– Lost Thunder
January 7, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Cofagrigus (SM Lost Thunder 100/214) begins our week. It is a Stage 1 Psychic Type with 120 HP, weak to Dark, resist Fighting, and a retreat cost of three. Being a Stage 1 is slower than being a Basic, as it needs an evolving Basic, or Ditto Prism Star, as well as waiting a turn to evolve. Being a Psychic type can exploit weakness found on other Psychic and some Fighting types, though most Dark or Metal Pokemon has Psychic Resistance. 120 HP is somewhat low to the point where moderately powerful attacks can OHKO it. Darkness weakness can matter in some situations, but not often enough that I would call it bad. Fighting weakness can prove useful, but with some of the damage boosting cards for Fighting types will most likely break even….and still hit you pretty hard. A retreat cost of three is painful, but very few cards support cards with high retreat cost such as Heavy Ball.
It possesses only one attack. Spirit Juggling costs PC (or P if Dimension Valley is active) for 10 damage, plus 30 more damage for each Benched Pokemon you decide to discard. For a full bench of five Pokémon, it’ll be 160 damage, and from a full bench when Sky Field is Active, then it’ll be 250 damage. If you actually did that, then you would most like lose because your opponent would bring another Pokémon to finish you off. All in all, this attack also reminds me of M Gardevoir EX’s Despair Ray attack, as it does the same thing, albeit with lower scaling. Most of the time, it is a bad idea to get rid of Pokémon that you know that you can’t get it back, but it can be a good idea if you want to discard Pokémon after they serve a purpose so that said Pokémon can avoid being targets for easy prizes. Also, some of the Pokémon that resurrect itself doesn’t care about the discard. Not Darkrai-GX, though that’s a logical example, but perhaps the best example that works in tandem with Cofagrigus is Giratina. It’s Distortion Door not only resurrects from the discard pile to your Bench, but also places 1 damage counter to 2 of your opponent’s Benched Pokemon. Another great example in Expanded is Exeggcute, since its Propagation Ability also resurrects itself from the discard pile onto your hand, ready to be fodder once more.
Just to be clear, Cofagrigus can achieve high damage, but it needs a endless loop to maintain it, and fortunately, there’s very Pokemon that can resurrect itself. Spell Tag also aids in further damage since Cofagrigus is pretty frail. Overall, this is a functional Pokemon to use, and if you’re wondering where to start, then click on 21times’s link of that deck. This list has Cofagrigus and Giratina as expected, as well as Shining Mew for energy acceleration, Marshadow for hand disruption, and Tapu Lele-GX for searching for a Supporter card. He has he rest of the details…and it worked for him.
In Limited, unless you pull exactly what you need, it’ll be hard to capitalize this attack without heavily discarding Pokémon. Giratina is guaranteed as one of prerelease promos, but as for the rest, one would hope to pull three more within four packs.
I had enough convincing that Cofagrigus is another fun toy to experiment and can pick up some victories here and there. I still don’t think it’ll be one of the top decks of the meta due to needing a lot of moving pieces to work. If one gets interrupted, the entire deck can fail.
Cofagrigus (LOT 100) was one of the first cards I tried out after the Lost Thunder expansion set was released. It took me a little bit to figure it out, I went 8 W 8 L with a couple of different builds, but I figured it out and then went 9 W 2 L with this list.
I put it away after that and didn’t go back to it until this weekend, but the deck left off right where it started as I went 27 W 15 L in 42 matches overall, including a PTCGO tournament win Saturday night. The list I settled on is here, with a video of three good matches showcasing the deck. My final version of the archetype went 5 W 2 L.
It’s a good deck, and it works really well with Giratina LOT, Shining Mew, Tapu Lele GX, and Let Loose Marshadow. Giratina adds nice bench damage – sometimes you’re able to compound 90 or 100 damage onto benched Pokemon, and take out bench sitters like Malamar and Magcargo, especially if you can get Giratinas early on. And Rescue Stretcher essentially becomes a VS Seeker once you discard Tapu Lele GX. If you can start Shining Mew and get some energy attached early, find some Spell Tags, and get Shrines out against GX feature decks, you’re going to have a lot of fun with this deck.
It does have some limitations, you have to be careful of what you discard, making sure you always have a Yamask or Cofagrigus on the bench. Also, because it’s a two attachment attacker – and because you’re usually winning or tied – you can’t count on the Counter Energy to carry you. The dream sequence is to start Mew, get some energy attached to a couple of Yamask early, activate Counter Energy after Mew gets KO’d, and it’s all down hill from there.
Dark weakness is tough – but not insurmountable. Solgaleo GX Metagross GX is also a tough matchup with their resistance, Frying Pans, and healing, and you’re not OHKOing any clean GX with this deck, you’re hoping to build up damage on the bench, take out some lower HP support Pokemon or wearing down the high HP of feature attackers. With Spell Tag and Distortion Door, though, you can frequently take three prizes in a single turn and coast to an easy victory.
If you haven’t tried it yet, I’d highly recommend giving Cofatina a whirl. It may not be top tier, but chances are it’ll win you some games. Heck, using Rescue Stretcher to pull Lele up from the discard alone makes this deck worth playing.
Standard: 4 out of 5
Cofagrigus (SM – Lost Thunder 100/214) is NOT currently tearing up the tournament scene… even though I expected it to at least have a showing. Where did I go wrong? The most recent major event (for which I have results) had a really small turnout, so I don’t know if that is why Buzzwole/Garbodor (SM – Guardians Rising 51/145, 51a/145) decks were so much of the metagame or if the deck is making a resurgence. At the very least, it seems safe to say the deck isn’t dead so smacking something for [P] Weakness is great even though Zoroark-GX (and its [P] Resistance) is still so abundantly played. We have a few nice pieces of [P] support in Standard, and Dimension Valley in Expanded… yeah, being a [P] Type is definitely to Cofagrigus’ credit. Being a Stage 1 isn’t as good as being a Basic, but even decks running multiple Stage 2 Pokémon are succeeding despite needing time to Evolve and Evolution lines consuming so much space; being a Stage 1 might be the deciding factor, but probably not.
120 HP is in a similar boat; while not large enough to be sturdy, it is much too much to enjoy some of the “low HP support”… which also means it is too large to be especially fragile. It is pretty much normal, except against [D] Types due to Weakness and against [F] Types due to Resistance. The Weakness hurts more than the Resistance helps, but neither seems especially major given the current metagame. The Retreat Cost of [CCC] IS a problem, but probably not a major one because, as we’re about to see, this is an attacker and its attack cost (and method) almost make the Retreat Cost irrelevant. Cofagrigus has just one attack, “Spirit Juggling” for [PC]; it allows you to discard as many of your Benched Pokémon as you like, then does 10 damage plus 30 per Benched Pokémon discarded in this manner. 10 or even 40 damage (a single discard from the Bench) isn’t worth it, but even 70 (two discarded from the Bench) sounds decent for the effort involved, with three (plus a Choice Band) landing Cofagrigus into the 2HKO club. Tossing a full Bench is risky unless it is a finishing blow; your opponent would just have to KO Cofagrigus to win via Bench Out. Which doesn’t really explain my excitement or (later) disappointment with Cofagrigus and how it has performed.
Let us move onto combos, and I think it becomes clear. Just sticking to Standard Format play, we’ve got Giratina (SM – Lost Thunder 97/214; SM – Black Star Promos SM151). A fellow [P] Type, it combos well not only in terms of sharing Type support like Mysterious Treasure BUT as fuel for Spirit Juggling. This is the Giratina that, via its Ability, can Bench itself from your opponent’s discard pile while also placing one damage counter on two of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon. This means you cannot use it to help with the current KO, but it becomes an option for prepping future targets or finishing off something that barely survived so long as you can force it to the Bench, first. A full four of these would mean a (relatively) easy 130 damage from Spirit Juggling, plus 30 from Choice Band, plus up to 4 damage counters on two of your future targets. You need to make sure you have a fallback attacker, whether it is another Cofagrigus or something else, given what we’ve already said about the HP. Support like Tapu Lele-GX or Marshadow (Shining Legends 45/73; SM – Black Star Promos SM85) mean using one less Giratina THAT TURN, and so aren’t a large problem, but persistent Bench-sitters mean not enjoying their effects fully or at all (depending on which is used) or reducing your damage output.
The Expanded Format adds a ridiculous amount of additional help. You could run Dimension Valley so that Spirit Juggling is now an easy [P] requirement (instead of [PC]). You could run Sky Field so that your maximum Bench-size is now eight, letting you swing for 220 damage (before a Muscle Band or Choice Band) by discarding seven Pokémon from your Bench (and still having one more in reserve). Going all out, discarding a full eight Pokémon Bench would do 250 without any other buffs! You gain more useful “discard fodder” as well, like Exeggcute (BW – Plasma Freeze 4/116; BW – Plasma Blast 102/101), Dragonite-EX, Shaymin-EX (XY – Roaring Skies 77/108, 77a/108, 106/108), etc. Battle Compressor helps get the discard fodder like Giratina or Exeggcute reliably into your discard pile ASAP. If you aren’t running Dimension Valley, powering up Cofagrigus likely means never missing a manual Energy attachment or exploiting Counter Energy, which applies to the Standard Format as well. Unless your opponent is running enough healing cards, accumulated damage can be used for massive Prize swings. Tapu Lele (SM – Black Star Promos SM45) could help with that, and remains “On Type”. So, why didn’t either the Standard or Expanded decks I’ve proposed show up in the top cut?
It could be that everything else is simply that much better. It could be that Sudowoodo (SM – Guardians Rising 66/145) and its “Road Block” Ability are just too much; Road Block caps your opponent’s Bench size at four. Sudowoodo is a reasonably common bit of TecH because so many decks – Zoroark-GX in particular – need their full Bench. It also overrides the effect of Sky Field, as well. Maybe the deck isn’t as reliable as hoped, either in terms of its own setup or damage output. It could be the amount of key Uncommon, Rare, and Holographic Rare cards make what should be a budget deck kind of pricey. It is probably all of it, though mostly the thing about too many other decks being more reliable and as good or better at dealing the damage. You can still enjoy Cofagrigus in the Limited Format, at least if you can find a venue for it. As long as you pull at least a 1-1 line and did not pull a big, Basic Pokémon-GX worth running solo, A Yamask, a Cofagrigus and even a few Psychic Energy cards are likely worth the effort. providing a nice, final big attack. Maybe not even final, as that 120 HP has a much better chance of soaking a hit, here. Of course, replenishing your Bench is more difficult here.
One last thing to note; Cofagrigus isn’t as good as I thought, but it isn’t bad. It fulfills a role that not a lot of other Pokémon can, discarding your own Pokémon from the Bench for a small benefit. Still, that means it is those Pokémon that really give Cofagrigus its strength, as opposed to something inherent to Cofagrigus itself. Expanded even has a few other options for this kind of trick, though with their own pros and cons. Which is why I give Cofagrigus average marks, even though it hasn’t proven itself. Yet.
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