The latest Pokemon Trading Card Game expansion set, XY: BREAKpoint is finally here. The set very much feels like a remix of sorts, with old attacks and Abilities being printed on new cards, and tiny additions being made that can help make old archetypes better.
There are some Pokemon in this set that will certainly see immediate play, however a lot of the Pokemon in this set have some good characteristics to them but will need something released in a future set to be truly playable in the competitive scene.
In this article I will look at my top 20 Pokemon cards from BREAKpoint. This is actually the second part of a two part article series. You can check out the first part at the following link: An All Night Party for BREAKpoint – Reviewing the Trainers of BREAKpoint.
Honorable Mention – Tympole
[W] Get Loud – 10
[C][C] Round – 10x – This attack does 10 damage times the number of your Pokemon that have the Round attack.
It’s nice to see Pokemon throw some love to an old archetype by giving the Round deck in Expanded a major boost.
For those that don’t know what I’m talking about, the very first print of Seismitoad in the card game had an attack called Round, which did 30 damage times the number of Pokemon with the Round attack. This was released all the way back in Noble Victories.
Upon release, there were three Pokemon with the Round attack, Seismitoad, Palpitoad, and Wigglytuff. Later, in Legendary Treasures, where Seismitoad was also reprinted, Meloetta EX was released adding a Basic Pokemon with the attack to the mix.
A major flaw of the deck was that not everything in the evolution line for Seismitoad had the Round attack, which limited the damage. Now with this new Tympole, Round decks will be able to hit big damage numbers.
While I don’t expect Round to start doing well in Expanded tournaments, primarily because it’s a Stage 2 deck, it is still very cool to see Pokemon add specific support aimed at boosting old archetypes, even if those old archetypes don’t have much competitive value.
[F][C] Watch and Learn – If your opponent’s Pokemon used an attack during his or her last turn, use it as this attack.
Pokemon with attacks or Abilities that can copy an opponent’s attacks usually don’t see a lot of play because they’re too reactive and can be played around, but every now and then we see them pop up and be major techs that can push a list over the top allowing it to do well at a tournament.
There are a few different ways that Sudowoodo could be played. The first is by itself, accelerating to it with Max Elixir. Alternatively, it fits well into Bronzong decks such as Tyrantrum EX/Bronzong that already play Fighting Energy. Lastly, it could fit into something like Night March in Expanded and be copied for a single Energy with Mew EX.
I’m not sure where this card would fit in a prospective meta game as a counter, but typically these attacks work best at countering Pokemon with a lot of HP that have attacks which do enough damage that those attacks can be used to KO the Pokemon that has that attack.
Ability – Overgrow – If this Pokemon’s remaining HP is 50 or less, its attacks do 70 more damage to your opponent’s Active Pokemon (before applying Weakness and Resistance)
[G][G][C] Green Force – 50 damage. Heal from this Pokemon the same amont of damage you did to your opponent’s Active Pokemon.
This is a card to set aside into the pile of cards with future potential. I think it could pair with Vileplume in the future to potentially create a strong tank deck.
150 HP can be tough to take down under Item lock, and Meganium can constantly heal itself. If you hit it for 50 damage or less, it will completely heal itself with Green Force. Additionally, if you hit it for 100 or more damage, it will then be able to heal 120 damage from itself with Green Force thanks to its Overgrow Ability making its attacks do 70 more damage when it drops to 50 HP or below.
The thing that will keep it from being immediately playable is its Energy intensive attack cost of [G][G][C]. That would take 3 manual attachments to get one setup, so it is probably too slow to keep up with the current speed of the format without additional support.
18. Raticate BREAK and Raticate
[C][C] Super Fang – Put damage counters on your opponent’s Active Pokemon until its remaining HP is 10.
This is a pseudo-reprint of Raticate from Plasma Freeze, with some significant changes. The attack now only costs [C][C] so it can be powered up with a single Double Colorless attachment. It has 110 HP, so it’s much harder to knockout.
When paired with Ariados AOR, Raticate BREAK can score consistent OHKO’s.
Unfortunately by being printed as a BREAK it is essentially a Stage 2 Pokemon which probably means it’s too slow to compete in a fast format.
Ability – Antibodies – This Pokemon can’t be affected by any Special Conditions. (Heal and Special Conditions on this Pokemon).
[C] Dirty Shock – Your opponent’s Active Pokemon is now Poisoned. Discard any Pokemon Tools attached to your opponent’s Active Pokemon.
Not noteworthy on its own, but as part of a bigger Raticate BREAK deck it’s nice that the Stage 1 it is building off of can’t be affected by Special Conditions and would also give it free retreat.
17. M Scizor EX
[M][M] Iron Crusher – 120 damage – You may discard a Special Energy attached to your opponent’s Active Pokemon or a Stadium card in play.
This card is solid. It should be able to score consistent 2HKO’s while being mildly disruptive. I don’t think it’s destined towards greatness, but it’s better than enough other cards to land in the Top 20!
Ability – Zap Zone – Damage from the attacks of your Lightning Pokemon isn’t affected by any effects on your opponent’s Active Pokemon.
[C][C] Crashing Bolt – 50+ damage – If your opponent’s Active Pokemon has [F] Resistance, this attack does 60 more damage.
Zebstrika is a hard counter to Flying Pokemon, which span a variety of types. These Pokemon include Yveltal XY, Yveltal EX, Hawlucha FFI, M Rayquaza EX, and Lugia EX.
In many cases Raichu XY will be a better counter, as it can hit all Lightning weak Pokemon, which includes stuff like M Gyarados EX which doesn’t have the Fighting resistance, however in some ways Zebstrika can be a better counter if the Lightning weak Pokemon are centered around Lightning weak Pokemon with Fighting resistance.
Zebstrika isn’t at risk of being denied by a Parallel City. Additionally, Zebstrika can break through potential counters to the Lightning weakness, such as Shadow Circle and Weakness Policy.
Outside of being a direct hard counter, Zebstrika has little other utility.
15. Togekiss EX
[Y] Mighty Wind – 20 damage – You may attach an Energy card from your hand to 1 of your Benched Pokemon.
[Y][C][C][C] – 50x damage – Flip 4 coins. This attack does 50 damage times the number of heads.
This card can be used in Aromatisse decks in the Standard format somewhat similarly to how Thundurus EX was previously used in the Plasmatisse deck at US Nationals 2014.
Togekiss EX is a bit worse at setting up KO’s because it does 10 less damage and can’t be further boosted by something like Deoxys EX. However, Togekiss EX is more versatile than Thundurus EX in that it can accelerate the Energy to any Pokemon and isn’t restricted to accelerating Energy solely to Plasma Pokemon.
A major downside to Togekiss EX in comparison to Thundurus EX is that it accelerates Energy from your hand, and is not able to recover Energy from the discard pile like Thundurus EX did.
It’s not a spectacular cards by any means, but it could give Fairy Transfer decks reliant on Special Energy a little more speed and could be used for some fast setup of Double Dragon Energy variants.
[G] Mountain Munch – 10 damage – Discard the top card of your opponent’s deck.
[G][C] Scrape Down – If this Pokemon has any damage counters on it, discard the top 4 cards of your opponent’s deck.
Discarding 4 cards from your opponent’s deck per a turn is certainly strong, but having too many stipulations to achieve that goal might prevent Durant from finding any consistent success.
The big sticking point for me is that it needs a damage counter on it, which will mess with the deck’s consistency. There are a few ways to do this, but the most popular will probably be playing Rainbow Energy and Team Magma’s Secret Base.
It will also take some setup to be able to consistently stream them. You will need to use some combination of Max Elixir, Exp. Share, and/or an Energy accelerator like Bronzong to keep a consistent stream of Durant.
Having two harder conditions that need to be met (damage counter plus two Energy) may prevent Durant from being successful.
One positive the deck can hang its hat on is that Fighting Fury Belt can give Durant 110 HP making it somewhat difficult to knockout.
I think there are a lot of factors working against this Durant, but I also see plenty of potential for it to find success with a well crafted list.
13. Greninja BREAK, Greninja, and Frogadier
Ability – Giant Water Shuriken -Once during your turn (before your attack), if this Pokemon is your Active Pokemon, you may discard a [W] Energy card from your hand. If you do, put 6 damage counters on 1 of your opponent’s Pokemon.
I am a little skeptical of Greninja BREAK because it is essentially a Stage 3 Pokemon, but if it does get out into play it is clearly very powerful. Being able to do 60 damage with an Ability is good to knockout low HP Basic Pokemon, and can do a lot for setting up KO’s on EX Pokemon.
The biggest downside to this card is that it has to be Active, which will limit how much use it could get. When paired with the XY Greninja, damage can start flying around very quickly. You could do 90 damage of Ability based damage between a Greninja BREAK-Greninja XY pair, and then if you can cycle between two, that’s 180 damage if you can hit all of the necessary Energy.
Alternatively, you could do 90 damage with one pair, and then retreat into a Miltank for 80 damage for a combined 170 damage. However, you need to be careful since Miltank’s Powerful Friends attack only gets the +70 damage boost when a Stage 2 is in play, so if you don’t have another Stage 2 in play, the BREAK evolution won’t count as a Stage 2 to trigger that effect.
This is a card that I don’t think will ultimately work out in competitive play, but that I also remain optimistic that it does find a way to breakthrough as I think it’s a really cool card. If Greninja XY based decks do make a comeback, I think Greninja BREAK won’t be part of the core strategy, but only played as a 1-of, maybe a 2-of as it’s too hard to spam too many of these into play and use them effectively. It could be the type of card that gives a deck like Greninja/Miltank that push it needs to get over the top.
The 170 HP also shouldn’t be ignored. With that much HP it could be possible to tank a Greninja BREAK with Max Potion.
[C] Shadow Stitching – 40 damage – Until the end of your opponent’s next turn, each Pokemon your opponent has in play, in his or her hand, and in his or her discard pile has no Abilities. (This includes cards that come into play on that turn.)
[W] Moonlight Slash – 60+ – You may return a [W] Energy from this Pokemon to your hand. If you do, this attack does 20 more damage.
If a Greninja BREAK deck does appear, I fully expect this to be the primary Greninja to be played in the deck.To make full use of Greninja BREAK you have to have it Active, and this Greninja has far better attacks than Greninja XY.
Shadow Stitching in particular will be the main attack I see players using. Ability lock has proven very strong in both the past and present, so an attack like this that does significant enough damage could thoroughly disrupt any other Ability based deck.
[W] Water Duplicates – Search your deck for up to 3 Frogadier and put them onto your Bench. Shuffle your deck afterward.
It’s always cool to see Pokemon print pre-evolutions that have extra utility beyond just being part of the process of getting to that final evolution that you want.
I think this aspect of future Greninja decks is overhyped, as i think it’s perfectly possible to build Greninja decks without it that consistently swarm Stage 2’s onto the field. Where Frogadier best shines is to help smooth over those games where you’re getting a less than optimal setup going. Good utility, but not a game changer by any means.
12. Ho-Oh EX
Ability – Purifying Fire – Once during your turn (before your attack), if this Pokemon has any basic [R] Energy attached to it, you may heal 50 damage from it.
[G][W][L] Elemental Feather – 130 damage – This attack does 30 damage to 1 of your opponent’s Benched Pokemon. (Don’t apply Weakness and Resistance for Benched Pokemon.)
Elemental Feather is basically a super Night Spear attack. With Muscle Band you’re hitting for 150 + 30 which sets up a lot of situation for great exchanges against other EX Pokemon. The downside of course is that it has an abysmal attack cost, requiring three different types of Energy to work.
I think players will initially leap to playing the card with M Manectric EX, although I’m not sure what exactly Ho-Oh EX would add to those decks to make them better over what they already have.
A sneakier play may be to pair Ho-Oh EX with Palkia EX, and then use Smeargle to smooth over the Energy types that Ho-OH EX needs to attack. The 130 damage from Elemental Feather even pairs pretty well with the 40 damage from Palkia EX’s Aqua Turbo. However, that begs the question, would that be worth it over powering up other, easier to use attackers with Palkia?
I think this is ultimately going to be the problem with Ho-Oh EX, it has a great attack in what the attack does, but ultimately the Energy cost of that attack makes it too inefficient to be played over other cards. The attack gives it a lot of future potential, but it needs the right support to become a major meta player.
I don’t think Ho-OH Ex’s Ability will be worth going after. Getting three different types of Energy onto Ho-Oh EX is already a lot to ask for, and getting a fourth type onto it is asking for way too much.
11. Manaphy EX
Ability – Aqua Tube – Each of your Pokemon that has any [W] Energy attached to it has no Retreat Cost.
[W][W] Mineral Pump – 60 damage – Heal 30 damage from each of your Benched Pokemon.
With Manaphy EX we get a free retreat Ability, similar to Darkrai EX’s Dark Cloak, only this time for Water Pokemon.
I expect Manaphy EX to see play in some of the same areas that Darkrai EX did (Fairy Transfer decks) as well in Water decks if they’re already playing Shaymin EX, although I think these decks will find much less success with Manaphy EX because it has no attacking utility and its HP makes it a liability.
While most decks typically spam Shaymin EX, Fairy Transfer decks are typically all about prize denial, and having a 120 HP Pokemon on your bench is a big liability to have. In Expanded, I expect Darkrai EX to be favored over Manaphy EX for filling the free retreat role, and I would rather play Fairy Garden in a Standard Fairy Transfer deck for free retreat.
However, Manaphy EX does fit excellently in the Vileplume AOR/Regice AOR deck for giving you the mobility to maneuver from Regice to different attackers without discarding any Energy while also giving you a means to retreat Vileplume out of the active spot. I think Manaphy EX will fit terrifically in such decks and give them a big boost headed into State Championships.
10. Espeon EX
[C] Miraculous Shine – Devolve each of your opponent’s evolved Pokemon and put the highest Stage Evolution card on it into your opponent’s hand.
[P][C][C] Psyshock – 70 damage – This attack’s damage isn’t affected by any effects on your opponent’s Active Pokemon.
As Pokemon has moved towards a best of 3, 50 minute swiss round tournament structure for our larger events we seem to keep on getting more and more cards that centralize the meta game around around Basic Pokemon. Espeon EX is another one of these cards.
Espeon EX will be of most interest for its Miraculous Shine attack, which de-evolves all of your opponent’s Pokemon. This might seem silly at first glance because your opponent can just re-evolve their Pokemon immediately. However, the reason an attack like this could be good is because if those Pokemon have more damage counters on them than the Pokemon that they’re going to be de-evolved into, they then become knocked out when you use Miraculous Shine.
This would pair well in decks that can spread damage around the field quite well, such as decks featuring Crobat PHF, Landorus EX, Manectric EX, and mixes of the above. A deck such as Manectric EX/Crobat PHF could struggle against a deck such as Vespiquen because Vespiquen’s 90 HP is a little hard for Manectric/Bats to take enough KO before Vespiquen wins the game. However, getting 40 damage to knock out a Combee is much more feasible.
While Rare Candy decks are not that common at the moment, Espeon EX is devastating to them. Rare Candy is a finite resource, so your opponent is unable to constantly evolve from a Basic to a Stage 2 with Rare Candy, so if they build their deck to be reliant on Rare Candy they will be unable to re-evolve into the Stage 2 at some point in the game.
These decks aren’t common as I’ve mentioned, but these types of decks could pop up in the near future with a card like Garchomp being released in BREAKpoint.
I want to put an emphasis that Espeon EX is devastating to Stage 2 evolution decks, but not necessarily all Stage 2’s. For example, Espeon EX’s attack would have no impact on a Garchomp that was Maxie’d onto your opponent’s bench because it’s considered a non-evolved Stage 2 Pokemon.
Outside of these basic scenarios, Espeon EX could also prove to be a thorn in the side of Mega decks. The Mega Evolution rule makes it so your opponent’s turn ends when they Mega Evolve. People get around this by playing Spirit Link cards which prevents the turn from ending, but if you pair Miraculous Shine with a Startling Megaphone to remove your opponent’s Spirit Link they may be forced into a situation where they can never successfully keep a Mega Evolution on the field and have to try to win the game with the Basic EX.
In Expanded in particular, Espeon EX will be poised to shine brightly. The card can be put into Archeops NVI decks to smooth over games against evolution decks where you whiff the early Archeops.
Espeon EX also has a second attack, Psyshock, with does a solid 70 damage. With Muscle Band Espeon EX can do 90 damage, which makes Espeon EX a potential counter for Psychic weak EX Pokemon such as Lucario EX.
9. Golduck BREAK
Ability – Hyper Transfer – As often as you like during your turn (before your attack), you may move a basic Energy from 1 of your Pokemon to another of your Pokemon.
While I’ve generally been negative on BREAK Pokemon from this set, this is one that I think has good potential to actually see play. The reason I think it has better potential than something like Raticate BREAK or Greninja BREAK is because you only need to get one in play to use it to its max potential.
Hyper Transfer is a fantastic Ability and I expect it to be the mainstay Energy Trans Ability in the Standard format after Aromatisse rotates. It is able to work with any Energy type, so the card will have in some regards more versatility than previous cards with similar Abilities. It does have to be Basic Energy, however, so you can’t use this with Special Energy like you could with an Ability like Fairy Transfer. This can be worked around some by playing multiple types of Basic Energy and using Smeargle to swap in the exact Energy you need to attack.
I think there are two distinct ways that the card could be played. The first is a slower setup, manually evolving until your get to Golduck BREAK. The other is to use Archie’s Ace in the Hole to put Golduck into play on turn 1 and then BREAK evolving on your next turn.
I’m not sure what it will end up doing well with, but with a strong Ability and such versatility I am certain that someone will come up with something that makes great use of this card.
8. M Gyarados EX
[C][C][C][C] Blast Geyser – 120+ – You may do 30 more damage for each [W] Energy attached to this Pokemon. If you do, discard the top 2 cards of your deck.
M Gyarados EX has some great eye popping stats to it, with a bulky 240 HP and an attack with the potential to OHKO.
I think it is probably too Energy intensive to be a major archetype by itself. You really need at least three Water Energy on it to hit relevant numbers against EX Pokemon. You can probably set one up easily, but getting the second setup is probably too much to ask.
Max Elixir (from the deck) and Mega Turbo (from the discard) conflict with each other in how they want to accelerate Energy, so combining both in the same deck is unlikely to be a super effective combo to get this card to work.
I also dislike attacks that discard cards from your deck. It always seems like you hit some crucial resources that you don’t want to discard.
Its Lightning weakness is also awful for the Expanded format, with Night March (Joltik), Raichu/Crobat, M Manectric EX, and Manectric EX/Crobat decks being some of the top decks from City Championships.
In the Expanded format it could make for a nice alternate target for Archie’s after you have your Blastoise in play. In that deck you would be able to power it up in one turn, and it would give you a very bulky Pokemon that would be taking OHKO’s while not discarding any Energy.
7. Palkia EX
[W][W] Aqua Turbo – 40 damage – Search your deck for 2 [W] Energy cards and attach them to 1 of your Benched Pokemon. Shuffle your deck afterward.
[W][W][W][W] Pearl Hurricane – 120 damage – This attack does 30 damage to 1 of your opponent’s Benched Pokemon. (Don’t apply Weakness and Resistance for Benched Pokemon).
This card should bring up immediate comparisons to Virizion EX which was used to great use in Virgen decks for its Emerald Break attack which accelerated two Grass from the deck to one of your benched Pokemon.
The big question for Palkia EX is going to be whether or not there is a Water attacker that it can pair with to make for a compelling deck and after looking over all of the Basic Water Pokemon, I don’t really think there is anything that pairs with it to make that great of a deck.
To start off using this card it’s probably best to keep it simple and pair it with the obvious partner, the very powerful M Gyrados EX which I covered above.
One of the things that made Virgen so great was that it was very consistent, and using a Mega Pokemon is going to be less consistent than an all Basic deck like Virgen.
However, this card is still very worth picking up. An attack like this has proven potent in the past, and you will be able to use it on the first turn of the game going second thanks to Max Elixir. How good this card becomes ultimately will come down to whether or not an attacker comes out that can pair with it to make for a strong and consistent deck.
Ability – Goodnight, Babies – Once during your turn (before your attack), you may leave both Active Pokemon Asleep.
[P][P] Zen Headbutt – 50
Sleep is a very strong status condition in the game as everyone should know from how much of an impact sleep flips on Hypnotoxic Laser has had on games the past few years. Having a card that guarantees that condition has the potential to be very strong.
In a disruptive role, Hypno will be best partnered with cards like Virizion EX, Steel Shelter, Zoroark BKT, and Keldeo EX which can allow you to use Hypno’s Ability while getting around the status condition yourself. Additionally, you can use its Ability on a Pokemon and then evolve into a higher stage Pokemon to remove the condition from yourself.
In a combo role, Hypno pairs well with Darkrai EX from BREAKpoint and All Night Party, a combo that will be covered in more depth below.
By itself, Hypno is too burdensome to play, but in combination with other support Hypno has some good potential in both the Standard and Expanded formats.
Ability – Royal Flash – Once during your turn (before your attack), you may flip a coin. If heads, move and Energy from your opponent’s Active Pokemon to 1 of his or her Benched Pokemon.
[W][C] Psych Up – 40 damage – During your next turn, this Pokemon’s Psych Up attack does 40 more damage (before applying Weakness and Resistance).
This is a card that hasn’t got a lot of love from the community, with many reviewers pointing to similar Abilities flopping in the past. While it is true that similar Abilities have flopped in the past, where I think these people are off base is that they’re ignoring the format that Slowking will be entering.
Slowking is entering a pair of formats where Seismitoad EX is a very good card. Seismitoad EX with Hammers was the most dominant deck for most of last season, won the US National Championship, re-surfaced again in Expanded, and has even stayed alive in the Standard format. While in many other formats Slowking might not be good, in this format, Slowking enters a format where it has a perfect partner.
Slowking is a little limited in that it only affects your opponent’s Active Pokemon, but that should generally be okay. All this means is that you can focus on using your Hammers on your opponents Benched Pokemon while using Slowking’s Ability to disrupt their Active.
Any time that your opponent has benched Pokemon that is a non-threat to attack, such as stuff like Garbodor, Manaphy EX, Vileplume, Jirachi EX, Hypno, and Shaymin EX, a heads on Royal Flash is almost as good as a heads on Crushing Hammer.
I think Seismitoad EX/Hammer decks with something like a 2-2 Slowking line have high potential to be a successful deck during State Championships this season.
4. Trevenant BREAK/Trevenant
[P][C] Silent Fear – Put 3 damage counters on each of your opponent’s Pokemon.
I’m a big fan of Trevenant BREAK. One of the problems with Trevenant XY was that its HP made it fragile, which made the deck fall short on some prize exchanges with decks such as M Manectric EX. However, being able to BREAK evolve and turn a couple Trevenant into a 2HKO can swing the prize trade to the point where Trevenant decks can possibly add more matchups into the favorable column.
Silent Fear is a really nice attack as well and can be used for a single Psychic Energy with Dimension Valley in play. Since it places damage counters, it can even get around Mr. Mime.
Ability – Nervous Seed – As long as this Pokemon is your Active Pokemon, the attacks of your opponent’s Basic Pokemon cost [C] more.
[P][C][C] Energy Press – 70+ damage – This attack does 10 more damage for each Energy attached to your opponent’s Active Pokemon.
While the Item Lock from Trevenant XY is certainly strong, from the early testing I’ve done since BREAKpoint was released I’ve seen some Gengar EX decks with a split of the two different Trevenant, and many times when playing Basic decks, the new Trevenant’s Ability can be more disruptive than the Item Lock of the old Trevenant.
Seismitoad EX and Night March decks in particular, but also smaller stuff like Yveltal XY can be prevented from attacking by not having the necessary Energy to attack.
One nice little boost they gave to Trevenant decks in general was the print of a new Phantump with the Ascension attack which will give some added consistency to these decks by allowing you to evolve into Trevenant with that attack.
All of the familiar downsides of Trevenant XY exist in this card as well. Its Ability can be Lysandre’d around, and it has the unfortunate Dark Weakness. Yveltal EX will be around through the end of this season at least, and recently printed cards like Zoroark and Darkrai EX will be around longer,so there are some formidable counters to it that will probably be popular for a long time.
[F] Turbo Assault – 60 damage – Attach an Energy card from your discard pile to 1 of your Pokemon.
[F][F] Bite Off – 80+ damage – If your opponent’s Active Pokemon is a Pokemon-EX, this attack does 80 more damage.
While Stage 2’s are generally bad, Garchomp enters the format with all the support you could ask for. It can make use of Korrina to search out both itself and Rare Candy for a consistent stream of evolutions. Alternatively it could be played as more of a tech role with Maxie’s.
It can make use of other great Fighting support such as Strong Energy and Fighting Stadium to boost its damage output and Focus Sash to deny KO’s.
Both of its attacks are very strong. Turbo Assault does a solid amount of damage while allowing you to accelerate this same Garchomp, another Garchomp in waiting, or some other Pokemon as part of a bigger strategy.
Bite Off is very strong against EX Pokemon. With a Strong Energy or Fighting Stadium in play, it will OHKO most EX Pokemon, and with Focus Sash it can deny a return KO, allowing it to trade very favorably with EX focused decks.
I expect Garchomp to see success both as its own deck and also as a tech in other decks as it can accelerate any Energy card in the game.
2. Darkrai EX
[C][C] Dark Pulse – 20+ damage – This attack does 20 more damage for each [D] Energy attached to all of your Pokemon.
[D][C][C] Dark Head – 80+ damage – If your opponent’s Active Pokemon is Asleep, this attack does 80 more damage.
This card is a bit deceptive upon first look. Most players will immediately look at Dark Pulse as being a good attack, but it’s really an awful attack as you rarely have more than a few Dark Energy in play at any given time.
However, its second attack, Dark Head is terrific. If your opponent’s Active Pokemon is asleep, it does 160 damage, which becomes 180 damage with a Muscle Band, one of the glorious magic numbers.
In the Expanded format, you can play a Hypnotoxic Laser at the beginning of your turn and if you hit heads on the sleep flip, you could choose to then attach the Energy to Darkrai EX attack and use that as your attacker for the turn for a OHKO, where in the past you may have chosen to use a different attack that didn’t OHKO.
I think Darkrai EX will really help Dark decks deal with M Manectric EX in the Expanded format as it can get to 210 damage with Muscle Band and LaserBank, while also not being weak to Lightning.
Munna BCR could become a neat tech in Expanded Dark decks for giving an extra shot at putting your opponent’s Active Pokemon to sleep to get more use out of Darkrai EX.
In Standard, Darkrai EX will be played in the pre-packaged archetype of Darkrai EX/Hypno/All Night Party. The strategy is simple, put both Darkrai EX and your opponent’s Active Pokemon to sleep with Hypno’s Goodnight, Babies Ability and then wake up your Darkrai EX with All Night Party and then OHKO your opponent’s Active Pokemon with Dark Head. It’s a very fast and very powerful deck.
Stage 1, 100 HP, Psychic Type, Psychic Weakness, three retreat
Ability – Garbotoxin – If this Pokemon has a Pokemon Tool card attached to it, each Pokemon in play, in each player’s hand, and in each player’s discard pile has no Abilities (except for Garbotoxin).
[P][C][C][C] Offensive Bomb – 60 damage – Your opponent’s Active Pokemon is now Confused and Poisoned.
If this card looks familiar, that is because it is. It’s a reprint of Garbodor DRX, which just rotated out of the Standard format this past summer. No need to worry though, they made sure to change one bad attack to another bad attack so you can’t play the old version and have to buy the new print of the card if you want to play it in your Standard deck.
Garbodor has seen a lot of success at all levels of play. Last season it was part of the US National winning Seismitoad EX/Garbodor deck, and in Expanded its part of the powerful Sableye DEX/Garbodor deck which might lead to our second Expanded format ban.
Apparently the card creators in Japan didn’t think that softer options of Ability Lock, such as Hex Maniac, Silent Lab, and Greninja BPT were enough Ability Lock so they gave this back to us.
They reprinted Garbotoxin. Ugh….