– Rebel Clash
July 7, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Grimmsnarl (SSH – Rebel Clash 125/192) is a Dark Pokémon: many Psychic Types are now or already were [D] Weak, and [D] Resistance only occurs naturally on Fairy types. There are anti-[D] effects, but I haven’t seen them used well possibly ever, and definitely not within the last few months. As for [D] support, most of what is Standard-legal is unproven at best, failed at worst… but the Expanded Format still has some great tricks available. Grimmsnarl is a Stage 2, and that means it is relatively slow and demanding; you’re going to need at least two other cards to field Grimmsnarl, and you’re going to have to wait until you can evolve at least once. Grimmsnarl is a single-Prize Pokémon, lacking any other “specialty” mechanics e.g. it isn’t a Pokémon V, Ultra Beast, etc.
Grimmsnarl has 170 HP; plenty of decks can OHKO this amount, but it still has enough durability that I think it is a little more likely to survive than not. Yes, that includes surviving because your opponent’s setup is poor, or they’re attacking more for effects than damage. [G] Weakness is relatively safe right now, as we’ve seen very few Grass decks perform well since the Sword & Shield series released. A lack of Resistance is typical for SSH-era [D] Types, and most non-Dark Pokémon as well, though it is still the worst. Speaking of the worst, a Retreat Cost of [CCC] is notably harder to cover than a Retreat Cost of [CC] or less, but barely any easier to manage than a Retreat Cost of [CCCC]… but Retreat Costs of [CCCC] let a Pokémon access more “high Retreat Cost” support.
Grimmsnarl has one Ability and one attack. The former is “Dark Oath”, which only works while this Grimmsnarl is your Active, and increases the attack costs of your opponent’s Pokémon by [C]. The latter is “Energy Press”, priced at [DCC] and doing 100 damage, plus another 30 per Energy attached to your opponent’s Active. Some decks will barely notice the cost increase, some decks will be shutdown by it, and most will fall somewhere in between. As for Energy Press, 100 for three Energy – and nothing else – would be mediocre, but the cost lets it utilize Twin Energy and the attack’s effect is likely to spike the damage. Together, you may be able to hit reasonably hard while your opponent has to put extra effort in to attack back.
There are no other versions of Grimmsnarl, currently, and the only options for its lower Stages are Impidimp (SSH – Rebel Clash 123/192) and Morgrem (SSH – Rebel Clash 124/192). These are filler Pokémon, though Morgrem almost offers something decent: its “False Surrender” has an effect that lets its damage ignore effects on your opponent’s Active. Unfortunately, it costs [DCC] and does only 60 damage, so it will only come in handy under some of the most obscure of circumstances. These two are only to be run because you have to run them to reach Grimmsnarl, though you replace most copies of Mogrem with copies of Rare Candy. It is even possible – though unlikely – a Meganium (SM – Lost Thunder 8/214) could find use for Grimmsnarl, in which case Meganium’s “Quick-Ripening Herb” lets you skip Rare Candy, Morgrem, and waiting a turn to evolve.
Grimmsnarl is not a proven card; I’ve got no examples of it making the top cut in our Standard Format. Running Stage 2 Pokémon isn’t easy, so something that would be great as a Basic or good a Stage 1 is just “alright” as a Stage 2. One broad class of options are decks that use Grimmsnarl just for its Ability, with some kind of hit-and-run attacker up front, or not attacking at all. Back it up with Energy disruption and Grimmsnarl could be an effective wall. 170 HP is pretty hard to OHKO off of a single Energy attachment, and that’s what many decks would have to do against such a strategy… though getting Grimmsnarl out of the way turn after turn will be a pain.
The other option is to embrace Grimmsnarl completely and attack with it. The catch is that either you still use Energy disruption, keeping your opponent’s Active from using any “big” attacks while lowering the damage output of your own Energy Press or you encourage your opponent to drop lots of Energy, and you use Energy Press to go for big KO’s. As a Stage 2 that attacks for three Energy, you have another concern: not just the Prize trade, but the resource trade. This still applies to Expanded, at least, in theory. The finer points do change due to increased support (like Dark Patch), increased counters (Ability and/or Item-denial), and even more low-Energy attackers. As for the Limited Format, you’ll need the entire line, but if you do then the Grimmsnarl line is usually worth running. Grimmsnarl may need three Energy, but only one of those has to be [D].
Grimmsnarl isn’t just a big bundle of hair, but a bundle of potential. It may never live up to it, however, but you might want to snag a few in case something crazy can use it later… or just because a Grimmsnarl deck might be fun. As more Dark support releases, I think it will be worth it to remember Grimmsnarl in Standard, and maybe even Expanded.
We would love more volunteers to help us with our Card of the Day reviews. If you want to share your ideas on cards with other fans, feel free to drop us an email. We’d be happy to link back to your blog / YouTube Channel / etc. 😉
Click here to read our Pokémon Card of the Day Archive. We have reviewed more than 3500 Pokemon cards over the last 17+ years!