Let’s Switch It Up

The Top 10 Cards That Will Shape Cities
When in doubt…

Hello again everyone! After a rather unfortunate run at Indiana Regionals, I’m back to deliver another article for you. I’ve had some time to contemplate, and I’ve come up with a list of cards I think will have the most impact on the upcoming Cities format. But first, here’s a quick recap of how my try at Regionals went.

I went into the day before the tournament not knowing what deck to play. Everything I knew how to play seemed inferior to everything I didn’t, i.e. Virizion/Friends. I was confident that either that or Blastoise would be the play for the day, but I didn’t have the Beaches for Blastoise nor the experience with Virizion.

In the end, I rolled a die. Six choices for decks including Darkrai, Darkrai/Garbodor, and Ninetales among others were chosen and assigned a number. I ended up rolling into Big Basics/Garbodor, which I played the following day.

This was a deck I played a little bit during Cities with some success the previous year, but hadn’t even looked at since. It was a big gamble, but also a decent play with at least average matchups across the board.

I borrowed my list from my friend, Nick, and tweaked it to my liking. However, deck building at 1 in the morning isn’t a good idea, and the deck turned into a speed deck of sorts with Bicycle and ten Supporters. I forgot to put in Random Receivers at some point and entered the tournament with the following:

Pokémon – 13

3 Landorus-EX
3 Mewtwo-EX NXD
2 Tornadus-EX DEX
3 Trubbish PLS 65
2 Garbodor DRX

Trainers – 35

4 N
4 Professor Juniper
2 Skyla


4 Bicycle
4 Hypnotoxic Laser
4 Pokémon Catcher

4 Ultra Ball

4 Float Stone

1 Switch
1 Max Potion
1 Dowsing Machine


2 Virbank City Gym

Energy – 12

8 F
4 Double Colorless

I ended up going 1-3-2 drop on the day. None of my losses were because I was a bad player, rather because I consistently had extreme Supporter droughts for 5+ turns. Despite that fact, I had almost all of my games come down to the wire and had a lot of fun even when I lost.

Despite ignoring some of the warning signs of failure as mentioned in my previous article, I was able to come out of the weekend feeling good and had a lot of fun. Some of the best parts were not playing Pokémon on Day 2 and playing games like Ascension instead.

I also had plenty of time to theorymon and test with new ideas and mechanics. These ideas stemmed from the new November rules such as Catcher flips and first turn rules. In addition, cards like Energy Switch and Crushing Hammer have returned, making for new combos and refinement of old ideas.

The first card that came to mind was Crushing Hammer because it means the rebirth of my favorite deck of last format, Hammertime. I’m the kind of player that enjoys disruption and denial, so Crushing Hammer is a perfect fit.

The second card that came to mind was Energy Switch. For me, Energy Switch was the card necessary for Genesect EX to shine. It keeps energy put on the board from being wasted and allows for Genesect to G Booster consistently.

After playing around with new mechanics for a while, I got to thinking about what old cards or underused cards would get new life in the coming Cities format. Cards that might have seen a little bit or no play at all that get a new life with the new rules and reintroduction of cards. After some time, I’ve come up with ten cards that will help shape the new format coming up.

The Top 10 Cards That Will Shape Cities

We’ll start with the honorable mentions. These are cards that I think will be impactful, but have already been more integrated into the game.

Tool Scrapper

tool scrapper dragons exalted drx 116pokemon-paradijs.com
It sure can be handy.

Tool Scrapper had been around since the beginning of last season and has really sat on the back burners for a while. At the end of last season the card saw a bit of play at Nationals and Worlds, but didn’t really see much play until the Klaczynski Open and now at Regionals.

The card can be devastating and game changing when played at the right time, getting rid of Dark Claws, Float Stones, and G Booster. It picks tools off of Garbodor, taking away some of the potency of the deck. Decks right now are playing around two, which is a trend I can see continuing.


Eviolite was played frequently when it came out originally and was used with Darkrai extensively. The card lasted the entire season, seeing play even at Nationals and Worlds. In comes Tool Scrapper. It made tools like Eviolite unplayable, or so it seemed. Eviolite was still played spastically throughout the season but was never really played as heavily as before. Now with the increased play of Tool Scrapper and other great tools available, Eviolite may not be as great as it once was. In addition, Mr. Mime can protect the bench so snipes can be managed.

However, Eviolite can help hit numbers to keep EXs alive versus Genesect and Kyurem PLF. Genesect cannot 2-shot a 170-80 HP EX if its attacks only do 80 per turn. Likewise, Kyurem struggles to 1HKO things with an Eviolite attached sans Laser and Bangle. Where Eviolite fails is against G Booster and Tool Scrapper. G Booster Knocks Out EXs regardless (save Black Kyurem EX with Crystal Wall) and Tool Scrapper just flat out removes it. Overall, Eviolite requires a very niche situation in order to succeed.

Now that the honorable mentions are out of the way, let’s move on to the top 10!

10. Dusknoir BCR & Reuniclus DRX

I decided to group these two together because they functionally do similar things. Both allow you to move damage around, but Reuniclus allows you to move your own around and Dusknoir allows you to move your opponent’s damage. These are great tools for Prize denial and also to set up knock outs.

With Catcher going to a flip and bench damage denial being big, it’ll be hard to Knock Out those things with high amounts of damage on them. With Dusknoir, you can move the damage to Knock Out key parts of your opponent’s bench or Knock Out something fresh in the active. Reuniclus can be used to keep damage off of your main attackers and keeps them fresh. These can definitely be potent cards in the late game.

9. Spiritomb LTR

The Catcher flip keeps it safe too.

This is a new card that is about to be released in Legendary Treasures. Spiritomb has an Ability called Sealing Scream, which keeps both players from playing their ACE SPEC card while it is in play. Its attack is called Hexed Mirror and for 1 Energy it acts as a Copycat. The HP is also decent at 80 and with no Weakness and a 1 Retreat Cost, I think this card has a lot of potential.

The main use for this card as I can see it would be against Genesect and Darkrai. It keeps G Booster from hitting the field and keeps Sableye from abusing Junk Hunt to get back Computer Searches and Dowsing Machines.

While it may shut off your own ACE SPEC, it can be worked around by playing yours early or even not playing one at all. It is a card that your opponent will have to deal with and could tip games into your favor by keeping them from getting the crucial cards they need.

Its attack is good early game for getting set up and even for the late game if you have a bad hand. Unfortunately, with the new first turn rules there is no advantage to starting with this card if you go first, but going second could help you set up.

8. Emboar BLW/NXD/LTR

The infamous RayBoar may become more than just theory come the rule changes on November 8th. While its Weakness to Water has held it back, Emboar’s new tools, the first turn and Catcher rules, it has more of a chance. There is no longer a fear of a Catcher’d up Emboar or at least a lesser chance of it happening and less of a fear of being donked. In addition, the 70 HP Tepig returns, making your piglets less likely to get Knocked Out on the same turn.

Rayquaza EX is still a powerful card and Emboar is the best way to get it going. While it isn’t a super consistent deck, it has Reshiram as its partner and becomes another version of Blastoise that has a better matchup against Genesect. The deck has every tool and resource as Blastoise and has the non-EX attacker that Blastoise doesn’t have.

Overall, the deck could be very potent as Genesect might become very popular come Cities. The deck could be a good, cheap choice to give a go a City Championships.

7. Escape Rope

The reincarnation of Warp Point, Escape Rope brings back the other pseudo-Catcher mechanic that we’ve had all throughout the history of the game. Escape Rope offers a Catcher-like alternative as well as a Switch mechanic. This allows for some tricky plays late in the game or a cheap attack early on if your opponent only has one other Pokémon on the bench.

Either way, if used correctly Escape Rope can be devastating and give you an edge in the match. Forcing your opponent to bring up something like an EX to take a hit, something small for an easy prize or something difficult to get out of the active can put them into a bind.

The decision on what is the best course of action is not always obvious and there are times where Escape Rope will simply act like a Switch without hurting your opponent all too much. However, if the game gets late enough, Escape Rope is just as good as Catcher because it can win you the game.

6. Crushing Hammer

Stop… Hammertime!

As mentioned earlier, Crushing Hammer is a powerful card when it flips heads, but is equally as bad when it flips tails. In essence, it is like Pokémon Catcher, very powerful but kept in check by a coin flip. Since many decks lack a substantial energy acceleration, Crushing Hammer in the early game can be huge.

The best deck to take advantage of this with is Darkrai as Sableye is able to Junk Hunt back Items. As I have stated, this can be very good in the early game.

For example, discarding the Energy off of a Virizion-EX on the first turn to keep them from a T2 Emerald Slash could set back the Virizion player substantially because they rely on an attack to get them going whereas the Darkrai player could step back and set up comfortably in the background. This card is good for many matchups outside of Blastoise and could be seen with more play with the changes as they are.

5. Ninetales DRX

Ninetales has always been an interesting card to me. Since its release I have been messing around with that card on and off pairing it with all sorts of things. The most immediate partner for Ninetales is Amoonguss NXD, and might be one of the best options for the deck. It also has access to Silver Bangle, allowing the fox to hit that magic 180 damage mark T2.

The only things standing in the way of this deck being very good is Virizion-EX. Its Ability shuts off statuses leaving Ninetales almost useless. While it still does 100 with Silver Bangle, it doesn’t have that 1HKO potential that it did with Amoonguss or Hypnotoxic Laser.

The best choice for the card seems to be with Garbodor and Hypnotoxic Laser to help with its almost auto-loss to Virizion and its unfavorable Blastoise matchup. However, the card also has a fantastic Ability called Bright Look, which functions the exact same way as Luxray GL LV.X’s Poké-Power.

The Ability is essentially a Pokémon Catcher, making it very powerful in a format without Catcher as a definite. It can be teched into multiple decks and be used by almost anything. The only problem would be finding room for it in the deck. Luxray had been a staple in pretty much every deck, so why not Ninetales? Maybe the fact that the only reliable way of using it multiple times is Devolution Spray unlike Poké Turn and Super Scoop Up in the SP days will hold this card back. Only time will tell. Either way, Ninetales is a tech worth considering.

4. Mr. Mime PLF

Mr. Mime is a card that has been mentioned several times and that is simply because it is very good. Bench damage is huge right now, and big players like Darkrai, Genesect, Kyurem, Landorus and even Stunfisk hitting the bench can be disastrous.

Mr. Mime solves all those problems and is very much worth the spot. With many matchups using bench damage, the mime will rarely be a useless card. Additionally, its 1 Retreat Cost and 70 HP make it hard to donk (assuming you fail to get a Pokémon out on your first turn) and easy to get out of the active. Cards like Float Stone will aid in keeping Mr. Mime on the bench without wasting an Energy retreating.

While Mr. Mime has seen some play recently, I think that it will eventually become a staple in most decks just for its sheer usefulness. Garbodor makes the mime useless, but all it takes is one Tool Scrapper to bring him back into the game. Keep an eye on Mr. Mime for a potential deck building spot.

3. Max Potion

Great if your opponent can’t 1HKO.

As I’ve said several times so far, damage management and Prize denial are going to be key in the next format. With Mr. Mime blocking bench damage and Catcher on a coin flip, Knocking Out Pokémon just got really hard. This is good for you and bad for your opponent.

Max Potion tips the scales in terms of Prize denial. Removing all damage off of your heavily battered Genesect could win you the game because that’s two less Prizes your opponent has the opportunity to take easily. Max Potion has won me games in the past and people have been recently teching it into their decks as a 1-of and with all the Energy transfer options like Scramble Switch and Energy Switch, it becomes easier to play.

Max Potion is a game changer and even fairly risky if you are lacking the Energy to power up another attacker. I would say that Max Potion is one of my favorite cards and will be an immensely powerful card coming up soon.

2. Flareon PLF

Flareon has been a deck that has been popping up here and there throughout Regionals and I think that it may be very good coming soon. Flareon has two fairly good attacks that are very good at taking out Genesect and Virizion. There are also several good partners, such as Leafeon PLF, that help to make up for its Water Weakness and add strength to the deck.

We already know that Flareon can be a good deck as many good players have piloted the deck to successful runs at the recent Regional Championships. With the rule changes as they are, the deck just gets better and its matchups are all fairly decent to very good. The only problem with the deck is that it needs to go consistently and every match up is played differently.

I would venture to say that Flareon is one of the more difficult decks to play right now. The deck also has enough room for techs and little surprises that can adjust to the metagame in your area as needed. Cards like Terrakion NVI or Kyurem NVI have been seen in this deck before. Flareon might become one of the biggest contenders for Cities and is worth testing and testing against.

And finally, the moment of truth. This list was incredibly difficult to make and many decisions had to be made about what and where things would go in the list. This last choice was the easiest one to make. This card is perhaps my most anticipated card to be played and am very excited to be able to use it again.

1. Energy Switch

The OG.

Simply in its design, Energy Switch allows you to simply move one basic Energy attached to one Pokémon to another. Simple, yet effective. People originally hyped Genesect because of G Booster and Energy Switch. The combo was potent and seemed almost unstoppable. When the news that Energy Switch would be exiting the format, people disregarded Genesect and thought it was a bad deck.

Crazy how one little change can change peoples’ opinion, huh?

Well it turns out Genesect is still good even without Energy Switch. It was played successfully with the help of Drifblim and friends, but still made itself known as a contender in Tier 1.

People also originally said that Darkrai was dead because it couldn’t function without Energy Switch. Two Regional Championship wins later and people have to worry about Darkrai once again. However, Energy Switch is back once again from Legendary Treasures and will surely be put back home with Darkrai and tested extensively with Genesect.

The ability to G Booster several turns in a row is astounding and powerful. Energy Switch gives that ability to Genesect and may propel the deck to the rafters of Tier 1. Darkrai regains its speed and consistency as well as its ability to easily (or easier than before, rather) get a Darkrai out of nowhere.

Energy Switch may also be useful in a version Plasma that relies on mostly basic energy. Being able to get Energy of off an almost Knocked Out Kyurem onto a fresh one could help save you the game or put a kink in your opponent’s plans.

Energy Switch adds versatility to decks allowing them to adapt and change as the game does. It allows for Energy conservation, which is very important for decks without Super Rod. Overall, Energy Switch is a very good card with a lot of potential behind it right now.


There are so many great cards with a lot of potential that didn’t make it onto my list, but I think it may be because they wouldn’t have had that much of an impact as these other ones would have. The argument for them was not as strong either.

I think that there will be a lot of surprises come Cities and someone will think of something truly fantastic and weird that will blow our minds.

I’m very excited for Cities to come because there are many opportunities to try out new decks and ideas. Cities may be one of the best tournaments series of the season.

I hope to see you all there!


Reader Interactions

5 replies

  1. Adam Capriola

    Nice article Matt! Two things:

    1. Why did you play Trubbish PLS 65 and not Trubbish DRX?

    2. I think Tropical Beach should probably be on the top 10 list too (with the no attacking turn 1 going first), but I like your other choices!

    • Matt Price  → Adam

      Good questions:
      1. I didn’t have any Trubbish DRX on hand and really found no point to getting them. They have the same HP and retreat. The only difference being that you can feasibly attack with the one from DRX, but if I am I’m probably in a bad spot anyway. Plus, if I flip the lone Trubbish, no one knows what I’m playing and could think I’m playing Tool Drop! It’s not a big deal long term, but opponent’s reactions are priceless.

      1. Tropical Beach seems like a gimme on the list, but I feel like everyone knows about it. I doubt that a rise in Tropical Beach is something that people aren’t expecting, and I wanted to keep the list down to more diverse or unthought of cards. I was debating putting it in the honorable mentions category, but overall just left it out.
      • Dragonite3500  → Matt

        Lol I just lost in top 8 at regionals because my opponent KO’d my sable with trubbish DRX (after 2 lasers) in sudden death :P

  2. Joseph Lee

    Good article. I did notice that the language at times got a little… confusing. Just some sentences where it felt like things got swapped around or else were inaccurately gauged:

    “There is no longer a fear of a Catcher’d up Emboar or at least a lesser
    chance of it happening and less of a fear of being donked. ”

    Makes more sense if it is

    “There is no longer a fear of being donked up Emboar and less of a fear of Emboar being Catcher’d up.”

    Some decks will stop running Pokémon Catcher and not replace it with something similar (like Escape Rope), but it seems better to recognize that the Catcher alternatives (and possible Catcher) will see enough play you can’t count on your Bench being safe; that’s a false sense of security. On the other hand, the only way to get donked is to run a 30 HP Pokémon and get hit by Hypnotoxic Laser with Virbank City Gym in play. At least for a “true” donk.

  3. Tim Long

    I’m so glad that spiritomb is finally getting some love. This guy’s impressed me quite a bit and I’m super excited to see him enter play.

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