Cramorant V – Sword and Shield
Date Reviewed: December 26, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
We’re still counting down the top 10 cards of 2020 but not today. The actual countdown is reserved for the weekday reviews, so we can stay in sync with the other Pojo sites’ countdowns. As such, we’re going to look at some runners-up during the weekend slots, and today’s is Cramorant V (Sword & Shield 155/202, 198/202). As a Pokémon V, Cramorant V gives up an extra Prize when KO’d, cannot make use of certain pieces of support, and is vulnerable to anti-V effects. On the bright side, Cramorant V has 90 more HP than baseline versions of Cramorant, and since we’re reviewing it as a runner-up, it probably got a boost to its effects.
As a Colorless Pokémon, Cramorant V can neither exploit Weakness nor crash into Resistance; the former is actually a big loss, while the latter is only a minor benefit. At least, not in Expanded or Standard, which are the Formats we’re concerned with; pre-Black & White series cards sometimes had Colorless Weakness or Resistance. In Standard, Colorless Pokémon can use Powerful [C] Energy to score extra damage to the opposing Active… which isn’t going to be especially useful to Cramorant V because of its main use (more on that later). At least all anti-Colorless effects are Expanded-only, and even the best of them are still pretty specialized. There is a bit more [C] support there as well, but it is pretty minor. In terms of typing, Colorless is disappointing outside of when it appears in an attack’s Energy requirements.
Being a Basic is the best Stage: minimum space in your deck and minimum time and effort to hit the field. I mentioned the HP earlier; the good news is that it indeed nearly twice what a baseline Cramorant card has, but it is still a little low, with 210 to 230 being the typical range. What makes this matter is 200 damage, while not a common amount for damage output, isn’t rare either. There are match-ups where this will matter. Probably not against [L] types, though; Cramorant V’s Weakness means it just takes 100 base damage to score a OHKO, or an average of 50 base damage to score a 2HKO. Yes, when it is that low, even the 2HKO number matters. Cramorant V has [F] Resistance, which probably won’t matter, but is still appreciated. As is the Retreat Cost of [C]; most of the time, this is easy to pay and recover from having paid.
Cramorant V knows two attacks. “Beak Catch” requires [C] and lets you search your deck for up to two cards to add to your hand. If you are stuck attacking with Cramorant V for one Energy, it’s a decent attack, but otherwise not worth risking your two-Prize, 200 HP Pokémon getting OHKO’d. [CCC] pays for “Spit Shot”, and says to discard all Energy from this Pokémon when you use it. That’s somewhat expensive; being able to use any type of Energy does help, though. The payoff is that you then get to select any one of your opponent’s Pokémon and do 160 damage to it. Not too thrilling against your opponent’s Active, but when you can hit a juicy Bench target? Well worth it.
Enter the metagame. The all Colorless Energy requirements mean Spit Shot can play nice with a decent bit of Energy acceleration, such as Welder. Assuming you can get the previous Active out of the way, you can Bench, power-up, and promote (or promote, then power-up) Cramorant V in a single turn. You’re then hitting hard enough to OHKO some of the smallest two-Prize Pokémon and most single-Prize Pokémon, and 2HKO most others (ignoring protective effects). Besides finishing off a TAG TEAM Pokémon or Pokémon VMAX trying to hide on the Bench, clutch Bench-sitters, etc. Cramorant V can OHKO a Benched Dedenne-GX. Dedenne-GX is in almost every competitive deck, and sits at exactly 160 HP; a quick OHKO of it can grant a solid lead or seal the win a little ahead of schedule.
You can see our original review of Cramorant V here. We didn’t have Boss’s Orders at that time. While we had other ways of forcing Benched Pokémon Active, none were as reliable or easy as using your Supporter for the turn. Even after Boss’s Orders joined the cardpool, Cramorant V continued to see play. Your Supporter for the turn is very valuable, so having an alternative is nice… at least for the decks which can afford Spit Shot, which mostly seem to be those running on Welder right now, but included others prior to rotation.
I only have old data for Expanded, but it appears to have seen some use there. Again, this makes some sense; while we were never without a gusting Supporter (Lysandre or Guzma) there, sometimes you need your Supporter for something else. There are cards like Double Colorless Energy that make Spit Shot more affordable, and there are even some nifty combos, like copying Spit Shot with the “Memories of Dawn” Ability of Mew (XY – Fates Collide 29/124). Mew is much more fragile than Cramorant V, but is only worth one Prize. With Dimension Valley in play, Mew can use Spit Shot for the price of just a Double Colorless Energy! In the Limited Format, Cramorant V is not strong enough to run in a Mulligan build, but it is well worth including in everything else; hitting the Bench is just that valuable here, and Beak Catch is pretty great as well in this Format.
- Standard: 3/5
- Expanded: 3/5
- Limited: 4/5
Cramorant V isn’t a great card, but it is a good, proven one. Back when we first reviewed it, I had it as my 17th-Place pick for Sword & Shield; the site list had it as the 29th-Place pick. For this countdown, Cramorant V was my 11th-Place pick. Why did it jump? Before Boss’s Orders but after that initial release, Cramorant V was a solid part of the metagame… and we’re low enough on the list that a decent card which shows up in a variety of decks is as legitimate a choice as the less general stuff that helped a specific deck or archetype do well.
Cramorant V was not in Vince’s Top 15 cards of 2020
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