Moltres V – Chilling Reign
Date Reviewed: July 23, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Galarian Moltres V (SW – Chilling Reign 097/198, 176/198, 177/198) is today’s subject. I actually left out the “Galarian” when writing up the schedule, but it definitely is there; if we get a “regular” Moltres V later on, it will not count against Galarian Moltres V for the 4 Copy Rule. Galarian Moltres V can also use Galarian Chestplate to soak 30 damage, if you don’t have another Tool you’d prefer to run. This is a Rule Box Pokémon, specifically a Pokémon V. Worth two Prizes when KO’d, being a Pokémon V also means certain beneficial effects won’t apply while some detrimental ones specifically do. It also means Galarian Moltres V should have significantly better HP than its baseline counterpart (whenever we actually get one) and have better effects than it ought to relative to costs (no guarantee they’ll be good, though).
Galarian Moltres V is a Darkness-type, and that’s reasonably good right now. Some [D] Weak Pokémon are actually seeing some play – a lot of play in Japan. [D] Resistance only exists on XY and SM-era Fairy types, and while [D] support in Standard isn’t all that great, it does exist… and as long as Eternatus VMAX decks remain a thing, Darkness types not good enough to hang in their own deck may still serve a purpose backing up Eternatus VMAX. Do note we actually have an anti-Darkness effect in the Standard cardpool; these things are usually too specific to bother with, but Justified Gloves grants +30 damage. Now, this is only for the Pokémon with Justified Gloves equipped, and the damage bonus only applies to attacks that Pokémon makes against an opponent’s Active Darkness type… but if it helps a deck hit the numbers against Eternatus VMAX, it may actually be worthwhile TecH!
Being a Basic is still the best Stage of Evolution: no waiting to evolve or having to run extra cards. 220 HP is good; only heavy hitters or those exploiting Weakness are going to down Galarian Moltres V in a single shot. As a Grass-backed Mewtwo & Mew-GX deck has been making the rounds, Galarian Moltres V’s Grass Weakness may actually prove quite relevant; Mewtwo & Mew-GX’s type doesn’t change, but if it already runs Grass Energy, then including an actual Grass attacker seems easy enough. No Resistance is the worst, but also the most common, so it doesn’t actually detract from the card. A Retreat Cost of [CC] is also common, and is neither low enough to be a bargain nor high enough to be a problem.
Galarian Motlres V has the Ability “Direflame Wings”, and it lets Galarian Moltres V attach a [D] Energy from your discard pile to itself. It also states that you may only use a single Direflame Wings Ability each turn: even if you have more than one instance of it in play, only one of them can activate its Direflame Wings. As basic Darkness Energy is the only kind that counts as [D] while in the discard, that’s the only thing Direflame Wings can attach… but it is a solid Ability. Galarian Moltres V’s lone attack is “Aura Burn” for [DDC], and this allows Galarian Moltres V to do 190 damage to your opponent’s Active and 30 damage to itself. That is disappointing. Just going by printed HP scores, this is enough to one-shot most nearly all Basic Pokémon-EX, most single-Prize Pokémon, most basic Pokémon-GX, and smaller Basic Pokémon V such as Crobat V. I cannot tell which aspect of the damage is more disappointing; whiffing on key KO’s against fellow Basic Pokémon V or dinging your own HP just enough to matter.
Thankfully, Aura Burn is much better when you’re able to drop a Galarian Moltres V on your Bench and just power it up “for free” over three turns through Direflame Wings. Even better, just include Energy Switch or Weavile-GX, and you can move that Darkness Energy around. By its own nature, though, Galarian Moltres V is probably a one-of for the decks that can capitalize upon Direflame Wings, or two copies if you’re worried one will be Prized. Even though it has more HP and can hit harder, Galarian Moltres V is a nerfed Darkrai-GX. Darkrai-GX has less HP and does less damage with its attacks… but its “Restoration” Ability lets you Bench it from your discard pile and, if you have at least one basic Darkness Energy card in your discard pile, attach that to Darkrai-GX at the same time.
There is no limit on how many times the Ability may be used in a turn. The card says “Once during your turn…” but not only is that per instance, moving from zone to zone (hand, discard, field, deck) resets the count for the Ability. There’s even a ruling pointing out that Ability negation that does not affect the discard pile doesn’t actually prevent Restoration form working! Still, we have some idea of how Direflame Wings can benefit a deck, thanks to how Restoration was used to fuel other effects while it was legal. Effects that can move Energy or count Energy in play should like Direflame Wings. In Expanded, maybe still include one, since it has better HP than Darkrai-GX.
- Standard: 3/5
- Expanded: 2/5
20210803: While writing a recent CotD, I finally was able to study the results from the recent Players Cup IV Global Championship and to my surprise, there was Galarian Moltres V and in more than just some Weavile-GX decks! Due to Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX needing Metal Energy and Water Energy for its own attack, I didn’t expect them to be combined with the basic Darkness Energy requiring Galarian Moltres V. Perhaps in part because five decks in the Top 16 were built around Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX, two ADP Moltres decks also placed as high or higher. The “Altered Creation-GX” attack found on Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX allows Galarian Moltres V to reliably OHKO most Basic Pokémon V (and smaller) targets, while also taking an extra Prize… but it is not a deck that will survive rotation, so I wanted to mention it here.
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