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Yu Yu Hakusho
Harry Potter
Vs. System

Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day



- Phantom Forces

Date Reviewed:
Jan. 15, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.25
Expanded: 1.67
Limited: 3.95

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


Today we look at Golbat (XY: Phantom Forces 32/119).  We haven’t looked at a Golbat… technically ever: we did review Dark Golbat (EX: Team Rocket Returns 34/109) which you can look at here if you feel like it, but it isn’t relevant to this review. 

So what makes this Golbat special?  Its a Psychic-Type, a mild bonus for tapping Psychic-Type support (as we’ll see, Weakness/Resistance won’t matter much). Being an Evolving Stage 1 is possibly the least useful Stage in the game; Rare Candy makes it almost superfluous.  70 HP isn’t the worst we’ve seen on an Evolving Stage 1, but is probably just within easy OHKO range though this makes the  Lightning-Type less of a concern (somewhat important because Yveltal-EX makes exploiting it somewhat common).  This and the Resistance are nice bonuses due to this actually being a Poison/Flying hybrid.  Golbat enjoys Fighting Resistance; not a major edge but handy and joined by a perfect free Retreat Cost… but none of this makes it worth running (and some of encourages avoiding it).  Golbat has an Ability and an attack.  Sneaky Bite is an Ability that triggers when you Evolve one of your Pokémon into Golbat: it allows you to place two damage counters on the Defending Pokémon of your choice.  Handy, but still not worth running the card.  The attack is Swoop Across for [C], good for 10 damage to each of your opponent’s Pokémon: as there are cards that block damage to Benched Pokémon, placing damage counters may have been better.  Not by much though, and in the end its a solid attack but still doesn’t tip the balance in favor of running Golbat. 

Zubat doesn’t help; all three Standard and Expanded legal options have the same Type, Weakness and Resistance as Golbat but on a Basic.  BW: Plasma Storm 52/135 has 50 HP and Spiral Drain, an attack for [C] that does 10 damage while healing 10 damage from Zubat… that’s pretty poor as healing means little on something this small, though at least its a reliable 10 damage for one of any Energy.  BW: Plasma Storm 53/135 is has just 40 HP but with the Ability “Free Flight” so that its Retreat Cost is zeroed out when it has no Energy attached, and in terms of attacks it has just Wing Attack for [PC], which only does 20 damage.  The final option is XY: Phantom Forces 31/119 which also has 50 HP and a single attack that costs [C]; this time it is Skill Dive which is good for 10 damage to the opponent’s Pokémon of your choice, which is the most useful of the three attacks, though the free retreat is tempting and 50 isn’t much safer than 40. 

Today’s Golbat has just one counterpart: BW: Plasma Storm 54/135: it has 10 more HP but no Ability and just one attack - Spiral Drain again - but this time requiring [PC] and hitting for 20 damage while healing 20.  In short, no competition.  So are any Crobat worth using?  Now we get into why you would run this card.  Crobat (BW: Plasma Storm 55/135; Black Star Promo BW51), a.k.a. Crobat [Plasma] is the first candidate.  It has the same Type, Weakness, Resistance and Retreat as today’s Golbat, though it sports almost twice as much HP (130).  Its Night Sight Ability allows you to draw a card when you use it, once per turn (though you can use more than one copy of Night Sight per turn).  Its attack requires [PCC]; Ultra-Toxic Fang does 40 points of damage and afflicts the Defending Pokémon with quadruple Poison.  The extra draw is nice and placing four damage counters (six with Virbank City Gym!) sounds scary but it hasn’t ever proven strong enough.  Even before we got Team Plasma counters, the Team Plasma support wasn’t enough to save it.  The other Crobat is XY: Phantom Forces 33/119 and we’ll be reviewing it tomorrow, so I’ll be brief.  The differences between it and Crobat [Plasma] are status as a Team Plasma Pokémon, a different Ability and different attack.  Its Ability is Surprise Bite, the same as Sneaky Bite but for three damage counters instead of two.  It also has Skill Dice for [C], but this version hits for 30 points of damage.  This is the one that actually has a functional deck (possibly more than one) that managed to win two different City Championships… which isn’t that many given how many total there are, but is still worth something. 

The Sneaky Bite/Surprise Bite combo is pretty obvious, and the rest of the deck I’ll get into tomorrow, save I’ll add that if you are attacking with Crobat, it is tempting to suffer Celebi-EX (or hope that the deck won’t be killed off before or when Shrine of Memories becomes legal) so that you can use Swoop Across because often you’re better off with the spread than the single hit for 30.  If you are attacking with Golbat itself or going the Celebi-EX route, you can use Dimension Valley so that the entire line has “free” attacks. 


Note: Deck specific ratings would be misleading since its pretty clutch for Sneaky Bite/Surprise Bite decks. 

Standard: 3/5 - You technically can try to run the deck without it but its the obvious version to use.  It does a decent job, but it doesn’t seem like quite enough. 

Expanded: 3.25/5 - As above, but gaining back tricks and treats like Devolution Spray and Level Ball. 

Limited: 4.9/5 - As long as you can’t run something like a +39 deck, it should be easy to add into decks and hitting the Bench is amazing here and you can use the card with any Energy. 

Summary: I really like Swoop Across, but I often harp about how lower Stages need to be made better.  Well, Golbat isn’t there but it is a lot closer than most.  It could be a bit more durable and have a bit more potent of an Ability and Attack, and if it did Crobat decks might be one of the best… maybe a little too good.  The reality is that while it doesn’t seem like much, what Golbat can do can add up in the right deck. 


The Zubat line, other than being infamous for terrorizing caves and being frequently used by teams seeking world domination, aren't particularly powerful. Even after years of power creep (and a shift from being Grass to Psychic), Zubat has only gained 10 HP. He's not very powerful, and he's almost always used to get to Crobat.
Golbat here is probably one of the more interesting Golbats to evolve into, and in a way you kinda want to evolve into him first. Every member of the Zubat line has some kind of cheap attack for 1 Colorless Energy (or no Energy if you've got Dimension Valley) that puts down a damage counter on a Pokemon; Zubat's Skill Dive puts 1 damage counter down on 1 Pokemon while Golbat's Swoop Across hits every opposing Pokemon for 1 damage counter. On top of that, Golbat also has the Ability Sneaky Bite, which upon evolution puts 2 damage counters down on any Pokemon of your choosing. That's great! Lots of potential set-up for future KOs! 
That's about where Golbat's usage ends though. He has no KO-ing potential on his own, and Muscle Band is effectively worthless on him. Having him set-up as an attacker is basically asking the opponent to take 10 damage on up to 6 guys for a Prize of their choosing, which makes Golbat effectively a gimmick step on the way to a gimmick Crobat.
If you do run the Zubat line, make sure you've got a good offensive force on your side like Gengar-EX or Dialga-EX - since their attacks are Colorless, they can be run anywhere, and since most of the time you're not playing them for their attacks but rather Golbat and Crobat's Abilities, you can basically run them anywhere. The real question though: do you want to run such a minimalist Stage 2 evolution line?
Standard: 1.5/5 (as beneficial as an extra 20 damage can be, such as with Muscle Band or Strong Energy, Golbat only does it once, and that's simply not enough)
Expanded: 1.5/5 (spread damage is again useful, but he will fare no better here)
Limited: 3/5 (I can see the Zubat line doing a lot to help set-up damage and act as a pseudo-Muscle Band or HTLBank for a turn)
Arora Notealus: You ever take a look at Gen I Golbat? He's always been just a mouth with wings, but THAT Golbat's just terrifying to look at!
Next Time: It's the four-winged ninja of the skies!

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