Salazzle – Battle Styles

Date Reviewed:  April 14, 2021

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 2.75
Expanded: 2.75

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

Reviews Below:

vince avatar

Salazzle from Sword & Shield Battle Styles is there to carry her own strategy. A stage 1 Fire type with 90 HP (searchable via Level Ball), Water weakness, and a retreat cost of C, she has two attacks. Perplex costs R and inflicts the Confused Special Condition while Derisive Roasting costs CC (Welder will chiefly meet that attack cost) and does 90 damage for each Special Condition affecting the opponent’s Active Pokemon.

So, you can see what Salazzle’s trying to do. It aims to inflict Special Conditions so that Derisive Roasting can deal lots of damage. Perplex is a good start, inflicting one Special Condition, but Confusion is still one of the worst Special Conditions out there because the effect only works half the time. If a confused Pokémon flipped heads when trying to attack, the attack proceeds as usual. If they flipped tails, then the attack fails and the attacking Pokémon takes 30 damage. The fact remains that regardless of the outcome, the opponent’s Active Pokemon is still affected by that special condition, so Derisive Roasting will still do 90 damage. Well, the most you can do is 270 damage. Poison and Burned Special Conditions are placed indefinitely while the other three Special Conditions (Asleep, Paralyzed, and Confused) actually override each other, so that can’t be affected by multiple instances of those Special Conditions at the same time. While this card may have synergy on its own, it is a strategy that needs two full turns to be effective. Knowing how hostile the format goes, those two-turn strategies rarely works because your opponent can try to disrupt your plan in between the “two-turn” strategy. They can simply use Full Heal to flush all the Special Conditions away, prevent Special Conditions from happening, or outright OHKO Salazzle causing you to lose your main attacker. What you need is something else that can inflict Special Conditions for you so that you can repeatedly spam Derisive Roasting on the same turn you inflict Special Conditions.

And we actually got just that via yesterday’s card that we’ve just reviewed. Weepinbell has an ability called Dangerous Mucus that states that when you play this card to evolve 1 of your Pokémon, you can make your opponent’s Active Pokemon Poisoned and Burned. Just these two Special Conditions mean that Derisive Roasting will deal 180 damage. And we also have to account for damage counter placements in between turns: 1 damage counter for Poison and 2 damage counters for Burn. Combine Derisive Roasting and those two special conditions, that effectively makes it a total of 210 damage! The total damage could be even more than 210 if either Poison or Burn enables you to put more damage counters than usual. This is usually enough to pseudo-OHKO most of the basic Pokémon-GX and Pokemon-V, but is still a 2HKO against TAG TEAMs and all V-MAX Pokémon. That’s what Salazzle is up against for the standard format. The Salazzle/Weepinbell combo has some potential, but I don’t think it is consistent enough to make other decks worry about that strategy. At least it can deal with Grass and Metal Pokémon that are weak to fire, it’ll be an OHKO against them.

Expanded has more combos but also more counters. Hypnotoxic Laser can potentially inflict two Special Conditions; it is guaranteed to inflict Poison and the coin flip dictates if you can also inflict Sleep or not. This item card might help get around ability lock since that totally ruins Weepinbell. Virbank City Gym is a Stadium card that can let you place 2 more damage counters on Poisoned Pokemon, so Derisive Roasting can actually do a total of 230 damage (180 base damage plus 30 for poison and 20 for burn). You can further add more damage counter placements such as Seviper from Sun & Moon Burning Shadows as its ability lets you place 1 more damage counter on Poisoned Pokémon, and this ability stacks! Or you could take the other approach with the Burned Special Condition with Volcarona from BW Dark Explorers whose Scorching Scales lets you put 4 damage counters instead of 2 between turns. That approach assumes you’re using Weepinbell as well, and I fear that using multiple different Stage 1s for different purposes will make the deck clunky and inconsistent. There are a few Pokémon (Virizion-EX, Slurpuff XY, Confey SM Guardians Rising), Special Energies (Aromatic G Energy), and/or trainer cards (Sparkling Robe) that prevents Special Conditions affecting the Pokémon, and that totally ruins the strategy regarding Special Conditions; Salazzle will deal no damage whatsoever. Despite those threats, they’re not in every deck in Expanded.


Standard: 2.5/5
Expanded: 2.5/5

Salazzle is almost worth the effort, just needing certain conditions to be met in order to show its true colors. In the long run, it might be another one of those budget decks like Leon’s Charizard that could go toe-to-toe against some of the Pokémon that gives up multiple prizes, assuming you’ve got a perfect setup going. Decks that utilize Special Conditions are a rare sight.

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Salazzle (SW – Battle Styles 028/163) is our second baseline Pokémon in a row: no Rule Box, no giving up extra Prizes or other oddities, and not even a Battle Style.  It is a Fire type; the best [R] support is actually for basic Fire Energy, but it is still very useful for exploiting the [R] Weakness found on most Grass or Metal types.  The latter includes Zacian V: quite useful in the modern metagame.  90 HP means Salazzle is a probable OHKO; not guaranteed, but pretty close.  Silver-lining, though: it makes Salazzle a legal Level Ball target.  As a Stage 1, Salazzle isn’t as easy to use as a Basic, but it isn’t difficult, either.  Its [W] Weakness shouldn’t matter most of the time, owing to its HP.  The same can be said for its lack of Resistance.  A Retreat Cost of [C] is easy to pay and recover from paying.

Salazzle knows two attacks.  Up first is “Perplex”, priced at [R].  This Confuses your opponent’s Active, and me a little as well, because this should cost [C] at most.  This isn’t awful, but it is a little worse than you might think because of the card’s second attack, “Derisive Roasting”.  For [CC], this attack lets Salazzle do 90 damage per Special Condition on your opponent’s Active.  No Special Conditions means the attack whiffs, one does a so-so 90 damage, but two means 180 and three means 270!  Aren’t there five Special Conditions in the PTCG?  Yes, but three of those (Confusion, Paralysis, and Sleep) are mutually exclusive with each other.  Possibly only because those are the three indicated by turning your Pokémon upside down (not face down), to the right, or too the left.

Perplex into Derisive Roasting is bad.  Two attacks to do 90 means an average of only 45 damage!  Even as a desperation play, that’s awful.  They could at least let Perplex Burn and Confuse, even if that meant giving it a different name since this isn’t the first Pokémon with the attack.  For a two attack combo, though, you really need to be hitting three Special Conditions.  Not that such attack combos are a good idea; your opponent can shake Special Conditions through evolving, devolving, heading to the Bench, being bounced, or actually using an effect that removes Special Conditions.  If that sounds like a lot of potential outs, it is.  Some aren’t that easy or common to decks, but manually retreating is one of them!

Salazzle needs to evolve from something, barring a deck built around Chandelure (SM – Unified Minds 30/236) or some other oddball shortcut I’ve forgotten.  It is nice that you can use Ditto {*} in Expanded, but what I’m getting at is you need to pick a Sandalit.  I don’t have a recommended Sandalit.  Some help with setting up, some can attack to inflict a Special Condition, some are Fire type, some are Psychic type.  Etc.  I guess avoid SM – Ultra Prism 25/126 because all it does is a paltry amount of vanilla damage while being a Fire-type with 70 HP.  There are other 70 HP versions, there are other Fire versions, and there are other 70 HP Fire versions with better attacks.  I’d run through them, but that will just clutter the review, as we’ve already given Sandalit more thought than is really justified.

Salazzle needs combos.  Let us start with other Salazzle cards.  Each copy of a different Salazzle is one fewer copies of today’s you can fit in your deck, and sharing Salazzle between them is a both a pro and a con.  Salazzle (SM – Guardians Rising 16/145) has a coming-into-play Ability called “Hot Poison”, that leaves your opponent’s Active both Poisoned and Burned.  Salazzle-GX gives you… a Pokémon-GX.  Time has not been kind to its attacks, though “Diabolical Claws” can be a nice finisher.  Salazzle (SM – Unbroken Bonds 31/214) has the Ability “Roast Reveal”: once during your turn, you can discard a Fire Energy from hand to draw three cards.  A little extra draw power is nice, and unlike the other two, this one is Standard-legal.  Still not a strong recommendation, though… because I don’t think we’ll be running a Fire Energy-heavy deck.

You can fuel Derisive Roasting on Twin Energy and Triple Acceleration Energy.  Unless you need to avoid running a deck purely on Special Energy, that is up to eight chances to use Derisive Roasting, and even with Pokémon recycling, you’ll only need six.  Salazzle (SM – Guardians Rising 16/145) does point us in the right direction: Salazzle needs a way to inflict Special Conditions immediately before using Derisive Roasting.  If it all happens in a single turn, you’re getting a good damage yield.  Yesterday’s Weepinbell (SW – Battle Styles 002/163) has a coming-into-play Ability that inflicts both Burn and Poison on your opponent’s Active.  Scoop Up Net can let you reuse it.  Two Special Conditions yields only 180 damage, but Burn plus Poison tacks on three more damage counters, so we’re taking Basic Pokémon V with 210 or less HP.

I was going to name some more Pokémon options, but I’m thinking we should address Trainer cards instead.  Koga’s Trap can Confuse and Poison your opponent’s Active, but it will cost you your Supporter for the turn.  Yell Horn Confuses both Active Pokémon, so you’ll need to time it right: before you evolve Sandalit into Salazzle, or when something else is Active and you’re about to Switch into Salazzle, etc.  Why go to so much trouble?  If you combine it with Weepinbell’s Ability, you hit three.  270 damage plus two counters from Burn plus one from Poison; most targets with 300 or less HP are OHKO’d!  Expanded offers some more alternatives, but while I was originally excited for Hypnotoxic Laser, you need “heads” for that to give two Special Conditions…

…but Virbank City Gym is always good to give Poison two extra damage counters.  Muscle Band adds +20 damage against anything without a relevant protective effect.  Double Colorless Energy and Special Charge are here, so you should have plenty of Energy.  If you’re worried about anti-Special Energy, Black Smith lets you recycle the same two basic Fire Energy as needed.  The downside is, while you can add to a lot, you’re not just worried about Special Ability counters, but anti-Ability and/or anti-Item effects.  In either Standard or Expanded, you can do a Welder build, which has the benefit of adding in all those wonderful tricks basic Fire Energy enjoys.  I just wanted to keep Supporters free for Boss’s Orders and (maybe) Koga’s Trap.


  • Standard: 3/5
  • Expanded: 3/5

Yes, I’m being generous.  I love combos like this, but there’s also a matter of timing… or should I say typing?  Maybe the metagame will see Zacian V decks take more of a hit as time goes on, but until then, a deck that can one-shot most Metal types with ease, and decent chunk of the rest of the metagame?  I’m thinking we’ll at least get a budget deck out of it.

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