Primal Clash marks the start of the ORAS era of cards, yet the boosters still have XY on them. Nonetheless, this pack is full of fun stuff and surprises, of the calibre that we have not seen in years.
A larger quantity of Pokémon than normal have Abilities and/or access to a new game mechanic known as Ancient Traits. Now whilst it may be arguable about how competitively viable some of these Pokémon will be, at least most of the Pokémon in this pack have something going for them.There are currently four different Ancient Traits, and they act much like an Ability (except that they cannot be blocked by anything, such as Garbodor LT).
Omega Barrage – the Pokémon can attack twice. These Pokémon generally have poor damage outputs because of the fact that additional damage, such as through Muscle Band, will be applied for each hit (provided the attack does damage).
Omega Barrier – the Pokémon cannot be affected by your opponent’s Trainer cards, excluding Pokémon Tools and Stadiums. Basically means these Pokémon are immune to Hammers, Hypnotoxic Laser, Lysandre and so on.
Alpha Growth – buy one get one free… that is, you can attach two Energies to this Pokémon instead of one. It is cool because it also works with Special Energies but somewhat bad as you need to have both Energies in your hand at the same time.
Alpha Recovery – recovers twice the amount of damage when you heal it. Unfortunately none of the Pokémon with this ability have particularly high HP so healing them may not achieve anything useful.
Without further ado, here’s the Top 15 cards from Primal Clash.
Card Number 15: Kingdra
A high powered Stage 2 that can potentially OHKO EXes with the aid of Silver Bangle/Muscle Band. If not that, then Kingdra PLF can be used to clean up. Dragon Blast has a specific Energy cost which could prove problematic, especially since a Kingdra deck will already have to deal with the task of getting Stage 2s out. Fortunately, Kingdra has the Alpha Growth Ancient Trait which will make it easier to power it up. Combine this with Energy Retrieval and/or Professor’s Letter and there should not be much of an issue with powering up repeated Dragon Blasts, although the tightness and consistency of the deck will still remain an issue.
In terms of its other stats, 130HP is bearable, albeit a little poor for a Stage 2. One retreat is nice and the Fairy Weakness should not be too much of a problem at the moment.
Kingdra is also the prerelease promo card.
Card Number 14: Blaziken
Good HP, good retreat and two attacks that, whilst not game breaking, are still useful. Spreading
Flames can get you Fire Energies onto the field, thus providing a more powerful alternative to Blacksmith (FFire). Heat Blow is where it’s at – 100 damage for two Energies and discard one. 100 damage is a guaranteed 2HKO on any standard EX, and when used in conjunction with some sort of additional damage, it is possible for Blaziken to 2HKO Mega/Primal Pokémon too.
Running Blaziken with its Furious Fist brethren is a neat idea since that Blaziken offers a powerful snipe attack; useful if your opponent decides to retreat their half-damaged EX.
Card Number 13: Sceptile
In the video game, Sceptile is a very fast Pokémon, yet despite this, it is somehow given a Retreat Cost of two. Anyway, the selling point of Sceptile is its Ability, Nurture and Heal. Previously, the best way for Grass types to receive Energy Acceleration was through Virizion EX. Now while this is still a viable method, Emerald Slash does use your attack up for the turn. Imagine if you were running a Genesect EX deck and you had a Sceptile on the field. You would be able to set it up much quicker and could possibly be able to fire off repeated G-Boosters. The 30 damage healing could potentially prevent a KO on your Genesect too.
Besides Genesect EX, Sceptile combos nicely with Trevenant EX and Venusaur EX. A problem that I have found with Shiftry (FFire) is that it needs some sort of Energy acceleration, although I do not believe that a Stage 2 will be the best thing for it. Note that the Grass Energies do not have to be attached to a Grass Pokémon, so you could, if you wished, attach them to a Pokémon like Regigigas PF.
Card Number 12: Shrine of Memories
Simple effect, so many possibilities. Whilst this effect can be achieved via Celebi EX BCR, Shrine of Memories is not a 110HP, bench-sitting, two prize card liability.
Potential applications include having Charizard LT use Charmeleon’s Raging Claws for up to 200 damage! This Stadium will more likely, though, be used with Mega Pokémon since they are otherwise limited to one attack. For example, M Gengar EX PF can now copy the Defending Pokémon’s attack with Phantom Gate or, if there is no worthwhile moves available, it can attack with Dark Corridor instead. Since Gengar EX is normally used as part of a hit and run strategy, another way of looking at this use of Shrine of Memories is that it effectively gives Gengar EX +40HP and -1 retreat (Note that the Gengar Spirit Link will take up Gengar EX’s Pokémon Tool slot, meaning that it will not be able to hold a Muscle Band, essentially meaning that M Gengar EX will have -20 attack power as opposed to Gengar’s potential attack power).
Card Number 11: Repeat Ball
A card that can search you deck for a Pokémon and, unlike Ultra Ball, not be costly to play. The catch is that you need to have the Pokémon already in play.
Aside for the odd Jirachi EX tech, there are usually duplicate copies of Pokémon in a deck because you want to have the best odds of getting the Pokémon out and also because you will normally want to have multiple copies of the Pokémon on the field. It is not ground-breaking, however it will help to fill the hole created by the loss of Heavy Ball (NXD) and Level Ball (NXD).
Card Number 10: Magcargo
One of the cards I miss most after the September rotation is Bouffolant (DrEx), and Magcargo is like a Stage 1 reincarnate of that card.
Sporting the Omega Barrier Ancient Trait, Magcargo is immune to Lasers, Hammers and Lysandre. More importantly, however, is its Fire typing. Magcargo can plough through any EX that is weak to Fire – such as Virizion EX, Genesect EX and Dialga EX – and has access to Blacksmith for Energy acceleration, if required (ordinarily, a Fire Energy and a DCE would be the way to go, however, this would mean that Aegislash EX can just wall you).
Magcargo will probably only see play as an anti-meta deck in an area that is full of Virgen, Steel decks and Night Marchers.
Card Number 9: M Aggron EX
The sole reason why M Aggron EX is here is because it has the potential to hit for 240 damage. Ordinarily, the odds are 50-50 (if you choose to flip the coin), however, if you have Victini LT in play or Trick Coin attached to M Aggron EX, the odds improve to 75-25. This, by the way, is much more favourable than hoping to put the Defending Pokémon to sleep with Hypnotoxic Laser and then hoping that they do not wake up (25% chance).
A high-powered attack like this is what I believe Bronzong PF decks will need. The ability to OHKO a Pokémon (especially an EX) is amazing. With 240HP and Shield Energy, it is quite likely that M Aggron EX will stick around for two, maybe three turns. In this time M Aggron EX should be able to make a substantial impact on the game or, quite possibly, have won the game for you.
Card Number 8: Professor Birch’s Observation
Potentially a second set of Professor Juniper/Sycamore for your deck. Heads, you get a new, fresh large hand. Tails, you get a reasonable, albeit not as gracious, hand. Four cards is not that bad – it is one less than what you get from Shauna and will be a bit better than what one can expect on average to receive from N.
Those three cards will make a large difference to the game so expect Professor Birch’s Observations to make or break games.
Card Number 7: Swampert
One of the few cards that has three “things” on it. The first is Alpha Growth which will make charging up a lot easier. The second is the Ability, Diving Search. It, unfortunately, does not put the card in your hand. Having said that, putting it on top of your deck is not that bad. It just means that you will need to play cards like Slurpuff PF, Cheren or Acro Bike. Alternatively, it can also guarantee that you will have an Energy on top of your deck if you wish to play Ether.
The third thing is its attack. What I find surprising is that Hydro Pump is much better than attacks seen on some EXes; namely Keldeo EX and Aegislash EX. Assuming that you have three Water Energies attached to Swampert, the damage output will be 130! (and without drawbacks)
Throw in the Water-type Support Cards that come in this set (i.e. Dive Ball and Archie’s Ace in the Hole), and it’s not hard to see that Swampert will see some play.
Card Number 6: Teammates
Ever had one of those moments where you play a Professor Juniper/Sycamore or Shuana in the hope that you will draw into a couple of cards to win the game. Now with Teammates, you can search your deck for those two cards and add them straight to your hand. If you play only one copy of Teammates, I am not sure how often you would have it in your hand on the turn directly after one of your Pokémon had been knocked out. Nevertheless, with VS Seeker around, you could effectively have “more” copies of Teammates in your deck. Otherwise, you could always purposely sacrifice one of your Pokémon just so you can play Teammates.
Card Number 5: Whiscash
Looking at Whiscash, one can see that its first attack is underwhelming for a Stage 1 and that its second attack is reasonable, provided that the bench damage is nullified by means such as Mr Mime PLF or Mountain Ring. Four retreat cost is poor, 110 HP is fair for a Stage 1 and Grass Weakness is not exactly ideal since VirGen (a Grass deck) is very popular. So how has Whiscash managed to make Number 5 on this list? It is because it is the best non-EX, lowest stage, Alpha Growth Pokémon availaible.
Whiscash can be teched into Aromatisse decks, Dragonite EX decks or any other deck that can move around energies and/or requires large quantities of energies to be on the field. The Alpha Growth Ancient Trait also works with Special Energies, which is particularly useful for Aromatisse decks as they run Rainbow Energies. (These rainbow energies also mean that you can attack with Whiscash, which may be beneficial against Pyroar).
Card Number 4: Camerupt EX
Good for one thing and one thing only, smashing Pokémon to oblivion with Eruption Jet. There are many ways for you to get those Fire Energies on the field (note that the Energies that you discard do not have to be attached to Camerupt EX) – Whiscash (see above), Emboar LT, Blacksmith (FFire), etc. Whilst Eruption Jet is costly and rather linear/predictable, it has the potential to OHKO any Pokémon; thus it has the capabilities to win you the game in as little as three turns, once you get set up.
Camerupt EX decks may run into Energy problems. That is, to KO a Mega Pokémon will require 5 Energy Cards. If you do not want to discard Energies off Camerupt, that means you will need to have nine Energies on the field! This is a lot. Having said that, discarding the Fire Energies off Camerupt will make it harder for Yveltal EX and Mewtwo EX to deal large amounts of damage to Camerupt.
Nevertheless, this card will be a blast. 😛
Card Number 3: M Gardevoir EX
M Gardevoir EX is sort of like a fusion between M Aggron EX and Camerupt EX (see above for both). It is like M Aggron EX in that Fairy Decks have been waiting for a better higher HP Pokémon with high power. Previous iterations of Fairy decks have included M Kangaskhan (FFire) or M Manectric EX (PF), but now they will have their own type of Pokémon; and one that is more powerful to boot too.
M Gardevoir EX is then like Camerupt EX in that it needs large quantities of Energies on the field in order to deal massive damage. These Energies can be supplied via Whiscash (see above) or Xerneas (XY) and, of course, by normal energy attachments. This, combined with Aromatisse’s Fairy Transfer, should make it relatively easy to accumulate Fairy Energies on the field and to power up M Gardevoir EX.
Card Number 2: Archie’s Ace in the Hole and Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick
Imagine getting a Blastoise PLB out on the first turn? Or how about playing an evolution card without having to worry about the previous Stages or relevant Items such as Rare Candy or Spirit Link cards? You just need to be able to have Archie’s Ace in the Hole or Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick as the only card in your hand.
Card Number 1: Primal Kyogre EX
High HP, a solid attack and reasonably easy to set up makes Primal Kyogre EX the “best” card in the set. 150 damage is to be expected for a four Energy on an EX. Unlike other Pokémon-EX’s attacks, Tidal Storm has not one, but two beneficial side effects. The 30 damage to Benched EXes makes it possible for Primal Kyogre EX to KO other EX Pokémon, especially with control support such as Lysandre. For example, in a given turn you deal 150 damage to an Active Pokémon-EX and 30 damage to a Benched Pokémon-EX. Next turn, you play Lysandre to pull up the Benched Pokémon-EX and hit it for 150, and deal 30 damage to the previous Active EX. Since most EXes have 170-180HP, you would have just earned 4 prize cards! Whilst the benched damage is only to EX Pokémon, the 150 frontal damage is enough to OHKO most non-EX Pokémon, which will be particularly annoying for Stage 1 and Stage 2 Pokémon.
Moving two Energies to one of your Benched Pokémon is good for two reasons. Firstly, it means that popular Pokémon like Yveltal EX and Mewtwo EX will deal 40 less damage than what they could have dealt to you. Secondly, in the case that Priamal Kyogre EX is knocked out, you will still have the two Energies in play. Furthermore, due to the Alpha Growth Ancient Trait, it is very easy to replenish Primal Kyogre with Energies each turn (provided you have the Energies in your hand).
Finally, Kyogre also has access to a Kyogre Spirit Link card, providing a way for Primal Reversion to occur without ending your turn.
So what do you think? Does this list match what you thought the top 15 was, or do you believe some other Pokémon should be on here?