Dialga – Vivid Voltage
Date Reviewed: December 8, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Dialga (SW – Vivid Voltage 121/185) is a regular Pokémon: worth one Prize and containing no specialty mechanics. As a Metal type, Dialga is somewhat poor at type-matching, but anti-Metal effects are poor while Metal support is rich. Just make sure you play well with Zacian V. Dialga is a Basic: minimal cards and time to hit the field mean its the best overall Stage. 130 HP is decent; OHKO’s are a little more likely than not before factoring in the defensive buffs of the [M] type. Fire Weakness is bad; they’re one of the better types right now. Grass Weakness is sometimes handy – we’ll come back to this in a bit – and a Retreat Cost of [CC] isn’t really good or bad.
Dialga knows two attacks: “Rewind Time” and “Flash of Destruction”. For [C], Rewind Time lets you attach up to two [M] Energy from your discard pile to one of your Pokémon (Benched or Active). The wording means you can attach just one if you (for some reason) need to avoid attaching the full two, and even though it doesn’t specify “basic” Metal Energy, those are the only cards that count as [M] in the discard pile. Flash of Destruction costs [MMC] to do 130, and you have to discard two Energy from Dialga. I don’t recall any combos that can reduce the cost of Flash of Destruction to under two Energy for Dialga itself, but certain attack copiers could use it for zero or one Energy; you discard however much of the two Energy you can, and the attack still does 130.
Rewind Time is a solid attack. Not great, but at least somewhat good. You give up an Energy of any type, and an attack, but you still net one extra Energy attachment even if Dialga goes down in one hit. Fortunately, it is more impressive when viewed in context of the metagame; Metal types can come out swinging even Turn 2 thanks to Metal Saucer, but sometimes that misfires. If you can spare Metal Goggles, or you lead with Lucario & Melmetal-GX’s “Full Metal Wall-GX” attack and need to prep your next attacker mid-game, and especially if both have happened, Dialga has a good chance of tanking a hit. When it does fall, its only a single Prize Pokémon, and if you were able to Rewind Time more than once, you’re probably set for at least a turn or two, and maybe even for the rest of the game.
Flash of Destruction is a lot less impressive. I remember how, nine or ten years ago, this kind of attack was highly competitive, but power creep happens. Fortunately, it is still decent, in part due Decidueye (SW – Darkness Ablaze 013/189; SW – Black Star Promos SW035). This take on the Arrow Quill Pokémon has the Ability “Deep Forest Camo”, that prevents the attacks of your opponent’s Pokémon-GX and Pokémon V from damaging it. Dialga will need a little help, but Benching and using the Ability of Galarian Zigzagoon (Sword & Shield 117/202), attaching a Vitality Band, playing a Leon, or having already used Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX’s “Altered Creation-GX” means Flash of Destruction OHKO’s Decidueye… while your natural Resistance means Decidueye can only 60 back (plus 30 to the Bench).
Dialga can also be useful in trading Prizes in general, and while I originally was thinking Flash of Destruction was overpriced or underpowered, now I’m thinking it is just right. Now, there is a real question as to whether Zacian V decks have room for it. In fact, going by the most recent results I can consult, those of the Champion’s League held in Yokohama, Japan back on October 3rd, the answer is probably no. Probably? You can look at the available data yourself here; the thing is that it only contains about a third of the lists from the top 10% of decks finishers, from a 1500 person event. How about from actual play-testing? The good news is that I am back to grinding on the PTCGO, but it’ll be a while before I have useful data for Standard or Expanded.
Speaking of Expanded, I expect even less of Dialga there, but maybe I shouldn’t. If anti-Item and/or anti-Ability effects flare up, or when you’re facing some of the disproportionately strong single-Prize attackers, Dialga could provide excellent insurance. Where I am sure Dialga can shine is the Limited Format. You won’t have a lot of chances to dump basic Metal Energy cards into your discard pile, but you will have some, even if only as your Pokémon are KO’d or retreat. Shrew use of Rewind Time can either power up Dialga to (probably) take a OHKO, as typical HP scores just aren’t that high here, or go down swinging to power something else up. Remember, even if your other attacks don’t specifically require Metal Energy, as long as they have sufficient Colorless Energy requirements, it is still a good deal.
- Standard: 3/5
- Expanded: 2/5
- Limited: 3/5
Dialga is a good card, but might miss out because the Metal type already has so many great cards. I don’t know if an insurance policy is enough to warrant its inclusion, though it does help that Dialga is about both accelerating Energy and getting around certain protective effects, though it does so through two different attacks. On my list, Dialga was my 14th-Place pick. Finishing 10 places lower may be more appropriate, given the crowded field.
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