Card – V-Union
October 24, 2021
Standard: See Below
Expanded: See Below
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
So… guess what promos released already? That’s right, Pokémon V-Union are already here! In fact, today’s Pikachu V-Union (SW – Black Star Promos SWSH139) should have just become tournament legal as of yesterday. For those unfamiliar with this new mechanic, there’s an article you can read on the official website that explains this new mechanic. For those who either can’t or won’t check that link, the quick and dirty version is that Pokémon V-Union are a new kind of Pokémon V. They’re spiritual successors of Pokémon LEGEND cards. Not the same thing, just sharing enough in common that you can see one inspired the other.
Where a Pokémon LEGEND was two different cards that shared the same name (even with respect to the 4 Copy Rule), Pokémon V-Union are four different cards that share the same name (and still count against each other for the 4 Copy Rule). Another similar-but-different thing between Pokémon V-Union and the old Pokémon LEGEND cards is that the separate cards really do form one larger card when combined. With Pokémon LEGEND cards, each card had – relative to other Pokémon – a sideways (landscape) orientation. It was like a double-sized card was cut in half. With V-Union cards, the cards have the same orientation (portrait) as other cards, but when arranged correct they make one quadruple sized “card”.
A major difference between Pokémon LEGEND and Pokémon V-Union is how they’re put into play: Pokémon LEGEND requires you have both cards in your hand and an open spot on your Bench. While they still require an open spot on your Bench, Pokémon V-Union require all four cards are in your discard pile in order to play them. Each piece must be different from the others, but part of the same picture. This also means that, if a single piece if is stuck in your Prizes, you’d better have a way to get it out! If a piece goes to the Lost Zone… too bad, it is gone for good!
You may only put a particular V-Union into play once per game! That is not once per piece… or maybe it is, but each piece has to be put into play at the same time, so either way, this is a one time deal. After putting Pikachu V-Union into play once, no matter how it leaves play, you cannot do it again that game. You can put more than one different V-Union into play. For example, if you have a deck running Pikachu V-Union alongside Mewtwo V-Union, each of them could be put into play once. So with all that out of the way, today we’re looking at the first of the four Pikachu V-Union cards. The other three pieces are
- SW – Black Star Promos SWSH140
- SW – Black Star Promos SWSH141
- SW – Black Star Promos SWSH142
These four cards all have a few things in common:
- The same name (Pikachu V-Union)
- The same typing (Lightning)
- A label stating it is a V-Union
- A text box explaining how you put a Pokémon V-Union into play.
The individual pieces can not be put into play on their own: like a BREAK Evolution, Pokémon LEGEND, or Lv.X card, they’re “incomplete” as several required stats are missing. The traits they do all have printed on them are recognized by the game when they’re not in play. So, if you have an effect that lets you search your deck for a [L] type Pokémon to add it to your hand, it can snag a piece of Pikachu V-Union. It is just that an effect that searches for a Pokémon, then puts it directly into play won’t work.
While they all share a name, the same typing, and that one Rule Box, each card does not have this information in the same place. Today’s Pikachu V-Union has its label stating it is a V-Union and its name near the top of the card, because when all four pieces are combined, that is where the combined card’s Stage of Evolution, name, and Rule Box about how to legally put it into play would be. The other cards still have those three things, but with a smaller font and in more out-of-the-way places (along what makes up the combined card’s border). The fourth thing they share, the symbol showing the Pokémon’s type, is smaller on today’s Pikachu V-Union. You might even miss it, as it is on the left-most knee cap of a Pikachu in the card art!
Getting back to V-Union being a Stage of Evolution, that means effects which work for any Stage of Evolution will work just fine with Pikachu V-Union, as will effects that explicitly state they work with V-Union cards. Note that I haven’t seen any such cards, but I assume some are on the way. Also note that, as Pokémon V-Union are also Pokémon V, all those helpful card effects which exclude Pokémon V and hurtful card effects that include them will still apply to Pikachu V-Union. The cards’ Lightning typing will allow them to use Speed [L] Energy and hit many popular [W] types for double damage, due to most Water types having [L] Weakness.
The other pieces contain its HP, Weakness, Resistance (or lack thereof), and Retreat Cost. I won’t be going into detail about these stats here, but just know that V-Union Pokémon seem to all have 300+ HP scores on the pieces that have an HP score printed on them. Also that they all have a large Rule Box at the bottom that is actually split between two of the pieces. The “V-Union Rule” states that, when a V-Union Pokémon is KO’d, it is worth three Prizes to your opponent. As with most Pokémon, the effects of other cards can increase or decrease this, but the majority of the time, Pikachu V-Union is worth three Prizes.
Now… how about effects? Based on what we’ve seen so far, each piece of a V-Union features one attack and/or Ability. So, the fact that this piece of Pikachu V-Union has just one attack is – at best – par for the course and – at worst – underwhelming compared to some of its peers. The attack in question is “Union Gain”, priced at [C]. Union Gain does no damage, but it does let you attach two [L] Energy from your discard pile. As always, only basic Lightning Energy cards count as [L] when not in play. Peeking ahead, this is the only single-Energy attack on the card and as such it is… underwhelming. Now, it may end up being quite important, as the other attacks require two or more Energy to use.
However, this basically gives your opponent a “free” turn to attack and get some damage on Pikachu V-Union. Like with Pokémon VMAX, burning a turn attacking to setup can eat away all your HP advantage. There’s even a chance a strong attacker might be able to OHKO Pikachu V-Union, meaning your attack was completely wasted! Just saying this is “better than nothing”, however, would be selling Union Gain short. I’d rather I could attach to other Pokémon or to Pikachu V-Union, but at least this can get it ready to use its other attacks and it might have the bulk to do it.
Which brings us to the Ratings. I’ll go ahead and score each individual piece, and when we cover the final one I’ll also give a score for the overall Pokémon V-Union. In this case, this first part isn’t as good as I’d like but it is far enough from useless to earn a two-out-of-five in both Formats. Though, in Expanded, you really shouldn’t need to use Union Gain outside of an emergency or against an opponent you know can’t attack next turn.
Ratings (For This Quarter)
- Standard: 2/5
- Expanded: 2/5
For this week, we’re going to explore another new mechanic called V-Union, in which four separate cards are formed into a single Pokémon when the pieces are put together in a similar manner from Pokémon LEGEND from the HeartGold & SoulSilver series. They’re still Pokémon-V cards, and the things they have in common are bolstered HP while giving up three prizes.
I remember seeing V-Union cards of Pikachu, Greninja, Mewtwo, and Zacian a couple months ago, and they seemed interesting to play. Trying to build a deck around it seems hard because in order to get V-Union cards in play, you have to put all four different V-Union cards of the same Pokémon name into the discard pile. In Pikachu V-Union case (this week’s COTD), you need those four promotional cards (SS139, SS140, SS141, and SS142) to be in the discard pile. Additionally, you can only put them into play once per game, so if it gets KOed or leave play, then you can’t play Pikachu V-Union again, even if they’re in the discard pile again. And if any one of them are prized, then you won’t be able to put them in play until you grab that right prize card.
This particular card only has one attack, Union Gain, and I guess currently this attack are featured in every V-Union card at the moment. It costs a single energy and lets you put 2 Lightning energies from the discard pile onto itself, which – although it uses up an attack – could help follow up with several other attacks that Pikachu V-Union has.
And I’ll save that on the next part!
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