Ninetales – Fusion Strike
Date Reviewed: January 25, 2022
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Reducing Retreat Costs have been somewhat useful in the early days of the TCG, with Dodrio’s Retreat Aid Poke-Power/Body/Ability being the first ones to showcase them. It saves them from using up a one-time deal via Switch Item card or from wasting energy cards just to retreat/switch. Nowadays, you don’t get to see similar abilities as much because those abilities have been outclassed by other cards, like how Darkrai-EX’s Dark Cloak lets your Pokemon retreat for free as long as they have a Darkness energy attached to it, or when Float Stone zeroes the retreat cost of a single Pokemon whatsoever, and how Stage 1 Dodrio cards with Retreat Aid takes up deck space and that you might not be able to get them into play.
Ninetales from Sword & Shield Fusion Strike is on a similar boat to Dodrio. It’s ability – Byway of the Nine-Tailed Fox – states that the retreat cost of your Pokemon that has any Fire energies attached to it is reduced by CC. Pokemon with CC or less would retreat for free with that Fire energy intact. For Pokemon with CCC, you’ll just have to pay just a single Fire energy while CCCC means you need to pay two energies. It does stack with Air Balloon, so even a Pokemon with a retreat cost of CCCC can avoid paying any energies just to retreat. The rest of the card does matter as it affects how long it can stay on the field. 120 HP might be decent on a Stage 1, but with this much HP, it can still get OHKOed by Rapid Strike Urshifu’s G-Max Rapid Flow even on the Bench, along with another one of your Benched Pokemon, if any. Even worse is that Ninetales isn’t suited to double as an attacker, as Flame Tail only does sixty damage for RC without any effects.
I don’t know if Fire based decks need Ninetales for reducing Retreat Costs, but I guess it could be useful to them if they can preserve Ninetales on the field, which could reduce the reliance of other one-time deals like Switch or Cross Switcher. But even then, players still play Switch as much as ever so that it doesn’t eat up Bench and/or Deck space.
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