The Boundaries Crossed Birthday Bash

pokemon-paradijs.comHello Underground readers, and welcome to my birthday party! Literally, today is my birthday, marking my 22nd year of life on this earth. But more importantly (to you, anyway), it also somehow marks the 4th year since I returned to competitive Pokémon play back in 2008.

Each year, around my birthday, we get what is often referred to as “the gamechanger set.” The fall set sets the precedent for a large majority of the season, including what is consistently the most important set of events in terms of rating boost – City Championships. While good old CCs have likely dropped in power since the days of Elo rating shifts, they still represent the only tournament series short of Top 4ing Nationals that can provide a maximum potential of half of your World Invite (200 points).

This article, I’ll be reviewing our new Boundaries Crossed set in depth, as well as giving a quick overview of our current metagame post-Regionals.

The Pre-Party: Fall Regionals 2012

By now, we’re all fairly aware of the complete Regionals metagame based on previous articles and “what won?” lists. However, having wrote my last article right before our first big tournament of the year, I feel like it’d be nice to start with some closure from last article.

The List

As a quick reminder, here’s what I ended up with right before Regionals:

Pokémon – 9

4 Sableye DEX
3 Darkrai-EX DEX
2 Terrakion NVI

Trainers – 38

4 Professor Juniper
4 Bianca
4 N
2 Random Receiver


4 Pokémon Catcher
4 Dark Patch
4 Ultra Ball
3 Eviolite
3 Energy Switch
2 Enhanced Hammer
2 Crushing Hammer
2 Tool Scrapper

Energy – 13

9 D
4 Prism

And here’s what I ended up bringing into the tournament itself:

Pokémon – 9

4 Sableye DEX
3 Darkrai-EX DEX
2 Terrakion NVI

Trainers – 38

4 Professor Juniper
4 Bianca
4 N
2 Random Receiver


4 Pokémon Catcher
4 Dark Patch
4 Ultra Ball
3 Eviolite
4 Energy Switch
2 Switch
2 Tool Scrapper
1 Energy Search

Energy – 13

9 D
4 F

pokemon-paradijs.comMany of you posted on the forums after my article expressing fear of running all Prism Energy. I cited its usefulness in being able to power a turn 1 Junk Hunt no matter what (as well as fitting in a Shaymin EX – which I did try but could never appreciate enough), but you guys were worried about an emerging threat of Enhanced Hammer.

After playing through about a dozen games before the big day with various players, I saw that about 60% of players I faced were playing some variant of the mirror, with most of those playing the hammers. In the end, I decided to move to F Energy as the safe play, and in the end, I don’t regret my decision whatsoever.

With the 4 Fighting, I decided to max out my Energy Switch line and cut out my own Hammers altogether. I felt that with my deck already not completely committed to hammer-based disruption, I could better invest my extra 4 slots into better techs and consistency boosters.

The two Switch in the deck might seem like an odd choice considering everything with a D Energy has free retreat, but I’ll get to that very soon. With just one card left in the deck, I debated between another Energy or another Supporter.

In the end, I decided that Energy Search was a fine choice – it allowed me an additional out to whichever energy I needed for the occasion, and was also retrievable by Junk Hunt. I typically hate 1-of copies of Trainer cards in this format, but because this card was essentially a “Rainbow Energy,” I never found a hand where it wasn’t useful to me.

I played my best, but at the end of the day I bubbled out of a 330-man tournament at 6-3. It’s a shame that State/Regional tournaments are capped at a Top 32 cut no matter how big the attendance is, but I’m not particularly heartbroken over whiffing cut.

Two of my three losses were due to terrible circumstances outside of my control: One game involved me Junipering into a hand of SIX Energy and a Bianca, while another ended up with me prizing FIVE Supporters, including 3-of my N that I needed to pull off any kind of comeback. Here’s how the matchups went:

Round 1: Win vs. Zekeels
Round 2: Lose vs. Stunfisk/Terrakion/Tornadus EX/Mewtwo
Round 3: Win vs. Zekeels/Terrakion
Round 4: Win vs. Rayeels
Round 5: Win vs. Rayeels
Round 6: Lose vs. Ho-Oh (my one loss that was actually a game – went down to the last prize!)
Round 7: Win vs. Terrakion/Stunfisk
Round 8: Win vs. Darkrai/Zoroark
Round 9: Lose vs. Darkrai/Terrakion/Shaymin (He ran the Prisms :P)

My main goal with the deck was to run a consistent list that didn’t skimp out on Energy drops or Supporters every single turn. While I ran into a few absurd losses, I was still happy to turn out positive on the day and leave with a couple of points, even if it was only 10 overall. After my hiatus over last year, this was just my second large event since Worlds 2011 (my first was last year’s Fall Regionals, ending in an abysmal 1-4 drop), so it feels good to get back into the swing of things.

More important than scraping together a few Championship Points, however, was a handful of tips I hadn’t thought about focusing in my last article. Some of this stuff might seem obvious, but many of these topics were things I forgot or chose not to focus on at the tournament. With all big events, it’s easy to get caught up and forget the simple things. Here’s a few main points to consider:

1. The day before might be your most important day of testing.

pokemon-paradijs.comIn the past, I’ve talked about how changing your deck the night before isn’t usually recommended. However, our current format is simple enough where making a few minor tweaks here or there is unlikely to hinder you when it comes time to play.

By catching up with a group of friends before the event (or even just observing a group of others, if they’re alright with it), you’ll get the most accurate picture of what to expect on the next day.

As big events like Regionals are becoming more social with official Facebook and forum groups, it might be a good idea to see which hotel areas are popular in the area. For me, being able to play a swarm of solid players throughout the night in my hotel lobby was a lifesaver.

The night before, I learned a ton of things about the decks to expect, and I even found a tech that I was previously unaware of! That tech (Fliptini) was eye-opening to me, and it turned out to be a major player in a handful of well-performing Rayeels lists, including the winning Ross Cawthon list.

The idea was to abuse Paralysis against a deck that typically did not run switch (Darkrai/Terrakion). With this dangerous tech in mind, I added 2 Awitch into my deck to make sure I’d have an out. Lo and behold, this tech won me both my round 4 and 5 Rayeels games.

One big tip to keep in mind while grouping up the day before, however: don’t overdo it! I was excited to meet with my friends again after my hiatus, and I ended up overstaying my welcome until 2:00 am. I wasn’t dead the next morning, but I was certainly irritable. Even worse than me was Pooka, who stayed up until the ungodly hour of 4:00 am. Combined with his duties as commentator on The Top Cut, I have never seen an individual look so sleep deprived in my life.

Don’t be like us! Get some sleep! As attendance grows, so does the amount of Swiss you’re expected to play. I was blown away by the fact that we’d be playing NINE rounds of Swiss followed by a round of top cut in a single day, and I grew exhausted by the time everything was over. Sure, the game no longer requires as many in-depth plays or extreme mental focus, but you’ll still burn yourself out if you don’t pace yourself physically.

2. Quadruple-check your decklist.
Be meticulous like Professor Oak here.

This might seem like the most basic thing to share with you guys, but it’s becoming more and more of an issue for some reason. At Nationals 2011, my cousin had to replace all four of his Pokémon Collector with Energy because he forgot to write them.

That same tournament, Josue “Crim” R. had to replace his 4 Pokémon Communication, likely harming his chances in top cut. During last year’s Nationals, one player had to replace their 4 Pokémon Catcher. Despite going undefeated through Swiss, he still eventually fell wishing he had those crucial cards.

This Regionals, Matt Alvis had to pay the ultimate price. He forgot to write the set numbers for ALL of his Pokémon for Darkrai/Hydreigon. Because there are multiple Deino/Zweilous/Hydreigon, there is no official way for a judge to determine which copy of which card he is using in his deck.

Because of this, he had to swap out his ENTIRE Hydreigon line for Energy, all while keeping useless Rare Candy and tech Pokémon within his deck. He actually managed to win a round of top cut with his 20-Energy monstrosity, but he eventually fell to Ross in a matchup that he felt very confident against with his original list.

I’m not going to get into the ethics of whether or not the ruling on decklists is “right” or “wrong.” Clearly it’s a shame, and I’m sure 9/10 players would know exactly which Hydreigon Matt was playing in his deck. But right or wrong, at the end of the day you need to follow the rules.

Make sure that your list is filled out correctly. Check it again. And again. And again. It is by far the dumbest way you can damage your own chances at winning a tournament.

3. Don’t underrate consistency.

Aside from some wild losses (and hey, those can happen to anyone no matter how consistent your list is!), I felt confident that my deck was consistent in a majority of my games. I felt that nearly half of my wins in Swiss were due to the fact that my opponent couldn’t hit a Supporter at some point in the game. Even an N for six cards can be more disruptive than you’d think – miss a Supporter, and you’re in topdeck mode immediately.

This is why I still try very hard to keep at least 13-14 Supporter/Random Receiver in my deck. As Swiss rounds drop for City Championships this might not become as big of a deal, but when you’re trying to win 7 out of 9 rounds, Supporter whiffs are some of the most painful ways to end in a loss.

4. Even the best fall down sometimes.

As the game and the format continue to promote luck-based aspects outside of our control (coin flip to grant complete 1st/2nd advantage, low supporter options with minimal consistency cards, etc.), it’s important to remember that even the best players can catch a very bad break at any given time. Pooka went 5-4, while arguably the most-consistent player in the game (Tom Dolezal) went 4-5. Michael Pramawat went 1-3 drop.

I’m not using this space to complain or advance some kind of elitist attitude toward players that have proved themselves in the past. Instead, I think it’s an important time in the game to be confident whenever you play. With a solid list and practice, anybody can beat anybody.

Poképarents have competitive lists now, and are playing better than ever before. Pokémon is inevitably shifting to a format that is allowing new faces to carve their way into the game as high-profile players, and now is a great time for a new or semi-new player to be in the game.

The Big Takeaways

pokemon-paradijs.comYou guys have seen it before, but here it is again – the top 4 finishes to conclude Fall Regionals:

6 Darkrai EX/Terrakion variants
4 Rayquaza/Eelektrik
3 Mewtwo EX/Eelektrik variants
2 Darkrai EX/Sableye/Hammers
2 Darkrai EX/Hydreigon
1 Terrakion-EX/Mewtwo EX/Landorus/Roserade
1 Darkrai EX/Mewtwo EX
1 Bouffalant/Mewtwo EX/Terrakion/Sigilyph

I decided to lump like-decks as much as possible to reflect what we were all pretty much expecting at this point: the metagame is beginning to stale out. I’m not going to go as far and say that it’s the “worst format ever,” but it’s definitely one in need of a diverse new set. Our card pool isn’t particularly abundant yet, and Pokémon continues to make their sets with a lack of new supporters or powerful “regular” rares to combat the powerful EX cards that are around.

While there are a small handful of surprise techs that emerged through Regionals (such as Victini and Roserade), the current statement holds true: the entire top 4 had one of the following cards: Darkrai, Eelektrik, or Terrakion. And if you remove just two of those 16 decks, you can remove that third card altogether.

The same holds true for every round of Swiss that I played as well (The Ho-Oh had Terrakion in it). If there was ever a time for a new set to hit the format, now would be it. Let’s party.

The Party: Boundaries Crossed Analysis

I think it’s inevitable to end up overstating how awesome your party is going to be. Eventually, down the line, something is bound to go wrong. Just look at the problems that emerged from modern hip-hop artist Aaron Carter! Things will get smashed, people will make poor decisions, and sometimes people will come that weren’t even invited.

This is the face I made as I learned about a few of Pokémon’s uninvited guests:

For those of you still confused, all one has to do is take a brief look at PokéBeach’s limited scan pool to realize that some drastic Trainer cuts were made in favor of some . . . undesirables.

Anticipated cards like Bicycle, Ether, and Escape Rope are out in place of cards we have more than we’d ever want more of: Poké Ball, Great Ball, Potion, Switch, and Energy Search. This is a strategy website and not an opinions corner so I’ll save your time by biting my tongue, but this is an incredibly disappointing move by TPCi. Japan makes bad enough sets as is, why go in and make them even worse by reprinting awful cards?

But I digress. The show must go on, and maybe we can still have a little fun at this party after all. Let’s see what we’ve got to work with:



Here’s an interesting card, to say the least. Everyone has their own opinions on whether or not the switch from +damage Weakness back to x2 Weakness was a good thing, but it definitely created a metagame where type coverage is more important than ever (why else would the otherwise sub-standard Terrkaion from Noble Victories see play?)

Now, with a Stage 2 card that can create a monstrous x4 Weakness across the board, there has to be some kind of use for it, right?

Maybe sometime, but right now I’m not really convinced. Aside from the usual trouble of setting up a Stage 2 in this format, I’m not sure how often a x4 Weakness is even warranted.

Most of our current metagame reactions already revolve around 1HKOs, despite the monstrous HP of giant Pokémon-EX. Combined with Vileplume’s ugly 3 Retreat Cost, I can’t see him functioning in a successful deck quite yet.


…Is not good. I actually just wanted to use him as an example of the disparity between regular rares and EXs right now. For 3 Energy, Charizard does 40 damage to 2 Pokémon. Landorus-EX does 30 to 2 for a single Energy. For an unbelievable 5 Energy, you can deal 150 damage.

Poor Arceus Charizard was released at the wrong time, and the big guy has been doomed to failure for years. It’s a shame, too, because the Charmander’s ability to retrieve TWO Energy from the discard at once would be fantastic if paired with a good enough evolution.

Blastoise (and Keldeo EX)


Blastoise, on the other hand, puts his fiery rival to shame. In what is essentially a Water-type Emboar BLW 20 (right down to the ability to attach to any type, 4 Retreat Cost, and a painfully bad 4-Energy attack), Blastoise offers the promise of reviving Water-type Pokémon back into the format. And, by “Water-type Pokémon,” I mean Keldeo-EX.

Keldo reminds me in many ways of a Pokémon that has seen much success in our recent formats: Darkrai EX. What?, you might ask, but let’s look at the stats. Both Pokémon have a single attack that hits for a similar amount on three Energy.

Darkrai spreads 120 damage with Night Spear, while Keldeo hits for a straight 110 to the active with the potential for more with more attachments. Both cards boast support in the form of energy acceleration – something that has proved to be the be-all, end-all to a successful deck so far this year.

And to top things off, both Pokémon have an Ability focused around helping your entire team have a much easier time retreating. Keldeo even has one thing Darkrai doesn’t – a great Weakness with Grass type being fairly unpopular right now.

The concept behind Keldeo/Blastoise is simple, and it kind of has to be. While there are a plethora of other Water attackers you could (pun intended) splash into a deck, this format is still one that remains highly unforgiving to evolution-based decks. Keldeo itself is about as strong as Water Pokémon come right now, and I feel the best way to approach this kind of deck is through as simple a list as possible.

Here’s what I’ve been working with so far:

Pokémon – 16

4 Squirtle BCR
1 Wartortle BCR
4 Blastoise BCR
3 Keldeo-EX
1 Mewtwo-EX NXD
3 Emolga DRX

Trainers – 32

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
4 Cheren
2 Skyla


4 Ultra Ball
4 Rare Candy
4 Pokémon Catcher
2 Max Potion
2 Energy Retrieval
1 Computer Search
1 Super Rod

Energy – 12

12 W

Aside from the fact that this deck is a powerful counter to the Water-weak Landorus-EX, I actually haven’t grown that fond of it yet. In games where your Squirtles fall early, you’re pretty much a sitting duck with a suddenly sub-standard Pokémon-EX ready to be wailed on. Unlike Darkrai/Hydreigon, which remains slightly self-sufficient if you can’t set up your Stage 2 due to Dark Patch, this deck falls apart if you can’t get the pieces together.

Because of this, I’ve assembled the list with getting a Blastoise online as the main focal point. High Supporter counts, high Emolga counts, and high search options are all in the mix. Because you run so many cards geared at discarding your hand, I’ve opted for Energy Retrieval over two more Energy. These cards have been incredible in the late game, and surprisingly decent early game in hands where I’ve been forced to Juniper turn 1 or 2.

Unfortunately, because we have no consistency-based Pokémon in the format that help you draw, the entire process is one you really need to dedicate your entire deck to. Other Water-type techs or energy-grabbing cards like Cilan might be luxuries the deck can afford in the future, but right now its sole focus needs to be getting the big blue guys out as quickly as possible.

Because of this inflexibility, I can’t recommend it over the more consistent and flexible Darkrai/Hydreigon, but it’ll still be worth looking at if Landorus-EX begins to take over.

And, worst case scenario, Blastoise will always be worth a look as a pairing with other Water-types in future formats to come. You’ll still need Keldeo to break in with auto-switch, but who knows what the future holds?

I’ve seen a ton of people work in lists that feature the non-EX Kyurem for its Glaciate attack to help create KOs for Keldeo, but at the moment, I feel the deck is hard to keep consistent outside of the bare-bones strategy.


BulbapediaFlygon is one of my favorite Pokémon, and he almost always seems to get good (or at least playable) iterations every time he’s featured in the TCG. Once again, this Flygon has really cool potential in being able to pile damage counters across the board while he’s active, but he’s a few features short of really shaking things up in the metagame right now.

For starters, Dragon isn’t a very good type to be right now – Rayquaza gobbles you by dropping just a single Energy. And with a four-energy attack that requires at least 2 different types of energy drops (three if you want the lightning to auto-Paralyze), Flygon will realistically never be attacking in our current format.

Sure, dropping 4-5 damage counters on your opponent’s field per turn is cool, but not if it means you’re giving up an attack to do so.

I could see some kind of Accelgor DEX-switch to Flygon lock being interesting, but that still requires you get a ton of cards in play at a time to even get thigns working. And to top it all off, this Flygon doesn’t even have free retreat, meaning you’ll need to find some way to constantly switch him out.

I just can’t see this guy being competitive this time around.


…On the other hand, might have some use in the format. Back when I first entered this game, a huge aspect of the City Championships metagame out of Stormfront was the incredible amount of decks that focused solely on spread damage (incidentally, Dusknoir LV.X was one of these cards – functioning very similarly to the Flygon we just mentioned).

Now, it looks like Dusknoir could give spread an opportunity to thrive again. He’s essentially the anti-Reuniclus BLW, allowing you to move all of the damage counters on your opponent’s side of the field. Now that’s interesting.

Esa’s Landorus/Registeel/Dusknoir list seems like the best point of entry here, thriving on the two cards that have the easiest access to spread-related damage. Simply moving damage counters instead of adding any might not seem like a big deal, but it allows you to create knockouts all over the board whenever you want, never wasting one of your precious damage counters through overkill.

That said, I see this concept struggling against two things: high HP Basic decks that don’t run any easy targets (Darkrai/any other EX, for example), and Pokémon Catcher. Despite the ability to levitate, it seems Dusknoir is still one heavy dude – requiring a full 3 energy to retreat.

Combined with being a Stage 2 (an inevitable weakness in this format no matter what), Dusknoir has a few things going against him. However, I think his Ability is amazing, and he’ll always be a card worth looking at in sets to come.


I’m going to be honest and let it out right now:

I don’t like Ditto.
Josh in 3rd grade. Always was and ever will be a player. POKÉMON player!

I want to. Trust me, I want to. Ditto was my favorite Pokémon growing up. In third grade, I dressed up as Ditto for Halloween (trust me, it was as ugly as it sounds). And ever since Ditto was such a great tech card after Fossil’s release long ago, I’ve always been evaluating and attempting to play each Ditto afterward.

Ditto LA, while a little underpowered compared to the original, still saw play a tech in mirror matches, such as Flygon and Gengar games. Ditto Triumphant was a very different deviation to the formula, but even his bench-limiting ability saw some play as a fun tech.

I just don’t get this new Ditto.

It’s not that I don’t understand its intended use. Ditto can be used in a variety of means – I just don’t like any of the means where he can be used.

The first, and most logical idea, is that Ditto can be used as a placeholder for Basic Pokémon. This means that you can play Ditto turn 1, and then Basic + Rare Candy + Stage 2 on turn 2, just like in the good old days. My issues behind this are pretty simple – I just don’t like that order of operations in the current format.

With no powerful hard draw cards (can’t wait for next set’s Colress. . . unless Pokémon decides to cut that too) it’s pretty unrealistic to assume that you’ll be able to have all of those pieces in hand the next turn, or at any point in the game.

The second concept is that Ditto is a surprise. He draws attention to the opponent where they might not have had any before. This is another thing I haven’t experienced much in my testing. In games where my opponent benches a Ditto, it typically doesn’t take me long to narrow down what he could possibly be used for.

Bring it, Josh! I’ll prove you wrong…

If my opponent has other attackers with energy in play, I’ll likely go after those first. If my opponent attaches to their Ditto, I’ll probably take the knockout to drop them down in an attachment. If I feel taking a 70 HP prize is better than the damage I could do to my opponent, I’ll go after Ditto.

Sure, it might make me think twice, but I’ve never lost a game because I couldn’t “guess” what my opponent’s Ditto was going to be.

The third, and in my opinion, most practical use is using Ditto to artificially increase your amount of Basic Pokémon in your deck. Similar to players who use Random Receiver to increase their chances of having a Supporter card in hand, you could use Ditto to decrease the amount of “bad” starters in your deck (for example, a Ho-Oh player that hates starting with Ho-Oh).

But in the end, I don’t even like that usage! I don’t hate the idea of having a stand-in Pokémon decrease your bad starts, but I do hate the Fighting Weakness – forcing you to allow a 60 damage drop with Landorus-EX on turn 1.


Even if you do morph Ditto the next turn (and it likely won’t be into an evolution line anymore now that you have 6 unmovable damage counters), you’ve still taken more damage than you would have with something that wasn’t fighting weak. And if you don’t morph him, then Ditto is an easy prize off an additional 1-energy attack.

Admitting my distaste for Ditto is a win-win. If I’m right, then I helped you guys out by sharing my honest assessment of the card. And if I’m wrong, then it turns out the pink blob I’ve come to know and love over the years is good after all.

Black Kyurem EX/Crystal Wall

Combined with the Tool Crystal Wall, Black Kyurem EX is the first Pokémon that can boast an incredible 300 HP. And unfortunately for the poor fusion monster, that’s about the biggest draw this guy has.

While he’s potentially compatible with Eelektrik, his attack costs require 4 Energy drops altogether to hit for 150 damage. And even after you’ve done that, the limit of not being able to attack consecutive turns is absurd.

Wrap that with the fact that you’ll still fall to a 3-energy Rayquaza, Crystal Wall or not, and you’ve got one of the least powerful Pokémon-EX we’ve seen in a while.

White Kyurem EX/Crystal Edge

…Is similarly problematic. The extra 50 damage sounds great, and pairing it with a 150 damage attack allows you to 1HKO any EX, Eviolited or not. Unfortunately, the Energy costs are a problem again. He might be able to grab an energy off Dragon Steam, but the only realistic way to power him is through some form of Emboar acceleration.

In the end, he falls to a similar issue as his brother – too many energy requirements and an undesirable Dragon Weakness.

Celebi EX

I’ve given the format a good read so far, and I can’t find a good enough usage here yet. His Ability, which essentially gives your entire field a Memory Berry, is just begging for some kind of crazy combo. However, that ability alone has a lot of limitations.

For one, you need evolutions in the first place to have a lineage able to use previous attacks. In a format without Broken Time-Space, evolutions also rarely employ the Stage 1 in a full evolution line. You could theoretically give Charizard Charmeleon’s rage-based attack – but how crazy would it be to evolve one-by-one all the way up the line?

BulbapediaThe second problem is that Celebi breaks new ground as the lowest HP Pokémon-EX yet. If you’re going to be willing to give up an easy 1HKO for 2 Prizes, you better be sure you have an absolutely broken combo.

If anything, Celebi being in the format should make you look twice at the normally overlooked Basic and Stage 1 Pokémon in evolutions every time a set is released. He’ll need a heck of a combo to offset his awful HP, but you never know. After all, it took Celebi Prime nearly 2 years before he saw any kind of play at all!

Cresselia EX

This is a card that has great concepts, but limited overall potential. To start, healing 10 damage inbetween turns is a nice bonus – especially for a Basic Pokémon that starts off with 170 HP as is. Combined with Eviolite, the lunar duck actually proves himself as a surprising tank.

Unfortunately, hitting for 90 damage on 4 Energy is a tough price to justify for all of his great defensive options. Being able to prevent your weakness is a nice block for an easy Mewtwo KO, but you’re still only hitting for 90 damage.

Granted, a lot of that cost is Colorless, so he could become a great splashable tech if more Psychic-weak Pokémon emerge in the format. Until then, though, this is another one worth overlooking.


Here’s the big gun of the set, and one I recommend investing in. Besides the fact that Fighting is an excellent type to be right now, hitting into the heart of both Darkrai and Eelektrik decks, Landorus would likely be a good card no matter what deck it was in. It’d mind-blowing that a huge Worlds-contending deck in 2008 focused around a stage 2 (Empoleon MD) that focused mostly on dealing 30 damage to 2 Pokémon at a time, and occasionally attacking for big damage to the active.

Being able to spread 60 damage for one energy with Hammerhead is phenomenal. Not only does it instantly Knock Out the old Fighting-weak Deino and Tynamos, but simply dealing that much spread damage on turn 1 can set up a serious advantage.

Then, for three energy, you can deal a solid (but not energy-efficient) 80 damage, or you can devastate for 150 damage discarding 2-3 energy in the process (which in itself is sick, because it opens you up for a free Max Potion with no repercussions on the next turn). Combined with the spread damage you start with, EX 1HKOs become a common thing for you.

Lightning Resistance is nice (although currently not so valuable with the drop in Electric attackers in Eels in favor of Rayquaza), and Water Weakness keeps you out of easy-KO range from everything outside of the structurally frail Blastoise/Keldeo deck.

All of the stats on Landorus suggest greatness. The biggest question is – what’s the best way to utilize him?

The most natural method seems like putting it into a deck that already utilizes F Energy. Fighting decks were already emerging with Terrakion (regular and EX) and Stunfisk DRX (whose first attack already serves as a “mini-Landorus-EX), and Landorus should splash easily into that kind of deck as is.

Landorus also works well in any deck with both energy acceleration and Energy Switch (aka Darkrai/Landorus-EX). Like Esa, I had a fantastic deck that relied on the Ether acceleration engine to give you a little movement to Landorus as well, but we no longer have that luxury. Instead, here’s a makeshift list that attempt to fill the gap in the etherless format a little better:

Pokémon – 9

3 Darkrai-EX DEX
3 Landorus-EX
3 Sableye DEX

Trainers – 37

4 Professor Juniper
4 Bianca
4 N
2 Random Receiver


4 Ultra Ball
4 Pokémon Catcher
4 Energy Switch
3 Dark Patch
2 Eviolite
2 Max Potion
2 Energy Search
1 Computer Search
1 Switch

Energy – 14

8 D

6 F

The aim of the deck is simple – combine two really good Pokémon to deal plenty of damage to both the active and the bench. It’s definitely less strong without the Ether, but the 2 Energy Search combined with the already high 14 energy count helps you get the type of energy you need as soon as possible. Combined with the already solid Darkrai with Dark Patch acceleration, you’re able to deal with a variety of decks while also attacking quickly.

The only things you lose from the Terrakion-based build are a few 4-count cards dropped to 3, and the Tool Scrapper. I’d love to fit room for Scrapper in this build somewhere, but with Terrakion hitting for 30 damage early in, you can often pile up enough extra damage where Eviolite scraping is no longer as necessary.

I could also see Landorus-EX pairing very well with Garchomp DRX 90, who already runs on a heavy count of F Energy. Garchomp/Terrakion began making the rounds across Battle Roads and Regionals, but it never really saw much success.

With the rise of Rayeels, having attackers that can counter both Rayquazza and Eelektrik might be a winning combination. I haven’t tested a consistent list of this yet, but if I do, I’ll throw it into the discussion section of this article in the forums.

All in all, Landorus-EX is huge, and should move to the forefront of playable City Championships decks as the new format resolves.


Finally, something truly interesting that all decks can benefit from! Skyla, aside from being voted as “hottest female” by her graduating class, is by far the most versatile Supporter we have right now. Is she the best? Not on my opinion, but it’s definitely worth looking at as a viable search option – especially in decks that require evolutions.


Is grabbing any one card from your deck as strong as dumping your hand and drawing 7 new cards? I don’t think so. However – Skyla is an invaluable card to grab that one Catcher/Rare Candy you need to set up or win the game. While the newly added Computer Search trumps Skyla and will be a 1-of in most decks, I could see 1-2 Skyla working in just about any given deck.

Computer Search

Discard 2 other cards, grab anything. This was a near-staple 4-of card in every deck when it existed in Base Set, and it’ll likely become a 1-of card in most decks today due to its prestigious ACE SPEC status. Because Sableye is the only card that reliably fetches Items back (and also because you’ll be dumping dark energies for Dark Patch), this card gives a huge advantage to Darkrai. However, being able to grab any card out of your deck while also not using your Supporter for the turn is nuts in just about any deck.

Pokémon is making the ACE SPEC cards fairly hard to obtain at around 1-2 per box. I haven’t heard confirmation yet, but I am BEGGING that Pokémon allow the Base Set variant to be playable as well.

[Editor’s Note: Apparently it’s not legal according to this thread.]

Gold Potion

I feel bad for Gold Potion. It’s actually a very good card, but it’s often usurped by the universally useful Computer Search as a deck’s sole ACE SPEC (that, and let’s be honest, it looks like a jar of urine). While Computer Search will ALWAYS be good in a deck no matter what (and remember, consistency is huge in this format), it’s hard to deny that healing 90 damage with zero backside is attractive.

This leads to the question – what’s more important? Consistency, or buying yourself an extra turn through healing with no drawback? I vote consistency, but I won’t mock anyone if they want to bust out the GP. This kind of question will get much harder when we get Scramble Switch in the next set, but that’s another question for another day.

Purchasing This Set

philhellmuth.comI don’t recommend going to a prerelease for this set if your only goal is to get more cards. With the small increase from $25 to $30 as an entry fee, it’s awfully steep for 8 packs and a flimsy deck box. I understand that these events are often a lot of fun to go to, but if you’re trying to get the most bang for your buck, I recommend a skip.

In addition, I don’t think this is an economic set to buy a box of, either. With less playable Trainers to collect and a low rate of playable EXs compared to past sets, your only real “must buy” cards are Landorus-EX, Computer Search, and Skyla. Blastoise, Keldeo, and Ditto haven’t sold me yet, but those appear to be the other sellers. At just 6 cards out of a massive set of 150+, this is a set to buy singles for instead of a box.

Is buying Landorus-EX at the going rate of $40 going to be a little steep? Sure, but it’s much worse than biting a $90 bullet and missing playable EX cards altogether. Knowing that Troll and Toad is known to inflate strong EXs up to $60 when they become largely popular, I decided to grab my Landorus now rather than later.

[Edit: Josh found a source on eBay where you can pre-order Landorus for only $25.]

At the end of the day, Boundaries Crossed might not be the best birthday present I’ve ever received from Pokémon (especially after the trainer cuts), but it contains enough to open up consideration of a few new decks and modifications for existing ones. It likely won’t impact our metagame as much as we thought it would, but it still introduces enough to change the way we play come City Championships.

As always, if you enjoyed this article, leaving a thumbs up helps Adam know that you guys are interested in hearing more from me in the future. I’ll be in the discussion section of the forums to answer any question/comments you guys have! Good luck in testing the new set, and I hope to see a bunch of you in the Midwest post-Thanksgiving!


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