– Vivid Voltage
November 24, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Our 4th best card of SS Vivid Voltage is Talonflame-V!
Talonflame has a couple features that makes it earn its spot in the countdown and it was also my personal 13th place pick. Not so much for its Bright Flame attack, which does 160 for RRC and also discards an energy attached to this Pokémon. No, it has to do with Fast Flight attack. For the price of one energy, and if this was your first turn, you can use this attack and you get to discard your hand and draw six cards. This effect is similar of Dedenne-GX, but you’re giving up an attack just to do the same thing. It might not matter if this was your first turn since, ideally, you can use both Dedenne-GX’s ability AND Talonflame’s Fast Flight attack on your first turn. But if you were to go second, then you should never waste your attack for something other cards can do. And because of its free retreat cost, assuming Talonflame isn’t KOed, you can move it away from the Active Spot and send in something else.
This is one of the few instances where you can attack even in the first turn of the game, and as such, would be ideal to have this Pokémon in your starting hand, especially when you can’t attack and that also Supporter cards can’t be used on your first turn. Otherwise, there are better Fire type attackers out there. Bright Flame isn’t a bad attack per se, when you factor in the possibility of barely landing OHKOs against Grass and Metal types due to Weakness as well as Welder helping you accelerate energies for attacks. When it’s not exploiting weakness, then Bright Flame is less impressive there. The competition it faces are other Pokémon that also wants to be in your starting hand as well – in both Standard and Expanded – such as Talonflame STS, Jirachi from SM Team Up, Zacian-V, tommorow’s 3rd best card, and Friday’s best card of the set. They all got abilities that provided either consistency or draw power. So consider the other options before deciding to use Talonflame-V.
At last, we reach the final four, and 4th-Place goes to Talonflame V (SW – Vivid Voltage 29/185, 168/185)! Being a Pokémon V means it will be a Basic instead of a Stage 2, like a baseline version of Talonflame, and should have significantly more HP, and may have better effects, at least relative to their costs. The trade off to obtain these things are giving up an extra Prize when KO’d, being excluded from certain beneficial effects, and being included for certain detrimental ones. Talonflame V’s Fire typing is good right now, letting it exploit the Weakness of cards like Zacian V. The best [R] support focuses on basic Fire Energy, not the actual [R] Pokémon. [R] Resistance is non-existence, but there have been some anti-Fire effects that have actually proven worthwhile in Standard. The net result is still very, very positive.
As a Basic Pokémon, Talonflame V is easy to run and put into play; fetch it from your deck with a Quick Ball, or maybe even naturally open with it. 190 HP is 50 over the most recent regular Talonflame (SW – Darkness Ablaze 032/189), but 20 to 40 below what is typical of Basic Pokémon V. Talonflame V is a bit fragile for a modern, multi-Prize Pokémon, but still as large as your typical, non-TAG TEAM Basic Pokémon-GX. Tallonflame V is [L] Weak; prior to this set, Lightning decks haven’t placed well in our few recent, major events. I’m thinking this might change, but then again, I expected Lightning to take less of a hit post-rotation. Any Resistance is welcome, and -30 [F] Resistance may be rather timely; again, I’ve predicted Fighting is on the verge of making a comeback more than once, so take my latest expectations with a grain of salt, as I once again believe they’re due. A free Retreat Cost is perfect, and most welcome for this card.
Talonflame V knows two attacks. “Fast Flight” costs [C] and has you discard your hand, then draw six cards. A “Professor’s Research less one” as a single Energy attack isn’t bad, but there’s barely any time to use setup attacks in the modern game. A major reason for this is you can no longer attack at all on the first turn of the game… except Fast Flight is one of the few attacks that expressly state it can be used Turn 1! For [RRC], Talonflame V can attack with “Bright Wing” to do 160 damage, but it also must discard an Energy card from itself. Bright Wing is on the border between being a decent attack and a good one. How do the attacks work together?
Fast Flight is why you run Talonflame V. In every deck? No. Needing just a single [C] Energy means Talonflame V does not need to restrict itself to decks just running on Fire Energy; almost anything can theoretically include it. However, many of those decks have alternatives, or small things that make them a poor fit. Faster decks only have a use for Talonflame V T1; if they go second, they’re attacking for damage on their first turn. Slower decks have more turns to use Fast Flight, but if they are more setup-focused, they also may contain vital cards in hand they cannot afford to recklessly discard. Not even every Fire deck is going to need Talonflame V, but the decks that do will enjoy a means of attacking T1, and then having a solid pivot Pokémon.
Welder decks get a lot more out of Talonflame V. You have a T1 opener, a free retreating Basic, and a good backup attacker. 160 damage is enough to OHKO many single Prize Pokémon. Through Weakness, it is also enough to OHKO many multi-Prize Pokémon; Zacian V takes 320 damage due to its Weakness, after all! Unless they have Coating [M] Energy attached, or can soak 90 damage (both plausible), a manual Energy attachment plus a Welder for two Fire Energy lets Bright Wing for a OHKO even on Turn 2. Talonflame V won’t help such a deck get around walls like Bronzong (SM – Team Up 101/181) or Decidueye (SW – Darkness Ablaze 013/189; SW – Black Star Promos SWSH035), but it can take care of Zamazenta V. None of this is mind blowing, but its handy.
Talonflame V doesn’t really lose anything in Expanded… except that I don’t know if Fire decks are any good right now. Non-Fire decks may still consider it – again, Fast Flight just requires [C] – but all the alternatives found in Standard are joined with classics like Tropical Beach. Not that Tropical Beach is easily obtained. What it gains is more support, but also more competition. In the Limited Format, you probably should run Talonflame V is you pull it. In a Mulligan build? Your opponent can attack you twice before you can use Bright Wing, though each Bright Wing ought to score a OHKO. Five attacks to total 190 damage, meaning an average of about 40 damage per turn is required to take out Talonflame V before it wins on Prizes. Of course, your opponent either has to build something on the Bench or it needs to be scoring 40 for one Energy each turn. Probably worth the risk. Definitely try it in any non-Mulligan build.
Remember how I stick to whole numbers (out of five) for my scores now? Yeah, Talonflame V is just good enough that I’m rounding up to a four-out-of-five. When I first saw it, I thought it might be the best card of this set, but it actually has quite a bit of competition; so it only clocked in as my 6th-place pick. While only a handful of cards can attack Turn 1, there are plenty with Abilities that can fake it. Some of those even have Abilities you can use later turns, when you’re still attacking. Nor did Vince rank Talonflame V all that high; what happened is he and I disagreed over several other cards, so those where we somewhat agreed ranked higher on the combined list than either individual list.
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