Dragonite V – Black Star Promo
Date Reviewed: January 1, 2022
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Happy New Year! Originally, I planned on having us cover a card that you may have expected in our Top 10 countdown: Mew VMAX. It is a great card, but I felt it overlapped too much with Genesect V, and when forced to choose between them… well, Genesect V seems like it has enough going for it that it could plausibly be a competitive deck even if Mew VMAX were suddenly taken away from it. When we flip that script and theorize about the modern metagame for Mew VMAX sans Genesect V, it seemed pretty dubious the deck would remain competitive. Mew VMAX needs Genesect V’s Ability to fuel its combos and its attack as something to copy. Thus Mew VMAX was only my 11th-Place pick for our countdown of the Top 10 Cards of 2021. Still, it has done so much, I’m cheating and giving it a paragraph here. For more on it, there’s still our original review, which is only a week past being a month old. We even had Mew VMAX as our 3rd-Place pick for its own set, SW – Fusion Strike, so it more or less got its due back then as well. Unlike, ya know, all those recent Card of the Days where I’ve felt compelled to be honest and say “Yeah, I sure called this one wrong!”.
Today’s actual Card of the Day is Dragonite V (SW – Evolving Skies 191/203, 192/203; SW – Black Star Promos SWSH154)! This card is interesting because the “regular” version of it is actually a promos that released after we got the Full Art and Rainbow Rare versions in SW – Evolving Skies. I wish I could say that is the reason why it escaped my notice but… nope, Dragonite V wasn’t even a blip on my radar. Let’s begin our run through of it, to better understand why it finally came to my attention. First things first: this is a Pokémon V, and thus has as Rule Box. Having a Rule Box won’t matter for the current effects which reference that, but remember it for the future. Being a Pokémon V means Dragonite V gives up two Prizes when KO’d, is excluded from some very beneficial card effects, but has to deal with their counters. It also gains access to Melony which… might actually matter, peeking ahead at its attack. The benefits of V-dom we know will matter are that this is a Basic Pokémon (Dragonite cards are usually Stage 2) and it has 230 HP. That is just 20 less than the Stage 2 Dragonite-GX, 50 more than Dragonite-EX (XY – Furious Fists 74/111, 108/111) or Dragonite-EX (XY – Evolutions 72/108, 106/108), the original Basic Dragonite card that was worth two Prizes when KO’d. For the single Prize versions of Dragonite, the largest still only have 160 HP, so Dragonite V is in good standing. 230 HP is not impossible to OHKO, but it is on the chunkier end of what is typical for Basic Pokémon V, and should take some actual effort to OHKO.
As a Dragon type, Dragonite V is unfortunately worthless for exploiting Weakness in the Standard Format, and even in Expanded, only Black & White-era Dragon types are [N] Weak. Nothing is naturally [N] Resistant, but that’s just a small bonus on top of Dragon support… in Expanded. Standard does have two tricks for them – Crystal Cave and Stormy Mountains – but they’re both Stadiums and shared with a second Pokémon type. in Expanded, Dragons have a lot of support, and some of it is actually still quite good. The best example is Double Dragon Energy: it is a Special Energy that can only be attached to Dragon types, provides two units of Energy, and those units of Energy count as all types at once! There are some anti-Dragon effects here as well, but they’re not really a big concern. The original BW-era Dragons were [N] Weak. The XY- and SM-series Dragaons are [Y] Weak. Like most (all?) of the SW-era Dragons, Dragonite V has no Weakness. It doesn’t get any better than that! It also has no Resistance, which doesn’t get any worse but the powers-that-be have never properly balanced out this mechanic in the TCG; Weakness regularly defines the metagame, while Resistance is lucky to be a valuable bonus. The Retreat Cost of [CCC] does hurt a bit; Dragonite V is chunky and will need help getting out of the Active position.
Dragonite V knows two attacks. For [CC], it can use Shred to do 50 damage to your opponent’s Active; 50 damage that ignores all effects on said Active. As a reminder, Weakness and Resistance are not effects, though they probably won’t matter anyway (almost nothing [N] Weak, nothing naturally [N] Resistant). 50 for two Energy is low, but at least you have something that let’s Dragonite V chip away at Pokémon with protective effects. “Dragon Gale” costs [WWL] and does 250 damage. The catch is that it also does 20 damage to each of your Benched Pokémon. Even with that much of a kick, 250 for three Energy is pretty great… so long as you have some compatible Energy acceleration. Dragon Gale can one-shot fellow Basic Pokémon V, except for Wailord V and a few likely to have defensive buffs. The Bench damage can add up quickly, and that might be why we’re not seeing Dragonite V do much in Standard. In the Expanded Format, this has been one of the top performing decks since it released. Not the top deck, but #2 or #3, at least going by the results available at LimitlessTCG.
Dragonite V’s partner is Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX, using its “Altered Creation GX” attack to up the damage from Dragonite V’s attacks and allow it to take an extra Prize for KOs. Throw in support like Max Elixir and Muscle Band, and even TAG TEAM Pokémon-GX (and the smallest Pokémon VMAX) are in OHKO range and worth an extra Prize! Mr. Mime (BW – Plasma Freeze 47/116) or Mr. Mime (XY – BREAKthrough 97/162; Generations 52/83) can use their “Bench Barrier” Ability to prevent the Bench damage, but some of the lists – successful lists – skip it. If your opponent does have a small wall (a low HP Pokémon with a good protective effect), Shred can hit for up to 100 damage and bypass such effects while turning that probable-single-Prize-target into a double-Prize-target. I’ve never seen the deck in action myself, but just seeing it pop up in the Expanded Format results made me want to review this Dragonite. I haven’t seen it doing anything in Standard; assuming I’m not just missing it, I can see why it isn’t doing quite as well here. It isn’t easy to boost its damage output here, but it does have some Energy acceleration available to it, so I think it actually looks decent still. I’m awarding Dragonite V a three-out-of-five in Standard, and a four-out-of-five in Expanded.
- Standard: 3/5
- Expanded: 4/5
With that, I must announce that this is my last Card of the Day for Pojo.com. No, I’m not covering Pokémon someplace else. I’ve long enjoyed being a writer here, but that time is at an end. I don’t want to go into too many details, but I haven’t been able (physically or financially) to play the actual TCG in a while. I was just barely able to keep up via the PTCGO, but I’ve struggled to make enough time to do so for the last year… really, the last few years. I haven’t checked to see if the PTCGO is still up and running, but it is supposed to be shutting down “soon”, to make way for a replacement Pokémon Trading Card Game app. One that lacks the trading element and one where I very much doubt I could “keep up” even if I still had the time to play. There absolutely is a chance that this will be another short-lived retirement; more than once I thought I was done but was able to resume writing. I’ll be happy if that is the case. For now though, thank you for reading, and have a happy New Year!
With the countdown of the best cards of 2021 being finished, we’re taking a look at a promo card that might have some potential. Dragonite-V is a Basic Dragon type with 230 HP, no Weakness or Resistance, and a retreat cost of three. Shred costs CC for 50 damage and this attack’s damage isn’t affected by any effects on your opponent’s Active Pokemon (pretty much any damaging reducing effect will be ignored). Dragon Gale costs 2 Water and 1 Lightning for 250 damage, and it also damages your Benched Pokemon.
I not sure if Dragonite-V would be able to take advantage of the card pool of the Standard Format. Despite Dragon Gale requiring more water energies than lightning, Frosmoth would have been a decent helper, except that it’s ability only works for Benched Water Pokemon, so that probably won’t work. While 250 damage is enough to Knock Out most Basic Pokemon-V, the drawback of inflicting damage to your Benched Pokemon might mean that Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX has an easier time with it’s GMAX Rapid Flow attack. There has yet to be a Dragonite-V deck that placed anywhere in tournaments, and Limitless has undergo a major website overhaul a while ago (not used to navigating the new site at the moment).
However, based on some of the comments I’ve read from various sites such as Reddit and YouTube, I think Dragonite-V has some potential in Expanded. Mr. Mime’s Bench Barrier (either BW Plasma Freeze or XY BreakThrough) avoids Dragon Gale’s drawback; Double Dragon Energy easily fulfill some of the awkward attack costs that require multiple different type of energies; Altaria’s Fight Song help ramp up the damage output for Dragon types (four Altaria and a Fighting Fury Belt or Muscle Band means 340+ damage, the magic number of OHKOs before considering other factors). I think there is enough to work with in that format.
Dragonite-V might not be a groundbreaking card, but with the right amount of support, it could hold its own against VMAXs that are still lurking around.
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