Lost Thunder gives us the most cards any set has ever given us and has quite an impressive amount of good ones in it. Several cards are immediately going to be the focus of new decks, while others greatly support decks already in existence. After the letdown of a set that was Dragon Majesty, Lost Thunder really picks up the slack and shows what a good set has to be like. There are a lot of great things to say about the cards in this set, so without any more delays, here we go!
Note; most of this was written before the english cards were revealed, so mistakes and mistranslations may have snuck in.
A walking Rare Candy, that needs to get fed a Rare Candy itself or be evolved twice. Maganium’s ‘Quick-Ripening Herb’ on anything but a Stage 2 Pokemon would be great, but like this it sadly is not. It requires a deck stacked with Stage 2 Pokemon that inherently are very slow and inconsistent. Not a good card at all, but an interesting gimmick to play around with.
Skiploom and Jumpluff 8/10
Jumpluff and Skiploom are likely to be the focus of a completely new deck, the Standard format successor to ‘Night March’; ‘Lost March’. With several new cards sending cards to the Lost Zone, dealing massive amounts of damage with ‘Lost March’ should not be a problem, even early game. Skiploom’s ability ‘Floral Path To The Sky’ feeds Lost March at least 2 cards per use, cards like Lost Mixer and Trumbeak from this very set are also easy ways make Lost March deal massive amounts of damage very quickly. Semi-evolving into Jumpluff with Skiploom’s ‘Flower In The Sky’ can be done without waiting a turn like you would have to for a normal evolution. Lost Mixer, Trumbeak and ‘Floral Path To The Sky’ together, each used only once, amount to an easy 100 damage for a single Grass Energy. Realistically though, you will not use each of them only once and rack up a lot more damage very easily. The only other Pokemon with this attack yet is Natu from this set, making the options rather limited. Lastly, Jumpluff also has no retreat cost, which is simply the sweet cherry on top of this new meta contender. The biggest problems of a Lost March deck will likely be that the field of weak Pokemon like Hoppip and Natu is easy to dismantle if the setup takes a turn or two too long, which can happen since the deck is very relient on specific combos. It is also noteworthy that spread damage will easily counter this deck archetype and will surely be used a lot if Lost March becomes popular.
Celebi Prism Star 5/10
There are many ways to make use of ‘Time Distortion’ but they are rarely good or even worth using an attack on. The obvious synergy is with Pokemon that have abilities that trigger “When you play this Pokemon from your hand to evolve 1 of your Pokemon during your turn…”. To make this worth it however, the Ability must be very strong or vital to your deck’s strategy. Another use may be to make a Pokemon GX no longer be a Pokemon GX to stop your opponent from taking 2 Prizes for knocking it out. There are likely going to be several more uses for this attack, but none come to mind right now. Because of this, judging this card is rather difficult.
This card is quite difficult to evaluate. While there are several uses to having your energy in the discard pile, it may not be worth having Shuckle use up bench space. Likely the best use is to pair this card with Turtonator GX or Zeraora GX to quickly accelerate a lot of energy with their GX attacks and have a huge head start. Another use may be to combine this card with Alolan Exeggutor from Forbidden Light. Its ‘Tropical Shake’ deals damage based on how many Basic Energy types you have in your discard pile and Shuckle can help getting them there in an instant. There also are decks using Malamar from Forbidden Light that could greatly benefit from Shuckle sending Energy cards to the discard pile for immediate use with Malamar’s ‘Psychic Recharge’. Because of this card’s high combo potential and ability to circumvent dead draws and energy-draught, it is likely to see quite a bit of high level play.
Ninjask and Shedinja 6/10
This duo makes an interesting stall engine, that can help starving the opponent of resources while they have to fight through several Pokemon equipped with Shedinja. This way they have to take up to 4 less Prize cards than they normally would. It is important to note that Ninjask does not search the deck for Shedinja, but rather uses one from the Discard Pile, which means you have to have sent one there in the first place with an Ultra Ball or similar. The problem with trio this clearly is that Ninjask is not very useful and can deal no significant damage by itself. I like the idea behind Shedinja and would like to experiment with it as there likely is an easy way to repeatedly equip Shedinja to your Pokemon to drastically increase the amount of Pokemon they have to knock out, but this still takes up a lot of bench space as well as deck space. The Shedinja trio will most likely be used only in fun decks since it does negatively affect your own deck’s consistency quite a bit.
The only use this card has is in the ‘Lost March’ deck to use ‘Spider Scram’ to stall for a turn, while sending an additional Pokemon into the Lost Zone. The use of Spinarak is very limited, but what little use it has, it is decent at it. Likely it will not see play even in ‘Lost March’ decks though, because that archetype wants to hit fast and hard, not risk stalling.
Treecko, Grovyle and Sceptile GX 6.5/10
All three members of this evolution line are useful in some way. Treecko can search your deck for any Grass Pokemon, though this leaves Treecko wide open in the active spot and should not be relied upon. Grovyle does the same as Treecko, but this time it is an Ability instead of an attack, which makes it much more viable. Since Grovyle is an actually useful Stage 1 and can search for Sceptile or Sceptile GX, Rare Candy is not a necessity like it is with most other Stage 2 Pokemon. Just like previous Sceptile cards, Sceptile GX does not need a lot of Energy to deal massive damage. The attack ‘Mach Cut’ can be used to disrupt some decks, but against others it will be only 60 damage. For one more Energy, ‘Leaf Cyclone’ serves as a reliable two-hit knockout against any Pokemon, but will not knock out most Pokemon GX in a single hit, unless they have Grass weakness. The attack moving the energy to a benched Pokemon not being optional can cause problems in some rare cases, but ‘Leaf Cyclone’ and ‘Mach Cut’ in succession with a Choice Band are still enough to knock out any Stage 2 Pokemon GX. For a single Energy, ‘Jungle Heal GX’ can remove quite a lot of Damage Counters from your side of the field, but sadly does not help you accelerate or deal any damage, so the uses are quite limited. Sceptile GX is a decent Stage 2 Grass Pokemon, but is unlikely to keep up with a lot of other current decks that are more consistent and can knock out Pokemon GX with single attacks.
Virizion GX 6/10
If there were anything I would have to complain about, it would be that ‘Double Draw’ is not a triple draw. Besides that, this is a great Grass attacker that for almost no effort deals at least 130 damage every turn at the cost of only two Grass Energy. Supporter cards are played almost every turn anyway, so meeting the conditions for ‘Sensitive Blade’ is easy, even close to non-existent. Virizion GX’s ‘Breeze Away GX’ can save you from your opponent taking prizes or help you rearrange Pokemon Tools and Energy, but is quite situational. As a quick and reliable low energy attacker, this card may be put into some decks, but there are better decks one could play currently than Virizion GX hands down.
Shuckle GX 6.5/10
With this set we get a new and very potent low energy attack in Lost March, we also get a direct counter to it in the very same set. Shuckle GX is immune to many frequently used attacks, but this immunity is balanced out by both attacks being rather weak. It can sit in the active spot for a while and make opponents use more energy than they would have normally, but once they do, Shuckle GX can not do much else. For some decks however, this can be enough to out-resource the opponent and get the edge on them. In Expanded Format, Shuckle GX is likely even stronger than in Standard.
To put it into just a few words, Primarina is simply not worth the effort. The Ability ‘Harmonics’ would be acceptable on a Stage 1 Pokemon at best, but even then would see little play. Attaching extra Energy cards from your hand is great in theory, but within just a few turns this effect runs out of use because all Energy is either in the discard pile or already on the field. This makes Primarina especially bad because it needs a lot of work to even be on the field in the first place, thanks to being a Stage 2 Pokemon. Even with ‘Harmonics’ potentially being useful for a small amount of time, ‘Hypno Splash’ is a terrible attack and absolutely not worth 3 Energy, regardless of ‘Harmonics’ being in effect or not.
Taking two Energy cards off the opponent’s active Pokemon and sending them to the Lost Zone instead of the Discard Pile is quite useful, but ‘Lost Flame’ needs 4 Energy itself for relatively low 120 damage. Though this attack can push the opponent back quite a bit and even occasionally make them unable to attack the next turn, it is just too expensive of an attack on a Stage 2 Pokemon to be used reliably. Typhlosion’s Ability, ‘Blazing Energy, does not help solve this issue somewhat, since Double Colorless Energy can be used to feed the Energy cost for ‘Lost Flame’. While still unreliable, Typhlosion will at least be an interesting card to use and win some games on PTCG Online.
Though unlikely to see a lot of play in the Standard format currently, Victini has the potential to be a dangerous and unexpected attacker in the Expanded format. Up to 120 damage for 2 Energy is amazing for a single prize attacker, what deck Victini finds its place in I do not know though. We will have to wait and see.
Magcargo GX 8/10
Magcargo GX is exactly what one would expect from a Fire Pokemon GX; Energy acceleration and huge damage that is dependent on Energy cards being discarded. ‘Crushing Charge’ is inconsistent but strong Energy Acceleration, making Magcargo GX nice to have as a support on the bench. In combination with the Magcargo from Celestial Storm, ‘Crushing Charge’ attaching an Energy card is guaranteed every turn. The damage ‘Lava Flow’ can deal can be massive, but comes at a rather high cost. Multiple Magcargo GX or other Energy Acceleration can make ‘Lava Flow’ repeadedly knock out big Pokemon in a single hit, which means easy wins if going against a field of Pokemon GX. If the Energy acceleration with ‘Crushing Charge’ does not work as planned though, Magcargo GX can often be a sitting duck while eating up resources anyway. Magcargo GX is much more consistent than it is is risky, but the risk is still always there and can make the difference between a win and a loss at a tournament.
Blacephalon GX 8/10
For one Energy, ‘Bursting Burn’ is just a filler attack that will only be used when Blacephalon GX happens to be in the active spot on turn 1 or 2 if you do not want to use ‘Burst GX’, the latter being the better first turn option though. The damage of ‘Mind Blown’ has virtually no ceiling and can easily knock a Pokemon GX out in a single attack, but gets rid of your Energy Cards for good in the process. This means that a deck based on Blacephalon GX has to have quite a few basic Fire Energy cards and a secondary attacker so it does not run out of resources before it is able to get all necessary Prizes. Fire decks tend to have a few ways to accelerate Energy onto the field already and with the new Naganadel from this set, there is one more. Blacephalon GX surely will be a new deck archetype, but how strong it is compared to the other new archetypes, still is a mystery.
Suicune GX 7/10
On its own, Suicune GX is pretty underwhelming for a Pokemon GX. If partnered with cards like Switch Raft and Manaphy from Shining Legends though, the defensive capabilities of Suicune GX are amazing. Once an upcoming attack would knock out Suicune GX, ‘Phantom Winds’ can stop the opponent from taking the Prizes and simply shuffle Suicune GX back into the deck. This can be done any amount of times in a duel and against some decks can prevent the opponent from taking any Prizes whatsoever. The GX attack ‘Brinicles GX’ further helps this Hit&Run tactic, but is still pretty weak regardless and likely will not have high priority. It is very important to mention that Suicune GX has a Grass weakness, which is much better than a Lightning weakness thanks to Zeraora GX coming out in this set. Suicune GX is not as good as some other Pokemon GX, but still makes for a viable archetype that can do well if piloted by a patient and prescient player.
For the steep cost of sending two Lightning Energy cards from your hand to the Lost Zone, Ampharos causes guaranteed Paralysis. There are several ways to bypass Paralysis, including Guzma. Most of the time, the cost to activate ‘Unseen Flash’ is much higher than the cost for the opponent to retreat the paralyzed Pokemon. The spread damage with ‘Split Bomb’ is decent, but not enough to warrant setting up a Stage 2 Pokemon with a terrible Ability and no other attacks. Ampharos is not a good card, but has some good ideas behind it.
Zebstrika is the new Standard format’s Octillery, but unlike Octillery a while ago, Zebstrika has competition for this spot. Magcargo is currently being used to always give what you need, while Zebstrika’s ‘Sprint’ gives you direct draw support but discards your entire hand before doing so. Both are great support, and their usefulness depends fully on the deck they are or are not used in. Using both at the same time is possible and viable as well. Zebstrika would make a much bigger impact in the current meta if an alternative did not exist already.
Looks like ‘Nuzzle’ is going to be an entire deck theme, with several rodent Pokemon supporting each other through the power of possessing the same pretty bad stall attack. The damage of ‘Nuzzle Shot’ is simply too low to make Dedenne worth using, or even considering a ‘Nuzzle’ themed deck. The whole idea behind a ‘Nuzzle’ deck or at least a ‘Nuzzle’ engine sounds interesting though so maybe Dedenne is a small step towards something great.
This card has the potential to be the heart of a non-GX Lightning turbo deck. Sending a Lightning Energy to the Lost Zone with Lost Mixer is an easy way to make ‘Lost Voltage’ deal 120 damage. If you have the luxury of a first turn Thunder Mounain as well, ‘Lost Voltage’ costs a single Energy for 120 damage, or even more if you have Choice Band and/or Electric Power. Zeraora GX however, may simply outshine Raikou since it does what Raikou does, without the need for the Lost Zone, even though Raikou is a one-Prize attacker.
This card is only noteworthy because of the massive damage it can deal with ‘High Voltage Knuckle’. It can not keep up with cards like Raikou and especially not Zeraora GX, but in a budget deck this might be the hard hitter one needs.
Zeraora GX 9.5/10
Zeraora GX has it all, a strong regular attack, a useful GX attack and an outstanding Ability that synergizes with its own attacks. Though the attacks are not original in any way, (Lapras GX and Turtonator GX say hello), they work especially well on Zeraora GX. The Ability ‘Thunderclap Zone’ allows Zeraora GX to retreat for free even when it cannot attack after using ‘Plasma Fists’ the previous turn. While I dislike Lapras’ version of ‘Plasma Fists’, Zeraora GX can cause a lot more trouble with an identical attack thanks to its own Ability. ‘Full Voltage GX’ is not only a simple acceleration GX attack but also allows you to give many of your Pokemon access to ‘Thunderclap Zone’. Zeraora GX is guaranteed to see tournament play as the focus of Lightning decks and easily takes a spot in the top 3 cards of this set.
Sending two cards from the opponent’s discard pile to the Lost Zone with ‘Get Lost’ can be useful if those cards were supposed to be used later on, for example Energy cards or Night March Pokemon in Expanded format. Almost always, this is not worth attaching an Energy on Girafaring and attacking with it though. Attacking also is not something Girafarig is good at, as ‘Mind Shock’ is far too weak to warrant having 3 Energy attached to it.
A single Wobuffet in any deck is able to cause a lot of problems. For now, it seems that Prism Star Supporter and Stadium cards are much more powerful than Prism Star Pokemon, but Ditto Prism Star is going to be everywhere and disabling ‘Almighty Evolution’ makes Ditto Prism Star nothing more than wasted space. Just be careful not to stun your own Prism Star Pokemon with Wobuffet.
Unown (HAND) 7/10
Alternate win conditions have always been a thing in TCGs but rarely if ever have appeared in the Pokemon Trading Card Game. Now we have gotten multiple of them in a single set, though they are made to be incredibly difficult or even impossible to accomplish in a normal game. However, ‘HAND’ is not impossible to activate at all. Though it needs an entire deck built around it, the Ability ‘HAND’ can be used to win the game by combining cards like Sylveon GX, Hau and Alolan Sandslash to steadily increase your hand size. Virizion GX’s ‘Breeze Away GX’ can give you the final edge you need by picking up all your benched Pokemon and increasing your hand by a lot at once to win next turn with ‘HAND’. This of course is very susceptible to cards like Judge or Marshadow, so you have to be careful. Winning with ‘HAND’ is difficult, but far from impossible.
Unown (DAMAGE) 2/10
Unlike Unown (HAND), Unown (DAMAGE)’s Ability is almost impossible to activate. Ways to deal damage to your own Pokemon are far and inbetween, and there has to be an avarage of 13 damage counters on each of your benched Pokemon while Unown is in the active spot. Any opponent will easily pick and knock out the highly benched Pokemon with Guzma or even use spread damage to do so. Maybe we get a way to reliably and heavily damage your own Pokemon someday, but for now, ‘DAMAGE’ is close to impossible to pull off in a real game in Standard format. Maybe with all the cards we have in the Expanded format, something amazing is possible. At the very least it is something new.
Unown (MISSING) 1/10
I am more interested in the lore of this card than the gameplay aspect. Why is it that specifically 12 Supporter cards have to be in the Lost Zone for ‘Missing’ to be used? Does this imply that Unown wants 12 human souls to disappear into the Lost Zone so the Unown can… I am probably reading too much into this. The Ability ‘Missing’ relies completely on the opponent having 12 Supporter cards in their deck to begin with and some decks simply do not have that many Supporter cards in them. Even if they do though, sending 12 of them into the Lost Zone requires your deck to have access to them. Any player who sees ‘Missing’ on the field or sees their opponent repeatedly send Supporter cards to the Lost Zone will play more conservative with their Supporter cards and easily counter the entire tactic. Or just play as they normally would, if they only have 11 or less Supporter cards in their deck.
The combinations this card allows are so vast that this card should be in the back of a player’s minds no matter what. Sending it to the discard pile and letting the Ability ‘Distortion Door’ place it on the bench causes damage to 2 of the opponent’s benched Pokemon. While minimal, repeating this ability can greatly help spread damage decks or even cause knockouts the deck is not able to otherwise. It also is possible to team Giratina up with Cofagrigus from this set to repeatedly send it to the discard pile for additional damage, then place it back on the bench with ‘Distortion Door’ and repeat the cycle. The Energy cost for ‘Shadow Impact’ is somewhat of a bother, as with two Colorless Energy, the attack could have been even better and more widely used. As it stands though, it can deal decent damage for a single Prize attacker and possibly help Pokemon that need Damage Counters on them for extra effects. The focus of Giratina is the Ability though, and is strong enough to make several appearances in tournament worthy decks for sure.
An amazing Energy acceleration card that attaches Energy of any type from the discard pile to itself once per turn. This Energy then can be used to either attack with Naganadel, transfered to other Pokemon with effects like Quagsire’s Wash Out or used for attacks like Blacephalon GX’s Mind Blown. Naganadel’s only attack, ‘Turning Point’ is capable of knocking out Pokemon GX in a single hit, if the condition is met and it carries a Choice Band. The Energy cost of 3 Colorless Energy is easily met in any deck and makes Naganadel a great alrounder. In addition to all of that, Lost Space can search for Naganadel, making it very consistent. Naganadel is guaranteed to see tournament play.
Though there are a few tactics this card can be used for, the main use for it seems to be to send Giratina to the discard pile over and over for massive damage, just to have Giratina come back with ‘Distortion Door’ and deal additional damage in the process. Another use may be to simply send Pokemon like Tapu Lele GX to the discard pile to prevent them from being knocked out too easily, but that sounds like way too much effort for what it’s worth. If Cofagrigus had an additional attack that did not require sending benched Pokemon to the discard pile, it might be much better. As it stands, it is nothing more than a gimmick.
Chandelure makes a good team with Giratina and Promo Tapu Koko, as they both allow for ‘Vortex Of Pain’ to easily deal massive amounts of damage and easily take knockouts. The glaring problem with Chandelure is of course that it is a Stage 2 Pokemon and may require too much effort to make such a tactic worth using over simpler, just as effective ones.
This card seems to be made to be played as a single copy in almost every Psychic deck, just to use Nightcap when the condition is met. Using Zoroark’s GX attack for a single Psychic Energy on a single Prize attacker sounds amazing, and it is. Nihilego has huge potential and is going to sneak into a few decks once and again in the future.
There is not much to say about Natu. It has the same attack as Jumpluff from this set, but for two Colorless Energy rather than a single Grass. It has incredibly low HP that lets it be knocked out by almost anything and because of that, is easy to get rid of. But it still is needed in a ‘Lost March’ deck to not only have two types of attackers but also have a high enough amount of them.
Sigilyph GX 2/10
A lot of decks almost exclusively attack with Pokemon GX and use other Pokemon for support. This is what Sigilyph GX tries to take advantage of with ‘Mirror Counter’, causing Pokemon GX and Pokemon EX to take the same damage they deal to Sigilyph GX. Though Sigilyph GX can use Double Colorless Energy for both its attacks, ‘Sonic Wing’ is an absolutely terrible attack. Just like ‘Sonic Wing’, ‘Intercept GX’ is a not good at all and does not do nearly enough for being a GX attack. Most of the time, this attack will deal 180 damage which is barely enough to knock out most Pokemon GX, but this relies on the opponent’s Energy and will be a waste of an attack against Pokemon like Sceptile GX or Blacephalon GX that need only 2 Energy to attack or Magcargo GX that will have few Energy attached during the opponent’s turn anyway. Sigilyph GX’s Ability also is useless against decks that do not use Pokemon GX to attack, making it highly unreliable.
Alolan Meowth 5/10 and Alolan Persian 2.5/10
Both of these cards have attacks that require no Energy to use, but Alolan Meowth is the one that will be played a lot more. It’s attack ‘Spoil The Fun’ can get an easy knockout if the opponent leaves a low HP Pokemon in the active spot. Alolan Persian will be more or less just a complimentary addition to make Alolan Meowth more than just an occasional first turn knockout. The attack ‘Empty Threat’ is decent for not requiring any Energy, but far from good.
Larvitar 7/10, Pupitar 2/10 and Tyranitar GX 5/10
Ironically, the card that will see the most play out of this evolution line is Larvitar. The at first unremarkable attack ‘Second Strike’ can deal an impressive 80 damage for 2 Colorless Energy if the opponent’s active Pokemon already took 30 or more damage. However, two of the strongest Pokemon GX currently used are weak to Fighting. This means a Zoroark GX needs to have taken only 50 damage for ‘Second Strike’ to knock it out and Zeraora GX needs to have taken only 30 damage for Larvitar to collect 2 Prizes. Pupitar is just there because it has to be, and though Tyranitar seems impressive at first, it is nowhere as good as it makes itself out to be. The Ability ‘Lost Out’ is useless most of the time, and even helps ‘Lost March’ decks. Though ‘Dusty Ruckus’ can deal an impressive amount of spread damage in addition to the base damage to the active Pokemon, it fails to hit most support Pokemon like Malamar and Magcargo. Lastly, the weirdly named ‘Lay The Smackdown GX’ is capable of dealing 250 damage with a Choice Band, knocking out any Pokemon GX in the game for only 3 Energy. This is an amazing attack by itself, but fails to impress thanks to Tyranitar being a rather lackluster Pokemon GX in general. The big Godzilla-like Tyranitar will have to sit on the sidelines while single Larvitar are going to be found in several decks.
Paired with Metal Frying Pan or Choice Helmet, Scizor can take quite a beating while dealing a lot of damage itself. In a meta where Special Energy cards are used in most decks, Scizor could be the heart of a deck and wreak havok while slowing the opponent down and taking barely any damage by the weaker attacks. For only two Energy, ‘Special Blow’ can easily knock out any Pokemon GX in two hits, assuming they carry a Special Energy card. Scizor is a card that people should keep in the back of their mind.
Genesect GX 4/10
Having two Choice Band equipped sounds amazing at first, but Genesect GX has no attacks to capitalize on the additional damage. The attack ‘Burst Shot’ knocks out any Pokemon GX in two hits and with 2 Choice Band equipped to Genesect GX it can knock out any Basic Pokemon GX in one attack, except for Lightning ones and Wishiwashi GX. Defensive tool cards like Metal Frying Pan or Choice Helmet might be the better choice, so Genesect GX stays on the field for long enough to knock out threats with two ‘Burst Shot’ and soak up a lot of attacks. For the same amount of Energy as ‘Burst Shot’, the GX attack ‘Break Buster GX’ does nothing but deal 60 more damage, but also ignores Resistance. This is only important if Genesect faces a Lightning deck, which is not unlikely to happen with Zeraora GX releasing in the same set. The damage of ‘Break Buster GX’ is exactly enough to knock Zeraora GX out, as if it was meant for this exact purpose. Genesect GX is interesting but nothing special, there are simply better Pokemon that come out of this very set.
Capable of dealing massive amounts of damage with ‘Powerful Slap’, Blissey might be an interesting card. The random nature of the attack makes Blissey a card unfit for tournament play, but still fun to use as with a little luck, ‘Powerful Slap’ can knock out the most used Pokemon GX no problem. Removing Status Conditions with ‘Happiness Supplement’ is rarely useful, but still nice to have.
Though the idea behind this card is very interesting, the execution is absolutely horrid. On the rare occasion that you draw into 2 or more Moomoo Milk and have Miltank fully set up, the damage of ‘Milk Cannon’ is still not worth the effort. Of course there is the possibility of using Mitank with the new Alolan Ninetales GX to secure the Moomoo Milk on your hand when Miltank needs them, but even that is barely worth being run as a fun deck. The damage should have been at least 90 for each Moomoo Milk revealed to make Miltank even worth using. In addition to all that, Moomoo Milk itself is a terrible card as well, so at least they have that in common.
Sending this card to the Lost Zone is the most important part of ‘Mountain Pass’, potentially sending an opponent’s resource to the Lost Zone as well is the icing on the muffin. This card is easily sent to the Lost Zone and feeds ‘Lost March’. Besides that though, there is not much reason to play this card.
Ditto Prism Star 10/10
This adorable squishy little guy squares up against the massive amount of cards in this set and comes up on top. Easily a must have card that every deck with Stage 1 Pokemon in it will run. The possibilities Ditto Prism Star offers are endless and allow for much easier use of Stage 1 support Pokemon like Magcargo and Malamar as well as lowering the problems of having a specific Basic Pokemon among the Prize Cards. Ditto Prism Star has low HP, no attacks and is limited to a single copy per deck, but none of that is an issue because what it is supposed to do, it does perfectly. The best card of this set, hands down.
Lugia GX 6/10
Lugia GX can be put into almost any deck, thanks to all attacks requiring only Colorless Energy. The most useful attack is likely going to be ‘Lost Purge GX’, as for only 3 Colorless Energy, it can get rid of any single threat no matter how much HP the target has left. This does not give you any Prize Cards, but can erase a lot of resources and work a player put into a fully set up Pokemon GX, which may take them back a few steps. For the same amount of Energy, ‘Psychic’ does not hold up as well. A situational 120 damage that can just as well be a lot less is not good, especially on a Pokemon GX. The fact that this attack occasionally deals a measly 30 damage for 3 Energy is laughable. ‘Pelagic Blade’ on the other hand deals enough damage to knock out a lot of basic Pokemon GX and even Stage 1 Pokemon GX if Lugia GX is equipped with a Choice Band. Lugia GX has two ways to rather easily get rid of threats and makes for a decent addition to decks that are scared of specific attackers that Lugia GX is capable of taking on.
An interesting tech card that keeps the opponent from forcing switches with Guzma and prevents a few other much more rarely used Supporter cards. Though Ribombee is a Stage 1 Pokemon, stopping the opponent from using Guzma on your Pokemon is a very powerful effect worth a bench spot and some deck space. This card might see some use, but most decks will likely default to using Magcargo, Malamar and Zebstrika.
At first glance, Granbull seems rather bad. In a normal deck, meeting the condition for ‘All Out’ is too difficult and ‘Giant Fangs’ is nothing special at all. But in a deck that can consistently get your hand down to zero, Granbull is scary powerful. For a single Energy, Granbull’s ‘All Out’ can knock out most basic Pokemon GX in one attack, provided Granbull carries a Choice Band. Any other Pokemon gets knocked out in two attacks. In a deck that is focused on keeping your hand size small, 190 damage for a single Energy is easily accomplished. Using cards like Oranguru for extra draws instead of Supporter cards or Magcargo to always draw exactly what you need helps this tactic greatly and makes Granbull a very scary Pokemon. The massive potential of Granbull’s ‘All Out’ and the ever-growing ways of causing your hand to be empty before attacking makes Granbull a card that will see guaranteed tournament play and maybe even see some value way past rotating out of Standard format.
Xerneas Prism Star 2/10
The idea behind this card is to put it into the active spot, then use ‘Path Of Life’ to give it Energy that was attached to your other Pokemon and attack for 160 damage, or 190 damage if Xerneas has a Choice Band. The big problem with this tactic is that Xerneas Prism Star needs your active Pokemon to retreat by either regular retreat or using a card such as Switch. After successfully doing this and attacking once, Xerneas Prism Star needs to be retreated itself because ‘Bright Horns’ stops it from attacking the next turn. Xerneas Prism Star is a mess of a card that contradicts it’s own main role and is not even good at filling it in the first place. Fairy Garden could make this card much better in Expanded format, but there are still better options than Xerneas Prism Star for damage.
Mimikyu GX 4/10
Mimikyu GX reminds me of the first few sets of the game, where a lot of cards were basing the effectiveness of their second attack on the first one. This trend continues until today, but much less prominent. Seeing it on a Pokemon GX though, makes me not like it to begin with. The attack ‘Perplex’ should have an inherent damage value so Mimikyu does not have to rely on an avoidable coinflip to deal damage with Confusion and so ‘Let’s Snuggle & Fall’ can deal any noteworthy damage at all. The one thing that could save this card would be if the GX attack caused a decent amount of spread damage, but that also is not the case. ‘Dream Fear GX’ removes one opponent’s benched Pokemon from the field, sending it and all cards attached to it to their deck. While this is not a good GX attack in general, it is especially bad on Mimikyu GX. When ignoring the rest about Mimikyu GX, the damage of ‘Let’s Snuggle & Fall’ has a lot of potential and could make Mimikyu GX a card people will use a single copy of just to get easy knockouts with ‘Let’s Snuggle & Fall’.
Alolan Ninetales GX 9.5/10
While both attacks of Alolan Ninetales GX are at the very least decent, the Ability is where it really shines. Being able to pick and choose the Item cards you want whenever you need them is incredibly useful and not only makes you able to grab Choice Band, Beast Ring, Ultra Ball or Rare Candy at exactly the right time, but also virtually makes every Ultra Ball in your hand into a ‘Mysterious Guidance’ as long as you have an Alolan Vulpix on the field. This incredibly strong Ability would benefit almost any deck, but attacking with either of Alolan Ninetales’ attacks requires Fairy Energy. Because of this, most decks would either use this card exclusively for ‘Mysterious Guidance’ or be required to use Basic Fairy Energy/Rainbow Energy to attack with it. With Ultra Beast Pokemon being rather popular currently, ‘Sublimation GX’ is a useful tool to have to get an easy knockout against Blacephalon GX or Ultra Necrozma GX. In any other situation, ‘Snowy Wind’ is more than a decent attack for the low Energy cost it requires, not only dealing acceptable damage but also threatening benched Pokemon. The only thing keeping Alolan Ninetales from getting the perfect 10/10 rating is that both attacks require Fairy Energy. This card will drastically change the way a lot of decks are being played and likely is the card out of this set that will be played the most.
Heat Factory Prism Star 8/10
Heat Factory is, simply put, a better Scorched Earth but only for Fire Energy. Fire decks love having their Energy Cards in the discard pile and Heat Factory does exactly that while accelerating your gameplay. This card is a must play in every Fire deck.
Thunder Mountain Prism Star 9.5/10
An incredibly strong card and a must play for every Lightning deck. The huge speed and consistency boost this card gives any Lightning deck is one no deck would want to miss out on. Thunder Mountain even can be searched from the deck with Lisia, enabling early, hard attacks. A good card all around and a must have.
Life Forest Prism Star 8/10
Healing 60HP a turn for no cost is great, but the effect only works for Grass type Pokemon. The effect is worthless if the opponent uses attacks that knock your Pokemon out in single hits, but this is not often the case. In every other matchup, Life Forest can help prevent two-hit knockouts, transforming them into three hit knockouts. Life Forest also allows you to remove Special Conditions, preventing possible stall effects from slowing you down. This card is likely a must play in Grass decks.
Not playing 4 Electropower in a Lightning deck would simply be wrong. This card is a must have and makes every Lightning Pokemon a force to be reckoned with. There is not much more to say about this simple, but extremely powerful card. If you play a Lightning deck, get four of these.
Spell Tag 7/10
This Tool card is like a free attack whenever an equipped Psychic Pokemon gets knocked out. If you managed to deal considerable damage to your opponent’s Pokemon already, Spell Tag can cause knockouts and makes people think twice if the knockout is worth it. Alongside other cards that cause spread damage like Promo Tapu Koko or the Giratina from this set, Spell Tag can always be a threat to the opponent and even cause multiple knockouts in one activation. Spell Tag would have to be used over Choice Band or at the very least alongside it and only activates when your Pokemon gets knocked out by your opponent, so this card suits slower, more technical decks best.
Fairy Charm (Grass/Psychic/Fighting/Dragon) 7/10
Fairy Pokemon got an anti-meta tool and it makes them incredily strong in certain matchups. The right Fairy Charm against the right deck will either lead to an easy win or force a Field Blower to be used. The only problem with these tools is of course that they are useless against any type that is not the one specified on the Fairy Charm. They are still very powerful and can make certain matchups against strong meta-decks much easier to overcome.
Net Ball 9/10
Besides not being able to fetch Evolution Pokemon with Net Ball, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this card. Any Energy type in the game would love to have a card like this. Net Ball gives Grass decks a huge consistency boost and is going to be an immediate staple in Grass decks.
Choice Helmet 4/10
While Choice Band is almost universally useful, Choice Helmet has a lot less uses. Stalling usually does nothing to bring you closer to winning, unless you specifically focus your deck on either out-resourcing your opponent or winning by deck-out. It might help survive an attack your Pokemon would not otherwise, but Choice Helmet should not be used over Choice Band in almost any situation.
Adventure Bag 4/10
Though it sounds useful at first, Adventure Bag does not add much to the consistency of a standard deck. There are roughly 4 Tool cards in most decks and the likeliness of you drawing Adventure Bag before multiples of the wanted Tool cards is only high if you play a lot of them. This also increases the likeliness of them being useless in your hand, when after a few turns, they can not search for anything anymore. This, however, is a lot different if your deck uses a lot of Tool cards, for example multiple Choice Band and Spell Tag in Giratina decks or Choice Helmet and Metal Frying Pan in a Genesect GX deck. Adventure Bag can also greatly help enable the Rotom ‘Rotom Motor’ deck. Though not universally useful as it would seem at first, this card will find its home in some decks for sure.
Lost Blender 5.5/10
A very important enabler for the ‘Lost March’ deck and should be played at high numbers in it. It can also be used to easily enable effects that need some cards in the Lost Zone. Lost Mixer is unlikely to see much play in any deck not focused around the Lost Zone though, unless they purposefully want to empty their hand.
Custom Catcher 2.5/10
Custom Catcher is very reminiscent of Puzzle Of Time, though the latter was much more powerful. The biggest problem with this card is having to use Custom Catcher’s second effect and taking advantage of it right after. The rather random nature of Custom Catcher appearing on your hand in doubles makes it difficult to plan out a good follow up play that makes it worth having played two Custom Catcher in the first place. This can be fixed to an extent with Alolan Ninetales GX’s Ability ‘Mysterious Guidance’, but that seems like somewhat of a waste. The effect if a single Custom Catcher is used at a time can be useful, but very rarely is worth it.
Mixed Herbs 1.5/10
Just like Custom Catcher, Mixed Herbs is supposed to be played in pairs. The payoff for this is even lower though and both effects are mediocre at best, almost useless at worst. Healing 90HP can occasionally be a great help, the problem with Mixed Herbs though is that it is not reliable at all and there are many, much more reliable forms of healing one could use. Getting access to 2 Mixed Herbs exactly when the 90HP heal could save your Pokemon from being knocked out is like winning the lottery.
Wait And See Hammer 1/10
Just like the stupid name, this card is trash. In 50% of the matches this card is unusable and to consistently see it in your starting hand on your first turn you need to play multiple copies of it, making all but the first Wait And See Hammer useless as well. An absolutely horrible card.
Counter Gain 6/10
As long as you are behind on Prizes, Counter Gain is essentially a Colorless Energy in a tool card. This can allow for some quick comebacks, especially in combination with Thunder Mountain Prism Star. Relying on being in a losing position is never a good idea though. Counter Gain also takes the place of Choice band or other powerful tools, making Counter Gain a decent single copy card in some decks.
There is a decent idea behind this card’s design, but it makes this card too inconsistent to be played in a serious deck. The first Whitney will be an absolutely wasted Draw 1 Card on a Supporter, the second Whitney will be a Hau. The third and fourth one are good, but being forced to discard or even play 2 Whitney to get some decent draw support is not worth the effort when there are cards like Tate&Liza or Cynthia that do the job much better.
Aether Foundation Employee 2/10
Picking Alolan Pokemon back up from your discard pile sounds interesting, especially when combined with Alolan Ninetales GX. But being limited to the few Alolan Pokemon as well as Aether Foundation Employee being a Supporter card makes this card a lot less appealing than it could be. Almost always, a deck should not have to rely on a Supporter card that gets a specific few Pokemon back from the discard pile. We already have Rescue Stretcher, which does the job not quite as well, but does not use up your one Supporter for that turn. This card has some uses for sure, but already available cards make Aether Foundation Employee unnecessary.
Though we have a few cards that remove Tool cards, Special Energy and Stadium cards from the opponent’s field, Faba might make his way into some decks when more removal is necessary. This versatile Supporter card is able to remove three different kinds of problems, though with the rise of Prism Star Stadium cards, this may often be limited Faba’s effect to only Tools and Special Energy. If decks using a lot of Special Energy or a specific Stadium card become popular, Faba is going to be a staple.
Professor Elm’s Lecture 9/10
In most decks, this is the Supporter card you want to play on your first turn. Search your deck for a Ditto Prism Star, a Slugma and a Blitzle or an Inkay and you are set up for what is to come. Professor Elm’s Lecture gets you whatever you need. This card will likely drastically increase the speed of set up heavy decks, especially with Ditto Prism Star releasing in the same set. An amazing card and likely one of the most expensive Full Art card of Lost Thunder.
Mina is decent Energy acceleration in form of a Supporter that can only search for a Fairy Energy card, but attach it to any Pokemon on your field, no matter the type. This makes Mina playable in more than just pure Fairy decks and allows for some quick and hard hits. The obvious problem with playing Mina is, that it takes up your one Supporter for that turn, trading consistency for early attacks. Though Mina is going to see little play, it likely will be played more in Expanded format, where Fairy Garden synergizes well with Mina.
Likely a decent card for starter decks and Unown (Hand) decks, though the latter likely is going to stick to Hau over Kahili. Nothing special about this card, and it will barely see play. But it still is a nice idea.
If you are lucky, Morty can halt an opponent’s plays for a moment. This is quite unlikely to happen though, since pretty much every deck plays either Zebstrika, Magcargo or both. This makes Morty rarely, if ever useful enough to use or even put into the deck to begin with.
Lusamine Prism Star 8/10
Any deck based around an Ultra Beast Pokemon is going to play this card. Guaranteed immunity to attacks for all of your Ultra Beasts, even benched ones, is amazing. The effect even stays after a forced switch, making Lusamine a very powerful Suporter that more or less gives you a free turn. A must have for Ultra Beast decks.
One of the best Supporter cards we currently have when it comes to draw support. Sightseer does not only allow you to discard useless cards before drawing so you are more likely draw into useful ones, but also helps by filling Energy cards to the discard pile. This helps a lot of decks, especially those that can accelerate Energy from the Discard Pile with Aqua Patch or Zeraora GX. If you are not discarding any cards however, Sightseer is just a weaker Lillie.
Memory Energy 5/10
Though rarely useful, some decks will find ways to take advantage of this card. There were similar cards in the past, so Memory Energy will find it’s way into some interesting decks with new and yet undiscovered tactics.
Several cards in this set are outstanding, especially Zeraora GX, Alolan Ninetales GX and Ditto Prism Star. Other immediate staple cards are going to be Thunder Mountain, Net Ball, Professor Elm’s Lecture and Zebstrika. This set has massive value for players and collectors alike, and will change the landscape of the current meta drastically. Though many of the new archetypes of this set are unlikely to keep up with current top tier decks, many cards in this set are going to make the already existing decks even stronger.
Meta impact: High
Collectors value: Medium/High