Alolan Sandslash
Alolan Sandslash

Alolan Sandslash
– Ultra Prism

Date Reviewed:
April 3, 2018

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 2.5
Expanded: 2.0
Limited: 3.5

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

Reviews Below:


Usually it’s pretty obvious where the inspiration comes from with Pokemon, but then we get to these Alolan forms, and it’s almost all over the place. Alolan Exeggutor makes some sense, with the palm trees thing, and Alolan Vulpix being a snow fox is great. But what the heck is Alolan Sandslash supposed to be?

Alolan Sandslash is a Stage 1 Water Pokemon, 120 HP, with a Weakness to Metal, no Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of 1. Not too shabby there! His first attack, Spike Armor, is a 0-for-30 move that says if Alolan Sandslash takes damage from an attack next turn, put 6 damage counters on the Pokemon that attacked it. Frost Breath is then a 3-for-90 vanilla strike.

All things considered, Spike Armor being free is a pretty big deal, since if we include the 60 damage that could be dealt to an opponent, it’s effectively doing Frost Breath’s damage…for nothing. That’s pretty good and completely invalidates Frost Breath, but there is that one little catch of having to take damage. I ain’t saying that an opponent just won’t attack to avoid dying to Spike Armor, but it’s something that can be avoided if need be. Or at the very least, it can be worked around. Healing is of course an option, but I’d imagine if an opponent sees you’ve got Alolan Sandslash, they’ll want to just OHKO it rather than run into it over and over again.

There’s also the whole Guzma aspect, where we switch around Alolan Sandslash, but of course that’s not always an option. It’s fair to say that some decks will not want to deal with Alolan Sandslash – I’m looking at you, Alolan Dugtrio – but for those that can handle his neutral defensive strategy or even would want to incorporate it themselves – I’m looking at you again, Alolan Dugtrio – he could be a nifty little side option.


Standard: 2.5/5 (a free attack that offers severe payback against the opponent is definitely one to consider)

Expanded: 2/5 (combined with Escape Board, it can be tough to deal with)

Limited: 3.5/5 (and with lower HP scores and no switch option, it’s almost nigh impossible to avoid damage)

Arora Notealus: Alolan Sandslash could be a great starter pick for decks that need some set-up – after all, he does 30 damage for free, and if the opponent retaliates, they take 60 more damage, which makes it tough to approach. I suggested Alolan Dugtrio as an idea, since the extra damage buffs can lower the total Energy you need for a successful Gold Rush, but there may be other decks that could just as easily benefit from Alolan Sandslash. And since his attack costs nothing, he doesn’t even have to be in a Water deck! How about that?

Side Review: Mt. Coronet – the all-start of Metal decks these days, Mt. Coronet helps retrieve two Metal Energies from the discard pile every turn. This helps cycle back Energy for cards like Alolan Dugtrio and Dusk Mane Necrozma-GX, both of whom love to send cards to the discard pile for their attacks. Definitely a four-of staple in those decks at least, and I’m sure there are some other Metal decks that would benefit from it as well!

Next Time: Shining out brighter than the sun!

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