Hello everyone! This is Elena from Gaia Storm TCG, and it is a pleasure to be here. As you probably know by now, the latest Pokémon expansion is going to be a unique set that is the result of a collaboration between two of the most exciting games of the franchise: Pokémon TCG x Pokémon GO. We already covered why this collection has all the potential to be a massive hit among players and collectors, and now it is time to take a more competitive approach: what are the new best cards and the ones that have more impact in the TCG game? Let’s go and see them!
10. Kanto’s Legendary Bird Trio
Yes, I know that technically these cards are three separate ones but allow me this. Moltres, Zapdos and Articuno are basically the same card with different types, and I think that’s why the three of them can be analyzed together (they basically have the same ability, attack, HP and retreat cost).
These cards are pretty interesting to me because of their “Symbol” ability, which increases the damage done by basic Fire, Water and Lightning Pokémon (respectively) by 10. I know that ten does not seem like a huge number but if there is something I have learnt after so many years playing Pokémon TCG is that being ten damage short from a KO can genuinely make the difference between winning or losing the game. I am not sure how popular they will be once Pokémon Go is released, but I think it is worth keeping this trio in mind for the future.
9. Slaking V
When I was first drafting this article, I never planned to include Slaking because, even if it had an “okish” attack, the ability made it very difficult to use it consistently… and then I suddenly remembered we have a card called “Path to the Peak” that could actually benefit us here!
Slaking V deals 260 damage (290 with a Choice Belt) but can only be used if you have odd prizes (5, 3 and 1). So, what happens here is that Slaking can be an excellent attacker by combining with Arceus VSTAR and Path to the Peak because, suddenly, you are forcing your opponent to draw a counter stadium or, otherwise, all their VSTAR Pokémon are going to go to the discard pile!
Apart from having one of the coolest mechanics in terms of card design I’ve ever seen, Ditto is also excellent. Ditto can copy any attack from non-rule box Basic Pokémon on your discard pile as long as it has the necessary energy. That essentially means that Ditto can act as a 5th copy of some of your Pokémon, so you don’t need to worry that much about recycling. For example, the most obvious case I can currently think of is Mad Party because now you can afford – in an ideal world- discarding all your 16 Mad Party members and then using Ditto to deal massive damage for just one double colourless energy. Right now, you will not be playing Ditto in every single deck, but the card definitely has a lot of potential moving forward.
7. Radiant Charizard
Woah, a shiny Charizard? Who could be expecting this pokémon in a set like this? Jokes aside (because I think that we are all already used to the fact that every three months or so, we receive a new shiny version of Charizard), this Radiant Charizard has solid potential as a competitive card.
A great sweeper for the last turns of the game, Charizard can deal 250 damage for five energies. And yes, of course, five energies is a lot, and you are never going to commit all your energies there, but Charizard’s ability is what actually makes it playable. For each price card, your opponent has taken, the attack cost is reduced by one. If your opponent has already drawn four or more prize cards, Charizard can basically attack for one single fire energy, which is insane. That is why I think fire decks will either run Radiant Charizard or Radiant Heatran from now on and force the opponent to play carefully to avoid an unexpected knockout. I hope that the Radiant Charizard’s price is not as high as other shiny Charizard in the past!
6. Mewtwo VSTAR
I am not sure about Mewtwo VSTAR’s impact in the metagame, especially in a post-rotation format, but you can never be too sure with Mewtwo because it has always been one of the strongest Pokémon in the game.
In this case, Mewtwo VSTAR has a modular attack (which is always welcome) that deals 90 per each psychic energy you discard up to a maximum of 270. This (and potentially a Choice Belt) is potentially more than enough to KO any other VSTAR in the game. Then, Mewtwo has a fantastic VSTAR move that deals 120 damage to any other V Pokémon your opponent controls, and this can be a game finisher attack. My only concern when it comes to Mewtwo is how to power it up consistently, turn after turn effectively. Maybe they will be reprinting Malamar in the upcoming sets?
5. Radiant Blastoise
Another Radiant card makes its way to this list! Besides fantastic artwork, Radiant Blastoise has a very solid ability that does a lot of damage in the correct type of strategies.
You can discard a water energy every turn to place two damage counters in a benched Pokémon. I am sure you are familiar with Rapid Strike Inteleon and how amazing it is to round up numbers and set up easy KOs. That is why I expect Blastoise to be included in decks that run water-type energies and can afford to discard them. Palkia VSTAR, for instance, seems like a good candidate to be paired up with Blastoise. The only thing is that, as it happened in the case of Charizard vs Radiant Heatran, we will need to decide between Astral Radiance’s Radiant Greninja (drawing cards) or Radiant Blastoise (putting damage counters) when building our water-type decks from now on. And Radiant Greninja will be a strong contender.
If someone told me that I would be including Slowbro in a top ten Pokémon cards, I would have never believed it, but, hey, here we are, living a wonderful time where Bibarel is one of the most popular drawing engines of the game. Traditionally useless, Slowbro now has a very good card that can be a perfect addition in decks that focus on one prize Pokémon or that just can afford the space.
Slowbro, as Radiant Charizard, is a card designed for the late game and can cause a lot of pressure. For just double colourless energy, and when your opponent has only one card left, you can draw two of your prize cards. So yes, this is just great because, instead of needing a lot of complex pieces to pull out a very high attack and KO the last VSTAR Pokémon, you can simply ignore everything, wait till your opponent is about to win and steal the victory right away from them!
3. Radiant Venusaur
When I first read this card, I thought there was something about the wording that made no sense. If you look at Venusaur’s ability, it says that you can draw until you have four cards in your hand AFTER your attack. Well, I don’t remember seeing something like this in all my years playing the game and let me tell you that this is completely broken. This got me thinking that for Pokémon Scarlet & Violet (the new generation of games), we could receive more cards that trigger their effects after we’ve declared an attack.
I think Venusaur is a great card and can be a fantastic inclusion in strategies that are forced to empty their hands to attack. We have multiple Pokémon that say, “discard X amount of energy cards and do +X damage”. Probably its best partner will be a Hisuian Arcanine that will come in Lost Abyss (the following collection) that requires you to have zero cards in hand.
Because of this card’s potential, I think Venusaur deserves to be in third place!
I really struggled a lot deciding in what position Snorlax should appear here. Snorlax is definitely one of the most remarkable cards in the sets but I was not sure if putting it on the second place was maybe giving this card a bit too much credit. However, let me justify this decision. A long time ago, when Elena was still young and carefree, there was a very evil card called “Team Plasma Snorlax” who dated back from the Black and White era and that was a nightmare to play against. Snorlax from Pokémon GO is almost like a reprint of that Plasma Snorlax that caused so many problems almost 10 years ago because it blocks the active Pokémon in the spot.
Basically, this means that unless you are playing item cards like Switch or Escape Rope, there is nothing you can do if a useless Pokémon is stuck on the active spot, even if it has zero retreat cost. As you can imagine, control decks love this kind of mechanics because they can just use Boss Orders a couple of times and wait until you deck out.
However, a strategy purely based around Snorlax needs to have support behind it to properly function: energy denial cards and a bit of luck so that the opponent does not open with just one Pokémon that can easily attack over. Maybe I am nostalgic of the Black and White era and the Plasma Pokémon in general but because I see that there is a lot of control potential here, I am going to award Snorlax with the silver medal. This guy deserves to win something once in a while…
And here we are! Pokéstop is the best card of the set, without any doubt. This card is a unique stadium that provides a lot of acceleration for certain decks. Each turn, you can choose to discard three cards from the top of your deck and put back in your hand all items cards you discard that way. Yes, you are reading the effect right. Let’s talk about all the benefits this could bring in more detail.
First of all, discarding cards is not always necessarily bad, depending on what you discard, of course. Think that there are many decks out there that function when certain cards are on the discard pile, enabling many different combos. PokéStop will help you thin your deck turn after turn and hopefully throw some of the Pokémon or Energy cards you don’t need to the discard card early on. But the best part of PokéStop is that if you happen to mill any items, you can take them back to your hand, effectively giving you an immediate advantage. Saying this in another way, the only situation where PokéStop won’t be helpful is if you are too unlucky to mill Supporters or Special Energy cards.
As you can imagine, PokéStop will be mainly played in decks that can afford to mill cards and are willing to gamble a little bit to achieve more speed (e.g. Darkrai). I can perfectly imagine that decks will adapt their builds so that they are hurt less in case a bad mill from PokéStop happens, but I totally see this card as a must-have for strategies like Mad Party, Zoroark Toolbox and maybe turbo decks. I am really looking forward to what this stadium can bring to the game and what crazy combos appear!
So, that is it! This is my personal list of the top cards from the upcoming Pokémon GO set. As you can see, it is not such a large collection but if you are a competitive player be ready to face some of the cards we’ve been discussing here. And of course, don’t forget that you can get all your Pokémon GO products here at TCG Park so purchase them now! Thanks for reading!