Fire and Lightning — A First Look at Reshiram & Zekrom-GX

Richmond, Portland, Daytona Beach, Paris SPE, the Latin American International Championships – there’s a lot of Pokemon coming up in November! I unfortunately won’t be attending either of the upcoming Expanded Regional Championships (Richmond and Virginia). Instead, I’ve taken to scouring through the cards of our newest set, looking toward the future Standard events. In addition to containing plenty of cards, Cosmic Eclipse brings with it plenty of potential. Despite this being our largest Pokemon set ever, there aren’t a ton of obvious archetypes that can break through in our Standard meta. This set has a lot of “it might be good” cards in it, but when compared to the powerhouse Standard decks of Reshiram and Charizard-GX, Mewtwo and Mew-GX, Pikachu and Zekrom-GX and others, Cosmic Eclipse‘s cards don’t automatically stand out as particularly exceptional. 

Introducing Reshiram and Zekrom-GX

With that said, there is one Pokemon that does stand out above the rest, one which should become the centerpiece of a new Tier 1 deck: Reshiram and Zekrom-GX. As someone who sells a ton of cards everyday, I can tell you that this card is definitely on a lot of people’s radar – and it should be on yours, too. This card has the same explosiveness that I’ve come to expect from today’s Tag Team Pokemon-GX dominated meta, but to a higher degree. If there is one card from Cosmic Eclipse that I would bet on making an impact, it would have to be Reshiram and Zekrom-GX. This Pokemon has so much going for it: great damage output, ease of attacking, advantageous typing – that it almost seems destined to find success.

So, what makes this card so good? Its first attack, Fabled Flarebolts, in addition to being one of the coolest names of any Pokemon attack, has a damage output that is almost perfectly tuned to deal with the various attackers in our meta. At a maximum of 270 damage, Reshiram and Zekrom-GX can OHKO nearly every Tag Team Pokemon-GX, including Reshiram and Charizard-GX and Mewtwo and Mew-GX. That damage is adjustable, so that against non-Tag Team decks (such as Blacephalon-GX), a Reshiram and Zekrom-GX player has an easier time obtaining those KOs, thus offsetting somewhat the fewer Prizes obtained. Cross Break GX is a solid GX attack, giving the Reshiram and Zekrom-GX player an easy way to punish any opponent who benches Dedenne-GX or Oricorio-GX, or to disrupt any opposing deck that relies on benched Pokemon, such as Malamar, Naganadel, or Quagsire. Thanks to Mew, I wouldn’t expect Cross Break GX to have an effect in most games, though the threat of it will ensure that your opponent has to devote resources to finding the Mew. If they don’t, then those aforementioned Pokemon-GX can turn into easy Prizes.

Tag Team Pokemon-GX decks have been dominant during the Unified Minds era, as they make up the majority of top-tier decks, and have obtained a majority of the finishes in the major events of this era. In Knoxville, 45 out of 78 Day 2 decks were Tag Team Pokemon-GX focused – and that’s the lowest percentage since the World Championships. Of note for LAIC players is that in the two Latin American SPE events, 14 out of 16 Top 8 decks were Tag Team Pokemon-GX focused. Sure, this meta might change heading forward, but if it remains close to the current makeup, then a card like Reshiram and Zekrom-GX should perform well. Reshiram and Zekrom-GX has a clear advantage in damage output, as it can easily and repeatedly OHKO opposing Tag Team Pokemon-GX without using its GX attack – a feat that none of the others can match. Ideally, this deck should be swinging for 270 damage a turn, every turn, beginning by turn 2 or 3 at the latest.

In addition to the strength of Reshiram and Zekrom-GX itself, the typing of its attack costs give it yet another advantage. The best decks right now might be focused on Tag Team Pokemon-GX, but most don’t rely on them exclusively. Instead, they tend to mix in other, non Tag Team Pokemon-GX attackers, so as to force the opponent to take more Prizes. Likewise, you don’t want to focus exclusively on Reshiram and Zekrom-GX, but since it naturally uses Fire and Lightning Energy anyway, there are plenty of quality options to add! Possibilities include Zapdos, Zeraora-GX, Volcanion, Heatran-GX, Victini Prism Star, and Turtonator. All of those are solid non-Tag Team attackers that you could easily include in a Reshiram and Zekrom-GX deck. On top of that, the Fire Energy requirement means that Reshiram and Zekrom-GX can take advantage of Welder, as well as the new Supporter N's Resolve, providing it with plenty of built-in Energy acceleration. All in all, this card has a lot going for it!

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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