Pokémon TCG - Preparing For Rotation
What Does It Mean?
Rotation comes every year around the time of the World Championships, where older sets are retired from Standard Format. As of 10th September only cards from Sword & Shield onwards will be legal for Standard competitive play (to help clarify which sets they added a regulation mark with Sword & Shield so you’re looking for a “D” or “E” next to the set logo). It’s a chance to update your decks and it helps to keep the game fresh and exciting. So what are the big things we’re losing?
Time To Tag Out
Tag Team GXs (and in fact all GXs) will be leaving standard. So mainstay decks like ADPZ, Pikarom and Reshzard will be disappearing. This is going to make games a little slower to start as those hefty Tag Team GXs were easier to get on the board than their current HP equivalent VMAXs. VMAXs need to evolve up (although there are a few ways to cheat some of them out that we’ll cover later), so we’ll see players starting games a little more defensively.
Another key card we lose with GXs is Dedenne GX, who has been great at accelerating card draw in most decks thanks to the ease of availability in the Trainer’s Toolkit. However, Crobat V is a great substitution for that card and has already seen a lot of play as its “Dark Asset” ability allows you to draw up to 6 cards in your hand when you play it onto the bench.
Fire is about to take a massive utility hit after dominating the game for most of the Sun & Moon era as we lose Welder and Fire Crystal. The “Roaring Resolve” Charizard will also be lost to rotation which was another great energy accelerant for Fire as it allowed you to attach 2 basic Fire energy from your deck to the card for just 2 damage counters. Now Fire players will have to rely on Sword & Shield’s Victini V and Battle Style’s Victini VMAX to attach 3 Fire energy from their discard pile to their Pokémon.
As we move into the new rotation, all of the old Fairy cards get left behind, including basic Fairy energy. They moved into Psychic when Sword & Shield launched as part of a reshuffle to streamline the game. But honestly, the loss won’t have much impact. Gardevoir GX and Gardevoir & Sylveon Tag Team GX are really the only cards of note from the Team Up era. Their newer counterparts in Psychic are a lot more diverse thanks to all of the other Psychic support they get from things like Shadowrider Calyrex VMAX and Cresselia for energy acceleration.
One of my favourite decks was this bizarre one that allowed you to use the attacks of any Pokémon with the “Caturday” attack ignoring any energy cost thanks to Persian’s “Gathering of Cats” ability.
Gimmick decks centred around an attack are nothing new. We’ve had “Night March”, “Lost March” and currently we have “Mad Party”. They’re great budget decks and can really give your opponent problems if they aren’t used to playing against them. But the weird thing about this deck is that they added a new “Caturday” card in the form of Purugly in Battle Styles. Will it make a full comeback? Only time will tell. But I’ll definitely still be playing this in Expanded.
So What’s Left?
A lot of decks have already been making use of Vs and VMAXs, but they’ve mainly been trying to combat Tag Team GXs. Here is my prediction on the big 3 we’ll see for a long time.
Things like Eterantus VMAX probably won’t be seen too much anymore as it was to take down Tag Team GXs, but expect to see a rise in Dark decks focused around Galarian Moltres V. It has built in energy acceleration from the discard pile with its “Direflame Wings” ability once per turn and can hit for 190 in one turn if it starts on the bench, with standard energy attachment, ability attachment and a Turbo Patch to find the third energy. With plenty of search cards to discard energy, this is a consistent strategy. This deck will do well against the next one on our list, hitting against weakness and seems to have been made to combat its growing popularity.
I mentioned Shadowrider Calyrex VMAX earlier for good reason. Once per turn you can attach a Psychic energy from your hand to one of your benched Psychic Pokémon and draw 2 cards. Now it’s important to note that this “Underworld Door” ability doesn’t specify you can’t activate it more than once per turn (whereas Galarian Moltres Vs ability does have that restriction). So if you had 4 of these in play you could attach 4 energy (5 with your standard attachment for the turn) and draw 8 cards! That is some impressive acceleration, on the same level as Welder and we all know how much that affected games.
And last but by no means least, Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX. You’re going to be weak to Shadowrider Calyrex VMAX, but that’s okay if you can hit quickly. Rapid Strike Energy will give you two energy for the price of one attachment so you’ve got some energy acceleration, but the real trick is Rapid Strike Style Mustard. If this supporter is the last card in your hand you can put a Rapid Strike Pokémon from your discard pile onto the bench and draw 5 cards. So with some tactical discarding, you can put Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX onto the bench this way without needing to evolve it. If you partner this up with “Tar Generator” Coalossal you can get your 3 energy in one turn to make the most of your VMAX.
Rotation is always a fun time of year as we get to see how the meta of the game shifts and there’s always a few surprises that show up in the World Championships.
If you’re new to collecting the Pokémon TCG or have taken a step back due to the events of the last year, this is the perfect time to get back into competitive play.
Stock up on new cards to make sure you’re ready for rotation HERE
Let me know your thoughts on the rotation. What cards will you miss the most? Are there some you’re glad to see go?