I was on site at the Arby’s in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio for the pre-release of the Black and White set of the Pokemon Trading Card Game. The newest set of the popular TCG features more than 70 new Pokémon from the Unova region, along with some possibly game-changing rules. From now on, Trainers, Supporters, and Stadiums are all considered to be trainers and can be played on the first turn. A card that was only a Trainer in the past is now a Trainer-Item, and you can play as many Items as you want per turn.
As before you can only play one Stadium and one Supporter per turn, but they are now called Trainer-Supporters, and Trainer-Stadiums. If a card said that you could search for a trainer, it has been changed to say you could search for an Item. Thanks to these rules, there are many more possibilities for the first turn, and on top of that, the earliest you can play a Stage 2 is on the second turn. Before you evolve a Pokémon, it must have been in play for an entire turn, which means no more Rare Candies on the first turn to a Stage 2.
At the tournament, two decks seemed to reign supreme, and those were decks involving Zekrom and Reshiram. These two legendary Pokémon are some of the most powerful ones yet. Both of them have insanely high HP for a Basic at 130, and an attack that deals 120 damage for three energy. True, Zekrom deals 40 damage to himself for using it, but that only powers up his Outrage attack. In the games that I was able to get Zekrom set up, I was 3-1. Zekrom and Reshiram have the potential to have a major effect on the way decks are made in a post SP world.
In a game where Stage 2 Pokémon are impossible to play on the first turn, and with nearly every deck slowed down, Zekrom may have a devastating effect. Why? Because it is possible to have Zekrom attacking for 120 damage on the first turn. If you start the game with a Zekrom, three lightning energies, a Pachirisu, and a Shaymin, you will be tough to beat. Keep in mind that you don’t need to start the game with all of those cards, since items and supporters can be played on the first turn.
The deck can nearly be made up of nothing but basic Pokémon, but it may be a good idea to use a 1-1-1 Magnezone line for some draw power. Cards such as Dual Ball and maybe even Pokéball could be golden in this deck. You’ll burn through all of your trainers as fast as possible on turn one to get everything you need, and keep it going until you get Magnezone out. Once you do, use as many of the cards in your hand as possible, and then Magnetic Draw for more. Once they’re able to knock out a Zekrom, use a Revive and bring him right back. Super Scoop Ups and Seekers will also let you abuse your Shaymin and Pachirisu combo.
Reshiram on the other hand is easier to set up, and more consistent. A Reshiram combined with the new Inferno Fandango Emboar could be quite crushing. Again, Revives would make it easy to get Reshirams back, and Energy Retrievals and Fishermen will guarantee that you get all of the energy from your fallen Reshiram back into your hand. Emboar will then let you attach as many Fire energies as you want to all of your Pokémon, so Reshiram will continue to attack.
Aside from Zekrom, Reshiram and Emboar, there are quite a few new cards that will find their way into decks. Samurott, Klinklang, Cinccino, Zoroark and Reuniclus are all quite good, and Professor Juniper can be a popular alternative to Professor Oak’s New Theory. Depending on which sets are rotated out, these Pokémon and other new cards may have a drastic impact on the metagame.