We have a shortened week due to it being
Thanksgiving in the USA; no I don’t know
if any other country celebrates the same
(or a similar holiday) this week.
A time to appreciate what one has
that will unfortunately be lost on most
of us, we are looking at cards which
sometimes arbitrarily remind me of
Thanksgiving, and which should be
thankful that the recent rule change
might grant new life.
If you’re wondering, some less
than great illustrations of Garchomp
cause me to easily see a giant, plucked
turkey (or chicken) when I glance at it.
(BW: Legendary Treasures 96/113)
was first released as BW: Dragons
Exalted 90/124 and once again as
BW: Plasma Freeze 120/116.
I love the over-the-top nature of
the newest version’s art, as well as how
Garchomp (with their
Ground/Dragon-Typing, ability to learn
Surf, and depiction as flying even
though they don’t learn Fly) show how
the Pokémon taxonomical system really
needs streamlining… but that’s an
article for another day.
There is a plane in the
background, giving me another flimsy
excuse to count it as a “holiday” review
(due to the travel some engage at this
Let’s take a look at what
Garchomp actually has going for it;
it is a Dragon-Type, and at least for
now all Dragon-Type Pokémon are
Dragon-Weak which means anything hitting
Garchomp for double damage will take
double damage from
This has been literally hit or
miss for Psychic Pokémon, but a
Garchomp makes it work due to some
of its other features.
Dragon-Type Pokémon also have two
pieces of support;
Altaria (BW: Dragons Exalted
84/124; BW Promo BW48) and
Gabite (BW: Dragons Exalted
Both have proven to be of some
use, but weren’t enough to make this
into a top deck; we know because people
tried more than once and had some
success, but not as much as its
popularity should have generated e.g.
many played it but few won big, even
adjusting for the fact a tournament only
has so many people in the top cut.
140 HP is not bad, but I can’t really
call it good; hitting 140 HP has proven
noticeably easier across the board than
hitting 150 HP.
As such, 140 HP about as low as
Stage 2 Pokémon can go without having
some phenomenal Ability to justify them
as a Bench-sitter… and this card is not
a Bench-sitter, making its HP even more
The previously cited Dragon-Type
Weakness is usually not a major issue;
most Dragon-Type Pokémon that see play
have huge attacks that already OHKO
Garchomp, and as all share this
Weakness some come off worse for it
Garchomp can and will OHKO them.
In fact, it is probably most
deadly to itself (though the first
attack needs some boosting to pull off a
OHKO) via Weakness.
The lack of Resistance is a bit
disappointing but not critical;
Resistance is not a common site and
unlike its counterpart Weakness,
Resistance seldom makes a significant
difference in damage.
The single Energy Retreat Cost on
the other hand is very good: not great
or perfect or however you would classify
a zero Energy cost, but low enough to
not be a huge burden and often proving
is fortunate enough to have two
excellent attacks: for just (F) it hits
for 60 pints of damage while discarding
a Special Energy from the Defending
Pokémon (if one is present).
For (FW) you can hit for 100
points of damage but have to discard the
top two cards of your deck.
The Energy involved share
Blend Energy WLFM, so it isn’t as
bad as it is for some other
Dragon-Types, and discarding two cards
from your deck is not impossible steep
given the damage output.
Neither is negligible, however,
and decks have to account for both.
Completely on its own, these values
Fortunately they don’t have to be
on their own; we’ve got
Hypnotoxic Laser and
Virbank City Gym, as well as
Silver Bangle (when facing
If you’re going the
Altaria route, one or both of these
allow you to hit OHKO range much easier.
Note that I have no data about
using all of these together and
incomplete information about the use of
each; please don’t mistake this as a
ringing endorsement for a very crowded
deck I’ve never witnessed.
Pokémon Catcher now requiring a coin
flip to work, the above
Gabite (the latter a good example of
what an Evolving Stage 1 Pokémon needs
to be) are not as vulnerable.
Garchomp decks don’t have a strong
first turn attacker unless the deck goes
out of its way to add one, which again
means the new first turn rules help it
Both during and for a little while after
bubble burst, we saw people trying out
different partners for
One that saw some success was
combining it with a big (or at least,
bigger than most) Basic that could
spread damage, so that by the time
Garchomp was up and attacking it
just needed to deliver finishing blows.
the inability to attack first turn and
Mr. Mime (BW: Plasma Freeze
47/116), I would be leery of trying that
tactic unless you were certain your
metagame held few
Garchomp” did well at a single
event, and that would allow you room to
pack in the Trainers I was mentioning to
boost damage (speculation as I didn’t
see the list).
I have seen absolutely no
discussion of it nor have I even jotted
down a theoretical list, but I was
Garbodor and its Garbotoxin Ability
– running a Stage 1 that needs Pokémon
Tools with a Stage 2 that also basically
needs Pokémon Tools will mean an
incredibly tight build… but you would be
cutting off access to Abilities while
threatening Special Energy and
delivering solid damage.
For Unlimited play, I still haven’t been
able to test to get a feel for how the
rule change has affected things, nor
found results for the testing of others.
This is not something I think
about much except when writing reviews
so forgive me if I have been missing
something and feel free to submit such a
report to Pojo if it is your own work.
Broken Time Space can do some
amazing things for this card and almost
every issue it faces has an answer… but
this is a choice after First Turn Win
decks, certain lock decks, and several
other more general deck builds.
For Limited play, this is a dead card
for BW: Plasma Freeze (no lower
Stages), a great pull for BW: Dragons
Exalted (two versions of each Stage
in the line including a second possible
Garchomp), and still a good pull
Mind the Weakness and the usual
concerns over running an Evolution, and
the Energy may force you to go without
it if you just don’t have back-up
compatible with running
Fighting Energy and
Water Energy – you could possibly
get by with just the
Fighting Energy, however.
Lastly, discarding Special Energy
will either be useless (BW: Legendary
Treasures) or almost useless (BW:
Dragons Exalted) while discarding
two cards from your deck becomes a much
bigger cost with only 40 cards total in
strikes me as the kind of Stage 2 that
can support a functional deck, but I
don’t expect it to dominate.
I believe it will exist on the
periphery; one tournament it will do
well, the next a few factors will shift
and it will fall out of favor, but a few
more and it may come back into power.
As that is a long term forecast
as we are on the cusp of a new
generation of the TCG and video games,
it is a very weak forecast, so in the
end my best advice is not to forget
about this card.