– Unified Minds
January 1, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Happy New Year! With our previous countdown done, we’re back to reviewing recent releases, or relatively recent ones, like today’s: Cryogonal (SM – Unified Minds 46/236). We’ve been able to use Cryogonal in tournaments for for almost five months now. It is a Basic Pokémon, making it easy to run. It is a [W] Type, but due to what [W] support is available, and the fact it does almost no damage, I don’t think that really matters in Standard. 90 HP makes it a fairly easy OHKO; combined with the [M] Weakness, any remotely offensive [M] Type attacker should be all but guaranteed a OHKO. Lack of Resistance is typical, and even if Cryogonal had some, that HP would likely keep it from proving relevant. The Retreat Cost of [C] is good; easy to pay or zero out.
Cryogonal has just one attack, “Frozen Lock”. For [W], Cryogonal attacks for 10 damage and places an effect on your opponent, preventing them from playing any Item cards from their hand during their next turn. The damage won’t amount to much, but losing access to Items can really slow a deck down. Your opponent will still be able to use Abilities or a Supporter, but there are so many small-but-important things that Item cards can do that the others either don’t or don’t do as well. Right now, that includes Bench-disruption. Some decks have alternatives, but many in Standard are relying on Customer Catcher and/or Great Catcher.
This is Cryogonal’s claim to fame. As is obvious, we did not review this card when it was new. However, as I combed through recent, high-performing deck lists, there it was. Specifically, in the ADP decks built around Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX. Not having seen the deck in action, I can only assume Cryogonal is used to buy time with its Item-lock, though Frozen Lock could hit for a slightly useful 40 damage after Acreus& Dialga & Palkia-GX used “Altered Creation-GX”. I’m not seeing it used in Expanded. For the Limited Format, if you’re already running at least some [W] Energy and are not running a Mulligan build, go for it… but remember that most of your opponent’s won’t have a lot of Item cards.
Cryogonal doesn’t strike me as being this insanely good for of Item-denial, but it has proven that it has at least one deck, where it works. That’s good enough for an average score.
It’s interesting to think that even to this day, there are cards that players are picking up and putting into their decks to use for the biggest tournaments in the world. Recently at the San Diego Regional, there was one particular card that started appearing in a few decks at the highest levels of play, all the way up to 3rd place. That card of course is Cryogonal, the card we’re looking at today!
Cryogonal is a Basic Water Pokemon, 90 HP, with a Metal Weakness, no Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of 1. The only move it has is Frozen Lock, a 1-for-10 move that prevents your opponent from playing Items during their next turn. If you’re at all familiar with the last few years of Pokemon TCG playing – let’s be generous and just say the last decade or so – you’re probably reminded of the power of one Seismitoad-EX, which took the competitive scene by storm when it became the headliner of a control deck that dominated the format until Lysandre’s Trump Card promptly hit the banned side of the list.
Cryogonal is seeing play for similar reasons to Seismitoad-EX, but because of its low damage and HP, it’s not the main headliner. In fact, it’s actually playing a supportive role in the deck “ADP Keldeo” – featuring the powerful Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX trio alongside one Keldeo-GX. Looking at some of the cards in many decklists, the main strategy seems to be setting up with Altered Creation GX (naturally) to do more damage to your opponent’s Pokemon, ideally with a Metal and a Water Energy so you can claim more Prizes too. After that, you power up Keldeo-GX with Ultimate Ray, and then you wail on your opponent while they’re stuck against Keldeo-GX’s Pure Heart Ability, which stops any EX/GX attacks from hurting Keldeo-GX! After that, you’re just controlling the board while smashing through with Sonic Edge – simple enough.
So what role does Cryogonal play in this deck? Considering it’s often a 1-of card in it, the easy answer is that it’s meant to help slow the opponent down while you get set-up with your cards. Seismitoad-EX was particularly powerful when your opponent couldn’t play Items, and Cryogonal helps push for that same result. There’s a lot of variation beyond that, but ultimately Cryogonal does play a big role in the deck, and that deserves some recognition!
Standard: 4/5 (very useful for a deck that wants the extra speed)
Expanded: 3/5 (I’d say Seismitoad-EX outweighs the power of Cryogonal here)
Limited: 3/5 (there’s a few good Items here, but nothing too crazy – you could run Cryogonal if you’re worried about it)
Arora Notealus: A giant snowflake may not seem like an intimidating sight at first, but when it can stop you from playing a few cards, then it definitely becomes a major problem! Cryogonal embodies something in the Water-type in terms of preventing your opponent from playing things, suggesting an icy cool control style of play…or…I guess a slimy control?
Next Time: A brief break from the present to look at a card from the past! Though not that far off anymore…
We would love more volunteers to help us with our Card of the Day reviews. If you want to share your ideas on cards with other fans, feel free to drop us an email. We’d be happy to link back to your blog / YouTube Channel / etc. 😉
Click here to read our Pokémon Card of the Day Archive. We have reviewed more than 3500 Pokemon cards over the last 17+ years!