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Caleb Gedemer

"To the Garb(age) with It!" — the Card That's Changing the Game and More in the Standard Format

Caleb Gedemer goes over his ten favorite cards from the new English set, Sun & Moon—Guardians Rising.

09. 05. 2017 by Caleb Gedemer

Caleb Gedemer goes over his ten favorite cards from the new English set, Sun & Moon—Guardians Rising. That's not all though, because he wraps up his newest piece with some decks that are built from cards in the new set. Also, have you heard about a certain new card that looks to be changing everything? Come check this article out for all this, and more. You'll be glad you did!

Introduction

Hey, Trainers. I’m happy to be back to 60cards as always, and today you’ll be reading about something I’m always happy to talk about: new expansions in the Pokemon Trading Card Game. Sun & Moon—Guardians Rising has only been out for a couple of weeks now, but it’s already making waves in competitive play. I’ve been hard at work getting the new cards, and testing them out in old decks, as well as trying out new concepts that are proving to have the grit of an archetype worthy of tournament play. To start off today’s piece, I’ll be going over my top ten favorite cards in the set, and explaining what makes them so good. Then, I’ll cover some of the new decks that should be on the rise, some of them containing the new cards we got from Guardians Rising in the Standard format. Enjoy, y’all!

Top Ten Cards of the New Set

Honorable Mention:

#21 Alolan Vulpix – Water – HP60

Basic Pokemon

[.] Beacon: Search your deck for up to 2 Pokemon, reveal them, and put them into your hand. Then, shuffle your deck.

[C][C] Icy Snow: 20 damage.

Weakness: Metal (x2)

Resistance: none

Retreat: 1

It’s first attack, Beacon, is the only reason I even considered it on the coming list. For free, no Energy needed, you can search your deck for two Pokemon, and throw them in your hand. Absolutely no nonsense, just pick, and go. On its own without the existence of this mysterious Garbodor, it’s still decent.Let me start with something that might surprise you, Alolan Vulpix. This card flew under my own radar, until recently, too. This card’s viability directly relates to what I think is one of the absolute best cards in the set, Garbodor. While I won’t get into much detail on the new pile of garbage just yet, I would say that if the new Garb wasn’t coming out, then I wouldn’t be talking about this Vulpix.

I don’t want to spill the beans just yet, so let me just end this card’s section by saying that the fact that you can search Pokemon out of your deck without Item cards is going to be nice, and that this Vulpix might see a lot more play than you would originally guess, just because players are trying not to play as many Items.

Number 10:

#66 Sudowoodo – Fighting – HP100

Basic Pokemon

Ability: Roadblock

Your opponent can’t have more than 4 Benched Pokemon. If they have 5 or more Benched Pokemon, they discard Benched Pokemon until they have 4 Pokemon on the Bench. If more than one effect changes the number of Bench Pokemon allowed, use the smaller number.

[F][C] Rock Throw: 40 damage.

Weakness: Water (x2)

Resistance: none

Retreat: 2

Here we have Sudowoodo! Not only is the name fun to say, but the card is fun to use. Roadblock is the only thing this tree has going for it, but it’s a lot packed into one Ability. Now you are free to use other Stadium cards than Parallel City, and still get something close to the effect of Parallel, but this time in the form of a Pokemon.

This card is always going to be in play, and the best part is that if you play a Hex Maniac to turn it off, then at the end of your opponent’s turn, he or she will have to just discard back down to four Pokemon and not much will be accomplished. Aside from that, Silent Lab, another way of stopping Roadblock, doesn’t work all too well since most decks that are hurt by Sudo play Sky Field, and Lab doesn’t make any sense in those decks.

I like this card in just about everything, already. Volcanion gains the most from it, I think, but it seems like a good inclusion in anything. Most decks don’t mind another Bench sitter, except for maybe Vileplume ones. Be on the lookout for Sudo, and be sure to not play down too many valuable Pokemon on your Bench!

Number 9:

#6 Phantump – Grass – HP60

Basic Pokemon

[G] Tackle: 10 damage.

[C][C] Confuse Ray: Your opponent’s Active Pokemon is now Confused.

Weakness: Fire (x2)

Resistance: none

Retreat: 2

While this card on its own isn’t anything special, it makes the new Trevenant from Sun & Moon—Guardians Rising playable. That cards reads as follows:

#7 Trevenant – Grass – HP120

Stage 1 – Evolves from Phantump

[C][C] Poltergeist: 30x damage. Your opponent reveals their hand. This attack does 30 damage for each Trainer card you find there.

[G][G][C] Horn Leech: 90 damage. Heal 30 damage from this Pokemon.

Weakness: Fire (x2)

Resistance: none

Retreat: 2

This has some obvious synergy with Vileplume, since your opponent can’t play Item cards when ‘plume is down. As good as that Trevenant is, I think that the biggest reason this new Phantump is great is because it can be used with the Trevenant from X & Y in the Expanded format. I’m sure you’re still curious about this, so I’ll tell you: Decidueye-GX / Trevenant sounds insane to me.

You simply leave a Trevenant Active, and spread damage with Silent Fear after BREAK Evolving, and use your Decidueye-GX’s Feather Arrow to punish your opponent’s Pokemon even more. The more I think about this combo, the better it sounds, and none of it would be possible without the release of this new Grass type stump.

Number 8:

#115 Drampa-GX – Colorless – HP180

Basic Pokemon

[C] Righteous Edge: 20 damage. Discard a Special Energy attached to your opponent’s Active Pokemon.

[C][C][C] Berserk: 80+ damage. If your Benched Pokemon have any damage counters on them, this attack does 70 more damage.

[C] Great Revolution GX: Shuffle your hand into your deck, then draw 10 cards. (You can’t use more than 1 GX attack in a game.)

When your Pokemon GX is Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize Cards.

Weakness: Fighting (x2)

Resistance: none

Retreat: 2

Drampa-GX clocks into work with three very playable attacks, and that’s what makes it so good! To start off, Righteous Edge is like an attack on an old Cobalion-EX card from many moons ago. The Cobalion was popular a lot of the time, and it required a Metal Energy to attack with its Edge. Drampa, though, just takes a Colorless, which means it can be put in just about anything! Getting rid of your opponent’s Special Energy is fantastic, and this card has the potential to be a disruptive force, all on its own!

Next, we have Berserk, which is good, too. If you play Team Magma’s Secret Base, you can get damage on your Benched Pokemon, and then do 150 to start off. Choice Band, which is next up on my list, will crank Berserk all the way up to 180 damage, which is a perfect number to knock out many of the popular Pokemon in the game today. Lastly, we have Great Revolution GX, which has received some scrutiny from players, but overall, I think it’s good as a GX attack. You get to shuffle away your hand, and take ten new cards! That’s a number that’s unfathomable in the Pokemon Trading Card Game, spare using Colress in the Expanded format for numbers even bigger than that. Regardless, this is a very splashable typing that works in any deck, and can give decks that didn’t have a GX attack in the past one of their own.

Overall, this card is fantastic. It could see play in any deck, if players decide to use it that frequently. Every attack on the card is great, and I’m excited to see if Drampa-GX will become a deck on its own, or if it will become somewhat of a staple in just about everything. The sky’s the limit for this fabulous new card!

Number 7:

#121 Choice Band – Trainer

Item

Pokemon Tool: Attach a Pokemon Tool to 1 of your Pokemon that doesn’t already have a Pokemon Tool attached to it.

The attacks of the Pokemon this card is attached to do 30 more damage to your opponent’s Active Pokemon-GX or Active Pokemon-EX (before applying Weakness and Resistance).

You may play as many Item cards as you like during your turn (before your attack).

This card is amazing, and it’s something that’s been lacking in the Standard format for a while now. Choice Band is super similar to Silver Bangle, a card that’s been rotated out of Standard for a year or two now. What’s even better about this card, though, is that it can actually be attached to Pokemon-EX/GX, not only non-EX/GX Pokemon. An addition of thirty damage to those same Pokemon-EX/GX is fantastic, and helps reach crucial numbers with a variety of Pokemon that have been lacking in that department.

Let’s start by thinking about some of the cards that get significantly better with this release: Darkrai-EX, Raichu, Umbreon-GX, Vespiquen, are just some that come to mind right away. Vespiquen is the Pokemon that I’m most excited pairing Choice Band with. I talked a lot about Vespiquen in my last article for the site, so go check that out. Band will make Vesp have a much easier time dealing with bigger Pokemon, which is sweet.

Whenever a card like this gets released, it’s sure to make waves. Think about the many damage modifiers throughout the years, Fighting Fury Belt, Muscle Band, PlusPower, and Silver Bangle all saw lots and lots of play in their own days. Choice Band is the next one on the list, and I’m sure it’s successes will be no different!

Number 6:

#18 Turtonator-GX – Fire – HP190

Basic Pokemon

[C][C] Trap Shell: 20 damage. If this Pokemon is damaged by an attack during your opponent’s next turn, place 8 damage counters on the Attacking Pokemon.

[R][R][C] Crimson Flame: 160 damage. Discard 2 [R] Energy attached to this Pokemon.

[R] Nitro Tank GX: Attach 5 [R] Energy from your discard pile to your Pokemon in any way you like. (You can’t use more than 1 GX attack per game.)

When your Pokemon-GX is Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize cards.

Weakness: Water (x2)

Resistance: none            

Retreat: 3

This thing is insane, just from looking at its HP. Its attacks are all solid, with the “worst” one being Trap Shell, and even that is good. Turtonator-GX is sure to find its way into Volcanion decks, and that’s probably it, so I’m going to talk about the card in terms of its place in Volc decks. Trap Shell probably won’t be too useful, since there almost always is a better attack to use. Crimson Flame, however, is insane with the power of Volcanion-EX’s Steam Up Ability. With just two Steam Up uses, you can take a one-hit Knockout on a M Rayquaza-EX, doing 220 damage. Without even being able to use Abilities, you can still do 170 with a Fighting Fury Belt to something like an Yveltal-EX, which is enough for a Knockout, provided the Yveltal doesn’t have a Belt itself.

Finally, let me talk about Nitro Tank GX, the best thing this card has going for it. You can attach five, yes, five Fire Energy from your discard pile to your Pokemon in any way! This means you can Steam Up five times, and maybe discard a Fire with a Professor Sycamore, and then just throw them all down in one turn! This effect is ridiculous, and along with Max Elixir, Volcanion may have just become the best deck out there.

Overall, this is a must have in every Volcanion deck going forward, you must be playing it to stay competitive against the rest of the field. Nitro Tank GX will make Volcanion decks even faster, and allow you to use Crimson Flame easily, and quickly. This card has a ton going for it.

Number 5:

#119 Aqua Patch – Trainer

Item

Attach a basic [W] Energy card from your discard pile to 1 of your Benched [W] Pokemon.

You may play as many Item cards as you like during your turn (before your attack).

I almost couldn’t believe this card was real when I first saw it! Nearly five years after the release of Dark Patch, the card creators decided to make the same card, but for Water Pokemon! In any case, this card’s viability is obvious, and it makes Lapras-GX a lot better. I’m not talking about the disruptive Lapras deck that’s been going around, though, I’m talking about a turbo deck, aiming to use Blizzard Burn on the first, or second turn of the game.

Aqua Patch doesn’t need much explaining, because it’s simple, but I’d like to paint a better picture of what it’s capable of creating. A turbo Lapras-GX player can play four copies of both Aqua Patch, and Max Elixir, such that he or she will have improved odds of using Blizzard Burn on the first turn. Along with Manaphy-EX, the Lapras-GXs can then be Retreated back and forth, and you will be staring down two, or more, fully powered up loch ness monsters, swinging for over 150 damage every single turn with no drawback.

This card also makes a deck with multiple Keldeo-EX good in the Expanded format, too. You’ll be able to continually Rush In and heal off damage from attacks with Rough Seas, and continually do at least 110 of solid damage a turn. Seismitoad-EX can also be powered up with this Patch. The possibilities are endless, and I’m on the edge of my seat waiting to see what becomes of this card!

Number 4:

#80 Sableye – Darkness – HP60

Basic Pokemon

[D] Limitation: Your opponent can’t play any Supporter cards from their hand during their next turn.

[C] Scratch: 20 damage.

Weakness: none

Resistance: none

Retreat: 1

As an Exeggutor from Plasma Freeze player back in the day, I’m stoked about this card, too. While it doesn’t do damage, I plan to use it with Decidueye-GX to make up for that. Personally, although I’ve heard differing opinions, I think this card is phenomenal in Decidueye-GX / Vileplume decks, and should make them close to unbeatable.

The only thing about this card that’s worth knowing is that for a Darkness Energy, you can stop your opponent from playing Supporter cards. Pretty sweet, huh? This card obviously won’t work on its own, because your opponent will just attach Energy and go from there, but like I already mentioned, I think it’s great in Decidueye with ‘plume, and just with Decidueye-GX alone.

Decidueye-GX / Sableye might become an archetype, to be honest. You would play Energy denial cards, stop your opponent’s Supporter cards, and have a damage output from Feather Arrow drops. With the pressure you put on from Feather Arrow, you would be able to address any threats that your opponent builds up with Energy that you can’t discard. This card is scary for any opponent, and I’m itching to use to more.


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