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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Vikavolt
- Sun & Moon

Date Reviewed:
March 13, 2017

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.25
Expanded: 2.13
Limited: 3.67

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being horrible.  3 ... average.  5 is awesome.

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

So now we come to this new Bug/Electric Pokemon, and he's a powerhouse for sure. At least, that's what he looks like with the promo print, the regular just looks okay. 

That said, Vikavolt provides us with a unique opportunity to examine something we don't see often...if...ever. First of all, Electro Cannon is basically 4-for-150 with a discard of 3 Energy, which the last attack I remember with that kind of cost and discard was Black Kyurem-EX's Black Ballista, which was more complicated and did 200 damage to be fair, but still! I want more for my cards dang it! 

So how does he sustain that Energy amount? Black-Kyurem-EX needed some outside help, but Vikavolt has his own special Ability in the form of Strong Charge. In fact, it's not just for Vikavolt - once per turn, he can attach 2 Energy straight from your deck to any of your Pokemon in any way! That's amazing! Why doesn't he see- 

It's 1 Grass and 1 Electric. 

...wh...what? 

Yeah, of all the Type combinations, Vikavolt grabs you Electric...and Grass Energy? I mean I don't know of any decks that are Grass/Electric at the moment, props for the creativity, but what Electric deck is gonna run Grass Energy in it? And for that matter, what Grass deck is gonna run Vikavolt, let alone Electric Energy? It's a weird mixing that has potential, but the odd dual Energies it wants you to run to be successful is just so...bizarre. But it does beg these questions, and truth be told, this isn't limited in any capacity outside of what Types of Energy you retrieve. And then there's the far simpler question of, "Can Strong Charge grab just the Electric Energy if you're not running any Grass Energy and vice versa?" 

Vikavolt has the potential to be a powerful force in the game...but it might not be there until somebody figures the way to really unlock that potential. 

Rating 

Standard: 2.5/5 (it's a bit of a sleeper hit for now as a Stage 2 with a great Ability) 

Expanded: 2.5/5 (but once it hits, if it hits, it could be a potent threat) 

Limited: 4/5 (...IF it hits) 

Arora Notealus: Vikavolt is one of those Pokemon that's really great...but in the games is extremely hard to evolve. There are a few Pokemon that only evolve when leveled up in a specific location, and Vikavolt's is almost near the end of the game (read: before you beat the last trial). It's nuts! 

Next Time: Speaking of trials, who likes the captains?


Otaku

Vikavolt (Sun & Moon 52/149) is a Lightning Type, which allows it to exploit a fairly useful bit of Weakness: Lugia-EX, M Rayquaza-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 76/108, 105/108), Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108, 106/108), Yveltal-EX, and several other cards all share it and have some (if not a lot of) presence in the competitive metagame.  Lightning Resistance seems absent on newer releases, but you can still find it on some of the BW-era Fighting Types in Expanded play.  There aren’t many anti-Lightning Type effects, and usually, Type-specific counters are too narrowly focused to prove competitive anyway.  Lightning Type support could prove useful, though.  [L] Pokémon specific tricks aren’t overwhelming, but Flash Energy is handy and… actually, the rest isn’t as exclusive to the Type as it may appear.  We’ve got Rough Seas, a healing Stadium shared with the Water Type, Electrode (XY: Evolutions 40/108) can now be used to provide [LL] off Type (but with a lot of effort for the benefit), and Zebstrika (XY: BREAKpoint 49/122), with an Ability that only helps fellow Lightning Types, but a solid enough attack it mostly is used off Type.  The Lightning Energy support is most useful in Expanded play, where Eelektrik (BW: Noble Victories 40/101) and its “Dynamotor” Ability are still the driving force behind some worthwhile decks.  There are also some solid, though sometimes niche, attackers like Jolteon-EX, Raikou, and Raikou-EX.  Overall, the Lightning Type may not be the best Type, but it’s very good. 

Vikavolt is a Stage 2, and that is not good; you’ll have to invest at least three cards for it to hit the field.  There is a way to have it in play T1, but it’s costly; I’ll explain it when we look at the lower Stages.  It also puts the 150 HP into perspective; Vikavolt has is more likely to survive a hit than not, but it is far from guaranteed and you’re out at least a three card (and probably multiple turn) investment when it falls.  Its Fighting Weakness is a scary thing in either Expanded or Standard play; pretty much any attack that costs more than a single Energy is going to score a OHKO and many that do cost one Energy as well, thanks to the tendency for the Type to stack damage bonuses.  Any Resistance is appreciated, so Metal Resistance is welcome even if I’m not expecting a lot of Metal Type decks right now.  The Retreat Cost of [CCC] is chunky; pack some aids for retreating, because I’m expecting Vikavolt to be a Bench-sitter.  It has an Ability and an attack.  “Strong Charge” is the typical Ability you can use once per copy, before your attack; you may search your deck for both an [L] and [G] Energy to attach to your Pokémon as you wish.  Two Energy at a time, belonging to two different Types, and no attachment restrictions look pretty good.  “Electro Cannon” costs [LCCC], plus it discards three Energy from Vikavolt itself.  Even with Strong Charge, that’s pricey.  It does 150 damage, which is an awkward amount; 2HKOs most things no problem, but for the cost (again, even factoring in Strong Charge) I’d want at least 170 HP Basic Pokémon-EX without Fighting Fury Belt to fear it.  It is a decent enough reserve move, though.

Vikavolt Evolves from the Stage 1 Charjabug, which Evolves from the Basic Grubbin.  We only have one of each available (including Vikavolt).  Grubbin (Sun & Moon 13/149) is a Grass Type with 70 HP, Fire Weakness, no Resistance, Retreat Cost [CC], and the attack “Vice Grip” for [CC], doing 20 damage.  Not bad for a twice Evolving Basic but not good, either.  Charjabug (Sun & Moon 51/149) is a Lightning Type with 90 HP, Fighting Weakness, Metal Resistance, Retreat Cost [CCC], and two attacks.  For [LC] you can use “Shocking Jaws” to do 20 damage and flip a coin; “tails” means just that 20 damage is done, while “heads” means the opponent’s Active is also Paralyzed.  [LCC] pays for “Electric Ball”, which just does 50 damage.  This may not even be a mediocre Stage 1 form, and the worst part about it is its Typing.  With Forest of Giant Plants, Grubbin can Evolve into Charjabug immediately.  If you then follow up with a Wally, you can have a T1 Vikavolt.  As nice as Strong Charge seems, I don’t think that is worth the effort.  The thing is, in the video games, Charjabug are Bug/Lightning Types, so if it had stuck to the Type of its previous Stage, Forest of Giant Plants could have been spammed to not only get one Vikavolt into play in a single turn but multiples. 

Strong Charge got many of us excited when we first saw translations of it, based on the Japanese release of the card.  Though managing two different basic Energy cards in your deck meant you needed more room than if it just attached two of the same Type, it also allowed more versatility in what could partner with Vikavolt; attackers with [C], [G], and/or [L] can all enjoy the boost, which means a variety of Types but mostly Colorless, Grass, and Lightning Pokémon, plus a few Dragon Types.  So why isn’t this the basis of a new, top archetype?  First, there is the Stage; like I said it is both a speed and a space issue.  The next is anti-Ability effects; Hex Maniac can leave Vikavolt decks in a lurch, even if they had an otherwise effective setup.  Far worse, of course, is Garbodor (XY: BREAKpoint 57/122); still no effective Tool removal, and without Strong Charge, you’ve got a slow, Stage 2 attacker and possibly slow Basics all struggling to keep pace with the game.  Beedrill-EX could easily slip into this deck, at least.  The fact that we haven’t seen Vikavolt decks making the top cut in recent major events means the deck probably isn’t all that good for Standard or Expanded play; Expanded adds more competition as well.  Eelektrik cannot attach extra [G] Energy, but a Stage 1 is easier to play in multiples, only takes one turn to Evolve without shortcuts, and your manual Energy attachment can still be used to supply [G] Energy (or whatever other non-[L] Energy an attacker needs).  I kind-of-like Vikavolt for Limited play, except there is a decent Fighting presence to splash into most builds. 

Ratings 

Standard: 2/5 

Expanded: 1.75/5 

Limited: 3.25/5 

Summary

Vikavolt needs a [G] Type Charjabug to be released, or else folks are doing a really good job keeping it in reserve as a secret deck.  The Energy acceleration is good, but not great, and similar enough cards already present aren’t rocking the format, either.  Keep it in mind for the future; just getting to a card pool that is post-Lysandre and Garbodor should help, and we don’t even need a new Charjabug by then since Forest of Giant Plants will also be gone (and not helping other Stage 2 cards be speedy). 

I gave Vikavolt an initial grade of “B”, then “C+” because it is another card that set the hearts of my inner-Timmy and inner-Johnny aflutter.  My not-so-inner Spike awarded Vikavolt the above scores, which corresponds to a “D-”.  There is one bit of good news for proponents of Vikavolt; this is all based on Theorymon.  I haven’t had enough time to see if I even have enough copies of Vikavolt to build a deck, let alone test it myself.


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