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Rotation Guide 2020 Part 1: Ultra Prism

Hello! Welcome to my first article for Bath TCG, and the first of a 4 part series. It’s that time of year again. Time to get out the binder, sort through the bulk, and sigh at your favourite cards that will soon become obsolete. With rotation now less than two months away, let’s have a look at what will be leaving the format on 28th August. We start with Ultra Prism, a set which brought Prism Star cards, the return of great shuffle draw and a certain contentious monkey…

Glaceon GX

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Glaceon GX proved that even if a card has an amazing ability, there is no guarantee that it will see play. 90 damage was simply not enough to 2-shot even some GX’s, let alone TagTeam or VMAX Pokémon (who are unaffected by its ability), and even Polar Spear GX was outclassed by Sableye V which was a basic. Without Energy Evolution Eevee or universal ability lock, this card simply wasn’t good enough at what it did.


en US SM5 047

Another locking card, this time for items, Luxio had only really begun to see play in the past few months, placing in the Top 64 of the recent Limitless Qualifier 3. Thanks to the new Luxray and Scoop Up Net from Rebel Clash, you could abuse Raid for 160 damage multiple times, locking your opponent out of items in between. However, with an item-locking Vikavolt V on the horizon, now seems like a good time for Luxio to head off on a highpoint.


en US SM5 049 pachirisu

Pachirisu was one of the key pieces Nuzzle, the most popular budget deck, with its Snuggly Generator attack being able to accelerate up to 5 lightning energy per turn to power up Raichu’s Powerful Spark. However, its rotation sadly marks the end of this archetype, as the remaining options for lightning acceleration are either too slow (Boltund V) or require energy to be discarded first (Tapu Koko Prism/Turbo Patch), leaving Raichu to struggle to reach even a 2-shot on a Pokémon VMAX

Giratina Prism Star

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Chaotic Star was a powerful ability but struggled to compete with Malamar’s Psychic Recharge. Once the energy is attached to Giratina, the only way to move it to another attacker was through an Energy Switch, unless you fancied attaching two more energy’s and discarding them with Crisis Dive. Being able to have 4 Malamar as well as choosing where to accelerate energy was simply much superior to what Giratina had to offer.

Lunala Prism Star

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Lunala Prism suffered from a similar problem, in that it simply wasn’t as good as Malamar. Full Moon Star required at least two energy in the discard pile to be worth using, and Psystorm, whist certainly a powerful attack, was simply too expensive and too risky for a Pokémon that couldn’t be recovered after it was knocked out.

Dawn Wings Necrozma GX

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Invasion was a neat ability, and one we’ve seen before. The ability to prevent opponents from trapping vulnerable Pokémon in the active was handy, and could be combined with air balloon to give yourself another opportunity to use a Stellar Wish from Jirachi. Whilst Dark Flash wasn’t anything to shout about, Moon’s Eclipse GX was a nice option for buying yourself another turn to power up a possible Giratina or Ultra Necrozma GX


en US SM5 065 rampardos

A card that did nothing for a year and a half, only to explode onto the scene at Worlds 2019, squeezing into the top 64. The recently released Pokémon Research Lab helped set up multiple stage 2s, which enabled Rampardos to knock out any TagTeam Pokémon with just a single attachment thanks to Super Boost Energy. 


en US SM5 073 sneasel

Of the whopping 5 Sneasel cards printed in the Sun & Moon block, this one made a reasonable case for being the best. Sneaky Smash was definitely a nice option if you were unable to go first using Dark Box, as denying your opponent of energy bought you some time to get out a Weavile GX before they started to apply some tempo on you vulnerable basics. This definitely would have been the Sneasel of choice for Eternatus VMAX, as the water type from Cosmic Eclipse can prevent its Eternal Zone ability from activating if you can’t find its evolution.


en US SM5 074 weavile

Weavile would have offered another nice option for Eternatus VMAX, and could have even been a nice tech for the mirror thanks to the abilities of various Goons, Weavile GX and Crobat V. Alas, even then it may have struggled to make the sixty, given how the likes of Hoopa (both old and new) can act as an efficient basic 1 prize attacker.

Darkrai Prism Star

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Unlike Giratina, Darkrai Prism had become more viable thanks Scoop Up Net in combination with Weavile GX, allowing you to attach up to two darkness energies from your hand multiple times. However, if you didn’t play Red & Blue, prizing Darkrai was obviously a huge problem, especially with the multiple energies needed to power up the usual Dark type attackers. With Eternatus VMAX only needing two attachments, this shouldn’t be missed too much.


en US SM5 SV29 magnezone yaa 029ya

Magnetic Circuit required a lot of set up to pull off, but those who were able to do so were generally rewarded. Magnezone’s most successful partnership was with Dusk Mane Necrozma GX (more on him in a minute), where it was able to set up its expensive attacks with ease. However, Pokémon like Zacian V can power itself up whilst also hitting just as hard, with Metal Saucer acting as additional acceleration. Magnezone was never bad, we just had much better options.

Solgaleo Prism Star

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Completing the first set of Prism Star Pokémon, Solgaleo offered a different form of energy acceleration in Radiant Star. However, getting energy cards into the discard pile always required an extra step and, similar to Darkrai, prizing was always a risk if you didn’t play any other form of acceleration. Much like Magnezone, time hasn’t been kind to Solgaleo. Let’s not mention the second attack, shall we?

Dusk Mane Necrozma GX

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Dusk Mane Necrozma GX’s strength was hitting truck, and that’s exactly what it did. The ability to OHKO any Pokémon in the format was a deadly threat and allowed the Ultra Beast to gain massive tempo against other GX decks with Meteor Tempest, or use Sun’s Eclipse GX to come from behind to win. However, nowadays the aforementioned Zacian V can hit for 230 damage every turn without having to discard energy or be behind on prizes.

Tapu Lele

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Appearing in multiple archetypes from Control to Gardeon and spread to Zoroark, both of Tapu Lele’s attacks could be used to score a quick knockout on an opponent. Psywave could punish Pokémon with expensive attack costs, whilst Magical Swap could take multiple prize cards at once after spreading damage around the board. Sadly, all of the archetypes that Tapu Lele thrived in have fallen out of favour on the meta, forcing it to rest in the confines of the binder forever.


en US SM5 114 oranguru

I’m convinced that Oranguru’s pokédex entry should be changed to ‘The Marmite Pokémon’ based purely on this card. Okay, not really, but whether you’re jumping for joy or mourning his loss, there is no doubt that this was one of the craziest cards ever printed, one that helped define numerous formats over the past 2 years. At a time where item recovery was sparse at best, Oranguru’s favourite job was bringing back Crushing Hammers, Pal Pads and Ordinary Rods which allowed control players to race through an opponent deck at a breakneck pace. However we see control decks adapt in the future, you can guarantee that we will probably never see a Pokémon with an attack like Resource Management ever again.

Silvally GX

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Silvally GX was saved from last year’s rotation thanks to this reprint, but was unable to repay the favour with a place in the meta. This was most likely due to the fact that the most played basic of the last year, Stellar Wish Jirachi, could not take advantage of Silvally’s Gyro Unit ability when it is asleep. Even if wasn’t, it was a lot easier to play a few Escape Boards or Switch’s (which can be used by any Pokémon) than it was to play what is most likely a 2-2 line of a Stage 1. With only the Grass and Water Memories remaining, let’s hope the Silvally GX from Cosmic Eclipse can pick up the slack…


en US SM5 SV82 cynthia yaa 082ya

Although Cynthia had been surpassed by Marnie in recent months as the shuffle draw card of choice, there is no denying the prominence it had in almost every deck. The ability to save combo pieces such as evolutions or Rare Candies gave Cynthia an advantage over the discard draw from the likes of Professor’s Research or Sycamore. However, with the likes of Malamar and other setup-based decks falling down the tiers, Marnie’s hand disruption capabilities have become too tempting to pass up.

Cyrus Prism Star

en US SM5 120 cyrus

The first of the Prism Star Supporter cards, Cyrus had devastating potential to wipe your opponent’s board of multiple threats and ended up appearing in a number of different archetypes. However, nowadays there are very few decks that will have more than two benched attackers with numerous energies on them, causing you to take targets off the field such as Dedenne GX or Jirachi. Secondly, since this card didn’t progress your own board state, you were always risking your Supporter for the turn with a card that you opponent could potentially recover from on their next turn. Whilst disrupting your opponent was always good, it was not always as effective when your opponent had a say too.

Electric Memory

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Whilst lighting was certainly a great type to be (at least before rotation), Silvally GX was outclassed by Zereora GX in terms of providing free retreat, and only accelerating one energy from the discard was pithy compared to the three from the deck that PikaRom could search out.

Escape Board

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Thanks to the release of Scoop Up Net, the loss of Escape Board will be a little bit more bearable for every deck with a Jirachi engine, which is where this card saw pretty much all of its play. For retreating any other Pokémon, the reusable U-Turn Board, the doubly effective Air Balloon and the upcoming Hide Darkness Energy will more than cover its absent.

Fire Memory

en US SM5 123 fire memory

Again, whilst fire was a great type to cover, there were far too many great basic attackers to ever make Silvally GX an option worth considering.


en US SM5 149 gardenia

Most popular in Celebi & Venusaur healing decks, Gardenia provided great support in combination with cards like Shaymin from Lost Thunder and Life Forest Prism Star to keep the TagTeam on the field for a long time. The release of Mallow & Lana saw 120 damage become the number to beat for healing cards, and it remains the only recovery card to see play in the current standard format.


en US SM5 151 lillie

One of the only cards to survive the entirety of the Sun and Moon block, Lillie partnered up with Cynthia as the core draw engine of countless decks. The ability to play down your entire hand and draw a further eight cards on the very first turn of the game was immense. It was so powerful in fact that, upon the introduction of the new Supporter rule, Lillie completely disappeared from the format. Although, there’s a case to be made this that this would have happened anyway due to the increased power of Professor’s Research.


en US SM5 154 mars

A great example of why control decks have thrived in recent seasons, Mars was one of the key hand lock pieces which prevented opponents from executing their game plan and taking prizes. Unlink Jessie and James, Mars was doubly beneficial in that it allowed control players to increase their hand size whilst also disrupting their opponent. With numerous control pieces rotating, it will be interesting to see how they adapt after Darkness Ablaze.

Mt. Coronet

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Mt. Coronet was mostly played in two very contrasting archetypes. At first, it was key in making Dusk Mane Necrozma GX successful, being able to recover two of the three energies it discarded per turn. Then, with the release of Lucario & Melmetal GX, it was used to supply energies for Full Metal Wall GX in both tanking builds and Regigigas stall decks. If you were lucky enough to pull the gorgeous golden reprint of this card in Hidden Fates, enjoy it while you can, as it sadly doesn’t extend its legality.

Order Pad

en US SM5 131 order pad

Something you don’t see very often; Order Pad was a rare case of offering Item search without using up your Supporter for the turn. It saw play throughout its life, helping out Buzzwole GX and early PikaRom lists to find Beast Rings and Energy Switches, before more recently helping Naganadel & Guzzlord GX find Dust Stones on turn one to get set up. ADPZ has even moved in favour of Order Pad to keep up with the pace of the meta, as it allows for a potential turn one Altered Creation GX if going second.

Pokémon Fan Club

en US SM5 155 pokemon fan club

A card that has since been outclassed by the recently released Sonia, Fan Club was best in setup decks that liked to get numerous low HP basics down on turn one, such as VikaRay or Zoroark variants, before dropping off in play in standard. Whilst it had a brief resurgence of play in Pidgeotto variants of control, the release of Quick Ball and a lack of evolution decks in the current meta has seen this card become a lot less relevant than it was. 


en US SM5 156 volkner

It goes to show just how great of a deck PikaRom is right now when this is one of the biggest losses of the entire set. The great thing about Volkner is that there was never a bad time to use it. Whether it be a Stadium Nav or Electromagnetic Radar in the early game or a Great Catcher or Electropower in the late game, Volkner’s versatility was key in setting up Full Blitz and securing vital knockouts on opposing Pokémon.

Super Boost Energy Prism Star

en US SM5 136 super boost energy

On paper, this card seemed absolutely bonkers. Supplying four energy of any type for just a single attachment is something any deck would thrive on. However, the minimal amount of play this card saw just goes to show how inconsistent and competitively unviable stage 2 decks have become recently. Although, when it was played, it was paired with some of the best stage 2 decks of the Sun and Moon block, such as Decidueye GX, Gardevoir GX and the aforementioned Rampardos.

GRW Unit Energy

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The first of two Unit Energies in this set, this version was most commonly paired with ADP as a searchable attachment thanks to Guzma & Hala. Then, after winning the Perth Regional Championships earlier this year, World Champion Henry Brand showed off his ‘Ultimate Mewtwo’ list, which saw the GRW Unit Energy being used to pay for a variety of attacks from Outrage to Massive Bloom to Rocket Splash.

MLP Unit Energy

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Meanwhile, the MLP Unit Energy, whilst played in PikaRom as well as ADP to be searched out with Guzma & Hala, was played in Zoroark and Malamar varients to give more flexibility and availability in attacks. The most popular ones being Garbodor, Kartana GX and Ultra Necrozma GX.

Xurkitree GX

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Whilst Xurkitree GX had only really seen play as a one-of tech during its time, the ability to wall itself could have been deadly in upcoming formats, with every type due to have received a special energy card by the end of the year. Could Xurkitree GX have become an option for control decks? We’ll never know…


en US SM5 153 lusamine

Enjoy Lusamine while you can, because once rotation hits it you’ll never be able to play it again. The ability the endlessly loop not only itself but any other Supporter card in the game was too powerful for TPCI who have given it the ban hammer in Expanded (unless you live in Japan). If you’ve played a control deck of any sorts over the last two years, there’s a great chance that Lusamine has helped you out in one way or another.

Solgaleo GX

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Another card that was first printed all the way back in Sun and Moon base, Solgaleo saw minimal play in Metagross GX decks before becoming part of the core of Ultimate Mewtwo. Being able to have six energy on board with Sol Burst GX after just one turn allowed you to quickly go down the best line of play for dealing with your opponent’s deck. Sunsteel Strike also offered a powerful late game finishing attack due to being cheaper than the likes of Flare Strike from Reshizard. 

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