Oricorio – Fusion Strike
Date Reviewed: November 18, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
10th-Place in our countdown goes to another card I’ve mentioned before: Oricorio (SW – Fusion Strike 042/264; SW – Black Star Promos SWSH168)! Oricorio is not a Rule Box Pokémon. Why focus on this? I’m not sure which is more important; giving up only one Prize when KO’d or not having to worry about Path to the Peak. This is a Fusion Strike Pokémon, and is even an example of their support (more on that later). Pretty sure this is a real advantage for the card, but it does clash a bit with the card’s typing. Oricorio is a Fire type with an attack that does not do damage. That means no-exploiting Weakness. Oricorio is the only Fire type Fusion Strike Pokémon, so it seems unlikely you’d benefit from Fire type support.
Oricorio has 90 HP. This makes it a legal Level Ball target, but also means it is well within OHKO range for one of the two 120 HP hits from Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX’s “G-Max Rapid Flow” attack. Even Ability-based damage counter placement can add up quickly. An Active Oricorio is almost certainly a KO’d Oricorio. Arguably a silver-lining to this cloud is it means Oricorio’s [W] Weakness and lack of Resistance hardly matter. Only attackers doing 50 to 80 damage while Oricorio is Active benefit from the Weakness. No Resistance is the worst but is also normal, and an effective 120 HP against a single match-up is similarly unlikely to matter. The Retreat Cost might, but I cannot tell if it is good or bad. Normally [C] is low enough to be a help, but this Pokémon isn’t surviving long enough to retreat if Active, but if you need a pivot Pokémon, you still have to cough up an Energy.
Oricorio has an attack and an Ability. The attack is “Glistening Droplets” costs [RC] and it lets you put five damage counters on your opponent’s Pokémon. While you’re limited to five total damage counters, they can be placed on a single opposing Pokémon or spread among up to five targets. If you’re not impressed by this… good, you’re not supposed to be. We’re just getting the attack out of the way so we can cover the meat of this card, its Ability “Lesson in Zeal”. This Ability states that all of your Fusion Strike Pokémon (Active or Benched) take 20 less damage from your opponent’s Pokémon. The reduction takes place after applying Weakness and Resistance. This does not stack with itself; the card’s own text says you may only apply one Lesson in Zeal Ability at a time. It can combine with other forms of damage reduction, however.
I want to say that Oricorio is a staple for Fusion Strike decks, but Bench-space is precious and Oricorio is fragile. Why does that matter? Unless you can spare a Fusion Strike Energy to protect it, Abilities that place damage counters and/or Bench-hitting attacks can add up quick. Take Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX; even with the Abilities protection, it still can one-shot an Active or Benched Oricorio with G-Max Rapid Flow while doing 100 damage to another target (70 if the other Pokémon is Active and [F] Resistant, or 220 if Active and [F] Weak). Glancing at some recent, well-performing decks built around Fusion Strike Pokémon, some run it and some don’t. The Expanded Format is similar; more competition and more counters, but more combo potential as you (for example) can slap Fighting Fury Belt on a solid, Basic Fusion Strike Pokémon.
In the end, I am thinking Oricorio earns a three-out-of-five in both Formats. As is not uncommon, one Format (in this case, Standard) has a “high” three while Expanded has a “low” three. Oricorio did make my Top 15 list for SW – Fusion Strike, but a little lower in 13th-Place.
- Standard: 3/5
- Expanded: 3/5
Editor’s note: Vince had this as his 8th-place pick.
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