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Yu Yu Hakusho
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Vs. System

Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Bodybuilding Dumbbells
- S&M: Burning Shadows
- #BUS 113

Date Reviewed:
Sept. 13, 2017

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.13
Expanded: 2.07
Limited: 3.88

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being horrible.  3 ... average.  5 is awesome.

Back to the main COTD Page


Tired of getting KO'd by your opponents? Wish there was some way you could defend yourself from the onslaughts of EX and GX alike? Trying your best to push yourself beyond being just that "loser Pokemon" that nobody plays? 

Introducing the Bodybuilding Dumbbells! These weights are measured out to perfection to allow your Pokemon to strengthen their muscles and build up their stamina! When it comes to wondering about how to defend one's self from the opponent, nothing beats adding on an extra 40 HP to your total! Here are some words from some of our clientele! 

"I was already a big imposing threat before, with my cheap move that could deal a lot of damage. But now with Bodybuilding Dumbbells, I can stack up to the size of a Stage 2 GX and still deal lots of damage through all my Switching cards!" -Golisopod-GX 

"Before I was just a pile of garbage that redefined the way the game worked and how you're able to actually build your deck. Now with Bodybuilding Dumbbells by my side, I'm able to take that extra hit that you wish I couldn't!" -Garbodor (GRI)

"Wait...how do you use these? I'm just crystals, I don't know how to make these work! Whatever, I don't need them anyway." -Necrozma-GX 

"...I kinda need these...but they're too heavy for me." -Marshadow-GX 


"Oh, like you need me to be stronger than I already am." -Gardevoir-GX 

So now for the low low price of being a Stage 1 Pokemon, you can get your own set of Bodybuilding Dumbbells and start blowing away the competition! Order yours today! 


Standard: 2.5/5 (useful for those Stage 1s at least) 

Expanded: 2/5 (but otherwise, it's still just a HP boost) 

Limited: 3.5/5 (not that HP-boosting hasn't been helpful) 

Arora Notealus:...I might have had too much fun writing this one. 

Next Time: Warp things around and about!


Bodybuilding Dumbbells (Burning Shadows, 113/147) drops into the meta from the Burning Shadows expansion set.  A Tool card, this gives the Stage 1 Pokemon it is attached to an additional 40 HP.

I spoke yesterday about the infrequency of which my opponents are using Field Blower (Guardians Rising, 125/145).  If you put four copies of Bodybuilding Dumbbells in your deck, I have no doubt whatsoever that at least two of them will stick… maybe more if you get lucky.  But is it worth it to give a Stage 1 Pokemon 40 extra HP?

As I’ve mentioned recently in some posts, I am again tracking damage done to the active Pokemon by your opponent’s attacks.  I had previously done a study on this back in March and April that you can find here.  It’s still relatively early in the analysis, but here’s a sneak peak at my findings so far:

·         I’ve tracked 426 attacks by my opponent in 146 matches this month.

·         The average amount of damage to the active Pokemon is 89.2.  The median is 80.  This is almost exactly the same as the previous study.

·         53 of the 426 attacks (about 12%) did zero damage to the active Pokemon.

·         Taking out the attacks that did zero damage, the average rises to 102 and the median is 100.

So here’s the way I’d look at it: if you have a Stage 1 Pokemon with 200 HP, Bodybuilding Dumbbells is a no brainer.  It will very likely help you turn your Stage 1 Pokemon into a 3HKO.  I’m going by the amount that ignores zero damage attacks – if an attack does zero damage it doesn’t really count towards KO’ing a Pokemon.  If you have a Stage 1 Pokemon with 120 HP, Bodybuilding Dumbbells isn’t the smartest play because your Pokemon is most likely getting two shot anyways.  And these are averages and medians – obviously, it goes without saying that there are some Pokemon that routinely hit for higher than these numbers.  If a Pokemon is hitting the 200 HP active Pokemon for 130 damage, Bodybuilding Dumbbells is worth less than cubic zirconia.  However, there are many cases where Pokemon don’t hit for the median, and this could allow you to absorb more than three hits before being KO’d.  And weakness also factors in as well – if a Pokemon that would normally hit you for 220 with weakness is a really bad matchup, Bodybuilding Dumbbells might just make this matchup a little more competitive.


Standard: 2 out of 5


Bodybuilding Dumbbells has a limited target audience – although there are quite a few really good Stage 1 Pokemon right now, and this might make them even better – and that is why I gave it such a low rating.  For Stage 1 Pokemon, I would probably rate it at 3.5 or even 4.  I have used it with Salazzle GX (Burning Shadows, 25/147), Golisopod GX (Burning Shadows, 17/147), and Sylveon GX (Guardians Rising, 92/145).  I would highly recommend trying this tool out, especially since people aren’t running a full complement of Field Blowers.


Still looking at cards that made either 21times’ or my Top 24/25 lists but neither the actual site’s Top 10 list or its unofficial Top 18.  Now it is time for Bodybuilding Dumbbells (SM: Burning Shadows 113/147, 161/147).  It is a Trainer-Item that is also a Pokémon Tool grants +40 HP to a Stage 1 Pokémon equipped with it.  Did they really stick multiple kinds of dumbbells-based Items in the video games that we need the card to have that specific a name?  This is another new Trainer-Item that is also a Pokémon Tool, like yesterday’s Wishful Baton.  Incidentally, my very tardy review of that card has now been posted.  As I said yesterday (and several other reviews recently), being a Trainer is starting to look like a drawback.  General Trainer support is lacking or absent in the competitive sphere as are (thankfully) general anti-Trainer effects.  Item-specific support is minimal and not as potent as it once was, while anti-Item effects are strong in Expanded play and only seem weak in Standard relative to what we were dealing with pre-rotation.  Somehow, in spite of this, Trainers and even Trainer-Item cards remain a major part of most decks; that’s just how useful they tend to be.  Tool support is minimal in Standard, like the others, though it has one or two tricks in Expanded.  Anti-Tool effects have many options in Expanded; while they are fewer in Standard, the big bad of them - Field Blower - is still an option.  Like Trainers in general and Items in particular, Tools still remain an important part of many decks.  It is like each Pokémon has a “Tool slot” and if you don’t fill it, you need a good reason (like lack of deck space).  Otherwise, Choice Band and Float Stone are near universal strong picks in Standard, with Muscle Band added to their ranks in Expanded. 

The effect only works on Stage 1 Pokémon but there are no actual attachment restrictions; you’re free to attach it to a Basic or Evolution, possibly in preparation to Evolve/Devolve, to trigger effects, or just to thin your hand.  Just a reminder for experienced players and notification for very new players: Stage 1 Pokémon are the cards that say they are Stage 1 Pokémon.  Similar things like Mega Evolutions, BREAK Evolutions that Evolve from a Stage 1, etc. are not.  Typical damage output and Stage 1 HP scores are such that this will not make most of them likely to survive an extra hit; if it isn’t in the top half to third of Stage 1 HP scores, you’ll need some extenuating circumstances like an HP or Tool dependent effect or leaving an opponent unable to mount a significant offense with overwhelming attacks or control effects.  Even when dealing with those cases, there are going to be at least a few and possibly many rivals for deck space.  It is also important to remember that, when you’re not dealing with related effects, this is a passive Tool.  You attach it, but you can’t really make use of it without your opponent doing what most are going to do: try and KO your Pokémon.  So, again, if you’re not dealing with related effects like triggering something, you’re not gaining an immediate benefit, which means your opponent has until they do try to KO the Pokémon with Bodybuilding Dumbbells to use something like Field Blower to discard said Tool with it having generated no advantage for you.  Tools like Choice Band and Float Stone and even Spirit Link cards have at least a chance of benefitting you before your opponent has the opportunity to discard them. 

So is this any good in Standard?  What about Expanded?  No specific combos or decks spring to mind, but I can think of a few that are almost worthwhile.  Garbodor (XY: BREAKpoint 57/122) usually uses Float Stone to zero out its Retreat Cost, allowing it to double as a pivot Pokémon while fulfilling its primary purpose as a Bench-sitter that cancels out all Abilities.  Guzma means most decks have a solid amount of switching cards, and more specific examples might have some solid Trainer based tricks.  So why not push the relatively easy to OHKO 100 HP over the hump to the slightly hard to OHKO 140 HP with Bodybuilding Dumbbells?  At least in certain matchups, you might be able to spare the Tool Slot on Garbodor (SM: Guardians Rising 51/145) so that it goes from a slightly easy to OHKO 120 HP to an almost sturdy 160.  Stage 1 Pokémon-GX may be the best bet but look for the ones that are too far from a relevant KO-threshold in terms of their offense but not in terms of their own defense.  Unfortunately, I can’t offer up examples because 

  • The official card database isn’t capable of just showing me Stage 1 Pokémon-GX, or at least not with one of the handful of criteria combinations I tried.
  • I believe there is enough variety of builds and matchups that I can’t be certain which attacks are unlikely to ever need something like Choice Band again.

I’m out of time anyway, so I’ll highlight the most likely place where Bodybuilding Dumbbells: Limited.  As you’re building your deck from materials provided, it is much more likely you’ll need to run a Stage 1 and lack any better options for Tool slots.  Even if you aren’t focused on a particular Stage 1, you may have the deck space.  The except is if you are fortunate enough to pull a powerful Basic Pokémon (probably a Pokémon-GX) and run it along with 39 other non-Basic Pokémon cards (almost all Limited Format variations call for 40 card decks). 


Standard: 2/5 


Bodybuilding Dumbbells seems like it can help any Stage 1 Pokémon, but the HP boost might not prove significant, being blocked/discarded/negated is a concern, and most will have other Tools to consider.  Proponents of Wishful Baton may wonder how this card scored a tiny bit higher in Standard than it; sometimes simpler is better.  Bodybuilding Dumbbells appeared on both 21times’ and my “extended” Top 10 lists, but it was his 14th place pick but only my 24th place selection.


Today, we’re looking at Bodybuilding Dumbbells, a tool card which grants Stage 1 Pokemon a 40 HP boost.  With this, the amount of HP of a Stage 1 Pokemon would be on par with Stage 2s.  This could alter the turns where they would survive from an attack that would’ve otherwise scored an OHKO or a 2HKO.



This card wishes that it had seen better days.



I am not fond on cards that give a HP boost because things can go terribly wrong that would take that boost away.  It’s also why I don’t play Fighting Fury Belt at all!  So, let’s assume your Stage 1 Pokemon (be it GX or not) has Bodybuilding Dumbbells attached to it.  You’re now at 240-280 HP with the tool.  The opponent can get rid of it using Field Blower, Tool Scrapper, or put Rattata on the bench, bringing HP back to the original amount.  This tool lands in the discard pile, fueling up the damage output of Garbodor’s Trashalanche.  Even worse is if the Active Stage 1 Pokemon with that tool has exactly 40 HP or less; removing the tool will Knock Out the Stage 1 Pokemon because the damage now exceeds the original Max HP.  Also, you will have to replace the KOed Pokemon with another one from your bench, and that replacement would take heavy damage or being KOed as well, making the opponent achieve multiple knock outs in this case.


Those doomsday scenarios are why I never run a HP boosting card, regardless of item, ability, or stadium.  I would have said the same on much older cards such as Giant Cape (BW Dragons Exalted), Shaymin Lv.X (Platinum, Thankfulness Poke-Body), Floette (XY Flashfire), Aspertia City Gym (BW Boundaries Crossed), and Crystal Wall for Black Kyurem EX (BW Boundaries Crossed).  The HP boost is very good in theory, but the format is extremely hostile on certain cards, thus keeping it away from seeing play.


The only place Bodybuilding Dumbbells will see play is in Limited format.  I don’t recall any tool removing cards in the Burning Shadows set unless I am missing something such as an obscure Pokemon with a useful effect.  This ensures that Stage 1 Pokemon will maintain extra durability, and even better if you pulled a Stage 1 (GX or not) such as Noivern-GX or Alolan Ninetales.




Standard: 1.25/5 

Expanded: 1.25/5 

Limited: 4/5


Notes: Bodybuilding Dumbbells seems like something I haven’t heard before (in terms of words), but it is an actual item in real life, where it’s used inside a gymnasium.  They carry a variety of weights so that you can test yourself how much you can pull with either your left or right arm.  Not sure how this gives a HP boost in the Pokemon TCG… 


            I never thought in my life that we’ll get a Tool card of this caliber. What was TPCi thinking when they decided to give this card life, let alone the idea of this card? Right now I’m still thinking on how can it appear in the face of the Earth alone. It’s Bodybuilding Dumbbells, and its the first of its kind, ever. Although the idea is nothing new, it’s still a very good take on an otherwise nearly dead idea.

            What Bodybuilding Dumbbells does is simple. It gives any Stage 1 Pokemon that this card is attached to an extra 40 HP. Sounds familiar? Well, because this is the other variant of Fighting Fury Belt (XY BREAKpoint) for Stage 1 Pokemon! Since Stage 1 Pokemon are deceptively bulkier than all Basic Pokemon, be it the normal Pokemon or Pokemon-GXs, this card would lift their HP counts to absurd levels. For example, the Eeveelution-GXs will have 240 HP when you have this card attached to them, which is the same level as Decidueye-GX! Alolan Muk-GX will have 260 HP with this card attached to it, which means it now has the highest possible HP out of all Pokemon cards in existance! This practically means that Pokemon decks that focused more on stall instead of offense is going to be the main beneficiary of this card. Stuff like Umbreon-GX/Hammers or Sylveon-GX mill will truly appreciate this Tool, as it means that they will have higher survivability potential by having 240 HP in their belt. Keep in mind that this card cannot be attached to Mega Evolution or BREAK Evolution Pokemon, since their classification isn’t a Stage 1, but its a Mega/BREAK Evolution. So forget your 280 HP Mega Steelix-EX ultra tank.

            However, despite the extreme survivability potential it brings, there is one aspect that made Fighting Fury Belt brings to the table which makes it better than Bodybuilding Dumbbells; it gives an extra 10 damage to any Basic Pokemon’s attacks. Although small, 10 damage is still the difference between getting a knock out and not getting one, which is the thing that made it so popular back then. Its a survivability item and an offensive Tool all in one. Bodybuilding Dumbbells is very linear in its execution; it just gives more HP to your target. Against the stall Stage 1 decks this might not be the biggest issue, since they focused more on chip damage and denials instead of outright nukes, but you want to be on the offensive at times. When faced with this choice, obviously you want the extra damage, which is why Fighting Fury Belt has more usage. Also, as mentioned in the Wishful Baton review yesterday, passive Tools such as these are not as good as the active Tools like Choice Band (SM Guardians Rising) because its your opponent that will decide how they will approach the Tools, not you.

            But, if we look at the bigger scope, Bodybuilding Dumbbells gives more approach to deck building and helps some of the more niche stall decks that may not be as good otherwise. This is a criminally underrated Tool card that people might have slept on and might be worth your time testing out.


Standard: 2.88/5 (Great for stall decks, but there are better Tools that can suit them more such as Bursting Balloon, Float Stone or even Bent Spoon.)

Expanded: 3/5 (Same reason in Standard; may be very good in Garbodor decks to activate Garbotoxin and gives it survivability in the long run, but Float Stone is the best utility Tool in the format, and Bodybuilding Dumbbells might has just been kicked to the long grass)

Limited: 4.2/5 (Obviously there are better Tools in this format, but you can make use of it in some situations)

Next on SM Burning Shadows:
Its Throwback Thursday, and its a review what makes the Gardy/Gallade deck of old a potent threat.

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