PokeBeachHey 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 colorless energy. Its next attack though, Spider Web, is quite interesting.
Spider Web costs one Grass 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 MewBox, 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.
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!