– Unbroken Bonds #132/236
August 19, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Well, I hope everyone had a great time in 2019 World Championships. Lots of intense battles, I guess, as well as couple card previews for the upcoming generation. I noticed that there are a couple streamers in YouTube that features that three day event, so it’s not a total loss if I didn’t get to see them. The preview featured Pokémon V versions of Sword & Shield Legendary Pokémon as well as a mysterious card that only showed the HP, which can be high as 330 (Yikes)! But after everything was done, and we’re back to reviewing cards like we always do.
Weavile-GX is a card that I could’ve considered it to be one of the Top X cards of Unified Minds. That’s mostly because of what it can do for others, and two of its effect text reflects that. It’s Shadow Connection ability lets you move basic Dark energies around. I also realized that Weavile isn’t the only one with an energy transfer ability; Lunala-GX has it as well via Psychic Transfer (and yes, that card got reprinted as a Gold Secret Rare in Ultra Prism, so you can still use older copies from Sun & Moon). Anyhow, this is a good ability to have, and it was paired with Max Potion to heal all damage without the discard penalty (because there’s no energy attached), and move those energies back to the Pokémon that was healed. Except now Max Potion is no longer in Standard. While moving Dark energies seems fun and all, you have to have energies in the board. Incineroar-GX from Team Up can do that. Each Incineroar fetches itself 3 dark energies, so the more you have in play, the more energies you have. With however many energies on the board, you can proceed to blast the Defending Pokémon with Dark Pulse from ZoroNinja or make SableTar mill the top 15 cards of your opponent’s deck if you have TEN energies attached to them!
Claw Slash does 130 damage for DDC and no additional effect. As this is the only repeatable attack that Weavile can use, there are better attackers out there. Since we now know that HP scores from Pokémon V can rise as high as 330, this attack falls way short of 2HKOs, and the threshold for 2HKOs is now 170 or above (and Choice Band doesn’t grant the damage boost from that new mechanic)! Finally, it’s Nocturnal Maneuvers costs C and lets you completely load up your Basic Pokémon to your Bench, no questions asked. One of the best GX attacks out there, it helps set up quickly while thinning your deck. Overall, Weavile is a good GX card, and as long as it got the partners being able to benefit from this ability, you could potentially build a deck centering energy transfer strategies!
Standard: 4/5 (Dark toolbox has been emerged!)
Expanded: 4.25/5 (Greatly outclasses Hydreigon DRX 97 in that department due to being efficient as a Stage 1 as opposed to Stage 2. Dark Patch brings more dark energies on the board. And Max Potion is still there to pull off this trick. Just watch out for ability denial.)
Limited: 4.5/5 (A decent attacker for what’s it worth in this format.)
So we’ve got a few cards this week that showed a lot of promise, and we’ve got a few cards this week that ended up seeing some play at World’s this past weekend. Let’s take a look at the powerhouse potentials on the horizon!
Weavile-GX is a Stage 1 Darkness Pokemon-GX, 200 HP, with a Fighting Weakness, a Psychic Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of 1. Shadow Connection basically lets you play musical chairs with all the Darkness Energy in play, moving it around from one Pokemon to the next to the next to the next until either the music stops or the judge calls you out for slow play. Claw Slash is a 3-for-130 move that both claws AND slashes! I’m not sure how that’s particularly useful in a paper card environment, since your cards can neither claw nor slash, but this one says it can, so you might just destroy the table you’re at. Might not be the best thing to use. Finally, Nocturnal Maneuvers GX costs only 1 Energy of any color and lets you play any number of Basic Pokemon onto your Bench straight from your deck, and yes that can include Basic Pokemon-EX/GX.
So aside from being yet another useful tool in the Dark Toolbox that is Expanded, Weavile-GX shows a lot of potential in Standard. Abilities similar to Shadow Connection have historically seen a lot of play, and as long as you don’t require the GX Attack of other Pokemon in your deck, Nocturnal Maneuvers GX allows for some amazing set-up. Claw Slash is probably the most underwhelming part of this card, and even then it’s a solid 2HKO on most Pokemon, some Tag Team-GX excluded. Really, I should think there’s hardly going to be a Dark deck in Standard that doesn’t run him!
There’s only so many benefits in Standard that the Ability can do, though. With no Max Potion in Standard (the last legal copy just rotated out with Guardians Rising, if you hadn’t noticed), the ability to move around Energy freely primarily consists of moving it towards another Pokemon for a powerful attack of sorts. Or at least to save the Energy from being outright discarded. It’s possible to see Max Potion at some point in the near future, assuming its classic pattern of showing up in the set after that generation’s Base Set continues, but for the foreseeable future, you’re gonna stick to moving stuff around without a Max Potion for purpose.
Weavile-GX will definitely see a lot of play during its lifetime though, that much you can be sure of. An Ability like that historically has been popular, and it has also been competitive! So it would probably be more surprising if we didn’t see Weavile-GX hit the scene. Maybe it won’t right away, but then again it’s hard to ignore something that can load up your Bench with Basic Pokemon-GX for virtually no cost. That does include Tag Team-GX, as a reminder.
Standard: 3.5/5 (I think Weavile-GX is looking pretty solid)
Expanded: 3/5 (between a great set-up GX Attack and a powerful Ability, it’d be hard to imagine him not seeing any play)
Limited: 4/5 (Energy moving does help Weavile-GX fuel himself up faster, but it also helps power other things up as well!)
Arora Notealus: Weavile’s getting a pretty good card this time around. I remember seeing the last Weavile card and seeing potential in it, but it didn’t really do all that much. The format never was right for it. But this Weavile not only has more relevant moves, but they also aren’t as dependent on the opponent’s deck, meaning Weavile can be more widespread throughout all the other Dark decks.
Next Time: Looks like we’re back to turning up the heat again!
Welcome to our Post-Worlds Week, where we look at some of the cards that showed up at the 2019 World Championships. Unless we already reviewed them, or they’re not obvious from what little information we had about the actual lists; we’re not re-reviewing anything, and I’ve proven many times I can’t see the future. Most of these cards were already on the shortlist for Card of the Days anyway, as they were runners-up from our SM – Unified Minds countdown. In fact, because we couldn’t wait for the final results, Weavile-GX (SM – Unified Minds 132/236) was actually scheduled before Worlds even started… did we get lucky, or will I be explaining how this card not only was a runner-up, but fooled me into thinking it would have a presence at Worlds?
Weavile-GX is most notable for its “Shadow Connection” Ability, which lets you move a basic [D] Energy card among your Pokémon, from one to another a single unit at a time. Sometimes effects like this are amazing, sometimes they are duds. Only working with basic [D] Energy cards hurts, but the real pain comes from our cardpool as we no longer have Acerola or Max Potion, though Super Scoop Up is still a thing. It also helps that Weavile-GX is a Stage 1; while not as fast or space-friendly as a Basic, even four slots is enough for a 2-2 line. You do need to remember that this is a Pokémon-GX, though; besides giving up an extra Prize when KO’d, that means Power Plant can shut it down!
Weavile-GX has 200 HP, a little on the low side for a Stage 1 Pokémon-GX, but still serviceable. It isn’t an easy OHKO, but is a probable 2HKO and worth enough Prizes for that to be fair-to-good trade for most decks. [F] Weakness is dangerous, but perhaps not as much as I first thought; Worlds didn’t seem to have much in the way of [F] decks. It did have a strong [P] presence, considering Henry Brand took 1st Place with a Mewtwo & Mew-GX deck, and that means [P] Resistance could come in handy. So could the Retreat Cost of [C]; minimally painful if you must pay it, while Escape Board or U-Turn Board can completely zero-out the cost.
Weavile-GX has more than just an Ability, though Shadow Connection is the card’s selling point. For [DDC] it can “Claw Slash” for 130 damage, which would be fine elsewhere but isn’t really worth risking your source of Shadow Connection. Its GX-attack is “Nocturnal Maneuvers-GX” and for [C] it lets you search your deck for and directly Bench as many Basic Pokémon as you’ve got room. I don’t think this is going to be the go-to use for your GX-attack in a Weavile-GX running deck, but it ain’t a bad back-up plan for when you’re setup misfires and you’re attacking with Weavile-GX; as we just explained, it shouldn’t be attacking.
So, what should be attacking? While Weavile (SM – Ultra Prism 74/156) can share Sneasels with Weavile-GX, and it may indeed be a worthwhile inclusion into a deck running today’s card, it attacks for either [C] or [D] so it doesn’t really need Shadow Connection. What would be nice is if we had a secondary means of Energy acceleration, then some big, strong Basic Pokémon to use them. Preferably multiple options for a “toolbox” style approach and that is why Weavile-GX has revived Black Box decks… or “Dark Box” for folks that don’t like real-world references. There were only about six of them that made it to Day 2 (2 in Masters, 1 in Seniors, and 3 in Juniors) and I haven’t got lists for any of them…
…but I can name what was being hyped going into Worlds. We have a tag-team of TAG TEAMS backed by some extra Energy acceleration: Darkrai & Umbreon-GX, MegaSableye & Tyranitar-GX, and Naganadel. A second Stage 1 isn’t easy to run, but neither is it particularly difficult. We’ll hopefully be reviewing both those TAG TEAM Pokémon in a few weeks, and this review is plenty long, so I don’t wish to go into too much detail about them. Darkrai & Umbreon-GX is the “main” attacker, while MegaSableye & Tyranitar-GX step in when you’ve got enough Energy in play.
What about the Expanded Format? You’ve got more [D] using attackers to consider, you’ve got more [D] support to consider, anti-[D] effects are usually a joke, and you regain access to cards like AZ, Acerola, and Max Potion. Concern stems from additional anti-Ability effects, additional anti-Item effects, and [F] Types that are likely to wreck most (but not all) of the [D] Types you want to use. I’ve got no real data on this, though; it is all speculation on my part. Weavile-GX should be fantastic for the Limited Format; even if you lack any good [D] Type attackers, just use it to fuel [C] Energy costs on whatever you do pull.
Weavile-GX appears to be part of the competitive metagame now, though going by Worlds not a very large part. We’ll have to wait and see whether this iteration of Black Blox grows in strength, or fades away into obscurity. I lean towards the former, though I also thought the deck would have more of a presence at Worlds. Weavile-GX would have been our 12th-place pick if our SM – Unified Minds countdown had been bigger, and it actually tied with 11th-place Blizzard Town. That Stadium actually showed up in Beheeyem (SM – Unified Minds 91/236) decks, so I don’t know whether to be pleased or disappointed about how the tie-breaking dice roll went. Since I had Weavile-GX as my personal 5th-place pick, I am pretty biased in its favor.
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