Pokemon Go TCG Set Review – Normal and Trainers

The fourth and final part of this set review is finally here! This mini-set is certainly proving to be anything but small when it comes to how impactful it is on the meta. We’ve covered some really great cards in the earlier parts of this review, so if you’ve missed any of them you definitely want to go back and check those out.

In case you have missed one of my previous set reviews, here’s how I do things. 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. 

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 holo and ultra rare cards on this scale, in addition to any other cards I deem interesting! If you don’t see a card on this list, you can safely assume I would rate it a 1.

As always, these are just my opinion! I don’t always get it right, but my years of experience playing and casting this game have given me great insight into what gives a card a shot at competitive success. 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.




Blissey (052/078)
I think if I had written this review before NAIC I would have given this card a 1 without much of a second thought. But Mewtwo V-Union proved that if you can heal a bunch of damage, you can wall a ton of different decks in the right meta. I could absolutely see this card being played in some sort of stall deck, and you could even pivot between two Blisseys so long as your opponent can’t reach for a one-hit KO. I don’t think this card will be very good, but it’s something worth keeping in the back of your mind.


Ditto (053/078)

This is one of the most talked about cards from the set! From the obscure way that you obtain this card by peeling a reverse holo, to the versatility it could provide in the right deck, Ditto certainly has plenty of potential. The most obvious place for this card is alongside Mad Party, or the new Magikarp deck. Outside of those two archetypes I don’t see much of a place for this card at the moment. The real question will be can this cards existence propel those 2 decks into any sort of competitive viability. I think at minimum this card can make Mad Party a decent Tier 3 play, but that deck has more problems than just having more attackers. 


Snorlax (055/078)

This card will almost certainly be played in a control or stall deck at some point. It can instantly win you games if you can gust a support Pokemon that your opponent is unable to attack with. The main problem with this card is when your opponent plays multiple switching cards like Bird Keeper, Switch and Escape Rope. It’s very situational, but this card is very powerful at the right time. The old Block Snorlax has been very good in Expanded in the past, so I would expect this card to fill a similar role in the current format.


Ambipom (057/078)

This is the type of card that can be incredibly annoying to play against. The potential of this card is huge! But it’s entirely dependent on how lucky you’re feeling. In reality, this will be a fun deck to mess around with on PTCGO, but it’s unlikely to ever see any real competitive success.

Slaking V

Slaking V (058/078)

I could actually see this card being a one-of in Arceus VSTAR decks. With a Choice Belt, you can deal 290 damage, enough to KO all VSTARS in one hit! The downside of this card is the Kinda Lazy Ability, meaning you can only attack when you have one, three or five Prizes remaining. But, Path to the Peak allows this Pokemon to attack at any time. It also has 230 HP, making it harder to KO than other Basic Pokemon V. I think this is maybe the most slept on card in the set right now!


Bibarel (060/078)

This is the type of card that always gets people talking, but realistically it never sees play. If there was ever an extremely strong Mill deck, this would serve as a solid answer. The fact that it can easily slot into any deck that is already playing Bibarel BRS is definitely a plus, but regardless this is way too niche of an effect to justify playing in a competitive deck.


Header - Trainer Cards

Blanche, Candela and Spark

Blanche (064/078)Candela (065/078)Spark (070/078)

I’m grouping all of these cards together since they all have pretty much the same effect. Only drawing two cards isn’t a great effect, but attaching Energy cards is pretty decent. I think these cards are all made a bit too weak to see any play, since their Energy attachment clause is on a coin flip. There is always the chance that one of these cards could pop up in a super turbo deck that just wants to get energy in play, but I don’t think that is likely

Egg Incubator

Egg Incubator (066/078)

More basic Pokemon search is cool, but a coin flip card like this just feels like a worse version of Pokeball. Sure this goes back into your deck if you flip tails, but Pokeball has the benefit of getting you any Pokemon! If I’m looking for a coin flip way to get a Pokemon out of my deck, Egg Incubator is going to be very low on that list.

Lure Module

Lure Module (067/078)

The annoying part of playing this card is that there is a chance you give yourself nothing, and your opponent exactly what they need! Even if this card was a 1 sided effect, I don’t think it would be very good compared to the litany of search options available in standard right now.


PokeStop (068/078)

This Stadium is super powerful, but it’s not very versatile. It’s a very specific type of deck that can utilize this card. This will pair very well with any turbo deck that wants to get Energy cards into the discard pile. Decks that use Dark Patch or Metal Saucer come to mind. Decks that can’t afford to discard their energy or supporters, will have a hard time justifying including this card. I wouldn’t expect to see this in many Arceus VSTAR decks for example. PokeStop is very strong, but it needs to be a card that you build your whole deck’s strategy around.

That’s it! Pokemon GO is shaping up to be a pretty great set. There are a lot of really interesting cards that I am looking forward to exploring further and spend more time with. I think there is a good chance that this set will play a factor in shaping the meta for the World Championships in August. 

Thanks so much for reading this set review! Be sure to check out all four parts if you have not yet. And remember, if you’re ordering singles or sealed product from the newest set ChannelFireball.com has got you covered! The marketplace is an amazing place to pick up any cards you may need.

Thanks for reading!

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