– Vivid Voltage
November 15, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Lucky 13th-place goes to Aegislash V (SW – Vivid Voltage 126/185)! As a Pokémon V, Aegislash V gets to be a Basic Pokémon with more HP than its Stage 2, baseline counterpart. If it is a worthy addition to our countdown, then it likely has a valuable effect as well that it may not have enjoyed if it were not a Pokémon V, or at the very least, which may have cost more. The trade off is the same as all Pokémon V; giving up an extra Prize when KO’d, being excluded from certain beneficial effects, and being specifically (or jointly, with Pokémon-GX) called out by certain deleterious effects.
Aegislash V is a [M] type; in the video games it is actually a Steel/Ghost dual-type, so it could just have easily have been a Psychic Pokémon… but being a Metal type is far better. While it does mean facing steep competition, as it either needs to compliment Zacian V decks or be so good as to justify being run instead, it comes with access to strong type support. Metal types aren’t that great at exploiting Weakness; the odd Ice-by-way-of-Water type, the now retired Fairy type, and the SW-era Psychic types that now represent video game Fairy types usually have [M] Weakness. In terms of Resistance, all you have to worry about is -20 on SM-era and XY-era [L] Pokémon. Anti-[M] effects exist in Expanded, but are highly unlikely to be a concern.
Being a Basic Pokémon is a massive bonus over being a Stage 2; no waiting to evolve or additional cards required to put it into play. 210 is on the low end of “normal” for a Basic Pokémon V, but still durable, and 70 more than the most recent baseline Aegislash (SW – Rebel Clash 135/192). [R] Weakness is dangerous now, as Fire decks are popular and potent. Any Resistance is appreciated, with -30 handy against Decidueye (SW – Darkness Ablaze 013/189; SW – Black Star Promos SWSH035). A Retreat Cost of [CCC] is probably the worse; [CCCC] is higher but grants access to cards like Buff Padding and Poké Maniac, but isn’t significantly harder to pay.
Aegislash V knows two attacks, “Slash” and “Sonic Edge”. The former costs [MC] and does 50 damage, while the latter does 130 while ignoring any damage-altering effects on your opponent’s Active. Weakness and Resistance are not “effects”, they’re considered their own game mechanic. An effect that resides on Aegislash V itself will still apply, but if it resides on your opponent’s Active gets ignored… even effects that would otherwise increase how much damage you were doing to it. Those are quire rare, so it isn’t much of a loss. If you’re unfamiliar with someone referring to where an effect “resides”, sometimes effects originate from a particular card, but the benefits are still considered to be “on” the card receiving them.
The attacks have decently staggered Energy costs, especially while Metal Saucer is legal, but we’re not interested in Slash, we’re here for Sonic Edge. Metal decks already have an incredibly [M] type, Basic Pokémon V attacker in Zacian V. While you have to Bench it then re-promote it to the Active position between attacks, to shake the “During your next turn, this Pokémon can’t attack.” clause found on its “Brave Blade” attack, Zacian V decks handle this with little to no problem. Its 230 damage, often boosted to 260 thanks to the “Altered Creation-GX” attack supplied by Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX, is enough to take out its fellow Basic Pokémon V in one hit, as well as all single-Prize Pokémon, most Basic Pokémon-GX (TAG TEAMS being the main exception), and Basic Pokémon-EX in Expanded. At least, before miscellaneous defensive buffs.
An opponent relying on HP increases is still going to be a problem, but they’re usually not the big problem because they don’t tend to change 2HKO’s into 3HKO’s or OHKO’s into 2HKO’s. No, what trips up Zacian V are damage reducing effects. Like the previously mentioned Decidueye and its “Deep Forest Camo” Ability, or fellow Zacian V sporting Metal Goggles and/or under the damage reducing effect of the “Full Metal Wall-GX” attack found on Lucario & Melmetal-GX. Sonic Edge does not hit hard enough to make much of a difference versus fellow [M] types, at least, relative to just settling for a 2HKO from an Altered Creation-GX augmented Brave Blade, but against Decidueye? Leave it with a mere 10 HP if you can’t use any damage buffs, but it is more likely Aegislash V can score a OHKO thanks to Altered Creation-GX or a clutch copy of Galarian Zigzagoon (Sword & Shield 117/202) or Leon or Vitality Band.
Slash is mostly just here if you’re in a situation where just about any attack for two Energy will do. It is overpriced, but not too badly considering this is an evolving Basic Pokémon V. That’s right; Aegislash V doesn’t even have to stand on its own, though I think it does. You have the option of running it along with Aegislash VMAX. I won’t go into details about this VMAX, because it will be getting its own review sooner or later, but it is a welcome option to have for Aegislash V, potentially giving it a use even when you’re not facing an opponent with damage reducing defensive buffs through which you need to cut. I can only guess as to this card’s usefulness in Expanded, but I’m optimistic. I think Zacian V is still a good, if not great attacker in Expanded, at least if the latest bans sufficiently temper control decks. All the damage reducing tricks of Standard are available in Expanded, plus many more… though most of those that are Expanded exclusives don’t are exclusive to Pokémon-GX or apply to Pokémon-EX and Pokémon-GX, so only a few of them matter.
In the Limited Format, this is a Basic Pokémon V: if you pull it, you run it! The question is whether or not you run it in a Mulligan build or not. While it doesn’t have exceptional HP, damage output, or speed, I think that you’re good either way. It isn’t quite as splahable as I like when running it alongside other Pokémon, but on its own it benefits from the high Grass presence (its Resistance), relatively low amount of Fire Pokémon (its Weakness), type support (your mileage may vary here), and Circhester Bath (protects you, but Sonic Edge ignores it when you attack fellow Basics).
Aegislash V is a TecH attacker for Metal decks that is not worthless when its specialty isn’t needed, just much less impressive than the main attacker. As this is a time when Metal decks are doing well and one of the few concerns they have are addressed by Sonic Edge, I almost am scoring it too low. With is somewhat funny, as you can argue that I ranked it too high on my personal list, where it took 7th-place! Part of the issue is the risk of being a counter; if Aegislash V works out too well, Decidueye decks may take such a hit that it is no longer worth running Aegislash. Maybe this leads to a cycle of it being worth running then not worth running then worth running again, or maybe it means it shows up, does its thing, then both it and what it counters fade from the metagame. I also was unsure how much credit Aegislash VMAX deserved, to the point I didn’t have us review them together.
Our 13th best card of Vivid Voltage is not a Pokémon VMAX!
Aegislash-V may have some vanilla attacks, but one of them might be an important attack that earns its spot on the countdown. Slash does 50 damage for MC without any effects. Sonic Edge does 130 damage for MMC and also bypasses any effect on the Defending Pokémon, whether it be from a previous attack or an ability. If they used an attack that reduces damage taken such as Full Metal Wall, Sonic Edge’s damage won’t be reduced. If it has an ability that prevents any damage taken from Pokemon V/GX, Sonic Edge will still damage them.
Yeah, that’s something Decidueye from Darkness Abalze or Altaria from Champion’s Path cannot protect itself from, and they can be OHKO by Sonic Edge. Aegislash can serve as TecH for Metal decks for when they’re facing such an obstacle, and Metal Saucer can easily help fuel up the attack cost. But, as usual, if Decidueye were seeing a lot of play due to being immune to V or GX Pokémon, and Aegislash will come right in to bypass it. If Decidueye’s usage plummeted, the Aegislash isn’t needed either. That isn’t to say that Aegislash is not a good card; it has a useful attack that is geared to counter specific decks. And even if it isn’t the case, it can be a stepping stone to evolve into Aegislash V-MAX, which didn’t make it on the list. Looking at it’s only attack, I can say that it can be nice to use as a finisher.
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