Spinarak (HeartGold & SoulSilver HS 83) – Card of the Day

pokebeach.comHey y’all! Celebi’ here. For this Card of the Day I decided to get in the Halloween groove and review this little guy. Nothing says “spooky” like a tiny little spider with a weird face on its abdomen, right?

Spinarak HS is a very interesting card – at first glance, he seems terribly weak, but when played right, he’s a total troll. Spinarak’s stats are terrible – to start off, he’s a Grass Pokémon. Grass is pretty much the worst type to be in our metagame, since practically nothing is weak to it and most Grass types are weak to Fire – arguably the most dominant type in the format.

Spinarak’s 50 HP is rather low for a basic, making it a bad starter. It gets even worse – due to its weakness, Reshiram BLW can kill Spinarak with just a DCE and a PlusPower drop. No resistance is fairly common, and one Retreat Cost is average.

Spinarak’s first attack, Hang Down, is nothing special; it does a vanilla ten damage for one C energy. Its next attack though, Spider Web, is quite interesting.

Spider Web costs one G Energy, and does no damage whatsoever. But its effect states, “The Defending Pokémon can’t retreat during your opponent’s next turn.” Usually, your opponent can just get rid of this effect by playing Switch, a Trainer card that’s a staple in many decks. But under Trainer-lock, they’ll be unable to play Switch, and the Defending Pokémon will be trapped.

With Switch so prevalent in the format, Spinarak can only really be used in Trainer-lock decks. But in these decks, Spinarak can work quite well. Muk UD is almost a staple in Mew Box, and he combos very well with Spinarak. His attack, Sludge Drag, lets you pull up a benched Pokémon of your choice, and that Pokémon is then Poisoned and Confused. Muk is never used by himself, but rather is “Seen Off” by Mew Prime, who can then utilize his attack.

Eeeeeeek! A spider!

Mew’s free retreat lets you bring up a benched Spinarak the turn after he uses Sludge Drag. Then, you can Spider Web to keep the Defending Pokémon from retreating even if they can get enough energy attached.

Some decks will fold when they’re unable to get a heavy-retreat Pokémon out of the Active Spot. And most decks run at least one such Pokémon (Emboar BLW 20 and Magnezone Prime immediately come to mind). This lock can pretty much be kept up throughout the entire game.

But Spinarak doesn’t just lock bulky Bench-sitters. Take Cleffa HS, for example. Spinarak’s attack makes its free retreat, which is an important aspect of the card, useless. With Vileplume UD in play, your opponent will be unable to use Switch, and Cleffa will be stuck with no way to do damage at all.

Spinarak locks almost every deck in the current metagame, making it a valuable asset in a Trainer-lock deck. He may not work for everyone, but he’s worth a shot. Is Spinarak viable? What do you Mew players out there think of him? Any comments are appreciated!

Reader Interactions

16 replies

  1. Anonymous

    Good article, but isn’t his supposed to be in the “CoTD” spot, Adam? LoL

    • John DiCarlo  → Anonymous

      Yah, this is a CoTD, right?

       Good review, except you didn’t mention how you can use him to win with the lock with Yanmega or someone. 

  2. alex bob

    woah. just realized aipom would be perfect tech against goth.

    EDIT: except that they could just charge another goth and then switch that one out… nvm…

  3. Chuck Rancor

    This would be decent to stall for a set up perhaps, but unless you see off this pokemon with Mew along with Muk, I wouldn’t find this card easily playable. Running catchers would be useful for this too if you can’t get a hand on Muk and just want a stalling idea.

    • Anonymous  → Chuck

      Obviously, Catcher would help a lot, but Mew places a lot of importance on getting out an early Vileplume, which locks all Trainer-Items.

  4. Anthony Smith

    Spinarak’s not really worth the spot in MewBox and most decks for that matter unless you get a prize lead and intend on winning via time, or getting even then knocking out the cleffa in +3 turns – very lame.

    I get using it to provide you with some breathing space, but it may only be worth it in The Truth.

    By the time you’re set up with plume with MewBox, you should have at least 1 yanmega as well. A good MewBox shouldn’t need to stall behind anything but a cleffa.

    As far as winning with spinarak: Vileplume + Kingdra, but don’t expect to get away with it more than once in match play.

  5. Adam Capriola

    Liked for the epic Cleffa caption – it fits the picture perfectly! haha

  6. barryfken

    I think more people are preferring Gothitelle over Vileplume anyway, so Spinarak’s No-Retreat attack may be useless, especially since you need a Grass Energy to use it and Vileplume decks are rarely Pure Grass. Evolving Spinarak may be helpful though. Another thing is that if Spinarak’s up against Zoroark, then Zoroark Foul Play’s and neither can retreat. And using Spinarak against ZPST may not be helpful either. It’s a great idea, it’s just, with the present MetaGame, I’d be afraid to use Spinarak.

    • Mekkah  → barryfken

      Galvantula will end up KOing whatever it’s trapping, eliminating the possibility of a “perpetual” lock, which can be used to stall a game into time.

      • barryfken  → Mekkah

        True, but at least Galvantula will stall for a few turns before KO’ing. You might be running out of time if you decide to keeping using Spider Web.

  7. Steven Nilsen

    Solid explanation.  Mewbox is such a versitile deck – it would be my counter-meta choice if I needed to make that call.  Spirinak may not make my cut, but after reading this, I might try it.   Aipom is the competitor in this discussion.  To move attached energy around or to lock them in place with energy?  I prefer moving their energy so a counter-attack is avoided.  Mew is still pretty flimsy.

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