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Pokemon Brilliant Stars Set Review – Colorless, Trainers and Special Energy

Here we are! The final and (in my opinion) most exciting part of this Brilliant Stars set review. I’ve gotta say that for a set that many players have been praising as one of the greatest sets in the last five years, this set has felt pretty underwhelming so far. Can the Colorless type Pokemon and the Trainers/Special Energy redeem this set in this final part?

As a reminder, this is part four of my four-part set review of Brilliant Stars. If you’re interested in my thoughts on any of the other cards in this set, please be sure to check out the previous parts! Lets quickly breakdown what is covered in each of these four parts, and how I determine my ranking for each card as well.

  1. Grass, Fire, and Water Pokemon
  2. Lightning, Psychic, and Fighting Pokemon
  3. Darkness, Metal, and Dragon Pokemon
  4. Colorless Pokemon and Trainers/Special Energy

As mentioned, these cards will be graded on a five-point scale, one being the worst and five being the best. Since this is my first set review on ChannelFireball, let’s break down my criteria for each of these five 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 cards that will 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 one.

It is, of course, worth noting that all pieces of this set review are my opinions! I’m by no means perfect, and you may disagree with where I rank certain cards. My ranking will be based on my experience in the game at the highest level, being a 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 final note: all translations come courtesy of Pokebeach.com.

Let’s begin!

 

 

Header - Colorless Type

Farfetch’d 115/172

Basic Pokemon

[C][C] Leek Lash: 20+ damage. This attack does 10 more damage for each damage counter on your opponent’s Active Pokemon.

Weakness: Lightning (x2)
Resistance: Fighting (-30)
Retreat: 1

2/5
Between Twin Energy and the new Double Turbo Energy, there are plenty of options to power up Leek Lash in one turn. This could be a decent tech option in any deck that runs those two energy cards, as a basic attacker that can clean up an already damaged target. There have been a few other cards with similar attacks over the last few years, but not too many of them have seen much play. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this pop up in a deck here and there, but generally I would consider this card mediocre at best. 

Bibarel 121/172

Stage 1 – Evolves from Bidoof

Ability: Efficient Front Teeth
Once during your turn, you may draw until you have 5 cards in your hand.

[C][C][C] Tail Smash: 100 damage. Flip a coin. If tails, this attack does nothing.

Weakness: Fighting (x2)
Resistance: None
Retreat: 2

3/5
Abilities which allow you to draw cards are always worth taking a look at! Many comparisons have already been drawn between this card and Octillery BKT, since that Pokemon had the same effect for its ability. Octillery was a card that went up and down in play through its legality, being an inclusion in multiple decks in some metas and being sparsely played in others. I think Bibarel will have a similar role in our current Standard format. It’s obviously a decent enough Ability, but there are so many other draw options in the format. Cards like Cinccino SSH, Drizzile SSH and Crobat V will ultimately remain the better options to me. 

Arceus V 122/172

Arceus V (122/172)
4/5
Even without Arceus VSTAR (which we will get to shortly), this card would be pretty good on its own. Trinity Charge can grab you three basic Energy from your deck, and attach them to your Pokemon V in any way that you like. It does cost two energy to use this attack, but this set brings us Double Turbo Energy, meaning you can use Trinity Charge on turn one for just one attachment! I could see this being very strong alongside any energy hungry V deck, and I honestly wouldn’t be surprised to see some decks choose to go 2nd, just to try and utilize this attack. 

Arceus VSTAR 123/172

Arceus VSTAR (123/172)
5/5
Without a doubt, the most anticipated card in the set. And is it worth the hype? I certainly think it is! A super solid attack in Trinity Nova provides solid damage output, and excellent energy acceleration. And Starbirth is without a doubt the best VSTAR Power thus far! It gives you the option to either be aggressive and use it early to grab maybe a Boss’s Orders, or you can save it as a late game recovery option to try and get you out of a timely Marnie from your opponent. This card will make existing archetypes better, it will give older decks a new chance to shine, and it can even breathe life into decks which were previously thought to be irrelevant. This card is so good, and it totally deserves the perfect score.

Minccino 124/172

Basic Pokemon

[C] Call for Family: Search your deck for up to 2 Basic Pokémon and put them onto your Bench.

[C] Pound: 10 damage.

Weakness: Fighting (x2)
Resistance: None
Retreat: 1

3/5
It does feel a bit odd to include a Minccino in this review, when I do not plan to review the Cinccino that comes in this set! This Minccino is without a doubt the optimal basic to play in any deck that utilizes Cinccino SSH. Cinccino has been a draw option that pops up every once in a while, and having a basic with the Call for Family attack is always nice. If you’re spent any amount of time playing decks which utilize the Drizzile SSH draw engine, you have certainly used Sobble CRE’s Keep Calling more than a few times! This is now the optimal basic, for a previously solid support Pokemon. 

Tornadus 126/172

Basic Pokemon

Ability: Sudden Cyclone
When you play this Pokemon from your hand onto your Bench, you may have your opponent switch their Active Pokemon with 1 of their Benched Pokemon (your opponent chooses the new Active Pokemon).

[C][C][C] Blasting Wind: 100 damage.

Weakness: Lightning (x2)
Resistance: Fighting (-30)
Retreat: 1

2/5
This is actually the second time that this exact ability Sudden Cyclone has been printed! Its first iteration was on Hawlucha STS. While that card was never amazing, it did pop up in decks every once and a while. I think Tornadus is pretty similar, though it does have more HP and a much better attack! I do feel like this card has the potential to pop up at some point, keeping it just above the dreaded 1/5 rating.

Hawlucha 127/172

Basic Pokemon

[C] Appealing Pose: Attach up to 2 basic Energy cards from your discard pile to 1 of your Benched Pokemon.

[C] Cross-Cut: 30 damage. If your opponent’s Active Pokemon is an Evolution Pokémon, this attack does 30 more damage.

Weakness: Lightning (x2)
Resistance: Fighting (-30)
Retreat: 1

2/5
I definitely feel like Showboating Pose has a shot at being decent at some point. A colorless basic Pokemon which can accelerate two energy cards isn’t too bad! I mean Rotom CEC does the same thing, but it only worked with Psychic decks. And that card was actually pretty popular for a while! I won’t be surprised if this card strikes a pose, and showboats its way into the meta.

Drampa V 128/172

Basic Pokemon

[C] Spike Draw: 20 damage. Draw 2 cards.

[C][C][C] Dragon Pulse: 160 damage. Discard the top 2 cards of your deck.

When your Pokemon V is Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize cards.

Weakness: Fighting (x2)
Resistance: none
Retreat: 2

1/5
After how good Drampa-GX was, this certainly feels like quite the let down! While it is colorless and could fit into any deck, pretty much every type has a card which can do 160 damage for three energy.

 

Header - Trainers and Special Energy

Note: I will not be rating Boss’s Orders or Professor’s Research, since they are both cards that already exist in the current format and have been reprinted in this set. Also they are both obvious 5/5 cards.

Acerola’s Premonition 129/172

Acerola's Premonition (129/172)
2/5
There are so many different draw support options in the format that just totally outclass this card. Historically, draw cards which your opponent has the ability to play around have not been that good. The only reason I’m not rating it a 1/5 is because of the potential it has alongside Mimikyu VMAX. Spreading 13 damage counters is a lot of damage! So I won’t totally write this card off yet. 

Cafe Master 133/172

Café Master (TG25/TG30)
2/5
This card provides excellent energy acceleration, though it does require three different types of basic energy in order to get that full effect. This could be decent in a “four corners” style deck, where you have multiple different types which can hit for weakness against popular decks in the format. And it should be easy enough to find this card out of the deck through Lumineon V. I would not be surprised to see some make this card work in an anti-meta strategy. 

Cheren’s Care 134/172

Cheren's Care (134/172)
2/5
The ability to pick up and totally heal a heavily damage Pokemon is very good. But the fact that Cheren’s Care can only be used on Colorless Pokemon really limits its viability. Luckily for Cheren, Arceus VSTAR is looking pretty good right now!

Choice Belt 135/172

Item

Pokemon Tool: Attach a Pokemon Tool to 1 of your Pokemon that doesn’t already have a Pokemon Tool attached.

The attacks of the Pokemon this card is attached to do 30 more damage to your opponent’s Active Pokemon V (before applying Weakness and Resistance).

You may play any number of Item cards during your turn.

5/5
Adding 30 damage to your attacks can make a bigger difference than you may think! This card is just very good. It will be great in single prize decks, allowing you to reach for quicker KOs against VSTAR and VMAX Pokemon. It will also be great in many VMAX and VSTAR decks, since the damage fixing it does can be extremely relevant. Expect to see a lot of this card in the meta moving forward.

Collapsed Stadium 137/172

Stadium

Each player can’t have more than 4 Benched Pokémon. If a player has 4 or more Benched Pokémon, they discard Benched Pokémon until they have 4 Pokémon on the bench. The player who played this card discards first. If more than one effect changes the number of Benched Pokémon, use the smaller number.

This Stadium stays in play when you play it. Discard it if another Stadium comes into play. If a Stadium with the same name is in play, you can’t play this card.

4/5
This card is good for a couple reasons. For one, it limits your opponent’s bench. So if you catch them with four Pokemon in play, and drop this stadium down, it could unexpectedly bench lock them. And you can also use this to clear liabilities out of play, such as Crobat V, Lumineon V or even a heavily damaged VSTAR or VMAX. Not to mention, this is also extremely good vs the current best deck, Mew VMAX!

Cynthia’s Ambition 138/172

Cynthia's Ambition (138/172)
3/5
I actually liked this card a lot more initially, but the more I’ve played with it, the more mediocre it feels. I think this card could be very good in the right deck, but it is still situational. And let’s be real, that first effect of drawing until you have five cards in your hand, is just not that good. This card will work best in certain single prize attacking decks, since there will be many turns in the game where you are able to utilize it for the full effect. 

Gloria 141/172

2/5
I would love for this card to be good! Search-based cards like this have been very good in the past in the Pokemon TCG, but right now I just feel that the format is too fast for a card like this to see much success. Also, not to mention, you can’t play a supporter on turn one when you’re going first in the current format. There are so many solid item cards that can get your Pokemon in play, that I feel Gloria will fall to the wayside in standard.

Kindler 143/172

Kindler (143/172)
1/5
It feels like this card should be good, but the requirement of discarding a Fire energy from your hand in order to use it at all is what worries me. There is no great way to consistently guarantee yourself energy, so there could certainly be situations where you want to play this card, but don’t have that crucial fire energy in hand. There are also better options to get fire energy in the discard pile, such as Professor’s Research, Quick Ball and Ultra Ball.

Magma Basin 144/172

Magma Basin (144/172)
5/5
I’ve said this a few times, and I’ll say it again. This may be the best stadium card that Pokemon has ever printed. It is type-specific, but an energy acceleration option on a stadium card is something that has never been done before. There are so many different Fire type Pokemon right now that can take advantage of this card, there is just no way it wont see success. 

Marnie’s Pride 145/172

Supporter

Attach a basic Energy card from your discard pile to 1 of your Benched Pokemon.

You may play only 1 Supporter card during your turn.

1/5
Marnie has been severely downgraded in Brilliant Stars! This card is just simply not great. Bede is already a card that is legal in this format, which functions pretty similarly to Marnie’s Pride. And Bede has not ever been great in a competitive setting. I’m sure Marnie has plenty of things to be prideful of, but this card is not one of them.

Roseanne’s Backup 148/172

Supporter

Choose 1 or more:
– Shuffle a Pokemon from your discard pile into your deck.
– Shuffle a Pokemon Tool card from your discard pile into your deck.
– Shuffle a Stadium card from your discard pile into your deck.
– Shuffle an Energy card from your discard pile into your deck.

You may play only 1 Supporter card during your turn.

1/5
Have you ever heard the saying “Jack of all trades, master of none?” I feel like that perfectly describes Roseanne’s Backup. While it is cool that this card provides you with so many options, it is difficult to justify playing your supporter for turn on a recovery card in the first place. Maybe this deck could be played in some sort of slow grindy deck? Maybe a control deck? I just don’t think it will be that good.

Team Yell’s Cheer 149/172

Supporter

Shuffle up to 3 in any combination Pokemon and Supporter cards (except Team Yell’s Cheer) from your discard pile into your deck.

You may play only 1 Supporter card during your turn.

2/5
This card is pretty interesting, as it can provide both supporter and Pokemon recovery. I think Pal Pad will be the better play over this card for now, but there is potential here. 

Ultra Ball 150/172

Item

Discard 2 cards from your hand. If you do, search your deck for a Pokemon, reveal it, and put it into your hand. Then, shuffle your deck.

You may play any number of Item cards during your turn.

5/5
Without a doubt, the best search card in the history of the Pokemon TCG. And possibly the best card in the history of the Pokemon TCG! Ultra Ball is back! This is the premium consistency card in our game. Though I do think that Ultra Ball won’t necessarily be the “auto-four-of” that it has been in past formats. There are so many different search cards right now, that it may not be necessary to have four copies of this card in your deck. Though I’m sure there are still many decks out there which will welcome this card back with wide open arms. This is without a doubt, a 5/5 card.

Double Turbo Energy 151/172

Double Turbo Energy (151/172)
5/5
Is this card Pokemon’s attempt to atone for the mistakes of Double Colorless Energy? Is Double Colorless Energy even a mistake? Many players seem to think so, and perhaps Pokemon agrees with them. This card can provide two colorless energy, which will be incredible for so many decks. The obvious card which will instantly want to use Double Turbo Energy is Arceus VSTAR. Now Double Turbo Energy does have a drawback, since the Pokemon it is attached to deals 20 less damage. I would say that is a small trade off for the upside this card brings. 

 

Header - Closing

So, what do we think? Did the Colorless Pokemon and Trainers save this set? I certainly believe that most of the best cards in this set were in this section! I’m not convinced this is the best set since Guardians Rising, which some players have touted it as, but it certainly brings some interesting new cards, some familiar strategies and of course the exciting new VSTAR game mechanic. I can’t wait to play with these new cards and build a ton of new Pokemon decks! Don’t forget that if you need to pick up Brilliant Stars singles or sealed products, ChannelFireball.com has got you covered! Thanks so much for reading my set review, it was a blast to put this together, and go in depth on these great new cards!

As always, keep playing Pokemon!

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