Tower of Darkness – Battle Styles
Date Reviewed: April 4, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Tower of Darkness (SW – Battle Styles 137/163) is the next runner-up from our countdown of the latest expansion. If we’d started at a higher number, Tower of Darkness would have been our 17th-Place pick. This Trainer Stadium is a Single Strike card, and is an example of their Battle Style support. Tower of Darkness has a once-per-turn effect that lets the turn player discard a Single Strike card in order to draw two cards. In other words, it isn’t something that really utilizes Single Strike support so much as being Single Strike support. So… have we seen anything like this before?
Certainly. Tower of Darkness is reminiscent of Scorched Earth, a Stadium that let you discard either a [F] or [R] Energy during your turn in order to draw two cards. Scorched Earth was a pretty good card in Standard, and probably still would be were it reprinted. It might even be good still in Expanded: I’ve honestly lost track. What made Scorched Earth so good is that you could take an often expendable and easily recycled resource – basic Fighting Energy cards or basic Fire Energy cards – and discard one for a little extra draw power, whether to supplement larger draw power, keep some momentum going while using a non-draw/search effect, or help recover from hand disruption. Basic Energy cards tend to be easy to search out and recycle, and this card coexisted with things like Blacksmith, so discarding a Fire Energy was sometimes a bonus, not a cost.
Getting back to Tower of Darkness, it should be able to emulate some of what made Scorched Earth so good. You can still use it to supplement your other draw options, reduce the impact of using a Supporter on non-draw or recovering from hand disruption. The good news is that it gives you a use for any spare Single Strike cards you have in hand, whether they’re Pokémon, Trainers, or Energy. The bad news is that the only things anywhere close to as easy to search and recycle as basic Energy are Pokémon. At least right now, there also aren’t that many different Single Strike cards, especially worth running in the same deck. If something is good enough to run, it often isn’t a good choice to discard, either.
Still, Tower of Darkness seems good. Just not as good as Scorched Earth. If you do have some extra copies of certain Single Strike Pokémon, you can toss them. If you’re somewhat desperate, you can toss Single Strike Trainers and/or copies of Single Strike Energy. Even with Urn of Vitality, though, the latter is probably a big waste. Potentially useful is that many of the Single Strike cards are somewhat specialized. Maybe you want to run Emboar (SW – Battle Styles 025/163) but don’t want to completely rely on Single Strike Style Mustard. When you do field it via Mustard, you can ditch the lower Stages for Tower of Darkness when they eventually show up.
It is probably more likely, though, that you’re packing some of the Trainers and they’re not useful at the moment. Bruno is rather underwhelming if none of your Pokémon were KO’d during your opponent’s last turn. So underwhelming that you might be better off tossing it to draw two cards, even if you fail to hit a better Supporter after. Single Strike Scroll of Scorn is great if it shows up at the right time, when you have something so loaded with damage and/or lacking in Energy that its “Furious Anger” attack is your best option. The other times, discard it and draw with tower off Darkness.
- Standard: 3/5
- Expanded: 1/5
Yes, I’m being generous with the Standard score. Some of that is looking ahead and counting on more Single Strike cards to come out. Some of that is assuming you can build a Single Strike deck where Tower of Darkness isn’t going to be crowded out by better Stadium cards. Having seen some of the future cards we’ll be receiving, it is quite possible those two will cancel out… but I’ll err on the side of optimism and rate this a three-out-of-five in Standard. In Expanded, even as we receive more Single Strike cards, barring bans we’ll keep some of the greatest Stadium cards ever released. It seems highly unlikely we’ll get a competitive Single Strike deck that runs Tower of Darkness, but I’ll be happy if I am proven wrong.
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