A Testing-Backed Unified Minds Set Review

Hello everyone! This is Grant Manley here once again. Today I will be going over the new set. However, unlike most set reviews, which are mostly speculation, I have been testing with some of the new cards in the post-rotation format in preparation for Worlds. Therefore, I have a pretty good idea of what cards will be good and how they will be used. Of course, I have not played with every single card in the new set, but nevertheless I think this set review will have more value than most.

If you’re only here for deck discussions and refined lists, don’t worry! I will also be briefly covering what I believe to be the best version of Dark Box as well as my current top pick for Worlds; they will just be tied into the set review. Additionally, my past two articles cover six of the most promising decks that I have been testing the most.

If there are any cards I don’t mention in this article, I don’t consider them to be relevant at all in the upcoming meta.

I won’t be explaining what each card does, only its place in competitive play. If you don’t know what a card does (it’s a big set, after all), clicking on a card’s name will take you directly to a page with that card’s translation. Alternatively, you can find translations for every card in the set on this page.

Rowlett & Alolan Exeggutor-GX

The best way to describe Rowlett & Alolan Exeggutor-GX is “interesting.” It is being tossed around as an idea in Expanded because you can set up Vileplume and Item lock your opponent on your first attacking turn, but then you lack Energy acceleration and have to spend another turn attacking to set up something like Venusaur or the new Tsareena. The harsh reality is that you’ll still get rolled by fast Tag Teams that are just better. I actually think this card has more potential in Standard than Expanded because the power creep is less apparent when the new stronger cards have less of the tools that Expanded offers.

However, I have not tested this card in Standard because it’s still terrible. I’m almost certain this card would need to be paired with the new Tsareena and Weakness Guard Energy. You could also tech Sceptile to auto-win Blacephalon-GX, which would otherwise be an auto-loss. Tsareena would allow you to chain attackers and even retreat out of harm’s way, but the deck would be fun-tier at best and would still be outclassed by most other Tag Teams.

Verdict: This card is terrible in both formats and I’m only mentioning it because it is interesting and talked about.

Froslass

Froslass is one of those cards that is clearly designed to counter something specific. It is brutally effective against Reshiram and Charizard-GX and as collateral can bring down Blacephalon-GX as well. Even against cards it doesn’t counter, it can still deal 140 damage for just one Energy. Widespread usefulness is a powerful trait to have for counter cards like this one.

I consider Froslass to be a very solid card that hasn’t found a home yet. I tried out a post-rotation version of Zapdos / Beasts with Spiritomb and Froslass, but it had too much going on and didn’t work well. Froslass is very much an anti-meta card that can be played when the meta defines itself a little more, and if said meta favors it. I expect this card to perform well at some point in the future, as it’s too strong to ignore. As for Worlds, we might not see much of it just yet. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it pop up though.

Verdict: This card will do well on the competitive stage at some point, either when someone finds a good use for it or when the meta favors it.

Carracosta

This card is being talked about a little bit. Fossil Pokemon admittedly have a decent engine to work with, though I personally don’t consider the archetype to be very good. Carracosta is Fossil deck’s attempt to improve the Malamar matchup. While I haven’t put any time into the deck myself, as someone who plays a lot of Malamar, I can say I’d be terrified of facing down Aerodactyl-GX backed by Carracosta. Carracosta shuts down Malamar’s Spell Tags and Escape Boards. You could pair it with the regular Aerodactyl and go with a Prize trade route, or you could go with Aerodactyl-GX and force all Basic Pokemon to have extra Energy in order to attack.

Carracosta has the added benefit of completely ruining Shedinja strategies as well as getting around other powerful Tools like Giant Bomb. Carracosta’s popularity will likely depend on the success of Fossil decks as a whole, as Carracosta cannot be easily teched into other decks. I predict that it will see small amounts of fringe play. Carracosta is the type of card that might see one or two Regional Day 2 results in its time.

Verdict: Not an amazing card, but it may see fringe success.

Keldeo-GX

Keldeo-GX has enormous potential. Hoopa is a much weaker version of Keldeo (albeit being a single-prizer) and has seen lots of play since its release. Keldeo’s Pure Heart Ability is actually rather powerful going into the new format. To go along with it, Keldeo also packs an attack that OHKOs common non-GX attacking Pokemon such as Volcanion and Zapdos. Against real threats, Keldeo can also pop its GX attack.

Like most Safeguard Pokemon, Keldeo’s role falls into the anti-meta category, meaning it will see the most success in defined metagames. However, Malamar paired with Giratina is receiving tons of hype and Keldeo doesn’t have many good options to beat it. You could potentially play the new Hoopa with Lysandre Labs, but even that isn’t a guaranteed win and relies on pairing into very specific decks.

On its own, Keldeo does well against Fire decks and Pikachu & Zekrom-GX, which automatically makes it decent at least. Unfortunately, most of the stuff you’d want to pair with Keldeo rotates out, whether it be offensive Water support or complementary defensive wall Pokemon. This means that Keldeo lacks a strong deck to go with it and must be relegated an anti-meta card.

Verdict: Keldeo is the best card so far. Like Froslass, it will see play and success. It’s just a matter of time before the meta works out for it. I would not be surprised to see someone do well at Worlds by either finding a Malamar counter or by avoiding that matchup altogether.


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