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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Top 10 Cards Lost To Rotation

#5 - Keldeo EX

- Boundaries Crossed

Date Reviewed:
August 3, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 4.30
Expanded: 3.90
Limited: 5.00

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

Back to the main COTD Page


Ahhhh yes, Keldeo-EX. You're arguably one of the best EX out there. Not just for your Hydro Pump-esque attack that emulated a classic move but also for your Ability to simply Rush In and take the competition by surprise. Truly you were a force to be reckoned with in your heyday. 

Keldeo-EX was actually a great partner of Float Stone's; with his Ability Rush-In and the overwhelming popularity of HTLBank, Keldeo-EX needed a means of getting out himself while saving your Active slot from getting Poisoned to KO. And in combination with that, he was able to make sure your Pokemon didn't faint from your opponent's attacks so easily! Course, Float Stone isn't Keldeo-EX's only partner. 

If you do more than tech Keldeo-EX, you can bring out his true potential by partnering him up with Blastoise. Blastoise's Deluge Ability - reminiscent of Base Set Blastoise's Rain Dance Ability - allows the player to play as many Water Energy as they'd like during their turn onto any of their Pokemon. And with Keldeo-EX's Secret Sword tacking on an extra 20 damage for each Water Energy attached, it became a pretty big deck for a while. 

There is a major flaw with this strategy though: Mewtwo-EX exists. As does Yveltal-EX, both of which get stronger based on the number of Energy attached to both Active Pokemon. Now both have around 170 HP, so in order to successfully OHKO them with JUST Sacred Sword, you'd need at least 6 WATER Energy attached to Keldeo-EX - meaning they in turn can deal 120 and 140 damage respectively (thanks to Yveltal-EX's additional damage rather than multiplicative). That's a fair chunk of Keldeo-EX's own HP - coupled with HTLBank and Muscle Band, this would KO any Keldeo-EX for sure. 

In theory there are workarounds - adding a Muscle Band to alleviate some damage, as well as your own combination of HTLBank, which could have Keldeo-EX get away with only 4 Energy. Of course, this doesn't account for the powerhouses that are Megas, which means Keldeo-EX needs to work that much harder to KO those behemoths. In any case, Keldeo-EX is nothing if not a solid support card with a potential to be an attacker, and his versatility makes him a prime candidate for our #5 spot. 


Standard: 4/5 (he's gotten less powerful as time's gone by, what with the popularity of VirGen decks and the rise of Megas pushing down on him) 

Expanded: 4/5 (still, he's a solid choice for support, and with Float Stone he can effectively nullify Statuses on your Pokemon - which in turn can support your own Megas!) 

Limited: 5/5 (he's just too good in his own set, whether or not you have Blastoise on your Bench) 

Arora Notealus: You know, it's funny how the presence of Megas has balanced out the game. When Pokemon-EX first came out, they were ridiculous - Basic Pokemon getting all the Basic Pokemon support and having cheap yet powerful attacks for smaller investments? It's crazy! But now with Megas, we have a balancing act - sure, you get more powerful attacks usually, but unless you've got the Spirit Link card, your turn ends the moment you play one down. Scary...and yet a clever way to address the power creep slowly taking over the game. 

Next Time: Another great partner for Float Stone!


Welcome to the top half of our Top 10 Cards Lost To Rotation list.  If you’re joining us in progress, a brief (well, by my standards) explanation is in order: Pokémon uses set rotation to help keep the game fresh and better balanced (and of course, to provide more incentive to purchase new product).  Rotation, where the oldest sets leave the Standard Format, happens once per year and it happens September 1st.  We had a lull before the next set so the review crew decided to take a look at the best of what we are losing; our individual lists were submitted and averaged out to get our list to review.  Check out last week’s reviews for the 10th through 6th place finishers. 

Keldeo-EX (BW: Boundaries Crossed 49/149, 142/149; BW: Black Star Promos BW61; BW: Legendary Treasures 45/113) secures fifth place on this countdown.  Why?  Well for starters you can see what we thought of it the previous times it was reviewed: it was also our fifth place choice for the Top 10 of BW: Boundaries Crossed, our 10th place place pick for the Top 10 of 2012 and back to being the fifth place finisher for our Top 5 Cards Reprinted in BW: Legendary Treasures.  That makes this card somewhat oddly consistent since again, those lists were averages of the entire (and changing) CotD reviewers.  Those reviews are of course about three and a half or two and a half years old (the first two were really close together), so there will be a lot left for us to cover today. 

No surprise: I’ll start by just running through the card itself.  It is a Basic and the last few formats have clearly favored that Stage.  It is a Water-Type which is solid (it did release alongside the formidable-but-Water-Weak Landorus-EX, among other things).  Being a Pokémon-EX is  fine: though you’ll give up an extra Prize when KOed, be vulnerable to specific anti-Pokémon-EX cards and there are a few cards that just won’t work for Pokémon-EX Keldeo-EX follows through on the potential benefits granted to Pokémon-EX as its HP is both more than its non-Pokémon-EX counterparts (nearly double the amount of the smallest Keldeo), it has an Ability that has proven great and also a very, very good attack.  The 170 HP was originally enough to make it hard to OHKO and now makes it likely to survive a hit, though Grass Weakness changes that substantially: good thing that most Grass-Type attackers that have proven themselves were already likely to score a OHKO or 2HKO before Weakness was applied. 

There was no Resistance and there is a Retreat Cost of [CC]; functionally average though a lower or higher score would have been disproportionately better or worse due to the Ability, “Rush In”.  Rush In is the main reason this card is played today and allows you to promote Keldeo-EX to the Active spot (benching the former Active), once per turn (though other cards with Rush In may also use it in the same turn).  The attack originally another major selling point, but isn’t as great now and is not as general use: “Secret Sword” does 50+ for [CCC] where the “+” is 20 per [W] Energy attached to itself.  Backed by set-mate Blastoise (BW: Boundaries Crossed 31/149; BW: Plasma Storm 137/135; BW: Plasma Blast 16/101) it could quickly power up to 2HKO or even OHKO potential, though in a format where so many cards do more damage based on the amount of Energy attached to the opponent’s Active and the risk of OHKOs in general, loading up Keldeo-EX is itself risky.  Thanks to the various Special Energy cards that can provide [W] and the technically Colorless Energy requirement, Secret Sword can be a threat for Type matching in other decks as well; even without anything providing [W], when you’re exploiting Weakness it can hit for 100 (and such decks are usually making use of Rush In). 

Rush In originally paired up with Darkrai-EX, with a basic Darkness Energy or a Special Energy that provided [D] enabling Keldeo-EX to Rush In and then manually retreat back out of the Active spot.  This could be used in lieu of a card like Switch or paying the Retreat Cost of the former Active, plus gave you the capacity to bring the old Active back into position case you just needed to shake an attack effect or Special Condition.  Later Float Stone made the combo far more efficient and easier to implement.  Those decks that had another reason to include the older combos still could so it was a good situation all around.  Rush In with Float Stone provides such a solid benefit that there are only two reasons it isn’t more widespread: space concerns and counters, with the two often pairing up.  Reliably accessing (and maintaining access) to the combo requires at least two Keldeo-EX and two to three Float Stone, though if it isn’t vital you can get by with just one of each.  Keldeo-EX on its own isn’t as useful, but Float Stone can grant anything with an open Tool slot a free Retreat Cost.  You have to contend with cards like Seismitoad-EX blocking Float Stone from hitting the field (via its “Quaking Punch” attack), Startling Megaphone that can discard all your Pokémon Tools in play as well as effects that shut off Abilities: Garbodor (BW: Dragons Exalted 54/124; BW: Plasma Freeze 119/116; BW: Legendary Treasures 68/113), Silent Lab and Wobbuffet (XY: Phantom Forces 36/119). 

So with two methods of sabotaging the pseudo-Switch-per-turn the combo grants, plus some decks lacking space for the combo (either in deck or on the Bench), it isn’t something you’ll see in every deck, but it was in eight of the 24 decks I looked at from Nationals, though only two of those decks ran it as more than a single.  That seems to be the formula for both Standard and Expanded play.  It will continue to function as it already has been in Expanded, potentially comboing with future releases.  In Limited Play, it is a solid choice to attempt a +39 deck, though not without risk.  170 HP may be just enough to survive long enough to take the four Prizes needed to win in most forms of Limited play; it will take three turns before you can attack but that first attack will hit for 110 points of damage, the next you can attach again and make it 130, etc.  If you are going to build just a regular Limited deck, then Keldeo-EX will work in anything else: it can use any Energy (just stronger if it has a source of [W] Energy) and can always be used to get something out of the Active spot (though you’ll need a lucky Trainer like Switch or the Energy to spare on a manual retreat if you do not wish to leave Keldeo-EX Active). 


Standard: 3.8/5 

Expanded: 3.8/5 

Limited: 5/5 

Summary: Keldeo-EX is a great thing to have in your deck, but not a staple.  Still it mostly misses out on being part of a staple combo due to Item lock, Ability negation and simply the space needed for the combo.  It is useful in nearly any deck when you do have the room for it, and an important part of certain, specific decks, resulting in the above composite scores.  A little bit of behind the scenes trivia; I had this card as my sixth place pick and I wasn’t alone.  It didn’t jump up a spot because someone rated it higher, but because it was similarly rated across the board where as some of what was rated above it on one list was ranked lower on another.

Emma Starr

            Ah, Keldeo EX, AKA the Water deck staple (along with Blastoise (BC 31) from  the same set), has not only been able to find itself as a great attacker, but having it’s access to its Rush In ability, Keldeo EX can even become splashable, to a certain extent.

            With 170 HP, a Retreat Cost of two, and a Weakness to Grass (problematic if you run into a VirGen deck still, obviously), things initially look pretty normal so far for Keldeo EX. However, his Rush In ability proves to be what sets him above many other EXs, as it lets you switch Keldeo in to replace your active at any point before you attack, as long as Keldeo EX is on your bench. So, if your active is close to being KOed, and you don’t have any Switches, Float Stones, or even Escape Ropes on hand, just call on Keldeo EX, and he’ll fill the active slot with the usual amount of high EX-level HP to either buy you time, or start wrecking stuff up. Speaking of that attack…

            Secret Sword CAN do 50 for three Colorless, but if you pay that energy cost with only Water Energy, it’ll be boosted to 110 damage! Additionally, if you keep attaching Water Energies, you’ll keep powering it up, since you can do 20 more damage for each Water Energy attached to it, making him into a beast similar to Mewtwo EX or Yveltal EX (XY 79). However, if you felt the need to, you could also run him in a partial, or even non-Water deck. Sure, in a deck with no Water Energy, you’ll only be dealing 50 damage maximum, but for the emergency switching, Keldeo EX can come in handy in many different kind of decks that you normally wouldn’t expect. Even if it’s just to buy you time until you can find a way to switch Keldeo EX out manually for someone else (or you could always pay the Retreat Cost of two, which is okay-ish, considering its ability), or just stalling until you can power up someone else, Keldeo EX can actually be a very versatile card, even in decks that wouldn’t normally run Water types (kind of like Seismitoad EX (FuF 20) when you think about it).

            Modified: 4.5/5 (Splashable to an extent, but the attack power is amazing as well, providing that you have access to enough Water Energies.)

            Limited: 5/5 (If you pull this, it should be enough to convince you to run Water, especially if you manage to pull Blastoise, and some Squirtles and Wartortles as well. Then laugh as you decimate everything.)

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