Cards and Counters: Release Reactions of Spring 2017

In this segment of Cards and Counters called Release Reactions, we will give a brief look at what’s exciting about the new sets of Trading Card Games that were just released. Due to great timing and scheduling this Release Reactions will discuss Magic’s Amonket and Pokémon’s Sun & Moon Guardians Rising.  Below are some quick highlights of cards from each set that I find attractive and that I will most likely be playing.

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Pokémon, Sun & Moon Guardians Rising:

Released 5/5/17

In the wake of the Sun & Moon base set we were introduced to the Pokémon GX. With the release of the Guardians Rising expansion, we have been given an even more powerful and fun to play Pokémon GX. Some people may believe that the GX’s are just too OP and that you can’t play the game unless you run a GX in your deck. These points may be true in some cases, but what I have found is that the Pokémon GX have brought a level of balance to the game play that the EX’s have tried to offer up to this point. I say that because the EX’s are mostly basic Pokémon and are fairly easy to get out into battle. As for the GX’s, some of them are basics but the majority of them are the top stage of an evolutionary stack. This means a player will have to do a little more work to get a GX out.

And if you think that you can’t fight EX’s or GX’s with normal Pokémon think again. There are ways to get around even the most powerful of Pokémon.

One example that has worked for me when facing either a EX or GX with a basic Pokémon is Kangaskhan from Sun & Moon. With 130 HP it can and has lasted me two turns against higher damage attacks. With the Hurricane Punch attack you have the potential to deal up to 200 damage. For me, this card has cemented itself with at least 3 spots in my standard deck and has gotten me out of quite a few pickles.


With the play style that I have found myself growing into, the combo that I am most attracted to out of Guardians Rising is Lunala and Lunala GX. First, I look at Lunala and see Shatter Shot; this does “40 damage times the amount of psychic Energy attached to this Pokémon”. Then the attack Wings of the Moone; 130 damage and “Move all energy from this Pokémon to your benched Pokémon in any way you like”. So with Lunala as your active Pokémon and having to remove all of your energy from it to go to the bench, this will slow your game down immensely. But in your next turn by using Lunala GX’s Psychic Transfer ability you are able to get right back into the fight. “As often as you like during your turn (before you attack) you may move a psychic energy from 1 of your Pokémon to another 1 of you Pokémon”. Then if you get stuck and need to retreat either one of them, as long as you have the Stadium card Altar of the Moone, you will have a free retreat cost. This combo has the potential to be a great back bone to any psychic deck in the 2017 standard.






One game play change that has come out of Guardians Rising so far is for the Special Condition Burned. The rule now reads: “Between turns, put 2 damage counters on a Burned Pokémon. Then, the Pokémon’s owner flips a coin. If heads, remove the Special Condition Burned from that Pokémon.

I can see this being a great rule change and should bring play balance to the special conditions. We’ll have to wait and see.



MTG: Amonket:

Released 4/28/17

So about a year ago I stopped keeping up with MTG to focus on other games and find new things within the TCG universe. You could say that I had a stale period with the game, but with the buildup of Amonket, the game started to catch my eye again. This is definitely the set to bring me back into the game.

After a friend of mine played in the pre-release event, I asked him about what he was most excited for in Amonket and he had only one word…. Zombies! So I started thinking about a straight zombie creature deck within the standard format and how fun it can be. I am really enjoying how much more graveyard management can be done with the newer cards from the past year or so.

The cards for a zombie deck that I would like to discuss are Dread Wanderer (Amonket), Stitchwing Skaab and Prized Amalgam (both from Shadows of Innistrad). These interactions can be very fun to play with the potential of being difficult for the other player to defend against. With the hand management of Stitchwing Skaab and with Dread Wanderer constantly triggering Prized Amalgam, it’s pretty awesome not having to worry about your hand size or top decking what you need. Just being able to keep playing creatures right from your graveyard is even better. Setting this up should be fairly easy and the game play should flow fairly quickly due to the low costing creatures and abilities. I am excited to see what players will come up with to answer this type of deck.



So at a glance I will say that both games added a lot of great stuff with these new sets. If you’re looking for somewhere to play or just need some inspiration with play and deck building, don’t forget to come down to Great Stories on Tuesdays for Pokémon and Fridays for Friday Night Magic.

Don’t forget to comment here or just meet me down at the shop. Let me know what you want to see reviewed or played. Is there any new games out there that I should play?


Till the next adventure….    Count your mana


MTG Joke

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