Medicham V – Evolving Skies
September 1, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Finally into the Top 10 proper, Medicham V (SW – Evolving Skies 083/203, 185/203, 186/203) is our 10th-Place pick! Medicham V has a Rule Box, and is a Pokémon V. Vastly improved HP and likely improved effects are your reward for dealing with its drawbacks: giving up an extra Prize when KO’d, being excluded from certain beneficial card effects and included in various deleterious ones. Medicham V is also a Rapid Strike Pokémon, allowing it to tap their slowly growing support. I haven’t been devouring information about the next set, so I don’t know if this is the last of the Battle Styles cards, or if we’ve got at least one more release. Still, with what they do have, being a Rapid Strike Pokémon is an advantage.
Medicham V is a [F] type, and that’s good. Not because of their available type support, but because [F] Weakness is found on a good chunk of Darkness types, many Colorless types, and almost all Lightning types in Standard. It is worth noting that [F] Resistance is one of the more common forms of Resistance, and Digging Gloves means there’s actually an anti-[F] effect in Standard but neither are deal breakers. I left out one perk of V-dom from earlier: Medicham V is a Basic Pokémon, even though baseline Medicham cards are Stage 1 Pokémon. Being a Basic is the best, as you don’t need to wait to evolve from another Pokémon.
Medicham V has 210 HP, which is good. While not “great”, this is enough that it takes exploiting Weakness, combos, and/or heavy hitters to one-shot Medicham V. For comparison’s sake, 210 is on the low end of typical Basic Pokémon V, but is still 100 HP more than the largest baseline Medicham card. Medicham V’s [P] Weakness is not the worst, but is still pretty dangerous to have. That’s because it is shared by Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX, and I expect decks built around Rapid Strike Urshifu decks to remain strong in the new Standard Format. Which means players wanting to counter that deck have much incentive to run [P] decks or at least [P] attackers splashed into whatever deck they are using. Any Resistance is better than none, but no Resistance is also the norm, so it isn’t a problem. A Retreat Cost of [CC] is neither low enough to be an advantage or high enough to be a problem.
Medicham V knows two attacks. For [CC], it can attack using “Yoga Loop” and strap in, because this is quite the ride. Yoga Loop only places two damage counters on one of your opponent’s Pokémon. That sounds awful, but there’s the rest of the effect. If you KO one of your opponent’s Pokémon through the damage counters Yoga Loops placed on it, you take another turn. Yoga Loop’s text makes it clear that you skip the Pokémon Check Up that normally takes place between turns, and simply go directly into your next turn. This includes drawing at the start of this second turn in a row, another Supporter use for the turn, Pokémon you put into play the turn you used Yoga Loop being able to evolve… the whole nine yards!
This would be broken except there’s one last clause in the attack: you cannot use Yoga Loop if you used it on your previous turn. That means you cannot create an inescapable, uninterrupted series of turns by using Yoga Loop over and over again. Medicham V’s second attack is “Smash Uppercut”, priced at [FCC]. This attack let’s Medicham V attack your opponent’s Active for 100 damage, and tat damage ignores Resistance. Even with the SW-series cards returning Resistance to -30, I’d rather have an attack that did 10 more damage overall than doing 30 more e.g. ignoring Resistance against a specific target. In this case, 110 would also make it a solid attacker against [F] Weak Basic Pokémon V, scoring a OHKO against almost all of them. This is still enough to OHKO a Crobat V (via its [F] Weakness), so Smash Uppercut is still an “okay” attack.
The pricing makes it so that Yoga Loop can be covered by a single Rapid Strike Energy, as well as Double Colorless Energy in Expanded. This is important because you probably want to catch your opponent by surprise when using Yoga Loop. This also means another form of Energy acceleration, or just waiting to manually attach another Energy the next turn, can pay for Smash Uppercut. All that being said, Yoga Loop into Smash Uppercut is not actually that impressive. It helps to remember what you might be doing with a different attacker under similar circumstances. Yeah, your opponent misses a turn, but the net result of two turns is having placed two damage counters on something that was nearly KO’d already and whatever attack you use to follow up Yoga Loop.
So, shock of shocks, Medicham V is all about the combos. If you want a deck built around Yoga Loop, that is doable. Rapid Strike Pokémon are pretty good at spreading around damage/damage counters. I believe the obvious use for Medicham V is to be a closer for Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX decks. Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX has its “G-Max Rapid Flow” attack that does 120 damage to two of your opponent’s Pokémon. The attack’s printed cost of [FFC], plus having to discard al Energy attached to itself, means you won’t want to change out to Yoga Loop all willy-nilly. Instead, wait until something naturally survives by just 20 HP, then unleash the Yoga Loop to take a quick KO before resuming your normal attack pattern, or (if applicable) pushing for the KO on the turn after Yoga Loop. Rapid Strike Style Urshifu (SW – Black Star Promos SWSH107) might also earn its keep in such a deck, as spread is more important.
There may be other Rapid Strike cards worth considering, either in addition to or instead of Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX.
- Inteleon (SW – Chilling Reign 043/198; SW – Black Star Promos SWSH113; SW – Evolving Skies 227/203) can use its “Quick Shooting” Ability to place two damage counters on one of your opponent’s Pokémon. This is a once-per-turn Ability, but each instance of Quick Shooting can be used during your turn. Which means you could place two, four, six, even eight damage counters before attacking with Yoga Loop… then do the same thing against next turn as a lead-in for whatever follow-up attack you use.
- Rapid Strike Scroll Swirls allows any Rapid Strike Pokémon with it equipped (remember, its a Tool) to use its “Matchless Maelstrom” attack, priced at [FCC]. Matchless Maelstrom hits all of your opponent’s Pokémon for 30 damage. I can’t help but notice that Matchless Maelstrom costs as much as Smash Uppercut… so if you used Yoga Loop the turn before, you’re a single Energy attachment away from being able to hit everything your opponent has for 30 damage.
- Rapid Strike Scroll of the Flying Dragon (153/203) is another Tool, allowing any Rapid Strike Pokémon sporting it to use the Tool’s “Meteor” attack. Meteor costs [LR] and requires you discard two Energy from the Pokémon using it, and then does 90 damage to one of your opponent’s Pokémon (your choice). Not great, but it might help setup for a solid Yoga Loop combo.
- Zangoose (SW – Battle Styles 120/198) can use its “Gale Claws” attack for [CCC] to do 50 damage. Which sounds awful but if you used a Rapid Strike Supporter the same turn, then Gale Claws also does 50 damage to two of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon.
- Zeraora V actually works as either a lead-in or follow-up to Yoga Loop. Its “Cross Fist” attack costs [LCC] and only does 100 damage but, if one of your Rapid Strike Pokémon attacked the turn before, Cross Fist also does 160 to one of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon.
Besides these cards that can help in a more direct fashion, there’s also
- Echoing Horn, a Trainer-Item that lets you Bench a Basic from your opponent’s discard pile onto their Bench. Great if there are some particularly small and/or juicy targets you want to force your opponent to field.
- Fan of Waves is a Trainer-Item that forces your opponent to bottom deck a Special Energy attached to one of your opponent’s Pokémon. If you are trying for combos, slowing down your opponent’s offense can really help.
- Octillery (SW – Battle Styles 037/163, 178/163; SW – Black Star Promos SWSH089) lets you fetch a Rapid Strike card from your deck, once during your turn. Multiples don’t stack, but getting at least one of the cards already mentioned in this review… could come in clutch.
- Passimian (SW – Chilling Reign 088/198; SW – Black Star Promos SWSH115) won’t help Yoga Loop directly, but its “Throwing Coach” Ability ups the Bench damage done by attacks from your Rapid Strike Pokémon done to Pokémon-GX or Pokémon V. With me recommending so many other Rapid Strike Pokémon attacking the Bench for damage, I figured I’d be remiss not to mention Passimian.
Okay, so that’s a decent list but… how do you put it all together in a deck? I don’t know, but it seems like something from there should work. In fact, maybe I’m approaching this the wrong way: Yoga Loop costs [CC], so any Energy acceleration that works with Medicham V can ready it in a single turn. Which makes Medicham V general Rapid Strike support! Anytime a Rapid Strike Pokémon leaves something with 10 or 20 HP, you’ll have to allow that your opponent will drop Medicham V to finish that Pokémon off, then get that second turn in a row. Normally, I’d prefer just running something so that you’re scoring the KO you (apparently) just missed, but if it can’t be avoided then Medicham V turns it back into a strength. Even non-Rapid Strike decks might find a use for Medicham V; all that matters is being able to quickly power up Yoga Loop.
I’m completely guessing for the Expanded Format, as I don’t even have any remotely recent results to consult. As mentioned, Double Colorless Energy is still legal. Call me crazy, but I think we’re in a similar boat where Medicham V is plausible tech for a variety of decks. Not a staple, just something to consider. Even more if you’re already running a Rapid Strike deck or damage spread deck. In both Standard an Expanded, Medicham V is a specialist, but in Standard, I think it’ll find its way into more current, competitive decks. Maybe even generate something new. Medicham V was my 5th-Place pick but I’m actually okay with it being this low… because a lot of why I rated it so high was my expectations of it as a closer in Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX decks. Meaning, just making a great deck even better.
- Standard: 4/5
- Expanded: 3/5
Editor’s Note: Medicham V did not make Vince’s Top 15.
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