Just like most of you I’m really excited to see what changes Ultra Prism is about to bring to our metagame. Alex covered the most important cards and other than a couple of quick side notes there’s not much to add, so instead I’m going to cover a topic that I think has been slept on a little bit: what to buy when there’s a new set coming out when you’re on a budget.
Since we are (from what I know) the website with the cheapest subscription, I think it’s reasonable to assume that not everyone who is reading this has infinite disposable income. So instead of only telling you what cards are good enough to buy I’m going to tell you how you can acquire the right cards for the right price.
But I also want to give my general thoughts on some of the newest cards to give you a complete picture, separate from the whole financial part.
This is probably my favourite Pokémon from the whole set from a strength standpoint. A one-sided lock on your opponent’s Tapu Lele-GX is going to cripple their chances of using a turn 1 Brigette and potentially getting them stuck with a dead hand. Its attacks are strong enough to build up a lead.
If it does have a weakness (and I’m not talking about Metal here just yet), it’s the awkward energy cost of WCC and its HP being exactly 200. This leaves it vulnerable to a low maintenance Energy Drive from Tapu Lele-GX. While Freezing Gaze is a pretty strong lock it doesn’t guarantee that your opponent is stuck doing nothing, and it really doesn’t take very many cards to get into a favorable prize exchange against Glaceon. Similarly, if you can manage to just set up with a Zoroark-GX and a reasonably full bench or a Choice Band, you’re fairly likely to get a 2HKO.
For that reason I think Glaceon will remind a lot of players of Trevenant’s times of dominance in Expanded, where the most influental factors on the game are ones mostly outside of either player’s control: who goes first and who has the best opening hand? Whether you get the turn 1 Energy Evolution and whether the other player’s hand is able to deal with it if so is going to have a cascading effect on how the rest of the game plays out.
The fact that a turn 1 Glaceon is easier to get out than a turn 1 Trevenant and that Glaceon’s lock is less restrictive than Trevenant doesn’t change this core dynamic: a bigger emphasis on luck in the opening flip, hand and turn. This is something I thought Pokémon had been moving away from in the last few sets and I’m hoping they aren’t printing more cards like this.
That said, if it’s good, then as a player you’re going to have to deal with it, so you might want to up your raw supporter count in the upcoming tournaments. Speaking of which…
This is the best card in the set in my opinion and I can’t write enough praise for it. I’ve written plenty of times before how awkward supporter choices are in this format, and no matter how good of a player you are sometimes you have to make incredibely horrid moves just because of how limited your options are. If your opening hand has Sycamore, 3 Guzma, one Pokémon and no energy, you’re going to have to dump it and be at a strict disadvantage for the rest of the game.
Tapu Lele-GX has helped this problem by improving the number of outs to an N significantly, but N also has that bad, bad drawback of giving your opponent a new hand, something you just do not want to do if you know their hand is low or dead. The fact that you’re often thinking: “which one of these options is hurting me less” when playing a card of your own shows, in my opinion, poor design.
Cynthia solves this by being a safe option for every moment of the game. It does not discard your resources or give your opponent access to new cards, but it also draws you enough to work with unlike Lillie post turn 1 and Shauna. Slower decks will also be able to save more Ns for the lategame to disrupt the opponent, which used to be a problem for them when their only shuffle draw was N.
We can’t move away completely from Professor Sycamore since only playing 4 N and 4 Cynthia won’t be enough, especially with Glaceon-GX in the format, but you can now play 12 good draw supporters in your deck if you want or reduce your number of Sycamore/N.
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