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My Top Ten Cards from Unbroken Bonds

Hello and welcome. Now that Unbroken Bonds has been released, it's time for me to voice my opinion on this upcoming set. Today, I'll be counting down my top ten cards that I think look the most fun to play and that I'm most excited to jam into my new brews. Let's get started.

Honorable Mention

The first couple of cards that I'll be discussing aren't quite in my top ten. They landed just outside of it, but I wanted to mention them anyway because I think they have potential.


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Dust Island
Trainer — Stadium

Whenever either player switches their Poisoned Active Pokémon with 1 of their Benched Pokémon with the effect of a Trainer card, the new Active Pokémon is now affected by that Special Condition.

This card stays in play when you play it. Discard this card if another Stadium card comes into play. If another card with the same name is in play, you can’t play this card.

Poison gets a huge boost when you have Dust Island in play. While there are other ways to get your Active Pokemon onto your Bench without using a Trainer (mainly by paying their Retreat Cost, although there are Abilities that can help with this), the most common way is with cards like Switch CES 147 or Guzma BUS 115. If you're able to poison your opponent's Active Pokemon, you could really mess up their plans by forcing them to discard energy to pay a retreat cost, since most competitive decks play only the minimum necessary energy cards.


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Lt. Surge’s Strategy
Trainer — Supporter

You can play this card only if you have more Prize cards remaining than your opponent.

During this turn, you can play 3 Supporter cards (including this card).

You may play only 1 Supporter card during your turn (before your attack).

If you've ever had to choose between playing two Supporters before and wondering which one would be most beneficial to you and whether you were making a mistake by playing one and not the other, now you don't have to choose. Play them both thanks to Lt. Surge's Strategy UNB 178. The only caveat is that you have to have more Prize cards than your opponent does. While that limits the playability of this card, usually the times that I need to play two Supporters in a turn are when I'm losing. I think this card has a lot of potential and will probably be a two-of in many decks.

And now, on to the official Top Ten.

# 10

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Gastly — 40 HP — [P]

Ability: Swelling Spite
When this Pokémon is Knocked Out, search your deck for up to 2 Haunter and put them onto your Bench. Then, shuffle your deck.

[C][C] Will-O-Wisp: 20

Weakness: [D]×2
Resistance: [F]-20
Retreat: 1

If you're in need of a full bench, Gastly UNB 67 is here to help. While it might not be the most efficient way of filling your Bench, going down a Prize or two isn't always a bad thing. Evolving as a result of getting knocked out is a pretty neat effect that is just waiting for someone to build a deck around.

# 9

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Honchkrow-GX — 210 HP — [D]
Stage 1 — Evolves from Murkrow

Ability: Ruler of the Night
As long as this Pokémon is your Active Pokémon, your opponent can’t play any Pokémon Tool, Special Energy, or Stadium cards from their hand.

[D][C][C] Feather Storm: 90
This attack does 30 damage to 2 of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon-GX and Pokémon-EX. (Don’t apply Weakness and Resistance for Benched Pokémon.)

[C][C] Unfair GX
Your opponent reveals their hand. Discard 2 cards from it. (You can’t use more than 1 GX attack in a game.)

Pokémon-GX rule: When your Pokémon-GX is Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize cards.

Weakness: [L]×2
Resistance: [F]-20
Retreat: 2

Against the right deck, Ruler of the Night can be an absolutely devastating Ability. You can make it so that your opponent can no longer search for free with Jirachi TEU 99 if there's no Escape Board UPR 122]] on it. Shrine of Punishment CES 143 can't be played to punish you for playing Pokemon-GX. Choice Band GRI 121 won't be able to help your opponent deal extra damage. Double Colorless Energy SUM 136 can't be used to speed up an opponent's attacks. While the Ruler of the Night Ability doesn't do anything for Pokemon Tool, Special Energy, or Stadium cards already in play, it does stop additional ones from being played by your opponent. Then you can use things like Field Blower GRI 125 and Enhanced Hammer GRI 124 to clean things up.

# 8

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Hypno — 110 HP — [P]
Stage 1 — Evolves from Drowzee

Ability: Hypnotic Pendulum
When your opponent’s Active Pokémon is Knocked Out, flip a coin. If heads, choose which of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon becomes their new Active Pokémon.

[P][C][C] Stir the Brain: 30+
This attack does 10 more damage for each card in your opponent’s hand.

Weakness: [P]×2
Retreat: 2

With Hypno UNB 72's Hypnotic Pendulum Ability, you have the potential to set up a string of easy KO's. Even if you only win fifty percent of your coin flips, being able to move up a Pokemon that already has some damage on it or is weak to your Active Pokemon's type can make taking Prize cards much easier. Or, if you need to, you can always bring up a Pokemon with a high retreat cost so you can stall for a turn or two to try to get things set up on your side of the board.

# 7

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Togekiss — 140 HP — [Y]
Stage 2 — Evolves from Togetic

Ability: Fairy Feast
Once during your turn (before your attack), you may heal 30 damage from each of your [Y] Pokémon.

[Y][C] Magical Shot: 70

Weakness: [M]×2
Resistance: [D]-20
Retreat: 1

In a dedicated Fairy deck, Togekiss UNB 138's Fairy Banquet can really help slow down any progress your opponent is making. Can you imagine how frustrating it would be with multiple copies of Togekiss UNB 138 in play? While it won't be likely that you'll be able to shrug off 120 damage every turn, healing 60 sounds possible.

# 6

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Aggron — 170 HP — [M]
Stage 2 — Evolves from Lairon

[M][C][C] Extra-Tight Press: 80
During your opponent’s next turn, if this Pokémon is damaged by an attack (even if this Pokémon is Knocked Out), put 8 damage counters on the Attacking Pokémon.

[M][C][C][C] Giga Impact: 160
This Pokémon can’t attack during your next turn.

Weakness: [R]×2
Resistance: [P]-20
Retreat: 4

I really like how Aggron UNB 125's Tight Press attack makes it detrimental for your opponent to attack you next turn. Against some opponents, you might be able to win on the spot, as they won't be able to attack without knocking out their last remaining Pokemon. While this attack is a bit expensive to use, the fact that you can deal 160 damage over the course of a couple of turns (attacking on your turn and then taking damage on your opponent's turn) helps to make up for the cost.

# 5

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Lucario & Melmetal-GX — 260 HP — [M]
Basic — TAG TEAM

[C][C] Steel Fist: 50
Search your deck for a [M] Energy card and attach it to this Pokémon. Then, shuffle your deck.

[M][M][C][C] Heavy Impact: 150

[C][+] Full Metal Wall GX
For the rest of this game, your [M] Pokémon take 30 less damage from your opponent’s attacks (after applying Weakness and Resistance). If this Pokémon has at least 1 extra Energy attached to it (in addition to this attack’s cost), discard all Energy from your opponent’s Active Pokémon. (You can’t use more than 1 GX attack in a game.)

TAG TEAM rule: When your TAG TEAM is Knocked Out, your opponent takes 3 Prize cards.

Weakness: [R]×2
Resistance: [P]-20
Retreat: 3

This is another card that, in the right deck, has a ton of potential. I really love the Full Metal Wall GX attack as it can permanently reduce the damage your team takes for the remainder of the game, as long as you're playing with an all-Metal team. You can further combine this effect with things like Metal Frying Pan FLI 112 and Metal Goggles TEU 148 to further reduce the damage your opponent can dish out.

# 4

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Whimsicott-GX — 190 HP — [Y]
Stage 1 — Evolves from Cottonee

Ability: Fluffy Cotton
If any damage is done to this Pokémon by attacks, flip a coin. If heads, prevent that damage.

[Y] Energy Blow: 10+
This attack does 30 more damage times the amount of Energy attached to this Pokémon.

[Y] Toy Box GX
Search your deck for up to 5 cards and put them into your hand. Then, shuffle your deck. (You can’t use more than 1 GX attack in a game.)

Pokémon-GX rule: When your Pokémon-GX is Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize cards.

Weakness: [M]×2
Resistance: [D]-20
Retreat: 1

Fluffy Cotton is an amazing Ability, as long as you win the coin flip. It can help you win a game you should otherwise lose. If there were more ways in Standard to affect the result of coin flips, Whimsicott-GX UNB 140 would definitely be part of a Tier 1 deck. As it is, this Ability still looks to be a lot of fun to use and I expect to be able to provide you with a cool decklist featuring it in the near future.

# 3

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Celesteela-GX — 200 HP — [C]
Basic — Ultra Beast

Ability: Force Canceler
As long as this Pokémon is your Active Pokémon, prevent all effects of your opponent’s GX attacks, including damage, done to your Pokémon.

[C][C][C] Power Cyclone: 110
Move an Energy from this Pokémon to 1 of your Benched Pokémon.

[C] Discovery GX
Count your Prize cards and put them into your hand. Then, take that many cards from the top of your deck and put them face down as your Prize cards. If you don’t have that many cards in your deck, this attack does nothing. (You can’t use more than 1 GX attack in a game.)

Pokémon-GX rule: When your Pokémon-GX is Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize cards.

Weakness: [L]×2
Resistance: [F]-20
Retreat: 4

If your opponent happens to be playing a deck that features a lot of Pokemon-GX, Celesteela-GX UNB 163 is just the Pokemon you want to be playing. Preventing all effects, including damage, is amazingly powerful. And with 200 HP, it'll take a few hits before Celesteela-GX UNB 163 gets knocked out by a non-GX Pokemon. I just don't want to see the inevitable Celesteela-GX UNB 163 vs. Celesteela-GX UNB 163 match.

# 2

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Incineroar — 160 HP — [R]
Stage 2 — Evolves from Torracat

Ability: Strong Cheer
Your Pokémon’s attacks do 30 more damage to your opponent’s Active Pokémon (before applying Weakness and Resistance). You can’t apply more than 1 Strong Cheer Ability at a time.

[R][C] Flamethrower: 90
Discard an Energy from this Pokémon.

Weakness: [W]×2
Retreat: 2

Incineroar UNB 29's Strong Yell Ability acts like a Choice Band GRI 121 against all of your opponent's Active Pokemon. Sure, it's an Ability on a Stage 2 Pokemon, but there are ways to get Stage 2's out earlier, so don't let that deter you from trying this. Extra damage means that you'll be able to KO your opponent's Active Pokemon quicker, which equates to a faster game. Isn't that what the Pokemon TCG is all about -- winning as quickly as possible?

# 1

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Dedenne-GX — 160 HP — [L]

Ability: Dedechange
When you play this Pokémon from your hand onto your Bench during your turn, you may discard your hand and draw 6 cards. You can’t use more than 1 Dedechange Ability each turn.

[L][C] Static Shock: 50

[L][C] Tingly Return GX: 50
Your opponent’s Active Pokémon is now Paralyzed. Put this Pokémon and all cards attached to it into your hand. (You can’t use more than 1 GX attack in a game.)

Pokémon-GX rule: When your Pokémon-GX is Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize cards.

Weakness: [F]×2
Resistance: [M]-20
Retreat: 1

My top pick from this set has to go to Dedenne-GX UNB 57. It's Dedechange Ability allows you an easy way to get cards from your hand into your discard pile, as well as allowing you to draw six new cards. If you manage to string together four copies of Dedenne-GX UNB 57, you'll have seen over half of your deck. Dedenne-GX UNB 57 grants you card advantage, which is really what is needed to win games. I have no doubt that Dedenne-GX UNB 57 will be a popular choice to include in many Lightning-based decks in Standard for some time to come.

Wrapping Up

There you have it, my top ten cards from Unbroken Bonds. These are the cards that I'm most looking forward to playing. All of these cards may not see tournament play, but some of them have the potential to. I'm interested in hearing your thoughts on my list as well as what cards you like best from this upcoming set. Let me know by leaving a comment below or you can reply to me directly on Twitter (@mikelikesmtg), or email me directly at And be sure to join me here again as I continue my search for innovative decks in my Searching Standard series. I'll see you then!

— Mike Likes

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