– Rebel Clash
May 22, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
This should be interesting, but maybe not because of today’s subject. This is my first review written after I’ve had time to digest at least some of the results from LimitlessTCG’s most recent online tournament. The short version is I may be contradicting even some of my more recent reviews, because my mistakes have been brought to my attention.
Aegislash (SSH – Rebel Clash 135/192). Its Metal Typing is very nice right now. It’s not great for exploiting Weakness, and neither good nor bad at avoiding Resistance. They do have great Type support, both the stuff truly exclusive to them (like Metal Saucer), and the stuff that just favors them (like Zacian V). Aegislash is a Stage 2, meaning it is as slow and demanding a Stage of evolution as you can play in Standard, and only rarely exceeded in Expanded. They’re not impossible to make competitive, but understand that Aegislash is not an easy inclusion for any deck.
Aegislash has 140 HP is still decent for a Basic or Stage 1, but not for Stage 2, after all the work required to field it. Decks shooting for 2HKO’s against TAG TEAM or VMAX Pokémon are likely to score a OHKO here. [R] Weakness hurts because math: 70 damage through 130 damage goes from being a 2HKO to a OHKO. [G] Resistance would matter if I saw more [G] Type attackers in general, and if the ones I was noticing weren’t hitting hard enough to punch through it. A Retreat Cost of [CCC] is too low for stuff like Buff Padding, but still high enough to be a pain to pay.
Aegislash’s Ability, “Big Shield”, says that all of your Pokémon – not just Aegislash – take 30 less damage from attacks made by your opponent’s Pokémon. The text explicitly states this reduction occurs after Weakness and Resistance, and that you can only apply one Big Shield Ability at a time, meaning it does not stack with multiple instances of itself. For [MMC], Aegislash can attack with “Power Edge” to do 130 damage. Big Shield is great, but remember that it alone won’t make a different for all Pokémon. You can combine Big Shield with other defensive buffs, though, and as is it should frustrate attacks that do small amounts of damage to multiple targets.
How about the rest of the evolution line? Not much help here; a few cards have some potential, but are meant for a different strategy, like Honedge (SM – Forbidden Light 46/131). There are Tool Drop decks that have tried to make a go of Doublade (SM – Team Up 108/181), but I can’t find any lists for it on LimitlessTCG so that means they probably haven’t finished well in any of the events listed there. Though I would run a clutch copy of today’s Aegislash in such a deck, were I building one, unless I had to eschew Abilities. Aegislash cards are often Johnny Bait, doing something cool you can even build a deck around, but when the rubber hits the road, that deck ain’t going anywhere competitively.
Is today’s Aegislash another example of that? Seems like. While all decks would love another -30 to the damage they take, it isn’t worth running a Stage 2 to get it, whether we’re talking Standard or Expanded. Yes, even with all the things you can stack on top of that -30 thanks to Aegislash being a Metal Pokémon, namely Lucario & Melmetal-GX’s “Full Metal Wall-GX” attack and Metal Frying Pan. All together, that’s -90 damage and no Weakness but you can still do -60 damage and no Weakness without cluttering things up by running a Stage 2. In the Limited Format, its worth having to run the entire Aegislash line, sans Energy, just for the Ability. Unless you pulled a Basic Pokémon V worth running in a Mulligan build, of course.
Aegislash is so close to being something worthwhile. If we had the equivalent of Archie’s Ace in the Hole for [M] Types, or just some shortcut that was better than a simple Rare Candy for it, I think Aegislash would at least find niche usage in the competitive scene. As is, you could just use the likes of Metal Frying Pan, Metal Saucer, Galarian Perrserker (Sword & Shield 128/202; SSH – Black Star Promos SWSH008; SSH – Rebel Clash 205/192) and Scoop Up Net to build a functional, though not overly good, tanking deck. Aegislash wasn’t on my Top 15 for this set, but I can kind of see how it made someone else’s list. On the site list, it would have been in 18th-place.
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