Review: Pokemon TCG – Furious Fists

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With the recent successful launch of X and Y, together with the anticipated release of Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, the Pokemon series is striking out to reclaim fallen fans and integrate new players into the fold. The same can easily be said of the Trading Card Game, which has continued to keep pace with the release of the software titles, introducing new tricks and playstyles with each iteration. Given that the videogame series now has Mega Evolution firmly established, rules for such superpowered attacks in the card game were woven into the existing rulesets not long ago — and the newest expansion to the Pokemon Trading Card Game, Furious Fists, adds two further souped up beasties to competitive play, in fan favourite Mega Lucario and supercharged beetle-critter Mega Heracross.

As always, Mega Evolution cards are EX cards — highly powerful and rare monsters that come at the cost of awarding your opponent two Prizes instead of one if defeated. Furious Fist sweels the Trading Card Game’s EX population by five, beyond the Mega Evolutions aforementioned — the featured creatures are Hawlucha, Lucario, Seismitoad, Heracross and Dragonite.

As is par for the course, the legions of booster packs soon to line shop shelves are joined by two preconstructed theme decks. Enchanted Echo integrates Fairy and Grass Type creatures, together with the ever-versatile Colourless kind, and emphasises disruption of your opponent’s forces. The poster-child for this theme deck is Sylveon, the new generation’s favourite pink fluffy Eeveelution — and special mention must be given to the new Eevee cards found in this deck, and in Furious Fists at large. The new Eevee card now has the ability to instantly adapt to the energy card you attach, so a player with a Leafeon card waiting in their deck, for instance, can attach Grass Energy to Eevee and be given the free ability to search their deck for Leafeon and instantaneously play an evolution.

Scrafty's Machine Gun Headbutt move has the potential to inflict 150 damage in a single turn -- although, as you'd expect of anyone who goes around repeatedly nutting things, it renders him confused.

Scrafty’s Machine Gun Headbutt move has the potential to inflict 150 damage in a single turn — although, as you’d expect of anyone who goes around repeatedly nutting things, it renders him Confused (and probably questioning his lifestyle choices).

Furious Fists also launches with the Dark Hammer Theme Deck, which aligns with the new Fighting Type focus of this expansion (and the new Fighting Energy card is something to behold, ramping up damage — although it can only be affixed to its corresponding Type). Pitting the two Theme Decks against each other, it was rapidly apparent which deck stood out. Dark Hammer rapidly mobilises Energy, moreso than its Fairy-Grass counterpart, allowing the combat-heavy deck to dish out the damage swiftly. It won over Enchanted Echo in every playtest, yet Theme Decks are freqiently sold with modification in mind. However, its apparent that Dark Hammer is much more capable of holding its own straight out of the box, compared to its counterpart.

Pangoro is the featured creature for Dark Hammer, and the deck combines Dark and Fighting Types to great effect. Pancham is a Fighting Type, but can evolve as an attack if other Dark critters are in play, making for an interesting Type shift into the hefiter Pangoro — whose major attack not only deals considerable damage, but also forces the opponent to discard a card from the deck. It’s the sort of combination of disruption and powerful attacks that is increasingly characterising the Pokemon Trading Card Game, and we also have to give a shout out to Lickitung and its evolution for laying some serious smackdown.

All in all, the new cards bring some intriguing new abilities and attacks to the game, with plenty to keep fans hungry for just one more booster. However, of the Theme Decks, our recommendation definitely goes to Dark Hammer for some combat-ready goodness. Sylveon and his compatriots resemble more of a fixer-upper, of sorts — the instant-evolution Eevees, for example, will prove a valuable resource to any aficionado of the world’s favourite genetically unstable foxy thing.

It’s hard to believe that the Pokemon Trading Card Game has been around for eighteen years now. It’s staggering, but a testament to the game’s strength of play — and, given that it runs parallel to the evolution of the game series, it’s no surprise that the game continues to invent new strategies and techniques on a consistent basis. We’re looking forward to getting our hands on those new Mega Evolutions, too!

Pokemon TCG – Furious Fists is available in stores now.

Author: Tony White

Narcissistic manchild Tony is known for his penchant for red and black, and was the accidental but grateful namesake of a sandwich in a Norwich coffee shop. He appreciates any media that doesn’t take itself too seriously. He doodles, does a weird webcomic and self-publishes comedy novels despite popular demand.

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