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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day



- (Promo XY-09)

Date Reviewed:
July 31, 2014

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.50
Limited: Promo

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

Garchomp (Promo XY-09) 

Just saying that the Garchomp EX box was released on April 1st . . . that’s all.

Being a post-XY Dragon, Garchomp is Weak to Fairy, rather than its own Type. This is good news as you don’t see attacking Fairy Pokémon used very often (the occasional Xerneas EX, I suppose) and it could have made him a pretty useful Pokémon to counter Rayquaza EX. That is if he wasn’t just so all-round mediocre. Yep, this is yet another promo EX with a mostly ineffective first attack (the flippy Dual Chop), and a second attack that does 120. In this case, Power Blast also has the drawbacks of a slightly awkward Energy cost and an Energy discard. 

It seems odd to complain about Pokémon that do 120 damage. After all, with Muscle Band and Laser/Virbank around, they can in theory OHKO a lot of other EX Pokémon. The thing is though, that we have a lot of other cards that do the same thing, only much better (Lugia EX, Yveltal EX, Rayquaza EX, and so on), so there really isn’t much incentive to use a card like Garchomp, which is completely free of useful Abilities or effects, and doesn’t even have much support (unless you include Altaria DRX, which hasn’t really worked out too well).

If you want a Dragon Type that can mess with other Dragons, play Druddigon FLF, and leave this in the box where it belongs. 


Modified: 2 (yawn . . . who would have thought that 120 damage Pokémon could be so dull?)

Limited: N/A (promo)


Hey all you crazy folks at home! This is aroramage tuning in to give commentary on the Pokécards of the future! ...wait, haven't I already said that before? That's weird, but it's also strangely relevant. Welcome back to today's card, Garchomp-EX!


Now why is this card familiar, you might ask? Well that's because it resembles its cousin from the Dragons Exalted set, one of the first Dragon-type cards in the game! For anyone who's been living under a rock the past couple of years, Garchomp was a Stage 2 Dragon that exploded in popularity upon first release not only for having a nice Stage 1 searcher in Gabite but also in having two really cheap, really powerful attacks: Mach Cut, which did 60 damage for 1 Fighting Energy while also discarding a Special Energy off of the Defending Pokemon, and Dragonblade, which only added a Water Energy for an attack that did 100 damage and milled 2 cards off of your deck.


Garchomp-EX is similar but different, and we're about to take a look at why, starting with his first attack Dual Chop! Dual Chop is almost like Mach Cut in that it costs 1 Fighting Energy and can do 60 damage, but the truth is that it added on a Colorless Energy to the cost and can only do 60 damage on 2 heads. That's right, Dual Chop is one of those "coin flips for damage" attacks, a significant downgrade from Mach Cut especially with the removal of the discard.


But wait! Don't lose hope yet! Dragonblade may have been a Water and a Fighting Energy, but add another Colorless to the cost and you can get Power Blast! Now if familiarity were right, you'd expect it to do 100 damage but mill 5 cards or something, right? Makes it a downgrade to even out the fact that this is a Basic Pokemon in comparison to a Stage 2, right? WRONG!! Power Blast actually does 120 damage and brings back the Mach Cut discard better than ever, discarding ANY one Energy on the Defending Pokemon! Not too shabby!


So would you run Garchomp-EX over his Stage 2 baron of badness counterpart? Actually, I'd say you'd be better off with the EX version. True, the Stage 2's attacks are cheaper, and in Mach Cut's case better, but bringing that Stage 2 into play takes time and resources. Not to mention you might want to run Altaria (DRX) alongside it to up the damage output. Alternatively, you could just use Garcomp-EX, using Evosodas on your Swablu to get out the Altaria and start swinging in for anywhere up to 200 damage to the Active Pokemon! That's pretty crazy!


I'd say he'd make a fine substitute for Garchomp in the upcoming format, though in comparison to other EXs, he does fall a bit short. Hey, it's hard to get on top with competition from Mewtwo, Yveltal, and soon Lucario!




Modified: 3/5 (technically Altaria's still good, what with that Shiny print in Boundaries Crossed! Could make for a nice Dragon deck here with that delicious Evosoda!)


Expanded: 2/5 (there wasn't much Dragon-support behind Dragons Exalted, but considering Rayquaza-EX will be legal in this format, I'd probably just stick to him over Garchomp-EX)


Limited: N/A


Arora Notealus: *kssssh* Garchomp-EX to tower, ready for takeoff! Over! *kssssh*

...what? They can fly!


Next Time: Wait, where'd the next card of the day go?


As a reminder September 3, 2014 will mark the official annual rotation, when the Standard format shifts from the 2013-2014 Modified (BW:Next Destinies to XY: Flashfire, BW Promo BW33+, McDonald’s Collection 2012 and all XY Promos) to the 2014-2015 Modified (BW: Boundaries Crossed and later, BW Promos BW55+, McDonald’s Collection and all XY Promos); nothing from XY: Furious Fists will be legal for sanctioned Standard play until that time.  If I believe I can make a sufficiently educated guess, I’ll score for both Modified Formats and the new Expanded Format (Black & White and later sets, all BW Promo and XY Promo series cards, all McDonald’s Collection cards) that also begins then.


Garchomp-EX (XY Promo XY09) is a Dragon-Type; they can enjoy hitting pre-XY Dragon-Types for Weakness and so far never face Resistance.  There are also two pieces of Dragon-Type support which may help this card out: Altaria (BW: Dragons Exalted 84/124; BW Promos BW48; BW: Boundaries Crossed 152/149) and Gabite (BW: Dragons Exalted 89/124).  The former is well known for the +20 to damage bonus granted by its (stackable) Ability, while the latter is almost as well known for its Ability that allows (once during your turn per copy) a player to search his or her deck for a Dragon-Type and add it to hand.  Both have seen some success competitive play, but nothing that is both recent and major.  They are still good to have access to, though post rotation Gabite will be gone.


Being a Basic is still the best (it may be repetitive, but its true) owing to how Evolutions require more time and effort but most Evolving Pokémon are nothing more than filler (instead of providing say a valuable opener you might want to run anyway).  Being a Pokémon-EX is a drawback: the design decisions that result in most Pokémon-EX clocking in at 170 or 180 HP and possessing either better-than-normal attacks or Abilities is just that; a design decision which technically they could ignore (and sometimes they have).  What can’t be separated out are the number of anti-Pokémon-EX cards, support cards that exclude Pokémon-EX, or the built in “opponent takes an extra Prize” mechanic.  Of course, the intangibles have made the best Pokémon-EX either the outright dominant force of the last two (soon to be three) formats.


170 HP is just 10 below the maximum we’ve seen printed on Basic Pokémon-EX; often good enough to take a single hit.  It isn’t a guarantee, however, and when contrasted with the 180 HP some Pokémon-EX support you notice a lot of combos that just barely miss the OHKO on 180 that still take down 170.  Fairy-Type Weakness is a bit of an odd thing; against an actual Fairy-Type deck (re: Fairy Transfer) it means a regular Xerneas (let alone a Xerneas-EX) can use its big attack for a guaranteed OHKO.  At the moment, however, those two seem to be the best Fairy-Type attackers available… so outside of Fairy Transfer decks it isn’t a serious concern.  I seem to run into Fairy Transfer decks frequently on the PTCGO, and get the impression they aren’t exactly “uncommon” in real life, so be wary.


The lack of Resistance is disappointing but not surprising, and since Resistance is far more balanced than Weakness, it (fortunately?) is not a detriment to be lacking it.  I will add that as a Dragon/Ground Type hybrid in the video games, it really should qualify for one: Lightning or Fire Resistance both can translate easily and directly, while Fighting (due to Rock Resistance) and Psychic (due to Poison Resistance) wouldn’t be terrible stretches as the other two video game Types involved in each of those TCG Types merely do “normal” damage in the video games.  Also feeling a bit off is the Retreat Cost of [CC]; its both a faster Pokémon and able to fly (but not use Fly) in the source material.  In fact, while there is only one Garchomp-EX, there are multiple other variations of Garchomp, and they all retreat for [C] or for free, even the only other “Its a Basic” version, Garchomp C (and when it Levels-Up to Garchomp C Lv.X gains a free Retreat).  This may seem like a nitpick, especially given my laid back attitude towards Resistance, but its easier to exploit a low Retreat Cost than Resistance.


So Garchomp-EX doesn’t have bad Stats, but what about its attacks?  It has two: Dual Chop for [FC] and Power Blast for [FWC].  Until they rotate, Prism Energy and Blend Energy WLFM make the (usual) oddball double Energy type requirement a little more manageable, and even after that all you’ll have is Rainbow Energy and the real thing, basic Energy.  Pokémon-EX are less likely to survive a hit or two than in the past, also making the Energy costs less appealing as you’ll need something more effort than something simple like running Double Colorless Energy (which is a waste anyway unless you need to retreat Garchomp-EX) to get either attack powered up in a single turn… and that isn’t good.


Neither is what you get for [FC]; competitive Pokémon-EX are usually good for 30-60 points of damage (possibly more) at that price, but this only provides an average of 30 and the threat of “double tails” causing Garchomp-EX to completely whiff on its attack.  Power Blast actually does a decent job once you get it powered up initially; 120 isn’t a guaranteed OHKO of most competitive Pokémon, but its a solid enough foundation that a little boosting will get it into range.  The discard cost isn’t good, but it isn’t especially bad; you’re still getting good damage for what was paid, and with all the Pokémon that hit for more damage based on the Energy attached to the Defending (or both Active) Pokémon, it can even come in handy on rare occasions.


Unfortunately, there isn’t really a good reason to run Garchomp-EX because of the lackluster first attack and difficulty of powering up the second; there are definitely tricks to get it hitting harder and/or faster but they yield better results with different attackers.  Even as a big, Basic Dragon-Type to exploit Dragon Weakness, we’ve got Druddigon (XY: Flashfire 70/106).  Had the Energy costs been a bit more reasonable/damage been a bit better, Druddigon usage may have even justified including Garchomp-EX into your typical Garchomp (BW: Dragons Exalted 90/124; BW: Plasma Freeze 120/116; BW: Legendary Treasures 96/113)/Altaria (same version as above) decks.  If you insist on running it, that may be the best way to go anyway; even if you had to use up its Pokémon Tool “slot” on something like Exp. Share, three Altaria put Power Blast into Pokémon-EX OHKO territory.


There is a slight silverlining; while Expanded probably won’t help it, XY: Furious Fists (again legal at rotation) actually might.  Among the Fighting-Type support is Landorus (XY: Furious Fists 58/111) is a big, Basic Fighting-Type that for [F] hits for 20 while attaching a basic Energy from the discard pile to something on the Bench.  It isn’t a huge amount of acceleration (you aren’t even Energy ahead unless it attacks twice), but because its a 120 HP body to soak the first hit or two while also dealing an early 20-40 points of damage, it could be just enough.


Obviously it isn’t legal for Limited play, but if it was it would be a mostly solid pick.  The unreliable nature of its first attack can cause problems if your opponent has time to set-up a solid attacker because of it; if you go second they might have three turns without any damage being taken while they chip away at Garchomp-EX, then launch something big.  Once Power Blast is good to go, their odds will plummet, however.  So a “+39” build is probably worth the risk.  The Energy costs would make it trickier to work into fleshed out decks, though if a deck has room for both Fighting Energy and Water Energy (probably totalling half the deck’s Energy, maybe more if other stuff needs it) then sure its another obvious must run… or at least it would be.




Modified (NXD-On): 2/5 - Perhaps I am being overly generous, but despite the weak first attack, the second is solid.  The support is there to boost the damage to OHKO range, so its just the Energy acceleration that is really lacking.


Modified (BCR-On): 2.5/5 - Here the card will have at least one Energy acceleration option that seems workable in the new Landorus, but even then this is cautious optimism as the two only have a tiny bit of synergy.


Expanded (BW-On): 2/5 - While it also has access to said Landorus here, it now faces competition both old and new, which I suspect will drop it right back down.


Limited: N/A - As stated, it isn’t legal but if it was, it would probably be worth about a 4/5.


Summary: Garchomp-EX is another classic example of a card that is nearly “there”, where “there” is some level of competitive play.  As is, you can probably build a functional deck around it that can win some matches, but most of the time established, competitive decks will prove too much to handle outside when all else is equal (re: they don’t get a bad open, supporter drought, etc.).  If the first attack was even a vanilla 30 or 40 for [F], it could have been something.

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