The most important aspect to come out of this set is that we have a new selection of cards that have their own dedicated engine, much like the SPs we saw not too long ago. These are, as the set's name implies, Plasma Pokémon, and they will most certainly be seeing play once the set is released on February 6th.
Before we go in detail about the Plasma Pokémon themselves, let's take a look at the tools they will be able to abuse that most other decks won't be able to do. I'll then refer to how they can use these when I talk about the Pokémon.
Note : Some cards mentioned in this entry may not appear in Plasma Storm. There is however a high chance that they will seeing as how these cards were released in Japan's Plasma Gale
First, we have, much like every other 'owner's' Pokémon, a Special Energy card. This is Plasma Energy and it has an amazing effect of... providing a single Colourless Energy. At first, this seems pretty stupid. Why would you run a Special Colourless Energy that can be Enhanced Hammered away so easily? Why not play Basic Energy so you can not only just provide an Energy for some attacks but also be able to recycle them with cards like Super Rod and Energy Retrieval? You'll soon see why when we move on to the Plasma Pokémon. For now, this is just a terrible Energy
Second on the list is Colress Machine. An Item card that allows you to search your deck for a Plasma Energy and attach it to one of your Plasma Pokémon in play. Now that is some extremely strong acceleration. Not only are you attaching to any Plasma Pokémon you have in play but you're attaching it from the deck itself. You don't need to discard it with Ultra Ball or Computer Search like Eels and Darkrai do. Heck, you do not even need to have the Energy in hand. Just play this card and you're accelerating Energy from your own deck. Note that this card allows only attachment to Plasma Pokémon. This is one big advantage Plasma Pokémon get. They can attach their Energy to themselves from the deck with not a Supporter card. Not even a flip. It's done just by playing down an Item card, which by the way can be searched out with Skyla.
Next, we have Team Plasma Grunt. This is a Supporter card that allows you to discard a Team Plasma card from your hand to draw 4 cards. This is 1 card stronger than a Cheren and I think the discard is worth it. That extra card might be that clutch Catcher or Energy Switch you need to take your last prize. Now this can be played in other decks but the problem is that they won't be using as many Plasma cards in their decks. They won't be using Plasma Energy or Colress Machine for a start because they won't play any Plasma Pokémon. There are some Team Plasma cards that can fit perfectly into every deck, but I feel that this card should only be used in Plasma decks
because you'll be having a lot more Plasma cards to discard. Consistency is one of the most important things in a deck. If you can't consistently play this card, then you're going to have trouble getting set up.
Plasma Frigate is a Stadium card that states that as long as it is in play, any Pokémon with a Plasma Energy attached to them have no Weakness. Great! Now Plasma Energy actually does something! As you know, Weakness is one the biggest parts of this game and single-handedly decides many matchups, such as Keldeo/Blastoise against Landorus or Landorus against Eels. Negating your Weakness is extremely strong and stops things like Darkrai being OHKO'd by Terrakion and Landorus and even Mewtwo being OHKO'd by opposing Mewtwo's, allowing you to perform a ridiculous sweep with a monster that can't be even be OHKO'd back easily by any other Mewtwo.The only problem is using a strategy like this can be a bit risky. First off, counter stadiums
shut it down. Aspertia is seeing a bt of play and some Keldeo/Blastoise decks play Tropical Beach too. They normally drop this early game but if they don't end up doing that, they might counter your Frigate with it. As well as this, you also need to other half of the strategy, the Plasma Energy, to remain intact. Darkrai/Sableye/Hammers is a solid Tier 1 deck right now. If you go up against it, don't expect to have your Plasma Energy in play for too long. And on top of all this, there might be only a few decks that really need to abuse Weakness to win. Keldeo with 2KHO anything with just 3 Water Energy. Darkrai will 2HKO anything without damage or HP modifiers like Eviolite or Giant Cape. I think the best way to play something like this would be Mewtwo. Play 4 DCE and Plasma Energy and attempt to sweep their field. Make sure you play Eviolites, Potions and Gold Potion to make your Mewtwos much harder to take down. This won't see any play but it could be a fun concept.
The next two cards can be used by any deck, but are still Team Plasma cards so Plasma Grunt can discard these for extra draw. At last we have something similar to Professor Oak's New
Theory returning to the format. Colress is a Supporter card that lets you shuffle your hand into your deck and draw a number of carda up to the total number of Pokémon on each players Bench. Most people (including myself) instantly thought "you can shuffle draw for 10 with this card!? This is going to be amazing!" That is not exactly the case. Yes this card does provide some shuffle draw that we have needed for so long with the need of having your opponent shuffle too. There's been loads of situations where your only draw Supporter in hand in N and you don't want to play it because you know your opponent has a dead hand. Colress fixes this and I'm happy about it.
This card will really shine mid-game, where benches are being filled. This also brings up it's flaws. I would not play any more than 3 of these and will probably only be playing 2. You don't want to rely on Colress and your main source of shuffle draw because you don't want to see it early game. You won't be drawing a lot from it early game because benches will be pretty empty. This is why decks will still play 2-3 N because not only are you guaranteed a nice 6 card hand but the disruption of N has changed the outcome of many matches.
One thing that I like about Colress is that it will introduce yet another strategy based aspect to the game. Another one of the small skills that good players will use to try and get an edge on the opponent and that is bench manipulation, a.k.a Empoleon's worst enemy. By managing your bench, you can stop your opponent from Colress-ing for a lot of cards and resources.If you see they have a small bench, you can try to keep yours small too.
Plasma Pokémon now get their own search card! This comes in the form of Plasma Ball. An Item card that allows you to search your deck for a Plasma Pokémon, reveal it and put it into your hand. Search is some required across all decks to increase consistency and speed of their set up. Plasma Pokémon boast a very solid search card that has no requirements. Just get a Plasma Pokémon out of your deck and put it in your hand. It's as simple as that. This helps a lot with a Pokémon I'll go over later in this blog entry.
The final card here is possibly the biggest card in the set- Hypnotoxic Laser. This card may determine many matches because of it's effect. When played the Defending Pokémon is instantly Poisoned. Okay, not too bad. It's like a good PlusPower that by passes Eviolite and they start taking even more damage if they don't retreat. Nice. On top of that, you get a flip to put them Asleep. Whoa. Now suddenly this card can be extremely powerful. Poison and Sleep? Ouch! That's a definite 20 damage if they can't retreat out if it. Now remember you have to flip for the sleep and there is still a chance they will wake up between turns but if you nail that 25% chance of keeping them asleep, the extra 20 or after your turn 30 damage in pretty huge.
But wait, this card goes to another level that makes is ridiculously powerful. There were a number of cards expected to be in Boundaries Crossed which for some unknown reason ended up getting cut from the set. These were cards many were looking forward to like Ether and Virbank City Gym. If we do end up getting Virbank City Gym this card will be insane. Virbank City Gym is a Stadium that adds 20 to Poison damage in between turns.See where this is going? With that Stadium in play, you are getting a 30 damage PlusPower that bypasses Eviolite, has a chance of putting your opponent to sleep and if you nail that Sleep and they can't retreat, you get an extra 60 damage to put on them (back into your turn is 60, then after your turn is 90). That is massive and there's no doubt every deck will be running this card. PlusPower sees a bit of play in some decks, but this card is just so good you will see it everywhere.
So that was just the Trainers in this set and I've already written that much. Now we'll take a look at the biggest Pokémon to come out of this set. First up is Lugia EX. We finally have this beast of a Pokémon return to the TCG, not just as a Pokémon-EX but is also one of the first Pokémon to boast the Team Plasma status. Lugia EX is a Colourless type Pokémon with a standard 180 HP. It is as mentioned earlier a Plasma Pokémon so it can use the tools I talked about above. Lugia EX has a Lightning Weakness which fortunately is not too bad. With the release of Darkrai in Dark Explorers, Landorus in Boundaries Crossed and Keldeo too (who is just overall a solid attacker), Eels has seen less and less play making Lugia able to comfortably move in. It also has a Fighting Resistance which is nice since Terrakion cannot 2HKO it and Landorus pokes it for a measly 10. It also has a 2 retreat cost which... could be better but it's manageable. Skyarrow puts it down to or you can just play Switch or retreat with a DCE. Lugia's attack, Plasma Gale, deals a solid 120 damage, which 2HKO's everything. Even Tornadus with Eviolite and Aspertia in play. It
cost a massive 4 Colourless Energy and has small print that says you need to discard a Plasma Energy attached to Lugia EX otherwise the attack fails. Now that sucks. Sure you can attach a DCE and Colress Machine onto him but... discarding an non-retrievable Special Energy for just 120 damage? That's terrible. But that's where Lugia EX's Ability comes in, making it a very scary
attacker that can speed up games almost as fast as a Mewtwo war. Overflow is Lugia EX's Ability and it states that whenever you Knock Out a Pokémon by damage from Lugia's attacks, you take an extra prize card. Whoa! This card went from pretty bad to... actually pretty darn good. That means you can simply KO 3 Squirtles, Deinos, Sableyes and... win! That is incredible. When using this card you should really avoid hitting something with it. Try to use Lugia to finish something off and nab an extra prize card. Another great perk of this card is that you really don't need to soften up your opponent's Pokémon a lot to take that extra prize. 120 is a pretty big number. If you disregard any damage or HP modifiers 2 Hammerheads from Landorus EX on 2 Pokémon EX let Lugia take 3 prizes per attack. That's all your prizes in 2 attacks. Sure they can heal but just think of what you're really doing to win. Healing is that big of a deal because if they can't heal it for two turns and you have that Energy down on Lugia, bam! 3 prizes. If you have a bit of damage around mid game, you might be able to quickly slap down Lugia and fuel him up extremely fast thanks to DCE and Colress Machine and take some cheap prizes extremely swiftly. This is why Plasma Energy is so good. Because it can be accelerated from the deck on to Pokémon like Lugia who need it to attack.
The second Pokémon on this list and the last EX on it too is Articuno EX. Articuno EX is also a Plasma Pokémon. It's a Water type with 170 HP. It has a Metal Weakness which is fine at first because there aren't too many Metal decks out there, but this is going to change with this sets release. It has, just like Lugia EX, a Fighting Resistance which is helpful against Landorus and a single retreat cost. Not too bad as you get free retreat with Skyarrow in play. It's first attack, Blizzard deals 60 damage and also spreads 10 on their Bench for a Water Energy and 2 Colourless. Not too bad. The spread could be used with Dusknoir from Boundaries Crossed. Though where Articuno really shines is it's second attack, Frost Prison. For 2 Water and 2 Colourless, it deals a laughable 80. However, the small text states that if Articuno EX has any Plasma Energy attached to it, the Defending Pokémon is Paralysed No draw back. Now that is the first time I've ever seen guaranteed Paralysis with no drawback or requirement that undoes itself (like discarding an Energy to paralyse or shuffling back into the deck). Hypnotoxic Laser can be used here to increase damage and they can't really retreat out of it either so you can get that 20 or 60 damage off on them, unless they use something like Switch or Keldeo's 'Rush In'. One problem that was witnessed by some locking decks was that after you KO something, your opponent gets an attack when they promote a new attacker and can use that turn to ruin your set up. Cards like Chandelure were used to try and always keep something active to be Paralysed but were pretty clunky. Here however, you can use Dusknoir to move your damage around and KO things that way. Just Paralyse the active, move the damage to your opponent's Pokémon and then Paralyse again. This allows you not only to stop them from attacking but you can also effectively snipe away at any Pokémon on their side of the field, preventing them from setting up something big. As said earlier, some decks play Keldeo to get around sleep. Darkrai decks sometimes run 1. But this isn't a problem. Simply Catcher that Keldeo and Paralyse that. If they don't run a second Keldeo or don't run Switch you have pretty much won. It is unfortunate that Blastoise/Keldeo is one of the best decks in the format right now and you'll be seeing it a lot. You pretty much auto-lose to it because they can just Rush In all the time.
Cobalion EX and the new Plasma Klingklang (which I don't talk about here) also pose a threat to Articuno as they can hit it for Weakness, though there is Plasma Frigate I suppose. You also have to problem of Enhanced Hammer getting rid of your Plasma Energies. Under the right circumstances this deck can put itself into an automatic victory, but the counters are pretty common and if the deck did become big, then you'd just see people teching against it more. Still an interesting card.
And now for the last card on the list. This is the best non-EX Plasma attacker hands down. Think of it as the Bouffalant of Plasma. Snorlax is a Plasma Pokémon that is of the Colourless type. It has a very nice 130 HP, a Fighting weakness and a horrible 4 retreat cost. Snorlax has two things going for him. First is his very powerful attack, Team Impact which for an absolutely terrible 5 Colourless Energy deals 30 damage times the number of Plasma Pokémon you have in play. With a full Plasma bench, you can deal 180 damage constantly. That's really strong, OHKOing ever EX with no HP modifiers. If you're going to play a deck based around this guy be sure to play counter stadiums and a bunch of Tool Scrappers. And of course Hypnotoxic Laser.
It is not too hard to fill the bench either with Plasma Ball and Colress Machine with DCE can help fuel his attack up too. However, I think the best way to fuel him up is through the new ACE-SPEC card we get in this set that may replace Computer Search in a number of decks. Scramble Switch is basically...a Switch! However, there's an added effect that makes this card quite powerful. When you switch to a new Pokémon, you can move as many Energy from the old active the new one. This is some very strong acceleration, like Energy Switch and Switch combined on steroids. This also useful for powering up Lugia EX. I don't think Plasma decks will want to run Computer Search because they have Plasma Grunt to gather resources and will probably find the manipulation of their precious Plasma Energy a lot more better and useful than Computer Search.
Even without a full bench, you can pull off 2HKO's with Snorlax which is OK, but because of the expensive Energy cost, I'd try to go for OHKO's with him. However, Snorlax's train of awesomeness doesn't stop right there. Snorlax also has a pretty nice Ability smartly named 'Block' which, when Active prevents the opponent from retreating. I can see this being extremely effective with Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym. You are forcing them to play their Switch, Scramble Switch (they might want it for later) or search out their Keldeo tech and Rush In. Even if you are against Keldeo and Blastoise, you can still stand up the Keldeo's attacks. You're only a regular
basic so who cares if they decide to put 4 Energy on and OHKO you. Then you can probably clean them up with Lugia, provided you have Energy on him or on board to Scramble Switch across to. If you really want to be annoying, don't forget Snorlax also gets the perk of being to use Eviolite, making it a trapping, bulky hard hitting tank that isn't an EX. That's why I love this card so much.
There's certainly a bunch of other cards in this set that will have a little impact on the game, but I'm really interested in dedicated engines to owner's Pokémon. I started playing with SPs and loved how powerful they were. That's why I decided to talk about the cards I'm most excited for in this set.
And that's my look at the Plasma cards coming out of this set. I hope there was at least something in here for you, whether it be tricks with a card, deck ideas or just keeping up with the evolving meta. I will hopefully be picking up a booster box of this set, something I haven't done since 2011 (you guessed right, it was Platinum since it had all the SP tools and Trainers in it as well as other key cards like Crobat and Bronzong). I have not been excited for a set this much ever before and can't wait to start playing with a new engine. I hope you guys enjoy what the set brings too and if you're attending any pre-releases I hope you pull what you want!
Thanks for reading. Let me know what you think about cards that might come from Plasma Storm in the comments section and if you will be playing Plasma Pokémon or not. Have a nice day!