– Celestial Storm
October 17, 2018
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
So, you might be wondering why Dhelmise is in a set that focuses on the Hoenn Region, and that’s because of an Easter egg from a NPC character in Slateport Market that mentions “the seaweed is so lively and fresh that it could rear up and attack”. Pretty shocking to know that they’re giving out hints of what’s to happen in the future.
Appearances are great and all, but for the TCG, the competitive value will depend on the effects this card has, and it’s not looking pretty good. It does have 130 HP to start with, being weak to Fire, and a retreat cost of three. Giga Drain does 30 for GC and heals the same amount of damage you did to the Defending Pokémon. Powerful Spin does 130 for GGC, but can attack next turn. I suppose Powerful Spin is decent, being able to 2HKO anything and OHKO anything that’s weak to Grass, but it does ask for resources if you decide to employ switching cards to remove the clause.
I’m on the fence of thinking whether this card is good or not, but I’ve seen videos of decks using Dhelmise as part of their strategy. So looks like it can see use, but not frequently that everyone should worry about dealing with this Pokémon. Or, maybe they should worry a bit, because Powerful Spin backed with Choice Band and Shrine of Punishment is enough to pick off 170 HP Basic EX/GX Pokemon. Makes a benched Tapu Lele-GX a liability!
Standard: 3/5 (has the stats that rival single-prize Basic Legendary Pokemon…)
Expanded: 3/5 (…that can put the finest of work…)
Limited: 3/5 (…though attacking once every two turns is not good, even here.)
Dhelmise (CES 22) – this card first showed up in Offenbach in seven decklists and then was in eight lists in Philadelphia and finally twelve of the top 77 in Memphis. I’ll admit, it came as a surprise to me that this card has seen so much play, but it’s clearly seeing use (many times as a two of) in Rayquaza lists to counter Buzzwole Garbodor Shrine decks and also to OHKO Lycanroc GX’s. It’s a great little tech to help in those very common situations. It is a little annoying that Powerful Spin has to wait between turns to be used, but you can potentially switch it out of the active with a Guzma or even simply retreat it, dump the three energy into the discard, and then use Energy Recycler to put them back into the deck. A three energy attack cost is nothing for these Rayquaza Vikavolt builds which are frequently having very little difficulty getting two Vikavolts set up on the bench.
Standard: 2 out of 5
I gave it such a low rating, however, because it will never see any play outside of the Rayquaza Vikavolt archetype.
Dhelmise (SM – Celestial Storm 22/168) is our Card of the Day for this Wednesday. I worry it may be the only one I finish on time this week: I’ve been ill this week and, while it is just a sore throat and cold, I didn’t adjust my time properly to maintain my schedule. As for why Dhelmise should be ready on time, Dhelmise has already seen some competitive success, and in a relatively uncomplicated manner. Decks built around Rayquaza-GX and Vikavolt (Sun & Moon 52/149; SM – Black Star Promos SM28) haven’t dominated the metagame as predicted, but they HAVE proven competitive. The last Regional Championship – held in Memphis, Tennesse – featured 788 players in the Masters Age Division. LimitlessTCG has the decklists for the Top 77, which features 17 such decks, the highest of which managed an eighth-place finish. If that still sounds unimpressive, the website has a handy Statistics section now, so you can see at a glance that this was the second most-played deck at the event, just two less than Malamar variants!
What does all that have to do with Dhelmise? On average, those 17 Rayquaza-GX/Vikavolt decks ran just shy of one copy of Dhelmise each. Looking at the actual lists, two ran two Dhelmise, ten ran it as a single, and five left it out entirely. Those that chose Delhmise wanted a single-Prize attacker that worked well with the Energy acceleration of the deck, and Dhelmise is a 130 HP [G] Type Basic Pokémon with attacks with [G] and [C] requirements. Specifically, its “Giga Drain” attack does 30 for [GC] while healing itself by an amount equal to the damage done, while its “Powerful Spin” does 130 for [GGC] but places an effect on itself preventing it from attacking the next turn. I’m not intimately familiar with this deck, but my understanding is that Giga Drain is seldom used; the goal is to OHKO something like Buzzwole (SM – Forbidden Light 77/131) or Garbodor (SM – Guardians Rising 51/145) in a single hit WITHOUT having a big ol’ Rayquaza-GX (or other two Prize attacker) exposed in the Active position, waiting to receive a retaliatory KO. Lycanroc-GX (SM – Guardians Rising 74/145, 138/145, 156/145) showed up in 17 of the decks from the same Regional Championship (split among multiple archetypes), providing a juicy two-Prize target that Powerful Spin can OHKO.
Powerful Spin not being easily used twice in a row isn’t too big of a deal; stronger decks score a OHKO anyway, while weaker decks just require you take advantage of cards like Guzma (especially with a free-retreater) to shake the effect. It does make the Retreat Cost of [CCC] more likely to matter. The [R] Weakness seems fairly safe right now; the [R] Type attackers you’re most likely to encounter already score a OHKO. While I don’t even have all 788 decklists, nor have I carefully read all from the top 77, I saw almost no [R] Type attackers. Just because I like to be thorough, I’ll mention that Dhelmise lacks a Resistance; as usual, that is true of most cards but at 130 HP, Dhelmise is a little more to survive a few strategic hits if it has some form of Resistance. So… if you want a single Prize attacker for your Vikavolt decks, this might be your ‘mon. Wait, MIGHT? The other two attackers filling a similar niche in the aforementioned decklists were Shaymin (Shining Legends 7/73) and Shining Lugia; the Vikavolt decks that skipped Dhelmise just used Shining Lugia or Shaymin plus Shining Lugia.
As for Expanded and Limited Format play, I’ll be making somewhat educated guesses. I don’t know how well Vikavolt decks have been performing in Expanded, but I do know there are some solid alternatives for single-Prize Basic attackers, even sticking to just those that require [C], [G], or [L] for Energy costs. The Limited Format loves big, Basic Pokémon… and in case you forgot, 130 HP on a single-Prize attacker qualifies! Not as well as it used to, of course; I wouldn’t risk a +39 (or Mulligan) approach. The healing of Giga Drain will go much further, but not THAT much further. You probably won’t ever be able to shake the effect of Powerful Spin, as you can in a Constructed Format. Fortunately, the damage from both attacks is also much better here. Just remember the Energy costs will force you to run a decent chunk of basic Grass Energy cards, and that could be a dealbreaker if Dhelmise is the only Pokémon in your deck that can really use them well.
Dhelmise is far better than I expected it to be, but I pretty much expected nothing out of it, so that isn’t saying much. It currently occupies a niche in a competitive archetype, but we’ll have to wait and see whether or not it can retain that niche. If the scores look low, remember that is my attempt at a general score; being solid TecH in a single deck only gets you so far when compared to cards that could be maxed out staples in nearly all decks (like Cynthia).
Long ago, a ship sank to the bottom of the sea, leaving the souls of the men who sailed on it to wander the tides, searching for a resting place. They eventually settled for some old seaweed tied to the anchor of their ship, thus Dhelmise was born.
…I mean, that makes more sense to me than “the soul of seaweed”. Seriously, since have seaweed had souls?
Dhelmise is a Basic Grass Pokemon, 130 HP, with a Fire Weakness, no Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of 3. Giga Drain is a 2-for-30 that heals off the same amount of HP as damage dealt, and Powerful Spin is a 3-for-130 move that prevents Dhelmise from attacking on the next turn. Not really a whole lot to say about this card – it’s good at some things, but it’s virtually outclassed in a number of ways.
Still though, maybe you can scare your opponent’s big Pokemon-GX by tossing copies of Dhelmise at them. Supposedly, they like big prey like Wailord anyway.
Standard: 2/5 (it’s alright for what it does, but ultimately it’s too slow and not strong enough)
Expanded: 1.5/5 (besides, there are much better options for the Energy you could put on Dhelmise)
Limited: 3/5 (at least here he can be a bit durable with Giga Drain)
Arora Notealus: Dhelmise is a pretty interesting idea for a Pokemon, although it’s extremely confusing. It’s seaweed possessing an anchor, but it’s a Grass/Ghost Type? With nothing related to Steel? Well, that’s not true either – its unique Steelworker Ability lets all its Steel moves like Anchor Shot and Gyro Ball deal more damage as though they had Same Type Attack Bonus (STAB). So it’s kinda like a triple Type Pokemon without all three Types…sort of?
Next Time: A flashback to the wayback to early draw power many years ago
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