The new Pokemon Trading Card Game expansion is a big one! Combining Japanese sets and promos into one big release, there’s a lot to explore. But which are the best Fusion Strike cards? We’re here to help.
The coolest cards
Boltund V’s normal art may be its best, with lightning bolts reinforcing its blinding speed. It’s a decent card, too. It can inflict some chip damage and retreat with Smash Turn or throw a bit of splash damage at the bench with Electrobullet. But mainly? Fella looks fierce.
Meanwhile, Deoxys is here, as always, to break the conventions of the game. This time? It has Fusion Strike, Rapid Strike and Single Strike icons all at once. It’s designed for Fusion Strike first, as its attack does more damage with that special energy card, but colorless energy requirements mean it might see some play in peculiar scenarios and it’s a real boon in limited play. (Which we still wish The Pokemon Company would support better! It’s fun, but it needs help to be viable in ways other card games don’t.)
Visually, very little competes with the secret rare variant of Gengar VMAX. Gigantamax Gengar is really something as it is. Presented at a scary angle, sucking up all the scenery? It certainly backs up its move, Fear and Panic. Conveniently, that move’s also pretty good, making opponents pay for filling the board with V and GX cards by multiplying its damage.
The most interesting cards
Pyukumuku is an intriguing design, because it might make a competitive deck and simultaneously never see play. Its Pitch a Pyukumuku ability lets you put it on the bottom of the deck from your hand and draw a card. So… why would this be used? Well, hey, decks have a minimum size! If you want to run a 56-card deck to get to the rest of your cards faster, four of these in the mix will let you do essentially that.
Also catching our eye is Tsareena V. Its Queen’s Orders attack lets you discard benched creatures for more damage, which… as a primary effect, it’s not much! But that secondary use? Dumping whatever you want from your bench. There are a lot of combo possibilities, but even at a base level, getting rid of damaged Pokemon so they aren’t Knocked Out or clearing bench space for more one-time-use abilities is nice.
This is a little thing, sure, but the set containing two Cinderace V cards is also nice. Pokemon has always been about building slightly different versions of the same creature for competitive advantage, but at the high end, it’s been tough to replicate that in the card game. We’d love to see more build options for competitive-level creatures and not just 9,000 Pikachu.
The most meta-relevant cards
If the Fusion Strike mechanic has any chance in competitive play, it’ll be with the aid of Oricorio. Its Lesson in Zeal ability prevents some damage to all your Pokemon with that designation, filling the all-too-valuable “Bench Pokemon Who’s Basically Just a Trainer” role.
Energy acceleration is always key, and while it’s only for two types and takes running a whole evolution line, you’ll probably see a couple of Swampert occasionally. Muddy Water is handy, letting you put extra Fighting or Water energy down each turn.
In terms of Trainer cards, we’re keeping an eye on Adventurer’s Discovery. As long as the format is dominated by Pokemon V, a card that lets you search for three of them is going to be nice to have.
The cutest cards
We’ve always had a soft spot for Jigglypuff, but you will too when you see it roll about in well-drawn pastels. Challenging it for the top spot, though, is Chansey. Sitting peacefully in a more cutout style, both of these pink blobs are quite huggable.
Growlithe, on the other hand, deserves some credit for making a cool and tough Pokemon so approachable and relaxed. It’s just resting near some steps, and it’ll remind you of all your favorite pups that are for sure just a minute or two away from a nap.
Honorable mention to Skitty, a very cute creature that has somehow regularly been captured at less flattering angles on TCG art. This one? This one’s good.
What do you think are the best Fusion Strike cards? Let us know in the comments! For more on the set, check out our overview. 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.