– Rebel Clash
May 24, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Dragapult V (SSH – Rebel Clash 092/192, 183/192) is something a lot of folks were hyping before the release of SSH – Rebel Clash. Now we get to look at it, and in the light of LimitlessTCG’s most recent tournament in their online series. Dragapult V is a Psychic Type, letting it tap into [P] support like Mysterious Treasure and exploit Weakness on most pre-Sword & Shield Psychic Types, as well as many [F] Types. [P] Resistance is widespread in the pre-Sword & Shield cardpool (most Darkness and Metal Types), but hasn’t popped up on any Sword & Shield cards.
As you know from the name, Dragapult V is a Pokémon V, worth an extra Prize when KO’d, but likely having better stats and/or effects (relative to costs) because of it. V-dom also means it can’t utilize certain pieces of support and will have to deal with anti-V effects. One of the stats improved by being a Pokémon V is that either they’re a Pokémon VMAX based on their Dynamax or Gigantamax form, or they’re a Basic, even if their cards are typically a Stage 1 or Stage 2. As such, Dragapult V gets to be a Basic instead of a Stage 2, making it far faster and less demanding.
Dragapult V has 210 HP, which is typical for a Basic Pokémon V. This is more likely to survive a hit than not, but remember that plenty of decks have GX-attacks or combos they can use at least one to push for a OHKO of even larger Pokémon. Weakness can be an issue as well; [D] Weakness isn’t the worst, but there are times when this will result in a OHKO where Dragapult V would have otherwise survived. [F] Resistance is almost overkill; I’d glad to see it, but we have a 210 HP Basic -30 Resistance against a Type that is usually [P] Weak! The Retreat Cost of [C] is very good; easy to pay and recover from having paid.
For [P], Dragapult V can attack with “Bite” to do 30 damage; weak, but better than nothing, or something overly complicated. “Jet Assault” requires [PP], so it shouldn’t take too long to reach, and it does 60 damage, plus another 80 damage if Dragapult V moved from your Bench to the Active position this turn. 60 for two – especially two of a specific Type – is bad, but 140 for that same price is worth a relatively easy to meet condition such as this. Switch, Escape Board, and various other effects should really help with this.
So, in the one tournament where this card was legal, at least, for which I have results, was in 22 of the top 149 decks, with the best performing taking 3rd-place. However, all of these decks also included Dragapult VMAX. Which makes sense; even though satisfying the condition to do 140 for two isn’t difficult, it also isn’t enough to reliably OHKO much. 2HKO’s are a perfectly acceptable strategy, but 140 is a bit low to reliably accomplish that. Of course, even before considering Dragapult VMAX, these decks are running some cards to help with that. Some help get more damage on the board, like Giant Bomb or Galarian Zigzagoon.
Some are disruption cards, like Mr. Mime (SM – Team Up 66/181) to prevent an opponent using bounce effects to heal, or Crushing Hammers to keep an opponent low on cards. Jirachi (SM – Team Up 99/181; SM – Black Star Promos SM161) with Escape Board is a natural dance partner – snag a Trainer and retreat it to the Bench for free while simultaneously prepping Jet Assault. There were even some more unexpected partners for the deck, like Inteleon (Sword & Shield 058/202) for its “Shady Dealings” Ability. We’re looking at Dragapult VMAX tomorrow, so just know it adds a more technical attack and a lot of HP.
I’ve got to guess at Expanded, due to my lack of data (both personal and from major events). Its already a crowded venue, and while Dragapult V doesn’t have an Ability and doesn’t have to use Items every turn, it’ll probably use one, the other, or both most turns. When that support is there, though, it can score some pretty nice hits. Well, in theory. I’m also a bit more worried about its [D] Weakness. Zoroark-GX decks are no longer everywhere in the top cut, but I can’t imagine they’ve totally vanished from the rank and file players.
In the Limited Format, do not try to run Dragapult V in a Mulligan build. You’ll only be able to do 60 per turn with Jet Assault because you’ll have no Bench so Dragapult V can never become the Active (it’ll simply always be the Active). You should still run it, but in a deck with other Basic and Evolution Pokémon. Maybe save it as your go-to finisher, assuming that’s an option.
If these scores seem underwhelming, remember that on our scale this is still a “good” rating and that we’re dealing with what would usually be the stepping-stone filler Basic that leads into a Pokémon VMAX. Even if Dragapult VMAX is slow to show up in its own deck, Dragapult V can still deliver, which is why it both did and didn’t not function as a runner-up in our countdown. Dragonapult VMAX did make it, but with the caveat we’d need to review both cards in a tie had they actually placed high enough. Oh, and I was not smart enough to include this on my own list; a definite mistake on my part.
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