Orbeetle V – Vivid Voltage
Date Reviewed: December 13, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Note: The Pokémon Players Cup II is happening either before or as I type this, so this review does not take the results into account.
Orbeetle V (SW – Vivid Voltage 020/185, 166/185; SW – Black Star Promos SWSH078) leads off this week. It is not a runner-up from our countdown, though I did at least consider Orbeetle VMAX for my own list. As a Pokémon V, Orbeetle V gives up an extra Prize when KO’d, are excluded from certain beneficial effects, and are included in some detrimental ones. This does comes with some probable benefits, which often outweigh the drawbacks. Orbeetle V is a Basic Pokémon instead of being a Stage 2 like the baseline Orbeetle cards; this means fewer slots in your deck, fewer cards invested, and fewer turns for Orbeetle V to hit the field.
It also means 180 HP, 50 over the lone Orbeetle card we’ve seen so far. Not an abnormal boost, but small for a Basic Pokémon V. They normally clock in at 210 to 230 HP, in line with most Basic Pokémon-EX and (non-TAG TEAM) Basic Pokémon-GX. This is a Crobat V level of HP, and while that card is great, it is due to its Ability, and in spite of its HP. Fire Weakness isn’t good; Fire decks might still be competitive even if they were not exploiting the Fire Weakness of the oh-so-good Metal types. No Resistance is typical, and it is hard to say if -30 against a single type would have made a significant difference, even if present. Plus, the VG typings and type-relationships don’t play nicely with the TCG types and type-relationships. A Retreat Cost of [C] is good. It is both easy to pay and recover from having paid, though with a card this small, I hope for a free Retreat Cost.
Orbeetle V knows two attacks. For [G], it can use “Strafe” to do 20 damage, with the option of moving Orbeetle V to the Bench afterward, forcing something else into the Active slot. “Mysterious Wave” is the card’s second attack, and it requires [GC] to do 50 damage plus 30 per Energy attached to your opponent’s Active. Strafe can be handy if Orbeetle V is stuck Active or if you have it in a deck full of appropriate meat shields. It doesn’t hit hard enough to be an effective strategy in its own right, probably not even with substantial disruption behind it, but it could have its uses. Mysterious Wave is niche. I’m glad it has a decent baseline; 50-for-two is not good, but it also isn’t abysmal. You’re not getting OHKO’s except against Energy hogs. Your typical, Basic Pokémon V needs to have six Energy attached so that Mysterious Wave does 230 damage. Even the 2HKO numbers aren’t good.
That is not the same as being useless, however. Orbeetle V is most definitely not on Crobat V’s level, but there are some attackers that load up on Energy, and there’s Orbeetle VMAX. We’ll be reviewing it tomorrow, but the short version is that it mildly compliments Orbeetle V. Mysterious Wave’s pricing also lends itself to some cheeky combos in Expanded. I don’t expect to TecH in an Orbeetle V for decks running Marshadow-GX, Mew (XY – Fates Collide 29/124), etc. In the Limited Format, Orbeetle V isn’t a good candidate for a Mulligan build. With no Bench, strafe would just do 20 damage. Mysterious Wave means an opponent who throws up a 60 HP Basic with zero Energy, just to stall, requires a 2HKO on Orbeetle’s part. That 180 HP is just a bit too low for me to be comfortable with the margins, but if you insist, you could still take the risk. On the other hand, even with its low-for-a-V HP, its a good inclusion for non-Mulligan decks. Just make sure you have room for a few (three to five) Grass Energy, so you aren’t waiting on one to cover its attack costs.
- Standard: 2/5
- Expanded: 2/5
- Limited: 3/5
Orbeetle V isn’t good, but it also isn’t too bad, and for an evolving Basic Pokémon V, that’s pretty much the status quo. Not a lot of reason to run Orbeetle V without Orbeetle VMAX, but there might be enough here to help justify even a 1-1 line in a select few decks.
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