Eevee – Black Star Promo
Date Reviewed: March 18, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Since we’ve been discussing Eevee (or Eevee-related) promo cards for the last five days, I thought we could look at Eevee (Black Star Promos 11), the first promo Eevee! Well, in terms of numbering, for the Black Star Promo series. Some early promos were not part of this series, and like with our own promos, they could easily release out of order. This Eevee was the League Promo for June 2000. This was before any of the “specialty” mechanics added to the game later, so Eevee is most definitely a baseline Pokémon. Its Colorless typing wasn’t too significant; it predates the period with [C] Weakness/Resistance. There was a significant counter to [C] types at this time: Sprout Tower. That Stadium reduced the damage of attacks from [C] Pokémon by 30. Ouch.
Eevee is a Basic from the time when Basic Pokémon were the best… which isn’t really that unusual, as that describes most of the history of the TCG. However, most evolving Basic Pokémon were little more than filler, again, the same as now. Plus, about a year after Eevee released, the first set rotation would occur. I’m not 100% certain Eevee survived this rotation, but Bulbapedia says it does and I cannot clearly remember. If it did, Eevee would have experienced one of the few periods in the game where Evolutions were dominant in competitive play. Being a Basic was still technically the best, for the usual reasons… but they weren’t strong enough to be your deck’s main attacker.
Speaking of which, Eevee has only 30 HP. If was left Active during your opponent’s turn, or your opponent forced it into the Active position with Gust of Wind or Double Gust, Eevee was all but guaranteed to be OHKO’d. Pre-rotation, PlusPower was still legal, and while damage output was far, far lower back then, competitive decks could easily hit 30 or 40 damage on their first turn. At least this means [F] Weakness only made things a little worse; it basically just let such attackers save their copies of PlusPower for something else. Psychic Resistance -30 was typical of Colorless Pokémon at this time, and actually could come in handy, despite the HP. That perfect Retreat Cost was amazing, better than it is now. How? This was back when you could retreat as often as you wanted (and could afford) in a turn!
Eevee has a Pokémon Power and an attack. Pokémon Powers are the original non-attack effect for Pokémon. They work in a manner that is similar to Abilities. Card effects that reference Abilities do not work on Pokémon Powers, and vice versa. Pokémon Powers would later be split into Poké-Bodies and Poké-Powers. I do mean split; card effects that work on Pokémon Powers do work on both Poké-Bodies and Poké-Powers, and effects that say they work on both Poké-Bodies and Poké-Powers do work on Pokémon Powers. It just something says it works on just Poké-Bodies or just Poké-Bodies only works on those. With that out of the way, Eevee’s Chain Reaction was pretty great. Anytime one of your Pokémon evolves, Chain Reaction can be used to search your deck for a card that evolves from Eevee, then play that card onto Eevee!
Yes, it counts as evolving Eevee but it lets you break the normal rules of Evolution. Eevee may evolve through its Power even if it just hit the field. If you have something else that can bend the rules and evolve on your first turn, even the first turn of the game, then Chain Reaction can be used! When Chain Reaction cannot be used is when Eevee is affected by a Special Condition. The card itself only lists three Special Conditions, but the term “Special Condition” wasn’t introduced for another two or so years. WotC released an announcement that all Pokémon Powers would also be stopped by Poison, and later by any Special Condition. If you can optimize your use of Chain Reaction, this drawback is almost meaningless; you’ll evolve before you can be affected by a Special Condition!
Eevee could also use “Bite” for [C], doing 20 damage. In the modern day, this was pure filler, but Eevee released at a time when this was still solid damage. Eevee couldn’t exploit Weakness, and might have to worry about Sprout Tower, but for an attack you only used while desperate or to go for early, early damage, it was solid. Again, remember PlusPower was a thing; Eevee was hitting just as hard as Hitmonchan (Base Set 7/102; Base Set 2 8/130; Best of Game 2; Platinum 129/127), but without the solid 70 HP to back it or typing to exploit Weakness. You could still dig through your deck for a PlusPower or four, providing you were running them, to go for a cheeky FTKO against an opponent unfortunate enough to start with a lone, small enough Active.
There were far fewer Eeveelutions available when this Eevee released, but still many more than I realized. That is because some Eeveelutions had “Dark” or “Light” counterparts. These were alterations to the card’s names, as in “Dark Flareon” or “Light Vaporeon”, but they still evolved from Eevee. The first Espeon and Umbreon cards would also release a year after Eevee. Most important, though, was another Eevee card that released at that same time: Eevee (Neo Discovery 38/75). It had its own Pokémon Power, “Energy Evolution”. When you attached an Energy card to Eevee, you could flip a coin. “Tails” did nothing, but “heads” mean you searched your deck for an Eeveelution of the same type as the attached Energy, then evolved Eevee into it (from your deck). It wouldn’t work if Eevee was affected by a Special Condition.
Yes, later Eevee cards had their own version of Energy Evolution, with the same name for the effect but slightly different mechanics. The original version could be used the first turn Eevee was in play, even the very first turn of the game and it worked with Special Energy cards, not just basic Energy. Something like Double Colorless Energy didn’t matter, but remember that Darkness Energy and Metal Energy only existed as Special Energy cards when the types were introduced in Neo Genesis. Eevee could also take advantage of Rainbow Energy to grab any of its Eeveelutions. There was some ruling confusion over this back in the day; the correct ruling was that Rainbow Energy has no type while in your hand but Energy Evolution doesn’t check for a type until after you have attached the Energy and flipped heads. By that point, Rainbow Energy’s effect would already be working.
It has been so long, I don’t recall what competitive Eevee decks were doing back then, but for some time, I remember running either a 1/3 or 2/2 split between Energy Evolution Eeve and Chain Reaction Eevee. I’ve mentioned Turn 1 a few times; in the present, you cannot use a Supporter or attack Turn 1. No such rule was in effect when Eevee was new, and I don’t recall anything similar happening until Nintendo took over the TCG from WotC (in 2003). A straight-up reprint of this Eevee isn’t possible, as Abilities have replaced Pokémon Powers and Colorless Pokémon no longer receive [P] Resistance. A pseudo-reprint where Chain Reaction was an Ability, the card had no Resistance, and everything else remained the same should be good. Maybe not in Standard, but definitely in Expanded.
- Standard: N/A
- Expanded: N/A
Chain Reaction Eevee was a great combo piece back in the day, at least if you were running Eeveelutions. I’d love to see an update to it in released, but I still have memories… and you could try it out if you have older cards, and people who play using older Formats.
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