Dragonium Z: Dragon Claw
– Darkness Ablaze

Date Reviewed:
November 8, 2020

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 2.00
Expanded: 2.00
Limited: 3.00

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.

Reviews Below:

Otaku Avatar
Dragonium Z: Dragon Claw (SM – Cosmic Eclipse 190/236) is one of those cards that makes me wonder “What If”?  It is one of three Pokémon Tools released in the final expansion of the Sun & Moon era, and these Tools allow Pokémon with the correct regular attack to use the GX attack printed on the Tool.  The regular attack the card needs to possess is not only listed in the card’s effect text, but is right there in the card name.  If you have Dragonium Z: Dragon Claw attached to a Pokémon that does not know Dragon Claw… it just takes up space.  If the Pokémon does have Dragon Claw, then that Pokémon can now use “Destructive Drake-GX”.  Its printed price is [CCC], but the effect text of the attack says to discard all basic Energy from “this Pokémon”, and the attack will then do 80 damage per basic Energy discarded in this manner.  A huge issue with all of these Tools is they’re a one-time deal; you get one GX attack, and then any spare copies (included to make drawing into them easier), are dead weight barring combos that can make use of any Tools.
If you really want to, you can fuel the [CCC] with nothing but Special Energy and waste your GX-attack doing zero damage.  Having just one or two basic Energy attached is also rather underwhelming, as that means you burned your GX-attack with a three Energy upfront cost and one or two Energy worth of discard costs doing just 80 or 160 damage.  When you can afford to discard three basic Energy cards, Destructive Drake-GX starts to pay off; 240 takes out most targets with one shot, and if you can splurge for a fourth basic Energy to discard, the resultant 320 damage falls short only on cards with sufficient defensive buffs or the largest Pokémon VMAX.  A fifth basic Energy reaches a staggering 400 damage, at which point only Pokémon with sufficient defensive buffs can survive.
All in all, Dragonium Z: Dragon Claw seems like a decent, maybe even a good card.  So why isn’t it seeing competitive success?  First, there’s Dragon Claw itself.  Now, this attack appears on 32 different Pokémon (more if you include cards with multiple printings).  22 of these are Expanded-legal, while only three are Standard-legal.  Zero have proven themselves worth using in the present, with a few that arguably were useful to competitive play in the past, but not necessarily in decks that work well with Dragonium Z: Dragon Claw.
Part of the problem is Dragon Claw itself is often underwhelming.  It is an attack that does damage, with no effects (good or bad).  That doesn’t automatically mean it would be bad, but it isn’t hitting abnormally hard (to compensate for drawbacks) or doing more than just damage (via beneficial effects).  The vast majority of Dragon Claw attacks are on Dragon type Pokémon, and with attacks requiring multiple different Energy types.  Especially in Expanded, they’re known for their reliance on Special Energy cards: Aurora Energy, Double Dragon Energy, the Blend Energy cards, etc.  Cards which do not feed the damage of Destructive Drake-GX.
Can anything make good use of Dragonium Z: Dragon Claw?  Dragonium Z: Dragon Claw (along with the rest of SM – Cosmic Eclipse) released exactly one year and one week ago today, so there was a decent chunk of time before Sword & Shield released, as well as before the majority of events were canceled and… no decks listed in the various tournament top cuts over at LimitlessTCG which contain Dragonium Z: Dragon Claw.  Definitely none in the few events we’ve had since the last set released.  If you want to force the issue, there are a few possibilities.
Drampa (SM – Cosmic Eclipse 159/236) is a decent Basic Pokémon in terms of HP and offensive capacity… and the latter requires you have two kinds of basic Energy attached to itself so its “Dragon Arcana” attack can do 140 for three total units of Energy, instead of just 70.  Dragonite (SM – Team Up 119/181) actually has a great Ability, “Fast Call”, that lets you add a Supporter from your deck to your hand once per turn.  Dragonite-GX (SM – Unified Minds 152/236, 229/236, 248/236) is a 250 HP Stage 2 Pokémon-GX, capable of doing 270 per turn with its “Sky Judgment” attack, provided you can afford the [CCCCC] up front cost and the triple Energy discard required from its effect text.  While Destructive Drake-GX cannot use Special Energy, Sky Judgment could just discard a Triple Acceleration Energy… and something like Welder could let you go from zero to Sky Judgment the turn Dragonite-GX hits the field.  If do pull all that off and survive a turn, a second Welder and manual Fire Energy attachment means Destructive Drake-GX can hit for 400 damage.
All three of these could even work together in the same deck; Dragonite and Dragonite-GX have non-Fire Energy requirements for their Dragon Claw attacks… but their Dragon Claw attacks both cost [WLC] and do 120 or 130 damage, respectively.  Not a great loss in skipping those.  Or you can risk further subdividing the Dragonite/Dragonite-GX line.  Dragonite (SM – Unified Minds 151/236) knows the Ability “Hurricane Charge”, letting you attach one [W] and one [L] Energy from your deck to your Pokémon (both to the same, or split between two different targets) once per turn.  If you have multiple instances of Hurricane Charge in play, each can be used once per turn.  You usually only need one “Fast Call” per turn, and even just one Hurricane Charge could help either Drampa or Dragonite-GX keep attacking.  Even with a split evolution line, or arguably because of it, getting three Stage 2 Pokémon into play together sounds crazy difficult.
In Expanded, you gain a lot more options.  Unfortunately, none are especially good.  I will mention there is the other Dragonite-GX (Dragon Majesty 37/70, 67/70; SM – Black Star Promos SM156).  Its best feature is its GX-attack… which defeats the purpose of running Dragonium Z: Dragon Claw.  Druddigon (XY – Flashfire 70/106), Druddigon (Dragon Majesty 45/70), Kyurem (Dragon Vault 21/20), Rayquaza (SM – Guardians Rising 106/145), give you a few more decently-sized Basic Pokémon you can attack with, including the one Colorless type legal for Expanded (Rayquaza).  All but Kyurem have at least one attack or Ability that still has some merit.
Rayquaza-EX (XY – Roaring Skies 60/108; XY – Black Star Promos XY73) was the “bad” Rayquaza-EX.  I can’t say I’d recommend it, but it does know Dragon Claw.  Salamence (SM – Celestial Storm 106/168; SM – Black Star Promos SM140), Bagon (Dragon Vault 6/20; BW – Plasma Blast 62/101) both know Dragon Claw, and this Salamence has a universal gusting effect as its Ability, with the drawback being it is a Stage 2 which must be Active in order to use it.  If one of the other Salamence cards.  There’s even a combo with Salamence-GX, as its “Dragon Lift” Ability zeroes out the Retreat Costs of your non-Pokémon-EX/GX cards.  While Salamence cards often have a decent attack or Ability, none of them help with Energy acceleration, so I can’t say I recommend either this Bagon or Salamence.
Another probable dead-end are Jangmo-o (SM – Guardians Rising 98/145), Jangmo-o (Dragon Majesty 52/70), Hakamo-o (SM – Guardians Rising 99/145), Hakamo-o (SM – Crimson Invasion 76/111), and Hakamo-o (Dragon Majesty 53/70).  Unfortunately, all the Kommo-o and Kommo-o-GX cards go from bad to worse.  The one that almost looks like it might work with this is Kommo-o (SM – Cosmic Eclipse).  Its first attack – “Shout of Power” attaches a basic Energy from your discard pile to one of your Benched Pokémon, while doing 60 damage.  Its second attack – “Scaly Uppercut” costs [LM] to do 90 damage, but Scaly Uppercut’s effect says you can discard a Tool from itself so that the attack does an extra 90.  180-for-two is tempting, even on a Stage 2.  Shout of Power probably needs to attach more Energy at once or we just wish that Kommo-o had used Energy types with better Energy acceleration options… though maybe, just maybe, Tapu Koko {*} is enough.
Axew (BW – Plasma Blast 67/101), Axew (XY – BREAKthrough 108/162), and Axew (XY – BREAKthrough 109/162) are similar but different cards that each know Dragon Claw.  So do Fraxure (Dragon Vault 14/20) and Fraxure (BW – Plasma Blast 68/101).  While both could just be skipped for Rare Candy, Fraxure (Dragon Vault 14/20) has an Ability which ups the damage from its attacks (yes, attacks from Tools still count) by 40 if it is affected by a Special Condition.  While they don’t know Dragon Claw so they can’t use Dragonium Z: Dragon Claw themselves, two Haxorus fall into the “almost” worth it category.  Haxorus (BW – Plasma Blast 69/101) can use its “Dragon Axe” attack to do 40 per [M] Energy attached to itself.  Either Bronzong (XY – Phantom Forces 61/119; XY – Black Star Promos XY21) or Magnezone (SM – Ultra Prism 83/156; Shiny Vault SV29/SV94) could supply that Energy; just send up a compatible Axew or Fraxure when you need a GX-attack.  Haxorus (SM – Unified Minds 156/236) will require a combo with a devolution effect.  Its “Grind Up” Ability has you discard a Stadium card from the field, then attach up to three Energy cards (Metal and/or Fighting) from your discard pile to itself. Its “Powerful Axe” costs [MF] to do 10 damage plus 40 per basic Energy attached to itself, give the deck something to do the rest of the game.
Finally, there’s Zweilous (BW – Dragons Exalted 95/124; BW – Legendary Treasures 98/113), and it might actually have the best chance out of everything I’ve suggested.  This is because of Hydreigon (SW – Darkness Ablaze 110/189; SW – Black Star Promos SWSH037).  This is the Hydreigon with the “Dark Squall” Ability, which lets you attach a Darkness Energy from your hand to one of your Pokémon as often as you want during your turn.  Spare Hydreigon/Zweilous are just there as a back-up, in case the current Hydreigon you’re using is KO’d.  You’ll want something else as your attacker, and when we’ve discussed this card before I usually cite a bunch of massive, multi-Prize Pokémon.  If you can find enough single-Prize attackers worth using, then Dragonium Z: Dragon Claw lets the above Zweilous supply your GX attack and you already have a means of fueling it for big damage.
What about the Limited Format?  Drampa is the only Pokémon from that set which knows Dragon Claw.  It is a normal Rare.  As mentioned earlier, its Dragon Arcana attack is decent with Energy acceleration… but in the Limited Format, Dragon Arcana is just good in general.  Dragon Claw just makes it better, though Drama is still too small to pull off a Mulligan build.  The two cards can be slashed into any non-Mulligan deck, however, and together are a great pull!  On its own, however, Dragonium Z: Dragon Claw is pure filler, a Tool that does nothing.
  • Standard: 2/5
  • Expanded: 2/5
  • Limited: 3/5

I have once again proven I am an idiot.  I picked Dragonium Z- Dragon Claw so we’d have a short, easy Trainer to review on Sunday.  This is because my Pokémon CotD time is already going to be taxed this week.  The thing is, at a glance, I didn’t think the Destructive Drake was that good, due to the basic Energy requirement.  Which isn’t entirely wrong; the restriction really does hurt the card, but it still does just enough I needed to take a serious look at the card pool that can support it.  Then it turns out that, while they are all duds, they’re just close enough that I didn’t feel I could gloss over them.  Ultimately, you could argue the biggest problem with Dragonium Z: Dragon Claw is that it is a one and done trick.  Which makes building a deck around it self-defeating; Dragonium Z: Dragon Claw is a back-up strategy, so if the main strategy of the deck isn’t already competitive, Dragonium Z: Dragon Claw isn’t likely to put it over the top.

vince avatar

Dragon Claw is one of my favorite Dragon type attacks because there is no side effect/drawbacks and 80 base power is actually decent in-game and even competitive play for when players don’t like the fatigue aspect after using Outrage 2-3 times. As for the TCG, there are Pokemon with the Dragon Claw attack, though searching through TCG cards using attack names instead of a Pokémon is incredible hard to find results, let alone listing each and every single Pokémon card ranging to Base Set to SS Vivid Voltage with the “Dragon Claw” attack. Fortunately, some of the Google image search can help you find some, though one thing’s for sure: we have yet to have a Pokemon with the “Dragon Claw” attack in the Sword & Shield series unless I’m missing something.

The base damage of Dragon Claw doesn’t matter, because you can use Destructive Drake GX as long as you attach this card to a Pokémon with the Dragon Claw attack. It costs CCC and does 80 damage times the amount of basic energies you’ve discarded from that Pokemon. You’re forced to discard all basic energy, so at a minimum of CCC, you’re already dealing 240 damage, 4 energies get you 320, and 5 energies get you 400 damage! This does take up your tool slot, so you’re missing on other niche or damage boosting tool cards. Since this is a GX attack on a Pokémon Tool card, using it means you gave up the opportunity cost to use a different GX attack; makes Tool removal not too much of a concern since you’re making use of this tool on your turn.

This is definitely worth your GX attack when it can OHKO something, but the only gripe I have with this card is low distribution. Hopefully there will be more Pokémon with the Dragon Claw attack in the future.


Standard: 2

Expanded: 2

Limited: 3

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