The Pokemon Sword and Shield base set is upon us, and since we’ve had a few weeks to test out a few of the cards, see what other players thought, let’s take a look at our picks for the top 10 cards from the set.
Frosmoth was an easy inclusion on this list, but choosing where it landed was slightly more difficult. It has an ability like we saw on the old Blastoise in which you can attach as many water energies as you like on your turn; this time on a stage 1. Now considering that Blastoise deck was the indisputable best deck at the time how is this not higher?
Well it doesn’t have the benefit of something like Archie’s Ace in the Hole, but also unlike Rillaboom’s ability coming up you need the energy in hand, and we don’t have the hand manipulation like we did then to achieve that so easily.
Like I just said, very similar ability as Frosmoth. But this one you can only attach two via the ability, so potentially 3 a turn, but it does allow you to find them from your deck, so you don’t need them in your hand.
It can be difficult to get all your energy in your hand when needed with Frosmoth, so the fact you can just go grab it from your deck is extremely helpful and much more consistent of a card.
Inteleon / Sizzle
They’re both in the same evolution line so had to be included in the same entry. They are basically consistency cards, allowing you to search for trainer cards when you evolve them.
It’s not just draw cards, it’s choose two trainers from your deck for Inteleon and 1 for Sizzle. It allows you to set-up relatively well, however it is a stage 2 so I couldn’t bare to put it any higher. With things like Evolution Incense and more search cards entering the game it does make it a very interesting card though.
Since Ultra Ball left the format the void hasn’t really been filled, but things like Quick Ball are doing the best they can to lend a hand. This says discard one card and take a basic Pokemon from your deck. Now considering things like Zacian, Sableye and a whole host of really good cards from this set are basics, this is a very good card and will be a staple in most decks.
Discarding can be a good thing for some decks too, and again since the removal of Ultra Ball, we don’t have reliable ways to choose cards to discard, and this again fills that void.
Now this is one of my favourite Pokemon, so I can’t put into words how happy I am I get to rank it this highly, because I do genuinely believe it to be one of the better decks to come from this set.
It has an attack ‘Mad Nail’ which does 10+ 60 for each damage counter on your opponents active Pokemon. You read that right, 60 for each, that is so powerful even with only 6 damage counters that is a knockout on any Pokemon in the game.
This is a seriously good attack, bolstered by cards like Obstagoon that let you put damage counters on your opponents Pokemon, maybe paired with the Unbroken Bonds Weezing which puts damage counters on between turns or even a Shrine of Punishment in a lot of cases.
Filling another void is Marnie. Not only is a good draw card, allowing you to shuffle in your hand and draw 5, it’s a disruption card, as it shuffles your opponents hand and puts it on the bottom of their deck then gives them four.
Not only is that hurting their hand size, but it couldn’t potentially strand a lot of good cards at the bottom of their deck for a while.
This card is similar to the escape board we had, which makes it 1 cheaper to retreat and you can do so whilst under effects. This loses the latter bonus but makes your retreat 2 cheaper which is amazing. It's one step closer to having float stone back, and in a game where use-able items for some decks is lacking, I can see this making a big appearance.
Lapras / V Max
Lapras V Max has a ton of health at 320, damage which is only limited by the amount of water energy you can attach to it and has the added bonus of receiving Frosmoth in this set.
It works very similar to the Blastoise/Keldeo deck which Jacob Van Wagner won the Masters division with at the Pokemon World Championships in 2015. It puts a ton of water energy on an attacker and hits for a ton of damage. This Lapras almost has double the health of the Keldeo we had back then, making this a lot more bulky, losing some of the versatility of Keldeo’s Rush In ability though.
This is a seriously good card, but it does have drawbacks. It’s attack can’t be used your following turn, but this is easy to navigate by switching it in and out.
The ability is fantastic for set-up early which is what makes this such a dangerous Pokemon. It could potentially be set-up turn 2 and smacking for 220 damage which very few Pokemon can do and with all the great Metal support it could potentially be quicker and for more damage which is crazy.
Metal Saucer is one way to have this up and running quicker, and Perrserker makes sure he’s doing a bit more damage. Speed is everything in Pokemon and the fact you can get these out and ready to attack so quickly means this is going to be a serious competitor.
Any type of Professor we’ve had in the past, be it Juniper or Sycamore, has been one of if not the best cards in the format. Adding a card like this gives a deck so much consistency.
You can dump 7 cards you don’t want in your deck into the discard and draw 7 you hopefully do. It’s a 4-of staple in almost every deck and I don’t see that changing for as long as it’s in the format.
So those are my top 10 picks for the Sword and Shield base set. This set is going to make a massive impact on the meta game regardless of which cards I’ve picked here, we have so many cards that will become staples in most decks but also a lot of cards creating new top tier decks. A very exciting time to be a Pokemon fan!