– Lost Thunder
April 24, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Nihilego (SM – Lost Thunder 106/214) is a card I thought we’d already covered. That’s basically the unofficial Theme of this week, sans the Throwback. Nihilego is an Ultra Beast; in and of itself it affects nothing, but various card effects reference this trait. Some reward it, some punish it, but so far the former are more significant than the latter. Nihilego is a [P] Type, which means, even filtering the results through the actual metagame, it’s fairly useful for striking Weakness but also runs into Resistance somewhat often. It also means it can take advantage of cards like Mysterious Treasure, which has been handy for a little while now. Being a Basic makes Nihilego easy to run, whether as TecH or maxed out or something in between. 110 HP is clearly too big for the effects which support “smaller” Pokémon like Level Ball and Professor Elm’s Lecture, but not large enough to be particularly durable. Its [P] Weakness provides some matchups where it is indeed fragile, needing only 60 damage (before Weakness) to be OHKO’d. No Resistance is the worst, but is also extremely common; a missed opportunity as opposed to a true defect. The Retreat Cost of [C] is good; much of the time, you’ll be able to easily afford it.
Nihilego has two attacks and both require [P]. “Nightcap” may only be used if your opponent has exactly two Prizes remaining; it allows you to then select an attack from one of your opponent’s Pokémon and use it as the effect of Nightcap. There are going to be games and even matchups where that Prize-restriction will prevent Nightcap from being an option, but barring a very particular shift in the metagame, I’m thinking Nightcap will be available – and worth using – about half the time. Worth using? Some decks are built around attacks that your average deck won’t get much mileage from copying… like Lost March. As the text does not specifically prohibit it, you can use Nightcap to copy a GX-attack, assuming you haven’t already used a GX-attack that game. Nihilego’s second attack is “Void Tentacles”, and it leaves your opponent’s Active Confused and Poisoned. Void Tentacles is not a good enough attack to justify running Nihilego in your deck, but it’s decent quality filler.
When we put it all together, we get a single-Prize Pokémon that can use your opponent’s best available attack for one Energy, and it can even be a GX-attack. This pretty much makes Nihilego a must-run for decks with sufficient sources of [P] Energy. This isn’t me making predictions: we’ve seen Nihilego showing up in high-performing decks in Standard, in Expanded, and even in the Japanese Format’s competitive play. It isn’t a deck’s focus, but instead, a single copy is included in some of the decks running on basic Psychic Energy or five or more compatible Special Energy cards. Nihilego should also perform well in the Limited Format, where Void Tentacles are more useful.
Nihilego isn’t for every deck, but where it works, it works well.
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