– Sword & Shield

Date Reviewed:
April 27, 2020

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 2.00
Expanded: 2.00
Limited: 3.00

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.

Reviews Below:

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BREAKING NEWS: The 2021 Standard and Expanded Formats have been announced!  You can see the official statement here.  We’re going to have the Team Up-On Format that I think most of us expected, though the announcement discusses a bit more about how things will work in the future with regulation marks.  Unrelated to this, but what I originally had in front of my other review is… my review for yesterday’s CotD has been posted.

You know how I keep mentioning we’ve already got our first anti-Pokémon V effect?  Boltund (Sword & Shield 075/202) is it… or rather, it’s “Fighting Fangs” attack… but I’m getting ahead of myself.  As much as I want to simply cover the attack first, as I tried I realized I was leaving out big chunks because Boltund’s stats really do matter.  Let’s start with it being a plain old Pokémon.  This is a single Prize Pokémon, so even if you trade two of these for a Pokémon VMAX or TAG TEAM, you come out one Prize ahead, and break even with other multi-Prize Pokémon.

Boltund’s [L] Typing is great due to the currently available [L] support.  You have Energy acceleration like Thunder Mountain {*} and the Ability from Tapu Koko {*}, damage bonuses from Electropower, among other things.  Anti-[L] effects exist, but I don’t think any are likely to matter here.  The same could be said of [L] Resistance, which only exists on some Expanded-only cards.  [L] Weakness, on the other hand, can be found on many [C] Types and sprinkled throughout the other Types, past and present… and [W] Types from Sword & Shield and after are now more likely to have it.

Being a Stage 1 Pokémon isn’t great, but it isn’t too bad either; you’ll need to run Yamper or evolve only one Boltund from your one permitted Ditto {*}, and our available Yamper are filler.  130 HP is more likely to be OHKO’d than not, but its enough to survive a hit with some luck.  Though not against [F] Type; at least they’re not a common sight in winning decks right now.  No Resistance is the worst Resistance, but it is also typical, so we’ll move onto the Retreat Cost of [C].  While not perfect, its low and easy enough to pay or zero out.

Boltunds’s attacks are “Big Bite” and Fighting Fangs.  For [CC], Big Bite lets Boltund attack for 50 damage while keeping the Defending Pokémon from retreating.  [LCC] pays for Fighting Fangs, the attack I mentioned at the beginning.  This attack does 90 damage, plus another 90 if your opponent’s Active is a Pokémon V or Pokémon-GX.  The mostly [C] Energy costs are nice, letting Boltund take advantage of multiple forms of Energy acceleration, besides the obvious Thunder Mountain {*} and Tapu Koko {*}.  Soon Twin Energy will be an option the way Double Colorless Energy already is in Expanded.

Big Bite may come in handy on occasion: 50-for-two is low (nowadays), and preventing an opponent from manually retreating can range from pointless to pivotal, but usually will just be an annoyance.  Before its effect, the 90-for-three is disappointing; after the effect, it becomes 180-for-three, which is decent but still not great.  Small-to-medium Basic Pokémon-GX and the smallest Basic Pokémon V go down in one hit, while the rest should take two.  In Expanded, be wary of Pokémon-EX; you’ll only hit them for 90, like you do the the various single-Prize Pokémon!

In the Standard Format, Boltund doesn’t have to worry about any oddball Pokémon-EX attackers, but you do still have to worry about some single-Prize attackers that are still going to survive a hit.  Especially the Basics; you’re probably not winning the trade war in terms of Prizes, Stages of Evolution, or Energy attachments.  There are definitely combos to make Boltund seem rather fierce but everything I can think of works for any [L] Type Pokémon.  No other single-Prize Stage 1 (or Basic) can hit Pokémon-GX or Pokémon V this hard, but…

…do they need to?  Boltund is breed for combating a specific threat, but there’s nothing that is immune to attacks from Basic Pokémon V, at least, not yet.  Which is true of Expanded as well.  The only place I’d be really keen on including Boltund in your deck is in the Limited Format (excluding Mulligan builds, of course).  Its mostly [C] Energy cost, and fact there are two Yamper and another Boltund in this set should help.  Plus, its stats and damage output are acceptable here, even when not dealing with Pokémon V.


  • Standard: 2/5
  • Expanded: 2/5
  • Limited: 3/5

After explaining why you shouldn’t bother with Boltund in Standard or Expanded, I still awarded it two-out-of-five in both of those Formats.  Why?  It doesn’t do things well enough to be the counter some folks are looking for but it also doesn’t do them completely wrong.  Boltund is just a bit less easy to fit into decks, a bit less durable, and not quite as hard-hitting as I think we need in such a card.  With a little more support, it may flip the script.

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