What I really like about this card is the way that the
art complements that of the Arcanine in this set by
keeping an oriental-style theme/background. It’s little
things like that that make me love this game.
Unlike yesterday’s card, Growlithe is an evolving Basic
so its playability is completely determined by the worth
of the various Arcanine’s that are floating around the
format. Unfortunately, the ones from HGSS and SV are
pretty much unplayable (especially the SV one). Arcanine
RR is half-decent, though some way short of being
competitive, while the Secret Wonders version used to
make very rare appearances as a tech in Blissey MT
decks. But let’s assume you are going with a rogue
Arcanine RR deck for some reason (maybe your league is
dominated by Grass and you don’t have Charizard AR or
Blaziken FB) . . . is this new Growlithe the one you
want to use with it?
For an evolving Basic, it has a pretty impressive 70 HP
which is offset somewhat by a retreat cost of two . . .
not a disaster, seeing as you will want to evolve it as
fast as possible. Water Weakness is predictable, but
thanks to the high HP, it can still take a hit from most
Water Pokémon on the first turn, which is the only time
it should be active.
Growlithe’s attacks are . . . to be honest, a bit
dull. For [C] Bite does 10 damage, and for [R][C][C]
Combustion does 40. If you don’t have a Call Energy to
attach, you might use Bite on the first turn of a game
because it’s better than doing nothing, but apart from
that, they are never going to be used.
So, Growlithe HGSS is a solid enough Basic to use with
Arcanine . . . capable of surviving a hit before it
evolves. Still, it isn’t going to be played at all
thanks to the existence of Growlithe RR in the format.
Like its HGSS cousin, it has 70 HP and a Retreat cost of
two, but its Weakness is +20, not x2, and more
importantly, it has a useful Energy accelerating attack
in Stoke. If you are playing Arcanine, then the
Growlithe from Rising Rivals is hands down the better
Modified: 1.5 (it’s ok, but there’s a much better
Limited: 2.25 (decent Basic that should survive long
enough to evolve)