Hello everyone, and welcome back to the Bath TCG blog. Today, we have the final part of this year’s guide to rotation, where we’ll be looking at Cosmic Eclipse, as well as all of the significant Promo cards that are rotating as well. What cards will you be missing the most, and which ones are you happy to see go? Let us know down below in the comments!
Venusaur & Snivy GX
Our first card of part four, SnivySaur will be most remembered for its inclusion in Ultimate Mewtwo. Thanks to its Shining Vine ability, you had access to a free gusting option that didn’t take up your supporter for the turn. In addition, thanks to Blastoise GX’s Rocket Splash attack, any attachments on SnivySaur weren’t gone to waste as they could be shuffled back into the deck with Mew3 for additional damage. This gusting option was particularly useful against Cinccino Control, as you could get around their Lillie’s Poké Dolls and Oranguru’s, and take knockouts on their two prize Pokémon such as Zacian V, which could even be for three prizes if you had used Altered Creation GX.
Another card included in Ultimate Mewtwo, as well as EggRow Rillaboom decks, Vileplume GX’s Massive Bloom attack could be copied by Mew3 to do some incredibly efficient damage. 180 was the highest damaging attack on a GX Pokémon that cost just two energy and, since it could be used from turn two, meant that you could take a quick two prizes on cards such as Dedenne GX, giving yourself a nice prize lead that your opponent could struggle to keep up with.
Charizard & Braixen GX
The less glamourous Charizard TagTeam, BraixZard saw brief experimentation in Welder Mewtwo for its powerful Brilliant Flare attack. Whilst it did cost four energy, you had plenty of other GX attacks in your deck that you could copy to set up damage on your opponent’s Pokémon, which you could then finish off with Brilliant Flare. The advantage of this attack over something like Flare Strike was that you could use Brilliant Flare on consecutive turns, whilst also searching out any three cards from your deck to help you prepare for your next turn. However, after the release of Marnie, this secondary effect became almost obsolete, and ReshiZard, with its superior damage output (and better attacks in general), went back to being the Charizard TagTeam of choice.
Blastoise & Piplup GX
The only Kanto starter to receive just one TagTeam card, Blastoise can feel a bit hard done by, especially when PipStoise wasn’t nearly as meta relevant as the Venusaur and Charizard TagTeam cards. The main problem with PipStoise was that it didn’t do enough damage as some of its more relevant counterparts, and there was never really an archetype for it to be played in. Splash Maker did decent damage, but its secondary effect was sub-par compared to attacks like Full Blitz and Ultimate Ray. Meanwhile, Bubble Launcher’s damage output was measly compared to Tag Bolt and Double Blaze, and even a full effect GX attack just couldn’t compare, especially as paralysis could be easily switched out of. Bar some minor play in Water Mewtwo, PipStoise did little to justify its inclusion in decks.
A neat gusting option for all sorts of decks, Phione was useful for moving big awkward TagTeams out of the way, or for forcing your opponent to bring up a Pokémon they were trying to protect. Thanks to Phione’s ability to put itself back into the deck, it kept itself open to multiple uses, as well as being a useful tool to prevent yourself from decking out. Thanks to its utility, Phione saw play in ADP decks, PikaRom, Blacephalon, Spiritomb and Dragapult VMAX, amongst others.
The main attacker of the Nuzzle archetype, Raichu could deal massive damage with its Powerful Spark attack, after Pachirisu’s Snuggly Generator had flooded the board with lightning energy. Thanks to a couple of these, Tapu Koko Prism Star, and some manual attachments, Raichu could deal massive OHKO’s on TagTeam Pokémon for only one energy!
An obscure but powerful ability, Call Signal saw play in a number of archetypes. The most prominent of these were Pidgeotto Control and Cinccino Mill, which used Magneton to search out hand lock supporters and a Lt. Surge’s Strategy. Since the use of Call Signal would put you down a prize card, you could use all three of the supporters straight away. Other archetypes that included Magneton include certain Centickorch VMAX decks and various Hat Ladies experiments.
Solgaleo & Lunala GX
Played in both Malamar and Psychic Mew3 varients, Solgaleo & Lunala GX’s Cosmic Burn could be used to finish off games with massive damage to knockout a TagTeam. With some setup damage from Giratina pings or other GX attackers that Mew3 could copy, you could take down some of the biggest TagTeam Pokémon. In addition, its Light of the Protector GX attack could be used to take a quick tempo OHKO on a two prize Pokémon or, if you fancied including Lillie’s Full Force in your deck, you could even prevent your opponent from attacking any of your Pokémon for a whole turn.
Thanks to their synergy with Roxie, both Koffing and Weezing saw play in decks that wanted to place extra damage counters on the board, all whilst benefitting from what was essentially free card draw. Both cards saw play in Checkmate Control decks, as a way of placing extra damage on three prize Pokémon, which could then be knocked out by Persian GX’s Vengeance attack that had been powered up by using Roxie to discard said Koffing and Weezing. The Weezing/Roxie combo also saw play in TinaChomp decks as a way of powering up Calamitous Slash to do 240 damage, and was preferable to using Koffing as that was a basic which you only wanted in your hand and didn’t want to start with.
A useful bench sitter in some Mad Party decks, Duskull allowed you to discard up to three additional Mad Party Pokémon from your hand each turn. If you could get Duskull down on turn one, it could help you out whenever you had used all of your discard options for the turn and still had Mad Party Pokémon in your hand. This could easily mean the difference between securing or missing a knockout on turn two.
Somewhat overshadowed by Dedenne GX’s Dedechange ability, Oricorio GX’s Dance of Tributes still managed to cement itself in many single prize decks that wanted to draw into large hand sizes or frequently had Pokémon knocked out by opponents. Dance of Tributes allowed Baby Blowns decks to draw into even bigger hand sizes to find more energy to discard with Fireball Circus, whilst single prize decks such as Spiritomb, which would often have Pokémon knocked out on consecutive turns, could use Dance of Tributes to draw into your next combo pieces.
One of the few thorns in Mew3’s side, Mimikyu’s Shadow Box ability allowed you to completely shut off its Perfection ability. Thanks to damage counter pings from cards such as Galarian Zigzagoon, Inteleon, Inteleon VMAX, Dragapult VMAX and Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX, you could place damage on a Mew3 early on in a game, rendering it completely useless unless your opponent had a way to heal it or played a Stealthy Hood, the latter of which needed to be found early and not be discarded by something like a Professor’s Research before they knew about Mimikyu.
A staple in Malamar decks up until the time that it rotated, Blacephalon was a powerful attacker that you could save for the right turn, then place down on the board, power up with a Psychic Recharge and a hand attachment, and start spreading damage counters around the board. This would most often allow you to take at least one prize but, on the rare occasion that your opponent wasn’t able to secure a return KO, you would have the opportunity to spread 240 damage around your opponent’s board!
Seeing a brief period of play under the name ‘Primal Groudon’, Vibrava’s Obnoxious Whirring ability meant that it couldn’t be gusted up by Boss’s Orders, meaning that you were free to build up as many as you liked on your bench, ready to evolve into a Flygon GX when you were able to take a KO. Thanks to handy cards such as Stone Fighting Energy, Karate Belt and Martial Arts Dojo, in addition to Flygon’s Dusty Defence ability, Flygon GX was a tanky Pokémon that was difficult to KO, could be fairly easy to set up, and could hit for massive damage. With a full effect Dojo in play, you could OHKO almost every TagTeam Pokémon in the game! This attack alone made Flygon GX a worthy include in Ultimate Mewtwo, as even without the stadium you could OHKO a PikaRom or, with the added boost from Altered Creation GX, Pokémon such as Reshizard and other Mew3s.
In addition to losing the control-centric Excadrill from Unified Minds, we are also losing another, aggressive Excadrill that also loved getting your deck size down to as small as possible. Using its Drill Bazooka attack to do an impressive 120 damage for only one energy, Excadrill would also discard the top four cards of your deck. While this may seem like a terrible thing to be doing, getting your deck down to only three cards boosted Eleventh Hour Tackle’s damage to a whopping 180 – for only one energy! When you take into consideration the damage buffs from cards such as Martial Arts Dojo and Diancie Prism Star, it is easy to see how Excadrill was able to go toe to toe with some of the most powerful TagTeam decks around, it would simply OHKO them! Thanks to cards such as Ordinary Rod, Pal Pad and Brock’s Grit, you could keep reloading cards back into your deck so that you could keep using Eleventh Hour Tackle without the risk of decking yourself out.
Alolan Persian GX
A particularly annoying Pokémon to deal with, Alolan Persian GX’s Smug Face ability was powerful enough to win games on its own, thanks to its ability to throw opponents and catch them off their guard if they didn’t have any meaningful options in their deck that could deal with Alolan Persian. In certain builds of Psychic Mewtwo, Alolan Persian GX could be put into play thanks to Ditto Prism Star as a surprise option that your opponent would suddenly have to deal with, or continuously gust around. Its Stalking Claws GX attack could be similarly difficult for opponents to deal with, as it could be used to snipe a Pokémon on your opponent’s bench that wasn’t walled by Smug Face, leaving them with no options to take Alolan Persian out.
Thanks to its Red Banquet attack, Guzzlord became a powerful one prize addition in Dark Box, with a speciality in taking out other single prizers. With its high HP, Guzzlord could tank hits from other single prize Pokémon and deal big damage in return, often dealing a OHKO. This allowed you to take an extra prize card, and even up the prize trade in a deck that was otherwise filled with two and three prize Pokémon. As well as regular single prize decks, Guzzlord was an expert in dealing with control archetypes, as Red Banquet could help you race through your prizes as quickly as possible against decks that wanted to stop you in your tracks.
Togepi & Cleffa & Igglybuff GX
Baby Trio proved that even TagTeam Pokémon weren’t immune to receiving meme cards. With an attack that did damage based on coin flips, and a GX attack that required 16 energy for its full effect, this card was never going to see serious play. However, in the brief highlight reel moments that it did have, usually thanks to a very successful Hat Ladies combo, a full effect Supreme Puff GX was truly a sight to behold.
Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GX
And here it is, after nearly two years of domination, ADP finally bows out of the standard format. Whether you loved it or hated it, there is no doubting the strength and meta-warping capabilities this card possessed – to the point that it had made single prize decks almost completely unviable. Being able to take additional prizes on a KO is always a powerful effect, so giving it to a TagTeam Pokémon was always going to have a huge impact on the game. Whether it was with Keldeo GX, Zacian V, Spiritomb, Mew3 or Galarian Moltres V, there was never a shortage of attackers for ADP to power up with its Ultimate Ray attack. Thanks to Altered Creation GX, you could win a game in just three attacks, with low HP GX and V Pokémon such as Dedenne, Crobat and Eldegoss all being in range of a damage boosted Ultimate Ray. Whether single prize decks make a significant return to the format remains to be seen (I’m looking at you, Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX), but there’s no doubt that they’ll be back trying to prove their worth in a VMAX metagame.
Reshiram & Zekrom GX
From the highs of ADP, to the lows of ReshiRom. This TagTeam was hyped through the proof prior to the release of Cosmic Eclipse, but upon release, this card flopped to the floor faster than you could say Fabled Flarebolts. As it turns out, having to continuously reload fire and lightning energy onto the board, whilst continuing to draw cards, wasn’t the easiest task to achieve. Welder decks could only just about cope with chaining Welder’s turn after turn, so having to power up a Tapu Koko Prism Star at the same time wasn’t always possible, especially in the early game. If ReshiRom’s acceleration problems weren’t bad enough, it also had a damage cap to deal with. This meant that ReshiRom, a OHKO specialist, couldn’t OHKO every TagTeam Pokémon. Pokémon such as ADP had more than 270HP, whilst those below the cap could survive with a Choice Helmet or Big Charm. Cross Break GX was also barely worth using, as it only did 170 damage for four energy, and required you to play N’s Resolve to activate its full effect, which was a subpar supporter card at best.
Naganadel & Guzzlord GX
The final dragon TagTeam Pokémon, NagaGuzz sat comfortably in between the success levels of ADP and ReshiRom. As was the speciality of Ultra Beast Pokémon, NagaGuzz decks were built around manipulating prize cards. Thanks to a Mismagius engine, you could go down by two prize cards. Not only would this activate Lt. Surge’s Strategy, which allowed for additional draw and healing from Bill’s Analysis and Mallow & Lana, this would also activate Beast Ring. Theoretically, thanks to Dusk Stone, this is a combo that could be pulled off on turn one, enabling you to hit for 210 (with Beast Energy) before your opponent had even attacked! If this damage was done to a TagTeam Pokémon, you could attach a beast bringer and take four prizes once you knocked it out on your next turn. With only two prizes remaining, all you needed to do was use Chaotic Order GX to take your final two prizes, enabling you to win the game in three turns! Whilst this sounds just as impressive as ADP’s gameplan on paper, NagaGuzz require a lot more combo pieces, and had to rely on coin flip cards such as Order Pad to find your Dusk Stones early, which was critical for the deck to succeed in its gameplan.
Mega Lopunny & Jigglypuff GX
A particular favourite in Mew3 decks, LoPuff could be used to surprise opponents who had filled their board with GX Pokémon. Since Jumping Balloon could be powered up with a Welder/Two Psychic Recharges and a turn attachment, it was perfect for searching out on a turn where you could secure a OHKO on a TagTeam, before discarding it and doing massive damage to your opponent. Against decks that only played GX Pokémon, such as PikaRom and other Mew3 decks, or against decks that had to play multiple Dedenne GX in addition to their main attacker, LoPuff could very easily do massive damage with Jumping Balloon. In addition, Puffy Smashers GX was also a nice sniping option but was rarely used in comparison to Naganadel GX’s Venom Shot attack.
Another GX Pokémon that was hyped prior to the release of Cosmic Eclipse, Silvally GX struggled to make a home for itself in a top tier archetype. For most of its life, Silvally GX was played in Dark Box as a way to draw cards after the use of Red & Blue, but that was an archetype that struggled to make a name for itself until the release of Galarian Moltres V. However, that didn’t stop Silvally from making appearances in other archetypes, as it also saw play in Centiskorch VMAX and Excadrill Control as means to draw additional cards.
If there was ever an ADP equivalent for stadium cards, then it was Chaotic Swell. Chaotic Swell was so powerful that it reduced the number of playable stadium cards to about five, and that was on a good day! In reality, any deck that didn’t have an obvious stadium card to include just played Chaotic Swell, as it at least disrupted what your opponent was trying to do. In some formats, the prominence of Chaotic Swell was so obvious that decks just stopped playing stadiums altogether, as their own Swell inclusions would be useless and their own preferred stadium of choice even more so. Only Welder decks could stand up to the might of Chaotic Swell, with their army of Giant Hearths and Resetting Hole Marshadow’s. Safe to say, once Chaotic Swell rotates, stadium wars are well and truly back on the menu.
Played in the aptly named Clay-DP, Clay was included in certain ADP Zacian variants as means to quicker access to Metal Saucer activation and even the possibility of getting off a fabled turn one Altered Creation GX. Clay-DP variants would play less than half a dozen non-item trainer cards, as a means to draw as many item cards as possible. Since there was always the possibility of discarding an important Pokémon or water energy with Clay, it was always wise to include at least one copy of Ordinary Rod as means to recover these pieces back into your deck.
Cynthia & Caitlin
The first of the so-called ‘Tag Call Engine’ cards, Cynthia & Caitlin was included in archetypes of all shapes and sizes as a means to recover important supporter cards back into your hand, ready to be used on the following turn. Whether this was a Mallow & Lana, Professor’s Research, Boss’ Orders, Red & Blue, Lt. Surge’s Strategy, or any of the other disruptive supporters that were included in control archetypes, CynLin was a great recovery option that could grab you a game-winning supporter, all whilst drawing you cards at the same time.
Whenever a gust effect is printed on an item card, there is always a high chance it will see some form of play in standard format. Of course, these effects are never as strong as something like a Boss’ Orders, but that didn’t stop Great Catcher from being able to gust up a large majority of the format. Since you could gust up any GX Pokémon in the format, including TagTeam Pokémon, Great Catcher was a great inclusion in decks that couldn’t necessarily play Boss’ Orders. Also, since it was an item card, Great Catcher could be found using a variety of cards such as Jirachi, Drizzile/Inteleon, Marnie and Professor’s Research, and the cost of having to discard two cards in order to use it also wasn’t a big deal, as Great Catcher would often be used to secure a game-winning KO.
Guzma & Hala
The second piece of the Tag Call Engine, GuzHala was pivotal for archetypes that relied on specific special energy, tools and stadium cards. The most prominent users of GuzHala were the top three performing TagTeam Pokémon, PikaRom, Mew3 and ADP. PikaRom used GuzHala to search out Thunder Mountain Prism Star, Speed Lightning Energy, Big Charm and Escape Board, Mew3 to search out Giant Hearth, Rainbow/Aurora (as well as many other types of special) energy, Air Balloon and Big Charm, and ADP to search out Aurora Energy, Viridian Forest, Chaotic Swell, Big Charm and Air Balloon. Needless to say, GuzHala was the tutoring option of choice for Tag Call engines in decks that needed to access specific 1/2 counts of stadium cards, tools and special energy.
Island Challenge Amulet
An unusual tool card, Island Challenge Amulet made appearances in a variety of archetypes that all used it in very different circumstances. It was included in Gardeon decks as a way of forcing your opponent to go through three TagTeam Pokémon and take eight prize cards, in Checkmate decks a way of slowing down your opponent while you focused on just one TagTeam Pokémon for game, and Whimsicott decks as a way to make Dedenne GX a one prize Pokémon so that your opponent would still have to take six prize cards.
Lana’s Fishing Rod
An occasional include in single prize decks, Lana’s Fishing Rod was usually used to bring back a Pokémon and tool combo. In Spiritomb archetypes, it could recover Spiritomb along with either a Hustle Belt or a Cape of Toughness to help your main attacker do more damage. Meanwhile, in Malamar variants, Lana’s Fishing Rod would be used to recover a Spell Tag for Giratina, and then either a Malamar or an Inkay.
Lillie’s Poké Doll
A favourite in wall, stall, control and mill decks, Lillie’s Poké Doll was always a handy option for when you needed to buy yourself a turn or two. Since it didn’t give your opponent any prize cards for knocking it out, Lillie’s Poké Doll could essentially buy you a free turn to set up your board or gather more combo pieces into your hand. Also, thanks to its ability to recycle itself back to the bottom of the deck, Lillie’s Poké Doll was a nice reusable option that also prevented you from decking out. With this wide range of usability, it’s no surprise that Lillie’s Poké Doll ended up in decks such as LucMetal, Decidueye, Cinccino/Magcargo Mill, Obstagoon and Florges Dolls.
Mallow & Lana
The final supporter of the Tag Call package, Mallow & Lana was an excellent healing option for decks that wanted to last an extra hit or two. Unsurprisingly, Mallow & Lana saw most of its play in decks with the highest HP Pokémon that also had the most space to justify its inclusion. If you hadn’t already guessed, this of course meant that Mallow & Lana was a favourite in TagTeam decks, as these massively bulky basic Pokémon needed fewer resources to get going, and therefore more space that could be dedicated to keeping them around for longer. In addition, thanks to CynLin, Mallow & Lana could be recycled back into the hand for multiple uses, making it extremely hard for your opponent to knock out one of your TagTeam Pokémon unless they did enough damage to get a OHKO.
Designed to be paired with ReshiRom, N’s Resolve flopped just as hard. The other two dragon TagTeam Pokémon from Cosmic Eclipse both relied on either manual attachments or Beast Ring to power them up, as N’s Resolve just didn’t look at enough cards in the decks to make it worth including as a viable and consistent energy acceleration option, lest you included at least 15 energy cards in your deck. With the recent revival of Dragon Pokémon in Evolving Skies, N’s Resolve may have yet seen play in another archetype. Alas, we’ll never know…
Professor Oak’s Setup
Yet another supporter whose chance at success was cut drastically short by the new turn one rules, Professor Oak’s Setup went from being an amazing supporter to play on turn one to a terrible one that wasn’t worth including if you could only use it effectively 50% of the time.
Red & Blue
The final Tag Team supporter of significance to be rotating this year, Red & Blue only ever saw play in one significant archetype – Dark Box. Since it could be used to search out Silvally GX and Weavile GX, all whilst accelerating energy, Red & Blue became the main energy acceleration option of choice in a deck that could use Silvally’s Disk Reload ability to subsidise the lack of draw that came with playing Red & Blue. Thanks to the extra energy acceleration from Galarian Moltres V, Dark Box rose to be a serious contender in both the Chilling Reign and POG 2021 formats.
Although the loss of Rosa is softened somewhat by the recent release of Raihan, there is no doubting the importance of this supporter in single prize decks. Although it was played in Spiritomb, Control and Granbull decks, Rosa will mostly be remembered for its importance to both Decidueye and Obstagoon archetypes (including ones that included both). Since both of these Pokémon wanted to create a wall that your opponent would have to continuously break through (or eventually concede to), Rosa was key in the fact that it could grab you your next stage two, a Rare Candy, and an energy card. As long as you always had a basic Pokémon on your board, and kept up with your manual attachments, Rosa could ensure that you were always able to provide more problems for your opponent than they had answers for.
Having already covered all of the cards that were typically paired with Roxie, it should now come as no surprise to hear how effective this card was when paired with the right combo pieces. Thanks to Koffing and Weezing, Roxie saw great success with TinaChomp and in Checkmate decks, as means of drawing lots of cards whilst also spreading lots of damage around the board and setting up future KO’s with attacks like Calamitous Slash. In addition, Roxie also saw some brief play in Mad Party variants, as a means of drawing through the deck whilst also discarding multiple Mad Party Pokémon at the same time without having to discard the rest of your hand.
The crux of the Tag Call engine, Tag Call enabled you to search out any TagTeam supporter or Pokémon that you wanted. If this already wasn’t a strong enough effect, Tag Call enabled you to search out these two types of cards in any combination that you liked, meaning that Tag Call could essentially act as up to two free ball search cards for TagTeam Pokémon, whilst also being able to grab your turn one supporter going second. It goes to show just how strong this one item card was, given that it had an entire draw engine, and in turn entire decks, built around its capabilities.
A popular include in Rainbow/Aurora Energy builds of Mew3, as well as Ultimate Mewtwo, Greninja GX’s Mist Slash was used as a wall breaking attack for Pokémon such as Keldeo GX, Decidueye, Latios GX and Obstagoon. Since it wasn’t an attacker you used on your board, you could keep swapping/healing between your Mew3’s whilst still having access to Greninja’s attacks.
Trevenant & Dusknoir GX
Another staple of Mew3, this time in psychic builds, TrevNoir’s Night Watch attack could be paired with Marnie to reduce your opponent’s hand size down to just two cards. If they then bricked, you could continue to reduce their hand size even more, before unleashing a full effect Pale Moon GX. If your opponents couldn’t switch out of the active, they could only sit and watch as their full HP TagTeam Pokémon was knocked out in one fell swoop. In the final format before its rotation, TrevNoir also saw play in Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX as an alternate attacker that could once again make use of the Marnie hand lock combo.