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Yu Yu Hakusho
Harry Potter
Vs. System

Pojo's Pokemon Card of the Day



- Primal Clash

Date Reviewed:
Feb. 23, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.00
Expanded: 3.08
Limited: 3.93

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

Ninetales (Primal Clash)

Here’s a very interesting Pokemon who is useful now, but may become even better in the future.

Being a low HP Stage 1 with a relatively expensive and mediocre attack (three Energy for 70 damage and Sleep with Flickering Flames), you know that this is going to be a Bench-sitter rather than an offensive focus. The reason you might want Ninetales on your Bench? That would be the Barrier Shrine Ability which prevents both players from playing a Stadium card from their hand.

Recent sets have made Stadium cards a pretty important part of the game. Seismitoad is quite reliant on Virbank City Gym to boost his low damage output; Donphan needs Fighting Stadium to hit the really big attack numbers; Night March and Tool Drop decks want to reduce costs with Dimension Valley; Dark decks remove Weakness with Shadow Circle; while Fairies love the free Retreat they get from Fairy Garden. Using Ninetales correctly means removing these benefits from the Field while locking in your own Stadium. This can produce a significant advantage. There are ways around it, of course. Garbodor LTR will shut off the Ability, while a Gust effect like Lysandre can simply target and KO Ninetales. Of course that gives you another turn to prepare for their Stadium drop and also means they spent a turn dealing with your Bench tech, rather than a main attacking threat, which is good news in itself.

Whether Ninetales is worth running right now is open to question. It’s a very effective answer to M Groudon EX, which needs to keep putting Stadiums in play to maximise its damage potential, so if that deck takes off, Ninetales is a solid counter. Other than that, playing your own counter Stadiums will probably remain the preferred strategy. Looking into the future (i.e. spoilers for the next set), it may be that Ninetales’ Ability becomes a whole lot more important than it is now. My advice would be to grab a couple of copies while it is still very cheap and easy to get hold of.


Modified: 3 (but that could well become 4 or more with the next set)

Expanded: 3.25 (You also have Tropical Beach and Skyarrow Bridge to lock in/out)

Limited: 3.5 (some nice Stadiums in the set, so why not?)


A long time ago, a great demon attacked a local village. The great warriors rose up to protect the village against the demon's attacks, led by their great leader. In a last ditch effort to maintain control over the beast, the leader sacrificed himself to seal the beast inside of his son, granting him superpowers beyond those of any other...wait, no, sorry, wrong nine-tailed fox.


The votals for our Top 10 List were pretty close, so for the next week or so, we're gonna take a look at cards that caught our eyes and could've almost made it onto the list! Starting off this week is the legendary nine-tailed fox, Ninetales! Currently, there are only two other Ninetales that are legal in Standard: there's the Color Coordination Ninetales from LTR, and then there's the promo reprint of the DEX Ninetales with Bright Look (aka Pokemon Catcher upon evolution). So what makes this Ninetales comparable or better than these two options?


Starting off with Flickering Flames, we've got a 3-for-70 strike that also puts the opponent to Sleep. It's...okay, as far as attacks go. It's not as easy to work with as Hexed Flame (where all you need is Statuses) or Color Coordination (which at first glance sounds hard to work with until you remember Rainbow Energy is a thing), but it's...decent. It's not gonna put Ninetales in the Active slot too much if you can help it, but at least it's something, right?


So now we look at the Ability Barrier Shrine. And no, this has nothing to do with Omega Barrier, the Ancient Trait...although that would've been really cool. Ninetales' Barrier Shrine just prevents players from putting down Stadiums from their hand. At first, this sounds like it's...a bit limited. Only Stadiums? What's the point in that? Then you realize how there's Silent Lab, Fighting Stadium, Virbank, and a whole other host of Stadiums that get played - some of them just to combat other Stadiums!


So what does that mean for Ninetales' Barrier Shrine? Effectively, it's similar to Field Barrier from Yugioh; in that game, Field Barrier protected your Field Spell and kept it from getting destroyed or from another Field Spell getting played (this was back in the day when there could only be one Active Field Spell). Ninetales can work similarly - put down your Stadium, and then put down Ninetales! Now your opponent can't knock your Stadium out with their own!...unless they've got something else that destroys the Stadium.


Ninetales can be pretty useful, and I think a good combination can be found with him and Silent Lab (Silent Lab won't negate Ninetales' Barrier Shrine since he's a Stage 1). It's definitely a niche card for a niche aspect of the game, and I won't fault anyone for making an effort to make this work. I just don't think it's good enough to impact the game...then again, Ninetales-Silent Lab could be the deck that the meta deserves.




Standard: 3/5 (a niche card that can support a powerful Stadium to a degree)


Expanded: 3/5 (bout the same here)


Limited: 3/5 (there are a few Stadiums around, so preventing your opponent from playing any could be devastating!)


Arora Notealus: Ninetales is one of my favorite Fire Pokemon out there. There's just so much lore behind him - the relations to the Japanese mythical creature, the idea that grabbing a tail causes a thousand-year curse (I guess people live forever in the Pokemon world, huh? THAT'S IT I'VE EXPLAINED EVERYTHING) - and look at that golden glistening fur! Tell you don't want to cuddle up next to that guy!


Next Time: And speaking of Fire-types, how about we talk about that straw?


Welcome to a Runners-Up Week for XY: Primal Clash.  Our lists varied a lot this time, so we’ve got a week full of good(ish) cards that didn’t make the cut to still give the once over.  We begin with Ninetales (XY: Primal Clash 21/160).  This card is a Fire-Type which could come in handy as VirGen is still a top deck and people probably aren’t sick of their Bronzong (XY: Phantom Forces 61/1149,  XY Promos XY21), plus if it turns out this is a good attacker, Blacksmith is a solid trick especially now that we’ve got Battle Compressor and VS Seeker.  Being a Stage 1 is a slight drag but its still a lot easier to pull off than Evolving into a Stage 2 or a Mega.  90 HP is nice… in Expanded where Level Ball is still an option; its slight for Standard and that means Ninetales is a probable OHKO for most decks, and those that target the Bench will find it doesn’t take too long to finish it off with only Bench hits (though probably more than one turn’s effort, at least).  Its Water Weakness could be a problem as people are trying out the new Water support and even if they weren’t, Seismitoad-EX isn’t going anyway.  Thanks to that low damage attacker, the Weakness that might normally not matter (as it would merely lead to overkill) instead means either Muscle Band or the Hypnotoxic Laser/Virbank City Gym combo is enough to turn Quaking Punch into a OHKO.  No Resistance is the norm so I won’t hold it against Ninetales and the single Energy Retreat Cost is easy to pay and recover from.

Ninetales has an Ability and an Attack.  Barrier Shrine is the Ability, and it prevents players from playing Stadium cards from hand.  This seems handy; Stadiums are becoming a serious factor in the game again, and not just “one Stadium to rule them all” a la Virbank City Gym and its prominence.  Barrier Shrine - unless we get a ruling that states otherwise - should also allow you to block a Stadium from being played even when there isn’t one already in play.  This is a double-edged sword; you can use the card to preserve a “neutral” playing field, but if you are trying to lock a specific Stadium into play and your opponent uses an attack to discard it, that then you won’t be able to play down a replacement.  Flickering Flames - the attack - requires [RRC] and does 70 damage, plus puts the Defending Pokemon to Sleep.  Its overpriced and/or underpowered, but not terribly; still this is here just so that (when you can meet the costs) Ninetales can attack if it must.  If this card sees play, it is going to be for the Ability.

So what related cards are there?  First let’s cover our options for Vulpix.  For Standard, there are just two options: BW: Legendary Treasures 20/113 and XY: Primal Clash 20/160.  Expanded adds BW: Dragons Exalted 18/124.  All three are Basic Fire-Type Pokemon with 60 HP, Water Weakness, a lack of Resistance and a Retreat Cost of [C].  BW: Dragons Exalted 18/124 can use Singe for [R], Burning the opponent’s Active Pokemon and nothing else.  For [RC], BW: Legendary Treasures 20/113 can use Firebreathing for 20 damage, plus another 10 if you get “heads” on the mandatory coin flip.  XY: Primal Clash 20/160 has two attacks; for [C] it can use Roar to force the opponent to change out his or her Active Pokemon, though it is their choice what to bring up instead.  For [R] it can use Gnaw to do 10 damage.  None of these are mind blowing, but unless you have a reason to need Special Conditions, go for new one, XY: Primal Clash 20/160: it won’t help often but sometimes you can buy a turn by forcing an unfavorable change out of the Active.  Now let’s talk Ninetales, specifically the ones legal for Expanded and Standard (technically, today’s isn’t legal for Organized Play yet): BW: Dragons Exalted 19/124, BW Black Star Promo BW66 and BW: Legendary Treasures 21/113.  BW Black Star Promo BW66 is a reprint (different art though) of BW: Dragons Exalted 19/124 so not only are there really just two other choices, both are legal for Standard (and of course Expanded).  The attributes are identical to today’s card as well, so it just comes down to the effects.

BW: Dragons Exalted 19/124 and BW Black Star Promo BW66 have the Ability Bright Look, which triggers when you Evolve one of your Pokemon in play into Ninetales (meaning this specific version of Ninetales): you can select one of your opponent’s Benched Pokemon and switch it with your opponent’s current Active.  This Ability proved useful and got the card some play, especially after Pokemon Catcher received the errata that made it require a coin flip and before Lysandre was released.  Even now, this Ability is still fairly good though it isn’t used much.  Its attack is also solid; for [R] Hexed Flame does 20 damage plus 50 per Special Condition afflicting the opponent’s Active Pokemon.  If you can manage to inflict Burn, Poison and one of Confusion/Paralysis/Sleep you can manage an amazing 170 for one, but we (thankfully?) never got a great way of scoring Burn that wasn’t part of an attack, so usually it was combined with Hypnotoxic Laser to try for two Special Conditions.  BW: Legendary Treasures 21/113 just has the Color Coordination attack for [CCC]: it does 50 damage, plus an additional 40 if the attacking Ninetales has a Basic Energy card attached to it that is the same type as the Defending Pokemon which is… a poor attack.  For three you really should be hitting for 90 and given that there is no basic Colorless or Dragon-Type Energy, even if you built a deck around getting the effect it just couldn’t be done for some targets.  This one isn’t going to help or hurt today’s version get played, but the Bright Look version could either compliment or crowd out today’s CotD.

Ninetales seems like it is meant for decks that really, really need to keep a certain Stadium in play.  I’m not sure if we have such decks yet, but the game might be evolving that way, especially peeking ahead at the next set.  Sadly I don’t have even a “fun” deck to suggest for this card; it is mostly likely going to be a supporting Bench-sitter and little more, though that might be enough to make it an important play in the future, maybe even the immediate future.  I would be remiss though if I didn’t point out that Gothitelle (XY: Furious Fists 41/111) might like this card for ensuring the Stadiums it puts into play stay in play.  Its Teleport Room plays Stadiums from the discard, so it can get around Barrier Shrine completely.


Standard: 3/5 - A specialized card that does its “job” of protecting Stadiums reasonably well, but the effect is two-sided and that can make attacks that discard Stadiums a painful loophole for opponent’s to exploit… especially as you won’t be able to replace what was discarded thanks to Barrier Shrine!

Expanded: 3/5 - Same; I am not noticing anything in the enlarged card pool that screams “Super-Special-Awesome-Combo”, and the smaller combos I think I see are probably balanced out by the increased counters that might be worth playing here.

Limited: 4.9/5 - Unless you’re running a +39 deck or don’t have a Vulpix, run it.  It is Limited play so having a Bench-sitting Stage 1 that might not ever show up isn’t too much of a price to pay for protection from opposing Stadiums and for your own… or even just locking out your opponent’s if you run none!  Vulpix and its Roar attack might even come in handy, and if you can spare some room for Fire Energy cards, then Flickering Flames is a good attack here.

Summary: On my list at #6, though in hindsight this was way too high.  Not because locking in a Stadium isn’t useful, but because of the risk of no Stadium or the wrong Stadium being in play when you’re ready to Evolve into Ninetales, coupled with the risk of your opponent being able to discard the Stadium in play with an attack.  Sure something like Primal Groudon-EX and Donphan (BW: Plasma Storm 72/135) wouldn’t be able to hit hard again until another Stadium could enter play, but just one massive hit while you lose the Stadium that was worth running a Stage 1 to protect lessens the usefulness of Ninetales.  Throw in Abilities often being shut down also bypassing your protection, and Ninetales looks less appealing than it did to me at first.

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