I’ve been a big fan of specialization in the Pokémon TCG, and I love when a certain Pokémon finds its own little niche in the card game. For example, look at Cherrim. This little flowery thing has become a grass/fire tech in any deck, with either +10 to attacks or -10 to taken damage.
The same is true for Drifblim. It has a slew of variations that specialize in setting up and/or recovery of the discard pile, though not many have really used it in a deck due to the trainers and draw support already present in our format. But now, with the introduction of Supreme Victors, Drifblim takes on a new role; a sniper.
The interesting thing, however, is that this is its ONLY role it can play. A lot of cards with sniping capabilities have some other attack for its own support (take Gengar, for example), but Drifblim has but one attack, albeit a unique one. What I find quite fascinating about Drifblim is that although it is uniquely specialized, it can be very versatile and can perform a couple different acts before it hits the ground. But let’s save that for later. Now introducing:
80 HP is pretty reasonable for an SP Pokémon, especially for a normal basic as well. Sure, it won’t survive a snipe on the bench from a Garchomp C LV.X or an attack from Absol LV.X (due to weakness), but it should stick around for a while. Fortunately, Drifblim also has a very nice Poké-Body, “Pump Up”. If your opponent has taken half of their prizes (i.e. 3 prizes), then your Drifblim just gained 40 HP. 80+40=120, which is VERY good for an SP Pokémon.
If you are mid-late game, Drifblim should stick around for a while and do its business very handily. That’s not to say you shouldn’t use it in the early game, as Drifblim has many uses throughout a battle, but to get your money’s worth out of this pumped up Pokémon, you should definitely save one for the late game clean-up.
Before I move onto the bottom of the card, I do have one (ok, two) more item regarding that wonderful ability to increase its HP to sky-high levels. First, due to our little blimp being a Pokémon SP, Dialga G LV.X won’t shut off the Poké-Body, so no surprise knockouts there.
Another use for it is with a card that has been a little neglected in SP decks recently: TGI Technical Machine G. With insane HP, a little teched in TM would give your Drifblim even better sniping capabilities for when it is about to be Knocked Out. Say you allowed your opponent to get 80-110 damage on your Drifblim. Slap on the TM and put a big dent on something on your opponent’s field. The energy requirement is the same as your attack, so there isn’t any inconvenience there, and the fact that your HP can get so high compared to other SP’s gives you the upper hand in using the TM.
As for the bottom of the card, we have a few things to discuss. Being x2 weak to dark Pokémon isn’t as bad as some weaknesses, but you still have a couple enemies that could take you out of the skies. Absol G LV.X knocks you out in one hit (assuming it discards a card from the hand), no matter how many prizes your opponent has taken. Weavile is a big enemy of yours as well. Any deck that uses Weavile to get around a colorless resistance and/or do extra damage (Flygon, Snorlax, etc) will easily take advantage of a x2 weakness and most likely get the 1HKO on Drifblim.
Resistance -20 to colorless is always a plus, as you can take a hit from something like Garchomp or Flygon and live to snipe another day, but as mentioned just before, a lot of colorless Pokémon pack a Weavile for this scenario, especially with Gengars running around everywhere.
A retreat cost of C C is reasonable, as Drifblim has many options to get around the field a bit easier than simply retreating. First of all, Champion’s Room reduces the cost of retreat by one energy, which is helpful when you want to preserve your resources.
Another way is Moonlight Stadium, which reduces your retreat cost to zero. The benefit is much greater for Drifblim, but if you plan on using any other SP Pokémon, you may want to look into Champion’s Room. Depending on what you combo with Drifblim, choose accordingly.
The last alternative, since Drifblim is an SP Pokémon, is TGI Poké Turn. Drop this down and let Drifblim make a soaring escape, along with any other cards attached to it. This is a great way to prevent a knockout on your (hopefully) 120 HP beastie, and can come right back down for recharge.
Drifblim has but one attack, but it is subtlety unique. For one psychic and two colorless energy (PC with an Energy Gain), you may do 40 damage to any of your opponent’s benched Pokémon. Pretty standard at first, right? Maybe even a little too expensive? I mean, Honchcrow G does the same amount to anything with previous damage for one less energy, right? …Take another look though; there is more than meets the eye here.
You know that standard text next to any attack that hits the bench? The part about ignoring weakness and resistance on benched Pokémon? This is different! “Shadow Ball” says “Apply weakness and resistance”! This is what makes Drifblim different from other snipers, and is the reason I chose this Pokémon to write about. Think about how many psychic-weak Pokémon get played on the bench, soaking up the safety that is ever so abused by so many.
The biggest target you have on your opponent’s field are the pixies. Azelf, Mesprit, and Uxie are the legendary trio that Drifblim is so specialized to take out it’s not even funny. They sport a weakness to psychic, are almost unanimously played to the bench and then forgotten about, and have just enough HP to be Knocked Out by a Shadow Ball and a 10 more damage. This 10 damage is fairly easy to get, and I will later introduce a couple partners for Drifblim to fly with.
A TGI Power Spray adds the finest insult to injury for your opponent as well. While your opponent plays down a Uxie, for example, Power Spray that Set Up and snipe it off the bench for an easy prize and the prevention of cards to your opponent’s hand.
Another easy prize is from Unown G. A lot of decks pack this innocent little letter, but if you play a partner that entices your opponent to Guard his/her Pokémon, you can simply stop the poke-power with a Power Spray and snipe off the useless Unown G on the bench, preventing a Guarded Pokémon and gaining an easy prize.
Even if no Pokémon on your opponent’s bench have a psychic weakness, you are still doing reasonable damage to the bench. 40 damage can take out a Claydol in two hits, or at least put a small dent in something your opponent may be charging up in the meantime.
Your attack does have a weakness, however. You may have noticed that “Shadow Ball” can only hit benched Pokémon, and there lies the bane to Drifblim’s usefulness: the Active Pokémon. You are forced to attack the bench, taking the blunt of any attacker may be in the active position.
Thankfully you have decent HP, but Drifblim won’t last forever. The ideal situation is to bring in Drifblim, take out something on the bench, and then make a hasty retreat after taking a hit, waiting for another opportunity to attack. Or, you could take the hit, toss on the Galactic TM, and do an even bigger attack to the bench OR the active Pokémon. By using the TM, you can get the best of both worlds and become a very versatile Frontier Brain’s Pokémon.
Drifblim FB as a Tech:
Drifblim makes a fine sniper tech in an SP deck, especially one that already runs psychic energy or has the ability to spread some damage around. Consider throwing in a Drifblim for a late-game cleanup, taking prizes left and right with a final 40 snipe, as well as having ridiculous HP. Previous spread damage is an easy way to put an Azelf, Mesprit, or Uxie into KO range, as well as any other low-HP Pokémon hiding out on the bench.
Honchcrow G fills a similar role here for less energy, though, and doubles as a decent starter in SP decks, but Drifblim carries significantly more HP in the mid-late game and can hit for weakness on the bench. It depends on what you need in your toolbox of SP’s, but Drifblim is easily worth the easy prizes it should net you during the game, so much so that a focus on Drifblim is very feasible in an SP deck.
Drifblim FB as a Focal Point:
The idea here is to use Drifblim to take easy prizes on your opponent’s bench, with a huge focus on the pixies and other psychic weak Pokémon. So many decks in this metagame rely on an Azelf and Uxie drop throughout the course of a game, it should not be difficult to get at least two prizes with one Drifblim. There are a couple ways to assure you get the 1HKO’s on what you target, which is the key to using Drifblim to snipe with.
Crobat G is one answer to your needs. With the pixies’ +20 weakness to psychic and your 40 damage shadow ball, all it takes is 10 damage to secure the Knock Out- something Crobat G was designed to accomplish. The strategy is simple: Wait for a Uxie/Mesprit/Azelf drop by your opponent, use Flash Bite with Crobat G to a pixie, then Shadow Ball for the Knock Out. Next time a pixie comes use a TGI Poké Turn and repeat. “Flash Bite” is probably your most efficient answer to a pixie drop, but only if you plan on Knocking Out sparingly, one at a time. Bronzong G is another target for your Shadow Ball, and doesn’t even require a Crobat drop if your opponent naively used “Galactic” Switch previously in the match.
Another method is to spread some damage around before going in for the snipe. Gallade 4 LV.X is a nice way to get 10 damage on everything, but you could also pair Drifblim with Palkia G or Forretress G to get 10 damage on everything through an initial attack. Drifblim FB and Honchcrow G work quite well together as sniping partners, as Honchcrow can cover anything not weak to psychic (as well as hit the active Pokémon), while Drifblim takes out any spare Uxie or Nidoqueen lying around. Drifblim also is not reliant upon previous damage like Honchcrow is, so it is possible to throw around a couple Shadow Balls on the opponent’s side of the field, then move in with Honchcrow and clean up the rest. Both Drifblim and Honchcrow benefit from Moonlight Stadium and Champion’s Room as well, so that makes it easy to alternate between the two, depending on the situation.
The last way I could think of was to run a Lucario GL on your bench. This tech sits behind your Drifblim, quietly elevating your opponent’s weaknesses to x2, which secures the 1HKO on all pixies, and leaves a dent on opponent’s psychic-weak Pokémon (ex: Nidoqueen RR). For added coverage, you could try mixing throwing Drifblim FB in any deck running Weavile. Using Dark Engage, your Drifblim temporarily becomes dark type, giving it a whole new spectrum of targets it can prey upon. This might not be feasible to add to a full SP deck, but it would be possible to charge up a Drifblim using Weavile instead of utilizing TGI Energy Gain.
Tanking with Drifblim FB:
120 HP on a regular basic Pokémon is pretty awesome. Not many Pokémon can do that much damage in one hit, especially SP Pokémon, so if you can keep Drifblim alive and healed, then you have a nice late-game tank.
The first thing you need to do is control how much damage is on Drifblim. Alazakam 4 LV.X has a nifty power that lets you move damage counters around amongst your SP Pokémon, allowing you to transfer any damage Drifblim might take to your bench to be promptly Pokéturned away. Another tech you could throw in is Garchomp C LV.X. Upon leveling up, this Pokémon heals away any damage your SP Pokémon may have taken. In this way, you can move all damage off of Drifblim until your bench is full of damage, then bring up Garchomp C for a full bench cleansing! Blissey PL has a nice Poké-Power that, with a single card discarded, lets you heal off 20 damage from a Pokémon. Finally, Bertha’s Warmth is a supporter that allows you to take 5 damage counters off of an SP Pokémon.
Next, you should try to eliminate that bothersome x2 weakness your Drifblim floats around with. Azelf LV.X is a nice addition to any psychic based deck that does away with any weakness you may carry (sort of the opposite effect of Lucario GL). That way, Absol G LV.X now fails to 1HKO your precious Drifblim, allowing you to Shadow Ball one more benched Pokémon.
This might not be the most effective way to use Drifblim FB, but it is quite possible to tank with when your opponent has taken at least three prizes. Don’t forget about the Galactic TM for when your Drifblim is at critical damage, either. The effects of such a powerful snipe after tanking with Drifblim so long can change the game for the better, and using all that damage the active Pokémon did against you is a great way to get revenge after destroying the opponent’s benched Pokémon.
Drifblim FB definitely brings something new to the sniping genre, and it makes for a nice tech into any SP deck. Sure, it’s not such a great starting Pokémon, but mid to late game is where it really shines, and it specializes in taking out those pixies that plague the bench in a lot decks. Drifblim can also make for a nice sniping partner with something like Honchcrow G that can get damage down much more quickly, letting Drifblim move in for the cleaning up afterward (ideally when your opponent has taken 3 prizes). Just know that somewhere in any deck could be a Drifblim FB, waiting to attack the Uxie, Mesprit, and Azelf we take for granted when playing most decks.