The Best of Guardians Rising - What’s Good, and Why
by Caleb Gedemer
Hey Dead Drawers, guess what gets released in just a few days? Sun & Moon—Guardians Rising, that’s what! I haven’t seen so many players hyped up about a set in years, and I can’t say I blame anyone for feeling that way. This expansion is insane! With over one hundred forty new cards, and a huge chunk of them being playable, Guardians Rising is sure to shake things up in both the Expanded and Standard formats. Want an inside scoop on what looks good, and some cards that have me interested? That’s what I’m here to talk to you about today, so let's get right into it! Sit back, relax, and learn about the cards you should be saving up for in the near future. Enjoy, y’all!
Before I get started, anything that isn’t on my list is more than likely something I’ve deemed bad, or unrealistic to work, like the Stage 2 Metagross-GX, for instance. Aside from that, I won’t be talking about any reprints, either, since I’m sure you’re already aware of them if they’re any good.
Since there are so many things in this set that are playable, I might not be going as in depth with my thoughts on each card, but you’ll still leave with a great sense of
“what’s good, and why”.
Japanese cards scans and translations all courtesy of PokeBeach. You can view them for yourself here. Thanks to all the good folks there!
Here we have a boring old Phantump… Oh wait, it’s Grass! While this isn’t particularly relevant in the Standard format, in Expanded, everyone’s favorite tree is going to be seeing a pretty nice boost, since now Trevenant with Forest’s Curse can be dropped even easier, without Wally, by using Forest of Giant Plants. I don’t think this is that great in a traditional Trevenant deck, but I think we’ll see a brand-new archetype, Decidueye-GX / Trevenant. The spread of damage in that deck will be insane, and I can’t wait to test it out.
This card is pretty decent, too. In a deck that plays Vileplume, this Trevenant will be an incredibly formidable attacker. Since ‘plume stops Item cards from being played, you can expect a bounty of them when your opponent reveals his or her hand.
This card seems to be hyped by a few people I know, but I don’t think it’s all too great. While Resolute Claws is similar to a “Gold Breaker” attack, like on the old Bouffalant from Dragons Exalted, I don’t expect it to be too easy to stream these guys. Maybe if you played Exp. Share to keep attacks coming? Although, if you did that, then you couldn’t play the new Choice Band card, which I’ll be covering a little later on, and trust me, that card makes Golisopod’s attack pretty bonkers.
The release of Sun & Moon heralded a new rule change with Burn. When a Pokemon is burned, two damage counters are placed on it between turns as long as it is still burned. After the damage is added, the player with the burned Pokemon must flip a coin, if heads, the burn goes away, if tails, it stays. This is sort of cool, since it makes it more of a viable Special Condition you’d like to inflict on your opponent. Hot Poison is the only reason you’d ever be running this card, and it effectively is a three damage counter Ability drop with the Burn and Poison conditions together. I think this could maybe be okay in a Vespiquen deck, to boost your damage output, or something that does more damage depending on if the defending Pokemon is affected by Special Conditions.
Turtonator is probably among the top three cards in this set. Nitro Tank GX is absolutely ridiculous when used in a Volcanion deck, since you can Steam Up multiple times to get Fire Energy in your discard pile, and then go crazy by attaching them all back to your Pokemon in play. Crimson Flame is also stellar, and can hit even higher numbers than a Volcanic Heat attack can.
020 Alolan Sandslash
The most recent use of a card like this was Slurpuff in Seismitoad-EX decks, all the way back in the 2014-2015 season. I’m not sure Alolan Sandslash will see the same success, but whenever we get a new card that has anything to do with consistency (like drawing cards in some way), it’s worth at least some mild discussion.
All the Presents not only is fun to say, but I’m sure it’s even more fun to use. Flip a bunch of heads, and you just unlocked the door to your entire deck! I don’t think this is very competitively viable, but if you’re using a deck that requires some setup, maybe it could be used in there.
Borne Ashore is the only reason why I’ve included Alomomola in my piece today. That attack is pretty decent, since the Standard format lacks anything like it, ever since Target Whistle was rotated out. The attack could be an alright way to get ahead in a Prize race, by putting a Shaymin-EX on your opponent's Bench, for instance.
I love cards like this Garbodor, that are going to make players think about more than just normal interactions in a game. Now, you’re going to have to be counting the Item cards in your discard pile, trying to keep the count at a low enough number to avoid a disaster when this Garbodor attacks. This card is an instant inclusion in anything already playing Garbodor(BKP) and Psychic Energy, like M Mewtwo-EX decks. It’s finally the non-EX/GX attacker that Mewtwo has been looking for.
055 Oricorio (Pa’u)
This little island spirit is very nice in some of the M Pokemon-EX decks, specifically Gardevoir and Rayquaza. It not only serves as a Bench sitter, but it’s Ability is very useful in both of those builds, since they try to get Energy in the discard for in order to use Mega Turbo quite frequently.
056 Oricorio (Sensu)
Night March is finally dead? Well, we all said that when Karen was released, so I’m assuming this card’s release won’t end up changing much in the end, either. Supernatural Dance can be used in any deck, unless you’re not playing Energy cards, and its effect is insane against a March deck. If your opponent has just three Night March Pokemon in his or her discard pile, you’re already at enough damage to take a Knockout on a Joltik without a Fighting Fury Belt. The whole goal of this card in my eyes is to take down multiple Night Marchers at once, and that’s definitely doable when your opponent starts reaching to hit higher numbers.
Steelworker is the only attraction I have to this card, and I’m currently searching a solid Metal type Pokemon to pair with this Dhelmise card. Scizor-EX comes to mind, since it’s Steel Wing attack alone can do 90 damage with four Dhelmise in play and a Choice Band. I’m just not sure that’s the best card to pair with this. Time will tell if there’s something better out there!
060 Tapu Lele-GX
Time for the money card in the set, and what is definitely the best card overall. Tapu Lele-GX is a pseudo reprint of Jirachi-EX with its Wonder Tag Ability, but it’s even better with its improved HP, and viable attack - Energy Drive. Not only that, but in a M Mewtwo-EX deck, or anything with Psychic Energy, you could use Tapu Cure GX to gain a huge advantage against something that had been racking up the damage counters on your side of the field. This card is one of the best overall cards ever printed, in my opinion, having a great Ability, and solid attacks.
Machoke is really cool, it stops damage from Decidueye-GX’s Feather Arrow, which I feel is a pretty big deal. If your deck is struggling against Decidueye, you could play a thin line of Machoke to fix that. It also doubles as a way to prevent damage from attacks to your own Bench, which is good too. I know it seems weird, but Machoke in Gyarados decks could be just what the doctor ordered.
I’ve been patiently waiting for this card and at last, we have it! I love Sudowoodo in a lot of decks, especially M Rayquaza-EX ones. Making your opponent only have four Pokemon on the Bench isn’t the hugest deal, but in decks that just want more Bench sitters, ‘woodo is the perfect inclusion, and applies a little pressure for your opponent to make due with what Pokemon are in play.
The Lycanroc-GX Promo has been out for a while now, and hasn’t done much of anything as far as results go. This one, though, I think is much better. Its Bloodthirsty Eyes Ability is a neat addition to a variety of decks, and it might make its Promo sibling viable. Its attack isn’t great, but the GX is solid. This might see some play.
Weird, huh? 190 damage on a 70 HP Pokemon, I thought so too! Cosmicsplosion is an alright attack, and this card could maybe see some play with Carbink BREAK, or even the new Rayquaza card that I’ll be covering shortly. Giving up a single Prize when you’re taking a Knockout on a Pokemon-EX/GX is completely okay when you’re getting ahead in the Prize race.
I’ve heard differing opinions on this ‘krow, but I like it. Raven’s Claw is a very simple attack to use with Double Colorless Energy around, and in a deck that plays Yveltal-EX and focuses on using Y Cyclone, this card seems pretty viable as a cleanup attacker. You can play multiple Escape Ropes, and force your opponent to continually switch around attackers, building up a surplus of damage on his or her side of the field. Then you can pick a big target, and finish it off with Honchkrow.
Here is another one of the very best cards in Guardians Rising. Limitation is fantastic, and along with Decidueye-GX and Vileplume, seems like a pretty broken combo that can stop your opponent from really doing anything. Along the way, you’d be using Feather Arrow to do damage, to make up for the lack of damage in Sableye’s attack.
A friend of mine brought this card to my attention, and thinks it’s the perfect partner with Tsareena from Sun & Moon. The goal of the deck would be to discard all the cards in your opponent’s hand, and then use Team Rocket’s Handiwork during your turn to mill the opposing player’s deck, and end your turn with a Future Sight, locking them out of playable cards. You’d also play Energy disruption cards, of course, to make up for any missed opportunities along the way.
Here we have another card for a disruption deck in the making. Magical Ribbon provides a perfect way to continually get cards that will disrupt your opponent, and Priere GX will set him or her back plenty of turns in most cases. I’m not completely convinced about this card, but I know it’s had some success in Japan, and it seems like it has a lot of potential.
I don’t see any use for this card right now, but it’s good. Just like many of the Special Condition prevention cards before it, Virizion-EX, for example, it should see play time at some point.
I didn’t notice this card until recently, and I’m glad I did. It’s really cool! Turbo Storm is the only attraction here, but it should have a lot of use in a variety of decks that use Double Colorless Energy, as well as Basic Energy of some kind. There’s too many things this could be good in, it’s just a matter of figuring out if its inclusion in a deck is worth it at this point.
Just like with Alolan Sandslash, this card has some potential. I can see it being decent in a Vespiquen deck, to stockpile a big hand that hopefully contains a lot of Pokemon, and then dumping it all in some way to fuel Bee Revenge. Maybe it could be okay in some sort of deck down the line assuming Shaymin-EX gets rotated, as well?
This card seems to be doing very well over in Japan, and I can see why. All its attacks are very solid. To start, discarding Special Energy has always been fantastic, and I can see Berserk being pretty decent, too, when it swings for 150 damage. Great Revolution GX can provide a viable GX attack for nearly any deck, and be the insurance a lot of builds need against late game N disruption. The only downside to that is that your opponent can just immediately play an N again, getting rid of your massive hand of ten cards.
116 Aether Paradise Conservation Area
This card is as simple as the text reads, and somewhere down the line there will be a Grass or Lightning deck with Basic Pokemon that decides to play this card. In Expanded, Raikou decks could potentially play a few copies of this right away.
117 Altar of the Moone
I really love this card, and think it’s amazing in Darkrai-EX decks, as well as even in M Mewtwo-EX builds. Switching between attackers has become a thing of the past, and having the option once again can create some interesting scenarios. Avoiding Knockouts is always a good idea, and this Stadium can help you do that.
118 Altar of the Sunne
Will M Scizor-EX finally regain some of its past viability? I don’t think so, but this Stadium will probably get people to start playing it again. Additionally, it should have some playability in Volcanion decks, in the mirror match, stopping your opponent from hitting you for Weakness with Volcanion-EX’s Volcanic Heat attack.
119 Aqua Patch
Here’s another one of the stars of this set. Aqua Patch is sure to bring around a new and improved Water toolbox type deck, and it’ll make that deck one of the fastest available in the Standard format.
120 Brooklet Hill
This card is cool, and can work as just another consistency card in Water and Fighting decks. Not much else to be said about it.
121 Choice Band
The return of Silver Bangle, but even better… Choice Band can be placed on any Pokemon, even Pokemon-EX/GX, and can get some attacks cranking even higher damage outputs. I’m most excited about this card on Vespiquen, since in Standard its damage output can sometimes be lacking, and this card is sure to please the queen bee.
122 Energy Loto
Need a way to find Double Colorless Energy more efficiently? Here you go. This card could see some play in Dragonair / Darkrai-EX decks, as a way to find Double Dragon Energy, which is a little scary to think about.
125 Field Blower
I think this is the most influential card in the set, as it makes Volcanion the unstoppable powerhouse I think it was intended to be. Garbodor used to be its biggest problem, but with the release of Field Blower, Garbodor is no big thing, and you can get right around it. If Decidueye-GX / Vileplume didn’t hop into the scene, this card would have been insane in Greninja BREAK decks, too. Blower will find its way into most decks, I think, as a means to get around Fighting Fury Belts, too.
I think Hala has the most use in a deck that uses its GX attack early, like a Drampa-GX deck, or Solgaleo-GX deck. It definitely is a solid Supporter, and I believe it will see some play in a lower count.
Alolan Sandslash, Bewear, Shaymin-EX, Octillery, Oranguru, and Unown are just a few cards (in Standard) that can draw cards off the top of your deck with an Ability. These Pokemon options are sure to please when you use Mallow in your deck, as it can be a free search for whatever you want. I think Mallow will see some play going forward.
129 Multi Switch
This card is very interesting, since it can move Double Colorless Energy around, namely. I don’t see it being played at all, since most times you have your Energy where you want it to be right away. Either way, it’s a cool card that might see some play.
130 Rescue Stretcher
Jeez, Vespiquen is getting so many new options! I think this card is a great new inclusion in there, and in Gyarados decks. Aside from that, it’ll probably see the light of day elsewhere, too.
Holy smokes, Trainers! That was a lot of new, playable cards. Be sure your wallet is padded before starting to invest in the cards you need from this set, and be sure to check with Dead Draw Gaming before you put your money on the table. Here at Dead Draw, they’ll be more than happy to answer any questions you may have about product or singles, and give you a great price while they’re at it, too. Thanks for stopping by everyone, catch you next time!