by Phoenix Desertsong
Originally printed in Dissension, Aethermage’s Touch is a very curious instant. The very fact that it is an instant, however, is what makes it fairly valuable. At any point, you may pay 2UW (2, blue, white) to cast this card and reveal the top four cards of your deck. You may choose a creature card from among those four and put it onto the battlefield. At the beginning of your end step, you return that creature to its owner’s hand. Any other cards are put to the bottom of the deck in any order.
What’s especially good about this card is that you can play it during an opponent’s end step and be able to attack with it during your turn, all the while getting any enter the battlefield abilities. Combined with other cards, it can actually set off some interesting combos. In any case, that creature goes back to your hand at the end of your next end step, so you still get to keep it as long as it doesn’t die or isn’t exiled before then.
Aethermage’s Touch can allow you to toss an otherwise much more expensive creature onto the battlefield. If you find ways to reuse this card or its effect, it can be pretty valuable. The best way to abuse Aethermage’s Touch is to be able to “blink” the creature that is summoned with its effect, meaning to remove it from play and have it return to play at the end step with a card like Conjurer’s Closet or the effect of Venser, the Sojourner or Nephalia Smuggler.
The card actually saw a bit of play during Ravnica Block constructed when Momentary Blink was in Standard, which doesn’t even wait until the End Step. So if you summon the right creature with Aethermage’s Touch, it can provide a ton of value if combined with “blink” cards. Used correctly, it’s a sweet little combo trick, but not quite as sweet in Commander as it was in its Standard heyday.
Magic the Gathering (MTG) Modern Event Deck – March of the Multitudes Deck Review
When the day came for the highly-anticipated Modern Event Deck to be revealed, it turned out that the deck list was indeed the Black/White Token deck that had been expected. While it had some nice little surprises in it, overall, people ripped it apart. But is it as bad as people thought?
Here’s the list:
4 Caves of Koilos
2 City of Brass
4 Isolated Chapel
1 Vault of the Archangel
4 Windbrisk Heights
2 Soul Warden
3 Tidehollow Sculler
NON-CREATURE SPELLS (31)
3 Honor of the Pure
2 Inquisition of Kozilek
4 Intangible Virtue
4 Lingering Souls
3 Path to Exile
4 Raise the Alarm
2 Shrine of Loyal Legions
4 Spectral Procession
1 Sword of Feast and Famine
3 Zealous Persecution
1 Elspeth, Knight-Errant
2 Burrenton Forge-Tender
2 Ghost Quarter
3 Kataki, War’s Wage
3 Relic of Progenitus
First of all, let us consider what the spoiler from a couple of months ago told us. We were expecting Elspeth, Knight-Errant, Intangible Virtue, and Honor of the Pure. What is missing is Hero of Bladehold. This is okay, because of what it was replaced with:
Considering that this deck had an original MSRP of about $75, it’s great to see a card with a high value like Sword of Feast and Famine in a deck. It obviously fits the deck quite well. It also somewhat makes up for the lack of fetch-lands in the deck.
Speaking of fetch-lands, let’s look over the no-fetch mana base.
A full play-set of the white-black “pain” land will help you fix for your colored mana, plus two City of Brass. A full play-set of Isolated Chapel, the white/black “buddy” land will help you also fix without the need for pinging yourself for life, as long as you control a Plains or Swamp. There are 5 plains and 4 swamps to complement them. In addition, there is a Vault of the Archangel, with which you can tap for 2WB to give your creatures deathtouch and lifelink until end of turn. There is also a full play-set of Windbrisk Heights, a rather useful card with Hideaway. Whatever card gets put under it can be cast for a single white mana and a tap, providing that you have attacked with at least three creatures in a given turn.
Overall, it’s not a bad mana base, although I would replace the two City of Brass and at least one plains and one swamp for a full play-set of Godless Shrine. It is, at least, a functional mana base.
Being in a deck with only five creatures, it would make sense that Soul Warden would comprise a couple of those spots. With all of the tokens that this deck generates, Soul Warden will help you keep your life total high. Note that she also gives you life for opponents’ creatures entering the battlefield, as well. There’s a reason that Soul Sisters can be difficult to beat. Many burn decks and aggro decks hate this card, although Skullcrack and Flames of the Blood Hand do exist, as well as the Leyline of Punishment, to counteract these effects. Of course, with only two Soul Warden in the deck, in those match-ups, the Wardens can easily slip out for something in the sideboard.
An old white/black favorite, sure to see even more play in the near-future in Modern with the existence of Athreos, God of Passage, Tidehollow Sculler deprives your opponent of a non-land card until the Sculler leaves the battlefield. It’s a very solid two-drop that compliments the other hand disruption in this deck quite nicely.
Let’s move on to the meat of the deck, the non-creature spells!
The three copies of Honor of the Pure, which pumps all of your white creatures by +1/+1 are an obvious inclusion, as are the full play-set of Intangible Virtue, which gives all tokens +1/+1. Being able to stack multiple copies of this card on the board is key to this deck’s success.
As many speculated, there are also two copies of Inquisition of Kozilek in the deck. It’s yet another way to disrupt your opponents’ hands of their early plays, giving you time to build up your forces on the board while they recover. There are also 3 copies of Zealous Persecution, an instant which gives your creatures +1/+1 and your opponents’ creatures -1/-1 until end of turn, making combats a bit tricky for your opponent.
As for tokens, there is a full suite available. A full-playset of Lingering Souls, with its Flashback ability, is an absolute must. It’s joined by a full-playset of Raise the Alarm, which creates two 1/1 white soldiers for only 1W. There’s also a full play-set of Spectral Procession, which makes 3 flying tokens.
There’s also a couple of copies of a fun card from New Phyrexia, Shrine of Loyal Legions. The cool part about this card is that so much of the deck is comprised of white spells. Each time you cast a white spell (which includes the dual-colored spells) it gains a charge counter. You can pay 3 and sacrifice the Shrine and put a 1/1 colorless Myr artifact creature token onto the field for each charge counter that had been on the Shrine. This can potentially be a lot of token generation.
The deck also contains 3 Path to Exile, which is a very pricey removal card nowadays.
Now onto one of the main win conditions of the deck, my favorite card in all of Magic: the Gathering:
Elspeth, Knight-Errant should need no introductions. Both of her +1 abilities are fantastic, and her ultimate ability, her -8, gives you an emblem that basically wins you the game. Making more tokens, then making them fly over opponent’s creatures is always fun. And making everything indestructible is pretty good, too. You also will have enough blockers to protect her, meaning that her potential of going ultimate is actually pretty high if they don’t deal with her outside of combat.
Overall, the main deck looks quite playable. Let’s look over the sideboard:
Here’s a card you don’t typically see, two copies of Burrenton Forge-Tender. Obviously, this card exists to help in match-ups against mono-red decks. I’m pretty sure by design that these are meant to replace the two copies of main-board Soul Warden in those match-ups. The cool thing about Forge-Tender is that it can prevent damage from any red source, including board-wipes like Anger of the Gods (the bane of this deck’s existence) and Blasphemous Act. Speaking of Blasphemous Act, in those Boros builds that include Boros Reckoner, that damage isn’t dealt to the Reckoners, either, saving you at least 13 points of damage from that card’s ability. Solid little sideboard option here.
Most of the remaining side-board cards are self-explanatory. Dismember deals with big threats, Duress gives you more hand-destruction, Ghost Quarter gives you some land destruction ability against greedy mana-bases and Relic of Progenitus helps stop graveyard shenanigans.
The last card in the sideboard is a very useful card called Kataki, War’s Wage. Three copies exist in this sideboard. Essentially what it does is make all artifacts have an upkeep cost of 1 mana. This obviously can be quite problematic for Affinity and Tron decks in the format. It also has a negative interaction with the Shrine of Loyal Legions, but those can come out when this card is boarded in. It’s nice to have three copies included.
Overall, this deck looks fairly solid. Black/white tokens are a deck that doesn’t necessarily need the fetch-lands to function. Of course, four Marsh Flats and the four Godless Shrine would be nice, but the pain-lands do suffice in this case. Besides, the pain from the fetch-lands and the shock-lands coming in untapped is very similar, and you’re gaining life back from Soul Warden in many cases anyhow.
I think as a gateway deck into the format, there’s nothing wrong with Wizard’s first attempt. Is it worth the $75 MSRP? I would say most likely. Since card price numbers can fluctuate over time, I won’t break it down here, but the cards did add up to well over $75 at the deck's release, if you consider median prices for these cards (double that, in fact!) Unfortunately, as the decks did not sell as well as anticipated, many hobby shops and card stores broke them down to sell the individual cards, deflating the value of many of the cards included. However, the original printings of the cards have maintained their values a bit better due to the fact that the Modern Event Deck cards have a separate set symbol, fortunately.
While I certainly am happy to see the Sword in here, Hero of Bladehold may have made more sense. It’s clear that Wizards wants to give it the “Bang for its Buck” without having speculators buying them all up, thus making them inaccessible to players trying to enter the format. For what it’s meant to be, it’s pretty good, and it’s put copies of some harder-to-get cards out there more readily available without flooding the market too much.
I can why see this didn't sell quite as well as some might have first suspected, but I think the Modern Event Deck is a worthy start to what will hopefully be a long line of event decks for the Modern Format.
by Phoenix Desertsong, The Prose Machine
As a female Magic player, I was truly saddened at the passing of our beloved Elspeth Tirel in the conclusion of the Theros story-line. While I'm certainly a fan of Nissa Revane, who may be more than a little too elvish for me, there is no other female planeswalker that I have truly bonded with over the years that I've been playing Magic.
As I started around the time of Lorwyn, I am very familiar with Chandra Nalaar and Liliana Vess. But while I certainly love Chandra's style and Liliana's abilities in her various incarnations, no female planeswalker has ever screamed out to me the way that Elspeth Tirel did as a true champion.
But with the new Commander 2014 decks now available to us, I finally get to play with who became my favorite planeswalker ever upon her spoiling. That is, our good old friend the Stoneforge Mystic: Nahiri, the Lithomancer.
The five planeswalkers that are featured in Commander 2014 are each able to be used as your Commander. This obviously could lead to quite the shenanigans. While I will very much likely go into greater depth about the friends joining Nahiri in her quest to become a powerful White Commander, Nahiri herself will be the primary focus of my musings here today.
Let's take a look at her loyalty-based abilities, shall we?
Her +2: Put a 1/1 white Kor Soldier creature token onto the battlefield. You may attach an Equipment you control to it.
This is an extremely solid ability. Nahiri begins her sojourn on your battlefield with 3 loyalty counters, so being able to gain 2 loyalty counters right away to bring her to 5 is very useful. Also, not only do you get a creature token that counts as a Kor and a Soldier, you also get to attach any stray Equipment you have lying about to that token. With the sort of deck that Nahiri will be commanding - as she is indeed the Stoneforge Mystic - you can imagine that equipments will be plentiful in your arsenal.
Her - 2: You may put an Equipment card from your hand or graveyard onto the battlefield.
Who doesn't love to recycle? I know that I do, being one of the greatest advocates for reuse, upcycling, et al in my "real" life. It's tricky to put her down to only 1 loyalty if you decide to use this ability right off the bat. It's likely you'll have other ways to recur your Equipments, but not necessarily directly onto the battlefield. Being able to choose from your hand or graveyard and place that choice directly onto the battlefield is very powerful. But as your Commander, I would think it unwise to depend on this particular abilities. I would only use it in dire circumstances, or if Nahiri is supplementing your deck, rather than Commanding it.
Finally her ultimate! -10: Put a colorless Equipment artifact token named Stoneforged Blade onto the battlefield. It has indestructible, “Equipped creature gets +5/+5 and has double strike,” and equip 0
Yes, that says equip 0. You can equip the Stoneforged Blade to any creature for free. Who doesn't want to give somebody +5/+5 and double strike. It will take time to build up to this ultimate ability, of course, but not only is that an extremely broken Equipment, but it is also indestructible. The only way you can deal with it is to exile it.
Overall, Nahiri is a pretty wicked planeswalker even at a casting cost of 5 mana (3WW). SHe is heavily equipment-based, of course, but that's why I love her so much. I've always loved equipment. Her +2 combines beautifully with cards like Skullclamp, which will kill your token but net you two cards from your deck. Just use that a few times, go for her ultimate ability and go to town with your best creature. I love Nahiri, and while she may not be my Commander on many occasions, her flavor, my love of artifacts (especially Equipments) and her amazing beauty will make her a Planeswalker that will forever remain close to my heart.
by Phoenix Desertsong
Much ado has been made about the Slivers from the Magic 2015 (M15) Core Set. Are they good? Actually, yes, they are all actually quite good. The only trouble is that there is only one in each color, plus Sliver Hive, and the Legendary Creature Sliver Hivelord. Today, we’ll take a look at each of them and see just how good each of them is, in WUBRG (White, Blue, Black, Red, Green) order.
When it comes to Constricting Sliver, six mana for a 3/3 creature is a lot for Constructed. It has a great effect, though, turning all of your Slivers into Banisher Priests. It does have some good synergy with commonly played Slivers in Commander. But for Standard and Modern, it’s fairly highly costed. It’s a good addition to to the Sliver toolbox, but not one that really should see any play outside of “kitchen table” Magic or Commander.
Diffusion Sliver is one of the better Magic 2015 Slivers by far. It’s a bit similar to a Sliver from Time Spiral called Opaline Sliver. With that Sliver, you got to draw a card whenever a Sliver was targeted by a spell an opponent controlled.
With Diffusion Sliver, you get to counter a spell or ability an opponent controls that targets a Sliver unless its controller pays 2 colorless mana. These abilities stack as well, meaning if you have two copies of Diffusion Sliver, an opponent has to pay 4 mana. In Modern, this wouldn’t get around Abrupt Decay (which is also still in Standard until October 2014), but overall this card is a great way to protect your key Slivers from being targeted by removal. It’s one of the best of the bunch by far, and definitely Constructed playable.
Leeching Sliver is another strong Sliver from Magic 2015 that doesn’t look strong on the surface. It’s a 1/1 for 1B that says “Whenever a Sliver you control attacks, defending player loses 1 life.” Like Diffusion Sliver these effects stack. I did have this to say about Leeching Sliver previously:
“It has been mentioned by some players that Thorncaster Sliver is already in Standard and does pretty much the same job as Leeching Sliver, and in fact, is able to make Slivers deal damage to creatures as well. However, Thorncaster Sliver is 5 mana. Leeching Sliver is two mana, and their abilities stack as separate instances. So Leeching Sliver is overall a far more aggressive card and even though it’s only a 1/1, Thorncaster is merely a 2/2.”
I definitely like this card over the Thorncaster Sliver. As a two-drop, it may be fairly easy to remove, but it also is going to help deal its fair share of damage before it’s gone.
Belligerent Sliver is a fairly strong card that essentially acts as a Goblin War Drums for all of your Slivers. This means that any of your Slivers cannot be blocked except by two or more creatures. This is a very powerful effect.
However, this effect actually did exist on a previous Sliver: Two-Headed Sliver, which cost one mana less at 1R. The difference is that prior to the Magic 2014 re-imagining of Slivers, all Slivers affected all Slivers on the board. That was a common from Time Spiral, so for Modern purposes, that card is actually better unless you’re in a Slivers mirror-match – which is not incredibly common in the Modern meta-game. It’s probably worth running in Standard, though.
While deathtouch is not a new ability for Slivers, Magic 2015’s Venom Sliver is a definite improvement over Toxin Sliver, a rare from Legions that cost 3B to play for a 3/3. It gave all Slivers deathtouch, not just your own, but was created before Deathtouch was keyworded. Venom Sliver only affects your own Slivers and is much more cost-effective at 1G. It’s highly Constructed playable. That isn’t to say that Toxin Sliver is bad – it’s still extremely good. But it’s four mana, and not Modern playable, only Legacy-playable. (Doesn’t stop it from being about $12, though.) In Commander, it will pair well with Venom Sliver, a format in which redundancy is perfectly fine. But for Constructed Slivers, Venom Sliver definitely wins here.
Sliver Hivelord is easily an auto-include in any Sliver Commander deck. Still, he isn’t quite the Commander that the other three 5-color Sliver Legendary Creatures in Sliver Legion, Sliver Overlord, or Sliver Queen are. The Legion and Queen, however, are quite pricey money-wise, and Overlord himself is about $20 USD. Also, only the Legion is Modern-playable, and he would definitely be played considering he’s a 7/7 for 5 mana (WUBRG) and the weight of his effect: “All Sliver creatures get +1/+1 for each other Sliver in play.”
That being said, making all Slivers you control indestructible is huge, especially in a Slivers mirror match-up – unlikely, but possible. Being able to survive most board-wipes definitely helps your cause. He’s also currently the least expensive of all of the Sliver Legendaries (at this time). He is definitely a potential Commander, but his best place is in Constructed.
Lastly we have the Sliver-friendly land, Sliver Hive.
Modern already has Cavern of Souls and Ancient Ziggurat to help cast Slivers, but having yet another play-set of a land that fixes mana for any of your Slivers very much helps. In Standard, Sliver Hive and Mana Confluence is all you really have. The fact that it also can tap for 1 colorless mana is a nice bonus, and the third ability to create a 1/1 colorless Sliver creature token for 5 mana is just a nice little bonus you can use as a mana sink (as long as you control a Sliver, that is.) It’s a very strong non-basic land, even though its usage is so narrow.
Magic 2014 had a bunch of Slivers, too. So when these Magic 2015 slivers arrived, Slivers would appear to be a playable deck in Standard. There was Galerider Sliver at a single Blue mana able to give all of your Slivers flying, and Manaweft Sliver at 1G to help all your Slivers become five-color mana rocks. You also had Predatory Sliver at 1G to give all of your Slivers +1/+1 and Blur Sliver to give all of your Slivers haste. To top it all off, you had Bonescythe Sliver at 3W to give all of your Slivers double strike. All things considered, you could have an extremely nasty Sliver list. You even have Obelisk of Urd in Magic 2015 to help with Tribal! It’s 6 mana but it has Convoke and gives all creatures of the chosen type you control +2/+2.
So are the Slivers good in Magic 2015? I would say that Constricting Sliver is only Commander playable, and Two-Headed Sliver may be a bit better than Belligerent Sliver in Modern. Until October 2014, there was some potential for Slivers to make some noise. But after the arrival of the Khans of Tarkir block, these few Slivers became a curiosity in Standard. Most of these Slivers are quite Modern-playable, though. They have all definitely strengthened Slivers in the Commander format. Five of them are also uncommon, which makes them easier to get, and the Hive is only a rare in a Core Set.
I like that Wizards put these new Slivers into the Magic 2015 Core Set, but it felt like a plant for Casual Constructed more than anything else. Slivers are not really a viable draft strategy in M15 Limited because there simply aren’t enough of them and there aren’t any at common. I do like all of the Slivers overall, however, and I’m excited to see them potentially start showing up in Modern on a more competitive basis. I love the tribe, and I wish they would bring back their original “hive-mind” flavor of affecting all Slivers, but I’ll live with these. After all, it’s always better when you get to enjoy the effects and not your opponents.
Final verdict: Magic 2015's Slivers are good. They made only a slight impact in Standard, though, with a very limited window in which to actually provide much value. But these few Slivers definitely gave deck builders in Modern and other formats more ammo to play with.
Pokemon Memories - Raichu
by Phoenix A. Desertsong, Staff Writer, Healer & Advocate
Back when I was younger, Pikachu was the most popular Pokemon in the world. I never really minded Pikachu, but I wouldn't say it was one of my favorites. To be fair, I just never figured out why Raichu wasn't more popular than he was.
I realize that Raichu has plenty of fans, but I would've been so happy to see Ash have a Raichu, even if it was in addition to Pikachu. I understand that Pikachu has sold a lot of Pokemon games and merchandise just by itself. But still, Raichu is a far superior Pokemon. If Ash's Pikachu had become a Raichu, Ash would've probably become the most unstoppable force on the planet. He would've broken Pokemon.
Raichu has always been one of my favorite team members while playing the games. He was usually the Pokemon I used more than any other when I played the original Red and Blue. It bugged me in Pokemon Yellow when I couldn't get him to be a Raichu!
Sadly, as time went on, Raichu was on my team less and less because of availability. Over time, I ended up having another electric-type favorite. Still, Raichu will always have a special place in my heart. The amount of pure raw energy that guy can put out is absolutely ridiculous. If I could have any Pokemon in real life, Raichu would be a top candidate.
Photo credit: Bulbapedia
Pokemon Memories - Misdreavus
by Phoenix A. Desertsong, Staff Writer, Healer & Advocate
While Misdreavus is a second-generation Pokemon, I didn't really like her much until third-generation. I say her because every Misdreavus I've ever had was female. It's not that I disliked her; she was fine. It's just that she was very rare in the original Gold and Silver games. I didn't catch one until Diamond and Pearl came out (actually) and by then she had an evolution: Mismagius.
The reason I came to like her in third-generation Pokemon was because of an old browser-based game called Pokemon Crater. It doesn't exist anymore because Nintendo apparently shut them down for copyright reasons. From how I understand it, though, they gave the creators of the site money to sell them the domain name. If you try to go to pokemoncrater.com now, it goes directly to the Nintendo website.
On this game, there was a bug where you could train ghost Pokemon all the way from level 1 to 100. It had to do with one of the Elite Four Trainers, Bruno. Because only one of his Pokemon, Hitmonchan, had an attack that could hit ghosts, you could literally grind a level 1 Gastly to a level 100 Gengar just by fighting Bruno. It was very silly.
I had teams of Gengars, Dusclops, Bannettes, Sableyes, and of course, Misdreavus. Because of how easy it was to build level 100 Ghost Pokemon on Crater, they became among my favorites. But Misdreavus has a special place in my heart. I think I just really like the whole design of her, and her mischievousness and all that. Plus, it's super cute!
I really like Mismagius, but I think it looks so witchy compared to the adorable Misdreavus. Still, Mismagius is a good Pokemon that has served me well since fourth-generation, so I like her just fine, too!
Oh, how I miss Crater...
Photo Credit: http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Misdreavus
by Phoenix Desertsong, Old School Duelist
Dragonite EX easily became one of the most anticipated EX cards in the X&Y Furious Fists expansion set. It was epic to have a Dragonite EX card for the first time since way back in EX Dragon Frontiers. Sadly, this Dragonite wasn't so game-breaking as was hoped.
Still, being a Dragon-Type, this card looks awesome! He does, of course, have a 2x weakness to Fairy-type Pokemon, as with all Dragon-types. He does have an interesting Ability to consider called Bust In. When you play Dragonite EX from your hand onto your Bench, you may move any number of basic Energy attached to your Pokemon to this Pokemon. If you do, you switch him with your Active Pokemon. While that Ability is very strong, what does he then have the opportunity to attack with?
Dragonite EX only has one attack, Jet Sonic. It requires two Grass Energy and one Lightning Energy to use. It deals 80 base damage, but you may discard an Energy card to deal 40 more damage. 120 damage for only 3 Energy at the cost of discarding one is fairly decent. However, the combination of Energy required greatly limits Dragonite EX's playability. Therefore, despite being one of the more sought-after EX cards to collect from this set, he isn't getting much love in the competitive TCG atmosphere.
Fortunately, collectors have the opportunity to acquire a full-art version of this Dragonite EX card, which looks very powerful and deadly. It's unfortunate that Dragonite EX's play-ability is somewhat limited by the clunky Energy requirements.
This isn't to say that Grass and Lightning decks aren't playable - quite to the contrary. There are simply EX cards available that are a bit stronger than this one when it comes to deck-building. However, his ability to literally "Bust In" and deal some quick damage strategically is a fairly powerful move. He just doesn't have a deck that he can truly benefit.
While his limited playability kept his #74 printing relatively inexpensive, Dragonite's overall popularity has made his full-art printing popular. Either printing is a great addition to any Dragonite lovers' collection. Long-term, you definitely want to have a copy of the full-art ultra rare Dragonite EX, as they're fairly rare, even if they are still relatively inexpensive.
by Phoenix Desertsong
In addition to the powerful Lucario EX, the Pokemon X&Y Furious Fists TCG set also includes his MEGA form, M Lucario EX. With Mega Evolution, you play the Mega form over the original EX card. The one major drawback to Mega Evolution is that your turn ends as soon as you play it, meaning you cannot attack that turn. Is the benefit worth it?
Mega Lucario EX has 220 HP, which is fairly standard for Mega Evolutions. He only has one attack, but that attack is formidable. Rising Fist deals 140 damage for only 3 Fighting Energy, making it considerably better than Lucario EX’s final attack. That attack only deals 100 for 3 Fighting Energy with no additional effects. This attack also makes your opponent’s active Pokemon have to discard an Energy card attached to it.
As if Lucario EX wasn’t solid enough to begin with, his Mega form is definitely a force to be reckoned with. It's well worth being played in any deck alongside his normal form to be a destructive finisher. He not only deals major damage but also sets your opponent’s Pokemon back, as well. Without a doubt, the Furious Fists set is built around this combination of Lucario and his Mega form.
by Phoenix Desertsong, Pokemon Master
Lucario EX is one of the best cards from the Pokemon Trading Card Game Expansion Set X&Y Furious Fists. There is also a Mega Lucario EX in this set, as well. In general, Lucario is a very popular Pokemon, and his cards tend to be highly sought after by collectors.
While many Pokemon cards are collectible simply for the Pokemon depicted on them, some like this EX card are solid in Trading Card gameplay, too. Right away, you can see that this Lucario card has three attacks and 180 HP. Each of Lucario EX‘s attacks requires one more Fighting Energy than the previous attack. This allows for an easy progression through his different attacks, making him quite the formidable force right from Turn One.
Lucario EX's first attack, Missile Jab deals 30 damage, and ignores Resistance. This is important as there are a good number of Pokemon in the card game that do have Fighting Resistances. The second attack, Corkscrew Smash, not only deals 60 damage, but allows you to refresh your hand until you have 6 cards in hand. This sort of card advantage on such a damaging attack is quite formidable.
His third and final attack is Somersault Kick for 3 Fighting Energy, which deals 100 damage. It’s a fitting final attack to deal a crippling blow to a likely already weakened enemy. While it doesn’t offer anything special beyond that, 100 damage for only 3 energy with no drawback is a fairly strong attack.
While his dedication to Fighting Energy makes him not as “splash-able” in competitive decks as some other EX cards, his pure power level makes him a formidable weapon and a great EX to build a deck around. Lucario EX is both a sought after collectible as well as a powerful card for deck-building.
by R.A. Rowell; Co-Owner of Intent-sive Nature & the Brand Shamans network
Only released as a promotional card, Krookodile EX packs quite a bunch for a card that you can get out of a promotional package. Like all of today’s EX Pokemon cards, he is a Basic Pokemon. He has a fairly standard 180 HP. This Krookodile has two attacks, Second Bite and Megaton Fang. Krookodile does have -20 resistance to Psychic Pokemon, and like most Dark Pokemon a 2x weakness to Fighting Pokemon
His first attack, Second Bite, requires one Dark energy and two colorless energy. It deals 40 base damage, but does 10 more damage for each damage counter on your opponent’s Active Pokemon. This can make Krookodile’s first attack quite deadly if you’re dealing with an already wounded foe.
Megaton Fang costs 2 Dark energy and 2 colorless energy for 130 base damage, which is slightly above average. However, it does require you to discard a card as additional cost to attack, making the little bit of extra damage a bit more costly.
While he’s not exactly a highly competitive EX Pokemon card, Krookodile EX is fairly powerful and could find some Modified play at some point if the right deck emerges for it. Otherwise, it’s just a really cool card to have as part of the collection, as it only has the one printing.
by Phoenix Desertsong
Heracross EX may not be the strongest EX card in the X&Y Furious Fists set. But this Heracross is not a bad card at all considering that it’s only a Basic Pokemon. Having 170 HP, this Grass-type Pokemon has two useful attacks: Guard Press and Giga Power. The 2x weakness to Fire-type Pokemon is fairly standard for Grass-types, as well.
Guard Press does require a Grass Energy as well as a Colorless energy to use, making it a bit of a slower starter than some other EX Pokemon. It deals 40 damage and during your opponent’s next turn, any damage dealt to Heracross EX is reduced by 20 damage after applying Weakness and Resistance. This can make him a decent little tank.
His second attack, Giga Power, requires two Grass Energies and one Colorless Energy. It deals 80 base damage, but can deal 40 more damage if you deal 20 damage to Heracross. 120 damage for 3 energy is perfectly acceptable.
Heracross EX also gets to enjoy a Mega Evolution in this set, along with Lucario EX, of course. Like all Mega Evolutions, you must end your turn upon playing it, meaning that you lose the ability to attack in that same turn. Mega Heracross EX has 220 HP, fairly standard for a Mega Evolution. His attack is very brutal, two Grass Energy and one colorless Energy for 180 base damage. However, he loses 10 damage for each damage counter on him. Still, that’s a very powerful attack, and well worth the Mega Evolution.
Overall, Heracross EX is a solid EX card. His Mega form is also something to be reckoned with. If you see a Heracross EX hit the table, deal as much damage as you can to him before his Mega form comes down! Along with his Mega form, Heracross EX is definitely worth of being at the heart of a competitive deck!
by Phoenix Desertsong
Hawlucha EX is a very cool card, and it’s become a very popular Pokemon in the X&Y video games, as well. This Hawlucha card does have some interesting stats. It only has 130 HP, which is a bit low for an EX Pokemon. But considering that it is ordinarily a Basic Pokemon, that’s still a healthy number.
Hawlucha’s main plus is its ability: Counterattack. If Hawlucha EX is your Active Pokemon and is damaged by an opponent’s attack, even if that attack would knock it out, you put 2 damage counters on the Attacking Pokemon. That’s a pretty sweet ability.
Its lone attack, Moonsault Stomp, costs 1 Fighting Energy and 2 colorless energy, and deals 60 base damage. If there is a Stadium card in play, it deals 40 more damage. 100 damage for a 3 energy attack is OK, but having to rely on a Stadium card means that Hawlucha EX’s overall play-ability is a bit limited.
However, Hawlucha EX does have a couple things going for it.
Skyarrow Bridge is a Stadium card that is quite playable, and has seen play in a good number of decks. Also, being a Fighting Pokemon, Hawlucha EX is a perfect counter to Darkrai EX, who has been very strong in competitive play.
Another thing that Hawlucha EX has going for it is that instead of a weakness to Psychic, like many Fighting-type Pokemon, it instead has Electric weakness. Also, being a flying type Pokemon in the games, Hawlucha EX has a -20 Resistance to other Fighting-type Pokemon.
There are some players already looking for ways to integrate this Hawlucha EX card into their decks. Overall, Hawlucha is just a really cool Pokemon card, and is yet another EX card that many players and collectors will be happy to add to their collections.
by ElspethFTW, Old School Duelist
Seismitoad EX is a very powerful EX card from the X&Y Furious Fists Expansion Set. Like most EX cards that would ordinarily be a Stage 2 Pokemon, it has 180 HP as a Basic Pokemon. It has 2x weakness to Grass-type Pokemon and a retreat cost of 3.
Seismitoad has two good attacks. The first, Quaking Punch, requires 2 Colorless Energy (or a Double Colorless Energy) and deals 30 base damage. However, it also prevents your opponent from playing any Item cards from his or her hand during his or her next turn. That can definitely serve as a drawback for your opponent.
The second attack, Grenade Hammer, costs 2 Water Energy and a Colorless Energy. It deals 130 base damage, which is already powerful. However, it also deals 30 damage to 2 of your Benched Pokemon, so there’s fairly serious backlash for using it. Because of Seismitoad EX’s raw power, however, and being a Basic Pokemon, it’s possible that the damage to your Benched Pokemon may be well worth the impact of Grenade Hammer on your opponent.
Its first attack also combines fairly well with the Garbodor from Dragons Exalted:
With plenty of Tool Cards out there to put on Garbodor, it will be easy to shut down all Pokemon Abilities – except for Garbotoxin, that is. With Seismitoad locking out Item cards until delivering a final blow with the Grenade Hammer, this could prove to be a fairly decent lock-down, as your Pokemon in such a deck will not be ones that worry about abilities.
Seismitoad EX is an excellent and powerful EX Pokemon card for your Deck, as long as you build around it carefully. There is also a full-art version of it available, as well. As far as pulls from this set are concerned, Seismitoad EX is definitely one of the best cards you can get.
Gengar EX and Mega Gengar EX from Pokemon X&Y Phantom Forces - Pokemon TCG Card Reviews
by Phoenix Desertsong
Gengar EX, not to be confused with the Gengar EX from EX Fire Red & Leaf Green, is an EX-Pokemon from the X&Y Expansion, Phantom Forces. There's also a full-art version of this edition of Gengar EX. Like all of the newer EX Pokemon, Gengar EX is a Basic Pokemon, whereas Gengar is ordinarily a Stage 2 Pokemon. He has 170 HP, which is a bit below average for newer Pokemon, but he does have the -20 Resistance to Fighting. However, he also has the times 2 weakness to Dark type Pokemon’s attacks.
One of the best things about Gengar EX is that his attacks are not Energy-intensive. His first attack costs a colorless Energy, Night Attack, and it puts 3 damage counters on one of your opponent’s Pokemon. This gets around any Resistance and you can assign the damage to opponent’s Benched Pokemon, which can be very useful if they have a weak Basic Pokemon on their bench.
Gengar's EX's second attack, Dark Corridor, costs only a single Psychic energy and two Colorless Energy. It deals only 60 base damage, but it Poisons your opponent’s Active Pokemon, essentially allowing this attack to do much more. However, Gengar EX must switch out after using Dark Corridor.
Overall, this looks to be a pretty good Pokemon. It can attack right from the get-go and its ability to Poison an opponent and run is fairly good, especially if you have a big beater to switch into. But that’s not all. There’s a Mega Evolution for this guy.
Mega Gengar EX has 220 HP, which is a very high number, indeed. Unfortunately like all Mega Evolutions, your turn ends upon playing him. But he only has a retreat cost of 1, unlike regular Gengar EX which has a retreat cost of 2.
His attack is incredibly interesting. It costs one Psychic energy and two Colorless Energy, just like Gengar EX’s Dark Corridor attack. You get to choose 1 of your opponent’s Pokemon’s attacks and use it as this attack. That’s pretty silly, considering that you ignore any energy requirements for it.
This guy could just win you the game out of nowhere if deployed correctly. The only downside is that if your opponent brings out a Pokemon without any really good attacks, Mega Gengar EX isn’t too good. But his retreat cost is so cheap, why not play him?
Gengar EX and Mega Gengar EX are a great pair of EX cards. They are very playable and are a force to build around.
Photo credits: Bulbapedia
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