– Cosmic Eclipse
January 20, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
We open the week with the latest card for the Arrow Quill Pokémon, Decidueye (SM – Cosmic Eclipse 20/236). Focusing on the Standard Format’s metagame, its [G] Typing hits some Weakness and has some worthwhile tricks, but it is far from the best Type in either category. Being a Stage 2 encumbers Decidueye, though there are some shortcuts available to it, and more than just Rare Candy. Decidueye’s 140 HP is far too close to the damage the typical 2HKO-strategy (of larger Pokémon) does with a single attack, but it isn’t especially fragile. Blacephalon (SM – Unbroken Bonds 32/214) decks have made a comeback, and they’re not the only deck that can punish Decidueye’s [R] Weakness. The lack of Resistance is typical, and the Retreat Cost of [C] is fairly easy to pay or zero out.
Decidueye has two attacks and no other effects. For [G] it can use “Skill Dive” to do 40 damage to the opposing Pokémon of your choice, Benched or Active. [CC] pays for “Tracking Shot”, which does 80 to your opponent’s Active and lets you pick an opponent’s injured Bench Pokémon to do 80 to it as well. In both cases, ignore Weakness and Resistance when damaging something on the Bench. A solid return for the Energy and the condition, but a bit iffy when we factor in that this is a Stage 2 and we’re not hitting enough damage to reliably 2HKO typical Active Pokémon or OHKO any Bench-sitter that isn’t on the small side. Which assumes your opponent isn’t running Mew (SM – Unbroken Bonds 76/214; SM – Black Star Promos SM215).
Of course, Decidueye isn’t alone, so let’s explore what can work with it. Neither Rowlet nor Dartrix has standout options. Decidueye (Sun & Moon 11/149; SM – Black Star Promos SM55) is mediocre at best, though Decidueye-GX used to be quite strong. Rowlet & Alolan Exeggutor can’t evolve into a Datrix but it can use its “Super Growth” attack (priced at ) to search your deck for a Stage 2 that evolves from one of your [G] Type Basic Pokémon and then play that Stage 2 directly onto the Basic, evolving it. Meganium (SM – Lost Thunder 8/214) has the Ability “Quick-Ripening Herb” which also lets you play Decidueye directly onto Rowlet, though Decidueye has to already be in hand. If you’re going the traditional route, rely more on Rare Candy than Dartrix, but still include both.
I haven’t seen any proven Decidueye decks. Until Vince suggested we review this card, I had dismissed it. A quick bit of research, and I’m not finding anything mind-blowing, but I have seen a few ideas and one actual deck in action (for all of two single-game matches). That deck won both games, but the first opponent was also running something unusual and the second used an actual deck… that involved a lot of low HP, Benched Pokémon while choosing not to Bench his Mew. Some potential partners for Decidueye are
There are more, but all I’ve seen have the same two problems; they make more sense with a different main attacker. It isn’t that Decidueye is bad per se, but that its best use is for when your spread deck slams into something where the HP scores are very high and/or the Bench is very small (in terms of the amount of Pokémon). Under those circumstances, a solid smack to your opponent’s Active and one Benched Pokémon could be the difference between winning and losing…
…but probably not. 160-for-[CC] is great on paper, but less so when that damage is being divided up, has a condition to get half of it, and is on a Stage 2. All hope isn’t lost, though. Besides simple error or ignorance on my part, Decidueye does have a small niche it can occupy, it just can’t perch there yet. Maybe after we get Evolution Incense, or maybe with the exact right list and metagame in Expanded. For the Limited Format, Decidueye is likely to deliver. The difficult parts will be the usual: pulling the entire line and then fielding it in time. Decidueye’s HP, Energy requirements, sniping capacity, damage output, and Retreat Cost are all far better in the Limited Format, and where Skill Dive into Tracking Shot can do the job.
Today’s Decidueye would have been insane if it had released alongside Decidueye-GX, back in Sun & Moon. It released now, though, near the end of the block. At a time when [R] decks are riding high and when massive HP scores are here, and even larger HP scores are on the way! There’s just enough here that I don’t want to dismiss it completely, but not enough to persuade me to score it higher.
Vince reviewed this card as part of a featured article last week. You can read Vince’s full article right here.
If you’re unable to read my entire review, then I’ll make it concise.
1/ Has a splashabale attack that can be fueled by Welder.
2/ Has partners that can immediately place damage counters such as Volcarona-GX, Frogadier FBL, and Decidueye-GX, just to name a few so that you can use Tracking Shot right away without the need for Skill Dive. Hitting 80 on the Active AND 80 on one of your opponent’s Benched Pokemon is huge bargain for 2 energy.
3/ Expanded cards like Wide Lens makes Benched Pokemon unsafe, especially when weak to Grass. One wishes Forest of Giant Plants remained legal, but it’s not.
4/ New: Grass Pokemon can hit Sword/Shield era Darkness pokemon for weakness, though certain Metal Pokemon from the Sword & Shield series resist Grass types, taking 30 less damage.
5/ However, it is a Stage 2, but with Welder and other search related cards you can bring it out fast like I personally did with Welder Recall Empoleon. Even faster in Expanded when you have Welder, Heat Factory, Fiery Torch, Fire Crystal/Energy Retrieval, and Scorched Earth to draw more cards and replenish Fire energies.
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