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Pokemon Brilliant Stars Set Review – Darkness, Metal and Dragon

We are well underway with this Brilliant Stars set review, and in the first two parts only one card has managed a 5/5 score! Has this set possibly been a little over hyped? Or is the best still yet to come? This is part three of my four-part set review. In this part, I will be looking at each of the Darkness, Metal and Dragon type Pokemon in this set and rating them on a five-point scale. If you missed parts one and two, be sure to check them out to see how I have ranked the cards in this set so far. 

Lets quickly recap how these four parts will breakdown, and how I’m determining my rating of each card.

  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 - Darkness Type

Honchkrow V 088/172

Basic Pokemon

Ability: Honcho’s Stash
This Pokemon can have up to 4 Pokemon Tools attached to it. If this Ability stops working, discard Tools from this Pokemon until there is 1 Tool attached.

[D][D][C] Shadow Fear: 130 damage. Your opponent reveals their hand.

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

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

2/5
I briefly touched on this card in my rating of Pachirisu in the last part of this review, since the obvious combo is to play these two cards together. While the Boss Pockets Ability is very interesting, and there are certainly many possibilities, committing too much deck space to tools can heavily detract from a deck’s overall consistency. Fearsome Shadow is a mediocre attack, dealing 130 damage for 3 energy. This could be boosted however by multiple Choice Belts attached to this card. Even still, you’re better off just using Galarian Moltres V as your basic Darkness Type attacker.

Liepard 091/172

Stage 1 – Evolves from Purrloin

Ability: Trade
You must discard a card from your hand in order to use this Ability. Once during your turn, you may draw 2 cards.

[C][C] Slash: 60 damage.

Weakness: Grass (x2)
Resistance: none
Retreat: 1

2/5
Liepard’s Trade Ability is a solid draw support option that will remind players of Zoroark-GX, which carried the same powerful Ability. I would maybe rank Liepard a little higher if it wasn’t almost entirely outclassed by Cinccino in this current format. While Cinccino has 10 less HP, it has a much better attack option in Energy Assist and it has a much better basic since the new Minccino in this set has the Call for Family attack. Since Cinccino has 90 HP, it can be grabbed by Level Ball, which Liepard is out of range of with 100 HP. I do believe that Liepard could find a solid home alongside Eternatus VMAX, since that is a deck that could benefit from the additional draw support. But for most decks, Cinccino will just be a much better option.

Morpeko V 095/172

Basic Pokemon

[C][C] Bite and Run: 30 damage. You may switch this Pokemon with 1 of your Benched Pokemon.

[D][D][C] Hungry Spite: 120+ damage. If you played Marnie’s Pride from your hand during your turn, this attack does 120 more damage.

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

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

1/5
There’s not much to love about this card. Gnaw and Run deals a measly 30 damage, and Hangry Spike requires you to play Marnie’s Pride from your hand in order to get the cards full effect. This card would maybe rank a bit higher if Marnie’s Pride was a bit better of a card. But for now, I don’t think anyone should worry too much about picking up copies of Morpeko V. 

 

Header - Metal Type

Aggron V 096/172

Basic Pokemon

[M][C][C] Rock Slide: 90 damage. This attack does 30 damage to 2 of your opponent’s Benched Pokemon.

[M][C][C][C][C] Merciless Strike: 150+ damage. If your opponent’s Active Pokemon already has any damage counters on it, this attack does 150 more damage.

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

Weakness: Fire (x2)
Resistance: Grass (-30)
Retreat: 4

2/5
My instinct was to instantly rate this card a 1/5, but as I’ve thought about this card a bit more, there is actually a decent amount of upside to it. Rock Slide is actually a pretty decent attack for an evolving basic, and the attack actually combos well with Merciless Strike, but Aggron V is held back by its laughably high attack costs. That being said, potentially dealing 300 damage with a basic Pokemon is a tempting prospect, and that alone makes this card better than a one. There are many ways to get even just one damage counter on your opponent’s Pokemon to give Merciless Strike the damage boost it needs to snag one hit KOs. Please understand I still don’t think this card is good, but it is just slightly better than bulk status.

Aggron VMAX 097/172

VMAX Pokemon – Evolves from Aggron V

[M][C][C] Crack Stomp: 150 damage. Discard the top card from your opponent’s deck.

[M][M][C][C][C] Max Take-Down: 270 damage. This Pokemon does 30 damage to itself.

When your Pokemon VMAX is Knocked Out, your opponent takes 3 Prize cards.

Weakness: Fire (x2)
Resistance: Grass (-30)
Retreat: 4

1/5
I don’t think that it’s very often that you will see me rank a VMAX lower than it’s basic V form. But such is the case for poor Aggron VMAX here. There’s just not much to love about this card. Hefty attack costs, a high retreat cost and recoil damage all detract from any potential this card would have. At least Aggron V can take a one hit KO on a VMAX Pokemon. Aggron VMAX would take way too long to power up, to not deal enough damage.

Wormadam 098/172

Stage 1 – Evolves from Burmy

[C][C] Madam’s Rage: 30+ damage. This attack does 10 more damage for each Pokémon in your discard pile.

[M][C][C] Scrap Iron Trap: 90 damage.

Weakness: Fire (x2)
Resistance: Grass (-30)
Retreat: 2

1/5
My thoughts on this card are about the same as they were for its Fighting and Grass type counterparts. Metal is probably the worst of the three types right now, since hitting for Metal weakness isn’t at all relevant in the current metagame, hence the one point lower score. If you want to play a dedicated Wormadam deck, I recommend a 2-2 split of the Fighting and Grass types, and omitting the Metal type completely.

Zamazenta V 105/172

Basic Pokemon

Ability: Royal Stance
You can use this Ability once during your turn. If you do, your turn ends. Discard your hand and draw 5 cards.

[M][C][C] Revenge Burst: 120 damage. This attack does 30 more damage for each Prize card your opponent has already taken.

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

Weakness: Fire (x2)
Resistance: Grass (-30)
Retreat: 3

2/5
My initial thoughts upon reading this card were that it seems “decent.” The more I’ve thought about it, the more that stands true. Regal Stance is a pretty decent ability, but in most instances is outclassed by Zacian V at the moment. And Revenge Blast is a decent attack, when used in the right situation. It is worth noting, this is the fourth time that the Revenge Blast attack has been printed in the Pokemon TCG. The previous three times, the cards all saw some level of play. Shaymin-EX was used in the 2012 US Nationals winning deck, as well as the 2014 second place World Championship deck. Cobalion STS was played in Shintaro Ito’s World Championship winning M Audino-EX deck in 2016. And Dubwool V has been a card that has popped up a few times here and there ever since its release in Rebel Clash. Zamazenta V being a Metal type is also good, as it can make use of Metal Saucer to provide energy acceleration. 

 

Header - Dragon Type

Flygon V 106/172

Basic Pokemon

[G][F] Sand Spray: 70 damage

[G][F][F][C] Dragon Impulse: 160+ damage. If your opponent’s Active Pokemon is a Pokemon VMAX, this attack does 160 more damage and discard 3 Energy from this Pokemon.

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

Weakness: None
Resistance: None
Retreat: 2

2/5
My thoughts on this card are pretty similar to my thoughts on Aggron V from earlier in this review. A basic Pokemon V, which has the potential to one-hit KO Pokemon VMAX. Draconic Impulse can deal 320 damage to Pokemon VMAX, but then has the steep cost of having to discard three energy from itself. It will be extremely hard to power multiple Flygon V up in a game, especially considering the awkward attack cost of requiring both Fighting and Grass energy. Perhaps this could stand a chance alongside Rillaboom in a VMAX heavy meta. But with VSTARs being out now, targeting only VMAX Pokemon is a much weaker strategy.

Garchomp 109/172

Garchomp (109/172)
1/5
I’ve always hated playing cards like this which mill your own deck when they attack. Garchomp is a Stage 2 Pokemon, which already makes for a tough existence in the competitive landscape. Its attack also requires two different types of energy, which could make for some awkward scenarios. The Ability Sonic Flip does provide some upside though, as it effectively makes Garchomp immune on your opponents next turn. But of course, your opponent can always take that turn to play Boss’s Orders and target something else instead. 

Dracovish V 114/172

Basic Pokemon

[G][W] Bite Crash: 60+ damage. Before doing damage, discard all Pokemon Tool cards attached to your opponent’s Active Pokemon. If you discarded a Pokemon Tool card in this way, this attack does 120 more damage.

[G][W][W] Dragon Strike: 210 damage. This Pokemon can’t use Dragon Strike during your next turn.

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

Weakness: none
Retreat: none
Retreat: 3

1/5
Slosh ‘n’ Crash Is possibly the best attack name in the whole set, but that’s where this card’s upside ends. As with all Dragon type Pokemon, Dracovish V’s attacks require two different types of energy. With one of those types being Water, the energy acceleration option of Melony is available, but that’s not enough to give this card any viability. The potential to do 180 damage with Slosh ‘n’ Crash is actually pretty good! But that damage output is dependent on your opponent’s active Pokemon having a tool card on it. Which they may not have at the time you need it, or they can even play around your attack by not attaching their tool at all. Perhaps someday if a Double Dragon Energy reprint happens this card could be solid, but for now it’s not great.

 

Header - Closing

75 percent of the way through this Brilliant Stars set review! Thus far I’ve only given one card a 5/5 rating, and only one card a 4/5 rating! Certainly not what you would expect from a set that many have claimed to be the best in years. But where this set stands out is definitely coming in part four, with the colorless Pokemon and the Trainers!

Be sure to get caught up with all the previous parts of this review, and keep your eye out for part four coming soon! And don’t forget to check out ChannelFireball.com if you want to preorder any singles or sealed products from Brilliant Stars. And trust me, there are plenty of cards in part four that will be worth picking up.

As always, keep playing Pokemon!

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