Vaporeon – SWSH
Date Reviewed: March 17, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day and no, our review subject has nothing to do with that! Instead, we have another adorable Eeveelution, completing the G1 trio: Vaporeon (SW – Black Star Promos SWSH072). As with the other members of the trio, it is a regular Pokémon: no extra Prizes when KO’d, no Rule Boxes, no altered names, no labels… just Vaporeon. Being a Water type is very useful when facing the likes Blacephalon (SM – Unbroken Bonds 32/214) or Centiskorch VMAX. It also means Frosmoth is available for Energy acceleration. As a Stage 1, Vaporeon isn’t as easy to run as a Basic, but is still quite reasonable; an extra card to hit the field and just one turn of waiting to evolve.
Vaporeon has 110 HP, enough to avoid being KO’d by weaker attacks, or those more focused on effects than damage. The majority of the time, though, Vaporeon is still going down form one hit. Especially from [L] attackers, due to the card’s Weakness. Lack of Resistance denies a single, slightly favorable match-up, but is normal. With the 110 HP, neither trait is likely to matter much. The Retreat Cost of [CC] is functionally average; high enough you’d prefer not to pay it, and will probably feel it if you do, but low enough you still can if you must. If you don’t have a better Tool, Air Balloon can zero it out, though with your HP, you probably don’t need to worry about retreating.
Vaporeon knows one Ability and one attack. “Watery Shroud” says that as long as this Pokémon is on your Bench, all damage from attacks done to it is prevented. There is even a line stating it works whether the damage comes from one of your own attacks, or from an opponent’s attack. While any Bench protection is appreciated, there is a lot this Ability won’t stop. It specifies Pokémon attacks, so it does nothing against Trainers, Energy, or even non-attack-based Pokémon effects (like Abilities). Attacks that place damage counters – as opposed to doing damage – also go through, along with any other attack effects. So Watery Shroud will protect Vaporeon from the bonus Bench damage inflicted by Pikachu & Zekrom-GX’s “Tag Bolt-GX” attack, but it won’t stop the damage counters placed by Alakazam V’s “Zen Spoon”.
Vaporeon’s lone attack is a familiar one. For [CCC], Vaporeon can use “Hydro Pump” to do 60 damage plus another 20 per [W] Energy attached to itself. 60 for three is poor, even with all Colorless requirements, but if you use pure [W] Energy, you’ll get a reasonable 120 damage. The real appeal of attacks like Hydro Pump is dumping enough Energy to score a OHKO, or at least, to hit really, really hard. It is not Energy efficient; if you want to OHKO a 220 HP Basic Pokémon V, Vaporeon will need eight [W] Energy attached. They don’t have to all be basic Energy, so long as they count as [W] while attached to Vaporeon. If you want to one-shot Eternatus VMAX, it will take 11 [W] Energy attached to Vaporeon! While difficult, that is still a great option to have.
Vaporeon isn’t really much good for an Eeveelutions deck, unless the deck runs on mostly Water Energy, or Special Energy cards that count as [W] while attached. Even though the printed cost of its attack is [CCC], it may as well be [WWW]. The Ability isn’t going to help other Eeveelutions, either. Now, what about a Vaporeon deck, or a Water deck in general? You need a massive amount of Energy acceleration, and Frosmoth can supply it! Using its “Ice Dance” Ability, you can dump as many Water Energy cards from your hand, onto Vaporeon as you want… at least, while it is on your Bench. You’ll need to be able to retreat your Active, or otherwise get it out of the way so Vaporeon can attack, but that is an option.
Unfortunately, it isn’t the best option for Frosmoth. Cramorant (SW – Rebel Clash 051/192; Shiny Fates SV030/122) is another baseline Pokémon with Hydro Pump. Cramorant is also a Water type with 110 HP and [L] Weakness, but is a Basic (instead of a Stage 1), has -30 Fighting Resistance (instead of none), and a Retreat Cost of [C] (instead of [CC]). Cramorant lacks Watery Shroud, but Watery Shroud isn’t a major selling point. It is appreciated, but since it doesn’t protect anything else, your Frosmoth deck probably needs to run Mew (SM – Unbroken Bonds 76/214; SM – Black Star Promos SM215). At least, if you’re worried about Bench-hits at all.
- Standard: 1/5
- Expanded: 1/5
Cramorant means Vaporeon is almost totally worthless, but ignoring that, Vaporeon is probably the best of the three G1 Eeveelutions, and at least on par with Eevee V and Eevee VMAX. Which still isn’t a high bar to clear; Frosmoth decks aren’t tearing up the metagame, they just aren’t unknown to high level, competitive play.
Still adorable, though.
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