Friday May 5th marks the release date of Pokémon’s second foray into the Sun & Moon era of the trading card game with ‘Guardians Rising’. Today I want to cover three cards set to shake up the metagame from this newest set. Whilst Guardians Rising is a massive set with many cards holding great potential, I believe that these three will definitely play a big role in the next few months of competitive events.
1. Tapu Lele-GX
Tapu Lele-GX appears to be this era’s newest consistency card. Tapu Lele-GX has features reminiscent of Jirachi-EX and Mewtwo-EX wherein putting this Pokémon into play will allow you to search for any supporter to add to your hand, as well as featuring an attack for two colourless energy which deals 20 damage times the total number of energy attached to Tapu Lele and the defending Pokémon. Fear not – the attack does feature the caveat of not applying weakness, which coupled with the Pokémon’s lack of weakness itself shouldn’t spell doom for Psychic types, nor a metagame filled with Tapu Lele-GX attacking each other all game.
The effect of searching for a supporter is a very welcome addition to the current stable of consistency cards in standard, likely slotting into most decks at a single copy. It allows you to leverage Pokémon search cards such as Ultra Ball to effectively search for any Supporter card you need in the moment, such as a Professor Sycamore to escape a bad hand or a Lysandre to take a knock out on a crucial target. Additionally the attack ‘Energy Drive’ allows Tapu Lele-GX to serve as an alternate attacker in a pinch with an energy cost fulfilled by virtually any deck. The property of the attack to increase in power when there is more energy attached allows it to serve as a check to Pokémon which have managed to attach a lot of energy (such as Yveltal-EX).
This card is an all-star which can find a home in any deck. Acquiring at least a single copy is highly recommended for any competitive player.
2. Field Blower
Field Blower is a new item card which is effectively a reprint of Windstorm. It allows you to discard two in any combination of tool cards and/or the stadium in play. This type of removal effect on an item has been sorely missed, with other tool removal effects such as Rattata’s or Beedrill-EX’s paling in comparison – the former not being useable under Garbodor lock and the latter being too slow for most decks to rely on. Being able to remove an opponent’s disruptive stadiums like Parallel City or ones integral to their strategy such as Sky Field or Team Magma’s Secret Base is the icing on the cake.
In a format with tools which increase HP and damage, and Garbodor providing ability lock when a tool is attached, this card is definitely going to see use with counts varying between 1-2 for the most part. Decks benefiting the most from Field Blower are ones which rely on abilities such as Volcanion-EX or Decidueye-EX, however the effect is so useful that it can be expected that this card will be played in most decks. Enabling ability-based decks and effectively nerfing big Basic-EX and GX decks which rely on cards like Fighting Fury Belt is what this card does best.
3. Garbodor GUR
This card is an all-around fantastic, yet scary addition to the metagame. It injects a new attacking, stage 1 non-GX Pokémon which punishes the very class of card which enables so much of the speed in the game – Items. Garbodor’s attack ‘Trashalanche’ for a single psychic energy deals 20 damage times the number of item cards in your opponent’s discard pile. With decks of today typically featuring anywhere between 20 to 30 item cards, it is easy to imagine an opponent quickly being overcome by the amount of damage being put out by this Pokémon for a single energy attachment.
Of course, your opponent will be able to play around the effect of the attack through careful management of their item use. However, that leads to their strategy becoming very slow and open to being exploited by an alternate attacker running alongside your Garbodor. Garbodor has a secondary attack dealing a less powerful 70 damage which can also discard an energy from the defending Pokémon on a successful coin flip. This second attack ‘Acid Spray’ is powered by a Psychic energy and two Colourless. Because of this, Double Colourless Energy is an easy inclusion and can allow Garbodor to start applying pressure to the opponent’s slow setup. Including Double Colourless Energy also leads to being able to include a plethora of alternate attackers such as the aforementioned Tapu Lele-GX, Tauros-GX and Lugia-EX to name a few.
This combo of applying pressure with Pokémon to force items into their discard pile and then transitioning into Garbodor to punish them for playing items is a great way to run Garbodor, however I fully expect people will be trying all sorts of combinations to best take advantage of it. I would expect that decks featuring this Garbodor to some degree will be relevant for a majority of the card’s lifetime, just as with the other two cards I mentioned.
With that I conclude my strongest picks for most indomitable cards of the set. However, the size of the set means that there are many more cards to look at and explore, so I encourage you to start looking and testing. If you would like to share any ideas or need help with your deck, please be sure to leave a comment!