The Pokémon Trading Card Game community celebrates the tenth main expansion of the Sun & Moon Series with Unbroken Bonds, which releases on 3 May 2019. The expansion catches the TCG up with the mechanical innovations from the previous three Japanese releases – Tag Bolt, Full Metal Wall, and Double Blaze.
The previous set, Team Up, proved successful, so Pokémon has opted to carry on the TAG TEAM mechanic in Unbroken Bonds with one duo for each color type and three additional Pokémon-GX.
As stated above, the TAG TEAM mechanic returns in Unbroken Bonds and boy does it shine! TAG TEAM Pokémon-GX come with high HP and damage, upgradable GX for high energy draws, and three Prize cards if the opponent manages to somehow take them down.
Starting off with representatives for the Hoenn and Alola regions, we have Psychic-type Muk & Alolan Muk-GX. Their resource costs may be off-the-charts, but they can cause your opponent's Pokémon to be Poisoned. They also have built-in healing and incremental damage counters. Next up, right out of the Grass fly Pheromosa & Buzzwole-GX, enabling trainers to deal quick damage for low costs and even quicker wins once [Beast Game GX] is upgraded and you get three additional Prize cards. Reshiram & Charizard-GX show off the strength of Fire-types with their ability to deal 200 - 300 Hit Points in damage. Going for Knock Outs are Fighting-types Marshadow & Machamp GX, which gain attack damage if any of your Pokémon are eliminated with [Revenge]. The Metal-types Lucario & Melmetal-GX fuel themselves with only one Metal Energy to activate their [Full Metal Wall GX] ability, which prevents damage to your Metal-types and, not to mention, discards all of your opponent’s attached Energy. In continuation, attaching Energy to Benched Pokémon is possible done with Fairy-types such as Gardevoir & Sylveon GX. They let their trainer switch Energy freely and can force the opponent to shuffle their hand into their deck. Finally, Greninja & Zoroark-GX can increase their attack power by playing mainly Darkness-types. They also get value from your discard pile by buying back up to four cards with [Dark Union GX].
Unbroken Bonds introduces a powerful mechanic that does not quite support the above roster. The colorless Triple Acceleration Energy can only be used with evolved Pokémon to fill in the power gap created by TAG TEAMs. This Energy will definitely be necessary when more Pokémon-GX with relevant abilities are printed in upcoming sets for the Standard format.
One example of this is the Colorless-type is Persian-GX, whose [Catwalk] ability lets you search for cards from your deck when your Pokémon are Knocked Out. Whimsicott-GX is a Fairy-type that can prevent damage with a coin flip and with [Toy Box GX], trainers can get five specifically-chosen cards from their deck. Darkness-type Honchkrow-GX stops opponents from playing anything but Pokémon cards and basic Energy cards.
Which TAG TEAM is best? Which GX is best? No matter what your answers are, trainers have a lot of experimentation ahead of them!