Smeargle – Fusion Strike
December 8, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Smeargle (SW – Fusion Strike 209/264) is sort of the last piece of Fusion Strike support. Sort of? Smeargle is the last card from SW – Fusion Strike with an effect that mentions Fusion Strike something. In this case, Smeargle has an attack called “Sketching Trash”. Priced at [C], this lets you put up to two Fusion Strike Trainer cards from your discard pile into your hand. The attack does no damage, but its effect has potential. Yes, that word again: potential. Recycling Pokémon is relatively easy. Recycling Trainers and/or Energy, not so much. Smeargle is a way to reclaim Fusion Strike Trainers and Fusion Strike Energy from the discard pile.
I talk about potential for another reason: I don’t know if the powers-that-be are done with the Battle Style mechanic or not. I think there’s at least one or two cards still in the pipeline, but I don’t know if it will amount to much, or if we’ll receive anything beyond that. It isn’t uncommon for the powers-that-be to introduce a new mechanic, run with it for a few sets, then drop it and move on. What we currently have available for Sketching Trash to recycle is tempting, but I’m not sure it is actually worth giving up an attack to recycle them. Think of attacks with “gusting” effects; very few of them have proven worth it over the years. So, would it really be worth it to recycle Cross Switcher? It is a wobbly maybe: the attack would rarely be worth it, but we couldn’t cash in on Cross Switcher until our next turn… when we can attack afterward.
Sketching Trash isn’t locked into just that effect, either. Recycle two copies of Crossceiver that you’ll use next turn to get whatever Supporter you need. Get a copy or two of Power Tablet so you can hit harder next turn. Yet again, we bump into another concern; Power Tablet is a great card, but is it worth burning an attack to do +30 or +60 damage the next turn? Yup, another big, fat maybe, because it will depend on the exact circumstances. Being able to recycle copies of Fusion Strike Energy is in a similar boat… as a dedicated Item, it’d be a given (see Urn of Vitality and Fusion Strike Energy). While we do care about Fusion Strike Energy’s actual effects, we also care that we can attach it from the deck via Elesa’s Sparkle. We can still do that after Sketching Trash, but only if we use an effect to shuffle the Fusion Strike Energy from your hand to your deck… and wind up with Elesa’s Sparkle in hand.
So, Sketching Trash isn’t something to immediately dismiss or assume is great. Thanks to Mew VMAX, Sketching Trash can be used without using Smeargle as anything but a Bench-sitter. This is kind of important because Mew VMAX, while small for a Pokémon VMAX, is a lot less likely to be OHKO’d than Smeargle. What is the rest of Smeargle like? It is a Colorless, Basic Fusion Strike Pokémon with 70 HP, [F] Weakness, no Resistance, Retreat Cost [C], and two attacks. The second attack is “Tail Whip”, priced at [CCC] and doing 80. Not awful filler, but definitely filler; in a deck with the Energy acceleration to afford Tail Whap, what would Smeargle be attacking that you couldn’t just hit with your main attacker? There are plenty of effects that let something wall, but there are plenty of better, Basic Fusion Strike attackers.
It isn’t like you’re exploiting Weakness: Smeargle is Colorless. Being an easy-to-run Basic Pokémon is good, as is the single Energy Retreat Cost. That HP means Smeargle might not even be safe on your bench, and shouldn’t survive being your Active without some good luck on your part or bad luck on your opponent’s. The HP means the [F] Weakness and lack of Resistance will rarely matter. The HP does have one potentially (there’s a form of that word again), as it means you can snag it with Level Ball. Sneargle basically needs a stall/control deck built around Fusion Strik cards… or at least, spamming something like Crossceiver or Cross Switcher, to climb to the heights of previous Pokémon “recyclers”. Even more so in the Expanded Format, where You have VS Seeker (no need for Crossceiver) and Special Charge (recycle Fusion Strike Energy with ease).
One last thing. So I said this was sort of the last piece of Fusion Strike support. What else is there? Thanks to being able to share support, technically all Fusion Strike cards double as Fusion Strike support of some sort. As opposed to only those that directly affect other Fusion Strike Pokémon. Even then, we’ve covered most of the existing Fusion Strike cards, there are a few we might not get to before the end of this year. We might cover some of the last few noteworthy ones before the year’s end, but we might not. 2022 is almost here!
- Standard: 2/5
- Expanded: 1/5
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