Koffing – Shining Fates
Date Reviewed: February 21, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
We begin this week with Koffing (Shining Fates 041/072, SV076/SV122). This is a baseline Pokémon, worth the normal single Prize when KO’d, not belonging to any specialty groups. Its Darkness typing mostly just means it plays nicely with Eternatus VMAX; there are other pieces of Darkness support, but nothing really setting the metagame on fire right now, or that looks to work especially well with Koffing. Anti-[D] effects are Expanded-only and underwhelming. Koffing doesn’t do damage, so [D] Weakness/Resistance doesn’t matter.
Koffing is a basic Pokémon, and that is good; no waiting to evolve into it or extra cards required to field it. It is an evolving Basic, though, so you do have the option of evolving Koffing into any Galarian Weezing or Weezing cards that are Standard or Expanded-legal. Koffing only has 60 HP; more or less typical of an evolving Basic, but still easily KO’d. Even on the Bench, damage spread or “bonus” Bench hits may take it out quickly. This does mean its [F] Weakness is functionally less of a problem; it only makes a serious difference for attackers doing 30, 40, or 50 damage. No Resistance is typical, and especially with 60 HP, would almost never have mattered even if present. The Retreat Cost of [C] is low and easy to pay.
Koffing knows just one attack, and that attack is “Ascension”. Priced at [D], Ascension lets you search your deck for a card that evolves from Koffing, then immediately play the card you just searched out onto Koffing, evolving it. This works even if Koffing just hit the field, or if it is only Turn 2 (Player 2’s first turn). Ascension is a useful combination of evolution search and acceleration, and the attack is nothing new. Sometimes it makes a huge difference, but often it just sort of exists. Why is that? The answer lies in the nature of the Evolutions that are being searched out, and timing. Evolving through attacking means
- That Pokémon hits the field at the very end of your turn.
- That Pokémon hits the field in the Active position, where it can be readily attacked.
If you’re trying to access a Stage 1 attacker, or Bench-sitter with an Ability you cannot utilize until your own turn, you’re not really coming out ahead in this deal. Ascension will allow you to evolve your current Active Basic into a Stage 1, so that you could then manually evolve into a Stage 2 the next turn, but you could just wait and use Rare Candy on your next turn to evolve your Basic directly into that Stage 2. No exposing attackers, or Bench-sitters, to damage before they’ve done their thing. However, if you’re evolving into some sort of meat-shield and/or something with an “Only while Active” Ability, you hit pay dirt.
Enter Galarian Weezing. While Active, its “Neutralizing Gas” Ability shuts down all opposing Abilities except for other instances of Neutralizing Gas. While this would be devastating if you could pull it off Turn 1, even Turn 2 it can really hamper certain decks and rob most decks of less-critical, but still useful, pieces of support. What if you can’t get Galarian Weezing out early? It can still be handy for disruption purposes while you rebuild your offense. Its 130 HP won’t last too long, but it might barely survive a hit. Its attack can place a 4-counter version of Poison on the target, which can also be helpful at times. Is this enough to justify a Galarian Weezing deck? The answer is: no. For an example of what would be needed, go look up Phantump (XY – BREAKpoint 64/122), Trevenant (XY 55/146), and Trevenant BREAK. What Galarian Weezing can do is serve as an opener or alternate attacker, the latter reserved for when the opponent’s deck is heavily reliant on Abilities.
While none of the Weezing (or Galarian Weezing) options are on par with Trevenant and Trevenant BREAK, there are a few others worth mentioning. Weezing (SM – Unbroken Bonds 74/214) is another decent candidate, as its Ability places one damage counter on each of your opponent’s Basic Pokémon between turns. Weezing (BW – Plasma Storm 58/135), a.k.a. Weezing [Plasma], has an Ability that mills the top three cards from your opponent’s deck when it is KO’d, and an “okay” damage spread attack. Some of the other Koffing cards are better suited to the Weezing that don’t want to be up front, either at all, or a turn before they can start attacking.
- Standard: 3/5
- Expanded: 3/5
I cannot say this is the best Koffing ever printed, because it does face real competition. Some even have attacks on par with Ascension, because most Weezing cards don’t really benefit from it. It works well with Galarian Weezing, and lays the groundwork for future Weezing cards, if they follow a similar path.
I guess we have our first review with the actual Ascension attack!
I’ve seen this attack on a Zorua card back in Black & White Dark Explorers. It lets you evolve your Zorua into a Stage 1 Zoroark, much like how Koffing would evolve into either Weezing or Galarian Weezing. While evolving via attack might save you the trouble to trying to search for that Stage 1 from other cards, the Pokémon that just evolved might risk being KOed on your opponent’s next turn. I don’t recall any Zoroark cards that have abilities that require themselves to be on the Active Spot, but there is one for Galarian Weezing!
The Rebel Clash version has the Neutralizing Gas ability, which states that as long as Galarian Weezing is on your Active Spot, then ALL abilities from your opponent’s Pokémon are being shut off! This is a very powerful ability to have even though it might risk being switched via Boss’s Orders, but otherwise would have crippled decks that rely on abilities. It’s 130 HP might be a decent size to rank certain hits.
Overall, Koffing finally has a niche that it can actually exploit unlike Zorua!
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