Ninjask – Vivid Voltage

Date Reviewed:  February 24, 2021

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 2.25
Expanded: 1.75

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.

Reviews Below:

vince avatar

Ninjask from SS Vivid Voltage is there to do only one thing (assuming your Bench space isn’t full and that you get to evolve from any Nincada), and that is to get Shedinja into play from your deck via Cast-Off Shell ability. Afterwards, it just sits there with its 60 HP, which is incredibly frail even on the Bench. In terms of Shedinja cards in the TCG, there’s…not too many of them despite debuting on Generation III. In regards to standard and expanded options:


-The Vivid Voltage version is a Basic Psychic type with 30 HP, no weakness or resistance, and a retreat cost of 1. Despite being a Basic Pokémon, it cannot be selected when setting up to play, making you do a mulligan if that’s the only Basic Pokémon you have. It’s Life Squeeze attack costs 3 energy and makes the Defending Pokémon have 10 HP remaining.


-The Lost Thunder version is a Stage 1 Psychic type with 40 HP, no weakness, and a single retreat cost. It’s ability lets you discard Shedinja and becomes a Pokémon tool similar to Life Dew Ace Spec since it makes your opponent take 1 fewer prize card if the Pokémon this tool is attached to is Knocked Out. It’s Haunt attack costs a single energy and puts 3 damage counters on the defending Pokémon.

-The Roaring Skies version is a Stage 1 Grass type with 30 HP, no weakness, and a single retreat cost. Cursed Rain costs a Grass energy and puts 1 damage counter to each of your opponent’s Pokémon and also switches Shedinja with another of your Benched Pokemon. Hopeless Scream costs a single energy and does 50 damage times the amount of damage counters on this Pokémon. With Shedinja’s 30 HP, it can do 100 damage at most, assuming 2 damage counters are already placed on it. Hustle Belt can help deal 60 more damage, and Shedinja already meet the conditions of this Tool.

-the Dragons Exalted version is a Stage 1 Psychic type with 60 HP, no weakness, and free retreat cost! It’s ability prevents your opponent from taking any prize cards involving the knock out of Shedinja. Cursed Drop costs P and puts 3 damage counters on any of your opponents Pokemon. This would be the best choice for Expanded!

I liked how today’s card imitate the ability to produce Shedinja through various means, just like in the core series games where you can get Shedinja if you evolve Nincada into a Ninjask with an empty slot of your party AND have a Poke Ball in your bag. Unfortunately, those HP scores are pretty low for both Ninjask and Shedinja that I’m not sure how it would be able to remain for more than 1 turn. The Vivid Voltage version is the closest thing we have for being able to almost OHKO something and is your only Standard legal option (just need an ability that automatically inflicts poison or burn). There might be somewhere in Standard that can help, but unfortunately Shedinja can’t benefit from Triple Acceleration Energy as it is a Basic. It is possible in Expanded, where Hypnotoxic Laser is present, as well as Double Colorless Energy and Dimension Valley to meet the attack cost of Life Squeeze in just a single attachment. Then Shedinja can OHKO anything there!


Standard: 2.5/5

Expanded: 2.5/5

Ninjask provides a way to get Shedinja into play (and its free retreat cost can let it have Shedinja in the Active), and the new Shedinja card does have some near OHKO potential. Pity that new Shedinja card from Vivid Voltage can’t be chosen as your Basic Pokémon before the game begins or even during the match AND can’t benefit from Triple Acceleration Energy (so that it can attack right away in just a single attachment). But at least the other Shedinja cards can benefit from today’s card. I realized Shedinja took over Ninjask’s COTD, but it had to be addressed somehow.

Otaku Avatar
Ninjask (SW – Vivid Voltage 014/185) is one of those cards all about one defining feature.  In this case, it is Ninjask’s Ability, “Cast-Off Shell”.  You may only activate this Ability when you play this card from your hand to evolve one of your Pokémon in play.  If you choose to use it, you can search your deck for a Shedinja and play it directly to your Bench.  This is a valuable trick if you want to field a Shedinja.  Ninjask’s attack is filler: [G] pays for “Absorb” to do 30 damage while healing 30 from itself.  Why is this so poor?
Ninjask is a Stage 1 Pokémon, so you’re investing two cards and a turn of waiting to reach it.  The good news is it is a baseline Pokémon, only giving up a single Prize when KO’d, but it only has 60 HP, so it is very fragile.  There is a slight silver lining in that this is low enough not only for Level Ball, but also Professor Elm’s Lecture; the former should be getting a reprint, but not the latter.  Still, the Stage and HP mean you shouldn’t be attacking with it, and it means the healing is rather pointless.  Being a Grass type might actually help here; Turffield Stadium provides a way of fetching it from your deck.  Fire Weakness only matters if the attacker in question does 30-50 damage; everything else still whiffs on the OHKO or has it even without Weakness.  No Resistance is the worst, but would almost never matter with just 60 HP.  The free Retreat Cost is great, though.
Nincada aren’t too great, and besides your lone copy of Ditto {*} in Expanded, Nincada is your only option to field Ninjask.  Even if you could put it into play directly, it would defeat Ninjask’s purpose, as Cast-Off Shell wouldn’t trigger.  You only have one option for Standard, Nincada (SW – Vivid Voltage 013/185).  In Expanded, go with Nincada (BW – Dragons Exalted 10/124),as its “Dig” attack gives it a coin flip to avoid damage and effects from attacks during your opponent’s next turn.  There are other Ninjask that might be worth playing alongside today’s.  Ninjask (SM – Lost Thunder 30/214) has the Ability “Molting”, which is similar to Cast-Off Shell except it Benches a Shedinja from your discard pile, not from your deck.  Ninjask (BW – Dragons Exalted 11/124) is a better version of today’s Ninjask; same everything (even Ability) but its “Night Slash” attack does 60 damage, with the option of switching itself with one of your Benched Pokémon.  Very niche, but better than Absorb.
There are multiple Shedinja cards to consider using alongside Ninjask.  Shedinja (BW – Dragons Exalted 48/124) has the Ability “Empty Shell”, causing it to give up no Prizes when KO’d.  It is otherwise unimpressive, but it does enough that Empty Shell may still make it worthwhile.  Shedinja (XY – Roaring Skies 11/108) is a complicated glass cannon: with only 30 HP, it does 50 damage per damage counter attached to it through its “Hopeless Scream” attack.  Shedinja (SM – Lost Thunder 95/214) has the Ability “Vessel of Life”, which lets you discard all cards attached to itself, then attach it to one of your other Pokémon in play.  It then functions as a Tool that reduces how many Prizes your opponent takes for KOing the equipped Pokémon by one.  As for Shedinja  (SW – Vivid Voltage 066/185), it will receive its own review, but it can only hit the field through Cast-Off Shell. It does work with the older version, but unless you can turn off Abilities in your hand, then today’s Ninjask is your only option to run it in Standard.
  • Standard: 2/5
  • Expanded: 1/5

Today’s Ninjask is a worse version of one we have in Expanded.  The older one isn’t exactly broken, either, so I’m awarding minimum marks there.  In Standard, it is a necessary trick for the newest Shedinja, and that might lead to a fun, maybe even competitive deck.  Yes, I glossed over what that Shedinja does; it is getting reviewed Friday, so I’ll explain then.  For now, that means Ninjask manages to score two-out-of-five in Standard; it does an okay job of doing what it does, but what it does is niche yet not as powerful as I’d like.

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