As always, most of the set consists of either just plain bad- or filler cards, but I hope my review gives you a good idea of what cards to look out for, what cards may be hidden gems and what cards are absolute must haves. Please keep in mind that this review was written before the physical release, so my opinion may change with further playtesting in the future. I would also like to note that this set contains quite a few reprints from older sets, which I will mention for each card as well.

The release date for this set is August 3rd, 2018..

Note: this review was written before the release of the set and might contain mistranslations, missing cards or other mistakes.

Pokémon

Grass

Treeko, Grovyle and Sceptile 5/10

Sceptile

Ability: Natures Power

Prevent all damage done by your opponent’s ‘Ultra Beast’ Pokémon to your Pokémon that have any grass energy attached to it.

[G] Powerful Storm 20x

This attack does 20 damage times the numer of energy attached to all of your Pokémon.

Treeko and Grovyle are unremarkable, they simply exist to get to Sceptile. Sceptile itself, however, might become the focus point of a few fun decks. The ability keeps you safe from two current decks (Beastbox and Ultra Necrozma) and mostly safe from Buzzwole GX in general, just to mention the most important ones here. Sceptile’s attack; ‘Powerful Storm’, is exactly the same as it was with Gallade from Plasma Storm and Huntail from Primal Clash, though with different energy cost.  Just as before, ‘Powerful storm’ is, well, powerful. The damage can easily reach extreme levels for a single energy, but as strong as it can be, it is just as unreliable. The knockout of a single of your Pokémon can reduce your damage output drastically. It should also be noted that Sceptile is a Stage 2 Pokémon, which makes it more difficult to use than Huntail was. However, the fact that Sceptile exists should make every Ultra Beast deck at least consider an alternate attacker that is not an Ultra Beast.



Bellsprout, Weepinbell and Victreebel 2/10

Victreebel

Ability: Fragrance Trap

Once during your turn, you may flip a coin. If heads, choose 1 of your opponent’s benched Pokémon and switch it with the active Pokémon.

[G][G][C] Corrosive Acid 80

Flip a coin. If heads, your opponent’s active Pokémon is now burned.

Weak Basic, weak Stage 1, weak Stage 2. There is nothing special about these cards. The ability ‘Fragrance Trap’ may come in useful sometimes, but being so unreliable makes it just not worth playing this Stage 2 Pokémon at all.

[Spiritual reprint of Aquapolis 45, 65 and 42]

Spinarak and Ariados 1.5/10

Ariados

[C] Reactive Poison 20+

Does 50 more damage for each special condition on your opponent’s active Pokémon.

[G] Spider Trap

The Defending Pokémon is now Asleep and Poisoned. Before applying this effect, you may switch 1 of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon with your opponent’s active Pokémon. If you do, the new Defending Pokémon is now Asleep and Poisoned.

Spinarak is generic as always, while Ariados seems to get the short end of the stick once again when it comes to HP. While ‘Spider Trap’ followed by ‘Reactive Poison’ should be an easy 120 damage, this still ends up falling short. An avarage of 60 damage over 2 turns (or 70 if you count poison in) is just not enough for a Stage 1 Pokémon, especially with the high risk of Sleep already having worn off by the point Ariados gets to use ‘Reactive Poison’. In a time where Hypno-Toxic Laser or anything similar is not a thing anymore, this card has absolutely no place in any deck.

[Spiritual reprint of EX Unseen Forces 75 and 2]

Cacnea and Cacturne 1.5/10

Cacturne

Ability: Poison Payback

If Cacturne is your active Pokémon and is damaged by an opponent’s attack, the attacking Pokémon is now poisoned.

[C][C][C] Feint Attack

This attack does 50 damage to 1 of your opponent’s Pokémon. This attack’s damage isn’t affected by Weakness, Resistance, or any other effects on the defending Pokémon.

Both Cacnea and Cacturne share the ‘Poison Payback’ ability, which makes them at least somewhat useful. But that’s where the usefulness ends. Cacnea essentially poisons the opponent at the cost of a Prize Card for the opponent, Cacturne can at least attack for a little more damage but is still not worth the effort. ‘Feint Attack’ requires too much Energy, though at least it only asks for Colorless Energy. Just use Poison Barb if you really want to poison Pokémon that badly.

[Spiritual reprint of EX Sandstorm 57 and 2]

Seedot, Nuzleaf and Shiftry GX 6.5/10

Shiftry GX

[G] Perplex 40

Your opponent’s active Pokémon is now confused.

[G][C][C] Extrasensory 90+

If you have the same amount of cards in your hand as your opponent, this attack does 90 more damage.

[G][C][C] Pandemonium GX

Shuffle one of your opponent’s Pokémon in play and all cards attached to it into your opponent’s deck.

As usual, the basic and stage 1 Pokémon of this evolution chain are mostly useless and only stepstones to the stage 2. Though Nuzleaf’s ‘Clear Out’ might have some use, using it would be a pretty desperate move. Shiftry GX seems to be the spiritual successor of the currently banned Shiftry from Next Destinies, as the ability ‘Giant Fan’ of the banned card is very much like Shiftry GX’s ‘Fandemonium GX’. The condition for dealing 180 damage with ‘Extrasensory’ is quite easily met and Shiftry GX’s Grass typing is more or less neutral in the current meta, so consistently dealing 180 damage for a Double Colorless Energy and a single Grass Energy is good, dealing 210 with a Choice band is even better. With a deck that can consistently vary its hand size as to meet the condition for ‘Extrasensory’, knocking out basic and stage 1 Pokémon GX turn for turn should be easy for Shiftry GX. The previously mentioned GX attack, ‘Fandemonium GX’, can get rid of a fully set up threat, but does not earn you any prizes in the process. ‘Perplex’ is nice to have for a single energy. In a pinch, the easily accessible confusion can save you, or get completely nullified by Dawnwings Necrozma GX or Guzma. In total, Shiftry GX is a solid card that is sadly outshined by other Pokémon GX nonetheless.

Surskit and Masquerain 2.5/10

Masquerain

[G] Surprising Pattern

Discard all special energy attached to your opponent’s Pokémon.

[C][C][C] Hurricane Wing 40x

Flip 4 coins. This attack does 40 damage times the number of heads.

An interesting tech idea against a Special Energy heavy meta, but nothing more. Playing a 1-1 chain could really mess with an opponent’s field, but will end up being useless in most scenarios. Also, ‘Surprising Pattern’ requires Grass Energy, which of course will be limited to Grass decks. Maybe it will see some play in the occasional future deck, but as of now it stays in the binder.

Volbeat and Illumise 2/10

Illumise

[G] Pheromone Sign 20

Your opponent’s active Pokémon is now confused.

Volbeat

[G] Pheromone Catch 20+

If one of your Illumise used ‘Pheromone Sign’ last turn, this attack does 100 more damage.

Not an evolution chain, but I will still put them together because these two have an interesting combo going on. Dealing 120 damage for a single Energy is outstanding at first glance, but not at all feasible when looking deeper into it. The total damage Illumise and Volbeat deal across 2 turns is 140, that makes an avarage of 70 each turn and under several conditions. You have to have both Pokémon on the field, both need to attack in succession and they are almost worthless by themselves. Even in a PTCGO fun deck, I would not want to try these bugs out. At least they try, I suppose.

Tropius 1/10

[G] Find a Friend

Search your deck for 2 Pokémon, reveal them and put them into your hand. Then shuffle your deck.

[G][C][C] Solar Beam 70

A much worse Alolan Vulpix, do not even consider playing this card.

Dhelmise 2/10

[G][C] Giga Drain 30

Heal the same amount of damage from this Pokémon, as this attack did to your opponent’s active Pokémon.

[G][G][C] Powerful Spin 130

During your next turn, this Pokémon can’t attack.

Nothing stands out about this card, just a filler card for the set. However, since the Japanese set this card is from is based on Hoenn, it might be a reference to a line of one of the NPCs in Slateport City that references seaweed that looks like it could “rear up and attack”.

Fire

Torchic, Combusken, Blaziken 6/10 and Blaziken GX 9/10

Blaziken GX

[C][C] Slash 60

[R][R][C] Explosion Flame Leg 210

Discard 2 fire energy attached to this Pokémon.

[R] Blaze Out GX

Discard 2 energy attached to your opponent’s Pokémon in play

Incredible damage for low energy cost, Blaziken GX’s ‘Explosive Kick’ sets new standards for what damage we should expect from Pokémon GX. Discarding energy for high damage is something we are used to from Fire type Pokémon, but the massive 210 damage (240 with a Choice Band) can deal with almost anything Blaziken GX comes across. Sadly (or luckily?) we currently lack a way to consistently refill Blaziken’s Energy needs so it can use ‘Explosive Kick’ every turn without pause. Slash is a filler attack with good enough damage to knock out most basic Pokémon GX in two attacks, assuming you have a Choice Band equipped. ‘Blaze Out GX’ will barely ever be used, but might help you stall enough to then finish them off with an ‘Explosive Kick’ afterwards. A fully set up Blaziken GX is a big threat to any deck, even the current top tier decks. The regular Blaziken on the other hand does not shine with pure power, but utility. ‘Firestarter’ can help you set up your field faster, while ‘Fire Stream’ deals damage to every Pokémon on the opponent’s side of the field and gives the ability ‘Firestarter‘ more fuel in the process. A good combination of attack and ability and though it is outshined by Blaziken GX, it should not be underestimated.

[some of the cards from this evolution line are spiritual reprints of EX Ruby&Sapphire 74, 28 and 3]

Torkoal 1.5/10

[C][C] Burning Enlightenment 30

Discard the top 4 cards of your deck and attach all fire energy from there to your Pokémon in any way you like.

[R][R][C] Searing Flame 80

Your opponent’s active Pokémon is now burned.

Another filler card, nothing special about this one sadly. Even the artwork is just the basic Ken Sugimori artwork.  A plain and disappointing card.

Slugma and Magcargo 5/10

Magcargo

Ability: Smooth Over

Once during your turn, you may search your deck for a card, shuffle your deck and put the chosen card on top of your deck.

[R][C][C] Combustion 50

Slugma is a generic Basic Pokémon, but Magcargo is a possible contender for an ‘Abyssal Hand’ Octillery substitute. Searching for any one card once every turn with ‘Smooth Over’, then drawing that card with Zoroark GX or a Supporter card guarantees you have what you need, whenever you need it. If you do not have a card to draw the placed card though, you will have to wait a turn to use it, which unless you badly needed that Cynthia, may already be too late. Just like Octillery, Magcargo may very well be put into decks just to take advantage of the ability. We will see if it is worth it though.

[Spiritual reprint of EX Deoxys 75 and 20]

Oricorio 2/10

[R] Alluring Salsa

Choose one of your opponent’s benched Pokémon and switch it with your opponent’s active Pokémon. The new active Pokémon is now burned and confused.

[R][C][C] Heat Blast 70

‘Alluring Salsa’ is the only reason this card might be interesting in some way. However, using one of your 6 spots on the field for a Lysandre in form of an attack (along with confusion and minimal damage through burn) is not worth it at all. While interesting in theory, easily accessible switching in form of Guzma, Dawn Wings Necrozma GX and Tate And Liza makes ‘Alluring Salsa’ wasted effort.

Water

Mudkip, Marshtomp and Swampert 4.5/10

Swampert

Ability: Power Draw

Once during your turn, you may discard a card from your hand. If you do, draw 3 cards.

[C][C][C] Hydro Pump 80+

This attack does 20 more damage for each water energy attached to this Pokémon.



Interestingly, the 60HP basic Mudkip has some viability as active Pokémon at the very start of the game, as it can get you 3 basic Water Energy cards from the deck for later use, possibly to discard and reuse with Aqua Patch or maybe to use Crasher Wake for even more advantage. Marshtomp is not worth mentioning, but Swampert sure is. ‘Power Draw’ is a better ‘Trade’ from Zoroark GX, but also harder to get to since Swampert is a Stage 2 Pokémon. Water decks, thanks to Aqua Patch, like having energy in the discard pile, so discarding them with Swampert is not too bad. The effort does not seem worth the outcome though, as Zoroark is just a much easier option and needs much less deckspace. Swampert deals slightly higher damage if equipped with only Water Energy, compared to a full bench for Zoroark GX, but that still is a 2-hit knockout on most targets. Swampert is by no means a bad card, do not get me wrong. But there already exists an option that does a similarly good job for much less effort. Also, there are better options in Water decks for discarding Water Energy to use with Aqua Patch.

Wailmer and Wailord 2.5/10

Wailord

[W][W][W][W] Dwindling Wave 200-

This attack deals 40 damage less for each damage counter on this Pokémon

High HP, but almost no offensive power to speak of… That’s how Wailord always has been and this one changes nothing. The 200 damage of Wailord’s ‘Dwindling Wave’ may look impressive at first, but the numbers dwindle quickly, just as the name implies. The 220HP however, is much more useful to stall, just like Wailord EX was used for not too long ago. Take hits, heal the damage off with several cards like Max Potion and Lana, repeat until the opponent lost by deckout. This is much less viable than it was in Wailord EX’s days, thanks to easier accessible high damage numbers. Also, Tapu Bulu GX and Ultra Necrozma GX can easily knock out Wailord with a single attack. Some PTCGO fun decks will play Wailmer and Wailord, but that’s about it.

Clamperl, Huntail and Gorebyss 2.5/10

Huntail

[W] Big Bite 30

During your opponent’s next turn, the defending Pokémon can’t retreat.

[W][C][C] Dangerous Bite 40+

If your opponent’s active Pokémon is a basic Pokémon, this attack does 80 more damage.

Gorebyss

[W] Decoy Splash 30

During your opponent’s next turn, this Pokémon doesn’t take damage from the attacks of evolution Pokémon.

Clamperl plays well with its evolutions, since they both have single energy attacks to use right after evolving it first turn. However, one of them is plainly better than the other. While Huntail has potential to deal high numbers of damage, this is very conditional and deals way too low numbers if those conditions are not met. For a stage 1, 120 damage for 3 energy is not even high to make the low base damage number of 40 reasonable. If the base damage of ‘Dangerous Bite’ were 80, the attack would still be pretty underwhelming, but at least not laughably bad.

Now we come to talk about Gorebyss, the best part of this trio. No retreat cost alone makes this card worth being looked at, but that’s not all. Gorebyss also is immune to Evolution Pokémon, after attacking, which can screw entire decks over easily. Problem being, this is not reliable since you might just be up against a deck that uses Basic Pokémon exclusively. Also, the damage is quite low, so at most, Gorebyss will stall until the opponent uses Guzma. Gorebyss is one of the very few water Pokémon without retreat cost and might see play for that alone, especially in an Evolution Pokémon heavy meta. However, there are better options to use your bench space for.

Luvdisc 1/10

[C] Even Game

Search your deck for as many Basic Pokémon as your opponent has benched Pokémon and put them onto your bench. Then shuffle your deck.

[C][C] Water Pulse 20

Your opponent’s active Pokémon is now asleep.

This card, just like every other incarnation of Luvdisc, is almost worthless. ‘Even Game’ might help you set up your bench turn 2, but that is pretty much the only use this card has, while being dependent on your opponent already having a set up bench. And if they can do it without Luvdisc, you can too.

Regice 1.5/10

Ability: Ice Barrier

While this is your active Pokémon, your opponent can’t play Stadium cards from their hand.

[W][C][C] Icy Wind 60

Your opponent’s active Pokémon is now asleep.

The ability is not worth it, though on a good card this would be a pretty strong ability to have. On Regice however, you are not putting a roadblock onto the field the opponent has to get past, but a nicely placed pebble. A pebble with way too high energy cost for a way too weak attack, might I add.

Kyogre 2/10

[W][C] Dual Splash

This attack does 30 damage to 2 of your opponent’s Pokémon. (Don’t apply W/R for benched Pokémon)

[W][W][C] Grand Wave 120

During your next turn, this Pokémon can’t use ‘Grand Wave’.

This set is based around Hoenn, but the signature legendary Pokémon of that region are laughably weak. Kyogre (and Groudon later on) seem like the kind of card they will include in the starter decks of this set. While Kyogre is much better than Groudon, it still is not worth playing.

Totodile, Croconaw and Feraligatr 1.5/10

Feraligatr

Ability: Downpour

As often as you like during your turn, you may discard a water energy from your hand.

[W][W] Riptide 10+

This attack does 20 more damage for each water energy in your discard pile. Then, shuffle all water energy from your discard pile into your deck.

They are bad, very bad. Feraligatr can deal massive damage about once a game, twice if you are lucky and your deck is focused on nothing but its ‘Riptide’ attack. You need 7 Water Energy in your discard pile to even knock out the lowest HP Pokémon GX in one attack, provided Feraligatr has a Choice Band equipped as well. Keep in mind that ‘Riptide’ shuffles all your energy back into the deck after dealing damage, forcing you to set up the attack once again and possibly be forced to draw into nothing but Basic Water Energy for a lot of your draws, ironically running you dry of actual resources.

[Spiritual successor to Neo Genesis 81, 32 and 5]



Lotad, Lombre and Ludicolo 5.5/10

Ludicolo

Ability: Swing Dance

Once during your turn, you may draw a card.

[W][C][C] Circular Steps 70+

This attack does 10 more damage for each Pokémon in play (except this Pokémon).

All three cards of this line have some use, as small as it may be. Lotad can slow your opponent down if you hit just the right card out of their hand, though this is very situational. Lombre can be used for Guzma switch plays, free retreat in general is always nice though. And Ludicolo can deal up to 180 damage for only 3 Energy, 2 of which can even be a Double Colorless Energy. With a full bench on both sides of the field and a Choice Band, it can even knock out quite a few Pokémon GX in one hit. Ludicolo also draws you an extra card every turn, making it not only useful in the active spot but also on the bench. I did not expect this much good from a Ludicolo line, but I am convinced that this card, though likely not winning any tournaments, will be a lot of fun to play.

Articuno GX 3/10

Ability: Legendary Ascent

Once during your turn, when you play this card from your hand onto your bench, you may switch this Pokémon with your active Pokémon. If you do, you may move as many water energy cards from your Pokémon in play to this Pokémon as you like.

[W][W][C] Ice Wing 130

[W] Cold Crush GX

Discard all energy attached to both active Pokémon.

Articuno GX is the water type Tapu Koko GX. ‘Legendary Ascent’ is Tapu Koko GX’s ‘Aero Trail’, ‘Ice Wing’ is identical to ‘Sky-High Claws’, the retreat cost of both are identical, and so is the HP. Their only real differences are the weakness and the GX attack. ‘Cold Crush GX’ removes the Energy cards from both Articuno itself and the opponent’s Pokémon, making it one of the few (maybe the only) GX attack to cause a negative effect on the user, in addition to being the only GX move you may use in a game. In total, Articuno GX is a worse, type changed Tapu Koko GX. I see almost no reason to play this card at more than 1 to get a free switch into a healthy blue bird if your much more reliable Lapras GX is getting close to being knocked out.

[Spiritual successor to EX Fire Red & Leaf Green 114]

Lightning

Electrike and Manectric 4.5/10

Manectric

Ability: Volt Start

If you go second, you can play this card face down during set up.

[L] Double Charge 40

Attach 2 basic energy cards from your hand to 1 of your benched Pokémon.

Manectric reminds me of Talonflame from Steam Siege, as they both are evolution Pokémon that can be played on the field like Basic Pokémon if they are in your starting hand. While Talonflame could only be in the active, Manectric can be on the bench too (at least, with the current translation I have), though only if you are second to go. Just like Talonflame, Manectric has free retreat, which always is great. However, Manectric has one huge flaw that Talonflame did not have, being that Manectric needs colored energy, Lightning Energy to be specific. This means splashing Manectric into a deck like it was common with Talonflame is not possible. The attack ‘Double Charge’ is decent, but often it will end up being nothing more than a 40 damage pinch in the side. This being Manectric’s only attack also makes it lack any game situation that is not the first few turns. Overall, though very similar to Talonflame, Manectric is much worse. Manectric might help out Raichu GX, but that remains to be seen. As of now, it just is not good enough. That, however, is mostly because of the lack of good Lightning Pokémon in need of help from Manectric. I know that will change very soon though…

Plusle 6/10

[C] Drawing Together

Shuffle your hand into your deck. Then draw a card for each benched Pokémon in play.

[L][C] Electro Ball 30

For a single colorless you can draw up to 10 cards. That is basically all that is necessary to describe this Plusle. In a normal gamestate, where the bench of both players will be full or at least almost full, ‘Everyone Draw’ is an amazing attack. After using up a lot of resources on your first or second turn, having so many resources on your very next turn already can easily overwhelm opponents. It does cost you an attack to make any use of this card, but drawing up to 10 is totally worth it in a lot of situations. In a time after the upcoming rotation where N does not exist anymore, this card may see play consistently. (Or I am just overrating it…)

Minun 1.5/10

[C] Tossing Draw

Discard as many hand cards as you want. Then, draw cards until you have 5 cards in your hand.

[L][C] Electro Ball 30

Plusle’s much weaker brother, is identical to him except for the first attack. The first attack made Plusle stand out, Minun ends up being just a filler card. Drawing up to 10 with Plusle for an attack will already make a lot of players think twice, but drawing up to 5 with Minun is not even worth considering. The possibility to discard a card before drawing may help some decks, but there are better options to do so. Also quite disappointing is that unlike previous Minun and Plusle, this set does not have matching artworks for the two cards.

Chinchou and Lanturn 2/10

Ability: Energy Grounding

If your active Pokémon gets knocked out by an opponent’s attack, you may move an energy attached to the knocked out Pokémon to this Pokémon.

[L][L][C] Electricannon 70+

You may discard all Lightning Energy attached to this Pokémon. If you do, this attack does 70 more damage.

Lanturn can power itself up by sitting on the bench and watching its comrades get knocked out. Once it reveled in the pain of its comrades enough, it comes up to the front and hits the opponent really hard, once. Not hard enough though, as the damage for discarding at least 2, most likely 3 Energy is just not high enough. A good idea with terrible execution, something that happens quite a lot in this set it seems.

[Spiritual successor to EX Hidden Legends 56 and 38]

Oricorio 2/10

[L] Sparkling Pompons

This attack does 30 damage to each Pokémon GX/EX in play. (Don’t apply W/R for benched Pokémon)

[L][C][C] Lightning Ball 70

‘Sparkling Pompoms’ can be used offensively as well as to damage potential benched Pokémon GX that gain benefits by having damage counters on them like Drampa GX. Of course, either possibility is far from optimal and should be considered a tech at best. There are and will be better options. Lastly, if your opponent has a deck with little to no GX Pokémon, Oricorio is simply useless. At best, this card will be a tiny bit of play in PTCGO fun decks.

Voltorb and Electrode GX 6/10

Voltorb

Ability: Floating Electrons

If this Pokémon has any energy attached to it, it has 0 retreat cost.

[L][C] Thundershock 20

Flip a coin. If heads your opponent’s active Pokémon is now paralyzed.

Electrode GX

Ability: Extra Energy Bomb

Once druing your turn, you may knock out this Pokémon. If you do, attach 5 energy cards from your discard pile to your Pokémon in play (except Pokémon GX/EX) in any way you like.

[L][C] Energy Ball 50

[L][C] Crush and Burn 30+

Discard as many energy cards you have in play as you like. This attack does 50 more damage for each card discarded that way.

Electrode GX brings the phrase “high risk, high reward” to a new level, a level that will turn most players off real quick. Sacrificing 2 prizes to give yourself a huge speed boost however, is not that bad. Five energy cards in exchange for sacrificing Electrode is actually something that seems worth it, once you realise that you can take Special Energy with ‘Extra Energy Bomb’ as well. Besides that, neither Voltorb nor Electrode are viable attackers, their only real use is to give you a quick spike in energy acceleration. A card sure worth playing around with, as the speed boost you get may be enough to overwhelm your opponent.

[Spiritual successor to EX Fire Red & Leaf Green 107]



Psychic

Spoink and Grumpig 2.5/10

Grumpig

[C] Mirror Steps 10+

This attack does 70 more damage if your opponent has a Pokémon in play, which has the same name as 1 of your Pokémon in play.

It is surprisingly easy for Grumpig to oneshot a Buzzwole GX or even a Lucario GX, assuming you have a Choice band equipped to the miscolored porkchop. Almost every deck plays at least a Tapu Lele GX and/or Oranguru, there could be other universal tech Pokémon coming in the near future as well. So the requirement for ‘Mirror Steps’ are not too difficult to meet. However, if you do not meet them, Grumpig is completely useless. Evolving it from Spoink and equipping energy to it is not worth the effort just to deal high damage for low energy, if you could simply play better cards to enhance your consistency and deal the same if not more damage without any unnecessary requirements. An interesting idea for a card, that might have worked if only it were executed better.

Gulpin and Swalot 1/10

Gulpin 

[C] Yawn

Your opponent’s active Pokémon is now asleep.

[P] Spit Poison

Your opponent’s active Pokémon is now poisoned.

Swalot

[C] Amnesia 30

Choose an attack on the Defending Pokémon. The Defending Pokémon can’t use that attack during your opponent’s next turn.

[P][C][C] Swallow Up 40+

If your opponent’s active Pokémon has less HP left than this Pokémon, this attack does 80 more damage.

Gulpin is generic, while Swalot is amazingly bad. ‘Amnesia’ can come in handy in very rare situations, when the opponent’s Pokémon has only a single attack to use and they somehow do not have access to a Guzma or Tate And Liza. Additionally, ‘Swallow Up’ is one of the worst attacks I have ever seen in recent memory. Measly 40 damage for three Energy, with an unlikely 120 damage if Swalot happens to attack a Pokémon that already is weaker than it. A horrible card that you should stay away from.

[A spiritual reprint of EX Hidden Legends 62 and 50.]

Lunatone 1/10 and Solrock 1.5/10

Lunatone

Ability: Sol Shade

While you have Solrock in play, both players Fire Pokémon (except Pokémon EX/GX) have no Abilities.

[P] Confusion 10

Flip a coin. If heads your opponent’s active Pokémon is now paralyzed.

Solrock

Ability: Sunbeam

The maximum HP of all of your Lunatone in play is now 130.

[C] Scorching Light

Flip a coin. If heads your opponent’s active Pokémon is now paralyzed. If tails your opponent’s active Pokémon is now burned.

For some reason, this card has a hatred for Fire type Pokémon, lightly nudges them into the wrong direction and then giggles while hiding behind a bush. Absolutely no realistic use for this card anywhere. Solrock supports Lunatone in its evil schemes, but fails just as hard at being useful as its friend. Useless cards until we get an additional useful Lunatone, which is highly unlikely.

[Spiritual reprints of EX Legend Maker 20 and EX Deoxys 47 respectively.]

Shuppet, Banette 2/10 and Banette GX 5.5/10

Banette

Ability: Red Eyes

Once during your turn, when your play this card to evolve 1 of your Pokémon, you may put a basic Pokémon from your opponent’s discard pile onto their bench.

[P][C] Enemy Show

Put as many damage counters on your opponent’s Pokémon in any way you like, as much as your opponent has Pokémon in play.

Banette GX

Ability: Shadow Move

Once during your turn, if this is your active Pokémon, you may move a damage counter from any Pokémon to any other Pokémon in play.

[P] Shadow Chant 30

This attack does 10 more damage for each supporter card in your discard pile. (you can’t add more than 100 damage this way).

[P] Tomb Hunt GX

Put any 3 cards from your discard pile into your hand.

Banette has some synergy with cards like Dusknoir from Burning Shadows, but it is absolutely not worth the effort nor deckspace.  The complete lack of any inherent negative effect for the opponent is astonishing to me. No damage counters put onto the target, no forcing it into the active position, nothing. Banette can easily help the opponent more than it causes problems to them. A fun deck for PTCGO can come from this for sure, but that’s as far as I am going to go. The artwork for Shuppet and Banette was created by one of my favorite PTCG artists (Eri Yamaki), so from a collectors point of view, these two have a secure spot in my binder. Banette GX however, is a whole different thing. ‘Shady Move’ is sadly only usable while Banette GX is in the active spot, but is still somewhat useful. ‘Shadow Chant’ is Banette GX’s main source of damage, and can easily deal 100 or more damage for a single energy. Taking Pokémon GX out in two attacks for a single energy is not something to underestimate. ‘Tomb Hunter GX’, though identical to Decidueye GX’s ‘Hollow Hunt GX’, will be very powerful once we have no N in the Standard Format anymore. In the end, Banette GX is good, but most likely not good enough, I would like to see it win a few tournaments though.

[One Shuppet and Banette GX are a spiritual reprint of EX Legend Maker 63 and 85.]



Deoxys Defense Form 1/10, Deoxys Speed Form 1.5/10 and Deoxys Attack Form 5/10

Deoxys (Defense Form)

[C] Reflector

During your opponent’s next turn, this Pokémon gets 40 less damage from attacks.

[P][C][C] Psycho Screw 80

This attack’s damage isn’t affected by resistance.

Deoxys (Speed Form)

[P] Teleport Break 20

You may switch this Pokémon with 1 of your benched Pokémon.

[C][C][C] Spear Dive

This attack does 50 damage to 1 of your opponent’s Pokémon. This attack’s damage isn’t affected by Weakness or Resistance.

Deoxys (Attack Form)

[C][C] Psychic 20+

This attack does 20 more damage times the number of energy attached to your opponent’s active Pokémon.

[P][P][C] Power Blast 120

Discard 1 energy attached to this Pokémon.

There are three different Deoxys in this set, only one of which should be considered playable. The Defense Form is the worst of the bunch, having absolutely unnecessarily high 3 retreat cost and both attacks being trash. ‘Psychic Screw’ hits the occasional Metal Pokémon for normal damage and has too high of a cost for what little effect it has, while ‘Reflect’ is an attack you’d not even want to use in a theme deck battle. Next we have the Speed Form, which is almost as useless as the Defense Form, but at least can hit the bench for mediocre damage and has only one retreat cost. One retreat cost which quite honestly is one too many, after all this is supposed to be the Deoxys Speed Form. Lastly, we have Deoxys Attack Form which also has one retreat cost, but much better attacks than the other two. ‘Psychic’ can deal decent damage, provided the opponent’s Pokémon carries a lot of energy with them. ‘Power Blast’ is actually quite decent, considering Deoxys is not a GX Pokémon and can attack every turn. I might even consider this card as an alternate non-GX attacker in some decks, because of ‘Power Blast’ alone. In sum, the only Deoxys worth looking at is the Attack Form, the others are really bad.

Mr. Mime GX 1.5/10

Ability: Magic Evens

When this Pokémon is damaged by an opponent’s Pokémon’s attack, prevent that damage if it’s 20, 40, 60, 80, 100, 120, 140, 160, 180, 200, 220, 240 or 260.

[P][C] Breakdown

Put a damage counter on your opponent’s active Pokémon for each card in your opponent’s hand.

[C] Life Trick GX

Heal all damage from this Pokémon.

Thanks to Mr. Mime GX being a Pokémon GX, the ability ‘Magic Evens’ is disregarded quickly. Choice Band is in almost every remotely decently built deck and changes your damage numbers from even to uneven or the other way around. Breakdown will barely cause any relevant damage most of the time and ‘Life Trick GX’ is way too weak for a GX attack. Mr. Mime GX is a weak Pokémon GX overall and is easily bypassed until the Magic Unevens version of it gets released someday. But even then, neither of them likely is worth playing.

[Spiritual successor to EX Fire Red & Leaf Green 111]

Fighting

Meditite and Medicham 3/10

Meditite

[F] Bide

Flip a coin. If heads, if this Pokémon would be knocked out by damage from an attack during your opponent’s next turn, it is not knocked out and its remaining HP becomes 10 instead.

[F][F] Kick 30

Medicham

[F][F] Enlightend Hit 10+

If this Pokémon has 30 or fewer remaining HP, this attack does 160 more damage.

[F][F] Spinning Kick 90

This Pokémon does 30 damage to itself.

There is quite the interesting synergy between Meditite and Medicham, rendering Meditite much more useful than most evolving basic Pokémon. But sadly, ‘Bide’ is bound to a coinflip and thus, very unreliable. If only it had a “Meditite can not use Bide during your next turn” clause instead. Medicham can deal extremely high damage for the low cost of 2 energy. Dealing 220 damage if you have Diancie Prism Star on the bench and a Choice band equipped to Medicham is huge, enough to knock out most Pokémon GX in one hit. However, the requirement to be at or below 30HP is not easy to meet and highly unreliable. If someone can find a way to use ‘Enlightened Strike’ reliably, Medicham will at least be a scary fun deck, if not a scary secondary attacker.

Phanpy and Donphan 3/10

Phanpy

[C] Tackle 10

[F] Endure

Flip a coin. If heads, during your opponent’s next turn, if this Pokémon would be knocked out by an attack, this Pokémon is not knocked out. Instead put damage counters on this Pokémon until is has 10 remaining HP.

Donphan

[F] Flail 10x

This attack does 10 damage for each damage counter on this Pokémon.

[F][C][C] Rapid Spin 50

Switch this Pokémon, with one of your benched Pokémon. Then, your opponent switches their active Pokémon with one of their benched Pokémon.

Just like Meditite, Phanpy’s ‘Endure’ relies on a coinflip, which is normal for that attack, but still not good. If Phanpy survives an attack thanks to ‘Endure’, Donphan’s Flail would cause 60 damage, which is good, but not good enough. ‘Rapid Spin’ on the other hand, may come in useful, especially in combination with Hustle Belt from this set. Deal 110 damage, switch Donphan out so it is safe, repeat until forced active by a Guzma. You have to take 100-120 damage from somewhere first though. A gimmick card with potential, but not much more.

[A spiritual reprint of Neo Genesis 43 and 21.]

Baltoy and Claydol 1.5/10

Baltoy

[C][C] Confusion 20

Flip a coin. If heads, your opponent’s active Pokémon is now paralyzed.

Claydol

[C] Confusion 20

Flip a coin, if heads your opponent’s active Pokémon is paralyzed.

[F][C][C] Miracle Spin 40x

This attack does 40 damage for each ‘Steven’s Decision’ in your discard pile.

Claydol works together with a Supporter card, similar to Garchomp and Cynthia did in the Ultra Prism set. In Claydol’s case, it is Steven’s Decision. A powerful card that ends your turn on use. And exactly there lies one of the many problems with Claydol, it requires multiple Steven’s Decision to be in your discard pile. Normally, this means you play the card, but doing so ends your turn and makes you unable to attack afterwards. To get any value out of ‘Miraculous Spin’, you need to have at least 3 of your 4 Steven’s Decision in your discard Pile, which means either using the card repeatedly just to lose out on attacking, or discarding them somehow. Discarding them repeatedly, just to get decent damage out of a 3 Energy attack on a Stage 1 Pokémon is way too much effort and should not even be considered.

Regirock 3.5/10

Regirock

[F] Enhanced Stomp 20+

If this Pokémon has a Tool attached to it, this attack does 20 more damage.

[F][F][C] Armour Hammer 100

Discard the top card of your opponent’s deck.

‘Enhanced Stomp’ can deal 70 damage to a Pokémon GX for a single energy, provided the equipped Tool is a Choice Band. If Diancie Prism Star sits on your bench, this damage is increased to 90, for a single energy. This can knock out several Pokémon GX in two hits, which is really impressive for a single energy attack on a Pokémon that is not even a GX itself. The decently bulky 120HP make Regirock a good Pokémon to start off with in the active spot, risking only one prize while potentially knocking GX Pokémon out in two hits without spending many resources. ‘Hammer Arm’ is just good enough to be used sometimes, but far from enough to be worth building up to in a normal gamestate. The important part of Regirock is ‘Enhanced Stomp’, which is great to start up on. But besides that, Regirock has not much to offer, and there very well may be much better options.

Groudon 1/10

[F][C][C] Wreck 50+

If there is a stadium card in play, this attack does 50 more damage. Then, discard the stadium.

[F][F][C][C] Ground Slash 130

Discard 1 energy attached to this Pokémon.

‘Wreck’ deals too little damage even if the condition is met and ‘Ground Slash’ is way too costly. ‘Wreck’ can even cost you your own Stadium, just to deal acceptable damage. Both attacks could easily cost [C] less and still only be so-so. The massive retreat cost and the audacity of this card being the legendary Pokémon of the region this set is based on only make this card worse. Stay as far away from this card as you can. Or if you happen to live nearby an active volcano, burn it in there.

Minior 1.5/10

Ability: Starfall

Once during your turn, when this Pokémon is in your hand and you have bench space, you may place this Pokémon from your hand as your active Pokémon. If you do, put your former active Pokémon on the bench.

[F] Swift 30

This attack’s damage isn’t affected by weakness, resistance or any other effect on your opponent’s active Pokémon.

Minior is basically a restricted Switch that costs you bench space. In general, a decent idea reminiscent of ‘Stand In’ from Zoroark. But Minior itself is not worth the space it takes up after using its ability, can barely attack and after using the ability, only takes up space or gets knocked out quickly. The 2 retreat cost on this Pokémon make it almost impossible to use it as a regular Switch. The trainer card Switch would be a better option and people do not even use that.

Darkness

Sableye 6/10

Ability: Excavate

Once during your turn, you may look at the top card of your deck and either discard it or put it back.

[C] Disable 10

Choose an attack on the defending Pokémon. This Pokémon can’t use the chosen attack during their next turn.

‘Disable’ is not a good attack, but it can potentially stall the opponent for a little while if necessary. But the focus of this card is definitely ‘Excavate’, a very strong ability to thin your deck and get rid of things you do not want to draw. Look at the top card of your deck, decide if you still need it, and then leave it or get rid of it. The original version from EX Crystal Guardians was actually a part of my decks, and I very well might consider it again. Just be aware that the last thing Sableye is going to do is actually cause any real harm to your opponent’s Pokémon.

[A spiritual reprint of Crystal Guardians 10.]

Larvitar, Pupitar and Tyranitar 3/10

Pupitar

[C][C] Skull Bash 20

[F][F] Sandstorm

This attack does 20 damage to each Pokémon in play (except Fighting Pokémon). (Don’t apply W/R for benched Pokémon)

Tyranitar

[C][C][C] Slam 60x

Flip 2 coins. This attack does 60 damage for each heads.

[D][D][C][C] Trample 120

For each benched Pokémon in play (both player’s) flip a coin. If heads this attack does 60 damage on that Pokémon. Don’t apply W/R for this attack.

Larvitar is generic filler, but Pupitar works somewhat with Tyranitar’s tactic of destroying the bench. Not very well though, since it needs Fighting Energy in a deck that should run mostly if not only Dark Energy for Tyranitar. ‘Slam’ is not good, an avarage of 60 damage for 3 Colorless Energy is just bad. ‘Trample’ on the other hand, can become the focus of entire decks, potentially giving you all Prizes you need in 2-3 attacks. This is unlikely to happen and requires you to play as few benched Pokémon as possible, but it would still be a fun deck nonetheless. Just make sure not to knock your own Pokémon out more frequently than you do your opponent’s.

[A spiritual reprint of Neo Discovery 57, 45 and 12.]

Metal

Beldum, Metang and Metagross 3/10

Metagross

Ability: Extend

If this Pokémon is active and you play ‘Steven’s Decision’, your turn doesn’t end.

[M] Meteor Mash 60

During your next turn, this Pokémon’s ‘Meteor Mash’ does 60 more damage.

Whenever I see a Metagross in a set, I rejoice. This Metagross is somewhat similar to Garchomp from Ultra Prism, as it works with Steven’s Decision similarly to how Garchomp did with Cynthia. Metagross takes the worst part about Steven’s decision and simply removes it; you do not have to skip your turn anymore when you use the card. This makes Steven’s decision an incredibly strong Supporter card, much better than it already was before. Metagross lacks in the damage department though, as the maximum damage it can deal is 120 if you keep attacking with it repeatedly. If not, the damage is a measly 60, still decently high for a single energy, but by far not enough for a Stage 2 Pokémon that has no further options for attacking. ‘Extend’ also only works if Metagross is in your active spot, so you will have to rely on Metagross to hold your opponent busy with its mediocre damage while you search for cards with Steven’s Decision and make the Pokémon on your bench enough of a threat to deal with whatever Metagross couldn’t deal with. It sadly seems not worth it to me, especially since you are not guaranteed to even have Steven’s Decision when you have Metagross built up, which takes away a lot from Metagross’s usefulness. Just like many other cards, a good idea, but bad execution. If Metagross had a second attack for high damage or Extend had some use outside of making Steven’s Decision better, my opinion would likely look much different. This way, however, I have to say the payoff is not worth the effort.

Mawile 2/10

[C] Mining

Search your deck for a Trainer card, show it to your opponent, and put it into your hand. If that card is a Pokémon Tool card, you may attach it to 1 of your Pokémon. Shuffle your deck afterward.

[M][C] Bite Off 20+

If your opponent’s active Pokémon is an EX/GX, this attack does 30 more damage.

If we ever get a necessary Pokémon Tool again, like Spirit Links back in the day of Mega Pokémon, then Mawile may become a popular tech card for ‘Mining’. Until then, simply drawing cards does a better job than Mawile does. ‘Bite Off’ could deal flat 50 all the time and still be bad.

[A spiritual reprint of Crystal Guardians 9.]



Registeel 2/10

Ability: Hard Body

This Pokémon gets 20 damage less from attacks.

[M][C][C] Sliver Fist 60+

If your opponent’s active Pokémon has an Ability, this attack does 60 more damage.

Registeel is capable of dealing decent damage and thanks to ‘Hard Body’, it also can take quite the beating. But conditional decent damage and sometimes taking one attack more to get knocked out is just not enough to warrant a spot in any serious deck. A Registeel equipped with a Metal Frying Pan could be a fun stall option, but is far from optimal.

Jirachi Prism Star 2/10

Ability: Wish to the Stars

When you take this card as a face down prize card during your turn and have bench space left, before adding it into your hand, you may put it onto your bench. Then, take another prize card.

[C][C][C] Perish Dream 10

This Pokémon is now asleep. At the end of your opponent’s next turn, the defending Pokémon is knocked out.

Jirachi Prism Star is a very difficult card to evaluate. While getting a free Prize Card is great, and can get you around those pesky 7 Prize games, the probability of ‘Wish Upon A Star’ actually working out is incredibly low. In addition to that you need a free spot on your bench for this ability to work, which is not common to happen. If there were a card similar to Gladion, that allowed you to place Jirachi in your Prizes, it would be much more effective. And if we ever see something like that, Jirachi Prism Star might become a frequently played card. ‘Dream of Destruction’ is a pretty bad attack in every way, as it only really knocks out Pokémon that can not retreat. Ways to retreat are way too common though, as to have an opponent just sit in the active spot to get knocked out when they could avoid it. As of now, Jirachi Prism Star is almost useless, but could see some play in the future if future releases help ‘Wish Upon A Star’ to work much more frequently.

Celesteela 4/10

[M][C][C][C][C] Moonraker 160

If the total amount of both player’s prize cards is 6, you can use this attack with only 1 metal energy attached.

Unless the special requirement of having a total of 6 Prize Cards among both players is met, Celesteela is almost never going to attack. Playing a single Celesteela in your deck, just to knock out a Pokémon GX in one hit in the right moment may be a viable tactic, but missing this moment entirely is quite likely to happen. Thus, I think playing more than one Celesteela is not a good idea. Celesteela also has an uncommon weakness and resistance for a Metal type Pokémon as well as rather high HP for a Basic Pokémon, making it stand out some. Adding a single one of this card into a Metal deck may very well be a viable option for a surprise attack.

Kartana 1.5/10

[M][M] Paper Wind 40+

If your opponent has 6 remaining prize cards, this attack does 90 more damage.

While 130 damage for two energy is pretty good, Kartana would have to do its attack in the very first few turns to have any real impact on the game. And even then, 130 damage is far from enough for this to be worth the hassle of setting up a 60HP Pokémon with two Energy, just to have it get knocked out by the next attack. There are much better options for Metal decks already, Kartana is not worth including in any of them.

Onix and Steelix 1.5/10

Onix can deal decent damage with Rage, and here all the usefulness of Onix and Steelix ends. While Steelix has high HP, Wailord from the very same set has more HP. Neither of them can consistently deal damage, and Wailord is simply better at being a wall.

[A spiritual reprint of Neo Genesis 69 and 15.]

Stakataka GX 8/10

Ability: Ultra Wall

Your ‘Ultra Beast’ Pokémon take 10 less damage from your opponent’s attacks.

[M][M][C] Gigaton Stamp 120

[M][M][C] Ray GX 50+

This attack does 50 more damage for each prize card you have already taken.

A must have in any deck that focuses on Ultra Beast Pokémon, such as Malamar-Ultra Necrozma GX and Naganadel GX Beast Box. Both attacks are decent enough to be used if necessary, but are not the focus of this card. Ultra Wall can be incredibly useful in many situations, as it protects from a lot of knock-outs and thus, gives you options you would not otherwise have. For example Lapras GX’s ‘Blizzard Burn’ with a Choice Band could knock out Ultra Necrozma GX, but Stakataka GX reduces this damage, keeping Ultra Necrozma alive and forcing the opponent to put extra effort into dealing with your Ultra Beasts. The more attacks Stakataka GX can prevent from knocking out your Pokémon, the higher its value becomes. Having 4 Stakataka on your field can virtually reduce any damage your Ultra Beasts take by 40, however more than a single Stakataka is rarely needed in a deck, as it is a secondary attacker at best, and a benchsitter most of the time. Be aware that some decks are barely affected by Ultra Wall though and will get their knockouts regardless.

Scyther and Scizor GX 9/10

Scyther

[C] Twin Play

Search your deck for 2 Scyther and put them onto your bench. Then shuffle your deck.

[C][C] Agility 20

Flip a coin. If heads prevent all effects of attacks, including damage, done by this Pokémon during your opponent’s next turn.

Scizor GX

Ability: Danger Perception

If this Pokémon has 100 or less remaining HP, this Pokémon’s attacks deal 80 more damage against your opponent’s active Pokémon.

[M][C] Steel Wing 80

During your opponent’s next turn, this Pokémon gets 30 less damage from attacks.

[C][C][C] Cross Cut GX 100+

If your opponent’s active Pokémon is an evolution card, this attack does 100 more damage.

Though being a Grass type, Scyther only needs Colorless Energy for its attacks, making it useful even without Grass Energy in a metal deck focused around Scizor GX. ‘Twin Play’, for only a single Colorless Energy, can set up your bench very quickly and help you get to Scizor GX much more reliably. Without any outside support, Scizor GX is capable of dealing up to 280 damage, assuming you use ‘Cross Cut GX’ against an Evolution Pokémon while ‘Danger Perception’ is active. This would knock out any Pokémon GX we currently have, and the conditions are not even very difficult to meet. Most of the time though, you will use ‘Steel Wing’, which does have decent damage for an attack with only 2 energy cost. While dealing damage with ‘Steel Wing’, you can also reduce damage you take which makes it easier to trigger ‘Danger Perception’ reliably. ‘Steel Wing’ deals 160 damage while ‘Danger Perception’ is active, enough to add a Choice band to knock out most Basic Pokémon GX, or a Hustle Belt to knock out most Stage 1 Pokémon GX in one strike. All this for only 2 Energy is quite impressive. A great card overall that very well may win a few tournaments in the near future.

[Spiritual successor to EX Unseen Forces 46 and 108]

Dragon

Swablu and Altaria GX 4/10

Altaria GX

[Y][C] Bright Tone 50

During your opponent’s next turn, this Pokémon doesn’t get any damage from your opponent’s Pokémon GX/EX.

[W][Y][C] Sonic Edge 110

This attack’s damage isn’t affected by effects on your opponent’s active Pokémon.

[Y][C] Euphoria GX

Your opponent’s active Pokémon is now asleep. Heal all damage from all of your Pokémon.

Swablu is a generic Basic Pokémon, Altaria is a Pokémon GX that can be immune against other Pokémon GX, at the cost of using a rather weak attack. While using ‘Bright Tone’ repeatedly to protect yourself from big bad Pokémon GX is possible, it is far from optimal and can easily be bypassed with Guzma or using a secondary attacker instead. ‘Sonic Edge’ has really awkward energy cost and without a card like Double Dragon Energy, is barely worth using. Interestingly, Altaria GX’s own attack can bypass ‘Bright Tone’s’ effect. The GX attack ‘Euphoria GX’ sounds awesome at first glance, but then you come to realise that if you do not just so happen to play against Greninja GX, there rarely is a Pokémon with damage on players’s benches. In total, Altaria GX can become useful if we ever get Double Dragon Energy again, but until then, it is just too much effort for too little payoff. There are far better options in Water and Fairy decks right now, the stuff Altaria GX offers is simply not necessary.

Bagon, Shelgon, Salamence 2/10 and Salamence GX 5.5/10

Salamence

Ability: Dragon Wind

Once during your turn, when Salamence is your active Pokémon, you may switch your opponent’s active Pokémon with 1 of their benched Pokémon.

[R][W][C][C] Dragon Claw 100

Salamence GX 

Ability: Dragon Lift

Each of your Pokémon (except Pokémon GX/EX) can retreat without discarding energy. (The wording on the card is different than Float Stone, but it was translated wrong on Whimpod as well, so it will most likely be ‘The retreat cost of your Pokémon (except Pokémon GX/EX) is 0’ in english)

[R][W][C][C] Bright Flame 200

Discard 2 energy attached to this Pokémon.

[R][C][C] Flame Jet GX

This attack does 120 damage to one of your opponent’s Pokémon. (Don’t apply W/R for benched Pokémon)

All the Basic Pokémon and Stage 1 Pokémon of this line are, as usual, a necessary evil to get to the Stage 2 Pokémon. In this set, we get two variants on Salamence, only one of which seems decent enough to see some play. The regular Salamence has a weak attack that is not worth using at all, not even if the energy cost were reduced by [C]. ‘Dragon Wind’ only works when Salamence is in the active spot, and with ‘Dragon Claw’ being your only means of attack, you do not want Salamence to be your active Pokémon. Salamence GX is much more useful, as it actually has an ability that works from anywhere on your field and an attack that deals decent damage. Comparing Salamence GX to Blaziken GX from the same set however, makes ‘Bright Flame’ seem a little less good, though still far from bad. ‘Bright Flame’ is a decent attack that lacks just a bit of damage to really shine. To some extent, this damage can be added with a Choice Band, but this should not be necessary for an attack with such high cost. Still, 230 damage is more than enough to knock out any Basic and Stage 1 Pokémon GX. ‘Dragon Lift’ is a useful ability that shines most in a deck that has both Pokémon GX and non-GX attackers, to effectively switch them around however you need. Lastly, ‘Flame Jet GX’ is what I would expect from a regular attack on a Pokémon GX, not a GX attack. It can win you the game by knocking out a benched Pokémon for your last Prize(s), but except for this specific situation, it is far inferior to most GX attacks.

[Some of the cards from this evolution line are spiritual reprints/successor of EX Dragon 50 & 41 as well as EX Deoxys 103 respectively.]



Latias Prism Star 9/10

[C] Dream Mist 30

Attach 1 basic energy card from your discard pile to each of your benched basic Dragon Pokémon.

This card is of the stars of this set, metaphorically and literally. It can and should be put into any deck that somewhat revolves around a basic Dragon Type Pokémon, as it helps them tremendously. Though most useful mid-game, even in a first turn scenario, Latias Prism Star can attach Energy cards you earlier discarded to your just newly benched Pokémon, giving your setup a huge boost very early on. The fact that Latias Prism Star’s ‘Dream Mist’ can be used multiple times in a game, unlike GX attacks, makes it outstandingly powerful and almost never a dead card. Simply put, a must have for any deck with a Basic Dragon Pokémon as focus.

Latios Prism Star 2.5/10

[C][C] Drafon Fleet 50x

This attack does 50 damage for each dragon evolution Pokémon on your bench.

Just like his sister, Latios is a Prism Star Pokémon that seeks to be included in Dragon Type decks. Unlike his sister though, he is not very useful. While ‘Dragon Fleet’ can deal up to 250 damage for 2 Colorless Energy, realistically this number will be 50 or 100 most of the time. In a normal gamestate, a player will have no more than 2 Stage 1 or Stage 2 Dragon type Pokémon on their bench, especially with the lack of good Stage 1 Dragon type Pokémon currently available. If there ever will be a Dragon type card like Malamar from Forbidden Light, Latios Prism Star might be able to shine, but never will he shine as bright as his sister.

Rayquaza GX 8.5/10

Ability: Storm and Stress

Once during your turn, when you play this card from your hand onto your bench, you may discard the top 3 cards of your deck. Then, you may attach 1 basic energy card from your discard pile to this Pokémon.

[G][L][C] Dragon Break 30x

This attack does 30 damage for each grass and lightning basic energy attached to your Pokémon in play.

[G] Tempest GX

Discard your hand. Then, draw 10 cards.

One of the best cards of the set, and I expected nothing less from Rayquaza’s first GX card. ‘Storm And Stress’ helps setting Rayquaza up quickly with the necessary energy, and if the current wording is correct, the energy attachment from the discard pile does not depend on if an Energy card was discarded by this ability. Having an Energy accelerating ability comes in very handy for Rayquaza GX, since its attack ‘Dragon Break’ deals damage depending on the amount of Lightning and Grass Energy cards on your field. Rayquaza GX is easily searchable with Mysterious Treasure as well as Ultra Ball, giving a deck up to 8 options to search for it and quickly add up energy for early, powerful hits. ‘Dragon Break’ can get very strong very quickly, 2 normally set up Rayquaza GX and nothing else on your field equals 180 damage already. But just as quickly as these numbers rise, they can also fall with a single knockout on your side of the field. Avoiding these knockouts and focusing the damage on the threats on the opponent’s side of the field is important to keep the damage and speed up. In Standard, Rayquaza GX will be decently strong, but in Expanded (after the 2018 rotation) we have access to things like Max Elixir and Double Dragon Energy, making it a much stronger deck than it currently can be in Standard.

Colorless

Dunsparce 3/10

[C] Strike and Run

Search your deck for 3 basic Pokémon and put them onto your bench. If you did, you may switch Dunsparce with one of your benched Pokémon.

[C] Sudden Flash 10

Flip a coin. If heads, your opponent’s active Pokémon is now paralyzed.

While I do not know were the “Strike” part in ‘Strike And Run’ comes into play, a Brigette in an attack is not to be underestimated. Since we will lose Brigette with the 2019 Standard Rotation, Dunsparce, as silly as it may sound, could be the next best option. Dunsparce has no other uses than ‘Strike And Run’ though, so handle with care.

[An exact reprint of EX Sandstorm 60]

Ho-Oh 1/10

[C][C][C] Rainbow Burn 30+

This attack does 30 more damage for each different type of basic Energy attached to this Pokémon.

If an attack had [L][R][P] as energy cost for 90 damage, or [L][R][P][G] for 120 damage, the card would immediately be ignored. That’s exactly what should be done with this one too, there is no way to make this one work out.

[A spiritual reprint of Neo Revelation 18.]

Wingull and Pelipper 1/10

Filler garbage cards, with Wingull winning the prize for laziest card design ever.

Kangaskhan 1/10

[C] Fetch

Draw a card.

[C][C] Headbutt 30

[C][C][C] One-Two Punch 60+

Flip a coin. If heads, this at

Another useless filler card, likely to be included in the Theme Decks of this set.

[A spiritual reprint of EX FireRed and LeafGreen 6.]

Whismur, Loudred and Exploud 2.5/10

Exploud

[C][C][C] Death Live 80

This attack does 30 damage to each of your opponent’s benched Pokémon, which already has damage counters on them. (Don’t apply W/R for benched Pokémon)

[C][C][C][C] Heavy Impact 100

While both Whismur are somewhat useful for being a Basic Pokémon out of a Stage 2 evolution chain, the most important card is Exploud of course. ‘Heavy Impact’ is almost useless, unless you really need those 100 damage over the 80 damage from ‘Death Live’. The attack ‘Death Live’ costs less energy, is much more useful and can lead to some interesting knockout possibilities. The extra effect is somewhat powerful, though unreliable as it requires you to previously have caused damage to the Pokémon of your opponent to have any real use from this attack whatsoever. This can be done with cards like Lightning Oricorio from this set or Greninja GX from Forbidden Light. Most of these are unreliable to begin with, making Exploud even more unreliable in the process. A stronger version of this attack on an Exploud GX card would be an interesting idea to play around, but 30 damage is just not enough to really focus on at all. Decent idea, the execution asks too much from the player though.

Skitty and Delcatty 2/10

Delcatty

Ability: Friend Search

Once during your turn, when your play this card form your hand to evolve 1 of your Pokemon in play, you may put 2 supporter cards from your discard pile into your hand.

[C][C] Cat Kick 40

Delcatty could have some uses in decks, since VS Seeker is not legal in Standard anymore. But Delcatty also takes much more effort and resources to make it work, which is the exact opposite of why people played VS Seeker. Just play a few more good Supporter Cards or even Lusamine over Delcatty.

Slakoth, Vigoroth and Slaking 6/10

Slaking 

Ability: Lazy

As long as this Pokémon is your Active Pokémon, your opponent’s Pokémon have no Abilities (except for ‘Lazy’).

[C][C][C] Critical Move 160

Discard 1 energy attached to this Pokémon. This Pokémon can’t attack during your next turn.

Slaking’s laziness seems to be contagious, as long as it is in your active spot, it makes all opponent’s Pokémon too lazy to use any abilities whatsoever. From the current wording, this may even include Pokémon in their hand or discard pile. Sadly, this only works while it is in the active spot, but likely would simply be too powerful otherwise. ‘Critical move‘, though only able to be used every second turn if not switched out, can knock out many Pokémon GX if Slaking carries a Choice Band with it. Many decks may suffer a lot from getting their abilities locked out (for example Greninja GX or Ultra Necrozma GX Malamar), while others barely notice the difference or get rid of Slaking so easily that it barely makes a difference. Slaking is powerful, in damage and ability, but only in the right situations.

[a spiritual reprint of EX Ruby and Sapphire 45, 47 and 12.]

Kecleon 1.5/10

Ability: Unit Colour 2

If this Pokemon has ‘Unit Energy lpm’ attached to it, this Pokémon’s type becomes lightning, psychic and metal.

[C][C][C] Slash 80

As we are used to by now, Kecleon can change its type, but remains useless no matter what type it changes to. Sure, having access to 4 types in one Pokémon is useful, but the only attack Kecleon offers is way underpowered and requires at least a Double Colorless Energy if not 2 regular Energy attachments to even get the chance of dealing 160 damage if you are lucky and the opponent is exactly weak against one of the types Kecleon becomes. Once again, a good idea but horribly executed.

Items

Crisis Potion 1.5/10

Heal 120 damage from one of your Pokémon that has 30 or fewer remaining HP.

For you to be at or below 30HP is barely ever a thing you can control and even then, 120 HP is not enough to get you off the hook when fighting against a proper deck as dealing 130 to 150 damage is not difficult. A full heal would’ve been nice at least, but this is just unreliable and too weak.

Energy Recycle System 1.5/10

Either put 1 basic Energy card from your discard pile into your hand or shuffle 3 basic Energy cards from your discard pile into your deck.

Almost always an even worse Energy Retrieval that tries really hard to be a Super Rod. Not good.

[A reprint of EX Dragon 84.]

Life Herb 1.5/10

Flip a coin. If heads heal 60 damage and all special conditions from 1 of your Pokémon.

Half the time, this card does absolutely nothing. The other half, it heals a mediocre amount of HP and a possible status condition. If you rely on items to heal HP and especially status conditions, you do not want to fail half the time.

[A reprint of  EX Hidden Legends 90.]

Friend Ball 3/10

Search your deck for a Pokémon, which has the same type as one of your opponent’s Pokémon, reveal it and put it into your hand. Then shuffle your deck.

An interesting card for sure. Frequently played Pokémon like Tapu Lele GX can easily be searched with this without the discard cost of an Ultra Ball, but if the opponent has no Tapu Lele GX because they just did not need it or does not even play one, Friend Ball becomes almost useless. Depending on the frequently used Tech Pokémon such as the previously mentioned Tapu Lele GX, Friend Ball may either be an amazing card to use, or simply dead weight.

[A reprint of Skyridge 126.]

PokeNav ?/10

Look at the top 3 cards of your deck. Choose either an energy or Pokémon card you find there, reveal it and put it into your hand. Put the other cards on the bottom of your deck in any order.

At first glance, it is only checking 3 cards and putting 2 of them back on top of the deck, not under it. But it does thin the deck and makes getting to your core cards easier. Important to note is, that PokeNav does not say “Basic” Energy card, so grabbing vital Special Energy cards from your deck may become much easier with PokéNav. I honestly have a hard time judging this card without extensive playtesting, but I assume it has a very high potential ceiling.

[A reprint of EX Ruby and Sapphire 88.]

Acro Bike 9.5/10

Look at the top 2 cards of your deck. Put 1 of them into your hand and discard the rest.

This card was released before, and was amazing. Now it gets a re-release and is just as amazing as before. Thinning your deck while fishing for important cards is amazing, especially since it is not a Supporter but an Item card. The rare situation when you’d want to keep both cards, is a price you will have to pay when using this card. Acro Bike will most likely be played at 4 in almost every deck.



Lure Ball 1.5/10

Flip 3 coins. For each heads, put an evolution Pokémon from your discard pile into your hand.

Unreliable and difficult to capitalize on, Lure Ball is everything a Ball card should not be. While there is a possible synergy with Acro Bike and similar cards to quickly get your Evolution Pokémon, it still is highly clunky and unreliable anyway.

[A reprint of Skyridge 126.]

Rainbow Brush 2/10

Search your deck for a basic energy card and swap it with an energy card attached to one of your Pokémon in play. Shuffle the energy you replaced into your deck.

For the multicolored deck that plays several basic energy of multiple types, this card might help getting the right card from your deck for the low low price of… using up deckspace where you could simply play something better. Rainbow Brush seems more like a Theme Deck card than anything else and well built decks can usually fish for the energy they need without having to rely on a card like this. Still, tri-colored decks, if they ever are a thing, might get some use out of this card.

Hustle Belt 8/10

(Tool) – If the Pokémon this card is attached to has 30 or fewer remaining HP, its attacks do 60 more damage against your opponent’s active Pokémon. If the Pokémon this card is attached to has no damage counters on it, this card does nothing.

A very situational but massive attack boost for any Pokémon, against any Pokémon. In a vacuum, it looks like a very strong card; and it may very well be. If your deck has Pokémon that just barely survive currently Meta-defining Pokémon’s attacks, the attacks of your Pokémon will likely become one hit knockouts thanks to Hustle Belt. A card like the previously discussed Stakataka GX can help your Pokémon survive those hits and make it easier to use Hustle Belt. Scizor GX also is a good candidate to carry a Hustle Belt and use it to its full potential, thanks to Steel Wing and Danger Perception. Unlike Choice Band, Hustle Belt works against any Pokémon, though most of the time it will be used to knock out big Pokémon GX anyway. Always keep this card in mind when building your deck, maybe even include 1-2 of it in your Pokémon GX heavy deck to, in the right moment, hit those huge numbers and steal the game away.

Supporters

Underground Expedition 2.5/10

Look at the bottom 4 cards of your deck. Put 2 of them into your hand. Put the other cards under your deck in any order.

It sure can useful to be able to get cards from the bottom of your deck sometimes, when cards made you put other cards there beforehand. Getting to pick out of 4 is kinda nice, but this card is not very good anyway and quickly overshadowed by most other Supporters that let you draw cards, unless your deck’s tactic specifically focuses on working with the bottom of your deck.

[A reprint of Skyridge 140.]

TV Reporter 1/10

Draw 3 cards. Then, discard a card from your hand.

Oh hey, a worse Hau. Next!

[A reprint of EX Dragon 88.]

Bill’s Maintenance 1/10

Shuffle a card from your hand into your deck. Then, draw 3 cards.

Even worse than TV Reporter, I am amazed.

[A reprint of EX FireRed and LeafGreen 87.]

Copycat 4/10

Shuffle your Hand into your deck. Draw as many cards as your opponent has in hand.

Depending on what moves your opponent makes is never a good thing. Most of the time, Lillie and Cynthia are just the better and more reliable options.

[A reprint of Expedition 138.]

Steven’s Decision 8.5/10

After using this card, your turn ends. Search your deck for any 3 cards, put them into your hand. Then shuffle your deck.

Likely a must have for almost every deck. Soon after the release of Celestial Storm we will lose N in the Standard Format thanks to the 2018 rotation, making Steven’s Decision much more viable as you no longer face a high risk of your newly searched cards getting shuffled back into the deck. With decent planning, taking any 3 cards from your deck can make your next turn very explosive and give you massive advantage. Having to skip your attack when using Steven’s Decision is a massive downside, making it more useful when you could barely do any damage anyway or at the very beginning of the game. A very powerful card nonetheless, that will see a lot of play. Sadly, the Full Art version of this card seems kinda lazy to me.

Fisherman 3/10

Put 4 basic energy cards from your discard pile into your hand.

While rarely useful in normal decks, some specific decks may be able to take advantage of the extra energy. Though almost rotated out of the Standard Format once Celestial Storm is released, Volcanion EX decks are one example of decks that would make good use of Fisherman in the future.

Tate And Liza 7/10

Choose 1: 
– Shuffle your hand into your deck. Then, draw 5 cards. 
– Switch your active Pokémon with one of your benched Pokémon.

Cards that give you options are almost always good in some way, Tate And Liza is no exception. Both choices are useful in multiple stages of the game and while they are effectively just a weaker Guzma and a weaker Cynthia on their own, having the option to choose between them is something not to be underestimated though. The difficult part will be to find a good balance between the Supporters. For some reason, the Full Art version of this card disturbs me, to me the proportions of the twins just seem off.

Lisia 9.5/10

Search your deck for 2 Prism Star cards, reveal them and put them into your hand. Then shuffle your deck.

My favorite card from this set, as it already is very powerful, and will keep getting stronger and stronger with every coming set that features Prism Star cards. Lisia can search for scary cards like Latias Prism Star, Beast Energy or Diancie Prism Star, and more without having any real drawback besides being a Supporter. The more Prism Star cards we get in the future, the better Lisia will be and the higher her monetary real life price will be too. However, she will always only be as good as the Prism Star cards in your deck. Though a playset of Lisia is overkill for sure, getting a few of her freaking adorable Full Art version is a must for me.

Apricorn Maker 5/10

Search your deck for 2 item cards with ‘ Ball’ in their name, reveal them and put them into your hand. Then shuffle your deck.

Searching your deck for Ultra Ball, Nest Ball, or any Ball item card is nice, but simply drawing them with Cynthia would be better. Still, a reliable way to search for the consistency cards of your deck is never a bad thing, though it will be the one and only supporter for that turn.



Stadiums

Forbidden Shrine 6/10

Put 1 damage counter on all Pokémon GX/EX between turns.

In a deck that does not have any Pokémon GX or repeatedly brings their Pokémon GX off the field with cards like Acerola, this card is a must play. In fact, this card may help Greninja GX decks a lot, as it helps the frogs subtly place damage counters on the opponent’s side of the field while damaging your own Greninja GX to fetch them back to your hand with Acerola. A few decks will make good use of this card for sure, free damage never is a bad thing after all.

Sky Pillar 3/10

Prevent all damage and effects done to benched Pokémon by attacks from the opponent’s Pokémon.

Not much targets benched Pokémon currently, but keep this card in the back of your mind for when a strong “bench-sniper” gets released and interrupting those attacks becomes vital. For now, this card is merely going to be sitting in your binder though.

Remaining Cards

All of these cards have been released in other recent sets and/or were already part of the Standard Format.

Conclusion

There are quite a few cards in this set that will likely stay in decks for a very long time, possibly only to be replaced once the 2020 Standard Format rotation hits. If we get to see a lot more powerful Prism Star cards released in the future, Lisia is a must have in every deck for some time to come, Tate And Liza is a card that will see play right after release but might get dropped sometime soon, once we get a better Supporter for drawing cards. Steven’s Decision is here to stay, and Hustle Belt will sneak into a lot of decks. Expanded gets a new, very powerful deck with Rayquaza GX while Standard will likely take Scizor GX over Rayquaza GX. I do wonder though, if there will be a Full Art version of Copycat, she is quite a popular character after all.

There is a lot of very useful stuff in this set, though for collectors, mostly the Secret Rare and Full Art versions will be somewhat interesting. Players who are known with the TCG for a long time like me, will appreciate the reprints from several older sets, though admittedly this mostly just makes me miss the old holographic designs even more.

A solid set overall.

Set Rating


8 / Great


Full Arts

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