05/15/2019 by Jimmy Pendarvis
Hey everyone and welcome back to 60cards! I am Jimmy Pendarvis, and today I am excited to talk about Unbroken Bonds! I probably mentioned it in a previous article, but I was not the biggest fan of the Standard format before this set's release. It offered little to no comeback potential, consistency was at an all time low, Marshadow (SLG; 45) gave everyone nightmares, and games were often blowouts.
None of that was particularly fun, and the format seemed to lack options as well. However, no need to focus on the dark past, Unbroken Bonds is here to save the day! Not only is it very refreshing getting to play with different cards, but the new cards have done a great job of balancing out the format and making games feel more skillful and more fun. I have been playing quite a bit over the past few days, shortly after I sacrificed an arm to get four Reshiram and Charizard GX (UBO; 20) on PTCGO, and I have been really pleased with what I have seen thus far. Without further delay, let's take a look at all the juicy cards to come out of Unbroken Bonds and what they have to offer.
Table of contents
I don't feel like sitting here and reviewing every card in the set is the best use of anyone's time, so today I am going to be reviewing cards that might make a difference in the meta. These are either cards that have been getting hyped, cards that caught my eye when I went through the setlist, or cards that I have already been playing with myself. Get ready to read because the list is somewhat long and I have a lot to say!
To kick things off, we have what is essentially an upgraded Buzzwole GX (CIN; 57) , except it is Grass type this time! As you probably already know, Grass Pokemon are in quite the pickle right now due to the ton of Fire support to come out of Unbroken Bonds. That didn't appear to stop it in Japan though, which has lead to some hype in the United States. It might need to wait until the meta is ideal for it, but the card does have some great attacks that allow you to progress the game pretty quickly. In the early turns you are able to start softening up your opponent's Pokemon with Jet Punch. Everyone knows what that attack does, as we saw Buzzwole GX (CIN; 57) using it to dominate nearly an entire season of Pokemon.
Moving on to Pheromosa & Buzzwole GX (UBO; 192) 's other regular attack, we have an upgraded Knuckle Impact. Not only does it hit for a whopping 190, up from 160 before, but it can even hit for some damage the following turn with no need to switch. The drawback to the attack is that it only does 60 damage the following turn, so it is like Knuckle Impact in the sense that a switch effect is being incentivized. To wrap things up, the GX attack is actually where this card shines! Beast Game-GX is actually a very fighting name because the attack is usually attempting to end the game, but it is all about surviving until the point where you can use it, and then getting enough energy in play to do so. For just one Grass Energy, you are hitting for 50 damage and taking an extra prize if you take a knockout with the attack. Where things get exciting is the bonus effect that the attack offers, letting you take 3 extra prizes if you have 7 extra energy attached to Pheromosa & Buzzwole GX (UBO; 1) . This obviously allows you to end games relatively quickly once you start attacking, and it should be interesting seeing players attempting to get this strategy working.
Unfortunately for the Vileplume (UBO; 8) fans at home, this is not one that will be making its way into the competitive scene anytime soon. It is simply just not very good, sporting a very underwheling attack and a luck based ability. However, the Vileplume (BUS; 6) from Burning Shadows is still very much playable. To go along with that, the new Oddish (UBO; 5) and Gloom (UBO; 7) are easily the best available options for their respective stage. Oddish (UBO; 5) now has the same attack that the previously very expensive Zorua (BKT; 90) has, and Sun Spore is certainly a step up from Poison Powder. As for the Gloom (UBO; 7) , the ability is where this card shines. Irresistible Scent is a fantastic ability for a Stage One Pokemon to have, as a majority of unfinished evolutions are relatively useless past simply evolving. This ability goes hand and hand with the slow strategy the Vileplume (BUS; 6) plays apart in, offering you the opportunity to remove a draw option from the opponent's hand, or even filling their bench to prevent their counter from ever coming into play.
Unlike the Vileplume (UBO; 8) evolution line we just went over, this Vikavolt (UBO; 59) line is one where the whole family has potential! Regardless of whether or not this Vikavolt (UBO; 59) gets sleeved up for future tournaments, the new Grubbin (UBO; 18) and Charjabug (UBO; 58) will almost certainly be found in any successful Vikavolt (SUM; 52) deck. Grubbin (UBO; 18) has a much better attack than any prior Grubbin (SUM; 13) , allowing you to search out two Lightning Pokemon and put them into your hand. It does have the downside of giving up 10 HP in exchange, but outside of Buzzwole GX (CIN; 57) and Dewgong (UBO; 45) , I don't really see many scenarios where this HP loss will come back to bite us. Charjabug (UBO; 58) , similarly to Gloom (UBO; 7) , has a very powerful and unique ability. Already have Vikavolt (UBO; 59) out? No problem! You can use this Charjabug (UBO; 58) as an energy card. Using the ability "Battery", you can attach the Grubbin (UBO; 18) to your Vikavolt (UBO; 59) or Vikavolt GX (GRI; 45) and it counts as two Lightning Energy (GRI; 168) . While you are not always trying to attack with Vikavolt (UBO; 59) , this does help out Rayquaza GX (CLS; 109) 's Dragon Break. Additionally, neither of the Vikavolt (SUM; 52) s is a terrible attacking option. The tried and true Vikavolt (SUM; 52) is a fine attacking option when it comes to dealing with single prize attackers, and can KO low HP GX Pokemon if you can get a Choice Band (GRI; 121) on it. The new Vikavolt (UBO; 59) is the more impressive attacker of the two, as it can KO pretty much every Pokemon in format for just four energy and a Choice Band (GRI; 121) . Electricannon hits for 120 damage, great for dealing with some single prize attackers, and gives you the option to discard all Lightning Energy (GRI; 168) from it in order to deal an additional 100 damage. The attack obviously is not cheap, and having this Vikavolt (UBO; 59) in your deck does take away from getting out the "main" Vikavolt (SUM; 52) , but the insane damage output of this card should not be ignored.
Towards the end of the Team Up format, Zapbeasts was a pretty dominant force in the Standard format, until it was very teched for at the Europe International Championships. On the other side of things, Hitmonchan (TM; 74) / Wobbuffet (PHF; 36) has been performing quite well in the Expanded Format. Well, I have great news for both of those decks, they just got another tool! Kartana (UBO; 19) will act as another tool in the shed, joining Buzzwole (FLI; 77) and Nihilego (LT; 106) as powerful tech attackers. When you have exactly four prizes remaining, Kartana (UBO; 19) hits for a whopping 130 damage for just one energy card. While Big Finish could end up being useful on the same turn as Sledgehammer, having another powerful attacking type and free retreater in these decks seems like a lot to pass up.
This card is undoubtedly the most hyped card in the set, and one of the most hyped cards in recent memory. I suppose it is about time that a Charizard (BC; 20) card was playable! While I have not tested every matchup, I have been loving the Reshiram and Charizard GX (UBO; 20) deck that I have been playing with. I focused on consistency, and the list runs on Kartana (UBO; 19) so I maximized my chance to do that. Four Jirachi (TM; 99) , four Kartana (UBO; 19) , four Reshiram and Charizard GX (UBO; 20) and a ton of trainer consistency has been my favorite version of the deck thus far. It is dominant against opposing GX Pokemon, but I am worried about single Prize attackers and overly teched decks. When I say overly teched, I mean something like a Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) deck with multiple Water attackers and Tripple Acceleration Energy (UBO; 190) . While that would certainly be amazing against this Reshiram and Charizard GX (UBO; 20) deck, I have a feeling it would struggle against other top threats, such as Pikachu & Zekrom GX (TM; 33) . While it may sound like this is simply a non factor based on how I described it, the early stages of a format are always a bit more random than usual, and I could see decks like that existing in it. Single Prize attacking decks, such as Zapdos (TM; 40) and possibly baby Blacephalon (UBO; 32) , are certainly going to exist to some extent and I need to start testing against those as soon as possible.
I don't have Volcanion (UBO; 34) included in the Reshiram and Charizard GX (UBO; 20) deck that I have been playing with. I think that my current list will struggle against single prize attackers and that this Volcanion (UBO; 34) will be a great way of dealing with that problem. For just two energy on the Volcanion (UBO; 34) , and a couple more Fire Energy (BUS; 167) anywhere else on your Pokemon, you OHKO Zapdos (TM; 40) . That feels very efficent, especially considering Volcanion (UBO; 34) 's relatively beefy 120 HP. While the Volcanion (UBO; 34) is a solid answer to single Prize attackers, its first attack can be used early in the game to accelerate energy onto your field, especially if you go second and can use it right away.
With a Kartana (UBO; 19) heavy list, this aspect is not very important at all, but it felt worth mentioning anyways. The reason why I have not included Volcanion (UBO; 34) is because I wanted to get a good understanding of how the Reshiram and Charizard GX (UBO; 20) functioned in general, so I have been playing with an ultra consistent list that contains minimal techs. While I focused on how a Volcanion (UBO; 34) might operate in a Reshiram and Charizard GX (UBO; 20) deck, I would not be surprised to see this Volcanion (UBO; 34) in pretty much any fire deck, as it is pretty versatile.
Say hello to the new Ninetales! Ninetales was pretty popular in Fire decks when it was legal, and I think that certain decks will be making use of Salazzle (UBO; 31) , so it looks like some things don't change. Discarding a Fire Energy (BUS; 167) and drawing three cards is a fantastic ability that will allow decks such as Blacephalon (UBO; 32) to keep going. I used Blacephalon (UBO; 32) as an example because it has a lot of moving pieces, and needs to see a lot of cards each turn to consistency pull off its high damage output. I think Salazzle (UBO; 31) is much less likely to be played in a slower and steadier deck, such as Reshiram and Charizard GX (UBO; 20) . Once that deck sets up, it is fairly self sustaining, and does not need a bunch of extra draw power to carry on.
I have seen a few variations of this deck going around online, I think my current favorite would have to be the baby Blacephalon (UBO; 32) / Salazzle (UBO; 31) version. However, I decided to try to get creative and built a list that only contained four Blacephalon (UBO; 32) as its Pokemon, and played an absurd amount of trainer draw in an attempt to keep attacking. This did allow me to make use of Green's Exploration (UBO; 175) , but what I gave up was not worth it. The deck had issues with getting benched early, and despite being packed with trainer draw, sometimes ran out of steam before being able to draw six prize cards. It was also pretty reliant on Wishful Baton (BUS; 128) to keep attacking, and Field Blower (GRI; 125) seems to be a common and strong tech post Unbroken Bonds. With that being said, I still plan to try a few different versions of this deck, and you will get an update on this from me in my next article.
This card would definitely make an appearance in any Blastoise (TM; 25) deck one might play, but I am not convinced that Blastoise (TM; 25) is well positioned right now. It does have some really strong attacking options, but it has been pretty inconsistent and vulnerable to Marshadow (SLG; 45) in the past. It does have the option to attack on turn two, but that will not happen more often that not. This usually leaves you with a deficit that you will have to overcome, allowing for a lot of uphill battles to be fought. I brought this card up not because I expect a Blastoise (TM; 25) deck to be strong right away, but I would not be surprised if Blastoise (TM; 25) was eventually a strong contender,, I might even have to wait until the rotation!
I mentioned this card earlier, and you might have been able to pick up on the fact that I am not the biggest fan of it. It does offer a somewhat unique attacking option, considering you just slam a Tripple Acceleration Energy (UBO; 190) on it and go to work. It is also a Water type, which is a huge plus right now. All of that stuff is great, but the issue with this card is that it is situational. For starters, any decks that play a Mew (UBO; 76) are going to be pretty resilient to this pesky seal. Additionally, Dewgong (UBO; 45) just is not good against a lot of decks and board states. Sometimes Dual Blizzard will allow you to take multiple knockouts at once, but that seems like a rare occurrence because decks can just play around it. This means that against some decks, such as Zoroark, you will need to attack with Dewgong (UBO; 45) pretty early in the game to get value out of it, and even then you are putting a lot of effort into the play. Against other decks, such as Pikachu & Zekrom GX (TM; 33) , Dewgong (UBO; 45) just doesn't have many good targets outside of using Dual Blizzard to setup future knockouts, but that is not something that was really missing in the past. Decks have always been able to two shot a tag team Pokemon in most cases.
This card might not have a place in the meta right away, and it might not be as impactful as some of the incredible cards to come out of this set, but this Kyurem (UBO; 50) is a really nice attacking option for decks that can support it. Hail Prison does 110 damage and automatically paralyzes for just three energy, and you have to discard two Water Energy (TM; null) from Kyurem (UBO; 50) . This goes great in decks that accelerate Water Energy (TM; null) , Blastoise (TM; 25) and Naganadel (LT; 108) / Quagsire (DM; 26) come to mind. While the attack does require you to discard two Energy cards, getting them back will be no problem with these decks that can flood the board with energy. This makes dealing with single Prize attackers, such as Zapdos (TM; 40) , a piece of cake. The paralyzing feature is great for softening up higher HP Pokemon that you have to attack twice anyways, why not force your opponent to have a way out of the paralysis?
Speaking of impactful cards, here we have Dedenne GX (UBO; 57) ! Dedenne GX (UBO; 57) is one of the most hyped cards in the set, and I don't blame anyone for thinking this card is ridiculously good. In the standard format, Dedenne GX (UBO; 57) simply outclasses every other option in decks that can afford to include it. Some decks wont because they are focused on keeping ability and/or GX Pokemon out of play, for one reason or another.
Dedenne GX (UBO; 57) will even be played in the expanded format alongside it's predecessor Shaymin EX (ROS; 77) , it just adds an additional drawing option that can bail you out of a clogged hand or slow start. While the GX attack is not super useful, it also isn't totally useless either, and at least it offers a way to get itself out of play. I have been loving Dedenne GX (UBO; 57) in a few different decks, but it has been especially strong in turbo Pikachu & Zekrom GX (TM; 33) .
This smelly guy didn't seem to get much attention before the set dropped, but that seems to have changed a bit now that people are playing with the cards. Just looking at the card, it does have a decent attack and ability that allows you to build up damage fairly quickly against certain decks. However, decks that simply don't put many Pokemon in play, which are actually becoming increasingly popular, are able to play around this card with ease. Tag Team Pokemon decks simply don't play many Pokemon and are focused on just getting their 1-2 Pokemon attacking. Additionally, Mew (UBO; 76) is a powerful tech to come out of the new set, and while Weezing (UBO; 74) does do a great job of knocking that out if you can get it active, Mew (UBO; 76) will still interrupt the strategy of this deck. I know many people will disagree with me on this, and I hope I am right in the end!
I haven't seen anyone talking about this card, and while I haven't put this card into any of my early Unbroken Bonds lists, it feels weird that a card with such a strong ability would be so overlooked. In decks that don't care about having bench sitters in play, this card offers a supporter recovery option that can have an immediate impact on the game. This card can also be searched out via Mysterious Treasure (FLI; 113) , which some decks are already playing in an attempt to locate utility Pokemon such as Tapu Lele GX (GRI; 60) and Marshadow (SLG; 45) . In decks such as Zapbeats, which have the bench space and don't want to put GX Pokemon into play, this Mewtwo (UBO; 75) functions similarly to a Tapu Lele GX (GRI; 60) . You can use Mewtwo (UBO; 75) go to put a crucial supporter on top, and then grab it with Stellar Wish or Sprint into it with Zebstrika (LT; 82) . In fact, I have pretty much convinced myself while writing this that Mewtwo (UBO; 75) is worth a shot in Zapdos (TM; 40) decks, so it will make an appearance when I get around to playing more with the tried and true.
I love to see this ability getting printed! It is very nice to have an answer against the infamous Tag Bolt-GX, and if any Ultra Necrozma GX (FLI; 95) stick around, Sky Scorching Light-GX will no longer punish decks that otherwise couldn't play around it. I actually really liked the idea of Jit Min's Tapu Koko (BW; 31) / Greninja (DP; 9) deck before I realized that this Mew (UBO; 76) simply dominates spread decks, so I don't think we will be seeing many of those for the forseeable future. I don't think Mew (UBO; 76) will be played in every deck once the meta stabilizes, but I expect this tech to be incredibly popular at Santa Clara Regionals.
This card is not one we will see in every deck, in fact, it takes a pretty specific deck to be able to take advantage of this extra draw power. With your average deck in Pokemon, giving up a prize to draw some extra cards is not going to be worth it. We already see decks trying to avoid high counts of Tapu Lele GX (GRI; 60) as is, and some decks will even exclude Dedenne GX (UBO; 57) for similar reasons. Mismagius (UBO; 78) can be abused by Tag Team GX Pokemon decks because even if two prizes are given up from two Mismagius (UBO; 78) Abilities, the opponent will still have to knockout two Tag Team GX Pokemon to win the game. I haven't tried Mismagius (UBO; 78) in any deck other than Gardevoir & Sylveon GX (UBO; 130) , but it has been impressive thus far.
I remember when this card was being hyped as a Buzzwole (FLI; 77) counter when it was first revealed. While it would do a great job of handling Buzzwole (FLI; 77) , Buzzwole (FLI; 77) is only relevant as a tech in ZapBeasts. That being said, I don't think this Marshadow (UBO; 81) is terrible, as it does have a decent ability and a decent attack, but I think players will have a hard time justifying its inclusion over a Field Blower (GRI; 125) or counter Stadium.
Another tech option, this time it is for stall decks! I know that might sound odd considering this card does damage and stall decks generally win through deck out or Unown (LT; 91) . Since a majority of your turns with stall end with a pass anyways, this Tyrogue (UBO; 100) can allow you to build up some damage and pressure the opponent that way. Hale Obernolte's stall deck that he got second with in Denver featured Shrine of Punishment (CLS; 143) and Larvitar (LT; 115) as ways of doing damage, and in my brief experience with the deck, the damage does add up pretty fast in some matchups. I could see the Tyrogue (UBO; 100) making an appearance in that style of deck, and that is really all there is too it.
This card has one potential opportunity to be played, and one only. In the Expanded format, Hitmonchan (TM; 74) / Wobbuffet (PHF; 36) has proven itself to be a force to be reckoned with. This card has the potential to be included in that deck, as it would allow players to setup a chain of attacks in order to pull off some powerful and unique attacks. To start things off, you would have to use Hit and Run with Hitmonchan (TM; 74) , which is the main attack of the deck and something you will be doing a majority of turns. The deck already plays Hitmonlee (TM; 73) , which is the next step on this path. Hitmonlee (TM; 73) 's Special Combo attack allows you to do 90 damage to any Pokemon in play for one energy, but you can only use the attack the turn after Hit and Run was used. In my experience, Special Combo is used once in a majority of games, meaning the final attack on this list is the questionable one.
Last but not least, we have the new Hitmontop (UBO; 101) and it's Finish Combo attack. Talk about a perfect name! This card can be used only if Special Combo was used the turn before, meaning it does take a few specific attacks in succession to attack with this Hitmontop (UBO; 101) . I think that the attack is great, doing sixty damage to all of the opponent's Pokemon, but it is just a matter of whether or not this sequence is reasonable to pull off. Another thing to consider is how many games the card actually makes a difference in, because I could see it being another one of those "win more" cards.
I am just going to say it, I don't think this card or this combo has what it takes to perform in the Standard format right now. Greninja & Zoroark GX (UBO; 107) is an incredible attacker that acts as an upgraded version of Darkrai EX (BKP; 74) . However, I have played aginst this deck quite a few times already and it never seems to get going. Regardless of whether or not the card has potential in Standard, I am certain of two things. Sharpedo (UBO; 111) is not the way to go in terms of a partner, no matter which format you might be playing. Finally, this card is going to be very powerful in the Expanded format where it is much easier to have a fast start and flood the board with energy. Cards like Sky Field (ROS; 89) , Max Elixir (BKP; 102) , Dark Patch (DE; 93) , and Dark Patch (DE; 93) are all fantastic for this card, and I expect to see a turbo Greninja & Zoroark GX (UBO; 107) deck performing well at future expanded events.
Alright, so I included this on the list and even bought four of these on my buylist, but I honestly already regret doing so. I have seen a bit of talk about this online, and I am really curious as to what people are pairing this thing with. It has a decent ability and decent attack, but the attack is costly and the card is weak to lightning. I just think that there are better cards/decks to play, and I would be very surprised to see this bird have any longevity.
These cards have two ways of being played, together along with some other Metal Pokemon in an attempt at a Metal box is probably going to be the more tried option. However, I think that these have a better shot of being successful in a stall deck, as both of them are very defensive in nature and offer options that stall decks previously did not have. For starters, both of these Pokemon have great GX attacks for slower defensive decks and they both only cost a single energy. Celesteela GX (UBO; 163) lets you fix your prize card situation completely, allowing you to switch as many prizes as you want with cards in your hand. We already see most stall decks playing Gladion (CIN; 95) , so in certain situations it seems like Discovery GX will be the way to go. The even better GX attack, Full Metal Wall GX, makes it so that all of your Metal Pokemon take 30 less damage for the rest of the game. Over time, that is a ton of damage being prevented, especially against decks like Zapdos (TM; 40) that aim to two shot beefier Pokemon. You thought that was it? Nope! If Lucario & Melmetal GX (UBO; 120) has an extra energy attached to it, you get to discard all energy off your opponent's active Pokemon. You can add onto this by using other healing and energy removal cards, making it hard for your opponent to take Knock Outs. As for why I am not the biggest fan of the metal box deck, I just don't see it impressing me more than a Reshiram and Charizard GX (UBO; 20) deck or a Pikachu & Zekrom GX (TM; 33) deck would. Both of those decks are very fast and consistent, have a set of fantastic attacks and can just overpower the opponent. I don't think that this Metal box will have this same set of attributes because while the deck's attacks are not bad, they just seem very underwhelming. The deck would also have to play somewhat defensively just because of the nature of the cards, so I think going full stall is likely just the better option.
This card is obviously one that is meant to be included in a defensive strategy, and the main stream way seems to be just playing four Gardevoir & Sylveon GX (UBO; 130) and a thin Mismagius (UBO; 78) line as I mentioned earlier. I have been playing with this deck myself, to some success and a lot of fun. The healing is a nice way of handling Zapdos decks, which a lot of the beefier GX Pokemon tend to struggle with. Pikachu & Zekrom GX (TM; 33) can be handled through healing and the use of strong tool cards, such as Fairy Charm L (UBO; 172) and Choice Helmet (LT; 169) . Slower decks allow you to flood the board with energy, get setup, and play the game at your pace. This eventually leads to a strong turn that features a Miracle Magical-GX and sometimes that is enough to just win the game! It truly does feel like a magical miracle sometimes.
This card is a personal favorite, I have to admit. It does come off as a bit gimmicky, but it reminded me a lot of the SableLock deck we saw abuse Cyrus's Initiative during the SP era. I have played a few different control decks over the past few seasons, and I definitely plan to give Pikachu & Zekrom GX (TM; 33) a try during testing. I can already seeing it being strong with Red Card (XY; 124) and some of the other control cards, but I am not sure it is strong enough yet regardless. It might have to wait until some more control cards come out, and it might even have to be the Expanded format, but I am willing to wait.
This card has a really strong ability, and I think it just needs to find a deck that can consistently make great use of it. The number one contender seems to be Persian GX (UBO; 149) / Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) / Techs, which seems totally reasonable. While I am not sure what tech Pokemon will end up being the best, or even if the archetype will be a strong one, that deck is one that will allow Persian GX (UBO; 149) to thrive. This seems like another card that is strong on its own, and just needs to find a strong partner/deck to fit in. It might be harder for this card to succeed early on due to the variety of decks being played, so we might see it come into play when the meta is more refined and lists can be tech appropriately.
Porygon-Z (UBO; 157) allows for the acceleration of Special Energy cards, which is not really a mechanic that Pokemon has seen in the past. This ability requires a specific partner in order to be able to take advantage of this, because Porygon-Z (UBO; 157) is a very weak attacker itself. The obvious options to pair with this virtual Pokemon are Whimsicott GX (UBO; 140) and Gardevoir GX (BUS; 93) , both of which do extra damage by having additional energies attached to them.
Whimsicott GX (UBO; 140) seems to be the stronger choice of the two, as Gardevoir GX (BUS; 93) already has some energy acceleration and doesn't offer protection like Whimsicott GX (UBO; 140) does. Speaking of protection, the nice part about Whimsicott GX (UBO; 140) is its Fluffy Cotton ability, which is a great way for the deck to handle single Prize attackers. Every time the opponent attacks a Whimsicott GX (UBO; 140) , they have to flip a coin, and if they flip tails the attack does no damage. Single Prize attackers already have to use multiple attacks in order to KO a Whimsicott GX (UBO; 140) , and the ability certainly won't help them finish the job. As I am writing this, I am realizing that Whimsicott GX (UBO; 140) is just a tank in general, and could end up being featured in stall decks.
While this is not a bad search option, it is really hard to fit all these Trainer search options into one deck. With that being said, I do have a single copy of this card included in Turbo Pikachu & Zekrom GX (TM; 33) right now. It has been an incredible card to grab early off Order Pad (UPR; 131) , or just naturally find with all of the draw power that the deck has to offer. In the slower Pikachu & Zekrom GX (TM; 33) decks, like the one that I played in Germany, the list is really tight and you aren't looking for Zeraora GX (LT; 201) anyways, so I have decided against it.
I don't currently have this in any deck, but it seemed worth mentioning as a buffed Energy Search (BLW; 93) , which is a card that occasionally saw play in the past. In a format where finding energy early and often is quite important, players might resort to cards like this one to gain an extra edge. It should be interesting to see how playable this ends up being, as I could see it going just about any direction in terms of popularity.
These two tools join the rest of the charms available for use, and it is pretty easy to describe the playability of these. In any given meta, one charm is going to be more useful than another one based on what decks are played, obviously. This makes the Fairy Charm L (UBO; 172) a very popular one right now, one that will likely see the most play. However, in the future the meta will change, and decks using these charms can simply adapt appropriately.
This is one of many strong trainers to come out of Unbroken Bonds, and one of many Fire support cards that everyone is talking about. Fire Crystal (UBO; 173) has great synergy with a lot of the Fire cards that were released in Unbroken Bonds, including Welder (UBO; 189) and Blacephalon (UBO; 32) to name a few. I have this as a high count in Reshiram and Charizard GX (UBO; 20) , and the Blacephalon (UBO; 32) decks I plan to try. Fire Crystal (UBO; 173) is just one of those type specific cards where it just gets played in almost everything that falls under said type.
This is another deck specific card, as some decks are simply unable to use it, but other decks thrive with it. In fact, players will definitely avoid tech Pokemon such as Mew (UBO; 76) in certain decks to be able to Green's Exploration (UBO; 175) with no issues whatsoever.
I have this card in the Gardevoir & Sylveon GX (UBO; 130) deck I have been playing with, and it is just nuts. It allows you to build a large hand and play many turns in advance, while guaranteeing you find what you need for the current turn. I am in love with Green's Exploration (UBO; 175) and I hope it is widely played for all of its legality, it is much more welcome than the previous Lillie (UPR; 125) craze.
Call me weird, but I actually don't have this in a single deck right now. I have only been playing Standard of course, and I actually think Expanded is where this card will see play right away. The Standard format just does not offer a ton of combos for this card to unlock, so it just seems to hurt consistency and acts as a "win more" card. I could see it being played in Expanded due to the sheer power of some supporters in that format, and I could also see it being played in the future, it really just depends on what gets printed and how the meta shapes up.
Well, if you don't already know, boy do I have a surprise for you. Pokégear 3.0 (UBO; 182) is nuts! The consistency boost this card has provided the Standard format as a whole puts a huge smile on my face. Marshadow (SLG; 45) is still a real pain to deal with, but decks are much more consistent and less suseptible to Let Loose. Additionally, decks have an easier time closing games due to the ease of finding Guzma (BUS; 115) . Utility supporters are easier to find in control decks, which is great for punishing riskier players from opponents. Last but not least, Pokégear 3.0 (UBO; 182) has done a great job of bringing cards like Kartana (UBO; 19) to life, as the turn one percentage on finding that combo has felt ridiculously high.
This is another card that received some hype when it was first revealed, and I still see some players talking about it online, but it just hasn't felt very useful thus far. The biggest issue for it, and one that really hurts the card as a whole, as that a majority of decks don't mind Power Plant (UBO; 183) being in play. The average deck has a few cards that get shut off by this, mainly Dedenne GX (UBO; 57) and Tapu Lele GX (GRI; 60) , but that is the extent of the damage. Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) obviously hates to see this card on the board, but those decks always play counter stadiums and still have regular draw supporters to help pick up the slack. Additionally, I mentioned earlier that Field Blower (GRI; 125) is a strong and popular tech so far, and that certainly does not help this card's chances.
This is another card that takes a specific deck to use, luckily I know the perfect one! My friends will probably laugh at me for bringing up Granbull (LT; 138) again, as I was slightly obsessed with the deck earlier this season, but I think that the release of Red's Challenge (UBO; 184) and Mew (UBO; 76) helps the deck out a bit. You no longer simply lose to a well timed Tag Bolt, and Red's Challenge (UBO; 184) brings a ton of consistency to the table. Other than these additions, the list I tossed together for initial testing is really similar to the ones I played in the past.
I touched on this card briefly earlier, but yes Welder (UBO; 189) is a very good card in Fire decks. It combines energy acceleration with a bit of draw, which allows for some fast starts, but also keeps decks going throughout the game. Pokégear 3.0 (UBO; 182) can help to make sure finding Welder (UBO; 189) isn't a problem, meaning you can use it early and often. This card falls under the same category I tossed Fire Crystal (UBO; 173) in, in the sense that this will be played in every fire deck for the foreseeable future.
Saving a good card for last, here we have Tripple Acceleration Energy (UBO; 190) . This card's main use seems to be in a Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) / Persian GX (UBO; 149) / Water Pokemon deck, using Slowking (LT; 55) and Dewgong (UBO; 45) to answer Reshiram and Charizard GX (UBO; 20) , along with being able to abuse Tripple Acceleration Energy (UBO; 190) . While that strategy is a cool one and does provide a good answer for some decks in the format, this deck feels like one that will fall off once the format is established. I don't see the deck having a great Pikachu & Zekrom GX (TM; 33) matchup for starters, which is honestly enough to make a deck unplayable single handedly.
I hope you enjoyed my review of Unbroken Bonds and all the great cards to come out of it! While I did touch on a bunch of deck concepts to come out of Unbroken Bonds, you probably noticed that no decklists were included in this article.
I am in the early stages of my testing, meaning that I have not optimized everything yet, so I am holding off on that for this article. I will be releasing another article in the next couple of days where I go over decklists, provide an update decks that performed well in the Team Up format, and share anything else on my mind with y'all. I look forward to being back on here soon, but playing with Unbroken Bonds is a blast and I need to get back to doing that, peace!
Charizard (BC; 20)
Dark Patch (DE; 93)
Red Card (XY; 124)
Energy Search (BLW; 93)
Wobbuffet (PHF; 36)
Sky Field (ROS; 89)
Shaymin EX (ROS; 77)
Zorua (BKT; 90)
Darkrai EX (BKP; 74)
Max Elixir (BKP; 102)
Grubbin (SUM; 13)
Vikavolt (SUM; 52)
Choice Band (GRI; 121)
Field Blower (GRI; 125)
Lightning Energy (GRI; 168)
Tapu Lele GX (GRI; 60)
Vikavolt GX (GRI; 45)
Tapu Koko (BW; 31)
Fire Energy (BUS; 167)
Gardevoir GX (BUS; 93)
Guzma (BUS; 115)
Vileplume (BUS; 6)
Wishful Baton (BUS; 128)
Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)
Marshadow (SLG; 45)
Buzzwole GX (CIN; 57)
Gladion (CIN; 95)
Lillie (UPR; 125)
Order Pad (UPR; 131)
Buzzwole (FLI; 77)
Mysterious Treasure (FLI; 113)
Ultra Necrozma GX (FLI; 95)
Rayquaza GX (CLS; 109)
Shrine of Punishment (CLS; 143)
Quagsire (DM; 26)
Choice Helmet (LT; 169)
Granbull (LT; 138)
Larvitar (LT; 115)
Naganadel (LT; 108)
Nihilego (LT; 106)
Slowking (LT; 55)
Unown (LT; 91)
Zebstrika (LT; 82)
Zeraora GX (LT; 201)
Blastoise (TM; 25)
Jirachi (TM; 99)
Hitmonlee (TM; 73)
Hitmonchan (TM; 74)
Pikachu & Zekrom GX (TM; 33)
Water Energy (TM; null)
Zapdos (TM; 40)
Greninja (DP; 9)
Whimsicott GX (UBO; 140)
Welder (UBO; 189)
Weezing (UBO; 74)
Volcanion (UBO; 34)
Vileplume (UBO; 8)
Vikavolt (UBO; 59)
Tyrogue (UBO; 100)
Tripple Acceleration Energy (UBO; 190)
Sharpedo (UBO; 111)
Salazzle (UBO; 31)
Reshiram and Charizard GX (UBO; 20)
Red's Challenge (UBO; 184)
Power Plant (UBO; 183)
Porygon-Z (UBO; 157)
Pokégear 3.0 (UBO; 182)
Pheromosa & Buzzwole GX (UBO; 192)
Pheromosa & Buzzwole GX (UBO; 1)
Persian GX (UBO; 149)
Oddish (UBO; 5)
Mismagius (UBO; 78)
Mewtwo (UBO; 75)
Mew (UBO; 76)
Marshadow (UBO; 81)
Lucario & Melmetal GX (UBO; 120)
Kyurem (UBO; 50)
Kartana (UBO; 19)
Hitmontop (UBO; 101)
Grubbin (UBO; 18)
Greninja & Zoroark GX (UBO; 107)
Green's Exploration (UBO; 175)
Gloom (UBO; 7)
Gardevoir & Sylveon GX (UBO; 130)
Fire Crystal (UBO; 173)
Fairy Charm L (UBO; 172)
Dewgong (UBO; 45)
Dedenne GX (UBO; 57)
Charjabug (UBO; 58)
Celesteela GX (UBO; 163)
Blacephalon (UBO; 32)
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