Category Archives: Tips and Strategy

Advice for players new to Pokemon

2020-2021 Rotation List

Check out our 1st TCG Rotation video.  This once was the location for our in depth articles on the Standard Format Rotation each year.  Here is our video version.

Compete Guide To The 2021 Season TCG Rotation

Here are the lists to accompany the video.  Enjoy!

 

ULTRA PRISM:

Rotated Cards

-GX:

  • Celesteela GX (FA)
  • Dawn Wings Necrozma GX
  • Dialga GX (Drg)
  • Dusk Mane Necrozma GX
  • Glaceon GX
  • Leafeon GX
  • Lunala GX (gold)
  • Palkia GX (Drg)
  • Pheromosa GX (FA)
  • Silvally GX
  • Solgaleo GX (gold)
  • Xurkitree GX (FA)

-Trainers:

  • Cynthia
  • escape board
  • Lillie
  • Memory (F,L)
  • Lana (FA)
  • Lusamine (FA)
  • Mt Coronet
  • Order Pad
  • Pokemon Fan Club
  • Unit Energy (L/P/M)
  • Volkner

-Prism Star:

  • Cyrus
  • Darkrai
  • Giratina
  • Lunala
  • Solgaleo
  • Super Boost Energy

Other Rare/Common/Uncommon

  • Lucario
  • Garchomp (Drg)
  • Empoleon
  • Magnezone
  • Oranguru
  • Pachirisu
  • Rampardos
  • Tapu Lele
  • Weavile

Set Cards That Don’t Rotate (Keepers):

  • Crushing Hammer (SWSH)
  • Unidentified Fossil (TEU, UNM)
  • Pal Pad (SWSH)

FORBIDDEN LIGHT:

Rotated Cards

-GX:

  • Dialga GX(M)
  • Greninja GX
  • Lucario GX(FA)
  • Nagandel GX
  • Palkia GX (W)
  • Ultra Necrozma GX
  • Xerneas GX
  • Yveltal GX
  • Zygarde GX

-Trainer

  • Beast Ring
  • Bonnie
  • Crasher Wake
  • Diantha
  • Energy Recycler (SR)
  • Judge
  • Lysandre labs
  • Metal Frying Pan
  • Mysterious Treasure
  • Ultra Space
  • Unit Energy (F, D, Y)

-Prism Star:

  • Arceus
  • Beast Energy
  • Diancie
  • Lysandre
  • Volcanion

Other Rare/Common/Uncommon:

  • Alolan Exeggcutor (Tropical Shake)
  • Buzzwole (“baby”)
  • Garchomp (F)
  • Malamar
  • Magnezone

Set Cards That Don’t Rotate:

  • Unidentified Fossil (TEU, UNM)

CELESTIAL STORM

Rotated Cards

-GX:

  • Alolan Raticate GX
  • Articuno GX
  • Banette GX
  • Blaziken GX
  • Electrode GX
  • Mr Mime GX (Evens)
  • Palosand GX
  • Rayquaza GX
  • Scizor GX
  • Shiftry GX
  • Stakataka GX

-Trainer

  • Acro Bike
  • Apricorn Maker
  • Bill’s Maintenance
  • Copycat
  • Energy Recycle System
  • Fisherman
  • Friend Ball
  • Hau
  • Hustle Belt
  • Lisia
  • Lure Ball
  • Pokenav
  • Rainbow Brush
  • Shrine of Punishment
  • Sky Pillar
  • Rainbow Energy
  • Steven’s Resolve
  • Super Scoop Up
  • Tate & Liza
  • TV Reporter
  • Underground Expedition

-Prism Star:

  • Jirachi
  • Latias
  • Latios

Other Rare/Common/Uncommon:

  • Deoxys
  • Magcargo
  • Swampert

Set Cards That Don’t Rotate:

  • Energy Switch (SWSH)
  • Rare Candy (SWSH)
  • Switch (SWSH)

 

DRAGON MAJESTY

Rotated Cards

-GX:

  • Altaria GX
  • Dragonite GX
  • Kingdra GX
  • Reshiram GX
  • Salamence GX
  • White Kyurem GX

-Trainer

  • Dragon Talon
  • Fiery Flint
  • Switch Raft
  • Zinia

-Prism Star

  • Lance
  • Victini

Other Rare/Common/Uncommon:

  • Altaria
  • Blaziken
  • Quagsire
  • Turtonator

Set Cards That Don’t Rotate:

  • None

 

LOST THUNDER

Rotated Cards

-GX:

  • Alolan Ninetales GX
  • Blacephalon GX
  • Genesect GX
  • Lugia GX
  • Magcargo GX
  • Mimikyu GX
  • Sceptile GX
  • Shuckle GX
  • Sigilyph GX
  • Suicune GX
  • Tyranitar GX
  • Virizion GX

-Trainer

  • Adventure Bag
  • Choice Helmet
  • Counter Gain
  • Custom Catcher
  • Electropower
  • Faba
  • Fairy Charm (D,F,G,P)
  • Judge
  • Lost Blender
  • Mina
  • Mixed Herbs
  • Moomoo Milk
  • Net Ball
  • Professor Elm’s Research
  • Sightseer
  • Spell Tag
  • Wait & See Hammer

-Prism Star

  • Celebi
  • Ditto
  • Heat Factory
  • Life Forest
  • Lusamine
  • Thunder Mountain

Other Rare/Common/Uncommon:

  • Blissey
  • Granbull
  • Lost March (Jumpluff, Skiploom, Trumbeak, Natu)
  • Miltank
  • Nagandel
  • Nihelgo
  • Shaymin
  • Shedinja
  • White Kyurem
  • Wobbuffet

Set Cards That Don’t Rotate:

  • None

As a reminder, when we mention a GX, that includes all 3 versions of it:  the regular, full art and rainbow rare.

 

Pale Moon GX Box Review

Check out our latest video to find out everything you need to know about the latest Tag Team box.

Pale Moon GX Box Review

Stick around until the end of the video to see what we got from the booster packs.

Pokemon 2018 TCG Rotation – Sun & Moon-on!

The Pokemon Company and Play!Pokemon announced its 2018 TCG rotation… back in May.  Why?  “Why” is an often asked and rarely answered question for a lot actions taken by the corporation.  Our speculation as to this “why” is similar to the scenario of the “Top Cut” website (remember the original online site with “Pooka”, where all net-deckers went to get their lists).   The Top Cut was taking too much internet traffic away from Pokemon.com.  So, Pokemon hired Pooka (the site’s creator) to write and commentate for them, thus improving their service and eliminating a competitor.  Of course, dozens of other sites popped up in his absence and the entire community had to embrace net-decking just to keep up, thus turning to many other internet sources.  Mission not accomplished.  Our annual rotation article is our site’s biggest draw, and the subject in general draws lots of traffic to various YouTube channels and other sites.  So, Pokemon’s response is… just throw it out there in May.  Solid plan.  The discussion of “why’s” is not why we’re here today, so let’s move on to the reason we are here, the rotation. Continue reading

Get Ready For Expanded – ACESPEC’s

The Fincastle Gym Leaders have been around.  We think that we pretty safe in our self-assessment in saying that we are pretty knowledgeable when it comes to all things Pokemon.  Knowledge is a many-pronged entity that is both sought out and accumulated.  A lot of what we know are things that we have both studied and practiced.  Some of it is information that we’ve gathered by just being around for a while.  What we’re saying is, we’re old.  And we are okay with that.  Our regional on Memorial Day weekend is in the Expanded format, which includes almost all cards dating back to the base Black & White set.  If you pay attention to the tournament circuit and TCG discussions on multiple platforms (podcasts, web pages, YouTube, etc), then you likely know a good bit of what this entails.  However, if you have played primarily at the Gym or are a new player to the TCG, there are a whole bunch of cards that you likely do not have and may have never seen that are used heavily in the format.  What we are planning to do over the next few articles is introduce you to (or remind you of) some of these powerful older cards that may benefit you when building an Expanded deck. Continue reading

Gym Deck Retired: Solgaleo GX

Today we are going to look at the recently retired Steel-type gym leader deck.  Traditionally, Steel-types in the TCG have been designed to be more defensive, offering larger HP numbers or defensive abilities in exchange for heavier attack costs.  In the sets released prior to Sun & Moon, one had to wonder if Pokemon forgot that they were a thing at all.  When Bronzong (PHF 61) rotated out of the format, taking Aegislash EX with it, it became very difficult to construct a functional Steel deck.  Gym Leader Joel rode a Mega Scizor EX deck about as long as anyone could stand (because M-Scizor really was not that interesting to play), patiently waiting for something else to come along.  Luckily for him, gym leader challenges were not taking place very often during that time, so he did not have to take too many losses with the deck.  Sun & Moon came along and gave Joel a gift in the form of the most offensive Steel pokemon that he had ever seen (and no, we’re not talking Hollywood-offensive, we mean capable of offense-offensive).  Joel immediately turned this gift into a successful deck. Continue reading

Gym Deck Retired: Golisopod GX/Lurantis GX

As we detailed in a few of our latest posts, Gym Leader Joel has been taking a beating in recent Gym Leader challenges.  Despite two recent losses, his Steel-type deck still stands as a tough deck to beat.  On the other hand, Joel’s Grass-type deck has been burned down by several gym trainers recently, losing six times in the last eight challenges.  All six losses were not by the same deck.  The earlier version was a straight Lurantis GX/Tapu Bulu GX deck, which in its own right is a solid deck and did not really need to be retired, as it had a strong record in challenges.  Joel changed from that one simply because he wanted to try something else.  The current version is an all Grass-type Golisopod GX deck.  The strength of Fire-type decks at the moment makes any Grass-type deck vulnerable to defeat.  Building an unbeatable deck is not our goal.  We want our gym decks to help players learn how to focus a deck build towards a specific goal, like focusing on a central attacker or line of attackers, and supporting it with the correct line of Items, Supporters and Stadiums.  Recent challengers have definitely been on point as far as that goal goes.  Like we promised earlier, when a few trainers take down the same deck, we will retire it (if possible) and share it here with you. Continue reading

Operation Eddie Part 2 – Ramses

Today we are going to look at the 2nd deck that spawned from the mind of Eddie R.  As Gym Leader Joel rolled around some ideas for this article, he tried to think of some different options.  Whether it falls into the “fortunately” or “unfortunately” category is for you to decide, but Joel’s mind could not escape this line of thinking.  The combination of Eddie’s last name and the set of new comedy material Eddie brought to league a few weeks ago led Joel to the movie villain, Ramses, from “Nacho Libre”.  While he may not be remembering the details of Eddie’s story exactly, this is pretty close.  The story gave Joel no eagle powers or nutrients, but it has had him laughing since he heard it. Continue reading

Operation Eddie Part 1- Jack The Gripper

As our kids have grown older and their responsibilities have increased, we have trimmed the fat, in the parlance of our times, as to the amount of extracurricular activity they stay involved in.  Rec league sports were fun when they were little, but the charm wore off as the routine of oversized teams, nowhere to practice and saturation of opposing coaches, parents and officials in need of therapy increased each year.  We don’t have delusions of our kids becoming pro athletes and have never filled their heads with that nonsense.  Robotics, despite the program being abandoned by Botetourt County, still proves to be a valuable endeavor as you don’t have to look far to see the demands from the growth of the tech industries in our area and nationwide, so they both are immersed in the new 4H backed team.  Both kids still enjoy the pursuit of individual goals in golf (Logan) and dance (Georgia).  The longest running activity in both of their lives (and ours) is Pokemon.  While the format does change frequently, the game overall has not.  They can easily drift in and out of the game competitively as their interest and time allows.  The thing that keeps us involved, in this Gym Leader’s opinion at least, is character.  Continue reading

Regionals Deck That Won’t Be – Dumpster Fire

Gym Leader Joel has always enjoyed the late-season tournaments in Pokemon organized play, in both the TCG and VGC.  On top of enjoying playing in them, he has enjoyed considerable success in tournaments this time of year.  Why is that?  Gym Leader Joel does not devote much time to deck sites that spout about “The 3 Tops Plays” for the next event, as those seem to be efforts to dictate the format, rather than aid players with helpful info.  This often leaves Joel a step behind in terms of what to expect early on in a season.  However, by this time of the year, he has had time to step back and absorb what has been going on and build decks that handle most, if not all, of the format.  Joel regrets not being able to play this year’s Roanoke event, but as the Fincastle Gym has too strong of an obligation to helping the Regional weekend go as planned, playing is just not a possibility this time.  So, in this environment where secret decks or strong lists kept close to the vest are virtually impossible, here’s a look at what he was heavily considering playing. Continue reading

The Bargain Bin #5 – Eon the Terrible

Today we are going to look at our last deck in our Bargain Bin series.  One reason it fell to our final spot was due to some price checking.  We were afraid that because it features a “promo” card, that it might slip out-of-bounds in terms of pricing.  The other reason we waited was because it was a concept deck up until about 2 weeks ago.  By that, we mean that it only existed to us in theory, and there were no online version to peek at.  Our 1st attempt at the deck was not worthy to post, as it was very inconsistent.  Gym Leaders Logan and Joel took turns tweaking the list, trying to get this potentially deadly combo to  work (without Shaymin EX, which is a stumbling block that every player is going to have to face in about 5 months).  What we have here is the best that we could do and frankly, it’s pretty interesting.  Two nights ago in the PTCGO, I watched Logan fall behind to a Darkrai/Giratina list only to flip the game on his opponent, taking his last 4 prizes in one attack, as the opposing player was locked, watching this one wreck the powerful meta deck. Continue reading