Torterra & Driftblim
– Ultra Prism
April 24, 2018
See Rating Below
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Torterra and Drifblim sounds like one of those titles for an old-fashioned buddy sitcom, where the two main characters contrast and compliment each other. One’s a big hefty turtle, the other’s a ghost balloon that ferries souls to the underworld, but now they’re in the same house together having to deal with each other through high school. What a weird sitcom.
Torterra is a Stage 2 Grass Pokemon, 180 HP – putting it on-par with Basic-EX/GX now. My my, how far Pokemon has come – with a Fire Weakness, no Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of 4. Giga Drain is its first attack, a 3-for-50 that heals off the same damage it dealt with the move, while Earthquake is a 4-for-180 move that deals 20 damage to your Benched Pokemon. Long story short, Torterra is a lotta bulk and a lotta damage but without a lot of good ways to get him out quick and fully powered up. So on his own, he’s not going to do much.
Standard: 2/5 (he’s big and bulky, but slow to come out)
Expanded: 2/5 (you’re probably also wondering why I’m putting a review score here)
Limited: 4/5 (well I’ll get to that in a sec)
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk Ghost balloons. Drifblim is a Stage 1 Psychic Pokemon, 110 HP, with a Lightning Weakness, a Fighting Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of 1 – perfect Escape Board target right here, keep that in mind. Its first attack is Damage Transport, which costs 2 Energy and lets you move 4 damage counters off of each of your Pokemon onto the opponent’s Active Pokemon. Not too bad, but unless you’re dealing with spread damage, not gonna be effective on its own. Wind Wheel is then a 3-for-80 move that switches your opponent’s Active Pokemon with a Benched Pokemon. So overall? Not that impressive either, though he’s got potential with Damage Transport.
Standard: 2.5/5 (the potential is certainly there)
Expanded: 2/5 (but he needs the right environment and conditions to be met)
Limited: 3.5/5 (so let’s just say he’ll have some troubles here and there)
So why are these two being reviewed together? They hardly share anything in common, so what gives? Well likely because Drifblim and Torterra make for an unlikely combination. Two of the biggest factors in this come from Drifblim – he’s a great user of Escape Board, having only 1 Retreat Cost, so he can come out as a free Switch for Torterra to be active. The other is Damage Transport; not only can it subvert the negative side effect of Torterra’s Earthquake, but it can also be used with any 2 Energy, which DCE can satisfy easily enough. This makes Drifblim a pretty good partner for Torterra!
The problem I find with this combination though, as you might figure, is Torterra himself. Like I said, he’s big and bulky, but his attacks are expensive, his Retreat Cost is really high, meaning you’re usually pulling Drifblim out through either a Supporter or by having Torterra get KO’d, and he’s pretty slow being a Stage 2. He can be effective as an attacker, considering he’s got the power to do so, but it also seems like he’s not that crazy an offensive threat compared with other Pokemon that come out that much faster. But at the least, it’s a combination that can prove effective in the right environment. So consider it a casual deck at least, and pick it up for yourself! Considering Drifblim can definitely push for upwards of 240 damage with the Damage Transport and that it only takes 2 Earthquakes to pull that off? Yeah, not too shabby a combo.
Arora Notealus: Kind of a weird review today, but it’s an interesting combination. Shout-out to 21times, who picked these two out to review together! We don’t often always see the combinations cards can bring together, so it’s always good to have moments where we take a look at a pair together and see just how they bring each other out.
Side Review: Oranguru – Oranguru could actually help this deck succeed to some degree, recycling crucial elements like Rare Candy and Energy with Resource Management. Course combined with Looker and Looker Whistle, the deck could come together in a strange bout of consistency. Would it be perfect? Far from it, but it’s something to consider at the least.
Next Time: Some Pokemon just want to watch the world burn!
This two-fer was suggested by a reviewer that has a strategy based on those two Pokémon, but I don’t seem to figure it out yet.
-Torterra is a Stage 2 Grass type with 180 HP (wow), weak to fire, and retreat of 4. Giga Drain does 50 for GGC and heals the exact amount of damage that you’ve just done to the Defending Pokémon. Earthquake costs GGGC for 180 damage, while doing 20 damage to each of your Benched Pokémon.
-Drifblim is a Stage 1 Psychic type with 110 HP, weak to Lightning, resists Fighting, and a retreat of 1. Damage Transport costs CC and moves 4 damage counters from each of your Pokémon to your opponent’s Active Pokémon. Wind Wheel costs PCC for 80 damage while your opponent has to switch their active Pokémon with one of their Benched Pokémon.
I think the goal is to use Earthquake couple of times and bring Drifblim out front to use Damage Transport. That way, you’ll put a total of 24 damage counters, almost enough to OHKO anything in the game sans 250 HP Pokémon. And the wording seems like it heals 40 damage from each of your Pokémon, strange as it sounds because your moving your damage to another Pokémon.
Yep this was my idea – my somewhat futile attempt to capitalize on the potential synergy between Torterra’s self destructive Earthquake attack and Drifblim’s difficult to functionalize Damage Transport. In theorymon, it works:
You go second so you can take advantage of Leafeon’s Grand Bloom and get an Ivysaur and a couple Grotle’s on deck, ready to evolve into Venusaur and Torterra on turn 2. Then you get off a couple of Earthquake’s and then bring up Drifblim to clean a ton of damage off of your bench and on to your opponent’s active (for a single attachment too because of Jungle Totem).
Unfortunately, I just never got it to work in reality. The meta is too fast, and there are just too many moving pieces in this puzzle to get it to work consistently. Just like Glaceon and Greninja, Purugly and Garbodor, Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux (my second Friends reference in as many days), these are all things that would seem to go well together but in reality simply don’t make a good pair. So too was the failure of the attempted coupling of Torterra and Drifblim as I went 1 W 6 L in seven tries with this deck.
I think it really is too many Pokemon, I think it’s very hard to win with multiple Stage 2 evolutions. I think the game is too fast, that it lends itself for too much to Big Basics that can totally abuse Max Elixir. It’s also that even with Venusaur, it’s two attachments, and the only way multiple attachments work is if you have some way to accelerate them, and even then we’re seeing that that doesn’t always work (right Metalcrozma?).
So my apologies again for whiffing on this one.
Standard: 1.5 out of 5
So it probably doesn’t help that I was in the midst of a 2 W 16 L streak between Smelly Cat and this deck when I was testing (I basically went 1 W 10 L on the second half of Smelly Cat through the end of this testing). Part of the losing might be because my brain wasn’t in the right place during this losing streak. However, I think I might have developed an interesting strategy coming out of this losing streak that you might want to consider. I tried this strategy after deciding I that I didn’t want to go 1 W 10 L two days in a row and quit after six losses with Torterra. I immediately went on a nine game winning streak using this strategy while climbing the ladder on PTCGO.
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