Top 6 Pokemon Cards: Skyridge Expansion
The Skyridge Set
Like many kids, I didn't even know how to play the TCG; I just enjoyed collecting and trading the cards. As an adult, I can better appreciate the strategic aspects of the game and still love to scour through cards and find the best of the best.
Skyridge was the last expansion produced by Wizards of the Coast (famous for Magic: The Gathering), after which Nintendo would take the reigns. Like its predecessor, Skyridge offered new versions of the Kanto and Johto pokemon, giving Trainers more options than ever. Which reigned supreme? Here are the six best Skyridge pokemon!
- Basic Pokemon can be played from your hand as you like.
- Stage 1 Pokemon are evolutions that must be played on a corresponding Basic Pokemon.
- Stage 2 Pokemon are further evolutions to be played on corresponding Stage 1 Pokemon.
Stage 1/ Normal
Like all Normal Pokemon, Ursaring fits well in any deck because its attacks can be powered by any type of Energy. He enters the fray with a solid 80 HP and two fearsome moves:
- Bear Hug (3 Energy) Constricts for 30, and prevents the opponent from retreating on the next turn.
- Rend (4 Energy) Slices for 40, and inflicts an extra 20 damage if the opponent already had damage on them.
Rend can do 100 damage if used twice (120 if the opponent already has damage); utilize two Double Colorless Energy cards to access its power with just two Energy cards. Like most Normal creatures, Ursaring takes extra damage from Fighting Pokemon, so be on your guard.
Stage 1/ Water
Gyarados emerges with an awesome 90 HP and two superb abilities, but also a weakness to Electric:
- Flame Vapor (Poke-Power): When you evolve your Magikarp, and it's your Active Pokemon, this power triggers and lets you flip two coins. Each Heads lets you remove an Energy from the Defending Pokemon!
- Dragon's Vengeance (4 Energy) Simply thrashes for 50, or if Gyarados has at least 7 damage counters, 100 damage!
If only Gyarados had access to a weaker attack while building for Dragon's Vengeance, it'd be nigh-unstoppable. As is, time Flame Vapor and Dragon's Vengeance well to make the most of both traits.
Stage 1/ Electric
One of Eevee's best evolutions, Jolteon has a Poke-Body, two attacks, and a free Retreat Cost!
- Self-healing (Poke-Body) Removes any status conditions from Jolteon whenever you attach an Electric Energy from your hand to it.
- Thundershock (1 Energy) Jolts for 10, and flips a coin. A Heads paralyzes the opponent.
- Thunderspark (3 Energy) Shocks for 40, and hits all Benched Pokemon who have at least one Energy for 10. Remember that this can hurt your own Bench as well as your opponent's.
Jolteon accesses two useful moves while being able to remove status or retreat without losing Energy. Beware Fighting types, who will make short work of Jolteon's 70 HP.
Stage 1/ Psychic
This iteration of Starmie adopts Psychic rather than Water as its type, and arrives with a nice 80 HP and two potent techniques:
- Energy Burst (1 Energy) Flips a coin. Heads lets you deal damage equal to 10 times the number of Energy on both Starmie and the opponent.
- Star Back (3 Energy) Blasts for 40, and allows you to attach a Basic Energy from your discard pile to any of your Pokemon. Great for preparing other warriors or for strengthening Energy Burst.
Starmie deals great damage while preparing other creatures for battle. Star Back is another great candidate for a Double Colorless Energy.
Stage 1/ Normal
Persian pounces in with 70 HP, two incredible moves, and a free Retreat Cost
- Surprise Slash (2 Energy) Slices for 20, and flips a coin. A Heads not only lets you see your opponent's hand, but allows you to pick a Trainer card which they must shuffle into their deck!
- Lunge (2 Energy) Lands an awesome 50 damage, but only works if you get Heads on a coin flip.
Persian's great because it'll go into any deck and can access both attacks with just one Double Colorless Energy, letting you strike your adversary while saving Energy for other Pokemon. Even if you don't draw a Double Colorless, two of any other Energy serve just as well, and remember you always retreat for free if things get dicey.
Stage 2/ Fighting
Machamp has just what Trainers need: 120 HP, a terrific Poke-Body, and two lethal attacks:
- Immunity (Poke-Body) Prevents all effects of opponent's attacks (other than damage) done to Machamp! Yea, this is pretty overpowered.
- Drag Off (2 Energy) Before dealing damage, you switch the Defending Pokemon with one on your opponent's Bench (if any) and smash that creature for 20 damage. Not especially powerful, but lets you mess with your opponent while amassing resources for. . .
- Hurricane Punch (4 Energy) Flips four coins and pummels 30 damage for each Heads! A Double Colorless helps here, letting you attack after just three Energy are attached.
What else can I say? Immunity really helps keep Machamp alive and healthy, Hurricane Punch lands massive damage, and Drag Off prevents you from wasting turns if you can't yet afford Hurricane.
Which card do you favor?
Skyridge offered yet another great array of Kanto and Johto cards and utilized the Nintendo e-Reader for some hidden attacks (though these weren't tournament legal).
Feel free to vote for your favorite card, and I'll see you at our next expansion countdown, where Nintendo's new leadership led to fresh designs and new mechanics: the EX Ruby & Sapphire set!