The new Pokemon TCG expansion Darkness Ablaze, out August 14, brings with it many new cards and strategies — not to mention the first-ever Gigantamax Charizard card — and the […]
The new Pokemon TCG expansion Darkness Ablaze, out August 14, brings with it many new cards and strategies — not to mention the first-ever Gigantamax Charizard card — and the most powerful of the bunch may very well be Bunnleby. Seriously, the cute little digging Pokemon is so powerful that it can knock out Pokemon’s god of creation, Arceus, along with its two Legendary enforcers, Dialga and Palkia, in one hit.
Bunnelby is one of the new Mad Party Pokemon introduced in Darkness Ablaze. Like Night March before it, Mad Party is a mechanic that increases attack power by 20 for every Pokemon with the Mad Party attack in the discard pile. Whereas Night March only had 12 Pokemon to work with, Pokemon’s ever-growing power creep has afforded Mad Party a grand total of 16 Pokemon. That means Bunnelby can swing for a staggering 300 damage, which is enough to land a clean knock out on the 280 HP Pokemon Tag Team card Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX.
We’re going to cover how to obtain the Mad Party deck on the cheap, how to play it, and some counter strategies to be aware of. It’s party time!
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Partying on a Budget
The fact that the Mad Party Pokemon cards are easy to obtain will undoubtedly make this deck an attractive choice for players looking for a strong yet budget-friendly deck. Bunnelby is Common while Dedenne and Polteageist are Uncommon, leaving Galarian Mr. Rime as the only Rare in the bunch. Sinistea is Common, as well, and though it doesn’t have the Mad Party attack, you’ll want to play it in order to use Polteageist’s fantastic Ability called Tea Break that lets you discard a Mad Party Pokemon in order to draw two cards from the deck.
At the time of publishing this article, a quick search on TCGPlayer for a playset of all Mad Party Pokemon (that’s four of each) added up to a mere $6.75. Prices are subject to change, of course, but expect the price to remain budget-friendly for the foreseeable future.
Cards with discarding effects like Quick Ball, Dedenne-GX, and Professor’s Research can aid in quickly ramping up big damage. These cards are all obtainable in the recently released Pokemon TCG: Trainers’ Toolkit — easily the best value for someone looking to get into the Pokemon TCG. It contains numerous staples that will be useful in virtually every deck. The Toolkit retails for $29.95 and also includes sleeves, dice, and other goodies, but you can find people selling just the cards for a cheaper price on the secondary market.
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A Maddening Strategy
Ideally, the Mad Party deck will win by skewing the Prize trade in your favor. It does this by taking one- and two-hit knockouts on big Pokemon worth two or three Prizes, while only giving up one Prize at a time itself. Remember, a game of Pokemon ends when one player takes six Prize cards. This is a strategy that made Night March a force to be reckoned with during its time in the Standard format back in the XY era, so while it’s hard to say where Mad Party will land on the current tier list, it’s undeniable that it has potential.
To execute the Mad Party strategy, you’ll want to make it a priority to discard your Dedennes and Galarian Mr. Rimes into the discard pile and reserve your Bunnelbys for attacking. Set up one or two Polteageist to use Tea Break, then use it to close out the game as an attacker when you run out of Bunnelby.
Keep an eye on how much damage you’re doing each turn by counting the number of Mad Party Pokemon in the discard pile and adjusting the total accordingly. It’s okay to lose a few Prizes at the start of the game while you get set up because you’ll be taking big knockouts to catch up later on.
Make sure to map out your Prizes in the most efficient manner possible (for example, knocking out a one, two and three Prizer, or knocking out a pair of three Prizers) and save your Boss’ Orders to help you stick to that plan.
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While the Mad Party strategy has its obvious strengths, it also has some pretty glaring weaknesses.
Bunnelby is your main attacker but it only has 40 HP. Polteageist is your backup attacker, but its 60 HP isn’t much better. Mad Party is the definition of a glass cannon.
If your opponent is playing a straightforward beatdown deck, having fragile attackers won’t be an issue, but the second they start playing cards that can spread damage, like the popular Galarian Zigzagoon paired with Scoop-up Net or the new Salamence VMAX, then you’re in trouble because it’ll allow them to dismantle your board and take multiple Prizes in a single turn. The new Tool card Big Parasol can help against Pokemon with attacks that spread damage.
There’s also the matter of Energy. Bunnleby and Polteageist have a two colorless attack cost, which Twin Energy easily fulfills. The downside is that you can only play four Twin Energy because it’s a Special Energy card, and there are no cards like the old Special Charge to recycle them back into the deck. You can lean on Triple Acceleration Energy as a backup, although it can only be used on evolved Pokemon, so it’ll only work with Polteageist. Night March did well despite only having four copies of Double Colorless Energy to work with, so there’s a precedent for players still finding success despite this limitation.
Finally, even though Bunnelby can technically one-shot Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX, the deck may be too slow to do that when it counts. ADP is an incredibly popular card and the foundation of one of the best and most popular decks, all because of its Altered Creation GX attack that awards an extra Prize per knockout for the rest of the game. ADP decks are specifically built to achieve Altered Creation GX on the second turn, so against a deck like Mad Party, that means the game will be over after landing three simple knockouts. That will prove to be a tough challenge for anyone piloting the Mad Party deck.
All that said, doing a staggering amount of damage with single Prizers like Bunnelby and Polteageist will always be considered good. Pokemon TCG experts on YouTube like The SAbleyes and Flex Daddy Righteous have already posted Mad Party deck lists for players to try out. The Sword and Shield era introduced Pokemon VMAX, gargantuan Pokemon with 300+ HP that give up three Prizes when they go down, so as more players start to build decks around them, the better Mad Party will get. The only question is, are you mad enough to try it out?
Joshua is Senior Editor and Producer of Features at IGN. If Pokemon, Green Lantern, or Game of Thrones are frequently used words in your vocabulary, you’ll want to follow him on Twitter @JoshuaYehl and IGN.
Source: IGN Video Games All