Forbidden Light Lite — A Quick Set Synopsis

Forbidden Light is less than two weeks old, but it’s already generating a lot of buzz. No, not “buzz” as in “Buzzwole,” but everything else: new search cards, new heavy hitters, and a slew of new Energy accelerators.

Today, I’ll be going through the whole Forbidden Light set, give solid analysis of each major card, and do it all while keeping the discussion as brief as possible!

The Expendables

Every set has its share of bad cards, so please note that not every card in Forbidden Light will be included in this review. I put a lot of thought into which cards should be omitted from this article and almost wrote brief explanations for each. However, for best use of your time, let’s generalize the cuts with three categories:

  • 1. The card is too weak
  • 2. The card lacks a special niche/is inferior to an existing card
  • 3. The card is a pre-evolution*

*Notable pre-evolutions with interesting values include FroakieRockruff, and Poipole.

Category 1 should be fairly straightforward, barring a massive decrease in card power in the next two years. Category 2 and 3 cards mostly depend on older or present cards, so with the right metagame shift, they could become much better. We will not talk about those cards because for the next two to three months, they are irrelevant.

If you think I left off an important card, be sure to leave a comment on this article’s forum thread!

The Review

Alolan Exeggutor

We’ve seen cards in the past that require you to play a bunch of different Energy types, but Alolan Exeggutor is one of the first in recent memory that require those Energy cards to be discarded. Tropical Shake is an extremely efficient attack, thanks to its cheap cost and relatively straightforward condition of five different basic Energy cards. However, due to metagame concerns like Buzzwole-GX and Lycanroc-GX, I’m struggling to ask myself why we need to go to all the trouble of setting up Tropical Shake when we could just use Zoroark-GX and it’s Riotous Beating attack for the same amount of damage.


In theory, Abomasnow‘s Ability is cool. What’s not to love about Energy acceleration? Unfortunately, this is only a one-time use, so it’s hard for me to get excited about this as opposed to Malamar, which we will discuss later.


With all the hype surrounding Beast Ring and Buzzwole, it’s easy to sleep on nearly every other Ultra Beast in this set. But Pheromosa is a great game closer, especially when most of the game’s most influential cards would be Knocked Out by a 180 damage White Ray, especially when it can deal 210 damage with Choice Band. It doesn’t have a neat place in a particular concept yet, but Pheromosa could serve as part of a “Beast Box” utility deck. It could also serve as a superb secondary attacker in a Venusaur deck.

Alolan Marowak

The heart of this card’s usefulness is Limbo Limbo, an excellent Energy acceleration attack. Since the card says that you may attach any two basic Energy cards from your deck, Alolan Marowak serves a helpful role for orphaned Dragon-type attackers. Also, another useful option in an Alolan Marowak deck is to run it alongside Marowak, which can one-shot a Zoroark-GX with Choice Band and Professor Kukui.


Being able to inflict a Special Condition is a good Ability, but it rarely deserves consideration when Decidueye-GX and Greninja-GX have better damage inflicting Abilities. Like these other Stage 2 Pokemon, you could slip a small Delphox line along with Rare Candy into a Zoroark-GX list and be done, but unfortunately you will rarely be dealing the quantity of damage with your free Burn as you would with Wind Shuriken or Feather Arrow. On the other hand, you could just throw this new Delphox into a Delphox BREAK deck. Its inclusion requires almost zero new space investment and means a free two damage counters every turn. So why not run it?


Unnerve is a great Ability to have in formats where Guzma and Counter Catcher reign, but its merits as an offensive attacker are somewhat limited. Because Pyroar is not a Basic Pokemon, Volcanion-EX‘s Steam Up can’t be used to enhance the damage output on Pyroar, meaning that in most instances you will be stuck dealing 140 with Lysandre Labs in play. Usually this isn’t enough damage, and with the effect of Lysandre Labs factored in, Choice Band will be worthless.

Greninja-GX and Frogadier

If these Abilities look familiar, it’s because we’ve seen them already on Golbat and Crobat from several sets back. Last season, Decidueye-GX coupled with Forest of Giant Plants made these sort of one-time use Abilities obsolete due to how fast you could start piling on damage, but now I can see a stronger argument to run Greninja-GX over Decidueye-GX. For starters, you don’t have as much incentive to clog your lists with Rare Candy because a slower evolution through Frogadier at least puts damage into play. Additionally, Greninja-GX has a powerful GX attack that counters pesky Ability-locking Pokemon like Garbodor. Finally, the benefits of Decidueye-GX’s Feather Arrow over a long game are less significant in the current format because there are no effective ways to lock down opponents like there was with Vileplume. For those reasons, I am excited about the potential for Greninja-GX as a partner with Zoroark-GX. I’m not ready to make any bold claims about the card outside of that idea, but there’s certainly promise in it.


Frost Wall is a neat niche move that can disrupt most decks in the current Standard format, which are Evolution-based. But everyone and their mother uses Tapu Lele-GX, a Basic Pokemon, in their decks. I considered omitting this card, but because “prevent all damage” attacks like this one can be so game-clinching, I want it on your radar. That way when the metagame has shifted or Tapu Lele-GX has rotated, Aurorus could roar back and win a tournament.

Volcanion Prism Star

If Palkia-GX can be the star of a Standard format “Water Box” variety deck, then Volcanion Prism Star can be the lovable sidekick. Its Ability and attack both provide efficient ways to disrupt your opponent and exchange Prizes efficiently with the likes of Buzzwole-GX and Zoroark-GX. In Expanded, Volcanion Prism Star makes for a great inclusion to Archie’s Blastoise decks, since the mechanics of the deck mean that it has fewer turns to switch out an opponent’s Pokemon than most archetypes.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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