Crobat – Battle Styles
Date Reviewed: May 12, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Crobat (SW – Battle Styles 091/163) is a Darkness type. In terms of type-matching, it has some use, but not a lot right now. As for recently proven type-support, Crobat is compatible with Eternatus VMAX and can cover the discard cost for Dangerous Drill. Whether any of this will matter to the card remains to be seen. What cannot be ignored is that this is a Stage 2; that’s a three card and two turn investment with a shortcut like Rare Candy, or three turns and three cards if you go through both Zubat and Golbat. 130 HP just barely clears my threshold for suviving “small” attacks, but barely. Plenty of attackers can OHKO Crobat, made worse by the card/time investment required for it to hit the field.
[F] Weakness and no Resistance disappoints me. While they are to be expected giving modern TCG typings, historically Crobat cards deviates from common designs like that owing to it being a Poison/Flying dual-type in the video games. Even though they’re almost never Colorless types, they often have the Lightning Weakness/Fighting Resistance that a Flying-based Colorless Pokémon would enjoy. Fighting Weakness isn’t safe for Crobat, either; there are a decent amount of [F] types that see at least fringe play, and do 70 to 120 damage, the range where [F] Weakness turns a 2HKO into a OHKO. The free Retreat Cost is great. You arguably earn that as this is a Stage 2, and it shows on almost all Crobat cards.
Crobat has the Ability “Drastic Draw” and the attack “Wing Attack”. The former triggers when you play Crobat from hand to evolve one of your Pokémon, during your turn. Drastic Draw then lets you draw three cards, though you don’t have to if you don’t want to. Multiple instances of Drastic Draw may be used in the same turn. Wing Attack is priced at [CC] and does 100 damage. Drastic Draw is the same amount of cards drawn as you would receive from using Hop. Fortunately, without wasting your Supporter for the turn, but unfortunately at the cost of running a Stage 2 line. Wing Attack means Crobat can plausibly attack in most decks, and attack with ease in many. 100 damage is even a decent amount for two Energy, though a little short if you’re looking to 2HKO most Basic Pokémon V.
Together, these seem underwhelming; it is like we got the decent Ability for something with a good attack, and the decent attack for something with a good Ability. Which still might ultimately be good if the rest of the card was better. If Crobat was a Basic with these stats, and Drastic Draw reworded so it worked by simply Benching it, it’d be a great card, probably in every deck. If it was a Stage 1… oh wait, it kind of is. Manectric (SW – Vivid Voltage 052/185) is a Stage 1 Lightning Pokémon with 120 HP, [F] Weakness, no Resistance, free Retreat, an Ability that is Drastic Draw by a different name, and an attack for [LCC] that does 100. Some obvious differences where Manectric is worse than Crobat but… Stage 1 versus Stage 2.
Of course, Zubat, Golbat, and (other) Crobats could still tilt things in favor of today’s selection. There actually are some decent options for Zubat. Zubat (BW – Plasma Storm 53/135) has the Ability “Free Flight”, which zeroes out its Retreat Cost if it has no Energy attached. It only has 40 HP and Abilities on Basics are somewhat easy to disable. Zubat (Sun & Moon 54/149) still only has 50 HP, but for [P] its “Astonish” attack lets you force your opponent to shuffle a random card from their hand back into their deck. Not good, but if you already are focused on control, it can be decent. Zubat (SM – Unbroken Bonds 64/214) also has 50 HP, but knows “Venoshock”; [CC] to do 20 damage plus 50 if your opponent’s Active is Poisoned again isn’t good, but it ain’t bad. Of course, without outside help, only Zubat (BW – Plasma Storm 53/135) would help today’s Crobat.
Shockingly, there is not one but two different Golbat worth mentioning. Golbat (XY – Phantom Forces 32/119; Generations 31/83) has the Ability “Sneaky Bite”, a coming-into-play Ability like Discreet Draw. Instead of drawing cards, it places two damage counters on one of your opponent’s Pokémon (your choice which). Not very threatening alone, but a nice supplement for another attacker, or when used in swarms. There’s also the more obvious pick, Golbat (SW – Battle Styles 090/163). Its “Discreet Draw” Ability is a weaker “Drastic Draw”; two cards instead of three. A nice little bonus on its own, and if you swarm them, it can generate a massive amount of draw. Now, what about the other Crobats?
Crobat (XY – Phantom Forces 33/119) is basically a bigger Golbat (XY – Phantom Forces 32/119; Generations 31/83): place three damage counters with its coming-into-play Ability instead of two. Still not enough KO anything but the smallest Pokémon, but when combined with the right attack, or swarmed appropriately, this Crobat at least used to be quite competitive. I grew rather fond of it while using Landobats long ago, which had Landorus-EX up front spreading damage with its first attack, supplementing it with the damage counter placing abilities of Golbat and Crobat. The deck also included several “bounce effects”, so you could play and replay your Crobat line, as well as bounce Landorus-EX when it was close enough to being KO’d.
Finally, Crobat (SM – Unbroken Bonds 66/214) is worth considering as well. While it doesn’t have a proven track record, it too has a coming-into-play Ability. Unlike the others, the effect is stellar; its “Sound Veil” Ability protects itself from both the damage and the effects of your opponent’s attacks until the end of your opponent’s turn. This makes it an effective wall… excluding that it is a Stage 2 so your opponent might just go around it by attacking or forcing active (and then attacking) your Bench. Okay, so what all should you run?
In Standard, the one place where today’s Crobat might make sense, along with its set-mate Golbat, is backing Eternatus VMAX. With its “Eternal Zone” Ability and “Dread End” attack, we already know Eternatus VMAX is a good Pokémon, and the star of its own successful deck. One that does not use today’s Crobat. Instead, the focuses more on Crobat V, backed up by a few other Basic, Darkness types. Using Basics makes sense because they take up less space in your deck, and Crobat V is a fantastic card with its “Dark Asset” Ability providing valuable draw power. The catch is that Crobat V is a 180 HP Pokémon V and Dark Asset is an absolute once-per-turn Ability. Benching multiple Crobat to power up Dread End in the same turn doesn’t draw more cards, but it does create a lot of juicy targets for an opponent who would struggle to OHKO Eternatus VMAX itself.
Hypothetically, one could use today’s Crobat (and yesterday’s Golbat) to provide more sustained draw power over multiple terms, while still filling out your Bench. They’re even easier to OHKO than Crobat V but they only give up a single Prize. I don’t think you would drop Crobat V entirely, and a Stage 2 line eats up a massive amount of room, but it is a thought. As for Expanded, the best use I can think of for today’s Crobat is maybe slipping one copy of it into a deck utilizing one of the other two Crobats I mentioned earlier. I can’t say I’m convinced it will be worth it, but a 3/1 split might be okay.
- Standard: 2/5
- Expanded: 2/5
Even at two-out-of-five, I’m probably being charitable here. Crobat has many features that are decent, even good in their own right… but even together, they’re not enough to justify running an entire Stage 2 line. The attack needs to be better, or the Ability needs to be better… or how about give this stuff to Golbat and find something better for Crobat?
Crobat (SS Battle Styles 91/163) is a Darkness type Stage 2 with 130 HP, Fighting weakness, and free retreat. Its ability, Drastic Draw, states that when you play this Pokémon to evolve one of your Pokémon, you get to draw three cards. Wing Attack cost CC and does 100 damage and no other effect.
So, this is another one of those Evolutionary lines that may or may not be worth skipping the Stage 1. Yesterday’s COTD has Golbat that also did similar things, albeit drawing two cards instead of three. When you put it together, you’ll draw a total of five cards in two turns, and that is way too long if you try to rely on the Crobat line as your form of draw power. Even Crobat-V, despite being worth two prizes and being excluded from certain cards’ effects, is still be used over today’s card due to being able to draw up to six cards depending on the amount of cards you have on your hand plus being efficient on deck space and Stage. Today’s card is only worth a single prize, but you have to spend extra turns to evolve, and the risk of getting your opponent to use Boss’s Order is pretty high.
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