– Sword & Shield
March 2, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Details: So after rambling about how potentially broken Galarian Zizzagoon would be yesterday, it’s time to look at its final evolved form, Galarian Obstagoon! A Stage 2 Darkness Type with 160 HP, Grass weakness, and a retreat cost of two, it has an ability and an attack. Untamed Shout states that if you play this from your hand to evolve 1 of your Pokemon, you get to put 3 damage counters on 1 of your opponent’s Pokemon. Obstruct costs DC for 90 damage and takes no damage from your opponent’s Basic Pokémon until the end of your opponent’s next turn.
Well, this is a pretty useful Pokémon that could invite some combos and could also serve as a distraction unless your opponent has a way to deal against it. Those effects have been seen on different Pokémon cards, and putting them into one card makes it efficient. Untamed Shout’s effect is familiar and identical to Crobat PHF’s Surprise Bite and Greninja-GX’s Shuriken Flurry abilities. Obstruct is also familiar as Jolteon-EX also has a second attack that does a similar job. Because of those features, it can act as both a supporter and/or attacker.
There are strategies which revolves other cards around damage counters, something like generating a better output based on damage counters already on the board or to unleash something when they have certain damage counters. Sableye-V is the perfect example that the Obstagoon evolutionary line would provide. As the Crazy Claw possesses a multiplier similar to Mega Tyranitar’s Destroyer King, it does 10 damage plus 60 more damage for each damage counter on the Defending Pokémon. Galarian Zigzagoon and Obstagoon already place 4 damage counters, so Crazy Claws already do 250 damage, and whatever more Zizzagoon (at least two more) you put into play can reach OHKO levels. Yveltal-GX’s Doom Count may be a one time GX move, but it instantly OHKOs any Pokémon with 4 damage counters on it, which the 1-1-1 line or 4 Zizzagoons can exactly do.
Abilities and attacks like those have seen success before, and Galarian Obstagoon actually did place well in a recent tournament. Those features may or may not matter on the long run. If everyone plays Basics, then Obstagoon coldly stops them. If they play evolved Pokémon like V-Max, then it’s no better than placing extra damage counters. It’ll be a cycle of never ending deck changes.
You can pull a 3-2-2 line from the Build and Battle deck if the promo card is Cinccino.
As with every new region in Pokémon, Galar brings with it new evolutions for existing Pokémon. Just like Alola, Galar also has regional variants that put a new spin on otherwise familiar Pokémon. Today’s card is an example of both; a Galar-exclusive Stage capping off the Galar regional variant of a Pokémon-line originally introduced in Gen III. Yesterday we looked at Galarian Zigzagoon; today we look at Galarian Obstagoon (Sword & Shield 119/202)!
Galarian Obstagoon is a [D] Type Pokémon and good for Standard and very good in Expanded. Why? Which video game Types were represented by the trading card game Types changed with Sword & Shield. The older (relatively speaking) cards are going to remain, but unless something else changes, [D] Resistance is going away, and [D] Weakness is going to be a lot more common. The current Darkness Type support in Standard has potential, but hasn’t amounted to much so far. In Expanded, however, we’ve got vintage hits like Dark Patch! There are also some anti-Darkness effects, but they’re pretty forgettable.
What you need to remember, though, is that Galarian Obstagoon is a Stage 2. Even a slim, unstable line of it takes a decent chunk of deck space, and something more robust (and thus reliable) requires so many cards it has to be central to your deck. It also means Galarian Obstagoon can’t hit the field without at least one turn of prep work, and that’s using evolution acceleration. It also puts the card’s 160 HP into perspective; a solid amount, not too easy to OHKO, but you had to invest to reach it.
The [G] Weakness brings us to another Sword & Shield-era change. In the Standard Format, it is tolerable; some decks floating around but nothing dominating the competitive scene. At least, not yet. In Expanded, it is a concern. Lack of Resistance is typical, though technically the worst. The Retreat Cost of [CC] is also pretty normal; high enough you don’t want to pay it, but low enough you probably could if you needed too. If no other Tool proves more important, Air Balloon would be a good fit.
Galarian Obstagoon has the Ability “Untamed Shout”, which you may only activate when you play this card from your hand to evolve one of your Pokémon in play, during your turn. If you choose to use it, you put three damage counters on one of your opponent’s Pokémon. Galarian Obstagoon’s attack “Obstruct” costs [DC] and does 90 damage, plus it prevents all damage done to the Pokémon using it (usually Galarian Obstagoon) by attacks from your opponent’s Basics during your opponent’s next turn.
Both of these are familiar. Greninja-GX (SM – Forbidden Light 24/131, 120/131, 133/131; Shiny Vault SV56/SV94) and Crobat (XY – Phantom Forces 33/119) have the same Ability, just with a different name. Crobat even saw a lot of success with it, through spamming the effect behind a series of good attackers. I’m sure there are others, but Jolteon-EX saw a lot of success for having an attack with the same effect as Obstruct, while in a Basic-dominated metagame.
Part of Crobat’s success was due to its lower Stages working well with it. Galarian Obstagoon partially does this. Galarian Zigzagoon places a damage counter when it is Benched. Galarian Linoone (Sword & Shield 118/202) does not. It isn’t worth spending a lot of time on it, so I’ll just point out that it is filler but at least its stats and attacks aren’t completely awful. I don’t recommend skipping Galarian Linoone completely, but you’ll definitely want to use Rare Candy when you can… and yes, evolving from Galarian Zigzagoon into Galarian Obstagoon via Rare Candy still lets you use Untamed Shout.
Galarian Obstagoon has already tasted competitive success, as Tim Bartles piloted the deck to a third-place finish at the Oceania International Championship. You can see the exact list here, courtesy of LimitlessTCG. Galarian Obstagoon isn’t just here for its Ability, but is also the deck’s main attacker; we’re in another Basic Pokémon dominated metagame, after all! The deck runs some useful single-attachment attackers, plus a Counter Gain and Bede to help fuel Obstruct.
We’ll cover Sableye V in its own review soon, but there are two other Pokémon to highlight quickly. Virizion-GX and Yveltal-GX are here for their GX attacks. The former’s lets you bounce as many of your Pokémon as you want. This is great for spamming this deck’s key Abilities! The latter’s lets you KO your opponent’s Active so long as it has exactly four damage counters on it. In a metagame with three-Prize behemoths, where a Galarian Zigzagoon and Galarian Obstagoon combo provides the perfect setup for it, this too is amazing.
Galarian Obstagoon faces a mixed future. If we get too many decks using evolved attackers, such as Galarian Obstagoon itself, Obstruct will weaken and we’ll need something else as the main attacker. On the other hand, such a change will likely be gradual, and it is unlikely we’ll see a metagame thoroughly dominated by evolved attackers. There is a Trainer-Item out in Japan and likely in our next set, that acts like AZ but doesn’t work for Pokémon-GX or Pokémon V… that’s great for Galarian Obstagoon! Reports on the currently unreleased and unrevealed next Japanese set say that is should contain more Darkness support.
Galarian Obstagoon hasn’t made a splash in Expanded. Possibly, this is because it doesn’t have much hope here; Crobat was once part of a really strong deck, but most (if not all) of that was during its Standard-legal tenure. The strategy may not be viable, or it could be because of the Ability denial, Item denial, and strong hand disruption strategies. Oh, and Rowlet & Alolan Exeggutor-GX, backed by Vileplume (XY – Ancient Origins 3/98), Vilelpume (SM – Burning Shadows 6/147), and Vilelume-GX took second-place this past weekend at the Regional Championship held at Collinsville, IL.
So… yeah, [G] Weakness isn’t happy, though the deck’s main attacker hits hard enough it almost doesn’t matter. For Limited Format play, Galarian Zigzagoon is almost a must-run, but you still have to pull it and Galarian Linoone (which is decent filler here) or Rare Candy. Your Weakness may also be an issue here, as the [G] Type has a solid to great Limited Format options, even at the lower rarities.
Though Galarian Obstagoon didn’t make my Top 20, I definitely wanted to include it. I have a fondness for the strategy it utilizes, and perhaps I over-corrected in leaving it off the list. I was probably justified; even though it is starring in its own successful deck, we just has so many other strong, new Pokémon or general use cards to include!
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