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.

 

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