Evolutions Set Review

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As we move into the heart of autumn it is time for the final Pokemon TCG expansion of the year to be released. The Evolutions expansion, releasing on November 2nd, is the final expansion of the XY set block. The set is a set aimed at nostalgia letting the now grown up fans of the game relive the experience of opening up Base Set booster packs. The set is filled with artwork, reprints, and “evolutions” of the cards found in Base Set, the first Pokemon TCG set.

The set is certainly very cool from a nostalgia standpoint and has the opportunity to be a great set for collectors in the long term because of the inclusion of Charizard and Mewtwo cards. I know I definitely want to pick up at least a box of the set to open to relive that experience of opening Base Set packs when I was a kid.  The first Regional the set will be legal at is the Fort Wayne Regional Championship during Thanksgiving Day weekend. That tournament will be played in the Standard format.

In this article I will review the cards of the Evolutions expansion. Like the set reviews for Fates Collide and Steam Siege, I will be grouping the cards into the following categories: Standard Legal Reprints, Busts, Have Potential (Low/Medium/High), Tech Options, Stars, and Superstars. Any card not listed can be assumed to be non-competitive.

Standard Legal Reprints

doublecolorlessenergybaseset96The following cards are reprints of cards that are already legal in the Standard format.

  • Devolution Spray
  • Energy Retrieval
  • Maintenance
  • Misty’s Determination
  • Potion
  • Revive
  • Switch
  • Double Colorless Energy

There isn’t anything too important in this set of reprints. Most of these cards are nearly always in rotation or would have been in rotation until Sun and Moon-0n anyhow. The most notable thing about these reprints are that they give players an option for  a retro look to their deck as the Evolution cards have that old school Base Set look to them.

Busts

In this section I will cover cards that are busts.  These are cards that are part of a design concept that won’t work in competitive play, either through being underpowered in their design or intentionally added into the set as a trap card that is meant to look good, but which actually isn’t.

Beedrill

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I think Beedrill is a card that people are going to desperately try hard to make work, but which will probably fall short. There is a lot to like about the card, most notably it has a snipe attack in Swarming Sting that can hit up to 160 damage anywhere on an opponent’s field. This is a very strong number as it can knockout bench sitters like Shaymin EX. Unfortunately, other EX Pokemon like Hoopa EX, or just general EX Pokemon have enough HP where they still would be a 2HKO. By being able to hit anywhere, it can pre-emptively strike against a Pokemon an opponent is setting up on the bench as well. If you were to pair Beedrill with Bursting Balloon, you could setup Pokemon to be knocked out when they attack into Beedrill.

However, as cool as it is to be able to attack any Pokemon on your opponent’s field, there are a lot of consistency problems for Beedrill that will make it difficult to ever do that effectively. The first issue is getting multiple Beedrill in play. The damage scales based on the number of Beedrill that are in play, so if you don’t have a lot of Beedrill in play, then you aren’t going to be doing a lot of damage.

Based on my experience with my Serperior deck in XY-Fates Collide format, getting multiple Beedrill into play all at once is going to be inconsistent and be a big problem for this deck. For reference, that deck played 4 Ultra Ball, 4 Revitalizer, and a 4-4-4 line of Serperior, so it was fairly well built for swarming Serperior.

Compounding on top of that issue is Swarming Sting costing two Energy. That means you have to make two attachments to Beedrill, fit in some type of Energy acceleration, or play Exp. Share (which takes away playing Bursting Balloon on that Beedrill).

A theoretical Beedrill deck seems like it has too many problems to actually end up being good.

M Charizard EX

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When I first reviewed this card in my Flash Fire set review, I rated this card and it’s Dragon type counterpart very highly. When Flash Fire first released, Blastoise and Emboar decks with unlimited damage caps were some of the best decks in the format.  Being able to blow up any EX Pokemon in one hit, including the newly released Mega Pokemon, seemed as if it would be a very strong effect at the time. In my original review, I didn’t think the M Charizard EX’s would be good upon release, but would get better over time. Not only were they bad upon release, but they actually became much worse as time went on.

The very next set, Seismitoad EX was released and was quickly paired with every disruptive card in the format. With a 5 Energy cost, the M Charizard EX’s never had any hope against Seismitoad EX. Moving further into the future we got cards like Joltik, M Rayquaza EX, and Vespiquen that became dominant meta forces that could all easily OHKO almost any threat in the format for much less cost.

And this is the problem for M Charizard EX as it gets re-released after being out of format for a few months. It simply is too costly for a damage output that is overkill against most Pokemon. Other Pokemon can hit the actual magic numbers for much less setup and Energy costs. Cards like M Rayquaza EX and Xerneas BKT are able to hit big OHKO numbers for much less cost, so why would you build a deck around this card to do it?

Like its Flash Fire counterpart, the reprint will sit in players’ binders and should never see competitive play. On the bright side, it did get a Full Art version, so it can at least look prettier as it chills in the binder.

Arcanine

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There isn’t much too like about Arcanine. Its Scorching Breath attack has too high of a cost. There is a very low tier combo deck waiting to be built with Camerupt from Double Crisis, but such a deck misses the mark as Arcanine only does 150 damage, which isn’t a high enough damage number to knock out EX’s.

They also chose to make its Burning Road Ability a little bit difficult to use, as you need to switch or retreat into an Arcanine to even use the Ability’s effect.

There is an Arcanine BREAK coming out in a box in January, which does 80 damage for [R][C] and lets you attach 2 Basic Energy cards to one of your Pokemon. This attack is okay, but not worth setting up what is essentially a Stage 2 to do, especially when Volcanion STS can have a similar damage output (when boosted by Volcanion EX’s Steam Up) with a similar effect on the game for a single Energy.

Starmie BREAK

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Break Star is too easily played around to be effective. The best it can really do is 2HKO BREAK evolutions and it can be played around by staggering evolving into your BREAK Pokemon if you play a BREAK heavy deck. I don’t think BREAK Pokemon will ever make up a large enough proportion of the meta game that you actively build against them, and the number of decks that would naturally play Starmie and Water Energy is very small, basically just Greninja BREAK decks for now.

M Slowbro EX

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Like most other attacks that gain damage after you’ve already attacked with it, M Slowbro EX’s Loll Roll Spin will flop. These types of cards are too easy to play around, as cards like Escape Rope, Pokemon Ranger, and Lysandre can all reset the effect. When it’s not hitting for the boosted 200 damage, it’s only hitting for 100 which isn’t worth the steep [W][W][W] Energy cost.

Machamp BREAK & Machamp

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Machamp BREAK’s Boomerang Lariat attack sucks for the exact same reason M Slowbro EX’s Loll Roll Spin does. This is actually worse though, as Machamp BREAK is essentially a Stage 3 Pokemon and it doesn’t have an acceleration option.

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The Machamp card  isn’t much better. Its Ability would be a nice addition to a card with a good attack, but Machamp isn’t a card with a good attack. Its attack is costly and would take too long to setup, and even if you set it up, you only do 120 damage which won’t knock out much of anything.

Nidoking BREAK & Nidoking

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Once again, this is essentially a Stage 3, but its attack does low damage output for a high Energy cost, rendering it unplayable.

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Once again, low damage, high Energy, it’s getting kind of old writing that.

Full Heal

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Full Heal has almost always been legal and in my 6 years of playing, I’ve never seen it pop up in a high performing deck. Full Heal is actually a solid card, but Switch (and sometimes Escape Rope) have always been in format alongside it, and both of those can clear Special Conditions while providing an effect to you that is useful in a much higher percentage of matchups and games.

Professor Oak’s Hint

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The Charizard Lounge’s Hint is…don’t play this card, it’s garbage. This is one of the worst card designs to ever come out of Pokemon. They are very clearly trying to pander to the large group of players, who always wanted to play with Tropical Beach but never could afford the luxury, by reprinting Tropical Beach’s effect.

The reason that Tropical Beach is so powerful is because it is a Stadium Card that can be used in addition to your Supporter card for turn, giving you increased draw power. The closest Supporter card to this is Bianca, which lets you draw cards until you draw 6, but it doesn’t end your turn. Bianca isn’t good enough to see competitive play. If Bianca isn’t good enough to see competitive play, then there is no way that adding 1 more card of draw to the effect makes the effect so broken that your turn needs to end.

Standard format is in desperate need of a good third draw/search Supporter beyond Professor Juniper and N. I think many players were hoping that we would get it with the Professor Oak card in this set, but Pokemon failed to deliver on that front.

Super Potion

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Like some of the other cards in this set, Super Potion was only out of format for a few months. After being released in XY, Super Potion ended up never seeing competitive play and I don’t think it will this time either. I think in most cases an Energy attachment has greater value than healing 60 damage.

There are also plenty of alternatives to playing Super Potion. Pokemon Center Lady heals 60 damage while also removing all Special Conditions, but costs you your Supporter for the turn. Potion only heals 30 damage, but that can be enough to increase the number of attacks the opponent needs for a knockout in many instances, and Fairy Drop can heal 50 damage for Fairy decks.

Have Potential (Low)

In this section I will go over cards that have some potential to see play in competitive pokemon, but which most likely will fail to do so.

M Venusaur EX

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At one point I may have thought this card would have been too broken to be in a format with Forest of Giant Plants and Vileplume, but after having built so many variations of Vileplume over the past year+, I know now that powering 4 Energy onto a Mega Evolution while also getting Vileplume into play is not only difficult, but pretty much impossible to build a deck that gets setup consistently.

I think it still has some potential in a deck without Vileplume as its attack hits for a good number and has a great effect with Paralysis. However, 4 Energy is very costly and makes it difficult to power up multiple of these in a game.

I think the time has passed for this card. I think it was much better suited when it was first released in XY, but it wasn’t granted the Spirit Link it needed to be competitive then. Since its original release we’ve seen multiple cards with effects that get around Paralysis released with Pokemon Center Lady, AZ, and Olympia all being options for every deck in the format. I still give this one a sliver of potential just because the effect is so strong, but I think the Spirit Link came too late for this one.

Charizard

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Anyone who was around when Base Set came out is sure to remember the most hyped card in Base Set, that is Charizard. While Charizard was the Base Set card everyone wanted in their collection, it actually wasn’t very useful in competitive play, and the new reinvented Charizard will likely suffer the same fate.

Its attack cost is very high, but thanks to its Energy Burn Ability you can use Double Colorless Energy to lessen the cost, and Burning Energy is also an option to get around the discard effect to let you get more use out of a Charizard after you get it set up. Blacksmith is also an option in Expanded.

The problem with this Charizard is that they made it too weak, 200 damage probably isn’t enough to make it relevant. M Pokemon EX already have HP in excess of 200, meaning Charizard can’t OHKO them, and we’ve already seen from the early GX cards that they will also have HP in excess of 200. In addition to these cards, Charizard also wouldn’t be able to knock out most EX Pokemon when they have a Fighting Fury Belt attached. When you need to put 4 Energy onto a Stage 2, you probably need to be able to OHKO every meta relevant card for the card to be good.

I don’t want to write Charizard off completely yet as it could become more relevant if a good damage booster that evolved Pokemon can use is released. However, upon release, I don’t believe the necessary cards exist to make Charizard a good card for competitive play.

Ninetales

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Explosive Fireball is a very solid attack. With three Fire Energy attached to Ninetales BREAK, you are able to hit for 190 damage, which is good to take knockouts against a lot of Pokemon. The attack of course can scale past that, although it may be difficult to power up Ninetales beyond three Energy.

This card seems bad in Standard format upon release. Neither the Ninetales in Evolutions or the one released in Roaring Skies have good attacks or Abilities that help in using the BREAK’s attack. Additionally there aren’t good ways to consistently accelerate Fire Energy onto a Stage 1 BREAK evolution.

In Expanded, there might be a little bit of potential. Ninetales from Dragons Exalted has a solid attack along with a good Ability and you can power it up for 190 damage in one turn with a manual attachment and a Blacksmith for two Energy.

M Blastoise EX

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Without a Spirit Link, M Blastoise EX was left to die upon its release in XY. However, with a Spirit Link being released alongside this reprint, M Blastoise EX has new life. Its attack is essentially a better Night Spear, and that type of attack has proven strong time and time again (like M Audino EX with it’s Night Spear on steroids winning Worlds), so this card has to be considered as a card with some potential.

With Mega Turbo you should be able to easily power up two of these in a game. I’m not sure if it’s strong enough to build a deck around it though, unless a very unique meta game develops (like the one that let M Audino EX win Worlds). However, a solid 2HKO attack that can setup later KO’s with snipe damage may be well suited for a format with high HP GX Pokemon in it. However, I’m keeping my expectations tempered for this card as decks like M Mewtwo EX and Rainbow Road look very good against it. Even Volcanion EX probably would be okay against it since they can hit for 220 fairly easily and quickly.

Electrode

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These types of cards are always difficult to judge if they will actually end up being good. For those new to this type of card, when Electrode knocks itself out your opponent does take a prize card.

The two most recent examples of these cards are Electrode Prime and Milotic FLF. Electrode Prime saw some minor play in CaKE and LaKE (Cobalion/Kyurem/Electrode and Landorus/Kyurem/Electrode) decks in the Heart Gold Soul Silver through Noble Victories City Championship format. Milotic never ended up seeing competitive play, although there was some testing done with the card early on.

I think one of the big limiting factors on Milotic that isn’t going to be present on Electrode is that Milotic couldn’t be used to power up EX Pokemon, which have typically been the cards that people have been playing. The non-EX Pokemon that people play usually can be powered up with a single attachment, making Milotic usless.

However, Electrode is greatly limited in its own ways. It can only be attached to Lightning Pokemon, it only counts as Lightning Energy, and it attaches itself as a Special Energy card making it susceptible to cards that target Special Energy in particular.

A big problem for this card upon release is that there isn’t really a strong, high HP Basic or Stage 1 Pokemon that you would even want to use that needs this type of acceleration, so at least upon release this card looks very non-competitive.

Mew

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I can’t really see this being played as any more than a wall in a hit and run deck. Its HP is so low that it shouldn’t be difficult for the pre-evolution Basic Pokemon that people play in Evolution decks to be able to knock it out.

Its attack is okay for deck’s playing Dimension Valley, but I don’t think it’s strong enough to warrant space in theoretical decks beyond a potential wall in a hit and run deck.

Hitmonchan

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Hitmonchan is cool because it can unconditionally take advantage of the Fighting support damage boosters (Strong Energy, Fighting Stadium, Regirock EX) as a non-EX Pokemon. While something like Hawlucha FFI hits for more damage, it only works on EX Pokemon while Hitmonchan can attack non-EX’s as well. When making use of the fighting Support cards it can OHKO Fighting weak EX’s with Jab for a single Energy attachment. It can also use Jab to knockout low HP pre-evolutions. It’s not super strong, but Hitmonchan is a solid non-EX attacker for Fighting decks.

Porygon

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These types of cards typically haven’t seen much play in the past, but being able to be put in any deck (except those using Colorless attackers) using any Energy type makes Porygon a larger threat than a card like Pachirisu PHF.

While it can easily be played around, forcing your opponent to alter their plan to play around a newfound Weakness could act as a disruptive force as well. I doubt it sees much play at all, but it can fit into any deck that doesn’t have a non-EX Pokemon.

M Pidgeot EX

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Thanks to an all Colorless attack cost, M Pidgeot EX’s Mach Cyclone should be very easy to power up. At 130 damage, that’s good enough to OHKO a lot of smaller stuff and 2HKO EX Pokemon and Mega Pokemon. The free retreat also gives it good mobility allowing it to switch into another attacker at will. With Colorless typing, it can be played with almost any type of colored Support. I’m not a big fan of very vanilla cards like this, but as the very simplistic M Manectric EX builds have shown, just being able to 2HKO stuff and being simple to play can be a recipe for success.

I don’t think the switching effect of Mach Cyclone will be very disruptive as most decks will have something with Float Stone that they can promote up that can be retreated out of. It might actually act as an overall negative effect towards the cards as it can send damaged Pokemon back to the safety of the bench and can reset limiting effects that some Pokemon put on themselves after attacking.

Pokedex

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Pokedex is a card that is already legal in the Expanded format that doesn’t see play in that format. It did see a small bit of play a few years ago (to little success) as part of the EtherDex engine. Most likely Pokedex won’t be played again, but it could be useful if a card is released that benefits from manipulating the top 5 cards of your deck.

Here Comes Team Rocket!

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There is almost never going to be a good justification to play this card over Town Map. Town Map doesn’t take up your Supporter card for the turn and it only helps you and not your opponent. At lower cost, and only benefiting you, Town Map is a no brainer over Here Comes Team Rocket!

That is unless you can use Here Comes Team Rocket! to negatively impact your opponent, which you can. The way you can hurt your opponent is by flipping over their prize cards to negate the effect of any Greedy Dice they might play. Greedy Dice only works when it is drawn out of the prizes face down, so this card can be used to make any Greedy Dice in the opponent’s prize cards useless. Now no one in their right mind (except Brad Curcio) would play Greedy Dice right now, but there is potential that something could be released down the line that makes Greedy Dice playable at which point this card could come to counter it.

Have Potential (Medium)

In this section I go over cards that I think have medium potential. These are cards I think have a solid shot at being part of a Tier 2 or higher deck at some point in their lifespan, but cards that I’m not 100% sure on them actually seeing through on that level of success.

Starmie

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Space Beacon is a great Ability that can be partnered with anything that likes to discard lots of Energy every turn, but then wants them back the next turn. Natural partners are Greninja BREAK for its Giant Water Shuriken Ability and Volcanion EX for its Steam Up Ability.

While cards like Energy Retrieval have the same effect, Starmie, once on the field, is a more consistent option that makes your execution more consistent by having the effect on a field presence. The downside of course is that Starmie can be disrupted by Ability lock, and that’s a big problem for it right now as Garbodor BPT is one of the dominant forces in Standard right now.

If something is released to re-activate Abilities against Garbodor, or if better methods for dealing with Garbodor are discovered with these types of decks than Starmie has a lot of potential in these types of decks.

Another combo in Expanded format is Barbaracle FLF. Barbaracle’s Rock Rush attack does 30 damage times the number of Fighting Energy that you discard from your hand. With three Starmie on your bench you could get back 6 Fighting Energy every turn and hit for a rock solid 180 damage.

Clefairy

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Cards that are able to copy opponent’s attacks can often find their way into competitive play. I think Clefairy is stronger than something like Kecleon PLF (which did see play) as it can copy any attack simply by fulfilling Metronome’s [C][C][C] attack cost, while Kecleon actually had to match the attack cost of the Defending Pokemon’s attacks. This makes Clefairy more like Zoroark BLW or Zoroark BREAK than Kecleon.

These types of cards are usually fringe competitive cards as they’re very reactive and you can’t build a deck around them.

What makes Clefairy interesting is its Fairy typing. As it’s a Fairy type it can be used as a universal counter against Dragon type Pokemon. Its [C][C][C] attack cost will make it a little clunky to power up, and it will almost always be knocked out right after it attacks because of its low HP, but for decks that can accelerate Energy to Clefairy, it could be a really solid option for countering Dragon type Pokemon, as well as any Pokemon with a OHKO attack.

Have Potential (High)

These are cards that I think have high potential, and which I think will most likely have a place in a Tier 2 or higher deck at some point during their lifespan, and which likely will see success across multiple formats.

There are no cards in this set that fit this description.

Tech Options

In this section we will look at cards that can be described as solid tech inclusions for decks. These are cards that serve a clear purpose for what their role in the meta game is, but aren’t cards that are good enough to base a strategy around them. For this purpose, these cards usability is dependent on what cards other players are playing.

Mewtwo EX

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The new Mewtwo EX seems like it can be a good tech card in M Mewtwo EX decks. It can be used to start ganes aggressively with Energy Absorption, as well as to power up one last Mewtwo for the end game. I can see lots of games playing out where players attach an Energy card to this Mewtwo EX (or a M Mewtwo EX with Shrine of Memories in play), play N, and then use Energy Absorption to get the necessary Energy into play for the final knockout of the game.

Damage Change is still a very strong attack though and one of the best features of M Mewtwo EX decks, so I would expect M Mewtwo EX decks to favor Damage Change over this one in any split that may be played.

Mewtwo

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Speaking of Mewtwo, we have another one.

This card almost went in the Bust column, but it’s barely decent enough to avoid that fate. Mewtwo has been hyped as the counter to M Mewtwo EX decks, but is it actually good at countering those decks? Barely. In order for Mewtwo to take a knockout on M Mewtwo EX (Y), the M Mewtwo EX needs to have 4 Energy attached, while Mewtwo also needs a Fighting Fury Belt attached to itself. This makes Mewtwo very limited in its use in the matchup, but it can be used in the matchup to punish M Mewtwo EX players  if they’re forced to go to a 4 Energy M Mewtwo EX, but it can just as easily be played around by smart players.

It does have some long term potential as a general counter to Psychic weak Pokemon. For example, if Machamp EX randomly got popular, Mewtwo EX would be a simple means of putting 180 damage on a fully powered Machamp EX.

Rattata

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This is the first Tool removal card that we are getting in Standard format that doesn’t require an attack. Unfortunately, it’s a very limited card. Mischievous Fang only works against your opponent’s Active Pokemon, and since its an Ability, it can’t be used to remove a Tool from Garbodor which is what people really want Tool removal to counter.

While Rattata is still very limited, it can still be useful for removing Fighting Fury Belts and Spirit Links. Most decks probably wouldn’t choose to play it, but something like M Gardevoir EX STS, which can boost its attack damage by playing more Pokemon to its bench, could take advantage of it. The Raticate in this set also looks solid, so it could be played in a wide range of decks simple as a pathway towards Raticate.

We will have to wait some more for a counter to Garbotoxin.

Brock’s Grit

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Most decks will probably stick with Super Rod as it has a lower cost to play than a Supporter card, but Brock’s Grit serves as a recovery card that can be re-used with VS Seeker. I think Brock’s Grit will be more popular than Karen (except in formats where Night March/Vespiquen style decks need to be countered) as it’s more versatile being able to get back both Pokemon and Energy.

Another notable thing about Brock’s Grit is that it gives us a form of Pokemon recovery that can be used while Vileplume is in play, which could spawn new innovations in Vileplume deckbuilding.

Kanto Starter Spirit Links

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At long last the Kanto starters have received Spirit Links. For those new to the game, when Mega Pokemon were first released, Spirit Links weren’t a thing. When Mega Pokemon were first released, players were forced to end their turn if they wanted to Mega Evolve. It wasn’t until Phantom Forces that we saw the first Spirit Link cards.

Unfortunately, I don’t think the reprinted Kanto starters in this set are poised to do very well. If they had Spirit Links when they were first released, they probably would have been very strong, but now there has been so many different powerful cards released that pose problems for them that it’s hard to see them doing well.

I do think the Generation Kanto Starter Mega Pokemon are a bit stronger than the XY Reprints (especially for Charizard and Blastoise), so there may be some potential with those cards, but I think it’s still a long shot that they find success in competitive play.

Stars

These are the cards that are clearly good cards and should play a role in either creating an archetype, strengthening an archetype, or be a strong multi-deck general purpose card and be part of competitive play at some stages of their lifespan.

Raticate

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Raticate is very similar to Drifblim DRX which saw a few years ago. However Raticate is a bit stronger, with its Shadowy Bite attack doing 60x, which is a power creeped version of Drifblim’s Shadow Steal which did 50x. As Drifblim did well, there is a precedent for this type of attack being good.

The downside to Raticate is that it is Colorless, so it isn’t able to hit for Weakness, which was part of what made Drifblim good (taking out Deoxys EX and Mewtwo EX easily). However it makes up for that by having a very disruptive first attack with Crunch (Drifblim only had one usable attack) and a pre-evolution with a good Ability.

Drifblim started to lose popularity when Lysandre’s Trump Card started seeing play in nearly every deck and never regained popularity. In the current formats, players can use Special Charge to limit Shadow Bite’s damage, but most decks don’t play Special Charge currently.

At the Orlando Regional Championship, 23 of the Top 32 decks played at least 4 Special Energy cards, so the meta is ripe for this type of card to have a big impact.

Dragonite EX

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Dragonite EX is the big money competitive card from this set, although it probably won’t remain big money for long as even though it’s the best card in the set, it won’t see too much play.

I think the only decks that will really want to play Dragonite EX decks are Sky Field based decks in order to refill their bench. Decks like M Rayquaza EX, M Gardevoir EX STS, Rainbow Road, and Raichu XY/Golbat PHF will probably be the only types of decks that play Dragonite EX. That is decks that do more damage based on the number of Pokemon on their bench.

Here is the line of events that I think led to the printing of Dragonite EX. Pokemon made M Rayquaza EX, which is super strong. With the exception of being hit for Weakness, M Rayquaza EX was super strong against almost anything in the XY-on format, and of course the projected PRC-on format. To fix this, Pokemon made Parallel City to hard counter these decks. However, Parallel City ended up being too effective at countering these decks, so they made Dragonite EX to make it easier for these types of decks to recover from an opponent’s Parallel City.

However, Dragonite EX is not without issues. Pull Up is an Ability so it doesn’t work when Garbodor is in play. This means that the highly disruptive combo of Parallel City, Garbodor, and N is still effective at countering these types of decks. This limits Dragonite EX’s effectiveness, but it at least allows Dragonite EX to be used as solid recovery against non-Garbodor decks.

The fact that I am hailing a utility card that has its problems as the best card in the set should tell you just how bad of a set Evolutions is.

Superstars

These are the cards that are the absolute best cards in the set and which will be major players in multiple meta games throughout their life span.

There are no cards of this category in this set.

Conclusion

Evolutions is one of the worst sets Pokemon has released from a competitive point of view in recent times. The set is highly unlikely to spawn any new archetypes because of its release and most of the cards in the set at most have fringe potential in competitive play. There are some cards with neat effects that could find play in the right meta game or with the right partner cards released, but most likely most of these cards will fail to see competitive play.

I think Pokemon chose to go very safe with Evolutions, choosing not to shake up the meta game prior to a big shake up that will come with Sun and Moon and the release of GX Pokemon. It looks like Pokemon chose to use Evolutions to add a few cards to balance some things out (Dragonite EX for Parallel City, Rattata for Fighting Fury Belt).

While the set does little to add to competitive play, there are some things to like from a collection standpoint. The card art is the same as Base Set in many cases which adds a lot of nostalgia to opening packs. It will be cool to get some retro style Trainers and Energy released in the set, and there are some cards like the M Charizard EX Full Art that will probably hold good collector value in the future.

For those using Evolutions to jump into competitive Pokemon, I’m sorry.

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