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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Dragonair
- Sun & Moon

Date Reviewed:
March 15, 2017

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.25
Expanded: 2.00
Limited: 3.00

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 our next card isn't the final evolution of a line, but rather the middle of the road pick. Strange, isn't it? In Stage 2 line-ups, we usually don't take a look at the Stage 1 that leads from Basic to 2, but when we do, you know it's for a good reason. 

In Dragonair's case, it's got something to do with an attack she's got...big surprise, it's not Tail Smack, the 3-for-60 horridly vanilla attack. No, the attack that draws attention is Dragon's Wish. At just one Energy, it does no damage...in fact, in the immediate use, it does nothing. No damage or effects on the opponent...note: on the opponent. 

No, this is used for your next turn, and during that turn, Dragonair's attack grants you the ability to play any and all Energies from your hand in any way you'd like. That's honestly the greatest gift a Pokemon can give you! The ability to power up all of your other Pokemon in an instant and be ready for anything!

That said, this does cost you a turn of actually attacking, and Dragonair herself only has 90 HP to work with, which is a bit below the standard for 2HKOs and puts her in the dangerous terrain of OHKOs. Timing is going to be crucial with Dragon's Wish; in the early game, it can help set you up very quickly in combination with drawing power and the like, but late game, it becomes a huge gamble to use up a turn to Wish and hope your victory will be assured on your next turn. 

...ought to make for some exciting builds in casual play! 

Rating 

Standard: 2.5/5 (it's a great attack, but I think the risk will keep people from playing it in their competitive decks) 

Expanded: 2/5 (but that said, the potential for the card to do well is there)

Limited: 3/5 (provided, of course, you're able to reap the benefits of the Wish)

Arora Notealus: Dragonair does get the benefit of having Dragonite as an evolution, and coincidentally the evolutionary line uses both Grass and Electric Energy - the two types that Vikavolt from Monday accelerates! Maybe there's a deck in-between for that? Or at the very least in Expanded with Dragonite-EX - Busting In to instantly power up Jet Sonic and lay the smackdown! If only he'd come out sooner, that Vikavolt... 

Next Time: This card is a blast from the past...of not that long ago?


21times

How would you like to attach 6, 7, 8, or even more energy … in one single turn?

Meet Dragonair (Sun & Moon, 95/149), an extremely common stage 1 Pokemon.  I have 17 of them on my PTCGO account.  It has 90 HP (which is great because it can be pulled with Level Ball (Ancient Origins, 76/98)), and it is a Dragon type Pokemon.  This card’s most important feature – the attack Dragon’s Wish - allows you to attach as many Energy cards from your hand to your Pokemon as you would like.  In my experience with Dragonair, as mentioned above, I frequently attach multiple Energy cards in one turn.  Including Double Dragon or Double Colorless Energy, you can realistically have 10 or more energy on your board before you go to attack on turn 3.  It is a surreal (and undoubtedly intimidating) feeling to place several Energy cards on your Pokemon in one turn, and it can definitely turn the game in your favor.

Cards which complement Dragonair include but are not limited to: Shaymin-EX (Roaring Skies, 77/108), Energy Retrieval (Sun & Moon, 116/149), Professor’s Letter (Breakthrough, 146/162), Fisherman (Breakthrough, 136/162), Professor Sycamore (Steam Siege, 114/114), and Float Stone (Breakthrough, 137/162).  I would not suggest Wally (Roaring Skies, 107/108).  I did not use it or get it in my hand early enough to play it in the handful of games I tried it, and it really cut down the amount of fluidity in my draw support.  I actually think I lost all but one of the 6 or 7 games I tried the deck with Wally.

The downside to Dragon’s Wish is that it can be difficult to perfectly execute.  You need to get Dratini (Sun& Moon, 94/149) out, evolve it to Dragonair, get it into the active, attach an Energy of any type, and then attack with Dragon’s Wish.  THEN you need to have energy in your hand to attach, Pokemon in play to attach them to, draw support to then reach into your deck and get more Energy cards, and probably even some of the Trainer Cards mentioned above to help facilitate getting more Energy into your hand.  You also then need a way to get Dragonair out of the active, but, after seeing you attach all of those Energy cards, your opponent is usually more than willing to help you with that.  There have been occasions when I’ve been able to use Dragon’s Wish on consecutive turns, but you can usually attach a sufficient amount of Energy in that initial turn.

Also, please realize that Dragon’s Wish is an effect of an attack – this means that if your opponent plays Pokemon Ranger (Steam Siege, 113/114) in the turn immediately after you’ve played Dragon’s Wish, you will not be able to use Dragon’s Wish to attach multiple Energy cards in your next turn.

Another side effect of using Dragon’s Wish is that it tends to thin out your deck rather quickly.  You need to think about exactly how you attach the Energy cards, as once an Energy card is attached, it cannot be easily removed.  If you put a significant amount of the Energy you have in your deck in play in one turn, you may overextend yourself and have difficulty finding Energy for Pokemon brought into play in successive turns.

In my play with Dragonair, I have had the most success pairing him with Darkrai-EX (Breakpoint, 118/122).  With Darkrai-EX, I went 37-19 (66%).  However, I had very little success in pairing Dragonair with any other Pokemon.  With Ho-Oh EX (Breakpoint, 121/122), I went 2-5.  Xerneas Break (Steam Siege, 82/114) was 2-4, and Mega Mewtwo-EX (Breakthrough, 64/162) went 2-2.  I have seen a video that pairs Dragonair successfully with the Dragon type M Rayquaza-EX (Roaring Skies, 61/108), but I have not tested this myself.  I have only faced decks using Dragonair twice - M Gardevoir-EX (Generations, RC31) and Darkrai-EX, and I beat both those decks.

Rating

Standard: 2/5 (as mentioned, I was only able to have success with Darkrai-EX, but that pairing was pretty dominant)

Summary

Pairing Dragonair with Darkrai-EX will probably win you a majority of your games.  When I first put these two together (around the 23rd of February, the weekend of Anaheim regionals), I could not find any decklists or videos using Dragonair anywhere.  I have since seen a few videos pop up with Dragonair.  None of the Darkrai-EX decks in the Top 8 at Anaheim used Dragonair, and the Darkrai-EX deck in the Top 8 at Sheffield did not use it either.  I know that a Darkrai-EX deck snuck into the Top 8 at Melbourne, but I have no idea at the time of this writing if it used Dragonair


Otaku

Today we look at Dragonair (Sun & Moon 95/149), or at least it would have been “today” if this review wasn’t going up several days late.  As I am behind, let us dive right in.  Dragonair is a Dragon Type: nothing is Dragon Resistant but only BW-era Dragon Types are Dragon Weak, and these won’t matter often because (spoiler alert) we aren’t running this card to attack for damage.  Dragon Type support will matter, but mostly just Double Dragon Energy due to the specifics of how I’ve seen this card successfully used.  Some of the other Dragon Types may matter as well, as Double Dragon Energy makes it possible to mix and match many of them, even though their Energy costs are often strikingly different.  I’d say being a Dragon Type is good for this card, possibly great (...it involves Double Dragon Energy).  Dragonair in the video games are pure Dragon Types, so it isn’t like there was a choice for the card, anyway.  Older Dragonair have been other Types, but that was because of technicalities due to the TCG that no longer apply: predating the introduction of the Dragon Type, or mechanics no longer in use.  Dragonair is an Evolving Stage 1 Pokémon.  This means it isn’t an easy fit for most decks, but it is doable.  You’ll have the option of adding in a Dragonite, its Evolved form, should it prove useful, but we really are looking at Dragonair for its own sake, which is awesome because most Evolving Stage 1 cards are filler.  I’ve been trying to explain to folks that the big issue plaguing game balance is pacing but a close second is that the competitiveness of an Evolution line rests solely on the final Stage, instead of having its worth be distributed throughout the line.  Sometimes this creates an Evolving Basic or Stage 1 that sees play without its final Stage, but that is a risk I am willing to take.  I’m not even sure if it is a risk since it might not be a bad thing. 

Dragonair has 90 HP, which is also not a bad thing, it just isn’t a good thing, either.  90 HP is a probable OHKO unless your opponent is having issues (including still setting up), which should make it bad but there are two things that offset this.  The first is that this is a pretty typical amount for an Evolving Stage 1, as well as Stage 1 Pokémon not intended to spend most of their time slugging it out in the Active position.  It isn’t much, but it means just a tiny bit less competition as there are only a few glass cannon style main attackers this small, which means players smarter, more talented, and more skilled than myself have helped us figure out how to make such a thing work in the metagame.  The second is Level Ball; I don’t know firsthand, but it might be a useful option for getting Dragonair (and Dratini) to hand, without the hefty discard cost of a card like Ultra Ball.  90 HP makes the Fairy Weakness less relevant; with 90 HP, a Fairy Type attacker must do 50, 60, 70, or 80 damage to really benefit.  Less than 50 means (at best) a 2HKO, which could matter some of the time but not often, while 90+ damage is already a OHKO, so the Weakness just provides overkill.  Lack of Resistance is typical, and even if present -20 damage against one Type isn’t likely to make a big difference.  It could have been Fire or Lightning Resistant without the video-game-to-TCG-Type-relationships clashing, but I think the developers want the lack of Fire and Lightning Resistance on modern cards to be a “thing”.  That leaves the Retreat Cost of [CC], which is also typical; you won’t always be able to manually retreat, but often enough you’ll manage it. 

Dragonair has two attacks, and the second one is pure filler, so we’re going to tackle it first.  “Tail Smack” requires [GLC] to do 60 damage; that is a poor return that requires Energy acceleration of some sort to be plausible.  Good thing we have Double Dragon Energy, as well as the first attack, “Dragon’s Wish”.  Dragon’s Wish costs just [C].  It does no damage, but places an effect on yourself, allowing you to attach as many Energy cards as you wish during your next turn.  Your opponent can get rid of this by using Pokémon Ranger; changing out your Active, KOing Dragonair, etc. won’t matter.  You don’t have to attach the Energy all at the same time, either; you can attach some, do something else, then attach some more.  This is pretty important given the brisk pace of the game; with cards like Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108, 106/108), Professor Sycamore, and several Items to streamline the process, you can drop a massive amount of Energy in a single turn.  Your active Dragonair and the Energy attached to it are forfeit, though.  Dragon’s Wish is very good, but if you don’t build your deck around it, it isn’t too likely to provide a sufficient enough return. 

Normally, I’d run through the entire Evolution line, but we’ll be looking at Dragonite (Sun & Moon 96/149) soon.  Since this is a late CotD, you may have even seen it already; I’ll cover the entire Evolution line there.  No sense hammering things out in detail here; use Dratini (Sun & Moon 94/149) and if you’re running any Standard or Expanded legal Dragonite, this Dragonair (also maybe Rare Candy).  The reason we are looking at this card separate from Dragonite is because Dragonair is already seeing success without its Stage 2 form!  Darkrai-EX (XY: BREAKpoint 74/122, 118/122) is the main beneficiary, as you can use Dragonair on your second turn, then flood your field with Energy, specifically Darkness Energy and Double Dragon Energy, to fuel your go to attack on Darkrai-EX: “Dark Pulse”.  You may still include some of the strong, Dragon Type attackers like Giratina-EX (XY: Ancient Origins 57/98, 93/98) and/or Salamence-EX (XY: Black Star Promos XY170); Benched Dragonair are too small to be a safe repository for Energy, though they are much better than having no option at all.  Xerneas BREAK and M Gardevoir-EX (XY: Primal Clash 106/160, 156/160; Generations RC31/RC32) are also possible partners, but I’ve seen fewer people using them well.  Either way, Dragonair is not the only way to play these cards; the previous iterations of the decks are still valid (or as valid as they were pre-Dragonair); this is just a new options.  As for Limited play, yeah try to work this in if you pull it.  It isn’t perfect, especially as you won’t have the supporting effects to get massive swings, nor as many Prize cards to spare (four instead of six for most forms of Limited play), but as is usually the case with Limited, when you get it to work, it’s pretty amazing. 

Ratings 

Standard: 3/5 

Expanded: 3/5 

Limited: 3.25/5 

Summary 

My firsthand experience with Dragonair is facing it, not running it, but I’ve seen it enable some impressive plays, and dealing with it well is a matter of just having your own strong setup, give or take a little luck.  Besides the decks listed above, other more Energy intensive strategies may consider it, assuming they don’t have something better.  Speaking of which, it doesn’t score higher because the currently established strategies may be better; Max Elixir and manual Energy attachments can get a lot of these decks into OHKO range pretty quick. 

When I first saw this card, I graded it as a “D+”, then as a “D-” on my second look because I misread the effect of Dragon’s Wish on that run through, and assumed I’d made the mistake the first time through.  So, thinking you had to attach the Energy when you used Dragon’s Wish, it looked much less appealing.  Its current score translates to a grade of “C”, which is pretty great for a somewhat deck specific trick on an Evolving Stage 1.  This is how more Evolving Pokémon need to be; doing something that can help their final Stage (and maybe others).


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