– Unified Minds
September 23, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
So couple things were revealed at Pokebeach, including five Pokémon V cards and a major rule change when Sword & Shield come out next February. Some revealed Pokémon V have higher average HP than GX/EX counterpart. Obviously there aren’t any V support or counters, but they’ll eventually happen. As for the major rule change, you can’t play Supporter cards on the first turn! This makes most cards that rely on you going first useless or crippled. Lillie would no longer draw cards until you have 8 in your hand, so it’d be identical to Bianca. Draw power, acceleration, and search can’t be used. One would wish they go second as going first has some restrictions.
I realize I’m going off a tangent there, but Leavanny is what we’re looking at today. The only redeeming factor is making Grass Pokemon take 40 less damage from attacks. Whether it makes a difference from OHKOs to 2HKOs remains to be seen. As a Stage 2, the only hope to being it out quickly is from Rowlet & Alolan Exeggcutor-GX’s Super Growth attack. Fire Weakness is still dangerous, and even with the rule change, a Fire player can still setup quickly on their second turn, and also attack. Even then, there might be some Tag Team Grass Pokemon that can appreciate damage reduction (like Celebi/Venusaur and Buzzwole/Pheromosa), and even better when paired with Aether Paradise Conservation Area and Eviolite to reduce damage taken by 90.
Leavanny (SM – Unified Minds 9/236) leads off this week and we’re going to start with the card’s defining trait, its Ability “Blanket Weaver”. While this Leavanny is in play, Blanket Weaver reduces the damage your [G] Pokémon receive from your opponent’s attacks by 40. It also clearly states you cannot make use of more than one instance of Blanket Weaver at a time. Just based on raw numbers, -40 seems pretty good; until you get to massive overkill or “…more about the effect” technical attacks it should affect how many turns it takes to score a KO. For mostly or mono-[G] decks, it’ll fake being Bench-protection as long as we’re not dealing with damage counter placement or other non-damage effects. As for Leavanny’s attack, it knows “Razor Leaf”, doing 70 for [GC]. It might be useful in a pinch, but isn’t a selling point for the card.
If Leavanny was a Basic Pokémon, it would be a staple for Grass decks. Leavanny is a Stage 2 Pokémon, so it needs a lot of deck space and takes a little time to set up. It’s [G] Typing isn’t too likely to matter, at least not directly; it isn’t meant to be an attacker and isn’t positioned to care about most [G] support or counters, at least directly. Indirectly, Nest Ball makes it easier to snag Sewaddle and makes Rowlet & Alolan Exeggutor-GX a possible means of Evolution acceleration, and can make Fairy Charm [G] an issue if Leavanny is backing a Pokémon-EX/GX attacker against a [Y] deck. Leavanny’s 120 HP is small for a Stage 2, and even on a Basic, it would be a bit more likely to be OHKO’d than not. [R] Weakness is pretty dangerous with multiple decks running on Welder. Lack of Resistance is typical, but a Retreat Cost of [C] is affordable, even more so if you can combine it with Escape Board or U-Turn Board.
Putting it all together, you have a defensive Bench-sitter that helps both itself and others. As I said, 120 HP is on the low side, but with Blanket Weaver it acts more like 160 HP, and -40 against everything (from Leavanny’s perspective) is better than the mere -20 against a single Type provided by Resistance. Still, fitting it into your deck is going to be difficult, to the point we’ve only seen one really good use for it; backing Rowlet & Alolan Exeggutor-GX. Using its “Super Growth” attack, Rowlet & Alolan Exeggutor-GX can accelerate your Evolution; see our review 10 days ago for more details. You can also see the deck that finished in 60th place at the World Championship as well because it also ran Leavanny!
I don’t think Leavanny has much to offer the Expanded Format, or rather it does but it is too difficult to get it out and protect it from anti-Ability effects. For the Limited Format, as long as you don’t pull stuff that demands you specifically exclude Leavanny, like a big, Basic worth running solo or something so space-intensive you can’t afford fit even just Leavanny and some basic Grass Energy into the deck… because even on its own, Leavanny is a solid Stage 2 here. If you can pull it and some other worthwhile [G] Type attackers, it can be brutal.
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