– Rebel Clash
May 17, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
We kick off this week with Cinderace V (SSH – Black Star Promos SWSH015; SSH – Rebel Clash 035/192). Is this a runner-up from our countdown? Yes and no; Cinderace VMAX was nominated, and is tomorrow’s card. It just makes sense to cover Cinderace V, even if it is a reprint of a promo card. As Cinderace VMAX will have its own article tomorrow, I’ll just barely address whether or not I think it is something that helps Cinderace V out or does nothing for it. For now, though, its all Cinderace V, and we’ll start by running through its stats and effects.
As the name tells us, this is a Pokémon V. It gives up an extra Prize when KO’d, can’t make use of certain support, and is the target of certain detrimental effects, though only the first one really matters at present, and maybe the second (Scoop Up Net is nice). Pokémon V tend to have better stats and effects than they otherwise would, relative to their costs. One additional advantage V-dom grants something like Cinderace, which is normally represented as a Stage 2 in the TCG, is that it is a Basic Pokémon instead. Minimum deck space, no waiting to evolve, being able to better utilize certain effects, etc. mean this is the best Stage a Pokémon can be.
Cinderace V is a [R] Type. Fire’s best support only cares about basic Fire Energy, not the Typing of your Pokémon. Which actually ends up being an advantage; Cinderace V isn’t just vying for space in mostly or mono-Fire decks, but anything running on Welder. Type-specific counters exist, but aren’t currently a concern. Nothing is naturally [R] Resistant, but [R] Weakness can be found on one of the most played Pokémon at the moment: Zacian V. Overall, a good deal, like the 210 HP. Again your typical main attacker, its still a OHKO, but against less it can often tank a hit. [W] Weakness is relatively safe at the moment, no Resistance is the worst, and a Retreat Cost of two is functionally average, but those last two don’t really matter.
Lack of Resistance being no big deal is normal, but why wouldn’t the Retreat Cost be relevant? Cinderace V’s Ability is “Field Runner”; as long as there is a Stadium in play – any Stadium belonging to either player – then it has a free Retreat Cost. This is multiplying by zero; even if the Stadium in play is an opponent’s Galar Mine, Cinderace V will have a free Retreat Cost. This allows Cinderace V to function as a “pivot” Pokémon, one you promote just to free retreat into something else. Cinderace V’s lone attack is “Crimson Legs”, doing 140 for [RRC]. You’re not OHKOing anything vital unless its already on the small side, or [R] Weak, and it falls short of reliable 2HKO’s… but Welder makes it easy to pay, and there’s costs or conditions or the like.
On its own, Cinderace V isn’t bad, and even does one thing – retreating – well, but that’s not enough to justify running it even in a Welder-based deck. If someone’s trying to make a go of Probopass (SSH – Rebel Clash 131/192) or anything else that relies on messing up Retreat Costs, its nice… but you should be running Cinderace V because you want to run Cinderace VMAX. The short version is Cinderace VMAX will see at least a little bit of competitive play (and success). It might even see a lot… but that’s a discussion for tomorrow. It does mean that Cinderace V should also see that much play… unless Chandelure (SM – Unified Minds 30/236) suddenly experiences unprecedented success.
That was just the Standard Format, however; what about Expanded? There’s a wider variety of decks and support for those decks, so a reliable 140 could actually come in handy. Among the support are cards like Muscle Band and Volcanion-EX, which can also boost Cinderace V’s damage output to the point where hits more significant numbers. Yet I must score Cinderace V worse here, because of the extreme competition; there are better attackers for such a deck and they are not seeing success in the Expanded Format. Oh, and Cinderace V’s main selling point, its Ability? Far more Ability denial here, including (and maybe ironically) Silent Lab.
Enjoy Cinderace V is you pull it for a Limited Format event. You can run it in a mulligan build; the 210 HP should often be just enough to survive long enough for four to five Crimson Legs to score the KO’s needed for the win. Just remember, your opponent will get to attack Cinderace V twice before it can swing once. There’s no wiggle room here. If you use Cinderace V alongside other Pokémon, there are three Uncommon Stadiums in this set, and one is Galar Mine. Though Cinderace V needs two of its three Energy to be [R], it doesn’t have to discard from itself, so even a partial-Fire build should be able to accommodate it.
Cinderace V isn’t a brilliant card, but its reasonably good for what is normally filler. If you absolutely need a pivot Pokémon in a [R] deck that can keep a Stadium in play, its you’re ‘mon. Yes, that is a rather narrow niche; good thing its necessary for Cinderace VMAX, where it is a decent enough lead-in. If Cinderace V didn’t have Cinderace VMAX, I’d have scored it a point lower in both Standard and Expanded.
Alright…let’s see if I can make an argument for playing with this guy.
Cinderace V is a Basic Fire-Type Pokemon-V, 210 HP, with a Water Weakness, no Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of 2. However, Field Runner can reduce that Retreat Cost to 0 as long as there’s a Stadium in play. Crimson Legs in the meantime is a 3-for-140 that allows you to dig around in your closet for that one pair of red pants you’ve been meaning to try on that your parents, your friends, your loved ones, pretty much everyone you’ve ever met and worn these pants around said were too outrageous to wear in public. And then you’re not just gonna wear them in public, you wear them beneath a pair of tearaway pants before going to the tournament and preparing to use Crimson Legs, cuing yourself to tear off your pants for the crimson legs.
There are a few good Stadiums to work with in regards to Cinderace V – Power Plant works well, since he’s a Pokemon-V, and Chaotic Swell will keep the opponent on their toes while you benefit from the presence of a Stadium. There’s also Heat Factory <Prism> to benefit from for the time being, until it rotates out, and you can even use Galar Mine to mess around with your opponent while you get around easily! But the bigger question is…why would you do all of this? Not because switching around is bad, but what’s the reason to go through this?
Crimson Legs can OHKO Zacian-V, there’s no doubt about that, but aside from the usual tricks of switching a Pokemon around, there’s not really much to do with Cinderace V. It’s the only one getting the free Retreat, and if you end up playing something like Galar Mine, well whatever gets put in his place isn’t gonna like sticking around, unless it’s another Cinderace V. You do still get to keep the benefits of the Fire Type, mainly Welder, so it can fuel up very quickly. And there’s even a cool VMAX form to look at too – more on that later!
If we’re just looking at Cinderace V and comparing it directly to Ninetales V, the big card that made the list, there’s definitely more of a broad appeal to Ninetales V. Nine-Tailed Shapeshifter works against more decks than Crimson Legs does, so that’s certainly a point in its favor. I do think Field Runner gives Cinderace V a unique advantage that Ninetales V lacks, though, it’s just a matter of figuring out what Stadium works best with such a deck idea, and I think that’s where we run low on options.
Still, I’d encourage trying out Cinderace V especially alongside his VMAX form – he might just surprise the Fire decks that are looking to rise up against the Zacian-V meta!
Standard: 3.5/5 (I’d argue a strong contender for Fire deck of the format)
Expanded: 3/5 (primarily because of the free Retreat alongside the VMAX)
Limited: 5/5 (but understandably, I know why it falls short…)
Arora Notealus: While Cinderace V is strong enough technically to take out Zacian-V on its own, without need of copying an attack, it does have to do more against all the other decks in the format. And between that and Nine-Tailed Shapeshifter, it’s hard to argue in favor of a vanilla move. Still, he has a lot of the same benefits that Ninetales-V currently has, being Fire and all, so we’ll have to see where that all ends up.
Next Time: But for now, let’s delve into more of why you’d consider Cinderace-V!
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