The Hawk’s Nest: Emerging Powers

This is a Black and White Emerging Powers set analysis. Now, I’m not the type of person to do a full set analysis, so I will be giving you a Top 10 list and some honorable mentions.

Let’s jump right into it.

Honorable Mention:

Great Ball: In a format with weak search capabilities, Great Ball will be tested thoroughly in many decks. It could be used in combination with Research Record to help get the desired results. However, I think that too many people will pass on Great Ball for it to see play.

– Ferrothorn: This Pokémon is a Stage 1 evolution with 90 HP. This is pretty low for our standards. However, it does have an interesting attack. For two one M Energy and two C Energy you can do 60 damage and then both players switch out their actives. This will not likely see any competitive play, but it could make for a fun league deck.

– Scolipede: This Pokémon is a Stage 2 evolution with 140 HP. The fun thing about this Pokémon is that for one P Energy and one Colorless you can do 20 damage and poison your opponent. The poison does 20 damage between turns instead of 10. This is a fun idea, but will likely not see play outside of league.

Max Potion: This card might deserve a straight spot in the Top 10, but I feel that it can be iffy. We all saw how awesome Ross’ deck was with the ability to heal with Blissey Prime. It would seem that this card would go very well with Reuniclus.

The problem is that for Reuniclus to work, it seems that you need to pair it with Vileplume for Pokémon Catcher protection. Thus, you would be locked out of your Max Potions. I could see this possibly making its way into a couple decks, but what are you going to drop for it?

Also, the decks with a solid amount of energy acceleration to replace the discarded energy with do not really need it. So, for me it stays right outside the Top 10.

Top Ten

10) Recycle: I know that we all hate flippy cards, but this is the only card in the coming format that can get you back a Supporters or a Special Energy from the discard. If you flip heads, you get to take any card from the discard and put it on the top of your deck. It’s text is too good to not at least test in a deck, right?

9) Crush Hammer: Here is another flippy card. If heads, you get to discard an energy from any of your opponents Pokémon. The format is at an interesting place. A couple of decks run heavy energy acceleration, but this could be deadly to decks that do not, like Megazord. Again, it has a great effect that will be tested out.

8) Tornadus: You could flip-flop Thundrus and Tornadus. I do not care too much about the specific order. This Pokémon is a basic with 110 HP. For one Colorless you can move one energy from a benched Pokémon to Tornadus. Then for CCC you do 80 damage and move one energy from Tornadus to a benched Pokémon. It is a solid basic that is going to see some play. I do not think that it is anything special though.

7) Thundurus: This is a basic Pokémon with a respectable 110 HP (wow, what have we come to when 110 is just respectable…). It for one Colorless you can search your deck for a L Energy and then attach it to Thundurus.

Its second attack does 80 damage plus a one energy discard from Thundurus for LLC. This is not a great attack, but combined with a card later on down the list you can do 80 on turn two to almost any Pokémon on the board. That is respectable.

6) Krookodile: This guy could be a lot of fun in a semi-competitive deck. It is a Stage 2 with 140 HP. His ability allows you to flip a coin, if heads, you discard an energy from your opponent’s Pokémon.

This plus Crush Hammer, plus Lost Remover could be an awesome energy denial deck. Then it attacks for 70 + 20 if heads or 70 + 20 recoil if tails. It can 2HKO anything in the format (save Samurott).

5) Gothitelle: This card has received much hype already. It is a stage 2 Pokémon with 130 HP. It’s ability creates a one way Item-Lock when Gothitelle is active. So, you would be able to use your Items, while your opponent cannot.

Its attack does 30 +20 for each P Energy attached for the cost of CCC. This could grind out some good damage while keeping your opponent under lock. With the Item-Lock Reshiram and Zekrom cannot 1HKO you with PlusPower.

4) Beartic: This is the other hype Pokémon from the set. It is a Stage 1 with a respectable 130 HP. It’s first attack does 30 damage and the defending Pokémon cannot attack in the following turn for the cost of WCC. Now 50 damage is not very much at all in this format.

However, people are talking about pairing it with Vileplume to for the opponent to manually pay for Retreat Costs to be able to attack. The other nice thing about this water Pokémon is that it is weak to Metal types. Given how Scizor Prime and Steelix Prime have seen a drop in play, the weakness will likely not be exploited.

pokebeach.comI really think that this card is a bunch of hype and not much substance. If for some ridiculous reason Beartic/Vileplume starts to see play, people can simply counter with a 1-1 line of Dodrio to reduce the Retreat Costs by CC. This gives almost every popular card in the format a retreat of one or zero. I do not expect this card to be a feature in the season to come.

If you love water decks, I would look toward Samurott/Electrode Prime or Kygrum/Feraligatr/Alomomola.

3) Cheren: In a format lacking in pure draw, Cheren is a welcome sight. Some people have even shifted toward using Cheerleader’s Cheer in their decks, but now they can draw three cards without their opponents getting a card. That is great news. Three cards is not a whole lot, but it is going to often be better than relying on Copycat or Judge.

2) Bianca: Bianca is a supporter that allows you to draw until you have six cards in your hand. Sound familiar? It is Magnezone Primes’ Power in a Supporter. This card could really pay off dividends. You can run a solid Junk Arm engine and then use Bianca to raise your hand size. I know that this is the first Supporter that I am trying out in tyRam.

1) Pokémon Catcher: Finally, the big whopper. Pokémon Catcher is Reversal without the flip. You automatically get to switch your opponent’s active Pokémon with something on the bench. This card will singularly bend the format. It is that strong.

However, I do not think that it is as broken as some people are claiming. Let me explain. First, it is a card that every deck can use. It is not like Luxray that could only truly be played in a SP deck. Second, it is an Item not a Pokémon. This means that it is not searchable (save for a couple attacks like Zoroark’s Nasty Plot).

Yes, you can play four and you can have good odds of getting one early, but you are still completely reliant on the draw. Luxray was so broken because it could be summoned at any moment in a SP deck. Third, Stage 2s will not become unplayable.

Yes, decks that require multiple lines of Stage 2 Pokémon will likely die off, but other decks will just have to adapt. Many decks will start running 4-2-4 with four Rare Candy to speed things up and allow for one or two basics to get picked off. Decks will also start to use Switch more often.

Personally, I do not think that one card should bend the entire format like this. I actually like Reversal, because the flip balanced the card out. You could not focus your entire strategy around hitting heads on Reversal. It was too risky. Now, decks can rely on killing whatever they want to at will. It is not a good card for the game, but we will adapt to it.

To be honest, the set as a whole seems to be lacking (save Catcher). There is nothing mind-blowing in this set. Yes, the two draw supporters are nice. They will see play. Everything else is just kind of “meh” in my opinion.

Well I know that people are going to disagree with me on this one. People will never agree on a list like this in a gazillion years. The point is to open a dialogue about how the new set is going to be. Let’s just keep the debate respectful.

I want to start by saying that I will do more analysis in the near future about each of the most popular decks. In those articles I will go into more depth. For now I am just offering a tiny overview.

tyRam: This deck took more spots in the Top 16 than any other deck. It also won the Junior division. I honestly feel that Emerging Powers does little to change the position of this deck. Quite a few people were already experimenting with removing the Ninetales line to eliminate any easy prizes.

The main change that some people make to the deck is moving Rare Candy up to a count of four and running a 4-2-4 Typhlosion line. You can no longer rely on your opponent hitting tails on Reversal so you need to eliminate the easy prizes and ensure that you can get the Typhlosions up. I would honestly be surprised to see this deck become significantly less popular.

Yanmega/Magnezone: This deck was the BDIF before Worlds and is set to say in contention post Worlds. Yanmega is a very fast attacker that can utilize Pokémon Catcher. However, Magnezone might become more of a liability with a heavy CCC Retreat Cost.

You better hope that you can either attack with Magnezone or get it out of the Active Spot. I feel that similar to tyRam, the Magnezone line will need to be a 4-2-4 with four Candy. This will possibly push out the Kingdra Prime tech, as that will be too much to get set up reliably.

Yanmega/Donphan/Zoroak: This was the deck that possibly had the most disappointing run at Worlds. It took second at US Nats but only had one representative in the Top 16 at Worlds. This deck is very fast and requires very little to get attacking. Most basics are 1HKOd by Donphan. This deck will likely see an increase of playability.

ReshiBoar: Partially out of stubbornness, I will keep stressing that a ReshiBoar with Magnezone and RDL techs won Worlds. Not MagneBoar. However, this deck is the other half of the argument with tyRam for next season. It is nice because you only need to hit one Emboar to get rolling.

Then with Catcher you will likely need to only built two max during one game to roll along (tyRam might have to build all four over the course of a game). This gives Emboar the advantage in the set up phase.However, it has a huge CCCC Retreat Cost and a sub-par attack. It will likely continue to play second fiddle to tyRam, in my opinion. I am always open to be proven wrong though.

Donphan/Reshiram/Zekrom: This deck is still largely unproven in competitive play, but it has gained a following online. It seems to set up very fast and can fully utilize Catcher. Look for many good players to experiment with this deck.

MagneBoar: I honestly think that Worlds was the last place for MagneBoar to shine through. Focusing on a Stage 2 to attack and another Stage 2 to sit the bench is a tall order. Over the course of one game you need to build at least five Stage 2 Pokémon. With Catcher, I just do not see this happening enough to be consistently competitive.

Vileplume UDVileplume Variants: Ross’ Epic Rogue deck is the most successful Vileplume to date in this format. I expect Vileplume to see more play with Catcher coming into the format. His deck was pure genius and I think that Vileplume might be here to stay for a bit.

You can simply play down 2-3 Oddish to ensure you have at least one left for evolution into Vileplume. The possible popularity of this deck will have resounding effect on how other decks are built if it becomes more popular.

ZPS: I really think that this deck is still being overlooked in the player base (save Tamoo and co.). This deck can be very consistent. Then with Catcher replacing Reversal it gets even more consistent. I honestly think that this deck will be a lot more successful next season.

Cinccino/Zoroark: Finally, I have one freebie deck to toss out for you. I think that this deck will win at least one Battle Roads with Catcher. It has a virtually guaranteed 100 damage on turn two to any Pokémon on the board. You cannot completely dismiss this. You might also see Tornadus in this deck to help out with the Donphan weakness.

Reader Interactions

35 replies

  1. aura

    Good article, but it needs editing… You said Beartic does 30 damage, but it does 50, and Tornadus has 110 HP.

  2. Anonymous

    i disagree with all of your list, aside from catcher being #1 and thunderus being #7

    i feel like you don’t know what you’re talking about for most of the article
    it makes me wonder “why did you choose to write this?”

    if you don’t think you have the absolute best opinion and more importantly, absolute knowledge of a set, write something else.

    overall, im sorry to say it, but this is a bad article.

    • Anonymous  → Anonymous

      I’m sorry that you feel this way. I will admit that set analysis is not my strong suit, but I wanted to try one out.

      As for your comment, it’s pretty bold. I’m am fine with the criticism, but if you are going to call someone else out like that you really need to put down a bunch of solid evidence/opinion to back your claims. If not you come of as a troll. We have had some great back and forth over some stuff (like what’s better tyRam vs ReshiBoar). Needless to say I am a little disappointed by the lack of information in your post.

      Other than that, I stand by my list for the most part. I have poured over this set a lot and spent quite a few games testing stuff. If I’m wrong, then I’m wrong. Yet, I do feel that I have at least a clue as to what I’m talking about. Yes, there were some bad typos (and I apologize), but those do not mean that I don’t know what I’m talking about.

      This might be pretty guttsy of me, but at the time of this response the article has a plus 4. So, it would appear that more people would disagree with you than not. I know this could change and I know that this is not being as well liked as some of my other articles, but hey it happens.

    • Ross Gilbert  → Anonymous

      Why did you make this comment? I think people should absolutely call out any article that they think is bad. The problem is, you haven’t given a single reason why this is a “bad” article.

      Comments like this with no supporting evidence should not be made.

    • Alan Johnson  → Sacricide

      Both Vulpix and Ninetales will become easy prizes for the opponent if catcher is available after they complete their setup. It’s likely to become too much of a liability to justify its use. I would definitely take it out and replace it with draw support, while increasing the Typlosion line up to 4-2-4 w/ 4 candy.

      • Anonymous  → Alan

        I am very undecided on this. I will say that many people will drop Ninetales (some already do). However, I’m not sure that I agree with this yet for a few reasons:

        1) Ninetales makes tyRam MUCH more resistant to Judge. With Yanmega being played this is huge.

        2) Ninetales will likely distract many of your opponents. People should realize that the priority to stopping tyRam is taking out Typhlosions and not Ninetales. So, the better players will likely ignore Ninetales early (allowing you to utilize it to draw) or not so good players will take out the Ninetales and let you set up Typhlosions (thus you likely win the game). It is a good decision to force your opponent to make.

        Also, I am not entirely sold on the 4-2-4 Typholsion line. I think that maybe 4-2-3 might be the best play with either Rescue Energy or Flower Shop Lady. I know that you want maximum consistency, but you also do not want it to be clogging up your hand.

  3. Andrew Daley

    I don’t really agree with your choices on the top ten. Max Potion is incredibly good with Donphan and with Catcher coming out, this makes Donphan a really good deck. But it doesn’t make the top ten? Yet Thundurus does? That card is just and inferior Zerkrom. Also I don’t think Bianca is deserving of a #2 spot. I mean when you have 3 cards in hand then you might as well be using cheren and if your down to 2 then I’d assume you’d want a hand refresher like PONT or Juniper. It’s worth testing but I don’t think it’s superior to Gothitelle or Max Potion even. My top 5 would be:
    1) Catcher
    2) Max Potion
    3) Gothitelle
    4) Beartic
    5) Cheren
    Just my opinion and it was a good article but the Max Potion just upset me because that’s a really good card.

    • Anonymous  → Andrew

      I see where you are coming from, but try to understand where I am coming from. Right now Cheren and Bianca are going to be big deals because the format lacks pure draw with zero kickback (discarding your hand, etc). These will see play, and a lot of play until we have something better.

      I guess Max Potion could be put into the top 10, but let’s face it, the format is mostly a bunch of OHKOs. so more often than not, Max Potion is going to be dead against a lot of the meta. Also, the only deck that it truly excels in is Donphan. So, to put a card that only has a real home in a single deck way high (like #2) is not a wise strategy. Also, even in Donphan, Max Potion is a double edged sword. You could get locked out of energy real fast against something like Gyarados or Typhlosion. I do think it will see play, but as the season rolls on, if the format is still a bunch of OHKOs it will see less and less play.

      i could go on for a while, defending my choices, but this will do.

    • Matthew Riddle  → Andrew

      Trainers/Supporters should always outclass Pokemon because they can be played in every deck. Beartic and Gothitelle should be 4/5 because they will only be played in Gothitelle and Beartic decks while Cheren, even if not as potent, could see play in a lot of different decks.

      Just my opinion.

  4. beyblade1410

    nice cool article but do more on tyram I think we are lacking experience on that deck.

  5. ostrigal ostrigal

    Point of Clarification:  

    It’s mentioned that Tyram won the Junior Division, but it doesn’t state at what tournament.  At the most recent tournament of import (Worlds), a Yanmega/Magnezone deck won the Junior Division.  At the largest tournament before that (US Nationals), a Vileplume deck took the top spot.

  6. ostrigal ostrigal

    Point of Clarification:

    It’s stated that Tyram won the Junior Division, but it doesn’t state where.  At the most recent tournament of import (Worlds), a Yanmega/Magnezone deck won the Junior Division.  At US Nationals, a Vileplume deck took the top spot.

  7. Jeremy Bushey

    Beartic does 50, not 30, as it appears I’m not the first to notice. Also a well timed Twins can search out Catcher, as well as anything else. Not just Zoroarks Nasty Plot.

    • Anonymous  → Jeremy

      sorry about the Beartic…

      i will still hold to my point that Catcher is not searchable like Luxray. With Luxray you have a TON of options to get it out. It was virtually guaranteed to be out when you wanted it. With Catcher you can play four Twins, but are you really going to fall behind on purpose to get a Catcher when whoever plays Catcher first is going to be at an advantage? it is not anywhere close to as searchable as Luxray.

      • Julian Silva  → Anonymous

        Calling anything “virtually guaranteed” is a bit of an over-statement if you ask me. But I’ll agree that Luxray was better because it was searchable and relying on Twins to search for Catcher is too much of a risk. But when it gets down to it neither of these will be as strong as Gust of Wind. Professor Oak, Bill, Item Finder and Computer Search made it absolutely ridiculous. Neither Luxray or Pokemon Catcher, even though it is an exact remake, will compare to Gust of Wind.

        Now don’t get me wrong, Pokemon Catcher will be the most influential card we’ve gotten for awhile and decks will change because of it. But I honestly don’t thing any decks will die because of it. Some decks like Magneboar will have struggle but it’ll still be a reasonably good deck to play.

  8. Anonymous

    I guess I’m the only one who likes Emolga?  In a ZPS deck it could prove to be a useful starter, for those times when you can’t get Zekrom powered up on the first turn.  Any 70 HP basic with free retreat deserves a very careful look.

    • Anonymous  → Anonymous

      imo, it just doesn’t bring anything to ZPS. in ZPS there is nothing wrong with letting Zekrom sit in the active  and take a hit on the first turn even if it is not powered up. then you can just outrage back. to use it as a starter you are going to need 3/4 per deck and that will ruin consistency in other areas. sorry, but i’m just not buying it.

      • Anonymous  → Anonymous

        You aren’t always dealt a Zekrom to start.  I don’t want to have to start  with Shaymin or Pachirisu active; I would much rather start with Emolga.  And in the case of a Zekrom mirror match, Emolga might be a much better starter than Zekrom when the opponent starts with Zekrom.  If you can do T1-130, just retreat Emolga and OHKO the Zekrom.  If you can’t do 130, then use Emolga to hit for 10 and (hopefully) paralyze, then hopefully use your Zekrom to hit for 120 on the 2nd turn.  

        Also, if you are running a deck with DCE (Cinccino/Zoroark, etc.), and your metagame is heavily Yanmega, then Emolga + DCE has 75% odds for a first turn Yanma donk.  And just the sight of Emolga on your bench may spook your opponent into not benching a Yanma.

        I don’t know for sure that Emolga will prove to be that useful, but it looks like it has some potential.

  9. Jak Stewart-Armstead

    1. Lilligant (not negotiable)
    2. Catcher
    3. Cheren
    4. Tornadus
    5. Beartic
    6. Max Potion
    7. Great Ball
    8. Gothitelle
    9. Crush Hammer
    10. Minccino

    Honourable mention: Thundurus

    Everyone’s lists are different. This article was a good read regardless of whether or not I agreed with it.

  10. Kyle Lane

    Emerging Powers: You like crap right?  -This should have been the press release back in June. 

    Seriously though, besides the trainers there isn’t much to work with here. 

    For me the pokemon list is something like this: 

    4.Liligant (this card will be awesome for booster draft and prerelease) 
    5.Siglyph (however you spell it) (Reflect) 

    Sigh, what garbage.  

    After prerelease I will not be buying a single pack of this tripe. I’ll just trade for the couple of cards I need the day of prerelease like I assume most of you will also do.

  11. Joai

    Megazord would of had another Top 16 deck but I dropped out lol….

  12. Edmund Nelson

    Really Airhawk? After losing to max potion you still don’t believe in its power? That card is time walk in pokemon in the right deck. Try it in Tyram over the defenders,  I think it should be really strong because now Reshiram can’t die.  While it won’t be good against the decks you play, I think it will be insane with Donphan prime decks in the mirror, and against decks that Don’t hit for 120 damage a turn.

    • Anonymous  → Edmund

      What?!? I had that tie breaker in the bag. Also, if I didn’t misplay a PlusPower drop earlier in the second game instead of shuffling it back into the deck with PONT you never would have had the opportunity to use Max Potion. Me allowing that Donphan to live and take as many prizes (3 i think) really set me back. I would have chased that Donphan off the field. Then I was still in a position to win by Catchering up one Kindra to stop you from winning with the Spray Splash on the last turn (but i misplayed that too). :)

      (I’m just giving you a hard time. they were a couple of fun games)

      So, yeah, Max Potion can be solid in Donphan, but mostly just Donphan. It might work well in Reshiboar, but I don’t know. You would have to play even more energy recovery to keep the train rolling and we all know how those can clog up the hand a bit too much…

      • Edmund Nelson  → Anonymous

        If I didn’t make 30 misplays with kingdras spray splash, I could have squeased out 7 more damage counters in game 2.  plus I had catcher for your ninetails. I still had all deez with the 2nd donphan in game 2.  (reference to

        (I’m just giving you a hard time. they were a couple of fun games. but seriously, i had a turn two 90 damage earthquake for you in the tie breaker… )

        SO max potion is good in donphan but it is also good with yanmega and kingdra.

    • Anonymous  → connor

      hey this might not be tier 1, but it is going to be a fun league deck that will win a couple battle roads. especially if you tech in a 1-1 umbreon. it hits for 100 guaranteed on turn two. with catcher you can choose anyone to use that 100 to hit. also with SP darkness energy you can OHKO any Zekrom and Reshiram (both of which will be big decks). it can ohko Magnezone with Zoroark. it is not a bad deck at all. yes, donphan gives it problems, but you could add alomomola (what ever it is called) to hit back at the donphans (with rainbow energy) or you could play SEL to take care of Donphan.

  13. tim h

    Catcher and Max Potion should be in the top 3-4 of everyones list.

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