Primeape – Battle Styles

Date Reviewed:  May 7, 2021

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 3.00
Expanded: 3.00

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.

Reviews Below:

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Primeape (SW – Battle Styles 067/163) is a Single Strike Pokémon, granting it access to their support, with no downsides (at least, in the present).  Its [F] typing should also come in handy, letting Primeape exploit Weakness against some big and/or common names (Crobat V, Dedenne-GX, Eternatus VMAX), though it might lead Primeape to crash into a little Resistance from time to time.  It also grants access to [F] support, but I don’t think that is likely to matter in Primeape’s case.  As a Stage 1, Primeape isn’t as fast or easy to utilize as a Basic, but it is still well within reason.

Primeape’s 120 HP can sometimes take a hit, but usually not.  120 tends to be the threshold between what I think of as “small” Pokémon and “medium” ones, perhaps because hitting for 120 just seems a bit more common.  [P] Weakness would be more of a concern if the main Psychic attacker – Mew & Mewtwo-GX – wasn’t going to one-shot Primeape anyway the vast majority of the time.  Lack of Resistance doesn’t really hurt Primeape; as it is typical, it is more of a missed opportunity.  The Retreat Cost of [CC] is similarly neither an advantage nor a disadvantage for the card.

Primeape knows two attacks.  For [C] it can use “Field Crush” to do 20 damage and discard the opponent’s Stadium if they have one in play.  It cannot discard your own Stadium, and you must discard your opponent’s if there is one.  Neither of these are real problems, but fringe occurrences can still happen.  Field Crush isn’t a great attack, but it isn’t bad.  If it hit a bit harder, it might even be good.  The main focus is probably “Steamin’ Mad Strike”, the card’s second attack.  Priced at [FF], it isn’t overly expensive.  It does 50 damage for each of your Benched Pokémon with any damage counters on them.  If you have five Pokémon on your Bench, each with at least 10 damage on them, that’s 250 damage, whether they’re barely hurt, nearly KO’d, or someplace in between.

Like most such attacks, Steamin’ Mad Strike is better if you can exceed the normal Bench cap; in Expanded, Sky Field ups the maximum base damage to 400.  That’s amazing!  Except not only are we talking an Expanded-only strategy, but how do you carefully get damage counters on eight Benched Pokémon?  If you’re expecting an answer, I don’t have it.  The same as I lack a good way to easily get a damage counter on each of your Benched Pokémon in Standard.  There certainly are ways, but none of them seem effective.  The best I can come up with is backing Primeape with Spiritomb (SM – Unbroken Bonds 112/214).  Probably with Houndoom (SW – Battle Styles 096/163, 179/163, SW – Black Star Promos SWSH090) as well.

Spiritomb’s Ability lets you place a damage counter on itself once per turn.  Thus, each Spiritomb is good for 50 damage… and it has its own rather good attack, “Anguish Cry”, that lets it do 10 damage plus 30 per damage counter on itself, all for just [D].  At times it is the star of its own competitive deck, so it seems like a solid option.  Houndoom’s Ability lets it attach a Single Strike Energy from your deck to one of your Single Strike Pokémon during your turn, and the Pokémon receiving that Energy has two damage counters placed on it.  Why not just use this to prep for Steamin’ Mad Srike?  You might need Houndoom’s “Single Strike Roar” Ability just to pay for Primeape’s attack, and it can’t get damage counters on all of your Pokémon at once.

Spikemuth is another option, but again, it can’t get damage counters on all your Bench in the same turn.  Also, you might want to try running Martial Arts Dojo instead, Primeape can easily make use of basic Fighting Energy, and you can still get +10 damage (+40 if you’re behind in taking Prizes) even if everything on your Bench already has at least one damage counter on it.  Primeape isn’t likely to last long – it is probably getting OHKO’d – but if you can hit 150 or more damage, Primeape has a chance.  Though you probably should shoot for the full 250, because with slightly damaged, probably small Pokémon (given my suggestions), you’ll need Mew (SM – Unbroken Bonds 76/214; SM – Black Star Promos SM215) and its Bench Barrier.


  • Standard: 3/5
  • Expanded: 3/5

We have another decent looking Single Strike Pokémon.  Now, once Spiritomb rotates from Standard, unless we get some good alternatives, Primeape’s score will drop to two-out-of-five.  I cannot promise that Primeape will ever have a place in competitive play, but at least it has some potential.

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