Cape of Toughness
– Darkness Ablaze
September 1, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Cape of Toughness from SS Darkness Ablaze is a Pokemon Tool card that’s raises the Maximum HP by 50 for Basic Pokémon that is not a Pokémon-GX. While this card does increase the Maximum HP, it is NOT the same as healing your Pokemon since the amount of damage you have stays the same. Also, if this card is discarded by tool removal cards such as Tool Scrapper, it will lose the HP bonus, and if your damage exceed the Max HP, then that Pokémon is instantly Knocked Out and your opponent may take prizes. Such tool cards are also liable for your opponent to Knock Out your other Pokémon as well because you have to replace the Pokémon that was Knocked Out after their Pokémon Tool card got discarded.
As with other Pokémon Tool cards that raises the Maximum HP, increasing HP could matter if it would delay being KO’d, and your opponent has to waste resources to getting rid of the tool. In the case of Cape of Toughness, it is unfortunate that this effect EXCLUDES Pokemon-GX as some of these Basic GX Pokemon or even TAG TEAMs would’ve benefit from the HP boost. But I guess there’s alternatives to accommodate them…like Buff Padding, for instance. For now, it mostly benefits single prize basics and Basic Pokémon-V (not VMAX since they’re evolved Pokémon). So far, before factoring Japanese prints, the highest printed HP scores for Basic Pokémon-V is 230, which Zamazenta-V and Rhyperior-V has. Eventually, there is Wailord-V with 280 HP, and with Cape of Toughness attached, it will have 330 HP, and it’s still gives up TWO prizes!!!
Buff Padding will still compete with Cape of Toughness due to sharing the same +50 HP boost. The difference is that instead of working for Basic Pokémon excluding GX, it only works for Pokémon with exactly a retreat cost of 4 (regardless of game mechanic). So some of those Pokemon-GX can benefit from the HP boost that Cape of Toughness doesn’t. Big Charm also competes with Cape of Toughness as the +30 HP boost works for any Pokémon. For Expanded, it’s got one more notable competition. Fighting Fury Belt raises your Max HP by 40 and also let that Pokémon deal 10 more damage to the Defending Pokémon.
Despite all the competition, Cape of Toughness adds to the list of worries for both Standard and Expanded mostly because there are some non-GX beefy Basic Pokémon that are happy to take advantage of this card. It may not be a common sight due to tool removal, but when your opponent doesn’t run tool removal cards, they’ll somewhat be struggling to find out how to OHKO beefier targets.
Cape of Toughness (SW – Darkness Ablaze 160/189) is a new Pokémon Tool that can be equipped by anything its effect only works for Basic Pokémon, granting the equipped Basic with +50 HP except for Pokémon-GX. Getting the obvious out of the way, HP buffs like this can fake being healing, but remember that the extra HP is the last to go. They let you place more damage counters on a Pokémon before it gets KO’d, but that also means your opponent can discard it before it is actually doing anything, or discard it after it is acting as life-support and the equipped Pokémon is then KO’d. As long as you
Cape of Toughness still did something, hopefully something useful.
Cape of Toughness joins Big Charm and Buff Padding as Standard Format-legal Tools that grant an HP buff. While all three can be equipped by anything, Big Charm is the only one that grants it HP bonus to anything using it… which is why it only gives +30 HP. Buff Padding is slightly older but still provides +50 HP, but it only works for Pokémon with a Retreat Cost of [CCCC]. Not [CCCC] or higher, but exactly four. Both cards are still useful, and Cape of Toughness only replaces either of them in decks where you’re only or mostly attaching to Basic non-GX Pokémon. For now, both restrictions on what can use Cape of Toughness’ effect are about equally restrictive, but as more Pokémon V release and Pokémon-GX diminish in influence, it will likely be the Stage restriction that matters more.
The Expanded Format is similar to Standard, except with – you guessed it – more competition, counters, and combos. Of particular note is Fighting Fury Belt, a Tool that provides +40 HP and +10 damage to the attacks of an equipped Basic Pokémon. Fortunately for Cape of Toughness, there is a president for wall decks that never attack, and sometimes use beefy boys like Wailord-EX (likely to be replaced by Wailord V) purely as a meatshield. When it comes to the Limited Format, use this. Even if you plan on evolving all your Basics, you’re likely to have both the deck space and a free Tool slot, so that temporary bonus before uselessness is okay. The +50 bonus should also be more significant here, as decks tend to have a lower damage output.
Cape of Toughness is a good card, and I nearly rounded it up to a four-out-of-five, but it isn’t that good, at least, not yet. Two copies of it showed up in the Zacian ADP deck Will Jenkins piloted to 9th-place at the recent Players Cup Finals; while not absolute proof, it is a very good sign. Big Charm still showed up in some of the higher placing decks, though. I also nearly rounded down to a two-out-of-five for Expanded, but I think Cape of Toughness will nicely fill out its own niche there. Cape of Toughness was my 14th-place pick, but in terms of our collective list, it would have taken 19th-place.
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