Field Blower: Enter the Tool Tech

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With the release of Field Blower in the new set Guardians Rising, you should definitely expect a lot of top decks teching in this card. The reason is because our tool denial options for standard are quite limited.

Here are the tool disruption options we’ve had before Field Blower:

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As you can see, there aren’t a lot of playable cards from these that you can just tech into any deck. Mr. Mime from Primal Clash simply switches tools from one pokemon to another so it doesn’t remove anything from the board. Fletchinder is a stage 1, so it’s not worth evolving into it for a single attack to end your turn. Banette has seen small amount of play because of the tool denial ability. It’s good as a bench sitter, but it simply negates tools, it does not remove them. Unfezant has the same problem with being a stage 2 and is not worth the three energy or the space for a tool tech. Chaos Wheel from Giratina is very strong for tool denial. Tools that are already on the board will not be affected though since the attack prevents you from playing tools from your hand. Fright Night Yveltal is very useful in Dark decks because it renders every tool in play useless, but only when it’s in the active. However, unlike Banette, it actually has a decent attack that can snipe EXs and punish your opponent for relying on megas. Pyroar is another stage 1 that isn’t worth teching into any fire deck. Mischievous Fang from Ratatta is good for instant tool removal as soon as you bench it. It only removes from the active, but this has seen a moderate amount of play especially in Despair Ray Mega Gardevoir. Carvanha discards for a colorless from the active but it’s only good to use in it’s own Sharpedo deck. Beedrill EX has been used about the same amount as EVO Ratatta. Beedrill allows you to discard up to 2 tools attached to any of your opponents pokemon. However, the fact that this card is an EX with 160 HP and a mediocre second attack makes this card risky as a tech. Mandibuzz BREAK is the tool destroyer, removing all tools from your opponents board. However, being a BREAK pokemon makes it as difficult as a stage 2, and no one is using stage 2s as just a tech.

So while many of these cards have tech to use against your opponents tool cards, very few of them actually can remove tools and send them to the discard. You’ll want to be doing that whenever you can to rid your opponent of Fighting Fury Belt to take a one shot. But Banette and Yveltal are useful as well since they render tools useless which gives them stall power against mega decks, or heavy Pokemon using Float Stone. Ratatta does not need to be evolved and is instant. Beedrill EX is most useful in a Mega Beedrill deck using Shrine of Memories. Teching it into any other deck will leave you vulnerable to a 2 prize loss if your opponent retaliates.

So out of all the tool denial/removal cards we’ve had in standard, I have listed the most useful in no particular order since the strength of this tech is dependant on the deck it is used in.

EVO Ratatta
Instant, but discards only from the active.

ROS Banette
Affects all tools in play, even your own.

AOR Giratina EX
Most useful in the early game for denial.

BKT Yveltal
Similar to Banette but only works when it’s in the active. Has a useful attack.

These four are your go to options to tech for your opponents tool cards. Beedrill EX almost makes this list, but giving up two prizes after attacking is too risky. So why is all of this important?

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Garbotoxin. Garbodors ability has been running rampant in the format shutting down decks that rely on abilities and strengthening decks that don’t. Garbodor is a very useful tech to run especially in the early game to prevent setups with Shaymin EX or Hoopa EX Scoundrel Ring. To activate his ability requires you to attach a tool card to him. Typically a Float Stone, but any tool can be used if you don’t have Float Stone in hand. In order to deactivate Garbotoxin you must discard the tool that is attached to him. How does one go about doing this? You could easily use a Lysandre to pull it off the bench and knock it out, but that’s a lot of trouble for using your supporter for the turn. Not to mention that if your opponent has a powerful pokemon ready to retaliate, odds are that the prize trade will not be in your favor in this situation. However it is a good option to Lysandre a Garbodor to put you back in the game if you rely on powerful abilities. Now for tool removal. EVO Ratatta’s Mischievous Fang will not acivate since it’s an ability. Banette’s is also an ability along with Fright Night Yveltal. Giratina EX only stops your opponent from playing tools from the hand, which doesn’t do much if Garbotoxin is already activated. Beedrill EX would definitely do it, but you will lose this trade against another fast EX deck most of the time. Hex Maniac would shut it off, but that would mean that your abilities are inactive as well until it wears off. As you can see, this garbage pokemon’s ability is very frustrating to deal with!

Field Blower is definitely the tool removal card that we have been waiting for! This card allows you to discard up to two in any combination of tool cards or a stadium. This can be used for any tool on the board, not just your opponents. One Field Blower, and Garbotoxin is no more and your free to use abilities again. At least until, they place another tool on Garbodor. If they do attach another Float Stone that’s a bad thing, but it’s also good since they will be using one more Float Stone that they could have used for something else. The fact that many decks will be using this card as a one-of tech (sometimes two), means that unless a deck runs a 2-2 Garbodor line, they will need to be careful of Float stone placement. But remember, it does not always need to be a Float Stone. If Field Blower is used on you while playing Garbodor you can always attach a Fighting Fury Belt, or even a Spirit Link if you are that desperate to keep abilities shut down. In addition, STS Klefki’s Wonder Lock ability can be played around even easier. Field Blower puts more pressure on players, requiring them to conserve their resources more. Mind games also become a factor. Now everyone will need to think twice about playing their tools early in the game. Spirit links will need to be placed the moment you can evolve into a Mega. Otherwise you leave yourself vulnerable of losing that tool card to an item card, instead of a pokemon’s ability or attack. It would not be a bad idea to “bait” when your opponent will play a Field Blower by using the example above and attaching an odd tool card to Garbodor as early as possible. Recovering item cards like Field Blower is not that simple but there are options.

The versatility of this card is amazing. Decks which rely on Garbodor to improve their matchups now have something to worry about. Even if this is used as a single tech you have ways to recover it. Puzzle of Time or the SM Herdier’s ability can grab it from the discard, making it a good play mid or late-game. Decidueye’s GX attack can also grab this card but that is vulnerable to disruption. Of course, item lock decks won’t have to worry about this card, but Hex Maniac can stop Vileplume and allow an opposing player to setup Garbotoxin to negate the lock. Discarding a stadium is a great bonus since it will allow some decks that play Parallel City to have another option for stadium wars. Removing a Shrine of Memories with an item card is great if you don’t want to replace it with your own and be vulnerable to a Delinquent play. Although Delinquent is not in every deck, you are still safer using Field Blower against a deck that happens to run it. Any decks that rely on the powerful Choice Band against EXs or GXs will also take a hit from this card. With Tapu Lele’s Wonder Tag ability, you can always have access to this card provided that you run Skyla in your deck as well. This gives Field Blower an even better surprise factor. Now you can Ultra Ball, Wonder Tag, Skyla, Field Blower, then remove Fighting Fury Belt to take an easier one-shot. This is a very situational example, but plays like this can turn the game around. Now with Eco Arm in the format, your opponent can always reshuffle their lost tools making your efforts almost useless. However, that is why it’s important on the timing of when you use this card.

Early in the game, a disruption card like N, Judge, Red Card, or even Ilima, combined with using a Field Blower to remove a Spirit Link from an EX and/or a stadium on your first turn when you go second, can force your opponent to rethink their next turn. Players now need to think about exactly when to use Garbotoxin since they will be expecting a teched Field Blower in order for the opposing player to take advantage of a setup turn from Shaymin EX or Hoopa EX. In the mid-game, Field Blower will want to be used to discard multiple Float Stones to setup a potential Lysandre stall, or force your opponent to use their Eco Arm for simply two tools instead of three. This doesn’t seem like much, but Eco Arm will not be played twice in the same game that often. Remember that stadiums can only be recovered with things like POT, PRC Milotic or Decidueye’s Hollow Hunt. Stadiums are even harder to recover than item cards are. So playing your stadiums early on to shrink your hand or for whatever other reason is out of the question unless you are playing quad stadiums in a deck like Mega Rayquaza or something. You now only want to play your stadiums when you will instantly utilize the benefits it grants you like how you would play a Spirit Link. This may sound like overthinking, but mind games play a very important role in the early game. If you play an early Scorched Earth for your Volcanion Engine in your opening turn you can easily gain advantage. Your opponent then plays their own stadium. No problem. You still have two more Scorched Earths in your deck. But once you’ve lost your first stadium early on, your opponents Field Blower options become more spread out. Simply put, the earlier stadiums are played, the earlier they will be replaced. And the less stadiums a player has, the stronger Field Blower becomes in the late game. Decks like Volcanion or Lapras don’t hurt from this too much since Scorched Earth and Rough Seas have to be activated. But decks that are relying on passive stadium effects such as Sky Field and Shrine of Memories have to be wary of this.

Lets look at the tools/stadiums that are seeing play in the format:

Tools:

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Stadiums:

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The tools that suffer the most from removal are easily Float Stone, Exp. Share, and Fighting Fury Belt. Turbo Darkrai players will need to consider placing more than one Exp. Share at a time. While some decks rely on the pressure of Bursting Balloon, using Field Blower to remove a one-turn tool card does not seem like the optimal play (most of the time). Anyone benefiting from the HP boost of Fighting Fury Belt will need to be conservative on which attackers to place it on, especially if you run a deck with Tauros GX and other Big Basics. The stadium tech will most likely be your own most of the time but depending on the situation, you may want to take the 1 stadium-1 tool discard route. Some interesting plays that Field Blower allows is to remove your own tools as well. Now you can remove a Spirit Link from your own Mega Evolved Pokemon and attach a Bursting Balloon, or Assault Vest for more defense against Special energy attackers. Any deck that is playing Parallel City as a filler stadium might want to try and fit in 2 Field Blowers.

Field Blower definitely is game changing and will change how many matchups are played. Remember the three things to keep in mind with this card.

Mind games: To bait or wait for disruptive plays, and predict how well the opponent can maintain tool management afterwards.

Timing: Figuring out when Field Blower will give you an edge and using it at the perfect opportunity to get the most out of its effect. Capitalize on the situation that your tool removal play will open up for you.

Flexibility: Will you discard 2 of your opponents tools? Maybe 1 tool 1 stadium? One of your own tools and one of the opponents? Consider the board state and all options available.

You will need to assess when and how your opponent attaches tools, as well as have a good understanding of the matchup, to fully utilize these three fundamentals.

Will we see a surge of players using Alolan Muk now that Garbotoxin has a hard tech against it?

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Thank you for reading! Check back in for more articles in the future.