– Vivid Voltage
November 27, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Our 1st-Place pick is Jirachi (SW – Vivid Voltage 119/185)! This both is and is not a “specialty” Pokémon. This is something the powers-that-be did before with Pokémon “Prime”: it is a new premium rarity but mechanically, the game doesn’t distinguish between them and the baseline Jirachi in any way (including Prizes awarded for the KO). Besides their own new Rarity symbol, there is one “tell” for Amazing Rare cards; all of them feature at least three different, non-Colorless Energy requirements, usually in the same attack. You can find other cards with such Energy requirements, so it isn’t unique to Amazing Rares, however… but I don’t know if anything recent has them.
Jirachi is a Metal type, and it is a good time to be one, except what they offer isn’t going to do a lot for Jirachi outside of a select, few match-ups. Being a Basic is still the best, though; one card is one copy, no waiting to evolve, and Jirachi can even be your opening Active. 70 HP is low: unless your opponent has an incomplete setup or is focused on attack effects well over damage, Jirachi is getting OHKO’d. [R] Weakness hardly matters; attacks doing 30 or less still whiff on the OHKO, while those doing 70+ damage already had it. The only reason the -30 Grass Resistance may matter is when stacked with other defensive bonuses, part of the “select few match-up” I mentioned earlier. A Retreat Cost of [C} is not only good in the usual manner, but extra important here because of the Ability.
Jirachi’s “Dreamy Revelation” is an Ability where each instance of it may only be used once, during your turn, prior to attacking or doing anything else that ends your turn upon resolution. It also requires Jirachi be your Active Pokémon, so while you can use more than one instance of it during your turn, it takes some effort. Dreamy Revelation lets you look at the top two cards of your deck; select one card to add to your hand, then return the other to the top of your deck. Better than drawing one card, but not as good as drawing two. For the insane cost of [PFM], “Amazing Star” lets Jirachi attack to do zero damage! This is a setup-style attack, letting you search your deck for up to seven basic Energy cards, then attach them to your Pokémon how you like (shuffling your deck after). This sounds pretty amazing when you can pull it off… but you’re only seeing a net gain of four Energy, and good luck affording Amazing Star without one or two other forms of Energy acceleration.
Amazing Star is, simply put, Johnny-bait. I’m not saying there will never be a deck that uses it well, just that if one emerges, it will probably be a pretty intense combo deck. It doesn’t help that Amazing Star only works with basic Energy cards (for its effect); you can still use a Special Energy card (or three) to pay for Amazing Star but either that means you’re dedicating extra deck space to extra Energy or you’re cutting into your supply to attach with Amazing Star. However, Dreamy Revelation looks very, very good, combined with any effect which zeroes out its Retreat Cost. Think of it this way:
you promote Jirachi, use its Ability, then manually retreat for free to whatever you actually want Active. Exceptions are when something specifically keeps this from working, like Ability denial, something that increases Retreat Costs, or if something is KO’d at the wrong time.
Of course this sounds familiar: we’ve been doing this with Jirachi (SM – Team Up 99/181; SM – Black Star Promos SM161) and its “Stellar Wish” Ability! Stellar Wish has the same activation restrictions (once per turn, while Active), but it looks at the top five cards of your deck while only adding a Trainer of your choice from among those cards. You need to show the Trainer you pick to your opponent (this prevents grabbing a non-Trainer), and the cards you don’t pick are shuffled back into your deck. Stellar Wish then puts Jirachi to Sleep. This Jirachi was our 5th-Place pick for SM – Team Up, jumping to 2nd-Place for the year of 2019: how can today’s Jirachi compete?
Stellar Wish has two-and-a-half times the range of Dreamy Revelations, but it only grabs Trainer cards. Now, if you’re restricted to only one of the three major card types, Trainers are the ones to work with, but you still cannot directly grab a Pokémon or Energy card you need even if it is in the cards you look at. Sometimes putting the card you don’t pick back on top of your deck is a benefit, sometimes you’ll wish you were shuffling it away like with Stellar Wish. The big thing is Stellar Wish leaves Jirachi Asleep, stranding it up front unless you use a bounce or switching effect, or can remove Special Conditions to then enable retreating. Prior to this year’s set rotation, Jirachi could just use Escape Board to simultaneously zero out its Retreat Cost and retreat even while Asleep or Paralyzed. That isn’t an option anymore.
Today’s Jirachi can use U-Turn Board, any other Retreat Cost-reducing effect, since it isn’t putting itself to sleep. Another fun bonus is that, if you’re not worried about having more than one Jirachi in play at a time, you can even have them share a U-Turn Board, since it is a Tool that returns to your hand when it would go to the discard pile from the field. If your deck calls for Air Balloon instead of U-Turn Board for whatever reason, that still works. More importantly, if nothing else comes along to replace today’s Jirachi before then, Air Balloon means we can still make good use of Dreamy Revelation after the next Standard rotation. Even now, this Jirachi may be a better fit for some decks. Many decks, in fact. Yes, the severely restricted range hurts. This is especially true if you’re using Jirachi in a deck that – for example – mostly needs it to dig for Rare Candy or your next Supporter.
However, if your deck already flows pretty well, you’ve got an easy combo that generates easy advantage, and is reusable to boot! A slight advantage is, this provides another combo partner when you have an effect that works with the top card of your deck. You don’t have a lot of control through it, but if you want as many chances as possible, especially if you were already running or thinking of running the Stellar Wish Jirachi, there you go. Now, I’m not so sure about Expanded. Decks are even more Trainer-based there, so hitting non-Trainers isn’t as big of a bonus. Escape Board is there as well, so Jirachi with Stellar Wish still has its classic combo, though today’s Jirachi can work with a wider variety of Retreat Cost reducing effects.
If you are running cards like Magcargo (SM – Celestial Storm 24/168), it creates an easy combo… though there are many other Pokémon with Abilities that do the same thing, so it isn’t a major selling point. As for the Limited Format, yes go ahead and run Jirachi… but remember you’ll almost certainly have to pay to retreat, and Amazing Star is even less likely something you can pull off. Now, if you do get lucky and have Metagross (SW – Vivid Voltage 118/185), you’ll be able to use Dreamy Revelation with ease.
Jirachi is easily one of the best cards from this set. I had it as my number two pick, because of the overlap with Jirachi from SM – Team Up. As Vince preferred Jirachi to Leon, we had a tie. The first way I break ties is which card appeared on more (individual reviewer) lists, but they were still tied that way as well. So this all came down to… rolling a six-side die. Jirachi got a “6”, while Leon only got a “2”. Jirachi looks like a great card, so using such an arbitrary means of breaking the tie is hardly a problem.
Our best card of the set as well as having the same voting points (41) as Leon is…
Jirachi (SS Vivid Voltage 119/185)!
This is one of the Pokemon you’ll love to see in your opening hand because of its Dreamy Revelation ability, as it lets you look at the top 2 cards of your deck and pick one of them to be in your hand while the other card get put back on top of your deck. Even after being unable to play Supporters on the player’s first turn, they can still use this ability. Comparing to the other Jirachi from Team Up, despite today’s card being short range, it let you grab any card, not just Trainers. And unlike the other Jirachi, it doesn’t put itself to sleep, which is crucial since Escape Board is no longer in the Standard Format. Players will have to use other switching related cards to move the older Jirachi from the Active Spot to the Bench. U-Turn Board might be a replacement, but it doesn’t let you retreat when you’re Asleep or Paralyzed, but this isn’t a problem for today’s card, and it gets sent to your hand if it tries to go to the discard pile.
This ability is extremely similar to Uxie Lv.X, and it has seen a lot of play during its time, but Jirachi is marginally better than Uxie due to being a Basic and not another Stage above it. This ability can even be optimized to become better. Why stop at the top two random cards from your deck when you have a Pokémon that helps you improve consistency. Granted, they are Expanded legal options. Magcargo’s Smooth Over can get you any card you want from your deck and put it on top of your deck, and Jirachi’s Dreamy Revelation guarantees that you get that specific card.
This will definitely replace Jirachi from SM Team Up because it just lost a combo piece that made it great at the time. Yes, you can still use two Stellar Wish abilities in one turn, but now, there’s only so much you can switch, and players can’t do it forever. Today’s Jirachi even has a better attack than its Slap attack from Jirachi TEU, even if its “amazing rare” status made it have at least an attack with atrocious attack costs. For the price of a Psychic, Fighting, and Metal energy, you get to search your deck for up to 7 Basic Energies and attach them to your Pokémon in any way you like. Pretty ironic that an attack that greatly accelerates energy has to meet this attack cost, and its 70 HP won’t make it last long, so it can just sit there for the ability. If you can pull this attack off, then that’s great!
Because of the comparison between two Jirachi cards and how I personally rank stuff based on the card pool, that’s why I have Jirachi as my top pick.
Limited: 4/5 (It doesn’t deal damage, but it sets up for your other Pokémon you’ve pulled).
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