– Cosmic Eclipse
February 4, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Details: Meowth-V is a stepping stone for evolving to it’s V-Max form, which we’ll be looking at tomorrow. It’s attacks aren’t bad, but they’re not great either. The nice thing about it is that both of its attacks are colorless friendly, which can fit into any deck. Pay Day does a good 30 for one energy and draws a card while Slashing Claw is a 130 for 3 attack. Being worth 2 prizes, however, makes it underwhelming, and it’s 180 HP is prone to being OHKOed by some of the most popular decks currently in the meta. Although there might not be any support for Pokémon-V and V-Max at the moment, there’s already a counter out there that hinders Pokémon V-Max. As such, tomorrow’s card may not have any chance to shine if said counter keeps on maintaining such presence.
Meowth V (SSP – Black Star Promos SWSH004) is the first Pokémon V we are looking at, because this promo released far enough ahead of Sword & Shield that it is already tournament legal! Pokémon V are a new category of Pokémon, though their gimmick is familiar. Most Pokémon V are Basic Pokémon (even if they are based on something that normally isn’t) and worth two Prizes when KO’d (instead of one). This makes them closer to Pokémon-EX and Mega Evolutions than Pokémon-GX. To be clear, though, Pokémon-EX, Pokémon-GX, and Pokémon V are mechanically distinct. There are no counters to Pokémon V at this time but there will be detrimental card effects that specifically target them and beneficial card effects that exclude them released in the future (they’re already out in Japan).
Most Pokémon V slap “V” onto the end of a Pokémon’s usual name. This means Meowth V does not count against cards named just “Meowth” when it comes to the 4 Copy Rule, and cannot evolve into cards that say they evolve from “Meowth”, like those named Persian (SM – Team Up 126/181) or Persian-GX (SM – Unbroken Bonds 149/214, 207/214, 227/214). Meowth V does have an evolution, which we will discuss later. Meowth V is a [C] Type; from what I have seen, a Pokémon’s Type is unaffected by being a Pokémon V. Unless something is changed by a future release, nothing in either Standard or Expanded is or will be Weak or Resistant to [C] Types. There are pieces of [C] Type support and counters, but they are Expanded-only and don’t show up that often in competitive play.
Meowth V has 180 HP, giving it a decent chance of surviving a hit, both now and once Sword & Shield are legal. Excluding TAG TEAM Pokémon, this is on par with many Basic Pokémon-GX and Basic Pokémon-EX. [F] Weakness and lack of Resistance are also typical for Meowth cards, regardless of most specialty mechanics. [F] Weakness isn’t a big deal right now, and shouldn’t be post-Sword & Shield, but that isn’t the same as it being “safe”. When you encounter it, even Meowth V’s 180 HP is probably going down in one-hit. Lack of Resistance is typical, and Meowth V has the HP that its absence may be felt; don’t forget that, Sword & Shield series Pokémon have -30 Resistance, if they have it at all! The Retreat Cost of two is low enough you can often afford it, but high enough you’re rarely want to pay it.
Meowth V has two attacks, all with pure [C] Energy requirements. This should make it easier to run in a variety of decks, though the amount of Energy may still be a concern. Not usually for the first attack: “Pay Day” costs only [C], and does 30 damage while also letting you draw a card. [CCC] pays for “Slashing Claw”, which does 130 damage. Compared to both what we already have and what we’re about to officially receive, these attacks aren’t “good” in the competitive sense. However, looking at what they do for the Energy required, they’re not bad. Meowth V is very vanilla, and probably should be seen as filler. It isn’t a bad opener or back-up attacker, just not a good one, either. Dodging anti-Pokémon-EX/GX effects is good, but missing out on their support is not.
Wait, there’s more! Meowth V can evolve, but I’ll be going light on details as we’re reviewing that card tomorrow. The short version is that, whether its Evolution ends up being great, being poor, or something in between, Meowth V is an adequate stepping stone to it, but not worth using on its own. It does do enough that it isn’t awful, and while it remains this new, that novelty might give it a small edge in certain situations. The same goes for Expanded, though Meowth V might perform a tiny bit better there, where it has access to things like Double Colorless Energy and Muscle Band. As a promo, it isn’t legal for the Limited Format. If it were legal, then it would be a fantastic pull, worth running either on its own or alongside something else.
If the scores for Standard and Expanded seem high, remember that right now its novelty is a net positive. Some players may be distracted or less certain of how to deal with it. This will fade as more Pokémon V release, however, and Meowth V will then be fortunate if it maintains the ratings I just gave it.
And just like that, we’ve arrived at a new era of Pokemon that introduces the latest and greatest in power creep absurdity! With Sword & Shield’s arrival, we’ve got new Pokemon-V to worry about, and that means old counters to EX/GX just won’t cut it anymore! But will Pokemon-V be powerful enough to shift the game in their favor, or will they just be put on the side for a bit while we wait for Pokemon-GX to rotate out of Standard?
Meowth-V is our first Pokemon-V, a Basic Colorless one with 180 HP, with a Fighting Weakness, no Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of 2. Pay Day earns a 1-for-30 strike with a profit of drawing one card, while Slashing Claw is a 3-for-130 vanilla move that lets you rake your exceptionally long and dirty fingernails across your opponent’s face. After all, nothing says “winner” quite like “comedic in anime yet painful in real life” tactics!
To me, this feels a lot like how Pokemon-EX were at the start of the XY era, where some Pokemon-EX were good, but the ones that would Mega Evolve into M Pokemon-EX were pretty bad on their own. In fact it seemed a lot like the whole point was to put the body on-board just so you could evolve it into its better form – rarely would it be the other way around. The good news is, Pokemon-V are Basic Pokemon regardless, so in that sense they do function similarly to Pokemon-EX. Not to mention they cost the usual “superpowered Pokemon” 2 Prizes. But there are some important distinctions that we’ll get into later with tomorrow’s card.
For now though, it’s hard to imagine a spot for Meowth-V. It’s not particularly powerful on its own, it doesn’t hit for weakness, and it’s likely to get KO’d very quickly if you don’t evolve it right away. And yes, it does “evolve”, but not to something like Persian-V the way Eevee-GX can evolve into other Eeveelution-GX. If you know the Dynamax – or rather, the Gigantamax – mechanic from the games, then you know what’s coming. As for Meowth-V, I’ll rate it here based on its individual usefulness.
Standard: 1.5/5 (needless to say, outside of evolving into its VMAX form, Meowth-V offers very little)
Expanded: 1.5/5 (and I doubt it’ll be great in the long run)
Limited: N/A (being part of a promo set, there’s no Limited here!)
Arora Notealus: For our first Pokemon-V review, Meowth-V is…well, disappointing, but that’s not to be unexpected. Rather, it’s one of the first Pokemon-V around, and that just makes it part of the larger introduction to the mechanic. It doesn’t have to be the best around, but it would be nice if it could compete on the same level as some of the others we’ll get around to at some point. Still, Meowth-V has the potential to, if either he or his VMAX form would see play, help out specific decks by providing some draw power, though it is immediately outclassed by other better options.
Next Time: Get your Dynamax bracelets ready, cause the first VMAX Pokemon is…
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