Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Zoroark GX/Weavile - The Most Competitive Deck from Ultra Prism

Zoroark GX and Weavile Deck
With the 2018 St. Louis Regional Championships for the Pokemon TCG taking place this past weekend, it was a surprise to me that the most competitive and most popular deck using Ultra Prism cards was a deck built around Zoroark GX from Shining Legends and Weavile from Ultra Prism. With so many competitive cards in the set, including Glaceon GX, Dusk Mane Necrozma GX, and Leafeon GX, it was a shock that a card I didn't even consider when the set was first released was the card included in lots of winning decks. Now, this may change in the future, since a card like Weavile is easier to fit into existing decks than building a new deck around a powerful Pokemon like Dusk Mane Necrozma GX, but I can certainly see why this Weavile card is so good.

Right now in the 2018 Standard Format the two most powerful decks would be Gardevoir GX/Zoroark GX, and Buzzwole GX/Lycanroc GX, I think this deck including Weavile is already a close 3rd. All you have to do is take a look at these decks and it is no wonder why Weavile is so good, Gardevoir GX, Zoroark GX, and Lycanroc GX all depend on Abilities, same goes for Tapu Lele GX, so a majority of the time most Pokemon in play are cards with Abilities and GX or EX cards, by multiplying 50 damage times the number of your opponent's Pokemon that have Abilities, this card can one hit knock out pretty much anything out there, add a Choice Band to this card and it can easily do 180 damage per turn for only one Energy card. The best thing about this card is that it only allows your opponent to take one Prize card if it is knocked out.

Both Zoroark GX and Weavile are weak to Fighting type Pokemon, which is a big disadvantage, but you can add something like Zoroark from BREAKthrough with its Stand In Ability to quickly knock out a Pokemon that is set up, plus, if you keep Zoroark GX and Weavile on the Bench until you're ready to attack, Buzzwole GX can only do 30 damage to them. So, if you are looking to build a somewhat budget friendly deck, I would highly recommend taking a look at these two cards, Weavile is only a couple of dollars online, and Zoroark GX can be bought directly from a sealed product if you like.

Zoroark GX is the main Pokemon in a deck like this, the reason Zoroark GX is so popular is because it both has a great Ability and a powerful move. Trade, its Ability, allows you to draw two cards every turn, all you have to do is discard one card from your hand.  Riotous Beating is its best move, allowing you to attack for one Double Colorless Energy, and if you have a full Bench, allowing you to do 120 damage per turn. Add in the fact that Zoroark GX has a high HP, and you can see why this card is so popular, other than being weak to Fighting type Pokemon, it is perfect, quick on the attack, allows you to draw cards every turn, and packs a major wallop! Plus, if you're building a solely Darkness type deck, it is possible to use Trickster GX too.

Both Sneasel and Weavile are available in Ultra Prism. One thing I like about Sneasel is that it has 70 HP, so if you are forced to put it into the Active Pokemon spot to start the game, it can last a turn without getting knocked out, plus, it needs 3 attacks by Buzzwole GX on the Bench to get knocked out. And if the chips fall correctly, you can really set back your opponent if you can use Sneaky Smash and remove an Energy they put into play. Weavile doesn't have an above average HP by any means, but it does have two moves that both only require one Energy card to use. In a deck like this one, with Zoroark GX, you're going to be using 4 Double Colorless Energy and the rest Darkness Energy, so either move on this card shouldn't be a problem to use. Evil Admonition is the move to use on Weavile as it does 50 damage times the number of your opponent's Pokemon that have Abilities on them. Early in a game, you could easily knock out the defending Pokemon by doing only 100 damage. Even if Weavile is knocked out, your opponent only gets one Prize card, and using something like Rescue Stretcher, you can get both cards back into your deck. I think it will be very advantageous in the future to have powerful attackers in your deck that only count as one Prize card when knocked out. Icy Wind isn't a terrible move either, as it can put the defending Pokemon to Sleep and give you more time to set up your Pokemon.

Overall, I would highly recommend at least testing out a deck built around Zoroark GX and Weavile, like I said, this is a cheaper deck to build and it is a deck that can still win battles and do very well! I look forward to reviewing some Ultra Prism decks on my channel, and this deck will certainly be one of them.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Future Value of Ultra Prism?

Ultra Prism Complete Set
With the rumors swirling about Ultra Prism being out of print and the fact that it is such a good set for the competitive Pokemon TCG, I have been getting lots of questions about what I think will happen to this set in the future. What will happen to individual cards in this set, as well as sealed products, and what is the recommended route to complete the set.

First off, I still haven't seen anything official about this set being out of print, most on social media agree that there may be a lull in printing to fix Cyrus Prism Star, but there is no way the set is just plain out of print, plus, even if it is out of print, lots of retailers online are selling booster boxes and cards for very reasonable prices. Just today on YouTube I did post a video on how much each individual secret rare and ultra rare from this set is worth, this gives a good outline of the more valuable cards in the set and which cards are more desirable for the TCG at this point in time.

Prices for cards in a new set usually follow the same pattern, prices are very high any time before the official release date, shortly after release date, all cards drop in price, then a couple of weeks after, cards that are good in the TCG and in high demand go back up in value, and those not good in the TCG, continue to drop. If you're looking to complete a set as soon as possible, never buy sealed products, just buy the cards individually. I personally like to purchase 2 booster boxes of the set then purchase individual cards. If you're tight on money, or just want to collect a set the cheapest way possible, wait until a set is out of the Standard Format, that is usually 2 to 3 years after a set is released, at that point, the cards will lose their demand, supply will increase, and prices will drop. I personally have put $1,000 into Ultra Prism to complete the set. With so many secret rares, this set will always be expensive to complete, but I could see it costing $200 to complete instead of $500 if you're just buying singles, a couple of years down the road compared to now.

While this set is new, booster boxes should remain around $90 to $100, for the next 2 or 3 years boxes should stay around this price range, about 5 years from now is when the price will jump to several hundred. I would compare this set to Guardians Rising, there are lots of good Trainer cards in this set as well as Pokemon GX. Similar to N and Professor Sycamore, I am sure Cynthia will be reprinted in future sets, meaning Cynthia from this set will remain playable after Ultra Prism is rotated out, so it is always a good idea obtaining sealed products of Ultra Prism, as Cynthia will always be worth $4+.

Long term, I think this is a set worth investing in. Most sets that are worth more down the road, I'm talking sealed products, contain either lots of Legendary Pokemon or starters from a specific Generation of Pokemon. Ultra Prism features both of these things, Legendary Pokemon including Ultra Beasts, plus lots of 4th Generation Pokemon, which is when I think lots of collectors, like myself, starting collecting again, so this Generation of Pokemon holds a special place in people's hearts, therefore increasing demand because of the nostalgia of the set.

If you are looking to buy cards from this set for building a deck, always purchase the regular GX form of a Pokemon, it is always cheapest. Most times, if you wait a couple of months, the Full Art and Rainbow Rare forms of the cards drop a little. Also, remember that Solgaleo GX and Lunala GX are reprinted from Sun & Moon Base Set, so there is no reason to go out and buy the gold-colored ones in this set. For the time being, Glaceon, Dusk Mane Necrozma, and Leafeon would be the best GX cards in this set and the most expensive Pokemon to buy. Overall, Cynthia is easily the best card in the set, but if you're deck building, the uncommon Cynthia does exactly the same as the Full Art, just with less style.

So to end this article, if you're just getting into the Pokemon TCG, I would highly recommend this set, if you want to complete this set, wait a couple of years until prices go down, and if you are a sealed product collector, this is one to collect, no reason to think this set won't be worth it in the future!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Why does it cost so much to collect Pokemon cards?

Although Ultra Prism has only been out for a week, I've already invested $1,000 into the set. Why is it so expensive to collect Pokemon cards? For me, the goal is to always complete newly released sets as quickly as possible, merely for the satisfaction of completing the set. What I do is I buy 2 sealed booster boxes, and all other sealed products released, like Elite Trainer Boxes and blister packs, then I finish the set by buying singles. I am happy to say that I have already completed the Ultra Prism set, but it seems like with each new set in the Pokemon TCG, I have to spend more and more money! Between sealed products and singles, I spent around $1,000. There is no possible way that children or those not working full time can afford to complete sets like this! While I enjoy collecting large sets like Ultra Prism, with 173 total cards, I would be much happier if Pokemon removed GX Rainbow Rares from sets, or, if they made several regular GX in a set, then only made a few cards available as GX Full Art or GX Rainbow Rare. Of course, I could save a lot of money if I waited until sets like this were out of the Standard Format, but it isn't as fun to collect when the set is older.

As I'm getting more and more involved in the competitive TCG, my goal to collect as many cards as possible is decreasing, I would much rather just buy the cards I need for a deck individually, or only buy booster boxes to get what I need. While it is a cool feeling going to a retail store and picking up all of the collection boxes or blister packs in stock, most times, the promo cards included in these products are either reprints from regular sets, or just aren't that good in the TCG. That got me thinking, I wonder what other collectors and players of the Pokemon TCG do to complete a set or to get cards they need, do they open sealed products, or do they just buy what they need individually.

My motto when it comes to buying singles cards is to check several online retailers as well as eBay and TCGPlayer to find the cheapest prices I can for each individual card, since I'm not sending my cards in to get graded, I don't necessarily need to see the exact condition of the card I'm buying, just having the near-mint designation is fine. While most retailers change their prices daily to stay competitive, I still find it best to search around, it is almost a guarantee that no one site will have the cheapest prices for every card you're looking for.

So this brings me to my question, what do you spend to maintain your Pokemon card collecting hobby? Do you try and complete sets when you're collecting, do you just buy your favorite Pokemon, or do you solely collect the cards you need for a certain deck? Lately I've been playing the online game a ton, mainly because the cards are cheaper to purchase, and you can quickly re-use the same card in multiple decks without having to build the deck again. For a hobby that seems to get more expensive with every new set, I'm all about trying to be frugal and save where I can, but still enjoy the hobby I've been doing since I was a kid.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Is Pokemon TCG Ultra Prism really OUT OF PRINT?

If you've been reading any Pokemon TCG related sites lately, or follow those involved on social media, there have been lots of rumors of Ultra Prism going out of print. This news is very shocking, considering it was just released a week ago! While I can't find any official news out there, my best guess would be that the Pokemon company will not be printing any additional booster boxes until the Cyrus Prism Star card is fixed, once it is fixed, booster boxes will be printed like normal. With that being said, many suppliers and retailers out there are still selling Ultra Prism products.

There are also rumors out there that printing of Ultra Prism booster boxes will be stopped for good, to increase demand of the "Collection" boxes that sit on shelves and never seem to sell that include Ultra Prism packs. While this may be a good idea, to make a larger profit on current products, I can't imagine with such a popular set like Ultra Prism, that they will stop printing booster boxes.

As far as prices go, I was one of the consumers who went out and bought another booster box of Ultra Prism as soon as I heard the rumors, I bought my box for $84.95 from eBay, now that same seller is listing the booster box as out of print and charging $109.95. While there may be some merit to buying a booster box at this price, you can still find several retailers online, like Troll and Toad, selling their boxes for $89.95.

To summarize, if Ultra Prism is truly going to be out of print until March, prices of both sealed products and singles should rise, in the short term, but don't panic, either try and find these cards at reasonable prices, or just wait a few weeks and get the newer print of Ultra Prism, with the correct Cyrus Prism Star.
Cyrus Prism Star, error version.

If you know any official news on this subject, please let me know! Right now, I'm trying to collect as many Cyrus Prism Star cards as possible, but who knows which one will be more popular! And a reminder, just because you see a rumor like this online, don't automatically believe it!