– Unified Minds
January 15, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Whenever I think of Victini, I couldn’t agree on what some of the Pokédex entries said regarding this Pokémon. Here’s one of them: “This Pokémon brings victory. It is said that Trainers with Victini always win, regardless of the type of encounter.”. If this was true, everyone would have placed one in their decks hoping they’ll win each game…and that’s not gonna happen when rewards are extremely limited. Only one can win.
Anyhow, today’s Victini has two attacks. Flare is probably the most boring attack out there, so the bulk of this card would be Victory Sign, which costs a single Fire energy. It lets you attach two different types of basic energy cards from your deck to your Pokémon in any way you like. Not only you’re readying some of your Pokémon to attack, you also thin your deck by two cards. But even though this method of energy acceleration is stellar, Victini’s use is quite limited at best. Having an attack that cost a Fire energy instead of colorless means you have to leave room to put some Fire energies in your deck, or you won’t be able to use it at all. And because you have to attach two different basic energy types, there’s not much attackers that would benefit from Victory Sign unless you have attackers with colorless energy requirements or certain Dragon Pokémon whose part of the attack cost requires Fire energy.
Looking at applicable options, dragon types such as Reshiram & Zekrom from Cosmic Eclipse and various Rayquaza-EX cards from formats past have their attacks whose cost consists of Fire and Lightning, so maybe Victini might be useful there….only in Standard. I can see why Otaku gave it a minimal score; there’s other methods of energy acceleration that doesn’t use up your attack. With Max Elixir or N’s Resolve, you save yourself a deck space and from a unwanted knockout. Standard still has N’s Resolve but that card alone might not be enough. Victory Star might not have given you victory right away, but it’ll help you set up to win eventually.
Victini (SM – Unified Minds 26/236; SM – Black Star Promos SM225) is a [R] Type, but I don’t think that will make much difference given the rest of the card. Being a Basic is important, easy both to fit into your deck and put into play. 70 HP means it is an easy OHKO for your opponent, and might be and may be an issue when facing a serious damage spread deck. It does Victini’s Weakness largely irrelevant; attacks from [W] Types that hit for 40, 50, or 60 damage are also OHKO’s. No Resistance is typical, and even if it were present, wouldn’t make much of a difference given the HP. A Retreat Cost of [C] is good and low… and you probably won’t have to worry about it given the HP.
Victini has two attacks, both priced at [R], so as long as a deck runs on [R] Energy or packs even a few cards like Rainbow Energy, they’re easy to pay. “Victory Sign” lets you attach up to two basic Energy cards (any Typpe) from your deck to any of your Pokémon. The two basic Energy can each go to the same Pokémon, or be split between two targets. You can even get less than two basic Energy cards, for those odd moments when it would matter. The second attack, “Flare” just does 20 damage; its filler, though at least its cost is still low.
You don’t need me to tell you, but Victini is an opener. You go second, and Turn 2 (your first turn) you use Victory Sign to accelerate some Energy. It is acceptable that Victini will be quickly KO’d, maybe even desirable. This approach used to be typical of the game, many years ago when both players could attack on their first turns but other restrictions (and the cardpool) made it unwise to immediately start attacking for damage. In the present, it just isn’t all that effective; odds are low that your opponent would choose to go second after winning the coin toss, but the fastest decks start attacking for KO’s on Turn 2 or 3. So I didn’t think this Victini was likely to see competitive success.
Say it with me now: “Looks like I was wrong.” At the Kuala Lumpur Regional Championship, held back on December 21, 2019, some ADP Bird Trio decks ran three of this Victini. Their lists – you can see everything I’m looking at here, over on LimitlessTCG – only run eight Basic Pokémon, with three of them being Victini. Presumably, Victini feeds into Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX, which then uses its “Altered Creation-GX” attack to permanently up the damage (and Prizes taken) of your attacks. Either Victini or Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX can then attack to attach more Energy to Moltres & Zapdos & Articuno-GX or another Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX (whichever attacker is better suited to the current situation).
The players running these decks didn’t win the tournament, but Mohamad Syahmi Abdul Razak piloted the deck to 2nd-place, while Farhan Aziz managed 14th. I don’t know what the metagame is like for this area, but it was still out of 282 players, so yes, Victini has a legitimate use in the Standard Format. I don’t think it has the same chance in Expanded; you’d need a deck not better off with Max Elixir, Shining Mew, Volcanion (SM – Unbroken Bonds 25/214; SM – Black Star Promos SM179), Volcanion (XY – Steam Siege 25/114; XY Black Star Promos XY145), etc. There is a possible niche, though. Victini is a nice pull for the Limited Format, so long as your deck can run partially on Fire Energy.
I definitely didn’t think this Victini would be worth it, but I’ve already been proven wrong. This is niche usage exemplified, and don’t mistake this as mere quibbling on my part. If the deck doesn’t run enough basic Energy cards, Victory Sign probably isn’t worth it. If it doesn’t run enough sources of [R] Energy, Victory Sign probably isn’t worth it. If the only basic Energy is Fire Energy, then you may as well run Volcanion. People found such a deck, though, so good job, Victini.
I know technically it’s something that wouldn’t happen anyway, but Victini running across itself and bringing victory to the team it’s on always had so many logistical questions. Like who claims victory? The first person to send out Victini? The person who sends Victini out later causing a refresh? The player whose Victini doesn’t get KO’d first? How would this even work in the Pokemon universe, or is it really just a flavorful design?
Victini is a Basic Fire Pokemon, 70 HP, with a Water Weakness, no Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of 1. Flare is a 1-for-20 move that lets you toss up a small fireball above the table, signaling to others your exact location. This will make it a lot easier to find you when the subsequent fire around your table comes up, since you tossed up a small fireball that had to land eventually. For a safer attack, you can use Victory Sign, which costs the same amount and just lets you attach 2 basic Energy of different Types to Pokemon you control instead.
There aren’t a lot of decks that want to run multiple Energy Types, but the few that do tend to run Dragon-types. And Victini just so happens to fit right into a deck featuring a particularly large Dragon-Type: Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX! Mohamad actually brought ADP to Kuala Lumpur for the Regional, and he used Victini to help bring out the myriad of Energy he was running between Fire, Metal, Water, and Lightning. It’s an odd mix until you realize he also ran Moltres & Zapdos & Articuno-GX as well! In the end, Victini proved invaluable in fueling up all of Mohamad’s Pokemon, and he ended up walking away with 2nd place, falling behind Brent’s Mewtwo & Mew-GX deck.
Considering that this featured in one of the top decks of the current format, it’s pretty important to consider Victini in a lot of different contexts. Being included in a Tier 1 deck doesn’t necessarily mean this card is deserving of a top ranking, but when you consider its importance in this particular build of it, it definitely deserves a second glance.
Standard: 4/5 (though it plays an integral role in an ADP variant, it’s also a variant that runs the less popular Moltres & Zapdos & Articuno-GX)
Expanded: 4/5 (and when considering that, it becomes less of a fundamental for the archetype and more of a necessity for the variant)
Limited: 3/5 (probably not as necessary here in the smaller format)
Arora Notealus: Don’t get me wrong, Victini is great for decks running multiple Types of Energy, and ADP does run at least 2 by default. But there’s also the matter of considering that Victini itself requires Fire Energy, which is neither of the Energy Types on ADP, and running 3 different kinds of Energy is always inherently bricky. It’s one of the reasons cards like Coach Trainer and Energy Spinner were so crucial to the deck as well – getting that first Fire Energy to get Victini, well, on fire, is critical!
Next Time: A flashback to an oldie that’s getting a…newie?
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