As the Dragonite family are the Pok√©mon of the Month, an analysis on their role in the popular Pok√©mon Trading Card Game seems only appropriate.
Dragonite and its family has appeared in the TCG several times – Dragonite itself having 16 unique cards, and Dragonair/Dratini only having 14 unique cards. With the exception of Dragonite δ, Dragonite ex δ, and Dark Dragonite, this family of cards has always been Colorless. This is because in the TCG, Dragon and Flying are represented by Colorless. Despite their weakness to Ice and Rock in the video games, the Dragonite line is consistently weak to Colorless, representing Dragonite’s weakness to Dragon as well.
The Dragonite family has had above average (if not high) success competitively in the Pok√©mon Trading Card Game – Dragonite was a primary component of the Dragtrode and Metanite decks, and rose in popularity after the 2010 World Championships in SP decks.
The first combination we’ve seen Dragonite in is known as Dragtrode, which combines Dark Dragonite from EX Team Rocket Returns and Dark Electrode, from the same set. Dark Dragonite’s Dark Trance
Pok√©-Power reads as follows:
As often as you like during your turn (before your attack), you may move a Darkness Energy card attached to 1 of your Pok√©mon to another of your Pok√©mon. This power can’t be used if Dark Dragonite is affected by a Special Condition.
The second half of this pairing, Dark Electrode, also has a Pok√©-Power called Darkness Navigation, which reads:
Once during your turn (before your attack), if Dark Electrode has no Energy attached to it, you may search your deck for a Darkness or Dark Metal Energy and attach it to Dark Electrode. Shuffle your deck afterward. This power can’t be used if Dark Electrode is affected by a Special Condition.
By using Dark Electrode’s Power to attach Energy and Dark Dragonite’s Power to move Energy, players were able to attach two Energy per turn to any Pok√©mon they liked, allowing them to quickly power up Dark-type Pok√©mon. This duo was often made a trio with Rocket’s Sneasel EX, whose damage output increases with every Darkness Pok√©mon in play. With Dark Dragonite and Dark Electrode, Dark Ring was dealing at the least, 80 damage a turn, quite the feat for this point in the game.
The second Dragonite card to rise to glory is Dragonite δ, from EX Delta Species. Metagross δ, from the same set, is the “Meta” of the Metanite combination. Once again, Dragonite serves its role as a support Pok√©mon, using its Delta Charge Pok√©-Power:
Once during your turn (before your attack), you may attach a Lightning Energy card from your discard pile to 1 of your Benched Pok√©mon. This power can’t be used if Dragonite is affected by a Special Condition.
Metagross served as the primary attacker in this combination, using its Crush and Burn attack to deal loads of damage.
You may discard as many Energy cards as you like attached to your Pok√©mon in play. If you do, this attack does 30 damage plus 20 more damage for each Energy card you discarded.
Here, the combination seems rather obvious – attach Energy to Metagross, discard them to power up Crush and Burn, and use Dragonite δ to bring back the Energy, simply to repeat the combination over and over until the game is won. During its existance in Modified, Metanite was one of the, if not the, most powerful deck in the format.
Dragonite: SP Counter
While Dragonite FB (gamers might recognize this as Palmer’s Dragonite) was released in Supreme Victors (which came out August 19, 2009, in America), Dragonite FB did not rise to popularity until August 2010, at the Pok√©mon Trading Card Game World Championships. At the time, the format was overrun by SP decks, namely those using Garchomp C LV. X. The 2010 World Champion, Yuta Komatsuda, used Dragonite FB in his deck, Luxchomp of the Spirit. Dragonite FB’s attack, Mach Blow, reads as follows:
If the Defending Pok√©mon is a Pok√©mon SP, this attack’s base damage is 80 instead of 20.
This attack allows Dragonite the ability to knockout the aforementioned Garchomp in one hit, eliminating one of the fiercest attacks from the game in a simple turn. Yuta’s use of Dragonite FB began what was known as the “Garchomp War” in which Colorless attackers like Garchomp C, Dragonite FB, and Ambipom G were used to eliminate other, similar threats from the opposing fields – these wars often spelled the outcome of a game.
Aside from the frontrunner, Dragonite, Dragonair and Dratini have also gotten some competitive play over the years. Erika’s Dratini was part of a popular combination known as Barrier Swap, in which Dratini’s Poke-Power was the beginning of the combo:
Whenever an attack by a Basic Pok√©mon (including your own) does 20 or more damage to Erika’s Dratini (after applying Weakness and Resistance), reduce that damage to 10. (Any other effects of attacks still happen.) This power stops working while Erika’s Dratini is Asleep, Confused, or Paralyzed.
As this game was in a period where it took longer to get Evolved Pok√©mon into play, Erika’s Dratini absorbed the brunt of many attacks, while the player used Pok√©mon like Alakazam and Chansey from the Base Set to move the damage away from Dratini, allowing it to “infinitely” stall.
Dragonair has seen play as well, but not in a crucial member of a combination. Two of the three Dark Dragonair cards possess the Pok√©-Power Evolutionary Light. The Power allows the player to retrieve any one Evolution card from their Deck and place it into their Hand – allowing players to quickly evolve their Pok√©mon. This Power is certainly useful, and has been used as such.
All in all, Dragonite’s family has had a pretty successful run through the Trading Card Game, with possibly more to come down the line. Let’s hope that the Pok√©mon Card Laboratory continues to treat Dragonite well!