In today’s spotlight, we return to a play style and a pokemon that has always held a place as one of our favorites since its introduction in Noble Victories in 2011. The play style is the “spread” attack and the pokemon is the mighty Kyurem. Kyurem is the “Boundary Pokemon”. While we believe the intent behind this name is based on thermodynamics and balancing heat and electricity in a vacuum (not a Hoover), that is a discussion beyond Gym Leader Joel’s pay-grade. For our purposes, Kyurem is a pokemon with no boundaries, being able to shift from Ice to Fire to Lightning to Dragon, maintaining a high level of awesomeness in whatever form it takes. Those without boundaries are often labelled as “narcissists”, which are self-centered individuals whose power/beauty/fame/station lead to an overblown sense of their own importance, whether justified or not.
Is Kyurem a narcissist? Sure, why not. Being proclaimed the most powerful of the 3 dragons (over Reshiram and Zekrom) has got to go to your head. We’re not sure what the deal was with the “Swords of Justice” movie, but Kyurem was a pretty big jerk. I mean he broke a little horse’s horn and then chased him all over creation, with a gang of Cryogonal in tow, after freeze-drying his friends. What’s up with that, Kyurem, you big jack-wagon? All Keldeo wanted was a real horn, like Terrakion (great story-line guys). So why Liberace? A quick search of famous narcissists reveals the likes of Hitler, Stalin, Jim Jones, Saddam Hussein, Paris Hilton, Madonna, Simon Cowell, Kayne West and OJ Simpson. Wow, what a list. There are so many directions that we could take any and all of those guys. However, we at the Gym don’t wish to offend any large groups of people, or any entire countries. So, we’re going with Liberace (pronounced “ lib-uh-RAH-chee“, for all you young-lings). At least he and Kyurem are both really sparkly. That and Liberace did wear a lot of “ice”.
- 3 – Kyurem EX (AOR 25)
- 2 – Manaphy EX (BKP 32)
- 3 – Palkia EX (BKP 31)
- 2 – Slowpoke (BKP 19)
- 2 – Slowking (BKP 21)
- 1 – Suicune (BKP 30)
- 4 – Dive Ball
- 1 – Energy Recycler
- 4 – Fighting Fury Belt
- 2 – Float Stone
- 2 – Lysandre
- 4 – Professor Sycamore
- 4 – N
- 2 – Shauna
- 4 – Max Elixir
- 1 – Professor’s Letter
- 3 – Sky Field
- 4 – VS Seeker
- 12 – Water Energy
“Liberace” is, of course, focused on the damage spread. Kyurem EX‘s 1st attack, “Glaciate”, is identical to the old Noble Victories Kyurem in both energy cost and damage output. For 2 water energy and a colorless, “Glaciate” does 30 damage to everyone on your opponent’s field. The theory of the attack is great. However, the cost has always been the obstacle. Over the years, we’ve used every method available to accelerate energy onto Kyurem, as attaching an energy per turn for 3 turns has always been too slow for any format. We’ve used everything from Feraligatr Prime/Blastoise and their “Rain Dance”, to Milotic‘s “Energy Grace” to a recent Bronzong/Smeargle combo that Gym Leader Marthe used to pick up some surprise wins in the last City Championship series. We’ve mixed in damage movers in the past, like Dusknoir and Meowstic. This one, however, is just straight spread.
Energy acceleration in this deck comes from either Palkia EX (the Virizion EX of water pokemon) and its “Aqua Turbo” attack or from the Item card “Max Elixir”. The combination of the two often allows for 2 fully charged Kyurem EX to lead your 3rd turn with. When playing “Liberace”, we try to reserve the “Fighting Fury Belt” for Kyurem, as the bump to 220HP can often buy you 3 turns of attacking before you get knocked out (that’s 90 damage on everything). 3 “Glaciate” attacks puts every Shaymin EX on the field in reach of either another “Glaciate” or Palkia EX’s second attack, “Pearl Hurricane”, doing 120 damage to the Active and 30 to 1 on the bench (we’ll talk about that more in a minute). Energy acceleration aside, the strength of the deck comes from the other narcissist in the deck.
That narcissist is the brainy Slowking. Where “Liberace” can punish your opponent lies in the hands this royal, Shellder-sporting, psychic genius. Slowking‘s ability, “Royal Flash”, which relies on a coin flip, can allow you to move an energy from the Active pokemon to the bench-sitter of your choice. The ability is “stackable”, meaning that if you have 2 “King” in play, you can potentially move 2 energy cards off the Active. This is where you have to be smart. If there is a support or set-up pokemon on the bench, or something that cannot make use of the energy in play, that’s the place to send it. Some examples in common decks are Hoopa EX, Vileplume, Bronzong, Manaphy EX and Shaymin EX. Even if there is not an ideal target, moving multiple energy to a pokemon so that the energy attached far exceeds the attack requirements can be a good strategy (like multiple Lightning energy to Manectric EX, multiple DCE to a Seismitoad EX or to a Joltik). Type specific special energy cards like “Double Dragon”, “Flash Energy” and “Burning Energy” can be knocked off the field if you can move them to a type of pokemon that cannot have 1 attached (like Shaymin EX). Whatever the situation, if you can keep something trapped in the Active position for a few turns while you “Glaciate” again and again, you will eventually overwhelm you opponent.
“Liberace” has fairly even odds against anything it faces. The biggest obstacle to a damage spreader like Kyurem is the “Rough Seas” stadium, that heals 30 damage per turn from all Water and Lightning types. These games are not complete washes, as both Kyurem EX and Palkia EX have decent 2nd attacks. Kyurem EX sports “Icecalibur” that does 130 damage and prevents the defending opponent from attacking on the next turn. You can afford to use this attack, despite having to discard an energy of your own, as you can put 5 water energy back in with the “Energy Recycler”. Being able to free retreat with Manaphy EX’s “Aqua Tube” ability makes it easy to recharge any of your pokemon with Palkia EX.
Speaking of Palkia EX (I said we’d get back to it)… it was in an online game against Palkia that Gym Leader Joel came up with the idea for “Liberace“. In that game, his opponent played straight Palkia EX/Manaphy EX. Using the free retreat and combination of Palkia‘s 2 attacks, “Escape Rope” and “Lysandre”, his opponent set up turns of double KO’s with “Pearl Hurricane”, much like you used to do with Dark Explorers Darkrai EX and “Night Spear”. In this deck, after accelerating energy onto Kyurem, we like to keep Palkia in reserve and bring him up to clean up if necessary. However, if you came up against a random Steel-type deck (Kyurem‘s weakness) or someone playing Mr Mime (with “Bench Barrier”), Palkia EX makes for a solid attacker on its own, especially with a “Fury Belt” giving it 220HP.
There’s not much to say about Suicune, other than with a “Belt”, it can 1-hit a Regice if that is blocking your EX’s. You might look at this list and think that Jolteon EX would ruin it. Not the case. Jolteon‘s attack “Flash Ray” does prevent damage from Basic pokemon, but not effects. In that event, you can still attack with Kyurem’s “Icecailbur” for no damage. However, it would leave the effect of the defending pokemon not being able to attack on Jolteon EX, meaning that you could damage in on the next turn. That attack, in conjunction with Slowking‘s ability, should allow you to disable a Jolteon EX effectively.
Like everything else at the moment, “Liberace” struggles to keep up with “Night March”. However, if you can get to Kyurem quickly, 2 or 3 “Glaciate” attacks will wipe the field clean of Joltik, Pumpkaboo and Mew, even if they play “Fury Belt”. However, this deck will struggle to keep up with a fast “March” deck.
Most players will write off a card like Kyurem EX as unplayable. We know of 1 Master’s player (who is a multiple World Championships competitor) who won’t, as he fell quickly to Marthe’s Kyurem/Bronzong variant at a recent City Championship (and no, we don’t call out individual players here). To that “unplayable” label, we can only respond with one of the only 2 quotes that we know from the infamous piano player, as he was a bit before our time. The 1st, his catchphrase used at almost all of his performances of, “I wish my brother George was here”, doesn’t really apply to anything here, unless you want to call Slowking “George” for some reason. The one we feel relates to Kyurem goes like this: “When the reviews are bad, I tell my staff they can join me as I cry all the way to the bank.” Say what you will about Kyurem, he is still one of our favorites. It just feels good to end a game with a “Glaciate” netting you multiple prizes, sometimes all 6 prizes at once.
Gym Leader Joel has 1 more spotlight article planned, so check back soon. Until then, see you at the Gym!