Uncover the anomalies of Area Zero! It seems only five minutes ago that I was writing a review of Pokemon 151 (actually about an hour, but there you go) but here we are expecting a new set, this time back in the Paldea region’s Area Zero. Out with old; in with the very new and the very old!
Four Way Rift
Paradox Rift is the fourth Main Set from Scarlet and Violet and sees the return of some old ‘favourites’ and some new, if familiar, mechanics. The set itself contains, at the time of writing this, 182 ‘standard’ cards and potentially over 70 rare and secret rare cards. This may change, depending on what else gets included, but as this is a combination of Ancient Roar, Future Flash and Raging Surf which contain 194 standard cards and 76 rares between them, it is likely that there will be little change in that number between now and release date.
I See A Dark Moon Rising, I See Iron Hands On The Way…
Paradox Rift will introduce, for the first time officially, Ancient and Future Iterations of Pokemon, though Big Tusk and Iron Treads have both been seen in the Scarlet and Violet base set – whether they get their own Ancient and Future specification later remains to be seen. Ancient and Future Pokemon in this set will carry the appropriate logo and have a two-tone design to the card. They will also all be Basic Pokemon, despite a lot of them being derived from Stage One and Two Pokemon.
Ancient Pokemon all have a sort of Flintstones pre-historic vibe to them – Scream Tail bears a resemblance to Jigglypuff with fangs and a spiked tail, whereas Dark Moon is an ancient version of Salamance, heavy on the claws. Future Pokemon are essentially robot versions of well-known Pokemon – Iron Bundle is a robot version of Delibird, complete with metal sack, and Iron Valiant is an android amalgam of Gardevoir and Galade (this one is my favourite). Some of these Pokemon have potentially game-breaking attacks and abilities, like Iron Hands’ attack that does 120 damage and claims an extra prize card, or Dark Moon’s attack that can KO any Pokemon whilst almost KOing itself.
Personal Trainers – Ancient And Future You
As well as getting a new brand and look, Ancient and Future Pokemon are also getting their own set of specific Trainer cards, in a similar manner to Rapid, Single and Fusion Strike Pokemon. There may also be type-specific Energy cards, but we are yet to see these. Two of the Tools, the Ancient and Future Booster Energy Capsules, are incredible – the Ancient Capsule increases HP by 60 and prevent Special Conditions and the Future Capsule increases attack damage by 20 and gives free retreat.
The two supporter cards, Professor Sada’s Vitality and Professor Turo’s Scenario are also fairly powerful – Sada allows you to attach two energy cards from your discard pile to two of your Ancient Pokemon and draw three cards whereas Turo allows you to put a Pokemon back into your hand, though this discards all cards attached. I would not be surprised if, like the Strike cards, there will be a way of finding these cards from your deck, but there is nothing available yet.
Experiencing Technical Difficulties
Another familiar, yet much older mechanic is also returning – Technical Machines. These haven’t been seen since Platinum: Rising Rivals, nearly 15 years ago. The new Technical Machines will add an additional attack to the Pokemon they are attached to, in a similar way that the Scrolls and Tablets did in Sword and Shield, but these are discarded at the end of the turn when they were attached. This makes them powerful one-shot attacks whilst allowing different tools to be attached to that Pokemon later in the game.
Two of the Technical Machines deal with evolution – one evolves all your Pokemon, while the other devolves all your opponent’s Pokemon – in a game where Stage 2’s and Rare Candies are now definitely a thing, these could be absolutely devastating effects.
More Teras, More Exs, More Art Rares…
As well as the new(ish), there is also a lot of what we’ve come to expect from the Scarlet and Violet era. Mewtoo, Skeledirge, Garchomp and Froslass all get alternative type Teras, with Skeledirge’s ability to increase attack damage and Garchomp’s attacks already making waves in Japan.
A number of Generation IX Pokemon also get their first exs, with Bombirdier, Armarouge, Maushold and Gholdengo all getting the ex treatment. Of these, Gholdengo is definitely the one to watch, with its combination of a draw engine ability and legitimately powerful attack.
And a Scarlet and Violet set would not be complete without the Art Rares and Special Art Rares – Paradox Rift does not disappoint. There is a two-part Gimmighoul and Gholdengo Art Rare featuring the surfing cheese-string and side-kick, a submarinal Mantyke and a football fanatic Minum and Plusle pairing. There is the potential for a huge 49 Art Rare and Special Art Rare cards in this set, so definitely a collector’s dream or, depending on pull rates, a collector’s nightmare.
Paradox Rift is due to be released on 3rd Novemeber in the UK, but pre-release events will be happening at FLGS’s across the country from the 21st October. Stay tuned for more riffs on Paradox Rift!