Regidrago – Evolving Skies
August 28, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
14th-Place in our countdown goes to Regidrago (SW – Evolving Skies 124/203)! This one might take some explaining. Regidrago is another “baseline” Pokémon: no Rule Box, no altered name, no Battle Style. Which means when it is KO’d, it goes to the discard pile as normal and your opponent takes one Prize (barring other card effects). In a metagame where we’re used to Basic Pokémon V (two Prizes when KO’d) or Pokémon VMAX (three Prizes when KO’d), being a baseline Pokémon can in and of itself be an advantage. Regidrago is the first Regidrago card we’ve ever received, and a new addition to the “Regi-family”: Regidrago itself plus Regieleki, Regigigas, Regice, Regirock, and Registeel. Currently, there are no Regi-based card effects that would apply to it, but given other Regi-family cards, it seems quite likely it will happen sooner or later.
Regidrago is a Dragon type, and SW – Evolving Skies marks the return of the [N] type to the Pokémon TCG! The type’s Energy symbol and color remain the same, so older examples of [N] support or counters still interact with them normally. This set contained two new pieces of [N] support:
- Crystal Cave (SW – Evolving Skies 144/203, 230/203) is a new Trainer-Stadium that lets you heal 30 damage from all of your [N] and [M] Pokémon once, during your turn.
- Stormy Range (SW – Evolving Skies 161/203, 232/203) is also a new Trainers-Stadium. Once, during your turn it allows you to fetch either a Basic [L] or [N] Pokémon, then play it to their Bench directly from their deck.
No new [N] counters are contained in the new set. The downside of the Dragon type is that the only [N] Weak cards are BW-era Dragon types. Nothing is [N] Resistant, though. There are other common design elements shared by new (and sometimes past) Dragon types, but we’ll address them separately, as they tie into other aspects of the card.
Regidrago is a Basic Pokémon, the easiest Stage to run. No waiting to evolve or need to run other cards to get it into play. Basic Pokémon tend to be naturally better at using certain pieces of support, like bounce. Regidrago has 130 HP. This is decent; small attacks should whiff on the OHKO, though medium and large attacks won’t. Regidrago has no Weakness, which is how the first cards representing Dragon Pokémon handled things. Of course, those cards were all Colorless Pokémon: the lack of Weakness helped distinguish them from VG Normal types or VG Flying types, the other two types that made up the original TCG Colorless typing. No Weakness is the best Weakness. No Resistance is the worst Resistance though, and but most cards in the modern game lack Resistance, so this isn’t actually a problem. The Retreat Cost of [CCC] is high enough you should probably just use switching effects instead of manually retreating.
Regidrago knows two attacks. The first is “Hammer In” for [CC], doing 30 damage. Even though you can cover this with just a Twin Energy, this is an underpowered attack. Such is the state of the modern game where even a return of 15 per [C] Energy just isn’t enough. Regidrago’s second attack is “Dragon Energy”, not to be confused with the Special Energy card Double Dragon Energy. For [GGR], Dragon Energy lets Regidrago attack and do 240 damage less 20 damage per damage counter on itself. Before other card effects or game mechanics, that means Dragon Energy can do 0, 20, 40, 60, 80, 100, 120, 140, 160, 180, 200, 220, or 240 damage. Anything less than 120 damage isn’t usually worth it, but hitting for 200+ is quite good.
Being a baseline Basic Pokémon who can potentially OHKO Basic Pokémon V is this card’s claim to fame. What if it gets injured? Most main attackers are going to OHKO Regidrago, so you won’t need to worry about the damage dropping effect of Regidrago. What you will need to worry about is powering Regidrago up quickly and efficiently. The first place my mind went to was Rillaboom (Sword & Shield 014/202, SW – Black Star Promos SWSH006; SW – Darkness Ablaze 197/189; Shining Fates 013/072, SV006/SV122). That was my mistake. Fortunately, after I finish my first or second draft of my Top Picks list for something, I try to find some PokéTubers I at least half-trust to see what their picks were. Sometimes they change my mind, other times they don’t.
This time someone did. I don’t watch ZapdosTCG regularly, and his channel isn’t massive, sitting at around 32k at the time of writing this… but he pointed out you can run Regidrago with Cherrim (SW – Battle Styles 008/163; SW – Black Star Promos SWSH088). Cherrim’s “Spring Bloom” Ability lets you attach a [G] Energy from your hand to one of your Pokémon who does not have a Rule Box as often as you want during your turn. Which means you can have Cherrim in play and usable by your second turn, overall Turn 3 or Turn 4 without using any evolution acceleration. I’m embarrassed I didn’t think of this myself, but this means you can build a Single Prize deck around this Basic and Stage 1 combo. Yes, you’ll need to have enough basic Grass Energy in hand (only thing that counts as [G] in your hand), plus a source of [R] Energy to manually attach but…
…that’s not difficult. Run some basic Energy Fire Energy cards and Energy Search/Energy Retrieval. Maybe run Eldegoss (SW – Evolving Skies 016/203) for its Ability. If a Regidrago survives but is too injured to be worth attacking with, Scoop Up Net lets you bounce it and promote something else. Maybe a second Regidrago ready to attack, or something with a free-Retreat as you Bench and re-energize the Regidrago you just bounced. 240 turn after turn is hard to deal with, and should 2HKO or OHKO most of the metagame. If you stick to basic Energy cards, you also avoid the anti-Special Energy effects that the designers keep releasing. The Expanded Format adds more competition, more counters, but also more combos. I don’t think this will replace Ultra Necrozma (SM – Cosmic Eclipse 164/236) decks… but it might rival them.
I’m actually more impressed by Regidrago than ZapdosTCG was, which is why Regidrago is my 11th-Place pick. I’d say all but my top 6 picks could easily be rearranged, so I have no problem with Regidrago “only” taking 14th-Place in this countdown. With all that said, Regidrago’s scores still aren’t super high, just “good”. It can hit crazy hard but without proper support it would almost certainly be damaged, if not KO’d, before it could attack with Dragon Energy.
- Standard: 3/5
- Expanded: 3/5
Editor’s Note: Regidrago did not make Vince’s Top 15 list.
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