– Dragon Majesty
October 12, 2018
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Darmanitan (DRM 9) heats up the Standard format from the Dragon Majesty expansion set. This 130 HP Stage 1 Fire type Pokemon caught my eye because of its single Fire energy attack Heat Assist which allows you to attach not 1, not 2, but THREE (ah – ah – ah … sorry trying to sound like the Count from Sesame Street and it just doesn’t translate to writing) Fire energy cards directly from your hand onto your Pokemon in any way you like.
So if you’ve watched any of my videos or read anything from PDC since September 7th, it will come as no surprise to you that I tried this with Turtonator (DRM 50). I tried it initially back when I first started failing miserably working on the big Turtle, but those were the first builds I made with Turtonator, and I quickly moved on to Dragonair (SUM 95). I decided to give Darmanitan another shot, thinking maybe I could improve on it the second time around… but I didn’t have much success with it this time around either, going 1 W 3 L, and I think my opponent might have gotten disconnected in the lone win. Either that or he just felt bad for me because I was combo-ing Darmanitan and Turtonator.
Overall, I still think Darmanitan has some upside, we know that with Ribombee (BUS 96), Fiery Flint, and Lady, there are a number of ways to get energy into your hand. I will say though, as I begin to look closely at the Lost Zone expansion, it seems that we may be getting a number of really good ways to accelerate energy in that set. There could easily be some cards that surpass Darmanitan in acceleration from there, but it could also be that Turtonator just isn’t that good and another pairing such as Ho-Oh GX or Blaziken GX or Charizard might be better partners with Darmanitan.
Standard: 2 out of 5
I didn’t try him as a feature attacker either, and maybe I should have. With Fliptini, he could do 180 on a regular basis, add a Choice Band and a couple Shrines, and he might actually be able to stand on his own as an archetype.
Darmanitan (Dragon Majesty 9/70) is our final card this week. Being a Stage 1 makes it a tad slow, but still quite playable in general. The [R] Typing is not irrelevant but not especially strong right now; this could mean what we have just isn’t working or that we’re just waiting for someone to figure out how it works and it has room to grow. 130 HP is just enough to avoid being an easy OHKO; something like Zoroark-GX needs a small boost to score a OHKO and it can’t come from Choice Band because Darmanitan isn’t a Pokémon-GX. [W] Weakness could be a big issue, as the Type might be making a comeback (it certainly has the support for it). No Resistance is unfortunate but expected, so we’ll move onto the Retreat Cost of [CC]; low enough you can often pay it but higher enough you usually won’t want to, it isn’t especially good or bad. So far, nothing special, either in the good or the bad sense of the word.
Darmanitan has two attacks. The first is “Heat Assist” for [R] and it lets you attach up to three [R] Energy from your hand to your Pokémon as you like. The main issue here is that your opponent will have at least one chance to attack before you can use this, which means at least two turns of attacking before you yourself can take advantage of the Energy being attached. That is a slow start. The second attack is “Darmani-hands” and it needs [RRC] for Darmanitan to use it and has you flip four coins; the attack does 30 damage plus 50 per “heads”. That means 16 possible results that break down as follows:
Some good news is you cannot whiff entirely, unlike most similar attacks; you’ll always do at least 30 damage. 80-for-three Energy is underwhelming but not awful when the Energy costs are easy (these aren’t) or it isn’t the only thing the attack does (it isn’t). So the attack is only REALLY bad one-out-of-sixteen times on average. Of course, you might have a run of horrible luck and flip all “tails” multiple times in a game. Five-out-of-sixteen times, or a little under a third of the possible outcomes, you’re not coming close to getting your time and Energy’s worth for using Darmani-hands. Even the 130-for-three that makes up a little over a third of the possible results isn’t really that great. You need the three or four “heads” results, and you’ve no way of ensuring those happen when they won’t be squandered on overkill.
Putting it all together, Darmanitan looks like it would be functional; you’d probably go down a few Prizes but you could use attack-based Energy acceleration to potentially set up everything else in your deck, either fully or where it would be a single manual Energy attachment away. It might even be a competent attacker; use Victini (SM – Guardians Rising 10/145) to re-flip if you get really bad results and improve your effective damage output… but the deck would still be unreliable and slow. You can try and take advantage of this by also including cards like Counter Catcher and Counter Energy but you can also do the same thing with Electrode-GX unless your opponent has something like Glaceon-GX as their Active. The amount of Energy acceleration you’re getting from your hand by using a non-damaging attack begs the question “Why aren’t I using Kiawe?”. Kiawe ends your turn but allows you to attach up to FOUR [R] Energy from your deck to one of your Pokémon. Hypothetically, you may need to avoid Pokémon-GX or using your Supporter, and maybe also you want to use cards like Counter Catcher as well…
…but I’m just not seeing a deck where that is going to be worth it all. Expanded adds cards like Blacksmith, Battle Compressor, VS Seeker, Volcanion (XY – Steam Siege 25/114; XY – Black Star Promos XY155) and Volcanion-EX so I don’t see any need for Darmanitan here. Darmanitan would be an all-star in the Limited Format, but this is a Dragon Majesty card, where there were no Pre-Releases for the set and where I’m not sure you can even run a sanctioned event now because there are no booster boxes for it, just certain giftsets and the like that come with the packs.
I didn’t expect to go into so much detail for this card, but it is one that looks bad at a glance, good with a little scrutiny, and underwhelming when you’ve really thought it through. At the same time, it scores lower than I like because I can’t justify scoring it higher given the alternatives available. If you’ve got a deck that needs a Stage 1 “opener” that accelerates [R] Energy via attacking, go ahead and give Darmanitan a try; there are enough variables in this game that sometimes a weaker strategy finds that perfect niche and suddenly, its a huge part of the metagame.
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