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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

Crobat BREAK- XY181: Promo
Date Reviewed: Jan. 23, 2017

Ratings & Reviews Summary
Standard: 1.0     Expanded: 1.5      Limited: Promo

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

Welcome back to another big week of cards here, there, and everywhere! Here we've got Crobat BREAK, who may promise to be...well something. 

So Crobat BREAK just adds on the Silent Bite attack, which is 3-for-60 and can Paralyze, but you will have to shuffle back Crobat BREAK and all cards attached to him back into your deck. To be honest...that's a hefty cost. Keep in mind that you've got to evolve him off of a Crobat - the only options being available in Expanded, as there hasn't been a print of Crobat since Phantom Forces...at least till Sun & Moon come out - and then you've got to attach at least 3 Energy on him to use the attack. 

And then if you wanna get that Paralysis going, you've got to take all the work you put into evolving Crobat and powering him up back into your deck. 

It's great to use when Crobat BREAK is about to get KO'd just to deny your opponent the KO, but between the Plasma Storm Crobat's Night Sight and Ultra-Toxic Fang - which lets you draw cards and Poison for 40 each turn respectively - and the Phantom Forces Crobat's Surprise Bite and Skill Dive - which both do 30 damage to a single opposing Pokemon - there's not a lot of great options to pick out for Crobat BREAK.  

Not to mention putting 3 Energy onto what is effectively a Stage 3, only to return him to the deck, isn't an entirely grand stand of a maneuver. 

Rating 

Standard: 1/5 (being unplayable for now ain't good, but he would only really go up to 1.5/5 maybe, depending on the Sun&Moon Crobat's prowess) 

Expanded: 1.5/5 (which would match this score, which marks his niche potential since he does Paralyze, but the investment is high) 

Limited: N/A (and of course he's a promo card, so he doesn't have access to Limited events) 

Arora Notealus: All in all Crobat BREAK ended up coming into the game at just the right time to anticipate the upcoming set's Crobat, but he's too late to benefit from the earlier Crobats. I doubt there's any decks needing to run Crobat BREAK that were running Crobat (PHF), and I don't think Crobat (PLS) was really getting anywhere on his own, but hey! Maybe a creative type will prove me wrong and combo Silent Bite with the evolution trickery of Surprise Bite (HAH, THEMING!!) or with the card drawing madness of Night Sight. 

Next Time: BREAK into another evolution, this time of a bird!!


Otaku

With the XY-era about to functionally (if not officially) end in a few weeks (do I use official release date or official legality date?), we’ll be covering a few more promo cards this week that caught my eye.  Just a reminder up front; a card need not be remotely worthwhile for competitive play to catch my eye, in fact, I think cards that scream “missed opportunity” attract me like moths to a flame.

Our first card this week is Crobat BREAK (XY: Black Star Promos XY181).  As a Psychic Type, exploiting Weakness happens when facing certain fellow Psychic Type as well as Fighting Type Pokémon; not an insignificant amount, but is it so common you can bank of enjoying it in the bulk of your matches.  Resistance is found on most Darkness Type and nearly all Metal Type Pokémon; while relevant this isn’t likely to prove too dramatic thanks to Resistance providing -20 to damage received (versus Weakness doubling damage done), in addition to the potential specifics of the metagame.  The Psychic Type doesn’t have a huge amount of Pokémon or Energy Type specific support, but it has enough… in Expanded play, where it still has access to Dimension Valley and Mystery Energy (more the former than the latter).  It is a bit disappointing for Standard play.  There are some very strong Pokémon of the Type, and even just access to basic Psychic Energy (as you would expect in a mono- or mostly Psychic Type deck) still provides intra-Type synergy.  I do not recall seeing any explicit Psychic Type counters, though I believe most have a non-Type specific counter that can be exploited, like shutting down Abilities, inflicting damage spread, punishing heavy Energy usage, etc. 

As the BREAK Evolution of a Stage 2 Pokémon, Crobat BREAK is essentially a Stage 3, and cannot take direct advantage of Stage 2 support.  We finally have some anti-BREAK Evolution effects as well, further burdening the card.  It does enjoy 160 HP, 10 below your typical Basic Pokémon-EX intended as an Active; still large enough to often survive a hit, but not often enough to feel especially sturdy.  It is a 30 HP improvement over any remotely contemporary Crobat cards, however, so at least it is a decent HP bump for being a BREAK Evolution.  The card’s Weakness, Resistance, and Retreat Cost will be provided by whatever underlying Crobat you use, as will additional attacks and/or Abilities, so we will move onto the card’s attack “Silent Bite”.  For [CCC] Crobat BREAK attacks the opponent’s Active for 60 damage and gives you the option to shuffle itself and all cards attached back into your deck in order to Paralyze your opponent’s Active.  If you can stream Crobat BREAK or something capable of copying its attacks, you could attempt to soft-lock your opponent.  This is probably part of why the damage is poor for the Energy invested; for three Energy (even [CCC]) I expect a good 90 damage, maybe with some added benefit.  Factoring in potential combo partners, while I question whether Silent Bite could prove competitive, I do understand the caution of low damage for something that might be streamed for consistent Paralysis. 

More so than other Evolutions, BREAK Evolutions are heavily dependent on their lower Stages: in this case, it is Zubat, Golbat, and Crobat.  We have three options for Zubat: BW: Plasma Storm 52/135; BW: Plasma Storm 53/135, and XY: Phantom Forces 31/119 (reprinted as Generations 30/83).  Golbat has just two: BW: Plasma Storm 54/135 and XY: Phantom Forces 32/119 (reprinted as Generations 31/83).  Crobat also only has two versions: BW: Black Star Promos BW51 (also released as BW: Plasma Storm 55/135) and XY: Phantom Forces 33/119.  Why list them all together?  Because they have a lot in common: all are Psychic Type Pokémon with Lightning Weakness, Fighting Resistance, no Ancient Trait, and a single attack!  This tell us that Crobat BREAK will also have to deal with Lightning Weakness, dangerous due more to strong Lightning Type attackers, including stuff like Zebstrika (XY: BREAKpoint 49/122) being splashed into decks just to exploit abundant Lightning Weakness on more mainstream Pokémon like Yveltal-EX and Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108, 106/108).  Fighting Resistance can be handy even though most Fighting Types will pack enough buffs to punch through it or have an attacker that can ignore it, plus its presence is why Zebstrika can punish Lightning Weakness so severely.  Still, I would rather the card had it than not.  Ancient Traits don’t carry over to Evolutions (BREAK or otherwise) so no loss there. 

All Zubat are Basic Pokémon with Retreat Cost [C].  BW: Plasma Storm 52/135 has 50 HP and the attack “Spiral Drain” for [C], doing 10 damage to the opponent’s Active while healing 10 damage from itself.  BW: Plasma Storm 53/135 has 40 HP, the Ability “Free Flight”, and the attack “Wing Attack”.  The Ability gives it a free Retreat Cost while it has no Energy attached to itself and the attack costs [PC] to do 20 damage.  XY: Phantom Forces 31/119 is back to 50 HP lacking an Ability; its attack is “Skill Dive” which does 10 damage to the opponent’s Pokémon of your choice.  It is the only Standard legal option thanks to being reprinted as Generations 30/83.  For Expanded play, go with either  BW: Plasma Storm 53/135 (for the Ability) or XY: Phantom Forces 31/119 for 50 HP and not-entirely-useless attack.  You may wish to run a mix of both; normally the free Retreat Cost is better, but between Ability denial and Bench hits, sometimes the +10 HP is more valuable, though only just barely.  Both Golbat are Stage 1 Pokémon; any other similarities between them are common to the entire line.  BW: Plasma Storm 54/135 has 80 HP, Retreat Cost [C], and has another instance of the attack Spiral Drain, but this version costs [PC] and does/heals 20 damage.  XY: Phantom Forces 32/119 has 70 HP with a perfect free Retreat Cost.  It has the Ability “Sneaky Bite” that triggers when you Evolve one of your in play Pokémon into it from hand; you may place two damage counters on the opposing Pokémon of your choice.  For [C] it can use the attack “Swoop Across” to do 10 damage to each of the opponent’s Pokémon.  This version is the only Standard legal option due to being reprinted as Generations 31/83.  No question here; XY: Phantom Forces 32/119 and Sneaky Bite are the way to go; I mean we even reviewed it! 

Both Crobat are Stage 2 Pokémon with 130 HP, a free Retreat Cost, and an Ability in addition to an attack.  BW: Plasma Storm 55/135 (and its Pre-Release promo predecessor) is a Team Plasma Pokémon, so I’ll just refer to it as Crobat [Plasma] from now on; it may benefit from some of the Team Plasma support and it may run afoul of the Team Plasma specific counter effects released during the end of the BW-era.  It has the Ability “Night Sight”, giving you an extra draw during your turn.  Multiple instances can stack, though you just get to use each effect once, technically drawing one card at a time even if you use them back to back; also you must use them before you attack.  For [PCC] Crobat [Plasma] can hit the opponent with “Ultra-Toxic Fang” to do 40 damage and Poison the Defending Pokémon; instead of just placing one damage counter between turns, Poison inflicted by this attack places four damage counters instead.  That applies before other effects so if used alongside Virbank City Gym, ultimately six damage counters would be placed per turn.  This version was reviewed here, though not by me.  I honestly can’t remember if I had high or low expectations for it at the time, but while the Ability is decent, the attack is not: quadruple Poison sounds terrifying, but it is as easy to treat or block as single damage counter placing Poison.  Unless the additional damage counters result in a KO, of course.  With it, you’re effectively doing 80 damage for three Energy unless your opponent fails to remove the Poison.  It wasn’t awful but it wasn’t adequate, either, even if you tossed in Virbank City Gym. 

Crobat (XY: Phantom Forces 11/119) has the Ability “Suprise Bite”, which triggers when you play it from hand to Evolve one of your Pokémon; it allows you to place three damage counters on one of your opponent’s Pokémon (again, your choice).  For [C] it could use Skill Dive, this time doing 30 damage (instead of 10) to the opposing Pokémon of your choice.  We reviewed it here and didn’t expect much of it; boy, were we wrong!  Various low Energy, big Basic Pokémon-EX attackers learned that a Crobat swarm could be used as an effective damage buff.  Notable examples are Landorus-EX and Seismitoad-EX.  Landorus-EX used it so that it could focus on hitting the opponent’s Active, Bench, or both harder than expected, while Seismitoad-EX it to offset its low damage output while locking down Items via “Quaking Punch”.  Super Scoop Up helped to bounce Crobat along with Golbat and Zubat, and a player would Bench each as soon as possible; with additional members of the line already played in a staggered fashion, sometimes all would hit the field again that turn!  Super Scoop Up would also be used to bounce your attacker, and as it was a Pokémon-EX with a good HP score, capable of hitting for a single Energy attachment, you just brought up something with a free Retreat Cost, played it back down, powered it up again, then retreated and resumed your assault.  Scoop Up Cyclone and AZ provided more reliable bounce, though at different costs. 

You may have noticed I said nothing about either Crobat being Standard legal; that is because currently there are no Standard legal versions of Crobat!  That means Crobat BREAK is worthless for Standard play; BREAK Evolutions don’t allow you to skip the prior Stage.  It is still legal to include in your decks, you just can’t do anything with it.  This is a shame because at least Golbat and its Sneaky Bite are Standard legal, and even though all the easy bounce tricks are gone, Crobat BREAK can send itself and everything attached back to your deck… so you could spam Sneaky Bite if only there was any Crobat legal.  Silent Bite requires [CCC] and so is not easy to pay, so things still wouldn’t be perfect with a Crobat, but at least it could function.  Dimension Valley could assist with the cost, enabling a Double Colorless Energy to cover the now reduced cost, but it too is Expanded-only.  So is Crobat BREAK any use in Expanded since it has more support there?  Nope!  Now there is too much support, in that AZ, Scoop Up Cyclone, and Super Scoop Up is here; just bounce using those.  Wait!  Don’t BREAK Evolutions gain the Ability from their previous Stage?  Yes, but the ruling is coming-into-play Abilities won’t trigger again; the exact explanation is hazy but even if you Evolve Crobat (XY: Phantom Forces 11/119) into a Crobat BREAK played from your hand, you’re not getting another use of Surprise Bite.  If you Evolve from Crobat [Plasma] you would retain access to Night Sight, but I’ve not seen anyone make such a thing and have it prove worthwhile.  As a promo, Crobat BREAK isn’t legal for Limited play, and even if it were in a set, it probably wouldn’t be worth the effort; unlike in a constructed format, getting the line back into hand and Evolved would be much, much trickier. 

Ratings 

Standard: 1/5 

Expanded: 1.5/5 

Limited: N/A 

Summary: Crobat BREAK is a great example of wasted opportunity; it literally cannot be used except as discard-fodder in Standard play!  The older archetype that seems designed for it doesn’t need it!  As a reminder older Crobat cards are often Grass Types because the TCG used to use that Type to represent the video game Poison Type.  Why bring it up?  Imagine Crobat BREAK and the entire Zubat, Golbat, and Crobat line from XY: Phantoms had been Grass Types; no Dimension Valley but imagine spamming them with Forest of Giant Plants.  Imagine Crobat BREAK going the more obvious route and having an Ability in line with Sneaky Bite and Surprise Bite.  If you can’t tell, yeah this is an example of wasted potential that caught my eye and made me want to rant.


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