Hey guys, it’s Justin here. Today, I’m bringing you an article on Lost Thunder and I want to talk about a deck that I think is strong heading into Brazil and Virginia. As I’m writing this, Lost Thunder is about to be released and will be legal for the next major event. The general consensus is that this set is very strong and will have an immediate impact on the format. I agree with this statement for the most part, whether the effect will be on existing archetypes or create new ones altogether. I’m going to highlight some of my favorite cards from the set and talk about their strengths. Let’s get into it.

Honorable Mentions

Before we get into the major cards I like in the set, I just want to mention some cards that people aren’t talking about as much and might have potential.

Shuckle

The main reason I like this card is because of the ability. It’s a Battle Compressor for energy. Oricorio began to see play at the end of last quarter in Malamar decks and I believe Shuckle can replace Oricorio in those decks. It also gives Alolan Exeggutor a way to get energy into the discard. I believe that Alolan Exeggutor becomes very strong with the addition of this card and I will get into that later in the article.  The attack isn’t that strong, but it has some synergy with its ability. For example, you can use Shuckle in Ray and use its attack to power up Rays.

Shuckle GX

I like this card because of the ability as well. I believe this card has potential in a Zoro-control deck. Obviously, the card isn’t very good against Ray or Malamar, but it could be strong against decks that only attack for one or two energy such as other Zoroark variants, Shrine decks, or Buzzwole/Lycanroc.

Nihilego

When I first saw this card, I immediately saw the synergy this card had with Buzz/Shrine. Since that deck will usually force your opponent to go down to two prizes, you will be able to use the attack for value. Copying your opponent’s attacks has generally been strong throughout the history of the card game, and I believe this card will find a home in Shrine decks. The second attack could also be used in a pinch to put your opponent in a precarious position.

Onix

Onix may not look like much at first, but the strength is in its simplicity. It’s a non-GX Pokemon that can one-shot Zoroark. The attack cost is a little high but that shouldn’t be too hard to hit in decks like Malamar or Vikaray.

Grovyle/Sceptile-GX

I wanted to highlight these cards in combination because they work off each other. Net Ball and Grovyle’s ability give grass decks a turbo boost in consistency. Grovyle could give decks like Alolan Exeggutor, Shiftry, and obviously Sceptile a search engine it didn’t have last format. Grovyle also allows you to play the non-GX Sceptile, which protects all your pokemon with grass energy from Ultra Beasts. This is particularly strong because two of the strongest pokemon in the game are Ultra Beasts (Blacephalon and Buzzwole). Sceptile-GX is a decently high HP Stage 2 Pokemon that has good utility. For a single Grass energy it does 60 damage and discards a Special Energy attached to the opponent’s Active Pokemon. This is good against decks that rely solely on special energy like Zoroark. The second attack does 130 for two Grass while moving an energy to the bench. This is strong because it spreads your energies out and allows you to lose one less energy if you wanted to Max Potion Sceptile. The GX attack allows you to heal all the damage off of each Pokemon that has grass energy, which gives you a reliable way to handle Spread and Shrine decks.

Xerneas Prism

I think this card is being slept on. A 160 HP Basic that has resistance to Dark should be strong. The attack is also strong, being able to deal 160 damage--190 with a Choice Band--for three Fairy. The ability also allows you to instantly power it up once it comes into play. This card could be a good non-GX attacker in Gardy decks. Gardy has been searching for a reliable non-GX attacker ever since Gallade rotated. I believe Xerneas can fill that role and then some.

Larvitar

I’m not sure how good this card will be, but I wanted to give it a mention before I wrapped up the Honorable Mentions. This card does 10+ 70 if your opponent’s Active Pokemon has three or more damage counters on it. This could be a strong backup attacker in Spread or Shrine decks. It’s also fighting, so you could potentially one-shot Zoroark.

Top Cards

Zeraora-GX/Electripower

I think this is one of the best cards in the set. It might seem familiar in some ways, borrowing things from three other powerful cards of the past: it has an ability similar to Darkrai-EX, it has the same attack as Lapras-GX and it has the same GX attack as Turtonator. The card has so much versatility. It can be played in VikaRay to give your Pokemon free retreat, giving you something to pivot into between turns. You can play it in a straight Ray deck and use its GX attack to set your Rays up with energy. Lastly, you can play a deck focused around the card itself. With Thunder Mountain and Electripower coming out in Lost Thunder, you could realistically do 220 damage on turn two. The biggest downside to this card is its fighting weakness, but that could be mitigated with Weakness Policy. I think this card will be played immediately, and I’m excited to see if anyone can find a broken way to play it before Brazil or Virginia (hopefully I can do it lol).

I also wanted to touch a little bit on Electripower. This card is essentially three Plus Powers put into one card, but only for Lightning Pokemon. This card can give you huge swing turns and allows you to manipulate your damage output throughout the game. For example, you can play four Electripowers in one turn and do 120 more damage, or you can stagger them and spread your damage output throughout the game. It also can give Spread decks with Tapu Koko Promo the ability to get four more flying flips off, in a way. This card gives Electric decks damage flexibility it didn’t have before, and I expect it to be in most decks with Lighting-type Pokemon.

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