Pokemon Burning Shadows Set Review

Pokemon’s newest set for the Pokemon TCG, Burning Shadows, releases this Friday, although it’s already available in hobby stores. Burning Shadows has 169 cards in total, 147 main set cards and then 22 secret rare cards.

For this review I am going to maintain most of the format used for the Guardians Rising set review. As requested, for this review the rating system will become much more simplified. I am going to do a 5 point rating system, with the following criteria:

1/5 = Bad
2/5 = Some competitive potential
3/5 = Good competitive potential
4/5 = Very good, will see play.
5/5 = Star card. Will see lots of play.

Table of Contents

To find a specific card we reviewed, check the card index. Otherwise go to one of the card categories listed below.

Grass Pokemon

Vileplume

Vileplume’s Disgusting Pollen Ability is a strong Ability released in an era that doesn’t fit it. With the Sun and Moon set block we have been moving towards more evolution decks, so there are probably too many matchups that Vileplume isn’t useful in that make any primary strategy built around it unviable. Pyroar, with a similar Ability, finished 2nd at the US National Championship when played by Michael Pramawat in 2014, but that format was very Basic oriented, while the current one isn’t, so I can’t see it being a meta disruptor like Pyroar was in the past.

Its Ability is a bit stronger than something like Pyroar or other Safe Guard Abilities as it prevents Basic Pokemon from attacking altogether, which can prevent stuff like a mini Volcanion being able to use Power Heater to accelerate Energy.

A couple weeks ago, this card may have received a more favorable review from me. However, with the recent ban list announcement and the inclusion of Forest of Giant Plants on that list, this means that this Vileplume will be unlikely to see much play.

It does have a small window of opportunity to see play in the World Championship format. I don’t think it will play a major role, but I could definitely see it ending up in a few Decidueye GX/Vileplume AOR decks. With a [G][G][C] attack cost, it likely will never be attacking, but in a deck like Decidueye GX/Vileplume where you already play a Vileplume AOR line, this Vileplume could be a useful tech to make use of in matchups against Basic decks, such as Volcanion EX. As Decidueye GX is able to put damage on the opponent’s field with Feather Arrow, you can afford to have Vileplume active and not attacking in matchups where it would be useful.

Verdict: 2/5 (Worlds Format), 1/5 afterwards.

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Tangrowth

Tangrowth is a potential lite tank Pokemon, as well as a very Energy efficient attacker. For [G], its Giga Drain does 30 damage and then heals from Tangrowth the same amount of damage you did to your opponent’s active Pokemon. At 140 HP, it’s fairly bulky, so it has potential to be able to take in a hit in 2HKO formats, while also healing itself off.

30 damage isn’t much to deal or heal off, but that’s just the base damage. That can become 60 against EX/GX Pokemon with Choice Band. Additionally, you could further boost its damage output with promo Lurantis. If you have two Lurantis in play and a Choice Band, you could be doing 100 damage to an EX/GX and also be healing 100 damage off of it per a turn.

Ultimately, I don’t think Tangrowth is going to be tournament viable as a deck built around getting multiple Stage 1 lines that want to be gotten out in fairly high numbers seems inherently inconsistent. Additionally, Ability lock can turn off Lurantis’ Ability making it so opponent’s can limit its damage output by Ability locking the deck.

Verdict: 1/5

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Heracross

With the rotation of Primal Clash through Ancient Origins, Ability lock will be a little bit less common in the Standard format as Hex Maniac and Silent Lab will be rotating out of the format. This means that there may actually be a metagame that develops in which Heracross is able to use its Guts Ability.

Additionally, VS Seeker is rotating which should limit the amount of access to Lysandre and Guzma, which should limit the amount that Heracross gets switched out of the active position.

50 percent of the time, Heracross will stay alive because of Guts when it would have otherwise have been knocked out.

Like similar Abilities, Poison and Burn can be used to work around it to secure a guaranteed knockout. Attacks that place damage counters also get around Guts.

Unfortunately, Heracross’ Pitch attack isn’t strong enough for you to build a deck with Heracross as the attacker. However, Heracross still has some potential in a hit and run style of deck as a wall that you send up.

Verdict: 2/5

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Araquanid

Araquanid’s Bubble Net attack would be used as an annoyance to decks by denying them the ability to attach Energy to their Active Pokemon. However, with only 30 damage output, it will take very long to knock anything out. The effect is also very easily played around with switching cards (Guzma will be in almost every deck) and retreating.

Being a Stage 1 would make it more difficult to find the space for all the disruption you would surely want with this, and even then its damage output is dismal. Promo Lurantis could be played to boost its damage output, but that makes it almost impossible to fit sufficient disruption to build a deck around this concept.

Verdict: 1/5

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Wimpod

Wimpod is the pre-evolution of Golisopod GX. It has an Ability called Wimp Out that gives it free retreat during your first turn of the game.

Wimp Out combos very well with Golisopod GX’s First Impression attack, giving you a Pokemon you can retreat into a benched Golisopod GX to trigger the effect needed to get the damage boost on First Impression.

Verdict: Pre-evolution dependent on Golispod and Golisopod GX cards success.

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Golisopod GX

Golisopod GX is a very Energy efficient attacker, being able to hit for 120 damage (plus any added damage from modifiers) with its First Impression attack if you fulfill the stipulation of Golisopod GX becoming your Active Pokemon from your Bench for the +90 damage boost. 120 damage per an Energy card is some of the best Energy efficiency in the game.

It has the Wimpod with its Wimp Out Ability which helps Golisopod GX decks get it active and swinging for the 120 damage on the first turn of the game, using Forest of Giant Plants to be able to evolve on turn 1.

With the release of both Acerola and Guzma in Burning Shadows, both of which will see play with Golisopod GX, there is plent of Switching effects that decks can play to last the entire game to make sure they get the damage boost out of First Impression.

In any Golisopod GX deck I would still make sure to include at least a couple copies of Double Colorless Energy. Armor Press does less damage than a boosted First Impression, but it reduces the damage Golisopod GX takes during your opponent’s next turn by 20 damage, which can be used to potentially increase the amount of turns it takes your opponent to knock out your Golisopod GX.

Its Crossing Cut GX attack can hit for 180 damage with a Choice Band, which can OHKO a lot of the Basic EX and GX’s in format.

After Forest of Giants Plants gets banned, Golisopod GX will be a much weaker, not being able to instantly evolve after an Acerola and also not being able to get into a Golisopod GX to attack during the first turn of the game.

Something to note is that the stipulation on First Impression requires that Golisopod GX is on your bench as a Golisopod GX and then becomes active. If it is a Wimpod on your bench, you switch into it, and then evolve, it will not fulfill the stipulation to get the boosted damage on First Impression.

Verdict: 3/5

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Fire Pokemon

Charizard GX

Charizard GX seems like it was mostly thrown into the set to get people to buy packs of the set solely because there is a Charizard in it. Like most other Charizard cards that Pokemon has made, this one will also struggle to find a foothold in competitive play.

Crimson Storm does 300 damage, which can OHKO anything in the game, so there will always be some potential with this type of attack, but with a whopping 5 Energy cost, there isn’t a good way to power up a Charizard GX to use the attack consistently, at least in Standard. In Expanded, you could theoretically play it with Emboar BLW and accelerate Energy with Inferno Fandago, but that’s a dual Stage 2 deck, with both of them being Water weak (which is bad with Seismitoad EX and Volcanion EX’s strength in Expanded).

Delphox BREAK does exist in Standard, but that’s essentially playing a Stage 2 and a Stage 3, so I think there is no way that this would be viable.

Maybe there is some potential for getting Charizard GX into play using Ho-Oh GX, which will be discussed next, but then you’re using Ho-Oh GX’s GX attack for the game and not Charizard GX’s, and the super strong discard on Charizard GX’s GX attack seems one of the main selling points for the card.

This GX attack, Raging Out GX is where Charizard GX does have some potential in Standard. The GX attack discards the top 10 cards of the opponent’s deck, that is 1/6 of their deck. This attack is sure to discard some important resources from the opponent, which can cause them to not have the resources to setup or compete in a game properly if you get the attack off early. In the late game, if you force the opponent into a close game, many times they will be forced to go down to a small deck size which gives Raging Out GX the potential to be a deck out attack.

As Raging Out GX gives Charizard GX some of the most powerful mill in the game, players’ first inclinations will be to try to pair it with Houndoom EX in some type of milling deck.

Verdict: 2/5

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Ho-Oh GX

Ho-Oh GX is a very interesting card that has the potential to fulfill a variety of different roles which could help it see play in its own decks as well as a tech inclusion in other Fire decks.

Sacred Fire gives Ho-Oh GX a 50 damage snipe attack. It’s always a good option for any deck to have an attack that can damage benched Pokemon in some way. Most of the pre-evolution Basic Pokemon have 60 or 70 HP, but we have seen some lower HP ones. In this set, for example, Pokemon like Oddish and Cutiefly have 50 HP or less which makes it so Ho-Oh GX can snipe them for knockouts in the early game.

Phoenix Burn is a very strong attack, being able to do 180 damage. It costs 4 total Energy, but you can get it setup on turn 1 to be ready attacking for turn 2 of a game with Kiawe, allowing you to be hyper aggressive with Volcanion EX decks with these cards. You can’t use Phoenix Burn on consecutive turns, but with Guzma and plenty of other switching cards, you should almost always be able to switch Ho-Oh GX out of the active slot to reset this effect.

One of the biggest things that Ho-Oh GX will do is give Volcanion EX decks a new Weakness, as Ho-Oh GX is weak to Lightning type Pokemon. Currently, Volcanion STS, Volcanion EX, and Turtonator GX are all weak to Water, so this gives Volcanion EX decks a card to use against decks that can hit for Water weakness.

Ho-Oh GX’s GX attack is also super interesting. It can be used to get Mega EX and evolution GX Pokemon cards into play without evolving. This could be what a card like Charizard GX needs to see competitive play. This GX attack will probably be difficult to use in Standard format as there aren’t very strong options for getting specific cards into the discard pile. It should have more potential for setting up something cool in Expanded where you have access to Battle Compressor, as well as Blacksmith allowing you to setup a good Eternal Flame GX on turn 1.

Verdict: 3/5

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Salazzle GX

Salazzle GX isn’t something that you can build a deck around as its attacks are too situational, and its non-situational attack, Heat Blast, is very mediocre.

However, in Fire decks, Salazzle GX has some potential to be a cool 1-1 tech or something of that nature, especially in Expanded where you can power it up in one turn with Blacksmith.

Diabolical Claws is an amazing end of game attack. If you have taken three prizes, you can do 180 damage with a Choice Band. If you’ve taken four prizes, you can do a base of 200 damage and can boost it to 230 damage with a Choice Band, which will OHKO most stuff.

Queen’s Haze GX can be situationally useful, especially if something that takes a high Energy investment to get setup gets popular (like Primal Groudon EX in Expanded for example). However, in many cases where you may want to use Queen’s Haze GX, you might be able to knock all the Energy off the Active just by knocking it out with Diabolical Claws, so it’s hard to gage just how much you would use this.

Verdict: 2/5

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Water Pokemon

Alolan Ninetales

Safeguard effects have seen very little play the past few seasons as Ability lock has been very popular, especially in the form of Hex Maniac. Additionally, deck builds have become more diversified with different stages and classes of attackers which have made most of these effects hard to use.

I think Alolan Ninetales won’t see too much play, as there should be too much play of non-EX/GX attackers, either in their own decks or as attackers in more GX/EX oriented decks. There could be potential for some niche metagames to develop where Alolan Ninetales becomes very strong, but I don’t think we will see any metas coming up that are so EX/GX heavy that Alolan Ninetales becomes very effective like cards like Sigilyph, Suicune, and Pyroar did in the past.

One good thing going for the card is that Alolan Ninetales GX is already a solid deck and it can fit into there as 1-of option for decks that do go very EX/GX heavy, but outside of that, I don’t see Alolan Ninetales getting much play.

Verdict: 2/5

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Kingdra

Kingdra has two attacks that are very Energy efficient. Its Tornado Shot attack is essentially Night Spear for one Energy at the cost of discarding that Energy. Its Brine attack can then snipe 90 anywhere where there is damage counters. Somewhat situational, but Tornado Shot can set it up.

I don’t expect Kingdra to see much play in the Standard format. As cool as these attacks are, they’re not strong enough to allow Kingdra to compete against decks like Gardevoir GX and Metagross GX.

Where I think this card has the most potential is in a long forgotten Expanded deck, Kingdra/Greninja. You could probably get away with playing a 2/2 split of this Kingdra and the Plasma Freeze Kingdra. With an established field of Greninja, Brine would give you some amazing control over whatever board your opponent is trying to setup. If we move towards more of an Evolution meta, Tornado Shot is solid for getting lots of damage on the Active while potentially sniping a Basic for a knockout (after setting it up with Water Shuriken damage).

This deck and every other Rare Candy deck isn’t played right now because Item Lock is too heavily played (and Archeops existed pre-ban too), but if stuff like Trevenant BREAK and Seismitoad EX see a decline of play in Expanded, then Rare Candy decks could make a come back. I’m not sure if Kingdra/Greninja is good enough anymore, but it was fairly powerful during the tail end of the 2013-2014 season, so I could see it being decent again as it was always solid against EX decks, and was also solid against evolution decks.

Verdict: 2/5

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Gyarados

As of right now, Gyarados is going to be completely unplayable in the Standard format. There isn’t a good way to get Magikarp into the discard pile, and then you’re pretty much limited in the damage you can do. If you had three Magikarp in the discard pile, you would be able to do a maximum of 180 damage with a Choice Band with Venting Anger. However, if Gyarados gets knocked out, then you don’t have a follow up attacker, as all of your other Magikarp were in the discard pile. If you have a second benched Magikarp or Gyarados line, then you’re doing a maximum of 130 damage with Choice Band, which isn’t very good.

Where Gyarados can see some play is in the Expanded format. In Expanded you can use Battle Compressor to quickly discard Magikarp to power up Venting Anger. Then you can also use Archie’s Ace in the Hole to get Gyarados into play. Using Archie’s would allow you to have 4 Magikarp in the discard pile, which would let you use Venting Anger for up to 230 damage with a Choice Band.

When you do get Gyarados into play in such a manner it does seem like it can be very strong. It has 150 HP, so it’s not an easy knockout, and if you get 4 Magikarp into the discard pile you will be ripping the heads off of other Pokemon.

I don’t think you can just play a straight Gyarados deck successfully, but I could see Archie’s Gyarados sliding into a deck like Vespiquen and using Gyarados as a very strong early game and alternate attacker.

Verdict: 2/5

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Tapu Fini GX

Tapu Fini GX is a very mediocre GX card with few redeeming qualities. Aqua Ring is a very weak attack. Hydro Shot does 120 snipe damage at the cost of discarding two Water Energy. This attack is too costly to use consistently, and it’s very situational for when you would want to snipe for 120, especially now that Shaymin EX’s aren’t being played on benches very often any more.

I think Hydro Shot is too costly of an attack for me to play it in any Water Box decks. In something like Archie’s Blastoise, where you can easily replenish your Energy on your Pokemon I could see it, but even then, I think I would probably skip out on it and play an attacker that is better in more situations and just rely on Lysandre or Guzma to take knockouts against benched Pokemon.

Tapu Storm GX can be cool for slowing down some decks, but if your opponent has other stuff setup it won’t be too impactful.

Verdict: 1/5

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Lightning Pokemon

Raichu

Paralyzation has typically been one of the strongest effects in the game, but with the release of Guzma and Acerola in the same set, decks will have plenty of options to work around Status Conditions. With Raichu being in the same set as these two cards, they will be forever handcuffed to each other which will make it almost impossible for Raichu to see any competitive play.

In almost any other format, Raichu could have some potential, but right now it has found itself in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Verdict: 1/5

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Eelektross

Eelektross looks like it could be a solid 1-of Pokemon in Expanded Eelektrik variants. Its Vacuum Bolt attack has the potential to do 190 damage with a Choice Band which can OHKO lots of Pokemon in Expanded. If you choose to do the 80 damage boost, you have to do 80 damage to 1 of your Pokemon, but if you use the attack at the right time, this damage that your putting on your Pokemon may be negligible.

This isn’t something you’re building around, but it’s a solid 1-of that lets you turn your Eelektrik into a strong attacker, just in case you need a little something to push the deck over the top.

Verdict: 2/5

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Psychic Pokemon

Slowking

Slowking excited me with its Unarmed attack as you are able to ignore all Energy requirements for its attack cost if you have no cards in your hand.

There are two main problems with this concept:

1. Having 0 cards in your hand is rarely a good thing. If you have 0 cards in hand it probably means you’re about to be dead drawing your way into a loss.

2. The attack isn’t even very good, only hitting for 110 damage, which isn’t worth going through the effort to get down to a 0 hand to make use of.

Verdict: 1/5

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Wobbuffet

With a [P][P][P] attack cost, it will be difficult to use Wobbuffet’s Shadow Knot for most decks. The one place where you could play Wobbuffet is in a Psychic oriented Metagross GX deck. You would be able to power up Wobbuffet with Geotech Systems in one turn and be able to attack with it.

Even when powered up, Shadowy Knot isn’t that great of an attack. A lot of the Pokemon that see play have two or less retreat cost, so against a lot of the meta Wobbuffet would be taking 2HKO’s under the best case scenario. As Metagross GX can power up many different Psychic, Metal, or Colorless Pokemon to attack in one turn, there should be better one prize attacking options for Metagross GX decks than Wobbuffet.

Verdict: 1/5

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Seviper

Seviper provides an option to give Poison decks a little bit of a boost in their damage output. The only problem is that there isn’t really many decks that make use of Poison right now, so its range of use is going to be extremely limited upon release.

The Poison status condition is more powerful in the Expanded format right now where Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym exist. Seviper could be added into decks like Yveltal EX, Turbo Darkrai EX/GX, and Seismitoad EX decks that may make use of Hypnotoxic Laser to boost the damage output of this Poison damage.

However, even though adding damage is good, you wouldn’t necessarily play Seviper in everything with Hpynotoxic Laser. Each deck would have to be considered on an individual basis, and if you don’t need any extra damage, then you won’t play Seviper. In some decks, that extra 10, or 20 damage from Sevipers, could make all the difference, and you would want to play it.

Very deck reliant card, but I would be surprised if it didn’t find its way into a competitive Expanded deck at some point at the least.

Verdict: 2/5

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Dusknoir

Dusknoir’s Ability is solid for for filling the bench to power up Dusknoir’s Mind Jack attack, but ultimately I don’t see any good deck being able to be built around this card.

The biggest thing that will hold Dusknoir back is the cost of its attack. It costs [P][C][C], and as Dusknoir is a Stage 2 it’s really not worth the effort to work on getting it into play and attacking with Mind Jack.

If you want to play this style of a deck, you’re better of playing a Zoroark deck with Captivating Pokepuff.

Verdict: 1/5

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Necrozma GX

Necrozma GX is a very powerful Pokemon card that will fulfill some different roles for a variety of different decks.

As a primary attacker, it can be used for its Prismatic Burst attack, which can OHKO anything in the format if you discard enough Energy. If you discard three Energy, you do 190 damage, and then if you discard four Energy, you do 250 damage, which I think knocks out every Pokemon that has been released so far.

As you need to be discarding Psychic Energy for this attack, as a primary attacker it is going to be paired with Metagross GX, as Metagross GX can instantly replenish its Energy every turn of the game if you get enough Metagross GX into play.

Necrozma GX will also see play as a tech card in a variety of decks for its GX attack, Black Ray GX, which spreads 100 damage to every EX and GX Pokemon.

This attack is being hyped early on as an option for Trevenant decks to spread massive amounts of damage against EX and GX decks.

One place where it may see play as a general tech early, in particularly at the World Championship, is in Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu GX. This deck needs to spread damage around to be able to setup Tapu Bulu GX to finish off stuff like Gardevoir GX or Metagross GX with Nature’s Judgment. The deck traditionally uses Tapu Koko to spread damage to setup these knockouts, but against Gardevoir GX Tapu Koko isn’t a great spread attacker.

Against Metagross GX, with 250 HP and Max Potion it can be hard to get the needed spread setup to stick to finish off the knockouts later. Against Gardevoir GX, Diancie from Burning Shadows can heal off Tapu Koko’s spread with its Diamond Storm attack, which heals 30 damage from each of their Fairy Pokemon in play.

This is where Necrozma GX comes in. As it’s able to spread 100 damage, that damage is more likely to stick on the field and also does a better job of setting up easier knockouts for Tapu Bulu GX.

Lastly, Necrozma GX also has an Ability, Lights End, which prevents damage done to it by Colorless Pokemon. I’m not sure how effective this will be in Standard as there aren’t a lot of great Colorless decks, with the best one, M Rayquaza EX, rotating out of Standard format, and there also aren’t many great Colorless attacking Pokemon. The biggest one is Drampa GX, but with the release of Marshadow GX and some stronger GX Pokemon like Gardevoir GX, it could be difficult for that to see play.

Verdict: 4/5

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Fighting Pokemon

Machamp GX

Machamp GX has successfully wrestled away the title for the worst GX card ever printed from Kommo-o GX. Its attacks are fairly costly and hard to setup with no Colorless Energy requirements, and even if you do set them up they’re not very strong anyhow. It’s also a Stage 2, meaning that you have to not only put in major effort to power it up, but you also have to put in major effort to even get it in play.

Verdict: 1/5

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Lunatone

This card likely won’t see play ever, but if we ever get into a format dependent on multi hit knockouts, along with cards like Max Potion or other healing effects seeing play, then there might be some metagames where this card could slip into for its Heal Block Ability.

They tried something like this before with an Mesprit card which removed Weakness from your Pokemon, but that required three Pokemon in play (Mesprit, Azelf, and Uxie), so it’s hard to draw a true comparison between the two, because getting two Pokemon into play concurrently takes a bit of work, while getting three Pokemon into play concurrently takes a lot of work.

For Solrock’s part, it’s not a terrible card to have to get thrown into decks. It has the Double Draw attack which can be used as an early game setup attack, so it has some utility making this combo of cards less painful to play in a deck.

Verdict: 2/5

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Lucario

Lucario’s Stance attack is a very cool one, and can definitely gain you some extra turns of attacking when you evolve into Lucario. The primary issue is its Submarine Blow attack is very costly and very hard to get into play, so this card will take too many turns to get setup to be worth it.

The only combo I could see this being played with is Carbink BREAK to power it up with Energy. However, to make good use of Lucario’s Stance Ability, you need to have it on your bench as a Riolu if you want to get an extra turn of attacks out of it, so if your opponent has a Guzma or Lysandre they can knockout the Riolu before you get it evolved and ready to attack as a Lucario.

Verdict: 2/5

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Sawk

Sawk isn’t a very strong card on its own, as its damaging attack, Brick Break, barely does any damage and costs two Energy. However, it does work as a solid tech in Expanded Marshadow GX decks, as displayed by Hiroaki Kanno at the Japan Championship.

With Marshadow GX you can throw Sawk into the discard pile with Battle Compressor and then use its Quick Guard attack to buy an extra turn to get setup against Basic Pokemon decks. This is pretty solid as the Basic Pokemon decks are likely to be the most aggressive decks.

Verdict: 2/5

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Crabominable

Crabominable is a super interesting Stage 1 Pokemon. It is fairly bulky, at 140 HP, and it can score 2HKO’s against most of the format with Gutsy Hammer when using Strong Energy, Regirock EX, and/or Choice Band as damage modifiers.

The big issue with it is that as soon as it has 70 or more damage on it, you would knock it out when using Gutsy Hammer, but if you’re at 60 damage or less, you can freely swing away with Crabominable. This means that you would have to play healing cards like Max Potion if you want to successfully use Crabominable as a tank Pokemon.

This of course is no issue, as it attacks for only a single Fighting Energy making it super easy to power back up after a Max Potion.

Verdict: 3/5

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Marshadow GX

Marshadow GX’s own attacks are pretty poor, but that’s okay because it has the Shadow Hunt Ability which lets it copy the attacks of Basic Pokemon in your discard pile.

I think that Marshadow GX is poised to have a larger impact on the Expanded format than the Standard format as in Expanded you can use Battle Compressor to easily get whatever you want to copy into the discard pile. In Standard, it takes a little bit more effort to get stuff into the discard pile, but it still could be solid in Standard as a Fighting type tech for decks that need a little bit of help dealing with some Fighting weak Pokemon.

The big deck for Marshadow GX to go in upon release in Expanded is Night March. Marshadow GX gives Night March decks another type that they can hit for Weakness with, and it also gives Night March decks the ability to go down to zero Night Marchers in play, which allows them to dump all of the Night March Pokemon into the discard pile allowing the deck to reach higher damage numbers in the late game.

Outside of Night March, I’m not really sure where it belongs. I’m not sure if it is even that strong of a Turbo Darkrai EX counter as they can just OHKO it back to keep an equal prize trade. I think it will only have value as a type counter against decks that can’t OHKO it back.

Verdict: 4/5

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Darkness Pokemon

Alolan Raticate

Alolan Raticate gives a splashable Dark type tech Pokemon that can OHKO anything with 180 or less HP if you have a Choice Band attached to it, using its Enhanced Fang attack. Enhanced Fang has no attack cost making it so you can easily get Alolan Raticate attacking in any deck.

There isn’t much out with a Dark Weakness right now that sees play, and even the stuff that looks like it has some potential (like Lunala GX) would survive an attack from this card. However, if a good Darkness weak Basic GX Pokemon is released with 180 HP or less, then Alolan Raticate could be a good counter to this theoretical card.

Verdict: 2/5

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Alolan Grimer

Division is a good attack for Alolan Muk / Alolan Muk GX decks to be able to use to get multiple Alolan Grimer into play on turn 1. These types of attacks are always nice to see on pre-evolutions as they can make decks with their evolution a little bit better.

This also gives us two different Alolan Grimer’s in format. The one from Sun and Moon is Psychic type and Psychic weak, while this one is Darkness type and Fighting weak. It’s good to have different options as we can pick to play a different type of Alolan Grimer depending on what’s seeing play.

Verdict: Pre-evolution dependent on success of Alolan Muk and Alolan Muk GX.

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Alolan Muk GX

I wasn’t sure of what to make o Alolan Muk GX upon first reading it. There are a lot of interesting effects in its attacks, but I wasn’t sure if there was anything good enough to use as the base of an attack, but after re-evaluating this card over and over, I realized that Chemical Breath could make for a very interesting deck.

Chemical Breath is fairly easy to power up, being able to use a Darkness and a Double Colorless Energy to get there. In Expanded, you can even set it up in one turn very easily with Dark Patch and an attachment.

The obvious pairing for Alolan Muk GX would be with Salazzle from Guardians Rising which leaves the Defending Pokemon both Poisoned and Burned when you evolve into Salazzle. This would make Chemical Breath do a base of 150 damage. However, you would also get 10 Poison Damage and 20 Burn Damage, for a total of 180 damage. Then you could use a Choice Band to get that up to 210 damage in a single turn.

You could also use Seviper to add additional Poison damage (or Volcarona DEX for additional Burn damage in Expanded) but bench space would likely prohibit these cards from properly fitting in as you would have to get multiple Salazzle into play to keep effecting your opponent’s Pokemon with Status Conditions.

Hypno BKP is also an option if you want to put your opponent’s Pokemon to sleep to get more damage in addition to the two Status Conditions Salazzle inflicts, and then you can play something like All Night Party to work around the Sleep effect on your side.

Crunch then could be setup for one more Energy attachment after you have Chemical Breath already setup. This is a very costly attack, but it could be used on turns when you don’t have a Salazzle available to evolve into.

Tri Hazard GX also gives you another attacking option for when you have nothing better to do for your turn. Overall it’s a poorly positioned GX attack with Guzma being released making Status Conditions weaker.

Verdict: 2/5

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Weavile

Players may see this card and get memories of Entei & Raikou LEGEND, which did 80 damage to anything with a Poke-Power, but I don’t think this will be anywhere close to effective (and ERL was already not huge in the formats I played in anyhow).

There aren’t that many low HP Pokemon with Abilities that you can take easy prizes off of, and most Ability based stuff would take 3 or 4 attacks to be knocked out by Rule Evil. This could be fine if all it took was 4 turns of using Rule of Evil to win, but any smart player will stagger getting their evolutions with Abilities into play to minimize the damage output of Weavile.

If Weavile is playing against a non-Ability based deck, then Weavile is very useless.

Verdict: 1/5

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Darkrai

I’ve heard a lot of players talk about throwing this Darkrai into Darkrai decks as a non-EX attacking option. I’m not sold on the card myself, as most decks aren’t built around using early GX attacks, and it’s not too uncommon to see games go by without any GX attacks being used, even for decks that play them and have easy access to using one.

Without a GX attack having been played, Darkrai is a very weak Pokemon. There of course will be some situations where you surprise your opponent and get good effect out of Dark Raid, but that’s the problem with Darkrai, it’s situational, and typically we want to avoid playing situational cards in our decks.

Verdict: 1/5

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Darkrai GX

Darkrai GX is one of the more hyped cards coming from the set. It is primarily being hyped for its Restoration Ability, which can be used in Darkrai EX decks to accelerate a Darkness Energy to boost Dark Pulse by +20 damage. I’m not exactly seeing how this even fits into Turbo Darkrai EX decks as space already seems kind of tight. I’m not really sold on it improving these decks much, but I haven’t actually thrown one together, yet so my theory could be wrong in this regard.

Restoration may also see play in decks like M Rayquaza EX and M Gardevoir EX as something that can repopulate onto your bench after a card like Sudowoodo or Parallel City is played and then countered, or in M Gardevoir GX’s case just something to get back on the bench that you discard every turn with Despair Ray. It would essentially be played in these decks similar to how Exeggcute is in Expanded. I do like this utility for the card a lot.

However, at least in Expanded, I think Darkrai GX has some life as a solid attacking option. With the banning of Archeops NVI, I would expect Yveltal EX decks to go back to a Hypnotoxic Laser/Virbank City Gym style of build and Darkrai GX would fit in nicely with that combo in Yveltal.

With Restoration, you could pretty easily setup Darkrai GX to use either of its two attacks in a single turn, by accelerating an Energy with Restoration, accelerating a second Energy with Dark Patch, and then attaching one from hand (or playing another Dark Patch).

Dead End GX is a great GX attack when paired with Hypnotoxic Laser as it lets you easily clear a big threat without having to worry about doing the right amount of damage to do so. Against something like M Rayquaza EX, which has been a tricky matchup in the past, you have Dead End GX as an option to instantly clear a M Rayquaza EX off the field. (Note: Don’t try to take this path against Primal Groudon EX, your Hypnotoxic Laser will fail on it because of Barrier).

Dark Cleave is also a solid attack. 130 damage can knock out a decent amount of Pokemon, and with Choice Band and Poison Damage you can get it to reach into OHKO numbers.

Right now I’m actually more excited about this card as an alternate attacking option in Yveltal EX decks than I am for it in Darkrai EX decks, but that opinion may change when I actually put together Expanded Turbo Darkrai decks aimed at specifically using it as part of their engine.

Verdict: 4/5

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Metal Pokemon

There are no Metal Pokemon in this set.

Fairy Pokemon

Gardevoir GX

Gardevoir GX is a very strong attacker with a great Ability. Attacks like Infinite Force almost always form Tier 1 decks. Mewtwo EX was one of the most powerful cards upon release, Yveltal EX has been great for a long time, and M Mewtwo EX also reached Tier 1 status this past season. I would be surprised if Gardevoir GX does not reach Tier 1 status at some point in its lifespan as Infinite Force is only 10 damage worse than M Mewtwo EX’s Psychic Infinity attack.

Unlike all these other Pokemon, however, Gardevoir GX actually has a built in Ability that helps power up its attack. You can use multiple Secret Spring Abilities in a turn to load up a Gardevoir GX with lots of Energy to swing for big damage. Secret Spring also works well for powering up Tapu Lele GX, who has a similar but weaker attack, to use as an early game attacker in Gardevoir GX decks.

This attack/Ability combo is obviously very strong. Gardevoir GX can OHKO most Pokemon, or at the very least 2HKO them for little effort, and it has an Ability that helps it load up Energy on itself to reach the damage numbers needed for OHKO’s.

One thing I’ve noticed in people’s deck builds for Gardevoir GX is that they’re playing too few Basic Energy. I’ve seen lots of lists using only like 7 Basic Energy, which makes it very hard to get good use out of Secret Spring as you only have 7 opportunities to even use it at the maximum before using some type of recursion to get Energy back.

Twilight GX also is a very strong GX attack, letting players shuffle 10 cards back into their deck. I’ve mostly seen this talked about as a good Garbodor counter, which it is, as you can shuffle 10 items back into your deck and really shutdown Trashalanche’s viability against you.

However, I think this sells the GX attack short. I think there are probably some cool things you can do with the deck (like continuous Max Potion for example) if you treat the attack as a means to recycle some type of broken combo, similar to what decks did with Lysandre’s Trump Card a couple of seasons ago.

Verdict: 5/5

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Diancie

Diancie is a good starter Pokemon, especially in Gardevoir GX decks, which helps you get your Evolution cards into play a turn sooner. It is very consistent in doing this as it searches your deck for the Evolution cards, so there is no inconsistency of not having it in hand.

Diancie is a bit limited in what it can be played in because of Sparkling Wish’s Fairy requirement, which will mostly relegate it to being played in Fairy decks, but it could also see some play in Colorless decks that can choose to play Fairy Energy, or in decks with Rainbow Energy, although I wouldn’t expect it to see play in these decks.

If you use Sparkling Wish on your first turn of the game, to say evolve a Ralts into a Kirlia, you then can evolve into Gardevoir GX on your second turn of the game without needing a Rare Candy to do so. I think it also could be cool in some Mega Evolution decks that can play Fairy Energy for a little extra turn 1 consistency.

One thing I’ve seen in a lot of Gardevoir GX lists that I don’t like is people playing this card with 0 switching effects outside of Guzma. This card is going to suck if played in such a way as you will have great difficulty getting it active early game to use it to get setup. If you want to use this as part of your engine you must play ample switching effects so you can actually get it active early to start evolving the Pokemon on your bench.

Diamond Storm is also a solid attack that allows Diancie to act as a counter to spread decks (such as Tapu Koko strategies) for Fairy Pokemon decks.

Verdict: 3/5

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Ribombee

Ribombee’s Honey Gather Ability is essentially a Professor’s Letter that you can use every turn of the game. This could be good in a deck like Gardevoir GX at some point for finding your Basic Energy. Being able to thin your deck with Honey Gather would make you more likely to draw into the other cards you want as a game winds down. It would also give you a search effect for your Energy cards, which would allow you to play your Supporter for the turn for something other than draw, which could be good.

One thing that may hold Ribombee back in early formats is that Starmie EVO is currently in the Standard format, and I think being able to continuously recycle Energy from the discard pile with Starmie is better than only being able to search out Energy for a limited amount of turns with Ribombee. Once you’ve gotten all your Energy out of deck, Ribombee is no longer useful.

Like Starmie, Ribombee has a pre-evolution Cutiefly with free retreat. The Staryu with free retreat is in BREAKpoint and will be around all of next season. After Starmie rotates, I think there will be more of a case to play Ribombee, but until then, I think Starmie is probably a better card for this type of role.

Verdict: 2/5

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Dragon Pokemon

Noivern GX

Noivern is a card that on first appearance seems like it should be very good, but I think it’s a trap card meant to trick people with their nostalgic thoughts of playing their highly skill based Seismitoad EX/Giratina EX decks from yesteryear.

Distort is essentially Seismitoad EX’s Quaking Punch that you can power up for a Double Dragon Energy, and this time it does 20 more damage. Sonic Volume does the best part of Chaos Wheel, that of denying a Special Energy attachment, and this time it also does 20 more damage. Boomburst GX is also a nostalgic attack, as it is essentially the same thing as Noivern FLF’s Boomburst attack, reminding us of the NoiBoiz days, and once again it does 20 more damage.

Despite having all of these attacks that have previously been good at its disposal, I’m not sure that Noivern is poised to do well, as the format isn’t as strong for these types of attacks.

Item Lock, while still strong, is a little weaker in Standard right now with decks build around not playing as many Items to not be punished by Garbodor. Special Energy denial is much weaker as more and more decks are being built around Basic Energy and less decks are being built around only using four Double Colorless Energy to attack.

Another big issue with Noivern is that there isn’t a Dragon type Noibat, which means there isn’t a pre-evolution to Noivern that you can attach a Double Dragon to, adding a little bit of inherent inconsistency to the deck. Double Dragon Energy is also rotating out of Standard, and Dragon Pokemon have rarely been successful in formats without it because of the multi-Energy type requirements to their attacks making them cumbersome to use. Without Double Dragon Energy in format if there isn’t a reprint, I can’t see Noivern amounting to anything after the rotation.

In the World’s format at least, and probably for most of its lifespan, it has a big issue with being Fairy weak, which is a major problem as at least in Standard format, Gardevoir GX will probably be a Tier 1 deck for many of the upcoming formats.

Verdict: 2/5

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Zygarde

Zygarde isn’t very noteworthy except that it is a splashable Dragon type Pokemon. With Choice Band, you can hit 220 damage against anything with Dragon weakness.

This isn’t very relevant towards either format right now. In Standard, nothing has a Dragon weakness. In Expanded, some of the older Dragon type Pokemon have Dragon weakness, but they’re not really seeing play right now, so they’re not very relevant either.

However, just because Pokemon hasn’t been releasing stuff with Dragon weakness doesn’t mean they will never release something with Dragon weakness again, so this is a good card to stow away in case they start making new Dragon weak Pokemon. In Expanded, Druddigon FLF is probably a better general purpose Dragon weakness counter as it only requires [C][C] to attack.

Verdict: 2/5

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Colorless Pokemon

Porygon Z

We saw devolution be a very strong effect at the NAIC with Igor Costa getting a Top 4 finish with Espeon EX and its devolution attack in his Decidueye GX/Tapu Koko spread deck. In the deck he would use Tapu Koko and Feather Arrow to spread damage around and then he could use Espeon EX to devolve bulky 240 HP Decidueye GX into 90 HP Dartrix to knock them out.

Porygon Z’s Initialize gives another method for devolving Pokemon. It could actually be paired with Espeon EX or you can use two of these in the same turn to devolve all the way from a Stage 2 all the way back to a Basic, even if your opponent didn’t use Rare Candy to evolve into the Stage 2.

Ultimately I don’t think this will see play though, as it is a Stage 2 and it doesn’t have a good attack to build a deck around. Espeon EX has still barely seen play and it only takes a single [C] to attack.

Verdict: 1/5

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Supporter Cards

Acerola

Acerola is a strong healing card. It’s similar to AZ, which saw lots of play, but it’s different, and the differences between it and AZ can be both good and bad depending on the situation.

The first difference between the two cards is that your Pokemon have to be damaged for you to use Acerola. AZ could be used on anything, which could be good for picking up cards like Shaymin EX to get a liability off the field, or to pick up a Pokemon your opponent Lysandre’d Active to stall for a turn.

The second difference is that AZ discarded every card attached to the Pokemon you put back in your hand, while Acerola returns all those cards. This is a pretty big difference, as you can then re-use those same resources on other Pokemon. For example, in a Gardevoir GX deck, if you pick up a Tapu Lele GX that is damaged, you can pick up a Choice Band and any Energy you had attached to it, and then play those cards back down to power up a Gardevoir GX to attack with.

This can also be bad in some situations, as it can add dead cards into your hand which could be drawn into during a late game N, and sometimes with AZ you wanted to discard the cards. In a Bronzong or Eelektrik deck, for example, you may have wanted to discard the Energy cards so you could re-accelerate them with Metal Links or Dynamotor.

Overall, I really like the card design that went into Acerola (and also Guzma). These cards are similar to cards that we’ve had in format the past couple of seasons, but also distinctly different. This is a much better way for them to re-introduce effects into the game as making the cards a little bit different than past cards for a given effect helps keep the game fresh as we’re not constantly playing with the same cards over and over again.

Verdict: 4/5

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Guzma

Guzma is one of the strongest Pokemon cards to ever be printed. It is like Lysandre, one of the strongest cards from the last few seasons, but with an additional effect that makes it even better.

Gust effects have always been strong in the Pokemon TCG, especially when they’re guaranteed like old school Pokemon Catcher and cards like Lysandre and now Guzma. While VS Seeker made Lysandre even more powerful by giving players much greater access to it throughout a game, Lysandre still beat out Pokemon Catcher in most decks as the preferred gust effect prior to VS Seeker being printed. Some specific decks will have Abilities they can use for a gust effect, but for most other decks Lysandre and now Guzma are what everything else will play.

Similar to Lysandre, I would expect Guzma to see lots of play even after VS Seeker rotates out of the format.

Guzma helps us re-conceptualize how we think about building certain decks. In the past, we may not have played something with a high retreat cost for fear of running out of limited switching and retreating resources. For example, Machoke has a very costly 3 retreat cost. Vespiquen decks only play 2 Float Stone, so they only have two switching effects to retreat a Machoke in a game. If those resources are used up, Machoke can be stranded active for very negative consequences.

However, with Guzma a deck like Vespiquen can play a Pokemon with a high retreat cost with little fear as it now has easy access to a switching effect with Guzma. Now instead of 2 Float Stone as its only switching effects, it now also has 2 Guzma, and 4 VS Seeker, so it has 8 cards that can potentially be used for a Switching effect instead of 2.

I would expect Guzma to replace Lysandre in almost every deck to allow decks to take advantage of having additional switching effects. Anything that plays Float Stone or has a free retreat Pokemon should easily be able to play Guzma and get whatever they want to attack with active.

There may be a few decks that opt for Lysandre over Guzma because they can’t deal with this Switching effect very well, but I think these decks will be few and far between.

Verdict: 5/5

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Kiawe

Kiawe is a pretty insane turn 1 play, allowing you to accelerate 4 Fire Energy cards to one of your Pokemon. It’s very cool to see that you can accelerate to any type of Pokemon with Kiawe and not just Fire Pokemon. This means you can not only power up Pokemon like Ho-Oh GX and Turtonator GX for early game attacks, but you can power up other Pokemon, such as Snorlax GX, with Kiawe.

As strong as this effect is, it comes with a very large drawback of ending your turn. This greatly limits the amount of turns that you can effectively play Kiawe. Obviously you can’t use Kiawe for too many turns in a game as you need to be using most of your turns in a game to attack.

I think there would be two situations where you would play Kiawe. The first and most common situation would be on the early turns of the game while you’re getting setup, in particular on turn 1, especially effective when you’re going first, to get off to a fast start with a big attacker. The other time I could see it being played is in the late game if you need to power something up and can sacrifice something else or absorb a hit.

Verdict: 3/5

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Lana

Lana is a very niche Supporter card that will mostly be relegated to Water decks only. It can be used as Pokemon Center Lady was and that is to turn 2HKO’s into 3HKO’s. You won’t be able to heal Special Conditions like you can with PCL, but you may be able to heal multiple Pokemon at the same time, which could potentially be better.

Even in Water decks I’m not sure if it will always see play, but it will be an option for them if we get into a 2HKO format and this can be effective as a result.

Verdict: 2/5

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Olivia

I don’t expect Olivia to see much play at all. The Item based Pokemon search has typically proven to be better than the Supporter based Pokemon search. Olivia also gets a very narrow range of Pokemon, only getting Pokemon GX. Even in GX based decks, a lot of the Pokemon are non-GX Pokemon, so Olivia doesn’t do much to help these decks get setup.

Verdict: 1/5

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Plumeria

Plumeria is one of the most well balanced Energy removal cards that Pokemon has made. Its effect of being able to discard any type of Energy card from one of your opponent’s Pokemon makes it stronger than Team Flare Grunt or Xerosic, but it comes with a costly drawback of discarding 2 cards, which helps make it much more balanced as it will cost the opponent some of their own resources that they have in hand to be able to even be able to use this for disruption.

In Expanded, this can be mitigated by using Exeggcute PLF and its Propogation Ability.

In Standard, this drawback is more significant, as it will limit the amount of times a player can play this consecutively. If they play it too much, they will discard too many resources.

Ultra Ball is widely considered the best Pokemon search card in the game and it also discards two cards when you use it. It will be difficult for players to balance using Plumeria and Ultra Ball without destroying a players hand and resource stores.

Verdict: 3/5

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Sophocles

Sophocles has a lot of potential as a supplemental Supporter card post-rotation. After rotation, I expect most decks to play 4 Professor Sycamore and 4 N, and then supplement those cards with stuff like Brigette, Skyla, Lillie, and perhaps Sophocles as well.

Sophocles reminds me of some of the past hand growing Supporters played in the Heart Gold and Soul Silver-on format, such as Engineer’s Adjustments and Sage’s Training. I could especially see Sophocles getting play in Metagross GX decks. Something that bothers me a lot when playing Metagross GX is that it can sometimes take a bit to get Energy into the discard pile to accelerate with Geotech System. Sophocles gives you something else in addition to Ultra Ball that can get these Energy into the discard pile early.

I don’t think Sophocles will see widespread play as a supplemental Supporter, but in decks where it can combo for a productive use, such as Metagross GX, I could see it getting added back in post rotation.

Verdict: 2/5

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Wicke

Wicke is a card that players may initially see and think it belongs in the bulk pile along with Ilima, but Wicke is actually a deceptively wicked disruption card.

To understand how Wicke can be good disruption you have to think about how players play out their turns. Players will typically play out as much of their hand as possible, and then hold onto a Supporter Card or VS Seeker so that they have some type of draw for turn.

When players play out their hands in such a way, they will have a 100% probability of having a Supporter card if you don’t disrupt them and they had a Supporter card to hold onto. Imagine your opponent plays out their turn in this way, going down to a two card hand, with one of the cards being a Professor Sycamore for their draw for the next turn. If you do nothing, they will have Professor Sycamore to draw for their next turn. If you use Wicke, they will have to shuffle that Professor Sycamore in and draw two random cards. There is a solid probability that those two cards do not give your opponent another draw out and then they may dead draw causing them to lsoe.

Wicke is fairly situational, but it does have some legitimate disruption potential. I don’t expect for it to see lots of play, as N is much better disruption as long as it remains in format, but after N goes this also could become the best disruption option in the game.

Verdict: 2/5

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Item Cards

Escape Rope

Escape Rope will remain in Standard format for the next few seasons with a reprint. There is both a new regular art version of the card as well as a Secret Rare version of the card available for players to pull in Burning Shadows.

Escape Rope will probably only see sporadic play this season as Float Stone is still in format, but after Float Stone presumably rotates at the end of the season, Escape Rope will again start seeing more play.

Verdict: Reprint, 4/5

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Rotom Dex Poké Finder Mode

Rotom Dex Poke Finder Mode is similar to Pokedex, but it digs 1 card less than Pokedex but comes with the alternate effect of being able to shuffle the cards back into your deck if you don’t like them.

These types of cards rarely see play, so I’m not expecting Rotom Dex Poke Finder Mode to see play when Pokedex isn’t being considered for any decks while already being legal in the format. Using an Item to look at the top cards of your deck isn’t a very good use of a card slot in your deck.

Verdict: 1/5

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Super Scoop Up

Super Scoop Up also returns in Burning Shadows, also getting both new regular art and secret rare prints. The card was last printed in Furious Fists, meaning that it had been out of Standard format for the entirety of last season.

Super Scoop Up typically doesn’t see a ton of play, but it usually finds a home in some decks built around Basic Pokemon, as well as Stage 1 Pokemon decks with a coming into play Ability that can be re-used.

The most obvious partner in Standard format is going to be Tapu Koko GX, as Super Scoop Up (as well as Acerola) will allow decks to be built around continuously re-using its Aero Trail Ability.

Verdict: Reprint, 3/5

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Tormenting Spray

Tormenting Spray is by nature going to be a very inconsistent card, but when it hits, the effect is very powerful. If your opponent has a large hand size, it will be improbable to leave them without a draw Supporter for their next turn. If the opponent has multiple draw Supporters in hand, then you would have to play and hit on multiple Tormenting Spray to strip them of their needed Supporter for turn.

I think this card is too inconsistent to be worth the spot a spot in any decks.

Verdict: 1/5

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Tool Cards

Bodybuilding Dumbbells

Bodybuilding Dumbbells is super interesting as it can help put Stage 1 Pokemon on a level playing field with the bulkier Stage 2 Pokemon. The card can be removed with Field Blower, but we have seen Fighting Fury Belt successfully played in formats with Startling Megaphone, Field Blower, and Tool Scrapper seeing play, so I don’t see why a Stage 1 pseudo-variant of the card can’t see some success in a format with Field Blower getting played.

There are some high HP non-GX Stage 1’s, such as Crabominable, which can go up to very high HP amounts with this card. There are also the 200+ HP Stage 1 GX Pokemon which can match the Stage 2 GX’s HP numbers with this card.

The tough sell for this card is that having it attached means that you can’t have Choice Band around, and for a lot of decks Choice Band has been integral for hitting the damage numbers you need. However, this won’t always be the case and being able to survive some knockouts could become more important for some decks if they’re missing out on knockout math, even when they do have Choice Band.

Verdict: 3/5

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Weakness Policy

Weakness Policy will survive the rotation of its original set, Primal Clash, with a reprint in Burning Shadows. Weakness Policy rarely saw play, even in the formats where Tool removal wasn’t a thing, so I don’t expect it to see much play this go around.

The problem with this card is that Pokemon are only hit by one type for Weakness, which means in most metagames, Weakness Policy will be a dead card in the majority of your matchups.

Verdict: Reprint, 1/5

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Wishful Baton

Wishful Baton is a very interesting Tool card that can help you conserve your Basic Energy and instantly power up a follow up attacker when your main attacker is knocked out.

Like Bodybuilding Dumbbells and Fighting Fury Belt, sometimes it will be removed with Field Blower and be ineffective. But other times you can get it to stick, and then it can have a profound effect on the game.

Its range of use is going to be limited though, as it would only see play in decks that play and attach lots of Basic Energy. In decks that don’t do these things, it won’t be very effective. Additionally, Energy acceleration decks like Gardevoir GX and Metagross GX don’t have much use for this card as they already have means to get lots of Energy into play.

In the upcoming Standard format, Wishful Baton has some hype for being paired with Primal Groudon EX. With its Barrier Ancient Trait, Primal Groudon EX cannot have its Tool cards removed by Field Blower. This would give Primal Groudon EX decks a good means for instantly powering up their next Primal Groudon EX to attack with after one goes down.

In the Expanded format, I would expect the Focus Sash, Scramble Switch, and Puzzle of Time build to still be stronger than a Wishful Baton variant.

Verdict: 2/5

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Stadium Cards

Mount Lanakila

I would not expect Mount Lanakila to have much effect on a format, even if it did see play in decks. There are just too many ways to play around this card that it isn’t effective.

On turns where your opponent doesn’t have to retreat, it’s useless. If your opponent has a Float Stone attached to whatever they’re retreating, it’s useless. If your opponent is retreating an evolved Pokemon, it’s useless. If your opponent uses a switching card, it’s useless. If your opponent uses a Guzma to switch, it’s useless. There are way too many ways to play around this type of effect for this card to be worth a spot in a deck.

Verdict: 1/5

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Po Town

This is a very strong Stadium Card for a format that is going to be full of evolution cards. I could see this being a popular inclusion in lots of Basic Pokemon decks to try to get these very bulky Stage 1 and Stage 2 GX Pokemon into easier knockout range for Basic Pokemon decks. If a player has to manually evolve all the way from a Basic to a Stage 2 with Po Town in play, that would put 60 damage onto a Pokemon by the time it becomes a Stage 2.

Knocking out a a 230 HP Gardevoir GX is tough. Knocking out a 200, or 170 HP Gardevoir GX is much more manageable. Interestingly Gardevoir GX can somewhat play around Po Town’s effect by evolving from the deck with Diancie.

Po Town is also a godsend for Drampa GX variants. While they still had Rainbow Energy to power up Beserk’s boosted damage, they had lost Team Magma’s Secret Base, which would have made it more difficult to get into a turn 2 Beserk for 150 damage. Now with Po Town, you can get damage counters onto your Zoroark or Garbodor when you evolve, allowing these decks to live on into next season’s Standard format.

Verdict: 3/5

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Energy Cards

Like all of the sets from the Sun and Moon set block, each pack contains a Basic Energy card in it.

There are three secret rare Basic Energy cards in the set. The Energy cards getting the secret rare treatment in Burning Shadows are Fire, Darkness, and Fairy. These are some of the best Energy to have in Secret Rare form as there are some very powerful decks using these Energy types.

Fire has Volcanion EX, Darkness has Yveltal EX, Darkrai EX/GX, and Zoroark decks, and Fairy decks have the new Gardevoir GX.

Card Index

Pokemon:

Vileplume | Tangrowth | Heracross | Araquanid | Wimpod | Golisopod GX | Charizard GX | Ho-Oh GX | Salazzle GX | Alolan Ninetales | Kingdra | Gyarados | Tapu Fini GX | Raichu | Eelektross | Slowking | Wobbuffet | Seviper | Dusknoir | Necrozma GX | Machamp GX | Lunatone | Lucario | Sawk | Crabominable | Marshadow GX | Alolan RaticateAlolan Grimer | Alolan Muk GX |Weavile | Darkrai | Darkrai GX | Gardevoir GX | Diancie | Ribombee | Noivern GX | Zygarde | Porygon Z

Trainers:

Acerola | Guzma | Kiawe | Lana | Olivia | Plumeria | Sophocles |Wicke | Escape Rope | Rotom Dex Poke Finder Mode | Super Scoop Up | Tormenting Spray | Bodybuilding Dumbbells | Weakness Policy | Wishful Baton | Mount Lanakila | Po Town

5 thoughts on “Pokemon Burning Shadows Set Review

  1. have you tested Koko/Acerola etc? It was discussed a bit in the past as a possible deck but nobody’s talking about it now. I realise that 170HP doesn’t cut it as a main attacker and that the attack is costly and generally not powerful enough, but field blowers seem to be declining a little so fury belts could stick, and the acerola/scoop up side of the deck can be really effective. Aether paradise also helps. I’d be interested to get an idea of how well it could perform in the hands of a good player.

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