Pokemon TCG meta “wide open” as Iron Hands Ex decks suffer in Japan

Andres Velez
The Iron Hands Ex Pokemon card is placed against a pink backgroundPokemon

Despite all the hype surrounding future Pokemon Iron Hands Ex, Giratina Vstar continues to dominate the Pokemon TCG metagame.

The Pokemon TCG continues to excite fans, and following the release of Pokemon TCG: Scarlet & Violet – Paradox Rift – the Western versions of the Japanese Ancient Roar and Future Flash expansions – many battlers were expecting a dramatic shift. Plus, many fans expected one card to be the biggest threat.

Iron Hands Ex and its signature move ‘Amp You Very Much’ were predicted to dominate a metagame full of Lugia and Lost Zone Kyogre decks from the start. But already the results of this weekend’s Japanese city league tournaments tell a different story.

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It appears that the usual suspects, Giratina Vmax and friends, continue to dominate, or, as @Capital0Games put it, “Iron Hands Ex only finds a home in Chien-Pao, it seems”. While these results may appear to show that Iron Hands Ex is being discounted, user @binchikin hints at the positives, saying that it “shows how open the meta is”.


Results of the weekend’s Pokemon TCG City Leagues in Japan 

From the results, we learn primarily that the Lost Zone Giratina builds continue to dominate. Secondly, Roaring Moon Ex has been getting more wins overall, and thirdly, Charizard Ex is continuing to give a strong showing.

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So, although Iron Hands Ex was predicted to become a strong counter to Lost Zone Box decks, it has barely seen the playing field. Lost zone Giratina unsurprisingly saw a lot of wins. This suggests that there weren’t enough Iron Hands Ex around to counter these ever-popular Lost Zone decks. Against the lost zone, Iron Hands Ex is “amping you” so much that it’s taking two prize cards for each Greninja, Manaphy, Comfey, and Sableye it removes from the field of battle, which should make it a deterrent to the build.

Players must first participate in smaller tournaments and win a raffle for the privilege to play in the Japanese City League. Thus, these exclusive tournaments generate data sets from dedicated players, which shed-inja’s some light on an otherwise unclear meta.

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About The Author

Andrés G. D. Vélez was a Pokémon reporter at Dexerto, covering the Trading Card Game, mainline games, Pokemon Go, and the wider fandom. Before joining the company, Andrés freelanced as a content writer and digital marketer.