Alolan Grimer (Team Up TEU 83)
Alolan Grimer (Team Up 83)

Alolan Grimer
– Team Up

Date Reviewed:
April 9, 2019

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 2.83
Expanded: 3.08
Limited: 2.33

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

Reviews Below:

vince avatar

Alolan Grimer’s only attack, Chemical Breath, does 20 for CC plus 50 more damage for each Special Condition affecting the Defending Pokemon. There are five kinds of Special Condition: Poison, Burn, Confused, Paralysis, and Asleep. Poison can last indefinitely while Burn has a chance to go away. The Defending Pokémon cannot be Asleep, Paralyzed, and Confused at the same time since one Special Condition out of the three replaces each other (I.e. if you try to paralyze a Confused Pokemon, the confusion gets replaced with paralysis). If you are able to get three Special Conditions intact – Poison, Burn, and one of three (Asleep, Paralysis, or Confusion) – then Chemical Breath adds 150 more damage, making it 170. Throw in a Choice Band and Devoured Field, and it’ll ramp up to 210 damage. And damage between turns will happen, so Poison & Burn adds 30 more damage, making its cumulative 240 damage.

That’s a lot of work to achieve this, since if you’re really want to use Alolan Grimer, a deck would have to have Pokémon or Trainer cards that can place Special Conditions. Ideally, in one turn, you would want to place Special Conditions via Ability such as various Salazzle cards and attack with Chemical Breath. Overall, Alolan Grimer is adequate, as it is a evolving Basic that can dish out tons of damage, and has couple good Stage 1 Alolan Muk cards, especially the Sun & Moon version whose ability shuts down Abilities from your opponent’s Basic Pokémon. Memory Energy and/or Shining Celebi can help gain access to attacks from previous evolution. While there are anti-Special Condition cards that can ruin the damage output of Chemical Breath, their potency depends on whether Special Conditions are dominant or not. Looking at some trending decks, they are too focused on big damage outputs rather than fiddling with statuses, so those anti cards aren’t needed. A little bit of help in Expanded includes Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym, where it can guarantee you some Special Conditions and putting even more damage counter in between turns.

  • Standard: 3/5
  • Expanded: 3.25/5
  • Limited: 3/5
aroramage avatar

I swear this’ll make more sense as the week goes on, but there’s a good reason we get to examine one of the two big poison multicolored slops of goo one day and the bigger of the two tomorrow. That’s why it’s like a twofer!

Alolan Grimer is a Basic Darkness Pokemon, 70 HP, with a Fighting Weakness, a Psychic Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of 3. His only attack is Chemical Breath, which is effectively what anyone should avoid having by brushing their teeth on a regular basis. Nobody wants to smell your Chemical Breath attack any time soon. Remember that personal dental hygiene is important if you don’t want to spend 2 Energy to deal 20 damage plus a whopping 50 damage for every Special Condition on the unfortunate target, including things like Confusion as to why you’d subject anyone to such foul play and Poison from how awful your Chemical Breath is.

Alolan Grimer has to compete with his duplicate from BUS at the moment, since that one has Division to bring out another Alolan Grimer. Arguably that’s better for bringing out Alolan Muk (SM), whose Ability will shut down other Basic Pokemon’s Abilities. But don’t think that means Alolan Grimer doesn’t have his uses – as always, the ability to deal out massive damage for relatively cheap is a tempting offer. As of now, you can inflict any of Paralysis, Sleep, or Confusion onto a Pokemon, as well as Poison and Burn, for a total of 3 Status Conditions. That’s a potential for 170 damage, just from this one attack! That’s incredible!

But as we all know it’s also not that simple. Inflicting even just one of those Statuses on their own isn’t that easy, let alone two or three. Currently the only Pokemon capable of inflicting 3 separate Status Conditions is Celebi & Venusaur-GX, who inflicts Burn, Poison, and Confusion. The problem with that is that you’re now running a giant 3-Prize Pokemon and a good chunk of Grass Energy to make your Alolan Grimer work. The scary part is, that works. Inflicting those Statuses before swapping out to Alolan Grimer with a DCE is an easy way to deal 170 damage, and that’s not even including the Poison, Burn, or even the potential Confusion damage along the way! We’re looking at as much as 250 damage (10 damage from Poison, then 20 from Burn, 20 from a failed Confusion attack, then another 10 for Poison and 20 for Burn if it’s still active) – enough to KO a Stage 2 Pokemon-GX.

What might just be crazier is that this isn’t even the only use for Alolan Grimer, since he can still evolve into any Alolan Muk or Alolan Muk-GX. So in short, it’s probably best to be prepared for this little guy in case he pops up in your game. Oh, and be careful if you’re weak to Darkness – he’ll hit twice as hard and won’t even need the Status Conditions.


Standard: 2.5/5 (any deck running Alolan Grimer is going to be a little more niche)

Expanded: 3/5 (specifically with powering through Statuses – Hypnotoxic Laser makes this easy)

Limited: 2/5 (not really a whole lot of Statuses here, unless you pull Celebi & Venusaur-GX)

Arora Notealus: Alolan Grimer definitely has a lot of potential, but similar to Doublade from yesterday, it’s reliant on the cards around it to deal a lot of damage. In this case though, I’m a little more optimistic, since piling on Statuses isn’t as difficult if you’re utilizing at least Poison and another Status Condition. Hypnotoxic Laser in Expanded automatically Poisons and has a chance to add Sleep, but Celebi & Venusaur-GX is the most guaranteed way of getting 3 Statuses onto a Pokemon. Hopefully switching around isn’t something your opponent does too often though.

Next Time: Remember how I said Alolan Grimer has the advantage of also evolving?

Otaku Avatar

We usually don’t look at evolving Basic Pokémon without a good reason, so why are we looking at Alolan Grimer (SM – Team Up 83/181)? It has already been seeing play in competitive decks. Why? Let’s find out! There are currently only two other Alolan Grimer cards, Sun & Moon 57/149 and SM – Burning Shadows 83/147, so I’ll go ahead and discuss them as well… because if a deck is running today’s Alolan Grimer, that means it is instead of or in addition to either of these two. All three Alolan Grimer are Basic Pokémon, giving them minimal deck and time requirements. All three have a Retreat Cost of [CCC], which is painful to pay (assuming you can pay it), and while you can take advantage of cards like Heavy Ball or Heavy Boots, such support has proven fairly niche as well. Sun & Moon 57/149 is a [P] Type while and SM – Burning Shadows 83/147 and SM – Team Up 83/181 are [D] Types. Generally speaking, it is more valuable to exploit [P] Weakness than [D] Weakness, even though [P] Weakness dealing with [P] Resistance (one of the more common forms of Resistance). [D] Resistance isn’t rare, either, as all [Y] Types possess it.

Anti-Type based effects aren’t really a concern for either Type and both Types have some nifty tricks that are even better in Expanded, but what has proven means being a [P] Type seems to be better. Sun & Moon 57/149 and SM – Burning Shadows 83/147 both have 80 HP while SM – Team Up 83/181 has 70; both are too big for Professor Elm’s Lecture but small enough for Level Ball, so the obvious holds true and 80 is better than 70. Both are well within OHKO range of typical attackers, however, and all three Alolan Grimer have dangerous forms of Weakness: [P] for Sun & Moon 57/149 and [F] for and SM – Burning Shadows 83/147 and SM – Team Up 83/181. If we want to get picky, I’d say [F] Type Weakness is worse than [P] right now, though it could flip back around pretty easily. Sun & Moon 57/149 has no Resistance while SM – Burning Shadows 83/147 and SM – Team Up 83/181 are both [P] Resistant; while it isn’t going to make a dramatic difference due to the HP scores involved, any Resistance is better than none.

None of the Alolan Grimer cards have an Ability. Sun & Moon 57/149 and SM – Burning Shadows 83/147 both have two attacks, with the first attack requiring no Energy. The former knows “Super Poison Breath”, which Poisons your opponent’s Active on a successful coin toss, while the latter has “Division”, which lets you search your deck for an Alolan Grimer and then play it to your Bench. Neither attack is great, but Division is more reliable and can help with setting up your field. Still, Division seems like it should do a bit more, given the example set by Alolan Vulpix (SM – Guardians Rising 21/145, 21a/145). Sun & Moon 57/149 second attack is “Pound” for [PCC], doing 40 damage, which is pretty poor. For [CC], SM – Burning Shadows 83/147 can use “Slippery Sludge” to Confuse your opponent’s Active; this is still overpriced, but likely to be more useful as it can be covered by a single Double Colorless Energy and could potentially buy time to Evolve.

Today’s Alolan Grimer, SM – Team Up 83/181, has just one attack and it costs [CC], and that attack is “Chemical Breath”, which does 20 damage plus 50 per Special Condition affecting your opponent’s Active at the time you attack. Though there are many different effects of attacks, there are only five Special Conditions in the game: Burn, Confusion, Paralysis, Poison, and Sleep. Of these five, Confusion, Paralysis, and Sleep are mutually exclusive. If you need help remembering that, those are the three indicated by turning your Pokémon to the upside down (not facedown), to right, or to the left (respectively) and you can’t have the card face more than one direction at the same time. This means Chemical Breath, before anything other than its own effect, can do 20, 70, 120, or 170 damage. Even 20-for-[CC] is better than Sun & Moon 57/149’s Pound attack, while the other three range from “okay” to “competitive” damage amounts.

Which is not the same as saying Chemical Breath is competitive in and of itself; afflicting your opponent’s Active with three Special Conditions isn’t easy, and if you’re not doing it in a single turn, you likely are missing the point. There are possible exceptions, such as if you’re doing some odd stall/control strategy, but Burn and Poison together would place three damage counters on your opponent’s Active… enough to be used as a pseudo-damage buff for general attacks, at least if your deck can affordably inflict both. That’s a bit of a challenge, and you’ll really want to manage those two plus one of Confusion, Paralysis, or Sleep for that magnificent 170-for-two, which fakes being 200 because of the damage counters from Burn and Poison. Slap on a Choice Band and play Devoured Field and Chemical Breath could do 210 damage with an extra three damage counters being placed between turns!

There are some cards that can help with inflicting Special Conditions. Amoongus (BW – Next Destinies 9/99) and Salazzle (SM – Guardians Rising 16/145) have Abilities that trigger when you Evolve one of your Pokémon into them from your hand, with Amoongus inflicting Confusion and Poison while Salazzle inflicts Burn and Poison. Hypnotoxic Laser is an Item that reliably Poisons your opponent’s Active and has a 50% chance of also inflicting Sleep. Nihilego-GX has an Ability that triggers when you Bench it from your hand and Confuses and Poisons your opponent’s Active. There may be others, but these are the ones I could remember. Chemical Breath is not the first attack that rewards you for attacking something affected by a Special Condition, so while I am going from memory, I’m also fairly confident there is not some super-efficient combo for nailing your opponent with three of the five Special Conditions all at once… but two at time is pretty reasonable, and three will just require two combos that have some redundancy.

We have not been seeing such decks in competitive play. Well, perhaps we have but I don’t have an easy way to search out the results; I love BUT they use actual set symbols for Pokémon, so I can’t just Ctrl+F the results to see what decks are using today’s Alolan Grimer versus the older ones. With what I do know from looking at recent results, Chemical Breath decks aren’t among them. I have bumped into them once (maybe twice) on the PTCGO and it looked like another fun – but not overly competitive – deck. However, as stated at the beginning of this review, today’s Alolan Grimer is seeing play in competitive decks.  It just isn’t seeing play on its own, but so that it can Evolve into into Alolan Muk (Sun & Moon 58/149) or – less often – Alolan Muk (SM – Team Up 84/181). Some of these decks skip Alolan Grimer entirely and just Evolve a TecH copy of the former Alolan Muk from Ditto {*}.

What puzzles me is that I’m seeing all three Alolan Grimer being played. Sun & Moon 57/149 makes sense when something like Mysterious Treasure is present, and SM – Burning Shadows 83/147 when it isn’t because hey, 10 more HP. Today’s SM – Team Up 83/181 would make sense if the deck’s using it could inflict Special Conditions, but I’m not seeing that. SM – Team Up 83/181 is still seeing play, and in decks that managed to Top Cut at events. There is one other thing which occurs to me; bopping Jirachi (SM – Team Up 99/181; SM – Black Star Promos SM161). It won’t happen all that often, but if your opponent fails to get his or her Jirachi out of the Active position and remains Asleep after having used “Stellar Wish” you can drop a Double Colorless Energy onto this Alolan Grimer, promote it, and take a Prize without risking something like Zoroark-GX. Maybe I’ve missed something more obvious but it occurs to me that these decks need Alolan Grimer for other reasons, so even a niche use is better than no additional utility.


Standard: 3/5

Expanded: 3/5

Limited: 2/5

When we began this review, I was foolish and just assumed I’d easily work out the reason after having seen today’s Alolan Grimer in deck after deck. I found a reason, but it isn’t particularly compelling. Still, maybe give a Chemical Breath-focused deck a try even if just for funsies, in either Expanded or Standard. As for Limited Format play, suddenly using an attack to inflict a Special Condition and then retreating into Alolan Grimer to deal the finishing blow is an “okay” option. If Alolan Grimer’s Retreat Cost wasn’t so high, it’d actually be a fairly solid strategy.

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