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Yu Yu Hakusho
Harry Potter
Vs. System

Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Top 10 Cards Lost To Rotation

#3 - Hypnotoxic Laser

- Plasma Storm

Date Reviewed:
August 5, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 4.5
Expanded: 4.5
Limited: 5.0

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

Back to the main COTD Page


Oh Hypnotoxic Laser, whom I frequently abbreviate as HTL, you poison my opponent's Pokemon and sometimes put them to sleep... 

Certainly, for the longest time, this was the card that defined a format. True, we had a lot of powerful cards - Garbodor shutting down Abilities, Mewtwo-EX outright destroying everything and forcing mirror matches - but HTL here was what shifted the game to a far more offensive arena. Combined with the Virbank City Gym, it became a quick way to inflict status onto an opponent and deal an extra 10-30 damage onto them, effectively lowering the HP of Pokemon-EX (in a sense) and making it easier than ever to KO these monstrosities. 

Unfortunately, it wasn't just a sword to use upon them but also a sword to be used by them. HTLBank allowed Mewtwo-EX to KO things more easily, as it would with Keldeo-EX and Landorus-EX. Smaller non-EX Pokemon that were already having a rough time competing with Pokemon-EX now had to deal with crippling Poison on top of higher damage outputs than they could obtain. EX decks could dominate even more than they could before. 

At least, until VirGen decks became a thing. 

Thanks to Virizion-EX's Verdant Wind keeping a player's Grass Pokemon from being afflicted by Statuses, not only was there a rivaling archetype to other EX decks - it came with a built-in defense against the dreaded HTLBank combo. On top of that, it didn't even need to run HTLBank itself - not when Megalo Cannon could effectively wipe out any Pokemon by dealing 200 damage!! Still, though it became more difficult to use, HTLBank was still a huge part of offensive decks, and then a new card came out to redefine how damage was dealt with: Muscle Band. 

Once XY saw its release nearly six months later, Muscle Band came into the game - and that gave every deck the chance to inflict more damage. Now a stable 20 damage could be tacked on to every attack made by any Pokemon! But this did not invalidate HTLBank - if anything, it encouraged its usage. The potential to have any Pokemon deal an extra 50 damage with their attack was unprecedented, and while VirGen decks remained popular to counteract HTLBank, they would now be forced to deal with the increased damage of their competitors thanks to Muscle Band. 

While it would appear that things are getting progressively faster within the format, the rotation of HTL ought to aid in redefining the tempo of the format once again. Sure, we've still got our crazy Turn 1 M Rayquaza-EX evolution to work with, but remember how much trouble Seismitoad-EX caused for a while? In a way, battles were slower with Seismitoad-EX dealing paltry damage and yet being able to halt everyone in its path - until Lysandre's Banned Card was removed. Now with HTL gone, Seismitoad-EX's Item-Lock is as good as dead, and the format will even out into a fairly offensive format again, even without HTL. 

But as we know well enough with Garbodor, that which leaves must come back...


Standard: 4.5/5 (never underestimate the power of instant Poison) 

Expanded: 4.5/5 (especially when there's a STADIUM involved) 

Limited: 5/5 (...really? I shouldn't have to say anything) 

Arora Notealus: I'm still trying to figure out how you'd translate things like Hypnotoxic Laser from the TCG to the video game. Still haven't really found a solid reasoning for it quite just yet XP 

Next Time: He's the 14th child in Mr. Bet's life!

Emma Starr

            Hypnotoxic Laser, while sounding cool, and could even be a pretty interesting weapon in the real world, also has been a very playable, splashable card in the TCG. Simply play the card, and your opponent’s Pokémon is Poisoned!  You could also flip a coin to see if you could make said Pokémon fall asleep, as well, but the 25% chance of that even happening (50% chance to even have it go to sleep, and 50% again just to have it stay asleep after your turn) leaves it as just a neat little side-effect of the card. No, what everyone really loves is the Posion.

            If you’ve played the game enough, you know how good of a combo this card is with the Virbank City Gym Stadium card. With said Stadium in play, you’ll be putting two damage counters on the poor opposing Pokémon between turns. And that steady 20 damage per turn was actually very nice, as it has an effect similar to a constant, upgraded Muscle Band, as it does an additional 20 damage to the Pokémon every turn, no matter which of your Pokémon may be attacking. It also works even if your active Pokémon doesn’t have enough energy on it to attack yet, but you still want to get some damage on that threatening EX. Not to mention that even without Virbank (in case you want to run a different Stadium, or Virbank gets replaced by your opponent), this card is still very splashable, and can be run in many different situations. The only downside is that, like any other Special Condition, once the active Pokémon switches out or retreats, they will no longer be inflicted with said Status condition. That said, it’s still a very easy and annoying card that anyone can be able to make good use of. 

            Modified: 4.5/5 (I’d normally run 2-3 in a deck, personally.)

            Limited: 5/5 (Can’t go wrong with free damage!)


Time for our third place pick, the “bronze medal” winner as it were and that card is… Hypnotoxic Laser (BW: Plasma Storm 123/135)!  Only a surprise in that some may have expected it to place even higher, this rather nasty Item automatically Poisons the opponent’s Active, plus gets a coin flip to see if it also puts said Active to Sleep on a “heads” (“tails” has no additional effect).  We’ve looked at this card twice before; the first time it was our number one pick for BW: Plasma Storm while the second time it was our number one pick for all of 2013!  This card is so good, even on my personal lists for those two, I still had it in first place.  What makes it so good?  Read the older reviews.  No, really: this isn’t about being lazy.  I normally re-read my older reviews for cards we are revisiting but this time, they aren’t perfect but almost everything I can say about this card, I said there.  Besides trying to be concise (something in which I rarely succeed), I’m going to try and cover it from a different, more reflective angle. 

Hypnotoxic Laser has been an incredibly potent card because of both what it does, but also the rest of the format.  Poison doesn’t go away on its own; if you had a game that maneuvered into a true stalemate, where neither player could win or lose or draw (including never running out of cards) and you used Hypnotoxic Laser to Poison your opponent’s ever healing Active, you would actually generate an infinite amount of damage counters from the Poison (again, just healed before you could cash in on it).  The plausible bonus from a Hypnotoxic Laser on its own, however, is just one to three damage counters; the Poisoned Active surviving one attack and two “between turns” phases without shaking Poison, then one more turn of your own where you fail to KO it allowing a third “between turns” phase.  This shaved a turn off of a lot of KOs when it first released… and then came the combos.  Assuming you didn’t foolishly waste it when you knew it wouldn’t work against a target that couldn’t be Poisoned you were guaranteed one extra damage counter.  A player could also mess up by using it when a KO was already assured without it. 

We also received more cards to widen the amount of “near misses” Hypnotoxic Laser could convert.  Virbank City Gym turned one damage counter between turns into three.  First Silver Bangle and then Muscle Band augmented the damage done by the initial attack.  For a time you had multiple decks running both of those two Pokémon Tools, plus Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym because it would allow the main attacker an effective five or six extra damage counters onto a single attack, enabling a 120 damage shot to jump to OHKO range for Pokémon-EX.  It usually wasn’t something you could reliably, repeatedly pull off in a single turn, but it could delay a loss or seize a win even as a well timed combo you only managed once a game.  Resistance only dulled it slightly while Weakness nearly doubled the range, threatening those early Mega Evolutions (most of which didn’t see play) or allowing faster, less expensive attacks to still score the OHKO. 

How have things changed?  Rules have changed and errata have been issued.  Now it costs you something more than an Item to force the opposing Pokémon of your choice into the Active slot and if you’re the player going first, you don’t get to attack that turn.  You lose the benefit of going for a quick FTKO (except against poor 30 HP Actives) but at the same time, this combo is one of the few ways (perhaps currently the only way) to place damage counters on T1.  Of course, I did mention that already in the second review.  The big change since then is power creep, especially Mega Evolutions; we’ve got attackers that can’t make good use of Hypnotoxic Laser and now old combos that used to all but guarantee a OHKO will still whiff even if you can drop a Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym that turn.  To stress the point, the numbers are less likely to work for it making a difference to the 2HKO as well.  While still technically a card every deck would want, most don’t have the room.  Sleep seems to have become a little more important as well as decks are stretched thin so dealing with Special Conditions isn’t as easy (or rather, cost effective) as it once was.

Yet all of this is balanced out by the combos that do still need Hypnotoxic Laser.  Seismitoad-EX was pretty much guaranteed to be a serious presence when released but Hypnotoxic Laser was one of the many nasty tricks that put it over the top- it isn’t the lost of Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym I expect to all but kill it off post-rotation, but the expected rise in Grass-Types that include their own Item locking trick.  This would have been a huge hurdle for Seismitoad-EX even had Hypnotoxic Laser remained, but without it things are looking bleak for our blue overlord.  That might be then… this is now.  Right now the dip in general presence for Hypnotoxic Laser is easily offset by how important it is to Seismitoad-EX (as well as a few other strategies).  So enjoy it while you can in Standard and the current Expanded: more Item lock and an alternate Poison strategy will likely diminish it at least somewhat there after the next set as well.  In Limited its a must run, simple as that. 


Standard: 4.5/5 

Expanded: 4.5/5 

Limited: 5/5 

Summary: So after all that I am once again giving the card the same scores (well, no Unlimited score this time and Expanded didn’t exist for the older reviews): Standard experienced a shift but the net result is still a card that is generally very good with a few decks where it is phenomenal.  I’m happy that this card will be gone because we’ve pretty much demonstrated why this was a bad idea… besides how it seems odd for a beam weapon to Poison the subject as well as cause them to Sleep, even in Pokémon.  Now Burn and either Confusion or Paralysis I could see.  For my own list, Hypnotoxic Laser only managed fifth place finish; still impressive, but it just wasn’t as numerous as the four that finished above it. 

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