So we now have the full setlist for our upcoming set, HeartGold & SoulSilver Unleashed!!! As you may know, Pre-Release tournaments in the U.S. are this weekend (May 1st & 2nd) and next weekend (May 8th and 9th).
So we didn’t get Vileplume or Legend Box, two cards that would have severely effected the metagame for Nationals, but we did get a few cards of note that may see play at top tables at Battle Roads or even Nationals. But that isn’t what this article is about. This article is about what to look out for, play, and ultimately win that most holy and coveted title in all of Pokémon TCG- the PRE-RELEASE!!! So without further ado…
Metagross- This guy has a solid 130HP, an attack that does 60 for CC in “Pulse Blast”, and an attack that snipes 40 to 2 benched Pokémon for PPP in “Double Leg Hammer”. His body is very useful in that it gives every Pokémon sporting a Psychic energy free retreat. This is fantastic because there are a decent amount of PR playable Psychic Pokémon, and you’re going to want to shuffle them around to keep them alive longer. It is also a double edged sword because of his double weakness to Crobat Prime Psychic.
As long as you get the first hit on Crobat, you should be okay. It is interesting to note that Metagross vs. Metagross will be 10 damage off from a 1HKO using “Pulse Blast”, so put that extra 10 on Beldum or Metang early. Speaking of his Basic and Stage 1, they are another thing that make this guy an obvious PR play. Beldum, for P, can hit for 10 and has the option of switching back to the bench, great for protection early game, and Metang has a very decent energy accel. attack which for P allows you to attach 2 Psychic energy cards from your discard pile to any Pokémon in play. For those reasons I believe Metagross will be a huge play in PR.
Octillery- Octillery is a stage one with an under-par HP of 80. However, he has a very affordable sniping attack. “Switch Cannon” will snipe 30 to anyone on your opponents bench and switch him to the relative safety of the bench for just 1 W energy. This is great for killing the Pokémon your opponent is trying to hide on the bench while they charge up. There are also many popular cards with an odd number of Hit Points, so being able to snipe for the last 10 or 30 is very useful.
Shaymin- Use him as a tech to transfer energy, or as a healer. His power “Celebration Wind”, lets you move as many energy as you want from anyone to anyone. Use it to surprise your opponent for the KO, or to power up “Energy Bloom” which for GC does 30 damage and also heals 30 from each of your benched Pokémon with damage counters. This will kill spread decks like the above mentioned Metagross, and also prove to be a decent staller. The downside is he only has 70HP and doesn’t hit for weakness on any cards in this set.
Sudowoodo- Hey, no one said pre-releases are pretty, right? Load up this 90HP basic with as many energy as you can, sacrifice a few Pokés, and sweep the game with “Push Over”. For F, Push Over will do 20 damage times the number of fighting attached to him. We all remember how successful Slowbro’s “Mad Kinesis” was in last sets PR. He has decent type coverage versus both Lanturns, but is also resisted by both Crobats.
Crobat(s)- This set offers 2 different Crobats. One which is currently being hyped to death, and another which, to me, stands out even more for PR. Crobat Prime has a formidable 130HP, free retreat, weakness t0 Lanturn, and resistance to Sudowoodo/Lucario. it is also equipped with 2 bargain attacks, both for a single psychic energy. The first, “Severe Posion” offers auto-posion with a bonus of adding 4 damage counters instead of 1 between turns. This attack will be extremely effective in PR due to high Retreat Costs on big cards like Torterra, Blastoise, Poliwrath, Ursaring, and Tyranitar. It will force your opponent to deal with it, and in turn, hopefully make a few misplays. There are a few ways to get around this, however.
As I mentioned, Metagross is a great play because it gives anyone with any Psychic energies free retreat. So hit Crobat , let him poison you for 40, retreat and repeat. This set also offers us 2 (flippy) status healing cards. “Life Herb” will remove 6 damage counters and special conditions on a good flip. I recommend playing a few of these if you pull them if only for the Crobat matchup. The other, “Super Scoop Up” is an old favorite that will heal all status and remove damage counters, along with all those energies you worked so hard to attach. This isn’t the best idea when dealing with “Severe Posion” however because of Crobat’s second attack, “Skill Dive”. Skill Dive does 30 anywhere, so if you hit a Scoop Up, it’s just an easier prize to snipe on the bench. As you can see, Octillery’s attack is easily better than Crobat’s, but the monstrous HP and annoying first attack will make it a MUST play.
The other Crobat IMHO is a better play than the former. For 20 less HP, you get an attack which for 1 P does 30 damage an auto-confusion. I don’t know about you, but I like that more than Crobat Primes. His 2nd attack is less stellar, verbatim to Machamp’s “Hurricane Punch” only for 1 Psychic energy more. Because the Crobat lines are decent and have 2 very competitive options, this will be a huge play at PR.
Kingdra(s)- Ahh yes. This is the reason why we’re all going to have to put in a few fire Pokémon into our decks. Kingdra Prime has an attack that for the scant 1 W does 60 damage IF your opponent is free of Fire Pokémon. Otherwise, it does a mere 20 damage. Something to think about while constructed those decks…
His power is like a Crobat G every turn, again, very useful. The other Kingdra hits on a repetitive theme for the set- Sniping 30 for one energy! Yes folks, Kingdra can snipe 30 for a single Water energy, (but not with the added benefit Octillery has!) This less-shiny Kingdra also has a decent attack in “Stream Pump”, which will do a guaranteed 80 damage for WCC if you return one energy to your hand. Interestingly, both Kingdra’s have that massive 130HP. Not a bad play!
Lucario- Lucario is fast and effective. This card really reminds me of the old Haymaker decks back in the day centered around Base Set Hitmonchan and Jungle Scyther. For 1C, “Bulk Up” adds 30 damage to any attack next turn AND has a base damage of 30. Not only that, but his 2nd attack “Magnum Punch” has a base of 50 for just FF. If timed correctly, you could Magnum punch for 80 every other turn starting turn 3. He has a decent HP of 90, however a weakness to Metagross and Crobat, the latter even having his resistance to add insult to injury.
Poliwrath- At 130HP, this guy is able to withstand a few hits, or turns of “Severe Poison”. His first attack does 40 for WC and will snipe 20 which is stellar in my opinion. His 2nd attack is only good depending on a coin flip. 60 on tails for WCC, and 100+ confusion on heads. A risky play, but not a bad one by any means. Watch out for Lanturn as his Prime will 1HKO you.
Ursaring(s)- Again, 2 different options here. One has 100 HP and 2 less than stellar attacks. The other has 10 more HP and even less stellar attacks. However, the latter has a PokéBody called “Berserk” which enables his attacks to do 60 more damage on the condition that Ursaring is already damaged. The ability to do 90 for 3C or 120 for 4C seems great, but keep in mind that there are no cards in this set that inflict self-damage (save Tyranitar).
To play against this card, just hit him with something you don’t mind losing, then take him out next turn with your main attacker. Lucario and Sudowoodo won’t have a hard time rolling through his weakness, either, and sorry to say, there are no colorless-weak Pokémon in this set. Still, the high HP and damage output on a Stage 1 is something to look out for.
Lanturn- Yeah, not really going to even talk about the other Lanturn here.. Lanturn Prime has a good HP of 110 for a Stage 1, an attack that has a base damage of 70 for LCC (technically), and fanTASTIC type coverage. He 1HKOs Crobat all day, Kingdra all day, Octillery, Poliwrath, Blastoise, Magmortar, Ninetales, you name it. An overall solid play for PR.
Steelix- Steelix has an astonishing HP of 140 on a Stage 1. A situational, yet useful in this format, PokéBody which makes him immune from status conditions, (Crobat is sad), and a Psychic resistance which makes him an annoyance to Metagross. His first attack, “Energy Steam” does 30 damage and lets you attach an energy card from your discard pile. Use this in conjunction with “Engineer’s Adjustment” and you’ve got yourself some rockin’ synergy.
Too bad this set didn’t give us special metal… Anyway, for the absurd price of MMCCC, Gala Crush does 100 damage and that’s all you need to know. (Seriously, there are no stadiums in this set…) if you can power this guy up, you’ve got a 140HP tank doing 100 with no draw back. Couple with Life Herb and, well, good luck!
Tyranitar- The last of the primes on this list. T-Tar has a massive 160HP and 3 attacks. Again, he is resistant to Psychic, so annoying to Crobat and Metagross, however, Crobat will just poison and watch him suffer with that heavy 3 Retreat Cost, and Metagross is just going to snipe around it. Tyranitar’s first attack does an even 20 spread to all non dark Pokémon.
Since there are a very decent amount of Pokémon that can snipe for low energy, this might be a smart play at PR. I’ll skip past his 2nd attack and move on to “Megaton Tail”. For DDCC, it does 120 damage, just short of 1HKOing the popular cards in this format. (Why isn’t Crobat G here??) So again, plan accordingly to get the extra 10, 20, or 30 damage. The attack comes with the drawback of having to discard the top 3 cards from your deck, perhaps couple that with “Good Rod” to put a useless card on top of your deck to sacrifice.
Dunsparce- Mmmmm… Draw support. 1C- “Return”. 10 damage. Draw cards until you have 6 cards in your hand. Simple. Play it.
Jirachi- This basic Pokémon has an interesting attack in “Time Hollow”. It lets you devolve a Pokémon by one stage for each Psychic energy attached. The reason why this is crucial in this format? They reprinted “Rare Candy”. So ruin your opponent’s day by devolving a Crobat or Kingdra back into their basic forms and laugh when they don’t have the Stage 1!
As usual, you’re gonna want to stuff your PR deck with Supporters and Trainers, and this set gave us a few good options. Draw 3 with “Cheerleader’s Chant”. 3 or 2 with “Emcee’s Chatter”. 4 with “Engineer’s Adjustment” (bonus points for those who play this into Steelix’s “Energy Stream” or Metang’s “Energy Crane”!) “Interviewer’s Question” will search out valuable energy cards from your deck, and “Judge” is a Supporter that is identical to Giratina’s “Let Loose”.
“Dual Ball” is a trainer that is a combination of “Great Ball” and the original “PokéBall”. For each heads you flip out of 2, you choose a basic from your deck and put it into your hand. Stuff as many as you pull into your deck. Super Scoop up and Life Herb are good plays to get out of “Severe Posion” and other annoying status conditions. You could also use SSU to reuse coming into play Power’s like Shaymin’s and Jirachi’s. “PlusPower” will be a good play for getting the extra 10 damage needed for the 1HKO on many Pokémon from “Gala Crush”, “Megaton Tail” or a double “Pulse Blast”.
Rare Candy is a classic card that I couldn’t be happier about getting reprinted. It single handedly gave Stage 2 decks a chance against SP and is no different in this PR format. Many Stage 2’s have single energy attacks you’re going to want to use right away. This card will make T2 “Severe Posion”, “Dragon Steam” and “Pulse Blast” possible. Just watch out for Jirachi like I mentioned above!!
I must be missing something… Hmmm… Ah yes!! The LEGEND Pokémon! Well, ermm.. Only 1 half of a LEGEND comes in a pack, so it will be very hard to pull both halves from 8 packs. And Pokémon USA decided to omit Legend Box from this set… But hey, if you get it, then more power to you! High HP and powerful attacks win Pre Releases.
So there you go! Those are my picks for our upcoming pre-release tournaments! I hope you got a grasp on what to look out for, and an idea on what to build that may do very well! Good luck!
If you haven’t been to a PR tourny before, they are very fun and much different than other premier events. They cost $25 and have great prizes. They are generally really relaxed and do not count toward your premier rating. A great way to meet new people. Check out Pokémon.com for a list of tournaments in your area.