If you are reading this, I forgot to
write an introduction.
Giratina is a Team Plasma Pokémon,
allowing it to tap the support they have
available, which isn’t as much as I
would like but should grow with the next
set or two released outside of
Although we don’t have a “plain”
Giratina available in Modified right
now, as we have had
Giratina EX (BW: Dragons Exalted
92/124, 124/124) and that has received
some noteworthy play, I will still
address the card as
Giratina [Plasma] to help
Giratina [Plasma] is a Psychic-Type
Pokémon; Psychic is one of the few TCG
Types that currently has true Type
Unfortunately that support,
Gardevoir (BW: Next Destinies
57/99; BW: Dark Explorers
109/108) has had a hard time getting
into the competitive scene.
Shortly before BW: Plasma
Storm released, a deck using it
managed to place reasonably high in a
competitive event, but I haven’t heard
anything out of it since then.
The Psychic-Type sees a lot of Weakness
and Resistance, but it is mostly in the
form of two cards:
Mewtwo EX (BW: Next Destinies
54/99, 98/99; BW Promo BW45) and
Darkrai EX (BW: Dark Explorers
63/108, 107/108; BW Promo BW46),
The combination has chased off
most other Psychic Weak Pokémon, because
a significant chunk of those are
Mewtwo EX for double damage is
always a good thing, though.
There is one other likely source of
Resistance, but it is unsure if it will
be a lasting presence; Plasma Steel
decks built around
Klinklang (BW: Plasma Storm
90/135) are looking to be pretty popular
for at least a few weeks of competitive
tournament play, and are the kind of
deck that loves it when you forget about
it so they will never truly “go away”.
These decks are almost always
pure Metal-Type decks and almost all
Metal-Type Pokémon in the Black &
White-era are Psychic Resistant.
For the record, the same can be said of
most Darkness-Type Pokémon as well; they
also are mostly Psychic Resistant.
Fortunately Weakness functions in
a manner that it easily outweighs
Resistance on a one-to-one basis, and
Psychic Resistance isn’t common enough
to make up for that even when it is a
mainstay of two different Types.
It also helps that besides Plasma
Steel decks you will rarely find a deck
everything is Psychic Resistant and
thus it can be played around to some
I will note that Giratina in the video
games are Ghost/Dragon-Type hybrids, and
I still believe the game can handle and
is long overdue for the return of
“dual-Type” Pokémon in the TCG.
The only slightly plausible
excuse is that several other new or
revised mechanics have been implemented,
but frankly this probably should have
been part of the game since the
beginning, or close to it.
Giratina [Plasma] would be nice, but
I doubt they would have allowed it to
resemble the rest of this card.
As a Basic Pokémon,
Giratina [Plasma] enjoys a format
where Basic Pokémon are clearly dominant
and even get a few pieces of support
just for themselves, like
This is in addition to the
natural benefits Basic Pokémon enjoy
over Evolutions: they are both faster
and easier to get into play while
requiring less space to run in your
There are even incidental side
effects of those attributes, such search
effects naturally working better for
Basic Pokémon; you find one card and
Giratina [Plasma] enjoys 130 HP, the
maximum printed on a Basic Pokémon
without it being balanced out by a
detrimental gimmick, such as being a
Pokémon-EX: remember Pokémon-EX are
worth two Prizes so technically it is a
The video game version of
Giratina (Altered forme, as depicted in
the card’s art) enjoys significantly
above average HP and above average
Defense and Special Defense, so I would
say this Pokémon definitely deserves
such an HP score.
You have good odds of surviving one
attack from your opponent, “good” being
a relative term.
Right now the format has a few
decks that can OHKO anything in the
game, so obviously you are no better off
there; at best you force them to burn
more resources then normal.
Thanks to the
City Gym combo,
Giratina [Plasma] is never really
safe from most competitive decks; it
might require a large combo but a OHKO
can still be executed.
Darkness Weakness is not good, but it is
far from the worst to have right now.
The only strong and regularly
used Darkness-Type attacker is
Darkrai EX; it no longer has to rely
on combos for a OHKO which is to its
benefit but this is far better than
being vulnerable to a Type that (for
example) excels at OHKOs.
Due to the Pokémon-Types that
make up the TCG Psychic-Type and the
decision to make the Pokémon that are
also Psychic-Types in the video games
“Weak” to each other instead of
“Resistant”, being a Psychic-Type that
isn’t Psychic Weak is uncommon and
fairly handy in and of itself.
The Ghost/Dragon-Type combination
results in only four video game
Weaknesses, all at the standard damage
doubling level: Ghost, Dragon, Ice, and
Ghost and Ice are part of the
Psychic- and Water-Types in the TCG,
respectively, and at least one other
component of each of those is Resisted
by this combination, so only Dragon
Weakness would have also been
It would have been better for
Giratina [Plasma] but only by a
little, and at least for now I suspect
that Weakness to Dragon-Types in the TCG
is being reserved for cards actually
printed as Dragon-Types.
Giratina [Plasma] has no Resistance,
and again it doesn’t really harm the
card as lacking Resistance has become
the default and the nature of the
Resistance mechanic is no where near as
game-changing as Weakness, but it also
comes from a card with several plausible
In the video games, Giratina are
completely immune (that is, take no
damage from) Normal- and Fighting-Type
It should take only half damage
Fire-, Water-, Grass-, and Electric-Type
Comparing this with TCG Types, I
understand skipping out on Colorless
Resistance; that is
plus Flying and besides that being a
contradiction, the designers phased
Colorless Weakness and Resistance out of
Psychic Resistance would clash too
badly; Giratina are only immune
Poison-Types, takes normal damage from
true Psychic-Types, and should take
double damage from Ghost-Types (all that
make up the TCG Psychic-Type).
Almost as bad would be Water
Resistance, as the TCG Water-Type
includes the video game Ice-Type, which
hits for double damage in the video
That still leaves the TCG Grass-Type
(Grass and Bug), Fire-Type (same in
both), and Lightning-Type (Electric
Type) as complete matches; the last of
those would be the most useful, but any
would be an improvement and given that
Resistance is only somewhat useful it
shouldn’t “ruin” the chances of Grass-
and Fire-Type Pokémon to find a place in
A Retreat cost of three is definitely
too big to manually pay in all but a few
decks; you would need to both have the
Energy attached and be able to spare it
is quite, quite rare.
Definitely pair this card with
alternatives to manually retreating,
which most decks would want anyway given
the popularity of
Hypnotoxic Laser with
There is a definite upside to
this stat as it makes
Giratina [Plasma] a legal
Heavy Ball target.
It seems a bit odd that it has such a
score, given that it has a good Speed
Base Stat in the video games, but as it
wasn’t high enough to completely justify
a single Energy Retreat cost and two is
functionally worse than three right now,
I’ll take being big and able to access
Hex requires (PCC) and only hits for 50,
unless the Defending Pokémon is
afflicted by at least one Special
Condition, in which case it hits for an
additional 50 and thus 100 total points
of base damage.
50 is awful for this price, and
100 is a little on the good side.
Obviously if you have a deck that
can almost always guarantee a Special
Condition, you will get a good return;
if not it is terrible.
Shadow Claw requires (PPCC) and hits for
90 points of damage while discarding a
random card from your opponent’s hand.
I cannot justify spending four
Energy for less than 100 points of
damage, at least on its own.
If you can regularly trash your
opponent’s hand and have some tricks to
boost damage, you might have a nifty
The investment going into this attack
means you’ll need to strip your
opponent’s hand to as little as possible
so that the average deck requires a
lucky top-deck to mount anything beyond
the most simplistic and basic of
counterattacks, and even that will
require boosting the damage as 90 per
turn (for this price) won’t leave you
enough time to recover from a probable
deficit and build up a new lead.
So again, you will need to both
find a good way to boost your damage
output and control your opponent’s hand
The good news is that the attack costs
have some basic synergy; obviously the
first attack needs just one less Energy
so it becomes available one turn sooner,
and both can make use of all Energy
Dark Patch (though only some of it
This is due to both attacks
having (CC) as at least half of the
Unfortunately even with acceleration, it
will take some good combos to get Hex
hitting first turn, and some extreme,
complicated and/or expensive combos to
pull off an opening Shadow Claw.
While not a requirement, an
opening assault is important for many
Things don’t get much better as
the game progresses; again Hex takes
some doing but you can probably set it
up in a single turn if you’ve got some
acceleration, but Shadow Claw probably
won’t be worth the effort.
I will add that I am pleased both of
these attacks are same-name adaptations
of attacks from the video games.
Hex is pretty faithful while
Shadow Claw is a reinvention; in the
video games Hex also hits harder if the
Defending Pokémon is afflicted with a
major Status condition but Shadow Claw
is just a Darkness-Type version of
“Slash”; having a high chance of scoring
a critical hit.
Currently there is only one legal
Giratina: this one!
This isn’t even a “plain”
version, so hopefully we will see
In fact, this is a Pokémon with
two “formes” in the video games: Altered
Today’s version is the “Altered”
forme, which is actually the default to
my understanding (you must use an item
to get a Giratina in its Origin forme).
This is a format built around first turn
win decks, or at least it was the last
time I could afford to pursue it and I
haven’t seen anything that should have
changed that significantly.
Giratina [Plasma] doesn’t help that.
You could build a deck around it,
but I believe there are better cards for
exploiting Special Conditions or
discarding cards from an opponent’s
hand, so even “for fun” options are much
Hypnotoxic Laser should make it
fairly easy to trigger the effect clause
of Hex, and
Virbank City Gym can be added to
bump up the Poison damage: the combo
would result in an effective 130 damage
by the time of your opponents turn, or
230 if the Defending Pokémon is Weak or
110 if the Defending Pokémon is
This can OHKO any non-Resistant
Basic Pokémon that lacks protection (and
isn’t able to exceed the HP cap, like
Pokémon-EX), and should 2HKO anything
barring some sort of protection.
Shadow Claw can fortunately use the same
combo to up its damage, though it also
needs to be supported by other
disruption if it is meant to be used;
you’ll do 10
less points of damage with Shadow
Claw than you would with Hex since we
are explicitly combining it with Poison,
a Special Condition that triggers the
bonus damage of Hex.
A random discard from hand isn’t
going to be worth the effort of powering
a four Energy attack.
In the case of either attack, an added
bonus is that (as we are already relying
City Gym) opposing Pokémon will
suffer unless they shake it or heal
damage; pushing through means two more
rounds of Poison triggering, or an extra
60 points of damage.
decks can shake it, but it is still good
to know; you can try to target whatever
they are relying on to deal with Special
Despite being pleased with potential
performance, I believe it may be a
little too soon for this card; it needs
the rest of the Team Plasma support.
With it, several Team Plasma
decks can consider it as a decent, Basic
Pokémon attacker (that isn’t a
Without it, the main use I can
come up with for this card is in decks
Ninetales (BW: Dragons Exalted
While not a perfect Energy match,
both can use
Blend Energy GRPD and
Ninetales only has a single (R)
Energy requirement in its attack.
It also hits harder based on
Special Conditions, plus its Ability
Pokémon Catcher-like effect.
As a big, Basic Pokémon this becomes a
high priority to run.
Your deck has to be able to fit
at least a few
Psychic Energy cards in, and if you
have no possible source of Special
Conditions it would be better to fit in
Psychic Energy cards so you can rely
on Shadow Claw.
Few opposing Pokémon will be able
to match your HP score and in Limited it
is easy for good, important cards to be
stuck in hand for several turns.
In terms of Type matching you’ll have
some good odds for hitting Weakness
while few decks will have a worthwhile
attacker to hit your own; this set has
quite a few Psychic-Type Pokémon and
very few Darkness-Types.
Several of those Psychic-Type
Pokémon aren’t Psychic Weak, but they
can still fill out a deck and you should
be able to run at least a good dual-Type
Giratina [Plasma] doesn’t have
enough HP (or fast enough offensive
might) to pull off the “Basic Pokémon +
39 Energy” trick.
[Plasma] does a lot of stuff right, but
a few pieces are troubling.
In the correct deck I believe it
could do quite well in Modified, I am
just uncertain if we have that deck
available yet and the competition is
already so fierce, hence its rather
average looking score.