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Yu Yu Hakusho
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Vs. System

Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

Nidoking BREAK - XY: Evolutions
Date Reviewed: Dec. 8, 2016
Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.00    Expanded: 2.25     Limited: 3.38

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 being horrible.  3 ... average.  5 is awesome.
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Hey look, Nidoking got a BREAK!! 

Boosting himself up to 180 HP, Nidoking BREAK comes with the move Toxic Drill. It's a bit of a reincarnation of Base Set Nidoking's Toxic, only given a huge amount of damage dealing 3-for-120 and applying the Poison x2 effect. And that's on top of whatever else your Nidoking had before, so that's pretty neat! Tack on the additional damage from something like Virbank City Gym, and he's practically set! 

Unfortunately that combination only exists in Expanded, so in Standard, Nidoking just has to deal with what he's got coming. Toxic Drill is a bit underpowered in that case, and he can either be combined with the Nidoking from this set or the one from Steam Siege, which really isn't that phenomenal without a few other Evolution Pokemon around and about. In Expanded you've also got the Fighting-typed Nidoking, but all things considered changing his Typing to Psychic in order to take advantage of Toxic Drill and a few extra HP isn't really worth running the two together when you've got such amazing Fighting support. 

So Nidoking BREAK ended up barely making my list if only cause of the combination of Tail Swing from the Nidoking and Toxic Drill here, but that's probably not the greatest thing in the world if he's at the bottom of a Top 10 list. It's like trying to pick out which rock glistens more in a pile of dirt.


Standard: 2/5 (Toxic Drill has a lot of promise for damage) 

Expanded: 2.5/5 (but without any kind of boosting, it alone can't do much) 

Limited: 3/5 (such is the way of the Nidoking) 

Arora Notealus: I'm always a bit torn with Nidoking cards. On the one hand, I like seeing these interactions with other cards that make things really come together and complete. On the other hand, I can't stand the lack of competitive viability that comes with abiding by flavor. If only there were a way to make something that combos with other cards into a viable deck strategy that's flavorful AND powerful! 

Next Time: AND NOW FOR JUST SUCH A STRATEGY!!...just kidding, it's just another reprint. But it's a doozy.


As promised yesterday, it is time to review Nidoking BREAK (XY: Evolutions 45/108).  Being a Psychic Type allows Nidoking BREAK to hit a many Fighting and Psychic Types for double damage thanks to Weakness, but it also means you’ll have to eat -20 damage from the Resistance on most Darkness and Metal Types.  I know of know explicitly anti-Psychic Type effects, but there are a few beneficial effects that only apply to them like Dimension Valley and Mystery Energy, with those two being the ones really worth scrutinizing.  There aren’t any worthwhile effects that apply just to [P] Energy, though there are some really great Psychic Type Pokémon that - while often quite functional off Type - usually have access to their full potential in a mostly or mono-Psychic build.  Being the BREAK Evolution of a Stage 2 Pokémon basically makes Nidoking BREAK a Stage 3 card; without shortcuts it takes four cards and four turns to reach, and the fastest plausible shortcut would be Benching Nidoran on a turn and either 

·         using Rare Candy to Evolve directly into Nidoking on the next turn, and that same turn using Wally to reach Nidoking BREAK.

·         Using Wally that turn to Evolve into Nidorino, then next turn manually Evolving into Nidoking and another Wally to reach Nidoking BREAK. 

So possibly you can reach Nidoking BREAK in just two turns, but you’re giving up two Supporters or one and adding in an Item to the process (a concern due to Item lock and needing both it and the Stage 2 form in hand at the same time).  Nidoking does sport 180 HP, the same as a typical Basic Pokémon-EX and so enough to usually survive one attack.  That isn’t guaranteed though as many decks can score OHKO’s regardless of Type, and the Psychic Weakness gives multiple noteworthy attackers an increased chance of pulling it off as well.  As a BREAK Evolution Nidoking BREAK will inherit the Weakness, Resistance, and Retreat Cost of whatever Nidoking it BREAK Evolved from as well as any Abilities or attacks on that card.  Nidoking BREAK itself sports a single attack called “Toxic Drill”, which for [PPC] does 120 damage plus afflicts the opponent with “double Poison” (that is, the Poison Special Condition where it places two damage counters between turns instead of just one).  In terms of Energy, this is a decent attack; Toxic Drill should score a pretty reliable 2HKO against larger targets, and a OHKO against small to medium sized ones.  For all the effort it takes to reach this point, however, it seems lackluster; sure Nidoking BREAK has 180 HP, but you had to Evolve three times and invest three Energy cards.

As detailed yesterday, none of the available Nidoran, Nidorino, and Nidoking thrilled me.  Some have effects that pertain to Nidoran, Nidorina, or Nidoqueen but none work well once you factor in how many cards are going to be involved, and even the most impressive of those - Nidoqueen (XY: Primal Clash 69/160) - isn’t worth the effort of running either Nidoking (BW: Plasma Freeze 58/116) or Nidoking (XY: Steam Siege 45/114).  Running two (or more!) Stage 2 lines was once a common, successful practice, but now it leaves a deck insufficient room for things like TecH or even the usual cards required for a reliable setup.  Nidoking (XY: Evolutions 45/108) doesn’t share reference any other Pokémon, and is probably the best fit for Nidoking BREAK.  You can probably use any Nidoran you like, while Nidorino (XY: Evolutions 44/108) has both the best HP and Retreat Cost of the other Nidorino (plus you’ll want some Rare Candy as well).  The attacks on Nidoking (XY: Evolutions 45/108) as well as its Psychic Weakness, lack of Resistance, and Retreat Cost of [CCC].  That Weakness is pretty dangerous thanks to cards like Mew (XY: Fates Collide 29/124), Mew-EX, Mewtwo (XY: Evolutions 51/108), and Mewtwo-EX (BW: Next Destinies 54/99, 98/99; BW: Black Star Promos BW45; BW: Legendary Collections 54/113), and the Retreat Cost means you’ll need some extra space for tanking, assisting in changing out your Active, or both. 

Those aren’t deal breakers though, but Nidoking (XY: Evolutions 45/108) doesn’t bring particularly useful cards to work with Nidoking BREAK.  “Rumble” costs [PC] and does 40 damage while preventing the Defending Pokémon from retreating during your opponent’s next turn.  At a glance that looks like it might complement Toxic Drill as you could strand a poisoned target in the Active slot but both are attacks; how often would you not just use a second Toxic Drill to secure the KO?  Tail Swing does give you an option if Toxic Drill is overkill, which is plausible thanks to the combined damage from the attacks being 220 and Poison having placed up to four damage counters (two each between turns phase) if it isn’t treated.  May as well get some damage spread.  Still, that is pretty general, and many other attacks (let alone Abilities) would have been a much more welcome fit.  I mentioned Nidoking (Base Set 11/102; Base Set 2 11/130; Legendary Collection 31/110) since the art for Nidoking (XY: Evolutions 45/108) came from it, and XY: Evolutions is aping the card selection of Base Set.  It has an attack that inflicts double Poison, so perhaps that is why Nidoking BREAK has it as part of its one attack.  So should you use Nidoking BREAK in Standard play?  I can’t recommend it, but you may if you wish.  Same for Expanded, where it enjoys better support but suffers more counters.  No idea about what to run with it beyond Dimension Valley (where it is legal).  Limited is a different; you’ll need a lot of luck to pull the full line, but as long as you don’t have something better that requires you exclude it, Nidoking BREAK and its lower Stages are a welcome addition to your deck. 


Standard: 2/5 

Expanded: 2/5 

Limited: 3.75/5 

Summary: Looks like Nidoking should have taken time to practice with its new BREAK form instead of immediately going off to face Son Goku… wait, wrong nostalgic purple monster that recently returned with a golden form.  Nidoking BREAK isn’t bad, but it isn’t especially good.  I am pretty hard on BREAK Evolutions of Stage 2 Pokémon since they act like Stage 3 Pokémon, and Nidoking BREAK is definitely no Greninja BREAK however its score also reflects that it just doesn’t have anything worthwhile from which to BREAK Evolve.  Should we get a Nidoking worth using in a deck that has room for at least a TecH copy of Nidoking BREAK, it might be worth considering.

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