Sylveon V – Evolving Skies
September 7, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Note: I have posted Addendums to the Umbreon VMAX and Leafeon V reviews. The scores remain the same for these cards, but I realized I neglected to discuss the new Tool cards that specifically work for each of them.
Just missing out on being one of the big three is our 4th-Place finisher, Sylveon V (SW – Evolving Skies 074/203, 183/203, 184/203)! Sylveon V is here for its Ability, “Dream Gift”. This Ability lets you search your deck for an Item card, show it to your opponent, add it to your hand, then shuffle your deck. Oh, and the last line of the Ability makes it clear: any time you use Dream Gift, whether you find an Item or not, your turn ends. This means there’s no real cost to it Turn 1, and any turn you can’t launch a decent attack anyway, there’s (effectively) a reduced cost to using it. Well, unless you have some other end-your-turn effect you wanted to use. So, getting an Item from your deck is pretty sweet, but doing so at the end of your turn is quite the… catch. A competent player with a competent deck should usually be able to grab something this turn that will remain relevant, if not important, next turn. However, your opponent has their entire turn to sabotage your hand, such as with Marnie, or to try and render your choice less than effective. After all, they do get to see it as well!
Sylveon V is a Rule Box Pokémon, so Path to the Peak can shut it down. As a Pokémon V, Sylveon V cannot make use of certain beneficial card effects, is vulnerable to certain anti-V effects, and gives up an extra Prize when KO’d. Being a Pokémon V is also why Sylveon V is a Basic Pokémon, instead of being a Stage 1 like most Sylveon cards, and why it has a lot more HP than baseline Sylveon cards. It has the same HP as the Stage 1 Sylveon-GX, 200… which is actually a little low for a Basic Pokémon V, but still a decent amount. Sylveon V is a [P] Pokémon, so you can fetch it from your deck with Fog Crystal. Sylveon V is a Rapid Strike Pokémon, letting it tap their support; currently, there are no anti-Rapid Strike (or Battle Style) effects, so this is purely a bonus.
Sylveon V is Metal Weak, which might be a problem but the main Metal attacker – Zacian V – hits hard enough to OHKO Sylveon V before Weakness. No Resistance is normal, even though it is technically the worst, and a Retreat Cost of [C] is low and relatively easy to pay. Thanks to Rapid Strike Energy, “Magical Shot” isn’t a total waste. For [CC] (or a Rapid Strike Energy), Sylveon V can attack and do 60 damage. Do I recommend doing that? No. Still, if a Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX is 120 damage away from being KO’d, at least Sylveon V can do the deed. Sylveon V is all about its Ability, but at least it wasn’t saddled with an even worse attack, or had none at all. Sylveon V can also evolve into Sylveon VMAX, a card that will (sooner or later) get its own review. For now, we’ll just say that this does help Sylveon V. There’s also Ribbon Badge, a Tool with an effect that only works for Pokémon V with “Sylveon” in their names. Its effect means your equipped Sylveon V, Sylveon VMAX, or any other future Pokémon V with “Sylveon” in its name gives up one fewer Prizes when KO’d. That is very good… if you have room for it.
I was very impressed by Sylveon V when I first saw it, thinking this was something any slower, setup driven deck would want to run. Now… I’m far less certain. Ending your turns means you cannot, for example, use it to guaranteed a Quick Ball Turn 1, which in turn would be valuable for all but ensuring a Turn 1 Crobat V. You can use it to grab a Rare Candy on your first turn for something you plan to evolve on your second turn, but it won’t do you much good to grab something like Boost Shake: your turn will end, so next turn Boost Shake is little more than an Evosoda that ends your turn. The biggest issue, though, is I thought about what other cards with effects that end your turn you might want to use Turn 1. The list includes:
- Boost Shake – An Item that lets you play an Evolution from your deck onto its prior Stage, and works the first turn something is in play, as well as a player’s first turn in general.
- Camping Gear – An Item that lets you add any one card of your choice from your deck to your hand.
- Leafeon V – Its “Greenish Cells” Ability lets you search your deck for a Grass Energy, then attach it to one of your Pokémon.
- Rotom Bike – An Item that lets you draw until you have six cards in your hand.
- Snorlax (SW – Vivid Voltage 131/185; SW – Black Star Promos SWSH068; SW – Chilling Reign 224/198) – Has decent HP for a baseline Basic (130) and has the “Gourmandize” Ability. Snorlax has to be Active for this Ability to work, but it lets you draw until you have seven cards in hand.
- Zacian V – Has the Ability “Intrepid Sword” that lets you look at the top three cards of your deck. Then, you may attach any [M] Energy among those three cards to Zacian V itself, while any other cards go to your hand. Zacian V is a Basic Pokémon V with 220 HP. It also has its own custom Tool – Rusted Sword – that lets its attacks do an extra 30 damage to your opponent’s Active.
So, while some of these cards have seen little to no competitive play, either by being as new as Sylveon V or just not having been worth it, Snorlax and Zacian V have proven competitive (more so the latter than the former). I think Sylveon V might work in a slow, mill or control style deck. Something where you’re trying to get a specific card to counter something else, but even then, it has to be a deck that does not regularly attack. Still, if you’re going to run Sylveon VMAX, this is your Basic… and that control deck I alluded to may not be a total pipe dream. For the Expanded Format, same song, different verse. There’s more competition and counters here, and not a lot more worthwhile combos I can see… but strong lock decks just seem more likely here.
I have severe
buyer’s reviewer’s remorse, as Sylveon V was my 8th-Place pick, but now I’m not sure if it should have made the Top 15. However, for an Evolving, Basic Pokémon V it is still better than many of its peers. If you’re already running Sylveon V for Sylveon VMAX, enjoy that Turn 1 Dream Gift!
- Standard: 3/5
- Expanded: 3/5
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get my hands on Sylveon VMAX alternate art secret rare at the moment, but I do have this for the time being:
Our 4th best card of Sword & Shield Evolving Skies is……Sylveon-V! I believe this is currently the highest place a Sylveon card has ever achieved, with Sylveon-GX being the 6th best card of SM Guardians Rising, and both Sylveon (SM Forbidden Light) and Gardevoir & Sylveon-GX being the 9th best cards of their respective sets. I’ve also reviewed that card as a preview during the Sylveon week.
My stance still remains the same. Sylveon-V has several nice traits, ranging from being one of the cards you like to see in your opening hand due to it’s Dream Gift ability (which lets you fetch for an item card, but with the expense of immediately ending your turn), to getting some support for being a Rapid Strike card (being searchable via Octillery’s Rapid Strike Search, more attack options via Pokémon tools for Rapid Strike Pokémon, and free retreat via Tower of Waters), to getting a small piece of support via Ribbon Badge (a Pokémon tool card that is similar to Life Dew Ace Spec, but for Sylveon only), and to being a stepping stone to evolve it into Sylveon VMAX (which we’ll get to reviewing at some point, just know that one of its attacks picks up where Xerneas BKT left off). Those kinds of features give some incentive to use Sylveon-V.
Not all decks need Sylveon-V as it faces competition from other Pokémon with good abilities that make it ideal to have in their starting hand. Snorlax’s Gourmandize, Jirachi’s Dreamy Revelation….those abilities might give Sylveon-V a run for its money, even though they each have their own drawbacks. Overall, there’s a lot you can do with one item card, and I think instantly ending your turn is some sort of a balancing agent, cause otherwise – if it didn’t end your turn – you could be fetching as many as four item cards that can be played on the same turn you used the ability. Fortunately, Sylveon-V can do many other things than just relying on the ability.
Unfortunately for me, bias got the best of me, as I put Sylveon-V as my top pick, but luckily it wasn’t the best card of the set. There’s just several other cards that are ranked higher than Sylveon-V due to long term prospects that could be worthy of being number 1.
We would love more volunteers to help us with our Card of the Day reviews. If you want to share your ideas on cards with other fans, feel free to drop us an email. We’d be happy to link back to your blog / YouTube Channel / etc. 😉
Click here to read our Pokémon Card of the Day Archive. We have reviewed more than 4200 Pokemon cards over the last 20 years!