– Sword & Shield
February 12, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
8th-place goes to Frosmoth (Sword & Shield 064/202; SS – Black Star Promos SWSH007). This is a [W] Type Pokémon. Peaking ahead, we can Weakness/Resistance interactions won’t matter; Type support is okay for Standard, but better in Expanded. Being a Stage 1 isn’t as good as being a Basic, but it is still functional. 90 HP is poor, as it means Frosmoth is an easy OHKO while Active and is mildly vulnerable to Bench hits/damage spread accumulation. What might redeem that a bit is 90 HP makes Frosmoth Level-Ball legal. The HP also means the [M] Weakness and lack of Resistance usually won’t matter. The Retreat Cost of [CC] is low enough you can probably pay, but high enough it might be a waste; consider something like Air Balloon.
Let’s get the attack out of the way, because “Aurora Beam” is pretty obvious filler: [WC] to do 30. Better than nothing, or something not obviously bad (but still bad). We’re here for Frosmoth’s Ability, “Ice Dance”, which lets you attach a [W] Energy from your hand to one of our Benched [W] Pokémon, as many times as you wish (and are able) during your turn. This should seem familiar, as it is similar to many non-attack effects seen over the years, but we’ll focus on the “Deluge” Ability Blastoise (BW – Boundaries Crossed 31/149, BW – Plasma Storm 137/135; BW – Plasma Blast 16/101) being the closest, as that is still legal in the Expanded Format. Only attach to the Bench isn’t too bad. Besides proper planning…
…there’s Quagsire (Dragon Majesty 26/70; Shiny Vault SV10/SV94). Its “Wash Out” Ability lets you move a [W] Energy from your one of your Benched Pokémon to your Active, and again, it can be used as often as you like during your turn. Or you could use Dawn Wing’s Necrozma-GX, preferably with Air Balloon (in Expanded, Keldeo-EX w/Float Stone does it better), though you’ll still be restricted to [W] Type attackers. With Quagsire, you won’t want to use it with just any attacker, as you can only easily meet [W] or [C] Energy requirements, but there are many candidates which do just that, especially when we add in a single off-Type Energy from hand, whether it be a basic Energy card or something like Aurora Energy.
Some candidates to consider in alphabetical order are:
The one winning list out of Japan I’ve seen – which I didn’t have until today – shows Blastoise & Piplup-GX, Cramorant, and Palkia-GX as singles with a 2-2 line of Lapras VMAX for attackers. Backing them up are a few more Pokémon, most notably 2-2 Frosmoth and 2-2 Quagsire lines. The other attackers are a little or a lot of Theorymon, so take them with a grain of salt. The most recent, high-performing Archie’s Blastoise list focused on Mewtwo & Mew-GX cribbing “Hydro Pump” from Kingdra-GX. Kingdra-GX’s Hydro Pump does 10 damage plus 50 per [W] Energy attached, so why not try the same deck with Frosmoth and Quagsire replacing Archie’s Ace in the Hole and Blastoise?
I’m talking in either the Standard or Expanded Formats, as enough of the other relevant cards are Standard-legal or have decent enough Standard-legal replacements. At a pre-release, the only reasons to not run Frosmoth are no Snom (is that possible, with Evolution packs?), pulling a Basic Pokémon V worth running solo, or failing to pull sufficient [W] Type attackers worth running, which is the most plausible. Sword & Shield is another massive 200+ card set, so while there are multiple worthwhile attackers even at the Uncommon rarity (let alone higher), you could legitimately whiff on all of them. You’ll also have less Trainer-support to keep a steady supply of Energy flowing into your hand.
I had Frosmoth as my 19th-place pick. You read that right, yet I scored it the same in Standard as I did our last two picks. Why? I didn’t have a proven list until digging for one today! There was another reason, as well; most new [W] Types are going to be [L] Weak, Pikachu & Zekrom-GX not only saw a lot of successful play at the one Japanese tournament for which I had detailed results, but a Pikarom deck even took first! Knowing what I know now, I’d have ranked it around 10th-place, because there are just that many great cards in this set. Funny thing is, the jump in voting points would have merely let it tie with tomorrow’s card…
Details: Frosmoth is another one of those Pokémon that provides unlimited energy attachments, albeit to a certain type. It provides unlimited energy attachments of basic Water Energy to your Benched Water Pokemon. The wording is important because it limits what you can and can’t do. On the eyes of other format besides Standard, this is slightly weaker than Feraligatr Prime (Rain Dance can attach water energies to any water Pokemon, even the Active) and even considerably weaker than Deluge Blastoise (which can attach water energy to any Pokemon and can be sent out with Archie’s Ace in the Hole).
Despite that, this is your only option in Standard and unlike the other two, it is a Stage 1 and can be searched by Level Ball in Expanded, so that takes you less space. With those restrictions, there are ways to play around on the restriction. Since the Ability only attaches water energies to Benched Pokemon, you need a Pokémon with free retreat in the Active so that you get to attach those energies to your Benched Water Pokemon and then bring it back to the Active to attack.
Frosmoth is currently seeing a lot of play in a specific deck, most likely Water decks. Frosmoth can do its usual thing while fueling up Lapras V-Max’s G-Max Pump to hit for insane amounts of damage depending on how many water energies attached to it. That attack starts at 90 damage for CCC, so a minimum of WWW is already 180 damage, which is a clean 2HKO. If you’re going to OHKO something, then you’ll have to reach Snorlax V-Max’s 340 HP, meaning Lapras has to have 8 water energies attached to it AND have a Vitality Band attached to it. This might seem a lot, but that’s what Frosmoth is for; it can get you 8 energies on the board swiftly.
Frosmoth is still a good card for water energy acceleration in Expanded. but it faces competition from other sources of water based acceleration: Deluge Blastoise and Aqua Patch. It is also one of the four prerelease promo card that you could get from the Build & Battle boxes. If you do pull this, then if I recall correctly, this group also has the 3-2-2 Inteleon line.
…oh, whoops. Looks like I got a couple of the cards mixed up! Still, it’s nice to see a lot of newer Pokemon getting some time in the spotlight already, and if you think that means I’m going to completely thrash on this Pokemon for what it does, I think you’d be mistaken.
Frosmoth is a Stage 1 Water Pokemon, 90 HP, with a Metal Weakness, no Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of 2. Aurora Beam is a 2-for-30 vanilla move that will dazzle opponents with a bunch of hypnotic rainbow lights above their heads, though it comes with the small side effect of requiring you to be carrying a bunch of laser pens to do that. In spite of that, Frosmoth will see plenty of play thanks to Ice Dance, which lets you attach as many Water Energy from your hand as you like – as often as you like – to your BENCHED Water Pokemon.
I just wanted to highlight the Benched part, since otherwise it is virtually the same effect as Rain Dance.
This kind of effect, historically, has been big news for Water decks looking to get a ton of Energy onto their Pokemon, and even if you don’t need so much Energy, it’s great to be able to play it all out from your hand anyway. Combine this with a draw card of any kind – Supporter, Item, or Pokemon – and you’ve got a potentially massive threat on-board in a single turn, maybe even the moment you put it on the Bench! Frosmoth can certainly do a lot in that regard.
Perhaps the only question then is, who can Frosmoth team-up with? The easy answer would likely be the Pokemon that came in this set, Lapras-V – or more specifically, Lapras-VMAX. Barely missing out of the Top 11 by a couple of spots or so, Lapras-VMAX comes fully charged with a large 320 HP body and an even bigger attack in G-Max Pump, a 3-for-90 that does another 30 damage for each Water Energy attached to it. Put 3 Water Energies on it with Frosmoth, and you’ve got a move that does 180 damage! Put another 3 down, and you’re OHKOing most any Pokemon in the game, save for a couple Tag Team-GX’s and other VMAX Pokemon.
I actually looked highly on Lapras-VMAX to form a great alliance potentially with ADP-GX – you know, the #1 deck of the format – and be able to sweep through with a big body and even bigger damage, but Frosmoth could be apart of that and so much more. It’s likely that some time in its lifespan in Standard, Frosmoth will see play in a big Water deck, so even if there isn’t one at the current time frame, chances are there’s bound to be one down the road lurking.
Standard: 4/5 (absolutely a contender for a major deck)
Expanded: 4/5 (can definitely give others in its category a run for their money, being a Stage 1)
Limited: 3/5 (really depends more on what you get here, but can be useful if you run a lot of Water Energy)
Arora Notealus: Frosmoth brings something to the table for all Water decks, and it’s going to be an important card looking forward. Be sure to keep it in mind when you’re looking at any Water Pokemon, since it’s likely to be the most important card to add to any given deck.
Next Time: Now let’s talk about that band thing from yesterday’s hint…
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