– Darkness Ablaze
October 26, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Crows, jays, magpies, and ravens are all corvids, members of the Corvidae family. These birds are considered very intelligent, able to navigate well around human environments, remember individual human faces, and deeds done to them (good or bad). So, if you didn’t think Corviknight were at all spooky, they’re over 2 meter (7 feet) tall armored versions of these birds! Today we look at Corviknight (SW – Darkness Ablaze 156/189). This is a single Prize Pokémon, lacking any specialty mechanics, and a Stage 2 Pokémon. It is good you won’t be giving up extra Prizes, but we’re talking a minimum of three cards and two turns for Corviknight to hit the field; that’s a lot to overcome.
Corviknight are Flying/Steel in the video games, with today’s card drawing more from the Flying typing as it is a Colorless Pokémon. This means you don’t have to worry about Weakness or Resistance (unless you still play Unlimited). [C] support and counters exist, but the latter only in Expanded, with Powerful [C] Energy being the only especially relevant piece at this time. 160 HP is decent because this is a single Prize Stage 2 Pokémon; there’s an incentive for your opponent to push for a OHKO here, but due to the cards invested versus the Prizes taken. At 160, its not hard to score a OHKO, but it isn’t something most decks will find fast and easy to do, let alone do over and over again.
Lightning Weakness isn’t good, but it isn’t as bad as I expected it to be right now. I knew Pikachu & Reshiram-GX decks suffered some serious losses from this year’s set rotation, but I thought cards like Vikavolt V were strong enough to offset most, maybe even all, of that loss. I was wrong. -30 Fighting Resistance is appreciated, but I don’t know how often it will matter; the type sees some competitive play now, and might be getting a shot in the arm from the next set. Corviknight’s Retreat Cost of [CC] is high enough you won’t want to pay it but low enough you can probably still do so without it causing major problems.
Corviknight has one Ability and one attack. The attack is mostly filler, so I’m going to actually cover it first. For [CCC] “Blasting Winds” lets Corviknight attack for 120 damage. 120 for three is adequate, in part because you could use Triple Acceleration Energy to cover the entire cost with one attachment, Twin Energy to cover two-thirds of it, Powerful [C] Energy to up the damage, and/or Recycle Energy so you don’t truly lose the Energy (just its attachment). For filler, this is pretty good! Weak Halloween theming aside, the Ability is why we are looking at this card, and “Flying Taxi”… does not sound intimidating. Then again, I’ve never ridden in a taxi, let alone done so in a dangerous neighborhood.
Flying Taxi is what we refer to as a coming-into-play Ability; when you evolve one of your Pokémon in play by playing this Corviknight card from your hand, you can activate Flying Taxi. If you do, pick a Pokémon you have in play other than Corviknight and return that Pokémon plus all cards attached to it to your hand. In other words, you get a Scoop Up Cyclone like-effect that can’t be used on this Pokémon or others that share its name. All Stages of evolution, Energy, Tools, and anything else “attached” to the target return to your hand, where you may reuse them. Damage counters and effects of attacks are wiped away.
Scoop Up Cyclone sees a good bit of play because of how useful bounce can be even when it only works on that Pokémon in question, and excludes Pokémon-GX and Pokémon V. Not only does bringing those attached cards add extra usefulness and power to Flying Taxi, but so does only excluding Corviknight, while still working on Pokémon V and Pokémon-GX. Whether they’re Basic Pokémon V or Pokémon VMAX, Pokémon-GX of any Stage or TAG TEAM Pokémon, Flying Taxi gives you a way to potentially deny your opponent Prizes, reuse some cards, reuse certain coming-into-play effects, and/or vacate a spot in play (Active or Bench).
If Corviknight was a Basic Pokémon, this might have been broken; certainly, it would become a common inclusion for the decks that either cannot make use of Scoop Up Net, or make such good use of it why not have a better, Pokémon-based version? Even as a hypothetical Stage 1, with weakened stats and attack, it would have made Corviknight a very good card used in many decks. As a Stage 2? It still has potential, but you’re paying for this miracle. While Corviknight cannot bounce itself, Scoop Up Net still works on it; you may not need a full line Corviknight line to take advantage of Flying Taxi… but we do need to address the options for getting Corviknight into play.
There is not a good option for Rookidee or Corvisquire, the Basic and Stage 1 of this evolution line, respectively. Rookidee (SW – Darkness Ablaze 154/189) and Corvisquire (Sword & Shield 151/202) do get a quick shout out as the better options, just because each has an attack for [C] that discards all Tools attached to your opponent’s Active then does 20 damage to that Pokémon. It is not worth the Energy and Prize you’ll lose when Rookidee or Corvisquire is OHKO’d, but at least it is better than the vanilla damage of the other version of Rookidee and Corvisquire. Rare Candy will let you skip from Rookidee directly to Corviknight, as well as skipping a turn of waiting, but Item cards are not as easy to search out or recycle as Pokémon, and if you use the Scoop Up Net trick, you’ll need another Rare Candy or a Corvisquire to re-evolve.
It is a niche use for Corviknight, but one with some frightening possibilities. Even if your OHKO Corviknight after it, for example, bounced a heavily damaged Pokémon VMAX, your opponent traded a single Prize Pokémon (even if it was a Stage 2) for a three-Prize Pokémon and anything it had attached. In Expanded, will still have Acerola, AZ, Scoop Up Cyclone, and Super Scoop Up to do the same or similar job as Flying Taxi. Simply put, it is possible there’s some killer Corviknight combo, but probably not. In the Limited Format, the only place to not run even a 1-1-1 version of the Corviknight line is if you’re running a Mulligan deck around something else. For everything else, enjoy the bounce!
While not a powerhouse, Corviknight does something extremely well, albeit in a slow and costly manner. I’ve not seen anything using it, but I’m still struggling to make time for the PTCGO and lacking more than one or two tournaments for reference sake.
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