Winners and Losers After the Rule Changes

With the rule changes on November 8th, a lot of people are wondering how certain cards and decks are affected. What gets worse after the changes? What gets better? Let’s take a look at the winners and losers after the rule changes.

Winner: Genesect EX/Ninetales

With the errata of Pokémon Catcher, people will be looking for ways to get the effect without the coin flip. The simplest would be Genesect EX’s Red Signal, which is already a popular card. Presumably Virizion/Genesect decks become much stronger with the added benefit of having a reliable “Catcher” effect, something other decks won’t have anymore. Likewise, Ninetales’ Bright Look offers the same powerful effect. However, both have costs to pull off the Ability (Red Signal requires an attached Plasma Energy, and Bright Look activates only when you evolve into Ninetales.)

Loser: Pokémon Reversal Catcher


Well, this should be an obvious one. When you add a coin flip to a card, you essentially cut its power in half. Now the card is watered down to work only 50% of the time. Does that mean it’s a bad card? Surprisingly, no! Even with the flip, it’s extremely strong. Now the difference is that it’s unreliable, which probably will make players use it less. Even if it isn’t played less, there’s no denying that the card lost out in the rule changes.

Winner: Tropical Beach


Now that you can’t attack going first, there isn’t much you can do to advance your position. If you can’t attack, why not fill your hand up to seven cards? Really it’s the only beneficial thing you can do to end your first turn. Expect to see Tropical Beach played much, much more.

Loser: Your Wallet


If you thought Tropical Beach was expensive before, you haven’t seen anything yet. Since the only forms of the card are World Championship Promos, it is limited and difficult to obtain. Right now we’re seeing the card cost about $200, and it’s not unrealistic to think it will rise even more. If you don’t own Beach already, you have three options – shell out the money for it, play without it, or find a friend to mooch off of.

Winner: Garbodor


Already an extremely strong card, Garbodor benefits a lot from the Pokémon Catcher errata. Without a reliable Catcher, the big blob of trash can sit safely on your bench and shut off your opponent’s Abilities with ease. Also, the threat of it being stalled in the Active position is just about gone. Most decks rely a lot on using some kind of Ability, so Garbodor should rise in play.

Loser: Sableye/Darkrai

Normally these cards are played together, so we’ll look at both. Not being able to use Junk Hunt going first really hurts Sableye. Half of the time, you won’t be able to attack on the first turn, making the card a lot weaker. Darkrai relies on a few early Junk Hunts to get back resources, and that may not be an option anymore. In addition, Darkrai arguably relied on Pokémon Catcher more than any other attacker in the game because it needed to manipulate bench damage for Night Spear in order to get multiple KOs. Without being able to target down threats at will, 90 damage isn’t too powerful.

Winner: Blastoise


Much like Garbodor, Blastoise benefits a lot from the Pokémon Catcher errata. One of the best ways to beat Blastoise was to Catcher out Squirtle before it could evolve, or take out the Blastoise to cut off Deluge. Now the Shellfish can sit safely on the bench, raining down Energy whenever it wants. Not only does it win on the Catcher errata, but it wins on the first turn rule change, too. The deck won’t attack until the second turn anyway. If anything, Blastoise may be the biggest winner of all from the changes.

Loser: Landorus EX/Mewtwo EX

Both of these big hitters rely on quick pressure to be effective. In fact, a big appeal of them was the ability to win on the first turn under the right circumstances. Without being able to attack on the first turn, these cards get drastically weaker. Hammerhead isn’t nearly as good past the first turn, and X-Ball is good, but often times it needs two attacks to get a KO. On top of that, both benefited greatly from Catcher to prevent decks from setting up. We may see the “Big Basics” deck go to rest with the rule changes.

Winner: Escape Rope


In the past, Warp Point was a staple that was seen in just about every deck. Being able to reliably switch out your opponent’s Pokémon to hit a weaker one was a big deal. Plus, it also acts as a Switch for you. Unfortunately, Catcher outclassed Escape Rope completely, so it saw hardly any play. With the errata, perhaps it will see the light of day. Sure, it isn’t the strongest card in the world when 180 HP Basic Pokémon-EX can be sent up as a wall, but it has a place in the format.

Loser: Plasma

Like Landorus and Mewtwo, Plasma decks are all about pressure and ruthless aggression. Without the option to attack on the first turn, Kyurem and Thundurus EX lose a lot of luster. There weren’t too many things more formidable than a first turn Frost Spear, and now you can’t do that going first. Plus, Plasma was another deck that really used Pokémon Catcher heavily, so that’s another negative. It’s going to be interesting to see if this deck will survive the rule changes.

Winner: Musharna/Electrode

In general, bench sitters get a big boost from the Catcher errata. Before, cards like Musharna and Electrode weren’t worth the space because they could be dragged out and KOd so easily. Now they may have a chance to shine. Musharna’s Forewarn is a great way to dig for extra resources every turn, and Electrode’s Magnetic Draw is one of the best ways to defend against a late game N. Don’t be surprised if players start using these cards more.

Loser: First Ticket


Okay, so we don’t really know if this card will receive an errata or not, but it’s funny to look at. Now that the new rules say to decide who goes first before hands are drawn, First Ticket becomes functionally worthless. According to the card, you must play it before the flip to decide who goes first. Since you don’t draw cards before deciding who goes first, you never have an opportunity to play it. Sure, First Ticket never saw much play, but now it really won’t.

Winner: Jirachi EX


Hurrah for consistency cards! Perhaps the biggest benefactor of all from the Catcher errata is Jirachi EX. Now any hand with an Ultra Ball or Level Ball can turn into a Supporter with the use of Stellar Guidance. With Catcher around, it was too dangerous to put this 90 HP, two prize liability on your bench. While it isn’t completely safe now, it’s much easier to justify the Wish Pokémon in your deck after the change.

Honorable Mention (Winners): Suicune/Sigilyph, Emboar, Mr. Mime
Honorable Mention (Losers): Victini EX

That wraps up the winners and losers from the November 8th rule changes for X & Y. Do you agree or disagree with any of these? Did I miss any major cards that get affected? Let me know down in the comments! Thanks for reading.

38 responses to “Winners and Losers After the Rule Changes”

  1. James Good

    What about cards with Safeguard ability as winners? If your opponent isn’t playing catcher/Genesect/Ninetales or escape rope shenanigans it will force them to power up a non-EX attacker.

    1. Kyle Sucevich

      True! Safeguard Pokémon certainly could see a comeback. It may depend on the amount of Garbodor that gets played, too.

    2. Joshua Twilley

      what pokemon have safeguard?

      1. Kyle Sucevich

        Suicune and Sigilyph both have Safeguard.

  2. ryan

    Oh man that hurts Emolga turn one for set ups as well. looks like im going to be increasing level ball and ultra ball counts to fill out bench with certain decks i run.

    1. Kyle Sucevich

      Yes, setup Pokémon in general are almost worthless now. RIP Emolga.

      1. James Good

        and it got such a beautiful full art this set too :(

      2. JD1211

        Could eggsecute be a winner if ultra ball will be more important for the set up? Im so disappointed that plasma is nearly dead so soon. What a great 6 or so months it had lol

        1. Kyle Sucevich

          Exeggcute is less likely to be Knocked Out on the first turn, so it’s much safer to play it now. Propagation is an awesome Ability that just about any deck can take advantage of!

  3. DarkraiEX

    Lies, Darkrai is never a loser, attach to Darkrai T1. Sableye T2 only if you can’t Night Spear.

    1. Timothy Porter

      Darkrai is the card that never goes away. I had that talk with a friend the other day, instead of focusing on getting and energy on a sableye and an energy on a darkrai, you can use those resources to get two energy on a darkrai. Losing catcher hurts massively, but I dont think losing junk hunt t1 50% of the time is as bad as its made out to be. I played darkrai with escape rope recently against a deck with mr. mime and i has just so few options with doing 90-140 per turn. It was linear and just very ‘un-darkrai-like’

  4. Carl Scheu

    winner emboar? same theory as blastiose

    1. Kyle Sucevich

      Actually Emboar benefits even more from a lack of Catcher because it didn’t have Keldeo EX to fall back on if it got stuck Active. Maybe Rayboar will return…

      1. F0NTAINE

        Why do you feel that is? It’s pretty much a worse Blastoise, except it has a stronger Virizion/Genesect matchup. Unless there’s some fire type I’m missing out on to support it other than Entei (Victini?) and baby Rayquaza.

        1. Kyle Sucevich

          The main benefit would be the stronger Virizion/Genesect matchup. Rayquaza EX is the main attacker, but there’s certainly room to run things like Reshiram, Victini EX, or Entei EX if you wanted to. I’d assume it’s about 50/50 with Blastoise, too.

          1. F0NTAINE

            I mean, I know Rayquaza-EX is the main attacker, but it just doesn’t seem strong enough to do better than Blastoise. However, now that M Venusaur-EX looks to be having 230 HP, Rayquaza-EX will have that up on Black Kyurem-EX as actually being able to OHKO it.

  5. Some Aussie Guy

    I imagine/hope that TPCi will work on an errata for First Ticket as well to say “if this is in your starting hand”
    But for now it seems strange that they have just ignored it.

    1. Kyle Sucevich

      You would hope so. Then again, you would also hope a $200, Worlds exclusive Promo wouldn’t become a staple…

      1. Some Aussie Guy

        Didn’t even consider that, but that is probably the biggest issue with the new rules.

  6. carlo

    what about darkrai/garbodor? since darkrai got weaker but garbodor got stronger: how strong or weak is darkrai garbodor in the new format

    1. Kyle Sucevich

      It’s tough to tell! Darkrai/Garbodor certainly depended on Catcher a lot, so that certainly will hurt it. Maybe it will have to focus on Crushing Hammer, which comes back in Legendary Treasures.

      1. pokebill

        Hey kyle didn’t know where to post this but just wanted you too know that as of this year Kansas will be getting a regionals I believe in the spring. This is official and has been announced by our TO.

  7. Kyle Sucevich

    Mr. Mime probably should be a winner as well, but he’s used so much already that it’s probably not even worth mentioning.

  8. James

    Pooka, what is a good deck with the rule changes that doesn’t run Tropical Beach?

    1. F0NTAINE

      Virizion/Genesect. Turn 1 no attack benefits it a lot, and it doesn’t really “lose” Catcher. It can be attacking turn 2, and if you want to give up a prize for a 7th prize situation, there’s always Tropius for Return in contrast to Beach.

      Beach is still good in Virizion/Genesect, but unlike Blastoise, it won’t be Beaching anywhere near as often. Blastoise you pretty much Beach any turn you can’t get an OHKO.

    2. Kyle Sucevich

      Pretty much any deck can function without Tropical Beach still. If you can’t afford it, Musharna and Electrode are decent alternatives. Obviously they aren’t the same, but they do help.

  9. Ryan Padua

    So, what decks do you think will be the best with the new rules?

    1. Kyle Sucevich

      It’s hard to tell. If I had to guess, Blastoise and Virizion/Genesect will be two of the best.

  10. JakTheMad

    Does this forsee Genesect being a tech in Plasma decks?

  11. Tony Solis

    Because of these theories with decks that put on early pressure (like Plasma or Lando/Mewtwo), I always choose to defer if I win the coin flip. That way, I am the one with a chance to get set up.

  12. DisqusWon'tGiveMeAnAccount

    I’m surprised at how you think Darkrai will be affected. As a Darkrai player, you’ll want to go first, so you’ll pick to go second whenever you win the coin flip. Won’t most other decks want to go first? Setup decks will want that first turn, so they’ll go first and you still get to go second. I don’t see it being that big of a problem.

    1. Kyle Sucevich

      Even if the first turn rules end up not hurting it, I don’t think there’s any question that the Catcher change really hurts it.

      1. Rafal Kwiecinski

        I’ve been toying with the idea of escape ropes in the deck. Running a laser variant, Darkrai can hit for 140 with dark claw and a virbank. Assuming no Mr. Mime (which, hey, not all decks run), 30 damage spread throughout the opponent’s bench will knock out most ex’s.
        That and, unlike most decks, Darkrai can easily get back those catchers, if all else fails and you feel lucky.

  13. Patricio Gonzalez Walsh

    I think you are underestimating Sableye so bad… With the new rules, Sableye lost a bit early game power, but it gains a LOT of late game uses and you’ll always make your opponent to take the “7th prize” And I think there’s other ways to manipulate damage to take multiples KO’s with Darkrai (dusknoir for example).

    Talking about Blastoise, I don’t think it’s winning so much with the Catcher errata. Without Catcher, There’s no way to beat a Darkrai/Garbodor deck… It can just setup damage with poison while you kill it’s Sableyes and then clean up your board with a few Night Spears. (ok, it can beat you, but it isn’t a very favourable matchup IMO)
    Maybe I’m wrong but think about it xD

    Btw, srry if you can’t understand something that I said, English is not my language, and I don’t speak it very well D:

    1. Kyle Sucevich

      I don’t think Sableye is bad by any means. Junk Hunt is still an incredible attack, and it becomes even better with Crushing Hammer returning! I just feel that it becomes less useful in straight Darkrai/Sableye decks, and it only really is good in the Garbodor versions.

  14. Wildforce

    Winner: Dusknoir and max potion

    1. Kyle Sucevich

      Dusknoir certainly may see more play. Sinister Hand is a very powerful Ability. Max Potion was already played a lot, so I don’t see that changing too much.

  15. Yash Khaleque

    RayEels, one season too early