– Unbroken Bonds
July 1, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Dewgong from the Sun & Moon Unbroken Bonds expansion has some potential, even if it doesn’t seem like it. For starters, it is a Pokémon that’s worth a single prize and is not a GX Pokemon, which can bypass some roadblocks that would otherwise cripple them. 120 HP might be in the low side of being a Stage 1, but it can still take small hits well. Perhaps the best thing about this card is that their attacks costs Colorless energies!
Tail Whap does 60 damage for 2 energy, and while the damage may seem low, it can be enough to knock out some smaller Pokémon that’s waiting to evolve, any water weak Pokémon who happens to have 120 HP (Blacephalon seems to be the major target), or any water weak GX/EX Pokemon with 180 HP as long as Choice Band is attached to it. Dual Blizzard costs CCC and you discard 2 energy from this Pokémon in order to do 60 damage to 2 of your opponent’s Pokemon. Again, if you choose to hit the Active, then the same scenario applies just like Tail Whap. Otherwise it can potentially knock out 2 Benched targets depending on what kind it is. Both attacks can be met with Triple Acceleration Energy, and even the discard clause is inconsequential because that energy is about to be discarded anyways on the end of your turn.
So why Dewgong has garnered attention? Well, I’ve seen it used with Zoroark-GX, either as an opener hoping to OHKO small targets before they get big, or just fueling up Riotous Beating damage output. Zoroark-GX’s Trade Ability is a very good ability, as it draws cards without burning up your Supporter usage. By continuously drawing cards, you may eventually get the energies that you’ll need. Those decks run a very low amount of energies, which is just 4 DCE, 4 Triples, or both! Overall, it’s splashability and early-game pressure makes Dewgong worth using.
We begin this week with Dewgong (SM – Unbroken Bonds 45/214), a card I actually thought we’d already covered. Not sure if that is a good or bad thing; I’m pretty sure I’ve at least mentioned it in a few reviews before and I wasn’t impressed. It had a good showing in Japan and… looks like its time has finally come in our own metagame. Its expected partner is Zoroark-GX; how does that all work?
The main thing seems to be “Dual Blizzard”, an attack which costs [CCC] and lets Dewgong hit two of your opponent’s Pokémon for 60 damage (not applying Weakness/Resistance for anything on the Bench). Dual Blizzard also states you discard two Energy from “this Pokémon”. 120 for three plus a two Energy discard sounded bad to me when I first saw this card, but I didn’t look at it through the metagame. [CC] will pay for the first attack, “Tail Whap”, which just does 60 damage and… that looked adequate when I first saw it (and probably still is), but Dual Blizzard ended up being what made this card.
Triple Acceleration Energy lets you pay the entire cost of the attack for a single Energy attachment, and already would discard itself at the end of the turn; you just ditch it before the attack completely resolves instead of after. [R] decks are quite good right now, and most [R] Pokémon are [W] Weak; 120 damage to your opponent’s Active and 60 to one of their Benched Pokémon is a good deal. Being a single Prize attacker with 120 HP is also reasonably good. What about all the matchups where Weakness won’t matter?
Dewgong’s expected partner, at least based on the list Stephane Ivanoff used to win the North American International Championship a little over a week ago, is Zoroark-GX. Zoroark-GX isn’t exactly great at OHKO’s, so using Dual Blizzard a few times not only gives you a chance to take out smaller Basics before they can Evolve, but setup up many other Pokémon to be KO’d by a follow-up “Riotous Beating” by Zoroark-GX. Why not just go for a 2HKO with only Zoroark-GX? Against attacks that hit harder, better to give up one Prize instead of two, but the main idea is that you’ll Dual Blizzard a few times, taking any easy KO’s from that, then sweep with Zoroark-GX for the rest.
Unless I’ve totally misunderstood how the deck works, of course. If not, though, this is a good card for this moment in Standard. I’m not sure if set rotation or the (already known) future releases are going to help or hurt Dewgong; besides punishing [W] Weakness, another factor helping Dual Blizzard pack a punch is the reliance of certain decks on Professor Elm’s Lecture (all but guaranteeing up to three 60 HP or less targets). For now, I also think this is something you should be trying in Expanded… or maybe it is already doing great there, considering I also haven’t had time to try that out lately, nor do I have any recent tournament results. It should be a great pull for Limited Format play; unless you’ve got something worth running solo, or failed to also pull at least one Seel, run Dewgong!
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