Pokémon TCG Set Review: Plasma Blast

Greetings Pokémon Trainers, in the Pokémon Trading Card Game, we have reached a dull point of sorts. All of the National Championships have been completed and people are working hard to try perfect themselves and their decks before Vancouver. My congratulations to all the Australian Players that have qualified for Worlds and I wish them the best of luck in representing our country. However, given that these people form a very small minority of players, I will be writing an article that anyone can gain something from. I will discuss the new cards to be released in the Plasma Blast set, this will be useful so that people can start testing out new ideas even if they aren’t going to Vancouver and also will allow people to get an idea of which cards to buy, I hope you all enjoy it.

Included in this article:

Pokémon

For reference, I will be looking at all cards in the Japanese Megalo Cannon set; if you would like to view these cards yourself, so you can understand what I am talking about, click: here.

Masquerain

Masquerain has one of the coolest abilities I have seen to date, Reversing Tool. It allows you to freely move tools around on your board, you can pick them up and more or less do whatever you want with them. Having this ability adds a whole new level of versatility to the deck, and with all the tools around currently, Masqerain is amazing for a few reasons:

  1. If you have a single Float Stone on the field, all of your Pokémon have Free Retreat.PB_Masquerain
    Darkrai was a card that became ridiculously overpowered due to it’s ability to give everything free retreat, this is the same with the combination between Keldeo and Float Stone. Masqerain offers the same luxury as you can pick up a Float Stone from anywhere on the field, throw it onto the active and retreat as you please. This means that nothing on your field is liable to Catcher and you will never get stuck with anything active if you don’t want it to be.
  2. Offers free Damage boost to Non EX Attackers.
    If you draw into a Silver Bangle at any point in the game, throw it down and you will have a 30 damage increase to use at any point in the game on Non EX Attackers, you no longer need to dig around and try to draw the Pokémon and the energy at the same time, you can freely throw the tool onto the field, whenever you like.
  3. Offers Energy Acceleration to Non-Plasma Pokémon with no drawback.
    Team Plasma Badge, this card allows your Pokémon to enjoy all the perks of Team Plasma Pokémon and can be taken off whenever being a Plasma Pokémon is disadvantageous, Colress Machine allows use to accelerate energy onto the field and Deoxys can be used to increase our damage output, energy can be accelerated with Thundurus and Weakness can be removed with Plasma Frigate. Our Pokémon enjoy all of these perks, and if they encounter a tool such as Silver Reflector, we can simply, take it off and deal with the threat.
  4. Provides Immunity to Team Plasma Pokémon.
    Silver Reflector is the single greatest threat to Plasma since Enhanced Hammer, the ability to move this card around to protect whatever Pokémon is under threat is great. Usually this card will sit on Masquerain so that Plasma Pokémon can’t touch it, all in all the synergy between the two cards is unimaginable.
  5. Energy Streaming with EXP. Share. Having some EXP.
    Share on the field allows the deck to keep energy on the field even after Pokémon get knocked out, after we enjoy the perk of the free energy, we can simply take it off and use our countless other tools to deal with any threat, no matter the situation.
  6. Recovering Pokémon.
    Rescue Scarf is another option that would also be thrown onto Masquerain herself, simply throw it onto whatever we want and we no longer have to worry about losing that Pokémon. When playing Garbodor, players would keep throwing Rescue Scarf onto their Garbodor until the opponent ran out of ways to bring it up and knock it out, we can keep putting Rescue Scarf onto anything we want and save key Pokémon for when we need them.
  7. Preventing Knockouts.
    Masquerain allows the deck to adapt to different threats and adjust their Pokémon to survive these threats, this is by moving Eviolite and Giant Cale around, usually the 20 damage we save will allow us to survive for another turn and we can simply swap tools, deal as much damage before the sacrifice and than repeat the process if we encounter a similar circumstance later in the game.
  8. Recoil Damage.
    Ever had that frustrating feeling of being 10-20 damage short of a knockout? Not a problem, simply throw a Rocky Helmet or Rock Guard onto one of your Pokémon and your opponent will be forced to sacrifice their own Pokémon to knock it out, if you keep Rock Guard on big EX attackers and keep moving it back after taking a hit or two the damage can rack up to the point that weaker attackers such as Landorus can just clean up and take the game.
  9. Material Gain.
    Consider that Masqerain effectively makes your field your hand, the freedom to play things straight down can allow Masquerain to receive more material from Bianca and Bicylcle, being able to play down the majority of your hand allows you too gain more of an advantage in cards from these cards and filters tools out of the deck for late game N. There is also a cool combo where you can pick up tools that you no longer need and move them to the bottom of the deck using Caitlin, this allows you to draw more cards and is an extremely good combo when you have no room for tools on the field.
  10. Search Purposes.
    Not much to say here, you can get out Masqerain using Plasma Ball, Ultra Ball and Level Ball which makes it on par with Klang and other such Pokémon as the most accessible Pokémon card.
Cradily/Lileep

PB_CradilyIn all honesty, I have never liked Fossils at all. They are clunky and hard to set up and it’s hard to get multiple of them in play which lets Catcher snipe them off. However, Fossil Pokémon have received their saving grace which is the ability “Call of the Ancient”. This allows us to bottom deck the cards when they are in your discard pile which in turn allows us to use a fossil to find them. I still find the process too tedious to work in a competitive deck, however there are definitely going to be some cool rogues out there. The best way to set up Cradily is Sableye, it allows you to retrieve Fossils and Ultra Balls to get Pokémon in the discard. Cradily has possibly the coolest attack I have seen and some Pokémon that you might want to set up with it include: Serperior, Reuniclus, Leavanny, Vaniluxe, Venusaur, Empoleon, Salamence, Dusknoir, Flygon, Stoutland, Magnezone, Metagross and Porygon Z. All in all, there are some cool combinations you can pull of, however basic and stage 1 Pokémon are just downright better.

Eelektross

PB_EelektrossThis card captured my attention since I first saw it and it reminded me a lot of the Magnezone Prime that stormed through Worlds 2011 and was dominant until the dawn of EX Pokémon. Eelektross is a dulled down version of Magnezone, it’s attack, Crash and Burn allows you to discard as many energy on the field as you please and then deal 30 damage times the amount of energy you discarded, while seemingly lacklustre at first glance, there are a few things that Eelektross can capitalise off, the first is the Dynamotor ability from Eelektrik, this allows you to take a Lightning Energy from the discard and place it onto your bench, each Dyanmotor you use becomes a 30 damage boost at some point in the game, it is best to keep Eelektrik unevolved for as long as possible so that you can get as many Dynamotors as possible off successfully.

The second thing that Eelektross benefits from is Colress Machine, while it seems wasteful to throw away our Plasma Energy, They are really nothing more than a triple Pluspower in this deck. The third and final thing that Eelektross has going for it is it’s status as a Non-EX, this means that it can abuse Silver Bangle as another Triple Pluspower, couple this with Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym and you can minimise the amount of energy required to knock something out with Crash and Burn. (As this was being written the news of Eelektrik’s rotation was announced, unfortunately Eelektross will really struggle without this counterpart)

PB_Drifblim

Drifblim

If you end up running Drifblim, than you must really hate Plasma, the other Drifblim is also a great counter to a standard Plasma deck and the two blimps work quite well together, one to get the energy into the discard so that the other one can deal more damage with Shadow Steal. Alongside Silver Reflector, Drifblim is very hard for any Plasma deck to deal with and it doesn’t even cost you a single energy. Free retreat just adds to this and I could see Drifblim being used as a thin tech line to beat Plasma. Another Perk is that it can discard special energy which can stop Virizion EX’s ability from working and allow you to use Hypnotoxic Laser to get knockouts on Pokémon such as Deoxys EX.

Mesprit

PB_MespritThis card caught my attention when I first saw it, at the time I was playing Landorus and was looking for ways to beat the popular water types such as Kyurem and Keldeo, my search bought about some terrible ideas including Plasma Energy and Plasma Frigate but when I saw Mesprit I saw a combination that could actually work. Unfortunately the requirement of all three of the Lake Trio makes the combination hard to set up and fills your deck and field with useless fillers, I liked it in Landorus because Bench Space was rarely an issue. Getting rid of weakness is extremely huge in this Metagame and due to Lasers declining popularity thanks to Virizion, these cards allow the game to be more controlled and predictable, as opposed to simply trading attackers. A good Pokémon that gets rid of weakness is what I have been wanting for awhile now and while Mesprit seems difficult, especially due to prizes I feel the card warrants some testing.

Sigilyph

PB_SigilyphThere is not a better partner for Masquerain than Sigilyph, a Pokémon that has the mysterious power of holding four tools, this ability is really cool and I love the idea of stacking different tools on it and gaining the benefit of all of them. Place 4 Eviolite on it and you’re taking 80 less damage, place 3 Rocky Helmet and a Rock Guard on it and deal 120 Damage when hit, place 4 Silver Bangle on it and deal 120 more damage, place 4 EXP. Share on it and take 4 energy from your knocked out active, you get the idea. With the countless combinations of tools, this card has unlimited potential, once again it helps with material gain, by allowing you to simply dump four tools from hand onto it before using a Bianca or other such thing.

The best combination is between Trubbish, Sigilyph and Masqeurain, Trubbish to abuse Sigilyph’s ability and deal out huge amounts of damage and Masqeurain with Sigilyph to support the deck with versatility and unpredictability. The deck is very enjoyable to play and there is nothing more fun than dominating a $300 Plasma deck with a bag of trash, an avianoid and an insect of sort.

Porygon Z

PB_Porygon-zThis is another card I like and I see it as an alternate way of playing Hydreigon, it combos well with Plasma Tornadus to keep swinging for 180 Damage per turn while healing with Max Potion. Pokémon that move energy around have generally been quite successful, Porygon Z is limited to 4 moveable energy but it gains the benefits of Plasma. I would likely run Sableye to set this deck up, as it can Junk Hunt for Colress Machines to help get the energy into play and can also help us set up our Porygon Z, Keldeo and Float Stone can be used to switch our active and the Grass Blend, along with Prism Energy can be used with Virizion EX to block special conditions. Overall Porygon Z is an alternate way of playing Plasma and can turn Tornadus into an unstoppable tank that will sweep through and take six prizes with three attacks.

 

Suicune

PB_SuicuneIf you remember the Quad Sigilyph deck, you will understand why Suicune may be of use, Suicune is superior to Sigilyph in that has 100 HP as opposed to 90, a better attack and a better weakness. Also Suicune’s typing is better than Sigilyph because you can use the appropriate Blend Energy and run Suicune with Terrakion amongst other things. Suicune’s ability ha great synergy with the Silver Reflector Tool in blocking damage as the majority of non-EX attackers that may be a threat to Suicune are Team Plasma Pokémon. Due to this, a deck that has proven to be quite effective over in Japan is the Suicune/Terrakion deck that uses Terrakion to deal with any threat toward Suicune, much like Mewtwo in the Quad Sigilyph deck.

Sawk

PB_SawkSawk is a funny card, alongside a Silver Tool, it can really give Plasma a run for it’s money at almost no cost, if you choose to use Sawk with Silver Reflector, they won’t be able to touch and if you use Silver Bangle you can still deal quite a bit of damage, especially to Thundurus EX. Sawk should be teched into decks that already have Silver Tools and also have space to spare, these decks can include Trubbish, Empoleon or Suicune decks for example. There isn’t much else to say about Sawk, it’s a cheap attacker to be used against Plasma in tandem with a Silver Tool, it is advisable to play one of these in any deck with Silver Reflector as it is such a cheap attacker that provides pure advantage.

 

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EX Pokémon

Virizion EX

I thought that I would discuss Virizion before the other EX’s under review because I have the impression that everyone in the community share the same consensus in regards to Virizion. All players will agree that Virizion is a force to be reckoned with and it’s mere presence greatly discourages the use of Laser. It’s ability removes all special conditions on Pokémon with Grass Energy attached to them and prevents the, from being affected by them again. This can turn all the Lasers and Virbank in our opponents deck into dead weight and gets rid of the frustration that is sleep flips. I predict Virizion’s mere presence to see the end of Hypnotoxic Laser for the next format, my favourite thing about this is that it prevents you from suffering cheap losses from sleep. Virizion should also see the end of a few infamous lock decks such as Snorlax and Accelgor, Snorlax can’t do any damage without Hypnotoxic Laser and Accelgor will be crippled by the fact that it is only dealing a lacklustre 50 damage per turn with no side effect. Virizion’s attack is also fairly lacklustre, Emerald Slash deals 50 and then searches the deck for two grass energy to be attached to a single Pokémon, people wish to pair this attack with Genesect EX to set up, however I find manually attaching twice and playing a Colress Machine to be far more effective, as well as allowing us to use Megalo Cannon a turn earlier. All in all, Virizion should be used for it’s Ability, it’s water resistance and low retreat cost also benefit the card greatly.

PB_Virizion-ex 96-virizion-ex

Jirachi EX

While almost everyone agrees on Virizion, the community’s opinion of Jirachi is very divided. Jirachi allows us to fetch a Supporter of choice from the deck and I find this effect to be quite the consistency booster to any deck, it also allows us to use some tech Supporters such as Colress, Ghetsis, Iris and Cilan. The most striking feature of Jirachi EX is that it can be searched via Level Ball, this turns it into an extremely good consistency booster, you can use it in Blastoise to fetch a Cilan so you can get energy straight onto the field. Perhaps my favourite usage of Jirachi is in tandem with Klinklang, being a 90 HP EX is a huge liability and our opponent can pick it off at any point for a cheap two prizes, Klinklang solves this issue to an extent by preventing it from taking damage from EX Pokémon, given that the majority of Pokémon that pose a threat to Jirachi are EX, Jirachi and Klinklang have great synergy and Jirachi fits seamlessly into the deck. Unfortunately Jirachi is a terrible starter, perhaps worse than the infamous Exeggcute but if people are still running Exeggcute I see no reason as to why people will not play Jirachi. All in all I find Jirachi to be great and very underrated.

PB_Jirachi-ex PB_Jirachi-FA
 

Genesect EX

The moment this card was released in Japan I received some messages from other people saying words like; “overpowered, broken, unbeatable” and many others. Due to past experiences, I didn’t want to say anything about Genesect because things look different at first glance than they do after you think about it for a bit. I checked some message boards to see how people were planning on playing it, I saw some Colress Machine+Plasma Badge Virizion builds and I immediately thought that it was far too inconsistent and slow to work. After some though I decided that the best way to play Genesect was with manual attachment and Colress Machine to get it set up in two turns and start using Megalo Cannon on the second turn. I thought that with Deoxys, Genesect could be quite a threat and Virizion would add to it’s longevity by providing immunity to Poison. It’s ability is great, it turns all of your Plasma Energy into Catcher which is great because it gives us a better chance of hitting the Catcher which is very important in any snipe deck. The advantage of the ability is that it can allow us to cut down to three catcher as we will still have a lot more than enough in the deck. It’s attack, Megalo Cannon is similar to Darkrai EX’s extremely powerful Night Spear attack, it deals 100 to the active and 20 to one Pokémon on the bench, when supported by some Deoxys EX, Megalo Cannon can be used to knockout Non EX Pokémon such as Absol and Kyurem while weakening EX Pokémon on the bench, so we can eventually knock those Pokémon out. It’s retreat cost is undesirable but with Float Stone and other things in the format it is no problem, it’s biggest drawback of having 170 HP is not so bad as Darkrai cannot use Laser on Genesect so taking 30 Damage from a Night Spear snipe will not put us within knockout range. Above all I find the card to be very overrated, however still very good.

PB_Genesect-ex 97-genesect-ex

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Trainers

Silver Reflector

PB_Silver-reflectorThe ultimate kick-in-the-behind for any Plasma Pokémon, Silver Reflector protects any Non-EX Pokémon from Plasma Pokémon. This tool is extremely useful as it should protect you against Conventional Plasma decks as well as the new Genesect Virizion deck which are two top decks, any tool that turns two matchups in your favour is definitely worth considering. To fight against Silver Reflector, Plasma decks will be forced to run Tool Scrapper, this card alone will cause a complete reform of the Plasma deck. Silver Reflector works very well with Pokémon that have abilities that prevent them from being hurt by EX Pokémonn because most of the best Non-EX Pokémon are Team Plasma Pokémon so being immune to these eliminates the biggest threats to these Pokémon.

 

Silver Bangle

PB_Silver-bangleThis is the most exciting news for non-EX attackers in the last year, a free triple Pluspower that doesn’t get discarded at the end of your turn. This card just about makes up for all of the advantages EX Pokémon have over non EX Pokémon and makes most non-EX attackers bigger threats than non-EX attackers. My favourite Pokémon to use this card with is Bouffalant, for 3 Colorless Energy we can deal a free 150 Damage to any EX, couple this with Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym and Bouffalant is taking out EX Pokémon with one attack which is extremely advantageous when trading Prizes.

 

 

Caitlin

PB_CaitlinThis card doesn’t seem too bad, if you can see past the fact that it results in your hand being smaller, being able to put cards that you may need later on in the game back into the deck is very good and you also get the advantage of drawing into new cards, as if putting cards back into the deck wasn’t enough. The best use of this card is to put Plasma Energy from our hand back into the deck and using Colress Machine to get them back onto the field, the card can also be used with Exeggcute later in the game to draw more cards from the deck when we no longer have a use for the egg. Overall, I find this card to be good and very safe, while it results in you having one less card in hand, you give yourself as a good a chance as you please of drawing the cards you need and preserves important resources for later in the game.

 

Scoop Up Cyclone

PB_Scoop-up-cycloneThis card immediately impressed me. Freely picking up any Pokémon you would like not only denies prizes for your opponent but allows the redistribution of energy and tools and also allows the reuse of Abilities. Blastoise Keldeo which is so lacking of a suitable Ace Spec can fully abuse Scoop Up Cyclone, picking up a heavily damaged Keldeo with lots of energy loaded on it and allowing you to replay it and rampage. I really dreaded facing Keldeo decks that include Super Scoop Up and them having Scoop Up Cyclone which is a guaranteed heads just makes it even worse. If you choose to include this as your Ace Spec, I recommend running Jirachi EX as it allows you to reuse Jirachi to find whatever supporter you would like if need be.

 

Master Ball

PB_Master-ball

I really like this card as an Ace Spec, however Computer Search is just downright better, being able to find anything you would like from the deck is simply better than finding any Pokémon, even if you have to discard two cards.

Iris

This card makes for a very impressive tech alongside Jirachi EX, Iris increases our damage output for the turn by up to 50 Damage, this can lead to some very unpredictable knockouts which can swing a game entirely in your favour, especially if you have crippled your opponent with an N beforehand. Iris is the kind of card that makes me enjoy the game, the unpredictability keeps the game exciting and can make for some very impressive victories.

PB_Irisimage

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Eye Candy

The reprints coming up all look very impressive, we have seen the following so far:

  • Full Art Emolga
  • Full Art Reshiram (Alternate Art)
  • Full Art Shaymin EX (Alternate Art)
  • Full Art Mew EX (Alternate Art)
  • Full Art Iris
  • Shiny Exeggcute
  • Shiny Dusknoir
  • Shiny Virizion
  • Shiny Rare Candy

As always the set is crammed with expensive eye candy, looking at the list, I predict Shiny Rare Candy to be insanely expensive, everyone will want a play set of these because Rare Candy will likely never be rotated out… Ever. Dusknoir and Virizion are more or less pointless reprints as they aren’t very playable however they look very good, and you wouldn’t complain if you got them. Exeggcute is probably one of the more sought after cards in the set because it is the first non-Full Evolved Pokémon to see a shiny, plus it’s ability is really cool. The shiny full art Pokémon are also more or less pointless but they too, look very cool. Emolga would likely be the most sought after because it is the only one of the four that does not yet have a full art, plus it’s the first non-Legendary Full Art Card. Iris will likely be highly sought after, as is any Full Art Supporter, I could see people wanting one of these to add to the deck as a tech option so it will most likely be similar to Full Art Colress.

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Price Predictions

PB_DusknoirI advise you take this with a grain of salt but if I were to rank the rare cards of the set in descending order of price, I would come up with a list similar to this:

Please Note this will only include Megalo Cannon cards as I am uncertain of what the situation with Shiny Collection’s release is

  1. Rare Candy (Shiny)
  2. Virizion EX (Full Art)
  3. Exeggcute (Shiny)
  4. Jirachi EX (Full Art)
  5. Iris (Full Art)
  6. Genesect EX (Full Art)
  7. Virizion EX (Normal Art)
  8. Jirachi EX (Normal Art)
  9. Genesect EX (Normal Art)
  10. All unlisted Shinies and EX

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So anyway, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this article and learned from it, if you have any questions or would like me to review something different, feel free to comment below and I would be more than obliged to help you out.

Best of luck, everyone!

-ambirules

Image source: PokeBeach

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