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baby mario’s Top 10 Cards of 2009 22, 2009
As we head towards Christmas and the end of the year, I thought I would compile a list of what I consider to be the top 10 Pokémon cards released in 2009. Please note the word ‘released’, as it means that I will be considering only those cards from the Platinum set to the recent Arceus one, so no Claydols, Call Energies, Uxies, or Gengars will be appearing on the list.
Obviously, I had to leave some truly excellent and format-changing cards off the list. It hurt not to include brilliant SP LV X s like Garchomp C, Palkia G, Blaziken FB and Infernape 4. I’m sure many will think that the Basic Dialga G deserves a mention, and I know I would have been justified in placing practically any of the Team Galactic’s Invention Trainers (except Damage Porter) on the list. In the end though, I had to make some tough choices, and this is what I ended up with.
Anyway, without further ado, here is my list of the best 10 cards that first appeared in 2009 . . .
10. Nidoqueen (Rising Rivals)
One of the best PokéBodies in the game and an effective and underrated attacker. Nidoqueen’s Maternal Comfort pretty much killed off spread-based decks single handedly with her ability to heal 10 damage from all your Pokémon at the end of both player’s turns. Easily teched into most Stage 2 decks, Nidoqueen can also function as a capable back-up attacker doing 40 damage for a single Energy or 50-100 for three.
9. Broken Time-Space (Platinum)
With the release of the SP Pokémon, Evolutions were in big trouble. Now they could be easily out sped by high HP powerful attackers like Infernape 4. Broken Time-Space gave Stage 2 (and some Stage 1) decks a way to compete. It meant single-Energy attackers like Kingdra and Beedrill could be almost as fast as SP Pokémon; it made Gyarados a viable deck; it gave Machamp players yet another way of frustrating you with a Turn 2 donk; and it has provided invaluable support to Evolution-based decks ever since its release.
8. Spiritomb (Arceus)
This is a card that I might well end up wishing I placed higher. However, at the time of writing, it is relatively untested in competitive play. I have no doubt whatsoever that we will all be seeing a lot of this card in the future, though. A Basic Pokémon that locks Trainers with its Keystone Seal PokéBody is an incredibly disruptive starter. When you add an attack which allows you to search out and play Evolutions from your deck (so not being able to use Rare Candy is a moot point for you), you can see why great things are predicted for this card.
7. Dialga G LV X (Platinum)
As if Dialga G wasn’t good enough by itself. Once Levelled Up it becomes positively monstrous. 120 HP, Special Metal abuse, and attack which does 80 damage and can discard Energy to the Lost Zone . . . and I haven’t even got to the best part yet. With its Time Crystal PokéBody, Dialga G LV X shuts down every other non-SP PokéBody out there, negating the threat of Mewtwo LV X, stopping Nidoqueen in its tracks, and making decks reliant on Bodies simply unplayable (AmphyTric and Scizor come to mind). A possible tech even outside of an SP deck, Dialga G LV X’s effect on the format has been huge.
6. Cyrus’s Conspiracy (Platinum)
As all competitive players (and readers of this article) will know, SP decks have been hugely successful this year. Cyrus’s Conspiracy, the only Supporter to get anywhere near this list, is one of the main reasons why. Together with the TGI cards, Cyrus is a deck engine all by itself. When played in succession, it gives you constant access to the Energy and the Tools you need for an SP deck to run smoothly and efficiently. In a year in which SP decks have dominated the format, it would be silly to leave their pivotal card off this list.
5. Expert Belt (Arceus)
A game-changing card. The uses and combinations that the release of Expert Belt has opened up are only starting to be discovered. It has breathed new life into Kingdra decks (again), made Shuppet Donk tournament-viable, made powerful Pokémon like Gyarados even more beastly, and turned average attackers like Nidoqueen into hard-hitting tanks. Even now we are starting to see SP decks cut back an Energy Gain or two to include this card. Expect to see a lot of this card in 2010. Expect to see it used in new and unexpected ways too.
4. Flygon LV X (Rising Rivals)
Before Worlds 2009, there was a lot of talk about Flygon being an overhyped deck. When Flygon proceeded to do extremely well at that tournament, and take more Autumn Battle Roads than any other deck, its critics were silenced. The Stage 2 Flygon is an excellent card in its own right, but the LV X really makes the deck, thanks partly to its ability to snipe opposing LV X for 150 damage, but mainly due to its superb Wind Erosion PokéBody. Once players had discovered that they could use Memory Berry and Trapinch SW to drag out and lock an opponent’s Pokémon while discarding their deck at the rate of a card per turn, Flygon LV X became the centrepiece of a devastingly successful new strategy.
3. Crobat G (Platinum)
A weak SP Basic with an attack that no-one ever uses is the third best card released this year? Why, yes it is. If there is anything worse in Pokémon than being 10 damage short of a KO, it’s sitting there when a Pokémon with 10 HP remaining retreats smugly to the Bench to deny you a prize. Crobat G gives you a solution to both of these problems. Added to that, it is extremely searchable and re-usable (unlike PlusPower). Unlike most SP Pokémon, Crobat G even sees a lot of play outside of dedicated SP decks: a true sign of its importance and effect on the format. If you have played Crobat G at all this year, you will know that it wins games. Often.
2. Team Galactic’s Invention G-105 Poké Turn (Platinum)
As I said at the start of this article, almost all of the TGIs are worthy of inclusion in this list. In the end I decided to just pick one. Poké Turn is one of the best Trainers ever made. In an SP deck, it is better even than the broken (and long retired from the format) Scoop Up from Base Set, as you don’t even have to discard the cards that are attached to your Pokémon. Re-use coming-into-play Powers, deny your opponents Prizes, clear your Bench . . . Poké Turn is one of the highest utility cards in the format and without it, it is highly debatable as to whether or not SP decks would have been a success.
1. Luxray GL LV X (Rising Rivals)
Simply the best LV X ever printed, with a PokéPower so good that it has deckbuilders everywhere trying to fit it into decks for which it wasn’t even designed. Luxray GL LV X played a key role in the decks that won both Worlds and US Nationals, and it is not hard to see why. The ability to drag any Pokémon off the Bench and KO it, be it an essential part of set up, a developing threat, or simply an easy Prize, is amazing. Couple that with a low cost 60 damage attack, and the ability to Retreat for nothing and you have what is unquestionably the best Pokémon in the format right now.
Ok, that’s my take on the best cards that Pokémon has given us this year. Hopefully next year will bring us cards that are just as exciting and format-changing as the ones on this list. It certainly looks as if we are in for some major changes with the release of the HeartGold/SoulSilver sets.
It just remains for me to say that I wish all readers and Pokémon players everywhere a fun, happy, and successful 2010!
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