Written by Zach Lesage on 9/21/2023 at category Articles
A Familiar Adventure
What’s poppin’ PTCGL Store readers? Are you ready to head out on a familiar Pokemon adventure? Pokemon 151 is a nostalgia overload mini-set that features all of the original 151 Pokemon from the Game Boy games, and brings them into our Standard Pokemon TCG format! This nod to the past has us rediscovering the Kanto region, playing around with some fan-favourite Pokemon, and more! So the biggest question is, “What Starter Pokemon are you going to choose?” Charmander, Bulbasaur, Squirtle, or Pikachu? Beyond being a hype set for collectors, Pokemon 151 does have a solid offering of cards for competitive players too! In this article, I’ll be sharing the best Pokemon from this set that will certainly shake up the online Pokemon TCG Live metagame, upcoming Pokemon TCG Regional Championships, and more! If you wanna grab some PTCGL Codes at a great price, be sure to use code zlesage5 to save 5% at the PTCGL store! With instant email delivery, you can start playing with your freshly acquired digital packs ASAP! Let’s jump into these cards!
It might not seem like much, but Charmander [Pokemon 151] is a better choice than the current Charmander [Obsidian Flames] because it has 70 HP. That means that Charizard ex [Obsidian Flames] decks can protect their Charmander from getting sniped by Sableye [Lost Origin], and use that extra HP to have a chance at setting up. The added bonus of Blazing Destruction being able to discard a Path to the Peak [Chilling Reign] from play really adds to the synergy this card has with Charizard ex decks. Charizard Ex has seen a little bit of success so far, but this Charmander likely pushes it up to the next level, and that makes it a huge boost!
I personally don’t think Charizard ex [Pokemon 151] is as big of an addition to the previously existing Charizard ex [Obsidian Flames] decks as the Charmander is, but we have to praise the option of a strong Fire-type attacker. Many players have teched Grass-type Pokemon to counter the Darkness-type Charizard ex, like Shaymin V [Brilliant Stars], but what if we counter those back? This new Charizard ex can easily score an early OHKO with its Brave Wing attack, and ramp up to a powerful Explosive Vortex attack out of nowhere. Most players will want to own at least a couple of copies of this card because it is so splashable into some top-tier Charizard Ex decks! And since it's a Charizard, I have to mention it is indeed a Charizard!
Blastoise Ex [Pokemon 151] is one of the most hyped attacking Pokemon out of Pokemon 151 because it can hit for massive amounts of damage for only two Water Energy! Twin Cannons swings for 280 damage, as long as you can discard two Water Energy from your hand, and you can easily grab that Water Energy with Chien-Pao ex [Paldea Evolved] or Superior Energy Retrieval [Paldea Evolved]. On top of that, Solid Shell allows Blastoise ex to take 30 less damage from attacks, which gives it a boosted pseudo-360 HP, making it virtually impossible to OHKO outside of Lightning-type Pokemon. The surrounding “engine” of this deck is up for debate, but Blastoise Ex certainly will see some amount of success at some point.
This new Pidgey [Pokemon 151] actually has less HP than the other Pidgey [Obsidian Flames] in format, but Call for Family is such an amazing setup attack. Back in the day, players would run Call for Family attacks to search for multiple Basic Pokemon, so having it on an auxiliary Pokemon is a great asset. This card will legitimately make Pidgeot ex [Obsidian Flames] that much better!
I might be in the minority on this one, but I have high hopes for this little Sandshrew [Pokemon 151]. Stopping your opponent from “looping” Trainer cards, like in dreaded Control decks, is a valuable asset to have in Standard. This card is to the format the same as Manaphy [Brilliant Stars] is to spread damage. Manaphy wouldn’t see much play if Radiant Greninja [Astral Radiance] wasn’t so popular, so we can assume that Sandshrew will see play once Control decks see more success. It's all about the deck-building options.
This is a card that fascinates because a Stage 1 Pokemon ex with 250 HP is kinda huge, and that's the main reason why I think Wigglytuff ex [Pokemon 151] can see some amount of success. It comes at the cost of running Special Energy, but that won’t hold this card back much. Considering Cheren’s Care [Brilliant Stars] works with this card, we might see some sort of Wigglytuff, Therapeutic Energy [Paldea Evolved], and Cheren’s Care combo being played in this deck! I think I’ll actually have to cook with this idea once Pokemon 151 is available on Pokemon TCG Live!
I don’t have much to comment on Vileplume [Pokemon 151], and Gloom [Pokemon 151] because it has a similar Ability. Beyond that, Energy acceleration is usually good. Fully Blooming Energy doesn’t seem like it's gonna see much success now, and it might never see success, but it might end up being our only choice in a distant Standard rotation. Right now, we have Baxcalibur [Paldea Evolved], Dark Patch [Astral Radiance], Mirage Gate [Lost Origin], and a handful of other options, but this could be our only option at some point. I would hold onto a few copies of this card just in case.
It's wild to me that we are getting back the full Alakazam ex [Pokemon 151] lineup, including Kadabra [Pokemon 151], which hasn’t seen a release since the early 2000s, but here we are. Alakazam ex has the very interesting Dimensional Hand attack that swings for 120 damage but can be used even if Alakazam ex is on the Bench. That is where you have the opportunity to cook up some wild ideas! Maybe you wanna hide it behind a 250 HP Wigglytuff ex, the damage counter placing Trevenant [Obsidian Flames], or maybe even Palkia [Celebrations]. You want either stick something up in the Active that is difficult or annoying to KO or have some sort of Ability that only works in the Active that doesn’t have a great attack! Alakazam ex will always be an interesting option, and I’m sure there will be some cool ideas that come with the release of this card.
Dodrio [Pokemon 151] has a few cool uses, but they mainly revolve around placing damage counters on it with its Zooming Draw Ability. Hisuian Zoroark VSTAR [Lost Origin] and Tyranitar ex [Obsidian Flames] both could see a bit more success with some self-damaging Pokemon, and Ballistic Break has some nice synergy too. Not the best card of all time, but it certainly might have its time and place.
I have a bunch of wild ideas that I want to try with Chansey [Pokemon 151], like using Peonia [Chilling Reign], and maybe Tsareena V [Fusion Strike], to make a fully functioning Lucky Bonus deck, but it is probably a distant dream. Whenever there is a mechanic to draw extra Prize Cards, like Iron Hands ex [Paradox Rift], you have to at least look into them. In this case, Chansey is cool enough to think about, but it does come at a steep cost. Either way, this card is one that I’ll continuously try to “crack” as long as it's legal!
Placing damage counters on Pokemon is a seriously successful combo in the Pokemon TCG, so we have to look at Starmie [Pokemon 151] by default. Mysterious Comet does come at a serious cost of discarding Starmie from play, but I could see this deck working in a Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX [Battle Styles] box deck because Octillery [Battle Styles] can search out Staryu [Fusion Strike], and there is the Water-type synergy with Irida [Astral Radiance] in that deck.
Having the option to switch Ditto [Pokemon 151] from the Active Spot to a different Basic Pokemon in your deck has to be good, right? This could be your “fifth” Comfey [Lost Origin] so that you have a lesser chance of starting Sableye [Lost Origin] in a Lost Zone Box deck, or maybe even a higher chance of starting something better in a Lugia VSTAR [Silver Tempest] deck. Ditto is a versatile card that will see some amount of play in its lifetime, and I’m sure that play can be at the absolute highest success possible!
Zapdos ex [Pokemon 151] is almost an instant add to the currently successful Miraidon ex [Scarlet and Violet] deck because we have Electric Generator [Scarlet and Violet], and Flaaffy [Evolving Skies] to get it all powered up. This allows an otherwise two Prize Card heavy deck to compete with a single Prize Card deck because you can now snipe the Bench. You’ll probably have to add in a Hawlucha [Scarlet and Violet] to activate the Bench snipe component of the attack, but it's likely worthwhile.
We saved the best for last, and the best Pokemon from Pokemon 151 happens to be Mew ex [Pokemon 151]. Its Restart Ability allows you to draw a few extra cards if you’re able to whittle your hand down to a low size, but we are mainly looking at this card for Genome Hacking (and the free Retreat is a well-received bonus). Being able to copy your opponent’s Active Pokemon to attack or using Boss’s Order’s [Paldea Evolved], allows you to open up gameplay in many decks that can accelerate Energy to it. With Gardevoir ex [Scarlet and Violet], Mirage Gate, Baxcalibur, Flaaffy, Archeops [Silver Tempest] and a few others working with Mew ex, you can copy attacks with ease. Whether you wanna copy Giratina VSTAR [Lost Origin] to OHKO for 280 damage or bring up Radiant Greninja to snipe two Pokemon at once, Mew ex is going to be that Pokemon! I expect this to be played in many decks, and its success is inevitable.
Off to Explore Kanto
Well, that’s what we have going on with the Scarlet and Violet: Pokemon 151 set for this article! Lots of great Pokemon, lots of collectables, and nostalgia! I’ve grown up with these Pokemon my entire life, and I can’t wait to play them on PTCG Live and the upcoming Pokemon TCG Regional Championships! I’ll be sure to share as much information as possible about upcoming decks, strategies, and more! And don’t forget to use the zlesage5 discount code to save 5% at the PTCGL store when you buy Pokemon TCG Live codes for your digital collection! I’ll catch up with you all next time!
About the Writer
Zach Lesage is a contributing writer for ptcglstore.com. As a Toronto local, he has been playing the Pokémon Trading Card Game since 2005 and creates Pokémon content as his full-time career. With multiple prestigious accomplishments in the game, such as the 2020 Players Cup 2 Champion and 2020 Oceania International Championships Finalist, he has proven his success in the game. Outside the game, he travels the world, enjoys the culture of designer streetwear, and is a professionally trained chef. You can catch him at most Pokémon events and follow him on Twitter https://twitter.com/ZachLesagePTCG.