‘BREAK’ing down the new Pokémon TCG sets! X&Y Breakthrough Set Review.

As the Pokémon TCG competitive season is just around the corner, with events to take place from January to July, the last Standard set to hit the shelves of the Pokémon TCG is ‘X&Y-Breakthrough’. With an all new and never before seen mechanic known as Break Evolution, the game will certainly be incredibly different coming into the competitive season. Whether you are a new player looking to get into the game, or a seasoned veteran looking for an edge on the competition I guarantee this article will have some useful information for you!

To start things off, the cards that we are looking at today are limited only to the 164 cards that you will find in the Pokémon TCG expansion ‘Breakthrough’. Unfortunately, to write about each and every card would turn this article into the length of a published novel and we just don’t have the time for that! However, we will be going over some key, game defining cards you can find in the set and giving tips and ideas on how best to implement them for newer and older players.


Let’s take a look first at the new mechanic that this set has introduced into the Pokémon TCG this year and that is the idea of ‘Break Evolution’. The ‘BREAK’ mechanic is a further step of Evolving in the Pokémon TCG, giving players the option to evolve their already fully evolved Pokémon a step further and creating all new opportunities and strategies that come with the idea. At first glance these cards seem quite strong to the newer player as they often possess stronger attacks, more hit points and in the case of many of these newer cards, a very standout artwork. When in play, the Pokémon BREAK cards are placed sideways over the artwork of existing Pokémon to give them a significant boost to their Hit-Points and abilities while still retaining the Abilities, Attacks, Weaknesses, Resistances, and Retreat Costs of the originally evolved Pokémon. This is what sets these new cards apart from anything that we have seen in the Pokémon TCG X&Y expansion series, the ability to evolve and retain the attacks & effects of the original Pokémon on cards. For the newer player, the Pokémon TCG ‘BREAK’ mechanic is a great starting point and cheaper alternative to the already powerful EX Pokémon that have been a  part of the game for over 4 years.


Let’s take a closer look at some of the more impactful and overall strong cards from the set now! We will be looking at 3 cards in this review, 3 cards that I have had the opportunity to play around with and get a good feel of how they may fair in competitive play in the upcoming season. Fear not if you are a newer player reading this! Just because this section of the article is more geared towards a review of the competitive viability of these cards, it doesn’t mean that there is not a slew of useful information for you too. If your children are thinking of picking up the game, these are some cards that they can keep an eye out for if they do want to take it to the next level. At the end of this section, and after having a chance to play around with most of the cards in the set, I will be giving my overall thoughts on the set and if I believe that the set is a worthwhile starting point for children and adults alike!

Without another moment, let’s take a look at the 3 cards I believe have the biggest impact on the competitive season from Pokémon TCG X&Y Breakthrough!

  1. Zoroark (BRK 91/162)
  2. Mega Mewtwo EX (BRK 63-64/162)
  3. Gallade (BRK 84/162)

Zoroark: Let’s start off right away at the card I believe will have the most impact on the meta-game coming into the tournament season in January and that is Zoroark. With a total of 100hp, this stage 1 Pokémon possesses many incredibly strong up sides that make the card useable in many situations. To begin with, the 100hp is actually a very relevant statistic in both a positive and negative light as it makes the card unable to be searched out by Level Ball but is tough enough to withstand many different forms of attacks from current popular tech cards. Zoroark’s ability ‘Stand In’ acts like an older format card named Keldeo EX that was extremely popular for almost 2 years and whose ability was used in a myriad of decks to protect the active Pokémon and skirt around special conditions. The ability on this Pokémon specifically is thoroughly useful in a Meta game that revolves around powering up Pokémon on the bench or getting trapped active Pokémon out of trouble. Overall Zoroark is an exception card with a lot of potential to make its way into several top tier decks moving forward into the season.

433px-MMewtwoEXBREAKthrough160M-Mewtwo EX: Next on my list of 3 exceptionally powerful cards that will influence the game is Mega Mewtwo EX (or, M-Mewtwo Y). It takes its place on my list at #2 because of its overall strength in a very weak pool of EX cards that exist in the set. Not to say that Mega Mewtwo Y is a bad card by any stretch; its attack is incredibly powerful and destructive, plus the added bonus of 210hp is nothing to scoff at. However, what makes it stand out much more than the other cards in the set is just how weak all of the other EX’s are. Glalie/Houndoom/M-Mewtwo X and the rest are all much weaker by comparison and will not have the same, if any, effect on the game coming into the new season. Mewtwo’s attack involves what we call stacking damage, where the more energy that you put onto your Mewtwo the stronger is becomes. This is an incredibly powerful attack in any Meta, with very few attacks in the game having the ability to hit 210 damage on the first few turns of the game. Of course, this attack will continue to be a strong choice for players new and old as the synergy with Double Colourless energy exists.

429px-GalladeBREAKthrough84Gallade: Finally, my 3rd choice of impact cards of the set is Gallade, the stage 2 Fighting Pokémon. By itself, Gallade is the same as many stage 2’s in the format; with a pretty good ability and a decent damage attack. However, what makes Gallade stand out is its synergy with an older card ‘Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick’ and just how well it can abuse it at any stage of the game. With this card, you are able to bypass the general idea of evolution and bring Gallade in to play from your discard pile on turn 1.  When the card has the power to be brought out on turn 1 and stay on the field with a massive 150 HP, you are safely assured it will be sticking around for turn after turn pumping out damage and being able to support your strategy. With many strong Electric cards in the format, the added benefit of being a Fighting type that only requires a Double Colourless Energy to attack is an absolutely great way to go about building a strong deck for the future.

After playing around with a lot of different cards and deck ideas in this set, the Pokémon TCG set X&Y Breakthrough is definitely a good set if you want to get into the game on a starter basis. With over 160 cards in the set, there is a fantastic opportunity to play with a whole range of different cards to suit the style of play that you want to emulate. Do you want to be a competitive player? Well you’ll want the sought after cards that I listed! Do you want to have fun with your friends and play a specific type of Pokémon? Well, with over 160 cards there are dozens of combinations and new exciting ideas to try! As a player who has played for close to 6 years now, I have seen many different Pokémon TCG sets come and go in my time. This set, among the last few sets that the Pokémon Company has released, has really raised the bar in terms of competitive viability and overall strategy present in the game. If you are looking for a great Christmas gift for kids that enjoy ripping open packs then Breakthrough is guaranteed to have something that they will enjoy.

If you are looking for events in your local area, or are looking for stores that are close to you, it is important that you check out the official Pokémon TCG websites here.




I hope you guys enjoyed my article breaking down all the ins and outs of the Pokémon TCG set Breakthrough. You can find me doing articles for ATGN as often as my schedule will let me, so I hope that you can keep up with my work in the future!

-Bodhi Cutler

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