EX FireRed & LeafGreen Strategy
30 Sep, 2009
Old favorites join amazing new cards in EX FireRed & LeafGreen!
Now that the 112 cards of EX FireRed & LeafGreen have arrived, it's time to give a big "welcome back" to many of your favorite Pokémon! From the humble Shellder to the mighty Charizard ex, you'll now be able to use even more of your favorites in your battles! Some of these Pokémon bring group-based techniques into your strategies. Others modify the normal rules of Special Conditions, and some of them have strange but useful abilities. Not only are some classic Pokémon back again, but some classic Trainer cards are back as well. What new strengths have the cards in EX FireRed & LeafGreen brought to the Pokémon TCG?
The Big Three
Three of the most popular Stage 2 Pokémon ever are now Pokémon-ex! Their size, power, and abilities allow them to dominate the flow of any match. Venusaur ex and Blastoise ex are good team players, and Charizard ex is unmatched on its own. One of them is sure to fit your playing style!
Taken on their own merits, Venusaur ex's attacks are impressive. Its Pollen Hazard attack can Poison, Burn, and Confuse an opponent, and its Solarbeam attack can do 90 damage. However, Venusaur ex's Energy Trans Poké-Power is the most useful piece of its arsenal. Energy Trans allows you to move Grass Energy to and from any of your Pokémon! Energy Trans gives you the flexibility to move your Grass Energy cards to any Pokémon that need them. You can even move around Special Energy cards like Double Rainbow Energy or Multi Energy when the rules on the cards allow it!
Blastoise ex is similar to Venusaur ex in that it has a great attack and a versatile Poké-Power. Blastoise ex's Hyper Whirlpool attack does 80 damage, and it may also drain the Defending Pokémon of its Energy cards, so it can't counterattack! Meanwhile, Blastoise ex's Energy Rain Poké-Power will allow you to attach multiple basic Water Energy cards from your hand to your Pokémon in one turn, at the cost of adding a little bit of damage to them. If you mix a Blastoise ex with cards like Energy Search or Team Magma/Aqua Conspirator, your hand can contain a lot of Energy pretty quickly. The resulting storm will sweep away your opponent's team!
Charizard ex is one of the most powerful Pokémon cards ever released! Charizard ex's Burn Down attack does 200 damage, which is enough to Knock Out any Pokémon! Even better, Burn Down ignores ANY and EVERY possible defense that the Defending Pokémon has, whether it is a Poké-Body, a Pokémon Tool like Buffer Piece, Metal Energy, Resistance... ANYTHING! You can even Knock Out Pokémon that are normally immune to attacks by Pokémon-ex, such as Wobbuffet, Ninetales, and the new Dewgong. The only way a Pokémon could reduce the damage would be if its attack could put a damage-reducing effect on Charizard ex, and no Pokémon like that is currently available (and it probably wouldn't have enough HP to survive, anyway...). Burn Down does have one major drawback: it requires you to discard five Energy attached to Charizard ex. That's not as bad as it sounds, though: first of all, there are ways to attach more than one Energy card to Charizard ex, such as Venusaur ex or Blastoise ex. Second, Charizard ex has a second attack, Slash, that does 50 damage, so you don't have to use Burn Down all the time.
Help Is On The Way!
There's often strength in numbers, and with certain Pokémon in EX FireRed & LeafGreen, having lots of similar Pokémon can make your team stronger! With these Pokémon, each one of your teammates can help the others.
If you've ever seen an angry hive of bees, you'll already recognize the value of multiple Beedrills. Beedrill's Link Needle attack does 50 damage, plus 30 more damage for each Beedrill in play (excluding the attacker). If you manage to get four Beedrills in play, a single Beedrill can do 140 damage for just three Energy! If your opponent also has Beedrills, the carnage goes off the charts!
Victreebel can be extremely dangerous in a 2-on-2 Battle. If both of your Active Pokémon are Victreebel, your opponent must place one damage counter on each of the Defending Pokémon between each turn! And since Victreebel's attack prevents the target from Retreating, your Victreebel can trap and eventually Knock Out your opponent's Pokémon!
Nidoqueen and Nidoking prove that families can work very well together. Nidoqueen reduces the Retreat Cost of Nidoran (male), Nidoran (female), Nidorino, Nidoking, and Nidorina to zero, so you can easily swap out your injured Pokémon for fresh ones. Nidoking increases the damage of attacks by Nidoran (male), Nidoran (female), Nidorino, Nidorina, and Nidoqueen by 10. Furthermore, Nidoqueen's Power Lariat does 40 damage plus 10 more damage for each Evolved Pokémon in play, including itself, and Nidorina has the ability to pull two Evolution cards out of your deck each turn, so Nidoqueen is strongest when her family backs her up! And strong she is... she can do up to 100 damage for just three Energy!
Searching For The Answer
EX FireRed & LeafGreen provides your Pokémon with improved ways to get all of the cards you need out of your deck and into your hand.
With Exeggutor's Psychic Exchange attack, you can shuffle your hand into your deck and draw eight cards. When you get to draw that many cards, the odds of getting a card you need are really high.
Nidoran (female) and Nidorina speed up your evolution lines, especially for Stage 2 Pokémon. Nidoran (female) lets you reveal your deck and take the first Basic Pokémon. Nidorina lets you search your deck for two Evolution cards. Nidorina's talent is helpful on its own, but when used to augment Nidoqueen's Power Lariat attack, is invaluable!
Paras and Parasect may replace Dunsparce as the most popular way to fill your Bench with Basic Pokémon. Paras lets you search your deck for two Basic Pokémon and put them onto your Bench. When Paras evolves to Parasect, Parasect's Energy Powder attack lets you search your deck for two basic Energy cards and attach them to your Pokémon (excluding Pokémon-ex) in any way you like. Not only does this triple the speed at which you attach Energy, but you can get around the Pokémon-ex restriction in different ways. For example, you can attach the Energy to Pokémon before evolving that Pokémon to its Pokémon-ex form, or you can just use Venusaur ex to move the Energy if it's Grass Energy.
Pidgeot can guarantee that you get a card that you need each turn! That's because Pidgeot's Quick Search Poké-Power lets you search your deck for any single card. A player with a solid strategy and a deck with Pidgeot will have little trouble executing the strategy. For example, Pidgeot helps out a Blastoise ex deck by allowing you to get a Team Magma/Aqua Conspirator each turn. Pidgeot improves a Metagross deck by pulling out a Metal Energy card each turn. Pidgeot also allows you to build fun and crazy decks that would normally be considered insane to play. You could build, say, a deck with all nine types of Pokémon and four types of Stage 2 Pokémon, and you still may be able to use that deck effectively!
"Special" Special Conditions
Some of the Pokémon from EX FireRed & LeafGreen change the normal rules for Special Conditions. Even the strongest, most powerful Pokémon can now be Knocked Out by a clever player that uses Special Conditions to their fullest potential.
Snorlax makes itself Asleep with its Collapse attack. Yes, that is very odd, but very desirable as well. When Snorlax is Asleep, its Rest Up Poké-Body heals Snorlax of two damage counters between each turn! This ability makes Snorlax an excellent Pokémon for stalling tactics. Also, Snorlax's Roll Over attack does only 30 damage when Snorlax is awake, but 60 damage when Snorlax is Asleep! You'll probably want to use Relicanth (EX Hidden Legends) with Snorlax to improve your odds of keeping Snorlax Asleep.
Hypno's Poké-Body is almost the mirror of Snorlax's. When Hypno is the Active Pokémon, all Pokémon that are Asleep gain two damage counters between each turn. In a 2-on-2 Battle, Hypno and either Altaria (EX Dragon) or Wigglytuff ex (EX Hidden Legends) are a powerful team. Since Altaria and Wigglytuff ex make both of your opponent's Active Pokémon Asleep and do 30 damage to the Defending Pokémon, they are able to massive amounts of damage to both Active Pokémon.
Rapidash makes everybody fear fire, because Rapidash's Poké-Body forces players to put four damage counters, instead of two, on Burned Pokémon if they fail their coin flips between each turn. And since Rapidash has the ability to Burn its opponents, unlucky Pokémon could be Knocked Out in just one or two turns! Combine Rapidash with Growlithe and Arcanine (EX Sandstorm) for even more effect, since any Pokémon that damages Growlithe or Arcanine becomes Burned.
With the increased power of Special Conditions, it's nice that some Pokémon have new ways of curing them. Wigglytuff lets you remove one Special Condition from one of your Active Pokémon per turn. Haunter lets you make one of your Active Pokémon Confused, which sounds strange at first, but it does mean that you can now do something with a Pokémon that was Asleep or Paralyzed. Dodrio reduces the Retreat Cost of Active Pokémon by two, so Retreating becomes much easier (even Charizard ex can Retreat for free!).
Some of the Pokémon in EX FireRed & LeafGreen aren't easily classified in any particular group, but they still deserve a special mention.
Primeape let you try a comical, yet powerful, new tactic. Primeape can throw Pokémon Tools and Ancient Technical Machines at its opponents, doing 30 damage for each of those that you discard from your hand. Imagine a Charizard ex getting Knocked Out by a flurry of Oran Berries and Lum Berries! Or a Hitmonchan ex getting Knocked Out by Balloon Berries!
Caterpie has the Signs of Evolution ability, so you can evolve Caterpie to Metapod and Butterfree fast! Once you have Butterfree in play, its Poké-Body can heal one damage counter from each of your Pokémon between turns if Butterfree is an Active Pokémon. Butterfree has no Retreat Cost, so any Pokémon that is healing on the Bench can get back into the action easily. Butterfree has 100 HP, so it can remain an Active Pokémon for quite a while.
Like the earlier Electrode (EX Hidden Legends), Electrode ex can blow itself up! However, when Electrode ex explodes, it doesn't Knock Out the Defending Pokémon. You may ask why you'd want to Knock Out one of your own Pokémon-ex, giving your opponent two Prizes... well, when Electrode ex explodes, you may take five Energy cards from your discard pile and attach them to your Pokémon in any way you want, excluding Pokémon-ex (and you still have to follow the printed rules of Special Energy cards, so you can't, for example, attach Team Magma Energy to a Team Aqua Pokémon). Those five Energy cards could be invaluable to you:
- You could attach the five Energy cards to another Electrode ex so it can attack for a minimum of 30 damage, plus 20 more damage for any Energy that you choose to discard from Electrode ex when it attacks; in effect, you get a 100-point increase in damage.
- You could put five Energy cards on Exeggutor and have the potential to do 200 damage, depending on your luck with the coin flips.
- You could retrieve four Dark Energy cards and one Water Energy card, and then attach it to Team Aqua's Walrein (EX Team Magma vs Team Aqua) so it can do at least 100 damage per turn.
- You could retrieve four Metal Energy cards and one other Energy card, and then attach it to Aggron (EX Ruby & Sapphire) so its Double Lariat attack can do up to 140 damage and so damage done to it is reduced by 40.
Because of the damage boosts and other benefits that Electrode ex can provide, it can be well worth the two-prize sacrifice if it is used well. You may lose two prizes, but your surviving, powered-up Pokémon may be able to defeat your opponent's entire team thanks to Electrode ex's Poké-Power!
Trainers: Old and New
EX FireRed & LeafGreen contains the biggest set of Trainer cards since EX Ruby & Sapphire. Although there are a couple of new Trainers, many of the others are old favorites that make a return to the EX series.
Bill's Maintenance, Professor Oak's Research, and Celio's Network help you find the cards you need from your deck. Bill's Maintenance lets you shuffle one card into your deck so you can draw three cards. Professor Oak's Research lets you shuffle your entire hand into your deck so you can draw five cards. These two cards are great for those times when you have a terrible hand and you need to draw more cards right away.
Celio's Network lets you search your deck for any Basic Pokémon or Evolution card (excluding Pokémon-ex) and put that card into your hand. Celio's Network works well in any deck, but it works especially well with Wally's Training (EX Sandstorm) because you can evolve very quickly. You could use Celio's Network on turn 1 to get a Stage 1 Pokémon. On turn 2, you could evolve a Pokémon and then play Wally's Training to evolve it to a Stage 2 Pokémon.
Super Scoop Up returns as well to provide much-needed healing power to Pokémon-ex. Like Mr. Briney's Compassion (EX Dragon), Super Scoop Up lets you put all of the cards attached to a chosen Pokémon into your hand. The good news: it can be used on Pokémon-ex! The bad news: you have to get a heads on a coin flip... but if you're lucky, it's worth it. You can create super combos: for example, you can scoop up a Blastoise ex, and then use the Blastoise ex card to evolve a Wartortle that is already in play, and finally, use Energy Rain to reattach all of the Energy that the original Blastoise ex had!
VS Seeker lets you move a Supporter card from your discard pile back into your hand. VS Seeker greatly improves your flexibility, as you can reuse cards like Wally's Training (EX Sandstorm), Mr. Briney's Compassion, or Lady Outing (EX Ruby & Sapphire) whenever it is necessary. Since VS Seeker is not a Supporter card, you can use the retrieved Supporter card afterward!
PokéDex Handy 909 lets you reorganize the top six cards of your deck in any order. By itself, PokéDex Handy 909 is not that powerful, but when used with other cards, it's amazing! You can use it with TV Reporter (EX Dragon) or Delcatty (EX Ruby & Sapphire) to draw the cards you want. You can use it with Energy Recycle System (EX Dragon) and Team Magma's Houndoom to decide whether you should use Magma Spurt. You can use it with Walrein (EX Hidden Legends) to get your Energy cards onto your Pokémon faster. There are plenty of other, even more powerful possibilities!
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