– Burning Shadows
October 20, 2017
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Sometimes you just need one attack that has a low Energy cost and the potential for a lot of damage to be looked at, and Weavile certainly has that much down! Slash is boring, it’s 2-for-70 which is great for a vanilla move, but it’s still boring.
The attack that would excite you with Weavile is the RULE OF EVIL!!!!! As a general rule of thumb, you don’t have to shout out the RULE OF EVIL!!!!! every time you see it, that’s just not necessary. All you need to know is that this attack costs 1 Energy of any kind, so hey, a possible tech option in many decks! So what does it do? Well, it offers up 60 damage to each Pokemon that has an Ability – both for your opponent, and for your own.
Now on the one hand, it’s not hard to play around this. You run few if any Pokemon with an Ability and just Rule of Evil your way to victory! It could stack up damage such that in 2-3 turns, you’ve KO’d most of their Pokemon, with a 4th KOing even more! That’s…well, that’s a long time, and being a 90 HP Stage 1 means that Weavile shouldn’t last that long.
That’s one problem to come up with. The other big problem though is, just how many decks run Pokemon with Abilities? Obviously Volcanion-EX (STS) is still an ever-present danger in Standard, but outside of that, there’s…well, Gardevoir-GX, but you’re not KOing that with just Rule of Evil, that would take way too long. It can get around Alolan Ninetales’s Luminous Barrier, at least, but that’s not really saying much. Overall, there aren’t as many Abilities being used as you might imagine.
Needless to say that while it affects a few Pokemon in the game currently, I don’t think Rule of Evil is all that and a bag of chips, if ya know what I’m saying. It’s powerful against the right group, but on its own, it’s not gonna take games. That said, it is arguably one of, if not the most powerful spread attack in the game currently, so that may be to your liking.
But then again, I ain’t the one considering the “Rule of Evil” to be my go-to rule.
Standard: 2/5 (that joke where you might be a bad person)
Expanded: 2.5/5 (cause you like the “Rule of Evil” or something)
Limited: 3.5/5 (…yeah, it’s not that well thought-out for me either)
Arora Notealus: EEEEEEEEEEEEEEVIIIILLLLLLLLLLLLL!!! Okay, obligatory Spongebob reference aside, Weavile’s interesting enough, but I think he’s gonna be more meta-dependent than anything right now, and right now the biggest Ability wielder is a powerful deck archetype that won’t need much to one-shot Weavile. It’s hard to say if he’ll be useful or not with that in mind.
Weekend Thought: Think these cards have a place in decks today? Would you run any of them in your own? What combinations can you think of with these cards? Is there a benefit to getting hit with Rule of Evil, for instance? Are you debating whether Crystal Edge is a better ACE SPEC than Computer Search? You might be, I dunno.
Weavile (Burning Shadows, 86/147), a ninety HP Dark type Stage 1 Pokemon, scampers into the meta from the Burning Shadows expansion set. Weavile has an extremely interesting attack: Rule of Evil. Besides having a really cool name, it has the potential to do a TON of damage. Rule of Evil does sixty damage to every Pokemon on the board that has an ability. This includes your Pokemon as well as your opponent’s. Obviously, we have Mr. Mime (Breakthrough, 97/162) to protect your bench from this, or (my preference) you can simply not run any Pokemon with abilities in a deck with Weavile.
And you can run Weavile in virtually any deck – Rule of Evil costs only a single Colorless energy! It is a Stage 1 Pokemon, but IMO being a single attachment attacker is a HUGE advantage in today’s game and far outweighs a single evolutionary stage. Moreover, virtually every deck now runs at least one Pokemon with an ability – 91% of decks that I’ve faced this month put at least one Pokemon with an ability down on the board.
So think about it: Rule of Evil does a whopping SIXTY damage – that means you three shot Tapu Lele GX (Guardians Rising, 60/145) and two shot Octillery (Breakthrough, 33/162) and Oranguru (Sun & Moon, 113/149). While three shotting a single Pokemon doesn’t initially seem impressive, if you think about it, if your opponent has two Leles and an Oranguru on the bench, Rule of Evil takes five prize cards after three attacks. If you can get off three Rule of Evils, you have pretty much sewn up the game.
And it’s a single energy attachment, Stage 1 Pokemon – it’s very easy to get these guys out with Nest Balls (Sun & Moon, 123/149) and evolve them with Evosoda (XY, 116/146). Getting off three Rule of Evils usually isn’t a problem – the flaw with Weavile is that if your opponent can see it coming, they usually just won’t bench any Pokemon with abilities. Sometimes they can’t help it – this card does extremely well against Metagross GX (Guardians Rising, 85/145) and Volcanion EX (Steam Siege, 26/114), especially if you can use Guzma (Burning Shadows, 143/147) or Pokemon Catcher (Sun & Moon, 126/149) to strand a heavy retreat, non-attacking Pokemon in the active position (BTW Counter Catcher (Crimson Invasion) is going to be HUGE in spread decks). But the general rule of thumb with Weavile is that (if possible) you want to hold off benching it for a turn or two until your opponent has played a couple of Pokemon with abilities and then drop Sneasel (Burning Shadows, 85/147) down on your bench.
So what do we play with Weavile? Obviously, we know it can’t stand by itself as an attacker, it’s going to need some sort of support. I’ve seen a number of different pairings:
I have been trying lately to work it with Yveltal Break (Steam Siege, 66/114). I’ve had some success with this pairing, but it’s still a work in process. It’s another one of those that feels like it should be having more success than it actually is.
Standard: 3 out of 5
Weavile is a Pokemon that I’m still working on – I haven’t yet figured out exactly what the perfect decklist is for it. I’ve gone 13 W 18 L with the Promo Koko / Meowstic pairing, which I feel is the best match. I haven’t used Necrozma GX and Noivern GX because 1) they are two prize Pokemon and 2) they take a lot of energy to power up (although Counter Energy (Crimson Invasion) might help with that). Weavile, Promo Koko, and Meowstic are all single attachment attackers. I’ve gone 8 W 8 L with Yveltal Break, but I just started working that angle this week. And it might just be that this will have to wait until Crimson Invasion for Counter Catcher – then this deck might really take off. It’s pretty awesome to park one of your opponent’s heavy Pokemon in the active and just reign down Rule of Evils for a couple of consecutive turns.
Weavile may seem hard to be put into play, but by looking at it, it has a great attack backed with a free retreat cost. Rule of Evil costs C and does 60 damage to ALL Pokemon with Abilities! We now present a dilemma for the opponent as to either shutting down their abilities with Garbodor or to punish them for damage with Weavile. 60 damage may not look much for some Pokémon seen competitively, but if left unattended, the damage will eventually wipe out most of them.
4HKO or more:
Decidueye-GX, Metagross-GX, Solgaleo-GX, Lunala-GX, Gumshoos-GX, Gardevoir-GX, and other Stage 2 GX with abilities.
Greninja BREAK, Trevenant BREAK, Delphox BREAK, Dark Cloak Darkrai-EX, Volcanion-EX, Aegislash-EX, Hoopa-EX, Tapu Lele-GX, Marshadow-GX and more.
Shaymin-EX, Jirachi-EX, Vaporeon, Flareon, Jolteon, Octillery, and others.
For the most part, it’ll take about four turns to wipe out your opponent’s Pokemon with abilities, making their setup nonexistent. At the end of the day, I wouldn’t rely on Rule of Evil alone to carry through the deck, since there are Pokemon without abilities that are very good attackers. Also, if you have Pokemon with abilities, they’ll have a hard time staying here with Weavile in front. And finally, Pokemon whose abilities prevent bench damage limits the effectiveness of that attack.
Expanded: 3.1/5 (Wide Lens can prey on weakness on Benched Pokemon)
Limited: 3.5/5 (Slash doing 70 for DC is good value)
We close the week with Weavile (SM: Burning Shadows 86/147), a Stage 1 Darkness-Type Pokémon with 90 HP, Fighting Weakness, Psychic Resistance, free Retreat Cost, and two attacks. First up is “Rule of Evil” for [C], which hits every Pokémon in play with an Ability for 60 damage. Not just one of your opponent’s, not just all of your opponent’s, but each of your opponent’s and your own for 60 damage. For [DC], Weavile can use “Slash” to do 70. I haven’t had a chance to test this out myself, but I’ve been hearing a decent amount of buzz around the card and have encountered it a few times on the PTCGO, in the hands of players trying to make it competitive.
In a format where Stage 2 Pokémon are starting to see play again, even as attackers, being a Stage 1 still isn’t the best but it is reasonably good. Being a Darkness-Type is great in Expanded and okay in Standard; Weakness/Resistance isn’t likely to favor you, but the Darkness-Type has some great members and pieces of support, though the best of it is Expanded-only. 90 HP might survive a hit if your opponent’s hand/field are poor or they are attacking Weavile while it is Benched, but most of the time it is a OHKO. At least it is big enough to survive some of the effects that damage you when you attack your opponent’s Active and small enough to make use of Level Ball in the Expanded Format. The HP also makes the Fighting Weakness and Psychic Resistance matter under uncommon circumstances, for better or worse. That free Retreat is perfect, though, and a blessing for the card.
Moving onto the card’s effects, we’ll start with Slash because it is so simple; 70 for two (even [DC]) is good, less so on something that won’t likely survive to attack again. For Weavile, it becomes a solid backup attack; rarely more, sometimes much less. Rule of Evil is what gives the card depth, but it is a fickle mistress. Only a free attack is easier to use, so nearly any deck that can make room for a Stage 1 could technically include Weavile. Why “technically”? For the same reason that 60-for-[C] is technically great but in terms of practical application, it can fall far short. Rule of Evil won’t hit every Pokémon in play, just those with Abilities. Abilities are commonly used, but not everyone deck needs them continuously; there is a real chance your opponent will see Sneasel and adjust how he or she plays. This can be good if it slows them down, but bad if you were counting on that spread damage. 60 damage will rarely one-shot anything, so Rule of Evil and the damage it causes will require combos to make them worthwhile. Which still carries the risk your opponent can deal with the damage before you can capitalize upon it.
The attack also hits your own side of the field, so your own Pokémon with Abilities are in danger; scoring an eventual 3HKO against an opponent’s Tapu Lele-GX is less rewarding when you slammed your own as well. Pokémon has a habit of creating Ability countering effects that don’t just stop Abilities from working, but cause the game to treat cards as if they had no Abilities! Alolan Muk, Garbodor (XY: BREAKpoint 57/122), Greninja BREAK, and Silent Lab all work in this manner, and thus will prevent Rule of Evil from damaging some or all Pokémon with Abilities.
If I sound like I am being hard on Weavile, I am… but that doesn’t mean I think it lacks potential. We are seeing people use it, taking advantage of the Ability-saturated metagame. Use it to allow a follow-up attacker that doesn’t quite hit OHKO levels to do just that. Use it with other spread attackers and/or something that can manipulate damage counters on your opponent’s side of the field. The former help when your opponent really is running light on Abilities or has one of the many effects that can block damage done to Benched Pokémon. Mass Devolution can also prove helpful, as a 250 HP Stage 2 Pokémon-GX is reduced to a 60 HP Basic or 90 HP Stage 1. The big thing to remember is you’ve got to plan ahead, and sometimes your opponent’s decks just won’t cooperate.
Weavile shows promise, enough promise I’m giving it a solid three-out-of-five in both Standard and Expanded, but a lot can go wrong. I’m warning you now, I feel I’m being generous because this tactic hasn’t worked for a good while in the TCG. Older cards with similar attacks have worked, but I’m going back over 10 years to find them. For Limited Format play, it is a bit small, but so is much what you’ll face. Not a must run, as Rule of Evil can backfire horribly or not bother your opponent at all, but Slash suddenly becomes a better attack.
Yes, we are still looking at SM: Burning Shadows cards that failed to make the site’s top 10, failed to make any individual reviewer’s top 10, but made the Top 24 list of 21times or my own Top 25. Weavile showed up as 21times’ 20th place pick, but didn’t quite make my own list. It has accomplished enough I wish I had included it.