Crobat V – Darkness Ablaze
Date Reviewed: December 25, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Crobat-V is the 6th best card of 2020 that was also the best card of the Darkness Ablaze set when we first reviewed it. It’s claim to fame is it’s Dark Asset ability, which does the same thing Shaymin-EX does (drawing cards until you have six cards in your hand) except that you cannot use more than one Dark Asset ability no matter how many times you put Crobat-V in play during that turn. So pretty much it’s a nerfed Shaymin-EX, but along with Dedenne-GX, this is perhaps one of the best coming-into-play abilities that doesn’t use up your Supporter for your turn. It lets you do more things based on the cards you’ve just drew.
The reason why Shaymin-EX was banned in Expanded is that not only it’s Set Up ability isn’t a hard once-per-turn, but there is a card that can help abuse that ability multiple times in one turn. Scoop Up Net bounces your Pokemon (except GX and V) and puts that Pokemon in your hand (while discarding all other cards attached to it). Crobat-V and Dedenne-GX won’t benefit from Scoop Up Net as it excludes them, but it probably won’t matter because both Dark Asset and Dedechange are hard once per turn abilities as well.
Effects like those have seen successful play before, so it was pretty certain that Crobat-V was going to be one of the best cards of this year.
As long as there is an ability that draws a good amount of cards, it’s going to be in most decks. Crobat-V is no exception.
Apparently there is a Crobat VMAX, which is also a Dark type with 300 HP, Fighting weakness, and a retreat cost of one. It has two attacks. The first one costs DC for 70 damage while also inflicting the Poison Special Condition and switching your Crobat VMAX with one of your Benched Pokemon. Max Cutter costs DDC for 180 damage. I guess this could be another decent VMAX attacker after Crobat-V served it’s purpose.
Merry Christmas! The 6th-best card of 2020 is bringing the gift of draw power, which is often most welcome in the Pokémon TCG. While you do lose if your deck has no cards in it when you take your mandatory draw at the start of your turn, that usually is not a concern. Instead, as in most TCGs, more cards in hand mean more resources to access, and that means it is more likely you can win (all other factors being equal). Not all draw power is the same, however; besides the specifics of card effects, where that draw power is coming from matters.
Crobat V is special because it offers the same caliber of draw power as Bianca or Lillie (when the latter isn’t getting her bonus) in the form of an Ability, “Dark Asset”. Dark Asset may only be used when you Bench Crobat V from your hand, during your own turn; you draw until you have six cards in hand. While this eats up a space on your Bench (assuming you have no other use for Crobat V), you’re faking an extra Supporter for the turn. Dark Asset does explicitly state that you cannot use more than one instance of Dark Asset in a single turn; this is because Shaymin-EX (XY – Roaring Skies 77/108, 77a/108, 106/108) has an almost identical Ability named “Setup” without such a restriction and… well… the game’s designers learned their lesson the hard way.
Bianca and Lillie are not the greatest of Supporters, but their effects are still decent. Reducing your handsize is easier in some decks than others, but a deck with cards that are easy to rapidly play and/or effects that need to discard cards from hand can pretty easily draw well off of Dark Asset. Unless you have no Supporter for the turn, even drawing just one or two cards is still decent with Dark Asset, though you’re hoping for something more substantial. Crobat V’s other effect – its attack – is much less impressive. [DC] pays for “Venemous Fang”, which does 70 damage while poisoning your opponent’s Active. It is underwhelming, but not abysmal.
The rest of Crobat V still matters. Being a Pokémon V is huge for a few reasons. First, it is probably the only reason the card was allowed Dark Asset, though perhaps it could have also been made available on a Stage 2, baseline Crobat card. Yeah, regular Crobat cards are Stage 2 Pokémon, but being a Pokémon V means Crobat V gets to be the easily played and run Basic Pokémon. It also means better HP; Crobat V has 20 more than Crobat BREAK, and 50 more than the largest baseline Crobat. It is still small for a Basic Pokémon V, however, as they normally clock in at 210 to 230 HP. So an improvement, but not as much as many other cards receive. Crobat V is excluded from certain beneficial effects, most notably Scoop Up Net, and is vulnerable to anti-Pokémon V effects.
Crobat V’s [D] typing is decent. Crobat V is good enough to be used off-type, so most decks won’t really see a benefit. I thought it was going to be a big deal, because I badly overestimated how useful Piers would be for snagging a Special Energy card reliably from your deck. Eternatus VMAX is the deck most likely to run Crobat V “on-type”, and Eternatus VMAX needs Darkness type Pokémon on its Bench, so that is where Crobat V’s typing is a big help. Fighting Weakness isn’t good, but it also isn’t that bad. There is a good deal of it floating around in the metagame, but the Fighting decks seem to keep falling a bit short. No Resistance is the worst, but also normal, so not really a problem. A Retreat Cost of [C] is good; it is hard for Crobat V to be stuck in the Active Spot, but it can happen.
Crobat V is not the option for Pokémon-based draw power. Until the next rotation, we still have Dedenne-GX. “Dedechange”, Dedenne-GX’s Ability, has the same coming-into-play and once per turn (even if you have multiples) restriction. However, instead of being draw-until, it has you discard your hand and draw six cards. You won’t be able to build a combo in hand, but you can still draw even if you have a large but useless hand. We already mentioned Shaymin-EX, but it was banned, and the other other options are dissimilar enough they fill a somewhat different role. As a Basic, Crobat V is something you can snag with your Quick Ball and use Turn 1.
Especially with Shaymin-EX being more or less freshly banned, I assume Crobat V is making its way into Expanded Format decks, more or less in the same manner as it has Standard. There are enough alternatives and counters, however, to just barely take it down a peg. I think; we have no official results for Expanded since before Crobat V released! In the Limited Format, Crobat V’s Ability can be harder to use; sometimes your hand runs low in Limited, but usually it is a decent size because you just can’t use as much of your stuff during a single turn as you can in the Constructed Formats. Don’t bother with a Mulligan build, but do otherwise still run Crobat V is you pull it. Looking to the future, Crobat VMAX is out in Japan; I don’t know what our game will be like when it finally arrives here, but that does offer additional potential to Crobat V.
Crobat V has pretty much become a one-per-deck staple, with a few decks running more and a few decks eschewing it entirely. It was our number one pick from SW – Darkness Ablaze, and that still seems to be the case. Crobat V was my 7th-Place pick, instead of 6th… but that’s close enough.
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