The newest expansion in the Pokemon Trading Card Game (TCG) Steam Siege and it has multiple noteworthy cards to talk about.
Steam Siege is the 11th expansion in the XY TCG series. It re-introduces the dual-type mechanic that we saw way back when with Delta Species. This mechanic doubles your chance at having the type advantage against your opponent’s Pokemon while still only keeping one weakness. I will not be doing a review of this new set until the new standard format comes into play after the Pokemon World Championship on August 19th.
Yanmega, paired with Yanmega Break, is a very unique card. It revolves around maintaining your hand at 4 cards. Luckily there are a few cards that help you keep your hand small, such as Judge and Red Card. Judge makes both players shuffle their hand into the deck and draw only 4 cards. Red Card does the same but only to your opponent so it wont be of any use here. The reason we want to keep our hand small is for Yanmega’s ability Sonic Vision. This allows you to ignore all your energy costs of attacks so long as you only have 4 cards in hand. In theory you can run this deck with little to no energy at all.
The rare Volcanion is a great addition to the fire support we have been seeing. Since we will be losing Blacksmith in the new format, Volcanion helps get those energies from the discard directly onto your Pokemon. Using the stadium card Scorched Earth, you can consistently put energy into the discard while gaining draw power. Then use the move Power Heater to put fire energy on 2 of your Pokemon. Volcanion can easily go into almost any fire deck.
Unlike many of this expansion’s cards, Ampharos is fairly underrated. It has a very good ability and a very decent attack. Its ability Shocking Light allows you to put 3 damage counters onto any of your opponents EX Pokemon. Having 2 or 3 of these on the field, you can do lots of damage to your opponent before you even use your main attack. Gigavolt does decent damage, then has an effect based on the flip of a coin. Heads, you do 40 additional damage and tails, your opponent is paralyzed.
Xerneas is much like a better version of Delphox from the Fates Collide expansion. The exception is that the amount of energy needed is 2 instead of 3, it only applies to your Pokemon in play, and Xerneas break is evolved from a basic Pokemon, not a stage 2. By turn 2 it is possible to have Xerneas Break on the field and dealing very decent damage to your opponent. I couldn’t find a better image of the card, but that’s because the beautiful multi-layered foil on the card makes it very difficult to scan in while still looking good.
Talonflame has the potential to sweep your opponent within a couple turns. Gale Wings allows you to play this stage 2 Pokemon when setting up before the game begins, provided it is in your starting hand. What this means is that you have a stage 2 Pokemon turn 1 and thus bypassing the process of evolving your Pokemon. Not game breaking in the slightest, but it is nice to see these outside the box Pokemon cards.
Captivating Poke Puff
Some decks will utilize Poke Puff more than others, but it has great potential to disrupt the draw power of your opponents Shaymin. Shaymin allows you to fill your hand to 6 cards when you play the card from your hand on your turn. Usually you will know when your opponent has a Shaymin in their hand. Activate Poke Puff and their Shaymin will come onto the bench but your opponent doesn’t get the draw power. It has potential to disrupt a play almost every deck uses.
Once in a while you will only start with a Shaymin or Hoopa EX. When you start with either of these two in your setup, you cannot utilize their effects. Ninja Boy solves this problem. Say you start with Hoopa EX. You can use Ninja Boy to take this active Pokemon and switch it with a different basic Pokemon from your deck. Hoopa then gets shuffled back into the deck and you can play on as you would. Easily a must-have card for any deck with either Shaymin or Hoopa.
Pokemon like Glaceon EX and Jolteon EX have become popular due to their attacks blocking damage from either basic or evolved Pokemon. Pokemon Ranger negates and removes these effects for one turn. It acts much like Hex Maniac (removes abilities for a turn). It is easily an important card to have at least once in your deck to counter your opponent.
Arguably the only decent EX Pokemon in the expansion is Volcanion EX. It is more of a tech-in card for any fire type deck. Its ability allows you to do 30 more damage at the cost of discarding a fire energy from your hand. The potential to do 30 extra damage at any time can be the difference between a win and a loss. Its main attack , Volcanic Heat does decent damage of 130 but leaves Volcanion EX unable attack the next turn. Let’s also not forget that this is one of the first dual-type EX Pokemon.
Hawlucha can be used in any deck due to it being colorless. Its appeal lies in its ability Sudden Cyclone. When played from the hand to the bench, it forces your opponent to switch. The only downside is that your opponent gets to choose what Pokemon comes out. Not game changing, but I have a feeling there will be a card in the future that will benefit from Pokemon switching in and out.
Overall this is a fairly decent expansion. It brings back dual-type Pokemon and introduces brand new Pokemon such as Magearna that have never before been seen in the video games or trading card game outside of trailers. I am glad they introduced more deck potentials outside of EX decks. Stay tuned for a expansion review come September after the dust has settled after the Pokemon World Championship.
Card images courtesy of Bulbapedia