Leon – Vivid Voltage
Date Reviewed: January 9, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Leon from SS Vivid Voltage is another one of the honorable mentions when it comes to being the the best card of 2020. This card was first reviewed when it was the second best card of the set. Why isn’t he on the list then? Well, there’s like…so many factors, some being that there are other great cards released through 2020 that are just as impactful. That’s not to say that Leon isn’t as impactful, as he is a Supporter card that lets any Pokémon deal 30 extra damage to your opponent’s Active Pokemon. With extra damage tacked on, one would think it would show up in decks.
But based on Japan’s Tournament in Yokohama and PTCGO’s Players Cup II, none of the decks used Leon…at all! Looking at those lists, one makes me wonder if I’ve been overestimating the potential this card had; it was #2 on my list for Vivid Voltage! Maybe it’s because he IS a Supporter, and using him means you can’t use other Supporters cards on that specific turn. There’s also the usual saying for damage boosting cards and/or damage reduction cards: Extra damage is NOT always a good thing; If this won’t help you achieve certain damage, then you’ve wasted resources and your Supporter for your turn. Even the Stage 2 Charizard didn’t make a showing in any of those tournaments, and that’s a rogue deck that could potentially OHKO most of the popular decks. But because it is a Stage 2, the amount of setup you need to get it into play is quite significant when compared to Basic Pokémon.
- Standard: 3/5
- Expanded: 3/5
- Limited: 5/5
- Theme: 5/5
Leon is still a very good card, but it’s usage is not what I was expecting. Outside of Charizard decks that need to run four copies of Leon (or two copies in Charizard’s Theme Deck) to maximize the damage output of Royal Blaze, a majority of other deck archetypes either didn’t run any or one copy at best. It looks like one of those cards out of many great cards that are very good in theory and in practice, but is occasionally not needed in certain decks. This was Otaku’s number one pick in his personal top cards of Vivid Voltage…but since after a period of time has passed, that maybe some of our thoughts and optimistic take may have changed.
Today, we’re taking another look at Leon (SW – Vivid Voltage 154/185, 182/185, 192/185). It was our 2nd-Place pick from its set, and would have been our 19th-Place pick if we’d had a large enough countdown for 2020. This Trainer-Supporter places an effect on your side of the field; assuming any of your Pokémon attack your opponent’s Active Pokémon this turn, that attack will do an extra 30 damage.
- The damage bonus applies only to attacks made the turn Leon is used.
- Damage done to your Active Pokémon is not increased.
- Damage done to either player’s Benched Pokémon is not increased.
- Leon’s effect is not tied to a specific Pokémon in play; as long as it uses an attack to damage your opponent’s Active, it will receive Leon’s damage bonus.
- This damage bonus is applied before Weakness and Resistance.
- There are no Pokémon Stages, types, or other classifications excluded from this effect.
- An attack not designed to do any damage cannot suddenly claim the bonus to do damage.
- An attack that does no damage because of things like Resistance, or effects that reduce the damage the attack does, will still receive Leon’s bonus.
- An attack that does no damage because of its own calculations does not receive the damage bonus.
- Placing damage counters is not the same as doing damage.
- Raichu (DP – Storm Front 99/100) a.k.a. Raichu Lv.X can receive the bonus both times it attacks that turn, provided the selected attacks are compatible with the effect of Leon.
- Damage from non-attack sources – something you can find on older cards – is not increased.
I can afford to take time to highlight these things because… there isn’t much else to say about Leon, and I do not mean that it a good way. I predicted Leon would great and I was completely wrong. At least, based on results from the Players Cup II Regional Finals, the Players Cup II Global Finals, and the one Japanese event for which I have results. Leon is not being used at all in the competitive Standard Format. At least, not successfully; it is possible everyone who didn’t qualify for the results posted above is running it, but I don’t know. Nor have my own efforts to get back into the Standard or Expanded Formats born fruit. Leon’s effect looks so useful on paper, helping you close up to a 30 point gap in damage done, but it just doesn’t seem like anyone can be bothered to run it in the Constructed Formats. Because of the potential I still believe it has in the Standard Format, I am not awarding it a minimal score.
I have zero data to use for Expanded, but with what we’ve seen in Standard, I’m revising my score down to the same two-out-of-five I awarded for Standard. In the Limited Format, I still believe Leon to be a fantastic pull; though he may show up when you don’t really need him, that is true for many cards, so I’m still going to score him quite high. The Theme Format is much the same, and the Charizard Theme Deck – yes, that is its official name – which released alongside SW – Vivid Voltage puts Leon to good use. Not only for its own effect, but because the deck contains two copies of Charizard (SW – Vivid Voltage 25/185), which is also available outside of the Theme Deck as SW – Black Star Promos SWSH066. I’ve been using the deck via the PTCGO, and while Leon isn’t always needed, it combos nicely with Charizard’s “Battle Sense” Ability and “Royal Blaze” attack.
- Standard: 2/5
- Expanded: 2/5
- Limited: 4/5
- Theme: 4/5
Maybe this is an overreaction, or over-correction, from our initial review of Leon. I am intentionally being harsh with this review; in the long term, I still have hope Leon will score higher, at least a three-out-of-five due to a combination of general and deck specific use. However, I thought Leon would at least start out “good” and grow to “great”, possibly even jump straight to greatness. He didn’t, so it is time to own up. Which may lead you to wonder why it managed to sneak into what could have been our top 20 of 2020 list? I cannot answer that, as I did not have Leon on my list. I worry Vince simply trusted I could not be so epically wrong about Leon in my original review.
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