After buying a Mysterious Treasures value pack coming with four Stormfront cards, I finally managed to get a hold of a rare card: Sceptile. It mirrors the capabilities of the old school Base Venusaur, while having some new advantages: more health, the ability to poison the opponent fairly early, and the ability to heal itself while dealing the same damage Venusaur could. The energy costs are more efficient now, as instead of the four grass energies Venusaur required, Sceptile only needs two grass energies, then any other two types of energy for its strongest attack. Even when Sceptile is facing against another Fire type capable of killing it quickly, Sceptile has one more bonus: a retreat cost of only one energy. From there it can easily swap out with another Pokemon, move all its energies to the new attacker, then let it take the blow.
Sceptile works well with high energy teams, as well as teams requiring the Pokemon to be ready to attack next turn. Let's say for example you're going to have a Fire-Grass deck where your big-hitter is Charizard Lv. 76 from the Stormfront expansion (the remake of the classic Base Charizard). Within a moment's notice you can move four grass energies onto it, then burn down the opponent, and be able to have it able to attack next turn as well.
Another example is if your opponent decides to drag in an unprepared Pokemon, not possessing any of the energies required to allow it to battle. No problem with Sceptile, simply use Energy Trans and have it strike back.
If you plan on using a low-energy deck, Sceptile can be used to conserve energies. If you're certain that your active Pokemon is going to be knocked out, and it has a decent amount of energies, you can move them onto the next Pokemon you have lined up, and get ready for the switch.
Sceptile is also capable of battling on its own, provided it's not up against Fire types (where it may face a OHKO against anything with an attack capability of 80+, due to Sceptile's +30 weakness). Unlike the Base Venusaur, Sceptile has two different attacks, Slice Drain being able to mimic the damage of SolarBeam, while at the same time healing Sceptile.
Strategies and game play:
Having the same functionality as Base Venusaur, Sceptile is capable of working its magic on the bench to keep an 'energy burner' stocked with the energies required to keep fighting. That being said, Supports allowing the player to recycle energies is also recommended. After all, you don't want to run out of energies to transfer.
Another combination can include Water types using colourless energies. Draw out the opponent's Fire types, retreat (with the help of the 1 energy requirement), then attached the necessary energies to the new attacker, and knock them out.
Combos with other cards:
Definitely anything which is powerful but having the drawback of having to discard more than one energy after its attack (for example the Charizard stated before). However because of the restriction to grass energies, it should only be coupled with something that can use them.
Ways to counteract it:
A one-hit kill should be planned ahead to deal with Sceptile. Its +30 weakness to Fire makes it hard for it to stand its ground against more powerful Fire types, and its low retreat cost means that it can easily swap with another Pokemon if it survives. Switch in with a fire type that has at least a base power of 80, then let the weakness work its magic.
- Useful attacks: Compared to Venusaur, Sceptile has a wider range of attacking capabilities, able to poison opponents with an attack power of 40 from Poison Leaf, and capable of healing 20 damage while dealing 60 damage with Slice Drain.
- Low retreat cost: useful for when you don't have many energies to spare, and you're dealing with an enemy which can drop Sceptile in one attack.
- Energy Trans: Like Venusaur, it's capable of moving energies around your team, allowing you to set up stronger Pokemon in one turn.
- Increased health: Sceptile has 10 more health than Base Venusaur
- Attack Cost: Sceptile only specifically needs 2 grass energies for one attack, and can substitute with any other two types, allowing it to be used in dual-element decks.
- Fire Weakness: With a +30 weakness to fire, a fire type with an attack of 80 or higher can easily kill it
- Strength Limit: Sceptile isn't a big hitter (as it's most powerful attack is 60), so it cant be played as such
- Poke-Power efficiency: The power only works with grass energies, so unless Sceptile is used in a deck that can make good use of grass energies, it's main ability wont be as useful
English card no.: 10/100
Japanese card no.: 005/092
Artwork and aesthetics:
I really like the pose that Suwama Chiaki (the illustrator for the card) places Sceptile in, as it makes the Pokemon look as if it's challenging it's for. It may also look as if Sceptile is aiming directly at the viewer with it's leaves, which could represent it's attacks (Poison Leaf and Slice Drain)
8 - Definitely beats out Venusaur in almost every aspect, but it's still vulnerable to fire regardless.