#8 – Power Plant
– Cosmic Eclipse
December 20, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Eighth-place is Power Plant (Aquapolis 139/147; SM – Unbroken Bonds 183/214; SM – Cosmic Eclipse 269/236). I’m not sure if that original release actually “counts”; its effect is totally different and – in Japanese – the name is different. For a little more about that, feel free to read the original review, where Power Plant finished as our 13th place pick… or what would have been except it was just a Top 11 countdown. The current version of Power Plant is a Stadium card causes Pokémon-EX and Pokémon-GX to have no Abilities. Why is this so good?
While plenty of Pokémon-EX/GX lack Abilities, or have ones that aren’t crippling to lose, there are enough standout options that do suffer from the loss to make Power Plant a great card. Plus, it’s narrowed focus actually helps it. A Stadium that stopped all Abilities on all Pokémon would be too strong, and we already have a card that punishes all Pokémon-EX/GX (Shrine of Punishment). Power Plant gives us something that punishes only some Pokémon-EX/GX. If your relevant Abilities aren’t on Pokémon-EX/GX or the timing is such you don’t care about Power Plant being in play, it suddenly becomes a “good” Stadium for your deck by virtue of messing up other existing good decks.
I should probably explain what I just said about timing. Especially early game, you can drop a Dedenne-GX before Power Plant is in play, enjoying the added draw (and maybe even the discard) from Dedenne-GX’s Ability. Then you can drop Power Plant to keep your opponent from doing the same. There are also some nifty combos, like how Power Plant doesn’t just stop Abilities from working, it causes cards to function as if they never had them… which means you can use Green’s Exploration even if you have a Dedenne-GX on your Bench! Yes, Dedenne-GX is just a very good example with Power Plant. Power Plant is also important for decks that need to bypass the protective Abilities on cards like Keldeo-GX.
The Expanded Format contains more Stadiums against which Power Plant must compete, but also all those Pokémon-EX, some of which still have worthwhile Abilities. Of course, this does mean Power Plant’s future will slowly dim; in Expanded we’ll eventually have few – if any – Pokémon-EX/GX with competitive Abilities, as we’ll have all switched to Pokémon-V or other future gimmicks. There are three other Stadiums in this set, plus several Pokémon-GX with worthwhile Abilities. While the odds are low your opponent will have a Pokémon-GX, it is a nice insurance policy to have and you may also just need it as a counter-Stadium.
Power Plant has finished the year strong, even against newer competition like Chaotic Swell. I don’t know how long it will remain heavily used, but even if everyone were to stop using it immediately, I’d say it had earned it’s place in this countdown. On my top 12, I also had this card in 8th-place. That’s the second time that has happened this countdown. Neat.
Note: Edited on 20191220 to correct typos and clean up some explanations.
Power Plant might not have missed being in the top 11 cards of Unbroken Bonds – being in 13th place – but it has comfortably placed itself in the 8th best card of 2019 for a reason: it’s one of the most important stadium cards – alongside Shrine of Punishment – to consider on whether format it’s in. This Stadium card makes Pokemon-EX and Pokemon-GX have no abilities.
Now, as I said before, not all Pokémon-EX or Pokémon-GX needs abilities to succeed, and also non-EX/GX Pokemon doesn’t care about the effect. If you aren’t facing any EX/GX Pokemon, then you would have wished that you used a different Stadium card. Also, if you have EX/GX Pokemon and you know that Power Plant is going to disable such abilities, then you shouldn’t play it. Power Plant is meant to be double sided, but the issue is the timing of when to use this card. You could be playing coming into play abilities from Dedenne-GX – for instance – in order to use Dedechange to draw more card and then finally play Power Plant. You reap some of the benefits from various abilities before you eventually turn them off.
For the Standard format, besides being an annoyance against certain decks, Power Plant serves as a REAL counter against Keldeo-GX as its Pure Heart blocks all damage from Pokémon-EX and Pokémon-GX. Pokemon-GX focused decks will definitely need Power Plant to get past such an obstacle, or they’ll be stopped cold. Makes players wonder if they’ll have to use the Fairy version of Luminous Barrier Alolan Ninetales, as it doesn’t care about Power Plant, but is a Stage 1 Pokemon. And Beacon Alolan Vulpix is long gone from Standard.
When thinking about other factors such as tight deck space, having a situational effect that doesn’t work all the time depending on what deck you’re facing, and the eventful retirement of a mechanic in favor of a newer one, I couldn’t score Power Plant higher than this. It doesn’t affect Pokémon-V at all, and it’s usefulness will keep diminishing even if it was still Standard legal next year, as more and more Pokémon-GX will eventually fade away to not make Power Plant matter anymore.
So as a Stadium card that only affects a specific niche of Pokemon-EX/GX with Abilities, Power Plant at first doesn’t seem like it would amount to much. Certainly there are some strong Abilities present on different cards that would suggest that Power Plant would be good, but nothing like what it is regarded as today.
Perhaps though that’s less commentary on the power level of Power Plant and more on the power level of the Abilities that it counters. Between Mewtwo & Mex-GX’s Perfection to copy attacks, Dedenne-GX’s Dedechange for draw power, Keldeo-GX’s Pure Heart for protection, Heatran-GX’s Burning Road to charge in, or even Zeraora-GX’s Thunderclap Zone to give free retreat, there are plenty of GX Abilities that are powerful and relevant to today’s game that Power Plant can shut out. And in some cases, that kind of shutdown can completely win the game for some decks!
Power Plant serves an important role in the current game, and without it, there would be otherwise dominant decks that would go uncontested.
Standard: 5/5 (very useful and gives decks a fighting chance that wouldn’t be there otherwise)
Expanded: 5/5 (with the inclusion of EX in the clause, this has an even bigger range here)
Limited: 5/5 (it does actually shut down some powerful Abilities here, believe it or not!)
Arora Notealus: Seeing the Dynamax mechanic make its way into the card game is pretty nice, though it is going to bump up the HP scores again (to no one’s surprise, I’m sure). It’d be neat if there was something around to let the little guys compete with the bigger Dynamax Pokemon – or rather the VMAX Pokemon as they’ll be known in the card game. It really does go without saying that there will be counters to this sort of thing, but I want my fifth wish to be for more than that. For my fifth wish, I’d like it if there was some manner of allowing people to take on a VMAX card in the same way that you can do Raid Battles in the games. Maybe allow different Pokemon to attack the VMAX Pokemon with their attacks, or put a Stadium in play or have a Supporter do some kind of effect. I don’t know how they’d implement a Raid Battle-like mechanic into the game, but it would be neat to do that! Or at least let’s get a format going that’s basically like Archenemy in MTG, where a group of players fight against one giant VMAX Pokemon with powerful effects like the Raid Battle!
Weekend Thought: How’s the list going so far? Do you like what you see? What are some of your thoughts on this year’s cards? Think the game’s powering up to new heights? Or is the power creep becoming too much?
Next Time: Time to head out and go see the world!
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