Hello, and welcome to some more XY reviews here on
CotD. We kick off the week with a look at
Chesnaught, the final form
of the Generation VI Grass starter
Chespin. I kind of wanted this to be good as
Chespin is the most
appealing of the three starters (I’m not that keen on
frogs and Fennekin is just
another one of those obvious Eevee/Vulpix/Zorua
things that people seem to love for whatever reason).
Unfortunately, it’s little more than a bad gimmick.
The best thing you can say about
Chesnaught is that it has 160 HP, which is big,
even for a Stage 2. Probably the worst thing you can say
about Chesnaught is that it
is a Stage
2. Instead of having the kind of awesome Ability that
would make it playable, it has the somewhat ineffective
novelty that is Spiky Shield to put three damage
counters on any Pokémon that damages it. I guess the
idea is to use this in combination with Rocky Helmet or
the Rock Guard ACE SPEC to try and punish anything that
attacks it, but Tool Scrapper is a thing, and this kind
of damage would only be worthwhile if
Chesnaught could be a real
wall and stay on the Field for long enough for the
counters to pile up.
To be fair, Chesnaught tries
to do this with the high HP and an attack which can heal
damage from itself, but I’m afraid that even 160 is well
within range of most decks nowadays, especially with
Muscle Band and Hypnotoxic
Laser in the format. It doesn’t help that Touchdown
needs four Energy either, making it very difficult to
power up. If you want Chesnaught
to attack before it gets KO’d
. . . well, good luck with that.
Slow, clunky, and lacking the big pay-off that would
justify investing in it, Chesnaught
joins the ever growing list of Stage 2s which just
aren’t competitive in our current format.
Modified: 1.5 (you could build a deck around him, but it
Limited: 2.75 (slightly better here, due to the bulk and
lower damage environment)
Chesnaught joins the ranks of other
incredibly bulky Grass Pokémon like Torterra and
Venusaur this generation, but what makes it stand out
from its fellow starter Pokémon though? For a start,
it’s the only Stage 2 out of them with 160 HP, Torterra
LV.X hits this huge number and Venusaur exceeds it with
its Mega Evolution but both of them are essentially
Stage 3 Pokémon. Combining nicely with this incredible
bulk is Touchdown, a decent 90 damage with some fairly
useful healing power, it could easily have been a bit
more for 4 Energy though but even the small heal for 20
can turn a 2 hit KO into a 3 hit KO.
Spiky Shield combines quite well with the tanking theme
of the card, the best plan will be to force your
opponent to hit it several times before they can KO it a
thus rank up lots of free residual damage. Rocky Helmet
increases the damage they receive or better still, Heavy
Charm improves Chesnaught’s longevity. I’d say don’t be
tempted to play Rock Guard Ace Spec though, it’s not
worth using your Ace Spec slot up on a card that can get
Windstormed/Tool Scrapped before it has any use.
It does have downsides of course. The obvious one being
it only has one, expensive attack. You could get around
this with Celebi EX to access its previous evolution’s
cheaper attacks or use it with some acceleration like
Sceptile (Great Encounters). It’s currently the only
useable Chasnaught available and being such a “build
around” card means a 1-1-1 line isn’t really viable.
We’ve already seen an alternate Type Greninja promo in
Japan so hopefully Chesnaught will get a good Fighting
Type version to back it up.
Out of the 3 new starter Pokémon, Chesnaught is the
least viable to slip into existing U150 decks as a 1-1-1
line, but as more cards get released for it we’ll have a
better understanding of how this new Pokémon can fit
into the game.
Rating: 2.5 (Currently lacking support in its
Evolution line, respectable 160 HP gives it potential)