Tom’s Top Ten! – Black & White Set Analysis, Decklists, and Pre-release Trade Guide

Note From Adam: I’m so sorry for getting this out so late! One more article coming tonight and then we’ll be back on normal schedule next week.

Hey there again Underground! I hope you guys all did great at Regional Championships. In this article I’m going to be discussing what are the best cards from the new set, the best way to trade for them at Pre-release as well as how much of an impact the new B&W cards have on our current format with a few new decklists thrown in for good measure. I hope you guys enjoy it!

Deciding last-minute to go to my Pre-release on Sunday, I had my eye on a number of cards from the set, even though this set was subject to a number of cuts (including Beartic, Gothitelle, Pokémon Catcher, Crush Hammer, and Max Potion).

The new “simplification” of merging Poké-Powers and Poké-Bodies together intrigues me. The reason I don’t like them is that it seems as if Pokémon are trying to dumb down the game. However, the good out of this is that all Power/Body disruption cards in the format in the moment have no effect on Abilities whatsoever.

So without further ado, here is the countdown of the top 10 cards that I think have the most potential from the new expansion:

10. Reuniclus

For use in: Tank decks such as Steelix Prime, Gyarados SF, Machamp, Tyranitar Prime, and many more

The first card from the set that shows promise is the multiplying Pokémon. His attack isn’t too hot, weighing in at a subpar 3 psychic for 30+ 10 for each energy attached to the defending Pokémon. In a format all about speed, this attack doesn’t really cut it, but it’s his ability that allows this card to shine.

pokemon-paradijs.comEssentially a reprint of Alakazam from Base set, the Ability allows you to move damage from your own Pokémon around the field as often as you like each turn. This is useful for moving damage counters all onto one Pokémon, then playing a Super Scoop Up or Seeker to bring the damage off of the field.

A neat trick that I discovered was the use of Mismagius GL LV.X and Unown Q in the same deck. By moving 20 damage that’s on the field to the Unown Q, attaching it to one of your Pokémon, return it to your hand with Mismagius’s “Magical Return” and then rinse and repeat. Each turn this will rid your side of the field of damage counters.

One huge failing I see with the card is the HP. A Stage 2 with 90 HP and a terrible attack? The basic only has 30 HP with weakness to psychic. An incredible risk to run given the current metagame conditions, even more so if Sabledonk becomes popular.

Although it is apparent this card had glaring weaknesses, it definitely could be played as a support card in a number of decks. It may see more play next season, but I’d definitely recommend grabbing one at Pre-release if you’re able.

9. Mandibuzz

For use in: Tyranitar, Sablock, Dark/spread decks in general

This card appears to be the Red Herring of my shortlist. Having the ability to snipe Pokémon for 50 if they have damage on them already is really strong, and fits into decks such as Sablock and Tyranitar easily. However, upon rotation where Crobat G will (probably) be rotated, it’s the only card on my list that actually loses strength come September.

pokegym.netThis is due to the limited means of placing damage counters on your opponents’ Pokémon. The only card that springs to mind is Kingdra Prime, but being a stage 2, with no BTS in the format, and the awful ruling on Rare Candy, makes him an unrealistic choice.

He may become a nice play in Sablock; however I’m not sure he quite warrants cutting the Honchkrow SV. This is due to a couple of reasons:

  1. He cannot 1-shot KO a Mewtwo LV.X., only swinging for 60
  2. He doesn’t help as much vs. Gyarados, only swinging for 60

Although he may not be the optimal choice in a Sablock deck, I can see him slotting into a Tyranitar build nicely. After a few “Darkness Howls” from the Prime, it sets up multiple Kos for Mandibuzz to swoop in and take with “Blindside”.

8. Zoroark

For use in: Tyranitar, as a tech in…….anything?

This guy is definitely one of the more interesting cards from the expansion. Having 100 HP as well as access to 2 decent attacks at for a relatively cheap energy cost isn’t too shabby at all.

First of all, “Nasty Plot” nets you any one card from your deck. We’ve seen this before in cards such as Weavile DP and Furret GE. However, the difference between those 2 and Zoroark is that the Illusion Fox actually had a decent second attack to back it up with.

“Foul Play” copies any of the defending Pokémon’s attacks without (as far as I know) needing to have the energy required to do that attack. This means that attacks such as Steelix Prime’s “Gaia Crush”, Gengar SF’s “Poltergeist” as well as Garchomp C LV.X’s “Dragon Rush” can be used for the cost of a DCE!

This card has amazing potential as a tech, as it can be splashed into just about any deck, as the darkness energy isn’t completely necessary to utilise Zoroark. I’m sure it will see some play, but not as a deck on its own, as it would get destroyed by decks such as Machamp and Gyarados.

7. Serperior

For use in: Serperior, Nidoqueen replacement

This card screams to be played in its own deck due to its ability, “Royal Heal”. Healing for 10-40 between each turn is at the forefront of healing tank decks at the moment. His attack isn’t too shabby either, swing for 60 with the ability to re-arrange any grass energy attached to your Pokémon.

Here’s my list that I have for Serperior at the moment:

Pokémon – 26

4 Snivy BLW 1
4 Servine BLW 3
4 Serperior BLW 6
1 Zekrom BLW
1 Mewtwo MD
1 Mewtwo LV.X
2 Uxie LA
1 Uxie LV.X
3 Spiritomb AR
1 Regice LA
1 Chatot MD
1 Azelf LA
1 Unown Q MD
1 Skuntank G

Trainers – 23

4 Pokémon Collector
2 Bebe’s Search
3 Broken Time-Space
3 Pokémon Communication
1 Luxury Ball
1 Warp Point
1 Palmer’s Contribution
1 VS Seeker
2 Junk Arm
1 Black Belt
3 Poké Blower +
1 Dawn Stadium

Energy – 11

4 G
4 Rainbow
3 Call

Serperior’s main issue is actually dealing enough damage to KO your opponent’s Pokémon in one shot. In a format rampant with Seeker, SSU, and Poké Turn, it’s crucial to be able to land those critical KOs in order to maintain a decent offensive as well as keep up the Prize trade.

Serperior needs help in that department due to that fact he only swings for a base of 60, and the majority of the format attacks with Pokémon with base of at least 110 HP (E.g. Luxray GL LV.X, Garchomp C LV.X, Machamp SF, Dialga G LV.X, Gengar SF, Gyarados SF to name just a few).

The inclusion of Mewtwo definitely helps the SP Matchup, and the Zekrom swings for huge damage, as well as healing some, if not all the damage it does to itself between turns.

The inclusion of both Zekrom as well as Mewtwo may seem clunky, but with the ability to move energy around with Serperior, these guys are quickly powered up with the energy the Serperior was using the previous turn.

6. Reshiram

For use in: Emboar

Let me start off by saying how cool the artwork on these new cards look coupled with the holographic effect. It makes me want to find the optimal partners for both Reshiram and Zekrom solely due to the physical appearance of the cards!

It is unfortunate that their normal holographic counterparts look almost fake due to the crudeness of their artwork and general lacklustre design. Anyway, I digress. Reshiram is a Basic with 130 HP, who can swing for 120 with a discard of 2 fire energy cards.

This guy has the capability of hitting hard each turn with the help of Emboar, who is also released in the set. I’ll show you the list that I have come up with so far later in the article.

5. Zekrom

For use in: Zerkrom/Pachirisu/Shaymin, Serperior

One of the most powerful cards from the B&W expansion that has the capacity to swing for 120 base damage turn 1! Here’s the list that I’ve come up with so far:

Pokémon – 20

4 Zekrom BLW
2 Uxie LA
1 Uxie LV.X
3 Pachirisu CL
3 Shaymin UL
1 Unown Q MD
4 Sableye SF
1 Smeargle UD
1 Crobat G

Trainers – 27

4 Super Scoop Up
4 Pokémon Collector
1 Luxury Ball
2 Seeker
2 Expert Belt
3 Dual Ball
3 Junk Arm
1 VS Seeker
2 Sunyshore City Gym
1 Snowpoint Temple
2 Warp Point
1 Pokémon Rescue
1 Palmer’s Contribution

Energy – 13

11 L
2 Double Colorless

4. Professor Juniper

For use in: Magnerock, Zekrom/Pachirisu/Shayin, Vilegar to name a few

The only supporter card printed in the set, and a pretty decent one at that. The ability to refresh your hand to 7 cards at the cost of discarding your current one speeds decks such as Magnerock up significantly.

This is done by allowing you to draw new cards while getting cards such as Energy (to recycle later with Magnezone SF or Regirock) or excess stadium cards (such as BTS) into the discard pile. I can see this card having potential upon rotation as well, as it will provide steady draw in decks with the rotation (probably) of Uxie.

3. Emboar

For use in: Forretress LA, Reshiram, Magmortar, a tech for energy acceleration in a multitude of decks!

Let me being by saying that this card really opens up the format again. The ability to attach fire energy to any of your Pokémon (regardless of type) makes it infinitely superior to Feraligatr Prime.

I’m sure many players remember the Forretress from LA that, on a flip, placed 2 damage counters on every Pokémon in play excluding any Forretress. It used to be played with Blastoise from SW that attached as many water energy from your hand as you like, then ending your turn.

This strategy would essentially KO all Pokémon on your opponent’s side of the field, leaving your Forretress alive, thus winning by benching your opponent out.

Blastoise then received an errata stating that Forretress’ Body would only activate once as the energy attachment was seen as one action or one giant attachment. It will be interesting to see if Emboar is ruled the same way or differently, as it could influence the format significantly!

However, the main deck that I see Emboar being used in is with Reshiram, as Emboar simply speeds him up a great deal. Here is the list that I promised you guys earlier:

Pokémon – 22

2 Tepig BLW 16
2 Pignite BLW 17
2 Emboar BLW 20
1 Emboar BLW 19
2 Reshiram BLW
1 Moltres MD
1-1 Entei & Raikou LEGEND
2 Uxie LA
1 Uxie LV.X
1 Unown Q MD
1 Azelf LA
2 Sableye SF
1 Chatot MD
1 Spiritomb AR
1 Shuckle HGSS15

Trainers – 26

3 Pokémon Collector
3 Pokémon Communication
1 Luxury Ball
2 Bebe’s Search
3 Broken Time-Space
1 Expert Belt
3 Seeker
3 Super Scoop Up
1 Warp Point
2 Junk Arm
1 VS Seeker
1 Palmer’s Contribution
1 Interviewer’s Questions
1 Pokémon Rescue

Energy – 12

10 R
1 L
1 Double Colorless

I admit the list looks a little messy. 2 Sableye? A 2-2-3 line of Emboar? Madness I hear you say! Contrary to what it looks like on paper, the deck (for me at least) has played pretty smoothly in testing, achieving really positive results.

Now, before I continue I must address the playability of Shuckle HGSS Promo. On paper, in combination with Emboar, he seems to have a lot of Synergy. Attach your fire energy for the turn to draw with his Poké-Body, then SSU/Seeker him to re-use the energy.

From what I have found, he does work, but SITUATIONALLY. He cannot be relied upon for consistent draw, which is why Uxie is needed more of the time. Once you are set up, he does provide a decent draw, providing you wish to use your supporter for the turn on bringing back the Shuckle to your hand.

The main strategy of the deck is to utilise Reshiram Early game to get KOs, playing down Moltres MD when there are fire energy in the discard pile to recycle. The starter Deck Emboar is in there as a kind of tech to sweep the field mid to late game, as well as the Entei/Raikou Legend being able to take down decks that rely heavily on powers. The deck may not to be everyone’s taste, and suffers from trainer lock, but give it a go if you want to get a feel for what Emboar can do.

2. Bouffalant

For use in: SP, as an SP counter, pretty much any deck that runs four DCE.

This card is what I’d imagine Toxicroak G Promo and Dragonite FB to look like if they had a baby. He is an amazing SP counter, having the ability to 1HKO Garchomp C LV.X, Dragonite FB, Ambipom G, Toxicroak G or Luxray GL LV.X with an Expert Belt.

I’m finding it hard to find a reason NOT to run this in Luxchomp, apart from the fact he cannot be retrieved with Aaron’s Collection and that he has a Retreat Cost of 2. I find these to be minor inconveniences in the long run as this card brings so much to the table for other decks too.

Revenge kills will be even more rampant in the format now, which is good in my opinion, allowing decks to recover from compromising situations.

The sad thing is that I completely overlooked this guy at Pre-release, and as a result, currently own zero. Make sure you guys don’t do the same!

And the winner is…….

1. Cinccino!

For use in: Cinccino Swarm

pokemon-paradijs.comNarrowly beating Bouffalant in my list of the best Black & White cards due to the return of the “Do the Wave” attack.

Veterans of the TCG will remember how good Jungle Wigglytuff used to be back in the day. He hit for 60 damage for 3 colourless energy, which was a great attack in the first few formats. Now, we see Cinccino bring back the attack in full force, swinging for an average of 100 damage for a DCE!

Not only is this card great in this format, swinging hard and fast, but will be great in the next format when things (hopefully) slow down a bit!

Here’s my current list:

Pokémon – 21

4 Mincinno BLW
4 Cinccino BLW
4 Sableye SF
2 Crobat G
2 Uxie LA
1 Uxie LV.X
1 Bouffalant BLW 91
1 Mesprit LA
1 Ambipom G
1 Unown Q MD

Trainers – 29

4 Pokémon Collector
3 Pokémon Communication
1 Bebe’s Search
1 Cyrus’s Initiative
1 Judge
1 VS Seeker
2 Poké Turn
4 Super Scoop Up
2 Seeker
1 Palmer’s Contribution
4 Poké Blower +
1 Expert Belt
2 Dual Ball
1 Junk Arm
1 Luxury Ball

Energy – 10

4 Double Colorless
1 Cyclone
3 Special D
2 D

With the capability to donk turn one with Sableye, as well as maintaining a strong mid to late game with Cinccino, this deck, in my opinion is a strong tier one contender, and definitely will be next format. With an even better Minccino coming out in the next set (probably) that does 30 for one on a flip, it’s hard not to consider the chinchilla (yes that’s right, a chinchilla) Pokémon a serious threat!

Go grab those Cinccino while you still can!

‘Pwning’ the Prerelease

So, now that the list is over, how are you going to get your hands on all these playable cards at Prerelease? Here are my top tips for coming away from a PR with something looking like this:

1. Bring your trade binder with you!

This is a mistake so many players make at Pre-releases by not bringing your trade binder. By leaving it at home, you limit your trading potential to just the cards you get from the packs which you probably won’t want to trade anyway.

A lot of people attending tournaments are looking for older staples such as Smeragle, Spiritomb, Azelf, Pokémon Collectors etc. They may also be looking for certain LV.Xs / Primes which leads me onto my next point:

2. Future-Proof your collection.

I can’t stress this enough. Don’t hoard your older LV.Xs in the vain hope that they will someday become playable. Before you know it, September will be here, and those cards will be practically worthless. Try to trade them away to players that want them before it’s too late.

I managed to trade My Giratina LV.X away for a Zekrom, a Cinccino, and a Serperior. While this may not seem that great a trade, you have to bear in mind that Giratina LV.X sells for very little at the moment, and the fact that I probably won’t get a better offer before rotation encouraged me to take the deal.

Future- Proofing is a key means of growing and maintaining a healthy collection. I highly recommend you try to do this as much as possible!

3. Don’t rip yourself off!

One of the biggest mistakes that players make at Pre-releases is to trade way over the value that a card is worth based on the hype it has received on online forums, magazines or from word of mouth.

It is easy to get carried away and trade away a great deal of your binder for something that’s received a lot of acclaim without even being in the format yet! So be wary readers, don’t overtrade!

And finally………….

For those of you who made it to the end, a few surprises for you!

1. Victini!


A new Victini scan has surfaced on the internet. It looks like a card from the new starter decks coming out in Japan. Here is the translation of the attack, courtesy of Eskil O. Vestre:

“If you have less than 5 benched, this attack fails.”

For a basic this Pokémon looks insane! 2 energy for 100? We’ll see if this card gets a US release in the near future I think

2. Sell those Reshirams & Zekroms!

You know those Fancy looking Zekroms and Reshirams? Turns out they’re worth in the region of $30-35, so sell those on Ebay as soon as you can after your Pre-release if you can bear to play with the normal holo (ugly) versions as they’re worth significantly less!

So there you go. I hope you enjoyed the read, and feel free to discuss what your favorite card is from B&W in the article discussion!

Until next time,

Tom H.

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