Greetings, Fools! After being out of the TCG loop and not attending any events or leagues for a few months, I had the privilege of judging a pre-release in Johannesburg
last Saturday. Here are some of my favourite cards from my set and some quick thoughts on how the set will affect the format.
Bronzong's Metal Links allows you to attach a metal energy from your discard pile once per turn. You do the math, 3 Bronzong equals 3 metal energies you get to attach to Mewtwo, Aegislash or Dialga Ex, making it a very, very powerful introduction to the format. Speaking of Dialga though..
It's first attack seems a bland 60, but if the Defending Pokemon is an EX it can't attack next turn. It's second attack deals 150 damage at the cost of discarding two energies attached to Dialga.This behemoth hits like a truck and if you run it with Bronzong (which you should) you could easily get a 150 attack off turn 2. Wishful thinking? If you see your opponent play down a Bronzor,you should be at least a bit worried.
Steel types get a lot of much needed support this set. That includes attackers like Dialga EX and Aegislash EX and the energy accelerator I just mentioned. They also get a stadium called Steel Shelter, which prevents any steel types from being affected by status conditions. Eat that Hypnotoxic Laser.
With Steel types getting so much support and attention, the only logical conclusion is that you'd need a good counter for them. Pyroar is a deck archetype that I'm looking forward to see in action and Phantom Forces introduced a new one.
This Pyroar also has an ability called Flare Command which allows you to discard a Fire energy attached to Pyroar and then you get to bring up one of your opponent's benched Pokemon. It's pretty much a pseudo-Catcher or a copy of Genesect's Red Signal.
This allows Pyroar decks to rely less on Lysandre, opening up more Supporter slots, or less on flips from Catcher freeing up some Item slots. I feel this specifically benefits the Blacksmith energy acceleration method because it helps get energy into the discard pile as well.
|This bro is mad, bro|
Have a look at this report to see the strength and utility of Manectric and its Mega. Hannes used it it conjunction with Virzion and Genesect and Mega Manectric hits for some really sweet numbers, making it a great addition to the deck. Mega Manectric OHKOs Pyroar, Garbodor, Wobbuffet, Bronzong and Trevenant, has free retreat and allows you to attach any two basic energies to a Pokemon from the discard offering a good source of energy acceleration.
Mega Manectric is also a really good Yveltal EX counter because it has such low energy attacks, lots of HP and hits for weakness. We have all seen how powerful a charged Yveltal can be and this balances the format just a bit once again.
Some of my favourite items are Battle Compressor and VS Seeker. VS Seeker is actually a reprint
from an older card which is now back in rotation. VS seeker allows you to take a Supporter card from your discard pile and put it into your card. Back in the day players used to Skyla for clutch Item cards like Catcher or Switch, now you can use an item card to grab a clutch Supporter like Lysandre or Professor Sycamore.
Battle Compressor allows you to discard any three cards from your deck. There are loads of different uses for this cards. Steel decks can use it to get energy into the discard, Night March and Flareon decks can throw Pokemon in the discard and a final trick I've heard is to throw a supporter into the discard and then use VS Seeker to
grab it back and use it.
There quite a few more interesting cards like AZ, Lysandre's Last Resort and the Team Flare Tools along with some tricksy additions in Xerosic and Mega Gengar, but that's pretty much all I've got for now. Hoping to be able to test a bit on PTCGO and in-real life and see what works.
The pull rates from this set seem to be really good or really bad. Seen some people pull insane stuff from their boxes while others, and I speak from experience, open at least 2 blisters and get nothing. Oh well. Happy hunting!