Drednaw – Vivid Voltage

Date Reviewed:  March 10, 2021

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 2.00
Expanded: 2.00
Theme: 3.00

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

Reviews Below:

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Happy Mario Day.  Yes, March 10th is Mario Day because it can be abbreviated as Mar 10 in English, and Nintendo noticed.  This is why we are looking at Drednaw (SW – Vivid Voltage 039/185), because it vaguely resembles a watery version of Mario’s longtime frenemy, Bowser (King Koopa if we go old school).  Well, that and also being on my list of leftovers from SW – Vivid Voltage.  To begin with, Drednaw is a baseline Pokémon; no alterations to its name, no Rule Box, no special tags or labels.  It only gives up a single Prize when KO’d, and right now, that might be an advantage.

Drednaw is a Water type; this is good when attacking Fire types, and grants access to somewhat decent support.  As a Stage 1, Drednaw isn’t really difficult to run, it just isn’t as easy as a Basic.  You’ll need to run Chewtle to field it; yes, you could use Ditto {*} or Archie’s Ace in the Hole in Expanded, but I don’t think it lends itself well to either of those tactics.  140 HP is decent; while it is not enough to even survive attacks in the reliable 2HKO range, there’s a decent amount of attacks that still see use in competitive play, but which only do 120 or 130 damage.

Drednaw is [L] Weak, so it has to worry about Pikachu & Zekrom decks.  Not the TAG TEAM itself, because that scores a OHKO even without Weakness, but its support.  No Resistance is the worst but, as I point out almost every day, it is also normal.  They don’t give most cards Resistance.  Resistance is also a balanced mechanic, unlike Weakness, which means lacking it isn’t really a problem.  The Retreat Cost of [CCCC] means you need alternatives to manually retreating at full cost.  Even in something like a Frosmoth deck, it is hard to spare that much Energy just to retreat.  The silver lining is that there isn’t much of a functional difference between Retreat Cost [CCC] and [CCCC], except that the latter has some specific pieces of support.

Drednaw knows two attacks.  “Vise Wave” costs [WCC] and does 80 damage.  It also has an effect that states if you played Nessa from hand this turn, it Paralyzes your opponent’s Active.  Having [CC] in the cost means it is friendly to acceleration like Twin Energy, though 80 is a bit low for three Energy.  No-flip Paralysis is nice, even though it means using Nessa as your Supporter for the turn.  It isn’t a perfect, universal strategy, but Nessa lets you add either four [W] Pokémon, four [W] Energy, or a combination of each totaling four to your hand from your discard pile.  “Surf” costs [WWCC] to do 140 damage.  This attack is both vanilla and filler, but not without merit.  It only costs [W] more than Vise Wave, and while it doesn’t do enough damage for being priced at four Energy, it does enough that it sometimes comes in handy.

Drednaw is a technical attacker, useful to soft-lock your opponent.  Special Conditions aren’t hard to shake, and Paralysis goes away on its own, but those turns when your opponent doesn’t have a Switch, Scoop Up Net, etc. to deal with Paralysis, your opponent cannot attack or retreat.  There are no coin flips involved, either; your opponent either has an out to it or they don’t.  I don’t think Drednaw has enough to it to become the star of its own deck, but if you insisted on building a deck around it, you could probably get a somewhat functional control/beatdown build running.  Use hand disruption to make it harder for your opponent to shake Paralysis, then include Energy disruption for the turns when you’re attacking to KO, or when your opponent does ditch Paralysis.

In something like a Frosmoth deck, while being an additional Stage 1 eats up valuable slots, it provides a decent technical attacker.  Instead of using disruption to setup for Drednaw, you just use it as an emergency single prize attacker (with Surf) or go for the Paralysis soft-lock on the turns where it works out.  Though this isn’t quite as easy as I painted it to be, given your Frosmoth build needs to run Nessa heavily and/or hope you can spare your Supporter for the turn on her.  Nessa is a solid Supporter in [W] focused decks, but it still hurts if you don’t need to recycle stuff that turn, and especially when you need to force something Active (Boss’s Orders), draw big (Professor’s Research), draw and disrupt (Marnie), or any other Supporter effect instead.

You can offset some of the loss of momentum from using Nessa instead of a draw or search support that turn with the right Items and/or Abilities, though.  Drednaw fares about as well in Expanded, but with the usual tweaks.  Drednaw gains access to better disruption, to VS Seeker (easier recycling of Nessa), Aqua Patch, and other support that can really help its strategy.  It also faces stiff competition that uses the same support as good or better than it does, plus entirely different decks that are more competitive but have to be defeated.

There is one last place to enjoy Drednaw, though, at least if you are a PTCGO player: the Theme Format.  While it we’re not sure how the discontinuing of Theme Decks (at least, as we know them) will affect it, for now the Theme Format is still here, and the Drednaw Theme deck featuring this version of the card released alongside SW – Vivid Voltage.  It isn’t a brilliant attacker here, but it is good.  The deck overall seems to have consistency issues.  There isn’t a good general opener like some decks enjoy.  While it a full 15 Supporters in it, three of those are Nessa.  Good to have that many Nessa, and this is more Supporters than any other recent Theme Deck, they seem to eat up the “slots” that would have gone stuff like two more copies of Great Ball.


  • Standard: 2/5
  • Expanded: 2/5
  • Theme: 3/5

Drednaw is close to being a good, solid Pokémon.  So close, it might just be waiting on a new card or particular metagame shift to achieve it.  Still, with what it currently is and does, I couldn’t bring myself to award it a two-out-of-three for any Format save Theme.

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