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Feature: Pokémon TCG: Sun & Moon - Forbidden Light

Ultra Necrozma and the Kalos region make their mark in the latest Pokémon TCG expansion.

15 June 2018 – by Jack Taylor

Forbidden Light is the sixth expansion of the Sun & Moon era of the Pokémon Trading Card Game internationally. The contents of the set are based on two Japanese sets: their sixth main set, also called Fobidden Light; and the Ultra Force subset, which was released shortly after their fifth set. Japan's Forbidden Light focuses primarily on Pokémon and characters from the Kalos region, as well as Ultra Necrozma, and makes up the bulk of our expansion. Japan's Ultra Force subset contains Pokémon from the Sinnoh region - it follows on from their fifth main set, Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, which did the same - and it also contains some alternate-type reprints of cards from those sets, such as a Metal-type Emploeon based on the main set's Water-type version. Including its 15 secret-rare cards, Forbidden Light is comprised of 146 cards, which even then makes it the second-lightest expansion of the Sun & Moon era.

For competitors, there are a decent number of highly playable cards to be found in the set. Many players have already highlighted Ultra Necrozma-GX (#95) and Malamar (#51) as working well together; the former's Photon Geyser attack requires Psychic Energy to be discarded in order to deal significant damage, and the latter's Psychic Recharge ability picks these out of the discard pile to attach to a Benched Pokémon. Item card Mysterious Treasure (#113) is vital if you're playing these two, or any other Psychic- or Dragon-type Pokémon, as it lets you search your deck for one of these after discarding another card from your hand. Beast Ring (#102) is another powerful Item card to use in this situation: when your opponent has 3 or 4 Prize cards lets, Beast Ring will let you attach two Energy cards from your deck directly onto one of your Ultra Beasts. Naganadel-GX (#56) is worth looking at as well: its Stinger-GX attack lets you reset Prize cards, giving each player three, allowing Beast Ring and Ultra Necrozma-GX to shine through.

As with each expansion, two preconstructed theme decks are available based on the cards released in Forbidden Light, and these display an impressive amount of strategy while remaining easy to learn and accessible to new players. Twilight Rogue focuses on Lycanroc (#76) and Dusknoir (Burning Shadows, #53) - Dusknoir's Dark Invitation ability is used to force the opponent to add Pokémon to their Bench, while its Mind Jack attack and Lycanroc's Dangerous Rogue attack both deal more damage for each Benched Pokémon your opponent has. Meanwhile, the Tropical Takedown theme deck focuses on Alolan Exeggutor (#2) - and, arguably, Alolan Marowak (#12) - to deal significant damage. Alolan Exeggutor's Tropical Shake attack does more damage for each type of basic Energy card in your discard pile, and the deck contains five of these for you to make use of; Alolan Marowak's Alolan Club attack does more damage for each Alolan Pokémon you have in play, and again, the deck makes sure to provide plenty of these.

Theme decks normally retail for about £12, and for that, you get a 60-card deck with a small deck box, a two-player playmat with a set of rules and information on the reverse side, a sheet of damage counters and status markers, a coin, a checklist for the respective expansion, and a Pokémon Trading Card Game Online code card, which lets you redeem a digital copy of the theme deck in the PTCGO application. It's good value for a theme deck, and these two in particular seem to be more beneficial for newer players thanks to the way in which they utilise strategies.

Competitors and collectors alike are bound to find something good out of Forbidden Light: for collectors, it's a decent set with some stunning ultra-rare and secret-rare cards and gorgeous artwork all around; for competitors, cards like Ultra Necrozma-GX, Naganadel-GX, Malamar, Beast Ring, and Mysterious Treasure are bound to result in some interesting gameplay strategies over the coming months and beyond, particularly with the 2018 World Championships just a couple of months away. All eyes are already on the next expansion, which is expected to bring some very interesting cards amid a wave of nostalgic throwbacks, but Forbidden Light certainly shouldn't be missed.

Many thanks to The Pokémon Company for providing a sample of Forbidden Light products to review. Card links in this article will take you to the PkmnCards website for images and more information about each card.

Some of the cards we pulled from our boosters (yes, that's a secret rare Unit Energy FDY)
Theme decks include plenty for players - this is from the Twilight Rogue theme deck
Lycanroc and Dusknoir headline the Twilight Rogue theme deck
Alolan Exeggutor and its fellow Alolan Pokémon lead in Tropical Takedown
Both theme decks come with this gorgeous two-player playmat