Pokémon TCG: EX Unseen Forces
EX Unseen Forces, the newest expansion for the Pokémon TCG, is the largest set of the EX series ever! Over 140 cards of Pokémon from the Pokémon Gold & Silver video games will give you deck-building flexibility like never before. Whether it's because of the new babies, the latest Legendary Pokémon, or because of the mysterious Unown, the versatile Eevee, or even the unmatched power of the Pokémon-ex, EX Unseen Forces will push your playing skills to the next level!
Legendary Means Sight Long Unseen
Lugia, Ho-Oh, Raikou, Suicune, and Entei, the five legendary Pokémon in the Pokémon Gold & Silver video games, have new versions of Pokémon cards in the EX Unseen Forces expansion. Lugia and Ho-Oh come in both standard and Pokémon-ex versions, and the three dogs are Pokémon.
Lugia ex (#105) is the most powerful Basic Pokémon ever released! Its 200-damage Elemental Blast attack only requires one Fire Energy, one Water Energy, and one Lightning Energy! You have to discard one of each of those types after using the attack, though. Lugia ex is best used with other Pokémon that let you move Energy around. One such Pokémon is the new Ampharos (#1). Ampharos' Energy Connect lets you move basic Energy cards from your Benched Pokémon to your Active Pokémon, so Lugia ex can attack more often if Ampharos keeps sending basic Energy cards to it.
Even if Lugia ex doesn't have enough Energy, it still remains a threat. Its Silver Sparkle Poké-Body lets you flip a coin whenever your opponent's Attacking Pokémon does damage to your Lugia ex. If you get heads, you may discard one of the Attacking Pokémon?s attached Energy cards!
Ho-Oh ex (#104) is arguably as powerful as Lugia ex. Ho-Oh ex's Rainbow Burn attack has a base damage of 10, but it gains 20 damage for each different basic Energy type attached to Ho-Oh ex. That means its maximum damage (not counting any other effects) is 130, and, unlike Lugia ex, you don't even have to discard anything! Ho-Oh ex will also find Ampharos to be an excellent teammate because of Ampharos' ability to attach basic Energy cards to Ho-Oh ex.
Both Lugia ex and Ho-Oh ex will also benefit from Smeargle (#48). Smeargle's Makeover Poké-Power lets you switch a basic Energy card attached to one of your Pokémon with a basic Energy card in your discard pile. As long as you have basic Energy cards in your discard pile, Smeargle provides you with a way to ensure that you can get the best basic Energy cards for a particular situation.
Raikou , Entei , and Suicune are each, like most Pokémon , very powerful Pokémon that has a strong attack with a single disadvantage. Each of them has a 70-damage attack that requires only three Energy, but if you have less Prizes left than your opponent, watch out: Raikou 's Meta Voltage may do 40 damage to each of your Pokémon, Entei 's Detonation forces you to discard the top ten cards on your deck, and Suicune 's Cross Wind forces you to discard all Energy cards attached to all of your Pokémon! Fortunately, these Pokémon have secondary attacks that you can use when you have less Prizes left than your opponent. Their secondary attacks let you switch them with one of your Benched Pokémon. A good way to play these Pokémon is to combine them with cards that gain powers when you have more Prizes than your opponent. For example, with the Solid Rage (#92) Pokémon Tool, a Pokémon's attack damage is increased by 20, and with Pow! Hand Extension (EX Team Rocket Returns #85), you can make one of your opponent's Benched Pokémon with the Active Pokémon. Combining these Trainer cards and Pokémon lets you pick and choose your targets, doing extra damage.
Unseen Forces, Hidden Powers
The EX Unseen Forces expansion contains 28 different Unown. Each is represented by a different letter of the alphabet, plus "!" and "?". Unown can switch itself with any of its other forms once per turn with the Shuffle Poké-Power. Also, each Unown has one unique Hidden Power attack. Taken together, these features mean that you can have up to four customized abilities for Unown in a single deck!
Let's pretend you have a deck that has three different types of Pokémon, and they all lead to Stage 1 or Stage 2 Evolutions. You might want to put an Unown (M) and an Unown (Q) in your deck. Unown (M)'s Hidden Power lets you search your deck for a card that evolves from one of your Pokémon and put it on that Pokémon. Unown (Q)'s Hidden Power lets you search your deck for up to three different types of basic Energy cards and put them in your hand. On one turn, Unown (Q) could get each of the basic Energy cards you would need for your Pokémon, and then on the next turn you could use Shuffle to switch Unown (Q) with Unown (M) and start evolving your Pokémon.
Since each card is named Unown, you are allowed a maximum of four per deck, but you can put multiple copies of the same Unown in your deck. With the example above, a deck could have two Unown (Q) and two Unown (M). However, it can be more fun and rewarding to have a mix of different Unown. Unown (?) is particularly fun, since its Hidden Power is a mini-game in which your opponent has to guess what kind of card (Energy, Pokémon, or Trainer) you put face-down on the table. If your opponent guesses wrong, you get to draw two cards.
There are quite a few new "Baby" Basic Pokémon in EX Unseen Forces. As with other Basic Pokémon with the Baby Evolution Poké-Power, you can place certain Basic Pokémon on top of them to completely heal them and gain new attacks. This time, though, the evolved forms (with one exception) gain new Poké-Bodies when they are played as an Evolution instead of as a Basic Pokémon!
Tyrogue (#33) evolves to any card named Hitmonchan, Hitmonlee, or Hitmontop. If it evolves to the EX Unseen Forces version of Hitmonchan (#24), then Hitmonchan gains +30 HP (for a new maximum of 100 HP). If it evolves to Hitmonlee (#25), Hitmonlee does 20 more damage with its attacks, including a Bench-hitting attack that will do 30 damage for only one Fighting Energy. If it evolves to Hitmontop (#26), then any of your opponent's Attacking Pokémon that does damage to Hitmontop puts two damage counters on itself. With three different ways to evolve a Tyrogue, its evolution line is the most flexible.
Smoochum (#31) evolves to Jynx. If Jynx (#28) is an Evolved Pokémon, then it cannot be affected by any effects of attacks, except damage, done to it, and Jynx doesn't have any Weakness. An Evolved Jynx is useful for defensive purposes or stalling. Not only is it unaffected by effects or Weakness, but its Freeze Light attack will either Paralyze or Burn the Defending Pokémon, depending on a coin flip. You're guaranteed to have a good result!
Elekid (#23) evolves to Electabuzz. If Electabuzz (#22) is an Evolved Pokémon, damage from Pokémon with Special Energy attached is reduced by an amazing 40 damage. That means that Metal-type and Dark-type Pokémon are going to have an especially hard time beating Electabuzz. Users of Multi Energy (EX Emerald #89), Boost Energy (EX Unseen Forces #98), and other popular Special Energy cards are going to have to be very careful when they see an Elekid in play!
Furthermore, Electabuzz is even better than Jynx at stalling. The Double Shock attack gives you two coin flips. It causes 10 damage for each heads, and if either coin is heads, the Defending Pokémon is Paralyzed. And just because Electabuzz is well-protected against Pokémon with Special Energy doesn't mean it can't use some itself: the Luster Blast attack does 70 damage for four Energy, but if you evolved Elekid to Electabuzz, you're allowed to use Boost Energy to provide three of the required Energy.
The ever-popular Cleffa (#21) card brings the cry of "Eeeeeeek!" back to the Pokémon TCG tables. The Eeeeeeek! attack lets you shuffle your hand into your deck and draw six cards. It's a great card for any deck, since it is basically gives you a redo of your hand if it isn't very good. Cleffa evolves to Clefairy, but unfortunately, the new Clefairy (#53) is the only one of the cards that doesn't have special powers when it is an Evolved Pokémon. However, the new Clefable (#36), which evolves from Clefairy, makes up for that deficiency with its Extra Comet Punch attack. It only requires two Energy, and it does 30 damage when first used. Each consecutive use of Extra Comet Punch does 60 damage after the first, making it a low-cost yet powerful attack!
Eevee Evolution Revolution
The incomparable Eevee's (#55) latest version features an easy way to evolve it to any of its evolved forms. When you attach an Energy card from your hand to Eevee, its Energy Evolution Poké-Power lets you search for a card that evolves from Eevee that is the same type as the Energy card you attached to Eevee. So, a Lightning Energy card lets you pull out a Jolteon, a Psychic Energy will let you pull out either an Espeon or the new Espeon ex (#102), and a Darkness Energy (#96) will let you pull out an Umbreon or the new Umbreon ex (#112).
Note that there are a few things to remember when using Energy Evolution. First of all, cards like Multi Energy and Rainbow Energy will let you evolve a Pokémon to your choice of Evolution from Eevee in your deck! Secondly, it is only triggered when an Energy card is attached from the hand, so using something like Ampharos' Energy Current will not trigger Energy Evolution. Lastly, the new Espeon ex and Umbreon ex have Poké-Powers that trigger only when you evolve Eevee to them from your hand. If you evolve Eevee to them from a deck search, you can't use their Poké-Powers.
Espeon ex's Poké-Power is a good one to use when your opponent's Pokémon have several damage counters on them. When you play Espeon ex from your hand to evolve an Eevee, Devo Flash lets you remove the highest Stage Evolution card from your choice of your opponent's Pokémon and put it in your opponent's hand. Espeon ex also has a good Bench-hitting attack, Snap Tail, that is good for finishing off Pokémon that you have just devolved, and a Psyloop attack that really hurts an opponent if he or she uses a lot of Pokémon Tools or Stadiums: it does 60 damage plus 30 more damage for each Trainer card your opponent has in play.
Umbreon ex's Poké-Power is great at removing pesky Pokémon that are hiding on the Bench from the game, especially the ones with Poké-Powers. Darker Ring lets you switch one of your opponent's Defending Pokémon with one of your opponent's Benched Pokémon when you play Umbreon ex from your hand to evolve an Eevee. Afterwards, the Black Cry attack does 30 damage and prevents the Defending Pokémon from retreating or using Poké-Powers. Once you've stamped out that Pokémon's Poké-Powers, you can finish it off with the Darkness Fang attack for 60 damage. And since Umbreon ex is a Darkness-type Pokémon, its attacks can be pumped up with Darkness Energy cards for even more damage.
Flareon (#5), Jolteon (#8), and Vaporeon (#19) don't have any special Poké-Powers, but they are useful in their own way. Each of them has a way to get Energy cards onto your Pokémon faster, and each can get a damage boost and cause a Special Condition if it has three different basic Energy cards attached to it. Flareon's Fire Dance lets you attach a Fire Energy card from your discard pile to one of your Pokémon, Jolteon's Attract Current lets you attach a Lightning Energy card from your deck to one of your Pokémon (with a successful coin flip), and Vaporeon's Aqua Supply lets you attach a basic Energy card (of any type!) to one of your Pokémon.
Since each of those three evolutions of Eevee can be played on the first turn, and since each has a way to get extra Energy attached, it's possible to be doing at least 60 damage with each of them on the second turn of the game! As stated before, each has a 60-damage attack that may cause a Special Condition if there are three different basic Energy types attached to it. Flareon's causes Burn, Jolteon's causes Confusion, and Vaporeon's causes Sleep.
No matter which evolution lines you choose for Eevee, you're going to be smashing down your opponents in no time!
Though EX Unseen Forces is full of Pokémon with strange powers, sometimes you just want to smash and bash with fully visible results. There's plenty of ways to do that in the new expansion, too!
The previously mentioned Ampharos is useful for its Energy Current Poké-Power, but you'll also find its attack great, too. Miraculous Thunder does 50 damage, but you can choose to discard all Lightning Energy cards attached to Ampharos. If you do, the Defending Pokémon becomes Burned and Confused. Since Miraculous Thunder only requires one Lightning Energy to use, you should attach other types of Energy to Ampharos so you only have to discard one. After doing so, on your next turn you can use Energy Current to move a Lightning Energy card from a Benched Pokémon to Ampharos. You'll be able to attack for 50 damage again.
Forretress (#6) is fun to use, but it requires some careful planning. Spiky Shell does 20 damage when it hits, and after your opponent's turn it places three more damage counters on the target. Spiky Shell is great for two reasons: it only requires two Energy, and it makes your opponent think about retreating in some way. If your opponent doesn't retreat the Defending Pokémon, it will be badly hurt when it's your turn. Forretress' Pop attack does 100 damage to the Defending Pokémon, so it Knocks Out most threats quickly. It requires four Energy and puts seven damage counters on Forretress (which will usually Knock Out Forretress), but when you use Pop, you move all Energy cards from Forretress to your Benched Pokémon (unless you don't have any), so you can save all of the Energy. Furthermore, Pop can be used with only one Metal Energy and one Boost Energy, so if you have Boost Energy in your hand, you can give your opponent a nasty surprise if you already have Metal Energy attached to Forretress!
Typhlosion (#17) is an amazingly strong Pokémon. It has more potential for damage than many Pokémon-ex! First of all, its Burning Aura Poké-Body puts one damage counter on each Active Pokémon (including Typhlosion) between turns, so Typhlosion doesn't even have to attack to do any damage. And, though it hurts itself between turns, that's actually a good thing: its Rage attack does has a base damage of 50, and it does 10 more damage for each damage counter on Typhlosion. That means a Typhlosion can do 100 damage when it has just four damage counters on it: 50 base damage, plus 40 damage for the four damage counters, plus one more damage counter (10 damage) before your opponent's next turn! In order to keep Typhlosion from Knocking Out itself, you may wish to consider using Slowbro (EX Team Rocket Returns #14) in order to control the number of damage counters on Typhlosion, since Slowbro can move damage counters from Typhlosion to itself. (Take a look at the section about Pokémon Tools at the end of this article for more Typhlosion strategies.)
Ursaring (#18) is the nightmare of all Basic Pokémon and Pokémon-ex, especially the ones with Baby Evolution! When Ursaring is an Active Pokémon, its Intimidating Ring Poké-Body ensures that none of your opponent's Basic Pokémon may attack or use Poké-Powers. That means that Baby Evolution won't work if Ursaring is an Active Pokémon. Neither will Smeargle's Makeover, nor Eevee's Energy Evolution. Furthermore, it means that even the most powerful Basic Pokémon-ex, such as Ho-Oh ex, Lugia ex, or Rocket's Mewtwo ex (EX Team Rocket Returns #99) will be unable to attack! Ursaring can use its Drag Off attack to force any of your opponent's Benched Pokémon to become an Active Pokémon, and its Rock Smash attack can make short work of that hapless target.
The Pokémon-ex of EX Unseen Forces are pretty intriguing, as you've already seen with the cards that have already been mentioned. There are twelve of them in the expansion. Here are three others you might wish to use.
Politoed ex is a very hard Pokémon-ex to Knock Out. Its Punch and Run attack lets it do 40 damage and then switch with a Benched Pokémon, so it won't be able to be counterattacked unless the opponent's Active Pokémon has a Bench-hitting attack or a way to switch your Active Pokémon. Punch and Run makes a great combo with Koffing (EX Team Rocket Returns #61) because any Pokémon that manages to Knock Out Koffing will be afflicted by Koffing's Poké-Power, which makes the Attacking Pokémon Confused and Poisoned. Furthermore, Koffing can evolve to Weezing (EX Deoxys #51), which can use its Liability attack to drop the Defending Pokémon's remaining HP down to 10, leaving that Pokémon vulnerable to either Politoed ex's Bench-hitting Upward Lick attack or its devastating Swallow Up attack, which does 120 damage if the Defending Pokémon has fewer HP than Politoed ex! And since Politoed ex has 150 HP, it's easy to achieve 120 damage. It's also worth mentioning that Corsola's (#37) Cry for Help attack lets you search your deck for a Water-type or Fighting-type Pokémon, so it will help you evolve a Poliwhirl into either the Water-type Poliwrath (EX FireRed & LeafGreen #11) or the new Fighting-type Poliwrath (#11), which is pretty strong against Darkness-type and Stage 2 Pokémon.
Scizor ex (#108) is another Pokémon-ex that is difficult to Knock Out. It has 120 HP, so it has plenty of durability. Scizor ex is a Metal-type Pokémon, so it takes 10 less damage for each Metal Energy attached to itself. Furthermore, its Steel Wing attack reduces damage done to Scizor ex by 20 during your opponent's next turn. And, if your opponent manages to reduce Scizor ex to 60 or less remaining HP, Scizor ex gains a +40 damage bonus with the Danger Perception Poké-Body! Once that Poké-Body is active, Steel Wing becomes an offensive and defensive powerhouse, causing 80 damage and reducing damage by 20. Scizor ex also has a Cross-Cut attack, which does 50 base damage, plus 30 damage if the target is an Evolved Pokémon, plus 40 damage if Danger Perception is activated, for a total of 120 damage! Be careful when Danger Perception is activated, though: if your opponent attaches Ancient Technical Machine: Rock (EX Hidden Legends #85) to his or her Evolved Pokémon and uses it, Scizor ex will devolve and be instantly Knocked Out.
Everybody's favorite angry, green lizard Pokémon is back and angrier than ever! Tyranitar ex (#111) is an engine of destruction that hurts you, but hurts your opponent even more. It has four different attacks, and each one destroys something. The first, Shatter, does 30 damage and discards any Stadium card in play. The second, Derail, does 30 damage and discards a Special Energy card attached to the Defending Pokémon. The third, Mix-Up, does 70 damage and makes your opponent discard the top card of his or her deck. The last, Losing Control, does 120 damage and makes you discard the top three cards of your deck! Compared to some of the other Pokémon-ex, Tyranitar ex is pretty straightforward and fun to use: just evolve to it and then destroy everything. You might consider using Furret (EX Team Rocket Returns #22) or Magcargo (EX Deoxys #20) to get the full evolution line and Darkness Energy into play quickly.
The other Pokémon-ex in EX Unseen Forces are exceptional as well. From Blissey ex (#101), who can completely heal all of your Pokémon, to Typhlosion ex (#110), who can attach multiple Fire Energy cards from your deck to your Pokémon in one turn, or Steelix ex, (#109) whose Mudslide attack does 100 damage to one of your opponent's Pokémon, you won't be disappointed by any of the new Pokémon-ex!
Indispensable (and Fully Visible) Tools and Supporters
One of the best features about EX Unseen Forces is the introduction of six new Pokémon Tools. These Pokémon Tools will provide your Pokémon with additional capabilities far beyond the norm. There are also a couple of Supporters that are especially useful.
Curse Powder (#80) puts three damage counters on the Attacking Pokémon if it Knocks Out the Active Pokémon that Curse Powder is attached to. Just make the Pokémon that Curse Powder into your Active Pokémon and wait for it to get Knocked Out by your opponent's Pokémon. Your other Pokémon can finish off the opponent's injured Pokémon. Curse Powder cannot be attached to Pokémon-ex, and it may only be attached to an Evolved Pokémon. Curse Powder's effect is very helpful when attached to teammates of Feraligatr ex (#103) or Politoed ex, since Feraligatr ex and Politoed ex gain attack bonuses based on the damage counters on the opponents Pokémon.
Energy Root (#83) gives a +20 HP boost to any Pokémon that it is attached to. It also turns off that Pokémon's Poké-Bodies and Poké-Powers. As a special restriction, it may be not be attached to a Pokémon-ex or a Pokémon with Dark or an owner in its name. Twenty extra HP are great for Pokémon like Forretress or the EX Deoxys Weezing, because it means those Pokémon can survive their self-destructive attacks (Pop, Liability). The deactivation of Poké-Bodies and Poké-Powers could be a bad idea for some Pokémon, but for Pokémon such as Typhlosion, it's great. Once Typhlosion has enough damage counters to do a lot of damage, you can attach an Energy Root to boost Typhlosion's HP up to 130, and Typhlosion's Burning Aura will no longer injure Typhlosion.
Fluffy Berry (#85) looks like a new version of Balloon Berry (EX Deoxys #84), but it's actually different in two significant ways. Like Balloon Berry, Fluffy Berry reduces a Pokémon's Retreat Cost to zero. However, it is NOT discarded after the Pokémon has retreated, so you can use it again and again! As a balance to the card's power, it cannot be attached to Pokémon ex or Pokémon with Dark or an owner in its name. Fluffy Berry will really help you get rid of Special Conditions, and it will save many Pokémon from being Knocked Out. It works well especially well with teammates of Meganium (#9) or Butterfree (EX FireRed & LeafGreen #2): an injured Pokémon can retreat for Butterfree or Meganium, and then Butterfree's Sooth Dust or Meganium's Healing Aroma can remove damage counters from the injured Pokémon between each player's turns.
Protective Orb (#90) can only be attached to Evolved Pokémon that are not Pokémon-ex, and the Pokémon it is attached to has no Weakness. This effect will really help the Pokémon that have Weakness to the types that are popular among other Pokémon TCG players. For example, if the players in your area like to use Water-type Pokémon, Protective Orb will help your Fire-type Pokémon survive longer. Protective Orb is a good alternative to Ancient Tomb (EX Hidden Legends #87) because there are many more ways to get rid of Stadiums than there are to get rid of Pokémon Tools. Protective Orb also works on a Pokémon with an owner in its name, and Ancient Tomb does not.
Sitrus Berry (#91) provides your Pokémon (except Pokémon-ex and Pokémon that has Dark or an owner in its name) with a healing item. If the Pokémon Sitrus Berry is attached to has three or more damage counters, you remove three damage counters from that Pokémon and then discard Sitrus Berry. The effect can help Pokémon that hurt themselves, such as Typhlosion or Feraligatr (#4), as well as any Pokémon that is gravely injured. If you would like to heal Pokémon-ex efficiently, Sitrus Berry works really well with the EX FireRed & LeafGreen Slowbro. Sitrus Berry can be attached to Slowbro, so it can pull three damage counters off a Pokémon-ex with its Strange Behavior Poké-Power, activate the Sitrus Berry, then pull off five more on your next turn.
The sixth new Pokémon tool is Solid Rage. Solid Rage can't be attached to Pokémon-ex, but it can be attached to any other Pokémon. As previously mentioned, as long as you have more Prize cards left than your opponent, the Pokémon that Solid Rage is attached to does 20 more damage to the Active Pokémon before applying Weakness and Resistance. When used with EX Team Rocket Returns' Pow! Hand Extension, Solid Rage lets you pick your target and then crush it! Remember, though, that Solid Rage will not add 20 damage to an attack that does not do damage.
The two Supporters in EX Unseen Forces are Mary's Request (#86) and Professor Elm's Training Method (#89). Mary's Request lets you draw one card, plus two more cards if you have no Stage 2 Pokémon in play. It's very effective at the start of a game, and if your deck has no Stage 2 Pokémon, it's actually effective throughout the whole game. Professor Elm's Training Method lets you search your deck for any Evolution card. Unlike the earlier Celio's Network (EX FireRed & LeafGreen #88), Professor Elm's Training Method can pull out a Pokémon-ex from your deck, but it can't pull out a Basic Pokémon. Of course, there's nothing stopping you from building a deck that contains both types of Supporters. With four of each, you're sure to get your Evolution cards into play fast!
Invisible yet Effective Energy
EX Unseen Forces provides a good mix of re-released Special Energy cards. Darkness Energy, Metal Energy (#97), and Boost Energy are available again, as are Cyclone Energy (#99) and Warp Energy (#100). When you attach Cyclone Energy from your hand to one of your Active Pokémon, you may switch a Defending Pokémon with one of your opponent's Benched Pokémon (your opponent chooses the Benched Pokémon to switch). If your opponent's current Active Pokémon is wreaking havoc against your own, you can use Cyclone Energy to temporarily move it to the Bench. Make sure your opponent doesn't have an even stronger Benched Pokémon that would become the new Active Pokémon!
Warp Energy is the opposite of Cyclone Energy. When you attach Warp Energy to one of your Active Pokémon, you can switch it with one of your Benched Pokémon. It is good to have if the Pokémon in your deck have high Retreat Cost and high attack costs. By using Warp Energy, you can simultaneously retreat and help pay for future attacks.