What’s happening everyone, welcome to another Pokemon TCG Overview. We got a real boy today, probably even bigger than Feraligatr we’re covering Garchomp today. Clearly this is one of the coolest pokemon and is popular for a reason; well for many reasons actually. Dragon/Ground typing is cool and powerful stuff especially back in the sandstorm days of the Sinnoh metagame, fun and powerful to use in game too. In my opinion it is actually the most consistently good pseudo-legend thanks to the way they distributed its stats even though I do like Salamence and Metagross more. I’ll admit I freaking loved this pokemon back then and now and its superiority aspect is represented and verified even more being Cynthia’s right hand pokemon, clearly the most well rounded tough champion we had in game so far. She’s also hot and has other great qualities to her so she gets a lot of points for that too. This is all outside of the tcg. If you played the game at least since the D/P era I’m sure you know how this is gonna go. Okay! Let’s check Gible out first.
Gible cards from the D/P era (2007-2009)
The first set the line made an appearance was Mysterious Treasures and the Gible in that set also got reprinted in POP Series 9. We also saw a Gible in POP Series 6 holding a berry, which was a thing in the D/P sets some pokemon, mostly little basic ones had. Oran Berry let it heal 10 damage at the end of your turn which is nice and the last Gible was in Supreme Victors for the D/P Series. Besides the berry they don’t have anything else about them that’s special, before Dragons Vault and Dragons Exalted dragon types were colorless for the most part and weak to colorless, which is the same case with all of them here; the only difference is Supreme Victors Gible having 60HP.
5th gen gave us 2 more Gibles in Dragons Exalted with one of them getting reprinted in Legendary Treasures and they were dragon type of course now, weak to dragon type. The coolest Gible from a competitive aspect I’d say is the one we have legal now from Breakpoint. It’s fighting and weak to grass meaning they use the ground type of the pokemon as the premise of the card. I like seeing stuff like this, they also mess things up big time when they do this for no reason but that’s a topic for a different day. Its attack Never Enough can actually be a helpful attack in the beginning if you start with the small guy drawing cards.
Gabite is pretty straightforward as well. All 3 D/P prints have the same stats but I’d argue POP Series 9 Gabite is the most inferior comparing its attacks with the other two. My favourite of the 3 would definitely be the Mysterious Treasures Gabite. Not only does it have the best art probably but Marvelous Shine is very interesting. You flip a coin if heads you put 4 damage counters on an opponent’s pokemon and if tails you heal 40 from one of yours. This is cool for a number of reasons. If you get heads a lot it basically acts as a 40 damage snipe for 2 energy or one DCE and that’s nice. A popular tech Unown G, normally an answer for this type of attack wouldn’t do much either since you can spread on the bench as well. If you get tails you heal 40 from anyone which again gives flexibility. Of course sometimes you may not want to heal etc. but it’s one of the better gamble attacks on a stage 1 pokemon that can still evolve. Gather Up can also be a handy recovery attack for energy. If you want consistent disruption then Sand Tomb Gabite from Supreme Victors is for you then.
Dragons Exalted introduces 2 Gabites and like Gible one of the Gabites gets reprinted in Legendary Treasures, and I don’t know why they did it but they reprinted the lame one of the two. There’s nothing really wrong with it but with the usability the other one provided it’s completely overshadowed. The second Gabite from Dragons Exalted is no doubt the best one not only having an ability but one that any stage 1 pokemon would kill to have if it can still evolve. Dragon Call let’s you search your deck for any dragon pokemon and add it to your hand. Even if you don’t evolve anymore this is a fantastic ability to have. I’ll talk about the significance of this card when we get to Dragons Exalted Garchomp though.
And now the moment everyone’s waiting for… (well hopefully everyone’s waiting for) the motha freaking Garchomp. Killa. Besides lots of reprints this pokemon doesn’t have any exclusive or Japanese promos so we can get straight to the stuff.
Mysterious Treasures Garchomp not only is the original Garchomp print but a very cool art holographic card to have in your collection. My freaking brother actually pulled this card along with other rare holos from this set that I wanted and I remember trying so hard to make him trade it. In the end he never did and even now that he doesn’t care about pokemon he won’t sell it to me! Anyway too much information I know. So while this card looks great on paper it didn’t manage to be too competitive although it’s still a good card I’d say. 130HP is the standard you wanted to hit in D/P especially in the early days and no retreat cost is awesome. Dragon Fang 3 for 70 doesn’t break any records but you could use any energy and also with DCE it got more reasonable. Rainbow Scale is very interesting. If an active pokemon had a weakness to any basic energy Garchomp had on you did 40 more damage. Not bad but it seems it wasn’t just enough. If special energies worked too no doubt this card would be broken and king for the time but would have been more reasonable later on to be honest. Either way I rank this as a good card.
The other stage 2 Garchomps from the D/P era are even better though while sharing the same good stats. POP Series 9 Garchomp is all about brutality. Dragon Rage 80 for one is mega high for that time but because of the double coin flip this attack is way too risky to be considered good. Jet Sword is more than worth it however and alone makes this Garchomp better than Mysterious Treasures. Despite discarding 2 energy as the cost for the attack the damage is more than fantastic and totally worth it honestly. Since you can use any type of energy and best of all make this attack much quicker and less costly with DCE this attack would be good in my opinion even if it just did 100. But because it does 10 to everybody on your opponent’s bench the damage output is amazing. Compared to other similar attacks pokemon had in that era I’d say this has the best damage trade-off and ease of use.
Even so the best one and most reliable of the stage 2 Garchomp trio is the one from Supreme Victors. For the same fantastic stats you get a useful pokebody and more reliable attacks. Dragon Intimidation is good because it can slow down your opponent’s attackers and synergize nicely with Speed Impact by having them reattach the same energy. Guard Claw is a decent little attack but with an Expert Belt it can actually kill the most dangerous Garchomp ever released in the same format and hopefully reduce damage you’ll take next turn; it can matter trust me. A lot of the best attackers in those formats functioned on 1 or even no energy and even with 2 energy attached to the defending pokemon 80 for 3 is good considering you can use DCE. I would say you can easily hit for at least 100 most of the time making this an excellent attack for the cost. Perhaps you can tech one POP Garchomp but if you want to run a Garchomp stage 2 deck this card should be your best focus.
Before we get to one of the biggest cards of all time Garchomp also gets a Lv. X in Majestic Dawn. By no means this is a bad card it’s actually good for sure but because Garchomp SV is so good it’s debatable if you should spend a spot to run this card. The biggest turn off and let down is the minor improvement of 10 HP. No doubt 150 or even 160 HP would make it a lot more reasonable but 140 HP not exactly good. Dragon Pulse can give a good spread if you flip at least 1 or 2 coins right and Restore is a powerful recovery attack that can set up a stage 2 pokemon instantly although it takes your attack for the turn. Garchomp Lv. X is alright and can prove valuable in the right situation but you don’t have to run him necessarily. In Japan there’s also an alternate art promo.
Ladies and gentlemen I now present to you one of the most dominant pokemon of all time, the Garchomp SP duo, Garchomp C and C Lv. X of course. Without no doubt the biggest exploiter and abuser of DCE a card in my opinion that did more harm than good when it was released again in HGSS this pokemon was crazy good and appeared in any serious SP deck or even non SP decks heck. Thanks to the SP trainer support this basic pokemon could put fast and pressuring damage very quickly and recover easily. The real pokemon killer was Garchomp C Lv. X. As far as SP and basic pokemon went stat wise this card more than met the standards. The real power was in its, well, poke power and attack though. Healing Breath could heal all damage from all pokemon SP for no cost making this card a staple and too good to pass up. Dragon Rush, thanks to DCE was an unmerciful attack to an almost shameful degree. An 80 damage snipe for one attachment is too fast and too much and this is why anything weak to colorless had almost no chance of competing. Of course like I said SV Garchomp and other pokemon could kill back too since Garchomp C shares the same weakness but this card definitely was and is the strongest, fastest and most dangerous Garchomp put in a card. Since it got a tin promo too it only encouraged people even more to play it. Working along Luxray GL Lv. X these 2 pokemon would kill you as soon as they could start attacking since they could just attack and disrupt whatever they wanted together essentially making you lose without even the chance to do anything. That’s the D/P era though we still got more Garchomps to cover; not as good as this one certainly but good either way.
Dragons Exalted brought Garchomp into the 5th gen realm as a dragon type pokemon now with 2 variants. The Dragons Exalted Garchomp line actually saw some hype in the beginning since there were a lot of good things about them but in the end weren’t enough for the big EXs. If you look at the first Garchomp from this set you really have nothing to complain about. Good standard stats and fast strong attacks. 1 for 60 with the useful effect of discarding special energy which were popular as in most formats and 100 for 2 is till great even with the deck destruction side effect. What’s more thanks to the searching Gabite this deck had great consistency and thanks to Altaria from the same set you could even boost the damage from dragon type pokemon even further. This deck had great and obvious synergy but as I’ve said wasn’t enough to fight against big Darkrais and Rayquazas. This Garchomp got reprinted as a secret rare in Plasma Freeze and Legendary Treasures so it was around for quite some time but never did much.
And the last stage 2 Garchomp as of writing this is the fighting one from Breakpoint the one legal right now. While he has no retreat cost 130 HP is actually underwhelming since most stage 2s hit 150 and even 160 HP. He has very aggressive attacks though and that’s a good thing. Turbo Assault let’s you attach any energy from your discard pile to a pokemon while doing 60 for 1 and that’s awesome. Against an EX Bite Off does 160 for 2 which is pretty incredible and gave this line some sort of potential. With GXs taking over though I’m not sure if this line can win any big tournaments. I’ve seen this card see some play but I don’t think it’s enough. Still, a good stage 2 line to use getting the benefit of strong energy too and a good Garchomp.
To finish things up it’s EX Promo time. Garchomp also gets 2 big EX prints and a Mega Form card. The first one that got released a few years ago is just there to be there honestly. Nothing special about its stats and Power Blast is just a medium-high damage attack with a discard. The one that comes with Mega Garchomp isn’t really all that great either but it does have a better first attack and 10 more HP. M Garchomp EX 210 Hp isn’t that high for a Mega-Form and while free retreat is good Crimson Edge is very difficult to use. You need some serious healing support, it’s hard to accelerate all that energy and there are so many more efficient ways to do 180 damage.
That about covers the killa! Basically all of Garchomp’s prints border from good to great with only a few average ones around and even those are better than most filler crap anyway. His biggest legacy is clearly in his home generation and while 5th gen gave him some hype and didn’t really meet it the Altaria/Garchomp deck can still surprise you and can prove threatening. Even though he hasn’t been around as much as other pokemon he’s given more than a good enough impact and I’m sure many fans are wondering when is he gonna become top king again. That’s all for today guys thanks for reading and if you pray to whatever you pray long enough then maybe you’ll get lucky enough and I do the pokemon you comment on next. Sup.
Originally written in 2017