What's up Some1sPC readers! The Burning Shadows format is coming to an end and we now set our sights on two brand new sets for the upcoming major tournaments. Shining Legends and Crimson Invasion will make an attempt to shake up our well defined Standard format. As we saw this past weekend, players have arrived at the conclusion that Gardevoir and Garbodor are clearly the top two decks in the format. I'm optimistic that these two new sets will be able to change up these decks and matchups, so we can have a more diverse Metagame for the London International Championships and San Jose Regionals. I'll be going over the stars of both new sets and give my personal card evaluation for what I think will be the most impactful cards from each set. I think it's important to evaluate each card individually, so you can assess things before you dive head first into testing. Lastly, I'll go over my updated Garbodor list with the new upgrades from both sets, as I believe it's going to remain one of the best decks in the format. Let's begin!

Impactful Cards from Shining Legends

Raichu-GX – Lightning – 210 HP
Stage 1 – Evolves from Pikachu
[C][C] Powerful Spark: 20+ damage. This attack does 20 more damage times the amount of [L] Energy attached to your Pokémon.
[L][L][C] Thunder: 160 damage. This Pokémon does 30 damage to itself.
[L][L][C] Voltail GX: 120 damage. Your opponent’s Active Pokémon is now Paralyzed. (You can’t use more than 1 GX attack in a game.)
Pokémon-GX rule: When your Pokémon-GX is Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize cards.
Weakness: Fighting ×2
Resistance: Metal -20
Retreat Cost: 1

My first honorable mention is Raichu GX! The first attack Powerful Spark is very similar to Darkrai EX's Dark Pulse which dominated the majority of the 2016-17 season. It's a great attack with the right supporting cast, as it gives you unlimited damage output and early game pressure. The other two attacks are quite mediocre but could prove useful. Thunder with a Choice Band can pick up some immediate knockouts and Voltail GX could stun your opponent for a turn assuming they don't have the Guzma. The reason this card catches my attention is due to Powerful Spark. Dark Pulse was a force to be reckoned with and should the support for Lightning Pokémon get stronger, it would be a legitimate threat to the format. However, I don't believe that Raichu has that support yet and falls short of being playable in competitive play like Darkrai EX/Primarina GX.

Hoopa – Darkness – 120 HP
Ability: Scoundrel Guard
Prevent all effects of attacks, including damage, done to this Pokémon by your opponent’s Pokémon-GX or Pokémon-EX.
[D][C][C] Super Psy Bolt: 80 damage.
Weakness: Fighting ×2
Resistance: Psychic -20
Retreat Cost: 2

Scoundrel Guard or “Safeguard” effects, have been around the game over the last few years and have proven to be very relevant. They can stagger, halt, or even lock your opponent out of the game completely. They have fallen out of favor over the last year because we didn't have a safeguard for GX Pokémon, but now we do! I believe Hoopa will be an essential tech in dark or hit and run style decks. Dark types have some of the best support in the game and this will help Hoopa see light in the format. Hoopa doesn't make my top five because we currently have counters in Garbotoxin and generally these effects don't dominate the game when people can prepare for them.

Warp Energy
Special Energy
This card provides [C] Energy.
When you attach this card from your hand to your Active Pokémon, switch that Pokémon with 1 of your Benched Pokémon.

Warp Energy is an old-school card that has been around the game for a long time. It's seen consistent play over those years and has already proven to be a fantastic card. The ability to get a free switch through attaching and keeping your energy is great. The downside of this card is it really caters to specific decks and archetypes. It's not a fit for everything and it requires your deck to have less reliance on specific energy cards. You need some extra space to be able to splash in two to three Warp Energy, in order to abuse the flexibility of the effect. It's not for everything and that's why it falls short of my top five.

Top Five from Shining Legends

5) Marshadow – Psychic – 70 HP
Ability: Let Loose
When you play this Pokémon from your hand onto your Bench during your turn, you may have each player shuffle their hand into their deck and draw 4 cards.
[P][C] Shadow Punch: 30 damage. This attack’s damage isn’t affected by Resistance.
Weakness: Darkness ×2
Resistance: Fighting -20
Retreat Cost: 1

Marshadow has another old-school effect that was playable in the past with the “Let Loose” ability. This ability adds a new element of disruption to our format and something that we can take advantage of in the early stages of the game. Putting your opponent to four cards on the very first turn of the game can set them back too far or cause them to “dead draw”. It's also an ability that can be recycled with cards like Super Scoop Up and Acerola. The card has a lot of potential and I could go on for a while about the possibilities. It's not higher on my list because it might be hard to focus your deck around Marshadow and it could be less effective as a single one of tech card. Being able to search it out turn one might be too inconsistent and the card gets significantly weaker as the game progresses.

4) Shining Celebi - Grass - 70 HP (PROMO)
Ability: Time Recall
Each of your evolved Pokémon can use any attack from its previous Evolutions. (You still need the necessary Energy to use each attack.)
[G][C] Leaf Step: 30 damage.
Weakness: Fire x2
Resistance: None
Retreat Cost: 1

I've included the Shining Celebi Promo to this set because it comes with the new packs and it's a great card. This card opens up a lot of doors for evolution decks, as all of the evolution's attacks become accessible. Time Recall has been a successful strategy in the past for Pokémon decks and I see the potential of some archetype being able to abuse that. I haven't delved into all of the combinations since you really need to go back over every card, but there is one that comes to mind. Greninja can take advantage of Froakie's bubble attack to stall while keeping a Greninja Break active. It's not a game-breaking mechanic but it will add another dimension to decks and matchups.

3) Shining Jirachi – Psychic – 70 HP
[P] Stellar Reign: 10 damage. If your opponent’s Active Pokémon is an evolved Pokémon, devolve it by putting all of the Evolution cards on it into your opponent’s hand.
Weakness: Psychic ×2
Resistance: none
Retreat Cost: 1

Shining Jirachi is a great fit in our current Metagame and a great counter to the dominant Gardevoir GX. Stellar Reign can devolve their hard efforts of evolving from Ralts to Kirlia to Gardevoir and reset them back to square one. It also does up to 40 damage with Choice Band, which can be stacked with the additional damage from cards like Po Town. In combination with Espeon EX, I think both cards will prove to be deadly and too annoying for Gardevoir players to handle.

2) Shining Mew – Psychic – 30 HP
[P] Legendary Guidance: Search your deck for 2 Energy cards and attach them to your Pokémon in any way you like. Then, shuffle your deck.
[P] Beam: 10 damage.
Weakness: Psychic ×2
Resistance: none
Retreat Cost: 0

I couldn't believe this card the first time I read it. Accelerating two energy cards seems extremely overpowered and too good to be true, but I guess everything else that comes with the attack is the drawback. Legendary Guidance has a lot of potential to be a busted card and a great support Pokémon in the right deck. You could go a lot of routes with this card but I think the obvious combo is to accelerate some type of Special Energy. The problem with this card is the low HP, which could set up a multi knockout situation from Tapu Koko Promo or Espeon GX. You will most likely lose the energy you paid to use the attack. However, I think these are fair drawbacks and the board you set up with the attack will be worth it.

1) Zoroark-GX – Darkness – 210 HP
Stage 1 – Evolves from Zorua
Ability: Trade
Once during your turn (before your attack), you may discard a card from your hand. If you do, draw 2 cards.
[C][C] Riotous Beating: 20× damage. This attack does 20 damage for each of your Pokémon in play.
[D][D] Trickster GX: Choose 1 of your opponent’s Pokémon’s attacks and use it as this attack. (You can’t use more than 1 GX attack in a game.)
Pokémon-GX rule: When your Pokémon-GX is Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize cards.
Weakness: Fighting ×2
Resistance: Psychic -20
Retreat Cost: 2

The number one card on my list is Zoroark-GX. We have another throwback ability in Trade, which is an extremely useful draw power ability. The discarding effect can also be taken advantage when paired with the right deck. The effect may seem mediocre at first, but when you get out multiple Zoroark and get to use two to three per turn it gets wild. It's also a stage one with a bulky HP of 210, which can be a tank for your opponent assuming they aren't hitting for fighting weakness. The main attack Riotous Beating is quick and efficient. It's not the strongest attack and won't dominate the late game, but it will definitely get you the lead so you can close out the game with the partner you decide to pair him with. The GX attack is the classic copycat attack for Zoroark and one that has a lot of utility in most situations.

Overall, I really like the Shining Legends set and it might end up being more impactful than a 100+ card set like Crimson Invasion. It has a lot of tech options and I recommend players picking up the cards before they start getting expensive when they hit the competitive scene.

Impactful Cards from Crimson Invasion

Honorable Mentions

Gladion – Trainer
Look at your face-down Prizes cards, choose 1 of them, and switch it with this Gladion. Put the card you chose in your hand. Then, shuffle Gladion and the Prize cards you looked at and return them face-down as Prize cards.

Gladion has a really unique effect that could be useful and playable. Being able to select and recover a critical prize card can save you from an unlucky loss due to unfortunate prizes. Another advantage is the knowledge of all of your prizes, for those who don't feel like checking during your searches. It doesn't make my top five because it's sadly a Supporter card and I don't know if you'll have the time or opportunity to use it as a Supporter. Being able to search it out through Tapu Lele GX's Wonder Tag is nice, but we are in a format of playing a draw Supporter almost every single turn.

Lusamine – Trainer
Put 2 in a combination of Stadium and Supporter cards from your discard pile into your hand.

Another new Supporter in Crimson Invasion is Lusamine. Lusamine provides a new recovery dynamic for our Supporter and Stadium cards which could be very useful. There are a bunch of important and overpowered Stadium/Supporter cards that you can take advantage of by putting two of those back into your hand. For example, additional Guzma, Professor Sycamore, Parallel City, Po Town, and with those extra copies you can win the resource war.

Counter Catcher – Trainer
You can only play this card if you have more Prize cards remaining than your opponent.
Choose 1 of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon and switch it with their Active Pokémon.

The last card of my honorable mentions for Crimson Invasion is Counter Catcher. I'm not exactly sure how effective this card will be but I do see some potential. The “catcher” effect is one that has been commonly used over the last few years and the chance to use it as an Item card gives every deck more versatility. The one major drawback is you have to be behind in prizes, which can be situational and too annoying to be able to use consistently. However, I think it's possible in the right deck that this situation could come up often and make this card a perfect fit.

5) Nihilego-GX – Psychic – HP180
Basic Pokémon (Ultra Beast)
Ability: Nihilistic Light
When you play this Pokémon from your hand to your Bench, both Active Pokémon are now Poisoned and Confused.
[P][P][P] Lock Up: 120 damage. Your opponent’s active Pokémon can’t retreat during their next turn.
[P][P][P] Parasite GX: Add the top 2 cards of your opponent’s deck to their Prize cards. (You can’t use more than 1 GX attack in a game.)
When your Pokémon-GX is Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize cards.
Weakness: Psychic (x2)
Resistance: none
Retreat: 2

Coming in at number five is Nihilego-GX! I find this card to be very intriguing as it makes some earlier released cards playable and creates more combinations of synergy. There was a lack of ability based special conditions and now we finally have something. The main card that comes to mind is Alolan Muk-GX. Muk has a nifty Chemical Breath attack, that could have been played but we lacked the resources to activate the attack for its full potential. Now with an ability like Nihilistic Light from Nihilego-GX, we can trigger the full effect and potentially get knockouts on just about everything in the game. I love the ability and can see it being used in other cases as well, but I'll have to discover that combination as I re-evaluate older cards with this new set. The two attacks that Nihilego-GX has are average at best and have a difficult energy cost to fulfill, so I don't see them being that relevant. Parasite GX sounds like a ton of fun, but putting two prizes isn't worth giving up potentially one to two right back to them by setting it up or leaving Nihilego-GX active.

4) Silvally-GX – Colorless – HP210
Stage 1 – Evolves from Type: Null
Ability: Gyro Unit
As long as this Pokémon is in play, all of your Basic Pokémon have 0 retreat cost.
[C][C][C] Turbo Drive: 120 damage. Attach a Basic Energy card from your discard pile to 1 of your Benched Pokémon.
[C][C][C] Rebellion GX: 50x damage. This attack does 50 damage times the number of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon. (You can’t use more than 1 GX attack per game.)
When 1 of your Pokémon-GX is Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize cards.
Weakness: Fighting (x2)
Resistance: none
Retreat: 2

At number four I have Silvally-GX, a colorless type Pokémon with the flexibility of switching it's typing. Silvally gets two new Tool cards in Psychic Memory and Fighting Memory, to change its typing. Matchups in Pokémon are generally dictated by weakness since you get double the damage and this makes both of these Tools incredibly strong. Anytime you get a dual type coverage, it usually means you can check mark at least two matchups in the Metagame and should that typing counter the format, it becomes a decent deck choice. Tools aside, the card is very solid overall! Stage one with 210 HP and two powerful attacks that cost only three Colorless Energy. Turbo Drive can accelerate energy to establish multiple attackers and a legitimate board. Rebellion GX can clean up an immediate threat and has one hit knockout potential. The ability Gyro Unit is nice and should come in handy, but I don't see it playing a major role. Overall, this card is just solid and it can be paired with just about any partner. I'm curious to see what people end up pairing Silvally-GX with and how strong it can be in the game.

3) Kartana-GX – Metal – HP170
Basic Pokémon (Ultra Beast)
Ability: Cut Down
When you play this Pokémon from your hand to your Bench, you may discard a Special Energy attached to 1 of your opponent’s Pokémon.
[M][C][C] Gale Sword: 70 damage. You may shuffle this Pokémon and all cards attached to it into your deck.
[M] Blade GX: Take 1 of your Prize cards. (You can’t use more than 1 GX attack in a game.)
Weakness: Fire (x2)
Resistance: Psychic (-20)
Retreat: 1

Kartana-GX comes in at number three and it's the easiest tech card I see for our upcoming format. Let's start off with the fantastic ability of Cut Down. Enhanced Hammer and energy removal cards have been great for as long as I can remember and Cut Down does just that. It's amazing that Cut Down has much easier access thanks to it being an ability of a Pokémon in comparison to Enhanced Hammer or a Supporter. This gives us easier access to the card, as a simple search card can get out our Kartana-GX and help remove important special energy in play. The other great feature of this card is Blade GX. This GX attack literally takes a prize card and ignores anything that's going on during the game. A completely absurd attack and something that might break the game. Using this GX attack allows you to ignore the “seven prize play” or odd prizes and would instant win in Sudden Death, should that ever happen. Two things that shouldn't be avoidable by attaching a single Metal Energy. Lastly, we have Gale Sword. This attack appears weak but I think it could be underrated. Being able to attack for potentially 100 damage with Choice Band and then run away into the deck which could possibly protect those energies and two prizes sound great to me. This would definitely be useful against Gardevoir GX because of weakness and putting less energy in play. Overall, this is definitely a main star from the set and it would be higher if it had as much potential as the two cards I have above it.

2) Counter Energy – Special Energy
This card provides 1 [C] Energy.
When this card is attached to 1 of your Pokémon (excluding Pokémon-GX and Pokémon-EX) and you have more Prize cards remaining than your opponent, this card provides 2 Energy of every type.

Falling short of my best card from Crimson Invasion and at number two is Counter Energy. In general, special energies always seem to find a way into decks because of how strong their effects tend to be. The drawback of being a Special Energy isn't enough to render these cards unplayable and the effects tend to be way worth the risks. Counter Energy provides two of every energy type for non-GX and EX Pokémon, which opens up just about every possibility for those Pokémon. The potential is endless and it's going to take a while to figure out what can use it the best. The drawback of having to be behind in prizes isn't that bad considering what decks can even play this card. Against the powerful GX and EX decks, normal Pokémon cards are usually at a disadvantage and finding themselves in a comeback situation. With Counter Energy, you can mount the comeback sooner and set up a far stronger board to defend against the onslaught of GX and EX Pokémon.

1) Buzzwole-GX – Fighting – HP190
Basic Pokémon (Ultra Beast)
[F] Jet Punch: This attack does 30 damage to 1 of your opponent's Benched Pokémon. (Don't apply Weakness and Resistance for Benched Pokémon.)
[F][F][F] Knuckle Impact: 160 damage. This Pokémon can’t attack during your next turn.
[F][F][F] Absorption GX: 40x damage. This attack does 40 damage for each of your remaining Prize cards. (You can’t use more than 1 GX attack in a game.)
When your Pokémon-GX is Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize cards.
Weakness: Psychic (x2)
Resistance: none
Retreat: 2

At the top we have Buzzwole-GX! This Ultra Beast has swift and powerful attacks to help demolish your opponent. Jet Punch is a throwback to Landorus EX's Hammer Head attack. One of the strongest early game attacks ever printed and really strong at disrupting the setup of evolution decks. Knuckle Impact is a strong FFF attack, which will be able to clear up just about anything with the help of Strong Energy and Choice Band. The GX attack, Absorption GX, might not be that useful but can help provide early game reach should you lack the necessary damage multiplier. The other major things that make Buzzwole-GX so strong is the support it has as a basic Pokémon and fighting type. You get access to cards like Max Elixir and Strong Energy. The only real and true downside is the unfortunate weakness to Psychic types, with Garbodor and Espeon being contenders in the format. Without those threats, I could easily see this card dominating the format and being a contender at every event.

I've been hearing some pessimism about Crimson Invasion and that the set isn't very good. I think it has many interesting possibilities and it will surprise people with how good it can be. I know it doesn't have obvious or fresh new archetypes, but we are adding new cards to our current card pool and that opens up a lot of potential. I believe we will see some of these techs find their ways into our decks and understand how strong the set really is.

New Modifications to Garbodor from Shining Legends and Crimson Invasion

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