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Yu Yu Hakusho
Harry Potter
Vs. System

Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day



- Plasma Blast

Date Reviewed:
August 12, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.50
Expanded: 3.50
Limited: 4.23

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

Back to the main COTD Page


Suicune is an...interesting choice. In an era where Pokemon-EX are fairly dominant in the format, Suicune became a key option for decks to counteract them as one of the few anti-EX cards. Sure, there was stuff like Silver Bangle and Silver Mirror, and Pyroar managed to form his own deck for a while, but Suicune was always the original anti-EX Pokemon. 

Some of the key differences with Suicune and other "Safeguard" Pokemon like Sigilyph (LTR), which is also rotating out, are what effectively made him a powerful ally since his release and a strong supportive attacker. Comparing him to Sigilyph, Suicune has a higher HP score of 100, meaning he's usually just out of range of a good portion of non-EX attacks, unlike Sigilyph at a score of 90 HP. That's good! 

And then there's Pyroar, who for a time was his own deck - even made it all the way up to Nationals! Now Pyroar differs from Suicune for a number of reasons - and no, not just because he's a Fire-type and Suicune's a Water-type. Between the two, Pyroar seems to outpace Suicune. He's got more HP, and his Scorching Fang is arguably a better attack than Suicune's vanilla Aurora Beam - all at about the same cost! And yet, I would say Suicune is technically the superior...but why?

Well in a clash between the two, Pyroar would win. While Suicune would hurt him for his Weakness, Pyroar's Intimidating Mane has a specific set of wording such that Suicune can't touch him: he takes no damage from Basic Pokemon. So Suicune would lose if he fought this Pyroar, oddly enough. Between the two as tech though, Suicune wins out because of Intimidating Mane's lack of coverage. Ignoring that Pyroar is also a Stage 1, Intimidating Mane is worded to exclude two important things: the effects of an attack, and Evolutions. 

Here's the thing: against most Pokemon-EX, Pyroar wouldn't take a scratch. But when you've got players in the game like Seismitoad-EX - whose effects are far more harmful than his attack - Pyroar doesn't help as much. Suicune can nullify the Quaking Punch; Pyroar can't. And that's just one example - think of effects like Gengar-EX's Night Attack or Dark Corridor - both of which can harm Pyroar without damaging him directly! And Landorus-EX will still hit a Bench-sitter if you're not careful! 

But more importantly, as the game has evolved, Pyroar has had to face a threat that he can't beat: Mega Evolutions. Technically speaking, Mega Pokemon ARE Evolved Pokemon, meaning Pyroar will get decimated by the likes of M Rayquaza-EX, Primal Kyogre-EX, M Gallade-EX, M Gardevoir-EX - the list goes on. Any Mega can hit Pyroar - but not one of them can touch Suicune, because Suicune's Safeguard blocks all effects including damage from any Pokemon-EX. 

Suicune may leave Standard soon, but of the Safeguard options, he remains the most...legendary. 


Standard: 3.5/5 (if his attack was better, I'd rate him higher, but regardless, Safeguard is an amazing Ability) 

Expanded: 3.5/5 (he'll see a great deal of play here, I'm sure of it) 

Limited: 3.5/5 (there's only 6 Pokemon-EX in the set, but at least the overall HP scores are lower in general, so Aurora Beam will still be effective) 

Arora Notealus: If it's not a well-known fact that I hold Gen II in high regard, then let it be said that I hold Gen II in high regard. GSC and the remakes HGSS remain my favorite Pokemon games of all time, and I'll always remember Suicune as the mascot for Crystal. Probably the only time a legendary that wasn't part of the main trio actually made it onto the cover of a game - ain't that crazy?

Next Time: Speaking of legendaries!!...again!!


Our next honorable mention is our 13th place finisher, Suicune (BW: Plasma Blast 20/101).  As you might expect as we make our way down, he hasn’t been reviewed as often as most of the cards that placed above it: just once here as our 10th place pick for our collective BW: Plasma Blast Top 10… er… Top 12 list (for our individual BW: Plasma Blast lists, I had it as my #9 pick).  So what made this card so special? 

The main reason is pretty obvious; it is a Safeguard Pokémon.  Its Ability grants it near total protection from Pokémon-EX, blocking not only damage from their attacks but from the effects of said attacks as well.  Sometimes this backfires, such as when you have a beneficial effect like attaching Energy to something on your own Bench via an attack by your own Pokémon-EX: Suicune can’t receive that Energy.  There are ways around this effect as well; certain attacks can ignore protective effects while anything that shuts down Abilities renders Safeguard inert.  There is only one other Safeguard Pokémon, Sigilyph (BW: Dragons Exalted 52/124; BW: Plasma Freeze 188/116; BW: Legendary Treasures 66/113); it too is also leaving Standard, so soon we’ll be without our oft hand Basics that can wall against nearly all Pokémon-EX.  While I normally would have gone in my typical order of stats then effects, Safeguard is so crucial to this card that it is best to look at everything else in light of it, especially as this is a re-review. 

Being a Basic Pokémon is the best and quite significant; even with as good or better of a protective effect, it is much, much harder to run a Stage 1 or Stage 2.  It is a Water-Type which was good but nothing overly special when the card released, mostly notable for hitting Pokémon like yesterday’s CotD, Landorus-EX, for double damage.  More recently we received Dive Ball and that helps this card prove more practical to actual Water-Type decks.  Its 100 HP isn’t amazing but it’s solid and just high enough that your opponent can’t score a quick, easy OHKO with a non-Pokémon-EX that isn’t meant to attack and even some meant to attack will need a tiny boost to seal the deal.  The Grass Weakness would be deadly except most of the Grass-Type attackers that have so far coexisted with Suicune just haven’t been worth it or have but already hit hard enough for the OHKO or are blocked by Safeguard.  The lack of Resistance is typical so moving on we come to a Retreat Cost of [CC]; not so huge you that you’ll struggle to pay it or recover from it, but now low enough to be especially easy either.  Its lone attack is Aurora Beam for [WCC] and it hits for 70 damage.  This is just enough damage that a simple boost via Silver Bangle or Muscle Band will 2HKO nearly all non-Evolved Pokémon-EX and while three Energy isn’t easy, the mostly Colorless cost makes it plausible (though not always practical) to work into a deck. 

Suicune and its usage has varied a bit; there are enough non-Pokémon-EX attackers that you can’t rely on it for protection and even if you could, you’ll have to deal with things like Hypnotoxic Laser, Abilities that place damage counters/do damage and of course, the aforementioned workarounds such as cards with Shred (like Hydreigon-EX) and that stop the Ability.  For the latter, the relevant ones are the long running Garbodor (BW: Dragons Exalted 54/124; BW: Plasma Freeze 119/116; BW: Legendary Treasures 68/113) which was also fourth place on this countdown and Silent Lab, which has the mixed blessing of shutting of many other popular Abilities that are found on Basics, both getting it into and keeping it out of multiple decks.  Mega Evolutions often capable of OHKOing nearly anything else in the game I believe are one of the big contributors (besides some more deck specific examples) for Suicune still being a presence in the format; even though decks that use many non-Pokémon-EX or few actual Pokémon-EX to attack have a solid presence, those Mega Evolutions have still tipped several decks in favor of including a Safeguard Pokémon.  As such, expect Suicune to still see solid play in Expanded.  In Limited, unless you get a big, Basic Pokémon (probably a Pokémon-EX) you think is worth running as your only Basic Pokémon (guaranteeing you start with it but also that you lose if it is KOed), then you should run Suicune.  You should be able to make room for a few basic Water Energy and even if not, it can be a valuable “wall”. 


Standard: 3.5/5 

Expanded: 3.5/5 

Limited: 4.95/5 

Summary: Suicune is a good solid card and part of me will miss it but another part of me is kind of glad it (and Sigilyph are gone); so many decks could make a little too good of use of Safeguard Pokémon while otherwise the format strongly “encourages” you to mostly rely on Pokémon-EX to attack.  As with the other cards, for my own list I determined what went where by first looking at how many decks from the Top 8 of U.S. Nationals ran Suicune (and then how many copies of it within said decks) to determine a raw score and then I also looked at those results and thought it through.  On my own list Suicune clocked in as the seventh best card lost to rotation, so I’m a disappointed it averaged out to six places lower than that but glad it at least made the Top 15.

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