Rusted Sword – Shining Fates
February 19, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
The number one card in Shining Fates is… Rusted Sword (Shining Fates 062/072)! This is a Trainer-Item, specifically a Tool. Not a bad start; we do have some solid Tool cards, but nothing as overwhelmingly great as Expanded-only fare such as Float Stone or Muscle Band. Rusted Sword’s actual effect is that the attacks of the equipped Zacian V do 30 more damage to your opponent’s Active, prior to applying Weakness and Resistance.
Yeah, while Pokémon-specific Tools are normally a bad idea, the powers-that-be decided to give one of the best attackers in the present metagame its own Tool that lets it do an extra 30 damage! Of course, doing extra damage only matters if it reduces the turns it takes for you to score a KO or somehow helps trigger or avoid triggering another card’s effect. So, does Rusted Sword’s bonus damage matter? Even before we consider the specifics of probable match-ups, we already know that +30 damage matters because that is the same damage bonus provided by the “Altered Creation-GX” attack of Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX. Yes, that usually comes with the additional effect of letting you take an extra Prize when damage from one of your Pokémon’s attacks KO’s the opponent’s Active, but the damage itself is still often relevant.
So, this is a way for non-ADP Zacian V builds to hit the same 260 damage as Zacian ADP decks, Zacian ADP decks to hit 290, and Zacian V backed by Galarian Perrserker (Sword & Shield 128/202; SW – Black Star Promos SW008; SW – Rebel Clash 205/192) to more easily hit its key numbers. There’s also the “cost” of running Rusted Sword in Zacian V decks… while they certainly don’t have room to spare, and while they probably already run other Tools, just one copy of Rusted Sword helps enough to justify its presence.
Rusted Sword earns the number one sport, and a four-out-of-five in Standard, by making one of the best decks (arguable the best deck) better. If you consider variants separate things, then at least three great decks even better. I don’t think Zacian V needed the help, and kind of wish it worked for any Zacian card, but Rusted Sword is a good deal for this already powerful Pokémon.
What would be the best card of Shining Fates, and perhaps the most anticipated card in that set, is Rusted Sword (Shining Fates 62/73). This is a Pokémon Tool card that can be attached to anyone, but based on the effect, it only works for Zacian-V, as it makes Zacian-V deal 30 extra damage to the Defending Pokémon. Adding extra damage can help achieve certain feats, but if it doesn’t change from a 3HKO to a 2HKO, or a 2HKO into an OHKO, then one wishes that they use a different Pokémon Tool card instead. There’s not many damage boosting effects in the Sword & Shield series outside of Rusted Sword and Vitality Band, but there are several options in Expanded regarding extra damage, some which may or may not compete with Rusted Sword. Since this card is extremely specialized, we have to find out if Rusted Sword’s extra damage output is worth being specialized.
So far, there’s only one version of Zacian-V (Sword & Shield 138/202, 195/202, 211/202, SWSH Black Star Promos SWSH018, SWSH076), and that card in question is still a wonderful card, such that there are two reviews that the review crew chimed in:
-9th best card of the set
-4th best card of 2020
Zacian-V is a Basic Metal type with 220 HP, Fire weakness, Grass resistance, retreat cost of CC, an ability, and an attack. The Intrepid Sword ability lets you look at the top 3 cards of your deck and attach any number of Metal energies you find there and put the other cards into your hand. Afterwards, your turn ends. This ability could be interpreted in various ways. Zacian-V could be fully powered up in one turn or you just got three more cards. An ability this powerful has to be put into check, and ending your turn is perhaps one of the best drawbacks in terms of game balance. Sure, the worst thing that can happen is losing your chance to attack or if it conflicts with other cards that also instantly end your turn. But if you couldn’t afford the energy cost for certain attacks or if this was your first turn where you couldn’t attack, then this drawback is inconsequential. If it didn’t end your turn, you could have used four Intrepid Sword abilities to either power up all four of your Zacian-Vs in play or dig through 12 cards of your deck!!!
Besides the ability, Zacian-V also has the Brave Blade attack, which costs MMM for 230 damage, with the clause of not being able to attack of your next turn. This clause can be reset if you moved Zacian-V from the Active into your Bench and move it back to the Active. This damage alone can OHKO most Basic Pokémon-V, Basic Pokémon-GX that’s not a TAG TEAM, basic Pokémon-EX, and everything else below it. Even with Rusted Sword making Brave Blade deal 260 damage, it still falls short of some TAG TEAMs and Pokemon VMAX. Which means additional resources might be needed to cross certain thresholds, whether it be from permanent effects of Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX’s Altered Creation, Galarian Perrserker’s Steely Spirit, or Galarian Zizzagoon’s Headbutt Tantrum. If that sounds like a lot of investment and moving pieces, that’s pretty much the point; the player would have to work hard to get multiple prizes at once.
Rusted Sword definitely fits in decks that uses Zacian-V, that much is clear. But as I’ve said earlier, if Rusted Sword didn’t help Zacian achieve certain OHKOs, then Zacian-V would use a different Pokémon Tool card. When Zacian-V debuted, the format was still SM Ultra Prism-on; Metal Frying Pan was perhaps the best defensive Pokemon Tool card for Metal types, taking 30 less damage from attacks AND that Pokémon has NO weakness, so the opponent has to deal the full 250 (or 280 damage from Grass Pokémon) for the OHKO, and few Pokémon can achieve that much damage without relying on weakness. When Metal Frying Pan left rotation, Metal Goggles took its place. While it still reduces damage taken by 30, Metal Goggles also prevent damage counter placements from your opponent’s Attacks and Abilities. Other method of removing weakness comes in the form of Coating Metal Energy. Those are the current competitions that may clash with Rusted Sword in regards to deck space.
Based on those two reviews that we chimed in, Zacian-V already influenced the metagame, being used in a variety of ways such as Zacian/Jirachi (*), Zacian ADP, Defensive Zacian, and straight Zacian. Is Rusted Sword going to change the way players have used Zacian-V for over a year? Probably not right away, as there are still existing Metal based support in the 2020-2021 Standard Format. It would probably have to take one full season of cards being rotated out when the next season rolls in (2021-2022 Standard Format). Take out Metal Goggles, ADP, and/or Lucario & Melmetal-GX, and Rusted Sword will be an absolute staple running a full four. Until then, this is a card that you should definitely keep ahold of regardless if you’re planning to use it in your current Zacian deck or not.
Three of the four examples that Otaku mentioned on his year end countdown will be defunct due to rotation, so only straight Zacian will be the only style left unless new ones emerge. This probably might give Galarian Perrserker a reason to be used when older support no longer remains. With Rusted Sword (+30) and the possibility to get four Galarian Perrserker in play (+80), Brave Blade does 340 damage, enough to OHKO any Pokémon VMAX for three prizes. As such, Zacian/Perserrker would be the type of deck I would build in the next season.
This was a very hard review to write of a card that has a very simple effect. In order to analyze Rusted Sword, I also have to address Zacian-V (and to recap what it does in case readers weren’t able to scroll down to look at past reviews). I spent around half of the review trying to be concise about Zacian-V’s influence in the format due to missing my chance to re-review Zacian-V during the year-end countdown. Looks like I finally gave it it’s due.
Rusted Sword definitely sits comfortably in being the best card of Shining Fates because I believe that this is the only card in the set that worth getting hold of. Everything else were mostly reprints whose certain cards we’ve already chimed in, though there are a few unique cards in that collector’s set that had some potential (like those other cards in this week) but no where near as heavily influential than Rusted Sword. But even I couldn’t score this card higher than a three-out-of-five because Rusted Sword supports only Zacian-V, and even though Zacian-V impacted the entirety of 2020, it doesn’t necessarily always have to wield its own sword in its own mouth to be truly menacing when it can wear its goggles to become sturdier and still hits hard enough to OHKO something.
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