Galarian Moltres – Evolving Skies
August 29, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Our 13th-Place pick is Galarian Moltres (SW – Evolving Skies 093/203; SW – Black Star Promos SWSH125). This is a mostly baseline Pokémon, lacking a Rule Box or any extras like a Battle Style. It does have an altered name, though: Galarian Moltres does not count against how many copies of “regular” Moltres you can use, and you can tap the one example we have of Galarian support (Galarian Chestplate). Overall, I’d say it is a small advantage. Being a [D] type seems solid, maybe even good, right now. This is from the Weakness chain. Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX was doing great at the end of the previous Standard Format, and is [P] Weak. TCG Psychics based on VG Psychics and VG Ghosts are both [D] Weak, so you might be able to counter the counter deck.
Galarian Moltres is a Basic Pokémon, so there’s no waiting to evolve, and no need to run other Stages of evolution just so it can hit the field. Basics can be fetched from your deck with Quick Ball, and immediately be played back to the field after bouncing with Scoop Up Net. They also can be your opening Active but that can be a bad thing with Galarian Moltres, for reasons we’ll soon address. Galarian Moltres has 120 HP, which is a bit low, but not too bad considering this is a single Prize, Basic Pokémon. [G] Weakness wasn’t a problem for most of the previous Standard Format, but some of the cards in this set lend themselves to certain Grass decks (among others), so don’t count on it staying relatively safe. No Resistance is the worst, but is typical. A Retreat Cost of [CC] is neither high nor low.
Galrian Moltres has one Ability and one attack. The former is “Malevolent Charge” and the latter is “Fiery Wrath”, and they’re definitely connected. Malevolent Charge may be used when you play this Pokémon from your hand to your Bench, during your turn. If you choose to use it, you may attach up to two [D] Energy from your hand to this Pokémon. Fiery Wrath costs [DDC], and does 20 damage plus another 50 per Prize card your opponent has taken. Would Galarian Moltres be better if Fiery Wrath simply cost [C] and it had no Ability? Probably, but this is still a good deal and opens up potential combos. Like using Energy Switch to get one of those Energy on something else. Just remember that only basic Darkness Energy counts as [D] while in hand.
Now, using it Malevolent Charge to fuel Fiery Wrath can be very worthwhile. If your opponent has only taken zero or one Prizes, don’t bother. At two Prizes, Fiery Wrath does a solid 120 damage. At three Prizes taken, you’re 10 shy of OHKOing stuff like Crobat V… but we have a few ways of dealing that last 10, so that’s okay. Four Prizes, means 220 damage, enough to OHKO most Basic Pokémon V (and smaller) targets, at least going by printed HP scores. Five Prizes means, going by printed HP scores, only Wailord V can survive a hit from Fiery Wrath. Using it when your opponent has taken five Prizes (versus four), you’re not really hitting any key numbers… but if your opponent doesn’t see Galarian Moltres coming, holding onto it for the surprise factor could be well worth it.
As you’ve figured out by now, you’re usually not going to want to open with Galarian Moltres, because it won’t be able to hit very hard, it isn’t particularly sturdy (though neither is it fragile), and you don’t get to use Malevolent Charge. The Ability is also why Scoop Up Net can serve it well; if your opponent does fail to OHKO Galarian Moltres, bounce it with Scoop Up Net and – provided you have enough Energy in hand – drop it again to accelerate more Energy and maybe attack again with it. Unless a Darkness deck is running pretty light on actual, basic Darkness Energy cards, Galarian Moltres seems like a good deal. I don’t know how Eternatus VMAX decks will look in the new D-On Standard Format, but Galarian Moltres is more fodder for your Bench and if you need to thin your hand of basic Darkness Energy before dropping Crobat V… there you go.
It is a long shot, but Galarian Moltres might have a place in some other decks. We looked at Smeargle (SW – Evolving Skies 128/203) as our 15th-Place pick. No confirmation Smeargle will live up to my expectations, but if it does, you have a decent chance of working Galarian Moltres in there. Having one basic Darkness Energy in hand gives Smeargle +30 damage for its “Live Painting” attack, but it isn’t too much to think you’d run two or three total. Not a perfect fit, but a decent alternate late game attacker. It is also possible the other baseline Galarian Legendary Birds – Galarian Articuno (SW – Evolving Skies 063/203; SW – Black Star Promos SWSH123) and Galarian Zapdos (SW – Evolving Skies 082/203; SW – Black Star Promos SWSH124) are potential deck partners for Galarian Moltres. Without going into too much detail, they have similar Abilities, but with respect to the basic Energy that matches their own typing. Still, they could share a lot of support like Eldegoss (SW – Evolving Skies 016/203), Scoop Up Net, etc.
Finally, there’s the Expanded Format. Galarian Moltres seems better here. Yes, you’ll have to deal with potent anti-Ability effects, including having your Basic Pokémon’s Abilities (including Galarian Moltres) shut down by Silent Lab, or all Abilities stopped by Garbodor (XY – BREAKpoint 57/122) or Garbodor (BW – Dragons Exalted 54/124; BW – Plasma Freeze 119/116; BW – Legendary Treasures 68/113). However, I think Weavile-GX hasn’t been left behind by power creep yet. Yes, think: I haven’t played (or seen tournament results) for Expanded in a long time, so take this with more than just a grain of salt. So, if Weavile-GX is still worthwhile, this gives you a non-Rule Box Basic Pokémon you can spam to quickly get Darkness Energy into play. Then move it all to whatever other attacker you want. Plus, Galarian Moltres is still a decent attacker here.
I had Galarian Moltres as my 13th-Place pick so… yeah, spot on.
- Standard: 3/5
- Expanded: 4/5
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