Huntail – Fusion Strike
December 13, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Huntail (SW – Fusion Strike 066/264) is another Fusion Strike Pokémon. Not quite a baseline Pokémon, but close as it has no Rule Boxes. Being a Fusion Strike Pokémon is a good deal, granting access to cards like Fusion Strike Energy and Power Tablet. Being only worth a single Prize is kind of nice at the moment as well. Huntail is a Water-type. Exploiting [W] Weakness isn’t a huge bonus right now, and (spoiler) Huntail isn’t a great attacker, but there’s a slight chance it could come in handy. I don’t expect Huntail to be run in a mono-Water deck, so [W] support isn’t really relevant to it. Anti-Water effects might matter; I haven’t heard of anyone doing well while including Flareon (SW – Vivid Voltage 026/185), but I suppose if a Fire type that was all about its Ability became popular, it could happen.
Huntail is a Stage 1, evolving from Clamperl. Clamperl can also evolve into Gorebyss, and we’ll discuss that a bit more later. For now, know that being a Stage 1 is decent; Huntail would be a lot better if it were a Basic, but it isn’t horrible trying to work a Stage 1 line into a deck. Huntail has 110 HP, low enough to still be a probable OHKO once your opponent’s deck is up and running, but too big for low HP support like Level Ball. This does make its [L] Weakness and lack of Resistance less meaningful. [L] attackers doing 60 through 100 damage score a OHKO they otherwise would have missed. Any Resistance is better than none, but none is normal. The Retreat Cost of [C] is good; low enough you can often pay it if you must, and relatively easy to zero-out.
Huntail has an Ability and knows one attack. Since I touched upon its attack earlier, let’s cover that first. “Cavernous Chomp” is a fancy name for a vanilla attack: [WCC] to do 80. That’s about half the damage it needs to do to be a competitive attacker… but you might still consider it since you can use a combination of Elesa’s Sparkle and Twin Energy to go from zero to attacking in one turn, and with a single Power Tablet, you’re actually OHKOing most Water [W] Basic Pokémon V. Not good, but not worthless. As for the Ability, “Single Strike Jammer” forces your opponent’s Single Strike Pokémon to pay an extra [C] when attacking. The wording is such that it won’t bother your own Rapid Strike Pokémon (not that I expect you to be running any) I legitimately don’t know if Single Strike Jammer can stack with multiple instances of itself. Stacking would, of course, be better for it, but I don’t know if it helps enough to bump up its final score.
That’s because I don’t think there are enough competitive Single Strike decks to justify running a heavy Huntail line. A 1-1 TecH line? Maybe. While Single Strike decks have Energy acceleration, it isn’t something they can spam as often as they need in a single turn. Now, what will you run it with? Let’s start by glancing at other Huntail cards… and then moving on, because the other Huntail available (only in Expanded) aren’t worthwhile. How about Clamperl? Clamperl (SW – Fusion Strike 065/264) is a 60 HP, Basic Fusion Strike Pokémon with [L] Weakness, no Resistance, a Retreat Cost of [CC], and the attack “Bursting Bubble” that costs [C] and does 10 damage. Yeah, pure filler. Still, it is your best option since it is the only Clamperl that is also a Fusion Strike Pokémon.
Except maybe in Expanded, you should consider Clamperl (SM – Celestial Storm 41/168), as you don’t actually have to evolve from a Fusion Strike Pokémon from a Fusion Strike Pokémon. Its “Evolutionary Advantage” Ability lets you immediately evolve it on your first turn if you’re going second; in other words, on Turn 2 and only Turn 2. The other card to consider is Gorebyss (SW – Fusion Strike 067/264), as it also Evolves from Clamperl. Granted, the same is true of all other Gorebyss cards, but I don’t think any of the older options still legal in Expanded are worth it. What makes the Fusion Strike version an exception is its own Ability… and you can read more on that in its own Card of the Day article that also posted today.
Getting back to Huntail, I believe it to be viable TecH because you can opt for a two-for-one deal with Fusion Strike Gorebyss. There are more Rapid Strike decks that Gorebyss frustrates (if not hard-counters) than Single Strike decks that Huntail can frustrate. You could run as little as one each of Clamperl, Gorebyss, and Huntail to accomplish this… but that still might be asking too much. So Huntail gets a two-out-of-five in Standard. In Expanded, I just don’t think there are enough serious Single Strike attackers to make it worthwhile. So it gets just a one-out-of-five there.
- Standard: 2/5
- Expanded: 1/5
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