Pokemon TCG Fusion Strike Expansion Offers Many Ways to Battle

While the most recent Pokemon Trading Card Game set, Celebrations, was full of special and legendary cards! But it might have left fans missing the charms of a more traditional release. Fusion Strike is ready to rectify that, with a huge card list, some new gameplay ideas and a spotlight on original mythic Mew.

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The new addition here? Fusion Strike. Following the Urshifu-centric Rapid Strike and Single Strike designations, Fusion Strike appears to be about… combos, we suppose! Any faction is about making cards work together, but Fusion Strike leans hard into that.

Mew is at the center of the Fusion Strike strategy. Mew V lets you load up your creatures with extra energy cards, while Mew VMAX can use any move from a benched Fusion Strike creature. This tactic could use some help in future sets! Weak creatures with interesting moves would really shine. For now, though, you still have access to a decent attack or two from new Latias, Latios, and Genesect cards.

pokemon TCG fusion strike

As is the trend with the Pokemon TCG, Fusion Strike also supports the Single Strike and Rapid Strike teams with a new batch of cards. Perhaps they’ll be more viable now! It doesn’t hurt to get cards like Minun, which gives Rapid Strike a card with the popular Call for Family searching move. And at the very least, it offers more options for fun head-to-head play between the two groups.

A big set has a lot of opportunities for cool cards! But it also leaves ample room for some duds. Most Pokemon Trading Card Game sets over the years have overdelivered on unplayable, weak commons. It’s a well-known weakness of the game. The Pokemon Company has repeatedly opted to add new super-strong cards like EX, GX and V rather than better manage the power curve of standard creatures. We wish the game were more about evolution and playing with favorites, instead of using the single-digit number of power cards viable in a given metagame.

Compounding this problem is the recent trend of truly situational trainer cards. The game would benefit from a larger percentage of expansions devoted to Items and Supporters, so filling the limited allotment with cards like Spongy Gloves? It lets your creature deal 30 extra damage to watertypes. This trades slightly more damage for, uh, being worthless 90 percent of the time. Fusion Strike does a better job than most of adding important utilities to the game, but we still wish this would cease.

pokemon TCG fusion strike

About those good utilities, though! Most powerful effects in recent years have been relegated to Supporter cards, which you can only use once a turn. The Cross Switcher and Crossceiver cards let you do those on Item cards. Still, there’s a catch: you’ll need two. Time will tell whether this is a viable idea in competitive play. Even if it isn’t, we appreciate the deck-building flexibility it brings.

This set’s also heavy on the secret rares, pushing the card count to a hefty 284. In those special finds? Some cool trainers. Some special art. Also some cool trainers with special art! While it was quite doable to assemble a largely complete Celebrations set, Fusion Strike is much more daunting to collect.

There’s a lot of ideas in Fusion Strike, smatterings here and there as the Pokemon Trading Card Game bridges the gap between the video game releases that give it focus. Some attempts work. Others, like the new Let’s All Rollout move, have interesting concepts but ultimately aren’t strong enough to be worth the effort. But Fusion Strike will serve as a solid foundation of cards to explore, especially when the upcoming TCG Live app will give many a new excuse to dip in and check out the game.

The Pokemon TCG Sword & Shield — Fusion Strike expansion will release on November 12, 2021. It follows the Evolving Skies expansion, which launched in August, as well as October’s special Celebrations set.

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Graham Russell
Graham Russell, editor-at-large, has been writing about games for various sites and publications since 2007. He’s a fan of streamlined strategy games, local multiplayer and upbeat aesthetics. He joined Siliconera in February 2020, and served as its Managing Editor until July 2022. When he’s not writing about games, he’s a graphic designer, web developer, card/board game designer and editor.