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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


- XY133 Promo

Date Reviewed:
Sep. 26, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.13
Expanded: 2.00
Limited: Promo

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

Back to the main COTD Page


WHOA HEY DID I MISS A COUPLE OF CARDS-oh it's not that important. Just Karen the game-changer and...Shaymin-EX? Eh, details, WELCOME TO PROMO-EX WEEK!! 

And the first promo is Ash-Greninja-EX, the strange transformation introduced in the anime that makes Ash's Greninja...look more like Ash. I wonder if that makes him better? Let's find out! Dancing Shuriken's an interesting start, as with 2 Energy and 3 coin flips, you get to deal 20 damage to any Pokemon for each Heads. The fact that this attack can hit the Bench spreads out the utility of it a bit, but the flippy nature means you're averaging around the 20-40 damage bits a lot (ultimately around 30 damage). Still, if you need to just KO a small thing, Dancing Shuriken is good enough for that, though there are some better attacks out there to use. 

Ninja Blade though is...okay. It's a 3-for-130 smash, which is pretty good, but then you can't use Ninja Blade on your next turn. Awww, but that would've made it even better! Darn it, Ash-Greninja-EX, you had one job - ONE JOB!! And I don't like the idea of having to be reliant on Dancing Shuriken as a back-up attack - that's just not right! 

So Ash-Greninja-EX is ultimately another "okay" promo, kinda like previous incarnations of Greninja-EX, the only one of whom I can think of is another promo that I'm pretty sure rotated out of Standard recently. So..."meh". 


Standard: 2/5 (Dancing Shuriken is modestly appealing, but Ninja Blade just limits itself too much for Standard play) 

Expanded: 2/5 (and between the two...well, Greninja-EX isn't too much better than Ash-Greninja-EX, is he?) 

Limited: N/A (DEM PROMOS!!) 

Arora Notealus: I'm aware of the transformation, but I'm probably as lost as everyone else with the whole "how it's done" thing. But maybe that's not so important as ASH IS GOING TO SCHOOL NEXT REGION, WHAT WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA 

Next Time: Chill out with a cool EX!


This week we’ll be covering some of the more recent promos, as well as some of the older ones we missed at the time.  First up is Ash-Greninja-EX (XY: Black Star Promos XY133).  An odd thing we are not used to; this isn’t “Ash’s Greninja-EX” but “Ash hyphen Greninja hyphen EX.  This is because in the animation, Ash has (had?  I haven’t watched in years) a Greninja that has some sort of powered up form called “Ash-Greninja”, easily identified as its head crest becomes red (like Ash’s hat), its ears(?) become black (like Ash’s hair).  The other important thing to highlight right away is that Ash-Greninja-EX is a totally different Pokémon than Greninja-EX, as far as TCG mechanics go.  You can have four Ash-Greninja-EX, four Greninja-EX, and even four regular Greninja (either all the same version or mix and matching your different options). 

As a Pokémon-EX, Ash-Greninja-EX is worth an extra Prize when KO’d, has to deal with Pokémon-EX specific counters, and cannot make use of the (very few) beneficial effects which exclude Pokémon-EX.  It also means that regardless of what the Pokémon would normally be, a Pokémon-EX is either a Basic or a Mega Evolution.  In this case, it means we get a Basic Pokémon instead of what would most likely have been either a Stage 2 or perhaps a specialized BREAK Evolution.  In fact, the Ash-Greninja phenomena seems a bit like Mega Evolution, so really Ash-Greninja-EX is even more fortunate as being a Basic is the best for the usual reasons: speed, one card instead of many, Basic Pokémon exclusive support, etc. which outweigh the only real drawback of anti-Basic effects.  As a Water Type, it can exploit Weakness on nearly all Fire Types and a chunk of the Fighting Type, and only has to worry about Resistance on BW-era many (but not all) Grass Types.  You can access Water Type Pokémon support like Dive Ball and Rough Seas (shared with the Lightning Type), make better use of Water Type Energy support than most non-Water Types Pokémon, plus enjoy a probably synergy with most other Water Type Pokémon in general.  Blue Box (yeah, still calling Water Toolbox that) decks were good before rotation, and seem to have stuck around in some capacity afterwards, perhaps aided by those trying to make Volcanion-EX decks work in the PRC-On Standard Format.  So… being a Water Type is at least “good” is not “very good”. 

170 HP is good, though not great; it is the lowest of the two common Basic Pokémon-EX scores, but it is still large enough that much of the time, a OHKO is not rapid, reliable, or easily repeated.  Any one of those?  Probably, as that is what a competitive deck strives for; with a good set up even two of those is more likely than not, but all three is reserved for decks built around being OHKO machines (which have other drawbacks) or certain Grass Type decks because Grass is this card’s Weakness.  Grass Weakness is a bit hard to peg down right now.  Karen could mean the days of Vespiquen (XY: Ancient Origins 10/98) being a major force are over, but even if that is the case there are other Grass Types that have made a decent showing both before and after the September 1st rotation.  We’ll have a better idea after the first major events, but unless the Fire Type chases all the Water Types away, this weakness is probably helping stuff like Yanmega BREAK and M Sceptile-EX take OHKOs they would have otherwise missed.  Lack of Resistance is the worst possibility, but is also the most common: taking 20 less damage against a single Type is literally a marginal advantage so in the end it's acceptable.  A single Energy Retreat Cost is also fairly common, but it is quite welcome as it is the second best possibility and makes it easy to retreat Ash-Greninja-EX.  You should usually have a single Energy already handy and be able to spare it in the long run, at least if you aren’t having to retreat frequently; if most other Pokémon in the deck have it this easy, you won’t have to dedicate as much space to retreat aids and alternatives. 

Ash-Greninja-EX has had a solid start so far, but what can it do?  It has two attacks, the first of which is “Dancing Shuriken”; flip three coins, then do 20 damage times the number of heads to one of your opponent’s Pokémon.  That means eight possible outcomes but only four possible amounts of damage: one out of eight yield no damage, three out of eight yield 20 damage, a different three out of eight yield 40 damage, and a final one out of eight yields 60 damage.  Bench hits can often afford to be a little underpowered because it allows you to hit stuff that would normally be inaccessible, and this attack can target Active or Bench (no Weakness or Resistance for the latter).  Not too thrilled about that chance of whiffing, and you’ll notice I am only now getting to the Energy cost: [WC].  A few Max Elixir and a means of getting it up front and Ash-Greninja-EX is a reasonable option for opening.  Still this is definitely a “supporting” attack, so the big one needs to be really worthwhile; plus as far as inexpensive openers, the combination of damage and effect seem about average.  While I normally value Bench hits pretty high, that risk of failure means waiting a turn or pulling off that combo can fail horribly, and even the optimum damage yield isn’t enough to fully compensate.  So what’s the main attack? 

For [WWC] we have “Ninja Blade”, keeping up the usual Greninja theme, but in name only; the attack simply does 130 damage and stipulates it cannot be used again by “this Pokémon” the next turn.  The bad news is 130 for three isn’t something you’re likely boost into OHKO range, and even when you can it will be a sizable investment and effort.  Plus, you’ll either need an alternate attacker or have to fall back onto Dancing Shuriken the next turn (assuming Ash-Greninja-EX survives), or pack some tricks to deal with that effect.  The good news?  While there isn’t an easy remedy for pumping up the damage, ditching the attack clause is as simple as having a Switch or the like handy plus a pivot Pokémon on your Bench, or you can use Pokémon Ranger if it’s handy.  So once again, seems like a decent attack; it is plausible you can even skip Dancing Shuriken and go straight to Ninja Blade with the go-to Basic Pokémon Energy acceleration of Max Elixir.  Toss on a Fighting Fury Belt more for the HP boost than the extra damage and… well you’re still a ways from a OHKO against your typical Active attacker, but you’ll score a 2HKO with room to spare unless you’re staring down a Wailord-EX with its own Fighting Fury Belt. 

That should sound a little underwhelming.  Remember I was describing combos and relying on effects that can whiff; Max Elixir, and Dancing Shuriken if you’re using that attack.  You’ll need something like a Greninja BREAK you can get up front to use “Giant Water Shuriken” to soften up whatever you’re attacking.  Then get it back out of the way to follow up with Ash-Greninja-EX.  That is basically what Greninja BREAK decks already do while just using a second copy of Greninja BREAK, and frankly does it better as that card needs far less Energy attached (though it likes some to discard or bounce).  In Expanded you could go the old-fashioned route by slapping a Muscle Band onto Ash-Greninja-EX, then using Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym; 150 damage (130 against Resistance, 300 against Weakness) plus three damage counters placed between turns if the Poison isn’t blocked.  That’s going to be a OHKO against most of the card pool, but among the exceptions are some good or great cards important to the metagame, plus the Hypnotoxic Laser/Muscle Band/Virbank City Gym combo is almost universal and a lot of decks can make use of it.  I’d wave that off since the combo is so low impact but remember, we also already cashed in on multiple Max Elixir and probably a Switch or specific opener so that Ash-Greninja-EX could power up in a single turn and get Active.  With all that, we get into competitive archetype territory, stuff that is getting into that whole “rapid, reliable, repeatable” OHKO thing, or else slaps down some nasty effects on the field while still doing good damage. 

Okay, but what if you just need a Basic Water Type beatstick?  In Expanded Keldeo-EX has almost the same everything (one higher Retreat Cost) but replaces an iffy two Energy attack with the proven “Rush In” Ability, and a three-for-50 attack (Secret Sword) that gains an additional 20 damage for each [W] Energy attacked.  This is why Keldeo-EX is a common sight; that Ability is great in most decks and if you’ve got a good Water deck behind is, Secret Sword hits OHKO range.  If you just have generic Energy acceleration behind it, Secret Sword is still a solid hit against Weakness.  There is also Suicune (BW: Plasma Blast 20/101), which is a lot smaller but not worth two Prizes, can hide behind its Safeguard Ability, and still deliver a decent whack.  Seismitoad-EX also can hit reasonably hard for that Energy, or just lock down Items while chipping away at the opponent’s Active’s HP instead.  Greninja-EX could only do 30 to one of your opponent’s Pokémon, but for just [W] with no flips required via its “Sharpshooting” attack.  For the same [WWC], its big attack (Aqua Blast) could do 120 but had to discard an Energy from itself… which could be a little worse to a little better than the drawback on Ninja Blade.  Greninja-EX is not a competitive card, though I remember using it in a Greninja (XY 41/146) pre-Greninja BREAK. 

There are two more but they are also Standard legal, so I wished to separate them out.  Articuno (XY: Roaring Skies 17/108) has the Ancient Trait “Δ Plus”, so while it’s [WWC] attack is flippy, it’s often worth it because that Ancient Trait lets this blue bird take an extra Prize when it scores a KO.  Regice is another Basic Pokémon with less HP and similarly priced attack, but it’s okay because it is not worth two Prizes plus has protective effects: first attack can Paralyze, the second blocks all damage and effects from attacks by your opponent’s Pokémon-EX.  If this sounds like slim pickings, I focused on proven, Water Type Basic Pokémon; the more we open up the search (like to other Types) the more options we’ll find.  As such, this card doesn’t have great prospects for Standard or Expanded play, though Standard is better for it due to less competition.  In fact, it might enjoy a niche in Blue Blox deck as hitting the Bench, even being flippy and even needing two Energy.  You can’t use this in a Limited event, or at least not a sanctioned one or unsanctioned one following the floor rules, as this card is only available in the ASH-GRENINJA-EX BOX.  If it ever ends up in a set, it would be a good pull (though not one to try and use solo). 


Standard: 2.25/5 

Expanded: 2/5 

Limited: N/A 

Summary: Ash-Greninja-EX is mostly a fun tie-in to the animation, but for the competitive scene it isn’t hopeless.  It isn’t hopeful either as it’s basically a decent card in a format where “good” cards are left on the sidelines because “great” is so often the norm.  It can hit the Bench, but the attack in question needs to be less expensive or lose the coin flips, while the second would be fine on something with a better first attack or Ability.  What we got is just too often outclassed.


Today we are looking at Ash-Greninja-EX. Based on its unique anime counterpart, this card was released in a special box as a promo earlier in spring this year. While it is certainly a favorite among fans of the cartoon – there seems to be a precedent with releasing popular Pokemon through special boxes and collections – I don’t think the card will see competitive play, whether it be in Standard or Expanded. 

Ash-Greninja-EX has two attacks: Dancing Shuriken and Ninja Blade. The former makes you flip 3 coins, doing 20 damage times the number of heads to 1 of your opponent’s Pokemon. Potentially, this can hit 60 damage anywhere on your opponent’s board, but relying on flips isn’t consistent enough to warrant using it. The second attack is far better, doing 130 damage for a mere 3 Energy at the cost of not being able to use it next turn. It is reminiscent of Seismitoad-EX’s Grenade Hammer attack, which also does 130 damage for 3 Energy. For this reason, perhaps it would make for a good addition in “Water Box” decks that rely on quickly accelerating Water Energy on the board and using a myriad of Water-type attackers. None of the currently used Pokemon in the deck – Regice and Glaceon-EX, for instance – are quite as energy efficient as Ash-Greninja-EX, so this could be feasible. After all, it is a Water-type Pokemon as well, providing synergy with cards like Rough Seas and Manaphy-EX. Not being able to attack the following turn is a bit of a letdown, but you can always free retreat out using Manaphy-EX’s “Aqua Tube” Ability or use Pokemon Ranger to get around this. 

In Expanded, I can’t really think of a way to use this card. As I mentioned, Seismitoad-EX is a fantastic main attacker in Water Box decks, and given that it rotated this season, it remains the best choice in Standard in using the deck. Because of this, Ash-Greninja-EX isn’t necessary at all. Besides Water Box, there just isn’t another deck to take advantage of it. Dancing Shuriken sounds like a counter to Night Marchers like Joltik and Pumpkaboo, but besides the inconsistency of coin flips keep in mind the popularity of Fighting Fury Belt in Night March, making the math skewed. It’s a shame that Pokemon continues to make a number of these box promos rather difficult to play competitively, but hopefully this will change as the season progresses. 


Standard: 1.5/5

Expanded: 1/5

Limited: N/A 

Summary: Ash-Greninja-EX is a lackluster card in competitive play but certainly will be sought after by many Pokemon collectors. Its second attack is energy efficient and might be viable in Water Box decks in Standard, but its first attack makes it a niche choice. There isn’t exactly a place for it in Expanded either, as Seismitoad-EX is far superior thanks to Item lock, 10 more HP, and a second attack that doesn’t prevent itself from attacking the following turn. I can see picking up the card if you are a fan of the anime and enjoy filling your binder up, but otherwise it isn’t a good choice if you wish to compete and perform well in local tournaments.

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