Barbaracle here IS a good card, for
starters. At first glance though, he doesn't seem like
much. Stage 1 with 100 HP and an unimpressive Claw Slash
attack that does 3-for-70 vanilla damage. His Retreat
Cost isn't even that good at 3 Energy! So what's the big
deal? Why's Barbaracle on the list?
Well truth be told, it's his
Ability: Hand Block. With it, if you've got Barbaracle
in play and a Stadium on your side of the board, your
opponent can't put down any Special Energy cards onto
his Pokemon! And let's face it, a LOT of decks use
Special Energy. Heck, I even mentioned a Special Energy
over on M Alakazam-EX - would you want your opponent to
be able to play that down on him or something that
scary? And that's not including Strong Energy, DCE,
Rainbow, Splash, Lightning, Shield, Wonder, Herbal, or
any of the other Special Energies out there! I mean,
look at what this can do to Dragon decks - Double Dragon
Energy can't go down on your Dragon and power it up
faster? Too bad for you!
But does that mean Barbaracle is
good to play?...well, actually, yeah. In order to put
down a key part of most decks into play, your opponent
has to do something about Barbaracle's Ability. Garbodor
is probably the most obvious solution, but not all decks
can run him due to their own reliance on Abilities.
Similarly, Hex Maniac can be used, but it uses up your
Supporter for the turn, and you STILL have to contend
with Barbaracle next turn!
The easiest way to deal with
Barbaracle is to have a Stadium of your own - something
that's not always quite as accessible, but every deck
runs at least one. Remember, Barbaracle's only active if
the Stadium is on his side of the board - if you play a
Stadium or get rid of your opponent's Stadium in some
manner, it's offline, and that can help you out a lot.
The use of one card to effectively get a minus to shut
off Barbarcle's Ability oughta be worth it for the
access to such a powerful - and sometimes vital - part
of a player's deck.
This is probably the hyped-up
reason that Barbaracle has hit #8 on our list.
Standard: 3.5/5 (there's no denying
that Barbaracle has merit, and given the Water-typing
there is Archie's to consider as an alternative to
putting him into play)
Expanded: 3.5/5 (it's just that
once people know how to play around Barbaracle, I don't
see it as being that big of a threat)
Limited: 3.5/5 (but hey, we are
talking about a format where the biggest archetype runs
Arora Notealus: Barbaracle does a
lot for a little, and there's no doubt he'll see play.
Amidst the various options for Archie's though, he might
fall a bit short to be put in most decks, and others
will probably work some way around him. I'm just
imagining decks slowing down with him around, but that's
not necessarily a bad thing - sometimes, you need to
slow the pace of the game down so others can pick it
Next Time: Speaking of cards
that'll help slow the pace of the game down...
(XY: Fates Collide 23/124) is our eighth place
finisher. As a Water Type it faces a little bit of
Resistance from BW-era Grass Types but nearly every Fire
Type and a chunk of the Fighting Type sport Water
Weakness, definitely a net benefit. Water Type
doesn’t impress me as much as what Fighting has going
for it, but it is still abundant. There are plenty
of winners among them both in terms of explicit support
that only works for the Water Type (or specified Types
including Water), as well as those cards that just work
better with the Water Type but can still function well
with others. There are some anti-Water Type
effects but they just are only relevant enough to
acknowledge, but not to detail. Being a Stage 1
means it takes some extra effort and/or time to get into
play over being a Basic, but the Stage still has a
presence, sometimes even without Evolution acceleration,
so it’s solid. 100 HP means it is a likely OHKO, but it
might last two turns against a poor setup or serious
attack focused on something other than damaging the
opponent’s Active. The Grass Weakness can be
dangerous; even though 100 HP won’t go that far anyway,
key numbers like the 50 damage Virizion-EX does
with “Emerald Slash” get doubled into OHKO territory.
No Resistance is typical but more a missed opportunity
than a flaw, so moving onto the Retreat Cost of [CCC];
this is chunky so pack an out in case Barbaracle
gets stuck up front but not OHKOed.
has an Ability and an attack. The Ability is “Hand
Block”, which only works while you have a Stadium
in play. I am emphasizing “you” because in all
honesty that didn’t sink in until the third or fourth
time I read the grovyle kids reasoning behind picking
Barbaracle for his Top 10 list, and that was maybe
30 minutes ago! If your opponent can discard your
Stadium (whether by playing their own, using
Delinquent, etc.), Hand Block shuts itself off.
So it had better have an awesome effect for something
which most decks have at least three answers. Hand
Block prevents your opponent (not both players)
from attaching Special Energy cards from his or her hand
to his or her Pokémon in play. That… that just
might do it. Obviously meaningless against a deck
relying on Basic Energy cards, against the many that
favor Special Energy cards, there is a rhythm to the
game and if you miss an attachment it can cost you big.
So a one-sided soft lock can still be quite effective.
The attack is “Claw Slash” for [WWC] to do 70 damage;
overpriced vanilla filler, but at least it isn’t totally
unreasonable. Still the Ability is why you would
bother with this card.
Evolves from Binacle, and we have three options:
XY: Flashfire 48/106, XY: Roaring Skies
38/108, and XY: Fates Collide 22/124. All
are Basic Pokémon with Grass Weakness, no Resistance, no
Ancient Trait, and no Ability. XY: Flashfire
48/106 is a Fighting Type with 70 HP and a single attack
- Double Scratch - that requires [FF] to flip two coins
and does 30 damage per “heads”. XY: Roaring Skies
38/108 also a Fighting Type, this time with 60 HP and
two attacks; for [F] it can use “Sand Attack” to force
the Defending Pokémon to flip a coin if it tries to
attack the next turn while for [FFC] it can use
“Mud-Slap” for 40. XY: Fates Collide 22/124 is a
Water Type with 60 HP and (once again) a single attack:
this time it is “Swing Around” for [WC] to do 10 damage
plus two coin flips good for 20 more damage per “heads”.
None of these are worth attacking with so just go with
XY: Flashfire 48/106 for its 70 HP or - if you
are including an expendable source of [F] Energy then
XY: Roaring Skies 38/108 can try to buy time with
its Sand Attack, sadly the best attack available on
these Pokémon. You could use Archie’s Ace in
the Hole, but that tends to be overkill for a Stage
1, as I had to learn through trial and error even though
plenty tried to warn me.
There is only one other Barbaracle, XY:
Flashfire 49/106, which is a Stage 1 Fighting Type
with 110 HP, Grass Weakness, no Resistance, Retreat Cost
[CC], no Ancient Trait, no Ability and two attacks.
For [FF] you can use “Rock Rush” which does 30 damage
times how ever many [F] Energy you decided to discard
from hand for the attack. [FFF] allows you to use
“Boulder Crash” instead for a flat 80 points of damage.
Baby Mario and aroramage looked at the card
and thought it had a little potential as a fun card and
I personally tried to make it work back when it was
newish and struggled to keep streaming Barbaracle
while filling my hand with a fresh supply of Fighting
Energy; we’ve gotten some potential help since then
but even if it were to help the damage output is just a
bit low; you need to discard six or more Energy to
discard to OHKO most major Pokémon-EX. So
Barbaracle isn’t getting any help from its lower
Stages or its alternate version.
Where should you use Barbaracle? I honestly
don’t know, which (hint hint) might be why this card
didn’t rank higher in this Top 10. It isn’t too
difficult to slap a Stage 1 like this as a 1-1 or a 2-2
line into a variety of decks, so long as they don’t go
skimpy on Stadium cards. Bench Binacle when
you’ve got another target worth taking out, and your
opponent either risks losing (usually important) Special
Energy card attachments or it has to ignore said other
target and take out Binacle. It is at least
plausible to include it in a variety of aggressive decks
to make countering your assault more difficult or tacked
onto anything other than Ability lock, to deny your
opponent another option. The question is what
decks can make room for the tactic and will the soft
lock really be enough to propel Barbaracle over a
similar Bench-sitter. So it is a card with promise
for Standard and Expanded play, but what about Limited?
If you’re going to run a Water focused deck, go for it,
but while there are Double Colorless Energy and
Strong Energy to potentially block, they aren’t
prevalent enough for it to be worth the effort unless
your deck already needs padding out.
Summary:Barbaracle can effect a somewhat soft Special
Energy lock; a few decks go light on ways to get rid of
opposing Stadium cards, and if they rely on Special
Energy Barbaracle would be a terror, but for most
it strikes me as a “Hope to make a bad moment for
the opponent worse by getting Hand Block going.
If you could avoid telegraphic it, the sudden surprise
could be quite effective late game, when your opponent
has fewer options to get rid of your own Stadium cards.
I had Barbaracle as my sixth place pick, but
remember I already confessed to misreading Hand Block as
requiring a Stadium be in play instead of requiring
your Stadium being in play. I’d probably have
still kept it in my Top 10, but dropped it to the ninth
or tenth place spot had I noticed.
Barbaracle is interesting. Its ability, Stadium
Block, stops your opponent from playing Special Energy
cards as long as you have a Stadium in play. Due to most
decks at least benefiting from Special Energy in some
way, this lock is extremely powerful if you can keep it
up, and on average, your opponent shouldn't be able to
get more than 1 turn in a row to attach Special Energy,
as it can be difficult to stream Hex Maniac or your own
Stadium Card, especially if you combine it with some
form of locking like Seismitoad-EX. Barbaracle has the
makings of a good card in a variety of decks if they can
afford the space.