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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day



Top 10 Primal Clash Cards

#1 - Primal Kyogre EX

- Primal Clash

Date Reviewed:
Feb. 20, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 4.50
Expanded: 4.25
Limited: 4.93

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

Back to the main COTD Page

Baby Mario
2010 UK National

#1 Primal Kyogre EX  

Right now, I’m still undecided as to whether this card is playable or not. That might seem a strange thing to say about the #1 card on our countdown, but even if it never wins a tournament, Primal Kyogre EX is a ridiculous Pokémon.  

For a start, there is that huge 240 HP. Then there is the Ancient Trait α Growth: this is (for now anyway) completely unblockable, and allows you to attach two Energy per turn to Primal Kyogre. Imagine that: built-in Energy Acceleration that requires no support Pokémon, and cannot be stopped. Who needs Blastoise? It certainly eases the pain of the four Energy cost attack, Tidal Storm, that’s for sure. Speaking of which, Tidal Storm is pretty monstrous itself, doing 150 damage, plus 30 spread to your opponent’s Benched EX Pokémon.  

Tidal Storm also moves 2 Energy from Primal Kyogre to a Benched Pokémon. This can make streaming attacks a little hard to manage, but on the other hand, it does keep Energy on the Field if P Kyogre gets KO’d, and it makes life very difficult for Yveltal EX and Mewtwo EX. Playing plenty of Switching cards is recommended. That 150 damage also leaves P Kyogre short of a OHKO on EX Pokémon, although that could be fixed with Laser/Virbank, or simply using the Bench damge to set up future KOs. 

So, why the doubts over playability? Well, it’s mainly down to P Kyogre’s Grass Weakness. Virizion/Genesect decks will destroy it, and even a tech like Leafeon PLF can give it a very tough time. It may even be that P Kyogre is not quite fast enough, strange as that may seem. Nevertheless, it is an absolute monster of a card: self-sufficient and very powerful. If it really is too slow or not OHKOish enough for today’s format then, well . . . that is worrying for all kinds of reasons. 


Modified: 4.5 (an autonomous powerhouse)

Expanded: 4 (ok, I’m guessing)

Limited: 4.75 (the attack effect is a pain, but it’s still a beast)


Thousands of years ago, a great war was waged between the two most powerful Pokemon on the planet: the ancient behemoths, Groudon and Kyogre. In recent news, it's been discovered that these ancient Pokemon were capable of enhancing their Abilities beyond imagination! This is known as Primal Reversion, an alternative to Mega Evolution that seems to revert the power of the ancient Pokemon in the present day to what they had in the past.

While Primal Groudon is a force to be reckoned with in the video games, Primal Kyogre here has taken the number 1 spot on our list for Primal Clash! And let's face it, it's because he got the BEST of everything this set has to offer, so let's see what all makes Primal Kyogre-EX work so well! First off, as a technical "Mega Evolution" (cause Primal Reversion is totally not the same thing), Primal Kyogre-EX has the "end your turn" clause but also has a convenient Spirit Link card to skip over that! Alright, not bad, good start. 

Then there's Primal Kyogre-EX's attack: Tidal Storm. At 4 Energy, this attack deals a base 150 DAMAGE!! Whoa! That's some power-packed stuff! There are few Pokemon EVER that hit a base 150! And the fun doesn't stop there! Primal Kyogre-EX then moves 2 of the Energies off of him onto a Benched Pokemon of your choice. This could lead to powering up a back-up Primal Kyogre-EX or a Kyogre-EX of some sort - who KNOWS what you could do! And if you don't have a Benched Pokemon? Well then you don't move Energy - you get to keep Primal Kyogre-EX fueled up and ready to go! 

Alright, but what if you DO move Energy off? This attack costs 4 Energy! You can't attach two Energies to make up for that! Except that Primal Kyogre-EX ALSO gets an Ancient Trait, and just the right one: Alpha Growth. You may recall Swampert, our #10 card, also had the Alpha Growth trait, but it doesn't really pan out with him. With Primal Kyogre-EX, it's a whole other story. Move some Energy to power up back guys? Check. Refuel the beast? Double-check, if you've got Energy in hand - and that shouldn't be a problem, I'm sure! 

Oh, and did I mention Tidal Storm also deals 30 damage to opposing Benched Pokemon-EX? Essentially setting them up for an instant KO upon entering the field, whether against this Primal Kyogre-EX or the one on your Bench you've been powering up with the Active's Tidal Storm? 

Welcome to the storm. 


Standard: 5/5 (this is a well-designed card that has great support for it; expect Primal Kyogre-EX decks) 

Expanded: 5/5 (though the problem may arise of having Primal and no Spirit Link card, really one turn can't put you behind too much with that damage output) 

Limited: 5/5 (I. Drink. Your. MILKSHAKE!! *shhluuuurrrrrrp* I DRINK IT UP!!) 

Arora Notealus: Primal Kyogre...MAN you are just...the Alpha Growth, the Tidal Storm, just...everything works so well for this card, and I just wish that this was the standard for ALL Pokemon. Not just EX cards, but even little Basic guys or Stage 2s. Every card should be as well planned and thought-out as this guy. 

Weekend Thought: Do you agree with this list? What're some cards you think should've made it but didn't? Cause chances are you're gonna see a couple in the upcoming weeks! So keep watching!


At last we come to our top pick for XY: Primal Clash: Primal Kyogre-EX (XY: Primal Clash 55/160, 149/160; XY Black Star Promos XY41).  So what makes this card special?  Primal Kyogre-EX is a Water-Type, and as mentioned when we looked our our #10 - Swampert (XY: Primal Clash 36/160) - this set gave that Type a boost with Archie’s Ace in the Hole, Dive Ball and Rough Seas.  Even though we’ve got some decent Water-Type attackers and indirect support for the Type via cards like Blastoise (BW: Boundaries Crossed 31/149; BW: Plasma Storm 137/135; BW: Plasma Blast 16/101) there is still the question of whether or not it can all (or mostly all) can gel into a top deck.  Hitting Water Weakness is handy; nearly all Water-Types and a decent amount of popular Fighting-Types have Water-Type Weakness.  Water Resistance appears to have been phased out in the XY sets, so only some older Grass-Types like Virizion-EX sport it.  This isn’t as promising as say being a Fighting-Type but its at least approaching that point. 

Being a Pokémon-EX and Mega Evolution (it still says “Mega” in the corner and so far nothing differentiates Mega Evolving from Primal Reversion) is a drawback in terms of what is guaranteed; giving up an extra Prize when KOed, being vulnerable to certain counter-cards and being unable to access certain pieces of support.  The Mega Evolution aspect adds that your turn Ends when you Mega Evolve one of your Pokémon in play as well; most of these are serious issues separately and together that’s quite a burden to bear.  As such most Pokémon-EX enjoy better attributes and effects than anything else in the game.  Primal Kyogre-EX starts of with 240 HP; the current printed maximum for a Mega Evolutions and just 10 shy of the current printed maximum for legal-to-play Pokémon in general, topped only by Wailord-EX which I think exists just to hold the top spot.  Power creep for offense seems to be kicking in again, so 240 should usually survive a shot but it hasn’t been guaranteed for years, but now more Mega Evolutions have become playable.  The difference between those and slightly older tactics is that most Mega Evolutions can score the OHKO with more or less their standard set-up, and while being less vulnerable to a retaliatory OHKO.  Load a Yveltal-EX up with the Energy it needs to Evil Ball for a OHKO, and the various attackers that do more damage based on attached Energy will threaten it.  M Gardevoir-EX doesn’t have that same drawback since you can load the Bench up with Energy. 

Grass Weakness is pretty serious; I used to kind of gloss over it because Virizion-EX and Genesect-EX were the only Grass-Type attackers to really prove successful and Virizion-EX usually didn’t hit hard enough while Genesect-EX hit a little too hard for it to often be relevant.  It is important to remember that the numbers have to align for such things… and now they do.  Virizion-EX is not scoring a OHKO against Primal Kyogre-EX but with a Muscle Band it does score a 2HKO and against a Mega Evolution, that’s good!  Genesect-EX needs a G Booster or Muscle Band or two Deoxys-EX on the Bench… and in a good VirGen deck, it has them.  If Primal Kyogre-EX proves good enough, don’t be surprised if Grass-Type attackers start popping up in off-Type decks.  There is not (thankfully) a Grass-Type equivalent of Yveltal-EX or Mewtwo-EX but there is Tropius (BW: plasma Blast 5/101); both of its attacks require a source of [G] Energy and the first isn’t what we are interested in (though its an “okay” set-up attack should the opportunity present itself).  Its second attack is Energy Press for [GC], and since it isn’t a Pokémon-EX it isn’t too bad to trade it for “half a Prize” against a Primal Kyogre-EX (or any Pokémon-EX for that matter). 

There is no Resistance to discuss so we’ll move onto the Retreat Cost; a chunky [CCCC] which means that in Expanded you can use Heavy Ball for it (even more niche now that we have Dive Ball) and a potentially serious hurdle.  Most decks need something to bypass or at least reduce the cost of manually retreating, but its a necessity for Primal Kyogre-EX, and indeed a secondary trick as well may not be optional.  This ties into how Primal Kyogre-EX is to be used; it has an Ancient Trait and a single attack.  The Ancient Trait is α Growth, allowing you to attach two Energy instead of one when using your manual Energy attachment for the turn (other attachments won’t trigger it); this card wouldn’t work without this feature as it would require a significant, outside source of Energy acceleration.  The attack is Tidal Storm for [WWWC], which the opponent’s Active for 150 damage while also hitting any Benched Pokémon-EX for 30 (ignoring Weakness and Resistance for the Bench hits). 

It also forces you to move two Energy from from Primal Kyogre-EX to one of your Benched Pokémon.  Let me emphasize that this is not optional; the only way to avoid moving Energy is to have no Bench.  If you’ve got something like a Safeguard Pokémon that is totally immune to the effects of attacks by Pokémon-EX (including your own), Tidal Storm will attempt to move Energy to said card but since the Energy can’t be attached they will just be discarded.  This effect isn’t entirely a drawback though; I keep referencing attackers that hit harder based on the Energy attached to the Defending Pokémon, as well as the monstrous attackers that are going to score a OHKO no matter what.  Thanks to α Growth, this allows you to build a secondary attacker on the Bench and if Primal Kyogre-EX survives, you just α Growth the needed Energy to attack again… Energy which will again be moved off of it onto your next attacker. 

We should touch upon Kyogre Spirit Link and Kyogre-EX as well.  Use the Spirit Link; even if you run Archie’s Ace in the Hole, also run Kyogre Spirit Link.  For Standard your only Kyogre-EX is the new version, XY: Primal Clash 54/160 and 148/160.  It is pretty typical of Pokémon-EX that Mega Evolve; its Type, Weakness, (lack of) Resistance and even Retreat Cost are identical to Primal Kyogre-EX, but obviously it enjoys being a Basic Pokémon, has “just” 180 HP (even with power creep that is still very good) and has two attacks instead of one, as well as no Ancient Trait.  The first attack is Water Pulse for [WC]; it does 30 damage with Sleep.  The second attack is Giant Whirlpool for [WWCC]; it hits for 140 while returning two [W] Energy attached to Kyogre-EX to hand.  This bounce isn’t all bad as you can try to get (or retain) a Kyogre Spirit Link on Kyogre-EX, Mega Evolve (or “Primal Revert” if you insist) into Primal Kyogre-EX and use α Growth to re-attach them.  Technically you’re still two attachments behind as compared to if you don’t use Giant Whirlpool, but this takes some of the sting out of the cost, and as mentioned with Tidal Storm having less Energy on your Active can make it harder to KO.  Even though this Kyogre-EX can hit hard with Giant Whirlpool, Water Pulse is probably more valuable as it sets up for a OHKO against most Pokémon-EX with a follow up Tidal Storm the next turn (and against many even with a follow up Giant Whirlpool).  Being able to use Double Colorless Energy seems good except that Tidal Storm only has a since [C] Energy requirement, so after Mega Evolving you’re only ahead when it comes to paying to retreat. 

In Expanded you can also use Kyogre-EX (BW: Dark Explorers 26/108, 104/108).  It is a Basic, Water-Type Pokémon-EX with no Resistance and that massive four Energy Retreat Cost, just like today’s version, but with 10 less HP, Lightning Weakness and of course, two different attacks.  For [WC] it can use Smash Turn to hit for 30 while moving itself to the Bench and for [WWC] it can use Dual Splash to hit two of your opponent’s Pokémon (your choice of course), with Weakness and Resistance not applying for Benched targets.  Both attacks were actually useful enough that this saw some successful competitive play for a short time after being released, and while the HP is 10 less and even with decks trying to exploit Lightning-Type Weakness it still might be useful because Water-Types with Lightning-Type Resistance haven’t been printed so far in the XY era.  Then again there are more Lightning-Type attackers worth their salt in this format so it ultimately may even out or prove a detriment. 

So… why is Primal Kyogre-EX so good?  Time to come clean; I’m no longer so sure it is especially good.  I realized after our Top 10 lists were submitted that I’d made a simple but significant error; when glancing at the cards somehow I’d mentally swapped the Energy cost for Tidal Storm with that of Giant Whirlpool.  Why is that so significant?  Right now it takes three turns or outside help to ready a Primal Kyogre-EX; even with Kyogre Spirit Link and α Growth you’ll need that time to get enough Energy onto Primal Kyogre-EX… or at least the first one.  After that, with a well built deck you can stream (pardon the pun) attackers: the first Primal Kyogre-EX shunts two to four Energy (depending upon how many times it gets to attack) to the second, repeated for the third if you get three out.  Even if it is just two Energy, α Growth can then ready the next Primal Kyogre-EX the turn it goes to attack.  So most decks built around this card that I have seen are trying to do just that; running few (if any) other Basic Pokémon.  Conversations with those I trust indicate that this is enough to overwhelm opponent’s as the Bench damage accumulates so that even if the first Tidal Storm isn’t scoring a OHKO, later ones effectively are.  If running just Primal Kyogre-EX and Kyogre-EX for Pokémon, the deck runs Silent Lab to deal with things like Safeguard. 

My own experience so far has merely been against the deck, on the PTCGO, helping a new acquaintance test it (and maybe one or two other random opponent’s using it).  It hasn’t performed well; I’ve lost but the reason is almost undeniably my own bad plays or some degree of “luck”.  It seems like when building the deck, either you require a pinpoint focus so that you never miss an Energy drop (you can’t afford it) but then are vulnerable to any sort of counter-strategy, or you diversify a little but at the risk of never achieving the needed speed/set-up to get things really going.  I’m also an oddball; until recently when I broke down and added in Jirachi-EX, I had decks with no Pokémon-EX in them whatsoever… at least among my decks that perform “better” than the rest (remember, I’m a long time player, not a “good” player).  Those I’ve talked to either are willing to accept the VirGen match-up as an auto-loss or try to include something like Kyurem (BW: Plasma Freeze 31/116), hoping it will be enough to compensate for Weakness.  As you can tell by the lack of details, I’m not exactly sure how that works, if it works. 

Keep in mind whether I’m right or wrong, this card is going to see a lot of play; its one of the two main “Poster-mons” of the set and has a significant fan following as far as I can tell.  It will appeal to player’s inner-Timmy and inner-Johnny, because its huge and hits hard, but not in quite as direct a manner as say Primal Groudon-EX requiring more complexity to use it well.  We also already have seen some scans and spoilers of cards from the next set, Emerald Break (Japan)/XY: Roaring Skies (International); its an Item that allows you to attach an Energy from the discard pile to one of your Mega Evolutions in play.  That basically eliminates all my concerns as if you can start the Tidal Storm front on your second turn, even if you’re not scoring OHKOs against Pokémon-EX that is okay as you probably aren’t getting OHKOed yourself and are scoring Bench damage that is usually too little to waste a card healing, but significant enough in the long run. 



Standard: 3.75/5 - Definitely deck specific for the rating and I while I feel like I might be being a bit generous, I’m sure this is going to be one of the lowest scores you see (not even just for Pojo, but in general). I have a hard time ignoring how if the set-up is even a little weak, you’re in for an uphill battle.  If you face off against decks that either sport solid Grass-Type attackers (let alone VirGen) or don’t rely on Pokémon-EX (and aren’t Water Weak), it becomes a lot of effort for a straight 150 damage.  Yes you’re getting OHKOs but even if your opponent isn’t, when having to take six Prizes there is an increased risk of the “hiccuping”, more so than what faces normal decks. 

Expanded: 3.75/5 - It may boring to read the words, but for what the card pool adds to this card in terms of new allies and tricks, it compensates for with more general competition as well as potential counters.  Otherwise it is the same as it is for Standard. 

Limited: 5/5 - Obviously you need Kyogre-EX to even consider this, but if you pull that you’ll still want Primal Kyogre-EX.  Unlike with Gardevoir and M Gardevoir, Kyogre-EX doesn’t have as good of attacks though; I think it could still pull off a +39 build but I’m less sure.  Also reversed is the impact of Mega Evolving; you definitely want to unless you absolutely cannot give up a turn of attacking when it comes to Primal Kyogre-EX.  Without your own Bench (and your opponent probably not having a Pokémon-EX on his or her own Bench), Tidal Storm just does a straight 150… which should OHKOs almost every non-Pokémon-EX in the set.  You won’t have to move any Energy cards since you lack a Bench.  Unless you decide to play it safe and run this in a regular deck, in which case its still pretty much a must run with Kyogre-EX unless you absolutely cannot work Water Energy into the deck. 

Summary: Primal Kyogre-EX was actually my number four pick and that was with the earlier error in reading the Energy cost of Tidal Storm.  I’m unnerved that players I respect are telling me its “great” when I think its simply “good”.  I don’t think its the best card this set though it might be the most popular, so I’m not too put out by it being the overall number one pick.  Expect to see this everywhere, because even though I think its not quite as good as the hype now, once we get whatever they call our version of Mega Turbo its probably going to at least come close to what was expected of it now… and if I’m wrong, then it may just be even better if nothing else takes it back down a notch. 

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