A List of Staples

It occurred to me the other day that I should probably publish a list of staple cards for the new meta.  So I had a couple of free minutes and started jotting them down… and WOW was I surprised at how many there are.  I’ve broken them down into three categories, a “Short List” that includes the 5 star, 4 of or close to it cards that you have to have, a “Medium List” of good cards you’ll frequently use, and then a “Leftovers” list that includes good cards but maybe have limited applications or target audiences.

Let me know what you think… this list can be flexible.

The Short List

  • Acro Bike (4) Makes your deck so much more consistent
  • Choice Band (4)
  • Copycat (4) Averages 5.63 cards per play… but if you have double Oranguru on bench, sometimes you can get away with playing it when your opponent has a small hand size.
  • Cynthia (4)
  • Guzma (4)
  • Nest Ball (4)
  • Oranguru (2) Donald is right, this card is AMAZING
  • Rare Candy (4)
  • Rescue Stretcher (2)
  • Shrine of Punishment (4) The meta defining card right now.
  • Ultra Ball (4)

Feel free to disagree, but I’m calling it the short list for a reason.

The Medium List

  • Acerola (2) Must have to counter Shrine
  • Beast Ring (4) 4 of in Ultra Beast decks
  • Enhanced Hammer (4) I know it’s early, but 58% of decks I have faced post rotation run SPE
  • Gladion (1) Best card nobody plays
  • Judge (2) Maybe not as disruptive as everyone thinks as average hand size = 5.63 cards
  • Leaf Blower (2)
  • Lillie (1)
  • Mallow (4) I love this card, play it more than Cynthia sometimes
  • Max Potion (4) Must have to counter Shrine
  • Mysterious Treasure (4) It’s not just for Dragon and Psychic decks anymore!
  • Pal Pad (1) Squeeze in Delcatty if you can
  • Professor I Don’t Wear a Shirt  Kukui (2)
  • Switch (2)
  • Tate & Liza (4) Copycat is averaging 5.63 cards per play

The Leftovers

  • Altar of the Moone (4)
  • Aqua Patch (4)
  • Blaine’s Last Stand (1)
  • Bodybuilding Dumbbells (4) Funniest review ever on Pojo.com by Auroramage
  • Brooklet Hill (4)
  • Counter Catcher (4) Four of in spread decks
  • Cyrus (1) Still trying to get the Milotic Cyrus combo to work
  • Devoured Field (4)
  • Energy Loto (4) Really helps you find DCE in decks that rely on DCE for attachments two and three
  • Energy Recycler (2)
  • Energy Retrieval (2)
  • Escape Board (4) In the right deck, it can be better than Float Stone… I just don’t know what deck that is
  • Escape Rope (2)
  • Fiery Flint (4)
  • Fisherman (2)
  • Hala (4) Four of in decks that use their GX attacks early
  • Kiawe (4) About to see a LOT more usage
  • Lady (2)
  • Lance Prism (1)
  • Lusamine (1) I run it in some of my Shrine decks
  • Metal Frying Pan (4) even with Altar of the Sunne, still won’t stop Fire decks because of Leaf Blower
  • Mt. Coronet (4) Four of in Magnezone decks… not that anyone will be playing Metal after Friday
  • Order Pad (4) Still ok for Beast Rings, Counter Catchers, Nest Balls, Ultra Balls, you just have to know going in it’s only going to work half the time and only gets Items
  • Olivia (1) Not a bad card if you’re running multiple GX Pokemon (esp. evolution Pokemon)
  • Pokemon Fan Club (1) It’s not Brigette
  • Super Scoop Up (4) Maybe will see more use with spread decks running around
  • Timer Ball (4)
  • Ultra Recon Squad (4)
  • Ultra Space (4)
  • Volkner (1) Better than Skyla
  • Weakness Policy (4)
  • Wishful Baton (4)
  • Zinnia (4)

So again let me know what you think and I’ll make some adjustments.


  1. I believe your list is pretty solid: can’t say I’m overlooking anything at all. Although….feel free to disagree with me here, but there’s a chance that Dashing Pouch isn’t as “terribly” bad as it seems. Here’s my trail of thought: say for instance you ran a deck with cards with a retreat cost of 2 and the opponent Guzma’s them up to stall you…now yes you could make the argument that “You could Guzma them back or use Switch”, but if you have a single energy attacker like Golisopod and run DCE too, you could do something as slick as attach the DCE, have dashing pouch on Oranguru, retreat, and rather than Discard the DCE, the card returns to your hand. That is not bad at all. But to be blunt: Escape board is probably the better option just because you avoid status ailments.

    As a side note I would also like to consider Mount Lanakila for the leftovers pile as well, given that you could do some pretty harsh plays against basic players running what appears to be free retreaters, in that the retreat cost goes up by 1 for all basics. This in conjunction with a benched Alolan Dugtrio could lead to some frustrating matches if you combo it with disruption….but I’m on theorymon at this point.

    Lastly, Sky Pillar: this is a very underrated card in that it shuts down spread decks, snipe plays by Greninja GX, stops bench damage from the likes of Latios and Buzzwole GX, and avoids the Divide GX/Black Ray GX plays too. Might not see play now, but if ever spread becomes popular again, this can be used to hard counter those decks.

    Oh, and Switch Raft: if you play water pokemon, this is a better switch card than Switch….given what items have been converted into Secret rares (Frying Pan, a life raft, a paint brush), don’t be surprised if we get a fidget spinner as a card real soon….

    Definitely last thing before finishing my rambling: I would like Pokemon to bring back Technical Machines to the TCG. Now for those who are too young or don’t know about certain cards dating back to the Diamond and Pearl era or earlier, Technical Machine cards acted as tools similarly to the All-Cells Burn tool card exclusively for Zygarde EX, in that you gave the Pokemon an additional attack. I can’t say all of them were good, but some like Evoluter allowed you to use the attack to evolve one of your pokemon like the fairy Diancie or Wally…for NO ENERGY AT ALL, basically turning any pokemon you have this TM attached to into a sort of Alolan Vulpix.

    Just wanted to get that out of my system: such a neat concept. ^_^

  2. Dragon Magesty comes out in September? Well, I’ve been living under a rock.. Baby blazikens, come to me! With 3 of those and 2 blaziken GX, Blaziken turtonator will finally be playable! When it comes out tho, I need to get codes…. binge watching youtube anyone?

    1. I would suggest going on eBay for the codes: even if you have to wait a day or so for them to arrive in your mailbox, at least you’ll have them. They’re gunna be pricey, given that it’s a special set that won’t appear in PTCGO so be wise with your spending. Also stockpile on good packs to trade for these cards, especially cards like Kingdra and Altaria, the former being so strong, the latter being a Dragon boosting engine that makes any dragon hit like a truck (even a Hustle belt, troll-Goomy deck). That deck you can find on Aurabomb’s youtube channel.

  3. Yeah, eBay would be great, ‘cept for the fact that I got no money. (25$ to my name, and I was saving THAT for a CES ETB.) I think getting packs from tournaments and tradable GXS that I have no interest in using (for example expanded stuff) to get my baby blaziken’s

    1. Alright, but don’t get swindled when doing trades! Baby Blaziken might get hyped to kingdom come, but more often than not the hype dies down after some time so watch the market (lord knows it took time before I found a Rayquaza at a decent pack to card ratio….yeah).

      Side note that Blaziken totally on my wish list too: so many fun ideas without Garb ruining the fun…inb4 people start running Slaking of all things XD

  4. Update to make on Dragon Majesty: if you can manage it, open a few of your packs when you obtain them. Personally, idk if this counted as RNG but after the rough luck I had with Celestial Storm, my luck got better with this special set. I just love it. Biggest gripe you will have during your openings will be the reverse slot…foil energy are found in these packs. So while you are guaranteed a holo rare and above in every pack like Shining Legends, you might not be too big of a fan of foil energies here (I prefer the Black and White Energies myself). But yes the pulls are better in my opinion because there’s lots of new things to try out. Hell, even if you got unlucky and pulled no GXs, so long as you get your Blazikens, Altarias, and some nice holo rares, you got multiple budget decks to try out. So have fun opening and trading and just feel spoiled: I love these sets very much.

    On an unrelated note I was playing with a Metagross deck for a trainer challenge…Steven’s Metagross is tricky to play with because you gotta use plenty of brain power to pull through in games, especially when you start off rough. It’s certainly easy to counter, but it might be nerve-racking to face given that you’re seeing your opponent get what they want every turn. Thank goodness I completed my evolution challenge today because I do expect a lot of fire this weekend.

    So advice to players going into the weekend: if you wanna be that guy, dust off some Lapras decks and Dedenne/Koko shenanigans: it might be time to slay dragons and put out forest fires.

  5. Koko dedenne would be great, but why, oh why, do I decide nows the time to get Kokos! I don’t have any, and it’ll be hard to trade for cuz of shrine. Shrine makes me triggered atm.

    1. If it helps the Tapu Koko codes aren’t priced high at all, and you could always sub out Koko for things like Latios, or the Lightning Oricorio against GX heavy decks, or even fiddle around with Manectric and see what odd plays you pull off: Fulfills your Lightning pokemon requirement and you accelerate energy too :3

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