Clouds gather, Energy crackles, and when you play the Pokémon TCG: Black & White—Plasma Storm expansion, a new force will be felt as the tempestuous Team Plasma makes its debut! All must make ready for a new battlefield, featuring electrifying Team Plasma Pokémon, game-changing Trainer cards, and Team Plasma Pokémon-EX such as Articuno-EX, Zapdos-EX, and Lugia-EX. And, as all-new, powerful ACE SPEC cards blast the balance of power and even more amazing Pokémon-EX race into battle, a question must be asked: Trainers, are you ready? Prepare for the Plasma Storm!
Plasma Storm is the eighth Black & White Series expansion, released February 6, 2013. The Japanese counterpart Plasma Gale, was the seventh Japanese BW era expansion and was released September 14, 2012. The English release incorporates many different Japanese releases into its cardlist: Plasma Storm contains the remaining cards in the Freeze Bolt, Cold Flare, and Plasma Gale expansions, the remaining Eviolite alternate artwork left in the Keldeo Battle Strength Deck, the leftovers from the National Beginning Set, the entirety of the Team Plasma's Powered Half Deck, the Black Kyurem-EX Battle Strength Deck, and the White Kyurem-EX Battle Strength Deck, in addition to a few of the BW-P Promotional cards. Plasma Storm is the second largest set of the Black & White Series.
The Plasma Storm expansion features the debut of Team Plasma in the Pokémon TCG. Team Plasma cards sport a blue border and the Team Plasma Emblem behind the card text. Team Plasma Pokémon are all final evolutions and can evolve from non-Team Plasma Pokémon. All non-Pokémon-EX Team Plasma Pokémon are illustrated by 5ban Graphics. Their status as Team Plasma Pokémon allows certain benefits from other cards: Plasma Energy can be attached from the deck straight to a Team Plasma Pokémon by use of Colress Machine. Additionally, certain Team Plasma Supporter cards can only interact with Team Plasma cards, such as Team Plasma Grunt and Shadow Triad.
This set totals at 138 cards, 3 of which are Secret cards. The Secret cards are Charizard reprinted from Boundaries Crossed (Freeze Bolt in Japan), Blastoise reprinted from Boundaries Crossed (Cold Flare in Japan), and Random Receiver reprinted from Dark Explorers (the Reshiram-EX and Zekrom-EX Battle Strength Decks in Japan). Plasma Storm also features two Theme Decks, Plasma Claw and Plasma Shadow, centered around Druddigon and Giratina. Each deck contains an exclusive coin featuring the Team Plasma Emblem. Plasma Claw features Fire-type, Water-type, and Dragon-type Pokémon, while Plasma Shadow features Grass-type and Psychic-type Pokémon.
Plasma Storm features 8 Pokémon-EX, the most out of any Black & White Series expansion. Four of these Pokémon-EX come from the Japanese expansion Plasma Gale:
Victini-EX, Articuno-EX, Cobalion-EX, and Lugia-EX, causing these four to be the only Pokémon-EX to have Full Art prints. The other four (Moltres-EX, Zapdos-EX, Black Kyurem-EX, and White Kyurem-EX) originate from the Black Kyurem-EX and White Kyurem-EX Battle Strength Deck. Colress also received a Full Art print originating from Plasma Gale.
In addition to Pokémon-EX and Full Art cards, Plasma Storm and Plasma Gale both feature 3 Ace Spec (Dowsing Machine, Scramble Switch, Victory Piece). Victory Piece is a Pokémon Tool that can be attached to Victini-EX, allowing Victini-EX to use its attacks without any Energy attached to it. Scramble Switch acts as a Switch that can also transfer as many Energy from the Old Active Pokémon to the new Active Pokémon as the player would like. Dowsing Machine has the same effect as the original Base Set card, Item Finder, did. Dowsing Machine would be considered a reprint, but the item from the games that it is based on changed both English and Japanese names.
Plasma Storm features various combos that are strong competitively. Utilizing the Poisoned Special Condition, Plasma Storm introduces both Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym, a combination that will cause 30 damage between turns to the opposing Active Pokémon. This pair remained strong within competitive play throughout the next few expansions. Virbank City Gym could also be paired with Crobat, resulting in 60 Poison damage in between turns. Another strong Pokémon introduced within Plasma Storm would be Klinklang. This Klinklang card, with its powerful defensive ability Plasma Steel brought with it a return of Metal-type Pokémon in competitive play.
This expansion is riddled with errors. The Secret Charizard card was printed with a Fighting Energy symbol within its second attack instead of the correct Fire Energy. Additionally, Whismur, Loudred, and Exploud were erroneously placed before Lugia-EX in the setlist. Furthermore, the Full Art print of Colress was at first printed without all the special etching that it was supposed to (the original print lacked many of the wavy lines featured throughout the card). This mistake was corrected sometime during the initial print run. This Full Art print of Colress was also absent from many of the official checklists initially released for the expansion. It has since been added to the official one on Pokémon.com.
The Prerelease promo is Crobat from the BW Black Star Promos, which originated as one of the Japanese BW-P Promotional cards and given to those who bought a booster box of the expansion. In Japan, as a promotion for the expansion, those who go to several stores will receive one of four BW-P Promotional cards: Skarmory, Bouffalant, Team Plasma Ball, and N. Skarmory and Bouffalant were added to the English expansion, though Team Plasma Ball was saved for Plasma Freeze. The N alternate print was later released in English as a BW Black Star Promo.