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Yu Yu Hakusho
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Vs. System

Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day



Top 10 Cards of 2015

#5 - Forest of Giant Plants

- Ancient Origins

Date Reviewed:
December 22, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.50
Expanded: 3.58
Limited: 4.38

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

Back to the main COTD Page


Ahhhh, what's there to say about Forest of Broken Plants-sorry, GIANT Plants, that hasn't already been said? 

It breaks a rule of the game for Grass Pokemon (that being the "can't evolve during the turn it's played or Evolved" rule), and that led to a rather broken combo that got Shiftry banned in Expanded. Outside of that, it's just a nice card to have around for any Grass decks. 

What, you thought I'd go more in-depth with this one? 

...eh, it's 3 in the morning, I'll let Otaku do that. 

On an unrelated note, Star Wars VII was awesome. 

Standard: 3.5/5 (still a great Evolution card for Grass decks like Vileplume, Vespiquen, and M Sceptile-EX)

Expanded: 3.5/5 (with Shiftry out of the way, this card is about as playable here as in Standard, and without going TOO crazy...just crazy enough)

Limited: 4/5 (if you end up with more Grass Pokemon, you could run this pretty successfully)  

Arora Notealus:......yep...Star Wars VII was great. I liked it! 

Next Time: The dragon returns!...no, not that one. Or maybe that one? Eh, who knows, point is it's a Dragon-type!

Jason Klaczynski
(Three time
World Champ)

Forest of Giant Plants (Ancient Origins)

How good was this card? Good enough that an otherwise unplayable card (Next Destinies Shiftry) became the focus of a deck that could consistently win on the first turn of the game! The combo was so broken that Shiftry ultimately had to be banned from competitive play! That’s not to say Forest of Giant Plants has no other uses, though; in Standard it can still be used to get a Turn 1 Vileplume, meaning your opponent may never have a chance to play any item cards.

(Jason had this at #8 on his list)


After a long weekend we return to cover our fifth place finisher Broken Vine Space Forest of Giant Plants (XY: Ancient Origins 74/98)!  This Stadium was our 12th place pick over on our XY: Ancient Origins list and it allows both players to immediately Evolve Grass-Type Pokémon (which may Evolve into any Type and not just Grass).  The nickname I dropped is a reference to Broken Time-Space (Platinum 104/127) an older card that isn’t all that old for some of us: the Platinum expansion officially released in English on February 11, 2009, nearly six years ago but only six years ago.  As you get older (whether you’ve been playing the whole time or not) from what I can tell both in dealing with others and my own personal experience, time seems to move faster… which is oddly fitting given that is in a sense what these two Stadiums do (for the affected Pokémon, anyway). 

We reviewed Broken Time-Space twice, though as this was during one of those gaps where I wasn’t reviewing (and even more unusual, was barely if at all playing the TCG) I am using “we” rather loosely.  We didn’t do countdowns for the top cards in a set back then, though the first review of Broken Time-Space managed to happen on the set’s official release date, putting it as the 15th card we reviewed of the set, suggesting it managed to catch someone’s eye before we were too far in.  Proving it was recognized as potent and influential is how it took sixth place in the Top 10 Cards of 2009 list.  I really, really want to post this long lecture about how the game ought to keep the pace of Evolutions steady because the entire point is that some effects aren’t balanced unless they come into play at a certain time and with a certain resource commitment: not “either/or” and especially not “neither”.  Doing that requires not just explaining Forest of Giant Plants and why it is on the list, not just going over Broken Time-Space but firmly establishing what the Pokémon TCG is and why my preferences in this matter happen to align with what is best for the TCG in terms of being a business and satisfying the greatest number of paying customers. 

We aren’t going to do that because if it were easy I would be linking to an article on the subject I’ve been tinkering with on and off for the last few years, because it would already have been done, submitted and posted by Pojo.  I will focus on the facts that don’t require deep explanation or a similar view on the game.  Forest of Giant Plants did something that not even Broken Time-Space managed; it got another card banned.  Shiftry (BW: Next Destinies 72/99) when from chump to champ once a player could immediately Evolve Seedot to Nuzleaf to Shifty itself in a single turn… in addition to everything else going for it in the current metagame: decks with low Basic Pokémon counts and thus prone to starting with just one or two Pokémon but with Ability based draw power to supplement Trainers plus a Trainer engine that could reliably rip through most of a player’s deck (and sometimes all of it) the very first turn of the game.  This allowed decks to spam the Shifty into play from hand, which matters because of its Ability “Giant Fan”, which triggers only when you Evolve one of your in play Pokémon into Shiftry from hand and also requires a coin flip (“heads” and it works, while “tails” means it does nothing).  When Giant Fan works it allows you to bounce one of your opponent’s Pokémon to hand and if you have no Pokémon in play, you lose. 

Even with the coin flips, Shiftry decks were reliably winning through “Bench Out” first turn.  Odds were a bit worse if they went second but from a tournament or even a casual play perspective, this was still a problem.  Most of us don’t enjoy just sitting there and winning or losing solely based on the opponent and his or her deck either working or misfiring, and while less certain I believe a good deal of us don’t enjoy tournament play boiling down to coin flips even with decks that are not designed to win (either completely or effectively via lock) first turn.  Put the two together and we might as well just let the coin toss decide who wins each match; it is faster and technically it should be perfectly fair.  There were some counters for Shiftry (with a few more now) but they were not reliable in and of themselves.  You could run more Basic Pokémon in general, but besides costing you several non-Shiftry matches by making your deck less competitive against everything else, you could still fail to draw enough of them to endure or your opponent could get enough “heads” on Giant Fan flips to bounce your full Bench.  You could also run Basic Pokémon with the “Θ Stop” Ability but the one example we had at first wasn’t worth using for any other purpose (the later ones haven’t really changed that either) and even maxing out a single one of them again meant you had to hope you opened with it and were facing a Shiftry deck.

With Shiftry gone, we still have some Grass-Types significantly enhanced by Forest of Giant Plants.  The most notable in my eyes is Vileplume (XY: Ancient Origins 3/98) as with it a player can lock down Items from the Bench on his or her first turn and without sacrificing a Supporter.  As I am still woefully under informed about Standard, I don’t know if such decks are stronger there than in Expanded, but even in Expanded it is just a nuisance; the designers gave us a format built around heavy Item use and the “counters” the-powers-that-be have released (like Vileplume) don’t change that because when you aren’t crashing into them you still need all those Items.  It just seems to be an exercise in frustration as you have to sit there and make do with a major chunk of your deck gone… and while I have no problem with locking down just Items or just Abilities etc. rarely is only one crucial element of your deck denied you but instead your opponent will also attack at least one more.  Thanks to the other forms of Item lock Vileplume (even with Forest of Giant Plants) isn’t even close to Shiftry level abuse, but at this point it seems like we can only wait for the next example.  We are fortunate that Exeggcutor (BW: Plasma Freeze 5/116) has such a low damage output that without Items it is not good enough at doing damage while locking down Supporters, or I would expect it alongside Vileplume to be one of the top decks (again, it thankfully is not).  Though for all we know we’ll get an Exeggcutor BREAK that will change that. 


Standard: 3.5/5 

Expanded: 3.65/5 

Limited: 4.75/5 

Summary: Forest of Giant Plants is too potent for the game’s own good, but the first card to really hammer that home was banned, so for now it is just something every deck relying on a Grass-Type should consider.  Yes, only consider; some will be better off with a different Stadium or no Stadium at all because deck space is just that tight, plus the drawback of Evolution acceleration is that outside of early game it tends to matter less and less. 

For my own list, it again bounced around landing in a different spot each revision, but in the end Forest of Giant Plants only took eighth place for the reasons I have given throughout this review.

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