November 8, 2021
Standard: See Below
Expanded: See Below
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Zacian V-Union (SW – Black Star Promos SWSH164) is the second card that makes up this multi-card Pokémon. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you probably should read this article, from the official Pokémon website. It does a great job of explaining this new mechanic. Given the scope of these cards, we’re reviewing each one in the series separately. Pokémon V-Union are made up of four separate cards, all sharing the same name, running afoul of the 4 Copy Rule. It isn’t a deal-breaker, but it means running one of each different Zacian V-Union card, and if even one of them ends up in your Prizes, the rest aren’t doing you any good. That really hurts Zacian V-Union’s reliability. It is also important to remember that Zacian V-Union is indeed the card’s full name; you can equip Zacian V-Union with Rusted Sword, but it won’t increase Zacian V-Union’s damage.
Pokémon V-Union are one of those mechanics that doubles as a Stage of Evolution. They are unusual in that you don’t put them into play from your hand. Each quarter of Zacian V-Union has a Rule Box explaining how to put it into play. You cannot play a Zacian V-Union piece from your hand. Other card effects that can put Pokémon into play, even those that let you skip lower Stages of Evolution, don’t work with V-Unions. Unless a future release changes things, the only way to put them into play is through the method found in the Rule Box on each card. Once per game, if you have all four pieces of Zacian V-Union in your discard pile and an open space on your Bench, you can assemble those four pieces into an oversized Pokémon, moving them from the discard pile to that open Bench space. You can do this even during your first turn. Better hope a piece isn’t stuck in your Prizes!
V-Unions are neither Basic, Evolution, or Evolved Pokémon; effects that work for or against Pokémon of any Stage still apply to Pokémon V-Union, but not the rest. I should stress that Pokémon V-Union are Pokémon with a Rule Box and still a form of Pokémon V. Effects that work for or against such Pokémon will still apply to Zacian V-Union, but not those restricted to a specific kind of Pokémon V (like Pokémon VMAX or the upcoming Pokémon V-Star). While it is not listed on every piece, there’s a Rule Box stating how Pokémon VMAX are worth three Prizes when KO’d. This is another similarity between VMAX and V-Union, so I’ll be hoping for a similar level of performance. Maybe even a better level, given you aren’t restricted in how many times you may put a Pokémon VMAX into play.
Zacian V-Union is a Metal type, and that’s good. The main thing is access to Metal Saucer, a great way to accelerate Energy even if each copy is a one-and-done kind of thing. The other Metal support in Standard might come in handy as well, and Expanded offers even more. The Metal typing isn’t great at exploiting Weakness, but it should still come in handy from time to time. Zacian V-Union has 320 HP; if it was a Pokémon VMAX, this would be mid-range, but it is actually the highest printed HP score we’ve seen for a V-Union so far. Fortunately, it is still difficult to OHKO outside of Weakness, and even with Weakness, it would require the attacker do at least 160 damage.
Weakness, Resistance, and Retreat Cost are not printed on today’s Zacian V-Union card, but on the next piece we’ll review. It is important to remember that only the card name, type, Stage, and Rule Box explaining how to put Zacian V-Union into play are found on each of its pieces. As such, the game will recognize these things. Zacian V-Union’s other stats and its effects don’t exist until you have assembled a Zacian V-Union in play. Being absent isn’t the same thing as being zero, however. So, for example, you cannot use Level Ball to fetch the pieces of Zacian V-Union that lack HP scores. If there was an effect that cared about a Pokémon in your deck having 320HP, that wouldn’t work for this piece of Zacian V-Union, either. Yeah, even though 320 HP is clearly printed on the card.
Peeking ahead, each piece of Zacian V-Union has one attack printed on it. Yesterday’s piece had the “Union Gain” attack, which costs [C] to use and lets you attach up to two Metal Energy cards from your discard pile to Zacian V-Union. The same attack (just with the Energy type changed) is found on each Pokémon V-Union’s first piece. It isn’t worthless, but it also isn’t very good as any turn spent powering up in this manner is a turn spent not attacking your opponent’s Pokémon for damage. Pokémon V-Union are chunky, but not enough to necessitate 3HKO’s by top attackers. Today, we add “Dance of the Crowned Sword” to repertoire. Priced at [MMC], it isn’t a budget friendly attack. It does 150 damage to the Defending Pokémon plus places an effect on it: any damage it does during your next turn is reduced by 150! Dance of the Crowned Sword is no where near a OHKO machine, and even falls a bit short of scoring reliable 2HKO’s against most Pokémon VMAX, but it still does an adequate amount of damage for the Energy invested.
What about the attack’s effect? The bad news is that shaking attack effects like this isn’t too difficult in Pokémon. Since it “rests” on the Defending Pokémon, Benching (or Evolving, when that’s an option) gets rid of it. Your opponent can just retreat or use a switching effect to bring up an alternate attacker. If they can do both, they can just bring up the same attacker, and it will no longer have been affected! There are also some card effects that can remove such effects as well. The good news is -150 is huge! While it probably will rarely work, when it does, it should often buy Zacian V-Union at least one extra turn of life. Plus, Metal types are often good at soaking damage or being healed. Thanks to Metal Saucer, powering this attack up quickly is quite plausible.
Zacian V-Union is already looking good. Not great, but good. Even in Expanded; you’ll face more counters, or other decks that can benefit from a similar setup, but Zacian V-Union seems like a reasonable inclusion in a Metal deck. Battle Compressor helps any V-Union with their speed and reliability, but I’m more looking forward to the added Metal support. Not enough to elevate its score, but enough be worth mentioning.
- Standard: 3/5
- Expanded: 3/5
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