Krookodile – Vivid Voltage
Date Reviewed: January 25, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Krookodile (SW – Vivid Voltage 109/185) is here because of its “Dredge Up” attack. For [CC], you discard the top three cards of your opponent’s deck. This kind of effect is referred to as “milling”, named after and old Magic: The Gathering card: Millstone. Milling your opponent’s deck serves two purposes:
- It moves them closer to a loss via decking out
- It potentially denies them access to parts of their deck by discarding them before they can be used.
Pokémon decks are 60 cards but before other effects, setting up means your deck is down at least 13 cards (seven card hand, six Prize cards) before your first mandatory drawing of a card at the start of your turn. While there are many ways to replenish your deck, moving cards from the discard pile, hand, or field into your deck, most decks rip through themselves in order to setup as quickly and reliably as possible. Which is why milling effects are hard to balance in the Pokémon TCG; too little only matters through luck, too much is practically an autowin.
Dredge Up discarding three is a solid amount, not overly good, but not bad. Its Energy cost is easy to pay; Twin Energy and Triple Acceleration Energy cover it with a single attachment. With that out of the way, let us look at the rest off the card. Its second attack, “Tantrum”, does 180 for [DCCC], but also causes Krookodile to Confuse itself. Even with that drawback, it is fairly good damage for the Energy. You’re whiffing on a OHKO against most Basic Pokémon V, but you’re one-shotting nearly all single Prize Pokémon. Outside of TAG TEAM Pokémon, many Basic Pokémon-GX also fall. One [D] Energy requirement isn’t too bad; a manual Darkness Energy from hand one turn, a Triple Acceleration Energy the next, and you can Tantrum. Shaking Confusion isn’t cheap, but it isn’t difficult, either. Tantrum isn’t something to build a deck around, but it isn’t something to ignore, either.
Krookodile is a baseline Pokémon, only worth a single Prize when KO’d and not having to worry about detrimental effects that target or beneficial effects which exclude stuff like Pokémon V. Overall, that is a good thing. It is a Darkness type, which is… so-so. [D] Weakness is more common in the SW-era in terms of cards printed, but Eternatus VMAX chased a lot of it from the metagame. [D] Resistance is almost non-existent, only found on TCG Fairy type Pokémon added in the XY-series but abandoned as of Sword & Shield. [D] type support is so-so; they have some nice tricks, but nothing great in Standard. Unless you count Eternatus VMAX, but Krookodile is a poor fit for that.
As a Stage 2, Krookodile is slow and resource intensive. This is the biggest problem the card faces, and it may ultimately be why it doesn’t work. 150 HP is enough to soak smaller attackers, but not most medium-sized, let alone large. For a Stage 2, it is also just a hair low. [G] Weakness isn’t a huge concern right now, which is good for Krookodile and bad for Grass types. No Resistance is typical; any would be helpful, but most decks have either the raw power or off-type attackers to deal with Resistance, even when it is present. A Retreat Cost of [CCC] may be the worst. It is difficult to pay, both up front and in the long term. Simply put, Retreat Cost [CCCC] is barely any worse to pay but comes with access to stuff like Buff Padding, which might have helped Krookodile.
Krookodile’s lower Stages are worth mentioning, specifically Sandile (SW – Vivid Voltage 107/185) and Krokorok (SW – Vivid Voltage 108/185) because they both have Dredge Up as well. Unfortunately, while their versions still discard three cards, they cost more Energy. Sandile needs [CCCC], so it requires an obscene effort to use. Krokorok is decent, needing only [CCC]; Triple Acceleration Energy can cover that. You might just skip Krokorok though, since you can use Rare Candy to evolve Sandile directly into Krookodile. I haven’t seen, let alone used or faced, any Krookodile decks, but there might be something here. Being a Stage 2 hurts, but it comes with just enough HP one might be able to slap Big Charm onto it, survive attacking, then use Scoop Up Net to bounce Krookodile and bring up a spare and keep milling. When necessary, use Triple Acceleration Energy and Krokorok to attack instead.
The big issue is that such a strategy really needs a lot of disruption and/or healing and healing-like effects backing it. That is because even three cards of discarding gives your opponent time to try and score six OHKOs. Even with the cards milled potentially slowing down your opponent, without additional things like Crushing Hammer, your opponent can still probably get at least one heavy hitter up and running. Something that will require two uses of Tantrum to take out… and using Tantrum means you’re not using Dredge Up that turn. Tantrum isn’t hitting hard enough to try and turn this into a KO strategy, and splitting between KO’s and Milling usually means both prove too slow. Expanded features more alternatives to Krookodile, plus more counters, but also better support. I actually think it has about as good of odds here.
- Standard: 2/5
- Expanded: 2/5
Probably because I like Mill too much, Krookodile just barely gets a two out of five. If it was truly worth it, then we’d probably have seen more of it by now. Still, three cards per turn is almost as good as Durant (BW – Noble Victories 83/101) from back in the day. You can go back and read its review from when Durant was one of the best decks in the game. Durant had to deal with copies of it being Prized, Krookodile just has to deal with being a Stage 2. Durant was just barely durable enough for its day, and Krookodile might just barely be durable enough now.
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