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Yu Yu Hakusho
Harry Potter
Vs. System

Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day



- Plasma Storm

Date Reviewed:
May 8, 2013

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 1.33
Limited: 3.25

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

Combos With: See Below

Baby Mario
2010 UK National

Galvantula (Plasma Storm) 

Although I’m not the biggest fan of Galvantula, I do love its incredibly cute Basic form, Joltik. In fact, I like it so much that I played through the Black and White video game using it as my Lightning Type attacker . . . with an Eviolite attached, of course. 

So far, all the Galvantula we have seen have been weak, underpowered Stage 1s and it looks like this one is going the same way. With just 80 HP and a Fighting Weakness, don’t count on this spending very long on the field. Oh well, at least it has free retreat so you can get it out of harm’s way . . . though that begs the question of why you would even want to play it in the first place. Galvantula has no Ability and the attacks, as we are about to see, are very much not up to par.

In fact, the one good thing you can say about the attacks is that they are cheap (or at least appear so). Discharge costs just one Lightning Energy and does 30 damage for each Lightning attached to the Pokémon. The damage/Energy ratio is acceptable, but what isn’t is the strategy of piling Energy on to such a weak Pokémon. Yeah, you could use Elektrik NVI to charge it up but . . . why on earth would you be doing this with Galvantula instead of Rayquaza-EX? It’s not as if Signal Beam gives you a solid reason for playing this Pokémon either. Two Energy of any Colour for 30 damage and a Confusion coin flip? That isn’t going to put much on a dent in an EX Pokémon (or anything else really), especially with decks ready to deal with Status Conditions, thanks to Hypnotoxic Laser. 

As far as Galvantula is concerned, this is all business as usual. 


Modified: 1.5 (Weak in pretty much all respects)

Limited: 2.75 (could do some serious damage in a slower format if you get time to charge it up)


Happy midweek, Pojo readers! Today we're continuing our last week of Plasma Storm reviews before we move on to our Top 10 Countdown for Plasma Freeze. Today's Card of the Day is Galvantula.
Galvantula is a Stage 1 Lightning Pokemon. Lightning-types are losing a bit of popularity right now, as Eels aren't seeing as much play as they used to, although the new Thundurus-EX is pretty hyped and thought to be quite powerful in the upcoming Battle Roads/Nationals metagame. 80 HP is pretty poor for a final evolution, as Galvantula won't be able to stand up to even an average hit in Modified right now, pretty much automatically relegating it to Limited. Fighting Weakness is problematic against Modified threats like Landorus-EX and Terrakion; no Resistance is all too common in this game; and a free Retreat Cost is probably the best thing about this card.
The EleSpider has two attacks. Discharge costs a Lightning Energy to use, but discards all of the Lightning Energy attached to Galvantula, dealing 30 damage for each Energy discarded in this way. 30 damage for one Energy is pretty good on its own, but the fact that this can scale works very nicely in a Limited environment to deal with threats accordingly. Signal Beam is the second attack, dealing 30 damage with a chance to Confuse on a coin flip for two Colorless Energy. The way that Galvantula will most commonly be used in Limited is to Signal Beam until you can OHKO with Discharge, repeating as necessary. In this way, Galvantula can be a pretty strong primary attacker (it's Uncommon, so you'll be able to possibly get multiple) if you're running Lightning, as well as a strong supporting fighter if you manage to get something slightly better.
Modified: 1.5/5 Galvantula has low HP and weak attacks, a combination for failure in Modified. Free Retreat is really nice, though.
Limited: 4/5 Galvantula is excellent for any deck running Lightning. Discharge is a great big attack in spite of having to commit a lot of Energy (which you should have plenty of in Limited anyway), and Signal Beam is a very solid attack with relaxed Energy requirements, allowing it to fit well into any deck (or allowing you to attack after a Discharge in a two or three type deck). Overall, Galvantula is definitely worth considering if you end up pulling them in your Plasma Sealed Limited pool.


Today’s card is Galvantula (BW: Plasma Storm 51/135).  While it didn’t release with another version of itself in BW: Plasma Storm, there have been three other versions released in the Black & White-era, one shy of half the full sets.  Though none of have been well known, I think that is still good enough to be an honorary “the other” Galvantula.




Type: As a Lightning-Type, Galvantula can enjoy hitting a few high profile Pokémon like Tornadus EX (and the not technically yet legal Tornadus EX [Plasma]), though it will face Resistance on some well known Pokémon as well, like Landorus EX.  There is no real Lightning-Type support, either… Eelektrik (BW: Noble Victories 40/101) supports the Energy-Type, not the Pokémon-Type and that matters to the Energy costs for the attacks and not the card’s Type.


Given the desire to hit Grass Weakness, it is a shame this card wasn’t either dual Typed (I know, I know, doesn’t look like that mechanic is coming back to the TCG anytime soon) or Grass-Type: it is a Bug/Electric Type in the video games.


Stage: As a Stage 1 Pokémon, Galvantula can’t hit the field (in Modified) before a player’s second turn and will always require twice the space of a Basic Pokémon.  This matters because Basic Pokémon define this format and being an Evolution is currently a disadvantage.


Hit Points: 80 HP is terrible for a fully Evolved Pokémon; Eelektrik will be OHKOed by the vast majority of decks.  10 more HP wouldn’t have done much, but it would have been better and the card still would have been a legal Level Ball target.  What is annoying is that it is appropriate with the current range of TCG HP scores (30 to 300) and the video game Base Stats for HP, Defense, and Special Defense all being well below average.  It also tells us that either HP scores across the board need to be inflated (while damage output remains the same), or damage needs to be dialed back.


I would actually approve of stat inflation in this case, as it would better match the source material and provide more options for creativity in card design.  When the source material has HP scores with maxed out Pokémon ranging from 1 to over 700 and the TCG has to stick with numbers divisible by 10, you lose a lot of leeway when designing Pokémon to be distinct.


Weakness: Fighting Weakness is a very dangerous thing to have, and it is made worse by one of the best attackers right now (Landorus EX) not only being a Fighting-Type but also being Fighting Resistant, you know it is bad.  This also matters because while I would normally point out Weakness won’t matter because the average damage we see from competitive decks will OHKO Galvantula anyway… but Landorus EX is one of those Pokémon with a great single Energy attack that is used most of the game.  80 HP won’t be OHKOed by it even with Weakness, but any sort of combo will seal the deal.


Now, while it is pretty obvious “Lightning-Types are Weak to Fighting-Types” has become a TCG standard, it becomes a bit annoying when you check the video games the TCG is supposed to be approximating, and you notice Galvantula is Weak to only two video game Types, Rock and Fire.  The Rock-Type is one of the three that makes up the TCG Fighting-Type, but it is neutral towards Ground-Types and has damage halving Resistance to Fighting-Type moves in the video games (the other two-thirds of the TCG Fighting-Type).


Wouldn’t it have been more useful and more interesting to just give it the other Weakness it has which lines up perfectly: Fire?


Resistance: No Resistance is the worst Resistance, but it is quite common.  Again, this seems to be some sort of design mandate as in the video games, a Bug/Electric-Type would have Resistance to Fighting-, Steel-, Grass-, and Electric-Type moves.  It wouldn’t have done it much good, but I would have liked seeing Metal or Lightning Resistance (which match up perfectly to their video game counterparts).


Retreat: In the video games, Speed is the best stat you’ll find on a Galvantula, give or take how it is trained and how its Nature affects it.  It also is a Pokémon depicted as being small, energetic, and fast moving.  As such, I am pleased to see that this Galvantula has a free Retreat Cost; it is desperately needed (being the card’s best Stat) and completely deserved.




Attack#1: Discharge can hit very hard or very softly due to how it computes damage.  Its Energy requirement is (L), and the attack discards all (L) Energy attached to it as part of the effect… which is also how damage is calculated: 30 points per (L) Energy you discarded.  If there was an easy way to attach about six Energy to this card per turn, it would be great.


That just isn’t happening without a crazy, unrealistic combinations (I’ll list them in the Combos section).  You could probably managed an easy two to four Energy per turn, but that just means trading two Galvantula for the KO as it is so fragile… or having it survive while your support is annihilated.  This feels like an intentional glass cannon, but it is a shame that knowing you can’t control the damage output directly (it is always all or nothing) it didn’t get 40 or even 50 points of damage per Energy discarded.


Attack#2: Signal Beam is quite underwhelming; (CC) to hit for 30 with Confusion for the Defending Pokémon if you get “heads” on a mandatory coin toss.  While technically this, the “more expensive” attack (if we just look at minimum Energy costs to use), it really isn’t and the Colorless requirements allows the card to hypothetically function off-Type.  It doesn’t really do enough to prove worthwhile; they could have at least made Confusion guaranteed.


Synergy: You have the basic synergy of a one Energy attack that can lead into a two Energy attack, though you would be a bit desperate to settle for discarding a single (L) for Discharge and would need Energy acceleration to ever get ahead enough to use Signal Beam.  Confusion from Signal Beam can help protect Galvantula and buy time to build up Discharge, and the off Energy requirements of Signal Beam allow you to tap most Energy acceleration (for it) and to use Energy that doesn’t provide (L) to have an attack you can use regardless of discharge.


The problem of course is that this card shouldn’t realistically survive long enough to get off two attacks and as Signal Beam is less worth running Galvantula for than Discharge; it too might as well have required (L) and done more.  Alternatively it could have done something totally different and used (G) Energy (reflecting its Bug-Type half), which probably wouldn’t have been good but would have been interesting.


I will give credit where credit is due: Discharge and Signal Beam are both names of attacks from the video game that Galvantula can use (they even learn it through leveling up there).  Discharge works different in the video games (a spread attack that can hit nearby enemies in multiple battles and possibly cause Paralysis) but Signal Beam is about as faithful as it can be.




Card Family: There are six different Joltik to pick form, all Lightning-Type Basic Pokémon with Fighting Weakness, no Resistance, and single Energy Retreat costs (despite almost everything mentioned above about Galvantula applying equally to Joltik).  All the Joltik also lack Abilities; Evolving Basic Pokémon don’t often have them anyway, but if there was a card that needed it, it is probably Joltik.


Normally I would go through each of them, but this time it is an easy choice: Black & White 44/114 has the only attack with a legitimate shot at keeping Joltik alive.  For (L) it does 10 points of damage with a coin toss to inflict Paralysis; it isn’t much but it is better than doing damage or healing with just 30 HP.  Seriously, look up Joltik Black& White (45/114) and try to figure out what the designer was thinking.


The other Galvantula are all Stage 1 Lightning-Type Pokémon with 80 HP, Fighting Weakness, no Resistance and two attacks.  Black& White 46/114 has a single Energy Retreat Cost (normally good, but this card needs all the help it can get) and for (L) it can hit for 20 while preventing the Defending Pokémon from retreating; this is actually more useful now given things like reliance upon Darkrai EX (or rather its Dark Cloak Ability) and usage of Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym).  Its big attack is Leech Life, which requires (CC) but just hits for 40 points of damage and heals as much as the damage it does to the Defending Pokémon.  That isn’t useful on a Pokémon that will be OHKOed.


Galvantula (BW: Emerging Powers /98) is terrible; it does get a free Retreat Cost but all it does is (C) for 20 or at a cost of (LC) hits for 30 with a coin flip to inflict Paralysis.  BW: Dark Explorers 43/108 has more interesting attacks, but still that annoying Retreat Cost of (C).  At a cost of (L) it allows you to flip two coins for 20 points of damage per “heads”.  For (LC) it hits for 30 plus 40 if the Defending Pokémon has no Retreat Cost… while this was a set-mate to Darkrai EX and thus that condition became more common, you really should have been hitting for at least 70 anyway given that this was the card’s “big attack”.


So no help from the card pool, in fact, the failure to make a worthwhile Evolving Basic form means that Galvantula should be a lot stronger to compensate.


Combos: Eelektrik can load Energy onto Galvantula easily, but not enough to score the OHKOs a glass cannon like this needs.  Plus as Galvantula is nearly useless without the acceleration and can’t hit OHKO level without crazy combos, it makes sense to just OHKO the Eelektrik.


So… what are those crazy combos?  By calling them that I may have made them sound more interesting than they actually are; Ether and Pokédex and/or Ho-Oh EX plus Energy Switch can get you up to the six Energy you need for OHKO status.  You wouldn’t have much room for error, either; you need at least five Energy being “accelerated” and that still eats up your manual attachment for the turn… plus the supplemental options each only have four uses.


Obviously, if you insist on using this, you can.  You could just use Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym (assuming you have room) and try to get a perfect four Eelektrik set-up on your Bench, plus a second Galvantula; thanks to their free Retreat Cost they can switch out pretty easily.  Of course as the first is almost guaranteed to be hitting the discard pile, you’ll need a Switch as you promote an Eelektrik instead (so you can attach to the Benched Galvantula, then promote it).


Unlimited: Easier brute force decks, and those still pale in comparison to locks or first-turn-win decks.


Modified: Use Rayquaza EX or Zekrom EX or Raikou EX; same idea, better execution.


Limited: If you plan on running a lot of Lightning Energy, consider it… but Joltik is terrible in Limited.  It probably won’t be a OHKO, but it will most likely be a 2HKO that barely hurts the opponent.  You might be able to hide and build it on the Bench but… just seems too risky.




Unlimited: 1/5


Modified: 1/5


Limited: 2.5/5



As stated, without radically altering this card, the best it could hope for would be to function as a glass cannon; providing a strong assault but being taken out afterwards.  It doesn’t hit hard enough to do that, which is a shame; there actually is almost enough support to pull it off.

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