The Chopping Block: Cards We Lose In XY-On!

How’s it going, everyone? KennethXEcker here, bringing you my very first article on PokeBeach. While I do not have very many achievements in competitive play, I have played the game for many years, and feel as if I understand the game fairly well. Unfortunately, I was unable to secure my invite to the World Championships this year, and rather than focus on trying my hand at Nationals, I aim to look at the future of the Pokemon Trading Card Game.

There have been some strong hints, though no official confirmation, that our annual rotation will be XY-On in September. Whether Kalos Starter Set is included in this rotation or not is still debatable, but for the sake of this article, we are going to assume it is.

Cards We Lose

Assuming an XY-On rotation, a total of five sets would rotate. This fits perfectly with last year’s rotation of only three sets, to set an average of four sets per year, as is equal to the amount of new sets that come out throughout the season. Below, I will be going through some of the most important cards to rotate through each set. The five sets that would rotate are:

Boundaries Crossed

Blastoise / Keldeo-EX

Reminiscent to Base Set's Blastoise‘s Rain Dance, Boundaries Crossed's Blastoise has a similar Ability, dubbed “Deluge.” While we have seen success from its Fire counterpart, Emboar, in previous years, Blastoise could not have asked for a better partner than Keldeo-EX. Blastoise / Keldeo became a very dominant deck for a very long time, and was the only Stage 2 deck that consistently performed well since its release.

The loss of Blastoise has less of an impact than the loss of Keldeo-EX, as Keldeo-EX was able to fit in to many decks using its Ability, “Rush In,” in combination with Float Stone to retreat freely, effectively negating the disruptive effects of Pokémon Catcher, Lysandre, and Hypnotoxic Laser.


While Dusknoir does not currently see competitive play, it has seen many uses throughout its days in the format, pairing with cards like Flygon, Darkrai-EX, and several others. Personally, I am going to miss this card a lot, because “Sinister Hand” could win games alone, given there being enough damage on the board. Though we would be losing Dusknoir, Meowstic can use its attack, “Ear Influence,” to achieve a similar effect in decks that run Psychic Energy. M Gallade-EX comes to mind, as it can spread damage with “Unwavering Blade.”


As a long time Darkrai-EX and Eelektrik player, I rather dislike Landorus-EX. It could snipe Benched Pokemon while dealing damage to the Active Pokemon for one Fighting Energy. It only got to be more of a monster when Muscle Band, Strong Energy, and Fighting Stadium, were printed in later sets.

Suddenly, dealing a potential 90 damage to the opponent’s Active Pokemon AND 30 damage to one of your opponent’s Benched Pokemon for one Energy became a very intimidating combo. More recently, Landorus-EX decks have opted to use cards like Crobat to add even more damage. Even though Seismitoad-EX keeps Landorus-EX in check currently, it will be nice to see Landorus-EX leave the format for good.


Boundaries Crossed's Flygon saw some play paired with Accelgor, Mew-EX, and Dusknoir in the Next Destinies-on season, and for good reason. Using Mew-EX to attack with Accelgor’s “Deck and Cover,” you would promote Flygon to add some extra damage to the board. At my local league, I have seen some players emulate this deck with Shaymin-EX, but with no way to effectively Paralyze and Poison your opponent’s Active Pokemon, I doubt it will have the same success as it’s predecessor.


For a long time, Skyla was the best way to search your deck for Trainer cards. I remember including three copies of it into decks like Legendary Treasures's Keldeo-EXBlastoise, or any other Stage 2 deck, so that I could get my Primal Clash's Rare Candy out as soon as possible. As effective as this Supporter was, there is not as much of a need for it as there has been in previous formats with newer cards like Trainers' Mail, Acro Bike, etc., and I am confident that the format will do fine without her. Take flight, Skyla. You will be missed.

Computer Search

If you were playing any other card game, and I told you that by playing this card, you could search your deck for any card and put it in your hand, you would believe that this card is incredibly powerful and should be banned. The ACE SPEC mechanic introduced in Boundaries Crossed made sure that even though the effects were incredibly good, you were limited to only one in your deck.

Being able to search your deck for any card is very powerful, especially in decks that focus on having a very strong early game.

Out of all of the ACE SPEC cards, Computer Search has been a fan-favorite for its consistency and flexibility. I can’t even count how many games Computer Search has won me, as it will net you exactly the card you need at that point in time.

Plasma Storm

Victini-EX / Victory Piece

These cards have seen a little bit of play as a means to counter Virizion-EX / Genesect-EX, as well as provide some early game Energy acceleration. Victini-EX was one of the few cards to receive its own ACE SPEC Tool, Seismitoad-EXSlurpuff this season as a splashable tech card. I believe this card was better in previous seasons where you could attack on the first turn, allowing for a lot of early game pressure.


The infamous pile of trash known as Trubbish paired well with Sigilyph, as it could have up to four Tools attached to it, allowing for a ton of potential damage output from Trubbish. Last season, I played against a Tool Drop deck at Kansas City Regionals, and I had not properly tested against it. I feel that this deck would surprise people, as if not properly tested against, it could win games out of nowhere, using its high damage output and ability to stream attacks easily with Exp. Share. With Startling Megaphone‘s release in Flashfire, the deck was all but dead, but Lysandre's Trump Card gave this deck a little bit of hope with fans trying everything to make it work, since you could recover all the Tools discarded by a Startling Megaphone.


This card took many people by surprise, as it saw absolutely zero play until the release of Furious Fists. Bait and switch decks have proven to be good in the Pokemon TCG, as you can attack with something tough, and retreat into a wall, keeping your attacker safe. Donphan was no different, as it could Spinning Turn for a ton of damage boosted by Muscle Band, Strong Energy, and Fighting Stadium, and retreat into Pokemon like Sigilyph or Robo Substitute.

It was a strong play for Cities this season, and after my moderate success with the deck, I’m kinda sad to see it go. I’ll never forget the many times I would Spinning Turn into a Robo Substitute by calling out “Autobots, Roll Out!” making light in otherwise stressful tournament settings.

Cobalion-EX / Klingklang

Another card I am very happy to see go, Cobalion-EX, has been a bane to many decks I have played. The ability to remove Special Energy for a single Metal Energy while also dealing damage was pretty solid against a lot of decks, and is probably one of the best counters to Seismitoad-EX decks that exclusively ran four Double Colorless Energy.

Steel Bullet was another solid attack that would break through Safeguard Pokemon, and safely 2HKO every non-Mega Pokemon-EX. I feel this card has been underestimated in recent times, and that it will be missed when it does officially rotate. You never know what you have until it’s gone, I suppose.

Klinklang was the perfect partner for Cobalion-EX, as it would protect him and any other Metal Pokemon from damage done by opposing Pokemon-EX. I think now that most Safeguard Pokemon are rotating this year, having something like Klingklang in the format would be just as good, if not better than Klingklang was in the past, as less players will both playing a non-EX Pokemon to counter Safeguard

Lugia-EX / Colress Machine

When I first saw this card, I was stunned. The Ability to take an extra Prize card was huge, as two EX Knock Outs would net you all 6 Prizes. However, its attack required you to discard a Plasma Energy, and by only being able to play four of them, it was not easy to recycle them into play, as you would need to attack with Thundurus-EX to do so.

Attacking on turn one with Lugia-EX was a real possibility with Double Colorless Energy and Colress Machine being able to search your deck for Plasma and attach them.

With Delta Plus taking over, I do not doubt that some Pokemon will eventually be able to utilize the Ancient Trait effectively and replace Lugia-EX.


Item-based draw cards were nonexistent in the format before Plasma Storm, and when I saw Bicycle, I knew it would do well. With Ultra Ball already being a staple card in almost every deck, it was very possible to Ultra Ball, get the Pokemon you need, and then Bicycle for 2 or 3 cards, all without playing a Supporter. Drawing until you had four cards in hand was not a lot, but it certainly helped. Now that similar cards like Acro Bike and Shaymin-EX are in the format, I believe we won’t be missing Bicycle too much.


This card has usually been a 2-of in a lot of decks, and can be very effective in the mid to late game, drawing you up to 10 cards (16 if Sky Field is in play). You would usually draw exactly what you needed off of a huge Colress, and it would often change the outcome of the game. This card proved to be a nice alternative to Professor Sycamore and N, as you would not always want to discard your resources, or give your opponent a new hand. We don’t see anything new replacing it as of right now, but I feel like it could do very well in the next format if something similar were to come along.

Hypnotoxic Laser / Virbank City Gym

These cards have never been bad, and there are few decks that I have played that did not include them at all. One could debate that the existence of these two cards were detrimental to the format’s health, but with little to no way to inflict Special Conditions in the format, I feel Hypnotoxic Laser filled that space quite well.

Virbank City Gym is what really made things interesting. It added so much extra damage from Poison in between turns that OHKOs became a lot more common, and games would become much more one-sided due to coin flips. I think it will certainly be interesting to see a format without having to worry about these cards, and it will be more difficult for certain decks like Seismitoad-EX variants to get the Knock Outs to win their games.

Dowsing Machine

The big debate for the longest time was “Computer Search or Dowsing Machine” and before Lysandre's Trump Card and VS Seeker were printed, this was a tough decision. If you wanted to play more aggressively, Computer Search was the way to go. Dowsing Machine, however, was for the more long-term player.

Dowsing Machine could provide you that fifth Pokémon Catcher, or fifth Professor Juniper, or fifth Hypnotoxic Laser. It was a very clutch card that could get you out of a lot of situations, and now that Lysandre’s Trump Card is banned, I could see this seeing more play for the rest of the season, but I highly doubt we will see anything like it for a while.

Plasma Freeze

Exeggcute / Exeggutor

Exeggcute‘s Propagation Ability allowed for the potential of a “free” Ultra Ball, by using the Ability to put two discarded Exeggcute into your hand, which you could use to pay the cost of Ultra Ball, rather than discarding valuable resources. Exeggcute has also seen a lot of play with Empoleon, using the Ability in a similar manner to draw cards with Diving Draw.

While Exeggcute has seen far more play than its Evolved form, Exeggutor has proven to be an annoying card in recent months. Blockade was a severely overlooked attack when it was first printed, but with the aid of Muscle Band and the ever-popular combination of Virbank City Gym and Hypnotoxic Laser, it could do significantly more damage, while preventing your opponent from using their Supporter cards.

Leafeon / Flareon

While Leafeon is arguably my least favorite Eeveelution, it was a very good card in this format. Not only did it deal super effective damage to Seismitoad-EX, often resulting in a OHKO, Leafeon also resisted Seismitoad’s attacks. Best of all, it did it for one Energy of any type, which made it relatively splashable in several decks.

One of the decks best suited for Leafeon were a number of variants revolving around Flareon. With Battle Compressor, Flareon was able to power up very quickly, and deal tons of damage. Though Flareon may be leaving us, we may have a replacement ready in the form of a Vespiquen with the same attack, who also has a free retreat cost – something Flareon was lacking.

Thundurus-EX / Deoxys-EX / Kyurem

Formally known as “TDK,” this deck had a huge impact on the game. It could attack during the first turn with Kyurem for a ton of damage, thanks to Deoxys-EX and it’s damage-boosting Power Connect Ability. It could also set up Thundurus-EX to accelerate Special Energy from the discard while dealing Deoxys-boosted damage. TDK has all but died since the rule change no longer allowing first-turn attacks, as well as the prevalence of Seismitoad-EX, which can deprive TDK of the Item cards it needed to function, such as Colress MachineMuscle Band, and Switch.

I would like to see a Team Flare deck or something along the lines in the future, and with the first sight of their involvement in Phantom Forces in the form of Team Flare Gear, I could definitely see it coming. Here’s hoping! Go Team Flare!

Mr. Mime

In a format where Bench damage was very popular with Landorus-EX, Kyurem, and Darkrai-EX, Mr. Mime provided great help protecting the Bench from taking any damage. Losing Mr. Mime is going to be tough, considering that not every deck can play Mountain Ring effectively. Mr. Mime will surely be missed by many.


Though its attack is underwhelming, being able to prevent all of effects of attacks, including damage done to it by Pokemon with Abilities was huge. At the time of its release, Darkrai-EX and Keldeo-EX were very common attackers, and even to this day, “Bright Down” could cause issues for decks like Vir/Gen and Night March.

However, Latias-EX has seen little play in fear of Silent Lab as of late. Being able to prevent damage done to you is really nice, and with Beautifly, and the upcoming Giratina-EX from Ancient Origins, we are starting to see this kind of mechanic again.

Float Stone

One of the best Pokemon Tools (if not the best) in the game is finally being rotated. Float Stone could fit into basically any deck, but was most commonly seen in Keldeo-EX and Garbodor decks. Retreating for free was a huge option for a lot of players, and without this card being available in an XY-On format, we will see a lot of decks die out entirely without the support of Float Stone. Though we do not see a reprint in our immediate future, I hope to see its return. I mean hey, Level Ball got reprinted, so its not entirely outside the realms of possibility.

Superior Energy Retrieval

Superior Energy Retrieval was the perfect tool that paved the way for Keldeo-EX / BlastoiseBlack Kyurem-EX decks to perform even better than before. It allowed you to make good use of Black Kyurem-EX’s Black Ballista attack, possibly even letting you use it every turn if you ran four copies of this card. There is an unreleased XY Promo called “Energy Recycle” that puts five basic Energy from your discard pile into your deck. Now that Lysandre's Trump Card is banned, Energy Recycle may be a nice replacement to recover discarded Energy.


I always see this card pop up from time to time. Originally printed in Dark Explorers, Empoleon has made its way into several decks, the most recent ones being Night March and variants of M Rayquaza-EX and Flareon.

Attack Command took advantage of your opponent’s Benched Pokemon as well as your own – the more that were Benched, the higher the damage output, causing some serious mind games for opponents. This would force them to be more cautious about Benching Pokemon, forcing them to decide if it’s worth it to have that extra Pokemon down.

Diving Draw provided great draw support for every deck it was in, and its low attack cost made it very eye-catching to a lot of players. With Sky Field‘s recent popularity making Attack Command’s damage cap higher, I am disappointed to see it leave when it is. Empoleon may become a popular choice in Expanded play because of this.

Plasma Blast


Before the release of Bandit Ring, many wondered what we would do in a world without a viable Grass deck, as this was the cornerstone of the best Grass deck of it’s time – Virizion-EX / Genesect-EX. It’s consistently appeared at the top tables of many high level tournaments since it was printed almost two years ago, including first place at the 2014 World Championships.

Virizion-EX was able to render Hypnotoxic Laser useless against it, while powering up attackers on the Bench with Emerald Slash. One could argue that it is one of the best EXs to ever be printed, and it is certainly a contender at the very least. The loss of Virizion-EX should not matter much, as we are also losing Hypnotoxic Laser, though the Energy acceleration it provided was unparalleled.


Genesect-EX was the perfect attacker to play alongside Virizion-EX, as after using Emerald Slash to attach two Grass Energy, one could simply attach a Plasma Energy to fulfill it’s attack cost, as well as activate its Ability, “Red Signal.” This Ability allowed you to bring up one of your opponent’s Benched Pokemon in a similar fashion to that of Pokémon Catcher or Lysandre, letting you attack what you wanted, when you wanted. Genesect-EX also received two ACE SPEC cards, though only one proved actually viable. G Booster‘s massive 200 damage Knocked Out everything in the format, and disregarded any effects like Suicune‘s Safeguard that could have otherwise prevented damage.


With the release of Plasma Blast, some players looked at this Sigilyph, and quickly realized that it had a crazy amount of potential. Paired with Trubbish, one could attach a bunch of Tools to several Benched Sigilyph, and deal massive damage with Trubbish’s Tool Drop attack. Having four Tools was nice, but was shot down almost immediately when Startling Megaphone was printed in Flashfire. We are starting to see Pokemon with the Ancient Trait “Θ Double,” which allows two Tools to be attached to them, so Sigilyph’s spirit will have to live on through them.


I have a love-hate relationship with Jirachi-EX. It always seemed like whenever I played one in a deck, I would often start games with a lone Active Jirachi-EX. While not running it in a deck, I often felt as though I really needed it to get me a Supporter at a critical moment. It’s Stellar Guidance Ability was fantastic when and if you could use it, and would often win you games you would otherwise lose to dead draws. It turned all of your Ultra Balls in to Supporter outs, highly increasing your consistency.

However, with cards like Shaymin-EXTrainers' Mail, and VS Seeker in the format, that also give you more outs to a Supporter, Jirachi-EX isn’t really as needed anymore. There are new options to get your Supporters when you need them.

Legendary Treasures


Originally printed in Black & White, “Inferno Fandango” was the Fire equivalent of Blastoise‘s “Deluge.” It was nice to see this card get another reprint, as Fire Energy acceleration did not exist at the time. Of course, when Flashfire brought Blacksmith, Emboar kind of disappeared for a while. Emboar had its greatest success in the 2011 season when David Cohen paired Emboar with Magnezone to win the World Championships in the Masters division.

Emboar later was paired with Rayquaza-EX from Dragons Exalted when Eelektrik rotated out of the Standard Format in 2013. Even though we have Blacksmith, I would like to see something more like Emboar in the future, as there has not been a viable Fire deck in a while, and having that kind of acceleration would be really neat.


Originally printed in Next Destinies, this card paved the way for Pokemon-EX. At the time, if you didn’t play Mewtwo-EX, you lost. It only got more powerful with Energy acceleration options, having a near unlimited damage cap. This card would continue to be one the best Pokemon-EX for a very long time, as it could fit in any deck for huge damage potential. With Lugia-EX’s release in Bandit Ring, we see Mewtwo-EX’s attack return with the name “Aero Ball.” Since Lugia EX is Colorless, it won’t be hitting anything for Weakness, but it also won’t run into issues with Resistance, since literally nothing resists Colorless.


Holy crap, was this card good. Garbodor had many partners, the most recent being Yveltal-EX and Seismitoad-EX. One of Garbodor’s biggest flaws was being a huge Lysandre target, having a three Retreat Cost. Float Stone was the ideal Tool for Garbodor, as it could retreat freely if it was not KO’d during the turn it was Lysandre’d. Many people are glad to see it go, but I truly wonder what the format will be like without it. Sure, we have Wobbuffet, Silent Lab, and even Hex Maniac now, but Garbodor was a lot easier to get into play and lasted for much longer. Ability-lock is very important at this stage in the game, and the newer cards can only do so much in this format.


This card rotating is a big deal to me, personally. Darkrai-EX decks were among the first decks that I played and did well with for a very long time. I always knew that Darkrai would be good throughout its lifetime in the format, and I am grateful I got to enjoy it for as long as I have.

Though it has taken more of a support role in the past 18 months in Yveltal-EX decks, it did its job well. Giving free retreat to any Pokemon with Dark Energy attached to it was amazing for its time, as well as proving to be a decent attacking option.

I know I am not alone when I say that Darkrai-EX will be missed, and it is the one card I will miss the most out of the entire rotation.


This card, like Empoleon, just kind of pops up every once in a while, finding its way into several decks throughout its lifetime. Most recently, it has taken the lead role of Night March decks, since it can abuse the Dimension Valley Stadium to attack for very little Energy. Night March will likely perish without its leader, and will try to adapt by using Gourgeist in its place. I do not have high hopes for the deck post-rotation.


This reprint shocked many players, as the Black & White block was reaching its conclusion. Many players loved and hated this card for its disruption potential. Never have I seen more games won or lost due to a late game N, either drawing poorly off of one-two cards, or hitting the exact card you need. It also provided very good, safe early game draw, in a format where most draw Supporters aren’t that strong.

I have personally been testing without N in my builds to feel what the format would be like without it, and I can honestly say that your hand feels so much safer without the pressure of losing it. It can now be easier to plan several turns ahead without worrying about losing it. However, this could cause a rise in play of Red Card. Only time will tell. I, for one, will miss N, but I know a lot of people are very excited to finally see it go.


Thank you all for reading my first article on PokeBeach! What do you think of an XY-On Rotation? Do you think I missed out on anything? How do you think the loss of these cards will affect the game in the future? Let me know what you guys think of the article, and what you would like to hear from me in the future. All feedback is appreciated.