fbpx

The Battle Styles Set Review — What’s Good?

Time to go over Battle Styles. View all English card scans here.

Ratings are determined on a scale and bonus marks are awarded if applicable. I do this to highlight cards that might not get attention otherwise; these cards can still be fun to look at and you can theorize what could’ve been or what could be in the future. This review will focus on Standard as always, perhaps with a few Expanded tidbits thrown in.

  • Competitive Playability
    • 5-Point Scale
  • Bonus Marks:
    • Broken
    • Creative Design
    • Fun

Weepinbell

Dangerous Mucus pairs well with the new Salazzle (more on that later). In general, this could be good in a few decks as a simple damage modifier (it’s effectively plus-30 damage).

3/5 + Fun

Kricketune V

One of the best cards in Battle Styles, Exciting Stage serves as a replacement for Oranguru at long last – it even gives you an extra card if it’s Active. Instruct was a mainstay in many Tier 1 decks for a long time, then continued its tenure in Expanded. While Kricketune has a Rule Box, the Ability is too good to ignore. I can see this immediately entering most decks as a one-of for Marnie and Reset Stamp protection.

4.25/5

Cherrim

The new Tapu Bulu is really bad and it’s the only reasonable Spring Bloom target from Battle Styles. In the larger world, Shaymin Prism Star comes to the forefront of my mind and, after a quick search for other applicable targets, unfortunately not much else rears its head. Pablo mentioned Kartana in his Battle Styles preview, but the card is going to be super unreliable. If you really love flips, try out Pinsir. Cherrim is a great card, don’t get me wrong, but Grass has been bad for so long and I just don’t see that changing. Rillaboom / EggRow is the place to be if you want to play green. It would get a better grade if there were some viable partners for it!

2.5/5 + Fun

Durant

Oh yes, here we go again! Durant from Noble Victories has been printed once again. Wielding the same exact attack (albeit with a different cost), Devour might not be down and out. Cherrim (fancy that) would be necessary to make this work efficiently since you only have so many Twin Energy. So now for the important part, is it realistic to deck someone out in Standard? I don’t think so, ADP is going to chew this guy up and spit him out before you can blink and most other decks should be able to run you over with ease as well, all while maintaining a healthy deck size through replenishment with Marnie. Durant of old won games by slowing the opponent down and milling cards throughout – there just aren’t that many strong control cards in Standard right now. Life Dew was also a common inclusion later to use even more Durant that isn’t replaceable. I’m excited to try this out, but only just for fun – I don’t think it’s competitively viable right now.

2/5 + Fun

Flapple V

Sour Spit’s kind of cool, but Switch is in everything so don’t count on it sticking. Wing Attack is just a bad, vanilla attack. Get ready to evolve this and not attack with it!

0.75/5

Flapple VMAX

The first VMAX of the day and it’s not very good. With a relatively large attack cost and no way to increase its damage output, it gets worse and worse the more your opponent plays the game and tries to take a Knock Out. I’d skip this one big time – if Rillaboom VMAX didn’t see play, Flapple VMAX has no business doing so itself.

1/5

Victini V

One of the worst Pokemon V ever printed. Play the old Victini V instead.

0.25/5

Victini VMAX

Despite some hype to the contrary, I don’t think this is very good. Spreading Flames might be more reliable than Welder (but remember that the Sword & Shield Victini V literally does the exact same thing with the same attack name), but Max Victory is no G-Max Centiferno. Centiskorch VMAX should remain the de facto best Fire-type VMAX until proven otherwise – 220 damage for two Energy is fine – but it caps right there. I think we the people need more out of VMAXs at this point.

2/5

Emboar

It’s intriguing! Single Strike Style Mustard can get it right from your deck, but the problem is getting your hand down to zero. I’ll discuss that in the Trainer section, but for now let me just say that Fighting Fury Stance is strong enough that it could see play as a damage modifier. Incineroar is the closest comparison at this point, but it doesn’t have a gimmick to get it into play (other than by including it in a Chandelure deck).

2.5/5

Salazzle

Here’s Weepinbell’s new best friend! Derisive Roasting is really strong and works with both Triple Acceleration Energy and Twin Energy. Weepinbell kicks things off at 180 damage, but Yell Horn can crank that up further. There’s also Koga’s Trap, but that’s going to be too slow. Since Yell Horn provides the extra kick you need to increase damage to 270, this has some potential. I worry that Stage 1 decks can’t quite operate in this format, but this deck should be amazing in Sword & Shield-On. Granted, I’d like to qualify my thoughts with the abysmal life of Ninetales, the last deck of this nature that never really got its feet out from under it. Finally, remember there’s Toxicroak for even more damage, but three Stage 1 Pokemon sounds like a flaming pile.

3.75/5 + Fun

Centiskorch

Does this ever really matter? Most decks play copious switching options, so I don’t think Overheater is ever going to make much of a difference. It’s a thing, yes, and it’s a Stage 1 so it’s easy to get out. Maybe this could be good down the line.

2/5 + Creative Design

Kingdra

Will there ever be another Stage 2 deck that can compete with Tier 1? If there’s one that was made for the job, it might be this Kingdra. Yes, it’s a Stage 2, I know, but it can get swinging for a ton of damage. I think you’d have to pair it with Frosmoth, but from there you’d simply dump all the Water Energy you have onto it and stream Kingdra back-to-back, dealing more and more damage. Again, ADP is going to spell trouble here, but this should be an insanely fun option after the rotation. The Ability is really good, and there’s no reason why in the late game you shouldn’t be able to get 10 Water Energy down to deal 400.

3/5 + Creative Design + Fun

Galarian Mr. Rime

There’s lots of unique gimmicks in this set so far and Galarian Mr. Rime doesn’t disappoint there. It does, however, disappoint in terms of competitive playability. Yes, there’s a way to recover “Ball” cards in this set, but Ball Juggling is going to take a ton to do significant damage. Marnie badly hurts decks like this – just look at Whimsicott. Unlike Whimsicott though, it doesn’t get the “Ball” cards back to the hand immediately like U-Turn Board. This seems like it’ll be wildly inconsistent but could have some potential if the format slows down.

1.75/5 + Creative Design + Fun

Octillery

This is awesome support for Rapid Strike-wielding decks. You’d maybe play two of them? That’s pretty obvious strength here but there’s certainly a breaking point where you don’t need more than a number – probably two if you ask me. Rapid Strike cards so far have been decently strong, so this isn’t quite overpowered or anything, but the more Rapid Strike cards that come out (assuming there are more) the better for this card’s ranking.

4.25/5

Empoleon V

This is a really neat card, but the attack looks pretty bad. So Emperor’s Eyes is going to shut down stuff like OranguruSnorlaxGalarian ZigzagoonMewtwoJirachi and more. I’m not sure how useful this is right away because not all decks rely on those cards. Stellar Wish is the best of those Abilities to shut down, but the popularity of Jirachi has dropped considerably since the rotation of Escape Board. Overall, this could become another wall to throw up in a hit and run deck but Swirling Slice isn’t powerful enough to make Empoleon a deck of its own. As more Ability-wielding Basics without a Rule Box come out, the better this gets.

2.75/5

Tapu Koko V

Spiral Thunder brings back Tapu Koko-GX vibes. While it’s not quite as powerful, it could still be strong in its own right. Without Aero Trail though, it’s not as good. It could be worth playing a Memory Capsule in order to use Spiral Thunder when operating as Tapu Koko VMAX.

2/5

Tapu Koko VMAX

Pop a Magneton or Electrode and start paralyzing your opponent, it’s that simple! Combined with Marnie, this could be a force to be reckoned with immediately. I’m excited to try this out; it looks like it has great potential as a top tier deck.

3.75/5

Yamper

The perfect partner for a Galarian Mr. Rime Ball Juggling deck. I think that’s why it was made, but that deck doesn’t look to be very good. As a consistency card, it could have potential, although you have to recover the cards from your discard pile so you’d have to play them first. For that reason I’m skeptical, but for a deck that’s trying to avoid playing Rule Box Pokemon, perhaps this is one of the better single-Prize support Pokemon. It gets a slightly greater grade than Mr. Rime because of its universal applicable.

2/5 + Fun

Meowstic

Years ago, an Ability like this would have been excellent, but now in a world of 300-plus HP Pokemon VMAX it’s much weaker. Ear Moves could set up some combo unknown to me, so keep an eye on it. At the surface level though, it’s lackluster.

1.5/5 + Creative Design

Mimikyu V

Okay, so Dummy Doll is pretty cool. Save for a Boss’s Orders play, you’re going to get a turn of immunity that would be especially good in combination with a Reset Stamp. Jealous Eyes isn’t spectacular, but it could set up a two-shot play that could win you the game. The big thing here is the turn of damage protection, with that this should be a really fine swing turn card with splashability considering its single Psychic Energy cost. Mimikyu V seems really good and should be super fun to try out. It’s also one of the more clever Abilities in a while, along with its attack.

3.5/5 + Creative Design + Fun

Necrozma V

Prismatic Ray is awful and Special Laser isn’t much better. Psychic doesn’t have much Energy acceleration going for it right now sans-Malamar, so while it can do some decent damage, the cost-effectiveness just isn’t there.

1/5

Orbeetle

Cradily anyone? Lifesplosion was super fun to mess with back in the day! I made some crazy decks with it and Blastoise, but none ever turned out too great. Evomancy is effectively the same attack, but Orbeetle is better than a Fossil Pokemon because it’s easier to get out. In Expanded, there’s a more plentiful pool of Stage 2 gimmicks, stuff like Blastoise, Vileplume and more. In the current Standard, I don’t see those same opportunities, not to mention with Altered Creation GX out there, there’s literally no hope for this whatsoever. Triple Acceleration Energy is an instant search for three Stage 2 Pokemon which Cradily didn’t have that (it also was inheritably worse with its Grass Energy requirement). Maybe someday there’ll be something cool to get out – until then, it’s pretty bad!

1.25/5 + Creative Design + Fun

Primeape

More cool single-prizers! Steamin’ Mad Strike can smack for 250 (more with modifiers) and more importantly, it pairs super well with Houndoom and Single Strike Energy. There’s Spikemuth to spread damage around and Spiritomb until it rotates. Yes, it’s another Stage 1 and it might be a little clunky, but a guy can dream, right?

2.5/5 + Creative Design + Fun

Falinks

This is just a really bad card – 20 just isn’t enough. If it had a greater multiplier, maybe, but even in Expanded it can’t break the 180 ceiling with Sky Field. I wanted to point it out because it’s a missed opportunity for something cool like Passimian of the past.

0.25/5

Single Strike Urshifu V

Now for my favorite line from the set – Single Strike Urshifu V is incredible. Laser Focus ramps it up and while Impact Blow isn’t anything special, its VMAX certainly is. Urshifu gets great marks because of Laser Focus alone.

3.5/5

Single Strike Urshifu VMAX

This beast is going to be a Tier 1 deck. Single Strike Energy takes its damage output even further and Houndoom powers it up further. G-Max One Blow is costly, but there’s a special Tool made just for this. Beatdown is pretty vanilla and could serve to one-shot some single-prizers with just a single Single Strike Energy attached if you need to. Psychic Weakness kind of sucks, but there’s Jirachi-GX and Mimikyu to defend against the popular M3w. It’s not the perfect card, but it’s extremely good – I’m calling it broken.

4.5/5 + Broken

Rapid Strike Urshifu V

There’s nothing special here. Strafe could maybe save you from a sticky situation and duck back to the Bench, but that could easily be achieved with a switching card. Hundred Furious Blows is generic and underpowered.

1.5/5

Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX

The other big Urshifu is also good, but less so. Gale Thrust harkens comparison to Golisopod-GX, a popular Grass-type of the past, which in of itself was somewhat underpowered but hit on a useful Weakness of the time. This is going to be the more crafty of the Urshifu variants, focusing on meticulous setup damage because G-Max Rapid Flow is one of the best snipe attacks of all time. While this deck should be good, I simply wouldn’t put it at the level of its Single Strike counterpart. Rapid Strike Energy has different perks of its own, but the brutal damage of the other Urshifu intrigues me more than this one.

4/5 + Clever Design

Golbat

Just highlighting this Evolution line because, while cool, it’s not very good. There are better ways to draw cards consistently, like Cinccino.

0.75/5

Crobat

Same remarks – three is better than two, but not so much that this would ever be played as a support Pokemon. If it had a better attack, that would be lovely, but it doesn’t.

1/5

Houndoom

This card is amazing. 20 damage is nothing when you’re setting the tempo and powering up attackers for one-hit Knock Outs. The one thing this card lacks is a consistent way of making its way onto the field; Evolution Incense doesn’t do Basic Pokemon any good. Single Strike Roar might not seem that great on the surface, but when you consider the strength of Single Strike Energy itself, this card is broken. I’m very excited to see more Single Strike Pokemon in the future that should continue to increase the strength of Houndoom. A field full of these will set you up for the rest of the game – your attackers will be ready-made!

4.75/5 + Broken

Tyranitar V

There’s two things at play here – some mill potential because of its great HP and favorable Weakness as well as a decent attack. Houndoom is obviously going to have to partner here in order to use this hefty attack, but the bigger problem is the damage output. You’d have to have all four of your Single Strike Energy attached here to make a significant impact I think. There might be some potential, which is the exciting part about the concept Battle Styles: normally bad cards like this have potential just because of the troth of support that comes with them.

2.5/5

Morpeko

Put an Item card into your hand? Wasn’t Sableye just banned in Expanded? This isn’t two Item cards, but it’s still something. I can see this being a tech in some control concepts, or maybe as a tech in various decks to get something important back (Colorless cost helps). This won’t be immediately impactful because of the relative speed of the format but later down the line it could be. Hangry Tackle is a fun name, but not good.

1.75/5

Bronzong

Metal Transfer goes hand-in-hand with Pokemon VMAX and Cheryl. If things slow down, this is going to be a very interesting archetype. There’s a lot of defensive Metal-type support such that a toolbox deck has just been begging to be made playable and here’s the answer! There’s nothing inheritably wrong with Bronzong. It’ll always depend on the relative strength of Metal-type Pokemon, and right now there are a bunch with potential.

4.25/5 + Fun

Corviknight V

Nothing to see here, maybe you could Clutch to play some trickery from time to time. Sky Hurricane won’t be used intentionally.

1/5

Corviknight VMAX

Is this the proper partner for Bronzong? Lustrous Body is nice, preventing Galarian Zigzagoon damage for one could be really nice. G-Max Hurricane though leaves much to be desired. However, the free Retreat Cost is a huge plus. Consider this as an option with Bronzong, but I’m not sure it’s the go-to partner quite yet. Look to Copperajah VMAXScizor VMAX or Aegislash VMAX for other ideas. Not being able to attack isn’t great! You can retreat to another on the Bench though, but that’s more setup. I’m going to give this solid marks because I like the Ability a lot.

3/5

Lickilicky

Selickt is an awesome attack name and it’s not that bad either. Like its card from Unified Minds, this one operates in the control field as well. Triple Acceleration Energy works perfectly with it. Now, the problem is your opponent will almost never choose the option you want. It’s not very good, sadly.

0.5/5 + Creative Design

Stoutland V

Double Dip Fangs is sick. Now, the issue is finding the right deck for it. It’s not going to have the best Energy acceleration options as a Colorless-type Pokemon. Assuredly it would have to be something with Welder – one possible play is sniping a Crobat V with Cramorant V and then finishing it with this. With two attacks is it just better to try for two Knock Outs? That’s the real question, and it really depends on the situation. I like that this is a cute option that exists. Wild Tackle is nothing special.

2.25/5 + Creative Design + Fun

Indeedee

Remember Metagross? Probably not – it wasn’t very good. I think it might have cut a City Championship or two back in 2015, but that was it. Twin Energy works dashingly here, but how are you going to get 20 or more cards in hand to deal significant damage? You’re not.

0.5/5 + Fun

Bruno

Cynthia’s Feelings anyone? Bruno is one less card but the same concept. Right now, I don’t see this getting played, but the minute ADP rotates and the format slows down, single-prizer decks are going to eat this up. Speaking of which, those decks, more than others, might have a change of playing a couple copies immediately. This is a solid, healthy Supporter card that was desperately desired for some additional variety. Finally, if I’m not mistaken, is there anything out there right now that makes a Single Strike Trainer card matter? I don’t think there’s any interaction unless I missed something – hopefully there’s something down the line – but this could be an indication that more support will follow in coming sets!

3/5

Camping Gear

Intriguing, but awful. Marnie isn’t going anywhere and I’d rather try my luck and draw more cards with Intrepid Sword than end my turn getting a single card. Maybe, just maybe, a deck plays some of these at some point, but I don’t see it with hand disruption being played in almost every deck.

1/5 + Creative Design

Cheryl

Cheryl is an excellent card that pairs perfectly with the new Bronzong. As for other stuff? I’m not sure immediately – it looks like any impact will be felt most by Pokemon VMAX, non-Rule Box Pokemon Evolutions don’t typically last longer than a turn, making Cheryl moot. It’s a Supporter, but a pure healing Supporter like this has been sorely missed for some time.

3.75/5

Fan of Waves

Awesome, I like this far more than actual discarding effects like Enhanced Hammer. I don’t think anyone would complain if Crushing Hammer put the Energy on the bottom, either – it’s just healthier disruption that doesn’t ruin a deck. Not every deck plays Special Energy right now so this card’s usefulness is limited, but being a Rapid Strike card means Octillery can dig it out. It’ll probably see some play!

3/5

Korrina’s Focus

Octillery digging out a Supporter that draws cards is excellent. This should be at least a one-of for Rapid Strike decks playing Octillery so they don’t brick late game. It’s not the strongest Supporter out there, but being a Rapid Strike Supporter that draws cards is the highlight here.

2.75/5

Phoebe

Kind of like Pokemon Ranger, this is a nice utility card for a deck like Eternatus VMAX to finally destroy Zamazenta V. Utility cards like this are always welcome – they’re almost never oppressive and help tech out a deck that has a very specific problem. Solid as they come.

3/5

Rapid Strike Scroll of Swirls

With many decks clocking in at 300 or more HP on their main attacker, there’s little chance this will see play. If that ever changes for some reason, then sure, but spread isn’t viable until the damage output increases. Maybe there’s a very specific situation that arises for Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX that calls for this? It does have that neat snipe attack, but unfortunately for it, this doesn’t even set up the likes of Crobat V and Dedenne-GX for a Knock Out – you’d have to use it twice. I could be underestimating this some.

2/5

 

Rapid Strike Style Mustard

So far I haven’t seen many, if any, Rapid Strike Pokemon I’d want to recover in this way. Maybe Octillery, maybe Luxray? I guess even Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX, but that’s about it. Being compatible with Octillery makes it a lot easier to pull off a zero-card hand as well, so this one is going to be more playable than its Single Strike counterpart. Right now, none of the aforementioned Pokemon seem to be begging to come out of the discard, but maybe eventually. As for setting this up, the options are quite limited – Quick Ball and Electromagnetic Radar come to mind quickest. This isn’t an Archie’s and Maxie’s format filled with Ultra Ball!

2.75/5 + Fun

 

Single Strike Scroll of Scorn

I really like this one and I think it pairs incredibly well with the Single Strike Urshifu VMAX. It’s big attack discards all its Energy, so you’ll be waiting a turn (probably) to build up another big attack. Furious Anger fits in well to either set up another Knock Out or outright one-shot something. Houndoom can intentionally damage your Pokemon as well to increase the damage output.

3.5/5 + Creative Design

 

Single Strike Style Mustard

A little different than the Rapid Strike version and certainly different than Archie’s and Maxie’s of old, this one drags the Pokemon out of your deck! Enter Emboar, my favorite Pokemon for the assist here. Urshifu itself could get selected as well, but again, it seems easier to just evolve it. I guess there’s Houndoom, too? These cards are a bit of a mystery for now. The Item pool in Standard doesn’t currently play to these Supporters’ strengths – there are fewer ways to whittle your hand down in size than in the past. More things can certainly be released to make this better, though! I’m giving both of these cards the same grade.

2.75/5 + Fun

 

Sordward & Shielbert

Another awful “draw three” gimmick card that should never see play. I don’t think there’s a Trainer worth recovering at the cost of a Supporter, even.

0.5/5

 

Tool Jammer

Hmm, is there ever a reason to play this over Tool Scrapper, especially when your opponent can Tool Scrapper it to defend themselves against it? The only things that come to mind are instant-use Tools like something that helps with retreating during their turn or something to increase damage output. I don’t think this will be any good.

1/5

 

Tower of Darkness

Neat, but with so few Single Strike cards out there right now (and most that would be in a deck being so good), why would you want to discard one of them, even to draw a couple cards? Maybe this is a one or two-of in something.

2/5

 

Tower of Waters

The highlight here is that you can give Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX free Retreat, but does that matter? Maybe, but I don’t think that would stop you from playing a playset of Switch. Octillery and Remoraid would also be able to retreat at will with this, so maybe it would be played in Rapid Strike Urshifu – I’m not super drawn to it though.

2/5

 

Urn of Vitality

I like Single Strike Urshifu VMAX far more than the Rapid Strike one because of this Item. You can discard your Energy with little drawback! Once you have a bunch of Houndoom in play, you’re relatively free to spam big damage and  discard your Energy, all at little drawback to yourself! This is an excellent card and its usefulness can be compared to that of Special Charge.

4.25/5

Reprints

This set’s quartet of Item reprints are all welcome ones. Energy Recycler should be returned to decks that pull Energy from the deck (Rillaboom), Escape Rope is an always-appreciated switching option in anything, Exp. Share occasionally sees play when Tool discard isn’t popular, and Level Ball is an awesome consistency card (especially for Stage 1 decks). These reprints don’t feel bad to me and I’m glad to have them back in Standard.

Rapid Strike Energy

Is Rapid Strike Energy better than its Single Strike brethren? At first you might think so, but I’m not convinced. More Energy is always nice, but the options for viable attackers are limited to Urshifu if you ask me. This is a great card on that Pokemon, so don’t get me wrong – it’s awesome.

4/5

Single Strike Energy

I’m less lukewarm on this one, I think this makes a greater impact immediately (again, I’m biased to the Single Strike Urshifu VMAX). I also like that it makes something like Tyranitar V playable, whereas I don’t think the Rapid Strike Energy doesn’t have the same effect for any other Pokemon in this set. This card is pretty awesome and I like it a lot. I’m not going to label either of these Energy as broken, but an argument could be made for either.

4.25/5

Battle Styles has me incredibly excited for the future of the game, particularly Standard. Without ADP, the format seems amazing. There are so many powerful single-prizers in this deck. My opinion is subject to change, but right now a format where VMAXs duke it out with single-prizers sounds awesome. VMAXs aren’t the most consistent things to set up, so Stage 2 Pokemon could very well become reliable once again. The future seems bright and this set has a lot to do with it. In the meantime, the new Urshifu cards are obviously the highlight and the Single Strike variant at the least should don a position in Tier 1 quickly. Be sure to stay tuned here at ChannelFireball for sealed product and Box Breaks of the latest set!

Peace,

Caleb

Scroll to Top