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"Dragons and rats, and Spirit Links, oh my!" An Evolutions Set Review

Caleb Gedemer

Introduction

Hello Dead Draw Gaming readers! I am very excited to bring you all my favorite cards in the new Pokemon Trading Card Game set, Evolutions. This set has a lot of nostalgic feel for me, even though I was not exactly “aware” in a knowledge sense of when the game was released (I was just a few months old), but I do, however, remember vividly my wild fascination of bringing home older cards from rummage sales and things like that. Those were blissful days and with the retro stylist design on these cards, it brings it all back.

Well that is all fine and dandy, but I am not here to bring you on a trip down memory lane (that is not my intent anyways). Today we will be reviewing the new set as I already mentioned, so let us get right into it!

 

Enjoy!

The Cards

Beedrill 007/108

Let us start off with this card. I would like to make mention of this just because of its interesting attack. Swarming Sting has the potential to inflict 160 damage (with four Beedrill in play) wherever we would like on our opponent’s field! That would be a pretty nasty attack!

Unfortunately, this bee is not going to be much of a threat with an attack cost of two unique types of Energy.

One could perhaps Max Elixir when Beedrill is still spawning as a Weedle, but that seems quite unreliable. Exp. Share is another option, perhaps that could have more potential?

Charizard 011/108

I would like to review Charizard because you know, it is Charizard. Many seem to have a true affliction to this guy. Either it brings back some childhood memories, or it just looks cool. I cannot say that I like ‘zard all too much, but one thing is for sure, I do not like this card, at all.

While Charizard’s Ability allows Double Colorless Energy to count as two Fire Energy, the practicality of attaching two of them and then continually attacking them for the rest of the game is just unfeasible.

Fire Spin doing 200 damage is decent, but comes with a disgusting setback that destroys any chance of this card being playable. Discarding three Energy would mean that with two Double Colorless Energy attached, both would be removed and yeah, that will not fly with a competitive deck. Sorry, Charizard.

 

Arcanine 018/108

Right now, this card is completely unplayable. However, there is an Arcanine BREAK on its way in the coming months. I figure I should include a translation, since many of you may not know what it does just yet.

“Arcanine BREAK – Fire – HP160

BREAK Evolution – Evolves from Arcanine

Arcanine BREAK retains the attacks, Abilities, Weakness, Resistance, and Retreat Cost of its previous Evolution.

[R][C] Turbo Flame: 80 damage. Choose 2 basic Energy cards from your discard pile and attach them to 1 of your Benched Pokemon.”

So, with this BREAK, the Ability of Burning Road could prove to be kind of useful. Imagine moving the Energy up from a Benched Pokemon and then dropping some Turbo Flame attacks, all the while accelerating more Energy cards to Benched Pokemon. The regular Arcanine itself is not completely awful, but since it makes it so “this Pokemon” cannot attack, that means that any BREAK Evolution on top of it, also, cannot attack. This card, even with the BREAK, is meh at best.

 

M Slowbro-EX 027/108 and Slowbro-EX 026/108

Ah, Pokemon had a golden opportunity to make a playable card out of one of the coolest looking cards ever, but they failed!

A quick glance at the regular Slowbro-EX should tell anyone how bad it is and for the M Pokemon-EX? Loll Roll Spin is not going to do much if M Slowbro-EX is Confused…

Sure, 200 damage would be nice, but at the added expense of flipping a coin to even do anything, let alone damage ourselves in the process, is far too big a drawback for a viable card.

 

Starmie 031/108 and Starmie BREAK 032/108

Now we have our first winner in this review. Starmie, not the BREAK, is a great card. Greninja BREAK as a deck is already quite good, but with the added support of Energy recovery coming from the Discard? That could push the deck into some otherworldly potential there.

Now the only imminent problem I can foresee is the fact that Starmie does have to Evolve up and that it does not help at all against a potential Garbodor and the Garbotoxin Ability that comes with it. There is even a Staryu from the BREAKpoint set that has a zero Retreat Cost that will be nice to switch at will into a Frogadier to use Water Duplicates with.

Space Beacon is an awesome Ability for sure, but as for the Starmie BREAK? This BREAK has a powerful attack that deals 100 damage to every one of the opponent’s Pokemon. Excuse me, BREAK, Pokemon. Not so hot anymore? I do not think so either. This qualifying measure makes this card abysmal since there are not any “BREAK Pokemon” decks out there right now, really. Against a Greninja BREAK deck, for one, the ‘ninja player would likely just not Evolve up into their BREAKs right away and any potential strategy would be foiled. Now in a ‘ninja mirror, maybe this card would have some potential...

 

Electrode 040/108

Ooo, another cool card right here. Electrode always seems to be finding new Abilities that tend to knock itself out, what a weirdo. However, the ‘trode can turn itself into a “double” Lightning Energy this time. Paired with Raikou, could this be a possible archetype?

Probably not. Giving the opponent a knockout is far too big a drawback, I think, personally. Electrode does add a potentially explosive (ha ha) chance for Lightning Pokemon decks in the early turns of the game.

Unfortunately, I do not see this guy finding a true niche in the format and will likely find its way into Trainers’ binders near you.

 

Mewtwo 051/108

Here we have what is most likely my favorite card in the set. Not only is 130 HP quite an improvement from 60, but a neat switch of Energy cost has made a baddie into a goodie.

With M Mewtwo-EX (Y) decks running rampant in the Standard format, this Mewtwo card should serve as a worthy inclusion in just about every deck playing Double Colorless Energy. Not only that, but it will bring another dimension to actual M Mewtwo-EX (Y) mirror matches.

The math is a little hard to come by here, but even if this baby M2 is not swinging for one hit knockouts, its presence will be felt when engaging in battle with a Mewtwo deck. To get that much desired one shot, M Mewtwo-EX (Y) must have a total of five Energy on it. That is quite a lot to ask for, but even a nice pop in the chops for somewhere in the 100’s is a much-needed boost for many decks that can utilize this card.

 

Mew 053/108

Mew certainly did not get any love from the HP department like its clone that we just talked about, but it does have a nice Ability.

With a Standard format lacking of many safeguarding Pokemon, Mew serves as a potential tool for stall decks against Evolution Pokemon. As for the Expanded format, it now has a huge array of safeguarding critters, pretty much covering just about everything out there.

This card other than a nifty Ability is just something to look at; the artwork is cute.

 

Machamp 059/108 and Machamp BREAK 060/108

I remember finding a Machamp at a rummage sale back in the day, complete with a plastic seal around it. If I remember correctly, it was a box topper for a certain product or something like that. Regardless, good ‘ol ‘champ did not gain much from its old printing.

Its Counterattack Ability is nice, but what is not so nice is a super crummy attack that will never see play. Oh, and I did not even mention, it is a Stage 2 Pokemon.

Sigh, the BREAK is neat as well, but with the attack cost presented, it will not be doing all too much lariating, except maybe a card it is stuck sitting next to in a binder or box.

Clefairy 063/108

The classic print used to be Colorless type, but the new version shows its identity as a pink Fairy type Pokemon.

Sing is a bad attack; worse cards have had the ability to automatically put the opponent to sleep.

Metronome could maybe be a decent attack at some point. A couple Zoroarks have had a similar attack in the past, Foul Play, which has seen some success. Zoroark, though, only took a Double Colorless Energy for its version of the move. Clefairy is probably mediocre, at best.

 

M Pidgeot-EX 065/108 and Pidgeot-EX 064/108

The regular Pidgeot-EX looks cool at least, I guess. Mirror Move could be a cool attack too, unless the opponent just simply chooses not to attack… Feather Lance, on the other hand, not too great.

M Pidgeot-EX is awful, too. For a M Pokemon-EX, doing 130 damage with the added bonus of choosing to switch around the opponent’s Active Pokemon is something to scoff at. With most M Pokemon-EX clocking in with either a massive attack or an awesome effect of their attack, this one is amongst one of the worst printed to date.

Leave these birds in their binder cage, please.

 

Raticate 067/108 and Rattata 066/108

These cards suck! Just kidding, they are perhaps my favorite combo in the whole set! Yes, I am serious.

Raticate has two attacks to start off, both for a measly Colorless Energy, great! Crunch is mediocre, but it could have some use in a troll deck, or something. Now, on the other hand, we have Shadowy Bite. This Bite attack is very reminiscent of Drifblim from Dragons Exalted. I think this attack could be quite swell in the Standard format, in a deck that already plays Rattata. With decks playing lots of Special Energy these days, this attack could be good.

On the flipside, Rattata has a great attack, too. Bite does 10 damage for a Colorless Energy. With a Fighting Fury Belt, it does a massive 20 damage, which is sure to strike fear in the eyes of an opponent. Oops, wrong thing there, this rat’s Ability is the main point of focus in this piece. Mischievous Fang is sick when playing against Fighting Fury Belt Tool cards. The rat can Discard them and then our Pokemon’s attacks can find the knockouts they need. Rattata in M Gardevoir-EX with Despair Ray seems amazing, since Garde can only hit for so much on Pokemon-EX, but this card should be able to always ensure a knockout by Discarding those HP modifiers in the form of Tool cards.

 

Dragonite-EX 072/108

Barney the dinosaur flies in with newfound wings and brings a great Ability with him! Dragonite kind of looks like Barney the Dinosaur with a skin color change, but who cares about that. Pull Up is quite amazing.

M Gardevoir-EX with Despair Ray now has the tools to probably compete for the top stop in potentially both formats! Dragonite-EX can pull Pokemon from the Discard to continually reuse them, Hoopa-EX and Shaymin-EX, for example. Along with Karen, this creates a nasty powerhouse that will not back down from any challenge.

Other than the Ability, this card is meh, though, which is fine. Be on the lookout for this card!

 

 

Venusaur Spirit Link 089/108, M Venusaur-EX 002/108 and Venusaur-EX 001/108

Finally, a Spirit Link for this hefty guy, too! Unfortunately, though, this card should remain unplayable. Yes, Max Elixir and Mega Turbo exist as Item cards and powerful ones at that, but they simply cannot provide the medium this card needs to have an actual shot at the competitive scene. Forest of Giant Plants could potentially get Venu’ out on the first turn of play, but the Energy requirement will be quite a tall order.

Yveltal with Fright Night provides a large problem as well, as the effect of the Spirit Link card will be stopped and this card just becomes as clunky as it used to be without it.

Without getting this card going in the first few turns means that opposing Pokemon will just start dropping damage on the big boy and Crisis Vine will never get a chance to do any damage. As an attack, 120 with Paralyzing and Poisoning is quite nice, but without an effective method to get it online, it is a long shot for competitive play.

Exeggutor 109/108

Now it is time to wrap up. I would like to conclude with the worst Exeggutor card ever printed. Yes, I did even look through them, too. The old egg has historically been a decent card, too, but not this one, by any means.

Stomp can do 30 with a heads flip, radical!

Cool art, though and that professor guy on the bottom is wacky looking.

Conclusion

We have come to the end of another set review, today on Evolutions. This set brings back a lot of reprinted older cards, all the while buffing a few of them up, too.

Overall, there are not too many big cards coming out. A select few should see average to moderate successes in competitive play, though. Above all else, this set is fun to look at.

I hope you enjoyed reading about the new set today! I wish the best of luck to you all at any upcoming events. Take care everyone!



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