NAIC is behind us, which means it’s soon time for the World Championships! It has recently been confirmed that there will be no rotation before the tournament, so the format will be very similar to the current one. The one difference however is the addition of a new special expansion: Pokémon GO!
Pokémon GO contains a respectable amount of interesting cards for a special release, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of them make an impact at Worlds. In this article I will take a closer look at them, but since the set has a lower number of cards than regular expansions, I’ll only be choosing 5 cards instead of the usual 10. If you want to go through all the cards yourself, take a look at the set in our card database!
My Top 5
5 – Blastoise
The next four cards on this list were quite easy to choose, but for number 5 I was honestly not sure what to pick. In the end, my choice fell on Blastoise. Setting up a Stage 2 Pokémon and having to end the turn makes it difficult to use, but attaching any 6 Energy cards from the deck is such an incredibly strong effect that I think there will be some good use for it eventually.
Blastoise has access to Irida which should make it consistent at setting up, and you can use Diancie to protect Pokémon on the Bench that the Energies are being attached to. I’m not sure what a good partner for this engine would be, but there surely are a few that could benefit from essentially unlimited Energy access. Maybe even the next card on this top 5!
4 – Mewtwo VSTAR
Energy burning attackers like Rayquaza VMAX didn’t have much success in recent years, but despite that I think Mewtwo VSTAR has a lot of potential. 270 is a good number to hit, as with a Choice Belt and / or Galarian Zigzagoon that’s enough to knock out other VSTAR Pokémon, even through Big Charm or Tool Jammer. Only needing a single type of Energy, and access to Fog Crystal, should make Mewtwo more consistent and easier to use than Rayquaza in particular.
The question of course is how to accelerate enough Energy to attack for a lot of damage consistently. Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX is an option, but I think the best partner for Mewtwo will probably be Solrock. It cannot attach Energies to Mewtwo directly, but since Mewtwo only needs two of them to attack, that should be ok. In the case of having to power up an attacker in one turn, we can use Raihan or Energy Switch. Lunatone itself could also be situationally useful as a single-prize attacker.
Unfortunately Mewtwo does share its Weakness with Mew VMAX, so Darkness Pokémon like Galarian Moltres will be a problem for it.
3 – Slowbro
Slowbro is known for having funny effects related to prize cards, but this time it’s actually a really strong one, especially with Zoroark in the format to set up a Slowbro in one turn. When playing Slowbro in a deck with only (or mostly) single-prize Pokémon, it makes it possible to essentially skip the last two prizes. Just make a game plan on how to draw your first four prizes, and the last two will be free! If you can somehow stop the opponent from attacking for one turn, Slowbro could even be used multiple times and make crazy comebacks happen.
Taking two prizes for the cost of one Stage 1 Pokémon and 1 Energy card (DTE/Twin Energy) is so efficient that I could even see decks without Zoroark trying to make it work. I’m not sure what exactly that would look like, but any deck that has a strong early game, with problems in the late game, could potentially benefit from Slowbro.
2 – Ditto
Ditto is pretty much a single-prize version of Marshadow-GX, which was a very useful card during its time. Ditto doesn’t hit anything for Weakness like Marshadow did, so its uses as a tech will be more limited, but not being a low-HP two-prize Pokémon makes it much more viable as the main focus of a deck.
The most obvious use for it is with either Magikarp or Mad Party, allowing those decks to reach higher damage output and stream attackers much more effectively. The Mad Party deck has a higher damage ceiling and less of a problem when prizing pieces, but scales slower and requires more deck space for its Pokémon than the Magikarp deck. I’m not sure which one of the two will be better, but their concepts are promising. Ditto might not fix all the problems that a deck like Mad Party had, but it certainly makes it quite a bit stronger, and a single-prizer that can KO VSTARs for one Energy should definitely not be underestimated!
1 – Radiant Charizard
Speaking of single-prize Pokémon that KO VSTAR Pokémon, Radiant Charizard is my #1 from the Pokémon GO expansion! It deals 250 damage, which with a Choice Belt is exactly enough to reach Palkia VSTAR and Arceus VSTAR, and towards the end of the game, it can be used for just a single Fire Energy!
Charizard is even easier to use than the very popular Galarian Moltres, so expect to see it in many different types of decks. Any deck that isn’t reliant on a different Radiant Pokémon, and includes some combination of Energy Search and Training Court, can easily slot in the Radiant Charizard and use it to take some big KOs at the end of the game. Inteleon decks will have the easiest time finding it at the right time, but I think the card is so strong that we will also see it outside of those. With cards like Magma Basin, Twin Energy and Raihan, we could even see decks that aim to attack with Charizard earlier than the last turn or two!
One thing to note though is that since Radiant Pokémon have a Rule Box, it can’t be used in combination with Path to the Peak, which limits its uses and comeback potential a little bit. Still, I think the card is great and I’ll definitely be trying out a bunch of different ways to utilize it!
Pokémon GO is definitely the best special expansion we’ve got in a while, maybe ever. Mewtwo VSTAR and Ditto bring some new decks into the mix, while Slowbro and Radiant Charizard are two incredible late-game options that could give existing concepts the power they need to compete with the top decks. Besides the cards on this list, there’s also other interesting cards in the set, like the rest of the Radiant Pokémon.
Overall, I don’t think the meta will drastically change from the existing Astral Radiance format, but that’s to be expected and not a bad thing! I’m looking forward to try out the new cards and am sure we’ll see some of them being used at Worlds.
Hope you enjoyed this mini set review, until next time!