– Darkness Ablaze
August 28, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
1st-place should come as no surprise: it’s Crobat V (SW – Darkness Ablaze 104/189, 182/189)! We’ll start with the card’s Ability, as it is one of its most important features. “Dark Asset” can only be activated when you Bench Crobat V from your hand, during your turn. This Ability lets you draw until you have six cards in hand. It is also a true once-during-your-turn effect. It doesn’t matter if you bounce Crobat V and re-play it or if you play multiple copies of it from your hand during the same turn: you only get to use one Dark Asset and the others are “duds”.
Crobat V is a Darkness Pokémon, letting it work with recent [D] support and maybe even coming in handy to exploit the odd bit of Weakness. As a Pokémon V, Crobat V is worth an extra Prize when KO’d, is excluded from certain beneficial effects, and targeted by some detrimental ones. It means Crobat V has to be a Basic, as the only evolved Pokémon V are Pokémon VMAX, that it should have higher HP than a baseline Crobat, and probably will have better effects relative to their costs. Being a Basic makes it easy both to run and Bench Crobat V, though it may also get stuck as your opening Active. Its 180 HP is higher than any other Crobat card (even Crobat BREAK), though it is the third lowest score for a Pokémon V. It is still a little more likely to survive a hit than be OHKO’d, but not by a big margin and being worth an extra Prize makes it well worth a little extra effort.
Its [F] Weakness isn’t good, but it isn’t overly bad. The same is true of its lack of Resistance; while technically the worst, it hardly should matter. Crobat V’s Retreat Cost of [C] is good; easy to pay and recover from having paid. It is a little bit jarring, though; other than Crobat BREAK (which has no bottom stats of its own), all Expanded-legal Crobat cards have [L] Weakness, [F] Resistance, and a free Retreat Cost. [L] Weakness would have been much worse, but the other two would clearly have been better. Crobat V does have an attack to go with its Ability. “Venomous Fang” requires [DC] to do 70 damage and leave your opponent’s Active Poisoned. Not bad for the Energy, but not good for something that is relatively fragile.
If it wasn’t obvious, Crobat V is Uxie Version 4.0.
Yes, I’m being a bit of a smart aleck; most of you probably don’t remember Uxie (DP – Legends Awakened 43/146). As far as I can remember, if it wasn’t the first Pokémon with a non-attack effect that let you draw when you Benched it from your hand, during your turn, then it was the first majorly successful one. Uxie’s “Set Up” Poké-POWER (those are similar to Abilities) let you draw until you had seven cards in your hand, but could only be used when you Benched Uxie from your hand, during your turn. Shaymin-EX (XY – Roaring Skies 77/108, 77a/108, 106/108) is Version 2.0 of Uxie; not quite double the HP, but it is worth two Prizes when KO’d, and its Set Up (now an Ability) draws until you have six cards in hand. Dedenne-GX has its “Dedechange” Ability; it has you discard your hand and draw six cards, and like Crobat V’s Dark Asset, you can’t use multiples of the Ability in a single turn.
Crobat V is a nerf of a nerf of a nerf of a staple… and even previous two nerfed versions of this legacy have been deck staples. Will Crobat V join them? Most likely, though there is a chance it will merely be a “commonly played” card, found in multiple decks, but not all of them. The only results we have from recent, major tournaments come from the Pokémon Online Global Championship. It was basically an unofficial “world championship” put on due to the lack of a real World Championship this year, and I hope it sticks around even after things get back to normal for competitive play. As for the results, Crobat V was in 15 out of the Top 32 finishers’ decks. For comparison’s sake, Dedenne-GX was in 28 of those same 32!
The Pokémon Online Global Championship used the SM – Ultra Prism through SW – Darkness Ablaze Standard Format, which is officially over as of the day this review goes live. If you’re trying to draw while keeping a card or two in hand, Dark Asset is better, but most of the time that won’t be the case so Dedechange is better. Dark Asset can fail to draw any cards if your hand is already at six (or more) cards, and to draw like Dedechange, you need an empty hand. Dark Asset does have an advantage over Dedechange, though; Power Plant stops the Abilities of Pokémon-GX (and Pokémon-EX, in Expanded), but does nothing to Pokémon V. The same is true of a few other effects. You also need to remeber you can run both. Their truly once-per-turn Abilities don’t count against each other, so if you can afford them cluttering up your Bench, you can get massive openings Turn 2, and a still-robust Turn 1!
As Dedenne-GX survived rotation, I don’t think we’ll see a massive spike in Crobat V play right away, but I think it is going to slowly climb. It probably won’t reach the heights of Dedenne-GX, Shaymin-EX, or Uxie before it, because Dedenne-GX is discard-and-draw while the other two could be used multiple times in a single turn. It might just be that more decks which used to run (for example) two Dedenne-GX risk a 1-1 split of Dedenne-GX and Crobat V. Some decks will favor one over the other; with the obvious examples being Lightning decks going with Dedenne-GX and Darkness decks going with Crobat V. Piers makes for a solid combo into Crobat V, but make sure you credit it correctly; you’re burning a Supporter to snag an Energy (probably a Special Energy) card from your deck, then getting a Crobat V to still draw some cards. If it was just about drawing, you’d use Professor’s Research or the like.
In Expanded, Crobat V still has a use. Find a deck that uses Sky Field and is very aggro: Crobat V and Dedenne-GX are your 5th/6th copies of Shaymin-EX. Especially while Pokémon V counters are in their infancy, Crobat V still has that other advantage, of cards working with it and/or not working against it the way they do with Pokémon-EX/GX. It probably isn’t as pressing, but I think you should at least try to run a Crobat V in most decks here, unless the deck needs to avoid multi-Prize Pokémon. As power creep continues, it may be necessary to transition to Crobat V from Shaymin-EX; the latter’s 110 HP grows more and more fragile. Unless you’re running a Mulligan build, include any Crobat V you pull in your Limited Format decks. Just remember your draw yield will likely be down, as it is often harder to thin your hand here.
Yes, I’m rounding up. If you just came here from having read an older review, around the beginning of Sword & Shield I stopped using partial points out of five. If something needs clarification, that is what these sentences are for, after all! This score is assuming Crobat V usage increases at least a little over the next few months; if it doesn’t, I’ll have to accept I called it wrong and score it a point lower. While the review crew was divided on many cards, Crobat V took 1st-place on all our lists!
And the best card of Darkness Blaze is Crobat-V! It’s been a while since a card has been ranked unanimously; we all picked this as our number one. This card is so good that it could possibly take 1st place for the year for the best cards of 2020 unless there’s something else that gives Crobat-V a run for its money. But is hard to say for sure; we’ll see what the next set – SS Vivid Voltage – would bring to the table.
Anyhow, Crobat-V is a Basic Darkness Type with 180 HP, weak to Fighting, and a retreat cost of one. It’s attack, Venomous Fang, costs DC for 70 damage as well as Poisoning the Defending Pokémon. That makes it 80 total damage since Pokemon Checkup happens right after your attack. This still isn’t something to use even if you are forced to start the game with Crobat-V. If it cost only one energy, then maybe Crobat-V could double as an attacker. If this is a big deal, it’s because players want to put more mileage to its Dark Asset ability.
This ability states when you play this Pokémon from your hand onto your Bench, you get to draw cards until you have six in your hand. It’s the exact same effect as Shaymin-EX’s Set Up ability, though there is one catch; you cannot use more than one Dark Asset ability in your turn. So no matter how many times you put Crobat-V in play, if you already used your first Crobat’s ability, any further Crobat cards with that ability you put into play won’t happen for that turn. This is a hard once-per-turn. Still, this effect is so good that it could be a deck staple for anything if it weren’t for Dedenne-GX…because it is still in the Standard format. It’s Dedechange ability is also a hard once-per-turn, but it acts like a slightly weaker Professor’s Research, discarding you hand and draw six cards.
If there’s anything Dedenne-GX and Crobat-C have in common, is that they both draw cards, are a hard once-per-turn abilities, and gets your hand size to six cards. The difference is that for Dedenne-GX, you’re guaranteed to draw six cards after discarding your hand. Crobat conserves your hand while potentially getting less draw yield. Dedenne-GX’s ability gets shut down by Power Plant while Crobat is unaffected; though they both fall prey to Silent Lab in Expanded as this Stadium card shuts down Abilities from Basic Pokémon. Dedenne-GX also shut down your Eternatus VMAX’s ability while Crobat keeps it intact. So I guess there are some benefits and drawbacks to keep in mind.
If you haven’t get your playset of Crobat-V, now would be the best time to get those as each regular V print costs around $18 USD. If demand is extremely high, then the price will dramatically increase, especially if Dedenne-GX’s gonna leave rotation next year. Cards with a similar effect that has been viable based on past history will definitely be played in the present time. It makes certain Supporter cards used a bit more freely because it has something else to fake being draw power without using up your Supporter for the turn. Something like Piers and Pokémon Fan Club fetching Crobat-V, or Skyla followed with Quick Ball fetching for Crobat-V, these kinds of Supporters can get away from being called an underpowered card.
Or you can even play an aggressive deck that makes you go through your deck as much as you can. Crobat-V being the only card in your hand and somehow drawing into Professor’s Research means you have dug through 13 cards in your deck. And that’s before factoring 4 battle compressor in Expanded to thin your deck by 12 more cards. I’ve seen that on Mew & Mewtwo-GX decks in Expanded; the player could potentially thin 25 cards from their deck on their first turn, and possibly more if they put a combination of Dedenne-GX and Shaymin-EX alongside Crobat-V!!!
In Limited, even if you whiffed by starting the game with Crobat, it actually has a pretty good attack that doesn’t return itself to your hand, unlike Shaymin-EX, who makes you instantly lose the moment you used Sky Return. That’s the case only if that’s the only Pokémon in play.
Crobat-V is a wonderful card because it’s one of the few cards that provide draw power that doesn’t use up your Supporter for the turn. That enables you to do more things during your turn. However, there are other older cards that does similar things from their abilities, and because of competition, I couldn’t bring myself to give perfect scores. Not only that, even with a good 180 HP body, there are some competitive attackers that can hit for at least this much damage, and with the risk of Boss’s Orders, preying on a Benched Pokemon that already served their purpose is more likely than not, and Crobat-V is worth two prizes when it’s Knocked Out, the same problem Shaymin and Dedenne once has, and still has. Scoop Up Net also doesn’t pick up GX or V Pokémon, though that wouldn’t matter since the ability is a hard once-per-turn, but then the Pokémon itself is vulnerable. Those drawbacks didn’t deter players from using them however.
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