straight to the scores and summary for a concise overview.
EX Delta Species
2 (Evolves from Dragonair)
your turn (before your attack), you may attach a (L) Energy card
from your discard pile to 1 of your Benched Pokémon. This power
can’t be used if Dragonite is affected by a Special Condition.
(LC) Agility 
Flip a coin.
If heads, prevent all effects of an attack, including damage,
done to Dragonite δ during your opponent’s next turn.
(LMCC) Heavy Impact 
EX Delta Species
Stage 1 (Evolves from Dratini)
(CC) Slam [20x]
Flip 2 coins.
This attack does 20 damage times the number of heads.
(LCC) Dragon Rage 
EX Delta Species
Stage 1 (Evolves from Dratini)
(LC) Twister 
coins. If both are tails, this attack does nothing. Fore
each heads, discard an Energy attached to the Defending
EX Delta Species
(C) Hook 
(LC) Thunder Jolt 
coin. If tails, Dratini does 10 damage to itself.
EX Delta Species
(L) Thunder Wave 
coin. If heads, the Defending Pokémon is now Paralyzed.
THAT DESPITE HOW IT IS LISTED ABOVE, THE “δ
DELTA SPECIES” IS NOT ACTUALLY PART OF THE CARDS’
NAMES. Yes, I am sure most of you knew that, but my spoiler
seemed contradictory and I figured I’d better just say that
now. Let me point out that I will refer to Pokémon with this
designation by calling them just “[Insert Pokémon Name/]
δ” in my writings, as I did in the above text spoiler, even
though δ isn’t actually part of their name.
Dragonite δ is a Stage 2 Pokémon. As I constantly
tell people, this means that it needs many “bonuses” to offset
the difficulty of getting it into play, as compared with a lower
Evolutionary Stage. Before we delve into that further, let us
take a peek at this Pokémon’s lower Evolutionary Stages that
showed up in this set. There are two Dragonair δ
and also two Dratini δ. Just a reminder: since the “δ
DELTA SPECIES” designator isn’t part of the name, you can go
back and forth between non-δ Pokémon and “plain” ones, so long
as there isn’t something like an owner in the name. For
example, you can start with a “plain” Dratini, Evolve to
Dragonair δ, then Evolve into a plain Dragonite,
and vice versa. You may also start with a Dratini δ then
Evolve into a Dark Dragonair, but then your only choice
for Evolving after that is Dark Dragonite. As for the
actual lower Stages, they are all “okay”. If you want damage,
use numbers 41 and 65. If you need stall/disruption/protection,
go with the latter versions, use numbers 42 and 66. Their
attacks are reasonably priced and everything else is the same.
Dragonite δ itself, it both a Lightning and a Metal Type
Pokémon. This is a bane for many Water decks: only those
blessed to have no Weakness or which have Grass Weakness won’t
be taking extra damage. Resistance exists but isn’t especially
common for either type component either. Best of all, being
part Metal means Metal Energy reduces the damage you take
by 10 for each copy attached; very nice.
100 HP isn’t
so nice for a Stage 2. It isn’t the worst, but it does indicate
that there had better be some promising parts to this card. The
Weakness, Colorless, certainly doesn’t fit. It is likely the
worst Weakness in the game since the Pokémon Tool, Crystal
Shard, allows any Pokémon to become Colorless for the turn.
This (rather than the low HP) explains the dual-Resistance.
Grass Pokémon aren’t too heavily played at the moment, and their
attacks tend to focus on things other than straight damage,
while Fighting Pokémon often have built in abilities to ignore
Resistance (and if not, many cards can grant them that
ability). So while it is nice to have one Resistance, let alone
two, neither will be especially useful. Finally, for
Attributes, we come to the Retreat Cost. Two is neither large
enough to be crippling nor small enough to be negligible, and
obviously isn’t worth the lower than normal HP score.
Accordingly, the Abilities must be where the HP is offset.
Delta Charge is essentially the same as the Firestarter
Poké-Power that one Blaziken used to have. The only
difference, though it is significant, is that this affect’s
Basic Lighting Energy cards instead of Basic Fire Energy cards.
Otherwise, it allows you to take one basic Lighting Energy card
from your discard and attach it to a Benched Pokémon. Even
outside of specialized combinations, this is quite handy,
allowing you to reduce the Energy lost to KOs and Retreating
(eliminating it if you have enough Dragonite δ in play.
Agility is a
well known attack. This one yields 10 more damage than is paid
for. That isn’t huge, but it’s solid and a 50% chance of
avoiding all effects of your opponent’s next attack during their
next turn is quite nice.
attack, Heavy Impact, is also familiar. This version requires
two different Energy types. So it should yield at least 60
points of damage, and that is if it were on a Basic. At only 70
points of damage, it isn’t bad, just not especially good.
say it’s apparent that Delta Charge is expected to be pretty
Such would seem a safe bet, given the power of Blaziken
with Firestarter. Indeed Dragonite δ already has an
established deck. Like all decks, it has many names, but I
prefer to call it Metanite. The reasons are simple: the
deck consists primarily of Metagross δ and (of course)
Dragonite δ, plus it sounds like a character from the Kirby
mimics the old BAR decks in set-up, except there is no
need for something to transfer Energy: Metagross δ has
Crush and Burn, an attack that does more damage for Energy cards
discarded from any Pokémon. This allows for constant
cycling of Energy from your bench. The main thing I seen as a
slight difficulty for these decks is that Metagross δ, in
exchange for flexibility where the Energy is attached, requires
more Energy being cycled to hit as hard. Yes, it was the
Blaziken’s Firestarter Poké-Power that made BAR, but
Rayquaza ex from EX Dragons hitting for at least 80 each
turn was incredible, and later Blaziken ex Would just
alternate between 100 to anything and 30 with Burn or 50 damage
(or being benched to “recharge” while another attacker went
up). Even with a bench full of Dragonite δ, you can at
most inflict 130 points of damage with each Crush and Burn, and
that eats up your from hand Energy attachment as well. That may
sound like a lot, but as stated, its resource intensive: 5 Stage
2 Pokémon, four Lightning Energy cards in the discard pile,
something providing (ML) attached to Metagross δ and
finally a fresh Energy card each turn. That is a lot of effort
for maximum damage.
that’s not what appears to be the “proper” manner in which one
runs the deck. For one thing, I was comparing to damage
involving Pokémon-ex, and they required extra effort to shunt
the Energy to the “proper” target. The players I checked with
don’t expect to maintain more than two of Dragonite δ on
their bench. Their goal is to control the game a steady 70 or
so damage each turn, while building up an Energy reserve for big
hits when needed.
aided by Delta Control, Magcargo with Smooth Over, and
Delta Ruins. I must confess, almost missed exactly how
helpful Delta Ruins can be: it allows you to dump an
extra Lightning Energy early on when you likely need it most,
and as soon as you have Magcargo ready, you now can use
your Supporter and Delta Control for additional speed. For some
reason, at first my brain couldn’t process that I was both
getting to dump extra Energy and abuse Smooth Over at the same
time, plus being able to use other resources that I would
have been expended for the same purpose.
I have heard
of some variants include the EX Hidden Legends Metagross
and then use the Holon Research Tower Stadium as well:
this combo allows you to move any Lightning Energy attached to
Pokémon δ as the Stadium lets them count as providing Metal
Energy in addition to their normal type. I haven’t seen a
version like that which accomplished anything especially useful
with it, and it means less room for other Stadiums: the builds I
have seen at least claim to do well using Desert Ruins
(as there aren’t any Pokémon-ex in the deck) and Holon Ruins
(as already stated). Others forgo the Magcargo, finding
Delta Control to provide enough Pokémon-based support; though I
must wonder if Battle Frontier usage – or rather the lack
of it – is the reason that technique works so well (Magcargo
with Smooth Over provides double protection).
2/5-There are many significant Colorless “attackers” here as the
focus of their own deck, and fact that Raindance basically does
this better hurt its score here. It is aided by having
Raindance main Weakness.
3.85/5-This card will at least be the cornerstone of one good
deck. How good that deck is depends on what we are given. We
saw how good Blaziken was: this card merely needs the
right partners to bring it to full power. I am torn scoring it,
as memories of Blaziken abuse make me think it deserves
at least a “4/5”, but then I remember that running this
successfully, at least at the moment, requires more patience
than Blaziken did.
4/5-It’s best attack requires a Metal Energy, or rather
something to provide it. This set actually has quite a few
options for Metal Energy, and the number of Colorless Pokémon in
this set is lower than I’d expect (but there are still three
Stage 1 lines). Best of all, you have twice the chance of
getting a Dratini or Dragonair.
appears to be the foundation for at least one potent deck, maybe
more. It lacks the “raw” power of BAR and its ilk, but more
than likely that just means this isn’t a deck for those who
won’t take time to really learn it. Also, unlike BAR, it trades
reliance on a Basic and Stage 2 Pokémon-ex for just a normal
Stage 2: other prominent Pokémon-ex based decks may lead to a
rise in “anti-ex” decks, which would suit “Metanite” just fine.
Just remember to plan for Battle Frontier and Crystal
Shard; just because they aren’t at their zenith now doesn’t
mean players won’t start packing them again.