Miltank – Crimson Invasion
– CRI 78
December 4, 2017
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
After a week of promos, now we’ll be looking at the runners-up from our top 10 countdown of SM: Crimson Invasion (excluding Throwback Thursday in both weeks, of course). With the end of the year approaching, I also need to dramatically cut down on the time I spend writing individual reviews, so I’m going to go into much less detail than usual. Long-term readers may be relieved as they’ve heard me explain various concepts dozens, maybe even hundreds or thousands of times before (some things rarely change, and I’ve been at this on and off since 2003) New readers, all you have to do is read a few weeks worth of CotDs or already have a solid understanding of the TCG and it should be clear. Oh, and after having finished writing, I realize I didn’t shorten things as much as intended in this first try; old habits die hard.
With that out of the way, we begin with Miltank (SM: Crimson Invasion 78/111). As a [C] Type, Miltank trades flexibility for the usual pros and cons of a card’s Type. Being a Basic is the best, as it is the easiest stage to fully utilize. 100 HP is a probable OHKO, but still high enough it isn’t super fragile; in Expanded, you might wish it was only 90 if your deck already runs Level Ball. [F] Type attackers aren’t everywhere, but they are getting somewhat common; this would make [F] Weakness worse if the HP was larger, but as is, it is just a nuisance. Lack of Resistance is technically the worst, but its also the norm, so I won’t hold it against Miltank. A Retreat Cost of [CC] is also pretty typical, and low enough you can probably pay it but high enough you’d rather not. As we’ll soon see, though, it affects Miltank more because of how she is most likely to be implemented in a deck.
Miltank has one Ability (Moomoo Malt)and one attack (Sitdown Splash). Moomoo Malt heals 90 damage from one of your Pokémon, but only when you attach an Energy from hand to the injured Pokémon, and only while Miltank is Active. Healing 90 damage is an impressive amount. The wording means those few decks with multiple Energy attachments from hand can trigger Moomoo Malt multiple times… but how often would that be necessary or cost-effective? Before we worry about Miltank being Active, just ask yourself, in the current climate, what Pokémon are going to be injured? Those that can survive an attack while being Active, or periphery cards on the Bench hit by damage spread. Unless your deck can easily do-si-do an injured Active with a Benched Miltank, that would make Moomoo Malt an answer to Bench hits and not much else. Sitdown Splash costs [CCC] and requires a coin flip; 60 on “tails”, 90 on “heads”. The former is almost decent, but not quite, while the latter is good, but not overly. The Energy cost isn’t too hard to meet for most decks, but Miltank isn’t durable enough to make it a smart investment; when you need it, though, it isn’t too bad.
Miltank is all about her Ability, but her Ability isn’t actually that good. Decks with multiple Energy attachments from hand, even if they also have an easy way to promote then Bench Miltank, are also able to make use of cards like Acerola and Max Potion for their healing. They also tend to already have a crowded field. Decks naturally lacking these have even more reason to look elsewhere for healing, and in both cases, healing may not be the best use of available deck space. I’d say to forget about her, but extra Energy attachments from hand that place damage counters on the recipient have happened before, and might provide an ideal partner. You can enjoy it if you pull it in Limited… but as a beatstick you can safely power up in the Active position.
If our SM: Crimson Invasion countdown had been more than a top 10, Miltank would have taken 11th place. She appeared on two of the individual reviewer top 10 lists, earning seven voting points. I submitted a top 15 list, and she actually appeared as my 11th place pick, but she’s one of the many cards I think I overrated, so I’m not exactly thrilled about it.
Miltank’s Moomoo Malt seems to be a useful ability, but has been restricted in a balanced way. If you remove the restriction of being in the active slot, then you would’ve seen the player having Miltank being a bench sitter while attaching an energy to their active Pokémon and healing 90 damage at the process before declaring their attack, which would be ridiculous due to altering the turns you need to eventually KO the defending Pokémon.
Having this restriction tones down such craziness, but makes it harder for players to utilize the ability. There may be few ways out of this such as Guzma and Solgaleo-EX’s Ultra Road, but outside of that, you have to retreat wisely.
Probably Miltank can shine on Limited, since it can help itself with the healing while slowly fuel up her attack which does 60 for CCC, plus 30 more if you flip heads. That damage output is decent in Limited, but nowhere as adequate in Standard and Expanded.
One card, made to help boost an archetype’s success but then was found a bit too clunky and hard to use, thus relegating it to just possibly a binder filler. And is this Miltank that type of card?
At first, it seems that this Miltank might not be a good card in the course of stats. Its a Colorless type with 100 HP, meaning that it is average in terms of bulk. Weakness to Fighting is problematic with Buzzwole-GX (SM CRI) being an archetype meant to stay relevant and Gallade (XY BKT) continuing to support Gardevoir-GX (SM BUS) as long as it can stay in the format. A retreat cost of 2 is the worst we can have, since you need to pay 2 energies, making it harder to use, but you can’t use Heavy Ball. As we’ll see later, this is one of Miltank’s biggest downfall.
Looking at it a bit harder, all clues suggests that this card is all about the ability. It does have an attack, but 3 energies for 60 (or 90 on a heads) and it can’t hit for Weakness? Ehh.. no. But the ability, Moomoo Malt (sounds like the newest flavor of Bear Brand), allows any energy attachments from your hand to heal 90 HP to the targeted Pokemon if it is in the Active slot. This ability is the best definition of a double-edged sword in the Trading Card Game. One hand, healing 90 damage per energy attachement is HUGE and if you can attach 2 or 3 energies from your hand, one Pokemon will be completely healed in the process. I surely believe that this card belongs in a deluge-based deck such as in Blastoise, Emboar, Magnezone (both types) and Gardevoir-GX, which all have abilities that accelerates energy from your hand, making sure that energy acceleration, resource management and prize denial all happened in the same turn thanks to this briliant package. But the other edge is its 2 retreat cost. Obviously, being a support Pokemon, its a good candidate for Float Stone attachments, but there’s a catch in that.
You can only retreat once a turn.
So that means if you need to heal with Miltank, you need to get your wounded attacker out of the active slot, promote Miltank, heal with energy attachments, but you can’t put Miltank back to the bench. You need to make it sit there, hoping that it won’t be all beat up in your opponent’s next attack, then you can retreat it. Switching Item cards and abilities are also an option here, such as an old fashioned Switch, Guzma, a promotion after using an Acerola (SM BUS) and also via Zoroark (XY BKT)’s Stand In / Solgaleo-GX (SM Base)’s Ultra Road, but they both grinds you resource-wise. In short, this is a very rewarding, although highly impractical, method of healing. And that does put me off on viewing it in high spirits; yes healing on huge lumps is great, but the sheer clunkiness of it drives me away from using it even in strong decks like Gardevoir/Gallade.
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