And now… the end is near… and so we face… the penultimate set from Pokemon: Sword and Shield. If Ol’ Blue Eyes was a Poke-fan, I am sure this is exactly what he would be singing, because Silver Tempest is here. This may not be the last set, but this is the last big set, and though this swan is not a-perishing yet, they are certainly warming up for Crown Zenith (due out in January next year). For now, though, we have a big old set with plenty to get excited about – more Vs! More Vmax! More Vstars! More Trainer Gallery! More Radiants! AND MORE WAILORD!
But less Lost Zone. In fact, no Lost Zone. None at all. I guess it got lost.
Silver Tempest is the twelfth and also the final big set from Sword and Shield and combines the Japanese sets Incandescent Arcana, Paradigm Trigger, a smattering of Lost Abyss and Dark Phantasm and a further dollop of Trainer Gallery cards from VMAX Climax (I will never not find this subset title amusing) – the big chase cards from this subset this time around are the gold Rayquaza VMAX and Duraladon VMAX cards. Silver Tempest is a bit of a mop up set and does weigh in at a heft 195 cards plus 30 Trainer Gallery cards and 23 super-duper rares – this is still one less than Lost Origin and nearly two thirds smaller than Fusion Strike, so I can’t really complain. So I won’t.
This means that even the white codes can give up some of the good stuff. And by ‘good stuff’ I mean the pretty, pretty, shiny, shiny precious cards of the set. And Jynx.
Unlike the last three sets (Brilliant Stars, Astral Radiance and Lost Origin) there is nothing new to report mechanic wise – like I said, the Lost Zone seems to have done one in this set, which doesn’t mean that you won’t be facing up against endless Comfey/Cramorant/Giratina VSTAR decks, because you will be so… best just sigh audibly and carry on. That’s not to say that this set isn’t crammed with potential, because it is, it’s just that there’s no specific counter for what is now the new Mew VMAX/Genesect V/Meloetta deck. Sorry, am I getting too meta? It happens… I think it might be the age. Let’s try OOH LOOK! NEW SHINY LUGIA! AND IT STILL ISN’T A WATER TYPE!
Actually, Lugia V and more importantly VSTAR is pretty gosh darn good and possesses that meta-synergy with Archeops and V-Guard Energy (Archeops has an ability allows you to search your deck for two special energy and attach them to one of your pokemon and V-Guard is a special energy that reduces V attacks by 30). Normally Archeops would be very awkward as a) it evolves from a basic fossil and b) it’s a Stage 2, but Lugia VSTAR has the ability to play any two Normal pokemon from the discard pile to your bench. ANY. So Lugia VSTAR can set up the Archeops to charge up the Lugia’s attack – 220 damage, plus discard the stadium if you want. Pretty beefy.
The other VSTAR of note (there are also VSTARs for Unown, Mawile and Serperior, which have their moments, and Regieleki has a VMAX – you can check them out for yourselves) is Regidrago VSTAR. It has a very interesting attack that is a call back to the Mew & Mewtwo from Unified Minds – ish. For a fire, a grass and a colourless, the attack copies the attack of any Dragon-type card in your discard pile. ANY. Dragonite? No problem. Dragonite VSTAR? Consider it done. Giratina VSTAR? Get me some! The ability also allows you to dump your top seven cards into the discard pile and retrieve any two cards from the discard pile.
Now there are some other lovely cards in this set which will make things a bit more interesting for certain type decks, namely fire, psychic and water decks (the last one is just hilarious) and a card that will soon become a staple.
Before that though, a special shout going out to the new Unown V. Unowns have always tended to be a bit unusual and sometimes a bit broken (like that Unown DAMAGE from Lost Thunder that could effectively allow you to win the game… instantly). The Unown V is not completely broken, but it could be very decisive if applied at the right time. For three energy of any kind, the attack allows you to win if you have one prize card left. Hail Mary play? Very much so, but I can see this being a table-flip invoking card in the future.
But to the other Silver Tempest cards of note. Fire decks get a bit of a boost with the new Rapidash, and may be familiar to some. It allows a player to discard a fire energy to boost all fire attacks by thirty for that turn. Familiar? Yes, it’s Volcanion EX… only this time, your Rapidashes can stack. Now I’m not saying that anyone will dump six fire energy for an extra 180 damage but… yeah. There’s also a Victini which does the same job as baby Volcanion from the same era i.e. set up the energy you need to CRUSH YOUR ENEMIES. Looks like Steam Siege is back on the menu, boys…
Psychic gets a bit of a boost… actually, not just psychic, because this card will probably end up in a lot of decks. And this card is the new Kirlia (though the Gardevoir has the same ability, but there are better Gardevoirs/Galades out there). It’s attack is not the big pull here – it’s the ability. If you discard a card, you can draw two. Familiar? It should be – we’ve seen it on Cinccino and Liepard in the last three years, so there you are. The difference is that basic psychics are easy to find with Fog Crystal and Ralts has a really irritating attack – the one that turns off your choice of your opponents attacks. Fun.
And water. What does water get. The best of the best – the biggest of big bois – WAILORD! Yes, he may have been missing from Lost Origin (but there is hope for the Wailord from that set being in Crown Zenith… just saying) but here he is, front and centre in Silver temp… what, he’s an Uncommon? AN UNCOMMON? Wow, Pokemon TCG, that’s some shade you’re throwing there… but that also means that you have more chance of pulling him. Yay!
The first thing you have to know about Wailord is that he is big – 200HP on a Stage One Uncommon is HOOOGE. He also has an ability that reduces attacks by 30, making him even harder to KO. He also has a very chunky attack – for three water and one any, it does 120 damage. But if one of those energies is a special energy, this goes up to a whopping 240 damage. From a Stage One single-prize pokemon. Yes, it can have a Pot Helmet or Choice Belt for tank or attack. Yes, it can have V-Guard Energy to reduce damage or Powerful Energy to increase it. Either way, this is the sort of card that will really annoy those players who have invested hundreds of pounds in Giratina VSTARs.
The Word You’re Looking For Is ‘Schadenfreude’. Schadenfreude.
The final new staple card from Silver Tempest is Serena, whose Japanese full art is pulling down big dollar dollar bill, y’all. Regardless of the way it looks, this card is one of those really useful duel purpose cards like Tate and Lyle… Lisa! Tate and Lisa! The two effects that the card can ‘either/or’ have are discard up to three (but at least one) cards and draw up to five or switch one of your opponent’s benched Pokemon V with their active Pokemon. This is the sort of card that can make a big difference in the early, mid and end game.
Need a fresher hand but don’t want to Research it? Serena. Want to refill but need to ditch a Gengar? Serena. Want to bring up that VMAX that you’ve been whittling away at all game? Serena. It isn’t just a really good supporter though – it also makes Braixen and Delphox from this set worth playing too. In a similar vein to the Charizard that worked with Leon, Braixen will do 60 damage for each Serena in your discard pile for two of any energy and Delphox will do it for one so… you could throw one of these in with any deck that plays Serena. Which will be all of them.
Silver Meme Machine
Okay, humour me for just one moment. One more moment. We all love a good meme, right? Absolutely. Well, have I got a meme for you = a poke-meme! Togedemaru, Dedenne, Morpeko and Pikachu are generally considered to be… well, pretty much the same – Pikalikes. In ST, we see all of them together and they have a chain attack (Remember the Hitmon-chain from Sun and Moon? Well, it’s back!). Starting with Togedemaru, who can be KOd for no prizes on a coin flip, onto Dedenne, who does 60 damage and paralysis and ending with either Morpeko, who can do 60 damage to all your opponents Pokemon, or Pikachu, who can do 200 damage – all for one lightning energy each. Tricky to pull off, but oh the amusement…
Gold For The Price Of Silver
Okay, back to the product – the Build and Battle Stadium Box. For all those new to Pokemon TCG or… well, anyone really, each large set in the UK is previewed at FLGS across the country in especially organised Pre-Release events. In these events, players are given a Pre-Release kit, which contains four booster from the upcoming set and 40-card pre-built deck that contains energy, supporters, items, pokemon evolution lines and one of four promo cards. There are then a series of games where players can either play their 40 card decks unadulterated or, depending on what they pull from their four boosters, upgraded with some of the cards they drew. Once the games are over, most shops will then give each player three more boosters from the not yet released set and sent away the happy little bunnies with their ill-gotten gains.
In short, it’s a great way to get a look at the new set and play the new cards without getting too bogged down in the meta-game and getting flensed by seasoned players and their ultra-competitive deck. Sometimes you just want to play a game for fun, you know?
Now not all of you will have easy access to a FLGS, which is sad, but not an insurmountable problem. This is because the Build and Battle Stadium allows you to experience all the fun and excitement of a pre-release event in the comfort of your own home! Each box contains two pre-release kits, as detailed above, but also comes with four extra boosters and a set of damage dice, a coin dice and plastic effect and VSTAR tokens. That works out as 12 boosters, and that alone is around £48 worth of Pokemon goodies – throw in the promos, the pre-built decks, two deck boxes AND all the play accessories and this is just absurdly good value for money.
The four Silver Tempest promos available are: Rapidash (see above), Archeops (see above), Kirlia (see above) and Sunflora. Sunflora is the weakest of the four, but does have a pretty decent attack for a pre-release – two of any energy does 70 damage for every energy card you discard up to three energy – not bad for a stage one uncommon, but no WAILORD.
In my pre-release deck I sadly got the Sunflora, but I did manage to pull the Mawile V trainer gallery card (a very nice-looking card and did well for me in my games) and a holo Crobat (which I couldn’t play but does have a very cheeky attack – 30 damage, but if you KO one of your opponents pokemon with this, take two extra prize cards. He he he). In my Prize boosters, I managed to pull another Crobat and also a full art Reshiram V – not too shabby at all!
There are no pulls guaranteed in any of the boosters, but as seen above, the odds are definitely in your favour and you also get a couple of Promos, which will definitely be a big selling point to the collector. You do get a lot of your money though – no guaranteed Vs like the starter decks, but 12 boosters is nothing to be sneezed at – and considering this is only just more expensive than the elite Trainer Box, which only has 8 booster packs, sleeves, dice and bits – yeah, I’d do this any day of the week, player.