– Sword & Shield
March 27, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Oh yeah! The joy that is Stunfisk has been increased through a Galarian form! Today we look at Galarian Stunfisk (Sword & Shield 132/202). It is a [M] Type, letting it access useful support like Metal Frying Pan and Metal Saucer. You’ll run into Resistance on some [L] Types, and can exploit Weakness against a few [W] Types, all [Y] Types, and [P] Types based on the VG Fairy Type. Galarian Stunfisk is a Basic Pokémon, and that’s the best; easiest to run, fastest to the field, it can be your opening Active, and various game mechanics just work a bit better with this Stage. There are anti-Basic effects in the game, but Basic support is better (in Standard) or equal (in Expanded).
120 HP is decent; its a bit more likely to be OHKO’d than not, but not only is this a Basic Pokémon, but it is a single-Prize Basic. [R] Weakness is typical of [M] Types, but it is pretty dangerous right now. Any Resistance is better than none, though the [G] Type lacks any strong decks in Standard (barring rumors). A Retreat Cost of [CC] is low enough you’ll often be able to pay it, but high enough you’d prefer not to. Galarian Stunfisk has the Ability “Snap Trap”, which triggers anytime it is your Active and an attack from your opponent’s Pokémon damages it. Snap Trap will discard an Energy from the attacking Pokémon. This even works if Galarian Stunfisk is KO’d in the process! [MC] pays for “Damage Rush”, the card’s only attack; it does 30 damage, then has you flip a coin until you get “tails”, doing an additional 30 damage per “heads”.
Snap Trap is reasonably good. Note that it doesn’t directly prevent an opponent from attacking, it merely discourages it by offering a punishment for when they do. Sometimes it won’t make a difference, because your opponent’s attacker was going to discard its Energy anyway, or was expecting to be KO’d and so the Energy would (again) be gone anyway. Damage Rush is poor, but not entirely without merit; unless an effect prevents the target from taking damage or being KO’d, Damage Rush always has the chance to deliver a KO (maybe even a OHKO). If you don’t have exceptional luck (good or bad), half the time it will only do 30, the other half it will at least do 60.
When we put it all together, we have a hurdle, or a mini-wall, or whatever you want to call it. Throw it up front with a Metal Frying Pan, and your opponent – even Fire Type – have to do 150+ damage in one hit, and they’ll have to discard an Energy. If your opponent has enough Energy and you aren’t offering a counter-offensive, they can probably just power through. If you have a good hit-and-run attacker, or additional disruption, etc. it can really trip them up… but so far, no decks featured on LimitlessTCG are using it.
Expanded has more combo opportunities but also more counters and more competition; as much as I love it, Galarian Stunfisk isn’t too likely to be worth it here. On the other hand, in the Limited Format, Galarian Stunfisk’s Stage, HP, Ability, attack, and Resistance are all much more useful; the Weakness may or may not be as much of a problem, and the Retreat Cost is… still pretty middle-of-the-road. Unless you’re running a Mulligan deck, you should include Galarian Stunfisk just to mess with your opponent; [M] Energy for the attack is optional.
Stunfisk is not my favorite Pokémon. Neither is Galarian Stunfisk but I do have a soft spot for them both. Snap Trap would be amazing on a larger Pokémon, or one this size with a better attack. I did consider it – briefly – while constructing my top 20 list for Sword & Shield, but it didn’t make the cut. It did make someone else’s list, though, letting it finish in an effective 27th-place… on a top 11 list.
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