Welcome back to Tech of the Week! Each week we’ll be looking at at interesting cards that may be effective in the current metagame. If you missed last week’s TotW, I covered the simple Item card Potion.
For our third edition of Tech of the Week, let’s take a look at a card that doesn’t seem to get much attention, Victini EX.
What I want to focus on is Victini EX’s first attack, Turbo Energize. For just one Energy, Turbo Energize allows you to search for two Basic Energy and attach them to your Benched Pokémon. Just being able to use this attack once allows you to power practically up any Pokémon you want, no matter what type you want it to be. Without question, this is a powerful weapon that cannot be overlooked. In the past, it was used in Rayquaza/Eelektrik decks to provide some Energy acceleration for the expensive Rayquaza EX. Is there room in the current metagame for this card to be used again? We’ll get to that later.
Compared to the first attack, Intensifying Burn is pretty mediocre. Sure, you can do 100 damage to an EX, but it won’t even KO a Squirtle! For three Energy, you would hope to be able to take down a measly 60 HP Basic Pokémon, especially when you’re using an EX to do it. In most cases, you won’t want to be using this attack. But if you are facing an EX that’s weak to Fire, Intensifying Burn will score a clean one-hit KO. In particular, Genesect EX and Virizion EX are easy targets. But how can we power up Victini EX quickly enough to make it worth using? Fortunately it has its own Ace Spec card, Victory Piece.
Now there are two ways to look at Victory Piece. On one hand, it’s awesome to have a Tool that makes Victini EX’s attacks free! Any time you don’t have to use your Energy attachment to use an attack, that’s one Energy that can go towards building up a new attacker. If you use Victory Piece to Turbo Energize on the first turn, you have the potential to have three Energy on an attacker (regular attachment + the two extra). Think of how many intimidating Pokémon-EX you can have attacking on the second turn! Plus, you do have the option to use Intensifying Burn instead. On the first turn you can be hitting for 50, 100, or even 200 against things like Cobalion EX and Genesect EX! How cool is that?
On the other hand, you’re basically forced to use Victory Piece as your Ace Spec card if you want to play Victini EX. Sure, you can play a different one, but it massively weakens the power of Victini. So by using Victory Piece, you are taking away potential options like Computer Search, Dowsing Machine, etc. In addition, it is a card that can be removed by Tool Scrapper. Is there any worse feeling than having your Ace Spec Tool discarded? Furthermore, playing Victory Piece requires a high number of Skyla in order to search for it, so it dictates the way your deck is built a bit. If you’re using Victini EX, you’re kind of put on a path when it comes to your decklist; it can take up a large amount of space.
Okay, so we’ve looked at what Victini EX can do. Let’s get to the important part. Is it viable?
Probably the first thing everyone looks at is Victini EX’s low 110 HP. If you’re using the Victory Pokémon, you’re accepting how easily it can give up two prizes. To give an idea of how easy it is to KO a Victini EX, a Kyurem with a Silver Bangle can use Frost Spear for 120 damage to KO it. Darkrai EX with Dark Claw can use Night Spear for 110. Just about every attacker in the format is able to KO Victini EX with ease. Obviously this is a huge drawback that makes a lot of people dislike the card.
In order to justify Victini EX, you need to show that its positive usages can outweigh the negative of being extremely fragile. In the current metagame, the biggest threat is Kyurem, a non-EX attacker that can KO you as quickly as the first turn. Obviously this is a big problem, but it depends on the popularity of Team Plasma decks. If you can survive one or two turns with Victini EX and use Turbo Energize, I would argue that it served its purpose. Against most decks, you will have that opportunity. Even against Plasma, you’ll probably get an attack off (but there’s a chance you won’t). If your opponent does take a quick KO, keep in mind you can punish them with an N, putting them at 4 cards. Sometimes losing two early prizes isn’t as bad as it seems.
Perhaps one of the biggest selling points on Victini EX is how badly it beats down Virizion/Genesect decks. Starting on the first turn, all it takes is that Victory Piece to Intensifying Burn to KO either Virizion EX or Genesect EX. If you expect this deck to be popular, then this is an extremely strong tech. Beyond that, hitting any Pokémon-EX for 100 damage early on isn’t too shabby, but you’d rather use Turbo Energize most of the time. Still, it’s important to note that this attack is here and can be deadly in the right circumstances.
An overlooked negative aspect of Victini EX is that Tool Scrapper has become more popular. Why does that matter? Well, as we’ve covered, Victory Piece is big for the success of the little guy. Of course, it’s an Ace Spec, so you can play only one. If it gets scrapped to the discard pile, then a lot of its power is gone, and you can’t get it back (unless you have Sableye to Junk Hunt for it). Still, you’ll be able to get off one free attack with Victory Piece before it gets discarded, which is all you really need most of the time.
What are the best Pokémon to combine with Victini EX? Well, that’s the mystery. Depending on the metagame, you can use all sorts of Pokémon. If you want a quicker Darkrai deck, you can use Turbo Energize to speed up a deck that lost Energy Switch. If Darkrai is popular, there are all sorts of big Fighting Pokémon that could use some acceleration. Heck, you could even use it to power up Genesect EX! Since every type has a big Basic Pokémon to go with it, you really can adapt to the metagame; that’s what tech is all about.
So what do you think? Does Victini EX have a place in today’s game, or is it too weak? Let me know your opinions down in the comments! Thanks for reading.