V Battle Deck Combo

Pokemon TCG VMAX: V Battle Deck Bundle with Venusaur & Blastoise

On February 5, 2020, Pokemon releases Venusaur & Blastoise V Battle Decks and V Battle Deck Bundle. The V Battle Decks may be a hidden gem for collectors placed among titans such as Champion’s Path, Hidden Fates, and Shining Fates because the product includes a “Play Level” gauge on the top left corner of each deck. In this case, the Venusaur & Blastoise V Battle Decks state “Level 1” of three levels. Previously, during the Wizards of the Coast Era, Pokemon TCG included a Beginner, Intermediate, and Expert level gauge on products. In more recent times, however, Pokemon has excluded the mark from packaging.

The Venusaur & Blastoise V Battle Decks come with sixty (60) cards each end feature either Blastoise V or Venusaur V. For collectors, we strongly recommend purchasing these by the Display Case. Players, however, may elect the Venusaur & Blastoise Battle Deck bundle that includes both sixty (60) card deck in one bundle. This bundle is a great buy and helpful move by Pokemon because customers are often frustrated and confused when multiple theme decks are released simultaneously.

We are currently selling both single decks and the bundle individually and by the case.  Release date is scheduled for February 5, 2020, but we encourage securing preorders now as this will be in high demand with collectors.

Pokémon Cards, Best Darkness Ablaze Cards, Pokemon Cards

5 Best Darkness Ablaze Cards

 Top 5 BEST Darkness Ablaze Cards (Opinion)

1. Crobat V

Number 1 on PokeDirect.com’s list is the versatile support Pokémon Crobat V due to his Night Asset Ability. Crobat V’s Night Asset Ability triggers when Crobat V is played from your hand to your bench and allows you to draw cards until you have six (6) Pokémon cards in your hand. In addition Crobat V’s Night Asset Ability pairs perfectly with similar Pokémon equipped with draw abilities. For example, Crobat V pairs well with any Dedenne GX deck (i.e, Pikachu & Zekrom Tag Team “PikaRom”) as well as, the heavy handed Arceus & Diagla & Pialkia-GX/ Zacian V deck. In both cases, Crobat V’s Night Asset Ability aids in accelerating through your deck for a first turn Altered Creation GX. However, you must be aware, decks featuring Crobat V are vulnerable to decks with 3 Boss’s Order and 2 Great Catcher because they pull Crobat V from the bench to your active Pokémon.

2. Eternatus Vmax

Eternatus VMAX ranks number 2 on PokeDirect.com’s list of top 5 Darkness Ablaze cards. Eternatus VMAX combines an extremely powerful attack and a stellar new ability allowing up to 8 Pokémon on your bench to create a legendary card. Finally players looking for a strong an aggressive deck can combine Eternatus VMAX with Crobat V (discussed above) to generate constant pressure. Additionally, the current meta consists of substantial Dark Energy support making Eternatus extremely versatile.

 

3. Decidueye

Decidueye ranks number 3 on PokeDirect.com’s best Darkness Ablaze card list. So, Decidueye’s Ability Forest Camouflage prevents all damage done to this Pokémon by attacks from Pokémon-GX and Pokémon V (including Pokémon VMAX). Thus, Decidueye fully counters premium decks i.e, PikaRom (discussed further above), Reshizard, and Zacian decks. Decidueye’s significance will continue to rise as
more and more VMAX and GX cards are printed and pairs well with Turrfield Stadium. Unfortunately, Decidueye loses to non-GX decks such as Baby Blown, is limited by fire weakness and is a Stage 2 Pokémon.

 

4. Centiskorch VMAX

PokeDirect.com ranks Centiskorch VMAX number 4 on it list of best Darkness Ablaze cards. Centiskorch VMAX uitizes a high damage fire attack, similar to Charizard VMAX, that is best paired with energy accelerating cards i.e, Welder. For example, the cards attack functions at only 2 Fire Energy but you need seven (7) Fire Energy to reach 320 damage. Although Centiskorch VMAX’s current upside is
limited, the card secures a position on the list because its fire attack serves as a hard counter to the number 3 ranked card Decidueye (discussed above).

 

5. Cape of Toughness

Number 5 on PokeDirect.com’s best Darkness Ablaze card list is Cape of Toughness. The Cape of Toughness trainer card is an attachable item that give plus fifty hit points (+50 HP) to any non-GX basic Pokémon when attached. Also, the card is viable in Standard and Expanded decks because the current rotation includes numerous non-GX tank Pokémon that synergizes well with the Cape of Toughness. Further, the card is simple to use, applies to a wide variety of decks and styles, and as with similar tool cards, it raises your maximum HP to delay being KO’d and can force an opponent to waste resources discard the tool. However, you should be aware, Cape of Toughness INCREASES max HP, which is distinguishable from healing your Pokémon, allowing your opponent to use a Tool Scrapper to remove
the HP bonus and instantly knocking out a Pokémon whose damage exceeds is original HP.

 

Honorable Mention:

ENGINES – Rose Engine = 1) Trainer Rose, Silvally GX, Rose Tower Trainer, Toxtricity Vmax, Stonjourner Vmax, Capcious Bucket, Ineleon Vmax. – more and more Vmax, in conclusion the better Rose Engine will become.

Bird Keeper = Bird Keeper Trainer, Jirachi, Rowlet, Lillie’s Poke Doll, Zacian V, Salamence Vmax, Spiritomb, Spikemuth (mini synchrony)

Toughness Cape (pokemon extra 5 hit points for basics excluding GX) (shut off toolscrappers) (many V pokemon that can take advantage of card) – Vikavolk V, Zacian V, Zamazenta V, Spiritomb , Falinks (annoying tanky when with some bees),

Hide Darkness Energy (stonge) (energy attachment with float stone) (lots of dark stuff in case) – Eternatus Vmax (used early to protect Eternatus), Savleye (item to make turbo attach?), Obstagoon, Spiritomb (take advantage to survive with spikmuth stadium and toughness cape, Spikemuth Trainer =Spirit Energy Set.

Decidueye (Stage 2) (forest camouflage can’t be damaged by GX, constant headache because more and more Vmax being printed) (fire weakness limiting factor) Turffield Stadium Trainer (add grass type evolves), Leavanny, Jirachi, Inteleon, Rowlet, Bird Keeper Trainer, Weakness Guard Energy, Big Charm Trainer.

Centiskorch Vmax (keep decidueye at bay) (one of first fire vmax) (Attack functions with two energy card, apply welder with energy deck does sig damage and set up future deck) in addition (Big Chance, Heat Fire Energy and healing cards like hyper potion booster tank ability), Welder, Giant Hearth, Heatran GX, Giant Bomb, Wondrous Labrinth; Mallow and Lana Trainer, Big Charm Trainer, Heat Fire Energy. Not a
lot of good water in Darkness which is this deck’s weakness. Best Darkness Ablaze Cards

Piers (interesting supporter card)( search deck for dark pokemon and energy and place in hand then shuffle), add special energies of choice, Capture Energy, Recycle Energy, Weakness Guard Energy; Salamence Vmax Acceleration Energy; Zigzagoon; Crobat V; Eternatus Vmax Obstagoon, Hide Darkness Energy.

Vikavolt V (Tapu Koko and Turbo Patch to chain Bolt), as well as Koga’s Trap; Parasect; Cheer Yell Horn; Boss’s Orders; Absol; Team Yell Grunt (extra damage between turns) and Crushing Hammer (remove turns from opponent by buying yourself turns); Amoonguss; and finally Slumbering Forest.

Eternatus Vmax of course (large dark support in deck, insane stats, real pace setter, very tanky, add bench to 8 dark pokemon, 30x dark pokemon in play, lots of dark supports), Piers, Dark Energy; Black Market primstone can buy tempo fast and consistent; Zigzagoon (1 prize fight); Crobat V; Spiritomb or Sableye; Hoopa; Absol or Weavls GX.

Turbo Patch finally (populates rest of tier 1, coin flip card) (blankety for Vikavolt V; Sableye V; Zacian V; Eternatus Vmax; Dragapult Vmaz; Arccus and Diag GX Tag; Energy Switch (every Vmax starts as basic, and helps fight against Crushing Hammer, helps if miss energy drop or V flip; all of them Could go into evolution decks.

 

 

Darkness Ablaze

Darkness Ablaze Set Breakdown

Darkness Ablaze has arrived and along with it some new Pokémon for you to carry into battle or collect.  Check out some thoughts put together by a game master in regards to these new key additions. Click here to place your order for some Darkness Ablaze packs before they’re all gone!

  1. Decidueye – Decidueye is much like Galarian Obstagoon. Decidueye’s invincibility to Pokemon-GX and V is arguably more powerful than Obstagoon’s immunity to Basic Pokemon. Although Decidueye is vulnerable to single-Prize attackers, it has immunity against strong new threats such as Eternatus VMAX. Decidueye likely won’t see tons of immediate play, and it can be countered if it does, but it’s sure to see some success during its lifetime.If you ask me, the best way to play Decidueye is in a deck focused entirely around it. While pivot attackers such as Beheeyem and the new Greedent may be tempting, they take up tons of space and are extremely susceptible to Boss’s Orders. Although we lose Counter Gain to the rotation, cards like Rosa, Rare Candy, and Lillie’s Poké Doll are still around, meaning we can play a similar engine to Obstagoon of the pre-rotation format. If decks end up packing answers to Decidueye, it may be feasible to include techs to counter the counters, so to speak.

1b. Rowlet – The new Rowlet is quite interesting as well. If you use Bird Keeper (a mediocre Supporter that draws three cards), Rowlet can attack for free and snipe 60 damage. Although this normally wouldn’t be too important in a deck like this, whose win condition is preventing the opponent from doing anything (rather than racing to six Prizes), Rowlet can help preemptively take care of threats to Decidueye. For example, putting 60 (or even 120) damage on a single-Prize attacker while setting up can make them much easier to deal with later on. A terrific addition with Darkness Ablaze.

  1. Centiskorch VMAX – Darkness Ablaze brings Centiskorch VMAX is an interesting, and it clearly has potential. Dealing more damage for each Fire Energy attached to it, it’s one of the few Pokemon capable of OHKOing other Pokemon VMAX. However, it takes seven Fire Energy to reach 320 damage. Heat R Energy and Mallow and Lana can supplement Centiskorch’s natural bulk, preserving the heavy investment of Fire Energy that it requires. Its own attack slowly accelerates Energy to itself, and Welder can take care of the rest. Centiskorch VMAX will likely be a successful archetype on its own due to its unlimited damage cap and convenient Fire typing. Charlie Lockyer wrote about pairing Centiskorch with Electrode-GX which is one way to go, but not the only way to go. I do think this is the best opportunity for Electrode-GX to shine since its release, so check out that article for a more detailed look at that version.

 

2b. Centiskorch V – (the Basic form) is a little overlooked if you ask me. Its first attack discards Energy off the opponent’s Active, and its HP can be increased to absurd levels with Cape of Toughness and Heat R Energy. Combined with healing and hand disruption, Centiskorch V may be able to succeed on its own as a control deck.

  1. Crobat V – Crobat V is far and away the best Pokemon in the set. Crobat will be a staple in many decks, and it will see lots of play in Expanded as well. Crobat is also a crucial part of the new Eternatus VMAX deck. There isn’t much else to say; Crobat is great.
  2. Hoopa – Hoopa is essentially just a Dark-type version of Zapdos. It goes well with Eternatus VMAX, and it helps take care of single-Prize Pokemon like Mad Party users. It can easily snag a quick KO or two at the beginning of games, and it can soften up (or finish off) large targets for Eternatus VMAX.
  3. Eternatus VMAX – Eternatus VMAX is the most hyped attacker of Darkness Ablaze. While I don’t think it’s broken, it’s certainly strong and will be a solid deck on its own. With the Dark-only Sky Field effect and a M Rayquaza-EX-style attack, Eternatus VMAX can easily swing for 270 damage for only two Energy. Although it won’t be OHKOing most Pokemon VMAX even with the help of Galarian Zigzagoon, it easily OHKOs literally everything else. Against other Pokemon VMAX, Hoopa can help out. Eternatus V can hit for 30 damage while accelerating Energy, a useful early game attack that can take out low-HP Pokemon when combined with Galarian Zigzagoon.
  4. Golisopod – Golisopod has a decent attack, dealing more damage for each Pokemon V and Pokemon-GX an opponent has in play, but it’s a Stage 1 that requires Twin Energy (or Triple Acceleration Energy). It’s not easy to set up on demand, and opponents can easily play around it. I think Golisopod may be better suited for Expanded, where it’s more likely to deal heavy damage, is easier to set up, and also has access to Double Colorless Energy. I do not see it making a splash in Standard, especially with how conditional its attack is.
  5. Vikavolt – To be honest, I’m not sure exactly where Vikavolt V will find itself in the meta. Lightning loses most of its support in the rotation, and Item lock isn’t too devastating in Standard. In Expanded, Vikavolt gains access to Thunder Mountain Prism Star and Electropower, though it also has to deal with the presence of Pokémon Ranger. Vikavolt is a solid card. Its first attack does some damage and causes Item lock, and its second attack is quite strong. It also has high HP that can be augmented by Cape of Toughness. I don’t see Vikavolt V becoming an immediate threat. It feels out of place right now, and I’m not really sure what to make of it. This is the card that I’m most clueless about, but I’m not expecting anything great from it at the moment.
  6. Simisage, Simisear, and Simipour – Darkness Ablaze adds this semi OP evolution line now I’m not going to start off by saying the Simi trio is secretly broken, but they do have some potential – particularly Simisear. I would consider these Pokemon as matchup-specific techs that can be included in any deck that utilizes Triple Acceleration Energy. For one Triple Acceleration Energy, they can hit for 110 as either a Grass-, Fire-, or Water-type. While they won’t be OHKO’ing anything huge, they may be worthwhile techs to handle specific threats (such as Zacian V). I would keep these Pokemon in mind for the Expanded format as well, even though there are no official Expanded events for the foreseeable future. I wish they were just a little bit stronger, perhaps hitting for 150 instead of 110.
  7. Houndoom V – Houndoom can be played alongside Welder and / or Turbo Patch. After just one Welder and one attachment, Houndoom V can deal an impressive 200 damage. The one requirement is that one of your Benched Fire Pokemon must have damage. With Rainbow Energy rotating, the new Spikemuth Stadium will probably be needed for forced damage placement. Although the conflict with Giant Hearth (or other potential Stadiums) is annoying, Spikemuth is only needed once, and then Houndoom’s attack is live for the rest of the game. Cape of Toughness or Heat R Energy increase Houndoom’s HP, allowing it to survive most attacks, including Zacian V’s Brave Blade. I don’t think Houndoom is amazing, but it certainly isn’t garbage.
  8. Milotic – I think Milotic has an interesting Ability. As a Stage 1, it can heal 20 damage from each of your Pokemon once per turn. I can’t think of a specific application for it right now, but it’s a notable Ability that may become relevant at some point. In Standard, there aren’t many healing options to begin with. I could also see it having use in Expanded at some point, as it’s essentially a superior Serperior. Milotic is a card that I’ll definitely keep in the back of my mind.
  9. Arctozolt – Arctozolt is a Stage 1 whose Ability deals two damage counters to opposing Pokemon when they receive Energy attachments. Being one of the few damage modifiers (loosely speaking) in Standard, I could see it being useful. It could also help decks that spread damage, such as Decidueye, Weezing, or Dragapult. The biggest issue with Arctozolt is that it evolves from Rare Fossil, which is unsearchable by conventional means. This means it will be difficult to get Arctozolt into play. This is particularly problematic because Arctozolt’s Ability benefits from it being in play as soon, and as long, as possible. Just like Milotic, I think Arctozolt is interesting enough to warrant mention even though it isn’t spectacular.
  10. Galarian Slowbro V– Galarian Slowbro V and Hiding D Energy might replace Garbodor in Toxtricity VMAX decks. A thin package of Galarian Slowbro V and Hiding D Energy (and possibly more copies of Switch) is less of a space commitment than Garbodor and multiple Stadiums. Darkness Ablaze gives a well deserved call-back to a popular original!
  11. Hydreigon – Despite being a Stage 2, I believe Hydreigon has some serious potential due to the partners it can accelerate Dark Energy to. Umbreon and Darkrai-GX is one of the few Pokemon that can OHKO Pokemon VMAX (while imposing Item lock as well), and Greninja and Zoroark-GX is another one of those few (though it requires tons of Energy in play). Grimmsnarl VMAX is a behemoth with 330 HP that can hit for 270. Eternatus VMAX offers a Sky Field effect and also hits for 270, though it would limit the player to only Dark-type Pokemon. I’m not convinced that it’s even worth playing either VMAX with Hydreigon, as they are basically Stage 1’s and their limited damage caps make them weaker than the Tag Teams. Although Stage 2 Pokemon are more reasonable with Rosa in the format, there remains the concern of quickly finding enough Energy to fuel these monstrous attacks. Hydreigon is definitely something that I am going to work on.
  12. Galarian Stunfisk V – Galarian Stunfisk V is my favorite card in the set. While it may not see much success in Standard, especially with its Fire Weakness, Stunfisk has some potential in Expanded with access to Double Colorless Energy and healing cards like Max Potion and Acerola. Its Trapping Bite attack deals 60 damage for CC, and it places 12 damage counters on the opponent’s Active if they attack into it next turn. Stunfisk’s Ability and Cape of Toughness both increase its HP. I could see some sort of tanky Stunfisk deck working, with only Lillie’s Poké Doll and Robo Substitute on the Bench to prevent opponents from easily circumventing Trapping Bite’s effect. That said, I will be trying to make Galarian Stunfisk V work in both formats. It might not end up being great, but it’s very interesting and full of potential.
  13. New Trainers and Energies
  14. Cape of Toughness – Cape of Toughness is one of those clearly strong cards. It gives 50 HP to any non-GX Basic Pokemon. There’s nothing more to say, it’s very good.
  15. Piers – Piers isn’t explosive, but it’s versatile and helps out Dark decks. Piers is better than Sonia for Dark decks. It’s one of the few cards that can search for Special Energy. Piers might even be useful in non-Dark decks because of this. It can grab a Special Energy and a Crobat V, making it a pseudo draw Supporter as well. This is another card that may see play in Expanded, as it’s much easier to abuse tech Supporters in that format. I am happy to have a card like this in the game. It’s useful, unique, and balanced.
  16. Turbo Patch – On the other hand, Turbo Patch is one of the most broken Item cards ever printed. It will see tons of play in Standard and Expanded. Any Basic Pokemon with even a semi-awkward attack cost will make use of Turbo Patch: Sableye V, Zacian V, Vikavolt V, and even some Basic forms of Pokemon VMAX may use it before they evolve.
  17. Heat R Energy, Hiding D Energy, and Powerful C Energy – Darkness Ablaze introduces some new energies, Heat R Energy increases Fire-types’ HP, Hiding D Energy gives Dark Pokemon free Retreat, and Powerful C Energy increases Colorless’s damage output. All three of these cards are exceptionally strong. Powerful Energy may see the least amount of play simply because there aren’t many attackers that can use it, and those that can probably already rely on Triple Acceleration, Twin Energy, or Double Colorless Energy. Heat and Hiding Energy will see tons of play with their respective types.
  18. Big Parasol – Big Parasol notably blocks Dragapult VMAX’s spread damage, making it something that low-HP decks can take advantage of. Of course, if Eternatus VMAX ends up chasing off Dragapult entirely, it won’t be necessary. I am happy to see a card like this in the format though. I’m sure it will find a variety of niche uses as time goes on.
  19. Billowing Smoke – I actually think this card will have a use in hand control decks, even though hand control decks may not be as popular as they once were. From the perspective of a hand control deck, opponents adding Prize cards to their hand after taking a KO is a nuisance, and Billowing Smoke would prevent that from happening. With some luck, it can even mill crucial resources. If a deck were toa use many copies of this card, it could entirely prevent opponents from accessing their Prize cards.
  20. Bird Keeper – Bird Keeper is not great, but it’s not bad either. It draws only three cards, but it enables certain attacks such as Rowlet’s, and it also provides a switch effect. The switch effect works well with Jirachi, especially once Escape Board rotates. If you are trying to set up Decidueye (or anything really), Bird Keeper draws cards and enables an extra Stellar Wish (or pivots into Lillie’s Poke Doll). There aren’t many draw Supporter options that allow you to keep your hand, so Bird Keeper may see some play.

Now that you’re read up on Darkness Ablaze, Visit our Shop to place your order today!

Vivid Voltage Competitive Play Analysis

The new Beedrill has the Elusive Master Ability found on Greninja-GX, but that Ability never got all too much usage anyways.  Getting down to one card in hand is hard enough, then continuing a strong turn from only three cards is even harder.  Plus, the 120 for GC attack isn’t exactly anything special.  This card’s most redeeming quality is its free retreat.  I don’t expect this Beedrill to see too much play, but it could pop up in a future rogue deck for its Ability. Gen 1 for Vivid Voltage Competitive Play.

Celebi (Amazing Rare)

Here’s our first Amazing Rare of the new set.  Amazing Rares are a new type of Pokemon that only give up one Prize card but have extremely powerful attacks/Abilities; however, their attack costs tend to require all colors of the rainbow, making them much less splashable than other one-Prizers.  Celebi has two strong attacks; the first of which can punish high-cost attackers for the low price of only one Grass Energy.  The second attack, which costs a Lightning and a Psychic Energy, is a copy of Leafeon-GX‘s Grand Bloom GX – an extremely powerful effect.  This could be powered up easily with the assistance of Tapu Koko Prism Star and might enable an Evolution deck to see a lot of success in the near future.  Keep an eye on this little guy and pick up some physical copies for cheap while you can.

Shiftry

This is one of the coolest new cards I have seen in a long time and makes me optimistic for the future of the game.  Tengu’s Proxy is an insane Ability, turning all of your opponent’s Supporter cards into the forever-memeable HopHauTierno, or Cheren (pick your favorite).  Removing unique Supporter effects from your opponent’s game plan is legitimately crazy and this card is the perfect core to build a new style of control deck around.  I love this card and I want to see more like it.

Shaymin

I know we have seen similar “Flip a coin, if heads shuffle your opponent’s Active back into their deck” cards before, but this one costs only two Energy and we now have Will, so I would not be surprised if someone found a way to make this work.  Cool card that could shine in a rogue deck or as a spiritual successor to Tapu Fini-GX in something cool.

Orbeetle VMAX

This card has all the ingredients necessary for dominance and could be a major feature in a tier 1 deck.  Wonder Beam allows you to spread one damage counter to all of your opponent’s Pokemon during your turn, which in combination with Galarian Zigzagoon and a plethora of switching cards could do a lot of damage in one turn.  G-Max Wave can absolutely dump out damage on high-Energy attackers, letting Orbeetle cut through Zacian V pretty easily with a few Wonder Beams (assuming no Metal Goggles).  Expect this card to see play and do well at some point in its lifespan. Click Here to purchase the Orbeetle V Box

Zarude V

Here it is, M Sceptile-EX‘s spiritual successor in a Basic Pokemon.  Zarude V features a cheap and powerful Retreat-locking attack, but also carries Jungle Rise – a word for word reprint of Sceptile’s Jagged Saber that costs only two Grass Energy.  Accelerating Energy and healing are both hard things to do in this current format, and Zarude does them both in one attack, so I expect Zarude to be very powerful, especially in combination with a card that can take hits from just about anything (including boosted Brave Blade).  In a world of 2HKOs, this card will be broken; if the format shifts in that direction Zarude will be in a great position to dominate.

Hero’s Medal

This is just Island Challenge Amulet for VMAXes.  I think it could be really strong, especially with the cheap attacking VMAXes like Eternatus VMAX, but nothing format-defining.  Grab a few of these and test them in every VMAX deck, but don’t expect them to be the missing piece to make your favorite VMAX work.

Leon

The triple PlusPower supporter is finally here!  I expect Leon to be teched into a lot of things (especially Zacian after Rusted Sword is released) so more decks can reach 2HKOs and even OHKOs on VMAXes.  However, the lack of Professor Kukui‘s draw power makes Leon even less attractive to play in decks struggling with consistency.  Make sure to grab a playset for your Charizard deck and a few extras to tech into other things that might need that extra damage boost.

Charizard

I feel like I’m legally obligated to review every new Charizard card, but this one might actually have potential.  For only two Fire Energy, Royal Blaze deals 100 damage plus 50 for each Leon in your discard pile, maxing your damage output out at 300.  Charizard also features a discard/draw Ability in Battle Sense, helping you to set up and get more Leon in your discard.  I think someone will find a way to make this deck work, but it might take a shift to a slower format for it to find its place.  Buy as many of this card as possible, however, both due to its viability and the current market for Charizard. enough said for Charizard and Vivid Voltage Competitive Play

Flareon, Vaporeon, Jolteon

I feel like I should review these as a group because of their similarity.  I love how Creatures decided to rethink Ability lock by making it type-specific with these new cards; another Garbotoxin reprint would have been really annoying and I like how they searched deeper for something new.  All three of these will be meta-relevant depending on how many good Fire, Water, and Grass Abilities are in format.  Stock up on these guys and get excited for the first Tool-based Ability lock that isn’t on Garbodor. the Evvelutions will rule Vivid Voltage Competitive Play

Talonflame V

This card is a candidate for being a legitimate “starter” Pokemon; its attack Fast Flight can be used on the first turn of the game and dumps your hand for a fresh six cards.  It also has free Retreat and a nice Fire attack that could come in clutch in Welder-based decks.  I’d grab a few of these guys since they could really fit in anything and help any deck speed up its set up.

Wailord

I only mention this Wailord because there’s a small chance it could see play if Archie’s Blastoise ever comes back in Expanded, but it’s unlikely.  Otherwise, I doubt anyone could make this card work too well, even with Frosmoth in format.  I’ll give it a shot, but I don’t see the potential for this deck with so many other fast and powerful decks in format.

Galarian Darmanitan VMAX

Speaking of Frosmoth, I think it’s significantly more likely it gets paired with this guy.  Galarian Darmanitan can dish out 200 damage to the opponent’s Active and spread 30 damage to their Bench as well; the only real downside is its gargantuan attack cost.  If players can find a good way to consistently power up Darmanitan, it could wreak some havoc, but otherwise expect it to stay in your binder.

Cramorant

The new Cramorant looks like a prime candidate to be a force in a new one-Prize attacking deck.  In combination with Twin Energy and plenty of Arrokuda, Cramorant can consistently take huge KOs for extremely little cost.  I expect this deck to be good at some point in its lifetime with so many strong cards in the format there to enable its success.  The only real issue will be ADP…

Pikachu VMAX

Pikachu’s long-awaited VMAX incarnation does not disappoint; it can hit for 270 damage for only three Lightning Energy, although it does have to discard them to do that.  The massive damage output cannot be overlooked and I expect Pikachu VMAX to be tried by many players.  I don’t exactly expect Pikachu to be the next BDIF, but with Tapu Koko Prism Star and Pikachu and Zekrom-GX still in format, it cannot be overlooked.  Stock up on a few of these if you can. Chonky Boy for Vivid Voltage Competitive Play

Electrode

Speaking of Pikachu VMAX, Electrode could be an extremely good partner for it.  Buzzap Generator allows you to KO your Electrode and search for two Lighting Energy to attach anywhere; a powerful effect that could enable G-Max Volt Tackles turn after turn.  Even outside of Pikachu decks, I expect this Electrode to see fringe play and possibly be a major piece of a winning deck’s engine in the near future.  The biggest roadblock, once again, is ADP…

Zapdos

Nice to have a Lightning-exclusive one-Prize version of Cramorant V, but I think this Zapdos is worse in basically every other way.  Save one or two on the off-chance we get even more Lightning acceleration, but for now I don’t see too much success coming from this card. One of our favorite Pokemon since the 2nd movie, a great Pokemon for Vivid Voltage Competitive Play

Ampharos V

Another mediocre Lightning attacker that can hit the Bench enters.  I don’t see much coming from this Ampharos except maybe some cameo appearances in a few PikaRom lists.  The second attack can be powerful to finish off stuff you’ve already hit, but the 30 damage isn’t exactly enough in this day and age.  Maybe grab one and hang onto it, but I doubt it’ll see much use.

Raikou (Amazing Rare)

 

This Raikou has the chance to be incredibly good.  If there is ever another easy way to power up this guy in Standard (looking at you, Vikavolt), I expect Raikou to see a ton of play.  Hitting 120 Active and another 120 to a Benched Pokemon is absolutely crazy on a single-Prize attacker and is bound to be successful at some point.  Grab some of these guys and be on the lookout for strategies that it fits into.

Clefable

This Clefable could be powerful if paired with the new Gardevoir VMAX healing deck.  I don’t really expect the 20 damage heal to be that powerful in anything that doesn’t run a 3-3 or 4-4 Clefable line; you need the effect to stack many times for it to be relevant in 2020.  Grab a few of these guys and expect to see a few Gardevoir players filling their Bench up with Clefairy.

Shedinja

While I don’t see many scenarios in which this card is good in Standard, a few ruling interactions between its Ability and cards like Silent Lab and Alolan Muk could make it very Expanded-relevant.  A deck built around Shedinja, Alolan Muk, Dimension Valley, and Twin Energy/DCE could be dominant.  I hope we see a few ruling clarifications with this guy, but it’s absolutely an interesting card when combined with other powerful effects.

Banette

Devo Curse allows you to devolve one of your opponent’s Pokemon when you play down Banette; I think this effect will be pretty strong in combination with Scoop Up Net.  I don’t see anything right now that it pairs with, but if the format shifts towards Evolutions, expect someone to try a spread deck and include Banette.

Dusknoir

Similar to Shiftry, I love the direction Creatures went with this card.  Giving a Pokemon an Ability that instantly nerfs an entire class of cards is extremely cool and fits really well into the game.  Since we have Spiritborne Evolution Duskull, setting up Dusknoir isn’t too bad; I think this card will see play as soon as Special Energy cards become relevant again.  Keep an eye on this guy and pick up a few, it’s an extremely cool card that I personally want to play in a deck immediately.

Whimsicott

For anyone who remembers me playing Tool Drop nearly to Top 8 of 2019’s NAIC, they’ll understand why I’m so excited for this card.  Whimsicott allows you to deal 40 damage for every Tool you choose to discard from your own Pokemon; much closer to the Gourgeist deck’s Pumpkin Bomb attack.  However, we currently have U-Turn Board in format, and discarding it sends it right back to your hand.  In combination with a ton of other Tools, I feel a Whimsicott deck has a ton of potential and I will absolutely be testing this.  Grab some of these guys while nobody pays attention to it; I’ll make sure to write an article on this deck if I can get a good list working.

Xerneas

Geo Hunt lets you take back any card from your discard pile into your hand for only one Psychic; this card clearly has potential in a future control concept or just as a tech to recover resources.  While nothing special, this Xerneas seems like a really solid card that is worth testing in the future.  Grab a few of these guys and make sure to keep it in mind when building decks with Psychic Energy.

Zacian (Amazing Rare)

This Zacian is another incredibly interesting Amazing Rare that I hope sees play at some point.  Unlike its older brother Zacian V, this new Zacian can dominate VMAX Pokemon with Amazing Sword, an attack that hits for 300 if your opponent has any VMAXes in play.  With built in Energy acceleration, I expect someone will figure out a good way to consistently power up this Zacian in something, but for now it might be a little hard to power up quickly.  Maybe it will see play as an anti-VMAX tech in something that plays many different Energy colors, but for now keep it in your binder (where it will look amazing).

Coalossal VMAX

This new Coalossal is another big-HP, big-damage, high-cost VMAX without many interesting quirks.  It hits for a ton of damage and will likely destroy anything weak to Fighting, but otherwise I don’t exactly see how this card is better than other VMAXes.  There is probably a good way to play this guy, but I feel like it will be too much effort for too little marginal gain.  Keep it in the binder for now.

Zamazenta (Amazing Rare)

Similar to Zacian, Zamazenta can destroy VMAXes with its attack, albeit much slower since it only hits for 180 damage (only???  I can’t believe I am saying this…).  I don’t see many situations in which a deck could accommodate Zamazenta VMAX and wouldn’t just play Zamazenta V instead, unless they really need the splashable Fighting attacker for something else.  This can stay in the binder next to your Zacian for now. It’s no surprise you will encounter him in Vivid Voltage Competitive Play

Drapion V

Attacks that auto-Paralyze are always worth talking about, but this format is dominated by switching cards so I doubt a Paralysis-based deck will see much success.  In a format where there isn’t much switching, maybe this could be good; but in our current format, absolutely not.

Garbodor

Another Garbodor based around the discard pile and Tools… albeit this time they’re all combined into one attack!  Garb Cyclone hits for 30 times the amount of Tools in your discard and then shuffles them all back in.  If someone can find a good way to consistently get enough Tools in the discard every turn (not using Whimsicott), maybe this card has potential, but otherwise I doubt this will ever see much success outside of maybe a surprise tech in an Expanded Garbodor deck.

Forretress

This Forretress card is insanely cool; it simply KOs both Active Pokemon.  If one can consistently power up the four-Energy attack, this card could see some real success in a deck based around this and Lillie’s Poké Doll.  I’ll be keeping an eye on this card for the entirety of its lifespan and will work to try and find a way to make it work.

Metagross

I don’t expect this to be good right away, but if we get a different good Metagross, the free Retreat for every Pokemon in play is a cool effect.  Absolutely worth mentioning any card with an effect that good.

Jirachi (Amazing Rare)

Vivid Voltage Competitive PlayThis Jirachi looks to be a “starter” Amazing Rare; its Ability helps you set up and its absolutely insane attack can set up multiple Amazing Rares on your Bench.  If there’s a quick and easy way to power this up (Metal Saucer plus Karate Belt plus a Psychic attachment gets there), we could have a genuinely good Amazing Rare box deck on our hands.  Grab a bunch of these; they will see success at some point in their life span as a card. Great for Vivid Voltage Competitive Play

Aegislash VMAX

I think Aegislash is another mediocre VMAX; there are a lot of better ways to hit big damage with Metal Pokemon (*cough* Zacian V *cough*).  Maybe it could see success at some point, but I just think too many cards are better.

Snorlax

The spiritual reincarnation of Tropical Beach!  The new Snorlax will see play in a ton of decks since Scoop Up Net is a card; the extra help with setting up that it offers is invaluable and may give a lot of previously impossible decks the chance to shine.  I expect this card will see lots of play throughout its lifetime and I’m picking up a bunch for myself.

Lugia

While a bit niche, Lugia deals 250 damage for four Colorless – a powerful effect that cannot be overlooked.  I don’t really have much to say on the card other than that, keep an eye on it and see if that type of effect would fit well in your deck.

Togekiss VMAX

I do think Togekiss has the ingredients necessary to be a successful deck in this format.  Searching for two cards is super powerful and makes it super easy to consistently keep yourself alive with healing cards.  However, I don’t feel like there are enough good Trainers in this format for it to search for in order for Togekiss to be tier 1.  As more cards get printed, keep an eye on Togekiss, but for now I think it belongs in the binder.

Bea

This may be the first time the Fighting type has ever had mainstream Energy acceleration.  While it doesn’t have immediate synergy with anything, keep an eye on this card as the format continues to develop.

Telescopic Sight

I think this card is going to be incredible, especially in Expanded with Tapu Koko in format.  The first ever damage modifier for snipe attack damage is looking to be super strong in Standard as well with attackers like Darmanitan VMAX entering the format.  This card could quickly become the best Tool in Standard and I’d expect it to dominate.

Colored Special Energy

Out of these four new colored Special Energy, I really think the only good one will be Stone Fighting Energy.  Adding a 20 damage Resistance to your attacker is incredibly strong and could help stuff like Coalossal VMAX actually be competitive.  Grab a few of every type, but Stone Fighting Energy is the standout here.

Overall

I feel like this set brings a lot of interesting new cards to the game without bringing in anything overpowered or format-defining.  I don’t expect to see ADP, PikaRom, or Eternatus dethroned as top-tier decks in the near future, I more so expect these new cards to make those decks stronger and only bring about a few new rogue concepts.  I like the set and think the cards have potential, but this is definitely not the strongest set we’ve seen.