pokemon-paradijs.comFor the majority of Pokémon TCG players, the current Dark Explorers format holds very little importance anymore. The greatest players in the world will continue on in the current format as they battle to become world champion and some of us might be helping them in their preparation, but for the most part what we have to look forward to next is the release of Dragons Exalted and figuring out what decks are going to be good for Fall Battle Roads and by extension Fall Regionals, as those will also be played in the same format.
It’s actually looking like a good time right now to start getting yourself ready for the next format as prerelease tournaments are going to start on either July 21 or July 28, and those dates are quickly approaching.
I am very excited to get a start on preparing for the new format. It will be my second season in the game and I feel that I’ve grown enough in my deck building and play skill to be able to consistently do well at events next season and hopefully be in the running for a World Championship invite by the end of it.
The game will be going under some big changes before we get to play in our next set of tournaments. For starters we will be adding a new set to the format with Dragons Exalted. More importantly, five sets will be rotating out of the format and we will move to a Black and White base set through Dragons Exalted format. With rotation, we will be losing a lot of key cards that we’ve become accustomed to using and start using some cards that we’ve had available to us in the past but haven’t felt the need to use.
I’m actually going to end up dividing this article into three parts, as I feel this is too much information to fit into one article and have an article that is easy for the readers to digest. Over the course of the article series, I am going to cover the following topics:
- Go over my 20 favorite Pokémon cards from Dragons Exalted. (Part 1)
- Take a look at the new Item and Special Energy cards we will be receiving in Dragons Exalted. (Part 1)
- Look at what cards will be leaving the format and how that impacts how we build decks and play the game. (Part 2)
- Look at the cards that will become staples to deck construction in the Black and White-on format. (Part 2)
- Talk about 10 decks that I see as early contenders to do well in the upcoming Fall Battle Roads and Regional Championship format. (Part 3)
The Pokémon of Dragons Exalted
When I’ve been referring to Pokémon cards of Dragons Exalted, I am talking about just that, the actual Pokémon that we will be receiving in the set. In the list below are my 20 favorite Pokémon cards from the set. When coming up with this list, I was mainly looking at the Dragon Blast and Dragon Blade sets as well as the half decks, as those are the cards that are most likely to be included into our set.
Remember, there are more good cards in the set than the ones I listed; these are just my 20 favorite cards and I will say for sure that my list of cards I like from the set and want to purchase play sets of extend beyond the 20 cards listed below. What these 20 cards should do, however, is introduce you to some of the most powerful Pokémon that are being introduced into the format with the release of Dragons Exalted.
Translations and images are courtesy of Bulbapedia.
Ninetales is a Stage 1 Fire type Pokémon with 90 HP, with a one Retreat Cost, and a weakness to Water. Its first attack, Cursed Flame, costs R and does 20 damage plus 50 more damage for each Special Condition on the Defending Pokémon. It has an Ability, Bright Look, that allows you to switch your opponent’s Defending Pokémon with one of their Benched Pokémon when you evolve Vulpix into Ninetales.
I don’t really think the attack will see much competitive play at all. Attacks based around Status Effects are always difficult to keep working when they can just retreat or Switch out of the Status Condition. This is especially true now with Darkrai EX being so popular in the format providing free retreat to Pokémon to free them out of stuff like Poison, Burn, and Confusion.
This card does have a natural synergy with Amoongus NXD as that deck would allow you to inflict two Status Conditions on the Defending Pokémon on your turn, allowing you to hit for 120 damage on that turn. However, I think a deck that is built around two 90 HP Pokémon is going to be too fragile against decks like Zekrom/Eelektrik that are able to stream attackers turn after turn.
Additionally, the deck has the problem of Foongus’ 40 HP, which is vulnerable to Mewtwo donks. If a deck like this were ever to get popular, Espeon or Garbodor could be teched to counter it.
pokemon-paradijs.comIts Ability, Bright Look, however will be the most likely reason this card sees competitive play. The card can provide essentially fifth, sixth, seventh… and so on Pokémon Catchers for a deck. Most importantly, the card can be used as a Pokémon Catcher under Item lock to drag something like a Reuniclus up that needs to be taken out to give you a chance in the game.
I’m not sure how effective it will actually end up being as a tech for this purpose however, as it will be difficult to search out under trainer lock and your opponent can see it coming when you play Vulpix down, which will give them the opportunity to simply use Pokémon Catcher if they have it in hand to stop Ninetales before it even evolves.
I’ve only done minimal testing with this card, but in the games I have tested it shows some potential, but the fragility of its 90 HP is tough in decks built around it and when you whiff the status conditions for the turn, 20 damage in the mid or late games is really bad. I might be underselling this card a bit at this point, more testing is definitely needed and only time will tell on whether this card can make any serious impact on the metagame.
BulbapediaDrifblim is a Stage 1 Psychic type Pokémon with 100 HP, a one Retreat Cost, and a Darkness Weakness. Its first attack, Shadow Steal, costs C and does 50 damage times the number of Special Energy cards in your opponent’s discard pile. Its second attack, Damage Surge costs PC and allows you to place 4 damage counters on 1 of your opponent’s Pokémon.
Drifblim is simply a good Energy efficient attacker that can do a lot of damage for just one energy if your opponent’s deck plays a lot of Special Energy cards. Because every deck doesn’t play Special Energy, this card falls into the tech category. In matchups that you can use it though, it could be devastating, being able to take out a Mewtwo EX against an opponent with just 2 Special Energy in their discard or any EX if your opponent has four Special Energy in their discard.
The other downside to this card is that it is a Stage 1 Pokémon, which will give your opponent an opportunity to Catcher and Knock it Out before you can evolve and use Shadow Steal.
Stunfisk is a Basic Fighting type Pokémon with 100 HP, a three Retreat Cost, a Water Weakness and a Lightning Resistance. Its first attack, Muddy Water, costs F and does 20 damage plus 10 more damage to one of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon. Its second attack, Rumble, costs FC and does 40 damage and prevents your opponent from retreating their Pokémon on their next turn.
This card is a really good starter in decks that play F Energy in dealing with the Eelektrik matchup. The card is able to 1HKO Tynamo and it can setup knock outs on Eelektriks with Rumble for the next turn with the use of the 10 snipe damage.
The card can also provide great annoyance to Darkrai decks by locking a Darkrai that is short on energy into the Active Spot with Rumble while hitting it for 80 damage.
As long as Darkrai and Eel variants are seeing a lot of play, this card should be common in decks that play F Energy and possibly even decks that play the Blend Energy with Fighting on it. Once those things no longer are the focal point of our metagame, the card will see almost non-existent play.
BulbapediaSigilyph is a Basic Psychic type Pokémon with 90 HP, a one Retreat Cost, and a Psychic weakness. Its attack, Psychic, costs PCC and does 50 damage plus 10 more for each energy attached to the Defending Pokémon. It also has an Ability, Safeguard, which prevents all effects of attacks including damage of your opponent’s Pokémon-EX’s attacks.
This is one of the first EX-hate cards that we are receiving and I’m sure we will get a few more in upcoming sets as well. Sigilyph is an okay card, but it’s going to be nothing more than a small portion of the metagame. It needs a P Energy, so it will only be able to attack in decks that play Psychic, Prism, or the corresponding Blend Energy.
I’m not all that big of a fan of a card like this. It’s HP is really fragile and most decks that are going to comprise the upcoming metagame will be playing non-EX attackers that will be able to 1HKO Sigilyph. I think it could potentially be used as a one of in decks to serve as a little road block, along with N, to allow you to build up an attacker on your bench behind Sigilyph to create a response to your opponent’s attacking EX threat.
Shedinja is a Stage 1 Psychic type Pokémon with 60 HP and a free retreat. Its attack, Cursed Drops, costs P and allows you to place three damage counters on your opponent’s Pokémon in anyway that you like. It has an Ability, Empty Shell, which says, “When this Pokémon is Knocked Out, your opponent doesn’t take any Prize cards.”
The Pokémon also has some added support in the form of Ninjask, which has an Ability, Casted Shell, which says, “Once during your turn, when you play this Pokémon from your hand to evolve 1 of your Pokémon and your Bench isn’t full, you may search your deck for Shedinja and place it on your bench as a Basic Pokémon.”
My initial guess would be that this doesn’t see very much competitive play at all, but it’s definitely a really cool card. Anytime you can place some damage on your opponent’s Pokémon without the risk of giving up a prize for that Pokémon, it’s a good thing.
I think the fragility of its 60 HP is probably going to be what holds the card back as you’re unlikely to ever get off two attacks with any single Shedinja, which would lead up to only 120 of this prize free damage in any given game, assuming you’re able to get out all four of your Shedinja in any single game.
BulbapediaTerrakion-EX is a Basic Fighting type Pokémon with 180 HP, a three Retreat Cost, and a weakness to Grass. Its first attack, Rock Tumble, costs FC and does 50 damage and is not affected by Resistance. Its second attack, Pump Smash, does 90 damage and allows you to attach two Basic Energy cards from your hand to your benched Pokémon in any way you like.
This is a card I was really excited for when I first saw it, but my interest in the card has been dwindling the more I play games in the upcoming format. While Darkrai EX will still be played in a wide variety of decks the format is going to be less about Dark Pokémon and about a more diverse typings of decks, which is going to make Fighting Pokémon and decks less powerful than they currently are.
Terrakion-EX does an alright damage base of 90, but if the Defending Pokémon is an EX with an Eviolite attached that can easily turn into a 3HKO exchange for Terrakion-EX. The two energy attachments are nice, but as I’ve played with the card, I’ve noticed quite a bit that I don’t always have the energies in hand to make the effect of it’s attack work.
I don’t want to write the card off completely though. It has a good typing, built in energy acceleration, and its attack hits for a decent amount, so I’m sure it will find some niches in which it is played, but I highly doubt we see this thing at the forefront of our metagame without additional support for the card.
Roserade is a Stage 1 Grass type Pokémon with 90 HP, a one Retreat Cost, a Fire weakness, and a resistance to Water. Its attack, Tighten, costs GC and does 30+ damage, reading, “Flip 1 coin. If heads, this attack does 30 damage plus 20 more damage, and the Defending Pokémon is now Paralyzed.”
Its Ability, Le Parfum, says, “You may use this Ability once during your turn, when you play Roserade from your hand to evolve one of your Pokémon. Search your deck for any one card and put it into your hand. Shuffle your deck afterward.”
This card probably won’t be used as a setup engine for any type of deck, but for decks that already are playing Devolution Spray or Super Scoop Up that can recycle Roserade’s to help aide in the decks setup.
Additionally, I think the card could serve as a nice little 1-1 tech in decks that have a couple extra spaces that you just don’t know what to do with. This card can easily turn a Level Ball, Ultra Ball, or Pokémon Communication into the Supporter you need to keep the game flowing or into that clutch Pokémon Catcher that you need to win the game.
13. Ho-Oh EX
BulbapediaHo-Oh EX is a Basic Fire type Pokémon with 160 HP, a two Retreat Cost, a Water Weakness, and a Fighting Resistance. Its attack, Rainbow Burn, costs CCC and does 20 damage plus 20 more damage for each different type of Basic Energy attached to Ho-Oh EX. Its Ability, Phoenix, says, “This Ability can be used one time during your turn if this card is in your discard pile. Flip 1 coin, if heads, attach 3 different Basic Energy cards to this Pokémon and play it onto your bench.”
I think the one thing that is going to hold Ho-Oh EX back from ever being the main component of a really strong deck is consistency. It’s Ability depends on a coin flip, so if you only have one Ho-Oh EX in the discard, you have a 50 percent chance of success, 75 percent chance with two, 87.5 percent chance with three, and 93.75 percent chance with four.
In addition to needing to not only needing Ho-Oh EX in the discard and hitting a coin flip, you also have to get the right energies into the discard pile to make using Phoenix even worth it. Obviously as the game goes on, having successful Phoenix’s will become easier.
Its attack is fairly strong. If you get three different kinds of energy using Phoenix and then attach a fourth energy for the turn, you are already hitting for 100 damage, which is pretty solid for an attacker that appears out of nowhere and sets up in one turn.
The other use for Ho-Oh EX could be as a form of energy acceleration, pairing Ho-Oh EX with other attackers and using Energy Switch to move the energy to them.
To sum up my thoughts on the card, I think it’s a really neat card that will be fun to play around with, but I am not completely sold on its viability at the current moment.
Milotic is a Stage 1 Water type Pokémon with 110 HP, a one Retreat Cost, and a Lightning Weakness. Its first attack, Clear Search, costs W and says, “Choose 3 cards from your deck and put them into your hand.” Its second attack, Water Pulse, does 60 damage and puts the Defending Pokémon to sleep.
Milotic’s first attack has the potential to be a really good setup attack. I think with the current format, everyone is pretty familiar with Twins and knows how powerful grabbing two cards of your choice is. This attack allows you to grab three, which could make for some really consistent setups in decks that are able to play Milotic.
The downside to its attack of course is that it costs a W, so it won’t be a card that you can just splash into every deck and rely onto setup. Water decks obviously will be able to make use of Milotic to aide in their setup and Fighting, Lightning, and Metal Pokémon also will be able to make use of the attack with Blend Energy.
Not sure if there will be a top tier deck that uses this setup engine any time in the near future, but this card definitely holds a lot of potential and might see play in the future, especially if Water Pokémon get more support to make it worth playing.
11. Giratina EX
Giratina EX is a Basic Dragon type Pokémon with 180 HP, three Retreat Cost, and a Dragon weakness. Its first attack, Shred, costs GPC and does 90 damage with the attack’s damage not being affected by any effects on the Defending Pokémon. Its second attack, Dragon Pulse, costs GPCC and does 130 damage while forcing you to discard the top three cards from your deck.
Some people might be surprised to see Giratina EX so high on this list as it has been widely labeled as the bad EX from this set, but in reality, it’s still a pretty solid card.
When judging this card, I look at the combination of this card’s attacks and how that stacks up against the current metagame and what you’re left with is a Pokémon that’s attacks are well suited for a lot of the Pokémon that have been popular in the past metagame and are likely to be major components of the upcoming metagame.
The metagame at the moment has largely been made up of Pokémon-EX, which have been maxing out at 180 HP with a few being only 170 HP, and a select few being even less in HP. Because Giratina’s attack ignores Eviolite and Abilities like Afro Guard and Shell Armor, you will always be doing 90 damage with Tear Up. That means regardless of Eviolite, you are going to be able to 2HKO any EX in the format, while if you have an Evioilte attached to your Giratina EX, they may be forced to 3HKO you.
Now many people will probably point out that Garchomp will 1HKO your Giratina EX, but you simply avoid playing the card down when you’re going up against that deck. Not every deck you play against is going to be playing Dragon type Pokémon, so depending on the mathcups, Giratina EX could really be a strong play in your decks as long as the deck can support it energy wise, which might be a bit of a struggle, although the Hydreigon deck can do it with one of the Blend Energy.
Registeel-EX is a Metal type Pokémon with 180 HP, a four Retreat Cost, a Fire Weakness and a Psychic Resistance. Its first attack, Triple Laser, costs CCC and says, “Choose 3 of your opponent’s Pokémon. This attack does 30 damage to each of them. (Don’t apply Weakness or Resistance for Benched Pokémon).” Its second attack, Protect Charge, costs MMCC and does 80 damage, with the subtext, “During your opponent’s next turn, this Pokémon receives 20 less damage.”
This is one of those cards where I know the card is going to be a good card, but I myself don’t really have any idea where the card will fit into the metagame or what would be some good deck ideas to include the card in. Right now, in my deck ideas notebook, all I have written down right now is, “Registeel (Quad?).” I am going to just say from the get go I don’t think a quad deck is going to be the right way to play this card by any stretch.
With this card, I don’t have much interest with its second attack, although in a deck like Klinklang that is already playing M Energy by default, it is an attack that can come in handy. Most of my interest in the card stems for its first attack. The C energy requirement allows the card to be played in pretty much every deck, which will allow for some creative uses for the card.
As I said, I don’t really know what type of deck to play this card in yet, but I am sure it will have some impact on our upcoming format.
BulbapediaGarchomp is a Stage 2 Dragon type Pokémon with 140 HP, a one Retreat Cost, and a Dragon weakness. Its first attack, Mach Cut, costs F and does 60 damage and has the added effect of discarding a Special Energy off of the Defending Pokémon. Its second attack, Dragonblade, costs WF and does 100 damage.
This is going to be a good card largely in the context of the other cards that we are going to be receiving along with it to give it the support it needs. The main two support Pokémon that Garchomp will have are its pre-evolution, Gabite and Altaria. Gabite has an Ability that allows you to search out Dragon type Pokémon, giving decks with it a very consistent setup. Altaria has an Ability that adds 20 damage to the attacks of Dragon type Pokémon.
With those two Pokémon to partner with, Garchomp suddenly becomes a playable Stage 2 Pokémon with attacks that hit hard for low energy requirements. Garchomp has the combination of a high HP and strong enough second attack to make it exchange well with most of the EX’s in the format.
Garbodor is a Stage 1 Psychic type Pokémon with 100 HP, a three Retreat Cost, and a Psychic weakness. Its attack, Sludge Toss, does 60 damage for PPC. It has an Ability, Dust Toxin, that says, “As long as this Pokémon has a Tool card attached to it, ignore all Abilities printed on any cards in either player’s field, hand, or discard pile. (Excluding any Dust Toxins).”
Let’s just take a quick run through of some of the Pokémon in our format right now:
BulbapediaEmboar BLW – Inferno Fandago
Reuniclus BLW – Damage Swap
Klinklang BLW – Shift Gear
Gothitelle EPO – Magic Room
Victini NVI – Victory Star
Eelektrik NVI – Dynamotor
Chandelure NVI – Cursed Shadow
Gardevoir NXD – Psychic Mirage
Empoleon – Diving Draw
Espeon – Solor Revelation
Darkrai EX – Dark Cloak
Ho-Oh EX – Phoenix
Altaria DRX – Battle Song
Gabite DRX – Dragon Call
Mew-EX – Versatile
Sigilyph DRX – Safeguard
Hydreigon DRX – Dark Trance
As you can see, this format has a lot of Pokémon with a lot of great Abilities. I think it is common sense that a Pokémon with an Ability that shuts off all of those other really strong Abilities would be fairly good.
Garbodor doesn’t come without problems. It needs a tool attached to it before its Ability even kicks in. Tool Scrapper will also be in the format, so your opponent can use that to get rid of any tools attached to Garbodor to shut off its Ability. Its 100 HP is a little fragile, so using Pokémon Catcher and Knocking it Out will always be an option for your opponent.
It also has a really high Retreat Cost, so against decks that can spread damage or snipe, your opponent can use Pokémon Catcher to bring Garbodor to the active to stall you out for a few turns if you can’t hit one of your Switch.
Gabite is a Stage 1 Dragon type Pokémon with 80 HP, a one Retreat Cost, and a Dragon Weakness. Its attack, Dragon Slice, costs WF and does 20 damage. It has an Ability, Dragon Call, that says, “Choose 1 Dragon-type Pokémon card from your deck, show it to your opponent, and put it into your hand. Shuffle your deck afterward. You can use this Ability 1 time during your turn.”
It’s attack is largely irrelevant, but its Ability is very strong. As a Stage 1 Pokémon, Gabite is a very realistic turn 2 option. If you are able to to string together multiple Gabite on turn 2, you should be able to setup your Dragon type decks very quickly and with great consistency.
Emolga is a Lightning type Basic Pokémon with 70 HP, free retreat, a Lightning Weakness, and a Fighting Resistance. Its first attack, Call for Family, costs C and allows you to search your deck for two Basic Pokémon and put them on your bench. Its second attack, Static Shock, costs L and does 20 damage.
This is a card that every player should go out and get a play set of once the set comes out. It is going to be one of the staples of the Black and White format and will be the ideal starter Pokémon in setup decks. Without Pokémon Collector in the format and the ball engine becoming less powerful with the loss of Dual Ball, a starter Pokémon like Emolga that can grab you two basics is going to be really good in the oncoming format.
This card isn’t quite as good as Dunsparce SS, which allowed you to grab three Basic Pokémon, but it is still really good. There is also a similar Pokémon in the format right now, Elgyem NVI 55, whose First Contact attack does exactly the same thing. Emolga will definitely be the play over Elgyem as Elgyem has a Psychic Weakness which makes it vulnerable to a Mewtwo EX X Ball donk.
5. Rayquaza EX
Rayquaza EX is a Dragon type Basic Pokémon with 170 HP, a one Retreat Cost, and a Dragon weakness. Its first attack, Celestial Roar, costs C, and says, “Discard the top 3 cards from your deck, and if there are any Energy cards, attach them to this Pokémon.” Its second attack, Dragon Burst, costs RC and says, “Discard either all basic R Energy or L Energy cards attached to this Pokémon. This attack does 60 damage times the number of Energy cards discarded this way.”
Its second attack is a very strong attack with unlimited damage potential. The card can be used to 1HKO any EX in the format right now for just three energy discarded. The card will most likely be paired with Emboar BLW to make use of its Inferno Fandago Ability to rapidly attach R Energy or with Eelektrik to make use of its Dynamotor Ability to rapidly attach L Energy to Rayquaza EX.
pokemon-paradijs.comI’m not really sold on the utility of Rayquaza EX’s first attack, but I think some players can find a strategy that involves using Rayquaza EX’s first attack. For example, a strategy could be developed to charge up Rayquaza EX quickly on the first two turns of the game (two attachments plus whatever you hit off of Heavens Call) to try to take out an Pokémon-EX on turn 2. From there, you would hopefully have your setup progressing toward completion so that you can recharge Rayquaza EX on turn 3 and use it again for another attack.
The danger of this strategy of course is going to be the three card discard of Heavens Call. If you discard two of your Pokémon Catcher, two Eelektrik, your Emboar and some Rare Candy you’re obviously going to be hating that attack a whole lot. The attack has the potential to greatly damage you over the course of the game, but it also has the potential to give you a very fast and powerful start.
The biggest problem with Rayquaza EX is that it is a Dragon type Pokémon which in turn gives it a Dragon type weakness. With the introduction of Dragon type Pokémon into the trading card game, we have been given a lot of playable Dragon type Pokémon that are able to 1HKO Rayquaza EX fairly easily. Nonetheless, when you’re playing decks without any Dragon type Pokémon, Rayquaza EX will be a very strong play.
Rayquaza EX will be one of the three Pokémon-EX coming out in the Legendary Tins on September 30, along with Mewtwo EX and Darkrai EX. This should help keep the price of the card down a bit, and make it really cheap once the tins do come out. It’s at $28 on Troll and Toad at the current moment and I think that price should drop by the time the set comes out as Rayquaza EX is limited in the amount of decks that he is playable in.
Altaria is a Stage 1 Dragon type Pokémon with 70 HP, one Retreat Cost, and a Dragon weakness. Its attack, Glide, costs WMC and does 40 damage. Its Ability, Battle Song, says, “As long as this Pokémon is in play, your Dragon-type Pokémon’s attacks do an additional 20 damage to any active Pokémon.”
I think everyone has had ideas in the past for decks based on Aerodactyl adding damage to some Pokémon’s attacks that never really panned out because of how difficult Aerodactyl is to get into play. Now we have a better version of Aerodactyl that is easier to get into play as it’s not a Restored Pokémon, with the exception of course that it can only be played with Dragon type Pokémon.
This will be a good card to get a play set of and it will only get better as more and more Dragon type Pokémon enter into the format. Every time we get a new Dragon type Pokémon, the question will have to be asked whether Altaria could be fit into the deck to add more damage to its attacks and whether the added Altaria is worth it.
The downside of the card of course is that it has only 70 HP, which will make it very easy to 1HKO. Without Junk Arm in the format though, Pokémon Catcher abuse will be much less prevalent, so Bench-sitters like Altaria will have a stronger place in the format, although that still has to be a concern. Additionally, its Basic form, Swablu, has a mere 40 HP which makes it prime donk target.
Mew-EX is a Basic Psychic type Pokémon with 120 HP, a one Retreat Cost, and Psychic weakness. It has an attack that costs P, Replace, which reads, “Choose as many Energy cards attached to your Pokémon as you like, then reattach them to your Pokémon in any way you like.” Its Ability, Versatile, says, “This Pokémon can use the attacks of any Pokémon in play as its own. (You still need the necessary Energy to use each attack.”
This card should end up finding niches in a variety of different decks throughout its life span, similar to how Mew Prime shifted between a variety of archetypes – from Mew Lock, to MewGar, to Mew/Vanilluxe, and finally finishing up with Mew/Accelgor) – during its life span. As the cards Ability hints at, it is a versatile card, and the nature of its Ability will result in it being played in a wide variety of different decks throughout its life span.
The most common use for the card when it first comes out is as a Mewtwo EX counter in decks that use one energy attacks. Another, very specific use, will be to use Accelgor’s Deck and Cover attack in the BLW-on version of Accelgor, as streaming a Basic Pokémon is a lot easier than streaming a bunch of Stage 1’s. I haven’t really come up with any really special ideas for decks built around Mew-EX yet, but it is a card that will encourage creativity in its use, so I’m sure before too long I will have some ideas on how to better use the card.
It also has an attack that is quite good. The attack is aptly named, as it truly is going to be our replacement for Shaymin UL’s Celebration Wind Poké-Power. The attack is the same thing, just in the form of an attack. The attack is really good and I am sure it will be situationally useful, but I would be weary about using any attack that opens you up to an X Ball Knock Out for 2 Prizes if you haven’t already taken 2 Prizes with that Pokémon.
Overall, I think Mew-EX is the best EX from this set, but I don’t think it is a “money EX” like Darkrai EX or Mewtwo EX. While the card is one that I would really like to have as part of my collection, I’m not going to spend a lot of money to get a play set like I would for Mewtwo EX and Darkrai EX. The card is only useful in certain niche decks and as of right now, it is too easily revenge ko’d by Mewtwo EX to make it worth too much money.
Hydreigon is a Stage 2 Dragon Type Pokémon with 150 HP, a three Retreat Cost, and the standard Dragon weakness. It has an Ability, Dark Trance, which states, “As often as you like during your turn (before your attack), you may move a D Energy attached to 1 of your Pokémon to another of your Pokémon.” Its attack, Dragon Blast, costs PDDC and does 140 damage at the cost of discarding two D Energy.
This card is going to be really, really good. There is multiple precedents for cards with this type of Ability doing well. For starters, there is Dark Dragonite from EX Team Rocket Returns that had the same exact Dark Trance Ability in the form of a Poké-Power. Most recently, we saw a deck built around Klinklang BLW win the National Championship in the United States. Klinklang has a similar Ability, Shift Gear, that allows it to move M Energy around just as Hydreigon can move D Energy around.
Hydreigon’s Ability, just like Klinklang’s before it will be used to make a deck in which you tank your main attackers by moving all of the energy off of them and playing Max Potion.
Part of what makes Hydreigon so good in comparison to Klinklang is that Hydreigon and the other components of its deck are able to take advanatege of Dark Patch for energy acceleration as Hydreigon’s Ability works with D Energy.
Bouffalant is a colorless Basic Pokémon with 100 HP, a two Retreat Cost and a weakness to Fighting. It has an Ability, Afro Guard, which reduces your opponent’s attacks by 20 damage. Its attack, Golden Break, costs CCC and does 60+ damage and reads, “If the Defending Pokémon is a Pokémon-EX, this attack does 60 more damage.”
This is a really, really good card for a format full of EXs and one of a sure to be series of oncoming anti-EX factors to hit the game. This is clearly the best one we have yet, being able to open up a prize exchange in which you trade a regular Pokémon for your opponent’s Pokémon-EX.
120 damage is a really good number to be attacking or in this format. If you read my Nationals report, one of the reasons I tested Typhlosion/Reshiram is because I really liked how well Reshiram BLW exchanged with Pokémon-EX with its 120 damage Blue Flare attack. Now we have Bouffalant, which can be played in any deck as a colorless Pokémon to combat the EX’s. 120 damage is enough to 1HKO both Mew-EX and Shaymin EX and it is enough to 2hko any of the bulkier EX’s.
Its Ability is basically a built in Eviolite. You can reduce your opponent’s damage output even more by attaching an actual Eviolite Bouffalant, as it is a Basic Pokémon. A Bouffalant with Eviolite attached effectively has an HP of 140 HP when it hits the field fresh and cannot be damaged by Darkrai’s snipe.
Some of the Pokémon-EX will be able to 1HKO it, such as a Mewtwo EX loaded up with enough energy, Shaymin EX in the late game, a Regigigas-EX with enough damage, and Terrakion-EX and Groudon EX because they hit for weakness. However, the majority of EX’s will be forced into a series of 2hko’s against Bouffalant, making it a really strong card going into next format.
Special Mention – Rayquaza
BulbapediaRayquaza is a Basic Dragon type Pokémon with 120 HP, a three Retreat Cost, and a Dragon weakness. Its first attack, Dragon Pulse, costs L and does 40 damage with the side effect of discarding two cards from the top of your deck. Its second attack, Tear Up, costs FLC and does 90 damage and isn’t effected by any effects on the Defending Pokémon.
Its first attack is really good for what the metagame seems to be shaping into. Rayquaza can 1HKO Tynamo, Gabite, and Swablu’s on turn one of the game. With its second attack, it can 1HKO Garchomp, Hydreigon, Giratina EX, and Rayquaza EX. Its second attack ignores all effects on the Defending Pokémon, which means it doesn’t take Eviolite into account, which allows Rayquaza to 2hko any EX in the format.
This card is obviously really good, but we probably aren’t going to be receiving the card in Dragon’s Exalted. The card is part of Dragon Selection, and it doesn’t look like we will be receiving any Dragon Selection cards in this set.
However, Rayquaza was also released as a promo card and as a secret rare card in the Japanese sets, so there is still a possibility that we could see Rayquaza come to us for the upcoming format either in the form of a promo card for a blister pack for example, or just as one of the secret rares in Dragons Exalted.
I would hope that if Rayquaza doesn’t make the cut into the set as a regular rare that they also cut the secret rare card from the set, or otherwise release Rayquaza as a promo card. Rayquaza is going to be a very strong card in the metagame we’re headed for, so if it becomes a secret rare card, expect it to cost $90-100 to obtain a copy.
Special Energy Cards and Trainers
In Dragons Exalted we should be getting 2 Special Energy Cards, 2 or 3 Item cards, and 2 Pokémon Tool cards. There is very little fluff that we will be receiving in these cards and most of them should see some competitive play at some point or another.
In general, I make sure to get play sets of every Special Energy, Trainer, Supporter, or Stadium card. You never know when building a deck what cards will be best suited for any given deck, so I feel it’s good to keep all of them at your disposal for optimal deck building.
Blend Energy – GRPD and WLFM
Blend Energy provides 1 C Energy, except when attached to a Pokémon, in which case it provides one of two sets of four Energy types. The first Blend Energy provides either Grass, Fire, Psychic, or D Energy. The second Blend Energy provides either Water, Lightning, Fighting, or M Energy.
These cards are going to be really good in Dragon type decks, as they can be used to get around the multi-type energy requirements that the Dragon Pokémon currently seem to have. It will also be used extensively in decks that can move energy around, such as decks based around Klinklang BLW and Hydreigon from Dragons Exalted as it gives the player a method of playing a wider variety of attackers in the deck.
When deciding whether to use one of these cards, just take a look at the Energy requirements for your attackers and play the card if it makes sense.
Tool Scrapper is a Trainer card that reads, “Choose up to two Pokémon Tools attached to either player’s Pokémon, then discard them.”
This is a very powerful card that will certainly see some play, but how much is yet to be determined. Being able to remove Exp. Share off of your opponent’s Pokémon could shut off their energy acceleration, and removing Eviolite can put your opponent’s Pokémon back in range for a Knock Out.
The card can also be used to remove Tool cards from your own Pokémon. An example of its use would be having an Exp. Share on one of your Pokémon for energy acceleration and then getting rid of the Exp. Share with Tool Scrapper and attaching an Eviolite when you’re ready to attack with it.
So far in testing, this card hasn’t become any kind of staple for me. If we still had Junk Arm in the format, the card would probably be at least a one of in almost all of my decks. However, without Junk Arm playing low amounts of the card is risky as you’re just kind of depending on hitting into the card at the right time to make it useful. If you have to play Professor Juniper and discard it early, it’s just gone for the rest of the game.
Instead, I have looked at just building decks with attackers and strategies that are able to work around the Eviolite and still win, similar to what we’ve been used to in our current format. I do think Tool Scrapper will be played, but it will be in specific decks that really need the card because of being unable to work around Exp. Share or Eviolite.
BulbapediaDevolution Spray is an Item card that reads, “Choose one of your evolved Pokémon, then remove the top evolution card from that Pokémon. Return that evolution card to your hand. (The Devolved Pokémon cannot evolve this turn).
This card will almost exclusively be used in decks who have Abilities that are triggered by Evolution. Some examples of this are Amoongus’ Sporprise, Shiftry’s Giant Fan, and a host of Pokémon’s Abilities from Dragons Exalted such as Ninetales, Aggron, and Roserade.
I don’t think this card will see a ton of competitive play, at least right now, as I don’t think any decks based around these Abilities are going to be very good. Still, it will be worth picking up four of these just in case we do get some cards with better coming into play Abilities.
For a card like Roserade, that can be used as a kind of enhancement to a deck and not as the focal point of the deck I think I would rather play Super Scoop Up, as that could be used not only for cycling Roserade to search your deck repeatedly, but also could be used to pick up a badly damaged attacker.
It’s not entirely clear whether or not we will be getting this card in the set as it is part of Dragon Selection, but it’s worth noting just in case they do slip the card into the set. Basically the way this card works is that if a player has this card in their opening hand they get to go first in the game. If both players have the card in their opening hands, they play a game of Rock-Paper-Scissors to determine who goes first.
I am not a fan of this card at all, and will most likely never play it in any deck that I build. Here is your probability of going first, assuming your opponent doesn’t play the card also, for playing x number of Fast Ticket.
1 – 55.8%
2 – 61.1%
3 – 65.8%
4 – 70.0%
I just don’t think the card is worth it. If you’re playing four Fast Ticket that is four of somethings else that you are cutting out of your deck. I know going first does have some influence on the outcome of the game, but in deck building I think players need to work harder on finding decks in which the game’s outcome isn’t decided by the opening coin flip. If you can’t win while going second with a deck, the deck probably isn’t that good.
Personally, I would gladly take going second more often than not if it meant I was going up against decks who have four of this card in their deck. Using my own Zekrom/Eelektrik list for BLW-on, adding in four First Ticket would likely mean me having to cut a Mewtwo EX, a Raikou-EX, a Switch, and a L Energy from the list… and I think I’d rather have all of those in my deck still than a slightly higher probability of going first.
I think the only decks that should ever use this cards are Donk decks that are dependent on going first to win. I’m not a big fan of donk decks, so I don’t really see this card slipping into any of my lists.
Large Cloak is a Pokémon tool card that increases the maximum HP of your Pokémon by 20 HP.
This will be a nice card to have in our format as it provides some defensive strength for Evolved Pokémon, similar to how Basic Pokémon have some defensive support in Eviolite. If you are playing a deck based around Basic attackers you should absolutely play Eviolite. It reduces attacks by 20 every single turn, so in situations in which your opponent doesn’t 1HKO your Pokémon, the power of Eviolite builds up over the course of multiple turns.
Large Cloak will largely be a card whose play is dependent on the deck you are playing as well as what’s popular in the metagame. For example, if you are playing Empoleon and the format is based around Pokémon that do 90 damage to Empoleon and thus will 2hko Empoleon, regardless of whether its at its normal 140 HP or the Large Cloaked 160 HP, it’s not going to be worth playing the card.
However, if the metagame is filled with Pokémon that hit Empoleon for 140 HP and thus 1HKO Empoleon, it might be worth playing the card to turn that into a 2hko.
This card is a good addition to our metagame, providing the same effect that Rescue Energy provided, while not having to waste your Energy attachment for the turn on this. When using Rescue Energy in decks, I would run into situations in which attaching Rescue Energy was disadvantageous for meeting the attacks Energy Requirement or increasing the damage output of the attack. This Tool helps fix those types of problems. The downside of course, is that unlike Rescue Energy, you won’t be able to use Rescue Scarf while under trainer lock.
I probably won’t play this card in too many of my decks as I find Super Rod and then re-searching out cards to be effective enough while allowing me to play better Tool cards onto my Pokémon, but this card will probably find some uses during its lifespan.
Dragons Exalted is going to be a really good set with a lot of really good Pokémon cards with neat Abilities and attacks. Compounded with rotation, a lot of these new Pokémon that we are going to receive in this set are going to have a large effect on the new metagame that forms.
Unlike Next Destinies and Dark Explorers, this set doesn’t have any superstar Pokémon-EX, as those sets did in Mewtwo EX and Darkrai EX. All of the EX’s in the set are certainly playable, but none of them are likely to become central forces in the metagame like Mewtwo and Darkrai became. I would expect most of the EX’s in this set to be around $10 cards and Mew-EX will probably top off the bunch somewhere around $20.
I could be totally wrong on these price points, but I honestly don’t think any of the EX cards from this set are worth much more than that…there just isn’t a Mewtwo or Darkrai caliber card in this sets EX’s.
That’s all I have to say about these cards from the new set. Look ahead to parts 2 and 3 of the Entering Dragon’s Den series in the coming weeks. In Part 2 I will be looking at how the cards that are leaving from rotation will have on the format and deck building and what cards that we currently have will become staples of deck building.