– SM Celestial Storm
August 20, 2018
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Oh man, IS IT TIME TO TALK ABOUT MY FAVE GEN 3 STARTER POKEMON’S FINAL EVOLUTION AGAIN?! Haven’t seen this guy since Primal Clash and the promo EX copies, and now HE’S COME BACK TO BE ONE OF THE TOP 5 OF A SET!!
Swampert is a Stage 2 Water Pokemon, 160 HP, with a Grass Weakness, no Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of 3. His main attack is Hydro Pump, a 3-for-80 move, you know how it goes, he gets 20 more damage per Water Energy. His Ability though is Power Draw, which lets you discard a card to draw 3 cards once per turn.
I’ll admit, I didn’t put Swampert on my own list – shocker, I know – but I can also see where a lot of people really held him in high regard. Hydro Pump isn’t exactly a bad move – in fact, it’s arguably the best Water-Type move in the card game – but it does require some work in the set-up to get it to big numbers. Chances are you’re not pumping Swampert up with 5 Water Energy to hit that massive 180 HP pool, but even at just the base 3 Energy required, he’ll be hitting hard enough to 2HKO most things.
The real draw here though – no pun intended – is the Power Draw Ability. We’re looking at a move that, in a time where there are (going to be) few Supporters on the level of Cynthia in Standard, is offering up draw power on-par with Zoroark-GX but with the added bonus of putting stuff in the discard pile. In fact, this is actually better than Zoroark-GX’s Trade-In, as it draws an extra card by comparison!
And that’s where the real kicker comes in about Swampert: is he comparable to Zoroark-GX? Both would likely function the same way in any deck that runs them, using their Abilities as a major part of their draw engine, and in that field, Swampert does give more advantage over time than Zoroark-GX does. However, Zoroark-GX has a bigger HP pool and two very powerful attacks, which arguably outclass Swampert’s one Hydro Pump (depending on how you view Riotous Beating’s max value of 2-for-120 to Hydro Pump). On top of that, Zoroark-GX is only a Stage 1 Pokemon, meaning there are less parts needed to get him out.
You see the problem there?
I think overall most decks that run Zoroark-GX will keep their dark fox over the muddy…uhhh…mud fish?…whatever Swampert is…they’ll stick to the Stage 1 over the Stage 2. But I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a few decks running Swampert – mostly Water decks, I imagine – to ultimately take advantage of Power Draw and the fact that, by comparison, Swampert’s only a 1-Prize Pokemon versus Zoroark-GX’s 2-Prizes. These two are definitely the top contenders for draw power in decks, and it’s gonna be interesting to see how well Swampert matches up against Zoroark-GX!
Standard: 3.5/5 (certainly a contender, and has a lot of potential)
Expanded: 3/5 (at the very least, it’s the best Swampert in years)
Limited: 4/5 (if you can get all the pieces, he’s very much worth running)
Arora Notealus: Swampert’s definitely one of the cards in the set that, at the moment seems like he’s not worth the effort. But at the same time, he’s got a lot to compare with some of the other Pokemon out there, and that could be what ultimately pulls him up into a supportive role. Sure, he’s not as easy to get out as Zoroark-GX, but that’s really where the question lies: are you willing to put in the extra effort for a somewhat weaker Pokemon with a better Ability, or is your Stage 1 GX that discards 1 to draw 2 better in the long run?
Next Time: An old classic returns in a new form, sliding down the volcano…
There was a blog that I made several months ago, making what would be considered a create-a-card blog. The imaginary card I had in mind was Empoleon-GX. Attacks aside, I reused the name Diving Draw and made it so that you discard a card from your hand and draw three cards. So it was sort of a fun concept to make. But then, when the translations for Swampert was revealed and had the same effect, I got flooded with notifications asking me if I was a psychic. Apparently the designers think that Empoleon’s Diving Draw and Zoroark-GX’s Trade abilities weren’t good enough, so they made an improved draw based ability, which is why Swampert took fifth place of the top 10.
Ability based draw is a wonderful feature. They enable you to draw cards without using up your Supporter for your turn, and you can use Supporters for different purposes or just straight up draw. With enough Swampert in play, you might not need a draw Supporter as often. One instance of whiffing, however, is if you have certain cards that you don’t want to discard, which is a very difficult proposition if you have a smaller hand and want to draw more. Most cards can be retrieved, except maybe item cards. Puzzle of Time would’ve been a perfect card to retrieve anything from the discard pile, but that card is banned in Expanded, making previous cards like Zoroark and Empoleon do mind about carelessly discarding stuff that you probably need it much later on. It might even cost you the game.
What about Hydro Pump? It does 80 for CCC plus 20 more for each water energy attached to this Pokémon. With WWW, it does 140 damage that’s enough to secure 2HKOs in most cases. And you can fuel it up with Aqua Patch, which makes Power Draw not so much of a liability if you discarded water energy. You can pair it with Magcargo with the Smooth Over Ability (or Swampert’s Diving Search in Expanded) so that you’re guaranteed with an exact card plus two other cards. Even if you don’t have some source of water energy, attaching a Choice Band makes the attack deal 110 for CCC, enough to 2HKO Basic EX/GX Pokemon.
Will it be used over Zoroark-GX? That depends whether you want to exploit water or dark Weakness. As a Stage 2, Rare Candy is a must, or else compared to Zoroark-GX, it is slower but gives only one prize as opposed to two prizes. That’s something you would have to experiment, and eventually, you might make a competitive Swampert deck! Swampert is in a theme deck called Hydro Fury, and being the Pokémon that is the headliner of the deck, you can expect Swampert to do well there…if you can evolve Mudkip and Marshtomp soon enough. Same can be said for limited. If you pull one, you’ll run this.
Next up: Another partner in tow with Swampert! Oh wait, I’ve just mentioned it already!
Swampert (CES 35) returns to the meta in the Celestial Storm expansion set. This 160 HP Stage 2 Water type Pokemon has the fantastic ability to draw three cards for the minor cost of discarding a single card from your hand prior to drawing those cards.
Let me tell you, Power Draw is GREAT! I LOVE LOVE LOVE it! If you haven’t tried Swampy yet, go get yourself a playset and treat yourself to a fun evening of drawing a crazy amount of cards each turn. I’ve posted a decklist at PokeDeckCentral.com, and you can search PokeDeckCentral on Youtube and find a couple of videos I’ve posted on it as well.
When I was watching videos prior to CES’s release, I remember one youtuber saying that Swampert beat Rayquaza every time. You know me – I’m skeptical when someone tells me that the sky is blue – so I was somewhat doubtful when I heard that… but not anymore. Swampy is REALLY good – maybe even good enough to win it all at worlds this weekend. I’ve been using post rotation builds and winning quite a bit against pre rotation decks. It hits consistently for 140 or 160 but can hit for more than that under the right conditions.
The problems I do have with the deck are that it is very slow to develop, and it’s weak to Grass (very similar to Greninja). But if you get three or even four Swampy’s in play (I even got five out in one match) and a Magcargo to boot, I don’t think there’s a deck out there that will beat it. I will say that if I don’t start Dunsparce, it takes a lot more for the deck to develop, and sacrificing Mudkips makes it hard to get Swamperts into the action. Also, Magcargo has a heavy three retreat cost, making it very susceptible to Guzma stalls and being stuck up top while your opponent spreads damage onto Swamperts that are trapped on the bench. Also, it is very easy to draw too many cards and deck yourself out. I have gotten down to two or three cards remaining a couple of times – it’s a little bit scary!
But Swampy is a really good card that will win you matches and help you climb the ladder. I’d highly recommend it, I’m actually starting to like it more than Rayquaza! And you don’t need to run Lele with it, so it’s a super budget friendly build.
Standard: 4 out of 5
Like every other Pokemon, it’s got some weaknesses, but it will draw you a lot of cards once you get a couple of Swampert evolved. Magcargo really takes this deck to another level too – but it’s not essential. Much like Starmie in my Greninja builds, it is a little bit of a decoy. If you have it on the bench, it’s great to use it, but if your opponent Guzmas it up to KO it, well, that’s just one more Swampert you have to Power Draw more cards in the next turn.
Again, overall, great Pokemon, might even be Tier 1, which really surprises me as it’s a Stage 2 single prize Pokemon, but that just goes to show you how important drawing cards is in the game today.
Time for the second half of our Top 10 countdown, meaning we’ll be looking at the CotD crew’s collective picks for the five best cards from SM – Celestial Storm. If you’re not familiar with our countdowns, each reviewer creates his or her own personal list of picks (a top 10 is recommended, but we’ll allow smaller or larger). All the personal lists are sent to one crew member (usually me because I’m a control freak) who then combines them into a “master list” for the site, and thus, the review schedule. When combining them, I usually just assign “voting points” to each pick. I take the largest list, its last-place pick is assigned a value of “1”, then I count up to find the value for first-place, then apply those values to the shorter lists. After that, I simply add all the same entries together. Which brings us to our fifth place pick which appeared on out of five personal lists, Swampert (SM – Celestial Storm 35/168). This earned it 65 voting points, and winning the tiebreaker let it place above last Friday’s Steven’s Resolve.
This is where I have to catch myself; originally, I’d begun one of my card vivisection-style reviews, which can be boring or enlightening, depending on your tastes. I now have less than five minutes to write and post the review, so let’s get down to brass tacks. Due to this card’s Ability allowing you to discard a card from hand and then draw three cards, if it had been a Basic or even a Stage 1 Pokémon, it would have been run by the vast majority of decks. It is a Stage 2, so it really only belongs in certain [W] decks, but it can be quite the presence there. You could run it elsewhere, I just don’t think that you should. Post-rotation, it might become the go-to budget deck thanks to the new Magcargo’s “Smooth Over” Ability providing a powerful search combo without sacrificing your Supporter for the turn, and Swampert’s attack and HP are actually solid. I am curious if this new Swampert can combo with an older one in Expanded; there’s one with an Ability functionally identical to that of Magcargo!
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