Galarian Slowbro V
– Darkness Ablaze
August 31, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Galarian Slowbro V (SW – Darkness Ablaze 099/189) is one of the Galarian regional variants of an existing Pokémon. Currently, all this means is that Galarian Slowbrow V won’t be treated as having the same name as a hypothetical Slowbro V. We did see some card effects which were based on Sun & Moon’s regional variants (the Alolan Pokémon), so it is possible they’ll do something with Galarian Pokémon in the future. As a Pokémon V, Galarian Slowbro V is worth an extra Prize when KO’d, is targeted by certain detrimental effects, and is ineligible for certain beneficial ones, but it also means being a Basic or VMAX, having a higher max HP, and better effects (relative to their costs).
Galarian Slowbro V is a Darkness type, which is very good right now; type-matching is much easier and they have some nice support. Being a Basic is still the best; minimum deck space, minimum time to hit the field, etc. 210 HP is typical for Basic Pokémon V; its good, but remember that many competitive decks can still swing for a OHKO against it. [F] Weakness isn’t good to have, but neither is it especially bad, while a lack of Resistance is technically the worst but largely irrelevant. A Retreat Cost of [CCC] hurts, because there’s a reason we want this card to be able to retreat for free…
…its Ability, “Rapid-Fire Poison”. This is the typical once-during-your-turn Ability, but it also requires Galarian Slowbro V be your Active. If it is, you can use Rapid-Fire Poison to – no surprise – Poison your opponent’s Active. [DDC] pays for “Tripping Shot”, which does 130 damage and – during your opponent’s next turn – prevents the Defending Pokémon from retreating. Note that switching effects, bounce, etc. all still work, your opponent just cannot retreat the Active Pokémon you attacked; if they use a Switch to promote a new Active Pokémon, that one can retreat just fine. Neither of these effects are great, but they’re also not too bad, and form a decent combo: Poison something, then try and trap it in the Active spot!
If Galarian Slowbro V had a Retreat Cost of [CC], I could see it becoming a loose staple; slap an Air Balloon on it, then promote it after something of yours is KO’d, after you use a switching effect, etc, Poison your opponent’s Active, then manually retreat to your actual attacker. If you can afford to run Hiding [D] Energy – or enough to spare one for Galarian Slowbro V – then you can still do this. In Expanded, you can use Float Stone. I think I goofed, though, and for one reason: competition! Some decks are still running Jirachi (SM – Team Up 99/181; SM – Black Star Promos SM161), which basically uses up the same “chance” that Rapid-Fire Poison does.
There is also competition. If you can spare a little more room in your deck, you could run Garbodor (SW – Rebel Clash 118/192; SW – Black Star Promos SWSH025) and Poison from your Bench, unless your deck runs few to no Stadium cards. If you can spare your Supporter that turn, there’s Koga’s Trap. Expanded adds in a few other Pokémon options, but most importantly, Hypnotoxic Laser: an Item that Poisons your opponent’s Active and gives you a chance to leave it Asleep as well (coin toss). Expanded also has more counters to this card, like Silent Lab to deny it its Ability.
If you really wanted to build a deck around Galarian Slowbro V, however, you can enhance its efficacy with Toxicroak (Sword & Shield 124/202) or Seviper (SM – Burning Shadows 50/147, SM – Black Star Promos SM46; Shiny Vault SV15/SV94); each has the Ability “More Poison”, though Toxicroak’s places two extra damage counters on Poisoned opposing Pokémon between turns, while Seviper’s version only places one extra damage counter. There’s also Virbank City Gym, good for another two damage counters. Seviper and Virbank City Gym are Expanded-only, and while Benching four Toxicroak and then using Rapid-Fire Poison would be sweet, it is also difficult. In Expanded, you’ll have access to more bounce effects, switching effects, and Float Stone, but remember your opponent will have a much easier time shutting down Abilities.
In the Limited Format, you can run Galarian Slowbro V in a Mulligan build or alongside other Pokémon. Something I have been neglecting to mention is that this set does contain Rare Fossil, as well as some Pokémon which evolve from it, so you could do a Mulligan build (ensuring you open with Galarian Slowbro V), but still end up with a Bench for support. I’m just not sure how worth it is actually is… but Galarian Slowbro V can also be used in any deck that can work in Darkness Energy (so it can attack) or with a way of getting it out of the Active position. This is a set with both Piers and Hiding [D] Energy. However, “can be used” doesn’t mean it is recommended; if you get an actual combo, go ahead and work it in, but use discretion otherwise.
Galarian Slowbro V is another Pokémon that ain’t bad, but I’m not sure if it is “good”. I thought it was when compiling our Top 15 lists for Darkness Ablaze, however; it was my 11th-place pick, and would have been our 18th-place pick if we’d had a larger countdown. Its Ability is decent, but it could use the HP to match that Retreat Cost… or better still, a Retreat Cost to match the HP.
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