A Second Look at Each Set: Unleashed

by Pikkdogs ~ June 21st, 2011.

Welcome to the second part of this series of articles.  These articles look at each set and take a look at both the most played and mBlastoise - ULost overlooked cards of each set.  We are now on the HS: Unleashed set.  The hope is that by looking at the best cards of each set, we will be able to find some new techs or new deck ideas.

Before the article we have a bit of news.  Last week it was announced that the next English set will be called “Emerging Powers.”  The weird thing about the announcement is that it was announced that the set would include over 90 cards including 25 Pokemon that were never printed before.  Since our Black and White set did not have about 25 Pokemon cards that were not in the Japanese Black and White sets, this means that we probably will not be getting any cards from the Red Collection (the second Japanese Set).  Whats even stranger is the fact that we are getting some cards like Krookodile and Scolipede that have not been released in Japan.  So does that mean that we are getting a lot of new cards that Japan hasn’t received yet?  Anyway, it does seem that the next set will contain a lot of unreleased cards from the Black and White sets and cards from the Coballion, Virizion, and Terrakion decks.  Anyway, lets get on to the article.

The Top Cards

These are the top cards that have been talked about and played already.  You should be aware of these guys.

1. Torterra

What is it?– A main attacker.  Torterra was used last season in a deck with Flygon.  It has an attack that does 40 damage and lets you remove as many damage counters from Torterra as the amount of damage you did to the defending Pokemon.  It also has an attack that does 80 for GCCC.

Why to play it?– If you can find a way to power up Torterra’s first attack, you will be able to do a lot of damage and heal.  There are also a lot of great grass techs out there.

Why not to play it?–  It has weakness to Reshiram and we have lost Expert Belt, that card would have been nice for this deck.  It doesn’t seem right to try to bring Torterra back from the dead right now.

2. Blastoise

What is it?– A main attacker.  He can snipe for 100 damage for WWCC. He also has  Poke-Power that lets you bring water energies to Blastoise from other Pokemon in play.

Why to play it?– It actually is a good card for the format.  For a DCE and 2 water energies you can snipe for 100, that’s pretty good.  There are also two Pokemon that can  support Blastoise, Feraligatr Prime and Floatzel.  They both can help you attach another water energy.

Why not to play it?–  This format is all about OHKO’s to the active, and sometimes it seems like 120 to the active is better than 100 to anyone.

3. Minun   Kingdra Prime - UL

What is it?– A starter, kind of like Stantler.  For 1 energy you can put two basics from your deck to your bench.

Why to play it?–  I think that Minun and Stantler are great starting Pokemon, and are best used for decks that have a lot of evolution lines.  I play them in my Vileplume, and Magneboar decks.

Why not to play it?– Either your deck doesn’t need a starter or Cleffa and or Smeargle are better for your deck.

4. Crobat Prime

What is it?– Either a main or secondary attacker.  For one energy he can poison the defending Pokemon, and this poison does 4 damage between turns.

Why to play it?– If y0u play a deck with Mew Prime that tries to take 6 Prizes, I would try Crobat Prime in there.  Even though this format is all about OHKOs, you will occasionally run into a tanking deck.  It could be a decent rogue deck.

Why not to play it?– Crobat never lived up to the hype.  It just can’t get the OHKO, and that’s what you need.  Don’t play this card until other people rely more on tanking cards.

5. Kingdra Prime

What is it?– It’s either a tech or a main attacker.  It can do 60 for 1 water energy (20 if your opponent has any fire Pokemon in play), and has a Poke-Power that places a damage counter on any 1 of your opponent’s Pokemon each turn.

Why to play it?– It works well with Mandibuzz BW.  As a combo, they do a good job of sniping and hitting the active.  It seems like a nice and flexible deck.  Placing one damage counter each turn is a pretty nice perk.

Why not to play it?–  The new Chandelure that is coming out can lay down 3 damage counters while active, 3>1.  Also, fire is pretty big right now, and Kingdra doesn’t have as much attack power when facing fire.  You would need to play another water attacker, which would cause you to add more cards to the deck than you need to.  

6. Lanturn Prime

What is it?– A main attacker.  It’s Poke-Power lets it switch between an electric type and a water type.  Its attack does 40 damage for LCC, and does 10 more damage for each energy card attached to all Pokemon.

Why to play it?– A lot of people are hyping Lanturn in this format.  The ability to hit both  water and electric types for weakness is great to have. And the attack works well with Feraligatr Prime or Emboar.

Why not to play it?–  You will have to have a way to get a lot of energy in play early, and since this format is kinda slow, it is tough to do this.  Also, 110 HP is kinda low.

7. Steelix Prime

What is it?– A tank with 140 HP.  It can attack for 100 damage for 5 energies, and can also hit for 30 for 2 energies while attaching a card from the discard pile.

Why to play it?–  There are not a lot of tanks around, so Steelix Prime is kinda rare and cool.  The energy acceleration on him is nice.

Why not to play it?–  Because cards like Blissey Pt and Expert Belt have rotated from the format.  It is harder for Steelix to survive an attack and harder to heal away damage.  Add those facts to the fact that Fire is going to be played a lot, and you have a lot of reasons not to play Steelix in the new format.

8. Tyranitar Prime

What is it?– Another main attacker.  It has three attacks.  One attack spreads for 20 damage for one energy, a second attack does 60 damage for DCC, and the third does 120 damage for DDCC; and you must mill three cards from your own deck.

Why to play it?– Tyranitar is a Pokemon that has a large fan base, so people will always want to play it.  It can also use DCE to help power up the attacks, while its first attack sets up a lot of Pokemon to be knocked out when they become active.

Why not to play it?–  Tyranitar is a jack of all trades but a master of none.  It does a lot of things, but doesn’t really do 1 thing really good.  If you want to tank or do a lot of damage, other Pokemon can do it better.

9. Ursaring Prime

What is it?– A main attacker.  It has a Poke-Body that increases the damage that Ursaring does by 60 if Ursaring has a damage counter on it.  Its first attack does 30 damage and mills one card from your opponent’s deck, for CCC.  Its second attack does 60 damage for CCC.

Why to play it?–  He fits well with Typhlosion and Ninetails.  With those three Pokemon you can have a fast and consistent deck.

Why not to play it?– Ursaring is weak to Donphan Prime and can be OHKOed by Reshiram and Zekrom, nuff said.

10. Entei/Raikou Legend

What is it– A secondary attacker. It can do 80 to each Pokemon with Poke-Powers, or 90 with a discard.

Why to play it?– It works well with Emboar and the Magneboar deck.  It can serve as a secondary attacker or as a spreader.

Why not to play it?–  Uxie and Crobat G are gone, ERL will not grab as many prizes as before. RDL seems to work better with Magneboar.

11. Shaymin

What is it– The popular tech in the ZPS deck.  It lets you move energy cards around when you play it from your hand.

Why to play it- Its great in Zekrom, and probably has a million other uses.  Its a card that will see a lot of play.

Why not to play it– If you start with it, thats not good.  And it can’t really attack.

12. Floatzel

What is it?– An energy accelerator.  Its Poke-Power lets you attach an extra water energy to Floatzel each turn.  Its attack does 60 for WWC.

Why to play it?– It lets you charge up your Water Pokemon a lot faster.  Blastoise can make use of Floatzel’s energies by using only it’s Poke Power.  Other water Pokemon need a Pokemon like Shaymin to transfer the water energies to the main attacker.  Floatzel/Blastoise is a good deck that can snipe for an amazing 100 damage, thats pretty good.

Why not to play it?– There is yet to be a good consistent water attacker that can work well with Floatzel.

The Hidden Gems

This is a look at all of the other cards from this set that may be playable.

1. Jirachi

What is it?– A tech for Psychic decks against stage 2 decks.  It has an attack that lets you remove as many of the highest staged Pokemon on as many of your opponent’s Pokemon that you have psychic energy attached to Jirachi.  It has a Poke-Power that lets you flip 3 coins when you lay him down, for each heads you can attach a psychic energy from the discard pile.

Why to play it?–  If you have a psychic spread deck, like Metagross Ud, this card seems like a must play.  Or if you run psychic energies and your opponent uses Rare Candy.  This card could be pretty useful if used right.

Why not to play it?–  Metagross isn’t really a great deck right now.  Its a cool rogue if you wanna play it, but there seem to be better decks around.

2. Magmortar

What is it?– Either a primary or secondary attacker.   For FCC Magmortar mills three cards of your deck, and does 50 damage for each energy discarded.  It also has an attack that doe s80 for FFCC.

Why to play it?– Its a  really fun deck, and does work well with Emboar and Reshiram.

Why not to play it?–  Unless you can easily control whats on the top of your deck, the deck is not really consistent.  Plus the 110 HP is possible to get  OHKOed by Reshiram and Zekrom.

3.  Manaphy 

What is it?– A starter.  For 1 energy you can shuffle your hand into your deck and draw 5 cards.  It also has free retreat.  The problem is that Cleffa can give you 6 cards for free.  Manaphy does have 30 more HP than Cleffa.

Why to play it?– A lot of people are playing Baby Killers, cards specifically designed to knock out Cleffa.  Well, it will be twice as hard to knock out Manaphy.  Even if you get 1 less card, not giving up an easy prize is worth it.

Why not to play it?– Cleffa not only gets you an extra card, its Poke-Body can turn it into a wall, you don’t get that with Manaphy.  Manaphy also has a weakness.

4. Metagross

What is it?– A main attacker, and the best friend of Jirachi.  It has a good DCE attack, doing 60 damage.  It also snipes on 2 different Pokemon for 40 damage for PPP.

Why to play it?–  The idea would be to spread with Metagross or Mismagius, and then level down with Jirachi.  Its a pretty cool unique deck.  Its Poke-Body is also nice, it gives your active Pokemon free retreat, as long as it has a psychic attached.

Why not to play it?– See Jirachi

5. Mismagius

What is it?– A Psychic tech and a secondary attacker.  Its attack does 30 and spreads 10 to any of your opponent’s Pokemon that has damage counters on it, for 1 psychic energy.

Why to play it?-Along with Jirachi and Metagross, this deck has a lot of psychic help.  Its a fun deck that uses the spreading strategy.

Why not to play it?– This format is all about OHKO’s, not spreading.

6. Politoed

What is it?– A water tech and an attacker.  For WCC you can flip a coin for each water Pokemon in play, and do 30 damage for each heads.  It also has a Poke-Power that lets you switch the active with any Water Pokemon.

Why to play it?– Omar had a fun deck with this card last year.  It was  a really fun flippy deck.  In this format it works well with Feraligatr Prime and Floatzel.  It can 60 up to 180 damage, but will probably be doing about 90.

Why not to play it?– 90 damage doesn’t cut it, if you feel lucky play Politoed, but if not, this deck may be too flippy for ya.

7.  Kingdra

What is it?– An attacker in a deck that runs Kingdra Prime. It does WCC for 80 damage, and you must return an energy card to your hand. It also can snipe a baby for 1 water energy.  Two good diverse attacks.

Why to play it?– We have established that Kingdra Prime is a lackluster attacker once  Fire Pokemon hits the field, here is someone who is a little better.  80 damage is not enough for an OHKO on most Pokemon, but it can OHKO Reshiram, Emboar, and Donphan.  This card just might make Kingdra Prime playable.

Why not to play it?– If you don’t play a deck that isn’t weak to water, you are in trouble.  The combo of Kingdras and Manibuzz seems to be just a little slow.

8.  Ninetales

What is it?– An energy retriever for decks that run Ninetales HGSS. For 1 fire energy you can attach 3 fire energies from the discard pile in anyway you like.

Why to play it?– If you ran out of Fisherman, this card will help you get the energy back.  Its attack lets you attach to any of your Pokemon, so thats a help.  It would be more helpful in a Typhlosion/Reshiram build, than a Reshiboar.

Why not to play it?– Fisherman and Energy Retrieval do it better.

9. Roserade

What is it?– A weird tech.  Its Poke-Power lets you confuse the active every time you attach a grass energy to Roserade, or it lets you poison the defending if you attached a psychic energy. Its attack does 20 damage times the number of energy cards attached to Roserade.

Why to play it?– The ability to easily confuse and poison is pretty cool.  Im not sure which deck this fits with since its hard to attach psychic and grass energies.  I could see it being used in a Yanmega Prime deck, because he doesn’t need the energies.

Why not to play it?–  Its better to put your resources towards OHKOing a Pokemon, than it is to confusing and poisoning them.  Also, the attack is the same one as on the higher HP Tangrowth.

10. Torkoal

What is it?– A tech that can burn the defending Pokemon from the bench.  When you play it you can use the Poke-Power to flip a coin if heads the defending is burned.  

Why to play it?–  If you need to burn the defending here is a quick way to do it.  Its probably the easiest way.

Why not to play it?–  There’s really no reason to burn anyone right now.

11. Cherrim

What is it?– A healing tech.  It’s Poke-Power lets you heal one damage counter from your active Pokemon each turn.  Its attack does 30 damage for 1 grass energy.

Why to play it?– There are other Pokemon that can heal, but this is probably the best one that is a stage 1 Pokemon.  If you really need to heal, putting a couple of these won’t be bad.

Why not to play it?–  This format is all about OHKOing and doing lots of damage.  Healing a couple damage counters won’t change things.

12.  Dunsparce

What is it?– A pretty good starter.  It has 60 HP, and for just 1 energy you can do 10 damage and draw until you have 6 cards in your hand.

Why to play it?– If you have a deck that lets you play out a hand pretty fast, this is a good card.  Or, if you play a deck that runs a lot of evolution lines, and you don’t wanna shuffle your hand into your deck.

Why not to play it?– The format right now does not let you play out your hand very quickly.  Most of the time its better to just get a whole new hand, and that’s where Cleffa or Manaphy comes in.

13.  Raikou and Suicine Legend

What is it?– Its like a Zekrom in a legend form, that can also hit for water Weakness, but it does 20 more damage both to the active and to iteself.  For LLC its first attack does 150 damage and 50 to RSL.  Its second attack does 50 and heals 50 for WCC.

Why to play it?–  It can give you an extra Zekrom type card in your ZPS deck.  RSL gives Donphan Prime, Reshiram, and Emboar nightmares.

Why not to play it?–  With Revive around, you don’t really need a 5th Zekrom, plus it means you could give up 2 prizes if knocked out.

14. Suicune/Entei Legend 

What is it?–  Its like a  Blastoise in Legend form.  For WWC it can snipe for 100, and two water energies go back in your hand.  Its second attack can burn and do 80 damage for FCC.

Why to play it?–  It could be a 5th Blastoise in your Blastoise deck.  It actually may be a little easier to setup than Blastoise is.  It also requires one less energy than Blastoise. It can also hit for Fire weakness.

Why not to play it?– It doesn’t work as well with Floatzel, and if it gets knocked out thats 2 prizes.

The Hidden Gems of Trainer Cards

1. Cheerleader’s Cheer

What is it?– A draw supporter.  You draw 3, your opponent has the choice to draw 1 or not.

Why to play it?– 3 is a fair number for not discarding anything.  For decks that struggle with drawing and run lots of evolution lines but low energy, Cheerleaders is a decent pick.

Why not to play it?–  It may be better to just max out on Junipers and PONTs.

2. Emcee’s Chatter

What is it?– Another drawing supporter.  Flip a coin, if heads draw 3, if tails draw 2.

Why to play it?– If you really don’t want your opponent to draw, than you play this.

Why not to play it?–  I would rather have both me and my opponent draw 1 more, then me only draw 2.

3. Energy Returner

What is it?– Its like a trainer Fisherman that goes back into your deck.

Why to play it?– Lots of decks are running Pokemon that discard energies.  This card can get it back into your deck.  It can also help if you are about to deck out.

Why not to play it?– Fisherman and Energy Returner put the energy into your hand, which seems better to me.

4. Good Rod  

What is it?–  A weird trainer.  Flip a coin, if heads put a Pokemon from your discard pile back on the top of your deck, if tails do the same with a trainer card.

Why to play it?– There are  not many ways to recover cards like Evolution cards, legend pieces, and Junk Arms.  So if you want to recover them quickly, than Good Rod isn’t a terrible choice.

Why not to play it?–  The flip makes it more inconsistent, and the card goes to your deck rather than your hand.  Its not a card that you will be happy about running, if you run it.

5. Life Herb

What is it?– A healer.  Flip a coin, if heads remove 6 damage counters and special conditions from one of your Pokemon,

Why to play it?-It works well with tanking decks like Donphan, if you can heal a tank your opponent might only be able to 3HKO you, and that gives you an advantage.

Why not to play it?– Its flippy.

6. Pokemon Circulator

What is it?– I think this is the gem of the trainer lot.  If Switch does half of what Warp Point did, Pokemon Circulator does the other half.  Your opponent switches his/her active.

Why to play it?– A lot of decks right now do not like to switch their actives around, so I think this is a card that deserves a lot more testing than it is currently getting.  This could be a critical disruption card.

Why not to play it?– It may not be consistent, and cards like Emboar can feed energies to whoever is active.

Well that’s all we have for this set.  We uncoverd some nice gems: like a psychic spread deck that might work, the regular Kingdra to go into the Kingdra Prime deck, and some cool trainer cards like Pokemon Circulator.  Let me know what you think about these cards in the comment box.

So long and thanks for all the fish.

Category: Card Discussion | Tags: , ,
  • Bob

    Hey Pikkdogs, I think there are a bunch more influential trainers that you missed. Dual Ball is going to be in every deck there is pretty much. Engineer’s adjustments and Judge also will be played. And don’t forget about the important reprints of SSU and Rare Candy. There are a bunch of pretty good trainers, but the pokemon are meh, which is why Unleashed is generally looked down upon.

    • Anonymous

      You are right, those are great trainers that will be played alot.  But I just decided to spotlight the ones that people were not talking about.  But its important not to forget those cards, maybe I should have at least listed them or something. 

  • Ok, look. I’m sorry. You probably wonder why people criticize you so heavily. I’ll be honest-it’s because of articles like this. Hidden gems? There aren’t any “hidden gems”. This is an article where you explain that the set has primes, and that there are trainers and supporters in it. Seriously. I an also write an article and explain cards in the set, but that doesn’t mean the cards are that good.

    Cheerleader’s Cheer? Really? Really? You honestly think that’s a “hidden gem”? It’s a horrible card, any way you cut it. Any card that gives your opponent a benefit, like drawing a card, or choosing a card for you to take is bad(Slowking prime…). I mean come on. Don’t try and butter it up, it’s terrible. Honestly, it’s just a bad card. Run Juniper or Engineers if you wanna draw cards. Or if you REALLY want to draw cards THAT badly, like you feel that simply drawing cards is a necessity to your deck Pikkdogs, why not run Noctowl? It resists fighting(:0).

    I mean seriously. When you did that last set, you covered Ninetails. All right, that’s fine. Ninetails is good draw power. That’s fine. But covering Pokemon and stuff, and then saying why you shouldn’t use them seems to really negate the point of covering good Pokemon. If a Pokemon has a glaring weakness to something currently in format, or just is inferior to something that does the same thing, why would you run it? Sure, Manaphy has 30 more HP than Cleffa. I would take the 6th card and the chance at being invulnerable to damage for a turn(or more), as well as no weakness over 30 more HP. Let’s be honest. 

    Some of these cards you say that can be used for rogue decks? They weren’t ever rogue decks. If Metagross wasn’t a rogue deck when Claydol, Spiritomb, BTS, Uxie were in play(as well as no nerfed candy rule), then it wont be a rogue during a 6-set format. Devoluter worked the same way as Jirachi(but cost 0 energy), and many people didn’t play that either. 

    Writing for the sake of writing doesn’t do anything. Writing as many possible articles as you can to flood the front page doesn’t help people, it just gives you a bad reputation. Pikkdogs Pik 3, Second look at each set, Stupid Deck ideas, I mean come on. Saying Rare Candy is bad? In a format like this? Just take a minute and think about what you right.

    • Anonymous

      just restating that the point of this article was to look at cards to see whats out there.  People like to build rogue decks, and you  need to know whats out there.  Im not saying that Jirachi should go into every deck, but it could have a rogue deck.  We’re trying to find some fresh new ideas, and we can’t do that if we do that if we all play Reshiboar all the time.  That means looking at some cards that not our thought of as the best. 

      And yes I write too much, but if I don’t write anything no one will write anything, and nobody comes to the site.  If other people wanna come in and write more articles, I will only write when I have something great to say, but right now I don’t think that people want 2 articles a month on this site.  If you don’t like my writings fine, you can take a pencil and …………… write some new articles. 

    • Ed

      Michael.  Who do you think is reading this going like, “Whoa, Cherrim is a hidden gem.  I need to put that in my deck for Nats.”?  Nobody.  The article is about going back over the old sets and re-evaluating them for the new format.  Don’t tell me you haven’t been doing the same yourself.  The difference is that Pikkdogs shares his info while you sit back and criticize.

      There are plenty of people out there that will not go through all their old cards and evaluate them for use in the current format.  I think this is good for them.  Even if their ultimate take on a card isn’t the same as Pikk’s, they can read his evaluation and form their own opinion.  It’s all there in a nice article that makes it easy for others to process.

      I’m not convinced that Pikk thinks the “Hidden Gems” are great cards.  They’re just cards that could work in a specific deck or be worth re-evaluating (now or in the future).  Essentially, they’re the cards that may turn out to be a gem or just a stupid rock.  Why point out the cards that are already known to be gems?  They’re plain to see.

      I’m glad to see that you’re concerned about the quality of articles here, though, Michael.  I would love it if you would direct that energy toward writing an article of your own.  Heck, you can even keep the elitism in there, if you like.

      • ALL the elitism I want? >:]

        • Ed

          For you?  Of course!

          Ahh, I might have to edit out swearing or personal/directed insults.

          Take some notes at Nationals.  I’ll be eagerly awaiting your report.

          Good luck!  I hope you do well there.

          • Oh joyous day! Expect a marvelous one.

  • Andy Wieman

    Perhaps the problem is the title “Hidden Gems”. Perhaps instead it should be called “Bad Cards That Are Still Bad Post Rotation, But Are Slightly Less Bad In The Right Deck.”

    I agree that these articles aren’t directed at the very serious players, but it does seem like you’re reaching with many of these. There is nothing wrong with saying “yeah, this set really sucks except for these few certain cards.”

    • Ed

      I can see what you’re getting at.  The flip side is this sort of thing, though.
      http://www.sixprizes.com/beginner/carls-cache-30-hottest-cards-part-ii/

      Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that’s a bad article.  I’m just saying that we don’t really need to be told that Reshiram is a good card.  I think articles like that resonate with better players a bit more, because they can nitpick over placement and nod their head whenever their favorite cards are mentioned.  The problem is that we all know about the cards.

      An article like this one discusses stuff that would otherwise go unmentioned.  Whether or not it needed mentioning is up for discussion (as it is here).  For usefulness, though, I’d put this article over a “top 30” sort of thing.  For crowd pleasing and safe, I’d pick a “top 30”.

      I have to say, I welcome the comments, though.  We need more argument here.  It’s interesting, and valid points can get brought up.  I just don’t care for it when it gets close to putting people down.

    • Anonymous

      This reminds me of when I was in college, me and my roommate would stay up all hours of the night arguing semantics when we both believed the same things. 

      Hidden Gems is just a title, “Bad Cards that are still bad” doesn’t look that nice, though might be more appropriate. 

      This article isn’t set out to find the most playable cards of the set, its set to find the cards that might be playable given the right rogue deck.  Its nice to talk about rogue decks and finding different ideas. 

      Anyone can talk about Reshiboar and Magneboar all day, but how fun is that?  Lets try to find some original ideas, even though they won’t win Nats. 

  • Anonymous

    good rod is a good card if you run magnezone and a heavy trainer base. if you don’t test small cards then you’ll never know what works for you. just because it looks bad on paper doesn’t mean its bad, remind anyone of something…?