Weepinbell – Battle Styles
Date Reviewed: April 13, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Weepinbell from SS Battle Styles is an interesting card as it is a Stage 1 that can still evolve and that it could be skipped from Bellsprout to Victreebell via Rare Candy, but apparently there’s a very good reason not to waste your deck slot for Rare Candies and Victreebell.
Special Conditions are pretty uncommon in the Pokémon TCG unless a deck is made to take advantage of inflicting Special Conditions and/or punishing the opposition for having them. Weepinbell’s ability, called Dangerous Mucus, states that when you play this Pokémon to evolve it from Bellsprout (or Ditto Prism Star in Expanded), you can make the opponent’s Active Pokemon Burned & Poisoned. Poison Special Condition places 1 damage counter between turns while Burned Special Condition places 2 damage counters between turns (though your opponent has to flip a coin to try and remove the burn after taking residual damage). That means a total of 3 damage counters placed on your opponent’s Active Pokemon will happen. Since this is an Ability, you can still attack, whether it be from a card in tomorrow’s COTD or any other attacker that appreciates the extra damage counter placement because their own base damage falls short of OHKOing it.
Even with a 4-4 Weepinbell line and 4 Scoop Up Nets, there’s only so much you can use, but I hope by that time it would be enough to KO certain Pokémon. Expanded has Virbank City Gym and Seviper from SM Burning Shadows to increase the amount of damage counters you can place, and it could be as many as NINE damage counters assuming you have 4 Seviper and Virbank City Gym in play. You may or may not need to inflict a third Special Condition such as Asleep, Paralyzed, or Confused. There is one thing players should already know about those three special conditions as they replace each other whenever a new special condition happens; they can’t be Asleep, Paralyzed, or Confused at the same time! The Poison & Burn marker stays indefinitely until the affecting Pokémon is KO or that a new Poison/Burn marker altered how many damage counters you can place. Let’s say if a existing Poison marker placed 1 damage counter and a new poison marker makes you place 3 damage counters, it doesn’t get doubly poisoned; the new marker replaces the old one. Pretty surprising that I still remember that sentence that I read from rulebooks from years past. Asleep is probably one of the easier ways to do via Hypnotoxic Laser.
This strategy has the potential to be good, but there are counters against Special Conditions. If they have something like Virizion-EX in Expanded preventing Special Conditions or that they make their Pokémon leave play, then the whole strategy falls apart.
Pretty optimistic in terms of scores, but I think a deck can be made regarding Special Conditions, but I have yet to see competitive success regarding such decks. It provides another method of damaging certain targets that would otherwise not take any damage from certain attacks or Pokémon, like how Decidueye/Altaria takes no damage from Pokemon-GX/V. Weepinbell is a combo card; it isn’t good on its own if unless there is other cards trying to capitalize this effect. You should not be attacking with Weepinbell…ever.
Weepinbell (SW – Battle Styles 002/163) may seem like an unusual pick for a review, because it is an evolving Stage 1. Stage 1 Pokémon aren’t too difficult to run, whether as 1-1 bits of TecH or full 4-4 lines, but when you extend all the way to a Stage 2, we’re talking a lot of deck space and a lot of waiting. Rare Candy is the go-to method of going from Basic to Stage 2 because it is the same amount of cards as evolving normally, but you reach the Stage 2 a turn sooner. However, it isn’t advisable to skip the evolving Stage 1 form completely, because Pokémon are just easier to search out and recycle than Item cards. Anti-Item effects are often (but not always) more widespread than anti-Evolution effects. So… you know something is up when we’re reviewing an evolving Stage 1 Pokémon.
We’re looking at Weepinbell because of its “Dangerous Mucus” Ability. To activate it, from your hand you must evolve one of your Pokémon into this Weepinbell, during your turn. If you do, you may choose to leave your opponent’s Active Burned and Poisoned. If you don’t want to use Dangerous Mucus, you can choose to ignore it. Burn plus Poison means three damage counters placed on your opponent’s Active during the next Pokémon Checkup. The Poison will stick around until your opponent shakes it or is KO’d; the Burn has a 50% of curing itself during each Pokémon Checkup, but after the two damage counters are placed.
Without any serious combos, Dangerous Mucus is a bit like the “Untamed Shout” Ability found on Galarian Obstagoon (Sword & Shield 119/202; SW – Vivid Voltage 198/185; SW – Black Star Promos SWSH059; Shining Fates SV080/SV122). You can use either to fake doing an extra 30 damage to your opponent’s Active that turn, or to harass your opponent’s Active and get some damage counters on it even when you’re not attacking. Untamed Shout is clearly better at this; it can place three damage counters on any of your opponent’s Pokémon, and multiple instance of Untamed Shout in a single turn can just pile on more and more damage. If you use more than one Dangerous Mucus in the same turn, you’re just replacing the previous instance of Burn and Poison with another, identical one, and you can’t do anything to Pokémon on the Bench.
We’re talking about a fully evolved Stage 2 versus an evolving Stage 1. We also might compare and contrast Dangerous Mucus with the “Empty Light” Ability found on Nihelego-GX. Still a coming into play Ability, but inflicting Confusion plus Poison. While better defensively, unless we specifically need Confusion, Burn plus Poison is better. Being a Basic is the best, and would certainly improve Weepinbell if nothing else changed… but Nihelego-GX is a multi-Prize, Rule Box Pokémon. Weepinbell is simply a baseline Pokémon, so it doesn’t have to deal with any additional headaches and can be bounced via Scoop Up Net. For what it is, Dangerous Mucus seems good. Not great, but good.
How about the rest of Weepinbell? Unfortunately, this is where it feels like almost every other evolving Stage 1 Pokémon. Grass isn’t a good type right now. Grass support like Turffield Stadium could help. Using Rowlet & Alolan Exeggutor-GX to speed up evolving means you cannot make use of Dangerous Mucus. Flareon (SW – Vivid Voltage 026/185) can shutdown all Abilities on [G] Pokémon, but probably isn’t worth it. As for type-matching, [G] Weakness isn’t too common, but newer Metal types like Zacian V sport -30 [G] Resistance. Weepinbell’s 80 HP means it is quite likely to be OHKO’d, though it does keep it a legal Level Ball target. Its [R] Weakness won’t usually matter – most serious attackers already have the OHKO.
No Resistance is the worst, but is also the norm, and wouldn’t help that much due to the HP even if present. The Retreat Cost of [CC] would normally be decent, neither high nor low, but with the 80 HP, it just feels expensive. Weepinbell does have an attack. “Vine Whip” let’s Weepinbell do 40 damage to your opponent’s Active. This attack hits about a third as hard as it would need to in order to be somewhat competitive. Even with mostly [C] Energy costs, you’re in this strange position where you must be desperate to attack, but somehow still have three Energy to spare for a Bench-sitter?
While Weepinbell doesn’t attack very well, Bellsprout (SW – Battle Styles 001/163) almost can. Its “Venoshock” attack costs [C] and does 10 damage plus 40 if your opponent’s Active is already Poisoned. 50 damage for [C] is okay, and the Special Conditions will make it an effective 80. That still isn’t enough to be competitive, but it makes for a decent emergency attacker. Better than Weepinbell itself, at least. It also hints at what we should be looking for; combos. Victreebel (SM – Unbroken Bonds 15/214) is one such option, but probably not enough on its own. We’ll be reviewing one promising candidate tomorrow: Salazzle (SW – Battle Styles 028/163).
How about in the Expanded Format? There are even more attackers, but also more alternatives. There are still some fun looking decks you could build… but most of them predate Weepinbell because of those alternatives, and haven’t proven competitive because of the available counters. Doesn’t look too good here.
- Standard: 2/5
- Expanded: 1/5
I confess, when I scheduled this card, I thought more highly of it… but even the combo for which I am considering it, there are alternatives. Weepinbell is probably the best option for the deck in Standard, but Weepinbell is also probably the weakest link in the combo.
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