The Top 5 Cards of Black and White: Playability

By Kenny Wisdom

Hey folks, Kenny Wisdom here again, this time I’ll be talking about the top 5 most playable cards in the new English Black and White set. Note that I’m talking purely about their viability in tournaments, and not how the card art looks or how much I like the Pokemon, or anything of that sort. Next week I’ll be bringing a similar article focusing on the top 5 cards with the best art in the set, but for now I’m purely looking at power level.

It’s also important to note that I’m not counting re-prints in my estimation. Pokemon Communication is certainly a fantastic card, but it’s not new to this set, and therefore not eligible to be included on this list. Without further ado, let’s begin.

#5: Professor Juniper

Professor Juniper is a functional Supporter reprint of a card from way back in Base Set, Professor Oak. It’s effect let’s you discard your hand and draw an entirely new hand of 7 cards.

While on the surface this card may seem bad, it has a number of tournament-viable implications. The most obvious is allowing you to discard Magikarps to fuel your Gyarados’ deck. Under the new rules implemented with the Pokemon Black and White set, the Gyarados player can open Sableye, meaning they go first, Collector for 3 Magikarps on the first turn of the game, and then use Sableye’s “Impersonate” attack to discard those three Magikarps all the while drawing 7 cards, meaning that if they can get a Gyarados online in the next turn, they’ll be swinging for 90 damage at minimum. Gyarados is already a powerful deck that is able to routinely top and win tournaments, and this card only makes it stronger. It’ll be interesting to see how Juniper helps the Gyarados decks at Nationals and Worlds.

There are a number of other uses that make this card extremely good, and I think even more will show their faces once the new season begins in September. For now, it’s just important to note that this card is inherentiy powerful, regardless of the format it’s in. It won’t be as game breaking as Professor Oak was back in it’s heyday simply because the game is not in the same position as it was then, but regardless, this will be a staple for as long as it’s modified legal.

#4: Samurott

Samurott’s Ability reduces all damage dealt to it by 20, and it’s attack, for CCC, does 70 damage plus 10 more damage for each Water Energy attached to Samurott.

This has clear implications of being a powerful card based off of a combination with Feraligatr Prime’s Rain Dance Poke-Power. The ability to deal 100 damage every turn for 3 energy while also protecting yourself, and having decently high HP is monstrous. The only reason I list Samurott so low on this list is because there are always cards that combo with Feraligatr, and they never seem to turn out. I have faith that Gatr/Samurott will become a viable deck though, particularly once Luxray GL rotates.

#3: Serperior

Serperior’s Ability allows you to heal 10 damage from each of your Pokemon, and it’s attack, for GC does 60 damage and allows you to move Grass energy around your board as you’d like.

There are two defining elements that make Serperior such a good card…

Firstly, it’s Ability stacks, meaning that if you have 4 Serperior in play, you’ll be able to heal 40 damage off of each of your Pokemon every turn. I suspect that next format will be largely focused on big damage and OHKOs, but being able to mitigate damage in this way is going to be powerful no matter how you slice it. Nidoqueen from Rising Rivals has a similar, but strictly worse Poke-Body, and that is a solid competitive card.

Secondly, it’s attack only costs GC. In evaluating the next format I discovered that most of the combos will be based off of energy manipulation. Magnezone Prime, Emboar, and Samurott are all cards that deal with energy acceleration, and are all cards that I think are going to be competitive next turn. Foregoing having to attach tons of energy is going to be a huge step in making Serperior playable.

Unfortunately, having a low energy count means that it’s also not going to be able to dish out the raw damage that some other cards are, so he only takes the #3 spot.

#2: Zoroark

Zoroark allows you to search your deck for any one card for a D energy, and for CC allows you to copy one of the defending Pokemon’s attacks and use it as the effect of Zoaroak’s attack.

The important thing to note about Zoroark is that you copy the attack regardless of the energy cost. So an attack that costs 4 energy normally will only cost you 2. This is it’s biggest asset, and is the entire reason why I think it’ll become one of the most important/interesting/relevant cards in our next format. Unfortunately I haven’t studied or learned enough about the cards in the next format and the way the new rules work to make a solid assumption about what kind of play this thing will see, but once I’ve gotten a clearer idea I’ll certainly write an article about it.

#1: Emboar

Emboar’s Ability lets you attach as many Fire energy as you’d like to your Pokemon every turn.

The reason this is so good is becasue it’s a strictly better version of Feraligatr/Blastoise’s Rain Dance Pokepower. If Emboar’s Ability worked like theirs and only allowed you to attach to R Pokemon, it wouldn’t be nearly as good, however, as it is, it’s almost broken. Combined with Magnezone Prime and Reshiram from B/W and it becomes an absolute powerhouse. I feel like I can’t really even say much about this card, as it’s so overtly and obviously powerful.

Honorable mentions include Reshiram, Zekrom, and Cinccino.

I hope you enjoyed my article, look next week for a new piece from me about the card art of B/W, and hopefully I’ll be pumping out an article a week or so. If you’d like to comment on this article please do so in the comments section below, or send me an e-mail directly at

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