Tower of Waters – Battle Styles
Date Reviewed: April 10, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Tower of Waters (SW – Battle Styles 138/163) is a Trainer-Stadium. As such, it naturally can be used to counter other Stadium cards. It is a Rapid Strike card, letting it tap their support. Tower of Waters actual effect is reducing the Retreat Cost of Rapid Strike Pokémon in play by [CC]. It won’t affect cards in your hand, the deck, etc. but only those in the Active position or on the Bench. Either player’s Bench, actually; this effect applies globally, to both players. Only working with Rapid Strike Pokémon makes it a lot less likely to help your opponent, at least, this early into the introduction of the mechanic. It is possible they’ll never really catch on, or it is possible they’ll eventually dominate th metagame, the way Team Plasma Pokémon took some time to get going.
If the Pokémon in question already has a free Retreat Cost printed on it, then Tower of Waters is insurance. Probably unnecessary insurance, but there are effects that can increase Retreat Costs. For those with Retreat Costs of [C] or [CC], they gain a perfect free Retreat Cost. Those with the chunky Retreat Cost of [CCC] drop down to a much more manageable [C]. It might be a bit disappointing that those with a Retreat Cost [CCCC] still need [CC]. Still better than full price, but if you’re dedicating your Stadium to something, just getting to “average” isn’t thrilling. Here’s the thing: at least at the time this article was written, there are zero Rapid Strike Pokémon with printed Retreat Costs in excess of [CC]. I didn’t see any that were free. For now, at least, Tower of Waters grants a free Retreat Cost to Rapid Strike Pokémon, barring effects that increase Retreat Costs.
We’ve seen Stadium cards like this before, and they can be handy or they can go largely ignored. Sometimes, the metagame is such that a free Retreat Cost is amazing, while other times, it is just a nice perk. I’m not sure where we are right now, but there are two other Rapid Strike cards that make me think Tower of Waters should see at least a little play. Octillery (SW – Battle Styles 037/163, 178/163; SW – Black Star Promos SWSH089) once again puts its
thumb tentacle tip on the scale. Even if you’re running a different Stadium, Octillery makes Tower of Waters a decent TecH option. It isn’t uncommon to include a card like Air Balloon to grant a Bench-sitter like Octillery a free Retreat: the combo with Tower of Waters just shares the loves. Though at the cost of being easier to counter.
The other notable Rapid Strike Pokémon in this case is Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX. Its “Gale Thrust” attack lets it do 150 damage for a single Energy, but only if it moves from your Bench to your Active position during the turn you attack. Giving all of your Rapid Strike Pokémon a free Retreat Cost makes this a lot easier. We don’t have a lot of data on the post-Battle Styles Standard Format, but 11th-Place at the Champions League Aichi (March 27, 2021) went to a Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX deck, and it did indeed include one Tower of Waters. Which makes some sense because it contains a few other switching cards and some stuff we don’t have which change the deck’s focus a bit.
- Standard: 3/5
- Expanded: 2/5
Even with only one hit in a Format we don’t quite have, Tower of Waters seems like a good, solid card. I did dock it a point in Expanded, as we have so many great Stadium cards in Expanded and more competition when it comes to reducing Retreat Costs.
Tower of Darkness is to Single Strike while today’s card is to Rapid Strike!
Tower of Waters from the Sword & Shield Battle Styles expansion is a Stadium Card that reduces the retreat cost of CC for Rapid Strike Pokémon. It goes without saying that this will be an essential piece of support for decks using Rapid Strike Pokémon and that it is searchable via Octillery’s Rapid Strike Search ability. From what I’m seeing so far in regards to the variety of Rapid Strike Pokémon out there, most of them possesses a retreat cost of CC or lower, meaning that most of them can retreat for free and it reduces over-reliance of Air Balloon unless that Stadium card is unavailable in your turn or that a hypothetical Rapid Strike Pokémon cards have a retreat cost of CCC or more (like an upcoming new Rillaboom card from Japan that is a Rapid Strike Pokémon).
Strategy wise, Tower of Waters addressed one of Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX’s problems. One of its attacks, Gale Thrust, requires you to move from the Bench to the Active Spot to deal an extra 120 damage, totaling 150. Otherwise, you’re only doing 30 damage. For something that costs only a single fighting energy, this is a huge bargain. Assuming your Urshifu isn’t Asleep or Paralyzed, then you can retreat your Active Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX with another of your Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX from your Bench, and benefit from that massive damage bonus.
The Expanded Format has lots of great Stadium cards to use that it might be hard to fit Tower of Waters in your deck. Additionally, when addressing Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX’s maneuvers, Float Stone and either Keldeo-EX or Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX’s respective abilities oftentimes do the trick, though they also have to deal with tool removal and abilities being offline; Tower of Waters doesn’t have to deal with any of that.
Tower of Waters would be the go-to Stadium card of choice for Rapid Strike decks, but it’s not mandatory depending on what you build. Sometimes certain generic Stadium cards can still fit in most decks that Tower of Waters may seem hard to squeeze in, but it’s one of the good stadiums out there.
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