Thundurus – Chilling Reign
Date Reviewed: July 28, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Thundurus (SW – Chilling Reign 052/198) is not a Rule Box Pokémon. It does not have a Battle Style. It is a plain, baseline Pokémon worth only one Prize when KO’d. [L] typing is still good, though it means Thundurus needs to work well with Pikachu & Zekrom-GX or bide it’s time until after the September rotation. Being a Basic is still the best, and 120 HP used to be the best decades ago, but now is merely decent. [F] Weakness is dangerous, but not the worst. No Resistance is the worst, but doesn’t actually hurt most cards. A Retreat Cost of [C] isn’t great like free, but it is still good.
Thundurus knows two attacks. The first costs [L] and is called “Assisting Spark”. This lets Thundurus do 30 damage, while allowing you to attach a [L] Energy from your hand to one of your Benched Pokémon. Only basic Lightning Energy cards count as [L] in the hand, and you can’t attach to Thundurus itself… but I doubt you would want to most of the time. Thundurus isn’t tiny, but it isn’t likely to survive long enough to be worth attacking with Assisting Spark and powering itself up. Now, for powering up another Pokémon, this seems somewhat good. 30 damage is small, but still enough that it can be dangerous to ignore it for multiple turns. Thanks to it attaching an Energy to another of your Benched Pokémon, even if Thundurus gets OHKO’d, you haven’t fallen behind in terms of Energy in play.
Thundurus’ second attack is “Thunder”, and priced at [LLC]. This allows Thundurus to do 130 damage to your opponent’s Active, but also 30 to itself. This would have been mind-blowing back in the early days of Black & White; Thundurus would have been big. This damage would have been big. And the self-damage could be reduced by 20 thanks to Eviolite. You can still compensate with HP buffs or healing, but I don’t recall a good damage-reducing effects that would combo with Thundurus. 130 damage is just enough to clear some key thresholds. Basically, 120 HP or less means a Pokémon is small. Above 260 means it is large… so Thunder can OHKO small Pokémon or 2HKO medium-sized targets.
I don’t think Thundurus is going to become a staple for Pikachu & Zekrom-GX decks, but maybe it could find a home there. It is a single Prize opener you really only want to use Turn 2, may still make use of Turn 3, and probably won’t want the rest of the game. Boltund V is just a better option unless you really need it to be a single Prize Pokémon. Boltund V doesn’t do damage with its first attack, but it can attach two Lightning Energy cards from your hand with its first attack, from your deck, and still for [L]. It also has a better second attack, at least if your deck can build up Energy on your side of the field.
In the Expanded Format, I think I actually like Thundurus better. Why? Electropower. Boltund V may be better at attaching Lightning Energy, but its first attack doesn’t do any damage, so it can’t be boosted by Electropower. I wouldn’t make it your goal to bust out all four copies of Electropower Turn 2, just to power-up Thundurus’ Assisting Spark, but having the option to swing for 60, 90, 120, or 150 to take an early lead while not falling behind in Energy is nice. You’ve got a few more tricks for speeding up Thunder in this Format as well, so a Turn 2 130+ is possible. Tack on another +20 damage if you attach Muscle Band, or just +10 if you go with Fighting Fury Belt so its +40 HP compensates for some of the self-damage. Again, don’t build a deck around it, but if your early game opener can, with an absurd combo, do upwards of 270… it is a nice bonus.
Finally, remember Thundurus post-rotation. I wouldn’t bet money on it becoming the new default opener for [L] decks, but I wouldn’t bet against it, either.
- Standard: 2/5
- Expanded: 3/5
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