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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Top 10 BREAKpoint Cards

#8 - Manaphy EX

- XY BREAKpoint

Date Reviewed:
February 10, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.38
Expanded: 3.25
Limited: 4.38

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

Back to the main COTD Page


I don't need to sugar coat it - if you wanna play a Water deck, you WILL run Manaphy-EX. 

That's not a question, that's a statement. You probably remember a time when somebody called Darkrai-EX ruled the format? Where every Dark deck ran him alongside stuff like Hydreigon and Dark Patch? Yeah, that sort of thing is back!...almost! 

Manaphy-EX is basically a Water reincarnation of Darkrai-EX!...only a bit weaker. Let's start with the good stuff: Aqua Tube, the Dark Cloak of the Water tribe! Now any Pokemon that has Water Energy attached to it will have free Retreat - and we all know how valuable something like that can be! It practically spearheaded a whole archetype in the game for the longest time, and now it's back to aid Water decks looking for a means of circumventing the high retreat costs of some of their notable powerhouses. 


But that's about where Manaphy-EX stops comparing herself to Darkrai-EX and decides to chillax a bit. Her main attack, Mineral Pump, is a 2-for-60 strike that heals off 30 damage from any Benched Pokemon. That wouldn't be too bad - I mean, we've seen how Rough Seas helps the survivability of Water Pokemon - except that Manaphy-EX doesn't do a whole lot of damage, and she's only got...120 HP. 

Why does that sound famili-OH RIGHT EVERYTHING HITS 120 

See, 120 is the new 90, and that's mainly because the HP scores have gone up quite a bit in the game - thank you Megas. In order to 2HKO most any Mega, you need anywhere from 110-120 damage each turn, depending on the Mega, with 120 being the better end of the deal and thus the magic number you oughta be aiming at each turn. Unfortunately, that means that Manaphy-EX is risking getting one-shot by anyone looking for an easy 2 Prizes, and that puts her in a really vulnerable position, whereas Darkrai-EX reveled in being Active with 180 HP and the powerful Night Spear attack. 

So Manaphy-EX can't quite wholly compare to Darkrai-EX, but that doesn't mean she's useless - no, she's going to help out those Water decks easily! But she will be a major vulnerability to anyone running them, and she should be taken care of with great care and sensitivity. Leave her open for a bit, and she won't be around to power that Aqua Tube that's keeping your guys from suffering Statuses or the threat of getting 2HKO'd. 

That, and your opponent will get 2 Prizes easy. And nobody wants that. 


Standard: 3.5/5 (granting the power of free Retreat is a major boon to any deck, so Water decks will love this card) 

Expanded: 3.5/5 (but that care must be met with caution, as Lysandre and Pokemon Catcher are abundant in many decks) 

Limited: 4/5 (stay on your guard, and Aqua Tube will give you an easy edge if the opponent can't do anything to stop it!) 

Arora Notealus: You know, I'm still not sure what Manaphy is supposed to be. Like how every Pokemon's got some cool origin, but Manaphy's like...a sea fairy? Bulbapedia's got it down as sea angels, but who really knows? Then again, what the heck's Darkrai supposed to be, am I right? 

Next Time: This item's not so common in the games, but here it's a brand new Item!...card. First time it's a card!


Our number eight finisher is Manaphy-EX (XY: BREAKpoint 32/122, 116/122).  Even before you can read the text or make out the art, you can tell it is a Water-Type (yay color-coding?).  Nearly all Fire-Types and a decent chunk of Fighting-Types are Water Weak, while Water Resistance is limited to a chunk (as opposed to all) BW-era Water-Types.  There are some explicitly anti-Water-Type cards but they are unimpressive enough that I won’t get into details; it is just bad luck to run into them during competitive play.  There are some cards that really benefit the Water-Type exclusively, like Archie’s Ace in the Hole and Dive Ball, some like Rough Seas that specifically help Water-Types as well as Lightning-Types, and those that aren’t restricted to Water-Types but may have better synergy with them in a Water focused deck, like Keldeo-EX.  A good, solid Type in the end.  Being a Pokémon-EX is the next most obvious thing about the card: they are worth two Prizes when KOed, they prohibited from using certain beneficial effects, and they are the target of certain detrimental effects: if your opponent KOs one of your Pokémon-EX with an attacker using Silver Bangle, you have an example of all three at once.  Because Silver Bangle does +30 damage when the equipped Pokémon attacks a Pokémon-EX, but also states it cannot be used by a Pokémon-EX, and if the Pokémon-EX gets KO’d… right, moving on.

As a Basic Pokémon Manaphy-EX is easy to put into play, relatively easy to fit into a deck (deck space is at a premium all around) and enjoys not only some Stage specific support, but a natural synergy with many card effects.  The drawback to being a Basic is that some effects expressly apply to Basic Pokémon in a negative fashion… and I’m unsure if any of those cards are currently competitive.  Basic Pokémon-EX usually demonstrate their “EXtra” power with at least their HP, even if the rest of the card is filler and Manaphy-EX both does and does not do that: it sports 120 HP which is 50 above Manaphy (BW: Plasma Storm 34/135) and Manaphy (XY: Primal Clash 56/106), but is tied with Mew-EX for the eighth lowest HP score on Pokémon-EX.  Actually when I put it that way, it doesn’t seem quite so bad but be well aware that this is a probable two Prize OHKO (2POHKO?).  Its Grass Weakness is typical of TCG Water-Types that correspond with the video game Water-Type, at least in the XY-era (exceptions are either dual-Types in the video game, Ice-Types, or both).  The good news is that most of the Grass-Type attackers I can think of hit much harder than this when fully powered, but if you run into a deck still using Virizion-EX (and a source of [G] Energy so it can attack), a Muscle Band or Fighting Fury Belt (XY: BREAKpoint 99/122) will allow it to Emerald Slash for the KO.  No Resistance is typical and with 120 HP, would have only been helpful in a select few edge cases, while the Retreat Cost of [C] is low enough to be easy to pay and to recover from having paid. 

That Retreat Cost won’t often matter though because of the card’s Ability “Aqua Tube”, which zeroes out the Retreat Cost of Pokémon with an attached [W] Energy.  This is very familiar as Darkrai-EX (BW: Dark Explorers 36/108, 107/108; BW: Black Star Promos BW46; BW: Legendary Treasures 88/113) has an essentially identical effect with its “Dark Cloak” Ability, while Fairy Garden provides a similar benefit as a Stadium, just requiring a different Energy Type (Darkness for Dark Cloak and Fairy for Fairy Garden).  We know from experience this is a useful effect as it makes it difficult to strand anything of yours up front and can conserve Energy.  The card’s only attack, “Mineral Pump” requires [MM] and hits for 60 damage while healing 30 from all of your Benched Pokémon.  On its own that is a decent attack, but it will only be used if you absolutely must (or are just being a bit sadistic and want to finish off your opponent with it) because of how vulnerable Manaphy-EX is with its 120 HP, and its usefulness as a Bench-sitter. 

There are no other cards named Manaphy-EX so let us discuss its usage.  This is now part of the Water-Type support available in both Standard and Expanded, and is the only Pokémon based option to provide a “Dark Cloak” like effect in Standard.  When Darkrai-EX first released, it quickly became either the best or second best card in the format, so how will Manaphy-EX fair?  No where near as well: Darkrai-EX even now is still a solid attacker in addition to a worthwhile Bench-sitter, but even it isn’t what it once was as it was released alongside its own Item-based Energy acceleration (Dark Patch), a fantastic partner in the form of Sableye (BW: Dark Explorers 62/108), when the only other Pokémon-EX that could really challenge it was Mewtwo-EX (BW: Next Destinies 54/99, 98/99; BW: Black Star Promos BW45; BW: Legendary Treasures 54/113).  Manaphy-EX is not a great attacker, and another difference between the two is that Darkrai-EX has 180 HP and debuted at a time when that amount was almost always guaranteed to last two turns.  Other than the current rules disallowing first turn attacks, things are faster and even Darkrai-EX faces being OHKOed now.  Darkrai-EX predated effects that could shut down Abilities as well. 

Manaphy-EX also faces a rival; while Zoroark (XY: BREAKthrough 91/162) is a Stage 1 and I already emphasized that deck space it tight, its Ability “Stand In” allows it to force itself into the Active position; coupled with a Float Stone this allows you to fake having a free Retreat Cost for everything else, in addition to the combo allowing your manual retreat for the turn to act as a Switch.  Zoroark has less HP than Manaphy-EX, but it doubles as a good attacker thanks to “Mind Jack”, which only costs [CC] to do 10 damage plus another 30 for each of the opponent’s Benched Pokémon.  Manaphy-EX doesn’t need the Float Stone, but sometimes you won’t have the Energy where it needs to go and Manaphy-EX alone won’t let you fake a Switch.  In Expanded play it is even worse for Manaphy-EX; Keldeo-EX has “Rush In” which is functionally identical to Stand In, but on a Basic Pokémon-EX.  Throw in “Secret Sword”, a 50-for-[CCC] attack that does an extra 20 for each [W] Energy attached, and any deck that could use Manaphy-EX will be able to bump that damage to a decent 70 for three… and on a 170 HP Pokémon-EX instead of 120.  Manaphy-EX definitely has a place in certain Water-Type decks, but I don’t think it is going to be a must run for anything that can readily supply [W] Energy in the way Darkrai-EX was for a time in any deck that could readily supply [D] Energy. 

Still that makes it a good (just not great) addition to Standard play and still decent for Expanded.  In Limited it is nearly a must run; you take a big risk with a small-ish Pokémon-EX here as the game is played with only four Prizes, and you are not running Manaphy-EX in a +39 deck (a deck where it is the only Basic).  Unless you absolutely cannot fit both Manaphy-EX and a few basic Water Energy cards into a deck, you’re using it for Aqua Tube.  Though it is an okay attacker here because average HP scores and damage outputs are both lower than normal. 


Standard: 3.15/5 

Expanded: 3/5 

Limited: 4.75/5 

Summary: Manaphy-EX is the new Bench-sitter for certain decks to work in; if you can provide enough [W] to enable Aqua Tube for your Pokémon, free retreating is yours.  Unfortunately this comes at a time when Bench-space is at a premium and mostly counts on there being too many more important things for your opponent to take the easy two Prizes off of Manaphy-EX.  It is more useful in Standard than in Expanded, where other cards fill a similar role. 

Manaphy-EX did not make my list, but I’ve had many tell me I’m wrong; in fact it owes largely to most of the new Water-Type support disappointing me.  If I’m wrong about it, I’m wrong about Manaphy-EX and at this point I almost expect it.  Manaphy-EX narrow beat out tied 9th and 10th place cards by one point, and itself tied with tomorrow’s CotD, which won out because even though it ranked lower than Manaphy-EX on the list that had both, it managed to appear on two lists instead of one.

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