– SM Team Up
February 13, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Last week, we took a closer look at a Pokemon that could give us a close shave with his sickle hands, while also bemoaning himself for not being able to pick anything up. How do you even live with sickles for hands? No wonder he went extinct.
This week, we’ve got Omastar.
Omastar is a Stage 2 Pokemon, 130 HP, with a Grass Weakness, no Resistance, a Retreat Cost of 2, and ALLLLL THE HAAAANDS IN THE WOOOOOOOORLD!! Bite is a 2-for-60 way of eating food, asserting dominance, and pretending that you have a mouth when you really don’t need to, given that you have so many hands at this point. I mean really, who needs a mouth when you’ve got all these hands? Sustenance is overrated anyway, I am your god now, ALL HAIL THE HELIX
Fossil Bind then is the Ability that prevents your opponent from playing any Items from your hand as long as they have more Pokemon than you – specifically, though, if you have fewer Pokemon than your opponent. So basically, as long as you have less Pokemon in play, your opponent can’t really do anything. Items make up a good portion of player’s decks, and considering that you can activate as many as you want in a turn, they’ve got their own value to them. This kind of effect usually slows other players down, not to mention it can keep them from accessing or playing their best cards!
It’s also not that hard to pull off, since Omastar doesn’t have to be Active and you can manipulate your Bench to have less than your opponent. Combined with Kabutops in the Active slot, you’d have a solid lockdown build with the two fossils. Course the chances of that happening aren’t too great, but if you were only running one of these guys, maybe it’s best to run the one that actually would have broken Maxie’s Ace-in-the-Hole than Kabutops.
Standard: 4/5 (don’t let this card fool you, the Bite is bigger than the…well, bark)
Expanded: 3.5/5 (powerful disruptive tool, though things are a big faster here)
Limited: 3.5/5 (same general problems that Kabutops faces)
Arora Notealus: As a Fossil Pokemon, Omastar does suffer from the general Stage 2 weakness as well as the need for an Item to be put into play, thus making it the only Pokemon alongside Kabutops to be countered by itself. In fact, it might even be the only Pokemon that actively counters itself, as opposed to needing an attack. It just stops itself from coming out! Kinda ironic, ain’t it?
Next Time: There are many like it, but this is the one true guardian.
Third-place, as we count down our top 11 picks of SM – Team Up, goes to Omastar (SM – Team Up 76/181). Let us cover makes this card stand out: the Ability. “Fossil Bind” works so long as you have fewer Pokémon on your Bench than your opponent, and while it is working your opponent cannot play Item cards from their hand. As long as it isn’t too hard to implement and maintain, Item lock is usually pretty amazing, especially one-sided Item lock. Keeping your Bench smaller than your opponent’s IS a concern; like most Item-lock decks not built around banned cards, you’ll probably have to accept some bad matchups because your opponent can run on an almost non-existent Bench. If they realize what’s happening in time. There is a silver lining to this restriction, however; it can also fake being a different kind of Ability. How? If your opponent doesn’t want to lose access to Items, they’ll play as if you capped their maximum Bench-size. Just to get it out of the way, let’s tackle the attack before the rest as well; for [FC] Omastar can attack using “Bite” to do 60 damage. Not worthless in the sense that it isn’t horrible damage for the Energy, but not worth risking Omastar up front except in emergencies like attacking for the win. In other words, we can safely ignore it for now, except where it lets us ignore something else about Omastar.
Which brings us to its Typing; Omastar is a [F] Type BUT since we aren’t attacking with it, exploiting Weakness, crashing into Resistance, and most Type-support won’t matter. Anti-[F] effects probably won’t matter, either, but that is because anti-Type effects usually aren’t that good in general. Being a Stage 2 usually isn’t good in general, either; they’re more competitive than they were during the entirety of the BW-era and maybe even the XY-era as well, but it still means more deck space and more time to run it as compared to running the same amount of a Basic or Stage 1. Yes, there are some crazy shortcuts like Meganium (SM – Lost Thunder 8/214) and more typical ones like Rare Candy, but those still take up space and can’t get Omastar into play on your first turn. Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick could provide a T1 Omastar but that is part of the reason why Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick was banned. 130 HP is small for a Stage 2; while still approximately the point where being OHKO is slightly less likely than surviving, Omastar is also a much more difficult to replace Stage 2. [G] Weakness is not good, but there are worse ones to have right now. Nothing is worth than no Resistance, but Resistance isn’t a game-breaking mechanic and lacking it is typical. A Retreat Cost of [CC] is also typical, but stings a bit because it means you cannot just slap Escape Board on Omastar and get a free-retreater; that’s more than just a minor benefit or a Bench-sitter.
Omastar looked like it could become a loose staple for the Expanded Format prior to the banning of Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick. Even if a specific deck didn’t run the Battle Compressors and other cards that make for a reliable first-turn Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick, it wasn’t too hard to shift from the current build to one that did if you had a good reason… like slipping Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick and an Omastar or two into any deck that could get by with a Bench of five or less (including Omastar). As long as it shifted enough matches to your favor, the demands would be reasonable. So, how do you run it without Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick? I wish I had answers for you that weren’t pure Theorymon, but I don’t. The first thing is, you need to make the deck function with no more than four Pokémon on your Bench, preferably three or less. The more you allow yourself, the easier it is to run and the more you can combo with Fossil Bind but more decks will be able to run with a reduced Bench and escape it. I am still thinking Alolan Muk, Kabutops, and Omastar for Standard: no Items, no Supportes, and no Abilities from Basic Pokémon. Some Trainer-based disruption of your own and you can either go for control/beatdown or stall/mill.
You also might use Omastar to backup any attacker which doesn’t need a large Bench and/or which feeds off of your opponent’s hand: Gengar & Mimikyu-GX might work as both. For just [PP] its “Poltergeist” attack lets it do 50 damage times the number of Trainer cards in your opponent’s hand, and its 240 HP makes it pretty sturdy. Actually, it doesn’t even have to be something swinging for damage or attacking at all; it is a risk for a “wall” deck to have a 130 HP anything on the Bench, but you’re denying your opponent his or her Items. Maybe you back Slaking (SM – Celestial Storm 115/168) so your opponent has no Abilities or Items. I won’t so the possibilities are endless, but it seems like there is a decent amount… if you can make the whole thing run with few-to-no Pokémon aiding in your setup, or else have a way of discarding them like dropping Parallel City on yourself OR maybe your attacking is something like Cofagrigus (SM – Lost Thunder 100/214) or M Gardevoir-EX (XY – Steam Siege 79/114, 112/114). I think we’ll be seeing more of Omastar in the Standard and Expanded Format, but probably later than I originally expected. Also, lower marks for Omastar in Expanded because you do have other options to initiate an Item lock, albeit all come with their own drawbacks. What if you pull Omastar in the Limited Format? Tough call. Decks aren’t going to have a lot of Items but losing what they have should hurt. You also may actually be able to make use of a 130 HP Stage 2 that does 60-for-two as an attacker. Unless your other pulls mean it just isn’t a good fit, I’d probably run Omastar if I pulled it.
I’m not as fired up for Omastar as I was when it was first revealed, but that’s natural with Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick being banned between then and now. Omastar is not a Pokémon to forget about, because that actually helps lock decks; a metagame full of full Benches and decks laden with Items is exactly what Omastar wants, and we’re not actually that far away from already. It is just the other thing Omastar wants, a good front ‘mon, that I’m not sure we can provide.
Omastar (TEU 76) also makes its first appearance in the Sun & Moon era in the Team Up expansion set. Like Kabutops, Omastar has an ability that many of us have taken notice of. Fossil Bind – if you have less Pokemon in play than your opponent – prevents your opponent from playing any Item cards. Unlike Kabutops, Omastar does not have to be in the active position for Fossil Bind to activate. Like Kabutops, Omastar doesn’t work.
I will say that it might just be me, almost all of my decks want to fill up the bench. I had great difficulty in coming up with an archetype that could function with only two or three Pokemon in play… and I failed miserably. I played three games with Lapras TEU as my feature Pokemon, but I quickly realized that there’s no way Omastar can function against the big boys in the meta now. How do I know that? My first game was against Celebi & Venusaur GX, the second was against Gengar & Mimikyu GX and Garbodor, and the third was against Pikarom. Granted, that’s pretty much murderers row, but I’ll take that as a sign that Omastar is completely non competitive against Tag Team GX’s. And I got a turn 2 Omastar in each of the three games (thanks in large part to Jirachi), it’s just a simple fact that the Item lock was pretty much irrelevant.
So again my apologies for talking myself into bad theorymon with the fossils (I’m still only 4 W 6 L with Aerodactyl too), I just figured that someone might come up with an archetype where these would work. And someone still might… it’s just not going to be me.
Standard: 2 out of 5
I have seen a couple of videos where Omastar was paired with either Glaceon GX or Gengar and Mimikyu GX, but I’m not buying it for either of these pairings. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think there are just too many archetypes out there that can either move too quickly or stand by themselves without having to fill up their benches for Omastar to be effective.
Ranked this as the 6th best card in the set.
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