– Rebel Clash

Date Reviewed:
June 29, 2020

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 2.00
Expanded: 1.00
Limited: 3.00

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.

Reviews Below:

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Ludicolo (SSH – Rebel Clash 009/192) is a Grass Pokémon, which may be a concern; while the type is doing fine in Expanded, they’ve been struggling in Standard.  They’re not the best for exploiting Weakness right now, and Sword & Shield-era Metal Pokémon usually have -30 Resistance… real concern, with Zacian V decks being so popular.  Anti-Grass effects exist but aren’t a major concern, while actual [G] support is decent.  What really worries me is that Ludicolo is a Stage 2.  That isn’t a surprise; it is supposed to be a Stage 2, but the resource and time investment, even with shortcuts, bodes ill for the vast majority of Stage 2 Pokémon.

Ludicolo has 160 HP, giving it a decent chance of surviving a hit while Active.  It is on the high end of what is typical for Gen 8 Stage 2 Pokémon right now.  [R] Weakness is dangerous; Fire decks aren’t everywhere, but they’re still a significant presence in competitive play.  Even if they weren’t, while Welder was legal, quite a few could easily flare up, if only for a single event.  Lack of Resistance is typical, though technically it is also the worst.  A retreat cost is neither high nor low; odds are you can pay it if you need to, but you’ll also probably miss the Energy.  If you aren’t using another Tool, Air Balloon can zero it out.

Ludicolo knows two attacks.  “Spirited Rushdown” costs [CC] and does 60 damage times the the number of Prize cards you have taken.  [GCC] covers the cost of “Mega Drain”, and let’s Ludicolo swing for 120 damage while also healing 30 from itself.  Spirited Rush Down starts off awful, doing zero damage if you haven’t even taking a single Prize, to a mediocre 60 damage, an adequate 120, very good 180, great 240, and finally – barring combos – an impressive 300.  Mega Drain is is mediocre, bordering on adequate; you can 2HKO some stuff while healing a bit, but you really need to hit and heal for more to really be worth attacking with a Stage 2.

Yeah, even with Lombre (SSH – Rebel Clash 008/192) and its “Top Entry” Ability.  Lampent (SSH – Rebel Clash 032/192) and Luxio (SSH – Rebel Clash 062/192) also have the same Ability, not that they’ll matter to Ludicolo.  Top Entry is also a bit like Nugget.  To use it, the card in question must be your opening draw for the turn, and when you go to use the effect, you immediately go about it, never adding the card to your hand.  In the case of Pokémon with Top Entry, you also must have an open Bench space, because Top Entry lets you Bench them – no Basic Pokémon required.  How could evolution acceleration like this not prove handy?

Lombre has 90 HP, and still can’t evolve until your next turn.  You can only ever draw a single card as your manual draw that opens your turn; drawing a Top Entry at any other point won’t let you trigger the Ability.  You can use a card effect, like the “Primate Wisdom” of Oranguru to topdeck a Lombre from your hand, or various other effects to top deck it from your deck or discard pile, but that still means waiting until your next turn, essentially giving up your draw for the turn, and hoping your opponent doesn’t use Reset Stamp, Marnie, or anything else that would mess up the combo.

Don’t get me wrong; Top Entry is still handy, it just doesn’t mean you can skip Lotad if you’re running a Ludicolo focused deck.  Sadly, none of the Lotad do anything other than existing, so you’ll have to use them as stepping stones for the other two, and probably include a few Rare Candy as well.  Unless you really do want access to just one or two copies of Ludicolo.  I still wouldn’t rely purely on Lombre, but I could see running a 0-1-1 line if your deck contains a Ditto {*} star it could sometimes spare.  Preferably, it also still contains Oranguru or the like in case Ditto {*} is already occupied.

Which may bring us to the second worst aspect of Ludicolo; it is the kind of attacker that works best as a surprise, but as a Stage 2 it can’t do that.  Your opponent will always have a turn of warning, barring something like Meganium (SM – Lost Thunder 8/214) and its “Quick-Ripening Herb” Ability. That would let you evolve a Lotad directly into a Ludicolo, even if the Lotad just hit the field that turn.  Is there any real reason to consider Ludicolo for such things?  Speaking of crazy combos, I believe the wording means, if you had to take extra Prizes, Ludicolo would hit harder.  I can’t think of a practical example where you’d want to do that.  If something is too big for Spirited Rushdown to finish it off, how are you taking the extra Prizes before KOing it?

I just don’t see Ludicolo being worthwhile, unless we get a different Ludicolo worth running heavily in a deck.  Standard has Triple Acceleration Energy and Twin Energy.  Expanded adds in Double Colorless Energy, so paying the attack cost isn’t too bad… but trying to work in a Stage 2 Pokémon is demanding.  Normally, I’d say to enjoy Ludicolo in the Limited Format, but there’s a catch here: you start with four Prizes in Limited, not six.  That means the attack maxes out at 180 damage.  Mega Drain is better here, because of lower HP scores and damage outputs; its damage “goes further”, as does its self-healing.


  • Standard: 2/5
  • Expanded: 1/5
  • Limited: 3/5

I really want to like Ludicolo.  Spirited Rushdown is something of a “win more” attack, as it hits harder the more Prizes you’ve already taken… but that is something one could build a strategy around.  Just not with this Stage 2.  If it was a Stage 1?  I’d be expecting it at tournaments.  If it was a Basic?  What deck would not run a copy as your finisher?

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