Galarian Articuno – Evolving Skies
August 31, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Today we look at the third and final of this set’s Galarian Legendary Bird Trio, as 11th-Place goes to Galarian Articuno (SW – Evolving Skies 063/203; SW – Black Star Promos SWSH123)! Being a Galarian Pokémon means Galarian Articuno could done Galarian Chestplate, but currently, that is all it means. Other than that, this is a baseline Pokémon, without a Rule Box and worth only a single Prize when KO’d. Galarian Articuno is a Psychic type, and that seems handy right now both for exploiting Weakness and tapping into support. Being a Basic is best, and means Galarian Articuno requires no other cards to hit the field, and no need to wait to evolve. It also means it works better with certain effects, like bounce.
Galarian Articuno has 120 HP: a bit low, but not terrible considering this is a single Prize, Basic Pokémon. [D] Weakness is dangerous, but not terrible; anything doing 120 or more still one-shots Galarian Articuno, and anything doing 50 or less still whiffs on the OHKO. Its -30 [F] Resistance is appreciated, but the HP means it only matters against Fighting types who do 120, 130, and 140 damage; again, anything else either hits hard enough to OHKO through Resistance, or already fell short. The Retreat Cost of [CC] is neither high nor low.
Galarian Articuno has one Ability and one attack. “Cruel Charge” is just what you should have expected; during your turn, when you Bench Galarian Articuno from your hand, you may attach up to two Psychic Energy from your hand to this Pokémon. Though it doesn’t specify “basic” Energy, basic Psychic Energy cards are the only ones that count as [P] while in hand. This is handy for fueling Galarian Articuno’s attack, but can provide Energy to move elsewhere (such as with Energy Switch) or to feed attacks that hit harder the more Energy you have on your field.
Galarian Articuno’s attack is “Psylaser”. Besides a printed Energy cost of [PPC], Psylaser also requires the Pokémon using it discard all [P] Energy attached to itself. Then the attack does 120 damage to one of your opponent’s Pokémon. If you use the Psylaser to hit something on the Bench, Weakness and Resistance don’t apply (same as usual). This attack would be too expensive without Energy acceleration, but fortunately, it is already built in. You’ll still need your manual Energy attachment for the turn (or some other form of Energy acceleration) to go from Benching Galarian Articuno to using Psylaser in a single turn but… that’s not bad. 120 isn’t enough to one-shot something like a Benched Crobat V, but going just by HP scores, it would be enough to 2HKO most Basic Pokémon V and all single Prize Pokémon.
As stated with Galarian Moltres and Galarian Zapdos, reusing Galarian Articuno isn’t exactly difficult. If it isn’t KO’d by your opponent, you can use Scoop Up Net to return it to your hand. If you are worried about burning through too much Energy, you can use Energy Retrieval to add the two basic Psychic Energy cards, the ones you just discarded when attacking the previous turn, back to your hand to use with your next Galarian Articuno. Eldegoss (SW – Evolving Skies 016/203) may be the best way to get the needed Energy in your hand, though it has to compete with general draw power and Fog Crystal. Oh, and if your opponent does OHKO Galarian Articuno after it attacks, you’re only out a no-Energy, single Prize, Basic Pokémon.
In the Expanded Format, there are more tiny-but-juicy targets for Psylaser, better basic Energy support, and even Dimension Valley to shave [C] off of Psylaser’s attack cost but there are also cards like Mr. Mime (BW – Plasma Freeze 47/116) and Mr. Mime (XY – BREAKthrough 97/162; Generations 52/83), all of which have the “Bench Barrier” Ability that stops Psylaser doing anything to opposing Benched Pokémon. You can try to counter Bench Barrier, but a lot of tricks (like Silent Lab) are just going to mess with Galarian Articuno as much or more than Mr. Mime. I worry I haven’t conveyed that Galarian Articuno is the best of its batch, but I believe it is. I had it as my 12th-Place pick, above the other two birds.
- Standard: 3/5
- Expanded: 3/5
Editor’s Note: Vince had Galarian Articuno as his 10th-Place pick.
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