Tropical Beach will not be on the list because I’m sure you’ve already figured out how good it is (and will be). What I will talk about are other, less expected cards that I feel will see increased play.
I’m not necessarily implying that these cards will have a large competitive impact on the game, but that they should be considerations leading up to Cities. These cards are listed in no particular order.
Pokémon Catcher now hinges on a coin flip, so naturally many people will be looking for alternative cards that guarantee gusting up a chosen Pokémon from the opposition’s Bench. There are two cards that immediately spring to mind: Ninetales DRX and Genesect EX.
Unlike Genesect, Ninetales does not require a deck to be using Plasma Energies and use their Energy attachment for the turn to activate the Ability.
The downsides, of course, to Ninetales are Bright Look only works immediately after you evolve your Vulpix, it can only be used once, it can’t be used Turn 1, and being a Stage 1 Ninetales takes up deck space.
Ninetales doesn’t only have to be for its Ability though; it’s actually a fairly good attacker. For a single Fire Energy it does 20 damage + 50 more for each Special Condition affecting the Defending Pokémon. A heads on a Hypnotoxic Laser, a Virbank City Gym in play, and a Silver Bangle attached allow you to hit for a whopping 180 damage with just one Energy.
While there are problems with this strategy, such as a reliance on coin flips and cards like Virizion-EX blocking off Special Conditions, it can be useful as maybe a 2-2 line solely for Bright Look.
Dusknoir is most noted for its crucial role in the Gothitelle EPO 47/Accelgor DEX deck which won US Nationals last season amongst other successes. Since then it hasn’t seen much action, but the new rule changes and the release of Legendary Treasures might very well change this.
With Gothitelle being reprinted, Gothitelle/Accelgor could make a comeback, and with it so will Dusknoir. With Virizion-EX being fairly popular though, its success will be limited, but I would be surprised if the deck didn’t see some play.
This isn’t the only reason Dusknoir is going to be viable though, as the rule changes really benefit Dusknoir more than virtually any other card because with the errata to Pokémon Catcher and the increased popularity of Mr. Mime PLF (to be discussed in a moment) the Bench is a lot safer than before.
This is good for non-attacking Bench-sitters as there is less danger of them being Knocked Out, and especially good for Dusknoir because it becomes one of the only cards that can consistently manipulate damage to the opponent’s Benched Pokémon.
If you don’t like the flippiness of Catcher, and Garbodor decks aren’t overly popular in your area, I would seriously recommend testing out Dusknoir out and seeing what you think of it. Being able to take knockouts on Benched Pokémon is going to be rare and powerful in this coming format.
3. Reuniclus DRX
This is more of a fun pick than anything else, but I think it’s worth hearing me out with this one. The incredibly low HP of Solosis has kept this card out of play for a long time, but now with the new first turn rules it can’t get donked (unless you can’t find another Basic on your first turn).
And as I said earlier, Bench-sitters get a lot better, as it’s now harder to drag them out into the Active position due to the Catcher errata. These two factors aren’t going to be enough on their own for people to dedicate precious space toward a Reuniclus line, so what has the card got going for it?
With spread damage being very scarce due to Mr. Mime’s expected popularity, and weak targets on the Bench now much safer, it’s not much surprise that a card which lets you move damage counters around your side of the board would be improved.
Let’s say you have a large Pokémon-EX in the Active position with 180 HP. Aside from a costly G Booster from Genesect EX or a combination of Deoxys-EX, Silver Bangle, and LaserBank with Kyurem PLF, the only card that can reach 180 damage in one shot (without the help of Weakness) is Black Kyurem-EX PLS.
Editor’s Note: That’s nearly every competitive deck.
If the opponent is playing a deck that can’t take you out in one hit and doesn’t play Garbodor, like say Speed Darkrai, then you could effectively lock them out of the game as they wouldn’t be able to knock anything out without lucky Catcher flips. You could keep moving the damage off of your Active and either heal it off another Pokémon with a Max Potion or just leave it in play, knowing your weakened Bench is probably safe with a Mr. Mime on the field.
I understand that I might be looking into this too far. Reuniclus still has serious problems due to its low HP, the space needed to play it in a deck, and all the ways to overcome Damage Swap, but maybe someone will find a fun use for it.
Mr. Mime, out of all the cards discussed in this article, has probably seen the most continual competitive use since its release in Plasma Freeze. With Bench snipe being such a crucial factor in many decks for taking out weak Pokémon or softening up EXs, it’s just such a great tactic to shut down.
And guess what? Mr. Mime is getting even better. It’s even safer on the Bench now thanks to the Catcher errata, and it’s likely to stay in play for the duration of the game once it hits the field.
I know a lot of other people have discussed Mr. Mime in detail in the past, so I’m not going to ramble on about it, but I will add that I wouldn’t be surprised to see this card as a staple in virtually every deck now.
Empoleon has been around for a long time now and ever since its release it has been fairly good, but it’s never really made it to the top tier. I don’t think the new rules are going to miraculously make Empoleon amazing, but I think it might see more play than it did at Regionals.
Being a Stage 2, it benefits from the new turn 1 rule as its pre-evolution 60 HP Piplups are less likely to be donked.
Also, with Dusknoir BCR being a key partner in crime, the changes to Pokémon Catcher will help your Bench safe, and likely popularity of Mr. Mime and other Bench-sitters is in turn going to help fuel Attack Command for big damage.
Whether all of this will be enough to persuade people to start playing Empoleon decks, I don’t know, but I have always enjoyed Empoleon decks and I look forward to trying a few new variants out.
That’s it for this article; I hope you enjoyed it. I wanted to keep it short and sweet so I limited my list down to just five cards, but if you have any other cards in mind which you feel could get better I would be interested to hear them in the comments!