Posted by Zach Lesage on 9/14/2023 to Articles
Hello from Kanto
What’s poppin’ Po Town readers? Are you hyped for Pokemon 151, the latest Pokemon TCG set? I know that I’m excited to bring it all the way back to the 90s and play with the original 151 Pokemon! Don’t worry, you aren’t in a weird time capsule, Pokemon just gives nods to the past from time to time. Pokemon 151 is a set that is themed around the original 151 Pokemon from the Kanto Region, popular old-school characters, and more! It is an exciting time to be a Pokemon fan, and it is a great time to look at some of the best cards from this awesome set! In this article, I’ll be sharing my personal top ten cards from Pokemon 151, share my reasons why, and more! If you’re as hyped for this set as I am, be sure to use code zlesage5 to save 5% at the Potown Store! With instant email delivery, you can start playing with your freshly acquired digital packs ASAP! Let’s jump into my number ten pick!
Every list has to start off somewhere, so I decided to start it off right with Vileplume [Pokemon 151]. Vileplume typically has some form of Trainer lock as its Ability, so it's refreshing to see Vileplume have an energy acceleration Ability. Fully Blooming Energy works only once you Evolve into Vileplume, and you can search the top 8 cards of your deck for any number of basic Energy and attach them to your Pokemon in any way you like. Better yet, Gloom [Pokemon 151] has a similar Ability, which has a similar vibe as the Drizzile / Inteleon [Sword and Shield]. Vileplume adds a needed relief for other decks that don’t have an Energy accelerator and might end up being the backbone of upcoming archetypes that need a helping hand!
Ok, I’m looking at you, Starmie [Pokemon 151]! Starmie is one of those cards on this list that will instantly be a classic inclusion in a bunch of decks or not be played at all - I honestly can’t tell. Its Aquatic Enigma Ability allows you to put two damage counters on one of your opponent’s Pokemon and then discard Starmie and all cards attached to it. It is a hefty cost for just two damage counters, but there has to be a way to recycle this card back right? Super Rod [Scarlet and Violet] and Klara [Chilling Reign] seem like good options, but maybe there is another option that I’m forgetting! Maybe I’m too hopeful, but Starmie gives me the inspiration to cook some really cool ideas! Will I get there? Find out in some of my future articles [note from Zach: if I don’t post anything about Starmie ever again, it's because I tried my best].
8. Charizard ex
After we got a Darkness-type Charizard ex [Obsidian Flames] last set, I’m sure you’re as surprised as I am to see a Fire-type Charizard ex [Pokemon 151] in this set! Brave Wing hits for a whopping 160 damage for a single Fire Energy, if Charizard ex has any damage counters on it, and that can easily be achieved by accelerating Energy with Magma Basin [Brilliant Stars]. Explosive Vortex is a bit more costly at four Energy, but it hits for a massive 330 damage. You can power up that attack with the other Charizard ex’s Ability or use Charizard [Pokemon Go] to double your Fire Energy in play. My gut feeling is that all of these Charizard cards need to work together, and I’m pretty sure that's gonna be the case. I might’ve even put this mighty Pokemon too low on the list, but we’ll see how the rest of the list shapes up.
7. Blastoise ex
I feel like I’m starting a Charizard vs. Blastoise turf war, but I’m pretty sure Blastoise ex [Pokemon 151] takes the dub between these two Pokemon Ex this time around! I love how tanky Blastoise Ex is because not only does it have 330 HP, but it also has the Solid Shell ABility that reduces damage done to it by 30. That effectively makes it difficult to OHKO and is gonna stand around for two or three attacks. Twin Cannons also swing for a powerful 280 damage if you’re able to discard two Water Energy from your hand each turn, but that is enough to OHKO most VSTAR Pokemon. I still need to find the ideal partner for this Pokemon, but Chien-Pao ex [Paldea Evolved] and Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR [Astral Radiance] seem like a great start.
Hold up, is that the OG shapeshifting Pokemon? Yeah, it is! Welcome to Standard, Ditto [Pokemon 151]. Goo is definitely a funny name for an attack, but doing 10 damage for a Colorless Energy isn’t where I’m interested in this card. Ditto has the Change Start Ability that is really unique to our available cardpool. That Ability can only be used if Ditto is in the Active Spot and if its it the first turn of the game, but it allows you to search for a Basic Pokemon (except any other Ditto) and swap it with Ditto (discarding Ditto and all cards attached to it afterwards). This can help give your deck at least a “fifth” ideal starter because Ditto can turn into an ideal starter in a pinch. Increasing the odds of a better early game is certainly going to increase your win percentage. I’m not sure if Ditto will be included in all decks, but it will certainly make a splash in some fantastic decks.
5. Giovanni’s Charisma
The first Trainer Card on this list and Giovanni’s Charisma [Pokemon 151] is certainly an interesting one. You get to remove an Energy attached to your opponent’s Active Pokemon, and you get to accelerate an Energy to your Active Pokemon too. Usually, Supporters like this are one way or the other, but having both on one card is certainly super interesting! I like how you can quickly catch up in a game by setting your opponent behind a turn of attachments and make up for that last time by propelling yourself forward an attachment too. I don’t know what type of deck would instantly play a card like this, but I could certainly see an Arceus VSTAR [Brilliant Stars] deck playing this in case you miss an attachment on your first turn. Beyond that, any deck that runs Basic Energy is certainly a reasonable choice to include a few copies of Giovanni’s Charisma into.
4. Erika’s Invitation
Back-to-back Trainers? Yeah, the Trainers in this set are just that good! Erika’s Invitation [Pokemon 151] is another truly unique card in this set because it gives yet another unique effect to the game. Your opponent is forced to reveal their hand. You get to grab a Basic Pokemon you find there and put it on their Bench, and then it gets switched into the Active Spot. Having the option to force your opponent into Benching Pokemon, they don’t want on their field is a great way to gain an upper hand in a match. On top of that, a pseudo-gust could end up winning the game. What if you found a Lumineon V [Brilliant Stars] in your opponent’s hand? You could easily use Erika’s Invitation to bring it out and OHKO it with most decks. There are so many different directions that I could go in with this card, but trust me, it's a must have!
This is one of my hotter takes on this list, but I’m willing to be wrong in the event of guessing an accurate list months before the set actually releases. Chansey [Pokemon 151] is all about its Lucky Bonus Ability! If you take Chansey as a face-down Prize Card and your Bench isn’t full, you can put Chansey down on your Bench. If you do, flip a coin. If Heads, take an additional Prize Card. I could only imagine a deck that plays a few Chansey, and Peonia [Chilling Reign], and keeps attempting to draw extra Prize Cards. I’m sure there has to be something special here because drawing extra Prize Cards is largely a huge factor in the game! How many times are you just one Prize Card short? This card makes me wanna build decks - do you have any ideas for Chansey?
2. Safety Goggles
It isn’t a surprise to most that Basic Pokemon run this game, and it's for many good reasons. They don’t need to Evolve quite often, they can OHKO Evolution Pokemon, and they have solid stats for being Basic Pokemon. We haven’t had a reliable way to turn off their Weakness for a while, and now Safety Goggles [Pokemon 151] seems to fill that void nicely. I might be future-proofing this card a bit or placing it way too high, but in any format where you can reliably turn off your Weakness, you’ll want to have that as an option. Weakness is quite often the difference between an OHKO and a 2HKO, so having twice as many turns in a match will certainly be helpful!
1. Mew ex
Boom! Here we have it, the best card in Pokemon 151, and that card is Mew ex [Pokemon 151]. From just looking at Mew ex, having a solid amount of HP for a Basic Pokemon, an Ability that can draw extra cards and a free Retreat Cost is a huge flex! The key aspect of this Pokemon is its Genome Hacking attack! Mew ex can be played with any cards that can easily power up its three Colorless Energy attack cost, like Archeops [Silver Tempest] or Baxcalibur [Paldea Evolved], and you can copy your opponent’s Active Pokemon to attack with. We can scale our damage to whatever our opponent has in the Active Spot, or we can use Boss’s Orders [Paldea Evolved] to force our opponent to bring up a Pokemon that we can KO before they can attack with it. Mew ex will be played in so many top decks for all of the reasons above and is clearly the best card from Pokemon 151!
Time to Test
With Scarlet and Violet: Pokemon 151 releasing shortly after Scarlet and Violet: Obsidian Flames, there are almost too many Pokemon cards to test out right away! Not only are new archetypes being created, like Charizard ex [Obsidian Flames] / Charizard ex [Pokemon 151], but there are hot new tech cards, like Mew ex [Pokemon 151], that will add layers of depth to previously established lists. That's a good thing, though! It is always more fun when the Pokemon TCG metagame is vibrant and doesn’t fall stagnant for months at a time! If you wanna get a head start on testing, be sure to pick up some Pokemon 151 Pokemon TCG Live codes from the Potown store using code zlesage5 to save 5%! I know I’ll be picking up some codes soon to bling out my existing decks, especially with that amazing Gold Switch [Pokemon 151] coming out from this set! Stay tuned for more articles from me soon!
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.