Hey CutOrTap readers, it’s Charlie, back with another article. This is the one time of year where there is a major divide between players – some are working to test for Worlds while others are testing out next year’s format. Today, I’m going to share with you some of the front-runners in my group’s large testing pool, along with a few predictions for what will unfold in Anaheim in just a few weeks.
Table of Contents
- Favorites from Burning Shadows
- The List
- Quick Tips for Worlds
Favorites from Burning Shadows
For the second year in a row, the newest set will become legal on the first day of Worlds, making it the first official tournament in which the set is legal. This will result in many creative choices when it comes to deck building, similarly to how Japan brought Volcanion decks to 2016 Worlds. This year’s set is even more impactful, bringing lots of powerful new cards that we can play with. Below, I’ve listed my favorites from the new set, along with a few sleeper cards that could make quite the splash in the right deck.
I think this card has a chance at making a splash at Worlds simply because of its Pyroar-esque Ability (it’s actually better because cards like Turtonator GX have no way to deal with it). I am currently testing it out in all of my Vileplume decks as a good way to deal with Volcanion. It is a really good wall to stall with while you set up your board, and even if they have Hex, Plume should have served its purpose in allowing you to set up an impeccable board while they sit there without access to even Power Heater.
Before I began any testing, I had already pseudo-concluded that Golisopod plus Lurantis and Choice Band would be the strongest deck for Worlds because of its incredible speed. “First Impression” really does make quite the impression when it can OHKO a basic EX or GX on the first turn of the game. Since then, I found out that that the Lurantis-based build was not very consistent, so I have since scrapped it for a deck that capitalizes on Golisopod’s ability to be the aggressor. Overall, I really like the card and I think it has a lot of potential to find success in Anaheim.
We finally got a Safeguarder for GX’s, and on top of that it also is immune to EX’s. This card has definitely earned a place in Alolan Ninetales decks, and possibly in Decidueye/Ninetales decks that include Rainbow Energy as well. Since most of the metagame is centralized around EX/GX attackers, Alolan Ninetales can really pick apart a deck that does not include any non-EX/GX attackers and/or Hex Maniac. I would definitely watch out for this card heading into the event.
Tapu Fini GX
In decks including Rainbow Energy/Water decks, I feel like Tapu Fini is a great inclusion. For all-out Water decks, Hydro Shot is a really strong snipe attack (we haven’t had a good one since Raikou EX), but my favorite part of the card is Tapu Storm. I feel like Tapu Storm is now the strongest GX attack when it comes down to really close end-game scenarios where both players are down to their last options, and simply wiping one of them off the board could be game-changing.
Take this, for example: you’re playing against Metagross, and it is Turn 1 of time. Both of you have one prize left, while your opponent has two Metagross in play (benched one has 160 damage) and you have three Decidueye in play. Not taking out the active Metagross would lose you the game, so you can triple Feather Arrow the bench and use Tapu Storm. They won’t be able to power up another attacker, so you can get yourself the one extra turn that you need to win.
This is probably the strongest Pokemon in the set going forward. Having been printed as an attack on the powerful Rayquaza Star back in EX Deoxys, Black Ray GX is one of the best GX attacks that we have seen so far. Assuming we eventually get the Tapu Lele promo, we will be able to move all of Necrozma’s damage around and possibly win the game. It also has an attack with no practical damage cap and an Ability that makes it immune to Colorless Pokemon, both of which are great bonuses. I’d recommend that you watch out for this card going into Worlds – I guarantee that it will make quite the impact.
We finally got a splashable Fighting attacker! Being able to copy any discarded Basic Pokemon’s attacks is one of the strongest Abilities we have seen in a while, making this a card that can fit in many different decks. For Worlds, I don’t really know how much of an impact Marshadow will make, but in Expanded it will definitely make Night March into even more of a threat than before.
I like Darkrai a lot more for its Ability to come back to the Bench than its ability to recover an Energy. Darkrai will definitely find a place in M Rayquaza and Turbo Darkrai for Worlds, helping to improve both already-strong archetypes. Watch out for this card and the decks it helps to improve.
This is by far the most hyped GX of the set, and for a good reason. Having an Ability that helps to accelerate Energy, a pseudo-Psychic Infinity attack, and an insane GX attack that allows you to recover basically everything you need is definitely worthy of all the hype. Make sure that whatever deck you bring to Worlds is prepared to handle an onslaught of Gardevoir GX.
In Burning Shadows, we were treated to a good collection of new Trainers, including Guzma, Acerola, and Kiawe, as well as the return of some old ones such as Super Scoop Up. The only Trainers I see making an immediate impact in many decks are those three Supporters, while the rest may have to wait a few months before taking their turn in the spotlight.
I really like cards like Po Town though, and I see lots of potential for it going forward into a format more based around evolving your Pokemon. However, my sleeper pick for the MVP Supporter of some deck at Worlds is Wickie. Many people do not see the potential of the card, thinking it’s just a dumb hand refresh for both players, but the real potential is to punish bad play. Recently, many players have been lowering their hand size on the first turn to around 1-3 cards after playing a Brigette. Using a Wickie will allow you to throw away the likely strong 1-3 cards that they had, possibly giving them a dead hand. I suspect that Wickie is going to do quite a bit of damage in Anaheim.
Burning Shadows is shaping up to be a very interesting set, bringing a bit more substance to the table than last year’s Steam Siege. I love how TPCi has started legalizing the next set for Worlds, testing the creativity of the game’s top players. As my favorite part of Pokemon is deck building, you can be sure I’ve been spending plenty of time trying out all sorts of new ideas. Below, I’ve shared one of my favorite new ideas coming out of the set: Golisopod/Vileplume!