Fighting Fury Belt
August 10, 2018
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
One of a couple of cards that have followed up from one of the best Tools in the game, both trying to capitalize on its general success while also not specifically trying to outpower it or imbalance themselves. But that’s what they get for making Muscle Band – shouldn’t have made it so good!
Fighting Fury Belt is a Tool that lets you add 40 HP to a Pokemon and 10 more damage to all of its moves. It’s got a different type of utility than Muscle Band or Choice Band do, opting out of just adding on more damage by also throwing some extra HP around. The idea is that it makes your Pokemon a lot tankier, and considering that 40 HP is the difference between a Basic Pokemon-EX/GX and a Stage 1-GX (and a Stage 1-GX to a Stage 2-GX), that HP boost is pretty significant. And 10 extra damage isn’t something to snuff at – there was a time period where adding on 10 damage was a key part of hitting the magic numbers! Some scores are just close enough that 10 damage goes from a 3HKO to a 2HKO – much more rarely, a 2HKO to a OHKO!
So Fighting Fury Belt definitely has its own set of utility. In terms of pure power, Muscle Band and Choice Band do beat it out in terms of dealing damage, but Fighting Fury Belt can actually tank the damage they add on easily with its bonus. What can I say? Don’t knock it till you try it!
Standard: N/A (it’s about gone, but I’m sure there are some decks that would love to push their Stage 2-GX into absurdly high levels of HP)
Expanded: 3.5/5 (I suspect that while Muscle Band and Choice Band will still be popular, Fighting Fury Belt will see some play in decks that want to keep their Pokemon alive a little longer – and that’ll make those decks much more dangerous)
Limited: 5/5 (it’s definitely a must-run in the set)
Arora Notealus: I’m almost hoping for another iteration of “belts” or “bands” that allow for an even tankier upgrade to what Fighting Fury Belt did. Maybe something that adds HP but also reduces damage, making a Pokemon even more durable than before. It’d be like a defensive version of this card!
Weekend Thought: What did you guys think of this week’s cards? Will you be trying them out in your Expanded decks? Do you wish they’d stay in Standard? Are you excited for the Celestial Storm set that’s just come out?
Fighting Fury Belt is another subject of cards leaving the Standard format. It was released on XY BreakPoint where it was the 2nd best card of the set (https://www.pojo.com/COTD/2016/Feb/22.shtml) and the best card of 2016 (https://www.pojo.com/COTD/2016/Dec/30.shtml). So why did it rank so high?
This is a Pokémon Tool card in which it can be attached to any Pokemon, but only works when it is attached to a Basic Pokémon. It grants the holder +40 HP and let’s you deal 10 more damage to the Defending Pokemon. This is a sizeable boost, as it makes most 180-190 HP Basic EX/GX Pokemon fake being a Mega Evolution Pokemon with this much HP. It might or might not adjust certain OHKOes or 2HKOs. The damage boost is also nice, as it may be able to hit key numbers at its time, even though the damage boost is minimal.
Fighting Fury Belt didn’t have an easy start, though, as it was released at a time where Muscle Band is still legal, and many think that +20 damage can reach some numbers that Fighting Fury Belt can’t. Some decks use 4 Muscle Bands, others use 4 Fighting Fury Belt, and maybe others a mix between the two. Startling Megaphone was also there to whack off Pokemon Tool cards, making it not stick around for long despite Fighting Fury Belt being able to make use of on your turn. The 40 boost to its HP didn’t last for long either. When Muscle Band left Standard, Fighting Fury Belt remains to be the only damage booster card for a while, which is why it saw lots of play during that time. Lack of tool removal outside of Rattata (XY Evolutions) at the time also contributed to that usage.
It wasn’t long until we have another damage boosting card in the form of Choice Band from SM Guardians Rising. This super-improved version of Silver Bangle grants a +30 damage boost to EX/GX Pokemon! That amount of boost made It much easier to secure OHKOes and 2HKOes. Field Blower is another tool removal card which, once again, destroys any hope of trying to keep the +40 HP intact. Even if you did make one use of the 10 damage boost, when compared to Choice Band that gives a 30 damage boost, it is simply not enough to be worthwhile. Fighting Fury Belt could dangerously be obsolete and it’s usage plummeted. What was once great had fallen out of favor.
In Limited, the reasons not to use it is if you didn’t have a worthwhile Basic Pokemon to use or that you’re using evolved Pokemon, in which Fighting Fury Belt would be useless on the ladder. It also doesn’t help as much in Theme Deck formats due to having multiple evolutionary line that Fighting Fury Belt couldn’t help.
Standard: 2.5/5 Expanded: 2.5/5 Limited: 4.5/5
Theme: 2/5 (helps some basic Pokemon that’s mostly evolving basics in both Greninja and Luxray theme deck)
Fighting Fury Belt (BKP 99) represents another card – similar to Max Elixir – that Pokemon got backwards. This card should have aided evolution Pokemon – especially Stage 2’s. All it did was contribute to the dominance of Big Basics and precipitate the reduction of competitive Stage 2 decks.
FFB saw its height of usage at the dawn of the Sun and Moon era. Players quickly realized the value of attaching it to Tauros GX – boosting Tauros to a massive 220 HP that very few Pokemon could reach in a single shot. With no way to remove tools at that time, you were virtually guaranteeing a powerful return strike from Tauros, one which would quite possibly OHKO the Pokemon that just placed that damage on Tauros. Tauros was the single most popular Pokemon in the format for the first three months of the Sun and Moon era, and the FFB was its most important Tool to go into battle with.
And then Leaf Blower and Choice Band came out, and, almost as quickly as it rose to prominence, Tauros fell from grace and saw almost no play whatsoever. Many newer GX Pokemon could now reach that 180 mark in a single shot, especially when aided by Choice Band.
Fighting Fury Belt has still seen some use in recent play. Ten percent of top performing decklists ran it between May 19 and June 23, and it was the third most common Tool card played (although a very distant 3rd as it made up only 5% of all Tools played). It could definitely aid a Big Basic attacker, especially if your opponent was cutting corners and trying to get by without any Field Blowers.
Standard: 2.5 out of 5
This week, it is a bit early to dive into SM – Celestial Storm, so we’re taking time to look at some of the cards that didn’t quite make our recent Top 10 Countdown of Cards Lost to Rotation. I’d put the year in there to clarify, but the rotation that happens September 1, 2018, is referred to as the “2019” rotation on the official Pokémon website, which is so confusing it seems simpler to include this clunky sentence of explanation. We began the week with a twofer because we were unable to post any reviews on Monday, plus Wednesday had already been planned as a twofer so you’ve probably noticed my reviews either went up late or not at all (yet). We’ll end our week of runner-up cards from the previous countdown, though if we weren’t moving onto SM – Celestial Storm, we could keep this up for weeks; every reviewer that submitted a list for this countdown had at least a Top 24, so even with just three of us, we had an unofficial “Top 55” for the combined list! Speaking of which, Fighting Fury Belt (XY – BREAKpoint 99/122) would have been our 16th place pick if we’d counted down from a high enough number, as it earned 34 voting points by appearing on two individual reviewer lists. I had it as my 23rd place pick but its usage in Standard has picked up again, so I think I should have had it higher… and I’ll explain why.
Fighting Fury Belt is a Pokémon Tool, and because I struggle not to state the obvious, that means it counts as a Trainer and an Item as well. The card’s effect text states that the Basic Pokémon with Fighting Fury Belt attached has +40 HP (raising both its current amount and its maximum), and the attacks of the Pokémon in question do 10 more damage (before Weakness and Resistance). You are able to attach it to an Evolution, it just acts as a Tool with no effect. Fighting Fury Belt is interesting because it has what I think of as an “active” and a “passive” effect. Please note the lower-case “a”; I don’t mean it only works for the Active (though, to my knowledge, that’s the only time the damage bonus can matter), but that you can benefit from it bumping up your attack damage the turn you play it (unless that Pokémon can’t yet attack). Even if your opponent discards it immediately, you enjoy that +10 damage. The +40 to HP, on the other hand, can only matter immediately if there is some effect that works based on HP and matters on your own turn (none spring to mind). Even on your opponent’s turn, that HP bonus doesn’t matter until interacts with an effect or it keeps you being KO’d. Once it is keeping something alive, that Pokémon is on borrowed time; anything that can discard Tools or negate their effects can result in a KO.
If this doesn’t seem all that impressive, keep in mind I’m focusing on the negatives first; this card released when it had to compete against Muscle Band (Tool that grants +20 damage against anything and works for anything) and deal with Tool Scrapper (Item that discards all Tools on your opponent’s side of the field). Fighting Fury Belt is still seeing competitive success now, competing with Choice Band and having to deal with Field Blower. One of the things I just like about its design is that the developers are acknowledging (whether they meant to or not) that offense is better than defense in this game; using Muscle Band as the baseline, we see +10 damage is worth +40 HP. Sometimes, I wish that Fighting Fury Belt just soaked damage, even if it meant a smaller bonus, as it is better to just not take damage in the first place. Fortunately, there are cards like Tauros-GX which benefit more from having extra HP; two of the attacks on Tauros-GX hit harder the more damage counters are on it, so having more HP allows it to do more damage (on top of the +10 already granted by Fighting Fury Belt). Other cards have taken advantage of Fighting Fury Belt because it helped something cross a key HP threshold, shifting it from being OHKO’d to 2HKO’d or even 2HKO’d to 3HKO’d (plus getting a small damage bonus). Another factor is the handful of Pokémon that can equip multiple Tools at a time; +20 damage and +80 HP is quite a sight to see, and effective if you can hold onto your Tools long enough.
All of these are reasons while Fighting Fury Belt is and will continue to be a good card in the Expanded Format, why it has been a good card in the Standard Format, and why it would likely continue to be a good card if it weren’t being cut via set rotation. If you are actually using older packs in a Limited Format event, whether using a single set or mixing different expansions together, Fighting Fury Belt is a must run and likely to help you out so long as it shows up during the game. Even a filler Basic becomes better with it!
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