First off I have to say: WELCOME BACK ARBOK!
It’s scandalous that we have had to wait six whole years
for a card that features an original 151 Pokémon who was
an iconic part of the anime. I don’t care that
Arbok cards have always been
a bit rubbish, or that this
one isn’t especially competitive either. It’s just great
that he’s no longer forgotten.
Why isn’t he competitive? Oh, because he’s a low HP
Stage 1 is why. Mind you, the attacks aren’t horrible,
especially Gastro Acid which does 20 for a Colourless
Energy and stops the Defending Pokémon’s Ability from
working until the end of your next turn. Even that
sounds more useful than it really is as most Pokémon
using Abilities will be sitting on the Bench (Blastoise,
Deoxys EX), or use them the turn they are
promoted (Lugia EX,
Trevenant). It could be a
way of countering Snorlax
PLS’s retreat lock, I guess, but switching cards would
have a lot more utility. Arbok’s
other attack, Poison Jab, is a fairly standard three
Energy attack that does 50 and automatically inflicts
Poison. With Muscle Band/Silver Bangle and
Virbank City Gym he could
two-shot an EX, but really Arbok
is too frail and slow to get involved in that kind of
The truth is that this is actually one of the
Arbok cards in existence,
but it’s still nowhere near enough for him to be seen at
tournaments. Still, being seen
at all is a
step in the right direction for this Pokémon.
Modified: 2 (maybe there will be a use for Gastro Acid
Limited: 3 (not bad here: a cheap attack and an auto
Status Condition are pretty good)
Arbok came up in Pojo’s “Pokémon that haven’t seen print
for 6 years” review list a few weeks back. Does Arbok
make a mighty return to the TCG after all these years?
Nearly, so very nearly. Gasto Acid is very close to
being an excellent attack, if only it affected all your
opponent’s Abilities and not just their Active’s.
Gardevoir (Secret Wonders) was part of one of the top
decks for over a whole season with such an attack but
for some reason the designers didn’t feel Arbok deserved
its time in the limelight quite yet it seems.
As it stands it has quite low HP for a fully evolved
Stage 1, its second attack isn’t too strong and it has
Weakness to Trevenant, one Pokémon it might’ve attempted
to Ability lock.
The story isn’t much better in this format, locking
Abilities is even more important here but only locking
their Active just isn’t good enough. There’s Gardevoir
that can lock all Abilities with its Psychic Lock attack
and even more similar is Grumpig (Triumphant), another
Psychic Stage 1 that deals 20 damage but can also use
the superior Psychic Lock.
The XY Arbok isn’t even useful to tech into an existing
Arbok line as Arbok has never really had a good card,
especially not one that can stand up to the power-level
in U150. It’s left in the dust of its Team Rocket
co-worker Weezing who has had much more luck on powerful
cards over the years.
Unlimited 150: 1.5