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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

Steam Siege Top 10 - #5 - Xerneas BREAK - Steam Siege
Date Reviewed: Aug. 15, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary
Standard: 3.88       Expanded: 3.88       Limited: 4.75
Back to the main COTD Page


It was only a matter of time after the reveal of Lugia BREAK that we'd see new BREAK Evos for other non-EX Basic Legendaries. And here we are with Xerneas BREAK! 

Matching up with most other Stage 2s in terms of HP, Xerneas BREAK brings with it the attack Life Stream onto any other Xerneas you use it with. Right now, this includes the reprint of the XY version of Xerneas as well as the one from BREAKThrough...and a promo that no one really uses. So which one comboes best with Xerneas BREAK? 

Well Life Steam costs 2 Energy and does 20 damage for every Energy attached to your Pokemon. It's fairly similar to M Gardevoir-EX (PRC)'s attack, Brilliant Arrow, only instead of 3 Energy and 30 damage for every Fairy Energy, it's been reduced to a more efficient 2-for-20 on ALL Energy. This is reminiscent of attacks like X-Ball, Evil Ball, Aero Ball - really any "Ball" attack that we've seen on popular EX before, but now there's a major difference in that it no longer relies on how much Energy your opponent's Active Pokemon has. They could have as little as no Energy if they're playing something like Yanmega, and it wouldn't affect the output! And that's a pretty big buff in my opinion. 

So Life Stream alone makes Xerneas BREAK playable, but which would be the best to combine with him? Xerneas (XY, STS) does have Geomancy, a quick boost of Fairy Energy that charges 2 Bench-sitters very quickly. Already that adds on an extra 40 damage to the attack, and assuming you run normal attachments, that means Xerneas BREAK will do at least 80 damage on its first use of Life Stream after a Geomancy. That being said, it is a bit slow, having to attack with Geomancy a couple of times before using Xerneas BREAK's Life Stream to do serious damage, but it is a good set-up option. 

A lot of players though have leaned towards Xerneas (BKT) when building around a Xerneas since he's got Rainbow Force, an attack that does more damage based on the different Types of Pokemon on your Bench. While the Rainbow Road deck hasn't seen too much play recently, it is notable for being able to stack up to 160 damage just from Xerneas' Rainbow Force attack, which combined with a Muscle Band could easily KO any non-Mega Pokemon-EX. That being said, Life Stream and Rainbow Force don't really have much in common, and since it doesn't matter what the diversity in your Energy line-up is, I wouldn't really recommend running him with the BREAKThrough version. 

In any case, Xerneas BREAK is a great BREAK Evolution with a lot of good applications to offer, so try him out in your new Xerneas Fairy decks and breath some new life into the competition! Or just play him in an Energy acceleration deck, that could work too. 


Standard: 4/5 (a powerful enough attack always warrants another look) 

Expanded: 4/5 (and the fact that it's on a smaller non-EX Pokemon makes it more appealing, if only for the one-Prize trade-off) 

Limited: 5/5 (not to mention the decency of being an effective Stage 1 rather than a Stage 2 or 3) 

Arora Notealus: I imagine Xerneas BREAK will do well in the right build, and he may even pick up more once the rotation hits. Life Stream is too powerful to ignore, and I'm willing to bet that his appearance will make a mark on BREAK Evolutions becoming more prevalent in the game. 

Next Time: On the other hand, we've also got another BREAK Evo to talk about...


Welcome to our second week counting down our top 10 picks from XY: Steam Siege, which actually means counting down our top 5 if you want to get technical.  Our subject today is Xerneas BREAK (XY: Steam Siege 82/114).  It is a Fairy Type, which means it only hits Weakness when attacking XY-era Dragon Types but at least nothing is Fairy Resistant (at least not yet).  Fairy Type support is lackluster, at least that which specifically applies to actual Fairy Type Pokémon; they have some good support based around the Fairy Energy Type like Aromatisse (XY 93/146) with its [Y] Energy moving “Fairy Transfer” Ability or Fairy Garden zeroing out Retreat Costs for Pokémon with [Y] Energy attached.  I couldn’t find any anti-Fairy Type effects yet; hard to say if it will stay that way or if they have been around long enough we should expect them to start showing up.  If it also possible I overlooked some, especially in more recent sets; Type specific counters usually end up being too weak to matter or too strong for their own good (as if they work really well, people cut back on that Type and the counter is no longer needed).  Being the BREAK Evolution of a Basic Pokémon makes Xerneas BREAK a lot like a Stage 1, except support explicitly for Stage 1 Pokémon won’t benefit it.  In my estimation, that makes it inferior to Basics, actual Stage 1 Pokémon and… yeah, that is it, as being a pseudo-Stage 1 is still easier than being a Stage 2, Restored Pokémon, Mega Evolution, or a BREAK Evolution that Evolves from something larger.  Two cards and a turn of waiting (or three cards and no waiting with Wally) is not too steep a price to pay for a good attacker or piece of Bench support.  I have not seen a card that references BREAK Evolutions specifically, either to help or hinder them. 

Xerneas BREAK has 150 HP, putting it just 20 to 30 points below the 170 to 180 HP typically seen on worthwhile Basic Pokémon-EX.  This is a good score, with favorable odds when it comes to surviving an attack.  It helps that there are several effects to boost damage against Pokémon-EX, though I am reminded more and more that Basics can get a sweet bonus from Fighting Fury Belt.  An already good Basic Pokémon-EX can fake being a Mega Evolution with Fighting Fury Belt due to the +40 HP and +10 damage, and with non-Pokémon-EX Basics now clocking it at up to 140, they can fake being a decent Basic Pokémon-EX as well, let alone ape some of the power of the BREAK Evolutions.   Xerneas BREAK has no Weakness, Resistance, or Retreat Cost printed on it, but instead will use whatever is supplied by the Xerneas from which it BREAK Evolves.  It also can use that card’s attacks and (if it has one) Ability.  It brings one attack of its own as well - Life Stream - which costs [YY] and does 20 damage times the amount of Energy attached to all of your Pokémon.  The cost of the attack alone means it should do an underwhelming (but not totally useless) 40-for-two.  The big strength of such attacks is that if you have several other Pokémon ready to go, you can send this kind of attacker up front first and it will hit hard while being relatively disposable. 

We need to look at the possible Xerneas that Xerneas BREAK could BREAK Evolve from: XY 96/146 (reprinted as XY: Black Star Promos XY05 and XY: Steam Siege 84/114) XY: Black Star Promos XY31, and XY: BREAKthrough 107/162.  All are Basic Fairy Type Pokémon with Metal Weakness, Darkness Resistance, Retreat Cost [CC], no Ancient Traits, no Abilities, and two attacks.  As they will matter to Xerneas BREAK, let us discuss the “bottom stats” quickly.  Metal Weakness is dangerous, but not the most dangerous right now.  We did recently get a new, potent Metal Type deck in the form of Genesect-EX (XY: Fates Collide 64/124, 120/124) backed by Bronzong (XY: Phantom Forces 61/119).  The “Rapid Blaster” attack on Genesect-EX already hits for 100 points of base damage, and has a built in effect to do more damage by discarding attached [M] Energy, so this just saves Genesect-EX a one or two Energy discard cost (depending on other buffs).  Not a good thing to do “for” your opponent, but better than something gaining a one Energy OHKO combo such as with Fighting Weakness.  The rest of the risk comes from Bronzong backing up several other possible main attackers, and the Metal Type having a lot of good backup up attackers that can be slipped into a Bronzong backed deck.  The Darkness Resistance could actually be relevant; Yveltal-EX and friends have a large presence even when they aren’t one of the top decks, and Xerneas BREAK has 150 HP to back it up, meaning an effective 170 in the matchup.  The Retreat Cost of [CC] is something you can probably afford without a huge hassle, but the long term loss is high enough to matter; good thing Fairy Garden is one of many options for dealing with Retreat Costs. 

XY 96/146 (and its reprints) all have 130 HP, which was the maximum printed on “regular” Basic Pokémon at the time and is only 10 shy of the current max.  This is the point where I believe surviving an attack becomes more likely than not.  Its first attack is “Geomancy” for [Y], allowing you to select up to two of your Benched Pokémon, then search your deck for a [Y] Energy card to attach to each of them.  Currently only basic Fairy Energy cards can provide [Y] Energy while in your deck, and given how all recent Special Energy cards have been worded, that doesn’t seem likely to change anytime soon.  For [YYC] this Xerneas can use Rainbow Spear to do 100 damage, but must discard an Energy attached to itself afterwards (of any Type).  In isolation these attacks are simply “okay”, but with the HP and synergy between the two (with multiple Xerneas in play) it has been a good (though not great) Pokémon.  Though I wasn’t reviewing at the time, the Pojo crew looked at it here as their ninth best card of XY. 

XY: Black Star Promos XY31 is kind of obscure, but also has 130 HP.  The first is “Aurora Gain” for [YCC] to do 50 damage, plus during your opponent’s next turn this Pokémon will have no Weakness.  For [YYCC] you can use “Light of Life” to do 80 damage, +40 (so 120 total) if your opponent has Yveltal or Yveltal-EX in play.  Though the stats are solid, both attacks are very underpowered or overpriced.  XY: BREAKthrough 107/162 has 120 HP, not a huge loss.  Its “Rainbow Force” attack costs [YCC] and does 10 damage plus 30 more for each Type of Pokémon you have on your Bench.  For [YYCC] Xerneas also has “Power Creation” which does 80 damage, plus 80 more if it was healed this turn.  Both attacks can hit some important damage numbers, but Rainbow Force is the one that has a competitive deck built around it, with future promise due to dual Type Pokémon having returned to the game.  We reviewed it here.  XY 96/146 and XY: BREAKthrough 107/162 are worth using as a basis for Xerneas BREAK, or perhaps I should say that Xerneas BREAK has potential as an add on for these Pokémon.  Geomancy can help fill your side of the field with Energy to fuel Life Stream, while decks built around XY: BREAKthrough 107/162 often need some Energy acceleration as the attack requires three Energy.  It takes a lot of Energy for Life Stream to hit important numbers, but with relative safe Bench-sitters like Regirock (XY: Black Star Promos XY49 and other Fairy Type support, it is plausible you get get those numbers.  Still a good Evolved attacker is something the Fairy Type could use, and Xerneas BREAK can supply that.  For Limited play, XY: Steam Siege 84/114 is the Xerneas in this set and a great pull on its own; it also works well with Xerneas BREAK. 


Standard: 3.75/5 

Expanded: 3.75/5 

Limited: 4.5/5 

Summary: Simply put Xerneas BREAK provides a strong Evolved attacker for Fairy Types because two of the three Xerneas we have available are already strong attackers in their own right.  If I am wrong and this isn’t something the Fairy Type needs, then I’ve overrated Xerneas BREAK, but it still has the usual fallback of “Good Basic Stages” that can help many Evolutions break even (pun intended) when they themselves are a bit underwhelming. 

Xerneas BREAK earned 11 voting points, seven of which came from me as I made it my fourth place pick.  As you can guess by the inconsistent tone of this review, I’m definitely having second thoughts on having ranked this card that high.  Fifth place might be a bit high, but I do think it has potential.

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