...okay, not completely different,
we're still doing Dual-Types and all that. We're just
not addressing one that's part-Grass in some way.
Bisharp today is a Dark/Metal Dual
Type, which is pretty nice since he can take advantage
of Dangerous Energy and Shield Energy if he wanted to -
take 10 less damage and deal 20 damage back out at any
Pokemon-EX! What a nifty little idea!
Bisharp does have one good
advantage in Retaliate. Feels like they've been trying
to make that attack relevant again by reprinting it in
some form or another. Basically, for 1 Energy, Retaliate
does 30 damage plus an extra 60 if a Pokemon was KO'd by
an attack in the previous turn. Once again, looking at
what Dark and Metal hit, that's a specific set of
Water-Types, Fairy-types, and a few select
Psychic-types. In other words, he'll be great against
Fairies...and nothing else.
At least Mach Claw isn't affected
by Resistance. Too bad it's only 2-for-60.
And that's Bisharp in a nutshell.
Similarly to Galvantula, his attacks are just a big
underwhelming, with one such attack having potential but
not really having the widespread devastating prowess to
make him a necessary choice for most decks. You'd think
they were designing them with that in mind when they
were making these Dual Types.
...except for Volcanion-EX, who's
apparently just amazing cause of EX-ness.
Standard: 2/5 (the niche usage of
Retaliate always has to be accounted for, but aside from
that, Bisharp can't do much)
Expanded: 2/5 (I really do wish
there was more they could do)
Limited: 3.5/5 (at least arenas
with lower HP scores will be beneficial for him)
Arora Notealus: Really though, even
if Bisharp or Galvantula or even Volcarona got the EX
treatment with their Dual Typing, that might be
overdoing it in terms of design and they'd probably end
up as mediocre at best anyway. Really not much to go
with on that.
Next Time: DO NOT DESPAIR, FOR THE
END IS NIGH...of the week, I mean
Today we will look
at Bisharp (XY: Steam Siege 64/114).
I prefer going into a lot of detail when I review, to
reduce the risk of me missing something, but the short
version is that I’m going to have to be a lot more
concise this time. For example, even though every
past version of Bisharp is Expanded legal, we
won’t be running through them because frankly, the best
of them are near misses.
Bisharp is a Darkness/Metal Type hybrid, and this is
what makes this card. Why? Not because of
any magical combinations from the Type support; while
both Types have some useful Pokémon and Trainer based
support (and Shield Energy is nice for Metal
Types, at least some of the time), Bisharp isn’t
significantly better for it. Reverse Valley is
both Darkness and Metal support, but since it is a
two-sided Stadium, you cannot cash in on both effects at
the exact same time. What makes this card is
really something totally removed from it - Xerneas
(XY: BREAKthrough 107/162) - and possibly its
interactions with Weakness and Resistance. Some
Psychic Types are Darkness Weak, and some Water Types
are Metal Weak, but the big deal is the Fairy Type.
It is Metal Weak but Darkness Resistant. Haven’t
seen much reason to worry about splashing a Darkness
Type into a Metal Type deck, but that might be
sufficient reason to work a Metal Type into a Darkness
Type deck. Probably not though as Resistance only
soaks 20 damage, so a +20 boost to a Darkness Type or
just shifting to an off Type back up attacker deals with
The main reason is
because Xerneas (XY: BREAKthrough 107/162)
and its “Rainbow Force” attack feed off of how many
different Pokémon Types you have on your Bench.
Like all cards this week, a Dual Type is good for a +60
bonus instead of the usual +30. As a Stage 1,
Bisharp can squeeze into the deck built around
Xerneas (Rainbow Road) with a 1-1 or 2-2 count.
Now that would be true of some of the cards this week
which I did not rate so highly. Why does it matter
here? While there are some Darkness Types and some
Metal Types you might consider running instead, the
usual suspects don’t provide total overlap:
Volcarona (XY: Steam Siege 15/114) was
Galvantula covered its Grass Type, while
Volcanion-EX covered its Fire side, and of course
each of those covered an additional Type (Lightning and
Water, respectively). So unless someone runs
Zoroark (XY: BREAKthrough 91/162) and
Magearna-EX (or the like), Bisharp is still
providing that double Type bonus.
reason comes in the form of the card’s attacks.
“Retaliate” costs [C] and does 30 damage, plus an extra
60 if your opponent KO’d one of your Pokémon the
previous turn via attacking for damage. When Night
March and Vespiquen (XY: Ancient Origins
10/98) were still heavily played, this usually mean you
could match them KO for KO; now that Night March is
Expanded-only and both it and Vespiquen have to
deal with Karen, it is a bit less impressive.
Just a bit, though; it can still finish off or set up
the typical Basic Pokémon-EX for a 2HKO. “Mach Cut” is
less impressive, doing 60 for [DC] while ignoring
Resistance. This isn’t bad, it just isn’t
particularly good either, seeing as this is a Stage 1
with 100 HP. Still if you can meet the costs and
really need to punish Metal Weakness (say in a Darkness
Type deck) then you’ll have an attack without
complicated math to do 120 (60 x 2) against Fairy Types.
That actually is the base HP score for the Xerneas
Now the card has
some things going against it besides attacks that are
situational; like I said Bisharp has 100 HP and
is a Stage 1, plus it is Fighting Weak. Most of
the time it isn’t sticking around to attack twice.
Psychic Resistance helps a little (at least while that
Type is somewhat popular for attacking), but there is
also a Retreat Cost of [CC] which is just high enough to
risk getting stuck in non-Energy heavy decks. Pawniard
isn’t helping much either as all versions are Basic
Pokémon with 60 HP and no Ability or Ancient Trait.
None speed up Evolving or majorly improve their odds of
survival. Pawniard (XY 81) comes closes
because its first attack costs [C] and has you flip a
coin to discard an Energy attached to your opponent’s
Active, but if you can’t attack (like first turn of the
game) or your opponent’s deck isn’t incredibly tight on
Energy, that won’t mean much if anything at all. Pawniard
(BW: Noble Victories 75/101) and Pawniard
(XY: Steam Siege 63/114) are worth a nod because
while they waste time attacking (when they ought to be
Evolving), they aren’t completely pathetic about it.
The former has a “flip until tails” attack while the
latter has a “does damage based on how many of this
Pokémon you have in play” attack, and in both cases the
cost is only [C]. Unfortunately the damage per
“heads”/per Pawniard is only 10, go with
Pawniard (BW: Noble Victories 75/101) in
Expanded unless you need it to be a Darkness Type (its
Metal) and you have no choice in Standard anyway as only
XY: Steam Siege 63/114 is still legal.
So for Standard
play, Bisharp has a place in Rainbow Road decks,
at least until something better comes along. It
might have a tiny, tiny niche in Darkness Type decks
if the Fairy Type (as a mostly mono-typed deck)
becomes huge. Both of these apply for Standard or
Expanded play. I am scoring Bisharp the
same for both formats, but there will be differences in
the specifics due to the card pool and metagame; I just
think those differences even out enough that the overall
value of Bisharp remains the same. If you
aren’t building a deck around a single, big, Basic
Pokémon, Bisharp is a must run. Retaliate
is a good attack in Constructed play and a great attack
in Limited, and Mach Cut is a lot more useful here as
As Bench-sitter for Rainbow Road decks, Bisharp
still does better than any of its previous iterations.
Its Retaliate attack can come in handy, but mostly it is
there just so that Xerneas hits harder with its
Rainbow Force attack.