Lycanroc – Chilling Reign
Date Reviewed: July 21, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Lycanroc (SW – Chilling Reign 087/198) is sort of the Single Strike counterpart to yesterday’s Malamar (SW – Chilling Reign 070/198). They do have some stats in common, as both are Stage 1 Pokémon with 120 HP, but the main thing is Lycanroc’s attack. For [FF], it can use “Rogue Fans” to do 80 damage, plus another 10 damage per Single Strike Pokémon in your discard pile. This is similar to the “Mad Party” attack found on several currently legal cards, as well as some older attacks on cards that are still Expanded legal such as Flareon (BW – Plasma Freeze 12/1160) with its “Vengeance” attack, Vespiqen (XY – Ancient Origins 10/98) with its “Bee Revenge”, and the infamous “Night March” trio of Joltik (XY – Phantom Forces 26/119), Lampent (XY – Phantom Forces 42/119), and Phantump (XY – Phantom Forces 44/119).
Rogue Fang has a higher base damage than any of the above; even if you don’t have a single Single Strike Pokémon in your discard pile, you’ll still do 80 damage. That isn’t good, but it is a lot better than the zero or 20 base damage of the other notables I mentioned. At least, thanks to Weakness, it can OHKO a Dedenne-GX. Without Weakness, you’d need eight Single Strike Pokémon in your discard pile to do the deed. And yes, it does have to be Single Strike Pokémon; the wording is quite clear so Single Strike Trainers and Energy won’t feed Rogue Fang’s damage. At least, not through its own effect. If you want to one-shot your typical Basic Pokémon V, clocking in at 210 to 230 HP, you’ll need 13 to 15 Single Strike Pokémon in your discard pile. Want to down a 340 HP Pokémon VMAX? You’ll need 24!
Unless you build your entire deck with nothing but Single Strike Pokémon and run about twice as many Pokémon as decks normally run, that doesn’t even have a chance of happening. Even if you do, it probably doesn’t have a serious chance of working! Fortunately, you don’t have to. Lycanroc is a [F] type, so it does hit Weakness a decent amount of the time. It is also more likely to crash into Resistance than most other types, but exploiting Weakness is a bigger bonus than suffering Resistance is a problem. Why non-Ultra Beast Pokémon of any type technically use basic Martial Arts Dojo, it is a lot simpler when you’re dealing with a Fighting type that already runs on Fighting Energy. That is good for +10 damage, or +40 when your opponent has fewer Prizes remaining than you do.
Lycanroc is a Single Strike Pokémon. This means Houndoom (SW – Battle Styles 096/163, 179/163, SW – Black Star Promos SWSH090) is perfect for accelerating Single Strike Energy to Lycanroc. Yes, this will reduce its 120 HP, but in the modern game, this isn’t that high of an amount. Lycanroc is probably getting OHKO’d even with full HP, so may as well shrink it a little to do +20 damage. Maybe more, if you can attach enough of it. Each little damage bonus means that many fewer Single Strike Pokémon you need in your discard pile. As your opponent takes more KOs, then Karen’s Conviction can provide a bigger bonus… and Lycanroc is a single Prize Pokémon.
If you can run few or no multi-Prize Pokémon, your opponent’s KO’s can feed Rogue Fans’ damage, one way or the other. This also means you can lose as many as two Lycanroc to a Basic Pokémon V and still break even; three for a Pokémon VMAX. You’ll want to pull off at least the occasional OHKO against bigger targets, but a drawn out game seems to be in it’s favor. Lycanroc’s [G] Weakness probably won’t matter most of the time. No Resistance is typical. A Retreat Cost of two is as well, and isn’t an advantage nor a disadvantage. The Expanded Format should make dumping spare Single Strike Pokémon a lot easier (hello, Battle Compressor), though Lycanroc will have plenty of competition. I’m not sure if Night March is still even a budget deck in Expanded, and last I knew the above Flareon and Vespiquen were retired.
- Standard: 3/5
- Expanded: 2/5
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