Date Reviewed:
June 17, 2020

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 3
Expanded: 3
Limited: 2

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

Reviews Below:

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Here’s another surprise which showed up in a deck that finished well in the Limitless Online Qualifier Series #4 tournament: Lycanroc (SM – Cosmic Eclipse 124/236).  Specifically, this deck, which Kosuke Hibino used to take 33rd out of 1303.  The deck itself is a Dragapult VMAX deck… not the first place I’d expect to see a Lycanroc.  Let’s find out why it actually makes a lot of sense.

Lycanroc is a [F] Type, which is pretty great for exploiting Weakness.  Many [C] Types and most of the [D] and [L] Types are [F] Weak, and while the card pool isn’t the same as the metagame, the present (and likely future) provide many targets.  The Typing does crash into Resistance relatively often, and there some anti-[F] Type effects: the former is a minor concern, the latter is just for the sake of being thorough.  [F] Type support is pretty good, but spoiler alert, they aren’t present in our example deck.

Lycanroc is a Stage 1, so its easier to run than a Stage 2, but no where near as fast or easy as a Basic.  Still, it is a solid middle ground.  Lycanroc has 120 HP, likely to be OHKO’d, but not especially fragile.  Sometimes, it can even survive while up front… but the majority of the time it won’t.  Its [G] Weakness isn’t the worst, but it definitely isn’t safe.  Besides the odd Grass-Type deck, you never know when an Ultra Beast deck will focus on covering Weaknesses.  The lack of Resistance is typical, though technically the worst.  Lycanroc’s Retreat Cost of [CC] is both functionally and mathematically average.  Not good, but also not bad.

“Boiling Blood” is an Ability that kicks in if your opponent has any Pokémon-EX/GX in play.  When working, this Lycanroc gets to ignore [CCC] from its attack costs.  Pokémon-GX aren’t a constant presence but they’re pretty common.  The same holds true for Expanded, but it may be a Pokémon-EX triggering the effect instead.  Boiling Blood’s wording is such that it only applies to the Lycanroc sporting it.  Lycanroc only has a single attack, and I know of no Standard or Expanded-legal cards that can grant it another attack… though such things do exist in the Unlimited cardpool.

Lycanroc’s only attack is “Voltage Claw”, priced exactly at [CCC].  Without the Ability, that’s still priced so that a single Triple Acceleration Energy can cover the cost.  With the Ability, the attack is simply free!  That doesn’t automatically mean it is good, however.  Voltage Claw does 60 base damage, and for three Energy that’s bad; its merely “okay” when free, but probably not worth running a Stage 1.  Of course, there’s more to it; the attack’s effect states it does an additional 70 damage (so 130 total) if your opponent’s Active Pokémon has any Special Energy attached to it.  Much like Pokémon-EX/GX, Special Energy isn’t found in every deck or attached to every Pokémon, but its a fairly common site.

If you put it all together, you get a Pokémon that can OHKO a Pikachu & Zekrom-GX for free but only if that Pikachu & Zekrom-GX has something like Speed [L] Energy attached.  Fortunately, the Pokémon-EX/GX doesn’t have to be your opponent’s Active, so if they have a Dedenne-GX, Pikachu & Zekrom-GX, etc. Benched, you’ll be able to hit whatever is Active for free… and there’s a decent chance that Pokémon will also have Speed [L] Energy attached.  Both the Darkness and Colorless Types are receiving more support soon, with their own Type-specific Special Energy cards having been revealed in Japan.  This could bode well for Lycanroc.

Unfortunately, there aren’t any great Rockruff cards.  There are some other decent Lycanroc and Lycanroc-GX cards, but only Lycanroc-GX (SM – Team Up 82/181; Shiny Vault SV67/SV94) is still legal.  It isn’t part of the deck that inspired the CotD, so I won’t worry about going into heavy, hypothetical detail.  If you’re trying to make an actual Lycanroc deck, though, keep it in mind.  Instead, we find Lycanroc making its way into a Dragapult deck as Ditto {*} TecH.  This means Lycanroc may prove a tad unreliable, if you need to evolve Ditto {*} into something else, or if you’re forced to discard it prematurely because of another card effect…

…but now we don’t have to worry about justifying Lycanroc in all matchups.  It can be a power play called upon only when at least two of

  • Typing
  • Ability
  • Attack

prove favorable.  This is something to remember for Expanded as well, though Ability-denial is far stronger here.  You also have other options to punish [F] Weakness, Pokémon-EX/GX usage or Special Energy reliance.  Cosmic Eclipse has only one Special Energy card in it, but Draw Energy is useful in just about any deck and is in the set as both an Uncommon and a Secret Rare.  Not everyone will have a Pokémon-GX, but unlike in the Constructed Formats, you only need one of Type-matching, Ability, or attack to matter for Lycanroc to earn its keep in almost any Limited Format deck.  If you do experience a matchup where two or more apply, even better!


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

Lycanroc is another niche card, and I should point out it isn’t a staple for Dragapult VMAX decks or any other deck I know.  It looks like a really good trick if you’re expecting a [F] Weak heavy metagame, and already run Ditto {*} but don’t require it for something specific.

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