– Sword & Shield
April 29, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
So we have another Keldeo card which gives up two prizes. First, we had Keldeo-EX, who is insanely splashable due to its Rush In ability and Float Stone combo, as well as being a good secondary attacker after Black Kyurem-EX for Deluge Blastoise decks. We then have Keldeo-GX whose Pure Heart ability protects itself from opposing Pokémon-GX, and that also saw a good amount of play, though I fear just like Alolan Ninetales, this mechanic is going to be outdated as Pokémon-V can still damage it. Speaking about Pokémon-V, Keldeo, once again, gets the treatment of that new mechanic, and unfortunately…
This one has nothing special going for it.
That’s not to say that this card is bad and should be dismissed completely, but one wonders why players would still want to include Keldeo-V in their decks despite being redundant. For starters, it is a Basic Water type Pokémon with 210 HP (significantly higher than previous Keldeo cards when they had 170), Lightning weakness (which is bad at the moment as the amount of Lightning type support is still Standard legal, though not for long), and a retreat cost of two (which can be reduced completely via Air Balloon).
While such stats are nice to start with, the attacks and/or abilities also matters. Keldeo has no ability, but two attacks. Wave Splash costs a single water energy for 40 damage, which is actually good for the cost despite not doing anything else. This single energy attack isn’t going to win you games, but it can provide early game pressure (Vitality Band, Muscle Band, and Choice Band can increase the damage output to 50, 60, and 70 respectively; double those numbers against Fire Pokémon whose weak to water). This attack alone could be enough to take out a lone Ditto Prism Star, and backed with Vitality Band (or Muscle Band in Expanded), you could severely dent non-GX Blacephalon or even OHKO one of them!
Then we get to its signature attack of Secret Sword, which does the same thing Keldeo-EX did since day one, albeit with a better multiplier. For the same cost of CCC just like older cards, it starts doing 50 damage, but also adds 30 more damage for each water energies attached to this Pokémon. I believe Splash Energy from XY BreakPoint also counts as Water Energy. At a minimum of WWW, it does 140 damage, which falls short of many 2HKOs against VMAX Pokémon, but a nice 2HKO against Tag Teams and ones below them. Since the highest HP printed on a Pokémon is 340 HP, which is seen on Snorlax VMAX and the upcoming Copperjah VMAX, Keldeo NEEDS to have TEN energies attached to it to land the OHKO. Meanwhile, your opponent replaces the fallen comrade with another Pokémon capable enough to return fire and KO that Keldeo. Based on those two attacks, you can consider Keldeo to be a good beatstick for water decks.
However, Keldeo isn’t the star of the show in Water decks, but rather they are guest appearances. Keldeo-V could be used in a single copy or two copies at best. There’s another Pokémon that does something similar to Secret Sword, and that’s Lapras VMAX. It’s G-Max Pump attack also costs CCC, and while it has the same multiplier as Keldeo’s Secret Sword, it’s base starting damage is 90 instead of 50, making Lapras require less resource than Keldeo (eight energies plus Vitality Band for the OHKO). That’s still a lot of energy invested, and despite having 320 HP, there are a few decks that can achieve limitless damage. Lapras VMAX gives up THREE prizes as opposed to Keldeo’s two prizes. So I guess it’s worth to compromise some of the base damage (50 vs 90) in favor of prize trade (two vs three) in order to prolong the game.
So, that pretty much means that Keldeo only sees play in Water toolbox that has either Frosmoth in Standard/Expanded or Blastoise in Expanded, and nothing more. I mean, you could fit Keldeo in any deck due to Secret Sword being colorless friendly, but it can only do 50 damage whatsoever (assuming you don’t run water energies), and that’s extremely underwhelming. If that’s the case, especially in Expanded, why not use Keldeo-EX, where it has the same attack/base damage, but also has a extremely good ability that can combo with Float Stone? Anyways, that’s besides the point. Enjoy Keldeo for what it does, even if it only works well in one deck. For Limited, if you pulled one, it can be a good candidate in a +39 deck. Wave Splash can be used almost right away and eventually, Secret Sword will land a bigger blow if you can get to WWW. Just watch out for Galarian Obstagoon, though (seriously, though, this Pokémon can stop any Basic Pokémon in its tracks once it starts attacking with Obstruct)!
Keldeo V (Sword & Shield 053/202) is a [W] Type, and [W] Typing should be better than it is. Frosmoth gives them an incredible form of Energy acceleration. Anti-[W] effects aren’t particularly good. Nothing naturally Resists them in Standard, though [W] Resistance is somewhat common on BW-era Grass Types. When it comes to exploiting Weakness, most Fire Types are [W] Weak, and Welder means we have at least a few highly competitive Fire-based decks. In spite of this, there’s almost no decent, recent placements for [W] decks, let alone big wins.
Keldeo V is a Basic Pokémon V, easy to run but giving up two Prizes when KO’d, and targeted by certain deleterious effects and excluded from certain beneficial ones, though those last two aren’t major concerns… yet. Keldeo V has 210 HP, typical for a Basic Pokémon V and with a decent chance of surviving a hit. Besides the heavier hitting decks, Lighting decks are also a threat due to Keldeo V’s Weakness, Pikarom is still a strong, competitive deck. No Resistance is bad but normal, so we’ll move onto the Retreat Cost of [CC]; not too good, not too bad, but at least Air Balloon can zero it out if you aren’t using a different Tool.
Keldeo V has two attacks, the first being “Wave Splash”. [W] pays for 40 damage, simple as that. Not bad damage for the Energy, but for with no effects won’t take Keldeo V very far. “Secret Sword” is the second attack, and a bit more complex. The printed cost is [CCC] and it lets Keldeo V swing for 50 damage plus 30 per [W] attached to itself. The more [W] Energy, the harder Keldeo V can hit, but the more resources you lose when Keldeo V goes down… and effects that punish heavy Energy-usage are definitely a thing. You could technically run Keldeo V off-Type, but without [WWW] attached, its damage output is poor to bad.
Keldeo V seems like a natural for Frosmoth decks. Load it up, and let it OHKO TAG TEAM Pokémon-GX and Pokémon VMAX. That way, even if Keldeo V is OHKO’d right back, you traded two Prizes for three. The actual Energy cost to do so is staggering, even with Energy acceleration. It needs seven [W] Energy to take down 240 HP targets, up to 10 to take out a Snorlax VMAX. Even with Frosmoth, that wouldn’t be easy. There are only two Frosmoth decks I know that have solid finishes to their credit. Neither include Keldeo V; the former uses Lapras V and Lapras VMAX for bit damage, the latter is an intresting spread deck attacking with Alolan Sandslash-GX. “Solid” in this case means 145th and 169th out of 945. Of course, just two examples means they could be exceptions, and not the rule.
In the Standard Format, Keldeo V appears to be a secondary or tertiary choice for a deck that I thought was going to be huge and, at best, is only just now starting to function at the competitive level. In the Expanded Format, we have better attackers with comparable attacks. For the Limited Format, you can use Keldeo V to add a beefy [W] Type basic to any deck other than a Mulligan build… though you should probably consider just building a Mulligan deck around it yourself.
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