– Rebel Clash
May 26, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Galar Mine (SSH – Rebel Clash 160/192) is a Trainer-Stadium which increases the Retreat Cost of both Active Pokémon by [CC]. Being a Stadium means Galar Mine can both discard and be discarded by other Stadium cards, affects both players evenly (barring combos) and is a lot easier to search and even recycle than… most (maybe all) points prior to the introduction of cards such as Guzma & Hala, Lusamine, and Stadium Nav. We also have some strong Stadium counters: Chaotic Swell, Faba, Marshadow (SM – Unbroken Bonds 81/214), and (in Expanded) Field Blower.
I wish the actual effect was as easy to explain. Reading it, it sounds simple: add [CC] to everything’s Retreat Cost, right? Nope, trick question; the actual text clearly states that only each player’s Active Pokémon experiences the increase. Benched Pokémon may not need to retreat, but there are card effects that care about a Pokémon’s Retreat Cost regardless of where it is on the field. Besides situations like that, some effects that alter Retreat Costs add, some subtract, and some multiply. After all of that, there’s also deck strategy to factor in; sometimes Retreat Costs just don’t matter.
Let’s go into a little more detail, in reverse order of what I just said. If neither deck includes effects that care about Retreat Cost values, and a player never needs to retreat in a match, Galar Mine isn’t really doing anything. The same is true when it comes to effects that set a Retreat Cost to zero; if a Pokémon has Float Stone equipped, it is like you’re multiplying the Retreat Cost by zero at the end of everything else. It is when one or both of you are using effects that care about Retreat Costs, or manually retreating otherwise becomes relevant to the current match, where Galar Mine can earn its keep.
If your opponent needs to manually retreat a lot you can ideally just wreck their strategy. Almost as good is forcing them to burn extra resources that would normally have gone elsewhere. A good example would be Jirachi (SM – Team Up 99/181; SM – Black Star Promos SM161) with Escape Board combo. Most decks enjoy using it any time you KO their previous Active, but if Galar Mine is in play, they’ll have to pay [CC] to retreat Jirachi, use a card like Switch or Scoop Up Net to get Jirachi out of the Active position, or just not promote Jirachi unless they’re willing to let it remain Active and be KO’d.
Getting to the cards that care about Retreat Costs for things other than retreating, this ruins effects that care about a specific Retreat Cost, hurts those that want a low Retreat Cost, and helps those that want a higher one. Your opponent bulking up their Active with Buff Padding? Galar Mine turns their Retreat Cost of [CCCC] into [CCCCCC], and that means Buff Padding stops providing its +50 HP bonus. I’m blanking on effects you would run which requires a low Retreat Cost, for reasons other than manually retreating. How about effects your opponent would run that want you to have a higher Retreat Cost, for reasons other than messing up your opponent’s capacity to retreat?
Say hello to Probopass (SSH – Rebel Clash 131/192). It is a 140 HP Stage 1 Metal Type Pokémon with [R] Weakness, [G] Resistance, Retreat Cost [CCCC]. Its second attack is “Heavy Impact” and we don’t really care about that today. It is its first attack, “Gravitational Drop”, that we care about, and Gravitational Drop requires [C] to do 10 damage plus 30 per [C] in the Retreat Cost of your opponent’s Active. With a Galar Mine in play, its attacks are doing an extra 60 damage! Against the oh-so-popular Basic Pokémon, you could also include Absol (SM – Team Up 88/181), you can get another [C] increase, meaning a total of +90 damage.
Probopass decks did not show up in the one, recent, large-scale online tournament for which I have results. Which means they could still be coming, but means I’ll now address the deck that did include Galar Mine: Pikarom! I confess, I didn’t see this coming but I ought to have. The 25th, 118th, and 139th-place finishers were Pikarom decks including a TecH Galar Mine. Like most (all?) competitive Pikarom decks, it includes a copy of Zeraora-GX. As long as you have even one unit of [L] Energy attached to your Pokémon, Zeraora-GX’s “Thunderclap Zone” Ability zeroes out the Retreat Costs of that Pokémon. Your opponent probably isn’t as fortunate… well, maybe they are, given how many decks in the top 149 decks were running Pikarom.
I have no tournament data for Galar Mine in Expanded, but I expect it works similarly. It suffers for having more competition and counters, but gains access to stronger control/disruption decks, as well as additional ways to increase an opponent’s Active’s Retreat Cost. Definitely run Galar Mine if you pull it in the Limited Format. If you’re especially fortunate, and pull something worth running as a Mulligan build, Galar Mine only hurts you if you run into a Probopass. It is still worth running a copy everywhere else, even decks where it could easily backfire, because may need to discard an opponent’s Training Court or Turffield Stadium more than you need your normal Retreat Costs.
Galar Mine is solid, general disruption, but can be very hit or miss because not every deck has to worry about Retreat Costs… even when facing a deck built to exploit an opponent’s high Retreat Costs. Still, being great in certain decks and decent (though not optimal) in many others, nets a good score.
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