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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Steam Siege Top 10

#10 - Yanmega and Yanmega BREAK! 
- Steam Siege

Date Reviewed:
Aug. 8, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

See Below

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

Back to the main COTD Page


HUZZAH!! Another new set, and another Top 10 list to work our way through! Welcome to the Steam Siege Top 10, let's just get right into it with our little Twofer special - Yanmega and Yanmega BREAK! 

So what makes this ragtag team work out the most? Well Yanmega starts us off with a little work towards Assault Boom. At 3-for-50, it does have the added bonus of getting 70 damage if your opponent's Pokemon has a Tool attached to it. And hey, let's face it, why wouldn't they have a Tool attached? Frankly you should have one on Yanmega too! 

But that's really not enough for most people to play a Stage 1, even with the advantage of being Grass-type and all that. Well, with the only other copy of Yanmega (PHF) rotating out, this one's gonna have to do something at least...decent. And that's where Sonic Vision comes in. As long as you have 4 cards in your hand, Yanmega's attacks don't cost anything. 

Not a single Energy. 

Effectively, having 4 cards in your hand makes Yanmega's attacks free, meaning he can deal a potential 120 damage - for FREE. That's a pretty big Ability in and of itself, although with Ability-shutdowns your opponent may have and the Ability preventing you from overextending your hand too much, lest you end up somehow with not 4 cards at the time of your attack, it's relatively balanced. 

Almost surprised the attack isn't more broken to compensate, really. But I guess he does have Forest of Broken Plants. 


And now for Yanmega BREAK. Well what benefits does he have? First of all, being a BREAK Evo, he does boost up the HP score and add on something new while adopting all the old stats like Weakness, Resistance, but most importantly that sweet sweet Ability from before: Sonic Vision. 

Did I mention he's also got no Retreat Cost? 

Anywho, Yanmega BREAK brings with it the Barrier Break attack. At the same cost as Assault Boom, it deals 100 damage. That's it. No matter what your opponent's got, Barrier Break isn't about dealing damage. It's about dealing UNPROTECTED damage. No Weakness or Resistance to change it, but it's also unaffected by any effects on the Defending Pokemon. That's pretty big, and considering he can do it for free with that Sonic Vision? 

Yanmega on his own is pretty good, probably enough to see some play, but where he goes, Yanmega BREAK is sure to follow 


Standard: 3/5 (a solid Stage 1 in and of itself) 

Expanded: 3/5 (with a solid BREAK evolution to compliment) 

Limited: 4/5 (course I'd aim for the Evo before the BREAK) 

Arora Notealus: For a giant terrifying death bug from Gen 4 as an evo to a bug from Gen 2, I gotta at least admit Yanmega is...memorable for being so scary looking. Odd that I keep thinking of Yanma though instead of him when I see his name. 



To begin with, that article I wrote last week?  After I was done revising it I had enough new content that I split it in two.  So we have that the terror from HS: Triumphant, Yanmega Prime!  You see it could attack for no Energy and… why are we reviewing it alongside a BREAK Evolution? 

Oh!  At last we are ready to countdown our Top 10 Picks From XY: Steam Siege.  10th place is a tie between Yanmega (XY: Steam Siege 7/114) and Yanmega BREAK (XY: Steam Siege 8/114).  We’ll start with Yanmega before moving onto its BREAK Evolution.  It is a Grass Type and as it is not a Basic Pokémon, that means Forest of Giant Plants could potentially be a game breaking card for it, with Revitalizer being another useful bit of Grass Pokémon specific support.  There is the incidental support gained by being the same Type as other useful cards like Vileplume (XY: Ancient Origins 3/98).  No Type is universally or even mostly Grass Weak, but many Water Types (including among the competitive ones) are Grass Weak and so are some of the Fighting Types (again, including among the competitive).  Nothing is grass Resistant, and there aren’t any really strong anti-Grass effects; the main thing you might run into is Parallel City which is run for its Bench shrinking side, but the other side reduces the damage of Fire, Grass, and Water Types by 20.  Seems like a good start to me. 

Yanmega is a Stage 1; thanks to Forest of Giant Plants you can try and skip the turn wait to Evolve since all legal Yanma are also Grass Types.  It will take twice the space per copy to run versus a Basic, can’t be your opening Pokémon, and instead of Basic support/counters it is Evolution (plus specific Stage 1) support and counters with which Yanmega must deal.  Its 110 HP is almost but not quite to that point where it seems more likely to survive than be OHKO’d; I’d a crude guess based on my own anecdotal experience is that the it’s about 20 points shy of crossing that threshold.  110 is enough that it isn’t a particularly easy OHKO, but few decks won’t get to a point where they can pretty reliably deal that out turn after turn, and with only a turn or two of prep.  Lightning Weakness is dangerous because it is shared by some potent cards like Yveltal-EX; so decks seeking to exploit it elsewhere get Yanmega thrown in as a bonus.  At the same time no Weakness is safe, and this set is pumping up Fire Types something fierce; being one of the few non-Fire Weak Grass Types is ultimately a good thing.  Also good is Resistance; any is better than none and even though the Fighting Types like to stack bonuses, better to make them need one more Strong Energy or the like.  The Retreat Cost is perfect; a free retreat is a wonderful thing. 

Yanmega has one Ability and one attack.  “Sonic Vision” lets you ignore the Energy requirements of this card’s attacks but only if you have exactly four cards in hand.  Maintaining a precise hand size can be difficult depending upon the circumstances, but four cards is a moderate amount that neither requires maintaining an engorged or emaciated hand.  It also helps that you only need to care about Sonic Vision on your own turn, as opposed to your opponent’s turn when he or she could use something like N to alter your hand.  So what is this card’s lone attack?  For [CCC] “Assault Boom” does only 50 damage, but its effect can add 70 more if the opponent’s Active meets a particular condition: having a Pokémon Tool attached.  Pokémon Tools are quite common and even if your opponent tries to avoid having one, if they are using a Pokémon-EX you could still use Pokémon Tool F cards to get the bonus damage.  If the damage split went the other direction (70 base, 120 with the effect) this attack would be better, but as is it is still reasonably good.  When you get to use it for no Energy, it is great! 

Yanmega BREAK is still a Grass Type, so what I said about that still applies.  As a the BREAK Evolution of a Stage 1 it acts like a Stage 2 Pokémon except Stage 2 specific support and counters won’t apply.  Those that apply to Evolutions in general will still apply to BREAK Evolutions and I didn’t see anything specific to BREAK Evolutions finally debut in this set.  Yanmega BREAK has 140 HP, which if it were a Stage 2 would be roughly the middle of typical scores (they tend to be 130 to 160).  This is high enough that taking it down in one shot requires a bit of effort; 140 isn’t enough to be remotely safe, but the odds have improved in a significant manner.  Yanmega BREAK will get its Weakness, Resistance, and Retreat Cost from whichever Yanmega it BREAK Evolves from, as well as access to that card’s effects, but Yanmega BREAK does bring an attack of its own as well.  For [CCC] it can use “Barrier Break” to do 100 damage, with the kind of piercing attack that ignores Weakness, Resistance, and all effects on the opponent’s Active.  Ignoring Weakness is a bad thing, and ignoring Resistance is pointless since nothing is Grass Resistant, but ignoring most protective effects is useful, with 100-for-three being a solid return.  When used with today’s Yanmega so that it can attack for free, it also becomes a great deal. 

So how about Yanma and the other Yanmega?  For Yanma we have BW: Dragons Exalted 4/124, XY: Phantom Forces 3/119, and XY: Steam Siege 6/114, while for Yanmega there is BW: Dragons Exalted 5/124 or XY: Phantom Forces 4/124 from which to potentially pick.  All are Grass Types with Lightning Weakness, Fighting Resistance, and no Ability.  Every Yanma is a Basic with 70 HP and a Retreat Cost of [C] while these two Yanmega are both Stage 1 Pokémon with free Retreat Costs and two attacks.  Yanma (BW: Dragons Exalted 4/124) is the only Yanma that is not Standard legal; its lone attack is “Whirlwind” which costs [CC] to do 20 and force the opponent to change out his or her Active with a Benched Pokémon.  Yanma (XY: Phantom Forces 3/119) can use “Air Slash” for [CC] to do 30, but has to discard an Energy from itself when it does.  Last of the Yanma is XY: Steam Siege 6/114 and it has two attacks; for [C] it can use “Scout” to see your opponent’s hand or for [CCC] it can do a flat 40 with “Speed Dive”.  Yanmega (BW: Dragons Exalted 5/124) can only be used in Expanded play and has 100 HP.  It can use “Agility” for [CC] to do 30 and (on a successful coin flip) protect itself from the effects and damage of your opponent’s attacks until the end of his or her next turn, or for [CCC] it can use “Cutting Wind” for a vanilla 70 damage.  Yanmega (XY: Phantom Forces 4/124) has 110 HP; its “Windfall” attack has you shuffle your hand into your deck to draw six cards while for [CCC] its “Surprise Strike” will do 50 damage (plus another 50 if Yanmega moved from the Becn to the Active slot this turn).  Only Yanmega (BW: Dragons Exalted 5/124) has been reviewed before and it didn’t go well.  For Yanma pick whichever looks interesting and stick with today’s Yanmega. 

So should you use Yanmega, and if you do should you also go with Yanmega BREAK?  Wish I had a firm answer but I have to go with just “Maybe” to both.  You’ll need to make the deck capable of reliably exploiting Sonic Vision.  Enjoy running a deck with few or no Energy but make sure you can deal with effects that will shut down your Abilities.  There are a couple ways to make sure your hand is at four cards exactly, but the one that might be most pertinent is Judge as it drops your opponent’s hand to four cards after doing the same to yours.  Of course that means if you do you can’t use anything you drew unless you can get your hand back up to four cards.  If we weren’t talking about two or three cards per copy, I might try this in decks built around Vespiquen (XY: Ancient Origins 10/98) and the previously mentioned Vileplume; Forest of Giant Plants speeds it all into play and as long as you can keep a four card hand you won’t have to worry about Energy costs.  Vespiquen is a much better attacker though, so why add something that is effectively another Stage 2?  For now, you probably shouldn’t, though Yanmega BREAK helps you deal with protective effects; instead think ahead to whenever we get Karen and so your opponent can send all Pokémon in your discard pile back to your deck.  Then again, maybe my mistake is thinking we need Vileplume; Vespiquen loses Night March in Standard as soon as rotation occurs, so maybe Yanmega BREAK can be the new extra attacker/discard fodder? 

So why did it make the list?  Well besides the fact that I suddenly became jaded about several other cards it was competing against, it is very similar to a strong card I mentioned earlier.  Yanmega “Prime”, or officially Yanmega (HS: Triumphant 98/102 is like a combination of today’s Yanmega and Yanmega BREAK.  Obvious differences of course but it was an amazing card in its day.  You can get an idea by reading its Card of the Day review here.  This means a lot of folk are excited about it and while I have my doubts, Forest of Giant Plants certainly handles my biggest concern of speed.  It is deck space and reliability that now give me pause in recommending it too strongly.  Experiment with these two in both Expanded and Standard.  In Limited it looks like a great pull to me; even if you can’t trigger the Ability, the Energy costs are nice and splashable. 



Standard: 3.35/5 

Expanded: 3.25/5 

Limited: 4.5/5 

Yanmega BREAK 

Standard: 3.25/5 

Expanded: 3.15/5 

Limited: 4/5 

Summary: Yanmega and Yanmega BREAK bring an old, successful concept into the modern age, but that doesn’t mean this old trick will still work.  I think there is enough going for the two together that it will see competitive play, though I cannot say whether it will succeed or fail.  You’ll also notice I didn’t provide any scores for the formats post-rotation; it is too early for me to even try to guess.

Yanmega and Yanmega BREAK as a team managed to earn four voting points, which all came from me making them my seventh place pick.  It was not a firm seventh place as you can tell by the tone of this review.  I still believe these two have potential, but I freely admit the three cards I ranked under them may have deserved better.  Supporting that is how two of the three actually made the final Pojo list in a higher spot than Yanmega and Yanmega BREAK.

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