Every year or so, Pokémon release a mini set of cards that fit in between the main big releases that come out every three months.
This October we are in for a treat as Shining Legends strikes the balance of appealing to both collectors and competitive players, and brings us a 78 card set (including secret rares) that features four new GXs, rare “Shining” Pokémon, reverse holo energy cards and more!
Here are the five cards I'm most excited about as a competitive Pokémon player, and a few others to look out for when Shining Legends releases in English on October 6th!
No.5 ~ Raikou
As well as being a fan-favourite, this legendary electric beast has a strong first attack similar to the Yveltal with Oblivion Wing that has seen a lot of play in recent years.
This card will combo well with the new Raichu GX from this set, allowing you to quickly increase the numbers on his main attack, as well as powering up cards like the Raikou from Breakthrough, and Tapu Koko GX.
Sticking a Fighting Fury Belt on him will increase his HP to 160 making him even tougher to take down. Raikou will definitely be a feature in many electric-based decks in the coming years.
No.4 ~ Venusaur
It was surprising to see that this Venusaur printed as an uncommon card considering how powerful and how much potential the ability has, especially in the future.
It's a good thing that Forest of Giant Plants was banned from both formats, as being able to get one of these out on Turn 1 would make for insane starts.
The reason this card isn't higher up on my Top 5 list is that there isn't many decks that I feel it could fit in right now. Some players might experiment with Venusaur EX or Mega Beedrill EX but I feel those are too slow in our current tournament format, especially with Volcanion EX and Ho-Oh GX decks being so strong.
Venusaur is definitely one for the future and all grass cards printed in the next couple years will require a close look as this ability is far too strong to sleep on.
No.3 ~ Shining Mew
It's wonderful to see Shining Pokémon make a return to the TCG. The likes of Shining Magikarp and Shining Charizard from the early Neo sets are still extremely popular amongst collectors, and it's great to see that these new ones are textured and just as beautiful as those!
As well as being possibly the best art in the set, Shining Mew has an incredible first attack to make up for his pitiful 30 HP.
Being able to search for ANY two energy cards and attach them to your Pokémon is right up there with some of the best set-up style attacks we have in the game at the moment.
With the attack saying any energy, it means you can do crazy things like search for two Double Colorless Energy's (DCEs) and super-charge a benched Tapu Lele GX, or do other crazy combos such as attaching two Strong Energy's to a Crabominable (Burning Shadows) or another strong fighting Pokémon.
A lot of Stage 2 decks at the moment struggle to be able to do even 30 damage on Turn 2 so potentially you'd even be able to make use of Shining Mew's free retreat after doing the attack. Definitely one to keep in your binder, even just to admire and look at!
No.2 ~ Raichu GX
Raichu GX has a very similar main attack to the popular Darkrai EX, doing 20 plus 20 more damage for all electric energies attached to all your Pokémon. Being able to use cards like Max Elixir, Clemont, Raikou (Shining Legends), Electrode (Evolutions) and Magnezone (Breakthrough) helps to increase the speed you can increase Raichu's GX's power. You also have the option of Raikou from Breakthrough or Tapu Koko GX as a powerful secondary attacker.
As well as the Powerful Spark attack, Raichu GX's other two attacks seem incredibly useful and like with popular cards such as Tapu Bulu GX, Lapras GX etc, you have the options to use the different attacks as the situation in the game requires.
Although you won't be hitting many Pokémon (Ho-Oh GX the exception) for weakness, having a fighting weakness isn't a major issue in the current meta, and the resistance to Metal means you'll be able to use one Thunder attack and still survive a Metagross GX + Choice Band attack.
Being a massive Pikachu fan, I'm personally most looking forward to trying to get Raichu GX to work competitively as I finally get the chance to play a deck that features my favourite Pokémon, and his equally-cute evolved form!
No.1 ~ Zoroark GX
For those that follow Japanese tournament results, it will come to no surprise that Zoroark GX is No.1 on my list, as it recently took several top placings at a large tournament held there.
It's easy to see why, to begin with the ability is super powerful, especially late-game when you are likely to be N'd to a smaller hand, or even early game when you need to get certain cards in the discard pile quickly and/or find important early set-up cards.
Even with the loss of Sky Field in the Standard format, Riotous Beating will easily be doing 100-120 damage most of the time, and then you have the potential to use the GX attack to use some incredibly powerful attacks, such as Ho-Oh GX's Sacred Flame, or Gardevoir GX's Infinite Force, to get quick knockouts on your opponent's Pokémon.
As Zoroark GX evolves from Zorua, you also have the option to play the Zoroark and/or Zoroark BREAK from Breakthrough to give yourself more attacking options. Combined with a resistance to Psychic, and a solid 210 HP total, Zoroark GX really is the powerhouse of the Shining Legends set. You'll definitely want to pick a couple of these up as soon as possible!
Despite being such a small set, there are plenty of other Pokémon that definitely deserve a look and could become stronger in the right decks, or as more sets are released in the future.
Hoopa ~ The ability of Hoopa is the same as the Alolan Ninetales from Burning Shadows which is seeing a lot of play at the moment, preventing all damage to it from GX and EX Pokémon. Being a basic makes this card even more flexible, and could even see some play in decks that don't use Darkness or Rainbow Energy.
Entei GX ~ It's a shame that Entei GX got the short end of the balance stick this set, as it looks to be the weakest of the four new GX's from Shining Legends. Most of the time you'd rather have a Turtonator GX or Ho-Oh GX out than Entei GX, although his GX attack of being able to do 150 damage to any Pokémon has some potential and might find niche use in the future.
Mewtwo GX ~ I mostly wanted an excuse to show of the beautiful secret rare of Mewtwo GX that will no doubt be the most desirable card for collectors from Shining Legends. Despite having solid HP and a decent range of attacks, Garbodor and Espeon GX decks are too popular at the moment and Mewtwo GX wouldn't be able to compete with them at this moment. Potentially in the future if he gets some decent basic supporting Psychic Pokémon, and Garbodor variants see less play, Mewtwo GX could be a powerhouse.
Remember that Shining Legends booster packs won't be available in booster boxes, just special collection sealed products such as Elite Trainer Boxes or the incredible Ho-Oh Premium Collection Box. The Elite Trainer Box is scheduled to release in English worldwide on October 6th 2017, with the other products to follow shortly in the weeks after.
If you enjoyed reading this article as much I loved writing it, please do check out my PlaySkape Games YouTube Channel where I do event reports, unboxings, PSA returns and more, as well as my Facebook Page where I post regular updates and photos from my travels, as well as the latest and exciting Pokémon TCG news! Until next time Pokémon trainers!
Stephen Kent ~ PlaySkape Games