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Yu Yu Hakusho
Harry Potter
Vs. System

Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


 Bursting Balloon

- XY BREAKpoint

Date Reviewed:
March 16, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.50
Expanded: 3.25
Limited: 4.75

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

Back to the main COTD Page


Remember Rough Skin? Remember Rocky Helmet? Remember Rock Guard, that one ACE SPEC that no one used that could deal a bunch of damage back? Well technically, that last one is back, but only for a limited time!! 

Bursting Balloon is a very powerful Tool that acts exactly like Rock Guard would - when the Pokemon it's equipped to takes damage, it deals 60 damage back to the attacker, even if the Pokemon gets KO'd. Now 60 damage is a huge chunk out of most Pokemon's HP, so there needs to be some sort of catch to keep people from running 4 of these all the time. I mean, if something as powerful as Rock Guard was limited to 1 per deck, why would Bursting Balloon not be run at 4? 

Well one reason might be because Bursting Balloon has another effect that discards it at the end of your opponent's turn, provided that it's attached to any of your Pokemon. Balloons aren't really a "keep it till it's gone" sort of thing, so it makes sense that Bursting Balloon would destroy itself sooner or later. So it's a temporary Rock Guard that can deal a ton of damage back to the opponent and doesn't always take up your Tool slot. What all does that mean? 

Well, for Mega decks, you could use it to keep your Mega-Evolving Pokemon safe for a turn - if your opponent can't take out your Pokemon-EX during their next turn, they may avoid risking the 60 damage from Bursting Balloon, and then you've got free range to attach a Spirit Link, Mega Evolve, and then push for a sweeping victory! I can already see this being used in M Tyranitar-EX builds to add a lot of damage out of nowhere and then deliver a punishing blow!! 

Another way of using it would be as a possible deterrent to KOing a Pokemon. Similarly to the last example, but instead now your opponent isn't willing to attack and take 60 damage, an amount that could easily KO themselves if they're not careful. An easy way of enforcing that is to push enough damage onto an opponent that they only have 60 HP or less remaining, and given the large scores that some Pokemon are capable of putting out, it's not so far-fetched to have Bursting Balloon keep the opponent away for a turn! 

That all being said, Bursting Balloon is not a perfect Tool. Just as any other Item or Tool, it is susceptible to forms of removal that can get rid of it outright, and because it only lasts a turn, there are different ways of working around it. For instance, the opponent can easily Lysandre out another Pokemon that the Balloon isn't attached to, taking out another target and letting the Balloon pop on its own. It also won't deter the opponent if, by KOing the Pokemon Bursting Balloon is attached to, they can gain the advantage in terms of Prizes or even win the game. Not to say it's not possible the game could end up in a tie from Balloon's effect, but that's a rare instance if any. 

So keep an eye on this card, as some decks may tech a copy of it in - after all, 60 damage is still a LOT of damage. 


Standard: 3/5 (a fairly decent Tool, but it's not necessarily one you'll see often)

Expanded: 2.5/5 (if you do see it though, be wary - your opponent won't just be doing it to stack damage onto you) 

Limited: 4.5/5 (keep all that in mind, and you should be able to work around it!)

Arora Notealus: But seriously, a balloon with needles? That's just asking for trouble! It'd be like sending a ten year old out into the wilderness to tame wild creatures!!......wait a sec- 

Weekend Thought: A bit early of course, but it is a short week for us! What do you think of this week's cards? Think there's potential for some of them? Think there's no reason for a couple of them? Or maybe you're under the impression that there are better cards out there? I mean, we did only find at least 10 cards we thought could be better, but still! These were all pretty good in their own way :P


Welcome to our last Card of the Day for this week; yes it was just a short three this time, but we should resume our regular schedule next week.  Still, hopefully today’s selection will let us end the week with a bang, instead of bursting your balloon.  No wait, one way or the other it will have to do that because it is Bursting Balloon (XY: BREAKpoint 97/122)!  Yes, that was a really, really obvious lead in. 

Bursting Balloon is a new Pokémon Tool; this means all cards that effects which apply to Trainers, Items and Pokémon Tools all apply, whether they are beneficial (legal target for Trainers’ Mail) or detrimental (opponent can discard via Startling Megaphone).  Pokémon Tools may be more important now than they have been in years, and they have not exactly been unimportant for the last several months.  You can only put a Pokémon Tool into play if you have a Pokémon that can equip it, and most Pokémon are limited to a single Pokémon Tool.  There are ways to increase how many Pokémon you can have in play (Sky Field) and some Pokémon can have more than one Pokémon Tool equipped at a time, but even with these there are good reasons to run only so many Pokémon Tools.  The first and foremost is that deck space is limited and the Pokémon Tools that can help aid in setup and field maintenance aren’t particularly good at it, followed closely by how there are cards like Startling Megaphone or various Pokémon effects that can discard or negate all Pokémon Tools on at least one side of the field. 

So what does Bursting Balloon do and how does it stack up to the Pokémon Tools already seeing successful competitive play?  Bursting Balloon has two effects, the first happens unless somehow negated while the second requires two separate conditions be me.  So what happens no matter what?  Bursting Balloon discards itself at the end of your opponent’s turn.  That is mostly bad as it means one way or the other, this card is going away somewhat quickly.  The good news is that means using another effect to discard or otherwise bypass it can be a real waste, making the decision about how to handle it less clear cut.  The other good news is that this means you can attach other Pokémon Tools after Bursting Balloon is gone, but it still lasts long enough to protect Pokémon-EX from Pokémon Tool F cards.  The second effect only happens if Bursting Balloon is attached to your Active and is damaged by an opponent’s attack; if so six damage counters are placed on your opponent’s Active (even if your Active with Bursting Balloon was KOed by the attack).  These are some real drawbacks for the most part, but the effect is pretty potent; in fact Bursting Balloon is a essentially Rock Guard with a different nerf.  Rock Guard is supposed to be balanced by being an Ace Spec card and thus you only get a single copy of it to use; Bursting Balloon will discard itself at the end of your opponent’s next turn, but you may run four copies of it. 

So Bursting Balloon is is a bit tricky to categorize.  On one hand it is an offensive card as it places damage counters and thus can take KOs (completely on its own against the smallest attackers!).  On the other hand, because of how dangerous it can be to attack into something with its protection and the fact that you just have to wait a turn and it is gone, it may function more as an attack discouraging card (your opponent decides to just wait it out).  A third use that is not exclusive to either of the previous two is that it can also be used as a pressure card, forcing your opponent to expend resources that can deal with it but which said opponent might wish to save for other threats.  With these uses, sometimes it will be an alternative to Muscle Band because you got six more damage counters out of it.  Other times it effectively voided the damage/effects of an attack because (thanks to Bursting Balloon) your opponent didn’t attack at all.  Bursting Balloon has already been seeing success, particularly in Item lock decks, because especially with Startling Megaphone blocked, most decks will be unable to discard it or unwilling: do you really want to burn your Xerosic on something that discards itself, if you even have Xerosic?

Some decks are more vulnerable to Bursting Balloon than others.  The worst hit is probably Night March, especially in Standard.  In Expanded it is bad enough that your Mew-EX gets half KOed attacking into something with Bursting Balloon, but Pumpkaboo (XY: Phantom Forces 44/119) and Joltik (XY: Phantom Forces 26/119) can’t survive unless their HP scores are boosted.  Fighting Fury Belt can help with that, but not if Items are locked down or your opponent just discards your Tools on his or her next turn.  On the other extreme, many of the decks that are making good use of Bursting Balloon are Item lock decks and they have less to fear simply because Bursting Balloon can only stay in play for a turn (less something negating its entire effect) so once the Item lock goes into effect, your opponent at most has one turn of protection left.  There are ways around the effects of Bursting Balloon besides not attacking or discarding it.  Lysandre can bring up an unprotected target, and after you attack it and your turn ends, the previous Active has lost Bursting Balloon.  Potentially quite annoying are cards you can bounce or heal; healing isn’t super common, but of course if your opponent can afford to drop a Super Potion or Pokémon Center Lady, all the damage counters you just placed are now gone.  That can be costly, but what might not be is when your opponent can afford to attack with something that bounces itself to hand as part of the attack effect. 

For example, Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108; 106/108) can use “Sky Return” for [CC] to hit for 30 damage.  While not great, this does return it and its Energy to hand, and we all remember its wonderful “Set Up” Ability.  In this case it also has the added benefit of still hitting (even if only for a small bit of damage) something sporting Bursting Balloon, and then all the damage counters placed on it by Bursting Balloon go to waste because Shaymin-EX bounces back into your hand… even if Bursting Balloon would have placed enough damage counters to otherwise have scored a OHKO! 

For Standard and Expanded play, get used to Bursting Balloon.  I don’t know how long it will remain relevant, but seems like it should be a potent card in some well known decks (like Trevenant BREAK) until we get some major metagame shake-up.  Maybe we won’t find much additional use for it, maybe other tricks will prove to have lasting benefit; it just occurred to me that Garbotoxin can be activated using Bursting Balloon to switch Abilities off until the end of your opponent’s next turn.  That could be a waste of resources or part of a nasty combo for all I know, but it seemed like a thought worth sharing.  For Limited play, Bursting Balloon is a must run; even in an otherwise tight deck you should still have room (“tight” has a far different meaning here than in a constructed format), and as HP scores tend to be lower even more attackers are likely to fall into the self-KO range. 


Standard: 4/5 

Expanded: 4/5 

Limited: 5/5 

Summary: Bursting Balloon does something surprisingly well.  When I first saw the self-discard clause that used to nerf so many old-school Pokémon Tools, I significantly lowered my estimation of this card and that was a mistake.  Bursting Balloon has already proven itself for the short term and may be relevant for the long term.  It is not for every deck, but most decks could make use of it, at worst being suboptimal builds, while some can do amazing things with it.  Just remember if you can’t do anything with those six damage counters (like take a Prize a turn sooner), they don’t really mean much. 

I lowballed Bursting Balloon by selecting it as my 12th place pick for our Top 10 Cards of XY: BREAKpoint list.  Yes, if you’re new I usually submit a longer list than required in case of tie breakers, though this can cause them instead of solving them.  This was enough for Bursting Balloon to make the site’s Top 20 list in the 19th place slot with four points, tied with the 20th place pick of… Slowbro (XY: BREAKpoint 20/122), and one place below our 17th and 18th place picks.  18th place was Raticate BREAK so… ouch.  This should have been at least in the middle of my Top 10 list, maybe even in the top half.

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