We're finally here at the last leg of our Burning Shadows journey: After tackling the GX's, SM2+ crossovers and Trainer cards, we'll end the road with a look at...
... the mediocre regular rares and holos.
Uhh... I think I screwed up the article-writing process somewhere, but I'm not sure. I just feel like it should feel more epic than this. Drat.
Anyway, we're down to the last few cards today. There are a handful of interesting Basics, Stage 1's and Stage 2's introduced by the main set, and I'm here to give you the scoop on them. There's no particular order for this one: We're just going from top to bottom on the set list.
Here we go.
Kingdra is certainly interesting, to say the least. Its Brine can snipe for easy KO's just about anywhere, and Tornado shot deals consistent damage while preparing an unassuming foe for a Brine-based KO. This card operates on just 1 Energy as well, which makes it especially effective in this Gardevoir-and-Lele-filled format.
Thing is, even though Kingdra can dish out some pretty rapid fire, it feels underwhelming when compared to the other major Water Stage 2 of our format, Greninja BKP. Greninja may deal slightly less damage, but it makes up for it with Frogadier's Water Duplicates, its Shadow Stitching disruption attack, and Greninja BREAK's Giant Water Shuriken. Kingdra just deals a Night Spear every turn, which is still really good for a Stage 2, but doesn't seem as good as Greninja.
Kingdra will definitely be the defining deck in friendly games, but will be mediocre on the serious field. Outclassed cards just have no use.
Now, Raichu is a card I like. I mean, I REALLY think this is good. It's Servine FCO, but without the coin flip. Think about that for a moment: An Ability that is GUARANTEED to Paralyze your opponent when activated. This is really, really playable.
Is it perfect? Of course not. Switch, Escape Rope, Metagross AOR and Zoroark BKT all negate this card's disruption. In addition, Raichu itself is a Stage 1 and doesn't have a flexible attack to be played with, so finding a good deck partner for it could be difficult.
But at the very least, I'm sure that other pre-existing Raichu decks will tech a copy of this guy into their builds for that little added disruption. Raichu GEN has been making some rogue appearances with Lycanroc-GX, and Shining Legends will introduce a VERY playable Raichu-GX. I'm sure that Raichu will at least be played in those archetypes, and maybe even some other lesser-known decks, too.
Seviper is easy to see as a threat because it's a pseudo-revival of one of the most broken Stadiums ever printed: Virbank City Gym. Seviper takes Virbank's power and increases it even further by offering up to TWICE as much extra punishment per turn: With 4 Seviper down, you'll deal 50 Poison damage every single turn - possibly even more if you're playing in Expanded with Virbank.
Of course, the trouble with Seviper in our current Standard meta is finding a Poisoning Pokemon to play it with. We don't have Hypnotoxic Laser anymore, so we'll have to find Pokemon-based methods of inflicting toxins. A Victreebel GRI deck with this and Forest of Giant Plants could be fun, but it won't last past the rotation - and it's a really bad idea, anyway. Other than that, I can't find anything modern worth using this with.
Seviper's gonna be really crazy in the Expanded Format since it already has an established arsenal to work with, but its Standard fame is gonna have to wait a bit longer. Maybe SM4 will give us something good, huh?
Dusknoir offers a decent attack and a crafty Ability that have a bit of synergy, but otherwise doesn't do a whole lot to impress me. A Mind Jack deck strategy just doesn't seem to work for ol' Dusky when Zoroark BKT has already been doing that for 2 years phenomenally. The added HP and disruptive Ability don't make up for the extra Evolution and attack cost.
Yet, even though I don't think this card will be played, I have this weird itching in the back of my head that tells me I should keep my eyes out for this one. Dusknoir cards have a history for being played in some ridiculous ways, so there's still a very big chance that this one could pack some major heat, too.
One day, I swear. One day...
From a design perspective, Rhyperior is just a re-hash of Aggron DRX, a card that saw only a minimal amount of useage by anybody. It was neat, but too slow to leave a damaging mill effect on the opponent. This Rhyperior is very similar in that regard.
There are some aspects of the card that are inherently better in this era, like the ease-of-play with Heavy Ball and Alolan Vulpix, but Rhyperior doesn't get the same Sableye DEX combo that Aggron had. Without a way to recycle Items, Rhyperior can't get Devolution Sprays consistently enough to break down the opponent's deck size.
Much like Seviper, this card is gonna be kept on tabs until it gets the partner it deserves.
I'm surprised I didn't notice Crabominable at first, because it's a pretty hefty card: It deals 80-for-1, has 140HP, and needs no setup to start attacking. Best of all is Crabominable's Fighting Type, which lets it hit extra numbers with Strong Energy and Regirock-EX. If you run 4 Regirock, a Strong Energy and a Choice Band, Crabominable will deal 170 for a single Energy. All in all, it's pretty strong.
I guess my main concern with this card, though, is similar to the opinion I had for Kingdra: It can dish out consistent damage, but doesn't have the heavy-hitting capabilities of other decks. Also, hitting 170 forces you to get VERY lucky with which modifiers you draw. And even then, I think the Psychic Weakness kills this card a bit too much: I don't like how susceptible this guy is to Garbodor GRI at ALL.
This Passimian is another one of those tech Basics that isn't too strong on its own but could pose a threat when splashed into something else. 2-for-90 is a pretty hefty amount of damage. If any Carbink BREAK decks came into light over the next format, I bet Passimian could provide a killer punch in it.
That's really all I have to say about it: 90-for-2 is good on a Basic, moving on.
Alolan Raticate's 60-for-0 definitely interests me. Throughout various metas, there have been scenarios where Basic or Stage 1 Pokemon have been played for Type Advantage purposes, and I could see Raticate being used in that same vein. With Choice Band and Professor Kukui at its side, it reaches 220 for no Energy. Granted, Zoroark BKT already does decent damage for just a DCE and has a good Ability to boot, but Raticate's free Energy cost could prove to be useful either way.
There isn't a major need for a Dark Type Weakness abuser right now, but the future might have something in store for that kind of card, so I'll keep Raticae in mind as the meta changes in the coming years.
With a potential return of Darkrai-EX thanks to the new GX in this set, I think it's only right that a 1-Prize version of the Pitch-Black Pokemon would come with it.
Dark Raid punishes GX decks immediately for using their GX attacks. 3-for-160 on a Basic is nothing to scoff at. An attack like this can put a heavy burden on any deck running Drampa-GX for an early draw buffer. The same goes for decks like Solgaleo-GX and Turtonator-GX, both of which are GX's that rely on their one-time attacks to get Energy into play.
The attack cost is the only thing I don't like about Darkrai. Darkrai-EX and GX don't really run DCE, so it might be kinda hard to get a Dark Raid going without throwing down a few Max Elixirs. Now, I DO like running this in Zoroark BREAK since that deck already runs that same Energy Type.
Either way, this is definitely a great addition to Dark's repertoire of powerful Basic techs.
Diancie's Sparkling Wish is the same as Wally in the form of an attack. While I do really like this attack, it's a shame that it costs a solid Fairy Energy instead of a Colorless Energy. Had it been the latter, I could see just about every Stage 2 deck teching this in, but the solid requirement limits Diancie's usefulness to just Fairy and Rainbow decks.
But I guess that's not too bad in hindsight, since a big Stage 2 Fairy deck is on the way already: Gardevoir-GX. Japanese players have already started running 1 copy of Diancie in their versions of the deck, so I wouldn't mind playing one in a Western spin, either.
Today's last card is Porygon-Z, the weirdest of the bunch.
Porygon-Z's Ability devolves all of your opponent's Pokemon in play once activated. Now, in all seriousness, this is a CRAZY powerful attack. Most Devolution effects on your opponent have to be activated through an attack, so you can't hit them and devolve them in the same turn. But Porygon-Z's spin still lets you throw a punch across the field.
This Ability SEVERELY cripples Pokemon-GX's that are Stage 2's: Most players run Rare Candy to get those cards in play, so if you de-volve a Candied GX, they'll revert back to a lowly Basic with just 60HP or less, ripe for a quick KO.
But here's the thing about Porygon-Z that stinks: Even though it has a great Ability, there is absolutely nothing else about it that's good. And as a Stage 2, it takes up a TON of space in the average deck. The only decks possibly capable of running this card are decks that already run Stage 2 Pokemon and Rare Candy: Vikavolt is a good example of a deck that could use it.
And, like I've mentioned before, I have a gut feeling that Basic Pokemon will return to their prime position in the spotlight. If that's true, Porygon-Z will become even worse.
And that's a wrap! Data on every major Burning Shadows card is now present and accounted for. Once the set releases for good and I get better card scans, I'll put out a finalized giant article including all of the info for the cards I covered from this set.
Until that lands, I hope you all enjoyed hearing about the new Burning Shadows expansion, and I hope that you all get some good pulls from your packs, too. Stay cool, Trainers!