Pokémon TCG Prerelease tournaments let players be the first to get their hands on the newest expansion and try out the latest cards in action. Pokémon TCG: Sun & Moon—Team Up Prerelease tournaments will be held January 19–27, 2019, shortly before the expansion launches on February 1. Check with your local game store to see when they're hosting one of these events!
When you sit down to play at a Prerelease tournament, you'll receive a Build & Battle Box containing a 23-card Evolution pack, which includes an exclusive foil promo card and is designed to give you a strong foundation for building a new deck. Each box also includes four 10-card booster packs from Sun & Moon—Team Up. You'll use these cards, plus basic Energy provided by the Tournament Organizer, to construct your own 40-card deck. You'll get to keep all the cards from your Build & Battle Box, whether you use them in your deck or not. If you're really lucky, you might even open one of the shining stars of this expansion: a TAG TEAM Pokémon-GX!
The promo card you'll receive is a cool collector's item, with a shiny foil stamp marking it as a Prerelease promo. It can also be used in your deck, and you're likely to wind up with plenty of cards that match its type. Take a look at the four promo cards available at Sun & Moon—Team Up Prerelease tournaments, and get some tips to make the most of the one you receive.
The longtime fan favorite Charizard returns with the Roaring Resolve Ability, which is sure to make it a powerful force in Sun & Moon—Team Up Prerelease events. The Ability lets you search your deck for up to 2 Fire Energy cards and attach them to Charizard, at the cost of putting two damage counters on Charizard. Then, you can attack with Continuous Blaze Ball, which makes you discard all that Fire Energy and does 30 damage plus 50 more for each discard.
You'll get the most out of this Charizard by having other Pokémon battle first so you can keep your Charmander and Charmeleon safe on your Bench until they can evolve. Charizard has to damage itself to power up with Roaring Resolve, so it's crucial to keep it from taking unnecessary damage before it's ready to battle. Also, keep an eye on your deck when using this Ability—searching up Energy with Roaring Resolve thins out your deck so it's easier to draw your important Trainer cards, but you can lose by running out of cards if you aren't careful!
Zapdos may arrive just a little too late to get on the Lightning-type bandwagon of Sun & Moon—Lost Thunder, but sometimes good things come to those who wait. This Legendary Pokémon has 110 HP and a single attack, Thunderous Assault. For a cost of just one Lightning Energy, Zapdos can do 80 damage, but only if it moved up from your Bench during the same turn. This effect makes Zapdos a surprisingly high-value card in the Standard format, but it's tricky to use in a Prerelease tournament, where you won't have a lot of control over which cards you can include in your deck.
There's no real value to Zapdos if it's only doing 10 damage, so the key is to get it off the Bench right before it attacks. In a Prerelease battle, you won't have the option of cards like Guzma or Zeraora-GX to pull this off; instead, you'll need to pair Zapdos with Pokémon that already have low Retreat Costs. Fortunately, many Lightning types fit the bill, so you shouldn't have too much trouble getting Zapdos rolling. Try to spread your once-per-turn Energy attachments around so you can always retreat your Active Pokémon when you need to.
Your Prerelease pool usually includes only one or two copies of key cards, so you're sure to enjoy the consistency that the Queen's Call Ability provides. Once each turn, Nidoqueen can use Queen's Call to search your deck for a Pokémon that isn't a Pokémon-GX and add it to your hand. Queen's Call is a great way to seek out the missing pieces of your other Evolution lines, or just to thin out your deck and make it easier to draw your other cards.
Nidoqueen's Power Lariat attack takes advantage of those completed Evolution lines by doing 50 more damage for each Evolution Pokémon on your Bench. It'll only do a paltry 10 damage for three Colorless Energy if your Bench is empty, but it's a great way to level your foes once it's powered up. Try including many different Evolution lines in your deck to give Nidoqueen one-hit-KO potential. Both Nidoran ♀ and Nidorina have attacks that can help you get Pokémon into play, so you can be a little more aggressive with these helpful Pokémon than with Charmander and Charmeleon.
Jirachi isn't the sort of Pokémon who's adept at jumping into battle and unleashing powerful attacks, but don't let the smaller numbers on this card fool you into thinking it isn't powerful. Jirachi's strength is its Stellar Wish Ability, which can be used only while it's your Active Pokémon. Rather than damage your foes, it allows you to look at the top 5 cards of your deck, reveal a Trainer card you find there, and put it into your hand. Jirachi falls Asleep after you use its Ability. You're likely to have only a handful of Trainer cards in your deck, so Jirachi's Ability to seek them out can be impactful.
If it weren't for the quick snooze, the best way to take advantage of this card would be some wish-and-run tactics with Jirachi's manageable Retreat Cost. Instead, you'll find Jirachi is most effective early in games, where it can use Stellar Wish to help you snag Trainer cards to set up your strategy. If you're lucky enough to get a Cobalion-GX, things change a bit—its Metal Symbol Ability turns off Special Conditions for any of your Pokémon with Metal Energy attached, so you can use Jirachi's Ability and then retreat to bring up a more effective attacker.
Look forward to fun battles in Sun & Moon—Team Up Prerelease tournaments January 19–27!