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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Crobat

- Phantom Forces

Date Reviewed:
Jan. 16, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.25
Expanded: 2.38
Limited: 4.20

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being the worst. 
3 ... average.  
5 is the highest rating.

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

It's a stronger Golbat. Need I say more?
 
Rating
 
St-NAHHHHHH, I'm just kidding!
 
I didn't talk about Crobat much yesterday cause I wanted to really address him today. There's not going to be much different though; Crobat's Ability and attack are stronger than either Golbat or Zubat, so naturally he's the ultimate form you're looking to hit. Skill Dive can hit a Pokemon for 30 damage similar to Zubat's while Surprise Bite is a stronger version of Golbat's Sneaky Bite (30 damage vs 20).
 
So would this fair better? Well, he's got about 130 HP, which means that he's more likely to survive than a Golbat would, and while he doesn't sweep across the table and deal everything damage, he does have the benefit of dealing more damage overall. You think about putting him down - he deals 30. Then he attacks and deals another 30 - that's 60 damage already, and that doesn't even include if you played Golbat last turn!
 
Still, as strong as he is, Crobat isn't a killer bat, so don't expect much more than Golbat. If anything, their talent is in stacking on their Abilities, dealing 50 damage to anything you want. Then again, you're running a Stage 2 to do what Muscle Band/Strong Energy and HTLBank do with three cards - and those are a bit more permanent. At least Crobat has the decency to be splashable.
 
Rating
 
Standard: 2/5 (good for set-ups...and that's it)
 
Expanded: 2/5 (faring better here? ehhhhh)
 
Limited: 3.5/5 (like I said, stronger Golbat, and the two of them can stack on each other!
 
Arora Notealus: So how exactly does a giant mouth evolve into this sleek four-winged model anyway? Seems to me there's a bit of a giant leap here, don't you think?
 
Weekend Thought: What kind of tricks can you think of with some of this week's cards? Willing to give some of these gimmicks a whirl?


Otaku

We end the week with Crobat (XY: Phantom Forces 33/119).  As a Stage 2 Pokémon, it is challenging to play, though oddly helped because (as we pointed out in yesterday’s review) you will want to Evolve it from Golbat (XY: Phantom Forces 32/119) because the two have similar Abilities (more on that in a bit).  Its 130 HP is somewhere between “probable OHKO” and “possible OHKO”.  Its Lightning-Type Weakness is a danger because of some of the cards that target Yveltal-EX as opposed to something out to get Crobat in general, plus is handy because its not the usual Psychic or Darkness Weakness on most other Psychic-Types.  The Fighting Resistance can come in handy though its overall a small bonus.  The free retreat is perfect!  Granted most decks will need to pack something to help change out your Active anyway for when retreating isn’t an option or for other cards in the deck, but it is still quite useful. 

Crobat has a useful Ability and a so-so attack.  The Ability is Surprise Bite; when you Evolve a Pokémon into Crobat (from hand, so no using Evo Soda) you can select one of your opponent’s Pokémon and place three damage counters on them.  This isn’t amazing but it really can set-up some solid combos.  Skill Dive is a little more disappointing: [C] yields 30 to one opposing Pokémon of your choice.  The good news is that Dimension Valley can make it an effective zero Energy attack, the bad news is that since it is damage from an attack a card like Mountain Ring can protect the Bench and somewhere in between is that as damage things like Weakness and Muscle Band boost the damage but that also means Resistance and Hard Charm can help soak it, and with so little to start that actually becomes pretty significant.  Normally I’d err on the side of offense but since it does hit the Bench, where Weakness and Resistance and Muscle Band like buffs won’t protect but Hard Charm will (you really shouldn’t be wasting cards like Muscle Band on this attack anyway), I’m still going with it being a bit ambiguous. 

Thanks to the Golbat review from yesterday, you already know my thoughts on all the Zubat, Golbat and even the other option for Crobat.  Combos for Crobat are somewhat numerous, though none are downright amazing.  AZ, Scoop Up Cyclone and Super Scoop Up all return the entire line to hand, and in Expanded play you can make use of Devolution Spray as well.  VS Seeker is important for AZ (or any other normally iffy Supporters as I’ve also encountered Team Flare Grunt, Xerosic and even Ghetsis played alongside Crobat) because running more than one or two would bog down the deck but with VS Seeker you can just keep spamming what would otherwise be TecH copies.  Especially if you can make Lysandre’s Trump Card work with the whole thing (which is conjecture on my part and not a tested or observed fact).  Dimension Valley is also another obvious partner, mentioned above; this Evolution line doesn’t have the best attacks, but anything is better when its free. 

Mr. Mime (BW: plasma Freeze 47/116) might be warranted to help protect anything and everything on the Bench; the entire Crobat line is on the low end of “normal” for each respective Stage.  Dimension Valley means it isn’t quite so bad as an attacker, either.  An Expanded only combo is Level Ball and Pokémon Communication; two thirds of the line are legal Level Ball targets while any and all Pokémon are legal for Pokémon Communication, so in a Pokémon heavy deck like this the two help streamline the process.  Since Garbodor (BW: Dragons Exalted 54/124; BW: Plasma Freeze 119/116; BW: Legendary Treasures 68/113) shuts the the main benefit (the Ability), running plenty of Startling Megaphone or other Pokémon Tool counters is also a very important part of any Crobat utilizing deck. 

I’ve been running into today’s card a lot more.  Sometimes it is used well, other times less so; the annoying thing is that with how the game have unfolded the last few years, it can be hard to tell what is a cunning new strategy and what is just making what would have been a mainstream, strong deck a little more creative but a lot less effective.  I’ll work through some of the examples, but try to stick to what I think has the most potential or has at least a Top 4 finish at the last City Championships to its credit.  In case it doesn’t get corrected in a timely manner (or ever), I made a mistake yesterday; first the source of City Championship results I am using - while useful - only has about 65% of overall results, so quite a few events went unreported.  Second I flat out misread the chart and didn’t notice there were three decks involving Crobat that managed first place finishes.  One result was “Crobat (Unspecified)”, which had one first place win and two additional Top 4 finishes: needless to say I can’t say much about a deck where I know only one card. 

Wobbuffet (XY: Phantom Forces 36/119) seems like a natural partner for the Crobat line; though not enormous, 110 HP does make it a “big, Basic Pokémon” since it is not a Pokémon-EX and thus is a mere 20 away from the printed maximum.  While a little less likely to successfully soak a hit than Crobat itself, Wobbuffet requires so much less effort that it is easier to replace and strangely enough that might make it more likely to survive: it isn’t worth as much effort to KO if all things are equal.  With Dimension Valley it can attack for just [P] and its attack does more damage based on the damage counters on the Defending Pokémon, while its Ability shuts down other Abilities while it is Active, sparing Abilities of fellow Psychic-Types like Crobat; being set-mates, TPCi basically giftwrapped this combo for us.  It seems solid enough you might make it the focus of the deck, but not so card intensive you can’t combine it with other aspects: in fact I suspect the next option included it. 

Crobat/Mewtwo-EX seems fairly straightforward a concept though as I’m operating without a list I can’t be so sure.  Mewtwo-EX gets to attack for less Energy if Dimension Valley is in play and if you’re running mostly [P] Energy then you might even pull off some surprise KOs with Psy Drive (a much better attack when its cost drops from [PPC] and a discard to just [PP] and a discard, though X-Ball is still your main attack).  I wouldn’t be surprised if other Psychic-Type attackers show up, like Sigilyph (BW: Dragons Exalted 52/124; BW: Plasma Freeze 118/116; BW: Legendary Treasures 66/113) or Wobbuffet.  Mewtwo-EX used to be strong enough to more or less carry its own weight in a deck and so I do have to wonder if the damage counter placement is worth it as opposed to running more Trainers or other Pokémon… but then again better the opponent focus on KOing a Zubat than a Mewtwo-EX and some tricks that just aren’t worth it for Mewtwo-EX alone but that are for Crobat, like the various “bounce” cards mentioned earlier.  A Mewtwo-EX with a Double Colorless Energy attached and a free retreater on the Bench can easily shake off all its damage and the effects of any attacks, then be replayed and reenergized that same turn even if you had to use an AZ (and thus your Supporter for the turn) to do it. 

Crobat with unspecified Fighting-Types are another option.  I’ve run into Donphan (BW: Plasma Storm 72/135) backed by it; I’m not thrilled having so many Evolutions but Crobat and Golbat retreat for free while the former can take a hit and of course, the main point is to shave a turn off of the KO you’re working on with Donphan.  Landorus-EX makes a decent amount of sense; while lacking the shared Type support of Mewtwo-EX,  Fighting-Type support is fantastic and in terms of exploiting Weakness it does an even better job than the Psychic-Type.  Landorus-EX and its Hammerhead attack have long kept up a strong Active/Bench assault; if you can get the deck to flow right then again, it makes sense, at least as Theorymon. 

The last option is one I ran into on the PTCGO.  I am not sure if it is or isn’t a good use of the card.  I ran into it a few times (I think against the same player) and lost to it most of those times: Seismitoad-EX backed by Manectric-EX and Crobat.  The thing that struck me most is that if you’re making a deck built around Seismitoad-EXRock Guard actually becomes a pretty good Ace Spec since you can’t discard it and odds are your opponent has to attack into it multiple times or forgo attacking, allowing it to match or outpace the damage yield from a Muscle Band.  I fixate on that because even after facing it so many times, I wasn’t sure about the rest of the deck.  I don’t think it ran Pokémon Tool F cards (and when I faced it, it was with decks that contained just two Pokémon-EX) so blocking Items meant blocking Tools meant less damage when Manectric-EX did come up, but I suppose as an anti-Yveltal-EX option that can also hit the Bench, it makes some sense.  Crobat is partially protected by Seismitoad-EX and did lead to some strategic KOs, I’m just not sure if the deck would have been better backing Seismitoad-EX with other cards.  Doesn’t help that I was using a somewhat odd deck myself. 

Ratings 

Note: Unlike Golbat from yesterday, the rating here will be a reflection of the competitiveness of decks more or less focused on Crobat, instead of on their value to Crobat decks (Crobat is a must run staple for a Crobat deck; go figure).

Standard: 2.5/5 - While inferior to other previously competitive Evolutions, it also doesn’t rely on Items (though it is enhanced by them) and so Seismitoad-EX needs a partner like Garbodor to wreck it, which is only a small improvement because that is perhaps the most archetypal Seismitoad-EX deck to begin with.  Probably most dangerous the first two rounds of an event, though with some wins at Cities it is hard to be sure (people can afford to experiment more there). 

Expanded: 2.75/5 - Crobat gains a lot in Expanded, but as is often the case it faces more competition so I don’t expect it to fare that much better.   

Limited: 4.9/5 - In Limited just being a Stage 2 line that can hit the Bench and only needs [C] for its attacks the entire way through makes it a primo pull, only to be skipped because you can run a decent +39 deck due to being even luckier and having a big Basic to build such a deck around. 

Summary: Crobat doesn’t seem quite strong enough to be a serious threat in the current metagame, but when it catches you off guard it can get you into a losing situation from which it is hard to escape.  On one hand, I want to say that it’s headed in the right direction but is just a bit too weak; the Ability and attacks need to hit harder.  Zubat still is mostly a waste but Golbat is worth using as much for its Ability/attack as for Rare Candy not being recycled by cards like AZ or Devolution Spray and avoiding Item lock… but it isn’t so good that I’d be worried about it getting all the attention while Crobat is ignored, even if the top whatever percent of the card pool suddenly (and without precedent) got banned. So on the other hand, without at least some of the cards I keep bemoaning as being too powerful, Crobat probably could carry its own weight as a serious, tournament viable card, maybe in multiple decks.


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