Kabutops (Team Up TEU 78)
Kabutops (Team Up TEU 78)

#6 Kabutops
– SM Team Up

Date Reviewed:
February 11, 2019

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 3.05
Expanded: 3.22
Limited: 3.27

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.

Reviews Below:


Meet a reason why Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick needed to go: Kabutops (Sun & Moon Team Up 78/181). It is a Fighting type, so Maxie would’ve instantly put Kabutops into play on the first turn of the game while wielding a locking ability that keeps your opponent from playing certain cards. In this case, as long as Kabutops is in the Active, your opponent cannot play any Supporter cards from their hand. This effect can be as painful as item lock, most likely because some Supporter cards had the best effects possible, like good amount of search, massive draw power, and even board control. You can play around with this ability such as moving Kaputops away from the Active (unless it is the only Active Pokémon), but the fact remains is that you will have to deal with this lock until you eventually KO it. Now that Maxie is banned around the same time cards from Team Up becomes legal, the only hope to get it into play fast is by using Rare Candy on Unidentified Fossil.


  • Standard: 3/5
  • Expanded: 3/5 (If Maxie were still there, this would’ve been a 4.5/5)
  • Limited: 3/5


Kabutops (TEU 78) gets its first incarnation in the Sun & Moon era in the Team Up expansion set.  This Stage 2 Fighting Pokemon has garnered a ton of interest because of its ability Fossilized Memories.  As long as Kabutops is in the active position, your opponent can’t play any Supporter cards. 

I wasn’t too hot on this card, although I did rank it as 13th overall on my list, but I’m more arrow pointing down at this point.  I have never had any success with Sableye GRI, and you can potentially use Limitation turn 1 if you defer and go second.  There are so many ways to get cards in your hand now without using Supporters, but I decided to throw Kabutops into a decklist and see if I couldn’t have some success with it.

It just doesn’t work.  Even if you can get it evolved and into the active on turn 2 (which I did twice in three matches), your opponent can still get what they need if they have Magcargo or Jirachi or some other means of getting cards without using Supporters.  Decks are moving pretty fast now too, there are many archetypes that can hit for triple digit damage on turn 2, so your opponent will always be able to use a Supporter on their turn 1 and more than half of the time they’ll get to play another one on their second turn (because you’re just not always going to be able to get Kabutops evolved AND into the active on turn 2).

Sorry, Kabutops is a pass.  I should have stuck with my initial feelings on this card and dropped it much lower in my ranking.  I got talked into some bad theorymon in a late Team Up preview video that I watched shortly before submitting my list.  I hedged on the thought that someone might come up with an Omastar Kabutops list that would be good.  As far as Kabutops, no… but as for Omastar, well, we’ll talk about him next week.


Standard: 1.5 out of 5


For a long time, Fossil Pokemon and their various incarnations have been at the bottom of the barrel in terms of usage, with only maybe a couple really seeing play in some form or another. And now they’re currently not only demonstrating what might be done with regular Evolution Pokemon to make them competitively viable, but they’re also getting cards banned.

Yeah that’s right, these guys got a card preemptively banned.

Kabutops is a Stage 2 Fighting Pokemon, 140 HP, with a Grass Weakness, no Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of 2. Rock Slide is a 3-for-80 that also deals 20 damage to 2 of your opponent’s Benched Pokemon, though it does not also deal several pebbles to be thrown at your opponents. You might think this to be another example of underwhelming power, but then you look at Fossil Memory, an Ability which prevents your opponent from playing Supporters while Kabutops is your Active Pokemon. How a memory of a fossil exactly paralyzes your opponent’s various Supporter characters is beyond me. I just assume Kabutops stares at them menacingly in order to do so.

Kabutops evolves from Kabuto, which in turn evolves from Unidentified Fossil, an Item which comes into play with 60 HP as another Pokemon. Makes it a lot easier to access than by shuffling through some cards at the bottom of your deck, don’t it. And all you need to do is either evolve up the line or Rare Candy the Unidentified Fossil straight into Kabutops, which can easily be done. Now imagine for a moment a deck list in your head, just any competitive deck list. And then picture how many cards in that deck become unavailable the moment Kabutops steps into the Active slot.

That’s why he made it this high on this list. While he didn’t make the cut on mine, I’m not going to disagree with his placement on the list. Supporters function as critical parts to many decks, and while there may be ways to get around Kabutops – primarily KOing him or using an Item or Pokemon Ability or attack to Switch him out – for the most part, he’s going to create a lot of disruption for different decks.

Now just imagine if Maxie’s wasn’t banned in Expanded.


Standard: 3.5/5 (a potentially potent Stage 2 Pokemon with lots of power)

Expanded: 3.5/5 (additional access to Fighting support further pushes Kabutops into a good spot, though Maxie’s was definitely the best)

Limited: 3/5 (hard to get, but if you can pull it off, it’s very much worthwhile)

Arora Notealus: Kabutops showcases one of the many things that’ll let Evolution non-GX Pokemon thrive: a powerful Ability or attack. Considering the effort it takes to get to the Stage 2 of any Pokemon, and considering we’re going up against Pokemon bordering on 300 HP, having these damage boosts really helps keep things to some degree balanced. Oh and slight spoiler, he’s not the only Stage 2 on the list…

Weekend Thought: Do you agree with our Top 11 list so far? Like what you see? Hate what you see? Think some cards shouldn’t have made the list that did? Think we’ve got the wrong idea putting some cards on the list above others? Or maybe some of our opinions about these cards underrates them? Are they better than what we expect? What cards will you play with to see their value?

Next Time: When wishing upon some stars, be careful what may fall.


Kabutops (SM – Team Up 78/181) is sixth in our countdown of the top 11 picks from the latest expansion. It is a [F] Type, so it is good at exploiting Weakness but also quite likely to smack into Resistance. It also means there is a lot of good support based on the Typing however most of that will only prove relevant if Kabutops is a sufficiently compatible attacker. There are also some anti-[F] effects floating around out there, though I don’t recall any having proven competitive for a while. Kabutops is a Stage 2, so it is slow and resource intensive, especially when compared with Basic and Stage 1 Pokémon; this won’t automatically keep it from being viable, but it will definitely affect things. 130 to140 HP roughly where it becomes ever-so-slightly more likely that a Pokémon survives attacks than is OHKO’d, so the ACTUAL 140 HP of Kabutops isn’t bad but it also isn’t good. Its [G] Weakness means Kabutops goes down fast in those matchups, effectively having just 70 HP. No Resistance is typical; it’d be only a small bonus if present, but it isn’t here so we’ll just move onto the Retreat Cost of [CC] which is also somewhat typical… but actually should be high enough to also cause some problems. We’re just at a point where most decks can’t afford to discard that much Energy in the long run and sometimes not even in the short run, either.

Kabutops has the Ability “Fossilized Memories”, which only kicks in while it is Active, in which case your opponent won’t be able to play Supporters from their hand. Supporters are a once-per-turn deal because the worthwhile ones have sufficiently strong effects to warrant the restriction. The bad news for Kabutops is most decks have major functions such as draw, search, and disruption spread out between Pokémon, Item cards, Stadium cards, and Supporters; Fossilized Memories won’t completely shut down most decks. The good news for Kabutops is that doesn’t mean Supporters don’t matter; whether setting up during the early game, maintaining your field mid-game, or pushing for the win at any time during the game, a Supporter is usually required. While the lock only works when Kabutops is Active, not only are you still free to use your own Supporters, but one of the main ways of breaking such locks (forcing a different Pokémon into the Active position) becomes a bit trickier when you can’t use Guzma. Kabutops’ attack, “Rock Slide” is less impressive but not bad; for [FCC] it only does 80 damage to your opponent’s Active, but also 20 damage to two of their Benched Pokémon (you pick which ones). 120-for-three is a decent return but you’ll need to think ahead a bit since its being distributed between three targets. Without additional offensive buffs, it will not be 2HKOing most 2-Prize Pokémon, and actual damage buffs like Choice Band won’t boost the Bench damage. The Energy requirements are such that you can use various forms of Energy acceleration, including Double Colorless Energy, to meet most of the cost.

For better or worse, Kabutops evolves from Kabuto, and your options there are where things get weird. Even just sticking to the Expanded and Standard formats, we’ve got two different approaches to this: Kabuto (XY – Fates Collide 38/124) or Kabuto (SM – Team Up 77/181). At least, if I am remembering correctly and you can Evolve the Stage 2 Kabutops from the Restored Kabuto; if you can’t, then… it may not matter, because I’m not sure you would want to Evolve from the Restored version. Neither Kabuto is worth playing unless you’re running Kabutops and both need a Trainer to hit the field since the newer Kabuto evolves from Unidentified Fossil. I am thinking it is best to just use Rare Candy to Evolve directly from Unidentified Fossil into Kabutops, barring metagame concerns or deck-specific combos you may wish to run with Kabutops. Unidentified Fossil can Evolve into multiple different Pokémon, but I’m honestly not sure if that is going to be helpful or a non-issue; anytime you use one to Evolve into a different “fossil” Pokémon, that’s one less for Kabutops. I’ll also mention right now that if Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick wasn’t being banned, the only reason it might not be the way to field Kabutops is that we might be torn between speeding that or Omastar (SM – Team Up 76/181) to the field.

So, how to play Kabutops? If you don’t want to attack with Kabutops itself, you could combine it with a hit-and-run style attacker, with something that places damage counters via Abilities or Trainers, with control/mill elements, or some combination of those. Pretty vague, but I haven’t seen a lot of well-defined examples. If you can keep your Bench smaller than your opponent’s, Omastar (SM – Team Up 76/181) and its “Fossil Bind” Ability will prevent your opponent from playing Items from hand. Without Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick, this is going to be difficult to reliably field fast enough to matter, but if you can do it… Just sticking to Kabutops alone, actually attacking with Kabutops while using your Trainers to keep your opponent from mounting much of a counter-offensive is a classic control/disruption approach. You might even leave out the attacking and see if you can make it too hard to OHKO Kabutops, opting instead for control/mill. If you do risk some non-Kabutops on your Bench, you can include stuff like Diancie {*} to boost damage or Alolan Muk to deny your opponent any Abilities from Basic Pokémon; no Jirachi (SM – Team Up 99/181; SM – Black Star Promos SM161), Marshadow (Shining Legends 45/73; SM – Black Star Promos SM85), Oranguru (Sun & Moon 113/149, SM – Black Star Promos SM13), etc.

Decidueye-GX and more disruption let a Kabutops just stand up front, tanking hits that aren’t going to be too big while the damage counters accumulate.  You can find attackers that hit and get out of the way, whether they send themselves to the Bench or the deck.  Donphan (BW – Plasma Storm 72/135) used to be highly competitive in such a manner; perhaps it can recapture that in Expanded, or something new like Hitmonchan (SM – Team Up 74/181) in either Constructed Format.  Greninja-GX and Frogadier (SM – Forbidden Light 23/131) also spring to mind, letting you potentially combine control, damage counter placement, and even decent attacks all together.  Getting to some Expanded-only options, while it won’t necessarily be easier to field than Omastar, Vileplume (XY – Ancient Origins 3/98) lets you trade maintaining a small Bench for losing access to your own Item cards (give or take AZ shenanigans).  There is a strong chance it would be too unwieldy, but Alolan Muk or Silent Lab could be included and again your opponent is down to just attacks for drawing and searching.  I also expect Kabutops is a good pull for Limited; its stats and attack are all much better here, even if the Ability will matter much less often.


  • Standard: 3.2/5
  • Expanded: 3.2/5
  • Limited: 3.8/5

After seemingly hyping Kabutops up… why am I scoring it so low?  It isn’t that low and every approach I mentioned is combo-centric, so some of that is Kabutops having to share the credit.  It is also is also pure Theorymon; I haven’t tested any of them, I haven’t seen videos of them being tested, etc.  When we’re dealing with as complex of strategies as these, I may already be overly optimistic with the scores I gave… but I still encourage you to give Kabutops a chance if you can obtain them affordably.

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