Hey everyone, my name is Dylan Dreyer. I am a competitive Pokémon TCG player from Maryland. I have been playing Pokémon TCG for 6 years now. I played for 5 years in the Seniors division, but never really saw any success until my last year in the division. The 2011-2012 season was my first year in the Masters division.
I was sort of nervous going into my first year in the “big leagues” of Pokémon, but slowly got used to it and was somewhat successful. Here is a brief list of my accomplishments:
- 2× Battle Roads Wins
- 1× Cities Win
- Top 32 Regionals – Fall
- Top 16 Regionals – Spring
I know that list isn’t too impressive, but I feel that as the year has gone on, I have become a more experienced player.
Enough about me… the topics I would like to discuss today are the Black and White-on Format, some decks you can except to see come Battle Roads, and a review of our new and upcoming expansion, Dragons Exalted.
So without further ado, here are my first impressions of the BLW-on format.
Black and White-on
We now have a lack of cards like Junk Arm, Smeargle, Dual Ball, Pokémon Collector, and Professor Oak’s New Theory, among many others that we came to love in the HS-on format. So how will we build decks without these cards and how will we adjust to these losses? I’ll give you some examples:
1. Due to the lack of Junk Arm, maxing out certain Item cards will be very important. For example, most decks will need to play four copies of Pokémon Catcher. Some decks in the HS-on format could get away with three because they could fall back on Junk Arm to get them back. Unfortunately, playing only two or three copies of important Items is a thing of the past.
2. Playing heavier lines of Supporter cards will be very important. The loss of Smeargle will force players to play more copies of their Supporter cards. When we were still in the HS-on format, it was possible to get away with nine or ten Supporters in your deck. (Or even four like Chris Murray played in his CMT deck to get to the Top 4 of U.S. Nationals.) Now it will be important to play at least eleven, and sometimes up to fourteen. These Supporter cards can include Professor Juniper, N, Cheren and Bianca.
3. I believe that Random Receiver will see much less play. With the loss of Junk Arm, Random Receiver serves less of a purpose in decks. The only decks that I think will use Random Receiver will be decks that utilize Sableye. Since Sableye has the “Junk Hunt” attack, you will be able to recover the Random Receiver and use it in times when you have a bad hand and are in need of a Supporter.
4. The format seems to have slowed down quite a bit. The days where Stage 2 Pokémon can succeed in a competitive tournament scene are back. It almost reminds me of our 2011-2012 Cities format…
5. Another aspect where we will have to make up for lost ground is searching for our Pokémon. Due to the loss of cards like Dual Ball and Pokémon Collector, we will have to resort to cards like Level Ball, Heavy Ball and Ultra Ball. In addition, we have a card called Emolga being printed in our upcoming Dragons Exalted set that has a “Call for Family” attack which allows you to search your deck for two Basic Pokémon and put them onto the bench.
6. One of my favorite combos of the new format is Bianca + Ultra Ball. Using an Ultra Ball to discard two cards and search for any Pokémon you want is already strong, but then you can follow that up with a Bianca, which will usually net you anywhere from three to six cards, depending on how many you had in your hand before you used Bianca.
7. Choosing which supporters to run will be a very important aspect of deck building come September 1st. The obvious choices are four copies of Professor Juniper and four copies of N. But what will you fill up your extra Supporter slots with? As I mentioned earlier, your two best choices are Cheren and Bianca. Bianca is better in decks that use Ultra Ball and can utilize the combo I spoke about earlier, while Cheren is a better choice for decks that lack Ultra Ball.
8. For all of you Trainer/Item lock fans out there, sorry to tell you, but your precious Vileplume UD is gone. However, there are still viable options to play the strategy you love. The first is Gothitelle EPO 47. We saw this card have some success in competitive play at the beginning of the 2011-2012 season, but it didn’t win too many events. However, now that the format is slowing down a bit, Gothitelle should see more play and more success.
The other option is Zebstrika NXD. While this is not as stable of a lock as Gothitelle provides, it is still a strong option and something to consider to fulfill your Trainer lock needs.
These are just some of my first impressions of the Black and White On format. Next I’d like to talk about some of the decks that will be popular in the early stages of BW-ON.
This deck acts a lot like the Klinklang deck that won U.S. Nationals. It strives on denying Knock Outs, effectively stalling your opponent out. Here is a list:
Pokémon – 15
1 Shaymin EX
Trainers – 33
Energy – 12
8 D – Basic
This list was used to win a large Japanese tournament a few months back. The strategy of this deck is to use Hydreigon’s “Dark Trance” Ability to move your Dark and Blend Energies around at will. The strength of this is that you can move your Energies off of your damaged Pokémon, use a Max Potion on it, and then move the Energies back to it and continue attacking.
This deck can utilize Dark Patch to get your D Energies back into play. Darkrai EX gives your Pokémon free retreat and Sableye is used to get back important Item cards such as Dark Patch, Max Potion, Pokémon Catcher, and Rare Candies.
The one glaring flaw of this deck is that its main attacker has a weakness to Fighting. This means that cards like Terrakion NVI and Terrakion-EX will be able to 1HKO your Darkrai EXs. However, you can use tech cards such as Shaymin EX to counter these weaknesses. This deck’s options are near limitless!
Garchomp/Altaria (A.K.A. FluffyChomp)
This is a very speedy, hard-hitting deck, despite being built around Stage 1 and 2 Pokémon. Here is the list:
Pokémon – 20
Trainers – 30
Energy – 10
BulbapediaAs mentioned before, this is a very quick, consistent and powerful deck. Some cool tech options that this deck has are Max Potion and the upcoming Rescue Scarf. Max Potion is effective because your Garchomps only require one Energy card to attack, so the cost of using Max Potion isn’t much to give up. Rescue Scarf is useful to stream your Garchomps and keep them attacking.
Empoleon is a card we saw come out of the Dark Explorers expansion and was a deck that kind of fell through after the first few weeks of Spring Battle Roads. People tried pairing it with cards like Terrakion and Donphan Prime to cover its Lightning weakness, but it was just too slow to keep up with the speedy metagame.
However, I think that Empoleon really stands a chance now that the format is slowed down and Stage 2s are a bit more viable. Here’s a list:
Pokémon – 15
Trainers – 34
Energy – 11
pokemon-paradijs.comThis is my personal list for the deck. It is very consistent and has lots of cool advantages that most decks do not. The first is the fact that Empoleon has built in draw power in its Ability “Diving Draw.” This can make for a very quick setup once you get one Empoleon on the board. The more you have in play, the more cards you are drawing every turn.
Also, the synergy between N and Diving Draw is amazing. Imagine this: at the end of a game, with the prize count one to one, you play an N. Your opponent is stuck with just one card in their hand while you have the opportunity to keep drawing with your Empoleons. This is one of the strongest aspects of this deck.
Finally, Empoleon can make great use of Max Potion. Since “Attack Command” only takes one W Energy, you are able to use Max Potion to heal your penguin, then simply attach another Energy from your hand and keep attacking. These are just some of the strengths of this deck. Although it is not being very hyped at the moment, it is most definitely a deck to look out for in the coming format.
Those are just some of the decks that I have tested for the BLW-on format. In my opinion, the Garchomp/Altaria deck is the strongest due to its quick setups and the early game pressure it applies.
Let’s move onto my review of our newest set, Dragons Exalted.
Dragons Exalted Set Review
Since the Prereleases start this weekend, I figured this would be a good time to give my thoughts on what cards you should try to get your hands on while at these events.
Grass type Pokémon don’t really get too much out of this set, but there is one nice card that will be in DRX.
This card has an ability called “Le Parfum.” This ability states that when you play Roserade from your hand to evolve one of your Pokémon, you can search your deck for any one card and put it into your hand. This is very strong. However, since it is a Stage One, it will take at least two spots in your deck, which might not justify the use of it. Either way, it’s still a card to look out for.
Ninetales is a 90 HP Stage 1 Fire type Pokémon that has an Ability and one attack. The Ability is called “Bright Look” (the same name as Luxray GL LV.X’s Poké-Power) that allows you to choose one of your opponent’s benched Pokémon and switch it with their Active Pokémon when you play it from your hand to evolve one of your Pokémon. A Pokémon Catcher built into a Pokémon? No way!
Its attack is also pretty strong. For one Fire, it does 20 damage plus 50 damage for each Special Condition on the Defending Pokémon. This pairs very well with Amoonguss NXD.
This Pokémon has a very interesting Ability called “Phoenix.” This Ability can only be used when Ho-Oh EX is in your discard pile, and it allows you to flip a coin. If heads, you take it out of your discard pile and put it onto your bench, along with three basic energies of different types. This card could allow for many interesting decks to be used.
Milotic (Dragons Exalted)
This card has already been announced in English, meaning we will get it in Dragons Exalted for sure. Its first attack for one Water allows you to search your deck for any three cards and put them into your hand. This is a very strong attack, but with N being as popular as it is, I’m not sure how useful this card will be.
This 70 HP Basic Lightning Type Pokémon has been mentioned a few times in this article, but it’s for good reasoning. This little guy can search your deck for any two basic Pokémon and put them onto your bench, for the cost of just one C Energy. To add to that, he has a free Retreat Cost and a resistance to Fighting, which is nontraditional of Lightning type Pokémon.
There are many interesting and playable Psychic type Pokémon in Dragons Exalted.
This 120 HP Basic Pokémon has an ability called Versatile, much like the original Mew-EX that was released a few years back in the EX Legend Maker expansion. The Versatile ability allows Mew to use the attacks of all Pokémon in play, providing that it has the correct energy requirements to use the attack. This card adds a lot of depth and strategy into the game. This card will be used in decks that have troubles with Mewtwo EX, as Mew has the Psychic typing that Mewtwo is weak to.
Sigilyph is a 90 HP Psychic type Pokémon that has an ability called “Safeguard” and an attack called “Psychic.” The Ability is reminiscent of the old Poké-Body that was on cards such as Wobbuffet (EX Sandstorm). This Ability states that Sigilyph prevents all effects of attacks, including damage done to it by Pokémon-EX.
This makes Sigilyph a very strong Mewtwo counter, because its attack does 50 damage plus 10 more for each Energy card attached to the defending Pokémon for one P Energy and two C Energy. Be sure to look out for this card.
Imagine your opponent no longer having access to Dynamotor, Dark Cloak, Dark Trance, Dragon Call, and many other useful Abilities. Well, Garbodor has an ability called “Dust Toxin” that states while Garbodor has a tool card attached to it, all Abilities (excluding Dust Toxin) no longer work. This is similar to the Poké-Body of Dialga G LV.X, which was a very strong card when it was legal.
The first partner that I would put Garbodor with is Zebstrika NXD. This would allow you to put your opponent under Item and Ability lock, which can be very devastating. Garbodor is definitely very high on my list of cards to get my hands on come August 15th.
This card has a pretty interesting attack that’s called Shadow Steal. This attack costs one C Energy and it does 50 damage times the amount of Special Energy in your opponent’s discard pile. This card could be a very useful tech in many decks that could do very heavy damage late game if your opponent’s deck uses heavy counts of Special Energy cards.
Stunfisk is a 100 HP Basic Pokémon with two attacks. The first costs one Fighting and does 20 damage to the Defending Pokémon and snipes one of your opponent’s benched Pokémon for 20. This is a neat tech card you can use for the Zekeels matchup. It will allow you to 1HKO Tynamos and set up for a KO on another one while you’re at it. This is definitely a good card to have seeing as Zekeels has shown itself as a real contender in the past and will most likely stay that way for a while.
This tank of a Pokémon is a 180 HP Fighting type Basic Pokémon that has two attacks. The first is called “Rock Tumble” and it does 50 damage for one Fighting and one C Energy. This attack’s damage is not affected by Resistance. The second attack, for two Fighting and one Colorless, does 90 damage and allows you to attach up to two Basic energy cards from your hand to your benched Pokémon any way you like.
This is what Fighting Pokémon really need. Fighting Pokémon have had no real Energy acceleration in recent history, so this will be a nice addition to decks featuring Fighting Pokémon.
Dark Pokémon are really put on the backburner for this set. Therefore, I have nothing to review for this type. However, there is a nice looking Shiny Krookodile card coming out in the next set. Something for collectors to look forward to!
Registeel-EX (Dragons Exalted)
This is another beefy EX card that features two attacks. The first, “Triple Laser,” costs three C Energies and allows you to choose three of your opponents Pokémon and do 30 damage to each of them. This is a very strong attack, and because of it, I believe that Registeel will see a good amount of competitive play. Also, it has been revealed in English, so it will be coming out in our next set guaranteed.
This card has an Ability called “Down the Mountain” that says when you play this card to evolve one of your Pokémon, discard the top three cards of your opponent’s deck. At first sight, this card makes me think it is the new Durant NVI. However, being a Stage 2 Pokémon with a terrible attack, I doubt that it will be able to see competitive play. However, this card is has potential to be used in a fun league deck.
This card has a powerful ability called “Afro Guard” that is the same as Donphan Prime’s “Exoskeleton” Poké-Body. It states that all damage done to this Pokémon is reduced by 20. Bouffalant’s attack costs three C Energy and does 60 damage, but 60 more if the Defending Pokémon is an EX. This makes for a very powerful counter EX card, especially when equipped with an Eviolite. Doing so would give Bouffalant an effective 140 HP.
Rayquaza EX (Dragons Exalted)
This card is a new Pokémon-EX with 170 HP and two attacks. The first is called “Celestial Roar.” It costs one C Energy and it discards the top three cards of your own deck. If you find any Energy cards there, you can attach them to Rayquaza. This will allow for some built in Energy acceleration.
BulbapediaThe second attack costs one Fire and one L Energy and it allows you to discard either all basic Fire or basic L Energy cards attached to Rayquaza and deal 60 damage for each energy card discarded in this way. This is similar to Magnezone Prime’s Lost Burn attack in the sense that it has no damage cap, but it doesn’t send the energies to the Lost Zone.
Rayquaza is a very powerful card that can be paired with either Eelektrik NVI or Emboar BLW 20. Both will allow for the acceleration of Energies to be discarded with Rayquaza’s Dragon Burst attack. This card is also being printed in a tin come September, so it will be easy to get. Be sure to check this card out!
I put these two cards together because they are used in the same deck as well as being part of the same evolution line. Gabite’s Dragon Call Ability is the heart and soul of the Garchomp/Altaria deck. It allows you to search your deck for a Dragon type Pokémon once per turn for each Gabite you have in play. Being searchable with Level Ball, this card is a sure-fire way to get your Dragons into play very quickly!
Garchomp is a 140 HP Stage 2 Dragon type Pokémon that has two attacks. The first, “Mach Cut”, does 60 damage and discards a Special Energy card attached to the Defending Pokémon for one F Energy. This is quite strong when paired with Altaria (Dragons Exalted); allowing you to do 80 or even 100 damage for just one Energy.
The second, “Dragonblade”, does 100 damage for one Fightning and one W Energy. The downfall to this attack is that it discards the top 2 cards of your deck. This is a very powerful attack, but can be risky. Be careful when using this attack; you don’t want to run out of cards in your deck!
This is a 70 HP Stage one Dragon type that has an Ability called “Fight Song.” This Ability adds 20 damage to all of your Dragon type Pokémon’s attacks. This will prove very useful when used with Garchomp, as Garchomp’s Mach Cut attack will do 80 or more damage for just one energy. Be sure to get your hands on this powerful Dragon card!
Giratina EX (Dragons Exalted)
Giratina is a 180 HP Dragon type Basic Pokémon that has two attacks. The first is called “Tear” and it does 90 damage for one Grass, one Psychic and one C Energy. It also states that the damage is not affected by any effects on the Defending Pokémon. It’s important to note that this attack’s effect does not include weakness and resistance, so they are still applied normally.
The second attack is called “Dragon Pulse.” It does 130 damage for one Grass, one Psychic and two C Energies. However, this attack does force you to discard the top 3 cards of your deck. Certainly not the most useful card in the set, but I’m sure it will find its way into competitive play.
Hydreigon is a 150 HP Stage 2 Dragon type Pokémon that has an Ability and one attack. The ability, called “Dark Trance,” allows you to move D Energies around as often as you wish during your turn. This is just like Klinklang BLW and Meganium Prime. This card is the main card of the Darkrai/Hydreigon deck, and without it, the deck does not function nearly as well.
It is unsure at the moment if this card will be released in Dragons Exalted, but I’ll include it anyway. This card is a 120 HP Basic Pokémon that has two attacks. Its first attack, “Dragon Pulse,” does 40 damage for one L Energy. This is significant because it does enough to be able to 1HKO cards like Gible (due to weakness) and Tynamo.
The second attack does 90 damage for one Fire, one Lightning and one C Energy, and isn’t affected by any effects on the Defending Pokémon.
This card adds 20 HP to the Pokémon it is attached to. This card is nice because it acts like an Eviolite for all Pokémon in a way.
Devolution Spray allows you to remove the top evolution card from one of your evolved Pokémon and return it to your hand. This card is very helpful in decks that use cards like Ninetales (BW5) and Amoonguss NXD so you can reuse their Abilities over and over again.
This card states that when the Pokémon this card is attached to is Knocked Out, you return that Pokémon to your hand. This is reminiscent of Rescue Energy, but now in the form of a Tool card. I’m unsure of how good this card will be, especially with the release of Tool Scrapper.
This is another card that people are speculating won’t come out in Dragons Exalted. However, this card states that if it is in your hand at the beginning of the game, you go first. This could potentially be very strong in decks that aim to get a first turn win or apply very early pressure.
The Blend Energies are like watered down versions of Rainbow Energy. They provide C Energy, but when attached to a Pokémon, they provide Water, Lightning, Fighting or Metal, and Grass, Fire, Psychic or Dark, but only one at a time. These cards work very well with the new Dragon type Pokémon, as most of them require two different energy types to attack.
Also, the nice thing about these cards is that they can be used on Evolution cards (unlike Prism Energy) and don’t do 10 damage to the Pokémon they are attached to (like Rainbow Energy does). These are definitely two cards that you will want to pick up as soon as possible.
That will do it for my set review of Dragons Exalted, which also concludes this article. If you enjoyed this article, let me know! Leave a rating as well as a comment.
Thank you so much for reading my first article, and I hope you enjoyed it!