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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Top 10 BREAKpoint Cards

#4 - Garchomp

- XY BREAKpoint

Date Reviewed:
February 16, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 4.17
Expanded: 4.17
Limited: 4.38

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being horrible.  3 ... average.  5 is awesome.

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

Alright, I don't wanna overhype this guy...BUT OMG IT'S GARCHOMP 2.0 REBETA'D MAX EDITION!! 

...er, okay, maybe not that much. Still, you might be thinking, "A Stage 2 at #4?! What is this?!" yeah I know I don't know what's up with that either BUT!! We can take a look at this guy and find out!! 

So let's start off with his first attack, Turbo Assault...hmm...something seems familiar about this attack. Weird though. Anyways, it costs 1 Energy and does 60 damage...wait, no, something's DEFINITELY familiar about this attack. You wanna know what it is? It's like Garchomp (DEX - #90)'s Mach Cut attack! It even costs the same 1 Fighting Energy, and back then, Garchomp (DEX) was so hype! In fact he even made it on the Top 10 List for Dragons Exalted at #5!  

Well what's the difference then? Well between Turbo Assault and Mach Cut, Mach Cut had the ability to cut off one of your opponent's Special Energy cards, which is a huge boon to have but is nothing compared to Turbo Assault! Instead of removing an Energy from your opponent's Pokemon, Garchomp will instead grab an Energy card - note that's ANY Energy card - from your discard pile and attach it to any of your Pokemon - YES, ANY POKEMON!! This is HUGE!! But before we talk more about that, let's talk about their second attacks! 

Similarly to Garchomp (DEX), this Garchomp's second attack only costs 2 Energy! And it can do an impressive amount of damage, kinda like Garchomp (DEX) can, but instead of getting Dragonblade that does 100 and mills off a couple of cards, we get Bite Off, which does a little less at 80 damage to start, but if Garchomp goes after an EX with this attack, PREPARE FOR TROUBLE!! And make it double, cause it does double the damage with an extra 80 damage added onto the attack!! 

Checking off my Team Rocket reference off the bucket list, huzzah! 

Seriously, how can Garchomp get any better? He can grab stuff like DCE or Strong Energy and attach it to just about any Pokemon while dealing a hefty amount of damage to the opposing Pokemon - and keep in mind, he can even equip HIMSELF with Strong Energy to deal even MORE damage with Bite Off to opposing EX!! Never mind that he's got access to all the Fighting support and even can be brought out easily with Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick! 

Man, I rated this guy WAY too low on my list. The only thing really holding him back is being a Stage 2, and even THAT'S not an issue cause of his typing!!...feel kinda bad about that now. 

Rating 

Standard: 4.5/5 (he's a strong offensive powerhouse that can accelerate ANYTHING from the discard pile, meaning if you can run Maxie's and even Rainbow Energy, YOU CAN PLAY GARCHOMP) 

Expanded: 4.5/5 (he's an incredible Stage 2, easily besting his former self in ways one would never have thought possible) 

Limited: 4.5/5 (truly he is the people's champion in these dark times) 

Arora Notealus:...yeah, I'll come clean with you guys. I only rated Garchomp at #10 on my list. Yeah, #10, right at the bottom of my personal Top...12. To be fair, there were some oddball picks that I personally felt deserved some time in the spotlight, and my initial impressions of Garchomp were that he was a good Stage 2. I'm going to get all the flak for that for sure. 

Next Time: Another old favorite returns...or does he?


Otaku

Just missing out on making the top three is fourth place finisher, Garchomp (XY: BREAKpoint 70/122).  As a Fighting-Type, this Garchomp won’t be able to use cards like Double Dragon Energy, but the tradeoff seems worthwhile.  Fighting Weakness is present on a good deal of Colorless-Types as well as most Lightning- and Darkness-Types, though notable cards like Yveltal-EX are instead Fighting Resistant.  Fighting Resistance can be a problem, but usually just a small one: though Fighting Resistance is one of the most numerous (along with Psychic Resistance), no Resistance at all is the most common and even if it wasn’t, -20 damage is only going to matter in borderline cases, unlike the damage doubling of Weakness.  The Fighting-Type suffers a few cards with effects that seem explicitly meant to counter them, but most aren’t that great.  What is great is the cards that specifically help the Fighting-Type: Strong Energy, Fighting Stadium, Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick and Korrina are huge and rarely absent in a Fighting-focused deck.  On top of that there are even more, somewhat less impressive but often still useful Fighting-Type support like Focus Sash as well as indirect Fighting-Type support like Hawlucha (XY: Furious Fists 63/111).  All in all a great deal, and I think better than what is inherent to Dragon-Types… plus as we’ll see, Type is very important to this card. 

Garchomp is a Stage 2 Pokémon and by now you know why being a Fighting-Type is so important.  Getting a Stage 2 Pokémon into play is comparatively difficult: you have to Evolve from the Stage 1 form, which itself Evolves from the line’s Basic Pokémon or else Evolve directly from the Basic Pokémon via Rare Candy.  Well technically there are a few more tricks, but these are what actually work and ally to all Stage 2 Pokémon.  Water-Types have Archie’s Ace in the Hole and Fighting-Types have Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick to Bench a Pokémon from the discard pile directly, even if it isn’t a Basic.  When those two Supporters were first released this seemed like a major obstacle, but later card releases has turned this into a sound strategy to slap a Pokémon in a variety of decks.  So while being a Stage 2 is still a drawback, there are ways to cope with it here.  Garchomp has 130 HP, which is a bit low for a Stage 2 but still not too bad; nothing can count on surviving an attack in the game but it seems like the new mean damage per turn is 120, so I estimate that the bottom half of decks (or setups, as those also factor in) will whiff while the top half still does it in one shot… or effectively one shot, in the case of various other means of damaging a Pokémon outside of attacking.  Grass Weakness isn’t good but I am uncertain exactly how bad it actually would be: you’ve got Vespiquen (XY: Ancient Origins 10/98) as a known, proven quantity, something you expect to run into at any and every event, but the other Grass-Type decks are less reliable to show, even when they are still competitive.  No Resistance is typical but the free Retreat Cost is not; the former is as bad as it gets while the latter is as good as it gets… but a free Retreat Cost is typically much more useful than any form of Resistance! 

Garchomp has two attacks: “Turbo Assault” and “Bite Off”.  The former requires [F] to do 60 points of damage while attaching an Energy card from the discard pile to one of your Benched Pokémon while the latter needs [FF] to do 80 damage in general with another 80 damage (so 160 total) if the opponent’s Active is a Pokémon-EX.  These attacks are great individually; both have excellent damage returns for the Energy invested, being good or great even without their effects.  Turbo Assault allows you to attach even Special Energy cards, a potent effect as we’ve learned from other cards.  Bit Off is amazing once you add any damage boosting tricks to Garchomp; even just a Muscle Band means it at least half-KOs anything without some defensive effect, increased HP or the like because everything that is not a Pokémon-EX was printed with 200 or less HP and no Pokémon-EX has more than 250.  The big deal is that the pretty typical 170-180 HP Basic Pokémon-EX fall into OHKO range.  The Energy costs do keep this card from being easy to splash into decks, but aren’t high enough to make it functionally impossible either given it is just one or two [F] Energy per attack.  The staggering also means that you can go from zero to attacking with just a single manual Energy attachment.  The attacks are real winners. 

So… how about Gible?  Gabite?  Other Garchomp?  Across the board, all versions of Gible, Gabite and Garchomp except for the versions from XY: BREAKpoint are Dragon-Type Pokémon with Dragon Weakness, no Resistance and no Ancient Traits, while the XY: BREAKpoint versions are Fighting-Types with Grass Weakness, no Resistance, no Ancient Traits and no Abilities (plus are the only Standard legal options).  Gible could be BW: Dragons Exalted 86/124 (also released as BW: Legendary Treasures 94/113), BW: Dragons Exalted 87/124 or XY: BREAKpoint 68/122.  All are Basic Pokémon with a Retreat Cost of [C] but no Abilities.  BW: Dragons Exalted 86/124 has 50 HP and can use “Tackle” for [C] to do 10 damage or “Gnaw” for [WF] to do 20.  BW: Dragons Exalted 87/124 has 60 HP and may use “Sand Attack” for [F] to make the Defending Pokémon flip a coin if it tries to attack the next turn, or for [WC] may use “Knock Away” to hit for 10 damage, with a coin flip that adds another 20 if “heads” (“tails” still does the base 10 damage).  XY: BREAKpoint 68/122 also has 60 HP but with only one attack: for [F] it can use “Never Enough” to discard a card from hand and if you do, then you draw two cards.  None of these are thrilling, but if I need a Dragon-TYpe Gible I would go with BW: Dragons Exalted 87/124 as it may stall for time with Sand attack, but in Standard you have no choice and if you can get by with a Fighting-Type then I would go with XY: BREAKpoint 68/122 as you probably need the draw power if Gible is attacking. 

Gabite also has three options: BW: Dragons Exalted 88/124 (also released as BW: Legendary Treasures 95/113), BW: Dragons Exalted 89/124 or XY: BREAKpoint 69/122.  All three are Stage 1 Pokémon with 80 HP and Retreat Cost [C].  BW: Dragons Exalted 88/124 has two attacks: Tackle for [C] shows up again, but does 20 damage this time but adds “Shred” for [WF] to hit, hitting for 40 damage while ignoring any effects on the Defending Pokémon.  BW: Dragons Exalted 89/124 is the one member of the line that has an Ability and it is a doozy: “Dragon Call” allows you to search your deck for a Dragon-Type Pokémon once per turn and add it to hand.  Its attack is another bit of filler as “Dragon Slice” just does 20 damage for the now familiar cost of [WF].  XY: BREAKpoint 69/122 has “Sand Tomb” for [F], hitting for 20 damage while preventing the Defending Pokémon from retreating during your opponent’s next turn.  You might wish to run one or two of these in case of Item lock, but otherwise use Rare Candy if you are going to Evolve from Gible and not just use Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick.  Only XY: BREAKpoint 69/122 is Standard legal, but in Expanded you… probably still should use it with today’s Garchomp as I would think Korrina would also be in the deck. 

So what about the other versions of Garchomp?  There is BW: Dragons Exalted 90/124 (re-released as BW: Plasma Freeze 120/116 and BW: Legendary Treasures 96/113) and BW: Dragons Exalted 91/124.  Both are Stage 2 Pokémon with 140 HP, no Ancient Trait and no Ability, but two attacks.  BW: Dragons Exalted 90/124 has a Retreat Cost of [C], the attack “Mach Cut” for [F] which does 60 damage while discarding a Special Energy from your opponent’s Active, and the attack “Dragon Blade” for [WF] which hits for 100 damage but discards the top two cards of your deck.  This one actually has seen some success from time to time, though I don’t think it has ever been major.  Decks using it tend to be Dragon-Type focused.  BW: Dragons Exalted 91/124 enjoys a perfect free Retreat Cost, can use “Jet Headbutt” for its first attack to hit for 40 damage at a cost of [C] while for [WFC] it can use Sand Tomb to hit for 80 damage while again preventing the Defending Pokémon from manually retreating during your opponent’s next turn.  This one has never seen any successful play to my recollection.  Gabite (BW: Dragons Exalted 89/124) actually managing to score a 10th place finish in our Top 13 cards of BW: Dragons Exalted list: you can read the review here though of course very little applies to the present as that over three years ago.  BW: Dragons Exalted 90/124 earned a review as the 5th place finisher in that same Top 10 and later its reprint BW: Legendary Treasures got it a second look here.  Even BW: Dragons Exalted 91/124 got a review, but mostly as a “Well we haven’t looked at this yet.” kind of thing. 

You might run BW: Dragons Exalted 90/124 alongside today’s Garchomp, but only in Expanded and only if you aren’t relying solely (I’d also exclude decks running mostly) on Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick.  What is a little more likely (in that I still bump into people running it on the PTCGO) is a deck built around BW: Dragons Exalted 90/124… in which case you might consider running today’s Garchomp as a one-of; more would be tempting except such decks usually run heavy Dragon-Type support which XY: BREAKpoint 70/122 can’t benefit.  Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick will allow many decks to work in today’s Garchomp if they wish, even if it isn’t a deck’s main focus.  You won’t get a groovy Ability like you would with say Gallade (XY: BREAKthrough 84/162), nor would it be able to operate with any Energy as that example does, but as long as you have a decent source of [F] Energy, you’ll enjoy a free retreater that can hit for a decent amount while accelerating Energy from the discard pile or take a nice hard swing at Pokémon-EX for just [FF].  Getting back Special Energy cards is nothing to scoff at so this card is already being used in a variety of decks.  Not every deck can manage it though, plus another option are decks built squarely around it.  Seems like an important card for both Expanded and Standard decks. 

For Limited play, if you can get the entire line it is well worth running; the exception is if you can’t dedicate a good chunk of your energy cards (three at least) to be Fighting Energy or if pull something like a big, Basic Pokémon-EX you would prefer to run completely on its own (ensuring your start with it even if you mulligan like mad).  You can still appreciate all the good about this card in this format: accelerating Energy, hitting Pokémon-EX extra hard (though less frequent than in constructed play), etc. 

Ratings 

Standard: 3.75/5 

Expanded: 3.75/5 

Limited: 4.25/5 

Summary: At this rate Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick is going to be a staple; unless a deck has no room or is totally ill-suited to trying to pull it off, between Archeops (BW: Noble Victories 67/101; BW: Dark Explorers 110/108), the aforementioned Gallade and today’s Garchomp, there is practically a useful Fighting-Type for everything.  Archeops is pure, disruptive Ability, Garchomp pure attacker and Gallade the happy blend of the two.  Still Garchomp counts on a source of [F] Energy so while I otherwise would prefer its two attacks be in so many decks, it’s going to be restricted to those that either already can meet the cost or will meet it with some tweaking. 

Garchomp made the Pojo Top 10 list with 18 voting points, five above the fifth and sixth finishers, but four below tomorrow’s third place pick.  On my personal Top 10 list, Garchomp secured fourth place, and I am kind of wishing I had given it third.


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