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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Crustle #7

Noble Victories

Date Reviewed: March 22, 2012

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 1.50
Limited: 3.00

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

Baby Mario
2010 UK National

Crustle (Noble Victories)

Today we catch up with a card we missed from NV: it’s the bizarre hermit crab Pokémon, Crustle. For some reason, the card designers don’t seem to have much love for crab Pokémon. Poor old Kingler hasn’t had a card since Great Encounters in 2008! I bet there are people reading this who have never even played in a format where Kingler was legal.

Crustle is a Grass Type Stage 1 with a decidedly-not-special 100 HP. It also has a Weakness to fire which, while not as bad as it used to be, is still not fun if you run into a Reshiram or even a Typhlosion. Don’t think it’s going to be easy to Retreat it out of harm’s way either: thanks to a monumental Retreat cost of three, you are going to need a Switch.

What you do get from Crustle are two attacks. The first, X-Scissor, costs one Grass and one Energy of any Colour. For that you get a pathetic base damage of 20, but it comes with the coin flip chance for an extra 50. Now a possible 70 for two doesn’t sound too bad, and historically it wasn’t, but we are now playing in a format where Basics have 180 HP and attacks that do 120+ damage are routine. This leaves Crustle severely underpowered, even if you get lucky with the coin. The second attack, Reckless Charge, doesn’t do a whole lot to improve the situation either: for [G][C][C] it will net you a guaranteed 80 at the cost of 10 points of self-damage. That self-damage is unlikely to matter much, but the relatively low damage output on a Stage 1 does. When you consider that we have more durable Basics that can hit 80 for the same Energy cost (I’m thinking of the Weather Genies here), it puts what Crustle can do into persepective.

So, what are you left with? Unplayable set filler I’m afraid. Too slow, too weak and not damaging enough to make any kind of impact.


Modified: 1.5 (nope, still no love for crab Pokémon)

Limited: 3 (nothing special, but a moderately efficient attack if flips go your way)


Hello once again, Pojo readers! Today we're going back a set to review a card that we previously missed from Noble Victories. Today's Card of the Day is Crustle.
Crustle is a Stage 1 Grass Pokemon. Grass-types don't see a whole lot of play right now, with only Celebi Prime and the rare Virizion seeing much use; however, given the emergence of Terrakion in Modified, I wouldn't be surprised if a Grass-type eventually sees play in a deck at least as a tech. 100 HP is better than the benchmark 90 that most Stage 1s currently have, but it is still unfortunately too low to stand up against heavy hitters like the dragons and Pokemon-EX. Fire Weakness isn't too bad right now given that Reshiphlosion's popularity has plummeted, but the deck still pops up on occasion, so be sure to watch out for it. Crustle also has no Resistance, and a huge Retreat Cost of 3. Make sure to use Switch if you want to move Crustle from the Active spot.
Crustle has two attacks: X-scissor and Reckless Charge. X-scissor starts at 20 damage for a Grass and a Colorless, but does 50 more if you flip heads. 70 damage is very good for two Energy, and at the very least makes Crustle playable in Limited. Unfortunately the attack is a bit too weak and inconsistent to be used in Modified, where something like Virizion would be a better choice. Reckless Charge does 80 damage for a Grass and two Colorless, with Crustle doing 10 damage to itself. Reckless Charge isn't bad for the cost, but the recoil damage is unfortunate, simply because with Crustle's relatively low HP value, it won't survive very long in the first place.
Modified: 2.5/5 Crustle is just about average in every respect. The Stone Home Pokemon has two attacks with respectable damage output for their costs, but both are either unreliable or have a drawback. Also, 100 HP is good for a Stage 1, but not quite good enough for competitive play. Overall, Crustle is a Pokemon that might be playable if it had more HP or a slightly higher damage output, but as it stands, it doesn't quite have what it takes to play with the big boys in Modified.
Limited: 4/5 Crustle is excellent in Limited. 100 HP is fairly good for this format, and both attacks are very usable, even with their drawbacks. Fortunately, Crustle has many Colorless Energy requirements making it fit easily into any deck, and it will work especially well in your Grass-based deck. In summary, Crustle is an excellent Pokemon for Limited, and should be able to stand up to almost anything aside from some of the musketeers or random Fire-types (watch out for V-create Victini!).

Mad Mattezhion
 Professor Bathurst League Australia

Crustle (Noble victories)
Hello folks, today is a Noble Victories Uncommon card by the name of Crustle. Let's take a look at what this bug can do!
Crustle is a non-evolving Stage 1 Grass type with 100 HP, Fire Weakness, a retreat cost of 3 and two attacks. Aside from the HP I'm not seeing anything I like in the stats, but given that this is a half-Bug that isn't particularly surprising. If you play this critter then it will have to go down fighting, but what can it actually do?
X-scissor is a lacklustre effort, dealing 20 damage for [g][c]. On a successful coin flip, you deal an extra 50 damage with X-scissor, but that still doesn't make this attack particularly powerful, still leaving you painfully short of dealing sunstantial damage to your target.
Reckless charge is no better, costing [g][c][c] and 10 self damage to deal 80 damage to the Defending Poke'mon. That may be a 2HKO on most targets, but considering that the baseline for effective main attacks at the moment is 120 before Pluspowers are added you probably won't get a second shot.
Crustle is a bug that dares to stand against giants and subsequently gets crushed to a pulp. If there was some sort of 'strength in numbers' attack like Round or Mass Attack then then Crustle would be a solid card that you may have tried out at the local playgroup but as is, Crustle will never leave the shoebox.
Modified: 1.5 (unnecessary drawbacks are added to straight damage attacks on a creature that sits far below the curve resulting in Crustle getting the boot)
Limited: 3 (Crustle is much better here with only the one [g] energy necessary to use both attacks making it an easy splash and the 100 HP will last quite some time)
Combos with: Crustle is filler with its only redeeming feature being the surprised look on its face in the artwork. If I had to guess, Crustle is making that face because it just became the latest contestant in Reality Frogger and is now reaching the road crossing.


Crustle I hardly knew you… until I decided to see what cards we’d skipped over from the last four sets. Now do I wish I still didn’t know you?


Being an Evolution is incredibly difficult right now; Basic Pokémon are very powerful (too powerful, in my opinion), so an Evolution has to really step up to compensate. Being a Grass-Type doesn’t help it: the Grass-Type Pokémon that have proven useful during the current format have also proven flexible enough to be used in off-Type decks. The good news is that means there is a definite niche available: Grass Weakness is only seen on a few Pokémon, but some of them (like Terrakion) are high profile enough to matter. Of course, since this is a Rock/Bug hybrid in the video games… being a Fighting-Type would have been appropriate and probably much, much more useful in a format full of Fighting Weak Pokémon, with more on the way.

100 HP is about as small as I like to see on a Stage 1… or it would be if we didn’t have Basic Pokémon that could reasonably hit for 120 points of damage and possessed 130 HP themselves (hello Reshiram and Zekrom). Even if those two lacked their trademark Energy acceleration, Outrage would still have been a decent enough opening play (especially in a hypothetical slower format) that I expect they still would have been a serious force. Then of course we have Mewtwo EX, keeping things humming along in a "OHKO or be OHKOed format." So 100 HP should be adequate, but it isn’t. Based on source material, I think another 10 or 20 points would be reasonable: Crustle in the video games have below average HP and Special Defense, but a significantly good Defense score… which I would think would result in a slightly above average HP for a Stage 1. Based on need, 130 HP would be required, just so our most common non-Pokémon EX beatsticks need a little extra effort for the OHKO.

Fire Weakness is not good, and more important it is wrong! Crustle aren’t Fire Weak in the video games, and Fire is one of the few Types that are the same in video games and the TCG! Crustle in the video games are Weak to Rock-Type, Steel-Type, and Water-Type attacks. Since two of those three don’t translate directly to the TCG, I’d think a Metal-Type Weakness would have been both interesting and potentially useful for a Grass-Type Pokémon. At least the lack of Resistance is almost understandable this time: in the video games the Bug/Rock hybrid only Resists Normal-Types and Poison-Types… which are both a little awkward to do in the TCG, given that they are both part of different “combined” TCG Types (Colorless and Psychic, respectively). At least the three Energy needed to retreat Crustle makes sense: it has a horrible Speed in the TCG, almost half of what is average for Evolved Pokémon. That doesn’t make it good, but it makes it justified. Pack some form of retreat aid if you’re running Crustle or expect to leave it Active no matter what: three Energy is very hard to recover from, though at least it will allow you to search Crustle from your deck via Heavy Ball.


Crustle has two attacks. The first is X-Scissor, notable as one of the few aggressive Bug-Type moves in the video games. The TCG version is a let down: for (GC) it does 20 points of damage, plus 50 if you get a lucky coin toss. For that much Energy, those numbers need to be reversed. The second attack is Reckless Charge, and for (GCC) it does 80 to the Defending Pokémon and 10 to itself; this won’t do for a Stage 1 Pokémon that is fully Evolved. For a transitional Stage 1 or fully Evolved Basic this would be a solid attack, and on an Evolving Basic it’d be great, but as the ultimate point of the Crustle line, it fails.

Crustle has no Ability, and both attacks would only be adequate if the card had an Ability or a phenomenal attack. The good news is that Reckless Charge can use Double Colorless Energy (and any other form of Energy acceleration that isn’t Type dependent) to get it off in a single turn, but that also means that the first attack is pretty much a desperation move for when you can’t get that Energy acceleration: you should jump from having a Dwebble with hopefully a Grass Energy attached to Crustle then drop a Double Colorless Energy! I suppose there is one other odd bit of synergy, between Reckless Charge and the HP score: since 100 HP is still a OHKO, knocking off 10 of your own HP in recoil isn’t an issue.


To Evolve Crustle, you’ll need to go through Dwebble (BW: Noble Victories 6/101). It is a Basic, Grass-Type Pokémon (oh that it were Fighting) with 60 HP. Technically that is about average, and I know 10 more HP wouldn’t make a world of difference, but I’d really like some less severe HP spread, especially with the direction the game has been going. A Basic that can only Evolve into a Stage 1 could really use a little more HP right away; it shouldn’t be unbalancing since the Basic that doesn’t Evolve should also have its full HP and the Basic that Evolves twice to eventually become a Stage 2 can just use Rare Candy (and will be that much more potent when fully Evolved).

Dwebble has the same inappropriate Fire Weakness plus expected lack of Resistance and two Energy Retreat Cost. While expected (since it isn’t a fast Pokémon), that is still a chunky Retreat Cost for a Basic Pokémon, and makes it easy to get a Dwebble stuck Active (though odds are your opponent won’t leave it Active for long). Though the Stats on Dwebble are disappointing, it has one attack that actually makes sense, both from a flavor and a TCG design standpoint: Withdraw! For (C) you may flip a coin, and if heads prevent all damage done to Dwebble by your attacks from your opponent’s Pokémon during your next turn. This gives it decent shot at surviving to Evolve. It also can use Slash for (GC), but that only does 20 points of damage (which is just a bit low, but not much given that it is an Evolving Basic Pokémon). So forget Slash and pray for “heads”.

So… is there a use for this card. Yes… in Limited. In Limited this is a Grass-Type Pokémon that only needs one Energy actually provide (G) in order to use its attacks. You can’t run it completely off-Type, but you can run Grass as your secondary or tertiary Type and do quite well. The lower average HP and damage output, and difficulty in your opponent forcing a Dwebble Active (or to the Bench after a successful Withdraw) make the line a good attacker.

For Modified and Unlimited, you have Virizion from this very set to function as a better splashed in Grass-Type attacker, and on top of that it is only a Basic Pokémon. Being able to function off-Type (though a small source of Grass Energy) is about the only redeeming feature Crustle has, and a big, Basic Pokémon does it significantly better. If you insisted on building a deck around it, you’re pretty much wasting your time, but I suppose a Grass focused deck using the best they have to offer (namely Vileplume and Celebi Prime) would be low level functional; fun for Pokémon League but frustrating at a tournament. Actually, a bit frustrating at Pokémon League too I’d wager; Crustle was designed as a supporting attacker, so you’d still need something else in the deck.


Unlimited: 1/5

Modified: 1.5/5

Limited: 3.75/5


Crustle is another Pokémon worth reviewing mostly to warn you away from it and give me an excuse to point to some areas of concern I have about the game. Unfortunately it seems to be a great example of “phoning it in”; the designers threw together stuff they knew wouldn’t be broken and were expected of Grass-Type Pokémon, ignoring its video game roots and what could have been an interesting, even useful card! A good Grass/Fighting deck could have some real fun in this format, maybe even be competitive.

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