I’d Like to preface my top 10 list by saying that I am looking at these cards from three perspectives: 1. In a vacuum/isolated as a singular card 2. In the World’s Format BKT-CST and 3. In Post Rotation SUM-ON. I could have made a Top 15 List as I think there are about 15-20 cards with real potential from this set, but I wanted to be more selective and only include the cards that I think really deserve the spotlight.

1. RAYQUAZA-GX

Rayquaza-GX is one of those cards that are obviously powerful. This 180 HP Dragon type Basic Pokemon-GX starts off with its ability that optionally triggers upon playing Rayquaza-GX from hand to bench. The ability discards the top 3 cards of your deck, and then you may attach a basic energy from your discard pile to the same Rayquaza-GX. This self-energy accel is something that we often see in cards that go on to have success ie: Gardevoir-GX, Ho-Oh EX (DEX). Its attack Dragon Break does 30 damage for every basic Lightning and Grass energy you have in play. This attack costs a very reasonable (L)(G)(C) which is easy to attain in one turn with Rayquaza-GX’s ability, a successful Max Elixir, and Energy from hand for turn. Some important numbers that Dragon Break can frequently hit are 180 with 6 energy on board, 190 with 6 energy on board and Fighting Fury Belt on the active Ray, and 210 with 6 energy on board and Choice Band on the active Ray or 7 energy on board. Tempest GX is a GX attack reminiscent of Drampa-GX’s Big Wheel GX, as it allows you to draw 10 cards for one energy.

 

World’s Format Evaluation: a straight Rayquaza-GX deck built around being as aggressive and consistent as possible can be very oppressive and deal 180+ on turn 2, but it makes for a very linear strategy. Rayquaza-GX/Garbodor which is a variant that is getting some attention in different articles and discussions around the Pokemon TCG online community, trades some aggression and consistency for the option to lock abilities to hinder Zoroark-GX decks after you set up your own Rays. I expect both variants to see play and some success, but a field of players teched and prepared for Rayquaza-GX could very well stifle the card’s initial success due to the linear nature of its variants. Because of Rayquaza-GX variants’ use of many items (Acro BikeMax ElixirMysterious TreasureUltra BallFloat StoneFighting Fury Belt/Choice Band/Wishful Baton, etc) Garbodor GRI’s Trashalanche attack can easily go on an early rampage through a board of Rayquaza-GXs.

 

Post Rotation Evaluation: Both of the variants I am expecting to be present at world’s are expected to be fairly obsolete post rotation. Both variants lose Max Elixir, Float Stone, and Fighting Fury Belt, while the Garbodor variant will be non-existent as Garbotoxin Garbodor BKP is rotating. I imagine we will see something more focused around Shuckle and Latias Prism Star which will be slightly slower with a turn or two of setting up.

2. FORBIDDEN SHRINE

 

Forbidden Shrine is very good, don’t sleep on this card. It has obvious synergy with damage spread strategies involving cards like Yveltal BREAK and Tapu Koko Promo, but it could also find its place in less specific non-GX focused decks.

World’s Format Evaluation: I believe that this card requires a lot of trial and error to find the deck(s) in which it works the way you want it to. I fully expect someone to perform very well at World’s with a unique deck including Forbidden Shrine.

Post Rotation Evaluation: I haven’t tested any Post Rotation specific ideas with this card yet, but I believe that the future will be very bright for Forbidden Shrine as extra tools for non-GX strategies are almost always put to good use.

3. BANETTE-GX

 

Banette-GX is a really cool and unique new card with a great ability and two really good attacks. Its ability Shadow move which allows you to move one damage counter from anywhere on the board to anywhere else, can benefit you by healing your own Pokemon and by adding a damage counter to one of your opponents Pokemon. Often times there are knockouts missed by just 10 damage so I definitely think we’ll see this ability making the difference in some decks in the near future. Its attack Shadow Chant  can deal moderate damage anywhere past the early game. Because of Banette’s psychic typing, Shadow Chant can easily get knockouts on cards like Buzzwole GX and baby Buzzwole. Tomb hunt GX is great for getting back resources, but my personal testing has proven that it is not to replace Oranguru(UPR) because using this against a Zoroark GX variant will usually end up in Banette-GX being knocked out due to its dark weakness.I think it’s important to note that we shouldn’t count this card out just because of its weakness, because looking at really popular cards like Zoroark GX and Buzzwole GX, they both have weaknesses that are easily preyed upon yet they still continue to see incredible success.

 

World’s format evaluation:  I expect to see thin lines of Banette-GX in pre-established decks like Zoroark Garbodor or maybe even a revitalized Drampa Garb with the new Psychic non-GX Tapu Lele. I don’t think world’s format will be the peak of usefulness for this card but it does have some potential to make a splash.

Post rotation evaluation: As with most fresh rotations for the Pokemon Trading Card Game, I expect the pace of the game to slow down a bit and for Zoroark GX decks to either have a decline in play or change significantly due to the cards that these decks are losing. As I stated in last week’s article, I fully expect Banette GX to see play in the 2018-2019 season, but I’m not yet sure in exactly what capacity that will be in.

4. MAGCARGO

 

Magcargo has the smooth over ability which for all intents and purposes is like a mini Mallow. This card is going to find its way right into the Zoroark control variant because of the obvious  synergy between smooth over and trade. Magcargo also has synergy with the new Ludicolo which allows you to draw a card once a turn. I don’t expect this combo to be anywhere near as potent as the combination of Zoroark and Magcargo, but I absolutely feel that it’s still worth mentioning.

 

World’s format evaluation: I expect to only see Magcargo played in the Zoroark control variant as I don’t think others Zoroark variants have the room for another evolution line nor do they frequently have the bench space for a card like Magcargo.

 

Post Rotation Evaluation: I think we might see Magcargo used outside of Zoroark Control in the SUM-On format. There is a new Magcargo-GX coming out later this year that has synergy and there are already cards like Sableye CST and Ludicolo CST that might have some interesting playability later in their lifespan. Choosing what card is on top of your deck is a mechanic that will probably never become obsolete.

5. STAKATAKA-GX

 

Stakataka GX brings to the table an amazing new tool for the ultra Beast archetype that was previously too underwhelming to stand a chance in the standard format. your Ultra beasts take 10 less damage for every stakataka GX you have in play which makes available a new tanking and healing strategy for the Beast box archetype. stakataka GX has an average attack which deals 120 damage for three energy, and a GX attack that can do a lot of damage late game.

 

World’s format evaluation: I personally have been testing a beast box deck focused around Naganadel GX and Stakataka GX that tries to tank damage and heal it off with Max potions. the decks downfall is its lack of draw Power outside of supporters, and I expect that to inhibit its play.

 

Post Rotation Evaluation:  I expect Beast Box to have more viability Post rotation due to Zoroark variants losing Puzzle of Time.

6. LATIAS PRISM STAR

 

Latias Prism Star is a super good card, but only useful in niche situations. This card would not be this high on the list if we did not have Rayquaza-GX which gains a lot from having Latias Prism around.

 

World’s Format Evaluation: I expect to see this card played as much as Rayquaza-GX gets played. I can’t imagine any Rayquaza-GX deck not playing this card.

 

Post Rotation Evaluation: Post Rotation we will still have Rayquaza-GX decks for this card to be a part of, but we also gain a lot of new Dragon type cards in the Dragon Majesty set shortly after the 2018-2019 season begins. Latias’ playability increases with every new viable Dragon type we get.

7. DELCATTY

 

Delcatty is on this list solely for its ability which can have great utility in mid to late game. Friend Search allows you to retrieve two supporter cards from the discard pile to your hand upon evolving Delcatty from your hand. I can see this as a 1-1 line in decks with multiple one-of supporters or even in a deck that has the space and wants to guarantee having Guzma at the right times. Delcatty is an amazing utility Pokemon that I expect to be played once Puzzle of Time is gone. Getting back supporters can be crucial, especially something like Guzma for game. I think Zoroark-GX decks will make good use of this card.

8. COPYCAT

 

With N and Professor Sycamore rotating out of standard after World’s, a reprint of a good draw supporter is great to see. Copycat will likely draw you a lot of cards against Zoroark-GX variants and less cards against something like Buzzroc, so the counts we see played may rely on the meta and the frequency of large hand sizes. This card should see a lot of play Post Rotation.

9. SHIFTRY-GX

 

At 240HP, Shiftry is a tanky stage 2 GX. Perplex is a solid attack that is like Espeon-GX’s Psybeam, but it does 10 more damage. Extrasensory can deal 180 or 210 with a choice band as long as you equalize yours and your opponent’s hand size, meaning this card can one shot Zoroark-GX! Overall, I think it’s a really solid card; Unfortunately, Stage 2 Pokemon have rarely seen success recently.

 

World’s Format Evaluation: The only serious consideration for a Shiftry-GX deck I am aware of is Zoroark-GX/Shiftry-GX. I haven’t been impressed with Zoroark-GX/Shiftry-GX enough to make me consider it over a different Zoroark-GX variant. I think that Zoro Shiftry is the only shot Shiftry-GX has at seeing play at World’s, but its viability is very slight in my opinion.

 

Post Rotation Evaluation: Like many of these cards, I think that their viability post rotation depends on how much the pace of the game slows down. Stage 2’s have recently been viable only when they are immensely powerful (Gardevoir-GX), so we will have to wait and see if Shiftry-GX’s above average attributes will be enough to thrust it in to playability.

10. MASKED ROYAL

 

Masked Royal is a unique supporter card that has potential to be used with Stage 2 Fire, Water, and Grass Pokemon. Like I mentioned in regards to Shiftry-GX, I think that stage 2 Pokemon might have a better chance at seeing competitive play post rotation. Masked Royal may find its way into Zoro Shiftry for World’s format, but I am expecting this card to really have its chance to shine post rotation with Blaziken-GX, Shiftry-GX and Sceptile-GX.

Unfortunately, there are plenty of new GX Pokemon that did not make my top 10 list. But, I have put together a brief ranking of all of the GX’s from Celestial Storm!

1. RAYQUAZA-GX

*Covered in Top 10 list*

2. BANETTE-GX

*Covered in Top 10 list*

3. STAKATAKA-GX

*Covered in Top 10 list*

4. SHIFTRY-GX

*Covered in Top 10 list*

5. SCIZOR-GX

 

I’m excited to test Scizor-GX for post rotation, especially because of the new Fairy-Type support that is coming (Fairy is weak to Steel). Danger Perception is a neat ability that allows you to get one shots if Scizor was already moderately damaged, and Cross Cut GX can get easy KO’s on evolved Pokemon with the help of Dhelmise and/or Choice Band.

6. BLAZIKEN-GX

Blaziken-GX has very little potential at the moment, but I believe it may be good in expanded paired with Battle Compressor and Ho-Oh-GX. Along with the Firestarter Blaziken non-GX that is coming out in the next set, Blaziken-GX could potentially chain knock out after knock out with Explosion Kick. It’s a shame that they gave this card such a bad GX attack, as this card is looking to one shot the opposing Pokemon, not remove their energy.

7. ELECTRODE-GX

I was originally pretty hyped about this card as it’s similar to Electrodes from the past, but the more thought I put into this card the worse it gets. Its ability only attaches to non-GX/non-EX and your opponent takes two prizes when you use it. If it either 1) could attach to GXs or 2) only gave your opponent one prize I think it would be amazing. It does allow for Beast Ring and Counter cards (Counter Catcher and Counter Energy) to proc, so it has some potential because of that.

8. ARTICUNO-GX

The only redeeming quality of this card is that it is weak to metal while the only other popular big basic Water Pokemon is weak to grass (Lapras GX). This is just a worse Tapu Koko-GX with a different typing. Its GX attack is good if you need to stall for a turn, but Tapu Fini-GX is usually better for this as it removes the Pokemon altogether. With 170 HP, no potential to one-shot GX Pokemon that aren’t weak to Water, and a lack of Water archetypes to work with, I don’t think this Articuno-GX is very good.

9. ALOLAN RATICATE-GX

The only way this card would see play is if Buzzroc needed it as a thin line to tech against Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX, but even then you would need to discard two cards from your hand and have a Choice Band attached to Alolan Raticate-GX. Its Hyper Fang attack is horrific, and Item Mania-GX is outclassed by many other resource gathering GX attacks.

10. MR. MIME-GX

If this Pokemon had more HP, I would actually argue that it would be usable against Zoroark-GX post rotation. But, it does not and because of that I see no viability for this card. Any attack that would normally hit for even damage and therefore be prevented with Magic Evens can just be modified with a Choice Band to hit an odd amount of damage.

11. PALLOSAND-GX

While Pallosand-GX has an admittedly cool GX attack, none of its attacks are worth powering up to their high energy costs. There is absolutely no reason to ever choose to play this Fighting type, Stage 1 GX that is weak to Grass when we have Lycanroc-GX, one of the best cards in Standard Format, that is also a Fighting type Stage 1 GX that is weak to grass.

I hope you enjoyed my review of the Celestial Storm GX Pokemon and my top 10 cards from the set. Look forward to new deck lists and BKT-CST discussion as we get closer to World Championships 2018!

 

 

-Luke

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