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Caleb Gedemer

Ultra Prism -- Unite! — What to Look for in the Newest Set

Looking over a new Pokemon Trading Card Game set can be time-consuming and frustrating. Let Caleb Gedemer do the work for you in his Ultra Prism review!

01/31/2018 by Caleb Gedemer

I love doing set reviews, so I jumped at the opportunity to do one here on 60Cards. Ultra Prism, releasing on February 2, 2018, will be one of the game’s biggest changers in a long time, perhaps since Guardians Rising. The new ◇ mechanic will give players a new challenge to determine which ◇ card will be best for a certain deck. When doing a review, I like to assign each card a score out of five. While this isn't something solidified, it's a nice measure to have as a reader to more properly determine the "value" of a given card; this can potentially simplify your shopping experience when it comes to buying certain cards. All card headings include a link if you click on them. There's lots of new things to be seen in this set, so let's jump right into it!

§◇s

These cards all read “You can't have more than 1 Prism Star card with the same name in your deck. If a Prism Star card would go to the discard pile, put it in the Lost Zone instead.” This is an interesting implementation to the game, as it creates an Ace Spec-like vibe. Most decks will want to play a Prism Star card, so it will be interesting to pick which is best.

Giratina 58/156 1/5

This beast could serve as a way to bolster Lunala-GX decks in the future, although I think their outlook looks grim, still, as of now. Chaotic Star gives a Lunala-GX deck some much needed Energy acceleration to get Psychic Transfer moving. If you had a way to pick it up again and again, you could put a ton of Energy down in a turn. It’s Crisis Dive can do quite a bit of damage, but I’m afraid it’s not a viable attack for having such a high cost and big drawback too in the form of discarding Energy.

Lunala ◇ 62/156 1/5

This could be Lunala-GX support as well, since Full Moon Star could be a powerful attack to get a bunch of extra Psychic Energy into play. Psystorm could also be a deadly way to finish off a game, especially against something like Gardevoir-GX that will have a bunch of Energy on the field.

Darkrai ◇ 77/156 3/5

Like Giratina ◇, Nightmare Star has the same hand-attaching Ability, except for Darkness Energy. Expanded Turbo Darkrai-EX decks have been dead for a while now, so this card could step in to get things cracking again. Its attack is pretty awful, since it takes a ton of Energy and doesn’t too much even if you pull it off.

Solgaleo ◇ 89/156 4/5

This could be the best card in the set! Along with all the Metal Pokemon support, Solgaleo ◇ will be amazing late game recovery for many Metal decks. Corona Impact is decent in its own right too, dealing 160 damage, which can be boosted further by Choice Band or Fighting Fury Belt. It’s rare to see a support Pokemon as strong as this that can realistically replenish all your Energy back into play if you wanted.

Cyrus ◇ 120/156 5/5

Sylveon-GX is about to get a huge boost with this card. If you have a Water or Metal Pokemon in play then you can play this card. You can completely wipe an opponent’s Bench clean with a Plea GX after using Cyrus ◇, so be on the lookout for this card. I think this will be a great card in many decks in general, not just ones with Sylveon-GX. Its effect really sets your opponent back!

Super Boost Energy ◇ 136/156 4/5

If you get three Stage 2 Pokemon into play, you’re going to be in for a good time. This card has the potential to boost the output of Infinite Force by 120 damage on Gardevoir-GX, which is a force to be reckoned with! This could come into play with some other zany Stage 2 Pokemon that have a unique attack cost like the new Garchomp in Ultra Prism, for example.

§Eevees

These cards have some serious potential. It’s always an exciting time when Pokemon releases new Eevee cards since they always seem to have a fighting chance at being good cards.

Leafeon-GX 13/156 3/5

Breath of the Leaves is crazy good, and can allow a Leafeon-GX to tank for a while. Solar Beam is just a solid two-shot type of attack, but coupled with Decidueye-GX, you can speed things up. Grand Bloom GX can get you four Dartrix out as early as your second turn if you get four Rowlet onto your Bench! Clearly, you can see that I think this card is best paired with Decidueye-GX. There might be other options available, like other Evolution decks, but it’s best to throw it in a deck that already plays Grass Energy so you can make use of Eevee from Sun & Moon with its Energy Evolution Ability.

Glaceon-GX 39/156 4/5

First turn Ability lock? Glaceon-GX is coming for you with Energy Evolution Eevee! Freezing Gaze really stops Abilities on Pokemon-EX/GX, so no more Wonder Tag from Tapu Lele-GX. I feel like this is too much based on going first and then having the ideal opening hand, but this lock is insanely powerful. Again, this card seems strong when paired with Decidueye-GX, since you can supplement the damage the Frost Bullet puts out (not too much). Polar Spear GX is cool with Feather Arrow, as you can handpick a threat that you want to take down in one hit and have at it. I could see this card being pretty strong, especially if you get to go first.

Eevee 105/156 1/5

Don’t be fooled, while its attack is cute, Eevee with Energy Evolution from Sun & Moon is strictly better. Both of the new Eeveelutions rely on getting them out quickly, and only Energy Evolution can do that consistently.

§Item Lock Redux

Item lock back in the Standard format? You better believe it, but hopefully this time it’s not that oppressive.

Shinx 45/156 3/5

If you go second this little guy can Evolve right away (but only on that turn).

Luxio 47/156 3/5

Disconnect stops your opponent from playing Item cards on his or her next turn. While this may have been broken in the past, I think it’s a little less strong now since the Standard format plays so many Supporter cards in general. Aside from that, you’ll certainly be able to expect the turn two Disconnect and an opponent will preemptively play out his or her Items to prepare for it. Regardless, this card will have a place somewhere in the metagame for formats to come.

Luxray 48/156 2/5

If I were to make a Luxio deck, I would still play Luxray to make use of the higher HP and Intimidating Fang Ability. You would include Shining Celebi in the deck to still get to use Disconnect as well. Anyways, Luxray doesn’t do much, but it’s a nice way to gain additional HP. Volt Bolt can snipe any Pokemon you want for three Energy, which isn’t anything to scoff at, as it could take some cool Knockouts after you get going.

Blast from the Past: Luxray BREAK BKP 47 1/5

Remember this? Well, you might want to include a copy or two in your Luxio deck for even more HP! It’s attack is awful, but when Evolved on top of the new Luxray, you can effectively have “200 HP” (counting the Ability of Luxray in your addition).

§Rotoms

These cute new cards aren’t that great, but at least they’re fun in a Gourgeist “Pumpkin Bomb” deck! Gourgeist relies on discarding Pokemon Tools, so once there’s nine or more in your discard pile, each of these Rotom cards gets to attack for no Energy cost!

Mow Rotom 14/156 1/5

The first of the six, Mow Rotom can do 60 damage and discard a Special Energy from your opponent’s Active Pokemon. This isn’t that great, and doesn’t really help in the Weakness advantage column either.

Heat Rotom 24/156 2/5

This is likely the best of the bunch, since it hits a relevant Pokemon for Weakness: Golisopod-GX. With a Choice Band, Heat Blast does 110 damage, doubled, for 220, to a Golisopod-GX, perfect math for a one-hit Knockout.

Wash Rotom 40/156 1/5

This one is even worse than Mow Rotom, only doing 50 damage in a snipe wherever you want.

Frost Rotom 41/156 2/5

This one is decent, but I don’t think there’s anything relevant aside from Volcanion that you’d ever get to the point of taking Knockouts with Frost Crush. Damage multiplied times the number of Energy your opponent has in play is neat and all, but most decks do just a single Energy at a time these days.

Rotom 50/156 1/5

120 is a decent crack, but again, it’s a little short of being viable. Even with a Choice Band it falls short of dealing significant enough damage to popular Pokemon. Lightning, too, isn't’ a Weakness that’s around either.

Fan Rotom 110/156 1/5

Play Tapu Koko with Flying Flip before ever thinking about playing this card, plain and simple. It’s strictly worse.

§Basics

Any viable non-EX/GX Basic Pokemon have been included on this list!

Pachirisu 49/156 3/5

This could be the card Raichu-GX is waiting for to become viable. There is a Pikachu that has Nuzzle, so if you were to get four Pikachu down on your first turn with help from Brigette, you can realistically get four Lightning Energy into play. Raichu-GX thrives on having more and more Energy in play, so if you can effectively accelerate Energy in that way Raichu-GX will become the big attacker it was meant to be!

Passimian 70/156 3/5

This card is deceivingly strong. You would likely play two of these ones and two of the Sun & Moon one. Team Play hits for 100 damage if you have three Passimian on your Bench. If you were to have two of this new Passimian with Power Huddle on your Bench, then you’ll be doing 160. Choice Band can take you a bit further and you could even further boost it up with Regirock-EX. I’m not convinced this is a viable strategy, but perhaps it could be with a full package of Rescue Stretcher. Passimian is a good way to knock out Zoroark-GX, but seems to be about it. If you Prize a single Passimian, then your damage cap gets strapped down very significantly right off the bat.

Heatran 88/156 2/5

This guy isn’t anything special, but it’s a decent non-EX/GX attacker for one of the new Metal decks. It could fit well in a Magnezone or Metagross-GX deck. Boiling Impact can do 160 with a Choice Band, but that’s not quite enough to be relevant.

Magearna 91/156 4/5

Once a turn, you can use Magearna to put a Tool card into your hand with its Ability. I really like this card in Silvally-GX decks, since you’re going to want switch your Memory Tools around to counter the various Pokemon that you’ll run into. This card could be a nice tech in other random decks too if you want to make use of multiple Tool cards.

Tapu Lele 94/156 2/5

This isn’t the Psychic type one that everyone is looking for in the Expanded format, but it should hold some of the hype off for now. This Fairy printing could maybe see some play in Gardevoir-GX decks, but Magical Swap, for one, doesn’t do much against anything since Gardevoir-GX will already be taking one-hit Knockouts. Psywave could see some fringe play in certain matchups where the opponent’s Active Pokemon attaches quite a few Energy to his or her Active Pokemon.

Type: Null 115/156 1/5

This Type: Null is slightly worse than the Crimson Invasion printing. Merciless Strike has the potential to do a bit more damage than the other, but I think reducing damage with Armor Press is just better. Both have the same stats as far as Retreat goes and Weakness. Both of their second attacks do 70 damage for the same Energy cost, too.

Drampa 117/156 1/5

Another Outrage attacker that no one will ever use! Outrage attacks aren’t very strong in the game right now since most Pokemon deal one-hit Knockouts. Dragon Pulse is awful too, so there’s nothing to see here, sadly.

§Stage 1s

Any viable non-EX/GX Stage 1 Pokemon have been included on this list!

Abomasnow 38/156 1/5

Aqua Patch outclasses this clunker in every way. Blessings of the Frost is cute, but is too fancy to pull off.

Lucario 67/156 4/5

Precognitive Auro is amazing, but you have to get Garchomp out first. I think that this Lucario with the new Garchomp will become a played deck, it just might not be that great if Parallel City sees an uptick in play. Missile Jab isn’t anything playable, so Lucario will only be a support Pokemon for Garchomp decks.

Weavile 74/156 5/5

Evil Admonition is very interesting. With so many Ability decks out there, especially Zoroark-GX, players will have to think twice about putting too many of them down. Choice Band obviously rounds out some numbers, so if your opponent has three Zoroark-GX down and a Tapu Lele-GX in play, then you’ll be using its attack for a one-hit Knockout with a Choice Band. That’s insane, so I expect this card to be thrown into a variety of decks even in a thin line.

Alolan Dugtrio 79/156 3/5

I think Alolan Dugtrio has a lot of potential! Gold Rush can easily swing for one-hit Knockouts if you have a lot of ways to recover Metal Energy. Ribombee and Starmie are great Pokemon options, and Energy Retrieval, Fisherman and Professor’s Letter are decent Trainer options. A mix of these could prove to be strong as well, giving you more options. There’s a new Mt. Coronet Stadium card that will help out this archetype as well, which I’ll cover a little later on.

Shiinotic 93/156 1/5

The Grass printing of this card was bad, and so is this one. Ability Pokemon search just isn’t good enough, and you’d rather use a Trainer to get one in almost every scenario. The Bench space that Shiinotic takes up is obnoxious, too.

§Stage 2s

Any viable non-EX/GX Stage 2 Pokemon have been included on this list!

Infernape 23/156 1/5

Flaming Fighter can upgrade the “damage output” of the Burn Special Condition, but aside from that, it can’t do very much damage. Burst Punch effectively does “110” damage after the Burn calculation, but that’s not enough damage output for a full blown Stage 2 Pokemon. I’d rather use Rare Candy to Evolve into a Gardevoir-GX, for example.

Empoleon 34/156 4/5

Total Command has the potential to do 240 damage if both players have six Pokemon in play apiece. I think this card could pair very well with Tapu Koko and Counter Energy to finish off Knockouts after a few rounds of Flying Flip attacks. This card can withstand a hit from many of the popular Pokemon in the game right now too, so I think it’s just a few steps away from being an amazing deck, provided it can set up reliably each game. Whirlpool is pretty bad, but this card was created for Total Command.

Magnezone 83/156 3/5

Another “Rain Dance” Magnezone, this time for Metal Energy. There’s been a lot of hype surrounding this card and I don’t really get it. Magnezone for Lightning Energy was never strong because it’s just too slow. Vikavolt has seen more competitive success because it searches Energy out of your deck instead of requiring you to have them in your hand already before attaching them. Either way, this does give Metal decks a bit of a boost, but I don’t think this card is reliable to make it big like others have been making it out to be. Better, more bulky Metal attackers could push this Magnezone further than its predecessor, too.

Garchomp 99/156 2/5

I really like this card, but I’m confused why there’s so much hype surrounding it. The Garchomp from BREAKpoint can use Turbo Assault to accelerate Energy a bit, but there’s no reliable way to power up Royal Blades effectively. While it does do 200 damage if you played a Cynthia, which is ridiculous, I just don’t see it being consistent enough to win games at a competitive level. You could use Max Elixir to power up Gible, but that’s just clunky.

§Pokemon-GXs

These guys aren’t great, but they’re all that’s left after Glaceon-GX and Leafeon-GX stole the show.

Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX 63/156 3/5

Invasion is essentially like Rush In on Keldeo-EX from so long ago. This type of Ability has always seen play in the game, and I would expect the same for this card. It could be a nice way to reset Knuckle Impact from Buzzwole-GX after using it. As far as its attacks, they aren’t that great unless you’re playing a Psychic deck with Max Elixir or the Lunala-GX combinations that I talked about earlier. Either way, I think this card is strong enough with just its Ability.

Dusk Mane Necrozma-GX 90/156 4/5

This has become the face of the set, more or less, and while I think it is pretty good, it’s not as great as most people are saying. The “obvious” partner is with the new Magnezone, but less obvious is a partnership with Metagross-GX. Either way, this is a beast of the card and still very strong. It’s a viable way to take a one-hit Knockout on any popular Pokemon-EX/GX in the game right now, and it goes without saying how amazing that can be.

Dialga-GX 100/156 2/5

Overclock is a cool setup attack, Shred isn’t awful, and Timeless GX is absolutely broken if you can take a Knockout with it. This Dialga-GX can be an amazing tech for Metal decks to close out a game unexpectedly with its GX attack. If you can pull off back-to-back Pokemon-EX/GX Knockouts with it, or even something else on your “second turn” after using Timeless GX, you’ll be getting a huge tempo swing. Powering it up is a problem, but if you can, you’ll be golden.

Palkia-GX 101/156 1/5

With Water Energy requirements, this card isn’t really viable in today’s metagame. I hear there’s a Water version of this card printing in the near future, so look for that one if you want to make use of its decent attacks. Zero Vanish GX is the highlight of this card, but it again takes a huge attack cost, like Dialga-GX, but isn’t as much of a game-changer. Shuffling each of your opponent’s Energy cards into his or her deck is neat, but so many decks are using single attachments to deal damage so it won’t be too crippling. A deck like Gardevoir-GX can just go ahead and re-attach those same Energy again and get back to things as usual.

§Looker’s Engine

Finally a new Trainer engine like the Holon and SP engines of old?

Oranguru 114/156 2/5

Resource Management puts three cards from your discard pile on the bottom of your deck in any order! Definitely a neat attack, but limited in competitive play unless…

Looker 126/156 2/5

A card draws cards from the bottom of your deck, like this Looker, that draws three!

Looker Whistle 127/156 1/5

This is the worst of this “engine”, as it only takes two Looker cards from your deck and puts them in your hand. Sadly, this package could have been better, but it’s something nonetheless. In the Expanded format you could use Battle Compressor to toss cards you want and then put them on the bottom of your deck with Oranguru, but alas, I’m afraid this might be too slow for the game right now with most decks packing Zoroark-GX and bringing the heat right away.

§Special Energy and Trainers

Most new sets include a handful of new Special Energy and Trainers that could see some playability. I usually like to go over all of them, except for Standard format reprints, of course. There’s one new Trainer card in particular that will be changing the game in this set, so watch out.

Ancient Crystal 118/156 1/5

Regirock, Regice, Registeel, and Regigigas all are horrible, so Ancient Crystal won’t be reducing 30 damage from any of those Pokemon in a competitive deck.

Cynthia 119/159 5/5

This is the best card in Ultra Prism, and will change deck-building for years to come. I’m so excited for this card and cannot wait to drop the counts of Professor Sycamore I have in my of my decks. Professor Oak’s New Theory was an amazing card in its day, and I’ve never been more excited for a Supporter card to debut in the coming weeks. Consistency is king, and Cynthia is about to make things interesting.

Electric Memory 121/156 3/5

More options for Silvally-GX decks; not much else to say. Lightning Weakness isn’t hugely relevant right now, but someday it might be!

Escape Board 122/156 2/5

This card is cool, and optimal for any deck using Pokemon with a single Colorless Retreat to play instead of Float Stone. I can’t think of many decks in that category, so this card probably won’t see much play. There’s gotta be something out there, though.

Fire Memory 123/156 3/5

Golisopod-GX is nothing to worry about now for Silvally-GX decks. Metal decks (for the most part) aren’t a bother anymore, either!

Gardenia 124/156 1/5

This card is pretty stale, I would rather use a Max Potion to heal a Grass Pokemon rather than my Supporter for the turn. I generally dislike healing cards as Supporters since they’re just slow cards to begin with.

Mars 128/156 1/5

If you weren’t impressed by Professor Kukui like me, then you’ll absolutely scoff at this card; it’s dreadful! I’d rather play Tierno in a heartbeat, since drawing three is better than just two…

Missing Clover 129/156 1/5

I feel like playing four of these in a deck might be a strategy for some weird deck out there someday. For now, though, I don’t think it’s very realistic to first of all get them in your hand all at once, let alone not have to discard one at some point. Prizing one seems quite inevitable, and at that point you’re just playing with dead cards in your deck. The first effect is meaningless, so there’s no merit to playing these for any other reason than taking a Prize card. I would rather devote four spaces to making it easier to take Knockouts (and Prizes) rather than wasting spaces on these things.

Mt. Coronet 130/156 3/5

Alolan Dugtrio and Metal decks in general get a boost from this deck if they choose to play it. It’s a decent card, but most likely won’t see play outside of that Alolan Dugtrio deck, specifically.

Order Pad 131/156 1/5

This card is awful, just play more copies of the Item card you’re vying to search out!

Pal Pad 132/156 4/5

Yes! A strong reprint in a format devoid of VS Seeker. Pal Pad was a cool inclusion in format’s past as a one-of as opposed to playing thicker counts of more techy Supporters. I feel like most decks with four Guzma will make the switch to playing at least a single copy of Pal Pad in exchange for one of them.

Unidentified Fossil 134/156 1/5

All the fossil Pokemon in Ultra Prism are lackluster, so this card won’t be seeing any play. It’s cool that it’s a Trainer card that can also be played as a Basic Pokemon, though, which adds a bit more playability to those formerly clunky fossil Pokemon. Since this card still presumably gives up a Prize after a Knockout, I can’t imagine it having any other use outside of traditional Evolving purposes.

Volkner 135/156 2/5

You may as well as play a Skyla for a Professor’s Letter instead of playing this card. I can’t imagine this ever seeing play unless it’s in a stall deck including Xurkitree-GX. The Item search along with the Energy can be disrupting in two ways since it powers up Lightning GX and could get a disruption Item like Enhanced Hammer.

Unit Energy GFW 137/156 3/5

Any deck playing a combination of Grass, Fire, or Water Pokemon attackers will love this card. This is a strange combination of Energy types, though, so it probably won’t have very much synergy with existing decks right off the bat.

Unit Energy LPM 138/156 4/5

Lightning, Psychic, and Metal Energy, but all in one! This card is cool too, and could allow a Garbodor deck to play some interesting techs without having to use Rainbow Energy. Perhaps it could see play in a Metagross-GX deck as well? The future is a little doubtful for these Unit Energy since they aren’t as versatile as their predecessors, Blend Energy GRPD and WLFM, were.

§Hasta La Vista

Most cards ranked three or more stars on this list are worth taking a closer look at. I try to keep my rankings fair so that it's easier to narrow down the list of cards that you're looking at in a given set. These are already the "cream of the crop", so I hope this piece was helpful for you in digesting the boatload of information that a new set, this time Ultra Prism, has for you each three months. Thanks for stopping by and reading, happy testing. Take care!

~Caleb

[+14] okko


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