Battle of Wittz: What’s next in Next Destinies?
“Lolling About”

Hey everybody, and welcome to another installment of Battle of Wittz. We’ve finally finished up the crucial City Championships this year, and are finally at one of my favorite parts of the season. “But there’s no tournaments for over a month, Josh,” you might be saying. Exactly.

In this great moment of rest is where some of my favorite moments in the game come from. Because there’s no event right around the corner, the pressure is way lower to hammer out serious decklist details. Most of my time testing with friends is extremely casual and friendly, and actually leads to us testing more bizarre and risky concepts than we would have tried normally.

Being able to slowly adapt back into competitive play with a new set releasing instead of being forced to constantly form new tournament-ready decks all the time is a great mix-up. The second playing Pokémon starts feeling like work more than actual entertainment, the second you’ll stop enjoying playing. Even the most competitive players need some time to goof off every now and then!

As a writer though, this puts me in kind of a weird spot. With City Championships done and a month or so until State Championships, what is there to explore? I did almost all of my testing over Winter break exclusively testing the viability of Mewtwo EX for my last article, but my friends and I have had some very light weeks of testing as we all return and adjust to school again. In all this downtime, what’s there to talk about?

This week, I’ve decided to do what I did a few months ago, and do a complete review of what’s likely to find its way into our new set. We know that Next Destinies is likely going to contain most of the cards from Hail Blizzard/Psychodrive/The Reshiram and Zekrom Japanese theme decks, so I’ve decided to give my complete review of everything noteworthy from those sets. Getting a good grasp on which cards are really going to be worth owning can really help you save money as early as prereleases.

I’ll get to the set review very soon, but since there was actually one small news announcement recently, so I might as well tackle that, right?

Worlds Invites

Worlds invite info was finally released, and it’s what most of us expected: exact same format as last year (Top X in each area wins an invite). I wasn’t really expecting anything far different from what we’ve known for the past few years, but at least now we all have the information.

What does this mean for the big picture? For one thing, we have a better picture at what it’s going to take to qualify for Worlds this year. Here is the bottom of the top 40 right now for North America: LINK

Like many of us writers predicted, you can already see that City Championships had by far the biggest impact on points this year. By the looks of things, with 30 points at the bottom of the top 40 right now, I’d expect 50 points to be close to where the cutoff will be for Worlds invites. Unfortunately, this means bad news for me — chances of me getting an invitation are already unlikely.

I had planned to hit 3 more City Championships after the Illinois marathon, but a lot of things prevented everything from happening the way I wanted. The first weekend I wanted to hit was ruined when I found myself sick the morning of the tournament, and the second was blocked when I found how badly I misjudged the pain that can come from wisdom tooth removal. As a result, I’m at 15 points, just halfway to what it takes to be at the bottom of the top 40 currently.

With the way point values are distributed across States/Regionals, I’m going to have to top cut all 3 States I attend, and the last Regional of the year in order to be in the running for an invite coming into Nationals. Is this impossible? No (I took 2nd at 2 States and 5th at Regionals last year), but it’s going to take a lot of hard work, and a little luck for it to actually work out in my favor.

On top of that, Hawaii this year is starting to become a very real problem even if I do qualify. I’ll be judging whether it’s realistic for me to start saving for the event if I perform well at the first two weekends of States, but otherwise I could see cost being a very real barrier for entry for a lot of players my age. After the blast I had at Worlds last year, I’d still be coming just for the grinders if it was in California.

At nearly double the expense, though, I’m not so sure it’s worth it unless I’ll actually be competing in the event. It sucks that I came so close to a free trip at Worlds this past year, but I tried my best and I can’t really be upset at doing as well as I did in the first place.

One last thing I noticed about ratings is that Nationals is suddenly worth a little bit more, with winning the event being worth 20 points now. I distinctly remember it being worth 14 to win Nationals when Championship Points were first announced, so it’s interesting that TPCi is changing point values on-the-fly for the latter half of the season. Like Pokémon has said, “this year isn’t going to be perfect,” so I’m hoping that changes like these show that Pokémon is aware that the balance for points this year was a little off.

But let’s get to something fun. How about a review of everything that we’re likely to see in Next Destinies? Yeah, that sounds a lot better to me, too. Let’s go!

(You can view spoilers of the cards here on Bulbapedia.)


The Legendary Birds

BulbapediaThis just disturbs me. Does Pokémon just think it’s funny to constantly shaft some of the first Legendary Pokémon to exist? Moltres, Articuno, and Zapdos all have fairly horrible attacks. Zapdos’ ability to deal 50 damage on a potential 2 energy snipe would have been interesting a few sets back, but right now that just makes him a slightly better Sigilyph EPO 41. It’s a huge shame that Pokémon overpowers Zekrom/Reshiram/Kyurem/Coballion/whoever, but then makes an awful card out of the original trio.

No rating for these ones. I’m just bitter about it.


It seems weird seeing a Luxray that actually has to evolve twice to exist after the dominance of Luxray GL LV.X, but we finally have one again. He even has Flash Impact! Unfortunately, while dealing 60 damage on one energy would have been interesting multiple formats ago, he’s just terribly outdated now. Considering that Luxray X won everything in his prime I should feel like this new Luxray deserved better, and as someone who actually likes Luxray as a Pokémon, I’m kind of sad.



Speaking of Pokémon that have become outdated, Zebstrika makes the old days of Luxray GL LV.X seem like they were just yesterday. Zebstrika’s the REAL blast from the past — all the way back to 2005’s Manectric ex! Zebistrika carries close to the same two attacks as Manectric ex did, and that really reveals how different of a time it is, now.

When Mew ex/Manectric ex was a Worlds-winning combo for Jason Klaczynski long ago, dealing a constant damage-based Trainer lock completely crippled decks. Seven years later, the same strategy isn’t even playable. It weirds me out, and also makes me desperately wish that Pokémon would stop introducing power creep into the game as a way to keep new sets strong.



Finally, something that looks playable! It’s not amazing, but at least it’s something! Many people looking at Musharna should instantly feel a fondness for Uxie LV.X and Claydol GE — two draw-based Pokémon back in the pre-HGSS era. In a format where drawing cards from a Pokémon is limited pretty strictly to Magnezone Prime (and occasionally Ninetales HS), seeing a new option for drawing cards in a Stage 1 package seems like a neat addition to the format.

Then, you read its Retreat Cost. Not one, not two, but THREE whopping retreat to move this pink puffball. While a majority of the time your opponent uses Pokémon Catcher it’ll be Knocked Out, I’d feel completely uncomfortable knowing that I’m opening myself to being stuck in the Active Spot at any point in the game.

If Musharna’s drawing ability was slightly stronger than a simple Pokédex effect it might warrant more play, but in its current state it’s just below the bar for being a very good mainstream card. It might be playable down the line once we lose Magnezone, but for now he’ll only have a small use in the format.



When you evolve into it, your opponent’s active Pokémon is hit with Poison and Confusion. Sound familiar? We have ourselves a card that is very similar to Roserade UL. So, which one’s better? On one hand, Amoonguss doesn’t require your energy attachment for the turn to activate. On the other, Roserade can be used multiple times while Amoonguss cannot.

While both obviously have very different uses (Roserade only really works with a 0 energy attacker), I feel like I can’t write off the usage of Confusion right now as a special effect. Anything that can whittle down a huge Pokémon-EX into giving you a prize while limiting them from taking one seems like an invaluable effect right now. Amoonguss being a simply 2-card combo almost makes it look splashable.

I know it’s not this game-winning strategy that will work in every game, but the fact that I can see him leading to a game won for only 2 cards makes me at least want to consider him as a surprise tech. I wouldn’t write him off right away.




This card is just BARELY under the cusp of what I’d consider to be a clear-cut contender right now. For one Fire Energy, you spread 30 damage to 3 Pokémon, which definitely has some synergy with the other Chandelure. I’m not sure how reasonable it is to fit Fire/Rainbow energy into a deck that already relies on its ability to function on minimal energy/attacks and Tropical beach. For 2 energy, you can discard your 2 attachments and deal 80 damage plus Burn to the active.

You see what I mean? Both of these attacks are decent attacks for their costs, but they aren’t good enough to be considered great. 1 for 90 spread might be able to stand on its own, but is it really better than being able to spread for that much/more than Kyurem NVI?) 2 Energy for 80 damage and Burn is also useful, but not outstanding. This Chandelure isn’t bad, but I feel like the other one has a lot more going for it.



Warp Point is a card that I miss dearly since its loss a few years back, but including it as a built-in effect on a Stage 2 Pokémon is not the correct way to implement it. We already have Catcher in the format now, and I don’t see the Warp Point effect really being worth any use other than as a simple Trainer card.



Finally, a real Pokémon that has some kind of potential. Doubling the value of all Psychic Energies seems awesome, until you realize there is almost no good use for it except with Mewtwo EX. The potential for energy buildup through some kind of Gardevoir/Jirachi UL/Shaymin UL engine is there, but I just don’t know if it’s as practical as something more traditional like Eelektrik NVI.


I put a list out for Gardevoir/Mewtwo in my last article, and it’s been doing alright. You can occasionally overwhelm your opponent with multiple high-damaging Mewtwo EX, but it’s still missing something. Implementing some kind of recovery with Exp. Share is a possibility. Either way, as long as a card exists that accelerated energy in some way, it’s going to be worth holding on to.

Remember Typhlosion? It saw almost zero play for months after its release, but finally found life after a rotation. Grab a few Gardevoir for now and hope that more Psychic types see life later. There’s nothing especially noteworthy yet in Japan’s mini-set Dark Rush, but there’s still plenty of time for a noteworthy Psychic card to find its way into the format.



Finally, something I can truly get behind! I have been waiting for this combo for a long time, and even if it doesn’t break the game, it’s still going to be a lot of fun. Wigglytuff, Palpitoad, and Seismitoad all have one big thing in common: Round. Wigglytuff and Palpitoad’s Round does 20 damage times the amount of Pokémon with a “Round” attack in play. Seismitoad’s Round does 30×. Wigglytuff on its own might not be THAT powerful of an attacker, but it allows Seismitoad to have actual potential!

Here is a rough list I’ve been working with so far:

Pokémon – 21

4 Jigglypuff NXD
4 Wigglytuff NXD
4 Tympole NVI
4 Palpitoad NVI
4 Seismitoad NVI
1 Pichu HS

Trainers – 28

4 Pokémon Collector
4 N
4 Professor Juniper

4 Pokémon Communication

3 Junk Arm
3 Rare Candy

2 Pokémon Catcher
2 Super Rod
1 Switch
1 Ultra Ball

Energy – 11

4 Double Colorless
4 Rescue
3 W

pokebeach.comThe concept clearly isn’t broken, and might not be able to compete at a super competitive level, but I’m excited for it! The idea is to have a constant 4 “Round”-ers at least at a time in order to deal 120+ damage for Seismitoad (or just 80+ for Wiggly). The deck’s main problem is space. You want to maximize your chance to evolve as many Pokémon as possible and stay consistent, but this means that you have to sacrifice a lot of tech room, like PlusPower.

Is it really viable to run a deck that can most of the time set up for 120 damage on one energy, with a rare possibility to do more? Not exactly with the continual power creep in the format right now, but who doesn’t want to load their field with as many fat, singing Pokémon as they can?

In my many years of playing, I’ve found that making goofy decks like this every once in a while is a fun way to blow off steam during your down time. If all you ever do is compete, things get really tedious and boring pretty quickly.

Despite the fact that I tested nearly 10-15 games a day for a month in preparation for Worlds, every 4 or 5 games I’d switch to a stupid deck just to have a little fun and keep myself sane. Just ask Mikey about his “RDL: The Deck” or Absol/Yanmega nonsense ;)

6/10 (But makes Seismitoad a 7/10)


Ultra Ball

Ultra Ball: Discard 2 cards from your hand. Search your deck for a Pokémon, show it to your opponent, and put it into your hand. Shuffle your deck afterward.

Get four. Even if you won’t find yourself playing 4 copies in every deck, its instant use in our format makes it a card that you should definitely stock up on as soon as possible. Any deck that’s running Eelektrik right now will be able to abuse the Lightning Energy discard just fine, and if you have Magnezone then you’re just adding more room to draw with Magnetic Draw.

Simply being able to pick out any kind of Pokémon from your deck regardless of what else is in your hand is going to make this card a strong play (split with Pokémon Communication) in any deck that runs evolutions.


Random Receiver

Might replace Pokégear 3.0 as the go-to Trainer card for fetching Supporters. On the plus side, you can never fail a Random Receiver like you can a Pokégear. On the downside, you could end up receiving a useless Pokémon Collector. While the usefulness behind the two cards depends heavily depends on your Supporter count/which supporters you’re playing in your deck, the fact that it ranks up evenly with Pokégear makes it a noteworthy card for sure.


Heavy Ball

A weird card. Originally in my mind I thought it’d work great in an Electrode Prime-based deck until I realized how few of its attackers actually have three retreat. Cobalion NVI has 2, Landorus NVI has 1, Kyurem NVI has 2, etc. The ONLY Pokémon with more than 2 retreat in that deck seems to be Terrakion NVI, making it almost useless to play in there.

The only deck I can see it making sense for is Magnezone/Emboar, strictly as a way to search out the fat Magnezones and Emboars from your deck. Even then, it’s a search card that only lets you retrieve certain attackers. Even in Zone/Boar I still feel like I’d run 4 communication far before I’d find room to fit in heavy balls.


Level Ball

Level Ball: Search your deck for a Pokémon with HP of 90 or less and put it into your hand. Shuffle your deck afterward.

Just as bad as Heavy Ball due to how selective it is. In fact, it’s arguably worse because of how few Pokémon in the game right now will actually have 90 HP or less. The only reason I ever thought about running Level Ball was as a 4-of in a Reuniclus NVI swarm deck. Then I remembered that running a Reuniclus deck would mean that my main attacker was a 90 HP stage 2. Yuck.

[Editor’s Note: Level Ball should be a good play in a deck like Durant, however.]


Skyarrow Bridge

This card has gotten way more hype than it really deserves. It only makes sense to me in a deck like Mewtwo EX/Celebi Prime, where constantly finding ways to move Celebi from your Active Spot is going to be integral to your strategy. However, I keep hearing that this card “could make Smeargle UD a viable starter again.” I just don’t see it at all.

The reason starters with 1 Retreat Cost were viable in the past was because of Unown Q MD. Unknown Q was searchable via Roseanne’s Research/Pokémon Collector/Pokémon Communication/anything that searches Pokémon at any time of the game. Skyarrow is searchable by essentially nothing.

Most of the time, if you’re starting with a designated starter Pokémon, you’re going to want to be sure that you can move it out of the active slot immediately. I can’t think of any deck that simply NEEDS to function off of Smeargle in some way, so I can’t really see Skyarrow needing a place in anywhere BUT Mewtwo/Celebi.

5/10 (9/10 in Celebi/Mewtwo)

Exp. Share

pokemon-paradijs.comA Pokémon Tool card that functions just like the old EXP ALL card, and I actually find it kind of interesting. The idea is that if you attach this to a benched Pokémon, they can collect on the bench to preserve energy in play after your active falls. In a deck like Celebi/Mewtwo, it could be an interesting play to ensure that you can constantly charge up new attacks every turn. The downside is that you can’t also attach Eviolite, though.

Sure, there might be a ton of Pokémon in the format right now that give their energy up as they attack (Magnezone, Zekrom-EX, Reshiram), but it still intrigues me enough to consider testing it a little more.


Prism Energy

Have you ever felt that TPCi constantly giving extra privileges to Basic Pokémon is bad for the game? Pokémon’s creators certainly don’t. Prism Energy functions as a “perfect” Rainbow Energy on Basic Pokémon because you don’t have to add 10 damage when you attach it. This makes it an instant 4-of in anything that uses Electrode Prime, and it might have some use as a tech in anything that runs multiple types of Basics.

It also works well with Mew Prime, but I still believe anything Mew Prime-based to be incredibly overrated as a Mewtwo EX counter right now.

Altogether, even if it only functions with Basic Pokémon, it’s going to have plenty of uses down the line.


The EXs

One thing I CAN say for certain is that our full collection of EXs in Next Destinies is now public knowledge. The official announcement is that we will see “two versions of 6 different Pokémon-EX,” referring to the regular and full art versions. On the website itself, we’ve been given released scans for 5-of those 6 so far, including: Reshiram-EX, Zekrom-EX, Kyurem EX, Shaymin EX, and Mewtwo EX. The 6th EX is also confirmed, thanks to a comment that I saw from HunkyRoss on my last article: Regigigas-EX (he’s on the pack art!).

While we haven’t had rules released yet specifically for dealing with these new Pokémon-EX, it can be assumed that we’ll be getting the exact same mechanics for them as previous Pokémon-EX: 1) Pokémon-EX give up 2 Prizes when Knocked Out, and 2) Pokémon-EX count as a different Pokémon than one of the same name.

In the past, there’s been confusion about whether or not certain cards can search out a Pokémon-EX, but I don’t think we’ll have any confusion of the sort with no EX-exclusive wording in our format yet. Basically, they’re just giant Pokémon that fall twice as hard. Here’s how the EXs stack up for me so far:

Mewtwo EX

Seeing as I wrote an entire article about him a few weeks ago, there just isn’t much more I can add about Mewtwo right now. Mewtwo’s major draw right now is that he can attack extremely quickly with X-Ball, and that he fuels off any energy acceleration in the format right now. An early Mewtwo hitting for 40+ damage could potentially give you a huge advantage if you’re going first versus a setup deck, but that still isn’t going to make Mewtwo EX on his own able to be a complete deck. He falls too easily to himself and a few other attackers (like Cobalion) for him to be justified under his now $70 price tag, though.

I think Mewtwo is definitely a strong EX, but I just don’t see him breaking the game like the hype continues to say. If you’re going to play an Pokémon-EX, you have to be sure that they’re going to take 2 Prizes before getting Knocked Out. While Mewtwo has the ability to take a constant 2 Prizes in the early game, I just don’t see him doing it in the late game when nearly everyone is going to be running some kind of counter to overcompensate.



Zekrom-EX intrigues me. Zekrom BLW (the non-EX one) has had multiple options for support to keep it within most of the top-winning decks this entire year, so naturally the bigger and better Zekrom-EX has a place in any of those decks, right?

I honestly don’t see any reason why not at the moment. Most decks that run Zekrom right now already run 4 DCE (even Magnezone/Eel will likely play 4 DCE to make room for a Mewtwo EX or two), so he fits fairly well into the deck. However, even though Zekrom-EX is a bigger version of Zekrom BLW that doesn’t hit himself with his own attack, I still personal think Zekrom BLW is a stronger card.

Why? The simple fact is that Zekrom BLW hits for 120 damage on 3 energy no matter what. He hits himself for 40 damage afterward, but this is barely a factor when he has Eviolite. In the end, you’re looking at giving up 1 Prize for 130 HP and 120 damage, or 2 Prizes for 180 HP and 150 damage. “Small” Zekrom is more cost efficient, especially in a deck that can constantly replenish energy with Eelektrik.

Another problem is that once your Zekrom-EX hits the Active Spot, he won’t be able to recover the energy he loses from the discard unless you’re able to switch him to the bench for Eelektrik. You’ll either have to constantly supply him with DCE to discard (kind of like Garchomp C LV.X), or force yourself to hit for 150 followed by his mediocre 50/80 damage attack for 3 energy. Not fantastic.

So, why WOULD you play Zekrom-EX, then? Sometimes, 150 damage is going to be a magic number. For one, it allows you to pick up a 1HKO on Magnezone Prime, something that Zekrom BLW can’t do without 2 PlusPower. Another spot of interest is that you’re just one PlusPower away from KOing long time Lightning killer Donphan Prime, even with the Poké-Body and resistance.

It also KOs all 130 HP Pokémon (Chandelure, Zekrom, Landorus/Terrakion/Cobalion + Special Metal) in one hit, many of which dodge from PlusPower because they’re featured in a trainer lock build. All of these options lead to plenty of scenarios where Zekrom-EX can shine, but I just don’t see him as a 4-of copy right alongside the already fantastic Zekrom BLW.



pokemon-paradijs.comJust like Zekrom-EX, this card will be viable in everything running Reshiram right now (aka Reshiphlosion). In a weird twist, Zekrom-EX and Reshiram-EX have taken the effect from their little BLW brothers for their attacks. Reshiram BLW discards, and so does Zekrom-EX. Zekrom BW damaged himself, and now so does Reshiram-EX. Interesting.

Like Zekrom-EX, being able to hit for 150 damage is going to be useful no matter what. One of the major things that Reshiram BW lacks is the ability to 1HKO Pokémon beyond 120-130 HP (unless your name is Tom Dolezal and are able to hit two Junk Arms KOing my Magnezone and preventing me from getting a free trip to Hawaii this year), and now being able to deliver the 150 damage package makes 2-3 Reshiram-EX almost mandatory in Reshiphlosion.

However, the self-damage thing is a major problem that I believe will limit Reshiram-EX’s potential a little. In any other deck, having to flip a coin to damage yourself for 50 (30 with Eviolite) half the time wouldn’t be such a big deal. However, in a deck where you are relying on energy acceleration that already forces you to damage yourself, it could be.

If you can’t find an Eviolite for Reshiram-EX every time he hits the field, he could hurt you more than he helps. With 2 Afterburners and a tails on Brave Fire, you’re putting yourself at 110 HP — pretty vulnerable to a 1HKO. With Eviolite you’ll be at 130 HP with a 20 damage defender on top of it, which is at least much more manageable.

Reshiram-EX is a must have in Reshiphlosion to give it the potential for a crucial 1HKO, but for the most part being able to constantly 2HKO Pokémon-EX with Reshiram BLW’s Blue Flare seems like it’s going to be a stronger facet of Reshiphlosion in the future.


Kyurem EX

180 HP like its brothers is good, but his attacks are significantly worse. Frozen Wings is interesting in that it discards Special Energy, but at 60 damage for 2/3 energy, I don’t see it being anywhere close to paying off his 2 Prize cost. Hail Blizzard’s 120 damage is also extremely mediocre compared to its cost, and limiting you to using it every other turn makes Kyurem especially bad.

Water is already a very hard type to accelerate, and in most scenarios Kyurem NVI is going to be doing more work with his 3 energy than Kyurem EX can do with his 4. He might see some small spots of play as a 1-2 count in Electrode-based decks for type coverage, but that’s about as far as I see him being a useful card.

[Editor’s Note: I’ve heard talk of Kyurem being used in The Truth, just as an FYI.]


Shaymin EX

BulbapediaThis peculiar little fellow is receiving more and more hype as of late, and at a $10 pre-order on Troll and Toad he seems like he could be worth the single purchase.

Shaymin functions under a single purpose: the closer. Revenge blast does 150 damage for 2 energy when your opponent has 4 Prizes left, and 180 damage when they’re down to 1. With a lot of hype following the Celebi Prime/Mewtwo EX combo, functioning on Grass Energy makes him begged to be played as a single copy.

In anything else, I’m not so sure. You’re going to want to power him up in a single turn, and the only other reasonable way to do that is with a combination of Eel and Rainbow Energy. Limiting his usefulness to just one deck right off the bat is going to make him far less valuable.

The other problem is that Shaymin EX might be the earth’s worst starter in the entire format. Opening yourself up with a 110 HP Pokémon that will open yourself to 2 Prizes is going to put you in a really bad spot right off the bat, no matter which deck you’re facing. On top of that, even if you DO get him out at the end of the game, you’ll have to be sure that his 150/170 damage can win you the game on the turn he hits the field.

With Eviolite rampant, Shaymin EX is going to be limited to a position as a strategic play that only works in a choice position. Combine the fact that he only works during a certain part of the game, only works with a certain deck, and is a horrible starter, Shaymin EX isn’t going to be as good as the small circle of hype around him right now.

I’d probably pass on a $10 purchase and just trade for him at league if you test and really find him necessary in your Celebi deck.



BulbapediaAnd lastly, we have the colossal Regigigas-EX. Unfortunately, Regigigas-EX makes me sad. Regigigas LV.X was my first strong and competitive deck after returning to the game. He won me my first tournament, and was an all-around blast to play. Sacrifice was one of the most unique and strategic Poké-Powers in the game, and I miss my giant colossus friend from Stormfront very much.

This new Gigas is… just okay. His first attack is an opportunity to function like Tornadus (80 damage for CCC), except you force yourself to do 20 damage to yourself instead of passing an energy (much worse than Tornadus EPO). When I originally read the translation for him, I was under the impression that you could choose a multiple of 20 damage to both deal to yourself and your opponent (allowing for an amazing late game attack of over 200 damage), but this unfortunately wasn’t true.

Even with an all Colorless cost, the second attack for a potential to deal 50 damage + the amount of damage on you doesn’t seem like it’s going to be enough to allow you to consistently take 2 Prizes with him before he falls. He seems fit for a position on a Ross/Truth deck, but I don’t know how well he can execute that, either. 4 Energy is a lot to expect from a deck with 0 energy acceleration, and you’ll still fall to Donphan, Terrakion, and Magnezone Prime even with the Vileplume/Reuniclus lock.

I want Gigas to be better, but he really just isn’t worth a heavy investment of your money right now.


The Verdict

Looking at the full list, I’m actually kind of shocked that this set isn’t as good as the hype is right now. I love opening packs and trading for cards of a new set, but after an honest evaluation I was surprised at how few game-breaking cards there are right now, EXs included! I honestly felt there hasn’t been a single card that I’ve seen in our likely pool of cards that deserves a 9/10, which is really interesting to me.

The first thing that this signals to me, is that the metagame might not change as much as we’re all expecting. There are a few niche Trainers that are playable, a few EXs that already find their way into several existing decks, and a load of horrible non-Pokémon-EX. I originally was mentally preparing for the game seeing a huge shift to heavy EX-based gameplay, but having looked everything over, I think we’re just going to see the same metagame played over with a few EXs splashed here or there.

What does this mean for you as the buyer? I think it means that you can get a majority of the cards you’re looking for at your local prerelease. Reshiram-EX and Zekrom-EX are already tin promos, so that drastically cuts down from the cards that you’ll likely NEED for States. Most of my prerelease is going to be spent trading extra cards to complete as much of my Trainer set as I can, since there are a few useful Trainers that I’d like to have right off the bat. Unlike Noble Victories, however, there are very few rares that are worth trading for. What do you do with all those useless rares?

The first thing I can recommend is turning all of your extra stuff into looting for PTCGO code cards. My friend Carver and I have a competition every prerelease for getting as many code cards as we can, and we usually both clock out at around 50 codes. This varies from area to area, but most kids (and even several competitive players) would much rather have physical cards than a heap of online codes.

This is by far your cheapest way of obtaining codes, and even if you don’t play the online game, those codes have much more value than your useless rares. Code cards can be resold on eBay for around a dollar a piece — easily covering the price of your prerelease and even allowing for you to make a profit in the end.

While lots of people like collecting or keeping everything they got from their new set, you’ll save a lot of money by simply dumping everything you don’t intend on playing on children in exchange for as many unused codes as you can grab.

Since Reshiram and Zekrom are tin promos, and Gigas/Shaymin/Kyurem aren’t exactly screaming for play, I’m not sure how necessary a booster box will be for this set. I’ve gotten a booster box of almost every set since Rising Rivals, but this might be one that I decide to skip out on. Mewtwo EX is still clinging to its ridiculous price tag, but I can only imagine that diminishing as other outlets have an opportunity to sell theirs.

I still highly recommend that you stalk any card selling website like a hawk to try and steal a decent deal on 1-2 of them ($20-30 seems like it’d be fair in my eyes), but even if you can’t get a steal price, I can’t imagine Mewtwo getting higher once people actually get a chance to play with the card.


All in all, I can’t say I’m thrilled that I don’t find Next Destinies to be the blockbuster set that we’re all expecting it’s going to be, but I’m happy if I’m able to save any of you guys money while investing in this game. It’s an expensive game to play as it is, and doing everything you can to play on a minimal expense is the best way to make competing and winning prizes even better.

As these next few weeks roll by, I’ll be testing a lot more amongst my friends. Lots of it will be the goofy, casual testing that I talked about at the beginning, but come late February I’ll be back with some deep articles exploring every deck choice that I found to be a strong contender for States. In the meantime, enjoy yourself a little! Go to a prerelease, have some fun, and even make a little money out of it. I know I will!


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