Today’s card is
Galvantula (BW: Plasma Storm
While it didn’t release with
another version of itself in BW:
Plasma Storm, there have been three
other versions released in the Black
& White-era, one shy of half the
Though none of have been well
known, I think that is still good enough
to be an honorary “the other”
As a Lightning-Type,
Galvantula can enjoy hitting a few
high profile Pokémon like
Tornadus EX (and the not technically
Tornadus EX [Plasma]), though it
will face Resistance on some well known
Pokémon as well, like
There is no real Lightning-Type
Eelektrik (BW: Noble Victories
40/101) supports the Energy-Type, not
the Pokémon-Type and that matters to the
Energy costs for the attacks and not the
Given the desire to hit Grass Weakness,
it is a shame this card wasn’t either
dual Typed (I know, I know, doesn’t look
like that mechanic is coming back to the
TCG anytime soon) or Grass-Type: it is a
Bug/Electric Type in the video games.
As a Stage 1 Pokémon,
Galvantula can’t hit the field (in
Modified) before a player’s second turn
and will always require twice the space
of a Basic Pokémon.
This matters because Basic
Pokémon define this format and being an
Evolution is currently a disadvantage.
80 HP is terrible for a fully Evolved
Eelektrik will be OHKOed by the vast
majority of decks.
10 more HP wouldn’t have done
much, but it would have been better and
the card still would have been a legal
Level Ball target.
What is annoying is that it is
appropriate with the current range of
TCG HP scores (30 to 300) and the video
game Base Stats for HP, Defense, and
Special Defense all being well below
It also tells us that either HP
scores across the board need to be
inflated (while damage output remains
the same), or damage needs to be dialed
I would actually approve of stat
inflation in this case, as it would
better match the source material and
provide more options for creativity in
When the source material has HP
scores with maxed out Pokémon ranging
from 1 to over 700 and the TCG has to
stick with numbers divisible by 10, you
lose a lot of leeway when designing
Pokémon to be distinct.
Fighting Weakness is a very dangerous
thing to have, and it is made worse by
one of the best attackers right now (Landorus
EX) not only being a Fighting-Type
but also being Fighting Resistant, you
know it is bad.
This also matters because while I
would normally point out Weakness won’t
matter because the average damage we see
from competitive decks will OHKO
Galvantula anyway… but
Landorus EX is one of those Pokémon
with a great single Energy attack that
is used most of the game.
80 HP won’t be OHKOed by it even
with Weakness, but any sort of combo
will seal the deal.
Now, while it is pretty obvious
“Lightning-Types are Weak to
Fighting-Types” has become a TCG
standard, it becomes a bit annoying when
you check the video games the TCG is
supposed to be approximating, and you
Galvantula is Weak to only two video
game Types, Rock and Fire.
The Rock-Type is one of the three
that makes up the TCG Fighting-Type, but
it is neutral towards Ground-Types and
has damage halving Resistance to
Fighting-Type moves in the video games
(the other two-thirds of the TCG
Wouldn’t it have been more useful and
more interesting to just give it the
other Weakness it has which lines up
No Resistance is the worst Resistance,
but it is quite common.
Again, this seems to be some sort
of design mandate as in the video games,
a Bug/Electric-Type would have
Resistance to Fighting-, Steel-, Grass-,
and Electric-Type moves.
It wouldn’t have done it much
good, but I would have liked seeing
Metal or Lightning Resistance (which
match up perfectly to their video game
In the video games, Speed is the best
stat you’ll find on a Galvantula, give
or take how it is trained and how its
Nature affects it.
It also is a Pokémon depicted as
being small, energetic, and fast moving.
As such, I am pleased to see that
Galvantula has a free Retreat Cost;
it is desperately needed (being the
card’s best Stat) and completely
Discharge can hit very hard or very
softly due to how it computes damage.
Its Energy requirement is (L),
and the attack discards all (L) Energy
attached to it as part of the effect…
which is also how damage is calculated:
30 points per (L) Energy you discarded.
If there was an easy way to
attach about six Energy to this card per
turn, it would be great.
That just isn’t happening without a
crazy, unrealistic combinations (I’ll
list them in the Combos section).
You could probably managed an
easy two to four Energy per turn, but
that just means trading two
Galvantula for the KO as it is so
fragile… or having it survive while your
support is annihilated.
This feels like an intentional
glass cannon, but it is a shame that
knowing you can’t control the damage
output directly (it is always all or
nothing) it didn’t get 40 or even 50
points of damage per Energy discarded.
Signal Beam is quite underwhelming; (CC)
to hit for 30 with Confusion for the
Defending Pokémon if you get “heads” on
a mandatory coin toss.
While technically this, the “more
expensive” attack (if we just look at
minimum Energy costs to use), it really
isn’t and the Colorless requirements
allows the card to hypothetically
It doesn’t really do enough to
prove worthwhile; they could have at
least made Confusion guaranteed.
You have the basic synergy of a one
Energy attack that can lead into a two
Energy attack, though you would be a bit
desperate to settle for discarding a
single (L) for Discharge and would need
Energy acceleration to ever get ahead
enough to use Signal Beam.
Confusion from Signal Beam can
Galvantula and buy time to build up
Discharge, and the off Energy
requirements of Signal Beam allow you to
tap most Energy acceleration (for it)
and to use Energy that doesn’t provide
(L) to have an attack you can use
regardless of discharge.
The problem of course is that this card
shouldn’t realistically survive long
enough to get off two attacks and as
Signal Beam is less worth running
Galvantula for than Discharge; it
too might as well have required (L) and
Alternatively it could have done
something totally different and used (G)
Energy (reflecting its Bug-Type half),
which probably wouldn’t have been good
but would have been interesting.
I will give credit where credit is due:
Discharge and Signal Beam are both names
of attacks from the video game that
Galvantula can use (they even learn it
through leveling up there).
Discharge works different in the
video games (a spread attack that can
hit nearby enemies in multiple battles
and possibly cause Paralysis) but Signal
Beam is about as faithful as it can be.
There are six different
Joltik to pick form, all
Lightning-Type Basic Pokémon with
Fighting Weakness, no Resistance, and
single Energy Retreat costs (despite
almost everything mentioned above about
Galvantula applying equally to
Joltik also lack Abilities; Evolving
Basic Pokémon don’t often have them
anyway, but if there was a card that
needed it, it is probably
Normally I would go through each of
them, but this time it is an easy
choice: Black & White 44/114 has
the only attack with a legitimate shot
For (L) it does 10 points of
damage with a coin toss to inflict
Paralysis; it isn’t much but it is
better than doing damage or healing with
just 30 HP.
Seriously, look up
Joltik Black& White (45/114)
and try to figure out what the designer
Galvantula are all Stage 1
Lightning-Type Pokémon with 80 HP,
Fighting Weakness, no Resistance and two
Black& White 46/114 has a
single Energy Retreat Cost (normally
good, but this card needs all the help
it can get) and for (L) it can hit for
20 while preventing the Defending
Pokémon from retreating; this is
actually more useful now given things
like reliance upon
Darkrai EX (or rather its Dark Cloak
Ability) and usage of
Hypnotoxic Laser and
Virbank City Gym).
Its big attack is Leech Life,
which requires (CC) but just hits for 40
points of damage and heals as much as
the damage it does to the Defending
That isn’t useful on a Pokémon
that will be OHKOed.
(BW: Emerging Powers /98) is
terrible; it does get a free Retreat
Cost but all it does is (C) for 20 or at
a cost of (LC) hits for 30 with a coin
flip to inflict Paralysis.
BW: Dark Explorers 43/108
has more interesting attacks, but still
that annoying Retreat Cost of (C).
At a cost of (L) it allows you to
flip two coins for 20 points of damage
For (LC) it hits for 30 plus 40
if the Defending Pokémon has no Retreat
Cost… while this was a set-mate to
Darkrai EX and thus that condition
became more common, you really should
have been hitting for at least 70 anyway
given that this was the card’s “big
So no help from the card pool, in fact,
the failure to make a worthwhile
Evolving Basic form means that
Galvantula should be a lot stronger
Eelektrik can load Energy onto
Galvantula easily, but not enough to
score the OHKOs a glass cannon like this
Galvantula is nearly useless without
the acceleration and can’t hit OHKO
level without crazy combos, it makes
sense to just OHKO the
So… what are those crazy combos?
By calling them that I may have
made them sound more interesting than
they actually are;
Ho-Oh EX plus
Energy Switch can get you up to the
six Energy you need for OHKO status.
You wouldn’t have much room for
error, either; you need at least five
Energy being “accelerated” and that
still eats up your manual attachment for
the turn… plus the supplemental options
each only have four uses.
Obviously, if you insist on using this,
You could just use
Hypnotoxic Laser and
Virbank City Gym (assuming you have
room) and try to get a perfect four
Eelektrik set-up on your Bench, plus
Galvantula; thanks to their free
Retreat Cost they can switch out pretty
Of course as the first is almost
guaranteed to be hitting the discard
pile, you’ll need a
Switch as you promote an
Eelektrik instead (so you can attach
to the Benched
Galvantula, then promote it).
Easier brute force decks, and those
still pale in comparison to locks or
Rayquaza EX or
Zekrom EX or
Raikou EX; same idea, better
If you plan on running a lot of
Lightning Energy, consider it… but
Joltik is terrible in Limited.
It probably won’t be a OHKO, but
it will most likely be a 2HKO that
barely hurts the opponent.
You might be able to hide and
build it on the Bench but… just seems
As stated, without radically altering
this card, the best it could hope for
would be to function as a glass cannon;
providing a strong assault but being
taken out afterwards.
It doesn’t hit hard enough to do
that, which is a shame; there actually
is almost enough support to pull it off.