#1 Muscle Band
There shouldn’t be any surprises with our #1 card from
the set: Muscle Band isn’t the most original, exciting,
or complicated card, but it is going to be the most
widely played and have the most impact of anything in
Muscle Band is straightforward enough: it is a Tool card
that increases the damage done by a Pokémon’s attacks by
20. Historically, any card that adds damage is very
likely to see a lot of play: from
PlusPower to Deoxys
EX with Crobat G and Expert
Belt in between, most have had a big effect on the TCG.
Why? Put simply, they enable you to take a Prize that
you couldn’t have taken without them.
Muscle Band will do two major things in the game.
Firstly, it will allow some Pokémon to get in range for
a OHKO more easily: think of
Lugia EX with Muscle band
and 3-4 Deoxys EX
KOing an EX for three
Prizes, or Kyurem PLF plus
doing the same for two. Secondly, it turns those low
damage opening attacks into something that easily sets
up KOs later on. A Thundurus
EX with Muscle Band can
Raiden Knuckle for 50, which
means an easy KO next turn for a
Kyurem PLF or Lugia
EX. Meanwhile, a Virizion EX
with Muscle Band will Emerald Slash for 70, meaning that
Megalo Cannon can then score
unboosted KOs on 170 HP EXs.
Muscle Band also means one less Energy is required for
Yveltal EX’s Evil Ball or
Mewtwo’s X Ball.
It’s easier to ask what decks
Muscle Band, rather than what decks will. Things that
already have OHKO power like Emboar/Rayquaza
Kyurem don’t need it.
Locking decks like Gothitelle
or Trevenant won’t find it
essential either (though it is an option, even there).
Of course, we have Tool Scrapper, but that isn’t much
use after the fact, when an opponent has just dropped a
Band on Lugia for the OHKO.
Besides, players will run these in multiples.
Play this card, and be very aware of this card at all
times. It’s going to have near-staple status.
Modified: 4.75 (the kind of card that shapes a format)
Limited: 5 (why wouldn’t you?)
Do your Pokémon deal damage? Do you want to take prizes?
If you answered yes, then you should use Muscle Band!
Since Dark Explorers, all other types have been jealous
of Dark Claw but now the power that’s helped Darkrai EX
carve its niche in the meta is available to all types!
Strength Charm is officially obsolete now and 20 extra
damage is actually quite a lot. Considering you can put
it on an Yveltal and hit for 50 damage from turn 1 you
can see the potential for donks increased against decks
trying to evolve small Basics. It has an edge over its
counterpart tool Hard Charm in that you’re able to get
some use out of it before it rolls round to your
opponent’s turn and they can Tool Scrapper it away.
There’s not much you can say about it, damage wins games
and it gives you more damage… it’s simple but amazingly
good! It can go in any deck in this format and have a
good effect, I’d say it deserves its number 1 spot in
this XY countdown!
The same applies here as in
Modified. As long as you’re not playing something
strange like mill or most of your Pokémon deal damage in
the form of damage counters you’ll find some use in this
card. Some decks will want to swap out their Expert
Belts for Muscle Bands though the 20 extra HP may be
worth it in particular cases. Of course, you could
always use both for a little more reliability. With so
much deck searching available such as the ever popular
Castaway you can use it to deal the last 20 damage to
grab an essential KO when you need it or alternatively
just slap it on a small, cheap attacker and hammer away!
Again, not much to say… it’s simple and effective. It
combos with damaging attacks!
Unlimited 150: 5