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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

Noivern BREAK - XY BREAKthrough
Date Reviewed:  January 29, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary - Standard: 2.13 - Expanded: 2.13 - Limited: 3.75
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 being horrible.  3 ... average.  5 is awesome.

Back to the main COTD Page



Finally rounding out our week here, we've got Noivern BREAK! He's certainly got...well...gold! 

I dunno what I'm gonna do with him- 

Alright, so the thing about Noivern BREAK is that he was given an attack that would work well in tandem with a certain Noivern card that got released in this set. Noivern BREAK himself is equipped with the Synchro Woofer attack, which is 3-for-70 damage and adds on an extra 80 damage when you've got the same number of cards in your hand as your opponent does. 

...really, game? 

I've already talked about this sort of problem before - while it can be done, the Ability to do so isn't always guaranteed. Players may play out most of their hand because it's Items or Pokemon, that sort of thing, and then the other player trying to match it might not always be capable of doing so, such as with getting stuck with Energy because you've attached one already or a Supporter that you drew into thanks to Sycamore. It isn't going to come up often, but when it does, it's usually because of cards like Noivern BREAK that want you to monitor your opponent's hand. 

Now to be fair, the Noivern in this set does have an attack that aims to alleviate this in the form of Tuning; for 1 Energy, you can reshuffle your hand back into your deck and draw cards equal to your opponent's hand. The only problem is that this doesn't guarantee Noivern BREAK getting Synchro Woofer off, since the opponent can still play their hand down, and depending on what you drew due to Tuning (or didn't draw, if the opponent had no cards in hand), you may be putting yourself at a disadvantage. Not that you'd ever aim to use Air Slash from this Noivern anyway. 

Personally, I'd match Noivern BREAK with the Noivern from Furious Fists with Echolocation - that way you've got some form of protection and a mass attack, then you can use Synchro Woofer for those moments when the stars align and you and your opponent have the same number of cards in hand. Outside of that strategy, Noivern BREAK is a good enough example of a BREAK Evolution that's...mediocre at best. 

Kinda like how Megas started. 


Standard: 2/5 (his attack is reliant on you monitoring your opponent's hand in order to deal more damage, which is a bit tricky) 

Expanded: 2/5 (doable, but tricky) 

Limited: 3/5 (you'd really only aim to use it in formats like this one) 

Arora Notealus: My only question about BREAK Evos at this point is why they get all that Thunder Armor. And if you've watched a certain episode in the anime, YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT. 

Weekend Thought: Feeling electrified after this week's round-up? What's your opinion on some of the BREAK Evolutions? Do you think the mechanic bolsters Evolving Pokemon, or does it just make those decks clunkier and less consistent? And does that impact the competitive usage? Would you run BREAK Evos competitively if they were strong, or are the current ones just not up to the standards of competition?


We end the week, and effectively the month, with Noivern BREAK (XY: BREAKthrough 113/162).  As I am paranoid concerned that new and some older (especially returning) players might have some issues with the BREAK Evolution mechanics, let’s run through those quick.  “BREAK” is both the card’s Stage and a part of the card’s name, hence why I italicize it as part of the name.  This means you can have up to four Noivern BREAK in a deck alongside four regular Noivern.  Longtime players may remember the old Level-Up mechanic which confusingly gave us cards with things like “LV.X” after the name, in a different sized font, and thus did not count as part of the name, which in turn meant the Level-Up cards counted as having the same name as that from which they Leveled Up.  Unlike BREAK Evolutions, Level-Up cards were not considered Evolution cards, having their own specific rules to be put into play as well as counting as whatever Stage the underlying card had been.  BREAK Evolutions are their own Stage, even though some BREAK Evolutions Evolve from a Stage 1 (like today’s card) while others Evolve from a Stage 2 (like Florges BREAK, which we have already reviewed). 

BREAK Evolutions follow all the normal rules of Evolution save being played sideways (so that their art and text are rightside-up) and still referencing the bits of the card beneath that still show (which should be any Abilities, attacks, Weakness, Resistance and Retreat Cost on the previous Stage).  Though the BREAK Evolution of a Stage 1 is practically a Stage 2, (needing you to play a Basic, wait a turn, Evolve into a Stage 1, wait a turn and then finally BREAk Evolve) like the BREAK Evolution of a Stage 2 it is neither a Stage 1 nor a Stage 2.  Effects that refer to Evolutions in general apply to BREAK Evolutions, but those that cite a specific Stage have no effect (good or bad) on BREAK Evolutions.  You cannot put a BREAK Evolution into play without the previous Stage.  While not relevant to Noivern BREAK, this means a Fighting-Type or Water-Type BREAK Evolution can’t use Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick or(respectively) Archie’s Ace in the Hole.  You cannot use Rare Candy to Evolve from Noibat to Noivern BREAK, but you can use Evosoda or Wally to on Noibat to get to Noivern and/or Noivern to get to Noivern BREAK.  When dealing with the BREAK Evolution of a Stage 2, you can use Rare Candy to go from Basic to Stage 2, then Wally into the BREAK Evolution or wait a turn to manually Evolve or use Evosoda.  If an effect bounces the highest Stage of Evolution, it will hit the BREAK Evolution on a card because again BREAK Evolutions count as their own Stage. 

With that out of the way, Noivern BREAK is going to function like a Stage 2 Pokémon without the usual benefits.  No card effects currently refer to BREAK Evolutions directly, that is neither benefit for a detriment.  Noivern BREAK is a Dragon-Type, which means no exploiting Weakness except against BW-era Dragon-Types (a small pool of candidates), no dealing with Resistance, rarely dealing with cards that are explicitly anti-Dragon-Type (there are a few, but they aren’t really worth playing), and benefitting from what Dragon-Type support is available (more on which bits matter later).  130 HP is the lower of the two scores we’ve seen on BREAK Evolutions that Evolve from Stage 1, but the high is just 140, which is only marginally better.  Basically Noivern BREAK has a solid chance of surviving an attack, though that includes lower damage decks focused as much or more on attack effects than damage.  What strikes me as odd is that, looking at the Stage 1 forms with BREAK Evolutions, Noivern have more HP than any of the others (either 100 or 110), so I’m not sure why it got the lower HP score for its BREAK Evolution.  Weakness, Resistance and Retreat Cost are provided by whichever Noivern you Evolved from, so let’s move on. 

Noivern BREAK brings a single attack called “Synchro Woofer” which requires [PDC] and does 70+ damage.  The “plus” in this case is that if both players have the same amount of cards in hand, the attack does an additional 80 damage.  The cost to use is a bit of a pain but in general, 70 for three is only lackluster and not truly horrible… and that’s the attacks lesser result.  If you can even up hands then 150 for three is a really good return.  With a Muscle Band, assuming no other effects reduce or prevent damage or otherwise prevent a OHKO, Synchro Woofer can one-shot anything other than Wailord (BW: Dragons Exalted 26/124), Chesnaught BREAK, the larger half of Basic Pokémon-EX, and all Mega Evolutions.  For what is effectively a Stage 2, this isn’t hugely impressive but with the right support, it might be functional.  Before we talk about that, we should discuss the path to reaching Noivern BREAK. 

Noibat comes in four varieties: the confusing to designate XY: Trainer Kit Noivern Half-Deck 12/30 (and 23/30), XY: Furious Fists 87/111, XY: BREAKthrough 131/162, and XY: BREAKthrough 132/162.  All are Colorless-Type Basics with Lightning Weakness, Fighting Resistance, Retreat Cost [C], no Ancient Trait and no Ability.  All but XY: BREAKthrough 131/162 have 60 HP; it has 50 HP.  XY: Trainer Kit Noivern Half-Deck 12/30 can use “Super Sonic” for [C] to flip a coin with “heads” inflicting Confusion on the opponent’s Active and “tails” doing nothing, while for [CCC] it can use “Wing Attack” to hit for 30 damage.  XY: Furious Fists 87/111 can use “Tackle” for [C] to hit for 10 damage or “Gust” for [CC] to do 20.  XY: BREAKthrough 131/162 can use “Blot” for [C] to do 10 damage while healing 10 from itself.  XY: BREAKthrough 132/162 needs [C] to use Mysterious Beam so that you may flip a coin and if “heads” discard an Energy attached to your opponent’s Active Pokémon (“tails” does nothing) while also sporting Gust for [CC] to do 20 damage.  XY: Trainer Kit Noivern Half-Deck 12/30 and XY: BREAKthrough 132/162 are probably the best picks; you’re more than a bit desperate if you are attacking with Noibat in the first place depending on what your opponent is running, Super Sonic or Mysterious Beam might disrupt their strategy or be pretty meaningless. 

Noivern has three options: XY: Trainer Kit Noivern Half-Deck 13/30 (and 30/30), XY: Furious Fists 77/111, and XY: BREAKthrough 112/162.  All are Stage 1 Dragon-Type Pokémon with Fairy Weakness, no Resistance, Retreat Cost [C] and no Ancient Traits.  Interestingly, all have attacks with a [PDC] cost, like we saw on Noivern BREAK.  XY: Trainer Kit Noivern Half-Deck 13/30 has 110 HP and two attacks.  For [CC] it can use “Second Bite” to do 20 damage plus another 10 per damage counter on the opponent’s Active Pokémon.  This is a solid attack useful as a finishing blow.  It’s [PDC] attack is “Sonic Bazooka”, which does 60 damage and has you flip a coin: “heads” does 30 more damage and Confuses the opponent’s Active while “tails” just means the base 60 damage.  This is not a good attack: without the coin toss it would be acceptable but unimpressive.  XY: Furious Fists 77/111 has 100 HP with an Ability and single attack.  The Ability is “Echolocation”, which allows you to flip a coin anytime “this Pokémon” would be damaged by an attack and if it is “heads”, the damage is prevented.  “Tails” means the damage still goes through and it doesn’t do anything against attack effects.  It is potent even if it is flippy.  It’s [PDC] attack is “Boomburst”, which does 30 damage to each of your opponent’s Pokémon.  It shouldn’t often matter but the attack doesn’t apply Weakness or Resistance for Benched Pokémon.  This attack is overpriced with multiple cards that can do less but cost a lot less, do the same but are Basics, and do something similar for less.  Once again though that doesn’t mean the attack is worthless, it just is a lot less effective than it should be.  This one actually got a review here. 

XY: BREAKthrough 112/162 also has 100 HP, this time with the two attacks and nothing else.  For [C] it can use “Tuning” to shuffle your hand away and draw a number of cards equal to your opponent’s hand.  Even though it lacks a coin flip requirement like so many other effects we’ve covered, this is very hit-or-miss.  Your opponent needs a sizable enough hand that copying it will be a benefit worth using an attack on a Stage 1 that doesn’t have much chance of surviving.  Most decks keep a moderately sized hand between turns not out of planning but because said decks are trying to quickly set-up, so only a few cards are held in hand in reserve for the next turn.  While you could always combine this with an effect that increases your opponent’s hand size, nothing does so affordably enough to create a good combo.  At least it’s [PDC] attack is actually solid, doing 120 damage though you do have to discard an Energy card from itself (which only matters if it survives the next turn).  120 for three is a solid foundation for a couple combos, but at the very least should be a solid 2HKO against almost everything in the format (the exception being Wailord-EX and Pokémon with protective effects and HP buffs). 

So first and foremost, should you use Noivern BREAK at all?  I’m not sold on it but once again, we’ve got City Championship results to give us some extra guidance.  Once again I am relying on The Charizard Lounge because they have supplied the data in a convenient form and without hiding some of it behind a paywall.  They also have an article discussing the results that is worth a read as well.  Getting back to Noivern BREAK, it managed one Top 8 finish for all of the Masters Division City Championships and one Top 4 finish in Expanded.  That is low enough that it could be a solid deck that just needs more (and/or more skilled) players running it to claim more of the metagame or it could mean it simply had a few lucky, high finishes.  If you’ve got the time and the cards, this looks like it might be worth trying.  If you do, which Noivern ought you to use?  We don’t have details on that from those few lists that did well, so I can only guess. 

A hint might be that Noivern (XY: Furious Fists 77/111) that shows up three times (with one unspecified Noivern) in Top 8 finishers, some Standard and some Expanded.  It even manages a third and a fourth place win.  It operates with backup.  I would have expected something like a clutch Bronzong (XY: Phantom Forces 61/119) plus Double Dragon Energy and maybe Smeargle (XY: BREAKthrough 123/132) for Energy acceleration, but it looks like just Double Dragon Energy and/or Yveltal (XY 74/146; XY: Black Star Promos XY06) using its “Oblivion Wing” attack.  From there the deck seeks to exploit the damage spread by using Dusknoir (BW: Boundaries Crossed 63/149; BW: Plasma Blast 104/101) or Meowstic (XY: Flashfire 43/106) to move the damage counters around or Gengar (XY: BREAKthrough 60/162) as the follow up because it’s “Creep Show” attack will score a KO via effect against anything with three or more damage counters on it.  If you are lucky with coin flips, you might even just spam Boomburst until you eventually rack up sufficient damage, though you’ll need to mind effects that block damage to the Bench (like Mountain Ring).  So with this, perhaps using Noivern BREAK well is as simple as tacking it on to the strategy; when Echolocation works, you’ll have an undamaged Noivern from which to BREAK Evolve and then it will take a slightly bigger attack to score the OHKO when Echolocation fails.  Or maybe you just run cards like Judge and possibly something to effectively increase damage so that Synchro Woofer starts scoring OHKOs. 

So that covers Standard and Expanded play.  In Limited play, if you pull what is needed to run Noivern BREAK, the only reason not to go with it is if you pulled so many useful but incompatible cards that you can’t fit them all in the same deck… or of course a nice, big Basic Pokémon-EX that can just be it’s own deck.  The [PDC] attack costs will take time to build up to but you do get two Noibat to work with (and both are better here) and Noivern (XY: BREAKthrough 112/162) also functions much better, with both attacks often being worthwhile. 


Standard: 2.25/5 

Expanded: 2.25/5 

Limited: 4.5/5 

Summary: Noivern BREAK offers 30 or 40 HP boost and an “okay” attack to Noivern decks, but there weren’t a lot of Noivern decks in the first place.  There were some though, as we discussed, that did show up during City Championships and a handful that managed Top 8 finishes.  All in all, this leaves me a bit less impressed than I was with Raichu BREAK, and a lot of its usefulness owes to how potent Raichu (XY 43/146) remains in competitive play.  Noivern BREAK is far from hopeless, itself managing to show up in the Top 8 for two City Championships.  That might be a fluke, or that might mean it is a solid deck that just needs a little luck… and just like you can’t rely on luck to keep your deck going, you can’t rely on it to fail your opponent, either.  Overall, keep this card in mind and if you’ve got the resources, experiment.

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