Hoopa V – Fusion Strike
Date Reviewed: December 18, 2021
Standard: 3 Expanded: 3
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Hoopa V (SW – Black Star Promos SWSH176; SW – Fusion Strike 253/264) ends our week. The following review will address Hoopa V with respect to the Standard Format unless I specifically reference another Format (most likely Expanded). This Pokémon is a Darkness type. This is useful for exploiting the Weakness found on the majority of Psychic types, and doesn’t have to worry about Resistance. Darkness support is a bit lackluster at the moment. Hiding [D] Energy is handy, but cards like Piers fell incredibly short of my expectations. According to the results from LimitlessTCG, Eternatus VMAX decks are still a thing, and that bolsters the Darkness type by virtue of providing a competitive deck that needs them. It also helps that Justified Gloves, a type-specific counter, is a bit too specific to see widespread play.
Hoopa V is a Basic Pokémon, making it relatively easy to run, whether you need one, two, three or the full four copies you’re allowed in a deck. I’m not seeing anything that makes me really want to open with it, and there are a few Basic-specific counters, but Basic-specific support (hello Quick Ball) combined with ease of access means being Basic is still the best. Hoopa is a Pokémon V, which means it is also a Pokémon with a Rule Box. Peeking ahead, it has an Ability; Path to the Peak will likely be of concern some of the time. As a Pokémon V, Hoopa V is worth two Prizes when KO’d, is excluded from some beneficial effects, and is targeted by some deleterious ones. There are currently no other Hoopa V cards, nor a Hoopa VMAX, but they could happen in the future (no, I don’t know of any slated for release).
Hoopa V is a Fusion Strike card. Access to this Battle Style means access to Fusion Strike Energy and Power Tablet, among other bits of Fusion Strike support. There are currently no Fusion Strike counters, either. This is definitely a good thing for Hoopa V. It has 220 HP; somewhat durable and squarely in the middle of the typical Basic Pokémon V range of 210 to 230. Hoopa V’s Grass Weakness is not good. I’d rather have to deal with stuff like Leafon VMAX rather than Mew VMAX, Rapid Strike Style Urshifu VMAX, etc. but Leafeon VMAX is up there in terms of metagame share (7th according to LimitlessTCG). No Resistance is typical, but technically the worst. The Retreat Cost of [CC] is neither low enough to be good nor high enough to be bad. Thankfully, besides general options like Air Balloon or Switch, Hoopa V has access to Hiding [D] Energy to zero out its Retreat Cost.
We’re going to cover the attack before the Ability, due to the nature of the latter. “Shadow Impact” requires [DDC] and does 170 damage, but also places three damage counters on one of your own Pokémon. The bad news is, that without some help, Shadow Impact is mediocre. The good news is, it enjoys quite a bit of help. Where Shadow Impact struggles most might be its Energy requirements; what deck has three turns to ready and attack that can’t even OHKO most Basic Pokémon V? Being a Fusion Strike Pokémon helps because Elesa’s Sparkle can be used to attach Fusion Strike Energy; not enough to go from “zero” to “attacking” in a single turn, but enough to get ready in two turns. 170 damage isn’t enough to OHKO most Basic Pokémon V, let alone larger targets unless they’re Darkness Weak and don’t have any other defensive buffs. Still, it is enough to 2HKO anything if we’re only going by printed HP scores.
Enter Power Tablet. In the unlikely event you run and can use all four copies at a single time with Hoopa V, you can now reach 290 damage. Not really a threshold number for which one should aim, but a more judicious use of Power Tablet means hitting that 200 damage threshold four times, or up to two uses of Shadow Impact doing 230 damage via two Power Tablets consumed with each attack. 230 damage OHKO’s most Basic Pokémon V before Weakness or protective effects. Placing three damage counters one of your own Pokémon bothered me at first, and it could still lead to problems. Cards like Inteleon (SW – Chilling Reign 043/198; SW – Black Star Promos SWSH113; SW – Evolving Skies 227/203) and Inteleon VMAX (SW – Fusion Strike 079/264, 266/264) can pepper your Bench with damage counters but even then, you still might be able to drop the damage counters someplace where they won’t matter, or are easily healed. If your opponent cannot efficiently do small amounts of damage to your Bench and you have things that are already probable OHKO’s, or probable 2HKO’s with enough room to spare, the damage counters will hardly matter.
Alright, so… what about the Ability? “Two-Faced” states that Hoopa V counts as both a Darkness type and a Psychic type while in play. This isn’t the first time this kind of mechanic has popped up in the Pokémon TCG. Let’s go over what it does and does not mean. You can…
- …score double damage via Weakness so long as the target is either Darkness or Psychic Weak.
- …use Hoopa V alongside Eternatus VMAX even while the latter’s “Eternal Zone” Ability is in effect, without Eternal Zone shutting down.
- …use Psychic type support so long as it only cares about the Pokémon being Psychic while that Pokémon is in play.
What Two-Faced does not allow is:
- …using Psychic support that cares about the card’s type when it is not in play.
So, while Hoopa V’s Two-Faced is working, you can attach a Horror [P] Energy to it, and have that Energy still function. The Energy would still count as [P], so it can only help with Hoopa V’s Colorless Energy needs, but it would still gain Horror [P] Energy’s effect. You cannot, however, fetch Hoopa V from your deck with Fog Crystal.
How big of a difference does Two-Faced make? Hoopa V is the only Darkness type Fusion Strike card in our card pool, but we have seven Psychic types: two non-evolving Basics, two Evolving Basics, a Pokémon VMAX, an evolving Stage 1, and a Stage 2. Fusion Strike decks don’t need help exploiting [P] Weakness, but Darkness decks? They would like that option. It does mean Fusion Strike support is now questionable; it would most likely only be for Hoopa V. When it comes to accelerating Darkness Energy to something that is not a Single Strike Pokémon, we’ve got Hydreigon (SW – Darkness Ablaze 110/189; SW – Black Star Promos SWSH037). I suppose Turbo Patch could work as well… or maybe you just need an already Energy efficient attacker like Eternatus VMAX so you can just slowly build Hoopa V. It might be worth it, then to incorporate Hoopa V. While Hoopa V is Grass Weak, many Darkness types are Fighting Weak. Two of the “big” Fighting type attackers right now, Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX and Single Strike Urshifu VMAX are Psychic Weak. Put it all together, and I think my “maybe” disappears, or even transforms into a “probably”. I couldn’t find enough lists running it to confirm, but I did see at least one among the better performing Eternatus VMAX decks I skimmed.
What about Expanded? Hoopa V might be better here! There are finally enough tournament results over on LimitlessTCG to get an inkling about the current Expanded Format. Darkness decks aren’t on top but they do have a small chunk of the metagame. If Psychic Weakness becomes important enough, I see no reason not to slip Hoopa V into those decks. While there’s still the potentially awkward issue with squeezing Fusion Strike support into an otherwise non-Fusion Strike deck, I don’t think we need it here. Instead, there’s vintage Darkness support that can speedily reading Hoopa V, like Dark Patch and/or Weavile-GX. 170 damage you can access in a single turn and that can exploit the more abundant Psychic Weakness here just sounds good. You’ll occasionally slam into Psychic and/or Darkness Resistance, but that isn’t enough to drop Hoopa V’s score. In the end, Hoopa V scores three-out-of-five in Standard and in Expanded, even though the reasons why differ.
- Standard: 3/5
- Expanded: 3/5
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