We’re in the home stretch! We’ve made it to the fourth and final part of my Astral Radiance Set Review. In this last part, I’ll be taking a look at all of the Colorless Pokemon and all of the Trainer cards in the set.
Astral Radiance introduces tons of new Pokemon VSTAR, Radiant Pokemon and Hisuian Pokemon as well. There is a lot to unload here, so let’s get started!
In case you missed my Brilliant Stars Set Review, let me break down exactly how I plan to rate each of these cards. I’ll be grading each of the interesting cards on a five-point scale to leave my opinion on what kind of impact these cards will have on the competitive Pokemon TCG landscape. This review will be in four parts and released over the course of the next week. Each part will cover all Pokemon of a certain type.
Part 4) Colorless Pokemon and Trainers/Special Energy
As mentioned, these cards will be graded on a five-point scale, 1 being the worst and 5 being the best. Here is my criteria for each of these 5 points.
1 Point (Not Competitively Viable) – Cards with a score of 1 point are cards that I do not deem to be competitively viable.
2 Points (Interesting Cards) – Cards with a score of 2 points are cards that have some potential or have interesting designs. But ultimately I believe these cards will see very little, if any competitive play.
3 Points (Solid Cards) – Cards with a score of 3 points are cards that are pretty solid overall. Most of these cards will see some play in rogue decks, or be an occasional inclusion in meta decks.
4 Points (Very Good) – Cards with a score of 4 points are cards that are very good, and are likely to make a competitive impact. These cards will be often played in tier 2 or tier 3 decks, sometimes making a splash into tier 1!
5 Points (Top Tier) – Cards with a score of 5 points are powerful enough to instantly have an impact on the competitive metagame. These cards will either be defining to a brand new archetype, regular inclusions in top tier decks, or play a pivotal role in the overall deck building strategy of all players. Expect me to be very stingy with this 5/5 ranking! Not many cards will (or should) fit into this category.
I will be rating all of the ultra rares and holo rares on this scale. I will also rank any other additional cards that I find interesting or deem worthy of being rated. If you don’t see a card on this list, it is safe to assume I would rate it a 1.
Let’s not forget, these are all my own personal opinions! I don’t always get it right, and you may disagree with how I rank certain cards. These rankings are based on my experience as a player, being a former Worlds competitor and regular player. All of my rankings will be based on the cards’ potential in the current Standard format. Some cards may be much better in the Expanded format or even in the Gym Leader Challenge format, but for the purposes of this review, I will only be referencing Standard. Of course, future cards could be released that will make any of these cards much better than they currently are, but I can’t predict the future! So again, these cards will be rated based on the current standard format metagame, and the current standard format card pool.
One thing that I think every Pokemon player has in common, is they hate playing against a deck with Crushing Hammer. Hoothoot can luckily protect your precious energy cards from potential disruption. While I don’t expect this card to be widely played by any means, I could definitely see it being included in decks in very specific metas.
The main issue for this card is obviously the fact that it is a Stage 2 Pokemon, and Stage 2 Pokemon are such a chore to get into play. But, once Urasaluna is set up, it has a lot of HP and a really solid attack in Peat Hunt. This card could definitely be used in some sort of control archetype, but it’s biggest hurdle will always be that it is a Stage 2 Pokemon.
This Basic Pokemon may seem unassuming at first, but in a format dominated by Pokemon V, Miracle Body can certainly work miracles. Abilities like this have always been solid in the Pokemon TCG. What this card has over cards like Decidueye DAA or Altaria CPA is that it is a basic – no evolving necessary to start walling your opponent. Just this card existing in the format, could cause players to build their decks differently to include non-V attackers. Miltanks attack is also pretty solid, and it can be used for just a single attachment with Twin Energy.
An Energy acceleration Ability on a Basic Pokemon seems like it would be great right? There’s just one too many conditions on this card for it to be good. You’re bench has to be totally full with all the different Regis in play. And the problem with that is all of their attacks are pretty mediocre at best. Now this deck is really cool because you can hit for a bunch of different weaknesses, but I don’t see this be a competitively viable strategy.
The main reason I think this card could be pretty decent right now is because of how popular the Inteleon Shady Dealings search engine is in the game. The best answer to that engine is Jolteon VIV. And Jolteon requires having a Memory Capsule attached for it’s ability to work. Having Oranguru V in your deck can make setting up Jolteon very easy. And as an added bonus, Oranguru’s attack is actually not too bad! It could definitely help you clean up some KOs at the end of a game.
This is a really solid card, and I think for the most part because it can catch your opponent totally by surprise. If you’ve put a bunch of energy in play with an Arceus VSTAR deck, you can bench Wyrdeer V, switch into it, attach another Double Turbo Energy, and all of a sudden you’re hitting for 280 damage, which is enough to KO any VSTAR. Now it is a big commitment to go in with Wyrdeer V, since you’re putting all of your Energy cards at risk. But if your opponent can’t deal with it right away and respond with a KO, it can easily take two or three knock outs.
The ability to search any two cards out of your deck is super good. This will maybe be a one or two-of card in certain Metal decks, but my main problem with this card is the requirement to discard two Metals in order to use it. And if you’re unable to discard two Metals, the card is pretty useless.
There are some super niche uses for this card. You can get around effects like Manaphy’s Wave Veil Ability. This could be a tech for the new Miltank in the right meta. While this card has potential, I think it needs a very specific meta, or a very specific deck to see play.
I almost wrote this card off and gave it a 1/5 rating, but then I realized it could be really solid in a Mew VMAX deck to recover a Fusion Strike Energy or a Power Tablet at a key time. Being able to recover any card from the discard is very strong, but having to flip two coins is never fun.
How could I give this card anything but a five? Easily one of the best and most influential cards from the last 10 years of Pokemon, reprinted now once again in Astral Radiance. While I don’t think Darkrai VSTAR will stand up to the former glory of Darkrai-EX, there are a lot of powerful Darkness-type Pokemon in the format who would love to make use of this card.
Another reprint card! Energy Loto was originally released in Guardians Rising, and saw varying levels of play throughout its Standard legality. The decks that enjoy using a card like this usually play very few energy cards, so this just gives you a little more reach to search out that key attachment. I could see Mew VMAX decks definitely playing this card, and possibly even something like Wormadam or Mad Party
I always welcome more item-based search cards into the format! I think Feather Ball is a little too niche to see much play at this time, but I could absolutely see some deck in the future making use of this card.
It’s a very specific deck that can make use of this card, so how good this card will be is totally reliant on how strong something like Machamp VMAX is. I will say looking forward a little bit to the future, Hisuian Zoroark VSTAR will absolutely make use of this card.
The ability to accelerate energy and draw cards on a Supporter is pretty good. Many players will remember how strong Welder was not too long ago! This cards main issue right now is the Grass Pokemon in the format and it’s limited to placing energy on benched Pokemon, making this a little bit weaker than Welder was in my opinion.
Grant has one of the most unique effects on it that I have ever seen on a Supporter card. I could see this card being played in a couple of ways. The obvious one is alongside a Fighting deck. You only need one copy of the card in your list, since you can reuse it at the opportune time. I could also see this being played in non-Fighting decks that want help getting specific cards in the discard pile, or possibly just want to decrease their hand size. Maybe in a Rapid Strike Mustard deck or Mew VMAX. I also think this card works great alongside Wormadam, since you can discard Pokemon and also play the Grant to boost the Fighting Wormadam’s damage.
This is a really good card, but its only really useful alongside Fighting-type decks. Item-based Energy acceleration is always worth looking at, but in this instance Gutsy Pickaxe can at minimum draw you one card.
Hisuian Heavy Ball
Prize searching mechanics are always worth keeping in the back of your mind. This card is a little limited since it only allows you to get basic Pokemon, but that can be really strong at the right time. I could absolutely see this being played in many different decks, especially ones that play a lot of one-of basic Pokemon.
I think this card has plenty of potential, but I don’t see it being great while Drizzile and Inteleon are in the format. I think you would just rather play a more powerful supporter and have access to Shady Dealings to get whatever other combo piece you would like. Irida is very good with Palkia VSTAR, and I think after rotation it will see much more play.
This is truly a poor-man’s Tropical Beach. This card could definitely be played in stall or control decks that don’t often attack in the early turns. It also could be cool in a mill deck because it is a way that you can keep yourself from decking out.
This card is extremely powerful. A solid comeback mechanic is something that has been missing from the Standard format for a few formats now, and we finally get something in Roxanne. This card does have a pretty big downside though – it’s totally useless in the early turns of the game. You can only play it when your opponent has three Prize cards or less. I expect some attacking decks to play one or maybe two copies of the card. I think where this card will be best (and how it will likely be abused) is alongside lock and control decks. There are plenty of effects in Standard right now that allow you to remove a card from your opponent’s hand. So a deck could take advantage of that by putting your opponent to a low hand size with Roxanne, throwing a Path to the Peak in play, and then limiting the hand even further. A big combo to pull off, but very strong if you can do it.
Hitting for weakness is already one of the strongest effects in the Pokemon TCG, so why not make it a little better? While this isn’t an instant include in every deck, and there are plenty of decks that it makes little to no sense in, I think there is a lot of potential for some really cool anti-meta counter strategies to pop up using this card.
This is a better switch if your deck plays all Basic Pokemon. But if your deck plays very few Basic Pokemon then it doesn’t make much sense to include this card. Very situational, but it’s the best option for those specific decks that can utilize it.
Temple of Sinnoh
This card is very good in the correct matchup. Say you need to Quick Shooting to place damage on a Mew VMAX with a Fusion Strike Energy attached, Temple of Sinnoh would be pretty nice. Say you want to slow down a deck that relies heavily on Double Turbo Energy, this works great in that instance as well. I would rank this card a little higher, but passive stadiums like this always have the problem of being useless if your opponent can just respond to it with a counter stadium.
I love cards like this. Item cards that boost the consistency of you deck and allow you to see more cards. This card is also nice, because you get the option to discard a card. This synergizes with multiple cards like the reprinted Dark Patch.
Wait and See Turbo
I think this card would be pretty good if using it didn’t end your turn. But the fact that you can only use it on turn one when you’re going second makes it far to niche to see any competitive play.
And that concludes this four-part saga some would say rivals The Avengers franchise! I hope you enjoyed, and I hope I didn’t crush any of the dream you may have had for your favorite new card. This set is overall pretty decent, but I would say far less influential than the last three sets have been. Many of the Trainers have interested effects, but they are possibly just a little too niche to see much play.
What’s the card you’re most excited for from Astral Radiance? I hope that you enjoyed this review and will remember to check out ChannelFireball.com for all of your Pokemon sealed product and single needs!
Chip is a Pokemon player, content creator, and caster. He often plays decks that will fly under the radar, but also enjoys putting his own twist on popular meta decks. Instagram // Twitch // Twitter // YouTube