Shedinja – Vivid Voltage
Date Reviewed: February 26, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Shedinja (SW – Vivid Voltage 066/185) is yet another Pokémon that is much easier to explain if we ignore my usual review order. Its “Shell Survival” Ability states that you may only put it into play through the effect of Ninjask’s “Shell Cast-Off” Ability. Shell Cast-Off is found on Ninjask (SW – Vivid Voltage 014/185) or Ninjask (BW – Dragons Exalted 11/124). If you can disable Abilities for cards in your hand, you can play Shedinja from your hand normally, ignoring Shell Survival. Shell Survival also states you cannot play Shedinja face down, whether as your Active or on your Bench, while setting up… because it is a Basic! Normally, this is the best Stage because you don’t need to wait to evolve or run other cards to put your Basic Pokémon into play. Shedinja needs a Ninjask with Shell Cast-Off, or something that negates Abilities, to do that. That pretty much removes all the advantage from being a Basic.
The attack probably removes the rest of it. Shedinja can use “Life Squeeze” to place damage counters on your opponent’s Active until they have just 10 HP left. The reason I wish Shedinja was not a Basic is because this attack costs [CCC]. Shell Cast-Off Benches Shedinja from your deck, so even if it was an Evolution, it would not need to evolve from something else. It would still count as an Evolution Pokémon, though, which would mean that you could use Triple Acceleration Energy to cover the entire cost of the attack. If you can fuel Life Squeeze easily enough, it does have potential; just use a non-turn ending effect (like an Ability or Item) to Burn or Poison your opponent’s Active, then hit them with Life Squeeze. Unless they’re protected from Special Conditions and/or can heal damage during Pokémon Checkup, you’ll effectively OHKO them at that point.
As for the rest of Shedinja, the only reason it can be targeted by Shell Cast-Off is because it is named “Shedinja”. It is a baseline Pokémon, worth only one Prize when KO’d, and not belonging to any special groups, or at least, not any denoted by name alterations, text or Rule Boxes added to the card, etc. Shedinja is a Psychic-type, which doesn’t matter for type-matching as Shedinja doesn’t do damage. It might matter in terms of support; Horror [P] Energy is a problem for something just hit by Life Squeeze and attacking Shedinja for damage. Shedinja only has 30 HP. Eep! Shedinja is as fragile as it gets; only the two weakest damage possibilities fail to OHKO it. The HP means the lack of Resistance (normally good) and lack of Resistance (technically the worst) don’t matter. The free Retreat Cost is still good, though.
So… that’s Shedinja. In Standard, you can bring it out with Ninjask starting on your second turn (overall Turn 3 or 4 of the game). You’ll need a combo to power it up in a single turn; while Triple Acceleration Energy is out, you can use something like a manual attachment and Welder. You can use something like Garbodor (SW – Rebel Clash 118/192; SW – Black Star Promos SWSH025); as long as either player has a Stadium card in play, its “Poisonous Puddle” lets you Poison your opponent’s Active. This may sound like a lot of effort for a OHKO, when some piece of the puzzle is getting KO’d next turn, and you’ll have to repeat anything that doesn’t survive… but it OHKO’s anything? Anything? Okay, if your opponent can heal between turns, cannot be Poisoned, or can heal Poison between turns, then it won’t work. Oh, and if they’re immune to the effects of attacks, then Life Squeeze won’t work at all! The rest of the time, this combo can one-shot even the largest Pokémon VMAX.
It is easier in Expanded. I mean, there are more anti-Ability effects, anti-Item effects, and just disruption in general but some of that is to Shedinja’s benefit. A Silent Lab on the field means Shedinja can be played from hand like the Basic it is. As you might want Dimension Valley as your Stadium, so that Double Colorless Energy or Twin Energy can cover the entire cost of Life Squeeze on their own, you could just run Garbodor (BW – Dragons Exalted 54/124; BW – Plasma Freeze 119/116; BW – Legendary Treasures 68/113) or Garbodor (XY – BREAKpoint 57/122). Won’t that interfere with Poisonous Puddle? Just use Hypnotoxic Laser, or Koga’s Trap if you’re worried about anti-Item effects and/or want more Trainer-based Poison.
- Standard: 2/5
- Expanded: 2/5
While it undermines the scores, I have to confess that I cannot tell if I’m being too soft on Shedinja because I love these kinds of combos, or if I’m being too hard on it because I know I love these kinds of combos. One way or the other, this joins the growing list of decks I need to try out before the next expansion!
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