Hello everyone! Paradox Rift has just arrived as the newest TCG expansion, and it has so many interesting cards. This set is undeniably good, and it will likely continue the trend of us seeing a relatively open metagame with a variety of different viable decks. I have been playing a bit with the new cards already, but there is still much to explore. I am interested to see how the metagame develops from here. Today, I want to discuss the state of the meta as well as some of the more interesting new cards. After that, I’ll be going more in-depth on Roaring Moon ex, which is the most powerful attacker in the set.
State of the Meta
To start off, it seems like many of the decks that were good in the previous format will stay relevant. The two decks that are potentially the most at risk are Gardevoir ex and Lost Box. Both of these decks are somewhat weak to Iron Valiant ex and Iron Hands ex, which are two strong cards from the new set. However, Gardevoir and Lost Box are still good, and how dominant they are will definitely depend on how the meta shakes out. If there turns out to be a lot of Iron Valiant and Iron Hands, then these decks will be weaker.
Lost Box gains access to Iron Valiant and Technical Machine: Devolution, which definitely make the deck stronger. Iron Valiant is just a strong card, and Lost Box easily takes advantage of its Ability and its attack. Lost Box naturally plays lots of switching cards and Psychic Energy, so there is a lot of synergy there. Technical Machine: Devolution helps Lost Box shore up its matchups against decks like Gardevoir and Charizard ex, and it has lots of synergy with Sableye. Gardevoir itself gains access to Earthen Vessel, Counter Catcher, and Scream Tail, which is definitely a buff to the deck.
Lugia VSTAR seems to be hyped and doing well in online events. Lugia can easily make use of Iron Hands ex, though it does have to commit a few deck spaces to the whole package, including Lightning Energy and Earthen Vessel. Giratina VSTAR is also receiving a lot of hype, with its main new toy being Counter Catcher. However, I do not think Giratina is actually that good. Although Counter Catcher is an improvement, the deck remains slow and clunky, and it doesn’t have particularly great matchups. I don’t think Giratina is bad or unplayable, but it’s not as crazy as the hype would make it seem.
Miraidon ex remains a strong deck, and it can easily play Iron Hands ex. This helps somewhat with the Lost Box matchup, which was Miraidon’s biggest weakness beforehand. All of that can also be said for Chien-Pao ex — though, I initially thought that Chien-Pao with Iron Hands would be broken, and it is definitely not as mind-blowing as I expected. The deck is also weak against Iron Valiant, which doesn’t help its case. Nonetheless, there are a lot of decks here that seem viable at the very least.
Next, we have Charizard ex. I think Charizard ex was the best deck in the previous format, and I narrowly missed Top 8 at Toronto Regionals with the deck. Charizard has great matchups, and it also does well against the new Roaring Moon ex. Charizard also gains access to Technical Machine: Evolution. It can easily play this alongside its Arven engine, and you can possibly include Pidgeotto and a second Charmeleon to use it. It is not mandatory that Charizard lists morph to accommodate the Technical Machine, but it is a viable option for the deck. Charizard also enjoys Counter Catcher. Though it is weak against Iron Valiant, I think Charizard remains strong in the format overall.
Mew VMAX remains strong, too. Mew is a bit better into undefined metagames with a variety of decks, and I think both the Fusion and hand-lock versions of Mew are great right now. However, it does not enjoy dealing with Roaring Moon ex.
On to the new cards. Gholdengo ex just is not good, as cool as it is. Iron Valiant ex is the most overhyped card in recent memory. It is certainly a decent card. However, the decks built around Iron Valiant are forced to commit to it super hard in order to be consistent. This results in very polarized matchups. Iron Valiant is commonly seen alongside Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX, which I don’t expect to last for long. The deck feasts upon low-HP Pokemon, but struggles against decks such as Lugia, Mew, and Roaring Moon that don’t have liabilities for Iron Valiant to pick off.
Roaring Moon, on the other hand, is broken. Every so often we get cards that are just too good, and have too many strong attributes. Roaring Moon ex is an absurd card. For starters, it has 230 HP as a Basic, which is just perfect. Its main attack is the second one, which deals 220 damage at the cost of requiring a Stadium to be discarded. You are swinging for 220 more often than not, as it is easy enough to have a Stadium in play. If for some reason that attack is not cutting it, you can simply use the other attack, which instantly kills your opponent’s Active Pokemon. This incurs a penalty of 200 recoil damage, but that is completely fine. Both attacks cost the exact same, so you can seamlessly switch between the two and commit as little deck space as possible.
Roaring Moon is weak to Grass, which is one of the best possible Weaknesses because there are zero good Grass-types in the meta. It has a Retreat Cost of two, which actually works well with its engine: Professor Sada's Vitality. That brings me to Roaring Moon’s support engine, which of course, is absolutely cracked beyond all belief. Professor Sada’s Vitality accelerates an Energy to two of your Roaring Moon while also drawing three cards. Dark Patch and Energy Switch make it very easy to attack with Roaring Moon, even though it requires three Energy.
The new Earthen Vessel is incredibly strong in this deck, as it easily gets you the Energy you need. Roaring Moon can also use Ancient Booster Energy Capsule to increase its HP by 60, making it a 290 HP monster that tanks almost everything. For a single-Prize attacker, you can include Brute Bonnet or the new Morpeko, which are both great for different reasons. Support Pokemon consist of the usual suspects: Squawkabilly ex, Lumineon V, Radiant Greninja, and Mew.
There are a few different ways that you can build the deck. I prefer the turbo version, which aims to get the turn one attack when going second, though you still choose to go first in most situations. Going first lets you get extra uses of Mew and Radiant Greninja, as well as a manual attachment. Not being able to use Sada right away is fine, though there might be some matchups where you prefer going second to get the first attack. However, even against other decks that can attack right away, such as the mirror and Miraidon, you can just sacrifice a single-Prize Pokemon in the Active when you go first. You will still usually win the Prize trade.
The turbo version of the deck attacks fast and usually goes for a 2-2-2 line to end the game quickly. It is very consistent and even has a few tricks up its sleeve. Although the deck is brand new and there is lots of exploring to be done, I have created the (for now) god list for the deck.
This concludes the public portion of this article.
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