New Cards, Old Cards, Old Decks, New Decks – Understanding the Boundaries Crossed Format

Prerelease weekends are among us, which of course means a new set will soon be added into the format. City Championships will be starting on November 17th and we will have a lot of new cards available to play with for this event series as both Dragon Vault and Boundaries Crossed will be new legal sets for the tournament series.

Ouch. I know that feel.

The past few weeks I have been working on testing the new format and have been periodically hitting up prereleases where I have had horrible luck, with Crystal Edge and Crystal Wall being the only two Ultra Rare cards I have pulled through three prereleases.

The promo Flygon that you got for going to the prerelease is the best Pokémon card I have gotten from a prerelease, and the single copy of the uncommon Skyla I pulled is probably the best overall card I pulled. Needless to say, there is about 0% chance I attend a prerelease for the next set after this.

I have also started a new website – The website doesn’t have any clear focus as far as being about TCG News, or being about deck strategies, or anything like that. It is as the title implies, a lounge in which the Pokémon TCG can be discussed.

At least for me, I find a variety of aspects about the TCG to be entertaining to discuss, so this website will include a little bit of everything that there is to do with the TCG and Pokémon at large. I would greatly appreciate it if everyone checked out the site and gave it a like on Facebook.

In the first section, I will look at all the new cards that are worth knowing about from Boundaries Crossed. From there I will look at some older cards that I really like moving forward into the new format that haven’t seen a lot of play last format.

In the last sections I will be taking a look at what the new set brings to holdover decks from the previous format and then look at new deck concepts that will arise with cards from the new set.

But before I get to any of that, there is one card that I think deserves a proper introduction into the format…

First Ticket

trollandtoad.comFirst Ticket is an Item card that allows you to go first if you have First Ticket in your opening hand while your opponent does not, allowing you to go first.

There is a definite advantage to going first in a game of Pokémon, but at what cost? I don’t think the probability of starting a First Ticket in your opening hand is high enough to warrant playing this card in really any deck. The probabilities work out as follows, assuming your opponent doesn’t also play First Ticket:

1 First Ticket – 55.8%
2 First Ticket – 61.1%
3 First Ticket – 65.8%
4 First Ticket – 70%

That’s right, if you play four First Ticket, your probability of going first in a game is only 20% greater than if you do not play First Ticket. To put that in perspective, over the course of a six round City Championship, you would expect to normally go first in half of your games, or three games. While playing four First Ticket, you would expect to go first in four of your games. Is going first in one extra game during Swiss really worth having four dead cards in your deck?

pokemon-paradijs.comI’ve heard the argument that it can provide good Ultra Ball or Computer Search fodder later in the game, but so can a lot of other cards that will be much more useful in any given game. Those four First Tickets could be four Potions, extra Mewtwo EX, extra Energy to make your deck more consistent, etc.

One thing I should say is that I don’t consider going first to be as big of an advantage as most people. I always lean toward decks that aren’t highly dependent on going first in order to get the win.

I think First Ticket isn’t a very good card and I would welcome playing against players during Cities who play four of these in their deck as opposed to four more useful cards.

Boundaries Crossed

Prereleases are all around us this time of year, which means that Boundaries Crossed as a set will be coming out very soon and the set will be legal for our next set of tournaments. This part of the article will be broken into two sections, with the first examining the Pokémon Cards from the new set and the second section looking at the Trainers from the new set.

The Top Pokémon of Boundaries Crossed

While this set adds a lot of new Pokémon into the format, honestly, as a whole, the set isn’t very good on the Pokémon front. Because this set includes all the cards from a junk set in Japan known as the National Beginning Set, it is littered with a lot of filler cards that will serve no purpose in the competitive game.

Still, there are some very interesting Pokémon cards in the set that will have an impact on the metagame immediately, as well as some others that might find their niche in the metagame sometime down the road as new cards enter into the format.

Without further adieu, let’s take a look at the top 18 Pokémon from Boundaries Crossed. I really wanted to do a top 20 list for this set, but both Mamoswine and Exploud were cut from the set, which knocked two Pokémon off my list. The potential replacements were Delibird and Whimsicott, but I don’t think they are all that playable or worth writing about.

18. Black Kyurem EX and Crystal Wall

This is a card that I don’t want to write off immediately, as it has massive tank potential as it can go up to 300 HP if it has Crystal Wall attached, but I think the card has too many problems to ever become a legitimate threat in the metagame.

It has two attacks, the first of which costs LCC, and flip a coin, if heads the Defending Pokémon is Paralyzed. The second attack, Freeze Shock does 150 damage for WLLC, but prevents Black Kyurem EX from attacking on your next turn.

The inability to attack on your next turn after using Freeze Shock is what really sours me on using this card. Even if you could continuously use Freeze Shock, the card probably isn’t that good, but it would be worth more of a look than it is now because of its tankability with Crystal Wall.

I also do not like its method for tanking with Crystal Wall, which can easily be removed via Tool Scrapper, so if your Black Kyurem EX is getting up in that 180+ damage range it can be KO’d at the drop of a Tool Scrapper.

As the card is a Dragon type, it is weak to other Dragon types, so Rayquaza EX will be able to 1HKO it for a three energy discard Dragon Burst, further ruining the tanking strategy.

This card combo just doesn’t seem all that good to me.

17. Ditto

BulbapediaThis is a card that has received a lot of hype, and I for one cannot seem to figure out why. Ditto has no attack,70 HP, a Fighting Weakness, and an Ability – Transform – that allows you to place any Basic Pokémon on top of Ditto. This lets you drop a Basic onto Ditto and then use Rare Candy to the Stage 2, all in one turn, with the only caveat being that Ditto has to be in play for a turn before this can happen.

If you could play down Ditto, the Basic, and evolve into the Stage 2 all in the same turn, I think the card would be amazing. But you can’t, and you need Ditto in play for a turn, so Ditto in most cases will provide no aid in getting your Stage 2 Pokémon out while just adding another step to the process.

There could be some niche use in using Ditto to get out something with 30 HP, such as a Solosis or Rattata down without it instantly being snipe KO’d by Landorus-EX, Kyurem NVI, or Darkrai EX, but even then, you would also need some form of healing card to avoid that Pokémon being Knocked Out the instant you place it on Ditto. This seems way too complicated to me to be something that can work consistently.

A big problem with Ditto is that it is very vulnerable in the format that it is entering. Landorus-EX will surely be a big player in the Cities format and it can 1HKO Ditto on turn one with a PlusPower, and even the 60 damage without the PlusPower will prevent players from being able to play down most pre-evolutions onto Ditto.

The main utility Ditto will have is eliminating possible bad starters from decks. By increasing your good Basic Pokémon count, you can prevent something like starting with a Terrakion NVI or Ho-Oh EX, both things that haven’t been all that good in past formats.

I don’t quite see this as a strong argument for Ditto though. If you would like to eliminate the number of bad starters in your decks, you can always play stuff like Virizion NVI and Emolga DRX, which have very small probabilities of being donked, and which can help aide in your deck getting setup.

In my testing against decks that have featured Ditto, I haven’t really seen much of a point to it. It’s not that difficult to see what Ditto might be turning into if you have other knowledge of your opponent’s deck, and you can use that knowledge to decide whether it is best to go for a Knock Out on the Ditto on any given turn or to work on dealing with your opponent’s other threats.

This is a card that has had a mixed reception in my friends group. Some think it is great, and others see it as being bad like me. Playing against the friends that think Ditto is good, I don’t really feel like it has improved their decks in anyway, and is just something that could be cut for better cards.

16. Audino

BulbapediaAudino comes with an Ability called Busybody, which can be used when Audino is in your hand. The Ability allows you to heal 10 damage off of your Active Pokémon and remove a Special Condition. Audino is then discarded.

If status lock decks that have accompanying Item lock ever get big, then this card could find its niche in the competitive game.

As of right now, there isn’t really a support system to allow this type of deck outside of Gothitelle/Accelgor. This is the only Status Condition/Item lock combination deck that we have in the format. All of the other main status condition inflictors that we have, such as Vanilluxe NVI and Lilligant EPO, are incompatible with any of the available Item lock.

If Gothitelle EPO 47/Accelgor DEX variants can come together with some new cards, or a new form of Item lock that is compatible with other status condition attackers comes into play, than Audino would be the obvious tech choice to combat this.

For non-Item lock status decks, the best counter will still be Switch, as it can serve other purposes within a deck.

Audino is definitely better than Full Heal though, as it can be played under Item lock, and against non-Item lock decks, you can use Super Rod to re-use Audino more times throughout the game.

15. Scizor

BulbapediaScizor joins Sigilyph DRX and Bouffalant DRX as our EX-hate Pokémon in the format. Its first attack costs CC and does 40 damage, and prevents any damage done to this Pokémon by the attacks of Pokémon-EX on your opponent’s next turn. Its second attack does 100 damage for MCC, and cannot be used on consecutive turns.

With 120 HP, Scizor can absorb a hit from most Pokémon-EX in the format, allowing you to break free and use the second attack to finish out a Knock Out on an Pokémon-EX without being Knocked Out on the next turn.

The problem with Scizor is that its 120 HP is just low enough to be Knocked Out by a very common Pokémon in the metagame in Zekrom NXD/BLW, and it can easily be played around using Pokémon Catcher as well as Knocking Out the pre-evolution Scyther.

Still, as more and more decks become more and more EX focused, Scizor can provide a point of annoyance to your opponent as you force them to discard valuable Pokémon Catcher or Switch to play around Scizor.

14. Munna

BulbapediaFrom the standpoint of pure enjoyment in the TCG, Munna is one of my favorite cards from the set, and has the potential to be the basis of a lot of more casual fun decks. I know the first deck that I plan on building with the card is going to be a Cinccino/Munna deck with some count of Audino in an attempt to replicate my beloved Cinccino/Hypno deck of last format.

Munna is a Basic Pokémon that has an Ability, Long-Distance Hypnosis, that allows you to flip a coin – if heads the Defending Pokémon is Asleep, if tails your Active Pokémon is Asleep.

I really like the potential strength of being able to stall your opponent out of a turn of attacking by inflicting it with a Status Condition from a Bench-sitter, especially when that Bench-sitter is a Basic Pokémon that requires no setup. Unfortunately, Munna isn’t quite as good as Hypno was last format as it comes with the drawback of possibly putting your own Active Pokémon to sleep.

While this drawback certainly sucks, there are going to be ways to build decks that can live with having your own Active Pokémon put to sleep. The first idea that comes to mind is to pair Munna with Pokémon that have Abilities for placing damage on your opponent’s field such as the new Flygon or Chandelure NVI.

The other way that this card may be useful is by pairing it with Item or Supporter lock in an attempt to stall out your opponent from getting the resources needed to setup, while preventing their one attacker from ever being able to attack.

Outside of the obvious drawback that comes with its Ability, it only has 60 HP, which will make it an easy prize for pretty much anything to take if your opponent has a Pokémon Catcher in hand and its Psychic Weakness makes it a potential donk victim to Mewtwo EX.

13. Raticate

BulbapediaThis card can be somewhat frightening, as it can instantly put your opponent’s Pokémon down to 10 HP with its attack Super Fang.

This can be paired with the Poison status condition to effectively 1HKO any Pokémon in the game. The obvious partner for the card right now is Amoonguss NXD, as it it is our only effective method in Poisoning a Pokémon on the same turn that you use a different attack in. In the future, there will be the Plasma’s Poison Beam, which is an Item card that can poison your opponent’s Pokémon.

The problem with this card? Its pre-evolution Rattata only has 30 HP, making it very easy to donk, and Raticate itself has 60 HP, which makes it very easy to Knock Out. Additionally, the CCC cost of Super Fang can make it difficult sometimes to stream this attack turn after turn. Pairing it with Amoonguss does nothing to help this problem, as its pre-evolution is also easily donked, and Amoonguss itself is very easy to Knock Out.

I don’t think Raticate is immediately playable, but as new cards are added to the format, it will gain more playability, although its low HP will probably keep it from ever being any type of serious Tier 1 threat.

12. Celebi EX

BulbapediaWhen viewed within a vacuum, Celebi-EX is a really, really good card. When viewed in the format and upcoming formats it is entering into, it isn’t anything special.

Celebi has an Ability called Time Recall that allows your evolved Pokémon to use the attack of any of the pre-evolutions under them. This Ability is really cool… if there was anything good to use it with.

The two ideas I have seen Celebi-EX thrown around with the most is Flygon and Charizard decks. I don’t see it being used well in the Flygon decks as you would need Celebi-EX on your bench throughout the game to use Vibrava’s attack as part of your main strategy, and under this circumstance, Celebi-EX is just becoming a 2 Prize donation to your opponent.

I do think it could work in a Charizard deck for the time being, specifically to use Charmeleon‘s Raging Claws attack, which does 50 damage plus 10 more damage for each damage counter on the Pokémon. With this deck, I would only use it as a one of tech to be dropped in the late game for a surprise Raging Claws attack.

Even in that deck, I don’t see Celebi-EX as being that good for this situation. For Charizard to 1HKO 170 HP EXs it would need 120 damage on it, and 130 damage to 1HKO 180 HP EXs with Raging Claws. Given that the top Pokémon attackers in this format often attack for about 90 damage, the amount of times that this will provide that big 1HKO isn’t all that good.

A problem with Celebi-EX in the current format is that the format is so fast that you aren’t really able to evolve through the Stage 1 to the Stage 2 all that often, especially with a lot of decks cramming for space.

Pokémon Catcher was last released in Dark Explorers, so a theoretical rotation could rotate Pokémon Catcher out of the format in the future while keeping Celebi-EX in the format, which would make the strategy of building evolution lines through the Stage 1’s more viable in the future, while simultaneously allowing Celebi-EX to be a safe Bench-sitter.

Celebi-EX isn’t a card that you will need to immediately get, but it may be worth it to pick up a few cheap while you can, as all it takes is one good evolution/pre-evolution combo to come out to make the card really good.

11. Liepard

BulbapediaThis is a card that I see as having a lot of rogue potential and is a very fun card from the new set. Liepard has an attack that costs DCC called Assist, which says, “Flip a coin, if heads, choose 1 of your Benched Pokémon’s attacks and use it as this attack.”

As a Dark type Pokémon, Liepard would be able to take advantage of Dark Patch for acceleration, allowing it to get setup in one turn to attack, and it can also take advantage of Dark Claw to do an additional 20 damage.

In building such a deck, I would look at a multitude of EXs to pair with Liepard. I would look to include a spreader (Kyogre EX or Kyurem NVI), a sniper (Raikou-EX), and a heavy hitter (White Kyurem EX). Victory Star Victini would also be included in the deck to maximize your probability of being able to use one of these attacks with Liepard.

The two mains problems that face this deck at the current moment are 1: It is inconsistent in always being able to attack, as even with Victory Star, you’re going to be attacking on average only 75% of the time. 2. The entire deck concept is vulnerable to Landorus-EX, as Liepard and Purrloin are both Fighting weak Dark Pokémon

If the metagame moves away from Landorus-EX, Liepard can become a safer play. Additionally, there will be a Stadium Card that will come out presumably in the next set which removes weakness from Pokémon with Plasma Energy attached, so that could help Liepard out as well.

As each set adds new attackers into the fold, Liepard will be gaining more and more options to use in its tool box. If we move toward a format in which Landorus-EX isn’t a big player, then I think Liepard has the potential to step up as a rogue option.

10. Vileplume

BulbapediaPokémon always seems to make Vileplume cards fairly strong, or at least fairly interesting, and they have continued this trend with the latest Vileplume.

This card will be played because of its Allergy Panic Ability, which turns all Weaknesses into x4 Weaknesses. This allows for the creation of decks that use a variety of low Energy attackers, hitting in the 40-50 range in an attempt to 1HKO every Pokémon in the format by strategically picking Pokémon to counter the metagame.

Ther other potential use I could see for Vileplume is as a 1-0-1 tech, with some other attacking Pokémon as a counter to one specifically bad matchup.

While its Ability is really cool, and I’m sure it will be part of some successful deck in the future, it does come with quite a few Weaknesses. The first being that Oddish is a lowly 50 HP Pokémon, which will make it easy to Knock Out in the early game.

A Blastoise deck, for example, could Catcher up one of your non-Oddish Pokémon, and then use Dual Splash with Kyogre EX, clearing your bench of two Oddish on turn 2, making it very unlikely that you can sustain a Vileplume for the game, at which point, a deck of a bunch of fragile attackers would fall apart.

The other weakness is Vileplume’s massive three Retreat Cost. Catcher stalling a Vileplume in these matchups will be a key strategy against the deck, and this forces the Vileplume player to play a high Switch count in what will already be a very tight deck. Decks with Snipers like Kyogre EX in Blastoise and Raikou-EX in Eelektrik can feast upon your benched Pokémon to take a bunch of prizes if they can get Vileplume locked in the Active Spot.

9. Charizard

This card reminds me a lot of Tyranitar Prime, which was one of my favorite cards from last season, in that it is a very strong Pokémon, with a ton of HP and a multitude of very strong attacks. While both cards are strong, they are both cards that are uneasy to use, but that doesn’t make them bad cards!

At 160 HP, not much is going to be able to 1HKO a Charizard outside of Keldeo-EX, Rayquaza EX, and a very loaded Mewtwo EX.

Its two attacks pair very well with each other too. Its first attack, Spit Bomb, costs RCC and does 40 damage to two of your opponent’s Pokémon. Its second attack, Scorching Fire, costs RCCCC and does 150 damage, and forces you to discard a R Energy.

After a single Spit Bomb, Charizard is just a DCE attachment away from Knocking Out any Pokémon-EX in the game, which is something I think has the potential to be very strong.

As of right now, Charizard is entering a quite problematic metagame for it in that Blastoise decks will sure to be popular during City Championships, which makes Charizard harder to play. Because of this, I think the best way to play Charizard in the upcoming Cities format is going to be in a Garbodor deck along with Mewtwo EX as a strong backup attacker, and Tornadus EX as a counter to Landorus-EX.

I don’t see Charizard having an immediate impact on the format, but when the next set is released and Metal type Pokémon like Plasma’s Klinklang and Coballion EX come in to shake up the format, I see Charizard rising as a strong counter against these decks.

8. Flygon

BulbapediaThis card has the potential to put a lot of damage on your opponent’s field very quickly. It has an Ability, Sand Slammer, that places one damage counter on each of your opponent’s Pokémon between turns when Flygon is your active Pokémon.

This means that Flygon will be able to place up to two damage counters on your opponent’s Pokémon going from your turn to your next turn.

I don’t think a Flygon focused deck will ever be very successful, as Flygon is easily 1HKO’d by Dragon type Pokémon, which probably are going to stay strong in the meta for awhile longer, and it has an awkward four Energy attack, which isn’t even that good.

Instead, Flygon will have to find its niche as a complementary card to other cards in the format. The most obvious pairing for the card will be cards with that remove themselves from the Active Spot after they attack. The most notable card that does this is Accelgor DEX with its Deck and Cover attack. There aren’t really a lot of other strong Pokémon in the format with these types of attacks, at least for now, so outside of Accelgor, Flygon probably won’t get to see much play in this type of deck.

A common misconception with Flygon is that a deck’s strategy needs to be based around having Flygon in the Active Spot turn after turn. Instead, Flygon may be best used as a complementary piece to other strong attackers like Mewtwo EX or Darkrai EX to soften up your opponent’s Pokémon for easier knockouts.

Such a deck could go for an early Flygon to spread damage around the opponent’s field while both players are getting fully setup with their attackers, softening up an opponent’s attackers for easier knockouts later in the game.

Additionally, there are usually turns in which players won’t have another attacker setup, and in these situations, Flygon can be promoted active to continuously place damage on your opponent’s field as you get setup.

7. White Kyurem EX and Crystal Edge

This is a combination that I find to be much stronger than the Black Kyurem EX and Crystal Wall combination, as you can strategically choose when to place down your Crystal Edge for a massive 200 damage attack with its Ice Burn attack.

Even without Crystal Edge, its second attack is much stronger than Black Kyurem EX’s, as it can be used on consecutive turns and also leaves the opponent’s Defending Pokémon Burned, which means that it could be Knocked Out heading into your turn if your opponent flips tails on the Burn flip twice in a row.

Unfortunately, the card has a bit of an awkward attack cost of WRRC that discards two R Energy, which pretty much means the card will have to be partnered with Emboar for the time being. As it is a Dragon type, the card can also be paired with Altaria to boost its attack damage by 20-40, even without the aide of Crystal Edge.

While I don’t think this card is going to be a major player in the cities format, it wouldn’t surprise me if someone figures out the right list to make the card work. As Rayquaza EX proved last format, cards that can 1HKO any Pokémon in the game shouldn’t be taken lightly.

6. Stoutland

BulbapediaThe use of Supporter cards has become so key in the game right now, so keeping your opponent from using Supporters can effectively shutdown their deck in a lot of cases. Stoutland is here to do just that for you. It has an Ability called Sentinel, which prevents your opponent from playing any Supporters as long as Stoutland is your Active Pokémon.

Most decks in the format rely on going through as much of the deck as possible with Supporter cards in order to get setup. If you can get an early Stoutland to prevent this from happening, there is a good chance that your opponent’s deck will stall out in the setup phase.

I think any deck looking to use Stoutland should be built around getting a turn 2 Stoutland into the Active Spot which can now be done consistently thanks to Skyla and Computer Search. Getting an early Stoutland is key as it shuts down your opponent’s ability to get setup in most normal circumstances.

However, this card doesn’t come out with out its weaknesses, which are as follows:

  1. As Stoutland is a Colorless Pokémon, it has a Fighting Weakness, making its pre-evolution Lillipup a potential donk target against Landorus-EX.
  2. Your opponent can work around Stoutland by using Pokémon Catcher to remove it from the Active Spot. This isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the world though, as you will have forced your opponent to waste a resource.
  3. Garbodor DRX decks can shutoff Stoutland’s Ability, but if you get Stoutland setup fast enough, Garbodor decks may not be able to get the Garbodor setup before you get your Stoutland setup.
  4. Big basic decks need considerably less setup than evolution decks, so they can easily get attackers setup by turn one and turn two, even if they are unable to play a Supporter starting on turn 2.

Because of the space Stoutland already takes up in a deck, it may be best to just play the deck as primarily a Stoutland deck. This could be a viable strategy, as Stoutland’s attack does 90 damage, which will be enough to 2hko any EX in the format, and with Aspertia City Gym, Stoutland goes up to 160 HP, and with a Giant Cape attached it’s at 180 HP, the same amount as the biggest baddest EX’s.

The only issue with this is that Terrakion would be able to run through the deck pretty well by itself.

Upon release, Stoutland’s playability will be somewhat hindered by Landorus-EX and Terrakion, but I think it’s a card that is definitely strong enough to keep an eye out for heading into cities.

5. Dusknoir

As Reuniclus BLW has proven in the past, damage manipulation can be a very powerful Ability. With Dusknoir, we get Reuniclus in reverse, which will allow us to move damage counters around our opponent’s field in any way we would like with its Sinister Hand Ability.

The other stats for Dusknoir are that it is a Stage 2 Psychic type Pokémon with 130 HP, a three Retreat Cost, and a weakness to Dark Pokémon.

What Dusknoir provides to the metagame is to completely control damage on your opponent’s field. With Dusknoir, you can to the best of your ability make sure that no damage counter goes to waste on your opponent’s field.

There will be a few ways to play Dusknoir upon release. The first idea is to pair it with a spread attacker such as Kyurem or Registeel-EX and then consolidate that damage onto your opponent’s other Pokémon for knockouts. I’m not sure how effective this strategy will be as your opponent can limit your damage potential by only benching Pokémon when they need it.

Additionally, healing cards like SSU and Max Potion could mess with this spread strategy against an opponent who limits their bench.

The other way that Dusknoir can see play is with a strong attacker, perhaps with snipe damage as well to make sure the damage is going precisely where you want it on your opponent’s field.

The main deck I have seen discussed so far with Dusknoir is Darkrai/Dusknoir, which I think is a solid deck concept, but I don’t think it really provides anything that the Darkrai/Chandelure deck provides (except for being easier to play), and I think the Chandelure deck is actually better as it can accelerate damage onto your opponent’s field, while Dusknoir only can work with the 90+30 damage from Night Spear.

I think Gothitelle/Accelgor may be the best fit for Dusknoir at the moment, but I don’t think those decks will be a good play for City Championships as Keldeo-EX will be running rampant.

4. Cresselia EX

BulbapediaLargely overlooked in comparison to the other top Pokémon-EX in the set, but I think Cresselia-EX is really strong as well, and is a card I would recommend picking up while it’s still $9, as I don’t see it lasting that long when players start to figure out this card.

The basic stats for this card: 170 HP Psychic type Pokémon, with a Psychic Weakness, and a one Retreat Cost. It has an Ability, Sparkling Particles, which allows you to heal 10 damage at any time between turns. It has one attack, Psycho Defender, which costs PCCC and does 90 damage and also removes the weakness from Cresselia-EX on your next turn.

This is the strong, but still balanced Mewtwo EX counter that we’ve been needing for a long time. With its attack cost only needing one P Energy and then three Colorless, it can really fit in with any Energy accelerator – Gardevoir NXD, Emboar BLW 20, Blastoise BC, or Eelektrik NVI.

Its Ability gives the card tremendous tank potential, especially when paired with Eviolite and other healing cards such as Potion and Gold Potion. Its attack does the perfect amount of damage, 90, to get the 2HKO on any EX in the format (except Darkrai EX because of Resistance) while forcing the opponent’s Pokémon into taking a 3HKO or even 4HKO. Add Potion and Gold Potion into the mix, and it takes even longer before Cresselia goes down.

Upon release, I think the best partner for Cresselia-EX is going to be Blastoise, as Blastoise is able to charge up a Cresselia very easily in one turn. I’ve also seen some rogue concepts within my friends group with the card that seem to be at least Tier 2 at the moment and may be even stronger as they continue to figure out the decks.

3. Blastoise

BulbapediaI am a strong believer that any Energy accelerator that gets released into the format is a card that you should immediately get a playset for as they usually end up being the backbone of some of the best decks in the format.

Emboar was part of the 2011 World Championship winning deck, Eelektrik was the most dominant deck during Spring Regionals, and Dark Patch decks dominated the World Championships this past year.

Blastoise’s Deluge Ability gives you unlimited attachment of W Energy from the hand, which means that whenever Blastoise gets setup, you can power up attackers instaneously. What sets Blastoise apart from past Water Accelerators is that Blastoise is able to attach to any Pokémon, not just Water types like its Base Set predecessor and Feraligatr Prime.

Outside of its strong showing at Worlds in 2011, Emboar hasn’t had much success as a card, so why should Blastoise? Well Blastoise has some things going for it that Emboar doesn’t have access to. The first being that Blastoise has access to one of the best pre-evolutions in the game.

Squirtle has an Ability called Shell Shield which prevents any damage being done to it by attacks when it is on the bench. This Ability basically reads: You will get Blastoise out this game.

A big problem with Emboar was that your opponent can Catcher stall it, which isn’t the case for Blastoise as its obvious partner Keldeo-EX has its Step In Ability which switches it into the Active Spot, preventing Blastoise from getting trapped.

In addition to its amazing Ability, Blastoise also has a solid attack. If you ever need to attack with Blastoise, Hydro Pump is a strong enough attack to do some damage. It does 60 damage plus 10 more damage for each W Energy attached to Blastoise.

If you power it up with just W Energy to fulfill its CCCC cost, then you are doing 100 damage, which will be enough to 2HKO any EX in the game, as well as get the 1HKO on Landorus-EX.

2. Keldeo EX

BulbapediaKeldeo is a 170 HP Water type Pokémon with two Retreat Cost and a Grass weakness. It has an Ability, Rush In, which allows you to switch Keldeo-EX into the Active Spot once during your turn. Its attack, Secret Sword, costs CCC and does 50 damage plus 20 more damage for each W Energy attached to Keldeo.

What makes Keldeo-EX so good? Well its attack is the main thing I think. For just three W Energy you’re doing 110 damage, enough to 2HKO any Pokémon-EX in the format as well as get the 1HKO on the very strong Landorus-EX.

If your hand supports it, you can even build Keldeo-EX stronger to get the 1HKO on any Pokémon-EX, although I wouldn’t advise putting too much Energy on a single Keldeo-EX, as it becomes a tasty 2 Prizes for Mewtwo EX if you get carried away.

Its Ability is also really strong and I think there are a lot of niche uses for the card using its Ability. Its Ability will completely prevent your opponent from using Status lock or Catcher stall as viable strategies (unless you’re going up against a Garbodor deck).

I am very excited for Keldeo-EX, and I think between its attack and Ability it should remain a very strong card in the metagame for quite sometime.

1. Landorus-EX

BulbapediaThe best decks from Fall Regionals were Darkrai variants and Eelektrik variants, both of which have one thing in common – a Fighting Weakness. Landorus-EX is here to shake up those deck’s worlds.

Landorus has 180 HP, a Water Weakness, and two very strong attacks. Its first attack, Hammer Head, costs F and does 30 damage plus 30 damage to one of your opponent’s benched Pokémon. Its second attack, Land’s Judgment, does 80 damage, and gives you the option to do 150 damage at the cost of discarding all F Energy attached to Landorus-EX.

Its attacks obviously have great synergy, as 30 + 150 is enough to 1HKO any Pokémon-EX in the format. If you plan on using Land’s Judgment for 150, it is best to also play an off-type Energy on Landorus to make it only a one card discard, making it easier to get off multiple 150 damage attacks with Landorus-EX.

My early testing with this card included the Ether engine, which I felt made Landorus-EX the clear cut king of the format being able to completely wreck any Darkrai or Eelektrik decks, while still being able to consistently beat Blastoise decks.

Without Ether, Landorus isn’t quite the king of the format. I still think this card is the strongest in the set though, as it puts a lot of early pressure on any evolution deck, except for Blastoise because of Squirtle’s Ability, and the card is a complete terror for Dark and Lightning type decks.

Upon release, Keldeo-EX will be a major problem for Landorus decks. I am not quite sure what can be done to mitigate this problem except to play a heavy Mewtwo EX count with a healthy dose of healing cards to counter the Blastoise/Keldeo decks.

The Trainer Cards of Boundaries Crossed

Escape Rope “escaped” from the set.

As most people probably know by now, this set was slated to have a lot of other good Trainer cards that would have added a lot to the format in Ether, Bicycle, and Escape Rope, but these cards were cut from the set in favor of reprints of some older Item cards.

Even with the loss of these new Trainers, Boundaries Crossed is still full of lots of good Trainer cards that will surely make an impact on the format.

Boundaries Crossed also sees the new addition of the ACE SPEC mechanic into the format. ACE SPEC cards are Trainer cards that only can have one copy of the card played in a deck.

My personal philosophy with Trainer cards is that you should just go out and obtain playsets of every Trainer, as you never know when a deck could take advantage of any given Trainer and its best to have all of the tools available to you when building your decks.


Hugh is a Supporter card that says that both players must either draw cards from their deck or discard cards in their hand until they have five cards in their hand. At least for now, this card is really, really bad. It will usually provide you the worst draw of any of the draw Supporters in the format, and its disruption will usually be minimal.

When Colress is released and bigger hand sizes start to become the norm, Hugh will gain some points in the disruption category, but even then, it will probably still be bad.


BulbapediaOn the other hand, we gain a very powerful Supporter card in Skyla, which allows you to search your deck for any one Trainer card – Supporter, Stadium, or Item, and put it into your hand.

I must say, I am a very big fan of this card and think that it deserves a spot in most decks in the format. Skyla adds consistency into the game by giving you the Ability to search out almost anything you need (pretty much everything except Special Energy can be searched out through one avenue or another). It really aides in getting Stage 2 decks setup, as you now have an easy way to search out your Rare Candy.

One thing that has shown to be true about Skyla in my testing is that it is almost never a bad card to have. If you need to pick up a lot more resources for your setup, you can use Skyla to search out an N or Juniper to cycle through more cards from your deck and to prevent your deck from stalling out.

A lot of times in the mid to late game you will just need one card to do what you want to do, and Skyla is there to fill that role perfectly.

When I first started testing Skyla, I was just slipping it in at 1-2 copies in most decks to provide a little bit of search, but the more I play this format, the higher my Skyla count has increased in most of my decks. I really like the amount of control Skyla gives you over the game and I think it is a card that adds a lot of skill and consistency back into the game.

Aspertia City Gym

This is a new Stadium Card released in the set that adds +20 HP to all Colorless Pokémon.

This card is actually a lot better than it first appears, and gives some new playability to Colorless Pokémon. I’ve found some good success testing the card in my fun Cinccino deck, as the card puts Cinccino up to 110 HP, just out of Knock Out range for opposing EXs such as Darkrai EX, Cresselia-EX, Raikou-EX, and Tornadus EX.


What I would fear most when playing this Stadium Card is your opponent playing a counter Stadium Card. If they get your Pokémon up to 90 damage on Cinccino for example, and then play down something like a Skyarrow Bridge, Cinccino is then Knocked Out as Aspertia City Gym is no longer in play to give Cinccino +20 HP.

Town Map

I think this is a card that will always make for a good 60th card in any non-mill deck. Town Map is an Item card that lets you play with your Prize cards facing up for the rest of the game.

Knowledge of what’s in your prizes is very strong, and when you can look at your Prize cards and choose the most optimal of your Prize cards for the current game state while your opponent cannot, you are going to be at a slight advantage.

Your opponent does gain some knowledge over your deck when you play Town Map, but overall, I think the benefit of being able to take exactly what you need from your prizes outweighs that disadvantage of using the card.

Gold Potion

Gold Potion is one of our very first ACE SPEC cards, and it is a pretty good one, allowing you to heal 90 damage from your Active Pokémon. A lot of this format still comes down to 2HKOs, and in such a format, healing 90 damage can set that back to a 3HKO, or possibly even a 4HKO if you have an Eviolite attached.

I think in general the best use of Gold Potion is going to be in big Basic decks, as these decks will gain very little benefit from Computer Search and their Pokémon can usually absorb a hit, giving you the ability to heal them off with Gold Potion.

Lastly, we have our most hyped Trainer card and ACE SPEC from the set, Computer Search, a reprint of the Base Set card, this time with the limiting factor that only one copy of the card can be played. The card says to discard two cards from your hand and then search your deck for any card.

This card is universally good, and will never be a bad fit for any deck that it is played in. With that said, I’m not sold on the card being all that powerful when you can only use it once. It adds some consistency to decks, but as we see more strong ACE SPECs enter into the format, I could see Computer Search seeing a decrease in play.

However, if you happen to be playing a deck featuring Sableye DEX, you should absolutely play Computer Search as the card is amazing in Sableye. In Sableye decks you can use Skyla to search out Computer Search on turn one, and then retrieve the card with Junk Hunt to re-use it turn after turn until you’re setup. This combo makes for one of the most consistent setups in the game.

If you’re not sure about including any ACE SPECs in your deck, you should probably just default to Computer Search. Most decks play Ultra Ball as of right now, so you can just cut an Ultra Ball from any list and put Computer Search in its place to make any list slightly better.

Computer Search can act as an Ultra Ball for you if you need it to, while also being able to get you any other card. There is no reason not to play Computer Search in decks not running an ACE SPEC at the current moment.

Old Cards That Get Better In the New Format

With any format, as the metagame changes, some old cards that weren’t seeing play can gain strength thanks to their ability to counter some new forces in the metagame. The following are some cards that I think can be strong in the upcoming meta that weren’t seeing too much play last format.

Virizion NVI

pokemon-paradijs.comBoth Blastoise and Keldeo-EX from the new set share a Grass weakness, which instantly gives Virizion NVI more playability, as it is probably the strongest Grass type in the game right now.

Its first attack, Double Draw, costs C and adds a little bit of consistency to any deck its played in. Its second attack, Leaf Wallop, does 40 damage for GC, and does 80 damage on each consecutive turn it is used after that.

Ideally, you would Knock Out a Squirtle on turn 2 with Leaf Wallop and then either another Squirtle, Blastoise, or Keldeo-EX with PlusPower on turn 3.

My only fear for Virizion is that it might be a turn too slow when you’re going second to be an effective Blastoise/Keldeo counter.

Kyurem NVI and Kyogre EX

These are two of the best spread attackers in the game and Blastoise is here to breathe new life into their playability by giving them access to some of the best energy acceleration in the game.

Both of these cards will see play again this format as a turn 2 spread is universally good against all decks, being able to wash away pre-evolutions early in the game, while also softening up EXs for knockouts by your other attackers.

Kyurem spreads 30 damage to all of your opponent’s Pokémon with its Glaciate attack. Kyogre EX, on the other hand, spreads 50 damage to two of your opponent’s Pokémon, making for a more targeted spread attack.

In general, I favor Kyurem over Kyogre EX as I like the ability to soften everything up instead of softening up just two Pokémon by a lot, but playing one of each in a Blastoise deck could be a strong option as each have their own set of strengths that are dependent on the matchups they’re facing.


pokemon-paradijs.comThis is perhaps the strongest Blastoise/Keldeo counter available in the game. Regigigas has 180 HP, is a Colorless Pokémon with a Fighting Weakness, and a a four Retreat Cost.

Its first attack, Giga Power costs CCC and does 60 damage with the option to do 20 more damage at the cost of doing 20 damage to Regigigas. Its second attack, Raging Hammer, costs CCCC and does 50 damage plus 10 more damage for each damage counter on Regigigas-EX.

Everything about the card is awkward in the Blastoise/Keldeo matchup. It can be setup fast and just start eating up Squirtle for early prizes. Then when it comes to attack into Regigigas-EX, Keldeo-EX does a base damage of 110 already, which powers Regigigas’s Raging Hammer up to 160 already, putting Keldeo-EX at a PlusPower away from being Knocked Out.

Additionally, a Regigigas player could place the 20 extra damage on Regigigas on the Giga Power, setting up the 1HKO on a Keldeo after it hits into you.

If the Keldeo player gets overzealous in loading up a Keldeo with a ton of energy to knockout Regigigas, you just turn around with Mewtwo EX to take the easy knockout on Keldeo.

Garbodor DRX

This card saw plenty of play last format, but it was unable to make any type of significant impact on Regional Championships. With the new sets released, Ability decks should be at the forefront of the format once again with Darkrai decks gaining a lot in terms of consistency thanks to Computer Search and a new Ability based deck in Blastoise/Keldeo entering the format.

Garbodor also gains access to another strong attacking partner in Landorus-EX in this set, which could help take it to the next level of being able to counter the metagame.

I am not sure if Garbodor will be able to succeed in this format because of its natural inconsistency, but it is a card that will definitely see play as a result of how Ability heavy the metagame will be.

Durant DRX

pokemon-paradijs.comThis card doesn’t necessarily get better in the new format, it was actually always good, just no one ever seemed to pick up on its utility, including myself.

Durant is a 70 HP Metal type Pokémon, with 70 HP, a one Retreat Cost, a Psychic resistance, and a Fire weakness. The reason one would use this card is for its Pull Out attack, which costs C and allows you to put any card from your discard pile on top of your deck.

It wasn’t until very late in the last format when I was playing a Garbodor deck with three Garbage Collection Trubbish that I realized just how powerful this type of attack is. Being able to put Supporters on top of your deck, or other key resources when you already have a Supporter in hand, allows you to consistently setup game after game.

The card is really great at the end of games for pulling out a Professor Juniper from your discard after you have been N’d to a low hand size, or for getting that game winning Pokémon Catcher on top of your deck.

If your deck is having consistency issues, try Durant out as a potential starter Pokémon. I think you will like what you find in it.

Advancing Old Archetypes

In this section I will be taking a look at some of the old archetypes that existed last format and how they can be adjusted with the new cards from Boundaries Crossed to work in the new format. The decks I would like to take a look at are Hydreigon/Darkrai, Darkrai/Sableye, Rayquaza/Eelektrik, and Ho-Oh EX variants.


Pokémon – 16

2 Deino DRX 93

1 Deino NVI

1 Zweilous DRX 96

3 Hydreigon DRX 97

4 Sableye DEX

3 Darkrai-EX DEX

1 Mewtwo-EX NXD

1 Shaymin-EX NXD

Trainers – 33

4 N

3 Professor Juniper

2 Cheren

4 Skyla


1 Computer Search

4 Ultra Ball

3 Rare Candy

3 Pokémon Catcher

3 Max Potion

3 Dark Patch

2 Eviolite

1 Tool Scrapper

Energy – 11

7 D

4 Blend GRPD

pokemon-paradijs.comThis deck has gone under quite a few changes transitioning between formats, but the core strategy of the deck remains the same.

The emergence of Landorus-EX into the new metagame changes the way in which the deck has to be played. Last format, you were able to use Dark Deino’s, protecting yourself from Rayquaza DRX donks, but this format those will be able to be donked by Landorus-EX, forcing us into a position where we have to pick our poison – do we accept Landorus donks…or do we accept Dragon donks.

I have opted to split my Deino’s 2/1 in favor of the Dragon type. I would take my bets that Rayquaza DRX sees less play than Landorus-EX, just because of the amount of trouble that Landorus-EX gives to Tynamo and Eeleektrik, the backbone of any Rayquaza/Eelektrik deck.

I have chosen to up my Sableye count to four heading into this format for two main reasons. First, it provides a buffer Pokémon with no weakness that will rarely be donked. Secondly, with Computer Search now in the format, being able to Junk Hunt on turn one is crucial, so maximizing the probability of starting with Sableye in a game is huge. It cannot be understated how much of a consistency booster being able to loop Computer Search turn after turn is for Sableye based decks.

My entire deck is built around trying to use this strategy. I have chosen to play four Skyla in my deck to maximize the probability of getting the turn one Computer Search to put this strategy into effect.

pokemon-paradijs.comAs far as my attackers go, the only sacrifice I made from my deck last format was Sigilyph DRX for the fourth Sableye DEX. I think the fourth Sableye is a strong inclusion for consistency purposes, but Sigilyph is also very strong in the deck, so cutting a Sableye to bring Sigilyph back into the fold is a very valid play as well.

One thing absent from my list that was considered a staple last format is Random Receiver. One of the things I have learned about Skyla early on is that you don’t want to go too low in your draw Supporter count while playing her, otherwise your deck can just kind of stall out.

So to maximize the amount of draw Supporters I can play alongside her, Random Receiver was the natural cut to make room for more Supporters.

Honestly, I don’t really miss the card at all in the deck. Once Computer Search hits the discard pile you can just Junk Hunt for that to get the Supporter of your choice on your next turn, which is in truth much more powreful than the random supporter Random Receiver provides you.

Heading into the next format, I see this as a deck that has some major problems with the early aggression of Landorus-EX, as well as its Ability to 1HKO a Darkrai EX. This deck will have to lean heavily on Mewtwo EX, Shaymin EX, and Hydreigon in the Landorus-EX matchup if it has any hope of coming out on top, it really is a tough uphill battle.

However, against the rest of the format, Hydreigon/Darkrai will be a fast and consistent deck that is difficult to beat because of its ability to tank its Pokémon.

Darkrai Variants

Pokémon – 10

3 Darkrai-EX DEX

3 Tornadus-EX DEX

2 Sableye DEX

1 Mewtwo-EX NXD

1 Bouffalant BLW 91

Trainers – 37

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

3 Cheren

4 Skyla


1 Computer Search

3 Ultra Ball

4 Pokémon Catcher

4 Dark Patch

4 Crushing Hammer

1 Enhanced Hammer

2 Eviolite

1 Tool Scrapper


2 Skyarrow Bridge

Energy – 13

9 D

4 Double Colorless

This is a deck concept that I have been a little uncertain on what direction to take it in. Without a doubt, Darkrai EX is going to have a lot of trouble with Landorus-EX decks, and pairing Darkrai EX with Terrakion will do nothing to help that matchup.

I also tried out a strategy of playing 4 Sableye with 4 Eviolite and 2 Max Potion, and trying a Crushing Hammer strategy against Landorus-EX, and that proved to be ineffective as well.

The most logical conclusion I found to be Darkrai’s partner in the new format is to kind of return to Esa’s original Hammertime that includes Tornadus EX and take advantage of Tornadus EX as your hard counter to Landorus-EX. Bouffalant is also included in the deck as your Sigilyph counter.

As a whole, I haven’t been impressed with what the Darkrai and Hammer variants bring to the new format. Landorus-EX has a one energy attack it can fall back on and Blastoise/Keldeo has unlimited W Energy attachment from the hand, making it very difficult to hammer stall these decks, especially when both are non-reliant on Special Energy. These decks also struggle with the newly improved Hydreigon/Darkrai deck and its new consistency.


Pokémon – 17

4 Tynamo NVI 38

4 Eelektrik NVI

3 Emolga DRX

2 Rayquaza DRX

2 Rayquaza-EX DRX

1 Raikou-EX

1 Victini NVI 14

Trainers – 30

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

3 Cheren

2 Skyla


1 Computer Search

4 Ultra Ball

4 Pokémon Catcher

4 Switch

2 Super Rod

1 Tool Scrapper


1 Skyarrow Bridge

Energy – 13

8 L

5 R

pokemon-paradijs.comThe main change that I needed to make to this deck was the addition of a buffer Pokémon in Emolga DRX to try to prevent Landorus-EX donks from being a common problem.

Emolga fits in pretty well with this deck. It can search out two Tynamo for you to allow you to start getting your Eelektrik setup, and then later in the game, you can promote it active allowing you to Dynamotor to Rayquaza EX, and then retreat for free to Rayquaza EX to attack with it.

Another part of your strategy against Landorus-EX is going to be to steal some turns of powering up a Rayquaza EX by stalling with Tynamo’s Thunder Wave attack. As seen by the top players at Fall Regionals, Thunder Wave when paired with Fliptini is usually a good enough stall to allow you to get your Rayquaza EX powered up to attack with and 1HKO an EX.

This deck’s place in the metagame is going to be a very interesting one. It has some inherent advantages against Hydreigon/Darkrai, Blastoise/Keldeo, and a large variety of decks in the format because of its ability to easily 1HKO EX’s.

However, it has some problems with Landorus-EX, the ultimate Eelektrik killer, as Landorus-EX is able to so easily Knock Out Tynamo while setting up KOs on Eelektriks. All Eelektrik variants may also have problems with being flooded to death in the early game by Kyurem and Kyogre EX techs in Blastoise decks.

Ho-Oh EX

A question that I have seen asked quite a bit over the past few weeks is whether Ho-Oh EX variants will still be viable in the Cities format, especially with the emergence of the Blastoise/Keldeo deck. I think with some changes to the attacker lineup, Ho-Oh can stay alive and be a contender in the Cities format.

Pokémon – 10

3 Ho-Oh-EX

3 Mewtwo-EX NXD

2 Regigigas-EX

2 Terrakion NVI

Trainers – 35

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

2 Bianca

3 Random Receiver


1 Computer Search

3 Ultra Ball

4 Pokémon Catcher

4 Switch

4 Energy Switch

3 Super Scoop Up

2 Tool Scrapper

1 Super Rod

Energy – 15

5 F

4 Double Colorless

1 G

1 W

1 R

1 L

1 P

1 D

pokemon-paradijs.comMy Ho-Oh EX list has remained largely unchanged from last format. An Ultra Ball was cut for Computer Search, as you really don’t need a ton of Pokémon search in this deck and Computer Search serves the same discarding purpose while being a more versatile card overall.

The other change to the list is the subtraction of a Terrakion and a F Energy to make room for Regigigas-EX so that the deck can better counter Blastoise decks.

I think this deck is well positioned to have some success in the new format. Its Blastoise/Keldeo matchup can still be a little rough as you aren’t really going to be able to play Ho-Oh EX down in that matchup, except for a last push at the end of the game. It can still beat the deck though as Regigigas-EX and Mewtwo EX are both really good in tandem against Blastoise, especially if you can hit some of your SSU flips with this deck.

The deck is actually one of the best counter decks to Landorus-EX. Ho-Oh EX is able to setup very quickly, and it is able to 2hko Landorus-EX if you get the proper energies on it while having resistance over Landorus-EX.

New Archetypes from Boundaries Crossed

In this section, I am going to take a look at some of the new archetypes that will arise as a result of Boundaries Crossed. The three decks I am going to look at are Landorus-EX/Terrakion, Landorus-EX/Garchomp, and Blastoise/Keldeo. These are the three decks that I see as being the biggest meta contenders to emerge out of the new set.


Pokémon – 9

4 Landorus-EX

3 Mewtwo-EX NXD

2 Terrakion NVI

Trainers – 38

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

4 Cheren

2 Skyla


4 Recycle

3 Ultra Ball

4 Pokémon Catcher

4 PlusPower

4 Switch

2 Energy Switch

2 Eviolite

1 Gold Potion

Energy – 13

9 F

4 Double Colorless

pokemon-paradijs.comThis deck has one main goal in mind, which is to try to turn the game into a blowout from the start by getting early pressure with Landorus-EX. I play four Landorus-EX in my deck to maximize the probability of starting with it as it is your optimal starter in pretty much every matchup except Blastoise/Keldeo.

Terrakion is there as your backup Fighting Pokémon. It is good for all of the same reasons it was last format, and that is Knocking Out Fighting weak EX’s for an efficient two Energy attack cost which is easy to setup in one turn with the help of Energy Switch.

Terrakion also fills the role of Sigilyph counter for you, and it can be used to force your opponent into an odd prize exchange.

Mewtwo EX is absolutely needed in this deck for the Blastoise/Keldeo matchup, as otherwise you just auto-lose to the deck. My strategy thus far against Blastoise decks has been to go aggro Mewtwo EX. Mewtwo EX and Keldeo just kind of sit there exchanging 2HKOs with each other.

So with that in mind, my strategy against Blastoise/Keldeo decks is just to repeatedly say X Ball over and over, while trying to periodically heal my Mewtwo EX’s throughout the game by re-using Gold Potion over and over again with Recycle.

This strategy isn’t the most reliable, as it is highly dependent on hitting your Recycle flips to re-use Gold Potion, but it’s the best strategy for a Landorus deck that I have been able to come up with so far for beating Blastoise decks.

pokemon-paradijs.comI think Recycle was a vastly underplayed card last. Being able to put Supporters, Special Energy, and key Item cards like Pokémon Catcher, PlusPower, and now the ACE SPECs is such a strong asset for decks to have.

Outside of the Recycle, I don’t think there is anything else overly unique about this list. As far as Supporters go, I went with the standard 4 Professor Juniper, 4 N, 4 Cheren setup of last format, but instead of filling the last two spots with Bianca as would have been done last format, I opted for 2 Skyla.

Skyla is still highly useful in this deck, being able to search out your Gold Potion to heal your Pokémon when you need it, search out PlusPowers to ensure a knockout against your opponent’s Pokémon, and searching out Energy Switch to setup a surprise attacker.

I fully expect this to be a Tier 1 deck during the Cities format. Landorus-EX is a complete terror for any Eelektrik variant, and it smashes Darkrai EX decks in the face pretty hard, especially when partnered with Terrakion. The only really bad matchup the deck will have is Blastoise/Keldeo, which is a matchup you can still win by using Mewtwo EX.


Pokémon – 15

4 Gible DRX 87

3 Gabite DRX 89

4 Garchomp DRX 90

4 Landorus-EX


Trainers – 33

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

4 Cheren

2 Skyla


1 Computer Search

4 Ultra Ball

4 Pokémon Catcher

3 Rare Candy

3 Switch

2 Super Rod

1 Max Potion

1 Tool Scrapper

Energy – 12

8 F

4 Blend WLFM

pokemon-paradijs.comThis was a deck that I was excited about after hearing that players were having some success with the deck over in Japan. The Garchomp/Terrakion deck that emerged at the end of Battle Roads posed some problems for a lot of the meta decks, but was still nothing more than a Tier 2 deck.

Landorus-EX is a much stronger Pokémon than Terrakion and allows for much more early pressure, so this is a deck I felt could have the possibility to be strong going into the next format.

The way I chose to approach the deck is go all out with Landorus-EX and to also go all out with Garchomp. This allows me to go heavy Landorus-EX if the matchup calls for it, or go heavy Garchomp if the matchup calls for that.

I play two copies of Super Rod in the deck to put Garchomp line pieces back in the deck to give me the possibility of going straight with Garchomp for prizes 1-6 if that’s what the matchup calls upon.

The strategy of this deck is fairly simple, with most matchups going to be a strategy of just beating down your opponent with Hammer Head to start the game with Landorus-EX before transitioning into Garchomp for some heavier attacks. Against Pokémon that are strong against Landorus-EX, you just kind of throw Landorus-EX to the wayside and just go with an aggro Garchomp strategy.

This deck has the perfect type balance to counter the metagame. Landorus-EX is a Fighting Pokémon which can be used to counter Dark and Lightning type Pokémon, such as Darkrai EX, Tynamo, Eelektrik, and Zekrom. Garchomp is a Dragon type Pokémon that can be used to counter Rayquaza, Rayquaza EX, and Hydreigon.

This is the perfect counter to the metagame of… Fall Regionals. It’s not quite as good of a meta counter for City Championships.

This deck’s problem? It has as close to an auto-loss as you can get to Blastoise/Keldeo, which is surely going to be one of the most popular decks during City Championships. Landorus-EX is horrible against Keldeo, getting 1HKO’d with ease.

Garchomp isn’t much stronger against Keldeo, doing 60 damage against the card most of the time with a max damage output of 100 damage. Just put five Energy on a couple of Keldeo-EX and go to work 1HKOing Garchomp’s with Secret Sword.

Just like the Garchomp/Terrakion deck, this deck isn’t complete trash like Garchomp/Altaria was, but this just seems to be another Garchomp variant that isn’t quite good enough to be a mainstay in the metagame.

There are a lot of decks that this deck can pose problems for, but why would you play this deck if you know you’re just going to end up losing badly to one of the most popular decks in the format?


Pokémon – 13

3 Squirtle BCR

1 Wartortle BCR

3 Blastoise BCR

3 Keldeo-EX

1 Mewtwo-EX NXD

1 Kyurem NVI

1 Terrakion NVI

Trainers – 33

4 Professor Juniper

3 N

3 Bianca

2 Cheren

3 Skyla


1 Computer Search

4 Ultra Ball

3 Pokémon Catcher

3 Rare Candy

3 Super Scoop Up

2 Switch

1 Super Rod

1 Tool Scrapper

Energy – 14

11 W

3 F

This list is probably one of the strangest Blastoise/Keldeo lists you have seen, but I think it is probably the best way to play the deck.

As far as my attackers go, I went with the standard three Keldeo-EX. I’ve been tempted to go down to two Keldeo-EX, but it was too frustrating trying to play the deck when one of the Keldeo were prized as you couldn’t just Step In with a new Keldeo-EX when your old one got damaged. Mewtwo EX needs to be in this deck to counter any of your opponent’s Mewtwo EX’s that get too strong that they start 1HKOing your Keldeos.

pokemon-paradijs.comI think that Hydreigon/Darkrai variants are probably the most difficult matchup to navigate for a Blastoise/Keldeo deck, and I think Kyurem and Terrakion provide a strong response to that deck to tip it in your favor.

Kyurem is a really good early game attacker against any deck really. If you can get off a couple of Glaciates, a lot of times you will be washing away most of your opponent’s pre-evolutions such as Tynamo and Deino, but you will also be putting big Pokémon-EX into easier Knock Out range for Keldeo.

Terrakion is just in there as your hard counter against Darkrai, being able to get the 1HKO with Retaliate. The tech is also good against random Regigigas-EXs that you run into, as Terrakion can also 1HKO that card.

Terrakion actually works really well in this deck, you can use Retaliate for a knockout, then Rush In with Keldeo on your next turn and attack with that a bit. And then if they knock Keldeo or something else out, you’re Terrakion will still be there on the bench ready to Retaliate again.

I went with three F Energy instead of Prism Energy as they can’t be Enhanced Hammered away, and they can be brought back into your deck with Super Rod. I think Prism is fine too, and that opens up the door for other techs such as Cresselia-EX, and it is also better with Keldeo than the F Energy is as it can be used to add 20 more damage to Keldeo’s attack.

Whether to use Fighting or Prism Energy for your tech energies will be something that is highly dependent on the amount of Enhanced Hammer in your metagame.

One thing I have really disliked about most Blastoise lists I have encountered so far is that they lack mobility. They rely entirely upon Rush In for moving their Pokémon around, which I don’t think is that good unless your playing an all out Keldeo deck.

When you play this deck with a tool box approach as I do, you won’t always want to be attacking with Keldeo-EX, and it will often times be disadvantageous to discard Energy attached to Keldeo in order to move into another attacker, and even worse, sometimes you would have to attach to Keldeo before you can retreat into your desired attacker, which may not leave enough Energy left to get the actual attacker you want to use setup.

pokemon-paradijs.comTo make my deck more fluid, I play 3 SSU and 2 Switch, which both can be used to get Keldeo-EX out of the Active Spot in favor of something like Kyurem or Mewtwo EX.

I really like SSU in general with Keldeo-EX and Blastoise. You can use SSU to heal your Keldeo-EX, and then use Deluge to put all of the W Energy right back onto the Keldeo, or move the W Energy to another Keldeo with Energy already on it to setup a super Keldeo that is able to 1HKO everything.

The last tech card I play is Tool Scrapper. I think Garbodor has the potential to be really good against this deck, so you have to take some precautions to prevent that from happening. For the Keldeo decks that don’t play any type of Switch, catchering up Blastoise and then sniping/spreading the bench will be a legitimate strategy. If you don’t want that to happen, you need to play cards like Tool Scrapper and Switch.

Overall, this is my favorite deck in the format heading into City Championships. I love that Blastoise is able to get setup every game thanks to Squirtle’s Ability, and love that it isn’t going to get trapped in the Active Spot in most matchups thanks to Keldeo’s Rush In Ability. I think the deck has a lot of versatility in the direction you can take the deck as far as tech attackers that you can choose to counter a given metagame.

pokemon-paradijs.comWhat I like best about the deck is that there isn’t really a hard counter to the deck because the main two Pokémon share a Grass Weakness, and Grass is one of the weakest types in the game right now.

Against Virizion, you can mess with Leaf Wallop’s damage output by Catchering around it, and that’s not an attack that they’ll be able to use until turn 2. Shaymin EX can go ahead and 1HKO Keldeo-EX, but then Keldeo-EX can 1HKO Shaymin EX for three Energy, or four if Shaymin has Eviolite attached, which just creates some type of stupid Keldeo vs. Shaymin war which is even more mindless than a Mewtwo war.

This is a war that tends to go in the Keldeo’s players favor, as it is much easier for a Blastoise deck to stream Keldeo-EXs than it is for any deck to stream Shaymin EX throughout the duration of the war.

In short, Blastoise/Keldeo is going to be a very versatile deck with no unwinnable matchups, which puts it in as my top deck heading into City Championships.


Why TPCi???

Boundaries Crossed wasn’t the set that everyone was expecting as TPCi chose to cut crucial Item cards from the set in Ether, Bicycle, and Escape Rope. I actually welcome the lack of these cards being in Boundaries Crossed, as I felt Ether when paired with Landorus-EX and Mewtwo EX shook up the format in a bit of an unhealthy way that would have largely rid the format of Darkrai and Eelektrik variants.

Without Ether, Landorus-EX is much more balanced and some Darkrai variants, and maybe Eelektrik variants will still be able to do well in this format.

My big three decks heading into City Championships are Blastoise/Keldeo, Landorus-EX + Good Stuff variants, and Hydreigon/Darkrai. If any of these decks were to rise to the top as a BDIF, I would be betting on Blastoise, as it directly counters one of the other top three decks, while being difficult to counter in its own right.

I am not too optimistic about Eelektrik variants in the upcoming format. Landorus-EX single handedly destroys any Eelektrik deck from getting setup. An early Glaciate by a Kyurem or Dual Splash with Kyogre EX can also quickly ruin an Eelektrik decks setup, and as seen in the past, Darkrai with its speed and snipe can be difficult for Eelektrik variants to handle.

If an Eelektrik variant is to survive into the next format I think it will probably be the Rayquaza/Eelektrik variant, as the ability to 1HKO any Pokémon-EX is still a very strong threat.

Overall, I am very pleased with what the new cards bring to the format. I think Skyla and Computer Search brings more consistency into the format, as well as more control over the game allowing for more skillful play to take place.

While this set isn’t deep with good Pokémon cards, it is very top heavy, and Keldeo-EX and Landorus-EX will be major forces in the metagame from the start.
Adam got tired of editing and thought this image was hilarious so that’s why it’s the thumbnail image.

I’m very excited that City Championships are just two weekends away from starting. I haven’t seen a schedule released for the Missouri City Championships yet, but I plan on trying to play in two every weekend.

I also might play in part of the Chicago marathon if I get an opportunity to get a week plus free from obligations to go home and visit my family around Christmas time. The marathon would be a nice little bonus of play, but I still should get in plenty of tournaments just in Missouri to get a decent amount of Championship Points.

My hopes for Cities are that I can run hot through the first few weekends and get all the points I need out of the way early so that I can get a chance to play my Cinccino/Munna deck at a City Championship, as well as work on breaking Charizard decks at some others.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article. I will be back with some City Championship reports later in the month, and in the meantime you can check out my website for some good Pokémon fun!

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