At #8 in our annual Top 10 countdown, we have Spiritomb
from the Arceus set. A card that is responsible for
re-introducing something that the game hasn’t seen in a
while . . . the tournament-viable starter Pokémon.
Despite there being a number of potentially good
starters in the format (Pachirisu GE, Sableye SF, even
the old favourite Absol SW), they rarely see play
outside of a few specialised decks (for example, Sableye
SF in Gyarados). There are two main reasons for this:
firstly the format is so fast that there really isn’t
time to sit there setting up behind a starter; and
secondly Call Energy has the ability to turn any Pokémon
into a good opening play without having to dedicate
deckspace to a Pokémon that doesn’t have much use after
the first couple of turns.
Spiritomb effectively changed all of that. How? Because
it addresses those very problems just mentioned.
For a start, Spiritomb’s Keystone Seal PokeBody slows
the game down. Once neither player can use Trainers,
game speed is reduced: SP players can’t use their SP
Radars and PokeTurns, and Stage 2 decks are denied their
Rare Candies. Next, Spiritomb actually works brilliantly
in conjunction with Call Energy. A first turn Call can
then be followed by multiple use of Spiritomb’s costless
Darkness Grace attack which allows you to search your
deck for an Evolution and play it. In other words,
Spiritomb helps you to set up, while greatly hindering
your opponent’s ability to do the same.
As cards like Dialga G, Mr Mime MT, and Gardevoir SW
have shown us, any form of lock is a very powerful
weapon in the Pokémon TCG and can easily be abused.
Spiritomb already forms part of a very effective new
deck with Gliscor LV X and fits nicely into almost any
Stage 2 deck that isn’t based on outright speed. It’s a
new card, so its potential hasn’t been fully explored
yet and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it feature a lot
higher on any Top 10 list in the future.
Modified: 4.25 (hands down the best starter Pokémon in
Limited: 4 (not many Trainers to lock in limited, but
getting out the evolutions is handy)