– Cosmic Eclipse
December 5, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Phione (SM – Cosmic Eclipse 57/236; SM – Black Star Promos SM220) is another card that showed up in some high performing decks from the recent Regional Championships held in Sao Paulo, Brazil and Daytona Beach, FL. The secret to its success is the combination of its Ability “Whirlpool Suction” and its Stage. Whirlpool Suction is the Ability version of Repel, but with a slight twist. This Ability may only be used while Phione is on your Bench, once during your turn and before you attack. Your opponent switches out their Active (they choose what gets promoted) and then you discard all cards attached to Phione before shuffling Phione into your deck.
Phione being shuffled away is both a drawback and a bonus. You’ll have to get Phione back into play before you can reuse its Ability and it goes against deck thinning but this means you can reuse its Ability and if you’re actually trying to replenish your deck, you just did a tiny bit. This is why Phione being a Basic Pokémon is so important; on any other Stage this drawback would be much more severe. Which is important, because this effect is mostly only good for mild disruption. If your opponent only has a single “wall” in play that they’re hiding behind, or the only thing on their Bench is something they absolutely do not want Active, Whirlpool Suction is amazing. Otherwise, it can vary from a minor annoyance to actually helping your opponent.
How about the rest of the card? Being a [W] Type can help in the Expanded Format, where Brooklet Hill and Dive Ball are still legal. 70 HP clears a threshold for Bench vulnerability to sniping or spread attacks, and leaves it Level Ball legal. [G] Weakness isn’t a huge issue right now, and lack of Resistance is typical. In a sense, so is the Retreat Cost of [C] but that just makes Phione a solid combo with U-Turn Board, becoming a free retreater and U-Turn Board’s own effect means it goes to your hand when discarded because Phione was KO’d or you used Whirlpool Suction. “Rain Splash” is the card’s attack, and its low-quality filler; [W] to do 10 damage; better than nothing, but only just.
For the Standard Format, Phione can probably function in almost any deck, but it also is an optional play. It does something useful, but not critical. At Sao Paulo, we saw as high as the 3rd-place finisher including a Phione in their deck, but at Daytona Beach, the best a Phione-using deck managed was 33rd. Though I mentioned Expanded when describing Phione’s less-relevant stats, that doesn’t mean I expect it to be a strong play here. For decks that actually can work it in, a little extra disruption is nice, especially when it pairs up well with existing support, but you’ve still got cards like Guzma, Lysandre, and Escape Rope here.
For the Limited Format, only skip Phione if you pulled something worth running in a +39 build. You’ll also be able to enjoy Phione in the “Unseen Depths” Theme Deck. In either place, you’ll have fewer methods of field disruption and your opponent probably will have fewer ways to deal with having been disrupted. That makes these the best places to enjoy Phione.
Part of me really wants to score Phione a little higher in Standard, but I’m trying to ease into scoring everything as simply [whole number from 1 to 5]-out-of-5 scores. Phione is a useful card, of the variety where its technically never bad, it just gets crowded out of decks by better picks. Definitely a card to make a mental note of for deck building, maybe even a physical one.
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