– Crimson Invasion
January 31, 2018
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
You know you’ve got good things going on when you’re surrounded by your posse. No wonder Team Skull uses Salandits and Salazzle.
Speaking of which, Salazzle’s a Stage 1 Psychic-type with 110 HP, Weakness to Psychic, no Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of 1. She doesn’t have damaging moves like other Pokemon do, instead with two moves that cost a single Psychic Energy each. Nasty Plot lets you search for 2 cards to add to your hand, and Severe Poison inflicts Poison on the Active Pokemon, but it dishes out 4 damage counters instead of 1.
Obviously Salazzle is not going to be the main attacker in any deck she’s in, but would she be run as a supporting role in other decks? She is a 1-1 line-up at the least, she can grab a couple of cards you need, or she inflict a lot of Poison damage – keep in mind their Active Pokemon takes 40 damage each turn, which is a significant chunk of health and knocks even the Stage 2 GX down to being 2HKO on the same level as Stage 1 GX. And if the opponent doesn’t Switch, Evolve, or cure the Status condition, that’s 80 damage by the time it’s your next turn, bumping Stage 2 GX down to the level of Basic GX!
Soooooooo there’s utility to be had, but is it worth running a Stage 1 line-up and putting down an Energy to it? Surprisingly, yeah, there might be good reasoning for it. Inflicting that extra 40-80 damage is useful, and having a move that retrieves your different pieces can be very useful. On top of that, it’s very cheap and won’t take away from your other Pokemon’s attacks, meaning you can power up things like M Gardevoir-EX, Espeon-GX, or even Mewtwo-GX without worrying about whether you’ll have enough power going forward. Beyond that though, Salazzle doesn’t have much else to capitalize on.
Severe Poison will likely be the main reason for including Salazzle, but it’s a nice enough effect that I wouldn’t relegate Salazzle to the binder forever. Keep an eye on her – she might be in your next deck.
Standard: 2.5/5 (she’s an interesting side option for Psychic decks to capitalize on)
Expanded: 2.5/5 (she’s stronger here with the additional counters from Virbank City Gym)
Limited: 3.5/5 (and in Limited environments, a strong Poison effect is usually worth it)
Arora Notealus: Cheap attacks are always stylish for sure, but Salazzle can’t be a deck by herself…well, I guess you could run the GX version in a weird Fire/Psychic build, but for now, this Salazzle is meant as a supporting role, and it’d be interesting to see if anyone can pull her off.
Side Reviews: Mewtwo-GX – well, the meta hasn’t shifted over to Mewtwo-GX…unsurprisingly. But on that note, I mentioned how he could benefit from having a partner like Salazzle here. Salazzle could even be the set-up engine with Nasty Plot for Energy cards to power up Mewtwo-GX while also inflicting Severe Poison to soften up opponents, making it easier for Mewtwo-GX to KO them. It might not be the best partner – I’d imagine Espeon-GX is an even better partner for Mewtwo-GX, what with more HP and an attack that spreads out more damage – but Salazzle/Mewtwo could be a big hit even in Expanded.
Next Time: The flashback to a time when energy was easy to remove…
The last two CotD’s focused on cards from the “Clanging Thunder” Theme Deck, so let’s look at its mate, the “Destruction Fang” Theme Deck. The face (and primary attacker) of the deck, Hydreigon (SM – Crimson Invasion 62/111), was already covered (https://www.pojo.com/hydreigon-crimson-invasion-pokemon-cotd/) here. As such, we’ll be looking at Salazzle (SM – Black Star Promos SM73; SM – Crimson Invasion 47/111). Salazzle is a Stage 1; harder to field them in the Theme Format, but the current Theme Decks don’t make it as hard as in the past, and the rewards are definitely there. The [P] Typing will make almost no difference – the deck doesn’t contain [P] support and the attacks don’t do damage. 110 HP can often take a hit in the Theme Format (just remember “often” is a long way from “always”). Psychic Weakness doesn’t help, and if it isn’t among the worst to have in this Format, it’s near the top of the middle. No Resistance is the worst, and while it can actually matter in the Theme Format, it’s still fairly minor most of the time. The Retreat Cost of [C] is decent for a Stage 1 and affordable, which as you tend to have to manually retreat more often in this format (and at full price).
Salazzle is one of the deck’s secondary or perhaps even tertiary attackers, but that isn’t a bad thing as it is because it is a technical attacker, not doing any damage, and filling some interesting roles. That, and because a surprising amount of the deck’s cards are solid attackers (another improvement over Theme Decks of the past). Salazzle has two attacks, both of which require [P] and neither of which does damage. The first is “Nasty Plot” for [P], which has its customary effect of searching out two cards from your deck and adding them to your hand. Unlike in the Constructed Formats, in the Theme and Limited Formats, this is very good and makes Salazzle a nice opener. The second attack is “Severe Poison”, which is also not a new attack and – again – proves more useful here than it does most other places. While you cannot easily combo with it, Poisoning for four damage counters between turns is a solid return for the Energy, and your opponent will have a harder time shaking it while also being less able to afford the damage. Making it more important is how more than a few of the newer Theme Decks feature cards like Wishful Baton, which triggers when the Pokémon with it attached is KO’d by damage from an opponent’s attack… but not damage counter placement between turns.
In the Standard and Expanded Formats, Salazzle isn’t bad, just suboptimal. In fact, if its attacks were priced at [C], it may have even had a shot thanks to Dimension Valley and/or Virbank City Gym. The attacks are not priced that way, so there’s no searching or Poisoning for no Energy or slipping her easily into decks that don’t readily supply [P] Energy. She’s rarely going to survive a hit here, and whatever you expend to make her work better is likely to be better spent elsewhere… even her lower Stage, Salandit. After all, you could Evolve that Salandit into Salazzle (SM – Guardians Rising 16/145) or Salazzle-GX. So just enjoy her company in the Theme and Limited Formats; she isn’t the greatest attacker, but she’s got two obvious uses and she performs her duties well.
Salazzle has pretty interesting attacks. Nasty Plot can search your deck for 2 cards and put them onto your hand. If Sylveon-GX has taught you anything, searching your deck for any cards is incredible! Severe Poison poisons your opponent’s Active Pokémon and places 4 damage counters instead of 1 between turns. Stack it with Virbank City Gym, and that would be six damage counters between turns. If your opponent doesn’t switch or retreat a poisoned Pokémon, then the damage racks up very quickly.
The Standard and Expanded format is too hostile for this card to handle, but she’ll excel in Limited and Theme formats.
Finally, a nice starter has a arrived for Psychic decks, or is it?
Our first Salazzle that’s a Psychic type, it actually has some pretty slick stats. Its a Stage 1, so its relatively compact in deck space, especially when considering what it could do. It has 110 HP which is pretty handy as a starting Pokemon, and has a slim retreat cost of 1, which is good when both its attacks only cost a single energy. Weakness to Psychic is unfortunate, but then this Salazzle is a kind of an in-out Pokemon that does what it does maybe once or twice in a game, and then goes out of commission. Not much we can do there, but what can it do as a starting Pokemon?
As said before, both its attack are just for a [P], meaning like the Salazzle cards of old this one is a cheap low-maintenance attacker, or a setup Pokemon in this case. The first attack, Nasty Plot searches for 2 cards and puts it in your hand. Sounds familiar? It should. This is Sylveon-GX’s Magical Ribbon that searches one card less but gives 1 less prize in return. And if we see anything of Sylveon-GX, as both a mill deck or a Gardevoir-GX partner, having the power to search for any card(s) you want without having to dig 20 cards from your deck is without peer as you have precision to what you can do in the next turn. Maybe a Rare Candy and a Stage 2 Pokemon to setup? Or maybe a Parallel City and a Delinquent for severe board and hand disruption? Or even a Choice Band and a Energy to allow your main attacker to start rolling? Salazzle can do all of that easily.
The second attack, Severe Poison, doesn’t deal direct damage, so it help bypass self-defensive measures such as Turtonator-GX’s Shell Trap, Golisopod-GX’s Armor Press or even a Bursting Balloon. Because what it does is it places poison damage, but instead of 1 damage counter, it places four. With several Seviper (SM BUS) in the bench, it can OHKO any evolving basic Pokemon (it deals up to 80 damage between turn passes) and in the Expanded format it can do even more with the help of the LaserBank combo to 100 between turn passes.
But that’s where the fun ends. You see, this is a Stage 1 starter Pokemon that cannot cheat evolution rules, unlike Sylveon-GX which is also a Stage 1 but has an amazing pre-evolution in Energy Evolution Eevee. One can argue that you can use Evosoda (XY Base, XY Generations) or Wally (XY ROS, XY Generations), but both methods are flawed in the fact that Evosoda can’t be used in the turn a Salandit is played and Wally is your Supporter for the turn, so you can’t draw cards with say, a Professor Sycamore or setup the bench with a Brigette, for instance. 110 HP too, although respectable, isn’t the biggest for a Stage 1 Pokemon, even as a 1 prize Pokemon. Salazzle’s position in the meta, for me is still unjustified, as up until now I’ve rarely seen it in decks but maybe as time goes and we get a heavy setup Psychic type Pokemon which destroys the meta, Salazzle may just be the setup Pokemon that card needs.
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