pokemon-paradijs.comThis one’s a request from desufnoc, and while Victreebel is a bit of a forgotten card like most rares from Triumphant, it’s a card that I like just because of the potential it lost in messing up your opponent. It’s fun in concept, and that’s all I need if it’s been requested by somebody. Despite being forgotten, there’s a chance have loads of them sitting around useless in your binders and boxes.
Remember when the Primes from TM were the biggest thing and worth a lot more money than they are now? And when everybody needed Junk Arm and Rescue Energy? This is paired with rares like Dugtrio TM, which does 30 damage for one F Energy on a Stage 1.
This is yet another Grass-type Victreebel, so it’s not a great start since Grass isn’t a type often used. At most right now you have Vileplume and Virizion who don’t attack, Yanmega Prime which couldn’t stand on its own, and possibly Accelgor DEX which doesn’t even stay on the field. It has 110 HP, which is pretty subpar on a Stage 2 and unfortunately the current rule seems to be “at least 130 HP or it gets 1HKO’d too easily.”
It has a Fire Weakness which belongs on Grass types, but is unfortunate as Fire keeps going back and forth as a prominent type. Most Grass types have a Resistance to Water, which is a little bit irrelevant except for the occasional Kyurem NVI, Kyurem EX, and Empoleon DEX. But you know what? That Resistance wasn’t bolded.
Victreebel has no Resistance. Fraxure everything, no excuse Nintendo. I know that almost no Water types were really played at the time it was printed except the rare Blastoise UL/Floatzel UL or Kingdra Prime, but formats change and these cards with Resistances remain legal. A two Retreat Cost isn’t awful at least, because you need Victreebel to remain Active.
Poké-Body: Tangling Tendrils
BulbapediaI’ve seen enough internet to know where this is going. But on a more serious, less childhood-punching topic, this Body is cool in theory if you look at it on its own. That always goes well, right? Judging a card’s worth based on it independently? Doesn’t matter here, it’s review just about the card and it does look interesting. As long as Victreebel remains in the Active Spot, the Defending Pokémon’s Retreat Cost is two Energy higher.
Most offensive Pokémon don’t retreat so this is kind of unimportant on its own. But if you can catch a supporting Pokémon Active, such as a free retreater or Skyarrow Bridge target that they rely on, it can mess up their strategy until it faints.
How much does losing more Energy to retreat hurt a Pokémon? Well right now, the most successful Energy acceleration mostly comes from the discard. Typhlosion Prime gives you the most trouble as it can attach directly to the Active. And if a deck is using Typhlosion Prime, it’s a Fire deck, pretty much a hard counter to Victreebel. Whether or not Tyram is a dead deck is up for debate, but the current decline in favor of Eelektrik is in Victreebel’s favor.
Eelektrik NVI and Dark Patch are similar enough cards that I can put them both in one section. The engine works in that it takes a Basic Energy out of your discard and puts it directly onto one of your Benched Pokémon. This works to Victreebel’s advantage far more than Typhlosion, because while they don’t mind discarding Energy, they still can’t attach to the Active, which means attaching one Energy per turn still.
If it’s one of the few non-Energy-recovery decks, this can hurt if they need to retreat. Two extra Energy burned isn’t easy when they only have Super Rod to get the lost Energy back. The more Junk Arms they spend getting Super Rod back, the less Junk Arms they spend on Catcher and Random Receiver and other various useful Trainers.
pokemon-paradijs.comYeah, Victreebel does have an attack, but this stuff is more relevant so we’ll get to that in it a bit. These are two cards that may help out somebody relying on Dark Patch or Eelektrik, and shut down any plans you had to stall. They get the Energy out of the discard pile and onto the Bench, and drop one of these cards to send it up to the Active to retreat earlier.
It probably won’t work more than once, but it can be enough to save them. There is little you can do to prevent this (discussed below), but it’s something to keep in mind at all times. Both cards are more and more common in Eelektrik and Dark Patch decks to counter Catcher.
Free Retreaters and SAB
It’s a simple fact that almost every deck has at least one free retreater, whether it actually has a Retreat Cost of zero like Cleffa HS, or is a one-retreating Basic paired with Skyarrow Bridge like Tornadus EPO. They’re an amazing convenience when your Pokémon faints and you need something to send up when you can’t decide what attacker needs to be active, or if your Energy acceleration only attaches to the Bench.
Here’s a cool thing about Victreebel: it partially negates SAB. Basics with SAB in play have one Energy added to their Retreat Cost. Instead of reducing Raikou-EX to a Retreat Cost of zero, for example, it forces it to discard two Energy to retreat instead.
Pokémon like Smeargle UD and Cleffa HS both are sent Active to help clear a dead hand, hopefully. But when it’s done its job, you’re supposed to pull it back to the Bench without paying anything. Denying your opponent their ability to send up a Pokémon like that puts them in a hard position. If they don’t send it up then they may not get out of a bad hand. But it they do, then they can’t just pull it back immediately when they’re done.
Darkrai EX and Other Pokémon that Affect Retreat
Victreebel has a lot of reasons it isn’t used this format, no matter how fun it looks. But Darkrai EX is one of its most pressing problems. If Darkrai EX is in play, every Pokémon with a D Energy attached on that person’s field has no Retreat Cost.
This means that if the Defending Pokémon has a D Energy, Victreebel’s Tangling Tendrils is entirely negated. It doesn’t reduce its Retreat Cost to zero and add two afterward. It’s just zero. (The same applies to Yanma TM and Metagross UL. “Retreat Cost is zero” takes priority over everything.)
Dodrio UD is seen in several lower-tier decks here and there, like some hit-and-run Gothitelle builds and Chandy Beach. If Dodrio is on the Bench (only on the Bench), then the Active Pokémon’s Retreat Cost is two Energy less. It’s the exact opposite of Victreebel, but it still works to your advantage. A deck won’t take up deck and bench space for Dodrio unless it absolutely needs it. If you take away their ability to retreat, you take away their strategy.
There are other less-seen Pokémon with Abilities and Poké-Bodies that affect Retreat Cost, and I’ll go over them only to get the rules covered. The secret rare shiny legendary beasts from Call of Legends all have the Poké-Body Extreme Speed. Using Suicune CL as the example (because it has no EX yet), for every W Energy attached to it, its Retreat Cost is one Energy less. Since it has a two Retreat Cost, having two Energy on it gives it free retreat. But if it’s staring down Victreebel, it needs four Energy to give it free retreat.
These cards are a big deal in anything that deals with retreat. If your opponent has a Bench-sitter with a high Retreat Cost, Catcher it up and let it sit Active. Most Bench-sitters can’t attack, so Victreebel is safe.
Attack: Acidic Drain
pokemon-paradijs.comFinally I can answer the most important questions: Why would your opponent even want to retreat, and what does Victreebel’s attack do? If you looked at the picture of the card you already know the answer, but I’ll tell you anyway. For a fair cost of GC, the attack deals 30 damage and caused the Defending Pokémon to be Burned and Poisoned without a coin flip! And there’s more; you remove three damage counters from Victreebel as well. That’s a lot of effect for two Energy, one of which is Colorless.
When a Pokémon is affected by a Special Condition, the easiest way to remove it is by retreating. This makes Victreebel one of the lucky few Pokémon who is independently synergetic. On your own turn, you attack the Defending Pokémon for 30 damage, and then deal either 10 or 30 more between turns depending on their coin luck. The healing is a little more disappointing however, as with those Hit Points, if Victreebel isn’t 1HKO’d, the healing may not be enough to turn a 2HKO into a 3HKO.
Assuming your opponent is flipping alternating heads and tails on Burn and they don’t switch out, each of your attacks is doing an average of 70 damage and healing 30 from yourself, making a possible “2HKO” on all the big Basics if they don’t take you down first. While that attack is admittedly pretty good for GC, the damage output is rather low in the long run.
Say your opponent flips only tails and has nothing to reduce damage; in two complete rounds, you deal 180 damage. That is incredibly unlikely, so in order to KO an EX, it’s most likely going to be a 3HKO or a 4HKO.
With that prize exchange, there’s nothing scaring them into retreating and it actually benefits them to stay active, unfortunately. But if you play a deck based around a main attacker, it’s going to want support. There are a few partners that can sit on the Bench and back up Victreebel.
Roserade UL, and Amoonguss NXDHypno HS,
pokemon-paradijs.comVictreebel takes care of both marker Special Conditions, which means there’s one more we can put on it: either Paralysis, Sleep, or Confusion. Nothing inflicts Paralysis from the Bench unfortunately, but the other two are available. First up is Hypno HS. Once during your turn for each Hypno, you can flip a coin, and if you flip heads, the Defending Pokémon is Asleep.
With one Hypno, you have a 25% chance of stopping your opponent on their next turn. But this is my least recommended support by far. Not just because of the low success rate, but because a Pokémon can’t retreat while they’re Asleep. Kind of voids out Victreebel’s Power.
This leaves the other two with Confusion affliction. Roserade UL is one of my favorites with Energy Signal. It works perfectly with G Energy, which triggers the optional effect that if you attach a P Energy to Roserade, the Defending Pokémon is Poisoned. If you attach a G Energy, the Defending Pokémon is Confused. As a bonus, attaching a Rainbow Energy activates both, but we don’t need Roserade to inflict Poison at all.
Drop one G Energy on Roserade and the opponent is stuff with a potential tough choice. Retreat for lots of Energy, or risk hurting yourself. If they manage to get in a hit and not 1HKO Victreebel, you can start healing yourself and hope to last an extra hit. (As another bonus, if they pull Roserade active, it has Energy on it and can retreat, or use its attack for massive damage.)
Amoonguss NXD is the exact same as Roserade except for how its Ability, Sporeprise, activates. When you play Amoonguss from your hand to evolve, the Defending Pokémon is both Confused and Poisoned. You can repeat this Ability with Super Scoop Up or Seeker. It’s a bit less fantastic considering only half of this coming-into-play Ability is relevant, but it saves your Energy drops and is still a good pair.
pokemon-paradijs.comThis is a note on the available Grass acceleration, if you want to avoid the one-Energy-per-turn rule with Roserade. Remember that until recently, Celebi Prime was pretty useless. Why? Because Skyarrow Bridge came out to void its Retreat Cost. The last thing you want to do is play down Skyarrow Bridge for your opponent. Why? Because later on in the game, it’s more likely going to hurt you when Victreebel starts attacking.
Shaymin is a much safer bet, so that way if you need to drop an Energy onto Roserade and power up a Victreebel in the same turn, you have that bit of security.
Everything I said above about Switch? This is the absolute best prevention in every deck that uses Special Conditions. A Pokémon meant to cause Sleep or Confusion is optional, but I’d go so far as to say Vileplume is required, especially when it’s both a raised Retreat Cost and multiple Special Conditions. You need to prevent Switch, you need to prevent Catcher, you need to prevent PlusPower being used on Raikou-EX.
Just because your opponent doesn’t have access to Catcher doesn’t mean you have to lose the option. Bellsprout TM and Carnivine TM are the two most used in decks due to their attacks only costing one C Energy. The attacks are exactly the same: Pokémon Catcher. Bellsprout is the most convenient option because it’s going to evolve into Victreebel anyway.
But as a Grass deck, Vileplume can use Carnivine DEX. Lure Poison costs one G Energy and does the same thing as the other two, but it Poisons the Pokémon it drags up. Victreebel will be Poisoning it all the same, so that’s something to keep in mind, but it also causes an extra 20 damage if it can’t retreat in time. And a pitcher plant with a Venus fly trap, isn’t it perfect?
guardian.co.ukThis picture of Victreebel has a pose that’s amazing fun to draw, since it’s made almost entirely made of long, curvy lines. The shading is splotchy and textured, making it interesting to look at. As for the background, it’s pretty, dark, and contrasts nicely. But it looks like Victreebel is just floating in space, and the bright color of the Leaf Stone in the corner is distracting. A good Victreebel on its own but could benefit from a change in scenery.
The card has a lot of potential if not for the fact that a Stage 2 takes either time or Rare Candy to get out, and it has an HP count beaten by too many Basics. Losing Energy is annoying. Special Conditions are annoying. Being unable to retreat is deadly right now. This card could almost rank a 7/10 if it were more suited to the format.
But due to SAB, Energy acceleration, the trouble with Stage 2s, and its horrendous HP, I can’t rate it higher then 4/10. (In fact, it’s probably lower, but I like Grass types, I like Poison types, I like Special Condition decks, and this card is just a lot of fun when in a league format.)