Weavile – Ultra Prism
February 26, 2018
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Weavile (UP 74) sneaks back into the format again with a new incarnation in the Ultra Prism expansion set. In BUS, it had the attack Rule of Evil (AWESOME name) that did spread sixty damage to each Pokemon in play with an ability. In UP, its main attack Evil Admonition, does fifty damage times the number of your opponent’s Pokemon with abilities. Talk about the ultimate ability deterrent – this might be even better than Garbotoxin!
I tried the first place deck from Malmo (both 1st and 2nd in Malmo were this archetype) because it had a little more diversity than the second place list – it ran two Weavile, two Zoroark BKP, and a Break while the second place version ran only one Weavile, one Zoroark BKP, and no Break. I wrote a more detailed review about it here on PDC, but I went 12 W 8 L with the first place list. It’s super fun archetype that I’d highly recommend trying if you haven’t already. I actually think that this list can be improved on – I found several cards that saw little or even no use in the twenty matches I played with it – but when I went to revise the list, I went 7 W and 7 L. So I would recommend tracking what you play and what you might change in the list and try tweaking it for yourself and see if you can’t come up with a better revised version than mine. By all means let me know if you do!
But again a super fun list that can absolutely abuse some of the most popular archetypes in the games today. While I’m thinking about it there is one important thing to note: if you’re playing against BKP Garbodor and Garbotoxin is activated, realize that the text for Garbotoxin reads, “If this Pokémon has a Pokémon Tool card attached to it, each Pokémon in play, in each player’s hand, and in each player’s discard pile has no Abilities (except for Garbotoxin).” This means that if Garbotoxin is activated, Evil Admonition only does fifty damage. Like it, dislike it, agree, disagree, it is what it is. This means you’ll want to run at least a couple of Leaf Blowers – the problem is that Field Blower was one of the cards I played least in the first twenty matches I played (only a 12% proportional play rate – I only played it 5 times in twenty matches but carried two of them in the list).
Standard: 3.5 out of 5
Weavile had a proportional play percentage of 53% (21 plays in 20 matches) so I actually made it a 3-3 line in my revised version. I think this is a really good card, and since we’re living in an ability heavy meta right now and that isn’t going to change probably even after rotation in September, Weavile’s going to be admonishing us with his evil ways for a long time to come. I really only downgraded it because its attack does cost a Dark energy, and it’s going to get OHKO’d on the rebound by whatever attacker your opponent puts up next.
Welcome to a new week of reviews, where I try to actually do what I said I would for this year; write concise reviews instead of going into so much detail that the main points can be lost. Also because I just don’t have time to do the latter, even though I prefer that approach. This week, we’re going to continue looking at runners-up, excluding the Throwback Thursday pick. We are, however, shifting the order around again because one of those cards a few reviewers thought was good? Yeah? Turns out they were right because it did really well as the Regional Championship held in Malmö, Sweden, appearing in the decks that took 1st, 2nd, 9th, and 17th place! It also showed up in the deck of the 18th place finisher at the Collinsville, IL Regional Championship. The card in question only showed up in one of our personal top 10 lists, and it wasn’t mine. I didn’t even include it in my Top 20 list, though I thought it might have some small bit of potential. Oops. The card in question is… Weavile (SM – Ultra Prism 74/156)!
Weavile is one of our newest glass cannons because it only has 90 HP but can use its “Evil Admonition” attack to do 50 damage times the number of opposing Pokémon on the field with an Ability, for the low cost of [D]. Few decks run without Abilities right now, with Octillery (XY – BREAKthrough 33/162), Oranguru (SM – Black Star Promos SM13; Sun & Moon 113/149), and/or Tapu Lele-GX most likely on both sides of the field, regardless of the deck. Many of the top decks run heavy with Abilities as well… even though trying to counter Abilities, thanks to Pokémon like Alolan Muk and Garbodor (XY – BREAKpoint 57/122). As such, Evil Admonition is probably good for a quick 100 damage in most match-ups, with 150 still being pretty reliably… which means a Choice Band brings it up to 180, good enough to OHKO a significant chunk of the metagame. Against some decks, it should swing hard enough to OHKO even a Stage 2 Pokémon-GX. Sounds awesome… but remember its got 90 HP. If that wasn’t fragile enough, [F] Weakness means Buzzwole-GX is a big problem; “Jet Punch” needs a small buff to score a OHKO, or can fake it thanks to the attack’s Bench damage. As a Stage 1, it is slower and twice as resource intensive as your typical Basic Pokémon, but a 1-1 or 2-2 line still isn’t too difficult to work into a deck… and that is how we’re seeing it used. Most of the decks we see from the earlier mentioned Regionals ran a 2-1 Sneasel/Weavile line. The deck’s main attacker was Zoroark-GX; Weavile gave the deck a nice beatstick that only required a single Energy to build and only gave up a single Prize when KO’d.
It is possible someone might make a competitive deck that streams this Weavile, or maybe start tag-teaming it with Weavile (SM – Burning Shadows 86/147) so that you can use “Rule of Evil” for [C] to do a 60 damage spread that hits Pokémon with Abilities for 60 damage… but that hits your own Bench as well, and Tapu Koko (SM – Black Star Promos SM30, SM31) seems to already be handling damage spread in these decks. Even with these results, I am unsure about this cards future; it could be one of those cards that did well because no one was expecting it, but I think enough decks are Ability reliant that Weavile will remain an option for decks using [D] Energy. As such, I expect we’ll keep seeing in in Standard Format play, and probably see it at the next big Expanded Format event (used with Zoroark-GX). For the Limited Format, you can’t count on your opponent having anything with Abilities in play, let alone enough to score a solid hit. Its “Icy Wind” attack costs [C] and does 10 damage, plus leaves the opponent’s Active Asleep, so that works in most decks, but definitely isn’t enough to carry the card alone. If you already are running a [D] heavy deck, go for it. If you absolutely need another Stage 1 and can squeeze a few basic Darkness Energy into your deck, it isn’t the worst option. Otherwise, skip it.
So we’re taking a look at a recent card that’s surged in popularity, primarily due to its showing in a recent tournament. Hmmmmm, I wonder what could have happened to warrant this?
Weavile is a Stage 1 Dark Pokemon, 90 HP, with a Fighting Weakness, a Psychic Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of 1. He’s only got two attacks, one of which is Icy Wind, a 1-for-10 that puts the opponent to Sleep, and the other being Evil Admonition, which costs 1 Dark Energy and does 50 damage for every Pokemon with an Ability your opponent has in play.
As I recall, there are a few Pokemon decks out there running Pokemon with Abilities – including Gardevoir-GX, anything with Decidueye-GX, and Zoroark-GX, the last one being the one that Weavile partnered up with to take the tourney by storm. So it seems to me that it’s pretty obvious what the strategy was – Weavile dished out massive damage against opponents who weren’t prepared to have 100-150 damage come from nowhere, and Zoroark-GX used its own attacks to boost consistency, dish out massive damage, and every now and again steal a game with Trickster GX on an unsuspecting attacker. Needless to say, it worked…but why?
As mentioned before, the competition – it would seem – was running a lot of Pokemon with Abilities. In a similar manner to Garbodor (GRI) showing up and displaying his own power with Trashalanche, Weavile took advantage of the abundance of decks playing with Abilities and used it to capitalize on that front. And that’s pretty easy to do, when you think about it; most every deck out there is likely running Tapu Lele-GX, there are two new Eeveelution-GX with Abilities, Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX has that widely usable Invasion Ability, Magnezone helps out Metal decks immensely, and Gardevoir-GX is still something to consider – and that’s not even touching Volcanion decks, Water Toolbox, etc.
So why did Weavile not make the cut initially? How come Garbodor made the Top 10 while Weavile was stuck behind? How did Weavile even blindside everybody at the tournament? Well part of it is because this is how the game is – as new cards are introduced, new strategies come forth, and in turn some preexisting cards get better or worse. Garbodor was strong at its debut because of the abundance of Item cards in the format, but it’s been curbed because everyone ran into it so frequently that it warranted a change in deck recipes. People could get punished severely for running too many Item cards – put too many in the discard, and Garbodor goes to town on that!
Weavile similarly is in a very Ability-heavy environment, and this is why it thrives alongside Pokemon like Glaceon-GX – it takes advantage of the abundance of Abilities and turns it into an advantage. With Glaceon-GX, this is in the form of shutting down those Abilities, thus slowing the pace of different decks down, while with Weavile, it comes in the form of even greater damage. The main difference in strength between these two cards, though, is that Glaceon-GX’s own Ability expands to more areas than Weavile’s attack, covering the hand, discard pile, and field as opposed to just the field. It also has the advantage of actually stopping the Abilities from functioning, which Weavile doesn’t do on its own. If the two had ended up in the same Type, they likely would’ve have made their own deck archetype and would have seen massive wide-scale play.
As it is, Weavile’s best partner is probably Zoroark-GX, since he’s of the same Type. His Trade Ability, though, gets shut down by Glaceon-GX, which is why Weavile’s such an important Pokemon in the deck as an alternate attacker that deals more damage; if the opponent’s already played their Tapu Lele-GX before Glaceon-GX came on board, that’s 100 damage on its own! And that doesn’t include Choice Band! But that’s where the fun ends, since Weavile himself only has 90 HP, thus making it a hard pick as a counter. He’s more like a “check” to Glaceon-GX.
Keep an eye on Weavile. As the meta evolves, he may show up in more decks.
Standard: 3/5 (he’s got the moves to push forth into the meta)
Expanded: 3/5 (but keep in mind that he’s not without his own Weaknesses; he only has 90 HP)
Limited: 3.5/5 (and his damage output depends on what your opponent has played down)
Arora Notealus: I’ve mentioned before that I like cards like Garbodor and Weavile because they promote a deck building sense. You see what’s starting to form in the format, you see what shows up more often than not, and you prepare your deck accordingly! The more presence these kinds of cards have, the more decks that have to change to accommodate them! It’s a good way to shape the kinds of decks you want to see in the game.
Side Reviews: Mewtwo (SM77) – Another great example of a Pokemon with an Ability, although I can’t say I’ve heard much on the success of Mewtwo with his Pressure. Perhaps if Super Psy Bolt actually had an effect and wasn’t just a vanilla 3-for-100, it could have done more. Still, neat artwork at the least. Maybe he’ll be good with a Necrozma-GX of some sort, or the new Lunala <Prism>?
Next Time: A la moooooooooonliiiiiiiiiiiiight~
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