– Sword & Shield
March 8, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
We begin the week with Bede (Sword & Shield 157/202, 199/202, 207/202), a new Trainer-Supporter. Being a Trainer is good right now; general Trainer support exists and even enjoys some competitive success, while anti-Trainer effects are usually more deck-specific (though still proven). Being a Supporter comes with a significant opportunity cost, and prevents certain combos from even being possible. Supporter counters haven’t proven too effective, but their support has; in Expanded, it is even Format defining (VS Seeker).
Bede’s effect has you attach a basic Energy card from your hand to one of your Benched Pokémon. Energy acceleration can be incredibly potent, especially when in a form like this one, where it can be used before you attack. More available Energy means faster access to bigger attacks, which can mean doing more damage and/or inflicting more potent effects that much faster.
Bede is defined both by what he is, what he does, and what he does not do. He attaches to your Bench; great for preparing ahead of time, not so great if you need to reload an Active that likes to discard its own Energy. He can work with any basic Energy Type, but can’t do anything with Special Energy cards. He only attaches one Energy, not two (like Welder), nor does he do anything else (again, like Welder). He attaches from the hand; better than from the field, but from your deck or discard pile would be better.
There are tricks to using multiple copies of Bede in a single turn, but they’ll cost you. I’m not talking about money (that can vary) but in-game costs and conditions for activation. I think Bede’s calling is in letting certain Pokémon access certain attacks more quickly and/or reliably. Reliably? Yeah, if you missed your manual Energy attachment on the previous turn, Bede can compensate.
Look for Pokémon with Energy costs that can be met in a single turn by one Bede and one manual Energy attachment. This can vary quite a bit, from just meeting [CC] to meeting a two unit pure or mixed requirement to meeting a mostly or all [C] four Energy requirement because you’re manual Energy attachment for the turn went to Triple Acceleration Energy (Evolutions only).
I’ve only got a single example from competitive play right now, and that is the Galarian Obstagoon deck that took 3rd-place at the Oceania International Championship. Bede was only a single, though. Attacks with [C] or [CC] in their attack costs can just use Welder, at least for now, which might be why more decks aren’t embracing this card. No examples from Expanded, probably because there you can use the Item card Max Elixir to accelerate basic Energy cards to your Benched Pokémon… unless you only need the one extra attachment, and it has to be guaranteed.
The Limited Format likes Bede, unless you’re going with a Mulligan build; a guaranteed empty Bench means nothing to which you may attach.
Bede is a card that I think a lot of us are sleeping on, though my review doesn’t read much like a wake-up call. Your Supporter for the turn can do a lot, so most decks can’t spare it for a single extra Energy attachment from hand. However, when you find the right attackers who need it, Bede can do some amazing things. Galarian Obstagoon might be one of those attackers; I’m better there are more we just haven’t recognized yet.
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