Ditto V – Shining Fates
February 20, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Ditto-V is our honorable mentions in Shining Fates! It’s ability, V Transformation, is this card’s selling point, as it lets you swap Ditto-V with a Basic Pokémon-V from your discard pile, while keeping the current damage taken and effects placed on Ditto before it was switched. I don’t think there’s a Pokémon-V card that has anything lower than 170 HP, so Ditto won’t accidently knock out your replacement! Anyhow, this could serve as a “fifth” copy of your main attacker, whether it be your fifth Zacian-V after all four copies has been in your discard pile. Or it could be a TecH for one of your Basic Pokémon-V that was inevitably discarded earlier throughout the match. In regards to evolving Basic Pokémon-V, for example, if you swapped Ditto-V with, say Eternatus-V, then on your next turn you can evolve it into Eternatus VMAX.
Standard: 3/5 (It may not work well with Crobat-V since the ability can only work if played from your hand, but otherwise most Basic Pokémon-V will enjoy this!)
Expanded: 4/5 (Battle Compressor can help you put at least a Basic Pokémon-V from your deck into the discard pile, waiting for that card to be swapped with Ditto-V; could be an amazing start on your first turn!)
Ditto-V has so much potential that I find myself having a hard time trying to get Ditto VMAX into play. Not saying that Ditto VMAX should be dismissed, but being able to transform into any Basic Pokémon-V had far more utility than copying certain attacks.
Ditto V (Shining Fates 050/072, SV118/SV122) is a Colorless Pokémon, which means… nothing. Peaking ahead at the rest of the card, Ditto V wouldn’t have to worry about Weakness or Resistance anyway, nor would most forms of Colorless support or counters matter for it, at least in Expanded. Ditto V is a Basic Pokémon, so it requires no other cards or waiting to evolve before it can hit the field. For better and (mostly) worse, it can be your opening Active, and certain anti-Basic cards may be more of a problem for it than some other Basics, though Basic support should work for it just fine.
Being a Pokémon V is worth an extra Prize when KO’d, cannot make use of cards like Twin Energy and Scoop Up Net, and has to deal with anti-V effects like the “Deep Forest Camo” found on Decidueye (SM – Darkness Ablaze 013/189; SW – Black Star Promos SW035; Shining Fates 008/072, SV003/SV122). Granted, that last one is – again – not going to matter to Ditto V, at least, not directly. These drawbacks come with some benefits as well. None are out yet, but there is at least one card about to release with a disruptive effect that does not apply to “Rule Box” Pokémon (Pokémon V, Pokémon-GX, etc.). Another, much more obvious benefit, is improved HP.
Ditto VMAX has 170 HP, at least 100 HP higher than any baseline Ditto you’ll find in Standard or Expanded. Unfortunately, this is substantially low for a Basic Pokémon V; 170 is enough to tank some hits, but decks focused on dealing damage should score a OHKO, barring a bad field. For further comparison’s sake, this is the second lowest HP score for a Pokémon V, which usually have 210 to 230 HP. Basic Pokémon V with this low of HP can still be great cards (see Crobat V), but they need amazing effects (…see Crobat V).
[F] Weakness is relatively safe right now, but that might change with our next expansion. We’ll see if the Fighting Pokémon and/or their support actually live up to the hype this time, but either way, it won’t be Ditto V’s problem for about a month. Even with the SW-series upping Resistance to -30, it just isn’t that strong of a mechanic. As a total lack of Resistance is also the norm, its absence on Ditto V doesn’t hurt, it just doesn’t offer what little help it could have. Ditto V’s Retreat Cost of [CC] would normally be a roughly neutral trait, not low enough to be helpful nor high enough to hurt, but with such a low HP score, I think it does pose a mild risk to Ditto V.
Ditto V has one Ability, and knows one attack. “V Transformation” is technically a once-per-turn Ability, but not only is it the kind where you can use each instance of it in play once-per-turn, the actual effect makes even that fairly meaningless. You see, V Transformation lets Ditto V swap itself with a Basic Pokémon V from your discard pile. All cards attached to Ditto V, all counters, all effects resting on Ditto V, etc. transfer from Ditto V to whatever you just recycled from the discard pile. Ditto V’s attack is “Stick On” for [C], and it lets Ditto V attach a basic Energy card from your discard pile to itself. These effects do compliment each other, but how strong are they and their synergy?
Effects that work in a similar manner to V Transformation are not new, even if they’re also not especially common. As such, we already have a solid idea of how to make use of V Transformation… except it doesn’t lend itself very well to these tricks. First, the actual effect is confined to fellow Pokémon V; past effects like this were handy because they were often on non-Rule Box Pokémon, as it let you bypass some of the restrictions on what effects could be used with them. Related to this is Ditto V’s HP; if Ditto V had more HP than your typical Basic Pokémon V, or even more than most smaller Basic Pokémon V, you could use it to try and work around their relative fragility. Instead, Ditto V is probably more likely to be KO’d than the actual thing.
There still are some benefits, however. Obviously, if you have something maxed out, your choice is to run a card that recycles a Basic from your discard pile, or run Ditto V. Most such recycling effects move the Pokémon in question from the discard pile to the deck, so this saves you searching it back out, or having to wait to draw into it. Even if you have not maxed out on a particular Basic Pokémon V, Ditto VMAX offers added flexibility and an element of surprise. Stick On can help prep for whatever Ditto V transforms into, but I can’t recommend it; as you’re attacking with a 170 HP, two-Prize Pokémon, it feels a little overpriced for just [C]. Given the risk, attaching more Energy cards and/or being able to attach Special Energy from the discard pile doesn’t seem like it would break the card, but that’s pure speculation on my part.
What Ditto V has going for it is Ditto VMAX. Ditto V can function in any deck running other Basic Pokémon V, but its optimal use is supporting its evolution, which was our 2nd-Place pick for Shining Fates. Stick On has mild synergy with Ditto VMAX’s “Max Transform” attack; besides helping to meet Max Transform’s [CCC] cost, attacks that require a particular form of basic Energy may be easier to work with when you can accelerate that Energy from your discard pile. Probably not most of the game, however; yes, I’m still going on about the 170 HP. Of all this card’s stats and effects, 170 HP undermines the good parts the most. With both Ditto V and Ditto VMAX, you can also keep your opponent guessing as to your exact actions, even changing your mind halfway through.
The Expanded Format offers more support for Ditto V, but also more counters. Vince impressed me: I hadn’t thought of using Ditto V as a variable opener! Expanded is home to Ability counters, however, including Silent Lab and Wobbuffet (XY – Phantom Forces 36/119; Generations (RC11/RC32). Last I knew, and things could easily have changed, both Silent Lab and Wobbuffet were still seen as competitive cards, including in at least a few strong decks. Your opponent can drop Silent Lab Turn 1, while your opponent can open with Wobbuffet, denying you V Transform even if you go first! Both of these cards have their own counters, however, so maybe it isn’t as risky a proposition as I think?
Ditto V isn’t horrible, but I cannot say it is “good”. I want to, but the HP sabotages all of the stuff is does competently. There is always the chance that a future release will give us a killer combo to exploit, but not only does Ditto V have to worry about hypothetical future counters, it even has to worry about any potential future Ditto V cards. As much as I appreciate Ditto V not being boring, if they made a vanilla Ditto V, even with two attacks I was never going to use, but gave it 200 (or more) HP? Easily use that one over today’s.
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