October 31, 2021
Standard: See Below
Expanded: See Below
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
We begin this week with Greninja V-Union (SW – Black Star Promos SWSH157) the third (of four) Greninja V-Union cards. If you’re still not familiar with what it means to be a Pokémon V-Union, please read this article from the official Pokémon site. The bare-bones version is that these are four cards that are different but share the same name, and can be assembled to form a single Pokémon by following the instructions printed on the cards. Because they share the same name and you need all four cards, that means you’ll be running just one of each. You can do this even on Turn 1 but that Rule Box says it needs to be your turn, you need an open place on your Bench, you need all four pieces of that specific V-Unionin your discard pile, and you can only put a particular V-Union into play once per game. If you run multiple Pokémon V-Union, each of them can be put into play once per game.
Pokémon V-Union are Rule Box Pokémon, and Greninja V-Union has Abilities so yes, that matters. Path to the Peak can shut off all of its Abilities, which is a pain if you were counting on them. As the “V” at the end should tell you, this is indeed another form of Pokémon V; all anti-V effects still apply, but not those specific to Basic Pokémon V or Pokémon VMAX. Speaking of Pokémon VMAX, like them, Greninja V-Union is worth three Prizes when KO’d and “V-Union” is its own Stage of Evolution. Unlike VMAX, Pokémon V-Union don’t count as Evolution or Evolved Pokémon. Neither are they Basics! You can search out a V-Union card with Ultra Ball, but not Quick Ball of Evolution Incense.
Greninja V-Union is a [W] type, and that seems reasonably good. At least in Standard, there are Fire decks with Water Weakness still showing up at tournaments, and you have access to Frosmoth’s Ability and the effects of Melony for Energy acceleration. Expanded adds in some older tricks, like Aqua Patch. Just remember, Archie’s Ace in the Hole cannot work with Pokémon V-Union; just like with BREAK Evolutions, that Supporter puts only a single card into play but a quarter of a V-Union is incomplete and not recognized as a Pokémon in its own right. While not on this card, we know that Greninja V-Union has 300 HP, the same as the smallest Pokémon VMAX. That is still not easy to OHKO, and should serve it well. Be aware that [L] Weakness, while not devastating like last Format, is still far from safe. The lack of Resistance is typical; -30 to even a single, rarely used type would still have been better than nothing, but “nothing” is normal.
This pieces of Greninja V-Union has one Ability and one attack. The former is “Antidote Jutsu” and the latter “Twister Shuriken”, so that ninja-theming is on point. Antidote Jutsu prevents Grenina V-Union from being Poisoned. It doesn’t specify, but I am assuming this means it removes Poison if – for example – Path to the Peak is in play, your opponent does Poison Greninja V-Union, then you get rid of Path to the Peak and Antidote Jutsu is turned back “on”. Being immune to any Special Condition is an advantage, but I don’t believe it is a major one in the current metagame. Better than not having any Ability on it, like the first piece of Greninja V-Union.
Twister Shuriken has a printed Energy cost of [WWC]. The bad news is that it does zero damage to your opponent’s Active Pokémon. The good news is that it does 100 damage to each of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon. This might lead to some masterful damage spread decks for Greninja V-Union, or at least gives you a nice way soften up or finish off targets hiding on your opponent’s Bench. Some of the smaller support Pokémon, evolving Basics, etc. can’t even survive one Twister Shuriken! Three Energy takes some doing, but with options like Frosmoth and Melony, I think someone somewhere should figure out a functional formula for a competitive deck.
There are some things to be wary of, though. You’re not messing with your opponent’s Active at all with this attack, so if they have a good, hard-hitting Pokémon up front and ready to go, they can 2HKO Greninja V-Union before enough Bench damage accumulates to take out larger targets… or before the stuff on the Bench being KO’d matters. Especially in Expanded, there are effects that can protect Benched Pokémon from damage. There are counters to those counters, so Twister Shuriken still seems like a good deal to me in both Formats. Antidote Jutsu is just a fringe benefit.
- Standard: 3/5
- Expanded: 2/5
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