“Are you Thor, the god of hammers?” – Odin, Thor: Ragnarok
Oh, come on Pokémon. How on earth did you lose thunder? It’s kind of hard to lose, given how loud and obnoxious it is. Now, where was the last place you saw it…
Let’s see… How many cards do I get to review this time… two hundred and thirty???
A brief recap of the past three months before proceeding: Basically everyone was like “Man, Rayquaza’s gonna be really good” and then it was for a while and then it started losing to a Stadium card and we all went back to running Buzzwole and Zoroark. What will this new set do to change that? Add a bunch of ways to beat Rayquaza and a bunch of cards weak to Buzzwole. Duh.
Also, Johto. Pretty cool region. It’s also (questionably) the inspiration for this set, or so I’m told. Not quite Sinnoh, but I’ll manage. Anyway, this set has some fairies and stuff. Nothing too awful.
I have taken the liberty of meticulously analyzing each and every card in the upcoming TCG set for playability, artistic value, and interesting mechanics. As such, I will be using this article to forgo whatever results I may have picked up from this analysis and just rant about which cards I like and don’t like. So without further ado, here is the eighth full set in the seventh generation, the fourth in 2018, and the equivalent of the Japanese Fairy Rise, Thunderclap Spark, and Super-Burst Impact (oh boy), Sun and Moon: Lost Thunder.
Standard Disclaimer: As usual, these are my opinions.
Abbreviations – SM8, LOT.
Cards – 214 + 22 Secret Rares (oh dear)
Dominant Type(s) – Grass by a fairly large margin. Ignore the fact that “Thunder” is in the set name.
Card Distribution – 198 Pokémon, 37 Trainers, and 1 Special Energy
Featured Pokémon – Pack art depicts Celebi, Blacephalon, Zeraora, and Lugia. This is the 5th English pack art for Lugia. Celebi appears on English pack art for the second time ever and the first since 2002’s Neo Destiny. Zeraora and Blacephalon are making their TCG debut, meaning this is their first pack art. The Elite Trainer Box features Zeraora as well. Theme deck names are Blazing Volcano and Storm Caller, and they feature Entei and Raikou respectively, the first theme deck for each.
Pokémon Debuts – Zeraora and Blacephalon
Random Fact – Lost Thunder’s 236 cards make it the biggest English set of all time. By a lot. This is especially concerning, considering I also said this about Celestial Storm 3 months ago.
Chikorita (5, 6), Bayleef (7), Meganium (8)
AAAAAAAAAA CHIKORITA IS SOOOO CUTEEEEEEEEEE.
The Chikorita line is one of my favorites personally, so its good to see it getting some recognition here. Plus, Meganium looks almost useful for once!
Meganium has a cool Ability that lets you Rare Candy a Pokémon Every Single Turn. For free. Accelerating and allowing for constant setup is a super helpful tech. Plus, most Candy decks can then afford to take out all their Stage 1s and a couple Candy – easily making room for a 2-0-2 Meganium line (that’s two Chikorita, two Meganium, and no Bayleef).
Welcome back, Night March.
Lost March deals Tons of Damage dependent on having a bunch of Pokemon in your Lost Zone. Conveniently, Skiploom throws itself into said Zone upon evolution to Jumpluff. Yay!
A cheeky ability that blocks attacks from low-energy Pokémon? We. Take. Those.
Seriously, Shuckle is a soft remedy to the low-Energy format of the current age. By forcing an extra Energy attachment, many decks lose a lot of their late game offensive power. Shuckle’s attacks are mostly inconsequential, but the GX attack’s ability to paralyze an enemy gives you another turn of freedom even if they do power up. The attacks also are avalible for only a colorless energy – making Shuckle a viable tech in almost any deck.
Sensitive Blade is a good attack, but so is Double Draw. Hmmm…
Virizion looks absolutely majestic this set. This is my favorite card art in the set, and like two thirds of this review is card art.
Also, shout out to Greninja-GX players, you may now wipe your entire bench into your hand with a GX attack so you can pew pew shuriken more things. Yay!
Typhlosion looks like a badass. That’s all.
Oh, he also has an Ability that changes all your Energy in play to Fire, including DCEs. This could combo with things that require a lot of Fire Energy really well, or some cards that specifically reference Fire Energy. It even lets you use acceleration cards like Vikavolt to get out Lightning and Grass energy and then converts them to Fire.
Slowpoke looks so derpy this set and I love it. Slowking also looks really cool and cute.
They went super cute this set with the art as a whole.
Continuing the pattern of “Wait ddrox, are you just choosing the cute cards and ignoring the good ones?”, AAA IT’S ON A PILLOW AND HAS AN ABILITY CALLED FLUFFY PILLOW AND ITS CUTEEEEE!
Continuing the pattern of “Wait ddrox, are you just choosing the cute cards and ignoring the good ones?”, WRONG.
Pachirisu is a legitimate one-off in a ton of decks as an anti-tool precaution. 60 (90 with Choice Band) damage PLUS Paralysis on any Tool-wielding opponent is incredible.
Also it’s cute. But that’s not the point this time.
Thunderbolts and lightning, very very frightening.
This set’s title card is a poor Mythical from a poor generation who really just wants to zap people. Plasma Fists is a flat 160 for three Energy, which is really great at that.
Zeraora also has an Ability that gives anything with a Lightning energy attached free Retreat, which is really nice for field mobility, and a GX attack that screams “Play me in Rayquaza decks”. Five energy on the field is incredibly strong. Also, it’s really cute.
Unown (90), Unown (91), Unown (92)
Hello, did someone call for a gimmick card? How about THREE? No one? Oh well. Guess I’ll just have to play it my way then.
These three cards have the same name, and they also have a short phrase in common on their Ability texts:
“… you may choose to win the game.”
Those words are really powerful. Unfortunately, the absurd condition each of them needs to meet to actually choose to win the game is different for each card – either your opponent having 12 Supporters in the Lost Zone, you having 66 Damage Counters on your Benched Pokemon, or you having 35 cards in hand.
Will that stop me from using them? Of course not. You should know better by now.
Did someone call for a Life Dew?
Sheddyfriend’s job is to be a Tool card. Attaching it as one to a Pokemon makes said Pokemon worth one less Prize when KOed.
“GREETINGS MORTAL MY NAME IS GIRATINA DESTROYER OF WORLDS WOULD YOU LIKE TO PLAY A GAME OF TAG?” – Giratina, probably, as it comes out of the Discard pile again and damages your Pokémon with its Ability.
Also, have I mentioned that Giratina is a nice spookyghost?
Giratina’s Ability lets it jump out of the Discard Pile, dealing ten damage to two of your opponent’s Pokémon simultaneously. It’s a fairly solid poke Ability, and I look forward to seeing how creative I can be with it.
Sigi auto-counters any damage done to it by GXes. That’s all you need to know about this card.
I guess it does have a couple cool moves, but the reason you play Sigilyph is for that Ability.
Larvitar is a 60HP basic that can do 80 for a DCE provided the enemy has at least 3 damage counters on it already. With a Choice Band, that OHKOes Zoroark and Zeraora due to weakness, and Decidueye-GX is still standard for 10 more months to provide said damage. Just an idea.
Nothing special here. I just happen to really like the art on this card. That is all.
‘Tales is a pretty Fairy.
Her Ability is worth noting for being awesome. being able to pull 2 Items out of the deck on evolution is amazing. Rare Candy is a thing.
Her attack is 70 damage to the Active and 30 to a benched Pokémon of your personal preference, which is fairly good, and the GX attack literally insta-KOes an Ultra Beast. Considering how prevalent UBs are un the current meta, this often is just a free prize or two with little to no effort required.
Just the usual shoutout to the MVP of my 2-1 Prerelease deck. 140 damage for 3 from a non-GX, provided you have Fairy Charm equipped, is scary.
Granbull is notable for doing a ton of (160) damage for only one energy, but only under a specific condition – you must have NO cards in your hand at the end of the turn. That isn’t TOO hard though, all things considered. I mean, we have Ultra Ball, Mysterious Treasure,
Ditto * is a Basic that can evolve into ANY stage 1. This offers a ton of flexibility to those decks. So if you are running Golisopod and Zoroark, you can evolve Ditto into whichever of your basics inevitably gets prized.
I’m particularly fond of the thing Pokémon has been doing lately where they put a trainer in the image of their signature Pokémon (see: ULP Garchomp). It gives the Pokémon a sense of character – we always associate Garchomp with Cynthia and Miltank with Whitney because we have memories of those specific fights. Whitney appears here cheering on her Miltank, which it totally in character for her.
These three are the first * Stadiums. They all provide a huge buff to a specific type, and are immune to Field Blower. These are just generally fairly interesting to me and look really cool.
Heat Factory gets you extra draw in exchange for discarding a Fire Energy. Life Forest lets you heal your Grass-types an absurd amount every turn. Thunder Mountain lowers the attack cost of your Lightning-type Pokémon.
These two have really cool FAs, and also are rather unique spins on the standard “Draw 3 cards” Supporter. Both start out by drawing less cards than the flat three provided by Hau or Looker. However, the method of increasing the draw output varies.
Whitney starts with only a single draw, but you get two more for each Whitney already in your Discard Pile, reaching up to the fourth Whitney played resulting in a massive seven cards. That’s better than a Cynthia, and you don’t even need to dump your current hand.
Kahili draws two, but when you play it there is a coin flip. On a heads, Kahili loops back into your hand – you can play it again next turn.
All in all, this set is generally really cool. I honestly don’t have much else to say here, but I think you’ve read enough of my ramblings for today anyway. I rate this set…
Final Score: Thunderstruck/10
That’s all the time I have for today. Make sure to pick up some cards from Sun and Moon: Lost Thunder when they release on November 2nd! If you have any thoughts on this new set, tell us in the thread that is totally linked down below. Have fun containing the storm, and I look forward to being able to Team Up with you again in February.
Edited by bobandbill and Meganium.
All card images from pokemon.com.