– Darkness Ablaze
September 14, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
As a Pokémon V, Charizard V (SW – Darkness Ablaze 019/189) is worth an extra Prize when KO’d. Being a Pokémon V also means it cannot make use of certain beneficial effects, such as that of Twin Energy, and has to deal with certain detrimental effects, such as the “Deep Forest Cameo” Ability of Decidueye (SW – Darkness Ablaze 013/189; SW – Black Star Promos SWSH035). It isn’t all bad, though; Charizard V gets to be a Basic Pokémon with 220 HP. A regular Charizard is a Stage 2, needing more cards to hit the field, and usually more turns. The most recent – Charizard (SM – Team Up 14/181; SM – Black Star Promos SM158, SM226) only has 150, so Charizard V has 70 more than that, and about 10 more than the typical Basic Pokémon V.
Charizard V is a [R] type, and this is good. While Welder can technically be used by any Pokémon, it tends to work better with Fire types, as they are more likely to run on Fire Energy and run other cards that work with basic Fire Energy. In terms of type-matching, Metal decks were huge at the Players Cup Finals, so players have a big incentive to run Fire. This is also why the [W] Weakness is bad; Frosmoth/Inteleon placed well in part because it was exploiting those Fire decks. No Resistance is technically the worst, but should rarely matter. A Retreat Cost of [CCC] is functionally the worst; tricky to pay, to zero out completely, and you can’t even access tricks like Buff Padding the way something with a Retreat Cost of [CCCC] can.
Charizard V knows two attacks. The effects of a Pokémon V are usually pretty important in clenching its status as a good card, or seeing it relegated as either a mere stepping stone for its VMAX form, or trade bait in someone’s binder. For [CCC], Charizard V can use “Claw Slash” to do 80 damage. This is pretty low, with 80 damage being a poor return for three Energy. It almost would still get a pass, if the all Colorless Energy requirement was likely to matter, but I don’t see you running this in an off-type deck, and it isn’t like Charizard V can pop it off using a Triple Acceleration Energy. “Fire Spin” costs [RRCC], and also has Charizard V discard two Energy from itself, and this pays for 220 damage. Pricier than I’d prefer, but good overall; Charizard V can take out most other Basic Pokémon V, most non-TAG TEAM Pokémon-GX, and most single-Prize Pokémon.
Put it all together, and Charizard V isn’t a very good card, but it isn’t bad. If you just want a Basic Pokémon V Fire attacker, you’ve got several other options (and more on the way!), but as a stepping stone to reach Charizard VMAX, it ain’t bad. I do like how Claw Slash and Fire Spin are – in the TCG – pretty iconic Charizard moves. Fire Spin isn’t quite as strong as we need it, though; a Zamazenta V sporting a Weakness Guard Energy survives with 10 HP, even if it doesn’t enjoy any other defensive buffs. So, what is Charizard VMAX like? We’ll be giving it its own review tomorrow, but it is better Charizard V can evolve into it than not. Both cards also have a good chance of having additional cards released with the same name but different stats and/or effects, which could easily help or hurt them.
Expanded doesn’t present a compelling deck in which to run Charizard V, but if you insist on using it, you can always use Volcaion-EX, Welder and/or Black Smith to get something functional. Slap a Fighting Fury Belt onto Charizard V so that it enjoys 260 HP and an extra 10 damage, or even just the new Cape of Toughness to reach 270 HP and rely purely on Volcanion-EX and its “Steam Up” Ability for your damage buff. Double Colorless Energy and either Blacksmith or Welder will let Charizard V go from “zero” to attacking in one turn, and you should be able to OHKO quite a bit. It is just that, the last time I saw what was doing well in Expanded, I wasn’t seeing Volcanion-EX decks; for as good as this might sound, control decks or even faster, harder-hitting beatdown decks probably leave such a thing in the dust.
At least there’s the Limited Format, at least, if you can find a way to play in it. You might get lucky and have Turbo Patch for some acceleration, but even building manually, a Mulligan Charizard V deck probably has the right combination of HP and damage output to reliably win. If you’re not comfortable taking that risk, though, any deck that can run three to five basic Fire Energy (give or take some Heat [R] Energy) can finally make good use of Charizard V. Even if you have to run zero Fire Energy, 220 HP and Claw Slash might be enough.
In Standard and Expanded, Charizard V’s problem is that it is good but other things are better. I am probably scoring it a bit too high, because even someone like me, who prefers Blastoise to Charizard, still carry a torch for our big pseudo-dragon. This is a pretty vanilla card, but at least they didn’t outright sabotage it.
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