15 Notable Cards from Evolution
New set. Old cards.
11/19/2016 by Miner751
Hi all, sorry for not posting regularly. I do want to, but time hasn’t been on my side as of late due to assignments and exams. Hopefully I should be able to write more in the coming weeks, especially since I have a lot I want to write about. I’ve experimented a bit with a couple of rogue decks lately – Aerodactyl/Omastar and a significantly revamped Durant deck – and the results so far are surprisingly good. There’s also a couple of game realted things I want to talk about. Anyway, they will hopefully be in future articles (and soon). In the meantime, let’s get onto the article.
Welcome to my article on what I believe are key cards from Evolutions. Unfortunately, it seems like the decision was made to drop dual type pokemon after one set, however, in their place, we get (scaled up) reprints of Base Set cards! (and in a similar style to the Base Set cards!)
There’s not a lot in this set that will have an impact on the metagame, however there are a number of cool rogue-ish cards. Also there is some value in reliving, or experiencing for the first time, the opening of Base Set cards. The artwork of the cards, despite being 20 years old, still looks as good as ever.
I don’t talk about reprints in the 15 notable cards, but it is worth mentioning that the Base Set style Basic Energies can be found in this set. Darkness, Metal and Fairy Energies - which weren’t around back then – also receive the Base Set treatment. These Energies can also be found in reverse holo form! Personally, I still prefer the HGSS era Basic Energies, but still, these Energies are pretty neat.
EDIT (20/11/2016): Sorry, forgot to mention that this article is for the Standard format only.
Some pokemon have certain attacks or Abilties associated with their cards. In Beedrill’s case, it is to have an attack that does more damage for each Beedrill you have in play. I’m pretty sure the Fire Red & Leaf Green one didn’t see much play, but the Great Encounters one definitely did. Used with the Rising Rivals’ Beedrill (which could search your deck for Grass Pokemon), it formed a top tier deck known as Speedrill. Back in the day, I was looking through my cards to find inspiration for a new deck and saw my Beedrills (GE and RR) and thought it’d be cool to sleeve them up for league the next day. At league, I ended up playing against someone playing with Beedrills too. Turns out it was actually an emerging deck at the time, which I was quite surprised about (note that the only pokemon websites I knew about at the time were pokebeach and a local forum).
Anyway, onto this Beedrill. It can actually play in a similar way to Speedrill. We have Forest of Giant Plants which is like Broken Time Space, except that you’ll likely be the only one to take advantage of it since your opponent is unlikely to be playing Grass type Evolutions. We still have Rare Candy, albeit with an errata. Pokemon Fan Club/Bridgette for Roseanne’s Research/Pokemon Collector; Octillery for Claydol GE; Shaymin EX for Uxie LA. A new ‘feature’ is that we have Revitaliser which will help immensely with a quick recovery of a Beedrill line after it gets KOed.
The damage output is kind of similar too, with respect to the meta. Beedrill GE needed an Expert Belt/Crobat G to safely KO almost every pokemon whereas Beedrill will need a Bursting Balloon (maybe Golbat GEN) to do the same. Having said that, I’d rather have Exp. Share on Beedrill. In my opinion, Exp. Share is an underrated pokemon Tool at the moment, mainly due to the lack of good Tool removal. I guess it hasn’t seen much use because of Fighting Fury Belts and Spirit Links taking up the Tool slots on most attackers. Either way, Exp. Share helps to keep your Energies in play, which is crucial in being able to fire off Swarming Stings each turn (assuming that your Beedrills are getting KOed each turn).
The damage output is okay I guess. I would have rather 50x so then you would be able to straight out KO non-Mega EXes. Still, having 3 in play means that you can KO Shaymins, which most people play. Note that it does hit Benched pokemon, so you don’t need a Lysadre to KO those Shaymins. Greninja doesn’t usually play Shaymins, but at least you have type advantage there.
Overall, I don’t think Beedrill will see much competitive play, maybe just some LCs. I think it’ll be too hard to repeatedly recover them after KOs to try and maintain maximum damage, and its damage numbers, whilst workable, could be better. Having said that, it should be quite fun to play. :)
Well I never said that being a ‘notable card’ meant it had to be somewhat playable XD
When the Base Set Charizard was last printed in Stormfront, it saw no play. Even with the buffs to bring it to the current power level, it’s still not great, and I’d go so far to say that Hydreigon NVI is better (albeit not Standard legal). Despite this, it is Base Set Charizard. It looks cool, collectors love it so you can cash them in for more than what they should be worth (especially the prerelease promos), and it’d probably make a fun league deck if you wanted to play it.
The lack of Blacksmith in Standard does hurt, but there’s still Volcanion STS and Houndoom EX. Burning Energy is good for chaining off attacks. Double Colourless Energy works well due to Zard’s Ability, although a reprint of Boost Energy would be nice. :P Also, because of the Ability, it can use Energy acceleration from other types, e.g. Magnezone BKT and the Ability Sceptile PCR.
Whilst I’m not overly impressed with Charizard’s competitiveness, 200 is enough to KO most pokemon. Faded Town will help pick up KOs on Mega Pokemon who have over 200HP, however EXes with a FFB attached to them will be a nuisance because you can’t knock them out in one attack. I suppose Bursting Balloon could also work here.
Arcanine was one of the pokemon that first caught my eye when Japan got this set a few months ago. Since the Energies can come from any of your pokemon, Arcanine works quite well with Team Magma’s Camerupt. 150 damage is a good chunk of damage, and whilst it does have the drawback of Arcanine not being able to attack next turn, this can be easily mitigated with Pokemon Ranger, or some sort of switching card like Switch or Float Stone.
It’s a shame that Volcanion EX only works with Basic Fire pokemon because it’d work well here. Arcanine probably won’t see any play, but I think there’s some potential here.
Whilst doing 100 damage each turn for a single Energy is very efficient, it is still quite a vanilla output. It would be a tad bit better if it could do 110 just to KO Shaymin EXes, but at least it hits for enough to deal with Raichus, Vespiquens, etc (not that they’re seeing much play lately).
The other cool thing about Poliwrath is that it is Water type. This means that you can search it out with Dive Ball. You can, of course, still use Ultra Ball, but sometimes it is nice having the luxury of being able to search out a pokemon without having to discard resources. Being Water type also means that the Poli’s can utilise Splash Energy, which will help you keep the Poliwraths coming.
Dashing Punch requires Poliwrath to become your Active pokemon this turn in order to do the extra damage, and this can be easily achieved through using Manaphy EX, which gives any pokemon with Water Energies (including Splash Energies) free Retreat. The switching each turn causes Poliwrath to have a nice synergy with Rough Seas too. Whilst there are a number of decks that can hit for 140 damage, not all can (or, sometimes, not always). I was going to list M Scizor as one, but it can just discard Rough Seas with its attack... Anyway, you can always use Assault Vest to buff up Poliwrath a bit, if necessary.
Starmie’s Ability does quite a lot of different things, but it can be easily summarised as turning any card in your hand into an Energy Retrieval. Let’s go with the Energy first. Recovering Basic Energies (note that it can be any type of Basic Energy) works well with cards like Volcanion EX, Magnezone and M Sceptile EX. Having a single Starmie out pretty much guarantees that you’ll be able to use the Abilities of 2 Volcanion EXes each turn. A second Starmie can supply Energies for the 3rd and 4th Volcanion EXes. This corresponds to a state where you can discard any two cards from your hand in order to deal an additional 120 damage! Magnezone and Starmie synergise well with an attacker who hits hard, but has to discard the Energies attached to it - e.g. Pikachu EX – although Starmie can still help recover Energies after a non-discarding attacker has been KOed (e.g. Raikou). The idea with M Sceptile is to have it attack, take a hit, and then retreat it next turn into another M Sceptile. After Starmie recovers the Energies you discarded while retreating M Sceptile, you can use Jagged Sabre to attach a Grass Energy to the Benched M Sceptile and completely heal it. Provided that your opponent does not hit the 220 damage to KO M Sceptile, you can continuously loop this process, which should ensure you victory.
Space Beacon also does a couple of other things indirectly. It actually boosts your hand size by one (assuming you get 2 Energies back). Aside from a Metagross from AOR, I don’t think there’s anything that cares about having a large hand size at the moment. Either way, a use for this 1-for-2 is that you can play Ultra Ball whilst effectively only discarding one card. In effect you can make your own Exeggcute PLF (somewhat).
Another cool thing about the Ability is that it discards cards. There’s not too much at the moment that cares about having certain cards in the Discard Pile at the moment; only Vespiquen, but it doesn’t normally play Basic Energies. I’ve posed the question to the rules compendium to see if you can discard a card if you have no Basic Energies in the Discard Pile, however at the time of writing, they haven’t provided a ruling yet. Hopefully we can because then we’d can get rid of junk from your hand for free, and draw more with Shaymin EX or Octillery.
Starmie can be readily searched out with Dive Ball and Level Ball. It also has a low Retreat Cost, so if it somehow makes it way to the Active slot, it can be easily brought back to the Bench. The other perk for Starmie is that it has a Break. The Break boosts Starmie’s HP to 130, whilst also providing a cheap and, in the right matchup, deadly attack. With 2 attacks, you can wipe out all of your opponent’s Break pokemon. This will probably be 2 KOs on average (if your opponent is playing a deck with Breaks) which is not only just a good KO-to-turn ratio, but you would have knocked out their main and back-up attackers. Since Breaks usually evolve from a Stage 1 or 2 pokemon, your opponent will be set back quite a bit.
Electrode’s Ability is kind of similar to Milotic FLF’s Ability – you knock it out (and your opponent does take a Prize Card) and, in return, you get Energy acceleration. Electrode has 2 advantages over Milotic. Firstly, it doesn’t require you to have any Basic Energy cards in the Discard Pile (this is considerably harder now that Battle Compressor has rotated) and, secondly, it can be attached to EX pokemon (although, Milotic could get around this through Ditto BCR). On the negative side, you get 2 Lightning Energies instead of up to 3 of whatever Basic Energies were in your Discard. Also, Electrode can only be attached to a Lightning pokemon.
So, what does this mean? Whilst Electrode is heavily limited to who it can be attached to, it does have access to more powerful targets early game. Both Pikachu EXes come to mind, as does Ampharos EX (move over Volcarona, Ampy has a new best friend :P). Heck, even Thunderus EX ROS might even be a worthwhile candidate. Aside from EXes, Electrode can be attached to some strong Basic non-EXes like Raikou and either of the Zapdoses.
Since Electrode doesn’t rely on having Energies in the Discard, it can be easier to pull off a first turn Buzzap Thunder. All you need now is a Voltorb, a Lightning pokemon to receive Electrode and a Wally. Another Energy (e.g DCE) and/or Max Elixir will probably be needed too to get the attack off.
Giving up a Prize Card is a heavy cost, especially if you have to use Buzzap Thunder multiple times across a game. Having said that, if you are otherwise only using EX pokemon, knocking out Electrode can count as a seventh prize, that is, your opponent still has to KO 3 EX pokemon. Also, an early Electrode can give you a chance to donk the opponent, or otherwise just beat them down before they can adequately set up. Also, if you use Electrode’s Ability turn 1 (with Wally) or 2, you will be able to play Ace Trainer on the following turn (provided that you did not take a KO on your first turn), which can also cripple the opponent. Using multiple Buzzap Thunders early game can also make N quite deadly earlier than normal for the opponent too.
Unlike Milotic, I think Electrode will see some play at some point. It’s great for tempo and, if you are otherwise only playing EXes, the Prize Card loss is not much of a disadvantage.
Zapdos is a Basic Pokemon that hits for 170! I guess this is an appropriate scale-up from its original version, although, it would have been nicer if it could still do the same damage as Charizard. :P I guess Zapdos does get FFB to boost this up to 180 damage. Anyway, 4 Lighting Energies is a heavy cost, especially when you have to discard them all. It does synergise well with Magnezone and some form of Energy recovery (e.g. Starmie or Energy Retrieval). One could possibly run it with Electrode, Max Elixir and a Lightning Energy for a one-off bang… but I wouldn’t advise this. Actually, you could use the first attack with an Electrode and a DCE to knock off Electric weak pokemon like Yveltals, Shaymins and non-Mega Raquaza EXes.
Ultimately, I think Raikou is the better option, however with 4 Lighting Energies, Raikou caps at 130 damage, so Zapdos is better for the one-off real heavy hit. It’s worth noting that both Pikachu EXes outclass Zapdos, but Zapdos isn’t as much of a liability since it’s not an EX.
It also has no Weakness, which is a rare sight. And an awesome art, which is a not so rare sight.
I will admit, I was a little bit disappointed when I heard that Pokemon Ranger does not remove the second sentence of Barrier because it is a game state check, not an attack. Oh well, there goes trying to make a Mewtwo stall deck like the Base Set one had. Nonetheless, Barrier is a nice attack to have, however, I believe Mewtwo will typically be splashed in non-Psychic decks, so it won’t be able to use Barrier. This is because of its Psychic attack.
M Mewtwo EX is dominant threat at the moment. The Mega has an attack that does 10 + 30 more for each Energy attached to both players’ Active pokemon. With 4 Energies on M Mewtwo, and 3 on the opponent’s Active, M Mewtwo hits for 220. If you don’t KO the M Mewtwo in one attack, it can use Shrine of Memories Stadium to use Mewtwo EXes attack to switch damage with the opponent’s Active (which will likely have none), hence healing the M Mewtwo. Mewtwo is a perfect counter for M Mewtwo, because, if M Mewtwo has 4 Energies on it (as it normally will), Mewtwo can KO it with the aid of a FFB. This quite a big blow, especially for a pokemon that can be readily teched into any deck (although, those with DCEs are ideal).
Mewtwo might be lucky and star as an outright attacker in its own deck, as opposed to being just a tech. Psychic will normally hit for 80-100 damage, which is respectable for a non-EX Basic that only needs a DCE. Pairing it with some other strong Basic Pokemon, and it could be possible to make a modern version of Haymaker. Some suitable pokemon could be Hitmonchan EVO, the AOR Regis, Clefairy EVO and Bouffolant PCR. Max Elixir can provide Energy acceleration; FFB, Bursting Balloon and Faded Town can be used as substitutes for PlusPower (I wish this was reprinted :( ); and we have Hammers to replace Energy Removals.
One way or another, Mewtwo should see some play. I’m hoping it’ll be more so with Haymaker than as a tech :)
The lack of viable hit-and-run attackers (e.g. Donphan PLS and Gengar EX) and all the Ability hate available (e.g. Hex Maniac, Garbodor and Silent Lab) means that this little guy might not see much play. Due to its Ability, Mew can’t be touched by Mega Pokemon (Rayquaza, Gardevoir, Scizor, etc), Vespiquen, Raichu, Gyarados, etc. One small caveat is that if your opponent is playing Evolved pokemon, that means they must have non-Evolved pokemon, and so they will have pokemon that can damage Mew.
I guess the nail in the coffin is that a Shaymin EX with a FFB can easily KO a Mew.
Whilst I do like Mew, I don’t think now is the time for it. Whilst it is possible to get a couple of sneaky wins with quad Safeguard Carbink, the same cannot be said for quad Mew.
Being able to copy an opponent’s attack without having to have the Energy necessary to use that attack is a big deal. But not only that, it’s on a Basic pokemon, it requires only Colourless Energies, and only 3 at that. It only has 40HP, but this can be doubled with Fighting Fury Belt.
A Max Elixir and a DCE is all that is needed to get a Clefariy going. It can KO a Colourless Mega Rayquaza with Emerald Break and it KOs Giratina EX (due to Weakness), quite possibly before Giratina even had a chance to attack. You can probably snag a KO against a Mega Mewtwo as well. Even if you can’t get a KO, you can still pick the best attack on the opponent’s Active pokemon and deal around 100 damage, which is pretty good for a non-EX attacker.
It’s probably a good thing that Dimension Valley has rotated; Mew FCO (and Mew EX) with Dim Valley, DCE and Clefairy would be pretty bonkers.
Clefairy is one of the cards I am looking forward to the most from this set; and it should see some play as a tech in most decks that use Max Elixir and DCEs, and probably in some that don’t (e.g. it’ll be good in the Mega Ray mirror as the seventh prize).
It’s Ultra and Level Ball’able tool removal. It is conditional in that it will only hit your opponent’s Active, which will be a bit of a nuisance if they are trying to set up a Mega on the Bench. It also can’t hit Garbodor because if it has a Tool, then you can’t use Abilitites. Having said that, it’s still good for removing FFBs and Bursting Balloons.
We don’t really have much in the way of tool removal at the moment, so it is possible that Rattata might see some play. However, I think it will end up like Hawlucha STS – it’s neat being able to readily search out an effect, but you don’t want to start with it and it’s not powerful enough to justify a space.
Raticate’s second attack is much like Drifblim DRX’s second attack, except a bit more powerful. Driftblim did see a bit of play as a tech when it was in Standard. Since then, however, we have received more means of retrieving Special Energies from our Discard Pile (e.g. Puzzle of Time, Special Charge). That, and there’s no deck at the moment like TDK which primarily used Special Energies, and had a large number of them (i.e. more than just a playset of one type of Special Energy).This isn’t to say that Raticate can’t and won’t be used for hitting Special Energy decks hard, however, I think it will be more likely to see play for its first attack.
Not having to flip a coin, or satisfy some other requirement, to discard an Energy is amazing at such a cheap cost. I would have loved to have had this a year or two ago when I was playing a heavy Energy denial deck. Fortunately, we still have most of the tools – Hammers and Team Flare Grunt – so it is still possible to completely run the opponent out of Energy, and then mill then, or take KOs with the help of Raticate Break and/or Shadowy Bite. Slowking BKP could also help with Energy denial – if you’re opponent has a benchsitter that doesn’t do much (e.g. Hoopa EX), you can gradually transfer Energies to it, effectively ‘removing’ them (unless they have Ninja Boy).
After seeing some of the spoilers for the Japanese Sun and Moon set, there seems to be a couple of pokemon that straight-out discard Energies too with their (relatively cheap) attacks. Not sure what this will mean, but it is quite strange that where getting an influx of this effect in such a short period of time.
There’s a lot to like about the new Dragonite EX. Whilst I do wish its Ability was called Summon Minions like the Dark Dragonite from Team Rocket, that doesn’t change how powerful it is. To some extent, it’s like a late game Hoopa EX. Without the aid of Battle Compressor, it will be hard to get Basic pokemon into the Discard Pile in the first turn or two. It is good for decks like M Gardevoir STS and “Do the Wave” style decks since it can help refill your Bench after a Despair Ray or a Stadium change from Skyfield (or to Parallel City) (provided that the Stadium is then changed appropriately) respectively. Dragonite also returns the Basic pokemon back to your hand, which is vital if you want to use something like Shaymin’s Set Up.
For 4 Colourless Energies, 130 damage and no negative effect is quite a good rate. Not only that, it gets a guaranteed discard of an Energy on the Defending pokemon. 130 damage is enough to knock out any pokemon in 2 attacks. In conjunction with all the other Energy removal, you should be able to reduce the amount of times your opponent can attack (due to a lack of Energy) and, thus, win the damage race. It is a shame that Drgonite isn’t Dragon type. Don’t get me wrong, I like the Colourless Dragons, but having access to Double Dragon Energy and Reshiram PCR would make it much easier to power it up.
A Retreat Cost of 3 is actually quite large; so you’re going to need something like a Float Stone or Ninja Boy if you ever want to get it out of the Active spot.
Personally, I think Dragonite EX is going to be much better in Expanded then Standard. Despite this, it should definitely see play in M Gardevoir STS, M Rayquaza and Raichu.
Blastoise, Charizard & Venusaur Spirit Link
It only took the whole XY block for us to finally get these.
There’s so many M Charizards, but I don’t believe any of them are remotely playable; especially not the Dragon one which is outclassed by the Dragon M Rayquaza.
The Hydro Bombard Blastoise EX is pretty neat. It deals a good chunk of damage for just 3 Energies. I don’t think it will be competitively viable, but since it has access to Clauncher STS + Splash Energy, Dive Ball and Rough Seas, it should be playable.
If any of them are going to see play, it will most likely be M Venusaur. Always getting Paralysis means that you will attack twice as often as the opponent (barring cards like Switch, or evolving). This becomes sweeter since it can deal enough to KO any pokemon in 2 hits.
Palmer’s Contribution SV saw play back in the day, but that was more because there wasn’t any other sort of useful pokemon and Energy recovery (unless you were playing SP pokemon, in which case you had Aaron’s Collection). In most cases, you’ll probably prefer to play Super Rod over this, just so you can use your Supporter spot on something else. It is worth noting though that Brock’s Grit returns twice as much, and can be readily retrieved with VS Seeker. Definitely worth having a copy of one or two around in case you ever need them for a deck.
1) Dragonite EX
Dragonite is my favourite pokemon, so I’m not biased :P Unlike the other pokemon on this list, Dragonite EX has a home(s), which means it will definitely see play.
Mewtwo is a reasonable attacker and can deal with M Mewtwo – a pokemon that some decks have little hope of beating.
Whilst Clefairy is more versatile than Mewtwo, it is substantially frailer. There’s so many fun shenanigans to have with Metronome.
Starmie has a solid Ability so it should find a home somewhere. It also received a Break which is very good against a heavy Break pokemon metagame.
I think Electrode will see some play, unlike Miltoic. The point of this sort of Energy acceleration is that you do ridiculous things faster than normal. This is kind of where Milotic failed because it required too much preparation to pull off (especially multiple Milotics).
Overall, Evolutions doesn’t offer much that will drastically change the competitive scene. However, the artwork is cool, and the rogue cards are feel slightly less gimmicky than normal; which I am totally okay with. :)
Thanks for reading :)
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07/19/2019 by Jose Marrero // Jose examines Mewtwo & Mew-GX combined with Garchomp & Giratina-GX in conjunction with Malamar. (+19)