Galarian Cursola V
– Champion’s Path
September 27, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Though this top 10 countdown is an irregular one, featuring lead-in cards and honorable mentions interspersed with the actual picks, we are advancing to 9th-place today, and it is Galarian Cursola V (Champion’s Path 021/073, 071/073). Both to shake things up and because of their relevance, let us cover the card’s effects first. Galarian Cursola V has the Ability “Gnawing Aura”, which only works while it is Active. [PC] lets Galarian Cursola V use “Hollow Missile”, which does 60 damage to your opponent’s Active plus it places three damage counters on your opponent’s Bench, distributed how you’d like. Not three to all of them, a total of three you can drop on one target, or divide between two or three Pokémon. Gnawing Aura has potential; extra damage counters don’t always matter, so it is easy to overstate their value, but this seems like enough, directed at a source where it will be valuable. The attack is mediocre at best, but far from worthless.
Okay, now for the rest of Galarian Cursola V. As a [P] type, it does enjoy a little support in Standard, and some great tricks that are Expanded-only. While the shifting around of types, Weaknesses, and Resistance would be a problem for some cards, Galarian Cursola V doesn’t seem too big on doing damage anyway, but more about placing damage counters that don’t care about Weakness or Resistance. Nothing currently cares about “Galarian” being in a card’s name, but we eventually saw some effects like that for the Alolan regional variants, so keep an eye out for this generation and region. As a Pokémon V, Cursola gives up an extra Prize when KO’d, is excluded from some useful effects, and targeted by some deleterious ones, but it gains an HP boost and maybe is why the Ability is what it is, and the attack isn’t even worse.
It is also why Galarian Cursola V is a Basic Pokémon, instead of a Stage 1 like Galarian Cursola, and that is a sizable benefit! What isn’t very large is its HP; 190 is nearly double what Galarian Cursola has, but 20 below what most Basic Pokémon V enjoy. I could be mistaken with the shifting metagame, but even if it is only from archetypes on their way out, 200 damage shows up an awful lot in medium-to-large attacks. 190 is still more likely to survive a hit than not, but that’s a general overview; when you’re worth two Prizes and need to be up front even for your Ability, your survival odds begin to drop. [D] Weakness doesn’t help, though it may not be as bad as it appears at first; Eternatus VMAX can score the OHKO with a much smaller Bench. Some supporting attackers may surprise you, however. Any Resistance is welcome, even if -30 [F] Resistance may not be all that useful right now. A Retreat Cost of [CC] is neither low nor high.
Galarian Cursola V seems like a solid opening Pokémon, and unless a ruling says otherwise, a natural Frosmoth counter. Decide whether you’re leaving it up front as a non-attacking meat-shield, think you can leverage Hollow Missile enough to bother powering it up, or if you need to find someway to get it off the field or – at least – out of the Active position. I’ve heard a few ideas using more recent cards for hit-and-run style tactics, and Galarian Cursola may be a worthwhile inclusion for such a deck, even though it is relatively fragile. Control decks may also enjoy it as either a non-attacking means of getting damage counters on your opponent’s Pokémon or an environment where Hollow Missile’s output is sufficient. Backing it with Arctozolt, as its “Biting Whirlpool” places two damage counters when your opponent attaches an Energy to one of their Pokémon from hand, but this Ability works from the Bench, stacks with itself, and should stack with Gnawing Aura. That’s up to 11 damage counters per Energy attached from hand!
A bit of a long-shot, but Expanded may offer Galarian Cursola V enough additional buffs to work out. Fighting Fury Belt for +40 HP and +10 damage, Dimension Valley so that Hollow Missile only costs [P], Acerola to bounce it if your opponent fails to take the OHKO… stuff like that. It also has so many potential counters available, and Zoroark-GX may no longer be regularly used in competitive decks, but it is still a decent supporting Pokémon from both its Ability and attack, and Galarian Cursola V is an easy OHKO for it specifically due to Weakness. Using Champion’s Path cards in Limited requires a lot of effort, because this wasn’t released in a manner where a do-it-yourself Pre-Release is likely… but I’ll score it anyway. My main concern is that this set has a decent number of decent (because it is Limited) Darkness type attackers… but both Galarian Cursola V’s Ability and attack should be stronger here, so you still might run it in a Mulligan build, and in nearly anything else.
Galarian Cursola V is a decent card, though not an example of raw power or anything like that. Once again, it is a card that made the countdown because Champion’s Path just doesn’t contain a lot of competition, but at least it isn’t counting on potential future releases. Yet another Pokémon where the Weakness really has me a little leery of using it.
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