Experts' corner

Zach Lesage

Post Rotation - Thoughts and Early Lists

Zach goes over the cards we lose in our rotation and some upcoming concepts from Darkness Ablaze. Eternatus VMAX and Decidueye lists are included!

06/25/2020 by Zach Lesage

I’m Back

What’s up 60Cards readers? Zach Lesage here and I am back! I have taken a break over the past month to refresh myself and I have come out with a new positive outlook on life. I started a garden with my girlfriend, I have been taking more time for myself, and I have been cooking up a storm. Oh, and I have been testing Post Rotation decks featuring Darkness Ablaze cards. You read that correctly, we know most of our set list so it is possible to test this early. Let’s not waste too much time and jump into some of my early thoughts!

Goodbye Lost Thunder and Friends

After seeing our metagame evolve into utter chaos amidst this global pandemic, many of us are jumping up and down as we say goodbye to our previous format. Saying goodbye? "But we are in June Zach...???". I know its a bit early, but I wanted to start going over Post Rotation format. If you don't know what a Rotation is, basically we lose a bunch of older cards in order to keep our game refreshed. This statement from the official site probably explains it better than I ever can. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that we can’t shed a tear or two in the process. These are the format defining cards that we are losing in the process of our rotation. 

Jirachi (TM; 99)  can kiss its pal, Escape Board (UPR; 122) , away when Rotation hits. After most decks have been able to add four Jirachi (TM; 99) , four Switch (S&S; 183) , and two Escape Board (UPR; 122)  to boost their consistency - we need to go back to the drawing board on this one. Bird Keeper is one choice from Darkness Ablaze and Scoop Up Net (RCL; null)  seem like strong replacement choices. Cards like Cynthia (UPR; 119)  and Lillie (UPR; 125)  might be a bit more difficult to replace. We already have Professor's Research - Professor Magnolia (S&S; 178) , but how do you replace a card like Cynthia (UPR; 119)  that shuffles your cards back into your deck? Marnie seems like our best option now, but Kabu from Darkness Ablaze might be a solid choice too. Oranguru (UPR; 114)  was the glue that kept control decks together since they become popular last year. While many players have found the combination of Oranguru (UPR; 114)  and disruptive cards to be “toxic’, it has allowed a new variety of deck concepts to see success. We do have the option of replacing Oranguru (UPR; 114) ’ with Excadrill (UB; 119) , but having a non-colourless Energy as a requirement and being a Stage One can be rough. It’s definitely something I am going to experiment with, but Control might need to chill out for a minute. Other missed cards include Buzzwole (FLI; 77) , Diancie Prism Star (FLI; 74) , and Beast Energy Prism Star (FLI; 117)  which personally guided me to my first season as a “pro” player back in the 2017-2018 format. While cards like this are memorable to me, I am sure we will have more big Basic decks printed in the future. If you have been playing PTCGO during this pandemic, you might have seen “Combo Zacian V (S&S; 138) ” tearing it up on the leaderboards. This is largely due to Mr. Mime (DP; 11) , Oranguru (S&S; 148) , and Jirachi Prism Star (CLS; 97)  all working together. While Mime and Guru’ are safe from rotation, Jirachi Prism Star (CLS; 97)  is the missing piece of that combo. While the success of that deck was short lived, you can still play a similar deck in the form of Arceus & Dialga & Palkia Tag Team GX (CoE; 156)  / Zacian V (S&S; 138) to draw extra Prize Cards.

As your 2020 Oceania Internationals Finalist and resident Fire Toolbox fiend, I am personally pouring one out for the loss of Victini Prism Star (DM; 7) . Being a single Prize Card attacker, shuffling Energy back, and having an efficient attack cost is one heck of a combo. There isn’t much of a replacement for this card in the format and most Fire Decks will mourn this loss. Although it is more of loss for Fire Toolbox, Turtonator (DM; 50)  is another steep loss in general. While the term Toolbox means the deck has options, it will struggle to replace this one. The fact that we are losing Fiery Flint (DM; 60)  is something that makes it difficult to build Fire Decks going forward. In Darkness Ablaze we gain Centiskorch VMAX, Charizard VMAX, and Salamence VMAX - the loss of Fiery Flint (DM; 60)  hinders each one of these decks. Giant Hearth (UB; 197)  is a sizeable replacement, but it isn’t the same thing. Lost Thunder is easily the most important set that we lost in the rotation and that is because it held so many unique cards inner metagame. Magcargo GX (LT; 44)  is one of those cards that was played in Mewtwo & Mew GX (UB; 71) , Control variants, and it was a standalone deck. The combination of Energy acceleration, a powerful attack, and solid mill attack is unheard of in our “future” metagame. Will we see a replacement to this card? I honestly don’t think so. Zeraora GX (LT; 201)  is another unique card that we will miss because it brought free Retreat, Energy acceleration, and a viable attack to Lightning-type decks. Switch (S&S; 183)  is an option to replace it going forward, but Electropower (LT; 232) , Volkner (UPR; 135) , and Thunder Mountain Prism Star (LT; 191)  are all rotating too. Will a typical Lightning-type deck, like Pikachu & Zekrom GX (TM; 33) , continue to exist going forward? It is hard to tell. Out of all of the cards lost, Ditto Prism Star (LT; 154)  might be one of the most important. It allowed Evolution decks to become more viable, allowed for unique deck building options, and was used in a variety of decks. It was broken, yet balanced - the perfect card! We don’t have an immediate replacement and I don’t know if we ever will.

For those that are looking for more of a list, these are the cards that I have deemed the most important losses. There might be cards that I valued to highly in this list and there may be cards that didn’t even make it. For the most part, I think I hit a balance of the most playable cards during their time and cards that were unique to their time. Let’s check it out!

Ultra Prism

Dawn Wings Necrozma GX (UPR; 63)

Weavile (UPR; 74)

Darkrai Prism Star (UPR; 77)

Tapu Lele (UPR; 94)

Oranguru (UPR; 114)

Escape Board (UPR; 122)

Cynthia (UPR; 119)

Lillie (UPR; 125)

Volkner (UPR; 135)

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