V-Union Pokemon are the latest innovation in the Pokemon Trading Card Game. This new mechanic involves the use of four cards that form one large image of a Pokemon. The effect of seeing all four cards is quite striking on the table. But are they just an expensive gimmick? Or are these V-Union cards going to be a must-have in every deck?
As someone who owns all four currently available and has played with most of them, I weigh in on the matter in hopes of helping you make an informed purchase.
As of writing, V-Union cards are sold in collection boxes. Along with your set of four V-Union cards, you’ll get the jumbo promo of the V-Union, one Professor Burnet Trainer card, and an assortment of booster packs. While the exact packs will vary, especially if you get the Pikachu set, obtaining a set of V-Union cards isn’t necessarily something you’ll pick up impulsively.
If you do pick them up, you’re getting no shortage of eye candy. If you choose to keep them sealed for the collection, I think they make fantastic display pieces. When used in battle, I can’t get enough of how striking they look on the table. Having these four-card monstrosities burst out of the boundaries of your bench makes you feel like you mean business.
They’re also wildly powerful. Greninja can spray the entire bench with 100 damage each. Mewtwo can explode for 160 damage distributed any way you want. Pikachu can shock its foes for 150 damage while also preventing the opposing player from using item cards during their next turn. Last but not least is Zacian, whose Master Blade attack is strong enough to one-hit knockout every Pokemon currently in the game. Once they’re on the battlefield, they have the potential to shut the door on a match that’s hanging in the balance or even make a miraculous comeback.
However, taking advantage of their immense power is incredibly difficult. The fundamental challenge with V-Union Pokemon is that in order to summon them, you have to discard all four V-Union cards first. Not only will you have to remove four cards from a deck to accommodate for the V-Union pieces, you’ll also likely need to add trainer cards specifically for the purpose of discarding these cards.
One potential inclusion is the Professor Burnet card included with each V-Union set. Playing it allows you to discard two cards from your deck. If you have two Professor Burnet cards in your deck, you could discard all four pieces without ever seeing them in your hand in theory.
The reality at times is more complicated than that. Having played hundreds of games with V-Union cards, there’s a good chance that one-or-more V-Union pieces will get stuck in your prize pool. Even if you add Peonia to your deck as a means of fishing V-Union cards out of your prize pool, there’s a bigger can of worms that’s inherent to playing with V-Union cards.
Based on the current flow of the game, you won’t get many opportunities to summon a V-Union Pokemon. Between needing to discard all four cards, having space on your bench, having a way to put energy on them in a meaningful timeframe, and games being decided long before you’ve discarded all of the pieces, the stars need to align in order to create a V-Union.
Meanwhile, you’re likely adding additional cards in hopes of triggering an incredibly-rare effect in a handful of matches. When it works, it’s exhilarating. Most of the time though – even if you’ve built your deck to give yourself a better shot at making it happen – it won’t. And thus, you’re likely going to lower your overall consistency by taking out cards that will benefit you in every match for cards that might give you access to a flashy finishing move.
On top of all that, V-Union cards thus far have about the same health as a standard VMAX. They will still fall in about two hits against another VMAX and cough up three prize cards when they fall. While all V-Union cards feature the Union Gain ability, which allows them to attach two energy from the discard pile, doing so will leave you open to attack, cutting your potential lifespan even further. Of course, we can’t forget about type disadvantage either, as all V-Union Pokemon can still get dropped in one hit from an attack that has advantage over it.
V-Union cards look fantastic in any sealed collection. They’re also a ton of fun to play with. But at this stage in the game’s life, they’re not meta-defining. The stipulations around summoning a V-Union make them unwieldy in most cases, especially when there are alternative Pokemon and Trainer card combinations that will make your decks more consistent than a V-Union likely ever will.
When I’m playing in serious matches, I’ll pass on V-Union in exchange for a deck that’s easier to set up, even if the ceiling is lower. But if I’m playing for fun, I’m going to use these every chance I get.
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