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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Top 10 BREAKpoint Cards

#9 - M Gyarados-EX

- XY BREAKpoint

Date Reviewed:
February 8, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.38
Expanded: 3.40
Limited: 4.50

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

Back to the main COTD Page


Okay, I'm just gonna say - M GYARADOS-EX LOOKS AMAZING IN THIS!! He's got that red Shiny form, he looks super menacing, and OMG I REALLY WANNA BUILD A NEW WATER DECK AROUND THIS GUY!!! 

*er-hem* That being said, I should probably say why he ended up so high on my list. And since technically he ended up having the same amount of points as M Scizor-EX did, let's talk about the comparisons we can make between the two!

So starting off, I'm gonna talk about M Gyarados-EX's attack, Blast Geyser. First off, it's completely Colorless - 4 Energy, but completely Colorless. Now that may make him seem splashable (haha), but you will want to run him in a Water deck for very obvious reasons - this is a Hydro Pump-esque attack. So for each Water Energy attached to M Gyarados-EX, you can deal an additional 20 damage, and if you do, you discard the top 2 cards of your deck. 

"Wait, so a self-milling heavy hitter matches a metagame breaker? How does THAT work?!" 

Well now, here's the thing with that. M Scizor-EX will get his attack off much sooner, certainly, and it would stand to reason that, given the 1 Energy per turn idea, M Scizor-EX would easily KO M Gyarados-EX before he even got an attack off. This is what makes them comparable - a cheaper attack for the same damage output, only M Scizor-EX doesn't have a backlash...or a way of getting it stronger. M Gyarados-EX on the other hand has the ability to make his strike MUCH stronger, dealing 200 damage if all his Energies are Water - and it only costs 2 cards from the deck. 

That sounds like it's a big issue, but given how fast we'll go through our decks, it just means M Gyarados-EX decks will want to be a little more careful with their plays - they can't just throw things away as easily. But the other thing is that this is an optional effect, and this attack can still KO quite a few things rather easily. If you need to make that leap to OHKO a Basic Pokemon-EX, for instance, you could do that with M Gyarados-EX - but not with M Scizor-EX. And if you need that extra strength to REALLY OHKO some Mega, M Gyarados-EX can take on a couple more Energy and deal 240 damage - but not M Scizor-EX. 

And it's not like the cost is changing to increase the damage - you just have to add on another Energy, and you're still only going to lose 2 cards. 

So in a way, M Gyarados-EX is a heavy-hitting gamble. He definitely has the power to OHKO anything in the format, but will he be able to make a big enough splash in the meta? 

...pssh, yeah, like we're done with this set. 


Standard: 3.5/5 (a heavy-hitter with a minor backlash that's only really a threat if you're not at least on even territory with your opponent - if you're ahead, it's even less of a backlash) 

Expanded: 4/5 (I mean, what's 2 cards from your deck compared to the price for victory?) 

Limited: 5/5 (that being said, don't abuse his power too much, and M Gyarados-EX can easily win you the day) 

Arora Notealus: Personally, I'm of the opinion that Water decks are gonna make a big comeback thanks to the support from this set. I'm not gonna say that stuff like Primal Kyogre-EX will come back, though there's no doubt that much of the support will be welcoming, but I think there's a lot of promise for a variety of Water decks to come about and turn the tide of the competition. Which probably means that Grass decks aren't too far behind... 



M Gyarados-EX (XY: BREAKpoint 27/122, 115/122) splashes down as our ninth place pick!  Fun fact: I misread the schedule and worked hard to finish this CotD before Monday… only to finish at about 1:30 AM CDT Monday morning and realize my mistake as I was about to submit it to Bill.  Well, it wasn’t fun for me, but maybe it is worth a chuckle for you. 

It is a Mega Evolution, so we’ll be dealing with the usual problems faced by Pokémon-EX - giving up an extra Prize when KOed, can’t use access certain beneficial effects, singled out by certain adverse effects - with the added burden of certain adverse effects that only apply to Mega Evolutions and one’s turn ending as soon as they Mega Evolve (unless you use the correct Spirit Link card).  At least on the successful Mega Evolutions, these tend to be offset by increased HP scores, abnormally potent attacks, and stuff like Mega Turbo.  Mega Evolutions were originally seen as hopeless but now they are a major force in both Standard and Expanded formats.  Being a Water-Type got a boost this set, with new exclusive, explicit support in the form of Splash Energy as well as some that merely favors Water-Types over others like Manaphy-EX (XY: BREAKpoint 32/122, 116/122) and Palkia-EX (XY: BREAKpoint 31/122).  The Type already enjoyed tricks like Archie’s Ace in the Hole, Dive Ball and Rough Seas as well.  On top of that nearly every Fire-Type and a decent chunk of Fighting-Types are Water Weak.  There are some drawbacks like older Grass-Types (BW-era) often having Water Resistance and some card effects that are detrimental to Water-Types, but none of those have proven particularly successful and mostly just reduce damage done akin to Resistance.  All in all, Water is a good Type, but I am curious what a Darkness-Type version would have been like (it is a Water/Dark-Type in the video games). 

M Gyarados-EX has 240 HP, the maximum printed on any current Mega Evolutions and only 10 shy of the printed maximum seen on Wailord-EX.  With this much HP, most decks will have a hard time pulling a OHKO.  You might even be able to survive a second hit without any added protection or healing.  Can’t get sloppy though: some decks specialize in insane offense and at worst just have to strain to hit the 240, others use combos that fake a OHKO (including doing it via card effects instead of damage) and of course there is Weakness, which can turn a much less demanding 120 damage attack into the needed 240.  No Weakness is the only safe one, but some are less problematic than others.  Unlike regular Gyarados (a Water/Flying-Type), Mega Gyarados (a Water/Dark-Type) has several to choose from and… the designers stuck with Lightning Weakness, which is one of the most dangerous to have right now: they have some solid attackers though usually not ones easily splashed into just any old build, but then again there are many other strong, established attackers like Yveltal-EX that have ensured people already have reason to work Lightning-Types into their decks.   

We once again get cheated out of any Resistance.  Even though in the video games a Mega Gyarados takes half damage from six of the eighteen Pokémon-Types and takes no damage at all from a seventh, or over a third of possible Types.  Even factoring the ones that don’t translate well from video game to TCG because the TCG-Type includes video game Types to which a Mega Gyarados is no Resistant (such as the Psychic-Type in the TCG being the video game Psychic-, Ghost-, and Poison-Types) or because of a general design policy (Water-Types plus Ice-Types equal the TCG Water-Type, but the designers seem to be avoiding Water Resistance in the XY-era)... we’ve still got Dark, Fire, or Steel Resistance that would translate directly to Darkness, Fire or Metal Resistance.  With 240 HP and some healing tricks that are occasionally effective like Rough Seas, Resistance could have been most potent on M Gyarados-EX… which might be why they didn’t include it.  M Gyarados-EX does get a Retreat Cost of [CC], which is high enough you’d prefer not to pay it but low enough you often can afford it, both upfront and in the long term. 

M Gyarados-EX has no Ancient Trait and so far no Mega Evolution has had an Ability, so it just has the typical lone attack.  “Blast Geyser” has a hefty cost of [CCCC], but does a solid 120 with it for base damage.  The attack’s effect states that you may optionally hit for 120 plus 20 per [W] Energy attached to M Gyarados-EX itself, but then you have to discard the top two cards of your deck.  The Colorless costs means you have the option of using any Energy-Type to meet it, but the effect means you’d prefer [W] Energy be used.  Not a bad option to have, and the same is definitely true of being able to hit for varying damage.  Discarding two cards from the deck is a risky, but only crippling if you have very bad luck with what is discarded.  120 damage takes out the bottom half of the format without needing to discard at all, and sets most targets up for a 2HKO if they can survive.  If three of the four Energy required are [WWW], Blast Geyser can score a OHKO against most of the format; if you have [WWWW] attached then only Mega Evolutions, Wailord-EX, and cards with defensive buffs can survive.  Additional [W] Energy can expand the range even more, though you’ll need other cards to deal with problems like Suicune (BW: Plasma Blast 20/101).  You’ll definitely need Energy acceleration no matter how you approach this: four Energy is still a lot to get onto something both quickly and reliably. 

Gyarados-EX (XY: BREAKpoint 26/122, 114/122, 123/122) is required to get M Gyarados-EX into play unless you want to use Archie’s Ace in the Hole.  While a legitimate option, I’m not sure if the Supporter is worth it in this instance.  Gyarados-EX is a Water-Type Basic Pokémon-EX with 180 HP, Lightning Weakness, no Resistance, a Retreat Cost of [CCCC], no Ancient Trait, no Ability and two attacks.  The first attack is “Stormy Seas” for [C]; it has you flip a coin until you get “tails” and for each “heads” you search your deck for a [W] Energy and attach it to Gyarados-EX.  As a reminder, you can fail a search if you so choose and nothing currently counts as [W] in the deck other than basic Water Energy cards.  Approximately half the time this attack will do nothing, but if you are very lucky it can significantly speed up your eventual M Gyarados-EX.  The luck I speak of isn’t just the coin flips either: if you attacked then Gyarados-EX is Active and that means it is vulnerable… plus more than one currently successful attack does more damage based on how much Energy is attached to the opponent’s Active.  Imagine getting five heads in a row, attaching all that Energy and then your opponent attacks with Dedenne (XY: Furious Fists 34/111).  The second attack is “Splash Burn” for [WWCC] and it does 130 damage while hitting your own Benched Pokémon for 10 damage each.  A decent fallback attack if M Gyarados-EX doesn’t show but you have sufficient Energy attached, but again four Energy is a lot, and Gyarados-EX can’t make use of Mega Turbo. 

In Expanded play, I don’t think I’d bother with M Gyarados-EX.  You have so many options here, including Blastoise (BW: Boundaries Crossed 31/149; XY: Plasma Storm 137/135; BW: Plasma Blast 16/101).  Sure Blastoise could use its “Deluge” Ability to easily fuel M Gyarados-EX, but it already has Keldeo-EX as well as several others for brute force assaults that use massive amounts of Energy.  In Standard though, this might be a new powerhouse; it will at least make for a functional deck that can win single games but struggles at scoring a string of wins to take home first place.  Unless Entei (XY: Ancient Origins 15/98)/Charizard-EX (XY: Flashfire 12/106) decks have already cooled off, you’ve got a reason to exploit Water Weakness, but you once again have other options.  M Gyarados-EX brings the raw damage for taking everything else out, though.  The new Palkia-EX may help with the needed Energy acceleration but I might prefer using Mega Turbo and/or the new Max Elixir (XY: BREAKpoint 102/122).  Said Palkia-EX needs [WW] to use its “Aqua Turbo” attack to attach to [W] Energy cards to one of your Benched Pokémon, so a single use only breaks even so you’re not speeding things up all that much… but this is something you can go back to and it doesn’t require a massively abnormal deck build.  Mega Turbo only suffers in that you’ll want to use two or even three right away and the most you can have in your deck is four: recycling them isn’t all that easy (or at least, when it is it is also costly).  Max Elixir requires a some luck because it checks the top six cards of your deck for a basic Energy card to attach, but that gives you up to another four bits of Item based Energy acceleration. 

Either way, the Lightning Weakness and demands make me leery of expecting too much out of M Gyarados-EX in Standard, but I could easily be wrong.  If you pull M Gyarados-EX alongside Gyarados-EX, go for it; the extra HP is probably worth losing a turn but you aren’t too likely to need the extra damage. 


Standard: 3.25/5 

Expanded: 2.75/5 

Limited: 4/5 

Summary: M Gyarados-EX looks fierce and can hit very hard without too ridiculous a cost, but the issue is getting it all to gel in a deck that is both fast and reliable.  This isn’t Primal Groudon-EX (XY: Primal Clash 86/160, 151/160) that could hide on the Bench relatively easy while building thanks to its “Ω Barrier” Ancient Trait.  The HP might allow it to build even while stuck up front, but that also means it probably you’re still only trading even on Prizes.  Throw in the non-Pokémon-EX that can take OHKOs against it due to Weakness or because that is just what they do and I sense this is going to be another competent Mega Evolution that can win the match but not consistently enough to win a lot of tournaments. 

M Gyarados-EX makes my Top 20 for this set, but doesn’t quite make my Top 15.  It came close though and actually was in some of my earlier versions, but then I started thinking about not just Standard, not just Expanded but both formats and it didn’t seem quite as impressive.  Which means it impressed others because it made the Top 10 without my help, tying with yesterday’s M Scizor-EX.  In fact, even for most of my tiebreakers they remained tied: both earned 11 voting points, both appeared on just one list, both placed equally high on the lists upon which they appeared.  In the end, M Gyarados-EX won because… I went with alphabetical order.

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