Hello. This is a short guide to every card in the set that gives a brief summary of its usefulness for Limited play. It looks quite long, but remember that it is covering 110 cards and some of it is due to formatting. This guide assumes you have access to scans or a spoiler of the cards. No, I don’t have time to type up a spoiler of the set yet. You can find scans on this site here. Some terms that may be unfamiliar to newer players appear in this article. Here are the ones that caught my eye: if you don’t understand something else, try asking on the boards or just other players you know as most are pretty common amongst the internet player community.
Guidelines for Basic deck building:
Remember the normal limit of four of a card doesn’t apply.
You will often need to run 1-1 and 1-1-1 lines. For those not familiar with the notation, that means one Basic, one Stage 1, and (if it’s a Stage 2) one Stage 2. The Basic is listed first, then each succeeding Stage. 1-1 and 1-1-1 are the bare minimum to run a card. It is considered good even if you just have two of the Basic (a 2-1 or a 2-1-1). If you do have a several big Basics or a good 2-2-2 or two 2-2 line etc. you can be more discriminating and ignore a 1-1 or 1-1-1 line.
Trainers and Special Energy cards are almost always a given. Exceptions are highly specialized cards that are completely incompatible with your deck, or compatible with fewer than five cards.
Some general guidelines for evaluating Pokémon for Limited play:
All Stages are important, but it’s much more balanced in Limited: Stages that aren’t the end of their line can still win you many games. Generally, you look for reasons to disqualify a Stage 1 or 2, as if you can find nothing significantly wrong you should be running it.
Type not something that can be easily evaluated: it varies on set and just one what people pull and play. Don’t assume a type to be “good” or “bad”: just focus on having reasonable Type matching capacity.
A Basic Pokémon with an HP of 50 is acceptable for a supporting Pokémon, 60 is good, and 70-80 is great. Pokémon-ex need to be at least 80 HP to be acceptable: 90 is good, and 100+ is great. For a Stage 1 its 70 HP for acceptable, 80 for good, and anything more is great. A Stage 1 Pokémon-ex should have at least 100 HP. Stage 2 Pokémon can just barely get by with 90 HP and none in this set have less than that. 100+ is good and should keep you alive for several turns.
A Retreat Cost of five is horrid, and low enough to warrant passing on an otherwise good pick: bench manipulating attacks and Special Conditions are a common sight in Limited. Four is almost as bad. Three is about as big as you want to risk unless the card is really great. Two is neither good nor bad barring other cards making it difficult. One is great: even better than it normally is in Constructed play because of the important of not giving up Prizes as well as shaking the effects of several Pokémon (like Special Conditions). A free Retreat Cost is fantastic, but it still won’t justify a Pokémon being included in your deck. It will usually offset one major issue or two minor ones e.g. low HP, or a useless Poké-Body and bland attack.
Weakness is more complicated than normal. Here’s a quick breakdown of the amount of each card you’ll see. The ones are just used as tallies and to create a simple, hopefully almost universally easy to view visual comparison.
Colorless : 111 3
Darkness : 111111 6
Darkness/Metal : 111 3
Fighting : 1111111111 10
Fighting/Metal : 1 1
Fire : 111111111111111 15
Fire/Metal : 1 1
Grass : 11111 5
Grass/Metal : 1 1
Lightning : 1111111111111 13
Lightning/Metal : 11 2
Metal : 11111111111 11
Psychic : 11111111 8
Psychic/Metal : 1 1
Water : 111111111 9
Water/Metal : 1 1
In spite of splitting them out for the above chart, I will “double” count Dual-Type Pokémon for rating the possible Weaknesses and Resistances for the set. My rating is based on both how strong the Pokémon of the Type are overall, how easy it should be to run said Type, and how often I saw the Type at the Ames, IA Pre-Release. So if all cards of a Type are strong, that matters, but if they are normal Rares or more, than that is more important still. Additionally, not all Pokémon can deal significant amounts of damage. My personal experience matters since you never know what a newbie will do. ;)
Nothing is Darkness Weak in this set, so I won’t bother scoring it. It would be a fairly safe one since all the Darkness Pokémon in this set need something to provide a Darkness Energy in order to use any good attacks, and most of them just have bad attacks to begin with.
The safest Weakness in this set appears to be Colorless. There are only three Pokémon of that Type: one that doesn’t do damage, one Rare big Basic and one Holographic-Rare big Basic.
Lairon, shockingly possessed of Colorless, straightforward attacks is an Uncommon. Most other Metal Pokémon need Metal to do any real damage. I saw just enough Lairon at the Pre-Release for it to drop Metal Weakness to the second best.
The third best Weakness is Grass: there are only six Grass Pokémon (one being half Metal). One is a Stage 2 and doesn’t apply Weakness, and two are common Basics that can’t do more than 20 points of damage. The main concern will be the two Uncommon Stage 1 Pokémon and the normal Rare Basic Pokémon: all can do solid damage for 2-3 Energy.
While there are 9 Psychic Pokémon, the only concern is the Common/Uncommon Baltoy/Claydol line and the normal Rare Wobbuffet. They only need a single Psychic Energy and thus are quire splashable. See their reviews for why they are good cards period. The other Psychic Pokémon are Evolved forms whose attacks are either ineffective for Limited or not worth the effort of running their line plus a poor Pokémon* and a 90 HP Pokémon-ex that shouldn’t be worried about just because they are so rare. As such, this is the fourth best Weakness, which is really to say it’s about “average”.
Water has two good Basic Rare Pokémon, a good Holographic Rare Basic and Stage 2, and a great Pokémon-ex. However, if you read the later mini-reviews you’ll see that only Relicanth is likely to be a threat. So as long as the lucky pulls stay away from the Water Pokémon you shouldn’t be seeing this Weakness a lot. When they do show up, you are in a lot of trouble as most are formidable.
Simply put, no Fighting Pokémon in this set is bad. None of the Common Basics have Colorless attacks that make them worth running in any deck, but if you have enough of them to justify a few Fighting Energy, they all have handy tricks and most have a “good” Weakness: Grass or Psychic. The Uncommon Stage 1 Pokémon are all well worth running a few Fighting for, and half can be effective without Fighting Energy (see Donphan and Exeggutor). Nosepass is a normal Rare and if you have more than one Pokémon that needs Fighting Energy, it’s quite good in this format. The last Fighting Pokémon is Armaldo, and you’ll have to read its entry to really get a feel for it, but generally it’s at least “average”.
The 15 Lightning Pokémon should tell you that it has to be one of the worst Weaknesses you can have. The Common Basics (and Stage 1) aren’t good enough to warrant their use without having their higher Stages or in the case of Pikachu and Psyduck several multiples. The Uncommons are much better: see entries for the Uncommon Raichu and Manectric. There are two big Basic Lightning Types, but both need some support to really be of use – see Deoxys (Speed) and Mewtwo. The only Stage 2 worth using appears to be Kabutops, but it is pretty fantastic.
Finally, the worst Weakness is Fire. While none of the Common Fire Pokémon are worth running on their own, the Uncommon Stage 1 Fire Pokémon are all well worth running and none need more than one actual Fire Energy. There are three different normal Rare Basic Pokémon and the one – Torkoal – is well worth running even in a non-Fire deck. The other two, a Rayquaza and Latias, are good in Fire heavy decks. See the Blaziken entry to see why it’s a great card for Limited games. Likewise, Kingdra and the Holographic-Rare Latias are good cards as well.
Naturally, the best to worst Resistance runs opposite the Weakness: Fire is the best Resistance and Colorless the worst (again, Darkness doesn’t exist so it doesn’t count). Since many of them don’t exist or exist on just one Pokémon in the set, I won’t go into great further detail.
Much like Retreat Cost, the basics of evaluating attacks are the same, but the spectrum is more stretched out: requiring more than two of a single color really limits a Pokémon, lacking even a token Colorless attack can be troublesome. Effects of attacks that were a nice bonus are often major factors in deciding on a card now: Special Conditions are much harder to get out of without a solid Trainer base! Attacks requiring a Metal or Darkness Energy normally would have to be ignored, but there are six total cards in this set that can provide either for a Pokémon δ, three of which are merely Uncommons. Odds are still against you pulling any, but I believe every opponent I faced at our Pre-Release did indeed have one of them (or even one of the three normal Rare ones). A single one of these cards can make it worthwhile to use a Pokémon that needs it to attack so long as you have room for a combo like that which isn’t apt to show up often. I myself ran Armaldo in this set with Holon’s Castform, and while the combo only came together once it won me that game, and Armaldo could still be a decent attacker using its second attack for a straight 50 points of damage.
Pokémon δ rule this set and have a lot of support. So anything that isn’t a Pokémon δ is at a slight disadvantage. Since they are so common in this set, I’ll only mention a Pokémon not being a Pokémon δ, and treat it as a disadvantage.
My evaluations will normally assume you can pull at least one a form’s lower Stages with its upper Stages. I have separated the cards by Rarity and Type. That is, first there are Holographic-Rare cards, then normal Rare Cards (except Trainers and Energy), Uncommons (except Trainers and Energy), and Commons (except Trainers and Energy). Then comes Trainers (all rarities), Special Energy cards (all rarities), Pokémon-ex, Pokémon*, and just for completeness, the promotional Basic Energy and the box topper for this set.
Armaldo – This card is heavily dependant on other pulls. Its one major advantage is that Holon Fossil can get Anorith into play faster, and thus Armaldo by extension. Otherwise, without the ability to meet the Metal Energy requirement in the first attack or extra copies of Claw Fossil, Mysterious Fossil, Holon Fossil, and/or Root Fossil for the second attack’s secondary effect, it’s just a big vanilla Stage 2.
Cradily – The attacks are solid… except one has a Metal requirement and the other needs a Darkness Energy. As such, this is the worst Stage 2 to run in the set. Don’t run it unless you have a very well fleshed out support line: multiple Root Fossil and Lileep.
Deoxys (Attack) – While it’s wonderful that it is a 70 HP Basic, it’s worthless without a way to pay the Darkness Energy requirement in the attack. As it bounces its own Energy, you really need a second Deoxys to swap around with this one for it to really be good. This is the least useful of the Deoxys. All Deoxys work better if they can be run together, of course.
Deoxys (Defense) – Worthless without a way to pay the Metal Energy requirement in the attack. If you can, it becomes quite sweet: blocking 30 points of damage is a lot in this format, and it has a great 80 HP for a Basic.
Deoxys (Normal) – The best of the Deoxys cards to use as it requires no specific Energy and requires only that you repeatedly attack with it to quickly score a large amount of damage. Colorless Weakness is in this set on several big basics. It also has a good 70 HP (for a Basic).
Deoxys (Speed) – The second best Deoxys needs only a Lightning Energy to hit for 20 and bounce to the bench. This is good as it has only 60 HP (though that’s fine for a Basic). It works best if you pull a few Claw/Mysterious/Root Fossil cards with it so it can hide behind them.
Flygon –Its Poké-Power can work on the bench, making it useful to most decks you’d run: who doesn’t like an extra Energy attachment? Swift usually backfires in Limited as it’s bypassing Weakness more often than anything else, though it does solid damage if you can pay for the Metal requirement. It can be run just for the Poké-Power and more importantly because Vibrava happens to be an excellent Stage 1 Pokémon.
Gyarados – Sorry to say that an old fan favorite is very poor for Limited play. It may be just a Stage 1, but it Evolves from Magikarp. See Magikarp’s own entry why it’s so bad. Gyarados can’t attack without something providing Metal. The attacks are okay and the Poké-Body is nice if you have a Stadium to trigger it, but as a whole even if you can run this, you shouldn’t.
Kabutops – Vital Drain is a great finisher if you can pull it off. Even if you can’t, its solid damage as you build up for Thunderous Blow, an incredible attack for Limited. It may be Energy intensive which makes it risky, but it can be turned into a OTKO machine. Like Armaldo, it benefits from Holon Fossil.
Kingdra – Kingdra has a Poké-Power that acts like a free Feint Attack if it’s your Active and the opponent has a Pokémon δ to target. Its first attack is usually only good for 30, but its 60 against Pokémon-ex. The second attack needs Metal, but if you can pay for it its nice, solid damage. Thanks to its solid lower Stages and Poké-Power, you can get by without the second attack.
Latias – The Poké-Body isn’t often going to work since it needs you to have Latios in play, but thankfully there are two in this set. Fortunately, even without it, it’s a solid Basic with good attributes (only one Colorless Pokémon does damage this set, and it’s a Holographic-rare) and attacks.
Latios – The Poké-Body isn’t often going to work since it needs you to have Latias in play, but thankfully there are two in this set. Fortunately, even without it, it’s a solid Basic with good attributes and attacks.
Omastar – Bind is a solid attack opening attack that can paralyze, but Vengeful Spikes will rarely hit for more than 30-40 damage. Don’t bother unless you pull enough of the needed Support.
Pidgeot – One of the weakest Stage 2 Pokémon. Its Fighting Resistance is quite nice but we are used to free retreats and this is not a set for Lightning Weakness. Its Poké-Body can’t be used, and it needs a Metal Energy for its attack, which hits for 50 damage and an almost useless effect since this is Limited.
Raichu – Zzap is a great attack but Metallic Thunder is pretty bad for Limited, requiring two Metal Energy (and then a third of any type) for 50 damage. You will almost never use the optional clause of the attack as discarding two Metal Energy will likely keep you from using the attack again. Only use it if you have an extra slot in your deck for it and nothing better is available.
Rayquaza – It can’t activate its Poké-Body, so that’s worse than nothing (it leaves it vulnerable to things like Zzap). Likewise, the first attack is also useless for the same reason: no Holon Energy in the set. It needs to fulfill a Metal requirement for its second attack, so despite solid Attributes, I can’t recommend it.
Vileplume – Its HP may be low and its second attack pretty weak in this format, but its Poké-Power will probably win you games. Special Conditions are very nasty in Limited so free Poison is great, even if it’s flippy. It will basically up the average damage of most of your attacks.
Absol – Foresight is very powerful, and combined with a good HP score makes this a solid Pokémon as it can not only help you set up faster, it can also slow your opponent to a crawl, keeping them from getting more than one Basic until you retreat out and OHKO the only one they have in play. I find that to be a bit cheap, but oh well. Just remember it can fail miserably if the opponent has a pretty diverse hand already or else has a strong attacker almost ready to go. Is a Prize worth forcing two bad topdecks? Nope.
Bellossom – Its Poké-Body is much better than you might expect: Oddish is the same Type and thus its attacks are inexpensive and easy to use. Gloom needs a Psychic Energy for Acid, but said attack is only useful on occasion so you can do without if you wanted. You need to use the Poké-Body if you want to do well with Bellossom: attack for “solid” damage then copy Blot to extend your life when you can. If you can’t get at least two Oddish, I can’t recommend running this Pokémon.
Blaziken – Blaze Kick needing 2 Fire Energy (and one more of any type) and not being a Pokémon δ are the only real concerns. Otherwise Combustion is a nice 30 for one Fire allowing you to leave this “naked” on your bench and still hit hard. Blaze Kick’s cost is offset by its usefulness: either you do enough to OHKO most Basics or you do enough to nearly KO them plus Burn. Even a 1-1-1 line is worth building around unless you have several other options.
Latias – This is a nice, big Basic with solid attacks. It does need at least two Energy to attack and two Fire (plus one more of any Type) for its “big” attack. As such, I wouldn’t run it unless you have a few more Fire Pokémon to make it worth dedicating so much room to Fire Energy.
Latios – Don’t run it unless you really need a Water Pokémon splashed in and/or have more than one Holon Lake to give it a better attack. The first attack is fair but weak and the second is just bad as it fails half the time.
Mawile – Mawile suffers because Feint Attack can’t carry it on its own and if you do manage to pull something to act as a Metal Energy, Surprise just won’t hit hard enough to matter unless it’s happening second/third turn. Lastly, it’s not a Pokémon δ; a significant drawback given the set.
Mewtwo – Good attributes for a Basic. The first attack can use any Energy and only needs one, but since it does no damage I wouldn’t run this card outside a deck that can provide for the double Lightning Energy requirement of Swift (note it also requires a third Energy of any type). In a Lightning heavy deck it will be useful mainly as a Big Basic that can stall or hit for a decent amount of damage. However, Swift just isn’t very useful this go around as it’s mostly bypassing Lightning Weakness.
Nosepass – Confusion is quite handy for Limited; even on a flip since the attack does 10 points of damage. The second attacks needs a Fighting Energy, so as long as you can slip a few Fighting Energy cards into your Energy pool you should be able to make good use of hitting the Defending Pokémon and two on the bench for a little damage. Too bad it’s not a Pokémon δ.
Rayquaza – A great 80 HP Basic, it its more Fire Energy intensive than it looks since Flamethrower requires a Fire discard. Outrage is over-priced since it fails half the time and Flamethrower is just a hair over as well. Still, if you are running a Fire line, especially if you need Pokémon δ in it, strongly consider it anyway.
Regice – The main drawback to this card is the set it’s in: it isn’t a Pokémon δ and there aren’t a lot of Water Pokémon to run with it. It needs to be in a mostly Water deck since it only has one three Energy attack and two of those Energy need to provide Water. Otherwise it has good HP for a Basic and being immune to Special Conditions always welcome in Limited.
Regirock – The main drawback of this card is that it’s not a Pokémon δ, though having only a single, three Energy attack is also a concern. Said attack also needs two of those Energy to provide Fighting Energy, so it’s going to be a Fighting heavy deck or else very risky to run.
Registeel – This card is almost impossible to run well. Like the other Regi- Pokémon it needs three Energy to attack, but this one needs two of those Energy to provide Metal, making it quite hard to get off consistently. If by some miracle you get multiple copies of Holon’s Castform, you still might not want to use it: the damage is quite low so the flip to remove the Defending Pokémon’s Energy may not slow them down enough. Oh, and it isn’t even a Pokémon δ.
Relicanth – This is most likely Water Pokémon you’ll see that will actually be a concern. It doesn’t need Water Energy to attack, just to turn it into a Free Retreating Pokémon via its Poké-Body. While there are better Water Pokémon, they are a higher Rarity and Evolutionary Stage. Simply put, you’ll be hard pressed to find a reason to avoid running it, even though it isn’t a Pokémon δ.
Sableye – The attacks seem overpriced and the more useful of the two requires a Darkness Energy and does so little damage that it is only safe to use early game. Don’t waste time on it. It also isn’t a Pokémon δ.
Seviper – A good big Basic Grass Pokémon. Its main drawbacks are that it isn’t a Pokémon δ and that one Energy requirement for its ‘big” attack is Grass. This is one of the six Grass Pokémon in the set, so you’ll have to add a few Grass Energy to the deck, and if it’s just for Seviper, don’t unless your deck is already getting by on just one Basic Energy type.
Torkoal – While not a Pokémon δ, it does have a large 80 HP for a Basic and Grind can use any Energy. If you do have a way to provide it with a single Fire Energy, Combustion is a more Energy efficient attack than Grind (though Grind can do more damage with more Energy). Run it.
Zangoose – The last of the Colorless Pokémon that can do any damage. It isn’t a Pokémon δ, but since it does have two Colorless attacks and is a big Basic, you should be running it. It recycles Fury Cutter, an attack common to Scyther. Flippy, but good.
Aerodactyl – It has solid Attributes, including actual Fighting Resistance. More importantly, Holon Fossil can fetch it from your deck and play it as a Basic if you flip heads or just as a Basic from hand if you flip Tails. It has a very useful Poké-Power, making it easier to run more than one Energy Type in the deck, and a solid attack. Only leave it out if your only way of getting it into play is a single Holon Fossil.
Camerupt – A solid 90 HP, Camerupt’s big three Energy attack only needs one of those Energy to be Fire. Focus on this second attack even though Magnitude is Colorless since Magnitude will damage your Bench alongside the opponents… unless you are fortunate and have just Fossils in play with it. If you have at least a 2-1 line of it, it’s worth adding a few Fire to a one or two Energy Type deck.
Chimecho – Its Poké-Power will almost never work, so only use it if you are low on good Basics or think you desperately need to have a Metal Pokémon in your deck. It isn’t great, but it is better than, say, a random Electrike.
Claydol – An excellent Pokémon aside from not being a Pokémon δ. Its Attributes are solid, but its first attack is what makes it great: Wide Laser only needs one of any Energy to hit every one of your opponent’s Pokémon for 10. This is devastating both early game when the opponent has mostly Basics and late game when they probably have multiple Pokémon that are hiding on the Bench, nearly KO’d. If you can make room for Psychic Energy, Hyper Beam is great for handling an opponent with only a single Pokémon worth attacking. Run it if you have it.
Combusken – A solid Stage 1 Pokémon, it suffers a little for not being a Pokémon δ. Run it unless you need the space for a different Stage 1, two big Basics, Trainers, etc or absolutely cannot make room for a few Fire Energy.
Donphan – Run it if you got it: great Attributes for this Set aside from not being a Pokémon δ, and its big attack hits hard for just three of any Energy (even if its flippy).
Exeggutor – The only reason to not run this when you can are because you have no useful Fighting Pokémon so you don’t want to add Fighting Energy to your deck and you also lack any other Pokémon δ to run or can’t make room for them. Those are most unlikely. Run this as it can do big damage quickly or hit two Benched Pokémon pretty hard.
Gloom – While it has solid Attributes and attacks, its Basic needs a Water Energy to use its best attack while Gloom needs a Psychic (with one of any Type) for its best attack. Only run it if you have a lot of room, are already running Water/Psychic Energy, or of course if you have either Vileplume or Bellossom to run with it.
Golduck – Its Poké-Body is useless and its attack will usually just result in seeing a random card from your opponent’s hand. Only run it if you pull multiples or several Psyduck with it (as they are fairly useful).
Holon’s Castform – Just run it. You at least break even for Energy, and if you have to, you can use it as a Basic (and get decent draw power if you have enough Pokémon δ in play). The only exception is if you only have a single Energy Type required for your deck. Oh, and remember that it isn’t a Pokémon δ, which main matters in how you play it, not whether you should.
Lairon – Unless you are tight on space, I recommend using it. It is just a solid, attacker. Nothing special, but not having to worry about Energy Types is nice. Oh, and I faced it when the person had an actual Metal Energy. That was interesting. I ran my own 1-1 line of it and it was handy. Only drawback is it’s not a Pokémon δ.
Manectric – Another good attacker and able to be added to most decks since it can retrieve basic Lightning Energy from the discard pile so its fast for recovering in a Lightning heavy deck or can be run with little Lightning Energy in other decks. Metal Resistance is nice but won’t come in handy often.
Masquerain – Not something to add to just any deck, since to do damage it needs a Grass Energy (along with another). Still, its respectable damage on a Pokémon that meets the minimum requirements I set for a Stage 1. Additionally, healing with Sweet Scent can be used for stalling as well as in a few strategies with other cards this set, like those that damage their own Bench (after said Pokémon has been KO’d) or the Deoxys with Teleport Blast. That free Retreat Cost really helps.
Persian – Like Cradily, it suffers because it has two attacks that cost two Energy, and each one has a requirement for either a Metal or Darkness Energy. Unlike Cradily this card has the benefit of being a Stage 1, of being a lower rarity, and most importantly, of just having better attacks overall. Scratch and Draw is clearly the better of the two and requires one of you have a Holon Lake in play to get its secondary effect, but I found that to be a common occurrence. If you don’t have at least one, don’t run this even if you can pay for the Darkness requirement. Deceive is pretty nice as it can overwhelm an opponent early game, but it isn’t too effective late game. In the end, I still recommend against it.
Pidgeotto – Fighting Resistance is a nice bonus and Whirlwind’s effect will usually be harder on the opponent than on you.
Primeape – Fantastic. The only downside is you do need one Fire Energy as part of either attack’s cost and sometimes you won’t want to discard a Stadium from play. Otherwise, Wreck builds up well for Flames of Rage which can easily topple much bigger Pokémon after Primeape takes a good hit. Make room for it and Fire Energy unless that’d be your fourth Energy Type.
Raichu – Unlike its rarer sibling, this Raichu is worth running if you can add a few Lightning Energy to your deck to pull of Pika Bolt for good damage. Thundershock isn’t enough alone, but it can by time to set up for Pika Bolt. It’s just not quite good enough that you have to make it your third Energy Type… but if you are confident in your ability to handle that many Energy Types in a Limited deck, then go for it.
Seadra – Not as good as the Raichu I just looked at, it is a good Pokémon and if you have enough Pokémon that don’t need much in the way of specific Energy, this can be a good center for your deck. That is exactly how I used it myself, but I did have a 3-1 line for it and also the normal Rare Latias to help justify being about half Fire for Energy.
Sharpedo – Its first attack is solid even without any Holon Energy in the set. The second is solid damage and basically lets you bypass Fighting Resistance. Making sure you give it a second look is its free Retreat Cost. It isn’t something to add in unless you have a few more worthwhile Fighting Pokémon to add with it, but that isn’t too hard this set.
Vibrava – Quite good for this set, it is Resistant to both Fighting and Lightning Pokémon and has 80 HP. It can be run without Grass Energy, and as such you have little reason not to run it. If you can make room for a few Grass Energy cards, it can hit a little harder, and do so without a flip.
Whiscash – While not a Pokémon δ, Whiscash is another great Stage 1. Its first attack is good for a quick 20. Its big attack, Earthquake, hurts your own bench (and just your own Bench), but for 60 damage it’s worth it (especially if you pull several Fossil cards). Run it if you can make room for Fighting Energy.
Wobbuffet – Call for Friends is good in Modified, and its great here. Wonderful synergy with Retaliate as you can set up your bench while absorbing the weaker opening attacks, and then drop one more Energy to take out whatever was harassing you. You will want to run this with a few Psychic Energy because it won’t be that useful mid to late game without it. It also isn’t a Pokémon δ, which hurts but doesn’t keep it from being a very good card.
Anorith – A solid Stage 1 that benefits due to its ability to work with Holon Fossil and of course the inherent usefulness of Claw Fossil in Limited. Just remember that it will suffer some since Holon Lake (and all the “get Basics” attacks) can’t get Claw Fossil.
Aron – Too tiny to use on its own, only use it if you pull a Lairon.
Baltoy – Since it needs a Psychic Energy to do any real damage, just use it if you get Claydol.
Barboach – If you are already running Fighting Energy, it isn’t a bad choice even on its own since it has 50 HP with Flail.
Carvanha – It would need other Fighting Pokémon to justify including the Energy to use its better attack, and its HP is just a bit low to make it worth running without Sharpedo.
Corphish (62/110) – Guillotine is tempting since it’s a decent sized, Colorless attack for a small Water Basic, but given the prominence of Lightning Pokémon and the lack of a supporting defensive attack, don’t run it unless you have Crawdaunt ex. Especially since it’s not a Pokémon δ.
Corphish (63/110) – The HP is too low for Flail to be useful. Very close, but no, don’t use it. Especially since it’s not a Pokémon δ.
Electrike – Its 10 HP too low to be used on its own (mainly because Paralysis with a little damage is just that useful in any Limited deck).
Exeggcute – If you already have Fighting Energy in your deck and nothing to hit the Bench, you should add it. If you already can hit the Bench, it all depends on if you need another Basic and if anything better is available.
Horsea – Run it for Seadra, or if you’d have to run something less desirable in a Fire friendly deck.
Kabuto – Shell Attack doesn’t do enough damage to really justify running Kabuto on it in a deck without the Energy for Eerie Light. If you have some Lightning Energy in the deck, auto Confusion is great in Limited.
Lileep – It has decent attributes but can’t do much for a Stage 1 Pokémon, even with something providing Darkness Energy. Unless you have several Root Fossil, I wouldn’t run it.
Magikarp – Magikarp is rarely good, but this may be the worst version ever. It needs a Metal Energy just to do Splash! It’s just not going to survive long and “Pokémon droughts” where you go several turns with no new Basic Pokémon are too common in Limited to risk it even for Gyarados.
Mankey – If you already have some Fire Energy into your deck, it’s a decent choice if you need another Fire Basic, and of course if you have Primeape you should run it.
Meowth – Only run it if you insist on running the Persian. The attacks are horribly overpriced and both need a Special Energy to work.
Numel – Only if you have some Camerupt: both attacks are overpriced.
Oddish – Don’t run it unless you are running its Evolutions.
Omanyte – If you have several Mysterious Fossil, it’s an okay pick, or if you really need something to hit the bench. Collect isn’t too bad if you have Psychic Energy in the deck, but realistically it that big a type here.
Phanpy – Yawn, while handy, isn’t good enough on its own to justify running this since you want to be able to use Mud Slap, even if it is pitiful, for damage. Of course if you have even a single Donphan, you should run it.
Pichu – It just isn’t too likely to be helpful. Pikachu doesn’t have anymore HP than it does, and getting an Energy card from the discard pile in this format usually means the opponent has a nasty attacker. Pass on it.
Pidgey – Only run it if you are running Pidgeotto.
Pikachu (78/110) – Nice, solid Basic for Limited. Thunder Wave is a bit weak, but Quick Attack is fairly priced so if you already have Lightning Energy in the deck, you should run it. Too bad it isn’t a Pokémon δ.
Pikachu (79/110) – Too much effort for too little return. Pass on it unless you need it for the Uncommon Raichu.
Poochyena – Too small to be worthwhile as a “vanilla” attacker.
Psyduck – As long as you have some actual Lightning Energy so you can use disable, it’s a solid pick for you deck. Remember, many cards will have only one attack they can use easily, if at all.
Surskit – I don’t like that 40 HP, but if you really need another Basic it isn’t too bad a choice since it can put the opponent to Sleep while pecking away at the Defending Pokémon’s HP.
Torchic – Run it for Combusken unless you really need another Pokémon and already have Fire Energy in the deck.
Trapinch – A solid Basic if you want to be able to hit Grass Weakness and of course run it if you have Vibrava.
Holon Adventurer – Draw and search power in this format are precious. Run it if you get it.
Holon Fossil – Search and the ability to skip a Stage is good… unless you don’t have any legal targets. Run it if you have at least one legal target that is not entirely dependant on this to get into play, except Aerodactyl which is worth the risk even if you have just one of each card.
Holon Lake – Run it unless you somehow make a good deck that has almost no Pokémon δ in it.
Mr. Stone’s Project – Run it if you get it as it can get Basic Energy, thin your deck, or recycle useful Basic Energy from your discard, and just makes running multiple Energy Types much easier.
Professor Cozmo’s Discovery – It’s draw power. Run it.
Rare Candy – Run it as long as you have an Evolution for it. Dropping a Stage 1 from “no where” is very valuable in this format.
Claw Fossil – Run it unless you have absolutely no room for it, which means you pulled several great Basics, probably with a good Evolution line or two, and several great Trainers and just barely have enough room for the needed Energy. Yeah, sure.
Mysterious Fossil – Run it unless you have absolutely no room for it, which means you pulled several great Basics, probably with a good Evolution line or two, and several great Trainers and just barely have enough room for the needed Energy. Yeah, sure.
Root Fossil – Run it unless you have absolutely no room for it, which means you pulled several great Basics, probably with a good Evolution line or two, and several great Trainers and just barely have enough room for the needed Energy. Yeah, sure.
Darkness Energy – Run it unless you have nothing that can use it (provided something that can use it is worth running, which isn’t much this set). This is probably the least useful Special Energy this set.
Metal Energy - Run it unless you have nothing that can use it.
Multi Energy - Run it unless you are using a deck with only a single specified Energy Type requirement.
Dark Metal Energy - Run it unless you have nothing that can use it.
δ Rainbow Energy – Run it unless you have nothing that can use it: either a single specified Energy Type requirement or somehow have no Pokémon δ.
Note – None of these Pokémon are Pokémon δ.
Crawdaunt ex – Run it if you can.
Mew ex – Run it and make sure you include a few Psychic Energy to use the second attack, but it’s mainly for the Poké-Power.
Mightyena ex – Run it as long as you have the possibility of meeting the Darkness Energy requirement for the big attack.
Gyarados* – if you already have at least a few Fire Energy, it’s not bad just for the first attack and its size and status. If you have a good deal of Fire Energy, it’s worth it for more or less guaranteeing that final Prize. Oh, and making collector’s like me faint seeing it in play, even sleeved.
Mewtwo* – This is less clear cut. Its need for three different Energy Types hurts it a bit. If you can make a decent deck using all three types, go for it and remember that discard isn’t optional. Otherwise don’t. Also, it isn’t a Pokémon δ and of course it’s a money card so do you want to risk it getting damaged?
Pikachu* – Solid if you already run Lightning Energy. It isn’t a Pokémon δ, sadly and also it is a money card so do you want to risk it getting damaged?
Grass Energy – Don’t run it as it’s collectible. I know it looks cool, but they are pretty rare and thus have decent value.
Fire Energy – Don’t run it as it’s collectible. I know it looks cool, but they are pretty rare and thus have decent value.
Water Energy – Don’t run it as it’s collectible. I know it looks cool, but they are pretty rare and thus have decent value.
Lightning Energy – Don’t run it as it’s collectible. I know it looks cool, but they are pretty rare and thus have decent value.
Psychic Energy – Don’t run it as it’s collectible. I know it looks cool, but they are pretty rare and thus have decent value.
Fighting Energy – Don’t run it as it’s collectible. I know it looks cool, but they are pretty rare and thus have decent value.
Mew – You know it’s illegal to use the box topper. ;)
There you go: basic evaluations of each card for Limited. I noticed a lot people whom I thought new better at our Pre-Release who missed some of the more basic concepts. I myself was quite slow at understanding Limited play myself, so hopefully this can help those of you who aren’t as experienced learn less painfully than I did. I’d also like to thank Bullados for his help reviewing and editing this article.