– Vivid Voltage
November 23, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Bea (SW – Vivid Voltage 147/185,180/185, 193/185) is our 5th-place finisher! This Supporter mills the top five cards of your deck, but for a good cause; any Energy cards among those discarded are attached to your Benched Fighting Pokémon. If more than one Energy card was revealed, you can divvy them up how you see fit or attach them all to the same target. Bea could attach an amazing five Energy cards, it can whiff and attach zero, or any number in between. Plus, any non-Energy are discarded. Even if there are cards you want in the discard pile, there’s always this risk you’re going to discard something vital. We know from cards like Welder that Supporter-based Energy acceleration can define the metagame, but Bea is very, very similar to a different Supporter: N’s Resolve.
N’s Resolve is very similar to Bea, and N’s Resolve… was a dud. That doesn’t mean Bea will fail to be any good, as there are some major differences between the two. N’s Resolve discards six cards from your deck, instead of five. Honestly, this doesn’t matter too much; Bea has a shorter range, and while this means she is more likely to whiff on hitting an Energy, it also means she is less likely to discard as many non-Energy cards, or deck you out quite as quickly. No, the first major difference is that N’s Resolve only worked with basic Energy cards. Dragon types usually have mixed Energy costs in their effects, so they benefit from cards like Aurora Energy or – in Expanded – Double Dragon Energy. N’s Resolve is incompatible with perhaps the best piece of Dragon Pokémon support! Bea does not have this problem; cards like Strong Energy and Stone [F] Energy work just fine with Bea.
The next major difference is how N’s Resolve attaches all the Energy to just one target. Reveal more Energy than your preferred target Dragon type needs, and you either have to pick a needier, but less desirable target or attach excess Energy. Too much Energy may not sound like a bad thing, but it isn’t uncommon for an opponent’s attack to do more damage based wholly or in part on how much Energy is attached to the Defending Pokémon. There is also the chance you just won’t have the Energy to spare; even in a high Energy attach, two of three Energy stuck on the wrong target can be a problem. Bea avoids this almost entirely; while the Energy revealed must be attached, she can divide it between her Benched Fighting type Pokémon as she sees fit. Working with Fighting types instead of Dragon types is another mark in Bea’s favor; there have been no new [N] type cards in the Sword & Shield series, so N’s Resolve may have released right before the type was retired.
A final drawback that both cards share is they may only attach to a target (or targets, in Bea’s case) on your Bench. If your Active needs more Energy, you have to use something else. Bea’s prospects are better than those of N’s Resolve, but does that mean they’re good? Peaking at the one Japanese event featuring these cards, for which we have results… no. I thought that maybe this would be an emergency play in a deck like Coalossal VMAX, or something using Rhyperior V. Bea isn’t something I’d want to rely on, but as a fallback strategy when I need to go from zero to two to four Energy? Sure. I mean, Oranguru (Sword & Shield 148/202; SW – Vivid Voltage 199/85) can guarantee at least one extra Energy, assuming you have a spare Energy card in hand, and Oranguru is handy in general. There are some Energy hungry Fighting types that can make use of Bea… but they might be too dependent on it.
The best use I’ve heard for Bea, and not from proven results but Theorymon, is with Excadrill (SM – Cosmic Eclipse 115/236, 246/236). Excadrill is not running Bea to attach Energy; when it happens, it is helpful, but the main thing is to have a way to mill five cards from your own deck to set up for Excadrill’s “Eleventh Hour Tackle”, and attack that does 30 damage… or 30+150 if you have three or fewer cards left in your deck. Yes, the deck already has other options, but Bea might still find a place in it. Sooner or later, I think Bea will find a use in Expanded. Not only do you have access to cards like Double Colorless Energy and Strong Energy, but you have VS Seeker, Tapu Lele-GX, and – though less generic – Battle Compressor. I’m still not sure a deck can really run on Bea, but a single copy as a clutch play, spammed if you wind up needing it, sounds plausible.
Bea is a mixed bag in the Limited Format. Decks in this Format contain 40 cards, no 60, and while the Evolution packs mean Limited Format decks aren’t quite as random as in the past, I cannot see them being reliable enough you can get by with the minimal Energy counts found in other Formats. I haven’t been able to play in a Limited Format event in over a decade at this point – c’mon, PTCGO, add it as a feature! – so take this with a grain of salt… but decks were usually at least a quarter Energy, up to half. Unless they were mulligan decks, which might contain even higher concentrations of Energy. Higher Energy concentrations means Bea is better at attaching Energy, but lower deck sizes means you deck out sooner. It is also much less likely you can recycle anything you discard, though it is also more likely your deck will contain filler. Personally, I’d run Bea but only use it when I thought I really needed to take the risk.
Bea is a decent card, I think. Originally, I thought better of it, but early results out of Japan and N’s Resolve pretty much falling off the face of the metagame really lowered my expectations. Bea was my 17th-place pick; again, I see potential, but no where near as much as I saw in over a dozen other cards in this set.
Note: Vince had Bea as his 3rd-place pick.
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