Inteleon – Chilling Reigns
June 28, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
5th-Place in our countdown goes to Inteleon (SW – Chilling Reign 043/198; SW – Black Star Promos SWSH113)! This is not a Rule Box Pokémon, so it is only worth one Prize when KO’d and doesn’t come with any extra headaches. Well, unless we get counters to Battle Styles, as it is a Rapid Strike Pokémon. Being a Rapid Strike Pokémon could come in very handy, but more on that later. As a Water type, it can take advantage of their support, though I’m not sure how much that will matter in this case. As a Stage 2, Inteleon requires a hefty resource commitment, whether you evolve manually or use shortcuts. Inteleon has 150 HP; decent for a Stage 2 worth one Prize. [L] Weakness is still dangerous, lack of Resistance is still the worst but doesn’t really matter, and a Retreat Cost of [C} is good.
This card is all about its Ability… but this is one of those times when I think we should cover the attack first. For [CC] Inteleon can attack using “Waterfall” to do 70 damage. Poor, but at least it is easy to pay. As for the Ability, it is named “Quick Shooting”: once per instance, during your turn, Quick Shooting may be used to put two damage counters on one of your opponent’s Pokémon. If you have multiple instances of Quick Shooting, each may be used once during your turn, before you attack. This should sound familiar, as it is Decidueye-GX’s “Feather Arrow”, but by a new name. While two damage counters isn’t much, it can really add up under the right circumstances. Such as:
- Helping an otherwise great attacker take key OHKO’s.
- Combined with additional damage spread or damage counter manipulation.
- Combined with sufficient disruption.
Quick Shooting is very good, but I think you’re getting what you’ve paid for with it. I mentioned Decidueye-GX earlier, and while its attacks weren’t great, one of them was a GX-attack, it had 240 HP (10 shy of the printed max at the time), and Forest of Giant Plants was still legal for both Standard and Expanded play! Decidueye-GX still was competitive at various times after Forest of Giant Plants rotated from Standard and was banned in Expanded, but its other perks still apply.
Inteleon does have some nice tricks of its own, though. While Inteleon itself doesn’t hit the Bench, other Rapid Strike Pokémon seem good at it. You could try to field it directly with Archie’s Ace in the Hole (Expanded-only) or with Rapid Strike Style Mustard (either), but you need an open spot on your Bench, Inteleon in your discard pile, and no cards in hand except the Supporter in question. You could also just use Rare Candy to evolve directly from a Sobble but Sobble (SW – Chilling Reign 041/198) can attack for [C] up to three Basic Rapid Strike Pokémon from your deck, while Drizzile (Sword & Shield 056/202; Shining Fates SV026/SV122) has a coming-into-play Ability “Shady Dealings, which lets you snag a Trainer card from your deck.
No, Drizzile is not a Rapid Strike card. Fortunately, you can evolve a Pokémon with a Battle Style into the correct evolution without a Battle Style, and vice versa. Inteleon (Sword & Shield 058/202; Shining Fates SV27/SV122) has a better version of the Ability found on the previously mentioned Drizzile, snagging two Trainer cards from your deck instead of just one when you evolve one of your in-play Pokémon into it. You can only run a total of four cards named “Inteleon” in the same deck, but it might be worth running a mixed line. Either so that your Quick Shooting deck has some extra search, or so that your Shady Dealings deck has a bit of Ability-based sniping.
All in all, Inteleon is a promising card, but not one I’m completely convinced will be highly competitive. I did not have this as my 5th-Place pick for SW – Chilling Reign, instead I had it as my 10th-Place pick. I’m not sold on it being super great, but it brings enough to the table that I can understand why others think Inteleon is one of the best cards in this set. I’m scoring it well, with the usual caveats that I’m rounding up and that, in Expanded, we have more combos but also more competition and counters. Spoiler alert – skip to the Ratings if you don’t like hearing about stuff from Japan – decks using this Inteleon have made good in Japan already, but they’re not dominant. Getting a competitive deck when you’re a Stage 2 is still great, though!
- Standard: 4/5
- Expanded: 4/5
Our 5th best card of Chilling Reign is another case of deja vu, but instead of phantasmal owls raining down Feather Arrows, we got Inteleon Snipe Shooting opponent’s Pokemon from afar – Quick Shooting ability – which lets you put two damage counters on one of your opponent’s Pokemon. This ability is one of the reasons why Decidueye-GX was the second best card of Sun & Moon and the eighth best card of 2017. Though another reason why it was ranked this high is because of Forest of Giant Plants enabling instant evolution for Grass Pokemon. Once FOGP was rotated and banned from Expanded, Decidueye-GX lost some of its speed, though the ability can still prove useful under the right decks. Yes, I am aware that there is Kingdra Prime that also places damage counters, but it only puts one instead of two.
Free damage via ability is a wonderful trait, but it can still be near-useless if you don’t anything else to take advantage of it during your turn. We’ve looked at Gengar around last week, and it’s Pain Burst attack needs certain damage counters to be effective. The ability alone might get you free prizes as well, and it bypasses Mew’s Bench Barrier ability as it only protects their Benched Pokemon from spread attacks. With four Inteleon in play, you get to place up to 8 damage counters, enough to no hit KO small targets like Mad Party members and Jirachi cards. Inteleon also has the Waterfall attack, which costs CC for 70 damage, which might seem filler, but coupled with its ability, it could deal between 90 to 150 total damage on the board depending on how many Inteleon you have in play. Or, it could sit on the Bench while Falink’s Rapid Strike Squad has a better damage output than Inteleon’s Waterfall attack.
Inteleon is somewhat marginally better than Decidueye-GX, as it is a baseline Pokémon that only gives up a single prize while also getting some support related to Rapid Strike cards (Tower of Waters completely shave off Inteleon’s Retreat cost of C) and avoiding some detrimental effects placed on Pokémon-GX. Looks like Decidueye-GX might be outclassed now. The only minor problem is that there is another good baseline Inteleon card from the Sword & Shield expansion, and its Shady Dealings – despite being a one time deal – fetches you up to 2 trainer cards. When you can only have 4 copies of baseline Inteleon in your deck, this creates a dilemma. Not so much of a problem when you still got Drizzile from that same Sword & Shield set with its own Shady Dealings ability that nabs you one trainer card.
Standard: 3.5 (Feather Arrow is back!)
Expanded: 3.5 (benefits via Archie’s Ace in the Hole too)
Inteleon has a lot going for it, reintroducing an ability that places free damage while you can still attack. However, like Decidueye-GX, I don’t know if decks have enough room to add the Inteleon line. Still being a baseline card as well as being a Rapid Strike card might give some incentive to use it. I had Inteleon as my 3rd place pick.
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