Fates Collide is here!
As the latest expansion of the Pokémon Trading Card Game has finally been released, we will be delving into 20 of the best cards to be sought out from XY10: Fates Collide.
As the two worlds – the World of Nature and the World of Technology – collide, powerful forces in the form of M Alakazam-EX, Zygarde-EX, Delphox BREAK and Lugia emerge to shake up the meta. This set brought a lot of new things to the Standard Format, so some cards didn’t make it into the list, but here are some honourable mentions:
- Serperior – The Grass Unova Starter with two very nice cheap attacks.
- White Kyurem – Reshiram and Kyurem combined comes with a nice splitting attack.
- Wormadam (M) – This Pokémon surprised me so much using it during a Pre Release that I couldn’t keep it off this list.
- Chaos Tower – Prevents certain Special Conditions depending on which side faces you.
- Fairy Drop – Remove Five Damage Counters from a Pokémon with Fairy Energy attached.
- Double Colourless Energy – Reprinted with an awesome pink hue from the M Audino-EX Mega Battle Deck.
- Strong Energy – Fighting’s Special Energy that increases attack damage by 20.
#1. Delphox BREAK
Starting off our review is the final BREAK Evolution of the three Kalos starters. The Fox Pokémon comes equipped with the ‘Flare Witch’ ability, which allows you to search your deck for one Fire Energy and attach it to one of your Pokémon. That’s an extra energy attachment for the turn. A combination of this and Blacksmith would fully charge up a Delphox from Fates Collide’s Psystrike without even attaching from the hand. To make things that much more sweet, Psystrike does 20 times the amount of energy attached to all Pokémon, yours and your opponent’s, so Flare Witch can easily get you up to those magical numbers of 180, and sometimes, 220 damage.
#2. Omastar BREAK
Lord Helix has transcended the heavens and become… Golden Helix! Fossils return to the TCG for the first time since Furious Fists in 2014. Omastar has an ability called ‘Restoring Beam’ which allows you to search your deck for a Restored Pokémon and place it directly onto your bench, skipping all of those tricky fossil card shenanigans.
When Omastar BREAK evolves into Golden Helix, it gains a second ability called ‘Dangerous Tentacle’, which allows you to switch your opponent’s Active Pokémon with one of their benched Pokémon-EX. You can pull up a Shaymin-EX for 2 easy prizes, or a Hoopa-EX to stall out your opponent, while at the same time still having access to your Supporter for the turn, such as Hex Maniac, Professor Sycamore or N.
Evolution is a key part of any type of Pokémon game, whether it be the evolution of species into their more powerful advanced forms, or the Mega Evolution some Pokémon undergo through the power of their Mega Stones. Glaceon-EX can prevent damage dealt to it from these Pokémon by using its second attack ‘Crystal Ray’. Evolution Pokémon being played at the moment include the likes of Vespiquen, Zoroark, Trevenant, Greninja, M Manectric-EX, M Sceptile-EX and M Mewtwo-EX, none of which can attack Glaceon-EX the turn after it has attacked. Talk about stopping power!
Another form of disruption comes to light in the form of the Collective Pokémon: Barbaracle. Its Hand Block ability prevents your opponents from attaching any Special Energy from their hand to their Pokémon, as long as you have a stadium in play. Yes, that means no Double Colourless, Double Dragon or Strong Energy! This will help especially against decks that only run Special Energy, such as Vespiquen/Vileplume, Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX and Night March.
Also, because it is a Water type, you can put it onto the bench immediately with the use of an Archie’s Ace in the Hole, though I don’t expect this strategy to be as popular as it is with Blastoise in Expanded.
#5. M Alakazam-EX
The Psychic King is the mascot of the tenth XY expansion, and his Mega Evolution surely deserves him of his regal title. Looking at the basic Alakazam-EX, it has the ‘Suppression’ attack which places three damage counters on each of your opponent’s Pokémon with energy attached. Decent, however, it’s the ability ‘Kinesis’ – which synegises incredibly well with the Mega – that has awakened Alakazam’s power.
When you Mega Evolve Alakazam-EX into M Alakazam-EX, Kinesis activates, allowing you to place 2 damage counters on your opponent’s Active Pokémon and 3 damage counters on one of their benched Pokémon. Better. Having Mega Evolved, M Alakazam-EX can use the move ‘Zen Force’, which does 10 plus 30 damage for each damage counter on the opponent’s Active Pokémon. Combined with the damage placed with Kinesis, you can take some pretty devastating knockouts for very little energy, as Zen Force costs only one Psychic Energy with a Dimension Valley in play.
Reminiscent of the EX from Black & White’s Dragon Exalted, Mew has an ability called ‘Memories of Dawn’ which lets you copy any attack of any of your Basic Pokémon (as long as you have the right energy for the attack cost). An obvious deck, this can pair nicely with is the infamous Night March, allowing the deck to discard more Night Marchers to do more damage whilst attacking with Mew to keep up the attack force. What’s better is that Mew has free retreat, so it can easily retreat to the bench if your opponent hits you with a Hex Maniac. Finally, being a Psychic type, Mew can take advantage of Dimension Valley, allowing any Basic Pokémon’s attack with one Colourless cost to cost one energy less.
The combination of Solosis, Duosion and Reuniclus comes along with an incredibly fun and powerful archetype. Solosis has the attack ‘Mini Link’, which does 10 plus 30 damage if there’s a Solosis on the bench, equaling 40 damage. Duosion has the attack ‘Double Link’, which expands on Mini Link by also doing an extra 60 damage if there is a Duosion on the bench, equaling 100 damage. Finally, Reuniclus tops it all off with the attack ‘Link Fusion’, which adds to Double Link by also doing an extra 90 damage if there is a Reuniclus on the bench, which equals an astounding total of 190 damage. While this deck might not be the most game breaking in the format, you can bet that I’ll be bringing this down to my local Pokémon League or possibly a League Challenge at least once.
Your hand isn’t safe! Threats like Seismitoad-EX prevent you from playing Items cards, while Giratina-EX prevents you from playing Special Energy, Pokémon Tool or Stadium cards. These restrictions can allow your opponent to easily sail away with the victory, while you weep and stare at that Ultra Ball you were never allowed to play.
In comes Marowak with its ‘Bodyguard’ ability, which prevents all effects of attacks done to your hand by your opponent’s Pokémon. Quaking Punch and Chaos Wheel become completely nullified, allowing you to continue playing your deck the way it should be played. Now it’ll be your turn to cheer as you play down that VS Seeker to get Lysandre for game!
Deoxys-EX has an amazing ability called ‘Power Connect’, which adds 10 damage to all Team Plasma Pokémon (excluding Deoxys-EX). This card is sure to shake up the format allowing the likes of Thundurus-EX, Genesect-EX and Flareon do that bit more damage!
Hold on a second, I seem to be talking from all the way back in 2013. Apologies for that, but Regirock-EX is a very similar concept to the DNA Pokémon. The ability ‘Regi Power’ adds 10 damage to all the attacks of Fighting Pokémon (excluding Regirock-EX), so the likes of Zygarde-EX, Carbink BREAK, Lucario-EX, Gallade, Hawlucha and Garchomp all receive a power boost from this card. Filling your bench with 2-3 Regirock-EX can lead to some really special knockouts, ones that wouldn’t be possible otherwise.
#10. Carbink BREAK
Fates Collide came along with a lot of good Carbink, 3 in fact, so let’s look at the BREAK first. Energy acceleration is an excellent resource to have in today’s fast metagame, and the ability to attach Special Energy from your discard pile is an obvious plus. ‘Diamond Gift’ allows you to attach two energy cards from your discard to one of your Fighting Pokémon. Excellent partners for this include Zygarde-EX and Primal Groudon-EX, who both use energy intensive yet powerful attacks. The question is, which Carbink to BREAK evolve from?
Most likely, the common rarity Carbink will be the one to bear the Diamond Gift, as it carries the ‘Safeguard’ ability, which prevents all effects of attacks, including damage, done to this from Pokémon-EX. Previously seen on Sigilyph and Suicune from Black & White, this can make sure Carbink stays around long enough to set up the whole bench, as well as being able to tank against an EX heavy deck.
The rarer Carbink has an ability called ‘Energy Keeper’, which prevents all of your Basic Energy attached to your Basic Pokémon from being discarded by attacks, Abilities and Trainers as long as this Pokémon is in play. Trainers like Crushing Hammer and Team Flare Grunt will lose their effect; abilities like Crawdaunt’s ‘Unruly Claw’ become useless, and don’t even get me started on Registeel’s ‘Forbidden Iron Hammer’. That won’t go anywhere near our Basic Energy. Also, if you encounter the mirror match against another Safeguard Carbink, then using this Pokémon to BREAK evolve into might not be the worst idea.
Admittedly, if this list was ranked, Zygarde-EX would easily claim the top spot. The Order Pokémon has so many different ways to attack – being one of the rare few Pokémon to have three attacks – and each one comes with their own unique benefits. ‘Land’s Pulse’ does 20 plus 20 damage if there is a Stadium card in play. A combination of Fighting Stadium, Strong Energy, Fighting Fury Belt and two benched Regirock-EX would allow this attack to do a whopping 110 damage, with all this possible on the first turn.
‘Cell Storm’ will probably be the main attack Zygarde-EX will use throughout games, able to sustain its tanky 190HP by healing 30HP each turn whilst dealing a base of 60 damage. ‘Land’s Wrath’ is the icing on the cake, capable of knocking out Pokémon-EX with a single blow when given the right damage modifiers with its already large base power of 100 damage. Three solid attacks that give this legendary Pokémon a presence it deserves.
But wait, there’s more? Power Memory – reminiscent of that of the Ace Spec G Booster – is a Pokémon Tool card that can only be used effectively when attached to Zygarde-EX. Doing this gives it access to a special fourth attack called ‘All Cells Burn’, dealing a gargantuan 200 damage at the cost of discarding three energy. The ability to definitely knockout most Pokémon-EX is insane, and the discarding of energy isn’t even too much of a detriment, as Max Elixir and Carbink BREAK can easily restock the energy. There’s an obvious reason this is my favourite card in the set.
Rounding up the last of the eight Eeveelutions to receive an EX is Umbreon-EX, with an incredibly match shifting attack called ‘Endgame’. If this knocks out a Mega Evolution Pokémon, such as M Manectric-EX, M Gardevoir-EX or Primal Groudon-EX, you will receive four prize cards for this feat. This can steal a game from your opponent right in a heartbeat, as there will be no time to N you down to a single card if you need to take a remaining four. Your opponent doesn’t even have to know about this secret weapon until it’s already too late, as it can immediately gain the ability to attack when placed onto the bench with the use of Max Elixir/Dark Patch and a Double Colourless Energy.
As soon as people saw the Japanese scans for this card, they immediately passed this off as a Stage 1 Mr. Mime. However, due to a translation error, a key part of the ability ‘Metal Fortress’ was missed: “Prevent all effects of attacks, including damage, done to your benched Pokémon.”
So, whilst blocking benched damage from attacks such as Manectric-EX’s Overrun and Yveltal’s (BKT 94/162) Pitch-Black Spear, it will also protect against those damage counter attacks, such as Trevenent BREAK’s Silent Fear – a spread attack that can put you under some serious pressure. Metal Fortress will put a dent into your opponent’s sniping strategy for sure.
Strength in numbers is a well known way of gaining the advantage over your opponent, however Lucario flips that strategy on its back with the attack ‘Fight Alone’, which does 30 damage, and if you have less Pokémon in play than your opponent, 60 damage times the fewer number of Pokémon you have in play. Looking at extremes, with the Stadium Sky Field, and a full 8 Pokémon less than your opponent, Fight Alone would be doing a humongous 510 damage! Obviously, your opponent will try and play smart and bench fewer Pokémon, and you will have to place down bench sitters to make sure you don’t get benched out, but the potential this card has to punish a reckless player is uncanny, with the attack cost cheap and the attacker only giving up one prize if knocked out.
Versatility is the path to victory, and Genesect-EX’s ability ‘Drive Change’ showcases this fantastically. In Pokémon lore, Genesect was resurrected and mechanically augmented by Team Plasma to be the most powerful Pokémon, with a cannon installed above its head that could fire different types of attacks depending on which drive it was holding.
In Fates Collide, Drive Change is a similar concept, allowing you to put a Pokémon Tool card attached to Genesect-EX back into your hand. This means it can be equipped with a wide variety of different tools to suit the situation as soon as it arises. Need to do more damage? Attach a Muscle Band. Now need to retreat out of the active position? Use Drive Change and attach a Float Stone instead. Need to tank a hit against Night March? Detach and attach an Assault Vest and watch as your opponent’s Pumpkaboo finds it impossible to take a one-hit knockout.
Rapid Blaster is also something not to be underestimated, capable of knocking out any Pokémon as long the right amount of Metal Energy is discarded. If coupled with Bronzong (PHF 61/119), you can recycle the energy you discarded, and you can load Genesect-EX with enough energy so it has the option to knock out anything. A base of 100 damage is nothing to scoff at either.
Reducing damage done to one of your Pokémon is good. Reducing damage done to all of your Pokémon is better, and Diancie-EX’s ‘Sparkle Veil’ ability comes in to get the job done.
As long as Diancie-EX is your Active Pokémon, damage done to your Pokémon is reduced by 30. This completely negates damage from attacks such as Manectric-EX’s Overrun (20), Sceptile-EX’s Sleep Poison (10) and especially, Seismitoad-EX’s Quaking Punch (30). But what makes this ability better is that your bench is also protected by Sparkle Veil. Crobat’s Skill Dive will do zero damage to anything on your field, and Yveltal’s (BKT 94/162) Pitch-Black Spear will only snipe for a mere 30 damage (while Diancie-EX would only take a mere 10 damage).
‘Wonder Stage’ is also a pretty solid attack, as it can be powered up in a single turn with a Max Elixir and Double Colourless Energy, and does 60 plus 50 damage if there is a Stadium in play (most likely Fairy Garden), which can knockout out a Shaymin-EX. However, due to the below average HP of 150, this card will struggle against those that can easily hit 180 damage or shut off abilities (Wobbuffet, Garbodor), but I still hope this card will see some play in Fairy decks.
Those numbers don’t seem right. A base 120 damage with ‘Jet Draft’ for just a Double Colourless Energy, while discarding a Special Energy off of your opponent’s Active Pokémon. That seems absolutely ridiculous, until you notice that Aerodactyl is a Restored Pokémon. Yeah, because I totally didn’t notice that in the first place. Yeah, totally…
The problem with fossil Pokémon is the difficulty of getting them into play. As the Item card ‘Old Amber Aerodactyl’ states: Look at the bottom 7 cards of your deck. You may reveal an Aerodactyl you find there and put it onto your Bench. This method of summoning Aerodactyl is incredibly inconsistent, as you will often not find a target at the bottom of your deck. Luckily, Omastar’s ‘Restoring Beam’ ability can help with this, and being able to attack immediately for 120 damage is something scary you better watch out for.
Guardian of the Sea, the new Lugia card reuses a concept seen on an old Bouffalant from Black & White Dragons Exalted. Its ability ‘Pressure’ reduces damage dealt to it by 20, which obviously makes it a much beefier Pokémon against those who aren’t hitting the highest numbers. Think about this: Seismitoad-EX would usually knock out Lugia after 4 Quaking Punches, however, when under Pressure (no pun intended), this will turn into a 12 hit knockout! That’s insane!
‘Intensifying Burn’ is what makes Lugia an excellent EX hunter, which for three Colourless Energy does 60 plus 60 damage if your opponent’s Active Pokémon is a Pokémon-EX. This will immediately knockout Shaymin-EX and Manaphy-EX, and due to Lugia being Colourless, it can be splashed in any deck. As a final note, Lugia can BREAK evolve, but Lugia BREAK isn’t anything special. Not at all.
#19. Devolution Spray
One of two reprints on this list, Devolution Spray returns from the Black & White expansion Dragons Exalted (I feel like I’ve said this a lot today), and with lots of great uses too. Older cards such as Crobat and Forretress can make use of this card to reuse their abilities during the same turn as evolving by evolving onto another Pokémon, increasing the amount of damage that can be dealt with Surprise Bite and Thorn Tempest. M Alakazam-EX will also be the newest user of Devolution Spray, being able to jump between different Alakazam-EX to activate Kinesis to rack up the damage counters for big knockouts later on and little knockouts on low HP benched Pokémon.
Natural Harmonia Gropius has returned at last. For those of you who do not know, that is N’s full name. Quite a mouthful isn’t it? Ever since the rotation of all of the Black & White expansions from the Standard format, we have had to make do with mediocre shuffle draw Supporters such as Professor Birch’s Observations, Shauna and even Ace Trainer, a card that cannot even be played unless the player is losing. Finally, we can replace most of them with N.
Early game, you’ll always draw a solid 6 cards to help you get your set up, and late game, you can punish quick and unprepared plays from your opponent, as using N to put them down to a single card can possibly have them dead draw until they lose the game. Fates Collide brings back this card to fill the unholy void left in Standard. Welcome back N!
As the Psychic King has awoken and Order has been brought to the two collided worlds, Fates Collide looks to be one of my favourite XY expansions, with M Alakazam-EX and Zygarde-EX having already caught my eye for new deck ideas. The next three months of Standard are sure to be a fun few, so stick around for a brand new look at the XY-Fates Collide format. See you next time!