– Unified Minds
June 9, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Thought we had reviewed it last year, but looks like we didn’t.
So, Giant Bomb from SM Unified Minds gets a belated review, and since it was released 3/4 of the year, we should have a pretty good idea of how useful it is. Upon closer inspection, I see some similarities with Bursting Balloon from XY Breakpoint. Like Bursting Balloon, Giant Bomb also discards itself at the end of your opponent’s turn. Unlike Bursting Balloon, Giant Bomb places more damage counters than Bursting Balloon, placing 10 damage counters instead of six. However, the Pokémon with the Giant Bomb would have to take 180 or more damage to trigger the damage counter placement. You have to take those damage at once, not separately, so if your opponent did 170 damage and the poison between turns place 10 more damage, then Giant Bomb STILL WON’T be activated even though you took 180 total damage, so that’s something to keep in mind of what the opponent can do to work around that effect.
There are some competitive Pokémon whose attacks already did 180 or more base damage, so they’ll have to worry about Giant Bomb as they don’t want to be on the receiving end of the retaliation. But that doesn’t mean that they can’t attack; they still can. If the Pokémon is at full HP and KOs you with 180 or more damage, maybe it might be worth taking damage if they know that you don’t have something to revenge KO. In that case Giant Bomb may not help you as much, but this is still an annoying Pokémon Tool card to deal with.
Unfortunately, had we reviewed it around the time we were looking at cards from Unified Minds, we would have been positive about it, for Standard at most. But with Tool Scrapper just released last month?! There’s not much opportunities to exploit that damage placement. Even then, ignoring Tool Scrapper, this is something to watch out for. To top it off in Expanded, attaching any tool to Garbodor’s Garbotoxin, even if it last for one turn, can still halt your opponent’s progress.
Limited: 3.5/5 (not many cards in the Unified Minds expansion can hit for over 180…)
Vince isn’t the only one who thought we had reviewed this card, but sure enough, we hadn’t. Giant Bomb (SM – Unified Minds 196/236, 251/236) is a Pokémon Tool, which means it is also a Trainer and Item card. It can be attached to any of your Pokémon, but its text states it only triggers when attached to your Active, and when that Active Pokémon takes 180+ damage from an attack by your opponent. If that condition is met, Giant Bomb places 10 damage counters on the attacking Pokémon. The text also states that Giant Bomb discards itself from your Pokémon at the end of your opponent’s next turn, and that its damage-counter-placing effect works even if the Pokémon sporting Giant Bomb is KO’d by the attack in question.
Giant Bomb places a hefty amount of damage counters, though not enough for me to make blanket statements about even general HP ranges. Something with 100 or less HP remaining is being KO’d by Giant Bomb if it swings for big (enough) damage. Something with 110 to around 250 HP can experience a pseudo-OHKO, as an actual attack on top of Giant Bomb’s damage is enough. The largest Pokémon fall into an effective 2HKO range, at least if the attacker alongside Giant Bomb hits hard enough.
Competition for Tools isn’t especially forgiving, even in Standard. In Expanded, it is pretty brutal, which is probably why I never had us review this card before… so of course someone figured out how to make it work and work pretty well in a certain deck: Dragapult VMAX. Dragapult VMAX has a massive amount of HP, but doesn’t hit overly hard. It places damage counters, however, and can use Horror [P] Energy to place even more damage counters. With a well-timed Boss’s Orders, Phione (SM – Cosmic Eclipse 57/236; SM – Black Star Promos SM220), etc. might let you use your multiple sources of damage counter placement to finish off your opponent’s former Active Attacker while your actual attack damage is focused on the next turn.
Giant Bomb is hardly guaranteed to work, however. If an attacker is “only” swinging for 170 damage – enough to 2HKO even the largest printed HP score – then then Giant Bomb won’t trigger, and Giant Bomb then discards itself at the end of your opponent’s turn. Giant Bomb won’t Active while the Pokémon with it is on the Bench, so you can attempt to attack around it. Your opponent also has the chance to discard or negate Giant Bomb before attempting a 180-damage attack, assuming they run the appropriate card effect. They also may have attacks that don’t do damage at all, either placing damage counters directly or focused on other non-damage effects.
As such, it is probably better to think of Giant Bomb as an insurance policy; if your opponent is relying on little more than big hits, or has exhausted their other options, they’ll pay for OHKOing (sometimes even 2HKOing) your Pokémon. I favor Giant Bomb in Standard more than Expanded, as the counters are less numerous or effective, as is the competition for Tool space. In the Limited Format, you may as well run Giant Bomb as to not; even if you pull other Tools, Giant Bomb discards itself eventually, making way for something else.
Giant Bomb has multiple drawbacks, but when it works, it likely creates a big swing in your favor. Fortunately, even with the addition of Tool Scrapper, Standard isn’t totally hostile to Giant Bomb. At least, based on results from Events #3 and #4 of the Limitless Online Qualifier Series.
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