What happens when you combine a skyscraper with a sky dragon? Probably not Pokemon's newest expansion, Evolving Skies, but that's what we're going with today. The Seventh Sword and Shield expansion brought with it new decks, chase cards and a brand new Rotation for the year. Let's hop in and see what it's all about!
This set brings back Dragon types for the first time since Sun and Moon era, and unsurprisingly the set is filled with the usually scaly beasts. Fan favourite 'mons like Rayquaza, Salamence and Altaria are here, with the newest Dragon type, Regidrago, also making an appearance. The big gimmick for Dragon types is how they actually attack. There isn't a Dragon basic Energy. Instead, Dragon Types use a combination of other energies! Drampa, for example, needs 1 Water and 1 Fighting energy to attack for a not too shabby 160.
Out with the Old…
Evolving Skies has brought this year's Rotation with it as well! This means that the cards that can be played in Standard Pokemon TCG tournaments have changed. To put it simply, any card with a "D" or "E" regulation mark on the bottom left corner is allowed now. This is every card released after Sword and Shield! However, losing 6 sets has knocked some stuff away hard. For one, Fairy type is no longer a thing at all. Fairy energy is no longer usable in your deck, and (as far as we know) Fairy has been sunsetted permanently.
Expect previously strong decks like Zacian and Blacephalon to fall with the loss of Tag Team Arceus, Dialga and Palkia GX, Blacephalon and Metal Goggles! Mill decks are going to be harder to run with the loss of Jessie and James, Giovanni's Exile and Mew. Fire Box is also pretty much dead with Welder out of the picture. But what will replace them in the meta?
In with the New!
Well, it's fair to say that Standard will be looking healthier now. ADPZ, Eternatus and Blacephalon being effectively decimated means that you're going to be able to play more single prize decks and Marshadow's removal will let you play Stadiums again! The recent meta decks will remain up there, of course, with Rapid Strike Urshifu and Shadow Rider Calyrex remaining strong, and Ice Rider joining them with the rotation getting rid of some of the major issues surrounding the deck. Zacian V will remain strong, but his brother Zamazenta V will finally get some time with a fantastic deck based around walling out VMAXes and attacking from the bench.
From Evolving Skies itself, there are 3 standout decks. Leafeon VMAX, Rayquaza VMAX and Duraludon VMAX. Using Galar Mine, Leafeon VMAX can deal around 240 damage per turn with Grass Knot, an attack that deals 60 damage for each energy in your opponent's retreat cost. Rayquaza VMAX uses the new Flaafy engine to stack up energy types and deal huge damage with its Max Burst! Duraludon VMAX uses the Metal Transfer ability of Bronzong from Battle Styles to be able to heal for free and deal huge damage!
Going on a Fox Hunt
As for chase cards, the obvious and shining example is the brand new alt-art Eeveelutions! Sticking with the theme of classical art aesthetics, these capture the many evolutions of the Evolution Pokemon just doing various things. Glaceon V sleeps on a bench in the snow, Sylveon V runs a cake shop and Espeon V just wants to read some books! Pokemon and Trainers are hanging out in other alt arts, with Zinnia and Rayquaza and Raihan and Duraludon. Chilling Reign Inteleon, already a strong powerhouse of a Pokemon and the most expensive rare in standard, gets a Secret Rare to himself!
Evolving Skies has definitely made a mark on the Pokemon TCG for a while. With the products that have come out with it, such as the V-UNION packs, who knows what could happen with Fusion Strike and beyond? I hope it's bench protection. I want to play Durant Mill again.