Orbeetle – Battle Styles
Date Reviewed: April 26, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Orbeetle (SW – Battle Styles 065/163) is a baseline Pokémon: worth only a single Prize when KO’d, no special Rule Boxes, labels, etc. It is a Psychic type, which can be useful when it comes to type-matching as Pokémon such as Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX or Mewtwo & Mew-GX are [P] Weak. Psychic support lacking in Standard, though there are some strong options (Dimension Valley, Mysterious Treasure, etc.) available. Orbeetle is a Stage 2 Pokémon, which means it will usually require two cards and two turns to hit the field, barring shortcuts (more on that later).
Orbeetle has 110HP, which is terrible. It isn’t a guaranteed OHKO, but it is highly probable, especially once a deck’s main strategy gets going. At this point, I have to wonder if it would have been better off with just 90 HP; slightly more vulnerable, but able to be fetched from your deck with Level Ball. The 110 HP means the [D] Weakness matters less than if this was a larger Pokémon, but it still can be a problem at times. Any Resistance is appreciated, but it is hard to say whether having an effective 140 HP (110 HP and -30 Resistance) against Fighting types will really make much of a difference. The Retreat Cost of [C] is good; low and easy to pay, though being a Stage 2, I half-expected it to be free.
Orbeetle’s first attack is “Evomancy”, with a printed cost of [C]. Evomancy’s actual cost depends on how many Stage 2 Pokémon you wish to the attack to search out in your deck, then play directly onto your Bench. Each Energy attached to Orbeetle (or whatever uses the attack) lets you snag and Bench a Stage 2. You cannot exceed your maximum deck size through this attack; if your Bench is full, I’m not sure you can even use the attack just to look at and shuffle your deck. You do skip lower Stages for the Pokémon you’re searching out. Technically, this is slower than and takes more cards than manually evolving that Stage 2, because it includes the time and cards you’re investing in Orbeetle. With the right combos, though, this can lead to some spectacular multi-Stage 2 setups.
Orbeetle also knows “Zen Headbutt”, which costs [PCC] and does 120 damage. This is a vanilla attack, but I only consider it “filler” because Evomancy is so good, and Orbeetle isn’t likely to be your go-to-attacker. 120 for three with no drawbacks is actually pretty good, otherwise. It’d be very good if it was priced at [CCC] instead. If you have a source of [P] Energy, compatible Energy acceleration, and don’t need to use Evomancy, you can one-shot smaller targets and 2HKO or 3HKO most other things. Against Weakness, you’re not hitting hard enough to OHKO the biggest Pokémon, but anything with 130 to 240 HP is withing range.
Orbeetle cannot use Evomancy to field itself, and even if it could, at least one Orbeetle has to be played using more conventional means. All versions of Blipbug and Dottler are pretty much filler, so use whatever versions you prefer. Rare Candy is your friend. Note that all Blipbug are Grass types, while Dottler has both Psychic and Grass options; this can present some additional opportunities. Speaking of opportunities, what about other Orbeetle? Evomancy seems like a great attack but also one you’ll only use once or twice, yet will be so important you have to run heavy counts of the lower Stage so ensure a reliable open. Orbeetle is another small Stage 2, but its “Bug Radar” lets you look at the top three cards of your opponent’s deck and reorder them. It wouldn’t be a bad thing to have on your Bench, provided you have room.
Getting back to today’s Orbeetle, Evomancy is actually pretty easy to get going, thanks to Triple Acceleration Energy. One of these pays for three Stage 2 Pokémon to join you on your Bench. Twin Energy is good for two. While it lasts, Welder means basic Fire Energy can be a valuable resource. You could even mix and match options; a manually attached Triple Acceleration Energy and two basic Fire Energy attached through Welder is overkill, unless you need a lone Orbeetle to lead into a full five Stage 2 Bench. This means taking a big risk, however, or Benching multiple Blipbug and then burning Scoop Up Net to bounce any spares before attacking with Evomancy. Maybe using Lillie’s Poké Doll for extra filler.
So, what Stage 2 Pokémon would be a good fit to work with Orbeetle? Some general support examples are
- Aegislash (SW – Rebel Clash 135/192) has the Ability “Big Shield”, reducing the damage all your Pokémon take from an opponent’s attacks by 30. Only one instance of Big Shield works at a time.
- Incineroar (SM – Unbroken Bonds 29/214) has the Ability “Strong Cheer”, which increases the damage from any and all of your Pokémon’s attacks, done to your opponent’s Active, by 30. Only one instance of Strong Cheer works at a time.
- Metagross (SW – Vivid Voltage 118/185) has the Ability “Levitation Field”, which zeroes out the Retreat Cost for all of your Pokémon.
- Porygon-Z (SM – Unbroken Bonds 157/214) and its “Crazy Code” Ability lets you attach as many Special Energy cards from your hand to your Pokémon as you like during your turn.
- Seismitoad (SM – Cosmic Eclipse 117/236) has the Ability “Bulldoze”, letting you search your deck for a card, shuffle the rest of your deck, then place that card on top.
Avoid Pokémon with coming-into-play Abilities; they’re worded so that they must be played from hand and so that you’re evolving a Pokémon you already have in play. You can use Evomancy to field Stage 2 Pokémon-GX. I didn’t list any, but there are probable combos you could use, mostly with Abilities or attacks with which you wish to swarm your opponent. Expanded offers more combos, more competition, and more counters; the net result is that I expect Orbeetle to be about as useful there as it is in Standard… in the short run, anyway.
- Standard: 3/5
- Expanded: 3/5
What I’ve learned from these kinds of cards over the years is that it takes some time, but it seems like they’ll lead to a deck that is at least “decent”, and sometimes highly competitive. The deck will hinge around a Turn 2 or 3 Evomancy, but after that, Orbeetle will just be dead weight, so a three-out-of-five seems fair to me. With the nature of Expanded, the only reason I see Orbeetle failing to deliver is if some other Evolution acceleration outclasses it by the time the right Stage 2 Pokémon come along.
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