of the game to make that work.  The Kyurem in question predates Mr. Mime (BW: Plasma Freeze 47/116) and Mountain Ring; we really need a less expensive attack that spread damage counters.  What about the second attack, Stone Edge?  [FFCC] for 80 (+40 on a coin flip), so another slow, overpriced or under powered attack. 

So if we are running today’s Rhyperior, it isn’t getting any help from its other iterations.  So should you run this?  Probably not; while it has some nice stuff going for it, it doesn’t seem nice enough to win you anything other than a small tournament, and that assumes you’re skilled, the build is good and that at least a little luck goes your way.  If you can get three or four of these into play, perhaps a Hard Charm on Rhyperior, then you could potentially have a decent tank deck.  You’ll need either Strong Energy or Fighting Stadium in play so that you can 2HKO most things, and both (or else two Strong Energy) when facing Mega Evolutions that aren’t Fighting Weak and Wailord-EX means you’ll need even more of a buff for the OHKO, but its feasible.  The problem is in getting out multiples of this card quickly… even “relatively” quickly while stalling with other cards is quite the challenge.  After that, you have to deal with Special Conditions (at least the ones that come from Abilities or Attacks) as well as attacks that are more effect based or that simply hit so hard there is no amount of defensive buffs that can save you (well, against a few Focus Sash, but only for one turn). 

The main problem I see is that the kind of deck I’d use to support this card is a bit too similar to how I’d run a deck focused on or backed by either Primal Groudon-EX or a Machamp (XY: Furious Fists 46/111, XY: Black Star Promos XY13).  If Machamp didn’t exist, you might see someone trying to get a Rhyperior or two onto the Bench via Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick but 20 extra damage is usually a lot more valuable than reducing the damage you take by 10… even if (unlike Machamp) Rhyperior has its Ω Barrier to help keep it on the Bench.  Primal Groudon-EX of course simply has enough HP to force most decks to accept a 2HKO or even 3HKO of it, while it should be scoring easy OHKOs or 2HKOs against almost anything that lacks a protective effect… instead of trying to survive two or three hits while mostly scoring 2HKOs.  I think the card might have a better chance in Expanded due to Heavy Ball; the entire Evolution line would be a legal search target, though odds are you’d still run some things that weren’t Heavy Ball legal and want at least one other search option.  There is a temptation to build a deck around Rhydon (XY 61/146), but using its Mad Mountain attack via Shrine of Memories or Celebi-EX (I’d go with the former), slapping a Giant Cape or Focus Sash on Rhyperior and just trying to time it right so that you get a massive discard at a point when it will really hurt your opponent… but as stated there are a lot of decks that can deal with such a thing. 

Rhyperior is unsurprisingly most useful for Limited play.  The other Rhyperior in the set is best used in Limited, and the two of them being in the same set gives you a slightly elevated chance.  The lower Stages are also handy, and while the Energy costs will mean you can’t just run it with anything, but does keep it open to other Pokémon with at least half Colorless Energy costs. 


Standard: 2.25/5 

Expanded: 2.4/5 

Limited: 4/5 

Summary: This card has a lot going for it right now, but I don’t think it powers up quickly enough (without expensive combos) to really make a go of it.  Rhyperior is quite sturdy for a Stage 2 but it is still a Stage 2 in a format where the only Stages that seem less desirable are Restored Pokémon and Stage 1 Pokémon that Evolve from Restored Pokémon.  Still if you want to try tanking, this might be your best bet.

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