Cosmic Eclipse 20/236
Note: This is mostly gonna be a rough draft because Decidueye has been scheduled for review for the crew to look at in January 20, 2020. I may import my entire thought while adding a bit more. If I’m still busy, then I’ll just list bullet points.
Before I get into the review, I just wanted to say that Alola starters didn’t have as many appearances in the Sun & Moon TCG in a similar vein to the XY series. This is the second non-GX Decidueye card in an expansion which also happens to be the final expansion of the Sun & Moon series. Afterwards, certain Pokémon would be written off. So, if that’s going to be the case, then at least the developers should make a good card as a final send off before the next generation comes in. And that pose Decidueye makes is similar to that of Decidueye-GX! It’s ready to take aim and launch its arrows from its right wing while using the left wing as a bow. Makes me wonder if Decidueye is right handed…
Coolness factor aside, Decidueye has no ability, so it has only two attacks. Skill Dive costs a single Grass energy and does 40 damage to one of your opponent’s Pokemon. If using that against the opponent’s Active Pokemon, 40 for 1 energy is good value, and we haven’t factored in other damage boosting cards/effect to make it better. While not much, it might be enough to OHKO a Benched Ditto Prism Star or Lost March Natu, but it also help set up for its second attack. Tracking Shot costs two energy of any type for 80 damage, and not only that, also does 80 damage to one of your opponent’s Benched Pokemon that has any damage counters on it. Potentially putting 160 damage on the board for the cost is also a bargain! Even without the bonus, 80 for 2 is still good.
Based on the attacks, you can see the direction Decidueye is heading. Use Skill Dive for placing damage on your opponent’s Benched Pokemon of choice, then spam Tracking Shot to hopefully and eventually knock out both the opponent’s Active and Benched Pokemon for multiple prizes. Sounds good, right? Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done. Two turn strategies would never cut it in competitive play because there’s always a moment where such a strategy is gonna be interrupted due to several reasons. Your opponent could heal with Max Potion, undoing Skill Dive completely so that Tracking Shot doesn’t target it. Bounce effects also mess up your strategies as well. They could KO or inflict status conditions or effects to your Decidueye before you get a chance to use its second attack. Having 140 HP with Fire weakness does it no favors. In order to effectively use Tracking Shot, you’ll need effects that can place damage counters so that you don’t need to rely on using Skill Dive because that uses up your attack.
Scanning around in Standard, there’s Volcarona-GX whose Flaming Shot Ability makes you discard a Fire energy from your hand and put 2 damage counters on one of your opponent’s Pokemon. Since this effect is used via ability, you still get to attack. And since Tracking Shot costs two colorless energy, Welder can easily attach two Fire energies to Decidueye, which fulfills the attack cost of Tracking Shot. Power Plant might prevent Volcarona-GX from doing its job, so Frogadier from Forbidden Light is your next alternative option. It also places two damage counters on one of your opponent’s Pokemon via Gale Shuriken ability, but must evolve from Froakie. Since the Ability works only once due to the wording, it then just becomes a sitting duck afterwards, taking up your Bench space and is vulnerable to a KO.
For Expanded, there are two other Decidueye cards, both from the Sun & Moon base set. The non-GX version also has two attacks. Leaf Blade costs a single Grass energy for 30 damage, plus 30 more if you flipped heads on a coin flip. Brave Bird costs GCC for 120 damage while doing 20 damage to itself. This is the hardest hitting attack Decidueye can do out of the three. It’s up to the user to see which one matters more: dealing more damage against the Active Pokemon or damaging both the Active or Benched Pokemon. Decidueye-GX, on the other hand, has the Feather Arrow ability which lets you put two damage counters on one of your opponent’s Pokemon without any other cost, and as such, would be the better partner than Volcarona-GX due to sharing the same evolutionary line as opposed to having two separate evolutionary lines. Razor Leaf may be the most boring attack and doesn’t hit Benched Pokemon, but it does slightly more damage up front. Hollow Hunt GX is a useful one time deal to grab any three cards from the discard pile onto your hand. Again, Power Plant or other ability denial effects keeps it from doing its job, so try to find ways to remove them.
The amount of damage done to the Bench is almost unheard of. 80 damage to the Bench is a lot, and you can even improve it with Wide Lens from XY Roaring Skies. This is a Pokémon tool card which enable the holder to exploit weakness and Resistance on your opponent’s Benched Pokemon! So if you’re facing a Pokémon that is weak to Grass types, Wide Lens can help Tracking Shot achieve 2HKOs or even OHKOs! Unfortunately, there are other Pokémon with abilities that prevent Bench damage such as Mr. Mime from Plasma Freeze or BreakThrough and Mew from Unified Minds, and that actually reduces the effectiveness of Tracking Shot. So I guess that makes the other Decidueye with Brave Bird the superior option as it does more than Tracking Shot and doesn’t worry against other Pokémon with bench protection effects.
Because of Tracking Shot being colorless friendly, you can build a deck around Decidueye. It already has the partners to work with and the amount of damage it does to the board is wonderful. However, in the format Decidueye is in, I don’t think it can keep up with the speed of TAG TEAMs. Their HP levels are beyond Tracking Shot’s reach, making it a 3HKO or 4HKO, though Grass weak TAG TEAMs like Psyduck & Slowpoke is at risk of being 2HKOed. Still, as a single prize Pokémon, this is already good enough.
Standard: 3/5 (The score that I gave might need some explaining. This is the best I can give on a single prize Stage 2 Pokémon, with some exceptions of certain Stage 2s that have meta defining abilities. Given the state of the current format, using Stage 2s as an attacker is almost unheard of due to occupying deck space, the need to wait a couple turns to Evolve, and the need to stream/replace with other Stage 2s after one is KOed.)
Expanded: 3/5 (Despite the assistance of Decidueye-GX due to sharing the same evolutionary line, the format is so diverse such that it has couple deck archetypes and counters that Decidueye can’t handle, so I’ll score the same as Standard).
Limited: 3.5/5 (As this is a very large expansion, if you can pull the entire 1-1-1 line – hard, as this set contains 236 cards before Secret Rares – it’ll be worth using as long as neither one of them are prized.)
Decidueye is a nice addition to the evolutionary line. It may not be overly competitive, but it’s good enough that at least one deck could be focused on today’s card since it got the tools to make Tracking Shot be used turn after turn without hiccuping. My only gripe is that it is hard to pull because of how big the expansion is. Cosmic Eclipse’s 236 card set is tied with Unified Minds before factoring in Secret Rares.