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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


 Assault Vest

- Ancient Origins

Date Reviewed:
November 30, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.65
Expanded: 3.03
Limited: 4.13

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being horrible.  3 ... average.  5 is awesome.

Back to the main COTD Page


Hello all once again and welcome back from the great Thanksgiving break!...for America! Hope you ate lots of turkey and didn't end up getting trampled at the Black Friday sales, and here's to making sure the servers are stable enough to handle the Cyber Monday Madness! Still if you're here, that means you're eager to look at some cards, and we're taking a quick look at some Trainers before...well, you'll see. 

So we start off with the interesting piece of tech that is the Assault Vest. It's based off of the item that, when held, increases the holder's Special Defense while limiting them to only attacking moves. It's made its way onto various tanky Pokemon to make them tankier and has even transformed some others into tankier Pokemon, so needless to say, it's made a big impact competitively. So how does that translate over into the TCG? Why with a defensive power, of course! 

Specifically, Assault Vest can reduce the damage from attacks that the holder takes by a certain amount, kinda like the Hard Charm Tool. In fact, the two are rather similar in a lot of ways: both reduce damage by a certain amount, essentially making them damage reducers, and they both go active only after Weakness/Resistance have been accounted for. That being said, there is a major difference between the two; while Hard Charm is a general blanket that covers 20 damage from any attack, Assault Vest shaves off a hefty 40 damage...from anything attacking with Special Energy. 

At first, that seems to be a bit of a hindrance. I mean, what decks even use Special Energy-OH WAIT, ALL OF THEM DO!! You've got DCE, Rainbow in some decks, but there's also Strong, Mystery, Shield, Wonder, Double Dragon, all kinds of new Special Energies in a wide varieties! And sure, not all of them are going to see usage, but most decks these days run some form of Special Energy in them - which means Assault Vest can act as a better Hard Charm than...well, Hard Charm! 

That being said, it is going to take up a valuable Tool space which could be used for stuff like Muscle Band or other useful Tools, but if the space can be made for it, it's not a bad piece of tech. 


Standard: 2.5/5 (a very relevant card, though space in decks tends to be pretty tight - I'm just saying, I think M Tyranitar-EX would enjoy this if he can have it) 

Expanded: 3/5 (more Special Energies, though not a whole lot more, are around here) 

Limited: 4/5 (well, it's not likely to be around, but you do have Burning Energy and Rainbow Energy in this set, so it's likely to happen with one player) 

Arora Notealus: Assault Vest is pretty much the definitive tank equipment - when you've got one of these on, it's go time! And no one's gonna stop you!...unless your bulk is frail to begin with, in which case you really shouldn't be tanking otherwise. 



So during the short gap between major holidays and Top 10(ish) lists, we are going to start delving more into XY: BREAKthrough.  With enjoyable interruptions on the horizon, I see no reason not to cover Trainers first, or at least the most general ones likely to affect multiple decks, at least if they are any good.  We begin with Assault Vest (XY: BREAKthrough 133/162), which is not only a Trainer, not only an Item but specifically a Pokémon Tool.  Its effect is that damage from attacks done to the equipped Pokémon are reduced by 40 if the attacking Pokémon has any Special Energy attached.  Before we consider other card interactions, this seems like a pretty solid effect: -40 to damage (even after apply Weakness/Resistance) can really matter.  It won’t make anything truly OHKO proof, but there should be quite a few situations where a OHKO becomes a 2HKO, a 2HKO a 3HKO, etc. if your opponent can’t find a way around it.  The effect itself provides just such a work around; if your deck doesn’t rely heavily on Special Energy, Assault Vest just sits there doing nothing but taking up a Tool Slot.  The Pokémon in question also needs an appropriate amount of HP; if something only had 30 HP to begin with, Assault Vest won’t make a difference against a deck that is dealing out even modestly sized 80 point blows. 

It doesn’t have to be a massive amount of HP though that can certainly help; making something smaller a less easy OHKO can still be useful.  In fact, bigger is not always better as like most cards, Assault Vest can ultimately fail to matter because unfortunately for you, your HP plus the protective bonus weren’t greater than the damage being done over the same amount of turns it would take if Assault Vest wasn’t present.  It might still matter if you have a particular combo or effect to trigger/block but it might simply be wasted effort.  Even if it should matter, Items can be discarded by a few different effects, including Startling Megaphone, an Item that wipes all Pokémon Tools from your opponent’s side of the field, Startling Megaphone, another Item capable of discarding Pokémon Tools but this time hitting only up to two which can be on either side of the field and Xerosic a Supporter that can only discard a single Pokémon Tool but can also hit targets on either side of the field, and can also do the same to a Special Energy instead of a Pokémon Tool.  We’ve been in a stretch where these haven’t been as common, which helps Assault Vest should it convinue to last. 

Pokémon Tool lock and more general Item lock are also concerns and almost as important are the number of decks that either don’t run any Special Energy or run only a few.  Assault Vest does you know good if Seismitoad-EX is blocking Items with its “Quaking Punch” or your opponent is able to slap a Pokémon Tool F down before you can done the Assault Vest.  These are not problems unique to Assault Vest, but are still relevant versus other cards you might wish to include.  Getting directly to the matter of other Pokémon Tools, the competition is pretty steep against the likes of Muscle Band for a universal +20 to your damage done or Float Stone for a perfect free Retreat Cost and the exact metagame will determine if something like Hard Charm with a universal -20 to the damage you’re taking would be better. 

Still, I’ve been running into this just a bit more often and it seems like a solid (though not spectacular) addition to the Expanded and Standard card-pools. Try it out and see if it might be worth the room in your local metagame; fortunately even a single copy for when you only sometimes need to try and soak some damage is adequate for general usage purposes.  There may be some specific decks (such as stall or those already regularly scoring OHKOs) where multiple copies will be appropriate.  In Limited it isn’t high priority but can be handy if your opponent pulled (and is using) a Rainbow Energy or Burning Energy. 


Standard: 3.15/5 

Expanded: 3.05/5 

Limited: 4.25/5 

Summary: Assault Vest has decent general usage right now due to the prominence of decks built around Special Energy, but there are plenty that use few to no Special Energy cards against which it would be useless.  Even in when the opponent may trigger it, other factors will determine if it proves useless or crucial.  Still it makes for a nice option to have available.

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