Dusknoir – Vivid Voltage
Date Reviewed: January 18, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Dusknoir (SW – Vivid Voltage 071/185) is a baseline Pokémon, worth only one Prize, and lacking any specialty mechanics. As a Psychic type it can access a lot of support but… well… most of it is only available in Expanded. Cards like Horror [P] Energy, Gengar (Sword & Shield 085/202; SW – Black Star Promos SWSH052), Jirachi-GX, and are worth knowing about, but Welder or Metal Saucer they ain’t. The mixed blessing for Psychic types is that the formerly common Psychic Weakness appears on fewer Pokémon in the Sword & Shield-era. At least Psychic Resistance is no longer as common. Dusknoir is a Stage 2 Pokémon, so it is slow and resource intensive. There is a little extra assistance available to it, but we’ll come back to that later…
…as for now, we’ll move onto the 150 HP. This is decent, even for a Stage 2. Not good, but decent; sometimes, Dusknoir will survive being Active, but you shouldn’t count on it. Especially against Darkness types, because [D] Weakness is not happy. It isn’t the worst, but Eternatus VMAX needs just itself and two Benched [D] Pokémon for its “Dread End” attack to score a OHKO. [F] Resistance is appreciated, as it makes Dusknoir about as sturdy as a small, Basic Pokémon V (like Crobat V) against Fighting types. Unfortunately for Dusknoir, the [F] type keeps teasing that it is about to be back with a vengeance. Teasing, but not actually delivering. Dusknoir’s Retreat Cost of [CC] is neither high nor low, but if you don’t need a different Tool attached, Air Balloon can still zero it out.
Dusknoir’s Ability is “Spectral Breach”: all Special Energy attached to either player’s Pokémon provide [C] and have no other effects. This renders most Special Energy cards nearly worthless, as they will only provide [C]. Not “Colorless Energy”, but one unit of Colorless Energy; yes, even Double Colorless Energy, Triple Acceleration Energy, and Twin Energy are affected in this way! The mixed blessing is that Energy cards are only affected while actually attached to Pokémon. I don’t have a ruling for it, but I believe this means you would still need to discard a card from hand to attach Aurora Energy, and that Recycle Energy – as its effect only kicks in after being discarded from play – is more or less unaffected due to that timing. Dusknoir also has a filler attack that looks decent, but isn’t: [PCC] to do 120 isn’t bad so long as you can use something like Twin Energy to… oh, right. Spectral Branch affects your Special Energy cards as well, so no Twin Energy shortcut. Energy acceleration using basic Energy (Welder?) can still work, but how likely are you to have a Psychic/Fire deck? That is another thing to which we’ll return later.
While all the available Dusclops cards available are duds, you’ll need to pick one because Duskull (SM – 83/236) is good. Its Ability is “Spiritborne Evolution” has you search out a Pokémon from your deck that evolves from Duskull, then play it immediately (from the deck) onto Duskull, evolving it. This should bypass the usual rules against evolving on your first turn or the first turn a Pokémon is in play. However, I left out that Spiritborne Evolution has a massive three card discard cost from your hand in order to use it. While we’re all well versed in working with discard costs to minimize the drawbacks, three is still enough you may not only be forced to make hard choices, but where you may lack enough cards in hand to use it at times. It also doesn’t help that we don’t have any standout Dusclops to use with it. To the point I wonder if you’re almost better off sticking to Rare candy. Some of the other, older Dusknoir cards may be worth using alongside today’s… but only in Expanded.
Based on the Players Cup II Regional Finals and Global Finals, I don’t think a TecH Dusknoir line is the answer to most Special Energy situations. Could I be wrong? Absolutely, not only did around half the decks run zero Special Energy cards, of the ones that did:
- Pikachu & Zekrom-GX decks will miss the additional draw from Speed [L] Energy, but Dusknoir is slow enough at least one will still probably work. The hit they take to reliability is probably less than you’ll take for running Dusknoir.
- Coating [M] Energy and Weakness Guard Energy can be lifesavers… but we’re still talking about running an entire Stage 2 line to do it. Unless you’re struggling to OHKO a bunch of single-Prize attackers, using the slots Dusknoir requires to instead run and reuse the coming-into-play Ability found on Giratina (SM – Unified Minds 86/236) to just discard those Energies.
- Heat [R] Energy is worth discarding, but not every Centiskorch VMAX deck bothers with it.
We don’t have enough strong, competitive decks that rely on stuff such as Twin Energy, the way we saw some strong archetypes rely on Double Colorless Energy in the past. Something like Dusknoir wouldn’t completely stop Night March in its tracks, but against most builds it would come close.
Which isn’t an endorsement of Dusknoir for the Expanded Format. You have the option of buddying up with an older, powerful Dusknoir such as Dusknoir (BW – Boundaries Crossed 63/149; BW – Plasma Blast 104/101), but we’re still dealing with Stage 2 Pokémon, and Expanded has many proven, potent anti-Ability effects. There’s enough here to experiment with for fun, and there is a real chance you’ll also find something competitive, but it will still be an uphill battle… and again, your own Special Energy cards are also hit by Spectral Beach.
- Standard: 2/5
- Expanded: 2/5
Spectral Breach is a potent Ability in the right metagame, and I don’t think that is what we’re experiencing right now. After the next set, things might get really crazy and it could be Dusknoir’s day, or maybe it will have to lurk forever in Expanded, looking like it should matter but never quite finding a home.
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