In my first article, I wrote about the top 10 cards in the first three TCG sets. My intention was to write my second article about the new Platinum TCG expansion around the time Pokémon Platinum came out, but unfortunately, school kept me from finishing this article in time (such is university life). But the recent announcement of the Gold and Silver remakes, HeartGold and SoulSilver, has given me a new idea – talking about the top 10 cards in the Generation II-based TCG sets, or the “Neo” sets. So here we go.
10. Holo Blissey (Neo Revelation)
Aside from the cute art, this card is useful because of the massive healing power of this Blissey’s Softboiled Pokémon Power (either 8 or 4 damage counters removed) and because of the possibility of paralysis from its one attack (Body Slam). The only problem is that both are dependent on coin flips, although with Softboiled you get healed either way. All four Neo sets are ridiculously reliant on coin-flipping, though, so this comes as no surprise.
9. Miracle Energy (Neo Destiny)
I’ve always loved the cool artwork the card artists came up with for the Special Energy cards, and Miracle Energy is no exception. Aesthetics aside, however, this card is useful in that it can count as any type of energy (but only provide 2 energy at a time) as long as it’s attached to a Shining or Light Pokémon. This makes the card work perfect with Neo Destiny, which features these types of Pokémon (Destiny is actually the only set to ever feature “Light” Pokémon; they’re meant to be counterparts to the “Dark” Pokémon introduced in the Team Rocket set). I have to admit having a card that can count as any energy type is too good to pass up.
8. Light Azumarill (Neo Destiny)
Much like in the games, I think few people would ever actually use Azumarill here in the TCG (after all, an “Aquarabbit” is kind of weird). But this card is actually quite good. Light Azumarill’s first attack, Bubble, has the chance of paralysis (which I don’t see much on Water-types in the TCG) – though there’s that darn coin flip again. Its second attack, Bubble Jump, lets you take 2 Energy cards off Light Azumarill (again, after a coin flip) and put them on a Pokémon on your Bench. You have to return Light Azumarill and any attached cards to your hand to do so, though, so this move might work best if Light Azumarill is on the verge of death and you have a Pokémon on your Bench in desperate need of Energy. Still, anything that can help your Bench is worth noting.
7. Shining Celebi (Neo Destiny)
The art on these “Shining” cards is unusual. It’s essentially a shiny-looking Pokémon on a plain background, sort of like those “reverse holos” they make now. This Celebi’s two moves, Healing Water and Miracle Leaf, are both useful. Healing Water lets you take damage counters off one of your Benched Pokémon equal to the number of Water Energies attached to Celebi. Miracle Leaf has you flip coins equal to the amount of Energy cards your opponent’s Pokémon has on it, and if you get heads, it gets Asleep, Confused, or Poisoned – and you get to choose which one it gets! This is a great move to use as a status advantage (an advantage any grass-type should exploit anyway, since both in the games and the TCG grass-types are usually best at causing status effects). The “Healing Water” move and the fact that it’s called the “Timetravel Pokémon” on this card makes me feel that this card was somehow meant to promote the fourth film, which was released four months after the Destiny expansion in Japan and featured Celebi. I can’t say for sure, though.
6. Holo Magnemite (Neo Discovery)
This card, one of two Magnemites in its set, is the only card from the Neo Discovery expansion that made this list. I like this card because the two attacks actually work with each other. The first, called Lock-on, tells you to treat any coins flipped for Magnemite’s other move, Electric Bolt, during your next turn as heads, even if you get tails. This is good, since you need two heads for Electric Bolt to do anything (one tails will make the attack do nothing, even damage). Electric Bolt does 50 damage and causes paralysis, which is rare for a TCG move. It’s also worth noting that Magnemite is Metal-type in this expansion, reflecting the change in the Generation II games of its type from Electric to Electric/Steel.
5. Dark Wigglytuff (Neo Destiny)
First of all, the idea of an evil Wigglytuff just seems so funny to me. I mean, how could such a cute Pokémon go bad? Anyway, I like this card again because of the attack coordination. The first attack, Dark Song, can cause the opponent to become either Asleep or Confused, depending on a coin flip. To get a status either way is definitely a plus (most moves like that are status for heads, nothing for tails). The second attack, Slap Awake, does 20 extra damage if the opponent is Asleep or Confused (as they would be after Dark Song). But it also ends the status effect afterwards, which is unfortunate. With only 60 HP, Dark Wigglytuff can’t stay out as long as other Wigglytuff cards (Wigglytuff in the TCG tends to have a lot of HP), but it’s good for messing with your opponent.
4. Energy Charge (Neo Genesis)
Strangely enough, I actually own this card in French, due to having acquired some European-language cards in cheap multiple-booster set packages at Target. Anyway, it lets you shuffle two Energy cards from your discard pile into your deck if you get heads from a coin flip (what is with all this coin flipping?). An altered version of this card in the later EX Deoxys set states that you now must show the cards to your opponent when you take them (which isn’t really fair for you, but then it’s Energy, so it’s probably not a big deal). I like this card because I think it’s always good to be able to get Energy when you need it.
3. Magby (Neo Genesis)
Generation II brought baby Pokémon into existence, and Magby (the baby form of Magmar) was one of the new baby Pokémon to come around as a result. This card starts with the typical Baby Pokémon text saying to flip a coin before attacking it. Magby’s one attack, Sputter, is where it shines, however. Aside from its low energy cost (one colorless energy) and damage (10), it causes all Pokémon Powers to stop working until the end of your next turn. This can be disastrous for your opponent if he or she relies on Pokémon Powers, and is definitely not something one would expect from a Baby Pokémon. Don’t ignore this little guy.
2. Super Energy Retrieval (Neo Genesis)
Energy Retrieval made #8 on my last list, and this is its big brother. With this card, you trade 2 cards in your hand for 4 Energy cards from your discard pile (taking all the Energy there if there are less than 4). Since all of us end up with a bad hand now and again, being able to do this can actually be useful. An interesting tidbit is that this card was originally only available as a promo card in Japan, where it was released with the Pocket Monsters Fan Book in April 1997. It only made it outside Japan with the Neo Genesis set, and its Neo Genesis release added the sentence about taking all the Energy in your discard pile if there were less than 4 (a sentence which didn’t appear on the original card).
1. PokéGear (Neo Genesis)
This handy-dandy clock/radio/phone contraption was your main gadget in the Generation II games. In the TCG, it lets you look at the top 7 cards in your deck, and if any are Trainer cards, lets you pick one, show it to your opponent, and put it in your hand, shuffling your deck afterwards. It also lets you look at more cards than the Neo generation’s token Pokédex card (called New Pokédex), which only lets you look at 5 cards. It would be nice if you could pick any card, not just a Trainer, but oh well.
This concludes my Top 10 List this time. I am glad that you liked my first article, and I look forward to doing more as my schedule permits. I expect we’ll be hearing more about Pokémon HeartGold and Pokémon SoulSilver in the coming months, as their Fall 2009 Japanese release date approaches. So get ready for them, and know your Neo.
Till next time, keep collecting!