I’ve been testing out Flygon-GX, and it’s a great card — it has decent HP, good attacks, and a great ability. It’s just as strong as some of the Basic Tag-Team Pokemon in the Standard format.
There’s only one problem: Flygon-GX is a Stage 2 Pokemon.
Flygon-GX, or any hypothetical Stage 2 Pokemon, could be ridiculously broken but it wouldn’t see the light of day in the Standard metagame. That’s because Tag-Team Pokemon are faster, stronger, and often times have more health and more support.
Red & Blue helped out a little bit, but it has primarily benefited Stage 1 Pokemon.
Even with Red & Blue, players with Stage 2 Pokemon need to wait a couple of turns before they can get set up. And that’s not to mention the process of ensuring you are able to evolve your Basic into a Stage 1 to even use Red & Blue — sometimes you just have dead hands.
Once upon a time, this problem didn’t exist. Stage 2 Pokemon thrived with the rest of them. What changed?
The answer is Rare Candy.
With the release of Black and White, the rules of Rare Candy changed. Originally, Rare Candy would let you go from a Basic to a Stage 1 or Stage 2 on the same turn you played your Basic Pokemon. It brought much-needed speed to Stage 2 decks.
But with the release of Black and White, Rare Candy was no longer able to be played on the first turn or the same turn in which you played a Basic Pokemon.
Admittedly, the old Rare Candy rule would be broken in a metagame where Basic Pokemon are powerless. But the reality is that the current Standard metagame has basic Pokemon with 270 HP that deal over 200 damage.
And even with the old Rare Candy rules, Stage 2 Pokemon would be at a disadvantage against the Basic behemoths dominating the Standard metagame. You’ll need more Pokemon in your deck and, of course, a few copies of Rare Candy, which will make your deck less efficient.
Stage 2 Pokemon desperately need help, and revisiting Rare Candy might be the best place to start.