Basculin – Fusion Strike
December 15, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Yeah, link because I don’t know how many of you are the right age to remember that.
Otaku exposing himself as a Xenniel. Now, the actual subject of today’s review is Basculin (SW – Fusion Strike 070/264). The defining trait of this Pokémon is its attack, “Swarm the Wound”. For [WC], this attack let’s Basculin do 30 damage plus another 10 for each damage counter on your opponent’s Active. If a target has less than half of their Maximum HP, left, they’re done regardless of whether they’re a VMAX or worth a single Prize. In fact, they can have as much as [(Max HP – 30)/2] and Basculin can still finish them off with ease. Now, why is this so important? Now I need to rewind and explain most of the rest of the card. Basculin is a Rapid Strike Pokémon, so Rapid Strike Energy can cover the entire attack cost with a single manual Energy attachment. Multiple Rapid Strike Pokémon can either attack or use an Ability to place damage counters on your opponent’s Pokémon, further increasing the usefulness of Basculin. This is not a Pokémon with a Rule Box but it is a Basic; perfect for being an easy to run, disposable attacker. At least, given what we’ve already said it sounds just right. Basculin has 80 HP: not amazing, but decent enough for a one-and-done attacker and it means Level Ball can fetch it from your deck.
Being a Water type might matter. Two examples of Rapid Strike Pokémon that place damage counters via Abilities are Inteleon (SW – Chilling Reign 043/198; SW – Black Star Promos SWSH113; SW – Evolving Skies 227/203) and Inteleon VMAX (SW – Fusion Strike 079/264, 266/264). As both are Water types, that might mean Water support actually matters. Being a [W] type isn’t great for exploiting Weakness, but there are a few Fire decks still seeing play in Standard. The Retreat Cost of [C] is handy if Basculin survives its job of finishing off your opponent’s injured Active and thus you need to retreat it. The [L] Weakness probably won’t matter given Basculin’s 80 HP; Lightning attackers doing 40 through 70 damage score a OHKO they would have otherwise missed. Lack of Resistance is probably the least relevant stat here; it is typical, and with 80 HP, -30 damage would only help against a single type’s edge cases.
Which is probably why even I’ve seen Basculin pop up in a few such decks. I actually feel silly, as I wrote this Pokémon off because I completely spaced off that it was a Rapid Strike Pokémon and Rapid Strike Pokémon are so good at loading stuff up with damage counters. Not just via Abilities, either; this might even be a nice option to include in a Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX deck. That’s still a bit of a niche usage, but Basculin fills it well so I’m awarding it a three-out-of-five in Standard. Now, where I don’t know how good it could be is Expanded. I’m going to err on the side of caution and give it a two-out-of-five just in case Rapid Strike decks are better here than I realize.
- Standard: 3/5
- Expanded: 3/5
Basculin from Sword & Shield Fusion Strike is a Basic Rapid Strike Water type with 80 HP, Lightning Weakness, and a retreat cost of C. It’s only attack, Swarm the Wound, costs WC (easily fulfilled with Rapid Strike Energy) for 30 damage, plus 10 more damage for each damage counter on your opponent’s Pokemon.
Initially, this attack is pretty weak if your opponent’s Pokemon isn’t damaged at all, doing a paltry 30 damage, but if your opponent’s Pokemon has some damage counters on it, then Swarm the Wound would start to do better in terms of damage output. Against the highest printed HP, which is 340, your opponent’s Pokemon would have at least 16 damage counters to secure the KO. Basculin seems to be the one-two punch, though it would definitely deal the second blow. The first blow has to be dealt with something else capable of dealing at least 150 damage, and Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX actually fits the bill with its Gale Thrust attack, which does exactly that! Use Gale Thrust for the first 150 damage, then next turn, use Swarm the Wound for 180 damage, enough to KO most VMAX Pokémon. Your opponent may see this coming and try to Bench damaged Pokémon and send in a different one, but then you’ve got Boss’s Orders to bring them back to the Active Spot.
Overall, Basculin is there to pick off weakened Pokémon and is worth a single prize, and it fits nicely in either Rapid Strike or Water based decks. I think Basculin will see play, albeit only a copy or two.
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