Battle of Wittz: How to Choose a Deck for BRs/Regs and Cards to Stock Up On

Mark A. HicksHey everybody, and welcome to my last segment of Battle of Wittz this month. Having written two other articles already, I started getting burned out on content and decided to go to you guys for help on what you’d like to hear from me today. The three biggest questions I had asked were:

  1. How do I decide on a deck?
  2. How do I prepare for the mirror?
  3. What cards are going to be good in our future sets?

I decided to tackle the first and third questions. I wanted to take all three in one article, but I’ll be honest — I need more work in the mirror before I can give you guys devoted and quality advice. That will likely be my first topic next month granted there aren’t other more important subjects that you’d like to hear about first (before Regionals).

I’d much rather devote a week or two to that topic and actually learn the mirrors rather than try to cover all three questions at once. In the meantime, I’ll be working hard to get you good information for that article.

Until then, instead of hearing about what I WILL write about in the future, how about we just read what I’ve written?

First things first, I want to talk about what decks I believe are the best selection for both Battle Roads and a larger event like Regionals.

To our advantage now, we have the usual PokéGym thread for tallying what won for Battle Roads each weekend. I’ll be honest in saying I don’t think the original poster is tallying everything perfectly, and he’s also leaving a lot of random subgroups around.

For sake of keeping everything as a depiction of what is winning the most as a deck concept I went through each post and tallied decks by their main archetype. Here’s what we’ve got so far based on everything posted to check everything that has been posted so far).

Masters Winning Decks

PokeGym12 x ZPS variants

8 x Reshiphlosion

7 x Stage 1s

5 x MegaZone

4 x Reshiboar

2 x Gothitelle/Reuniclus

2 x Mew/Yanmega/Vileplume

2 x Yanmega/Kingdra

1 x Reuniclus/Vileplume/Donphan/Zekrom

1 x Donphan and Dragons

1 x Lanturn/Yanmega/Zekrom

1 x Mew/Cinccino

1 x Samurott/Donphan

1 x Blastoise/Floatzel

1 x Cincinno/Yanmega/Kingdra

While I do recommend consulting this list from time to time to see which decks as a whole are performing well in metagames across the country, I don’t always find just looking at the list to be the best way to judge what deck to play for your own area.

Choosing a Deck for Battle Roads

For smaller events like Battle Roads, I’ve already written a nice article about scouting your local metagame — going all the way back to my first article, The Bible on Luxchomp! I read over it, and still think that the info from last year to this year is relevant, so go check that out if you want.

I’ve included the info copy/pasted below for your convenience so you don’t have to go hunt that specific section out again:

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How To Avoid Making Poor Metagame Decisions And Understanding Your Local Metagame

So, now that you know you should avoid teching a deck without prior knowledge, I’m sure you want to know how to obtain that prior knowledge. Here are 3 huge steps to learning which decks are played in your area:

1. Actually play games in your area.

Whether it be your local league or even a Battle Roads, you can learn a great deal from being active in an area. Most players like to stick to a deck they feel most comfortable with over a season. Other players will only play the decks that just won the day before. Others like to inspire their own builds.

I can tell you right now from my area that 95% of the time if the tournament is the value of a City Championships or higher, Kyle “Pooka” Sucevich is taking DialgaChomp. Quin Downs, Rob Downs, and Colin Peterik will take something rogue (you can’t prepare for most rogue decks unless the same player keeps playing the same list.

For example, Colin has taken Tyranitar variants to at least 3 tournaments, so I can prepare for that in the back of my mind). Richard Lucas will always run a deck with Ampharos PT in it without fail. Vince Blasko will always bring an SP Variant – usually Luxchomp. James Flint is going to take a Gengar. Just by playing the regulars in your area, you can get a huge understanding on which decks you’re going to see.

2. Use online resources.

PokeGymAsking someone to go to every tournament in their area is a little absurd. About 90+% of Masters players are in school of some kind, and I’m sure 9% of those players who aren’t in school have a job. If you have a friend who went to a tournament you couldn’t make, ask them what kind of decks they played/saw, and ask them what made top cut/won. Beyond this, I highly suggest using Pokégym’s information. Normally I wouldn’t suggest using another website over the one I’m writing for, but I’m sure Adam will understand.

On PokéGym, go to the forum Pokémon TCG > Tournaments and Organized Play > (most recent tournament series – at the time of this article you’d go to Battle Roads). At the top, you’ll see a stickied thread titled “What won (insert tournament name here)”. Don’t let the world-wide statistics fool you, though. Just study the results for the top decks in your state and maybe some states that boarder it. By knowing which decks are winning, you can either A) Run the deck that is winning, or B) prepare for the popular deck and tech appropriately against it.

3. Scouting.

Some people might deem scouting as morally questionable, but I’ll outline some steps for how to scout with respect.

Scouting Do’s And Don’t’s

Do’s:

  • Arrive early to your tournament. For smaller events, try to make it half an hour before registration starts. This will give you at least an hour to scout, since most tournaments begin an hour after registration.
  • Come with either multiple decks made, or one deck you’re sure you’ll take along with some of your extra cards.
  • Either play some games or watch any game that is played before the tournament. Most of the time if somebody is playing a game before a tournament, it will be the deck they are using. Be careful, though! If somebody’s deck has proxies in it, then it might just be a fun deck or a practice deck.
  • If someone is assembling a deck at the tournament and laying their cards face up across the table, you aren’t a bad person if you pass by to see their core list.
  • Ask your friends or buddies what they’re playing for the day. If they like you they’ll probably just tell you, and if they don’t want to tell you that doesn’t mean they don’t like you. If they ask you the same question, just tell them the truth—“I’m running X but I’m still figuring out the techs”, or “I have X and X built but can’t decide”.
  • Once you’ve decided the appropriate techs you want to try, assemble your deck and complete your decklist with 15 minutes before the tournament starts.
  • In between rounds, check up on games to see how they’re doing, while giving ample space to the player.

Don’t’s:

  • Don’t build your deck at the tournament after scouting. You’ll be scrambling for cards, you’ll make errors, and depending on your organizer you might miss the first round.
  • Don’t creep. If somebody is sitting in the corner writing a deck list, respect their privacy. Don’t look over shoulders if somebody has a deck list in hand.
  • Don’t play the “I’ll tell you what I’m running if you tell me what you’re running” game. It’s childish, and a little weird. Don’t be “that guy”. Just ask, “Hey, what are you running today?” If they don’t want to say, respect their privacy.
  • Don’t decide that the tech you need is a card you don’t own. That’s just a mess. If you have close friends with a lot of cards you can usually get a card or two that you need – just don’t decide that the tech you need last minute is the $75 Luxray GL Level X.
  • Don’t run vicious circles around the field between rounds to get a look at decks, or look over a player’s shoulder to see what cards are in their hand. If someone is uncomfortable with how close you are to their game, their discomfort will show. Give everybody space to concentrate and play their games.

With each successive tournament, you should broaden the information that you gather. For Cities, you probably just need to know the metagame in your state and maybe the closest border state. For IL States, I need to take into consideration my own state as well as states that don’t have a tournament the same weekend as mine. For IL states I have to know what Missouri, Ohio, Wisconsin, and sometimes Indiana are playing, too. For MO Regionals I need to know what some players in Kansas are playing, too. And by Nationals you need to start looking at those compiled statistics.

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While I obviously wasn’t close to the accomplished player that I am now at the time of writing this first article, I think everything in here applies to today pretty well. Despite the urge to just pick a deck off the top 3 of the “What Won” thread and running it, I highly recommend taking a more calculated approach, ESPECIALLY now that Battle Roads are much more important with the advent of Championship Points.

For Battle Roads, I still recommend you analyze your local metagame and find a matchup that you feel comfortable running. Right now, as many other writers have noted, we’re playing in a Rock-Paper-Scissors type format. Some decks have an inherent advantage over others that even a large gap in skill can’t overcome. With Battle Roads being traditionally smaller events, deck decision can be just as important as your own skill!

That being said, it’s kind of hard to just tell people to scout and determine what deck they want to play based on matchups if they still aren’t comfortable with matchups. While this is very opinion-based and has been spread across many different UG articles, I’d like to offer you guys a “Cliff Notes” for matchups right now in the HGSS metagame.

I won’t go incredibly in depth, because we already have a hundred times before, but this should give you a nice organized chart if you ever want to get a glance of the “big picture” all at once. (I think I did one of these in my first 3 articles as well — it’s a blast from the past!)

Notes about this chart:

  • To use this chart, take the deck that you would play in the vertical column, and match it up against the deck you want to play against in the horizontal rows. The end result should give you a percentage indicating how often the deck to the left will beat the deck on the top you’ve matched up against.
  • The decks, in order, are as following: Zekrom w/ Tornadus, Reshiphlosion, Stage 1s with Donphan and Yanmega, MegaZone, Ross-Based Decks with Vileplume/Reuniclus (both Ross and Gothitelle have very similar matchups and were lumped), Magneboar, and Mew/Yanmega/Vileplume.
  • This chart only takes into account how complete games and a normal matchup would pan out with each deck. Techs aren’t assumed, and donks aren’t assumed. This is why Zekrom seems to have fairly low percentages despite it’s number one spot right now.
  • However, to try and compensate for my inability to add donks into the equation, speed was added as a new column. The higher a deck’s speed, the higher its chance to steal early games early in or on time, and the better its ability in Top Cut best 2/3 is. The higher the percentage, the better the speed.
  • Whenever someone posts matchups in an article, there will inevitably be people who disagree. Just try and imagine the backlash that I risk when I try to post ALL the relevant matchups at once! Keep in mind, this list is just a reference, not a tell-all guide that will magically lead to tournament wins. However, I do intend that this grid could help you as a reference if you have no idea now to tackle your local metagame. If you need a matchup explained, ask in the comments section below and I’d be happy to clarify.
Mark A. Hicks
You can afford at most only 1 loss at BRs.

If you are playing to win a small but competitive event, it’s all about local metagame and matchups. Normally I’d say something like “play what you’re most comfortable with”, but honestly this new format for Battle Roads is pretty unforgiving.

Just one loss and you might not even make top cut, missing all chance for points. If you lose two games, you 100% won’t make top cut, dropping your chances altogether. If your metagame is highly swayed toward one type of deck, playing a counter or the mirror is likely your best bet.

If your metagame really is balanced among all kinds of decks, then choosing your highest comfort level with a deck makes sense. You can’t really tech for a metagame of everything — just pick the matchups you know you can handle and try and test yourself for the ones that worry you.

I know that it can seem vague and confusing right now, but that’s just the metagame. Decks are reaching a point where everything has been optimized and archetyped, and it becomes a matter of hitting the right games that work favorably for you while preferably going first more often than not.

When future sets are released new mechanics and layers of strategy will be added, but right now we’re dealing with a much simpler metagame than the one that defined a good 80% of 6PUG’s first year of analysis.

Choosing a Deck for Regionals

Mark A. Hicks
Pick me!

Because of a new addition to our season lineup, this year is vastly different than seasons before it. Traditionally, you would play in progressively bigger events, from BRs to Cities to States to Regionals. This year, we’re plunging right into a HUGE event with Regionals, bound to be even bigger than the usual Regional because there will only be 5 total Regionals across the US this November, around another small amount of the same type of event across the country. 150 to 200 players in Masters is not unexpected, with a top cut of 32-64 people being pretty common.

With such a big event right around the corner, many players already feel unprepared for the huge jump this season. What separates a huge event from one like Battle Roads, and how does that alter your normal decision process? It actually gets pretty complicated!

Choosing a deck for a large event is down to theory and comfort. Some people like a deck that has some strong matchups and some weak matchups, allowing them to play generally relaxed games throughout their tournament. I can’t really offer advice for this mindset, because it isn’t mine.

The best thing I can say about this kind of decision is that I recommend you test as much as possible against a full range of matchups. Figure out what small thing separates your bad matchups from making them winnable, and determine if a new approach could make them easier. Keep testing your good matchups to keep them good. Just test a lot in general to prevent you from making misplays when the pressure is on.

My Deck-Decision Process for a Large Event

I have three criteria that I use to determine whether or not a deck is suitable for a large event:

  1. Even matchups
  2. Low variance, high consistency
  3. Ability in best 2/3
Even Matchups

5050bjj.comMy process for deck decision is a little different. I’d rather sacrifice my good matchups by softening my bad matchups, leaving myself with a deck that’s as even across the board as possible. Last year, I developed Sablock until I felt it had an answer to everything. The Honchkrow countered Mewtwo, Machamp, Gengar, and High HP pokemon in general.

The Luxray and Lucario gave you game against Gyarados. The Garchomp C LV.X was generally good against everything, and probably the strongest attacker of the past format. The Cyrus’s Initiative could steal games vs. any deck in the format. Etc.

Last year, I felt like I could use the options that Sablock provided me with and use them to my advantage to turn my average matchups into positive through experience alone. “Even across the board” decks seem to test the best for me, because I learn and take something from every matchup that I play to learn how to master it. Sablock offered me the promise of consistency across the board, and gave me the space and tools I needed to learn how to beat anything I played against.

I tested the deck into the ground, and brought it to 2nd, 2nd, and 5th place respectively at States and Regionals. Because this system is all about obtaining consistent Championship Points across the year, I feel this mindset is a strong one to consider — especially for larger events.

The matchup chart is another good place to start here. The most even decks on that chart are the ones I consider to be the strongest for a large event: Megazone, Zekrom, Reshiphlosion, and Stage 1s have fairly even matchups across the board. They also all happen to be the 4 decks with the most wins right now in Battle Roads, and I don’t think this is a coincidence.

PokeGymAt this point, everyone knows that I’m a ZoneMega (Megazone) junkie, but with good reason. The deck can beat any deck in the format without needing extraordinary luck to do so. For example: at Worlds, my two losses were to Reshiphlosion and ZoneMega. Over the course of Swiss, I beat both of these decks — ZoneMega twice, and Reshiphlosion three times (one of the times even being the player I lost to in top cut!).

Too many times I hear players saying “I got paired with deck X all tournament, my only bad matchup!”. Playing a deck that can as often beat the decks that it loses to is much more appealing for me.

Zekrom, despite its reckless nature, is actually fairly evenly matched across the board. Because it sets up so quickly, it can turn a lot of games in its favor right away, and the addition of Pokémon Catcher gives it a late game vs. the rest of the board. It suffers with Trainer lock and Reuniclus, but also gives you the universal evener of the donk. You can’t rely on winning on turn 1 every game, but it’s possibility gives Zekrom a very even shot against most popular decks right now.

Stage 1s has almost the exact same story as Zekrom, except that it suffers a slightly worse Reshiphlosion matchup and a slightly better Zonemega matchup. It doesn’t donk nearly as much as Zekrom does, making it overall slightly inferior in the speed category, but it can still give gave vs. a majority of the metagame.

Reshiphlosion is very similar to Zonemega in that it relies on heavier attacks and a mid-speed set up. It sacrifices Zonemega’s decent game vs. Trainer lock for a stronger game vs. Stage 1s.

Low Variance, High Consistency

PokeGymAt a huge 8 rounds of Swiss event like Regionals is sure to become, I feel like it’s necessary that your deck can get setup and give game every single round. For this reason, I’m not especially fond of both Trainer lock and Twins-based decks right now—they fall behind fairly often and are then forced to deal with comeback scenarios where having a Twins can be pretty crucial.

I’m not saying that these are bad decks, but I feel like the nature of a slower deck is counter-intuitive to the traits needed to best your way through round after round of an event.

By “low variance” I don’t mean “straightforward strategy,” but rather how often you can get yourself in a competitive game without drawing dead. If a deck can be consistent, it can afford multiple techs and attackers. Unfortunately, our format is considerably weaker when it comes to both Pokémon and Supporter-based draw, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you see more straightforward decks for a while.

Let’s take a look at the consistency of my top decks right now:

Zekrom is surprisingly not as bad as you think. Ever since the deck added Tornadus, it really pumped itself up to tier 1 status. Having 4 attackers that all function on 80 damage for 2 energy makes the deck’s goal infinitely more reasonable. The normally stupid-sounding “move an energy to your bench” text is also a lot better than its face value — it keeps you from running energy-dry mid to late game.

Yes, the deck can still run dry really quickly with energy heavy hands and a lack of Supporters, but higher Supporter count builds, along with many builds opting to run Pokégear 3.0 seem to nullify this a little. In my testing so far, the addition of Tornadus has made the deck an entirely different beast than the Zekrom’s played pre-Emerging Powers. Calling the deck “Zekrom” probably isn’t even fitting anymore.

Stage 1s suffers the same problems as Zekrom when it comes to no internal draw/reliance on Supporters and Pokégear. What makes it consistent? Stage 1s requires by far the least amount of cards to get going. Zekrom needs Shaymin + Pachi + Energy + DCE + Tornadus to get going with its ideal start. All Stage 1s needs is Phanpy + Donphan + Fighting or Yanma + Yanmega + Hand Match to get going.

While you do sacrifice the muscle of Zekrom by limiting yourself at 60-70 damage per usual attack, this section isn’t an evaluation of muscle. As far as consistently getting set up and going, Stage 1s is one of the best to do it. At a big event like Regionals, you’ll prey on opponents that have inconsistent starts and steal a lot of wins that way.

ZoneMega is probably the best contender in this category. Not only do you borrow a page from Stage 1s by having a Pokémon that sets up with a mere 2 cards (Yanmega), but Magnezone’s Magnetic Draw is the most powerful internal draw that the format has to offer right now. While you do need to hit one of your Rare Candy to get the Zone established, the deck still runs a nice enough splash of Supporters to make this happen pretty often.

Reshiphlosion is a different kind of consistent. It doesn’t always run the internal draw option of Ninetales anymore, but I highly recommend at LEAST a 1-1 or greater line. Unlimited discard a Fire and draw 3 is a great consistency booster that ties into the deck’s on strategy pretty well. You also only attack with one Pokémon 90% of the time that is a basic, making it pretty easy to get out.

Your entire plan, however, banks on getting 1-2 Stage 2 Pokémon. With a heavy count of aggressive draw supporters like Juniper and Sages, this usually sets up on average by turn 3. Not perfect, but you also have a 130 hp main attacker that can handle a couple of hits. Once you get rolling though, the deck becomes pretty hard to dismantle.

Altogether, these four decks seem the most consistent to me. They don’t demand too much of the user to set up. They don’t require a specific condition, such as being behind first. They get going and attempt to keep going throughout the game, and I think that’s what keeps these decks the top 4 decks now, and my top 4 selections later.

Ability in Best 2/3

PokeGymRegionals demanded a top cut of a range from a top 16 to a top 64 last year depending on where you played. Take half of those Regionals and divide them over two periods, and attendance is bound to increase overall. I wouldn’t be surprised if all 5 Regionals in the US had a top cut of 64.

While the scholarship prize for 1st and 2nd at Regionals has been cut completely (as to why I hope we find out soon : /), there’s still a paid trip to Nationals on the line along with a heavy count of Championship points. Competition will be fierce, especially come time for top cut.

While it’s not exclusive, a huge factor in top cut performance is dependent on speed. You need a deck that can go up in prizes as quickly as possible to have the greatest advantage. Due to the nature of a game taking on average 20-30 minutes, and time being given as 60 minutes to play best 2/3, it’s unlikely that you’re going to play a complete 3 games.

If time is called in game 2, the win will go to the player who has taken 4 or more prize cards and is in the lead. If that evens the game win count at 1-1, game 3 will be a cutthroat 1 prize sudden death.

If time called during game 3, the win will go to the player who’s in the lead at the end of 3 turns minimum. Either way, taking an early lead is especially favored.

Zekrom is obviously the king at this. It takes prizes on turn one. It wins games before you even get to draw a card. When things go right for you, you take the earliest lead and pressure possible. Combining the fact that the deck deals decent damage and has lots of HP around to prevent prizes being taken, the deck can win both stolen and legitimate games pretty often. In top cut, all it takes is one stolen game out of 3 to give you a really unfair shot at advancing another round.

Stage 1s, once again, same story. Just can’t do it turn 1 as often. You still have a great game in sudden death and game 3, but it’s just not “AS good”. Not much else to say here.

ZoneMega is one step behind that. You’ve still got Yanmega to take early leads and abuse Catcher, but you don’t have multiple attackers geared to do the same thing. If you can take early prizes with Yanmega and get deep enough into game 3 to play up past the 4 prize barrier, Magnezone can clear a big prize or two that Yanmega can’t.

Reshiphlosion is just okay (jeez I feel like I’ve been ragging on Reshiphlosion every one of these sections — it’s a good deck!). It sets up on a turn 3 average, and turn 2 with a very nice hand or a big Supporter line-up early in. Like Zekrom you’ve got high hp to hide behind to prevent prizes while you take your own.

Ultimately, the three factors of even matchups, consistency, and top cut games go a long way. Taking a deck that masters these three areas and mastering all of your matchups is, in my opinion, the best way to go about things. I’ve only been to two Regionals in my career as a Pokémon player, and so far this method has given me a 1st and a 5th.

I know that limiting your deck choices to a small, predictable handful seems like a really un-fun way to go about doing things, but the practice has results. Our format is still very small, the amount of options are small anyways, and I’d take no shame in playing an established, credible, and proven-winning deck for an event that demands consistent accuracy. If anything, it’s just the logical thing to do if you’re playing to win.

One final factor that I want to address — it’s more than just taking a good deck to an event and calling it a day. You really need to test every matchup that you can as often as you can to develop experience and knowledge. Playing a deck with all even matchups can easily become a deck with all poor matchups if you don’t practice.

While I’ve been practicing all 8 of the matchups in my “grid” pretty heavily, I’ll be spending my next week or more working on the mirror match for these top 4 decks. You aren’t going to play in a huge event with limited decks without encountering your own deck over and over again, and I’ll do what I can to master these matchups for you guys next week.

In the meantime, pick a deck and get cracking! I’ve already analyzed all matchups for MegaZone and a special version of Stage 1s in my last article, and that should lead you off to a good start.

The Future

I’ll be honest. I’m a hound for reading future card scans for Pokémon cards. A few weeks before each Japanese release, I refresh Pokébeach over and over again waiting for the big news. Why?

Mark A. HicksPart of it is just me loving the game so much. I want to get any new information that I can as soon as possible because it’s fun. It’s exciting to see what kind of new mechanics that Japan has planned for the game. It’s exciting to see if some of my favorite pokemon will finally be made into a good attacker. But potentially most exciting?

Saving a LOT of money.

Not every set is going to be groundbreaking, but you can never be too sure. If you take time looking at all the cards from a potential set before we get it, you can get the best deals on those cards before the set is released. Whether it be through preorder sale (preorder Catchers at Troll and Toad were 3 dollars each at one point) or through early sales before the retailers catch on to competitive pricing (Rob Downs bought 32 Uxies for $2 each), there is some serious money to be saved and made.

While I know I’m not an expert rogue builder, I feel like I’ve developed to a point where I have a good eye for the money cards in each new set. Sometimes it’s more obvious than others (Black and White was NOT a hard set to read), other times it’s more difficult to discern (sets around the 2008-2009 season were littered with so many decent cards and combos that it was hard to find the REALLY good combos amongst them).

Looking at our upcoming set, Noble Victories (essentially guaranteed to contain the entire Red Collection) looks to be one of the strongest we’ve seen in a long time, and I think it’s going to be a real set to investigate and invest in. Because it’s been requested, I’m going to look through the cards in RED COLLECTION ONLY for now to determine what the best picks are going to be from our upcoming set.

I know that right now ALL the hype is around the EX sets across Japan right now, but we need to face it. We won’t be seeing those cards until last part of the season, and even then we have no idea what we’ll get. You wouldn’t believe the amount of Prof-It! Fans asking for my opinion on the new EX sets — it’s like everybody forgot about the cards that we’ll get after Regionals this November!

I’m going to review a sample of hot cards that I see in the set and assign them ratings of 1 to 10 based on how good they’d stack up to today’s metagame. I’m basing my reviews of Pokébeach’s typically accurate translations — you can go here for pictures, but I’m going to include the translations with each card that I review. Let’s get to it!

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Accelgor – Grass – HP90
Stage 1 – Evolves from Shelmet

[C] Acid Bomb: 20 damage. Flip a coin, if heads choose 1 Energy attached to the Defending Pokémon and discard it.
[G] Slashing Strike: 60 damage. This Pokémon can’t use Slashing Strike during your next turn.

Weakness: Fire (x2)
Resistance: none
Retreat: 0

Rating: 6/10

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Bulbapedia

Accelgor has 2 things going for him. 1 — an attack that goes for 60 damage on one energy and free retreat. His attack has a side effect not so desirable, but it can be ignored by free retreating into a new attacker.

However, I have one big problem about Accelgor. He doesn’t do anything that the current format doesn’t provide. Yanmega does his job a lot better in just about every way (more hp, 0 energy attack, better resistance). Sure you could pair yanmega with Accelgor and Sunflora for some kind of all-Grass fast attacker deck, but I’d much rather pair Yanmega with something that can cover a new type or help shore up Yanmega’s Lightning weakness (aka Donphan).

Maybe if he was another type he could fill some kind of new niche in fast stage 1 attackers, but with his current stats Accelgor doesn’t have what it takes to take it to tier 1. It’ll be a great semi-playable card to get for cheap for beginners, though!

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Virizion – Grass – HP110
Basic Pokémon

[C] Double Draw: Draw 2 cards from your deck.
[G][C] Leaf Slugger: 40 damage. During your next turn, if this Pokémon uses Leaf Slugger the damage is increased by 40.

Weakness: Fire (x2)
Resistance: Water (-20)
Retreat: 1

Rating: 6/10

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BulbapediaVirizion fills a very interesting niche that our format doesn’t provide right now — consistent and reasonable draw. We have one other Pokémon that almost provides what Virizion does — Relicanth from CoL, but Relicanth has 2 fundamental problems. 1 is that Relicanth, while drawing 3 cards, needs to lost zone a Pokémon from your hand to do so — a pretty steep cost. Second, Relicanth’s 2 retreat puts it at an inconvenient spot to have ever been seen as a legitimate starter.

Virizion’s 1 energy for 2 cards, 110 HP, and 1 retreat make it seem actually viable. The attack isn’t great, but the fact that it can attack is at least interesting. I haven’t made up my mind if drawing 2 cards for one energy outweighs the benefits of the free retreat-yet-30 HP shuffle + draw 6 Cleffa, but it’s definitely worth trying in builds.

Then again, at any moment, what would you rather play? A Bill for one energy, or a PONT for free? I know that’s generalizing it a little bit, but I at least think Virizion is interesting.

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Victini – Fire – HP60
Basic Pokémon

Ability: Victory Star
You can use this when your Pokémon flip coins as part of an attack. Ignore all results of those coin flips and reflip from the beginning. You can’t use Victory Star more than 1 time during your turn even if you have multiple Victini in play.

[R][C] Assist Power: 30 damage. Move all Energy attached to this Pokémon to 1 of your Benched Pokémon.

Weakness: Water (x2)
Resistance: none
Retreat: 1

Rating: 8/10

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This card has all kinds of potential for combos, and has already been pretty extensively hyped. There are a lot of things that flip on their attacks, but there are two that are good enough to at least make this card worth the hype.

The first is this set’s own Vanilluxe:

===

Vanilluxe – Water – HP130
Stage 2 – Evolves from Vanillish

[W][C] Double Freeze: 40x damage. Flip 2 coins, this attack does 40 damage times the number of heads. If even 1 coin is heads, the Defending Pokémon is now Paralyzed.

[W][W] Frost Breath: 60 damage.

Weakness: Metal (x2)
Resistance: none
Retreat: 2

===

Double Freeze with a Victini on the bench means that you only need to hit 1 heads out of 4 to paralyze your opponent on 2 energy. Now to be perfectly honest, this combo is definitely more hyped than it’s actual viability. You need a Vileplume in play if you want paralyze to be a viable kind of lock, so that you can negate Switch.

Getting two Stage 2s out, plus 2 energy on one attacker, plus the Victini on the bench is asking a LOT. I DON’T think it’s that good of a concept, and will likely only get as far as Beartic has so far (not very). However, the hype around our snowcone friend will immediately make Victini hype — combine that with Victini being a very popular Pokémon and he’ll be hard to get right off the bat. Unless you NEED to have full arts, go for the holo version and save a handful.

I know that Kettler threw a lot of hypothetical combos into the air at one point during one of his articles, but there’s one combo that I don’t think he touched on, and that is with Teddiursa CL’s Fake Tears. Teddiursa was a large focus of the Junior National-Winning “BearHug” deck that I worked on with Carlos Pero and his son, Xander, so the card itself already has some kind of potential.

On a coin flip, you can Trainer lock on turn 1 AND prevent 30 damage from attacks the next turn. However, throw in our little friend Victini and those odds bump up to 75%.

75% Trainer lock from turn 1 seems really strong to me, and it’s only a 3 card combo (Energy, Teddy, Victini). This gives you ample time to set up a stable Trainer lock like Vileplume behind it, and Ursaring himself isn’t a terrible Stage 1 attacker with Rainbow Energy in the deck.

Keeping in mind that Victini only aids pokemon with coin flip ATTACKS, nothing else has really popped up to me so far. However, the early Trainer lock combo alone makes him seem pretty viable to me with a copy or two in a deck, and it’s a card that’s going to start high in price right off the bat.

===

Seismitoad – Water – HP140
Stage 2 – Evolves from Palpitoad

[C][C] Round: 30x damage. Does 30 damage times the number of your Pokémon in play with a Round attack.
[W][W][C] Hyper Voice: 70 damage.

Weakness: Grass (x2)
Resistance: none
Retreat: 3

Rating: 8/10 (In the future)

===

BulbapediaOkay, you’re going to have to hear me out on this one. For ONCE in my life I think getting a card now is smart because of a future card from another Japanese set in the future. I didn’t even come into this article planning on talking about Seismitoad, but all of a sudden I like him a lot. Here’s the deal—

At first glance “Round” doesn’t seem that great of an attack. 30 damage times the amount of Pokémon with Round as an attack. Well, seeing as you’ll probably only get 1-2 Seismitoad in play reasonably, dealing 30-60-MAYBE 90 for one DCE. 140 HP is great. Water is a fantastic type to be. Grass instead of Lightning weak is beautiful. 3 retreat, not so hot but you attack for low energy so it’s not a deal breaker. It’s too bad that there isn’t some kind of other Pokémon with Round in the…

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Palpitoad – Water – HP80
Stage 1 – Evolves from Tympole

[W] Mud Shot: 20 damage.
[C][C][C] Round: 20x damage. Does 20 damage times the number of Pokémon in play with a Round attack.

Weakness: Grass (x2)
Resistance: none
Retreat: 2

===

Oh okay now we’re talking! So the Stage 1 has round, too! Not bad — it leaves the option to do 60-90-MAYBE 120 more possible here. Not terrible, but even then he’s not this ridiculous machine of power. Chances are the stage 1 Pokémon will outgun him on power and consistency. So why am I so hyped on this card?

===

Wigglytuff – Colorless – HP90
Stage 1 – Evolves from Jigglypuff

[C][C] Round: Does 20 damage times the number of your Pokémon in play with a Round attack.
[C][C][C] Hypno Wave: 60 damage. Flip a coin, if heads the opponent’s Active Pokémon is now Asleep.

Weakness: Fighting (X2)
Resistance: none
Retreat: 2

===

This Wigglytuff is a card that we won’t be seeing until at least one set Past Noble Victories, but it’s definitely interesting. With a 4-4 Wigglytuff line, and a potential 4-4-4 Toad line, you run a total of 12 possible “Rounders,” giving you the potential to hit for more consistent round damage on one energy.

If you can consistently hit for around 120+ per Seismitoad Round and even hit for 80+ on a Wigglytuff Round, the deck could be a great single-focus heavy hitting deck. Combined with the addition of a great recovery card in Red Collection, I think the deck has potential to be competitive.

Fossils

===

Bulbapedia

Carracosta – Water – HP140
Stage 1 – Evolves from Tirtouga

Ability: Solid Rock
When this Pokémon is damaged by an attack, flip a coin. If heads, the damage is reduced by 50.

[W][W][C][C] Crunch: 80 damage. Discard an Energy attached to the Defending Pokémon.

Weakness: Grass (x2)
Resistance: none
Retreat: 4

Rating: 4/10

===

Archeops – Fighting – HP130
Stage 1 – Evolves from Archen

Ability: Prehistoric Power
While this Pokémon is in play, no player can play a Pokémon from their hand to evolve his or her Pokémon.

[F][F][C] Rock Slide: 60 damage. Choose 2 of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon. This attack does 10 damage to each of them. (Don’t apply Weakness and Resistance for Benched Pokémon.)

Weakness: Grass (x2)
Resistance: none
Retreat: 2

Rating: 6/10

===

Both of these Pokémon are Fossil Pokémon. Here’s the deal with Fossils now:

===

Look at the bottom 7 cards of your deck. If you find a Tirtouga (Or Archeops if you play the other kind of Fossil — not official text just my explanation) there, you may put it on your Bench. Shuffle the remaining cards back into your deck.

You can use any number of Trainer cards during your turn.

===

BulbapediaRight off the bat, I’m not crazy about the mechanic. You need to play a Trainer card to get one of 4 “Basic” fossils from your deck off your bottom 7 cards. I’m not a statistician anymore, but I do know that after prizes and your hand, you’re going to be looking at around 7/45 cards of your deck looking for one of 4/45 cards in your deck. THEN, you’re expected to wait a turn and evolve the said “Basic” Pokémon into the actual “Stage 1” attacker.

The only card that can sort of aid this card’s use is Research Record. You can look at your top 4 cards, if you find one of your 4 Stage 1s, then you could throw it to the bottom. THEN you have to fossil to “dig” that pokemon up that you buried. It’s sloppy, but the combo exists and with Junk Arm it at least makes a fossil somewhat more likely to surface.

So, what’s the benefit for jumping through all these hoops?

For Carracosta, not much. High HP, Good weakness, cool. 4 Retreat, 4 energy attack, not cool. On a coin flip you can prevent 50 damage per attack which could make you a frustrating wall to tackle, but still — is it really worth all the trouble? The answer is no — he just can’t get the job done being that slow and not offering enough benefit.

Archeops is a different thing to explore. 130 HP, solid. Same solid Grass weakness. 3 for 60 and 10 to two bench — not strong at all. However, all the focus is on that ability, mirroring Aerodactyl from Fossil long ago — prevents all further evolution cards from being played.

I’m going to be honest — I hate what this is going to do to our game. While slow, if this card gets out with a consistent enough deck on turn 2, you pretty much shut down 90% of any deck that relies on evolution attackers. Sure it attacks slow, but if you can’t evolve you won’t be able to match him.

I don’t think Archeops is amazing, he’s just okay. But he just gives players another reason to jump to the Zekrom hype train. Because our format carries no “Mewtwo X” solution to all-basic decks, Zekrom is becoming more and more the ideal deck to play.

It’s going to lead to some very monotonous and frustrating mirror-matches if it becomes the majority play. Does this mean that it’s impossible to find a way to beat the mirror? No, but one-deck formats are always pretty boring, and I hope things don’t degenerate to that.

===

Kyurem – Water – HP130
Basic Pokémon

[C][C] Outrage: 20+ damage. Does 20 damage plus an additional 10 damage times the number of damage counters on this Pokémon.
[W][W][C]: Glaciate: Does 30 damage to each of your opponent’s Pokémon (don’t apply Weakness and Resistance when damaging the Bench).

Weakness: Metal (x2)
Resistance: none
Retreat: 2

Rating: 7/10

===

BulbapediaPeople are probably going to revolt at this, but I don’t see how to get Kyurem working to get it achieving the success of its brothers Zekrom and Reshiram. The Water type + Metal weakness are fantastic to start. Outrage is solid. The attack by nature does an insane amount of spread damage at 30 around. So what’s keeping me from hyping this card to the ends of the earth?

My first problem is that water doesn’t have nearly the same amount of options that Fire and Lightning have for energy acceleration. Fire’s Typhlosion and Lightning’s Pachi/Shaymin are perfect for the other two legendaries. Feraligatr prime on the other hand could be better.

It seems to be the only reasonable way to get 3 energy on Kyurem consistently, and I don’t know how reasonable that is. Pachi works because it’s fast. Typhlosion is a Stage 2 as well, but works in part because it pairs so well with the draw Pokémon Ninetales.

Feraligatr is going to demand a way for you to constantly draw into energy to power your Pokémon with Water energy, which means constant Supporters to fill up your hand, or card dedicated to the cause specifically like Interviewer’s Questions or Fisherman.

Altogether, I see this restriction keeping Kyrurem out of tier 1 status — it’s just a little sloppy. I still think it’s a card worth getting and testing, but at face value I don’t see it reaching broken potential that everyone else is seeing. He also only comes in holo form — even the card makers didn’t think that he deserved the full-holo treatment. : P

===

Eelektrik – Lightning – HP90
Stage 1 – Evolves from Tynamo

Ability: Electric Dynamo
Choose 1 Lightning Energy card from your discard pile and attach it to one of your Benched Pokémon. You can use this Ability 1 time during your turn.

[L][L][C] Lightning Ball: 50 damage.

Weakness: Fighting (x2)
Resistance: none
Retreat: 2

Rating: 8/10

===

BulbapediaThis card is extremely interesting. Compare it to Typhlosion, but for Lightning. It’s a Stage 1 — much easier to get out. No damage counter for reviving that Lightning energy — also good. Only attach to the bench — not perfect, but considering all other checks and balances it’s a very interesting option for decks using Lightning attackers.

Decks like aggro exist through this kind of card — you can run heavy counts of Sage’s Training and Engineer’s Adjustments to afford dumping energy, and then use Eelektrik to fish them out at a consistent pace. With Magnezone Prime your deck becomes much more like the Magnezone/Regirock variant that we saw last format as an emerging archetype.

You could also pretty easily afford an aggressive basic attacker like Zekrom in this type of deck, making mono-Lightning in general a pretty intriguing option.

It’s not without its downsides though. Two retreat isn’t great, and it means that you won’t be able to “save yourself” the same way Typhlosion usually does because you can’t attach from the discard to the active to feed the retreat cost. Fightning weak makes you a prime suspect for Donphan Prime, and without the old option of Sunnyshore Stadium, the deck definitely struggles with a barrage of Fighting.

However, the ability to recover energy consistently off a Stage 1 is too good to pass up, and it’ll definitely find its spot in a lot of decks this format.

Luckily, it won’t cost anything to get early, either. The set also has a terrible Stage 2 Eelektross — meaning that the superior Stage 1 eel will be an uncommon!

===

Chandelure – Psychic – HP130
Stage 2 – Evolves from Lampent

Ability: Cursed Shadow
Place 3 damage counters on your opponent’s Pokémon in any way you like. You can use this Ability 1 time during your turn, it this Pokémon is your Active Pokémon.

[P][P][C] Ominous Lamp: 50 damage. The Defending Pokémon is now Burned and Confused.

Weakness: Darkness: (x2)
Resistance: none
Retreat: 2

Rating: 6/10

===

BulbapediaAnother Pokémon that promotes spreading damage. I’ll be honest that I really like Chandelure as a Pokémon, so maybe I’m just desperate to make him work. Cursed Shadow is a peculiar Ability. It’s the equivalent of 3 Kingdra Spray Splashes, but you have to be active to get the ability working.

Being active and also having a 2 retreat cost isn’t a great combination, but there are workarounds. A heavy Switch count could let you cycle between two Chandelures and deal 60 damage spread on no energy — but that also requires that you have two Stage 2s out to do what the Stage 1 Yanmega can already do.

Dodrio UD also provides another solution, letting you promote Chandelure after every knockout to deal 3 damage every time, but is a 5 card combo and 2 bench slots worth the damage?

Honestly, I don’t see Chandelure working as of yet until spread finds its niche in the format, or until there’s an easier access to quick switching. There’s also another Chandelure in future sets beyond this one that does 30 damage to the active and 2 benched Pokémon on one energy, so maybe that’ll pair well with this one when the time comes. Until then, I’d keep my eyes out for Chandelure, but at the moment I don’t see him breaking the format.

===

Bisharp – Darkness – HP90
Stage 1 – Evolves from Pawniard

[D] Finishing Blow: 20+ damage. If the Defending Pokémon already has damage counters on it, this attack does 50 more damage.
[D][C] Night Slash: 30 damage. Switch this Pokémon with one of your Benched Pokémon.

Weakness: Fighting (x2)
Resistance: Psychic (-20)
Retreat: 1

Rating: 6/10

===

BulbapediaAnother Stage 1 that has game. On a single Special Dark you deal 80 damage to a Pokémon with damage counters on it already. Combined with Chandelure or Kingdra Prime and you can pump out a consistent 90+ damage on one turn.

Another interesting thing to note is Night Slash is probably one of the most reasonable “hit and switch” attacks in the game right now, making a hit and switch deck to Gothitelle possible in the same vein as Cursegar. The problem with that though is that Cursegar was a Stage 2 that switched into a basic Spiritomb.

Bisharp is a Stage 1 meant to switch into a Stage 2 — kind of sloppy. Not to mention, if you plan on hitting and switching over and over again, you’ll need Switch or Dodrio. Not practical enough to work, but interesting that he also has the options.

I applaud the game for giving high damage 1-energy attacks to other types, but Dark just isn’t good enough to solve any problems that the format has right now.

===

Hydreigon – Darkness – HP150
Stage 2 – Evolves from Zweilous

Ability: Dark Aura
All Energy attached to this Pokémon becomes Darkness Energy.

[D][D][D][D] Dangerous Blade: 60 damage. Choose 2 of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon, and this attack also does 40 damage to each of those Pokémon (don’t apply Weakness and Resistance when damaging the Bench).

Weakness: Fighting (x2)
Resistance: Psychic (-20)
Retreat: 3

Rating: 6.5/10

===

BulbapediaThis card is so close to being amazing, but is just short on a few levels. 150 HP on a Stage 2 is massive. Dark Aura is a great Ability, letting you work with Ability Emboar, Typhlosion Prime, or the new Eelektrik to easily get the 4 energy cost out.

For 4 energy, you deal 140 damage spread — a pretty reasonable result for an attack that honestly gets fueled much easier than it seems. One Double Colorless Energy gets you halfway there, plus you have the advantage of mixing and matching energy acceleration. No, you won’t be the fastest deck out there, but it should be at least reasonable.

Unfortunately, the way the attack spreads isn’t always convenient. If your opponent limits their bench to 1, your power is immediately dropped to 100 spread. Dealing only 60 to the active means that you’re going to have to wait most of the time before you take prizes. All this would be a decent drawback, but one big problem remains:

Donphan.

Fighting weakness leaves you open to a 2-shot KO on Earthquake and a one-shot on Heavy Impact, while you three shot them with a spread on the bench. Now I’m not saying that it’s a perfect matchup for them — they still spread their own bench with earthquake to help you out — but they still set up much faster than you ever will. Being a 3 retreat Stage 2 bound to energy acceleration from other fat Pokémon put this guy just under the potential to be really great.

===

Durant – Metal – HP70
Basic Pokémon

[M] Devour: Discard a number of cards from the top of your opponent’s deck equal to the number of Durant you have in play.
[C][C] ViceGrip: 30 damage.

Weakness: Fire (x2)
Resistance: Psychic (-20)
Retreat: 1

Rating: 6/10

===

Bulbapedia
(Kevin) Durant

This card gets a stupid amount of hype for how strong it really is. At best, you get 4 Durant in play very quicky and mill 4 cards at a time over and over again. It’s a fun strategy, and with the new defensive Pokémon tool card, Special Metal, and Revive I’m sure it could be consistent, my only gripe is that this kind of deck suffers the Gengar fallacy — you CANNOT win on time in top cut. You lose immediately. Yuck.

Assuming your opponent starts with a 45 card deck, and they draw every turn, it’d take around 7 turns to deck them out completely at 4 Durants a turn. Factor in that they’re going to have to play draw Supporters to get set up and you can likely average this to around 6, but this still assumes that you set up perfectly with no prized Durants every time.

It sounds fun (really fun actually, don’t get me wrong) to run a Durant mill deck, but I don’t know how viable the concept is. Zekrom seems like it’d roll you pretty quickly, and if Reshiphosion sets up they pretty much own you too. I could see Stage 1s having some trouble if you get enough defensive cards around the ants, but I’m going to have to see a mill deck that can beat everything before I can even consider playing a deck that can’t win on time.

===

Druddigon – Colorless – HP100
Basic Pokémon

Ability: Rough Skin
If this Pokémon is your Active Pokémon and is damaged by an opponent’s attack (even if this Pokémon is Knocked Out), put 2 damage counters on the Attacking Pokémon.

[C][C][C] Clutch: 60 damage. The Defending Pokémon can’t retreat during your opponent’s next turn.

Weakness: none
Resistance: none
Retreat: 2

Rating: 6.5/10

===

This card is interesting to say the least. It could find its place as a stand in for Tornadus—but that’s if you really want higher retreat, 10 less hp, 20 less damage, and no moving energy at the upside of preventing free retreat. His built in Rocky Helmet ability is interesting though—if there’s anything I’ve learned from playing Pokémon over the years, it’s that I hate pokemon that penalize you for attacking every turn.

Maybe Druddigon with a rocky helmet is enough to make it interesting, adding 4 additional damage when your opponent decides to attack you seems pretty brutal. While all of his stats scream “mediocre”, the extra damage from his ability might make him enough to find a niche spot in Zekrom.

===

Super Rod – Trainer

Search your discard pile for up to 3 in any combination of Pokémon and basic Energy cards. Show them to your opponent and shuffle them into your deck.

You can use any number of Trainer cards during your turn.

Rating: 9/10

===

Now we’re talking. This card probably won’t get too expensive, but I’d grab your copies now. Many of you guys probably won’t even see the appeal of this card because you never played with Night Maintenance, but recovery is a really GOOD thing in any deck, especially evolution decks. Getting back precious lost Pokémon or Energy back into your deck can be crucial in a full game.

This card in my eyes replaces Flower Shop Lady — less cards but at the convenience of being a Trainer card. While you won’t see it breaking the format, it’s a strong card and should be really important in most decks. I’d expect a copy or two in most decks, and as many as 3-4 in a deck with crucial attackers like the soon to emerge “Round” deck.

===

Rocky Helmet – Trainer

Pokémon Tool: To use a Pokémon Tool attach it to one of your Pokémon. Each Pokémon can only have 1 Pokémon Tool card attached to it.

When the Pokémon that this card is attached to is your Active Pokémon and receives damage from an opponent’s Pokémon’s attack, place 2 damage counters on the Pokémon that used the attack.

You can use any number of Trainer cards during your turn.

Rating: 8/10

===

BulbapediaThis card is interesting. It’s a great little defensive card that sortof functions as a double PlusPower. The problem is the extra damage isn’t applied when you want it, but rather when your opponent has to deal with it.

There are a lot of beneficial interactions that this card plays — Donphan can abuse it because he’s almost never knocked out in one hit — forcing your opponent to do 20 less damage AND do 20 damage to themselves is pretty brutal. It could very well be the card that makes Donphan handle Tornadus in the Zekrom matchup.

Not to mention, the tool provides even more use if it gets multiple damage drops during its lifespan. Putting it on Yanmega forces a donphan to walk into 2-shot range if they attack you—putting them at the perfect HP away to fall to 2 Sonicbooms.

It also provides a unique “landmine” to place on one of your Pokémon you don’t want knocked out — it forces your opponent to Catcher around to what they want, or forces them to take 2 damage they wouldn’t have otherwise taken.

I see this card being a great tactical option, and while it isn’t perfect, it’s a really interesting and strong card. Get your playset!

===

Eviolite – Trainer

Pokémon Tool: To use a Pokémon Tool attach it to one of your Pokémon. Each Pokémon can only have 1 Pokémon Tool card attached to it.

Any damage received by the Basic Pokémon that this card is attached to is reduced by 20.

You can use any number of Trainer cards during your turn.

Rating: 9/10 (for Zekrom)

===

BulbapediaUgh. This card is SO good in Zekrom it’s not even funny — I wouldn’t be surprised if it sees 3+ copies in the deck after its release. What’s essentially a permanent Defender for only basic Pokémon will make Zekrom harder to fell (it reduces 20 damage to itself from Bolt Strike as well — giving it a lot more durability).

Tornadus becomes a nightmare for Donphan, dropping them to just 20 damage per earthquake and 50 damage per Heavy Impact. You can even drop it on Pachi/Shaymin to prevent easy prizes. Overall, this card is really really good for any all-basic deck — Zekrom, turbo Durant, and Reshiphlosion come to mind.

While I don’t usually point far ahead, we’re also going to be seeing a swarm of ALL Basic EX Pokémon in the future — all of which will want to abuse Evolite to make them even harder to KO.

Keeping a lens on the future, this card will be huge. Get as many copies as you can, it’ll be desired.

===

N – Supporter

Each player shuffles his or her hand into his or her deck. Then, each player draws a number of cards equal to the number of his or her remaining Prize cards.

You can only use 1 Supporter card during your turn.

Rating: 9/10

===

BulbapediaAnother beautiful card. Rocket’s Admin returns. This card is great for a lot of reasons:

One, it simply forces your opponent to shuffle their hand and draw a new one. Even early game if they draw 5/6 cards, there is almost always a time where you know an opponent has a good hand and would be unhappy with a new one. Also, at its worst, it’s a PONT for you and your opponent early game — not horrible.

Two, it promotes comebacks in games. Cutting your opponent down to 1-2 cards at the end of the game is BRUTAL, especially in a format with almost no internal draw. Maybe your opponent went wild with Zekrom and wrecked you early, but you’re set up now. Dropping your opponent down to almost nothing is just nasty.

Three, it promotes slower decks and spread decks. Spread might be able to exist with this card. Chances are even if you have a favorable board position, you might have way less prizes than your opponent because you’ve been slowly building up a multiple-ko turn. Seeing as our format has promoted an aggressive “6 prizes, 6 turns” approach for so long, cutting that notion away in favored for a more tactic-filled game is a great interesting twist.

Fourth, it makes Magnezone a lot stronger. Not only can you afford N when you’re winning, but also when you’re losing because you can afford to Magnetic Draw your whole hand back! This really makes Magnezone a lot more powerful a threat in the format, and it was already pretty decent in the first place.

Too often, I’ve felt like going first and getting a prize a turn usually makes you unstoppable. Throwing in the fact that at the end of the game you could be cut off COMPLETELY from all options in your deck makes for much more interesting games. There are a lot of great combos to be made with this card, like N + Weavile Claw snag, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

This card will also be offered in full art and regular form. Needless to say grab all the regulars you can.

Mark A. HicksAltogether, this set holds a lot of “pretty good” cards that have potential for growth in the future, and a lot of very strong Trainer options. Your best bet when getting these cards in advance is trading at prereleases/league and scouring the internet for early prerelease pricing.

Even when the set releases in general some outlets might not know what cards are “good” or not, and you can make scores in the most obscure card shops online. If there are more strong cards released in the last 30 or so cards outside of Red Collection that we’ll see in Noble Victories, I’ll let you know, but in the meantime there’s a pretty nice collection to grab right away.

I’d say get 4 each of all the 8 or higher, and consider anything else that I’ve mentioned if it sounds like a fun concept that’d work for you. If you see a card in this set that you think was good that I didn’t mention, shoot me a comment below and I’ll let you know why I didn’t include it.

Prereleases start late October (my birthday!), so make sure you know what cards you want before the hype raises prices through the roof! You’ll save a lot of money, and you’ll even make some if you hoard soon to be good cards and sell them once prices have inflated.

Altogether, I hope you enjoyed the article. It contains two very different topics, and I hope one or the other appealed to you in some way. As always, I’m open to criticism and suggestions for the future! I plan on tackling the mirror in my next article, but if there’s something you want to hear alongside that, let me and my fellow writers know!

Until then, good luck at Battle Roads! It seems like a lot of you guys have been doing great so far, and I hope that trend continues through October!

Good luck in your battles (of witts : P)!

-Josh


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