en.wikipedia.orgAs with any newly released set I’ve already seen several reviews of Dragons Exalted and I suspect we’ll see many more reviews. But how about something from a different perspective… how do these new cards look if you’re talking about Unlimited 150? As you can imagine, an Unlimited format with the new EXs banned and B&W series “striped holos” upgraded to EX status is going to be very different than the upcoming BLW-on format, but you might be surprised how much so.
I’m generally only going to look at the fully evolved Pokémon or the cards that may actually see some play as I’m sure you know a Basic with the old 10 for 1 and 20 for 2 attack layout isn’t going to make waves in any format. Which cards “see play” is particularly unpredictable as 150 is a format with casual gaming at its core and you’re really encouraged to use your favorites.
Evolved Pokémon especially are judged by their entire history of cards rather than individuals, one of the best examples being Gardevoir which has many excellent versions so you can use it in a very solid line of 4-4-4 (or more!) which is obviously better than having to run a 1-1-1 line just for one good Stage 2.
But, before I begin, for those not in the know a combo has just been removed from the 150 format via a partial banning. The combo uses Mismagius GL LV.X or Porygon 2 UF with Alakazam BS or Reuniclus BLW and any “Tool Unown.” You use Alakazam/Reuniclus to move some damage onto the Unown, then turn the Unown into a Tool using its Power and the damage drops of, then return the Tool Unown to your hand using Mismagius or Porygon2.
Then… play the Unown back on your bench and repeat, eventually healing all damage from all your Pokémon each turn, with no loss or resources. In the right decks (Gardevoir, Vileplume, or any lock down deck with a good tank Pokémon) this can practically end the game the turn it sets up.
BulbapediaSo, how was that relevant to this article you ask? Well the first Pokémon on the list to review is sweet, innocent Jumpluff DRX. With its awful HP and attack this Stage 2 is unlikely to make an impact on the BLW-on format, but the “Leave It to the Wind” Ability looks like it’s going to cause the 150 rules team all sorts of problems. A new set up for the infinite heal combo is now going to be Alakazam/Reuniclus, Jumpluff, and Broken Time-Space.
First get all the pieces into play, then move any damage onto Jumpluff, return it to your hand using its Ability so the damage drops off, then play the entire evolution line back down with Broken Time Space and repeat, the “once during your turn” clause being erased once the card returns to your hand.
This version may be a little harder to use seeing as it requires two Stage 2s and one specific Stadium card and it can be stopped after one turn by playing a Stadium of your own, but like the old version I can see this dominating in the right style of decks.
Right away you can see how a card that appears to be a “junk rare” by Modified standards can have people quaking in their boots when let loose in a much larger card pool. We’ll have to wait and see how this plays out before any official ruling is made but it’s going to receive a partial banning in the upcoming UK tournament just in case, definitely one to watch!
Beautifly DRX could see some play, but I think only really if you’re already running Beautifly and/or Dustox. Triple Energy can charge up a benched Pokémon instantly after a KO and easily retreat into it the next turn. Wurmple DX can get this guy set up nice and early to make even better use of the Energy acceleration.
It can also be an annoying tech to search up vs any spread deck, especially a Water based one as you have a chance of hitting for Weakness and healing all the spread damage with Drainpour. In fact, you could go all out with the healing theme and run Beautifly DP, who gets better with Expert Belt and/or Shaymin LV.X.
Suddenly, Ninjask DRX! I really like this card. The Ability has been done before, but it’s such a cool idea and allows for a toolbox approach to which Shedinja you use. I can’t really review this Ninjask without looking at the Shedinja it can search up, the one from Dragon is protected against exs, Shedinja SV is protected from Pokémon with Abilities, so you can search them up if you’re having trouble with a Pokémon of that sort. The new Shedinja DRX and the one from Deoxys both help stall and attack without the risk of losing a prize which can be nice in the right situation.
Back to Ninjask itself, the HP is poor but its Night Slash attack makes up for it by dealing a decent 60 for 2 and switching Ninjask back to the safety of the bench, probably being replaced by one of the aforementioned Shedinja.
So is it worth running a line of Ninjask? Well you have the other TWO that search up/recover Shedinjas but you also get the infamous Deoxys set Ninjask with protection from Basics. Pair it up with Aerodactyl FO and have fun! Verdict: another solid addition to a versatile line.
There’s 2 Roserade in this set. The first one’s not really usable but the other Roserade DRX 15 does have an interesting Ability, Le Parfum, which allows you to search for any one card on evolution. This could be very useful in a 100 card singleton format, especially combined with some Scoop Up effects (or Devolution Spray in this set). Its attack and HP are quite poor, but that’s not why you’d use it. There’s not many other decent Roserade to run it alongside, but the one from Unleashed is quite good so perhaps it could find a home in a Grass/Psychic special conditions deck.
BulbapediaNinetales DRX! Now we’re talking… if a card can cut it in today’s Modified of massive Basics, EXs, and power creep nightmares then it can probably compete in 150, especially if it supplies your deck with one more Catcher effect! Now being a Black & White series holo rare this card counts as an ex in 150 but trust me, it’s fine. I ordered 2 as soon as they were available in Japan and have been using them ever since.
Even if I had to run a 1-1 line of this I would, but that’s not a problem; there’s been some great Ninetales printed over the years. There’s the bizarre Mutant Draft style Power on Brock’s Ninetales (this should really show up on the next Zoroark!), ex protection on Ninetales PK, and of course amazing card draw from Ninetales HS. Unfortunately, if you get one of these in an English booster you won’t get the funky foil border the Japanese ones have so you’ll have to find another way to mark it as ex.
Unlike the previously mentioned Roserade, this Ninetales ex isn’t useless once it’s used its Bright Look Ability. Hexed Flame can quite easily do 70 for 1 Energy especially with the many cards that can cause Burns in a Fire deck. You could run it alongside Magmortar SV and do an easy 120 for just 1 Energy and that’s before taking Burn damage into account. This sure beats having to fill your deck with Amoonguss!
Thinking of playing a Fire deck? Just face it, you’re gonna end up using a few Ninetales.
So we’ve already covered the Supreme Victors Magmortar, now for Magmortar DRX. No, I don’t know why the art was changed from the Japanese version either, seeing as Magmortar has a tradition of pointing guns at you on card art.
Back on topic, Flamethrower is OK, 90 for 3 on a Stage 1 is acceptable even with discarding a single Energy. The other attack, Flame Screen is quite interesting. 40 for 1 isn’t too shabby and the damage reduction is useful with the largest HP printed on a non-LV.X Magmortar.
While we’re on the topic of Magmortar LV.X, this isn’t a bad one to Level him up from. You can use Flame Wall to tank for one Energy and deal extra damage with the LV.Xs Torrid Wave Power or to stall while you build up to a Flame Bluster. Aside from the LV.X and Supreme Victors versions, this is one of the better Magmortars you could use.
BulbapediaI think some fun could be had with Wailord DRX in 150. Such huge HP should be easily abused with access to so many healing cards. Unfortunately, this particular Wailord isn’t one of the best even if it wasn’t classed as an ex, as its attacks are just too unreliable. Wailord TM has 20 less HP but better attacks and the original ex from Sandstorm has 200 HP too and a 1st attack that somewhat negates its standard huge Retreat Cost.
Milotic DRX however is an ex upgrade that’s actually going to be useful! I previously mentioned with Roserade how important searching for individual cards is in this format and this one searches for 3 just with one Energy. I imagine a common target for this attack will be Double Colorless and two other cards meaning next turn you get an easy Water Pulse and set up just about any combo you like.
A particularly devastating search could be DCE, Energy Removal, and Super Energy Removal. After totally crippling your opponent it shouldn’t be too hard to sweep through a few Pokémon even with just 60 damage and if they do mount a comeback you could take one turn out to Clear Search again for some retrieval like Junk Arm or Marley’s Request and continue the Milotic beatdown.
Even if you don’t plan on attacking with Milotic it conveniently only has 1 retreat so it can easily be switched out after a search. Compared to the original Milotic ex this is easily more useful. 110 HP is kind of low for a Stage 1 ex, but pretty much any Water deck can utilise Clear Search as opposed to Milotic ex‘s super-niche Mystic Scale although decks that rely on specific combos will use this card to its full potential.
There are several good Milotic you can use alongside the new one to make the line worth including in a deck. If you want a lot of set up in your deck there’s Milotic d from Dragon Frontiers which makes for a decent bench sitting draw engine. Smeargle UD saw plenty of play in Modified and this card doesn’t need to be active to use its Power and can deal OK damage in a pinch.
With the newest release, Walrein DRX, this Pokémon is starting to look like quite a solid choice for a Stage 2 Water type. 140 HP remains to be quite an impressive stat on a non-ex and Metal remains a fairly uncommon type adding to this bulk via a good Weakness. Aurora Beam is quite good dealing out 80 for 3, but it’s Ice Entomb that makes this an interesting card.
60 and guaranteed Paralysis looks really useful to me especially when you consider that if they can’t find a way to remove paralysis or switch the active you get to hit it again for 80 next turn for a total of 140, which is enough to KO most Pokémon legal in this format.
In Modified people seem to want to chain Ice Entombs for constant Paralysis, but pulling it off once in 150 should be quite effective as it’s often about removing specific threats rather than keeping up a constant offensive momentum. When playing a Walrein deck you’ll want to hold the Walreins back until you’re sure of which one you need to utilise in the specific situation.
A Walrein ex PK for example could be held in hand until you’re ready and use its Trainer locking Poké-Power and Ice Entomb all in one turn to help ensure a KO next turn. The version found in Hidden Legends could supply the Energy acceleration for the deck using its Crush Draw Poké-Power which would be particularly helpful considering the newest Walrein’s high Energy costs.
You could use Sealeo LM and/or Delcatty PL to ensure good Crush Draws which would also give you access to Delcatty PK as a draw engine. I better stop before I get carried away, I’ve practically built a deck for you there!
BulbapediaI don’t need to apply any theorymon here, I’ve been having my butt kicked by Ampharos DRX pretty much as soon as its Japanese version was released in all its foil-bordered glory. My friend runs this in her Ampharos control deck and it single-handedly changed the direction of the entire deck from having Ampharos as a supporting character to one of the main attackers.
If you can get one of the Static Mareep (here and… here) as a starter you can have a fully charged Pokémon on turn 2 then (or as soon as possible) evolve/Candy/Breeder/Broken Time-Space into this Ampharos for decent upfront damage, a little snipe and a brutal punishment of 3 damage counters whenever your opponent attaches Energy from their hand, especially harsh early on in the game when things really need setting up.
You can combine the sniping and spread abilities of this Pokémon with the Damage Bind Ampharos PL to lock down your opponents Poké-Powers. You could even add an Ampharos Prime to your bench for 4 damage counters per energy attachment, for free; that’s got to sting!
For some reason there’s two rare Manectric in this set. Manectric DRX 43 is OK. 90 HP is a little low for a Stage 1 right now, but a free retreat makes up for this. Energy Crush can do huge damage for just one L Energy, but 20× for each of your opponents Energy is situational so it’s probably best to search up this guy when the situation presents itself late game or against decks using Gardevoir NXD or Sceptile GE.
Flash Impact seems quite poor seeing as many Stage 1s can do 80 for 3 without drawback, but luckily it does combine well with Manectric PL. This version prevents all damage done to your other benched Pokémon which makes a line of Manectric worth playing by itself.
What’s not worth playing is the other new Manectric DRX 44, a theme deck filler from Japan made into a Rare over here, just use Eelektrik for your Energy acceleration needs.
Emolga DRX has received quite a bit of hype for use in Modified, but I doubt it will see any play in 150 just because there’s better options both in starter Pokémon (Dunsparce is similar but better or just Sableye SF) and Supporter cards like Pokémon Collector and Holon Mentor.
BulbapediaWe’ve already been over Beautifly and found it’s actually decent in the right deck but how about Dustox DRX? Well, it’s OK. Hazardous Scales is quite a fun attack, 3 Special Conditions for 1 Energy is interesting but I think Dustox would need free retreat to seal the deal so you could switch into Dustox PL.
Running the Wurmple line does give you access to a Safeguarder in the form of Dustox ex which is always a useful tool to have, so we see that these bug Pokémon who were always kind of useless in Modified can work well together in 150.
We’ve already looked at Ninjask and Shedinja earlier so we’ll move straight on to another Ghost type, Drifblim DRX. I think this Pokémon is quite decent, another Pokémon that can do huge damage for 1 Energy in the right situation, so just search it up when you need it. Getting Special Energy in your opponent’s discard pile shouldn’t be too hard with how common they are in this format and with access to things like Super Energy Removal.
It should be noted that its Plentiful Placement attack can 1HKO a Jungle Mr. Mime (that’s important by the way!) as well as sniping through things like Bench Shield and the aforementioned Platinum Manectric. Being a situational Stage 1 you’ll want to use some other Drifblim to make use of those Drifloons you’ll be running and luckily there’s some good ones.
Drifblim SF has some really nice utility attack it can use for free, if you can get this out early Lifting will set you up nicely. Drifblim UD sees use in regular Unlimited as part of the Pory-donk combo, but in 150 you can remove almost any significant threat in one attack with Take Away, especially good when used with Boost Energy. Even with this newest release, Drifblim remains a situational Pokémon you’ll want to use in a toolbox manner rather than a main attacker.
With Dustox I mentioned how Safeguarders can be an important part of a 150 deck, especially with so many of the new Black & White series cards updated to ex/EX status. The Safeguard Ability returns in this set on Sigilyph DRX who funnily enough will count as an ex itself. 90 HP is OK for a Basic and its attack will usually be doing between 60 and 80. The most obvious comparison I can make is with Wobbuffet SS. 10 less HP, 1 more retreat and 50 damage for 3 energy with 10 recoil damage. Are these drawbacks significant enough you’d run a slightly better Sigilyph ex instead?
I think I might go for the Sigilyph mainly because of the higher damage output. If a fully charged ex is rampaging through your Pokémon you need your Safeguarder to come out and be a roadblock and if possible, to KO the threat. Wobbuffet is going to have trouble doing this, 100 damage over 2 turns (and 20 recoil) just isn’t enough whereas Sigilyph will do 160 to most fully charged exs, enough to KO almost any of them.
Being a Basic it’s easy enough to search up and play against decks that rely heavily on exs and if it’s not needed for the match up leave it in your deck, or if you know your opponent you could even prize it.
BulbapediaGarbodor DRX has been getting some hype for Modified but there are other options available for Ability locks in 150 that it has to compete with. The most obvious comparison is Muk from Fossil who has a similar Ability but doesn’t require a Tool to use it. This is a significant difference because it makes it easier to set up for one but also it can get you out from a Trainer lock Ability like Vileplume UD whereas you wouldn’t be able to get most tools onto Garbodor.
There is a sneaky way around this though using the Tool Unown from the D&P series. Not only are they easy to search for being Basic Pokémon, you can also play them through a Trainer lock as they’re Basic Pokémon when you play them from your hand. Garbodor’s Ability won’t affect the Unown as it will no longer be a Pokémon once it’s attached to him.
Garbodor has significantly better HP and attacks than Fossil Muk, but in Muk’s favor there’s the fact that Garbodor counts as an ex and Muk having other useful options in its line like Muk UD and a couple of really good Grimers. I suppose the deciding factors for using Garbodor over Muk will be if you don’t want to use Grass Pokémon in your deck and want your Ability locker to be able to stand up for itself or simply that you don’t have access to older cards like Muk.
Fresh from the topic of the problems of Trainer lock we move onto Gothitelle DRX. Why you would use Vileplume ex over Gothitelle EPO 47 would come down to the Vileplume line having more support than Gothitelle. Now Gothitelle fans are getting a treat in the form of another good version to run alongside their Trainer lock one. Attacks like Doom Decree have been printed before, but the difference now is the existence of Victini or Fliptini as it’s been lovingly renamed, the king and enabler of all janky flip cards. Now there’s a significantly good chance you can KO a Pokémon of any size for just 2 Energy.
I mentioned before how 150 often comes down to removing specific threats as they arise and this Gothitelle helps you do this. Once you’ve KO’d the problem Pokémon you can continue to chance it with Doom Decree or go down the safer route of Black Magic for an extra Energy which will often be dealing quite high damage due to the number of bench-sitting support Pokémon used in this format.
I’m not sure what I think of Golurk DRX yet. It’s a strange one that I think I’ll need to use before I know how good it is. 130 HP is all right for a Stage 1 ex, but I find the attacks cost just a little bit too much. Devolution Punch is interesting as it does punish the use of Rare Candy/Pokémon Breeder, but I’d rather just KO a Pokémon rather than put the highest stage back into their hand.
The problem with Golurk is if they have another unevolved version waiting they can just play the evolution back down again. I think its speciality will be devolving evolved LV.Xs, then they have to get a lower stage evolved again, get it active and re-level up. Unfortunately it doesn’t get much support off its other version in Emerging Powers who is a completely different type than it with quite heavy colour requirements.
BulbapediaThe only Fighting Pokémon worth discussing in this set seems to be Gigalith DRX, all the rest are just straight forward attackers that lack the raw power or interesting abilities to cut it in 150. Don’t be tempted to include one of these Claydols in your deck just to give your Claydol GE line a bit of attack power! Back to Gigalith, 140 HP is still decent for a Stage 2 ex and its Revenge Canon attack has the potential for huge damage.
A friend of mine suggested a deck idea for this guy using Damage swap Pokémon like Alakazam Base or Reuniclus BLW to help tank with Gigalith while building up damage counters on your own bench and attacking with Revenge Canon for 1HKOs on practically any Pokémon. Put a Giant Cape on him to boost that HP a little further and if your opponent can’t 1-hit it back they’ll have trouble taking it down.
You could run this with Trainer lock to prevent your damage swapper getting pulled into the Active Spot and/or something like Dugtrio CG to prevent them getting sniped. Just watch out for things like the Gothitelle from this set which can take it down in one hit or the ubiquitous Mr. Mime JU who likes to ruin the plans of all big dumb attackers.
None of the Darkness Pokémon in this set are really anything too exciting. Honchkrow DRX could be a backup for decks running Honchkrow MT, it has more HP and a similar but more powerful attack but having no awesome Poké-Body makes it significantly worse overall.
Skuntank DRX does have a little raw power so it could be used alongside the Skuntank SF who is actually quite interesting but lacked any other powerful Skuntank to make the line worth running. Smogscreen is a decent stalling tactic for just 1 Energy, so perhaps this will sneak its way into a deck somewhere.
BulbapediaMetal types are quite under-represented in this set. Aggron DRX does look kind of interesting though. It’s always nice to see another little piece of support for mill decks (decks that try to discard your opponents whole deck), especially as you can’t really do the standard Durant NVI deck in a singleton format. Mill might seem unviable in a 100 card deck format, but because the draw power is much better in Unlimited decks often thin out quite quickly.
Unfortunately, no other Aggrons have a milling theme so you’ll have to make do with just this one. On the upside Lairon DRX in this set has a decent milling attack in Wreak Havoc which you could combine with the good old Fliptini. So there’s the strategy of a Lairon up front tanking with Special M Energy and a Giant Cape while you play Aggron to your bench over and over with Devolution Spray etc.
You could also try using Memory Berry or Meteor Falls so your Aggrons can also use Lairon’s Wreak Havoc attack. This works even better with Aggron ex so you can stall against decks that use a lot of Basic Pokémon while you deck them out.
Now to the main meat of the set, a brand new Type for the card game… Dragon Pokémon! Pretty much all of these look like they’ll see some significant usage in 150 and the fact they’re only Weak to their own type might make them quite hard to take down in such an uncentralised metagame or lack thereof. For that reason alone I’m probably going to put the Fossil Dittos back into all my decks just to hit for Weakness.
Up first is the Garchomp line. Gabite DRX 89 is worth looking at first due to its Dragon Call Ability, even if you’re not running that many Dragon types in your deck, this is still the best Gabite available just because it can search up an evolution for itself. The Garchomp you’d be searching for? Surely it’s Garchomp DRX 90! This is the sort of card that makes you glad of the 150 “ex rule”, 140 HP, 60 for 1, and 100 for 2! Dragon Blade’s drawback is just negligible, what’s 2 cards from a 100 card deck? If you can get this set up early it’ll have its greatest impact but also good for making a quick comeback later on in the game.
How about the non-ex Garchomp DRX 91? Not quite as impressive, but still decent for a regular Pokémon. It has the same 140 HP but with a maximum damage of 80 for 3, including 2 different types I see this more of a backup plan and another powerful Dragon to search up with the Ability Gabite.
I should also bring up Garchomp LV.X, though not as overused as its SP version, it’s still a very powerful card and gives the regular Garchomp especially an extra boost in utility, perhaps after a Garchomp ex has been KO’d to restore it, retreat, and continue the stream of 100 damage attacks.
BulbapediaSo how about the Hydreigon line, how do they compare with Garchomp? The Stage 1s are both pretty good though not as interesting as the Gabite but Hydreigon DRX 97 “ex” looks just as impressive as its Garchomp counter-part. A huge 150 HP and 140 damage output make this a bulky threat right away, but its Dark Trace Ability is what really makes it stand out.
Some older players may remember the Base-set era Venusaur decks which used Venusaur’s similar Energy trans to move all your energy onto an undamaged then the Trainer card Pokémon Centre to heal all damage from all of your Pokémon without discarding any Energy. Since then there’s been several Trainers, Supporters, and Pokémon with similar effects such as Max Potion, Pokémon Nurse, and Blissey Prime, all of which you could use with Hydreigon for a deck that both deals and sponges huge damage every turn.
It gets better though as the regular Hydreigon DRX 98 is also highly playable, with a similar theme. Imagine an Expert Belt on this one, that’s 170 HP, 60 damage, and 60 healing every turn. I probably wouldn’t bother too much with Destructor Beam except to net an important KO, just concentrate on getting more and more damage out of Consume for even more healing.
So, I hear you want even more damage out of your Consume attack, well how about any Dragon type attack? Yep, it’s Altaria DRX! Kind of low HP for an ex, but you shouldn’t be attacking with it; this guy’s a Bench-sitter, but I’d highly recommend putting it in any deck that uses quite a few Dragon type attackers, even if you can’t support its Energy costs. Just look at what a difference Flight Song makes: 160 damage Dragonblast! Yep, that 1 hits practically anything.
Altaria even has access to Safeguard via its Deoxys version, although this one uses a different Energy type so the Dragon deck is looking particularly multi-coloured. There’s also Altaria ex d from Dragon Frontiers, another support Pokémon This one goes particularly well with Dragonblast Hydreigon, allowing you to use the attack every turn as long as you can keep 2 Energy in your hand or even attach the extra Basic D Energy to Hydreigon ex then Dark Trance it to a Pokémon of your choice. Bottom line: Garchomp decks like Altaria, and Hydreigon decks love them!
Colorless Pokémon seem a bit boring after we’ve just covered the explosive début of the Dragon Pokémon, but there’s a few quality cards among them.
BulbapediaAmbipom DRX starts the Colorless review off with a bang, just look at Hand Fling, that’s crazy! For Double Colorless you can do nigh unlimited damage. In Modified this probably isn’t going to be too effective with the draw power currently available, but in 150 there’s plenty of it. The first thing I think of when you say 150 and drawing is Claydol GE, not the best partner for it but it pretty much guarantees 60 for 2 which is respectable.
The crazy stuff starts with other draw engines. When using my Fire deck I often ends up with an enormous hand using Ninetales HS as my draw engine, sometimes around 20 cards! Another popular draw engine is Delcatty PK/RS which works in the same way: discard an Energy, draw 3 cards. Unfortunately there’s no further support for Ambipom in its previous versions, but it will probably see some play, perhaps in mono-Fire decks running Ninetales as a non-Fire type attacker.
Bouffalant DRX is a much more interesting card than the remaining Colorless Pokémon in this set. For some reason this card has been demoted all the way from holo-rare in Japan to a mere common over here, but due to the wording in the 150 rules it’ll still count as an ex. Not that that’s dreadfully unfair, it’s a Basic with 100 HP and its Bouffer Ability makes it quite durable, reducing all damage to it by 20. Combine this with Eviolite and you have a full scale tank! The attack is also good, 60 for 3 Colorless is OK, but 120 to an EX is awesome. It joins the other rare Bouffalant BLW 91 as another solid choice for a strong Basic Colorless Pokémon that any deck can use.
More Trainers hold their relevance longer than Pokémon as the constant power creep in HP and attacks don’t really apply to them so new ones have more cards to compete with in Unlimited formats. In fact, some of the most broken Trainers were in the first set ever, like Energy Removal and Gust of Wind and haven’t been reprinted since, that’d be idiotic right? …Oh, I see. Anyway, let’s look at this sets Trainer cards and see how they compare.
First up is Devolution Spray, another bizarre “let’s take an existing Trainer card and change what it does.” In fact this effect has already been done as Hyper Devolution Spray, why not just reprint that? Well, apart from destroying an old cards functionality this is quite a good thing for 150 players, it just means we essentially get 2 copies of Hyper Devolution Spray to use in a deck.
The main use for these cards that rely on comes into play Abilities, an obvious example being the previously discussed Aggron from this set to get multiple uses out of it’s Toppling Wind Ability. Another use is to change the evolution on a Pokémon, particularly useful in decks like Eevee toolbox or Gallade + Gardevoir that use several evolutions that evolve from the same previous stage.
One of the best combinations with this card is Broken Time-Space which (although not 100% clear by the on-card text) allows you to devolve then evolve a Pokémon in the same turn.
Giant Cape is a card I’ve personally looked forward to since it was revealed in Japan. Again, it provides an effect very similar to an older card, Energy Root. However, this one has no drawbacks at all! It goes on practically any Pokémon but there’s a few that can make even better use of it. The first one that comes to mind is Weezing DX so it can survive it’s own Liability attack. Combine this with any Poison effect and you have an instant KO, especially useful against an ex so that when Weezing inevitably gets KO’d next turn you’re still up on prizes.
BulbapediaRescue Energy sees quite a bit of play and I’m sure Rescue Scarf will too. Returning a Knocked Out Pokémon to you hand is even more important in 150 as you can’t just find another one out of your deck like normal. Not being an Energy means Rescue Scarf isn’t charging your Pokémon at the same time, but it also doesn’t use up your one attachment for the turn.
When I use Rescue Energy it usually ends up on a Claydol or other draw engine Pokémon as they’re often the number one target on the board and also one of your most important Pokémon. Of course this is a waste an Energy attachment as a draw engine wants to avoid the Active Spot.
Fluffy Berry/Balloon Berry or Bench Shield are the other main tools a draw Pokémon tend to carry, so Rescue Scarf will have to compete with these for both deck space and the tool space on an individual Pokémon. Another use for Rescue Scarf will be to stream attackers in highly focussed, aggressive decks, perhaps the new Dragonblade Garchomp could be used in this way combined with Broken Time-Space.
I think I’ve highlighted the importance of Tools in this format, when attaching a tool you often have to consider if it is the right tool for that Pokémon because of course, they can only carry one. Tool Scrapper would seem like it’s an essential card, but it is actually just an inferior Windstorm. If you feel your deck needs 2 Windstorms (or you just can’t get one) this card is fine.
The two new Energy cards, Blend Energy GRPD and Blend Energy WLFM, will see play for sure. If your deck uses any of the colour combinations featured you should just play one of these, it’s a Rainbow Energy with no drawback. Perhaps someday we’ll see Energies with different blends of types.
So, if we’re skipping the EX full arts at the end of the list that’s it for this set. But wait, there’s more! Although the “secret” rare shining Pokémon are just reprints from previous sets, I’ll review them anyway seeing as this is the first 150 set review. Keep in mind that all the Shining Pokémon will count as ex due to being B&W cards over holo-rarity.
BulbapediaFirst up is Serperior DRX, originally from Black & White. The attack can be quite useful. 60 for 2 is decent, but the main use is to move Energy around though. As for the Ability, removing 1 counter between turns from all Pokémon can be a little bit useful in any matchup, but where this card will shine is against Water spread decks, especially with its Water Resistance.
Unfortunately, there’s no other good Serperior at the moment, and a 1-1-1 line probably isn’t worth running. Hopefully when the “National Beginning” deck Serperior goes international it will be as a regular rare and be worth using.
Ah Reuniclus DRX, how much trouble you and your Damage Swap have caused. If you read the part about combos at the start of this article you’ll know this guy, originally from Black & White is good. Bad HP and attack mean nothing when you have that Ability. At the moment Alakazam Base is still preferable though due to being a regular Pokémon but mostly because it has a lot more support in its evolution line where as there’s only one other decent Reuniclus which ironically requires four Reuniclus to be good.
Once Reuniclus has some more good versions maybe then it can challenge Alakazam for the main spot in Damage Swap decks.
Krookodile DRX is a Pokémon with potential. Normally, Bombast maxes out at 200 damage on 1 Prize and only provides the last few KOs effectively. In 150 taking 5 Prizes only puts you just over half way through so Krookodile will have more opportunities to hit enormous damage, maxing at 280 base damage! Krookodile EPO provides Energy removal support while this one, originally from Dark Explorers provides the raw power to clean up late game.
This led me to an interesting build which uses mainly Modified legal cards. The aim is similar to the current Hammer Time deck: beat face while recurring Energy Removal cards. Krookodile EPO removes Energy along with Excadrill EPO 56. Dark Explorers gave us Sableye DEX and Excadrill DEX who’s attacks retrieve Trainer cards like Energy Removal, Enhanced Hammer, Lost Remover etc.
All these Pokémon are Fighting or Darkness so the Energy should be OK and the only older cards that are essential will be things like Energy Removal which aren’t too hard to get hold of… Base Set was the most opened TCG set ever, there’s plenty of the commons knocking around in people’s attics and garages! A decent deck for someone with a mostly Modifed legal collection to start on perhaps?
BulbapediaLast but by definitely no means least is shining Rayquaza DRX! This guy’s caused a bit of an outrage for Modified players as this super-rare version is the only one available for use outside of Japan. Thankfully for 150 players any language edition is legal so it’s a little easier for us to get our hands on… the Conquest Promo is especially gorgeous!
But enough about its looks and on to its stats. It’s another one of the B&W series’ bizarre “Basic with the stats of a Stage 2” at least it’s an ex in 150. By no means does that make it bad though, it joins existing Rayquaza decks easily, with all the good old Rayquaza and Rayquaza exs also using Fire and/or Lighting energy. 40 for 1 is amazing coming off a Basic, milling 2 cards from a 100 card deck isn’t really a draw back for putting a stop to any setting up early game and Terrakion NVI has shown us how brutal 90 for 3 can be.
The Fire and Lighting haymaker deck has definitely gained another solid Basic Pokémon to include alongside other giants like Reshiram NXD, Zekrom NXD, and Thundurus EPO. Although it relies heavily on exs, this is most likely the most relentlessly aggressive deck in 150. Just look out for Safeguarders like Wobbuffet SS and Basic killers like Machamp SF or Mewtwo LV.X.
That’s it for this review. As you can see, the percentage of usable cards in a set is generally a lot higher when you look at it from a 150 perspective, with the EXs gone and the crazy strong B&W series Basics upgraded to ex status, many of the Pokémon that would be seen as completely unusable normally have their chance to shine.
Hopefully I’ve given you a few ideas of how you can work these new cards into an existing Unlimited format deck or start a new one.
Coming up next time, a report on the Unlimited 150 tournament at Fanboy3, Manchester, UK. Most of the 150 team should be there along with a load of newcomers! Once that’s all over with we’ll finally be getting the deck building article up with tips on putting your HeartGold & SoulSilver cards back into use, a look at my own deck’s evolution, and hopefully an analysis of the tournament winning deck!