– Sword & Shield
March 3, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
We’re reviewing Victini V (Sword & Shield 025/202), another of the new Pokémon V. More details here, but Pokémon V are the current iteration of (possibly) stronger Pokémon worth more than one Prize when KO’d. They already face some counters specific to them, and while they can’t make use of Pokémon-GX support, all those older cards balanced by working against (or not working with) Pokémon-EX/GX? They do nothing against (or work just fine for) Pokémon V!
Fire Typing is good right now; Zacian V means [R] is probably the Weakness to exploit right now. Nothing is naturally [R] Resistant, a small but welcome bonus. There are some hard counters to Fire Types; relevant here are Bronzong (SM – Team Up 101/181) or Araquanid (SM – Ultra Prism 17/156), as they each have an Ability that completely protects them from damage by attacks from [R] Types. Type support is great for Fire, though in Standard, we’re mostly talking about effects that work with basic Fire Energy, and not strictly [R] Type Pokémon.
Victini V is a Basic Pokémon, as fast, space-efficient, and reliable as it gets. Victini V can even serve as your opening Active, for better or worse. Its 190 HP is on the small side for Pokémon V, but still has a decent chance of surviving a hit. [W] Weakness is typical, and could be a problem if something like Frosmoth starts living up to the hype. Lack of Resistance is also typical, but a missed opportunity and not an actual shortcoming. A Retreat Cost of [CC] is also a common sight, low enough you can likely pay but high enough you’d prefer not to; maybe include something to help out with it, like Air Balloon.
Victini V has two attacks, the first of which is “Spreading Flames”. Priced at [C], it lets you attach up to three [R] Energy from your discard pile to Pokémon. Only basic Fire Energy cards count as [R] while in the discard pile. The wording is such you could attach fewer than three Fire Energy if you wished, and you can attach all the Energy to a single target or split it between multiple recipients. “Energy Burst” requires [RR] and does 30 damage for each Energy attached not only your Active Pokémon, but your opponent’s Active as well. The wording is such that you count units of Energy, not cards… so a Triple Acceleration Energy is good for 90 more damage, not just 30.
Spreading Flames can be a great opening move, and sometimes even lifesaver mid-game. Sometimes. Fire support involves enough discarding of Fire Energy that we’re not worried about having enough in the discard to attach. What we’re worried about is giving up an Energy attachment to fuel Spreading Flames, giving up an attack that might be doing damage to accelerate Energy, and giving up a KO since Victini V isn’t particularly durable for a two-Prize Pokémon. When Victini V can survive or you can afford your opponent taking the KO, it can leave you with a very strong field.
Energy Burst is unimpressive when its just the minimum [RR] attached to Victini V. Like the best attacks that do damage based on total Energy attached, Energy Burst is about a versatile, variable assault. It is horribly inefficient, but if loading Victini V with six, seven, or even more Energy lets you take a massive, game-winning OHKO, that’s what you do. Preferably, you’re using it to KO something laden with Energy or already injured. When that target is a TAG TEAM Pokémon, you may even come out ahead in the Prize exchange!
Honestly, I didn’t think much of Victini V when I first saw it; probably why it didn’t even come close to making my top 20 list. The Oceania International Championship – held in Melbourne, Australia – showed me. I didn’t watch much of it, but I combed through the results posted on LimitlessTCG. Victini V isn’t in every Fire deck, but the 1st, 2nd, and 7th-place decks at Melbourne were running it as a single. Even with what I saw, it was being used for Energy acceleration and for KO’s. Sometimes by Mewtwo & Mew-GX/Welder decks, sometimes by Reshiram & Charizard-GX Fire Box decks.
I hadn’t seen any nor combed through the results from the recent Regional Championship held in Colinsville, Indiana… which is my only recent data point for the Expanded Format. I have looked at what information I can find – again, using LimitlessTCG. No decks running Victini V, but second-place was a [R] Weak deck, which makes me think Victini V has a solid future here. After all, it wasn’t that long ago that we were still seeing Mewtwo & Mew-GX/Welder decks doing well here; given my lack of information, they still could be great and just had a poor showing in the top cut of this event.
Victini V is a great pull for the Limited Format, which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. A deck running it should be built around mostly or only basic Fire Energy. You can use Victini V to help setup your other attackers, or serve as you own heavy hitter; its HP should last longer here. You can even run it as your only Pokémon, though the 190 HP may not last long enough for you to take the four Prizes needed for Limited Format play.
It is not like every deck runs Victini V, nor are the decks using it overly abundant or running it maxed out. At this exact moment Victini V has so much going for it, it almost should have made our countdown. Energy-laden attackers, especially those worth multiple Prizes. Decks running on Welder. Frosmoth (or other [W] decks) failing to materialize at the competitive level. Throw in me rounding up since I’m avoiding partial points, and yeah, Victini V is currently a four-out-of-five card, even though you probably only run it as a single in some (not even all) Fire decks.
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