Venusaur & Snivy-GX
– Cosmic Eclipse
March 31, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Much like the other two cards having two starter Pokémon pair up together (Charizard & Braixen as well as Blastoise & Piplup), Venusaur & Snivy is another potential choice for Mew & Mewtwo-GX to copy or to be used on it’s own. Forest Dump does 160 damage for 4 energy, which is quite underwhelming for the cost. Solar Plant costs CCC and does 50 damage to all of your opponent’s Pokémon, and if it has CCCCC attached to it, it also heals all damage from all of your Pokémon. The only thing left to look at is the ability.
Shining Vine states that if this Pokémon is on the Active Spot, and when you attach a Grass energy to this Pokémon (pretty sure it’s strictly Venusaur & Snivy only due to the wording), then you gain the “gusting” effect. This would be a very good effect except that it is a lot of work to achieve this. You would have to attach only to this card and then what? Slowly build your way to fuel up underpowered attack? How about using that effect and then retreat/switch? It’s retreat cost of CCC makes it hard to do that, and Air Balloon doesn’t fully shave off the retreat cost; you would have to discard that grass energy you’ve just attached solely for the ability.
This ability is very useful, but the method of doing so is not practical, and I don’t think Mew & Mewtwo-GX would want to copy those attacks (maybe for Solar Plant since they cost 3 Colorless Energy).
Venusaur & Snivy (SM – Cosmic Eclipse 1/236, 210/236, 249/236; SM – Black Star Promos SM229) is most obviously a TAG TEAM Pokémon-GX. It gives up three Prizes when KO’d, can tap both Pokémon-GX and TAG TEAM support, but has to deal with counters for both Pokémon-GX and TAG TEAM Pokémon and some beneficial effects excluding it. Venusaur & Snivy-GX’s TAG TEAM status means they should have better stats and could have significantly better effects.
The duo’s [G] Typing is good, but not great. Fairy Charm [G] is a bit of a concern, [G] Resistance returning to the game is too, but only a bit. What is currently holding them back – as a Type – is that there aren’t a lot of match-ups right now where [G] Weakness really matters, nor are there any stellar bits of [G] Type support. At least, none that apply directly to Venusaur & Snivy-GX; Net Ball is handy, but not game-changing.
Venusaur & Snivy-GX has 270 HP, roughly mid-range for TAG TEAM Pokémon. This can be OHKO’d by many decks, but not easily… though being worth three Prizes also makes it worth that extra effort. [R] Weakness is typical of [G] Types, but dangerous due to how many decks still run on basic Fire Energy (and Welder). Resistance is absent; technically the worst, but also the norm. A Retreat Cost of [CCC] is a pain to pay. Adding insult to injury, though, is that it is too low for stuff like Buff Padding.
Venusaur & Snivy-GX have the Ability “Shining Vine”, the attack “Forest Dump”, and the GX-attack “Solar Plant-GX”. Shining Vine may only be used once during your turn, before you attack, and while Venusaur & Snivy-GX is Active. You also can only activate Shining Vine when you attach a [G] Energy from your hand to Venusaur & Snivey-GX. When you do, you may select one of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon and force it into their Active slot.
Forest Dump is much simpler to explain: 160 damage for [GCCC]. Not good, but not bad, either. The GX-attack is where things get a bit complicated again. [CCC] is the printed cost, and lets you do 50 damage to each of your opponent’s Pokémon. There is a secondary effect that can be accessed if you have at least two extra Energy attached to Venusaur & Snivy-GX – or the attacker, if copying – which lets you heal all damage from your own Pokémon.
Shining Vine is valuable, even though it is so cumbersome to use. Gusting effects are just that powerful. I can’t find a ruling, but I believe you can make use of Shining Vine even with any Energy that counts as [G] while in play, as opposed to just basic Grass Energy. While the wording does talk about Energy “from your hand”, that is just so you can’t use Shining Vine when attaching Energy from your deck, discard pile, etc. The Ability doesn’t actually check the Energy’s Type until it is already attached. Unless you plan on attacking with Venusaur & Snivy-GX, though, you’ll want to combo this with a switching effect.
Forest Dump is a little underwhelming because this is a TAG TEAM Pokémon, where just three Energy can do amazing things. Still, it is a mosty Colorless cost, making it a bit more flexible. Solar Plant-GX may need three or five Energy, but it can use any Type. 50 spread for three and your GX-attack is a nice as an option, but not something to build a deck around. Even with the extra Energy and the healing, you probably won’t need it most games. The Ability means you’ll want a decent amount of [G] Energy in your deck, but the attacks seem designed to work with little-to-none. Almost seems like a waste.
As with other cards we’ve looked at this week, Venusaur & Snivy-GX have already enjoyed at least a tiny bit of competitive success. At the Regional Championship in Perth, Australia. You can see the available results with lists here, but what we’re concerned with is the winning Mewtwo & Mew-GX deck. This ran purely on Special Energy, 10 of which provided [G] (and other Types) while attached. I’ve never seen the list in action, but I doubt Venusaur & Snivy-GX were here as TecH attackers or for Mewtwo & Mew-GX’s Ability to copy their attacks.
The list runs one Mallow & Lana, four Switch, and one Air Balloon, so while it would be difficult to use their Ability over and over again while attacking with something else, doing it once or twice per game seems pretty reasonable. I’ve no examples of it being used in Expanded, and I doubt it would be all that often. After all, you still have Lysandre and Guzma here, plus VS Seeker to make spamming them all the easier. Its GX-attack is actually the main reason I’d consider running it, here. With some luck, you can swat a deck like Night March, with a Bench full of smaller Pokémon.
Venusaur & Snivy-GX is not an idealcandidate for a Mulligan build in Limited Format play, but it is a good candidate. The main issue is that your least expensive attack requires three Energy and wasting your GX-attack. Your other option requires four Energy. Even if you go first, your opponent gets three attacks before you can hit back… but if they haven’t KO’d you before your next turn, you can use your GX-attack to heal Venusaur & Snivy-GX. Shining Vine can also help stall before you attack, and then just go towards controlling the board.
As has been a running theme throughout this review, Venusaur & Snivy-GX is good, but not great. In this case, it seems like one specific deck found a solid use for it, and that deck happens to be a proven variant of a highly successful metagame alumnus. Assuming our next set isn’t delayed, it will contain a Supporter that is Lysandre but with a new name, and so decks will have access to relatively easy gusting again… at which point its Standard score drops to match its Expanded score.
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