– Noble Victories
February 27, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Standard: N/A (would be 1.5/5 if reprinted)
Expanded: 1.5/5 (I hate to rate this so low on one of my favorite Pokémon Tools, but Field Blower/Tool Scrapper makes you feel like you can’t depend on your opponent to trigger this effect. And evolution based decks can’t make use of it.)
Legacy: 1.5/5 (Between November 2011 to August 2012 when Tool removal didn’t exist, this would’ve been a 4.5/5)
Details: There is a saying that the offense is the best defense, but also sometimes defense is the best offense. Today’s Throwback happens to be one of my favorite Pokémon Tool cards and I still have four of them: Eviolite (debuted on BW Noble Victories and received another print in BW Plasma Storm). This card is pretty thematic as, in the games, it makes not fully evolved Pokémon gain 1.5x boost to both Defense and Special Defense. However in the TCG, this Pokémon Tool card only benefits Basic Pokémon, as it soaks up 20 damage from attacks. Unlike the games, that means that Basic Pokémon like the Legendaries and Pokémon that don’t evolve at all get to benefit from the effect.
The wording is pretty significant, as the damage reduction can happen anywhere: your opponent’s attacks, your attacks that deal damage to itself, and even Bench damage. Your opponent has to work harder (like removing the tool via Field Blower or attaching Muscle Band or Choice Band to offset some of the buffering) to secure the KO and if they don’t, they’ll spend additional turns trying to finish you off. As for self damage, let’s say that if Zekrom BW were to take 40 damage to itself by using Bolt Strike, then it will do 20 damage to itself instead of 40 with Eviolite attached (and opposing Reshiram and Zekrom with their signature attacks still lacks the KO unless they use Plus Power).
Eviolite saw a good amount of play since it was debuted, as the format at the time was HGSS-on. Due to another print in Plasma Storm, Eviolite remained standard legal during the 2011-2012, 2012-2013, 2013-2014, and 2014-2015 rotation. Not only it could benefit big, single-prize 130 HP titans like Reshiram, Zekrom, and Kyurem, but it also greatly benefit Basic EX Pokémon like Mewtwo-EX and Darkrai-EX because……well, they were all Basic Pokémon at the time. It may be worth two prizes, but you would have to deal 200 damage due to Eviolite, and not many can hit for 200 with the exception of limitless damage output like Rayquaza-EX, which will need 4 energy discard from Energy Burst to OHKO anything. Black Kyurem-EX’s Black Ballista’s flat 200 damage also does the job.
Looking throughout the years of me previously using this card, I can factor in why it wasn’t seeing as much play. Tool Removal, Item Lock, too much competition against other Pokémon Tools, evolution based decks like Mega Evolution and/or V-Max seeing a good amount of play, deck space, and the fact that there are some situation where the damage reduction doesn’t matter because it does OHKO plus overkill. Players might opt to use Muscle Band or the like to secure KOs much faster so that your opponent doesn’t get to enjoy their Active Pokémon for very long. Fighting Fury Belt blends both offense and defense by providing a damage (+10) and HP (+40) buff. Hard Charm also soaks up 20 damage, but can benefit any Pokémon albeit coming from your opponent’s attacks. There’s even niche tools that sometimes has better utility than dealing or soaking damage.
I wouldn’t count Eviolite out, however. If players using Muscle Band didn’t alter the amount of turns needed to KO something faster, then they’re doing a disservice to them. HP buffs like Fighting Fury Belt and Big Charm does not translate to healing, though they do soak up some damage, but not exactly what Eviolite does. Such cards can only soak up damage as their HP buffs allows. Let’s say that if the Pokémon with Fighting Fury Belt attached to it has 40 or less HP remaining, you’re on borrowed time, because all it takes is a tool removal card to KO that Pokémon. Even worse, if that Pokémon was Active is KOed, you have to replace it with another Pokémon, and that Pokémon also has a serious chance of being KOed as well. Eviolite doesn’t cause you to get borrowed time, it constantly soaks up damage and doesn’t rely on temporary boosts such as HP buffs that could be taken away.
Eviolite may be facing competition from other tools, but even they have their doubts. If this were to be reprinted, it will regain some of it’s glory. Vitality Band doesn’t offset the damage reduction; you still take 10 less damage. However, Tool Scrapper is slated to receive an reprint according to future Japanese expansions. Stall decks would greatly appreciate using Eviolite more than Fighting Fury Belt or even Big Charm due to constantly soaking up damage as opposed to soaking certain damage up to the HP buff they provide. The lack of Max Potion hurts though; the next big healing based cards is either Mallow & Lana or Hyper Potion, each with their restrictions and drawbacks. It will still see a good amount of play in Legacy despite Tool Scrapper removing them, and it comes down to timing. If the opponent somehow discard their own Tool Scrapper, thinking that you don’t run any, then you can surprise them by attaching it afterwards, not before. Besides Basic EX Pokémon and other 130 HP titans, even Durant Mill can benefit from that Tool! Yeah, Durant is not that durable, but it can still soak up some single energy attacks with ease or even Mewtwo-EX’s X-Ball at a minimum. It will proceed to keep milling your opponent’s deck. Finally, in Limited, the only reason not to run this is that you didn’t pull a worthwhile Basic Pokémon.
Today’s Throwback is Eviolite (BW – Noble Victories 91/101; BW – Plasma Storm 122/135). This is a Pokémon Tool that can be attached to any kind of Pokémon but its effect is worded so that it only does anything for Basic Pokémon. That “anything” is reducing the damage they take from attacks by 20 (after Weakness/Resistance is applied). The wording means this doesn’t just protect against damage done by opposing attacks either; if a Pokémon’s attack does damage to itself (as opposed to placing damage counters on itself), Eviolite will protect against the self-damage as well! When Eviolite was first released, it quickly became the go-to-Tool in the game. Why?
First, remember that this is the game less seven to nine years of power creep in terms of HP scores and damage output. Second, around the time the original Black & White expansion released, the games rules were tweaked. There were no First Turn Rules, unless you count the rule about not evolving Pokémon on their first turn in play (which applied to both players); T1 Supporters and attacks were legal. Third, we just had the right combos to make it great. I’m going to focus on just one example, that of Zekrom (Black & White 47/114, 114/114; BW – Black Star Promos BW005, BW24; BW – Next Destinies 50/99; BW – Legendary Treasures 51/113, 115/113). With the proper combo, T1 it could attack for 120 to 160 damage, though it did 40 to itself (20 if you attached Eviolite)!
By the close of the BW-series, Eviolite has already slipped from its pedestal. Part of this was because of the release of Tool Scrapper; your opponent being able to trade an Item for two of your Tools proved to be a great deal, and meant that Tools which didn’t provide immediate advantage had a higher risk of providing no advantage at all! Another part were combos like Hypnotoxic Laser with Virbank City Gym; while not Tools, this was one of the many important, widely played combos consuming deck space, and it filled a role we often see occupied by Tools, (effectively) upping your damage output. The last part is probably the most obvious; we just kept getting more useful Tools!
By the close of the BW-era, some Pokémon-EX focused decks might still include Eviolite, if they weren’t instead using Float Stone or going without any Tools at all. The final two nails came with the XY expansion. Not because it marked a change in the T1 rules, but because the set contained Hard Charm and Muscle Band. Hard Charm was the same as Eviolite except it didn’t care about the Stage of the Pokémon to which it was equipped; anything could use it to soak 20 damage per attack. It didn’t work on self-inflicted damage, but that was no longer a big concern… and even if it had been, Muscle Band was just too good: +20 damage your attacks, and it could be used by any Pokémon. Muscle Band and Float Stone became the majority of Tool usage.
If it were reprinted today, Eviolite would likely replace Big Charm in the decks that are using the latter right now on Basics. Depending on the exact circumstances, taking 20 less damage can be better than having +30 HP, most obviously when we’re dealing with multiple attacks. Especially TAG TEAM Pokémon, though Basic Pokémon V and many Basic Pokémon-GX other than TAG TEAM Pokémon could still make decent use of it. Again, though, remember we’re talking about the ones already using Big Charm; something that already uses Air Balloon, Vitality Band, Escape Board, etc. would just stick with those.
In the Expanded Format, not only are cards as good or better than Tool Scrapper still legal, not only are Hard Charm and Muscle Band still legal, but we also have a wide assortment of other good-to-great Tools. I’m not saying it is impossible some deck, maybe even a competitive deck, could emerge that still makes good use of Eviolite, but it is highly unlikely. If you’re participating in a Limited Event with the correct, older product, Eviolite is a must-run, and quite likely to help you win… or at least, not lose until something else helps you win. In the Legacy Format, Muscle Band and Hard Charm aren’t present, but BW-era (and older HS-era) competition and counters exist. Eviolite does see some competitive success, but not a lot.
Yesterday’s Big Charm reminded me of Eviolite; while Giant Cape is Big Charm’s true predecessor, Big Charm already knows a bit more success than Giant Cape ever did. Which is why my mind moved onto Eviolite, even though it reduces damage taken instead of boosting HP.
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