Posted by Zach Lesage on 10/31/2023 to Articles
Unbound by Time
What’s poppin’ Po Town readers? Are you amped up for Pokemon TCG’s latest release, Scarlet and Violet: Paradox Rift? I’ve been looking at the Japanese translations for this set, seeing what my friends pull from Pre-Releases, and gathering as much info on this set as possible in search of the best new Pokemon cards from Paradox Rift! With this brand new PTCG set being legal for the first time for the 2023 Latin American International Championships in Sao Paulo, Brazil - there is so much hype around this set! Obviously, there are some easy notable pickups from this set, like Iron Hands ex [Paradox Rift], and Earthen Vessel [Paradox Rift], 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: Paradox Rift, and all of the reasons why! Be sure to pick up Paradox Rift PTCGL codes using code zlesage5 from the Potown store to save 5%! Not only does it help support me, but it will help boost your online Pokemon TCG Live collection too! Now let’s jump into my number 10 pick!
By purchasing Scarlet and Violet: Paradox Rift Pokemon TCG Live codes you can possibly acquire the following cards: Froslass ex, Armarouge ex, Garchomp ex, Tsareena ex, Golisipod ex, Mewtwo ex, Tapu Koko ex, Iron Hands ex, Iron Valiant ex, Hoopa ex, Toxtricity ex, Sandy Shocks ex, Houndstone ex, Roaring Moon ex, Aegislash ex, Skeledirge ex, Gholdengo ex, Altaria ex, Maushold ex, Bombirdier ex, Illustration Rare Magby, Illustration Rare Mantyke, Illustration Rare Groudon, Illustration Rare Yveltal, Illustration Rare Iron Jugulis, Full Art Professor’s Vitality, Special Illustration Rare Iron Valiant ex, Special Illustration Rare Roaring Moon ex, Special Illustration Rare Gholdengo ex, Special Illustration Rare Rika, Gold Beach Court, and Gold Reversal Energy.
10. Scream Tail
Kicking off our Paradox Rift top cards list is Scream Tail [Paradox Rift], a new Pokemon that resembles Jigglypuff [Pokemon 151], but that is gonna be a theme in this set. There are some advantages to being an Ancient Pokemon, like having access to Professor Sada’s Vitality [Paradox Rift], but I don’t know if Scream Tail actually needs it. This card belongs in a Gardevoir ex [Scarlet and Violet] deck because Psychic Embrace enables Scream Tail to snipe for more damage! Slap on a Bravery Charm [Paldea Evolved], or an Ancient Booster Energy Capsule [Paradox Rift] to reach new heights with your Roaring Scream attack! Scream Tail can certainly turn around a game with the right amount of damage on it, just watch out for Manaphy [Brilliant Stars].
Having Psychic Energy acceleration can certainly be a huge addition to our game, and I’m sure Xatu [Paradox Rift] will be experimented with in a few different decks. In most cases we’re looking for Pokemon that can do a massive amount of damage for each Energy attached to them, so my eyes are set on Zacian V [Celebrations], and Mewtwo ex [Paradox Rift]. While it doesn’t need Psychic Energy to attack, Mew ex [Celebrations] seems like another great addition to this “Psychic Energy” box style archetype that can be formed with Xatu. Not only that, Xatu also draws two cards once you accelerate those Energy, so you’ll be able to draw into more, or other pieces like Energy Retrieval [Scarlet and Violet], to accelerate even more Energy! Only time will tell if this deck can handle its own, but Energy acceleration mixed with draw power has to be good!
8. Roaring Moon ex
Look at this new Salamence [Evolving Skies], uh, I mean Roaring Moon ex [Paradox Rift] card! I’m mainly looking at this card for its impressive stats in HP, and OHKO potential! Frenzied Gouging is one of the most interesting attacks that I’ve seen because it can auto OHKO your opponent’s Active Pokemon with the only drawback being it doing 200 damage to itself. You can easily power this up with Dark Patch [Astral Radiance], and maybe even get those Dark Patch back again with Darkrai VSTAR [Astral Radiance]. If you don’t need to OHKO a Pokemon with large amounts of HP, like Charizard ex [Obsidian Flames], you can use Calamity Storm to do a cool 220 damage if you discard a Stadium from play. There is plenty of Support for this card in our Standard format, so I fully expect this to be part of a function archetype.
7. Gholdengo ex
Gholdengo ex [Paradox Rift] is such an interesting Pokemon because it has a similar attack as Blacephalon [Unbroken Bonds], but it costs only one Metal Energy instead of three Fire Energy. Pair that with a format that has Earthen Vessel [Paradox Rift], Superior Energy Retrieval [Paldea Evolved], and Energy Retrieval to have a steady stream of potential Energy at your disposal. Pokemon that have OHKO potential often find success because they can adapt to most iterations of the Standard format as we get new sets, and can always OHKO the latest best deck in the format. Coin Bonus makes this deck as consistent as possible by allowing you to draw cards, but you get to draw an extra card if Gholdengo ex is in your Active Spot. While it might take a while to get the perfect list for this deck, it is on its way to becoming a viable archetype for sure!
Upon first glance, Jirachi [Paradox Rift] doesn’t seem like much, and would likely end up in most piles of bulk. This is where it's incredibly important to add some context. Stellar Veil prevents all damage counters from being placed on your Benched Pokemon by effects of attacks used by your opponent’s Basic Pokemon, and that is relevant in our current Standard format. Because of Lost Zone box decks, and more specifically Sableye [Lost Origin], Jirachi is a life saver in some decks because it prevents Lost Mine to your Benched Pokemon. That means your Basic Pokemon can have a chance to Evolve into a Stage 1 / Stage 2 Pokemon with an extra layer of protection. In the same way that Manaphy [Brilliant Stars] protects our Pokemon from Radiant Greninja [Astral Radiance] sniping our board, Jirachi can prevent damage counters from Sableye to our Pokemon on our Bench.
5. Professor Turo’s Scenario
As we’ve cut through half of the list by making it to our number five spot, I do have to say that these five cards seem like they’ll be incredibly impactful to our Standard format. In this case, Professor Turo’s Scenario [Paradox Rift] looks like it might be a more universally used Penny [Scarlet and Violet] or Volo [Astral Radiance]. Both of those listed cards have conditions that can stop them from being used, and the only drawback of this card is discarding all cards attached (whereas Penny can return them to your hand). In this case, we can easily discard a heavily damaged Gardevoir ex or Charizard ex out of nowhere, and let our opponent weep as they’ve wasted all of those turns for nothing. That might be a bit of an extreme way to put it, but Professor Turo’s Scenario can certainly turn the tide of a game by the use of your Supporter.
4. Iron Valiant ex
While Iron Valiant ex [Paradox Rift] might look like a hybrid of Gardevoir [Chilling Reign] and Gallade [Astral Radiance], these new Paradox Pokemon only look similar. As a Basic Pokemon, we can start abusing its Tachyon Bits Ability as early as turn one, and spread damage counters immediately. I’m not sure the final build of this theoryized archetype in my head, but Switch [Scarlet and Violet], Escape Rope [Battle Styles], Switch Card [Astral Radiance], and Furisade Girl [Silver Tempest] all seem like great ways to build up damage on your opponent’s side of the board with that Ability. Pair that with Radiant Alakazam [Silver Tempest], and Medicham V [Evolving Skies] to take some extra turns. In a world where Pokemon still need to Evolve, like Frigibax [Paldea Evolved], you can really apply a lot of pressure in the early game! Whether it's just a tech, or an entire deck, Iron Valiant ex seems like a great card!
3. Counter Catcher
When I say most weren’t expecting a reprint of Counter Catcher [Paradox Rift] from Crimson Invasion, I’d be stating a dangerously accurate statement. Either way, we’re here now! Counter Catcher can easily be searched by Arven [Scarlet and Violet] or Irida [Astral Radiance], and you can gust up any of your opponent’s Pokemon if you’re behind on Prize Cards. It's like a Boss’s Orders [Paldea Evolved] that isn’t a Supporter card - you can just use it. Since it isn’t a Supporter, you can pair this with Iono [Paldea Evolved], or Judge [Scarlet and Violet], to really add layers of depth to your gust! This card is an amazing inclusion to so many decks, and it will really change the way you approach each matchup with Paradox Rift.
2. Earthen Vessel
It might seem silly that a buffed up Energy Search [Scarlet and Violet] is near the top of my list, but Earthen Vessel is so much more than just that. In other games, discarding cards is usually something that comes from a disadvantageous place, but Pokemon sometimes plays with some of the best strategies out of the discard pile. Let’s take a look at Lugia VSTAR [Silver Tempest] for example, you really need to get Archeops [Silver Tempest] out of your hand, so you can summon them with Summoning Star. In this example, having extra ways to discard Archeops can benefit you, and you get to search for Basic Energy too. While the current version of Lugia VSTAR doesn’t run any Basic Energy, you might want to include some Lightning Energy in your list to make room for the number one card on my list…
1. Iron Hands ex
Boom, here is Hariyama [Paldea Evolved], uh, I totally mean Iron Hands ex [Paradox Rift], the best Paradox Pokemon, and the best card from this set! Why? Drawing extra Prize Cards is incredibly powerful, and this card alone might gate keep Evolution out of format for the foreseeable future. It can be played in a handful of decks because of Earthen Vessel, and many types of Energy acceleration, which means a bunch of different decks have the option to include a Pokemon that can prey on single Prize Card Pokemon. How will this affect our Standard metagame? Decks with low HP Pokemon, like Lost Zone box, Gardevoir ex, and Charizard ex might see less play due to the presence of Iron Hands ex. It's just that good!
Time to Test!
I’m not sure about all of you reading this, but I get absolutely excited to playtest whenever a new set comes out! Maybe 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’m gonna start acquiring the cards I need as soon as I can get my hands on them, and soon enough I’ll be building all of the brand new decks! This set already seems like one of the best sets in a long time, but also this is the largest set of all time, so there is a lot to uncover! Oh, and if you need some codes for this set (or any set), you can use code zlesage5 at the Potown store! 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.