Galarian Stunfisk V
– Darkness Ablaze
September 4, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Galarian Stunfisk V (SW – Darkness Ablaze 128/189, 184/189) is another Galarian Pokémon. Currently, there are no counters or support based on this, but we saw such things for Alolan Pokémon, so keep it in mind. As a Basic Pokémon V, Galarian Stunfisk is worth an extra Prize when KO’d, has to deal with anti-V effects, and can’t make use of certain beneficial card effects. It also means Galarian Stunfisk V should have better HP than baseline Galarian Stunfisk, and possibly (probably?) better effects. Being a Basic is the best, as it means one card equals one copy, and there is no waiting to evolve. The 200 HP is 80 more than one the baseline Galarian Stunfisk, though slightly low for a Basic Pokémon V. Still a good chance it can take a hit, though.
Metal typing is great right now, as the type is well supported; slight caveat in that it also means competing with several other [M] types. It isn’t very useful for type-matching, however. Speaking of which, Galarian Stunfisk V is [R] Weak, which is typical for Metal types; it isn’t a good thing, but other Metal decks are dealing with it rather well, so perhaps Galarian Stunfisk V will be able to weather it just as well. Any Resistance is appreciated, though Grass Resistance may not be especially useful at the moment. A Retreat Cost of [CCCC] is massive, and a pain to pay. Run alternatives to manually retreating at full price, but small pro-within-the-con, it means Galarian Stunfisk V can use stuff such as Buff Padding.
Galarian Stunfisk V has the Ability “Metal Skin”: for each [M] Energy attached to itself, Galarian Stunfisk V has +20 HP. For [CC], Galarian Stunfisk V can use the attack “Trapping Bite”, which lets it do 60 damage and places an effect of itself: it it gets attacked and damaged next turn, you place 12 damage counters on the attacking Pokémon. Galarian Stunfisk V is a tank, at least if you attach enough Energy to it. If you go with the minimum two Energy and they’re not metal, it is more of a high hurdle. What I mean is that, with enough [M] Energy attached, Galarian Stunfisk V can tank many attacks, but even without it, Trapping Bite can make attacking Galarian Stunfisk V a dangerous move.
All that being said, however, I don’t currently see much use for this card. It takes a lot of Energy to make Galarian Stunfisk V big, and your opponent may have the correct effects to get around Trapping Bite. The most obvious is to use Boss’s Orders to force something else up front to attack. Even if a deck has to blunder into it, 12 is great against tiny titans but against a fellow Pokémon V, it just makes a probable 2HKO into a probable one. Something with 190+ HP but attacks and knows they’re going down next turn… but if they had 190-240 HP, what are they losing? Common plays like Galarian Zigzagoon can help, but if you’re attacking for that last bit of damage… well… what if you’d invested that Energy into readying a Zacian V?
Without a good means of loading Galarian Stunfisk V with Energy, or the right kind of damage spread (and probably control) so that Trapping Bite lives up to its name, there isn’t a reason to use Galarian Stunfisk V. Which is a problem because I don’t know of any examples of either. Expanded adds more problems, enough to offset any potential solutions. Where Galarian Stunfisk V should be great is in the Limited Format; just keep adding more and more Energy, while chipping away at your opponent’s Pokémon with Trapping Bite. It won’t be enough if your opponent – for example – is running a Centiskorch V, but may lead to mutually assured destruction against most non-Fire regular and Mulligan decks.
Galarian Stunfisk V looked really good to me at first, and almost made my own list. Glad it didn’t, as I realize now my Stunfisk bias was showing. It does have a nice Ability and attack, but they aren’t good enough to make it worth running instead of something like Zacian V.
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