A Paradox World

What’s poppin’ PTCGL Store readers? Are you ready to explore a new world filled with Paradox Pokemon in the latest Pokemon TCG release? Scarlet and Violet: Paradox Rift is a set that is unbound by time, and is also filled with many playable cards. As the largest Pokemon TCG set of all time, Paradox Rift attempts to shake up the Standard metagame as we know it, introducing many game-breaking cards, and handfuls of new archetypes. While some of the Trainer cards in this set are fantastic additions to many decks, like Counter Catcher [Paradox Rift], or Earthen Vessel [Paradox Rift], I want to showcase the top 10 Pokemon ex from this set. With Paradox Rift being legal for the first time ever at the 2023 Latin American International Championships in Sao Paulo, Brazil, there are plenty of exciting strategies to share before that event! In this article, I’ll certainly tell you my top 10 Pokemon ex from Scarlet and Violet: Paradox Rift, and all of the reasons why! Be sure to pick up Paradox Rift Pokemon TCG Live codes using code zlesage5 from the PTCGL store to save 5%! Not only does it help support me, but it will help boost your online Pokemon TCG Live collection too! Now let’s jump into my number 10 pick!

10. Sandy Shocks ex

Sandy Shocks ex

I totally promise you that this isn’t a Magneton [Pokemon 151] in disguise, but instead, it is the new Paradox Pokemon, Sandy Shocks ex [Paradox Rift], and I promise you that they aren’t related beyond their similar appearance. As a Basic Pokemon, Sandy Shocks ex has decent stats, but where I think it has potential is with its Magnetic Absorption Ability that usually kicks in mid-game. Once your opponent has drawn at least two Prize Cards, you can start accelerating Energy to Sandy Shocks ex, attach one for your turn, and get the last one from Professor Sada’s Vitality [Paradox Rift]. That leaves you in a prime position to use Ground Spike to hit for 200 damage out of nowhere, and maybe even KO your opponent’s Active Pokemon. This card doesn’t seem like its own archetype, but maybe an option to revenge OHKO a Pokemon with a Fighting-type Weakness.

9. Tsareena ex 

Tsareena ex

I originally placed this Pokemon pretty highly on my video buy list, but I’ve since lowered it a bit for now. Tsareena ex [Paradox Rift] might be difficult to Evolve into as you dodge Iron Hands ex [Paradox Rift], but its Icicle Sole attack does have the potential to shut off your opponent from attacking. Maybe not by itself, but with Vanilluxe [Paradox Rift] using its Frigid Room Ability. You have the capability to lower your opponent's HP to only 30, and Vanilluxe stops your opponent’s Pokemon from attacking if they have 40 HP or less remaining. I definitely feel like there is an archetype here, but how good is it? Off the top, it probably needs some work, but the potential is there!

8. Tapu Koko ex

Tapu Koko ex

Tapu Koko ex [Paradox Rift] instantly screams to me that it is a tech card, and I already have the vessel to make it work - Miraidon ex [Scarlet and Violet]. Using a standard Miraidon ex build with Electric Generator [Scarlet and Violet], and Flaaffy [Evolving Skies], you can easily power up Tapu Koko ex to use whenever you like. Extreme Current would be a weaker attack than Miraidon ex’s Photon Blaster, but I’m more interested in Revenge Shock. If one of our Pokemon was KOed by damage during our opponent’s last turn, the attack does 120 damage, and you get to Paralyze your opponent’s Active Pokemon. Pairing that with Path to the Peak [Chilling Reign], and Judge [Scarlet and Violet], should really set your opponent back more often than not.

7. Hoopa ex 

Hoopa ex

When I first read Hoopa ex [Paradox Rift], I instantly got flashbacks to Starmie V [Astral Radiance] and saw a lot of success being played in early Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR [Astral Radiance] lists. On top of that, even though it takes Darkness Energy to attack, it is a Fighting-type Pokemon due to its Tera-type, and that has some layers of depth that can be quite strong. You might want to tech this into a Roaring Moon ex [Paradox Rift] deck to deal with Miraidon ex due to Weakness, or for a matchup where your opponent floods their board with Energy. Again, it isn’t likely to become its own deck, but certainly can be a solid tech card!

6. Bombirdier ex

Bombirdier ex

I don’t have a deck for this yet, but the potential for Bombirdier ex [Paradox Rift] to get added into an Evolution deck is huge. I like dealing with theory a lot, so lemme paint this scenario. In a current Charizard ex [Obsidian Flames] deck, a typical setup would include using Battle VIP Pass [Fusion Strike] to get Charmander [Pokemon 151] on the Bench, and maybe a few copies of Pidgey [Obsidian Flames]. In this case, we could find a way to retreat into Bombirder ex, use Fast Carry, and find all those cards that we need. Once we use that attack, we can either use Shadow Wind to dip back into the deck or Collapsed Stadium [Astral Radiance] to discard Bombirder ex from play. There are options here, we might need to unearth them first though!

5. Skeledirge ex

Skeledirge ex

There is something that is to be said about damage modifiers, and the general consensus is that they are good! Look at Power Tablet [Fusion Strike], it is one of the main reasons why Mew VMAX [Fusion Strike] is so powerful and even helped that deck win the 2023 World Championships in Yokohama, Japan. Skeledirge ex [Paradox Rift] might not be the next Mew VMAX, but what if it is? I’ve seen a few players cook up some concepts with Greedent VMAX [Fusion Strike] to abuse Turn a Profit, and maybe even draw some extra Prize Cards in the process. Powering up attacks isn’t a bad strategy, has never been a bad strategy, and the only drawback is how hard it is to get there. In this case, it might end up being a tough go because Skeledirge ex is a Stage 2 Pokemon, but maybe it's worthwhile. This is a card that might become better with age, and context to the metagame!

4. Gholdengo ex

Gholdengo ex

As we enter into the top four Pokemon ex cards in Scarlet and Violet: Paradox Rift, I have to say that this is where the true format shakers start showing up. Gholdengo ex [Paradox Rift] has a similar vibe as Blacephalon [Unbroken Bonds], and the biggest rule of competitive Pokemon TCG is to look for previously uncovered strategies for inspiration. With Earthen Vessel [Paradox Rift], Superior Energy Retrieval [Paldea Evolved], and more working towards some massive damage from its Make It Rain attack - this card might be part of a fully functioning archetype. On top of that, it can draw cards with its Coin Bonus Ability, and even more if it's in the Active Spot, so it already has a built in engine. Gholdengo ex seems good, really good!

3. Roaring Moon ex

Roaring Moon ex

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's not a Salamence [Evolving Skies]?!?! It's another one of these Paradox Pokemon featured in this set, and Roaring Moon ex [Paradox Rift] is a powerful Basic Pokemon. Frenzied Gouging is one of the most brutal attacks that I’ve ever seen on a card, and it seems good, very good! Sure, you’ll end up taking 200 damage in recoil, but you can OHKO any Pokemon in front of you. That means that a 310 HP Gardevoir ex [Scarlet and Violet] can go down regardless of its Weakness, and Bravery Charm [Paldea Evolved] can’t protect your Raikou V [Brilliant Stars]. If you can score an OHKO with Calamity Storm, that attack is powerful too! With Dark Patch [Astral Radiance], and Professor Sada’s Vitality, this card can definitely zoom into attacking as soon as possible!

2. Iron Valiant ex

Iron Valiant ex

I could make the same pun for every Paradox Pokemon, but I’m sure you get it by now. Iron Valiant ex [Paradox Rift] has one of the most unique Abilities in the game, and it has layers of depth. I’m still working with my testing group to cook up a function list, but I have dreams of using Tachyon Bits to place damage counters on my opponent’s Pokemon, switching out with a bunch of switching cards, like Switch [Scarlet and Violet], and finishing them off with Medicham V [Evolving Skies]. I could see this card working as its own deck, as a tech in a Lost Zone Box deck, and so much more! There are opportunities here, and most Pokemon aren’t as good. 

1. Iron Hands ex

Iron Hands ex

I’ll just say it plain as I boldly can, Iron Hands ex [Paradox Rift] will change our Standard format in extraordinary ways. When it comes to the most successful strategies of all time, the ones where players often question the need for an immediate ban to be placed on cards is the same one in most cases - drawing extra Prize Cards. Even though Amp You Very Much costs a staggering four Energy, we have ways with multiple decks to accelerate Energy to Iron Hands ex, and start focusing on KOing anything we can with that card. Paired with Boss’s Orders [Paldea Evolved] or Counter Catcher [Paradox Rift], Iron Hands ex will make a huge splash on the metagame.

Let the Testing Start!

With all of these fantastic new Pokemon ex to adorn both new and existing decks with, I’m sure we all feel the pressure to start testing! Unlike Scarlet and Violet: Pokemon 151, Paradox Rift adds so many new cards to our metagame, and the cards are certainly shaking it up more. Just the presence of Iron Hands ex alone is enough to change the entire metagame, and that is only a single card. Layering that with Iron Valiant ex, the question of how good Gholdengo ex is, and other cool cards like Bombirdier ex really keeps me up at night. My approach is likely going to be a top down approach - maybe I’ll miss some stuff in the process, but I’m sure I’ll be able to cover that all later. If you’re looking to get a few of these cards on PTCG Live, and you should, be sure to pick up some Pokemon TCG Live codes from the PTCGL store and use code zlesage5 to save 5%! I’ll be back with some more Pokemon TCG content here soon, so stay tuned for that! Thanks for reading, and I’ll catch up with y’all next time!


Zach Lesage is a contributing writer for ptcglstore.com. As a Toronto local, he has been playing the Pokémon Trading Card Game since 2005 and creates Pokémon content as his full-time career. With multiple prestigious accomplishments in the game, such as the 2020 Players Cup 2 Champion and 2020 Oceania International Championships Finalist, he has proven his success in the game. Outside the game, he travels the world, enjoys the culture of designer streetwear, and is a professionally trained chef. You can catch him at most Pokémon events and follow him on Twitter https://twitter.com/ZachLesagePTCG.