Posted by Zach Lesage on 1/17/2024 to
What’s poppin’ Po Town readers? Are you excited to celebrate the highlights of the Paldea Region by unearthing the release of Pokemon TCG’s latest set, Scarlet and Violet: Paldean Fates? I’ve been researching all of the new cards coming out in this set, seeing how they can fit in previously established archetypes, and how I can share that with our Pokemon community! With this brand new PTCG set featuring many popular “shiny” versions of cards - there is so much hype around this set! You might be chasing after that Special Illustration Rare “shiny” Charizard ex [Paldean Fates] or Moonlit Hill [Paldean Fates] for your Gardevoir ex [Scarlet and Violet] deck, but what are the other not-so-obviously great cards from this set? In this article, I’ll certainly tell you my top 10 best cards from Scarlet and Violet: Paldean Fates, and all of the reasons why! Now let’s jump into my number 10 pick!
Kicking things off is Gengar [Paldean Fates], and there might actually be something here. Its Night Gate Ability gives you the option to switch your Active Pokemon with one of your Benched Pokemon, and that might pair nicely with Iron Valiant ex [Paradox Rift]. Being able to use Tachyon Bits one more time without a Switch [Scarlet and Violet] might end up being a valid enough reason to use this card. Additionally, with cards like Tapu Koko ex [Paradox Rift] seeing play in Miraidon ex [Scarlet and Violet] decks, Gengar offers a consistent way out of Status Conditions. It might be easier to run Switch, Switch Cart [Astral Radiance], or even Escape Rope [Battle Styles], but there is hope for Gengar. With the unreleased Reuniclus [Temporal Forces], we might be able to summon Gengar as an Unevolved Basic Pokemon, which might end up being a viable option. I’ve always been a fan of Gengar since the release of Pokemon, so this card has a soft spot in my heart.
9. Scovillain ex
I’m not gonna lie, it was hard to place Scovillain ex [Paldean Fates], but I placed it at number 9 because it felt like it fit in around there. Being able to trap your opponent’s Active Pokemon with Spicy Bind might end up being an interesting way to utilize Boss’s Orders [Paldea Evolved] in a pinch, and the Burn damage certainly can add up. Two-Faced Crash does a moderate 140 damage, but also discards a random card from your hand, and the top card of your opponent’s deck. With Charizard ex [Obsidian Flames] peaking at the best deck in format status, and natural synergy with Miss Fortune Sisters [Astral Radiance], Scovillian ex might have some hope. It needs a decent bit of support to get it working, but I’m sure with a dedicated deck builder working on it, you can make it happen. If not, the card looks super cool, and you might wanna add it into your Pokemon TCG Live collection!
8. Students in Paldea
I feel like we are finally diving into the really playable cards from Paldean Fates, and at our number 8 spot, we have Students in Paldea [Paldean Fattes]. Searching for a non-Rule Box Pokemon isn’t really a game changer, but you can search for an additional non-Rule Box Pokemon for each Students in Paldea in your discard pile. This card will wanna be played earlier on in the game, like on the first turn of the game, so you’ll have to find a way to get this card discarded as soon as possible. Battle Compressor [Phantom Forces] comes to mind, but that card is only available in the Expanded format, but for now we might have to settle for Pokegear 3.0 [Scarlet and Violet], and Ultra Ball [Scarlet and Violet]. This card might need some more time to simmer in our format, but if we ever get a card that discards some Students in Paldea, we might have something here.
Do you ever think your opponent has every Boss’s Orders, Professor’s Research [Scarlet and Violet], and Iono [Paldea Evolved] in their hand? Well, if so, Clive [Paldean Fates] might be the answer you’re looking for. Being able to draw two cards for each Supporter card you find there might be worthwhile enough to play. If there are one or two, this card isn’t anything special, but three or more might make Clive broken! Obviously, Clive comes with some risk, which may make it played less, but it could be ok. There are sometimes attacks, like Tinkaton ex, that work for each card in your hand, so maybe Clive could work as a Supporter for a deck like that. Maybe Clive won’t see any play either? Only time will tell, but I do have to say that Clive may have the best hair game out of all Trainers in our current Standard format!
6. Espathra ex
I love to see less popular Pokemon getting the Ultra Rare treatment, and in this case Espathra ex [Paldean Fates] finally has its time to shine (don’t come after me Espathra fans). I like this card for a few reasons, but I’ll start off with its Dazzling Gaze Ability. If Espathra ex is in the Active Spot, your opponent’s attacks cost one Colorless more, and that might end up being good enough to see success. Pairing that with Pokemon League Headquarters [Obsidian Flames] could mean that your opponent’s Basic Pokemon are gonna need two more Energy to attack, and that could really slow a deck down. As they ramp up their Energy, you could use Psy Ball to do 30 damage + 30 damage for each Energy attached to both Active Pokemon. I’m not sure if this will be a control deck, or maybe a tech attacker in a Gardevoir ex [Scarlet and Violet], but I have some hope for Espathra ex in the future.
5. Great Tusk ex
What should’ve been a staple in the base Scarlet and Violet sets, Great Tusk ex [Paldean Fates] finally gets the Ancient Pokemon treatment, which gives it access to Professor Sada’s Vitality [Paradox Rift], and Ancient Booster Energy Capsule [Paradox Rift] which give it a bit of life.It does have a spooky, and likely very bad Ability, that discards the top 5 cards if Great Tusk ex is in the Active Spot at the end of your turn, but I have a solution, Path to the Peak [Chilling Reign]. Obviously the attack has to be worth it, and Great Bash might be worth it at 260 damage, and it goes through anything. It might be a bit costly, but having an option to go through Mimikyu [Paldea Evolved] for an Anicent Pokemon “box” deck might be worthwhile, and 260 damage is enough to OHKO most Basic Pokemon with a Rule Box.
Whenever a new set is released, I’m always looking for Pokemon that Evolve into previously established archetypes, and Frigibax [Paldean Fates] might end up offering a new option for decks that play Baxcalibur [Paldea Evolved]. More specifically, Chien-Pao ex might try out this new 70 HP Frigibax because Collect can draw a card in a pinch, and sometimes you are only one card away from drawing out of a poor situation. Comparatively, would you rather do 10 or 20 damage, or draw a card? The answer is unclear, but you’ll want to have a few copies of this Frigibax to keep your options open for prime deckbuilding opportunities. Also, just look at how cute this little Frigibax is, especially as they look back, that may make it the ideal play either way!
Charmeleon [Paldean Fates] is in a similar place as Frigibax because it is a vessel to Evolve into the previously established Charizard ex deck. While it might not seem important to everyone, the Pokemon you Evolve from might end up mattering more than you think, and should often have as much thought put into it like every other inclusion in your deck. In this case, Flare Veil is really the main focus of Charmeleon, and it might even save it from getting sniped by a Sableye [Lost Origin] due to it preventing all effects of attacks being done to it. You might try and look for the obvious, and just try to put down a Jirachi [Paradox Rift], but that isn’t always possible. This Charmeleon is also searchable off of Level Ball [Battle Styles], which currently fits into the lists that have been popularized at Regional Championships.
2. Technical Machine: Crisis Punch
While it might seem like a lot of hoops to jump through, Technical Machine: Crisis Punch [Paldean Fates] is actually a really playable card. You do need to have three Colorless Energy on that Pokemon to do 280 damage, your opponent only needs one Prize Card left, but this card is really worthwhile. How? Cramorant [Lost Origin] allows you to use this attack for free if you have at least four cards in your Lost Zone. That being said, you can easily slap this into any Lost Box deck to have a solid answer to swing for 280 damage as your last attack. That is enough to OHKO a Giratina VSTAR [Lost Origin] in a single blow! This card is amazing!
1. Moonlit Hill
Boom! Here we have it, the best card in Paldean Fates, Moonlit Hill [Paldean Fates], and I’m excited to let you know all about it! It might be a bit archetype specific, but you can pitch a Psychic Energy from your hand, and heal 30 damage from each of your Pokemon. In this case, this is a huge deal for Gardevoir ex decks because they often deal damage to their Pokemon with Psychic Embrace, and this means we can heal, and do even more damage with Zacian V [Celebrations] or Gardevoir [Chilling Reign]. Players have often experimented with Champions Festival [Sword and Shield Promos] in the deck, but this card is specifically better because it gets an extra Psychic Energy in your discard pile to power up your Pokemon with! It will likely be a one-of inclusion in the deck, but it certainly makes one of the best decks in format slightly better, which is a huge win from this otherwise “collectors haven” of a set.
Time to Collect!
Whenever there are new cards that are coming out, I always get excited to start testing games, and getting my hands on cards from this set! In this case, the set is coming out incredibly soon, and you can use code zlesage5 at the Potown Store to save 5% on Scarlet and Violet: Paldean Fates PTCG Live code cards. Maybe with my research, I’ll find my next beloved deck, stumble upon an undiscovered archetype, or reach new peaks of success! This article has been part of my process! I hope you’ve enjoyed this article and I’ll catch up with you soon for some more awesome Pokemon TCG content!
About the Writer
Zach Lesage is a contributing writer for potownstore.com. As a Toronto local, he has been playing the Pokémon Trading Card Game since 2005, and creates Pokémon content as his full-time career. With multiple prestigious accomplishments in the game, such as the 2020 Players Cup 2 Champion and 2020 Oceania International Championships Finalist, he has proven his success in the game. Outside the game, he travels the world, enjoys the culture of designer streetwear, and is a professionally trained chef. You can catch him at most Pokémon events and follow him on Twitter https://twitter.com/ZachLesagePTCG.