With Sword & Shield coming out in the next few weeks, the Pokemon TCG is going to be changed forever. With the new set we will be seeing the departure of GX & Tag Team GX Pokemon from being made. These cards have been such a interesting take on the Pokemon TCG with them having huge amounts of HP and a unique 1 of attack. Tag Teams have caused some controversy within the community as they have a lot of HP, powerful support cards like Tag Call & Welder but their impact has been made and Pokemon shows no signs of going back on their power creep as the brand new "VMAX" Pokemon cards have above 300 HP!
With the Sword & Shield TCG coming out with new Pokemon mechanics, also comes with a new supporter rule change, where the player going first cannot play a supporter card! This is huge as cards like Lillie & Professor Elm's Lecture get put in awkward spots. I will go more in depth in another post about what this new supporter rule change means for the game, but summarized this is going to be a very big change to the Pokemon TCG.
Sword & Shield also finally give us some really good card mechanics back to make the game quicker, cards like Professors Research, Quick Ball & Evolution Incense all give back quick search and play mechanics that the standard format has been sorely missing. With this new set and change to the Pokemon TCG coming i wanted to recap and say goodbye to our current ULP-ON format and look back at the ups and downs!
The ULP-ON format started very wildly through being put in effect at the 2019 Pokemon World Championships, along with the set Unified Minds dropping this created a unique play field for the world championships! The deck that ended winning the world championship was, Henry Brand's Mewtwo & Mew GX deck which was an entirely new deck to come out of Unified Minds. Some of the other top decks from Worlds were, Ability ReshiZard, PikaRom, Blacephalon GX and the infamous Bird Control deck! The World Championship set the stage for what decks were going to be at the top for the rest of our current standard format!
THE REIGN OF MEWTWO & MEW GX
As the regionals went on for the next few months decks like Gardevoir & Sylveon GX came to the forefront and became on of the best decks in the format as it won Sheffield Regionals in September. For the next few regionals to follow Sheffield the best deck was shaped to be the Mewtwo & Mew GX deck as it was winning regionals and consistently performing well with a double day win from both Tord Reklev and AzulGG in Cologne & Atlantic City. Some other notable decks were making some noise around this time including Baby Blacephalon, Fossil Box and Malamar.
COSMIC ECLIPSE DROPS
Once November rolled around with the release of the final sun and moon set Cosmic Eclipse we saw some huge new cards get introduced like Tag Call, Arceus, Dialga & Palkia GX, Chaotic Swell, Caitlyn & Cynthia and Mallow & Lana! With the first Cosmic Eclipse legal tournament being Sao Paulo some new decks to appear include, ADP Keldeo, Florges Doll Stall and NagaGuzz Mismagius! ADP changed the format as Non GX decks struggled to keep up with ADP's GX attack Altered Creation and cards like Mallow & Lana to heal a lot of the damage they could do. As the regionals went on from here some other big tag team focused decks that could abuse tag call started to appear like Lucario & Melmetal & Giratina & Garchomp GX decks. Also Malamar which originally took a beating to ADP adapted and started to play tag team Pokemon like Trevenant & Dusknoir GX.
THE RISE OF TINACHOMP
As we near the end of the format the current decks people consider to be our best decks include, Mewtwo & Mew GX, ADP Bird Trio & TinaChomp Roxie! TinaChomp Roxie recently exploded onto the scene in both standard and expanded by winning the Dallas regionals!
As we transition into the ULP-Sword & Shield meta most tag team decks will stay popular and good, some even may rebound in popularity like PikaRom, some may get stronger with the new supporter rule change like Welder decks (Mewtwo & Mew, ReshiZard). It was definitely a crazy ride to see the game evolve into where we are at right now before Sword & Shield releases. Seeing what our perceptions, opinions and ideas on what we thought were the best decks and what ended up becoming super good out of nowhere like NagaGuzz and TinaChomp! It'll be interesting to see where the game goes and what the future has in store for us with the new set and rule change, the excitement levels are very high!
Images Credit: PKMNCARDS
Information Credit: LimitlessTCG