Where We’re Heading

A Unified Minds Set Breakdown and Which Cards Will Impact the Meta

BulbapediaHello again readers, I’m back with you for the first time this month, and I am very excited to jump into today’s content. Last time, I had not looked at Unified Minds yet, so I was unable to cover the next format in any way. Today, I am going to go through Unified Minds and talk about the cards I believe have a place in the meta going forward.

Unified Minds Breakdown


Rowlet & Alolan Exeggutor-GX · view ⇢

BulbapediaThis is a card that I do not see falling into the background in either Standard or Expanded. Being able to break evolution rules has always been very strong, and now we have an attacker that does it for no Energy cost. In Standard, I’m quite certain that some form of Grass Box could become real, and I could also see Nidoqueen TEU/Meganium LOT/Swampert CES playing this card. In Expanded, the options available to us are absolutely crazy. For instance, we can now easily achieve turn 1 Item lock with Vileplume AOR. The potential of this card is incredibly strong, and it only stands to get better as more cards get printed.

Amoonguss · view ⇢

We have seen cards similar to this before, and most recently it was Salazzle GRI. Sadly, that never saw much play because Burn + Poison isn’t a great combo in a format full of broken switching cards like Guzma. Now, we have lost Guzma, Acerola, and Escape Rope, so Special Conditions will become more viable. There is also a bunch of support for Sleep in Unified Minds, which I’ll get into later. While it might not be Tier 1, Amoonguss is a card that I could easily see winning games.

Tsareena · view ⇢

The Ability on this card is absolutely insane. Granted, it is a Stage 2, but that can be overcome with some combination of Rowlet & Alolan Exeggutor-GX and Meganium LOT. Grass has always lacked a great form of Energy acceleration that didn’t require an attack, and now it finally has it. This is a card that could be key in the Grass Box concept. We are also about to see a rise in Bench-sitting Pokémon because of the lack of greatgust effects in the game right now. Yes, Custom Catcher exists, but that’s once or twice a game, and if they want to waste that on a non-GX, non-threatening attacker, then good for them.


Heatran-GX · view ⇢

“Wow! Another Pokémon with the exact same effects as multiple other cards! Just what we needed!” Yes, the card is frighteningly similar to Xerneas p, Tapu Koko-GX, and Articuno-GX, but all of those cards have seen some play. All three GX cards have GX attacks that can completely swing the match back into your favor. Fire has an incredible amount of support right now, and a 190-HP attacker that can hit 300+ damage with its GX attack relatively easily seems strong to close out games. The big difference between Heatran-GX and ReshiZard-GX is that ReshiZard-GX requires all 6 Energy to already be attached to it. Heatran-GX may very well be what the Quad Arcanine deck was lacking. I would definitely try to own a copy or two of this card.

Victini · view ⇢

This is an interesting form of Energy acceleration, which is something that the format lacks a bit. I would rather this was a Psychic type rather than another Fire type, but the attack is still somewhat viable in certain decks that could be playing Rainbows, Unit Energy GRW (NagaQuag anyone?), or just multiple types of basic Energy.

Chandelure · view ⇢

Wow. That’s certainly a… gimmick? I personally want this card to be good, as it is essentially a Stage 1 because of Dusk Stone. However, I have yet to see anyone attempt to make a list, and I don’t yet know what a good slew of Fire-type Pokémon to discard would be.


Slowpoke & Psyduck-GX · view ⇢

Ugh. This card actually gives me a headache. Whenever I see it, I always imagine someone flipping 10 coins at once, and then getting 10 tails. However, Ditch and Splash is an attack that has great potential in a format where Fire is prevalent. Is the card great? No, but it’s a gimmick that certain Water decks could play.

Froslass · view ⇢

Why couldn’t we have had this card one set earlier? ReshiZard would have had an easy check, the card combos well with Ultra Beasts because it is the Water type that the 1-Prize decks have been lacking. However, the card is still very good and I am looking forward to testing it alongside the Ultra Beast roster.

Carracosta · view ⇢

This card is incredibly strong for a Stage 2. I believe that Fossil Box finally stands a chance because of this and Aerodactyl-GX. Obviously, this is an answer for ReshiZard, but it also cripples quite a few decks with that broken Ability. Turning off Tools is something that the format desperately needed. Escape Board, Shedinja LOT, and whatever else pops up all fall in the face of Carracosta.

Cryogonal · view ⇢

Item lock. It’s back. Why is it back? Yeah, I don’t know either. Fortunately, the damage output of Cryogonal pales in comparison to that of Seismitoad-EX. Unfortunately, I believe that this card will find a place alongside Amoonguss because there is only a single Supporter card that can be used to Switch, and that’s Tate & Liza.

Keldeo-GX · view ⇢

Safeguard? Okay, fine. Ignore effects? Well, that’s a good card. Dangerous Rogue-GX clone? That’s all on one card? Keldeo-GX is one of the strongest cards that has been printed in a very long time. Will it be good though? I don’t know the answer to that one. In previous formats, I have no doubt that it would be very strong. Unfortunately, this current format seems to have a lack of things that are bothered by Safeguard and there aren’t many effects to hit through. Somewhat ironically, I think the best spot for this card is in the discard pile of a Water or Porygon-Z-based Mewtwo & Mew-GX deck.

Golisopod · view ⇢

First Impression for 180 with a non-Pokémon-GX? Well that’s pretty good. Coupled with Triple Acceleration Energy and the Ability that grants free retreat, Golisopod is quite the package. I don’t know what to partner this card with yet, but logically, it has to be good somewhere.

Tapu Fini · view ⇢

It deals with Blacephalon-GX rather well, and that’s about all it does. I suppose it has the ability to hit Naganadel-GX for some cheap damage. It will see play in a few decks that struggle with Blacephalon-GX, but past that it’s not very good.


Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX · view ⇢

pokellector.comSomeone had a bunch of bad ideas and decided to put it on one card. 260 HP makes it incredibly hard to KO, Lightning has so much support that it’s not even funny, and it has an auto-paralyze attack in a format with Escape Board, Switch, and Tate & Liza as the only outs to paralysis. Tag Switch allows it to be dropped out of nowhere rather easily in PikaRom decks, and the turn following the paralysis, it is very easy to transition into a Zapdos to clean up the KO. And then you can do it again at minimal risk, or you can go into PikaRom again after another Tag Switch and use Tag Bolt-GX to win the game. Seems balanced right?

Galvantula · view ⇢

This card contains a gimmick that we rarely see. It can hit for Weakness on the Bench. Unfortunately, 50 damage isn’t a lot anymore and Lightning is a rather irrelevant Weakness to hit. However, it is a card that will always be in the back of my mind if there is ever a card printed that makes it playable.

Xurkitree · view ⇢

What, Sledgehammer once a game wasn’t enough? I guess not, because they decided to print it again, except this time on a Lightning type and on the 3-Prize turn instead. This leaves us with relevant Ultra Beasts when our opponent is at 4, 3, 2, and potentially 1 (Dusk Mane Necrozma SM124) Prize cards remaining. On top of that, you can use Electropower to boost the damage of Three Mirrors even more. In theory, you can do it without attaching an Energy because of Thunder Mountain p.


Mewtwo & Mew-GX · view ⇢

This is a card that I don’t believe should have ever been printed. There are so many different Pokémon-GX that are very strong when they don’t have to be set up as a Stage 2. For instance, Solgaleo-GX SM104 can be used to accelerate 2 Energy on our first turn now, provided we draw the necessary cards. Thankfully, we lost Double Colorless Energy to rotation, because if we had not, then Mew Box would be much too strong. I can think of a few different ways to build this. One would be Welder + Fire attackers, another is Blastoise TEU, and I could even see Magnezone UPR or a Lightning build that uses Tapu Koko p.

Espeon & Deoxys-GX · view ⇢

This card is interesting, and likely will see play sometime over the next season. However, it has the major flaw of having Psychic Weakness, which means it can be 1HKO’d by a Giratina LOT. Psycho Circle doesn’t do enough damage to be good, and Cross Divide-GX has too steep of a cost to be incredibly strong. It’s still a card to play around with in testing, but I currently don’t think it’s that great.

Latios-GX · view ⇢

I believe that the word “meh” is quite literally the embodiment of this card. Blocking TAG TEAMs is great and all, but there are enough other Pokémon in the game for that to not matter. Clear Vision-GX is certainly interesting, but I don’t know what deck could justify attacking with a GX attack just to turn off an opponent’s GX attack for the game.

Jirachi-GX · view ⇢

This is a card that I see as a staple in a few decks. The Ability is very strong in this format, with the influx of Psychic types, and I could see some form of Fighting-type deck rise up and actually deal with Malamar because of Jirachi-GX. The attacks are nothing special, but Star Shield-GX has the potential to completely wall your opponent for a turn if you manage to attach 3 Energy to the Jirachi-GX.

Drifblim · view ⇢

When I initially read this card ages ago, I wrote it off as bad. That was before I learned that we would not have Guzma for Worlds. I could see some convoluted form of Raichu & Alolan Raichu-GX that plays this, and I could also see Porygon-Z UNB paired with this and TAG TEAMs in the next format.

Beheeyem · view ⇢

Two Item-lock Pokémon in one set? Why not? Unfortunately this one might actually be good. I could see pairing this with Kabutops TEU and Zebstrika LOT, but that may or may not be too much for one deck. This card will definitely be played at some point in time, but I currently don’t think there is a strong enough engine for it.

Aegislash · view ⇢

I have always wanted there to be a playable Aegislash, and I think my wish may have been granted. However, I don’t know whether it is going to be fast enough or strong enough to keep up with the bigger decks in the format. Right now, I see no reason to play this over Malamar.


Aerodactyl-GX · view ⇢

At first glance this card seemed alright. Looking again, I would say that it has the potential to be a good deck if built correctly. That Ability is certainly a major issue for a few decks, and I could even see some form of Stall deck in the future if good healing cards are printed in the next year. Aerodactyl-GX also has an attack that can deal 120 damage, which is coincidentally enough to 1HKO a PikaRom. The GX attack also has the potential to be dropped out of nowhere and finish up a game against ReshiZard or PikaRom.

Breloom · view ⇢

This card pairs well with Amoonguss. That’s about all it does unfortunately.

Garchomp · view ⇢

The potential to do 200 damage for a single Energy (assuming Karate Belt is attached) is nothing to sneeze at. Sadly it is a Stage 2, and will most likely be unplayable for now. I’m sure someone will try though, so have it on your radar.

Lucario · view ⇢

Perhaps it’s a good thing we’re losing good healing cards, because if we still had them, I’m willing to bet this would be paired with Lucario & Melmetal-GX to be a nasty Attacking–Stall deck.

Archeops · view ⇢

Maybe? I don’t know how well this card would actually work, but in concept it completely disrupts a lot of decks.

Zygarde · view ⇢

Cool concept, except we lost Double Colorless Energy. If we hadn’t, then I could see playing Zygarde-GX for Worlds. The concept might still be worth testing, but my preliminary thoughts are negative.


Umbreon & Darkrai-GX · view ⇢

Yeah, it’s pretty good. I definitely want to put time into testing Dark Box, and I think this might be the way to go, especially when paired with Mega Sableye & Tyranitar-GX. That GX attack is nasty and has the potential to swing games back into your favor.

Mega Sableye & Tyranitar-GX · view ⇢

So, I’m not gonna lie, I kinda expected the new mechanic at announced at Worlds to be Mega TAG TEAMs. This was before Unified Minds and the Dynamax thing was announced for the video game, so there’s my logic I guess. Obviously I was wrong, and they decided to drop one out of nowhere, and I gotta say, it’s a ridiculous card. 5 Energy might seem like a lot, but Weavile-GX makes it easy enough to drop this thing out of nowhere and clean up the game. On the other hand, 10 Energy does seem a bit unattainable, but if you do find it, I don’t see a way you lose the game. You’re milling 15 cards and dealing 250 damage. Is that not the most broken attack ever printed?

Weavile-GX · view ⇢

The glue holding all of these huge Dark types together is Weavile-GX. It has the ability to move D Energy around at will, which makes it easy to drop all these random attackers out of nowhere. The attacks are a bit lackluster, but not every card can have great attacks and a broken Ability.

Hoopa · view ⇢

This card screams Malamar counter. Basically, we now have a single-Energy attacker that can 1HKO a Giratina. Unfortunately, it is sort of nerfed because we lost Rescue Stretcher, but it still an interesting card that may see some fringe play.


Mawile-GX · view ⇢

Of the two Metal types in the set, Mawile-GX is the one that stands out as at all playable. The Ability is interesting, and the attack can hit decent damage. Unfortunately, Metal is pretty much the worst type to be right now, because nothing relevant is weak to it, and Fire is quite well off. Big Eater-GX is a cute concept, but unless you’re doing it after a Reset Stamp, it seems bad.


Garchomp & Giratina-GX · view ⇢

This card is quickly becoming my favorite partner for Malamar decks, and it is easy to see how strong it is. Unlike Ultra Necrozma-GX, this can be dropped with only two Malamar in play and still deal enough damage to KO a TAG TEAM. Yes, you’ll need to have done damage with Distortion Door or Spell Tag beforehand, but that is very easy. See Pablo’s article from Tuesday for more on Garchomp & Giratina-GX.

Dragonite-GX · view ⇢

Another card that I want to play around with, but ultimately I doubt it will amount to anything. Being a Stage 2 is such an issue, and the 5-Energy attack cost is pretty steep, even with Welder and Triple Acceleration Energy.

Naganadel-GX · view ⇢

In my opinion, this is one of the best cards in the set. You have an Ability that boosts consistency, an attack that can be used pretty easily between Porygon-Z UNB and Triple Acceleration Energy, and all the benefits of being an Ultra Beast.


Channeler · view ⇢

This is a strictly worse Pokémon Ranger because it does not target your opponent’s Active Pokémon. So it doesn’t actually counter Jirachi-GX’s Star Shield-GX. I could see there being a spot for this in ReshiZard, but even then, that seems like a gimmick at best.

Cherish Ball · view ⇢

This is about to be one of the most important cards for a few decks. This effect is incredibly strong because there is literally no cost to searching out a Pokémon. I would compare it to Nest Ball in terms of overall power, and Nest Ball took a bit for people to realize how good it was.

Dark City · view ⇢

Yes, because Dark Box needed a way to retreat for free as well. This is a card that I could not see leaving out right now, but that could change.

Giant Hearth · view ⇢

Seems decent. ReshiZard really didn’t need another way to search out Energy, but we have more anyway.

Great Potion · view ⇢

With Potion finally rotating for the first time since I’ve been playing, there needed to be another generic healing card. Great Potion is pretty great at what it does, and should see play in a few decks.

Hapu · view ⇢

A slightly better (or situationally worse) Sage’s Training from the HGSS era. Hapu will see some play, with my favorite deck for it right now being Malamar.

Karate Belt · view ⇢

This seems like it will be the card to keep Fighting relevant in the game, but that begs the question of which Fighting types? Marshadow & Machamp-GX is my current favorite to become decent, but I may be very wrong there.

Pokémon Research Lab · view ⇢

The lifeblood of the Fossil Box concept, because it basically makes those Stage 2 Fossils become Stage 1s and Aerodactyl become a Basic. Unfortunately it ends your turn, but that is not an issue on your first turn. I would obviously still be playing Unidentified Fossils, but it’s a nice boost.

Reset Stamp · view ⇢

Because we couldn’t have just one event without hand disruption? This card makes me miss Marshadow with its Let Loose. At least both players were risking a dead hand with Let Loose. This thing is just dumb and hurts the game in my opinion.

Slumbering Forest · view ⇢

This is the reason that Amoonguss/Cryogonal could be good. My opponent has a 25% chance of waking up, is taking Poison damage, and is Item locked.

Stadium Nav · view ⇢

Flipping a 2 coins to find a Prism Stadium seems good. Why is this a card again? Turn 1 Full Blitz all day?

Tag Switch · view ⇢

Tag Switch is really only good in PikaRom and maybe ReshiZard. It will see play because of how inherently strong it is.


Recycle Energy · view ⇢

This card is basically only playable in Porygon-Z UNB/Naganadel-GX, but it’s definitely very strong there. It basically makes Naganadel-GX.

Final Thoughts

Well, that’s all I have for today. I’m certainly vey excited to start testing this format, and I hope that it proves to be at least somewhat enjoyable. I’ll be back in a bit over a week to talk about my testing results from now until then.

As always, feel free to message me with any questions that you might have about anything related to Pokémon. I also now offer coaching! Either email me (alex.schemanske@gmail.com) or PM me if interested.

Until the next one.

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