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Getting a Little Toxic with Slowking!
Galarian Slowking VMAX is a lesser-used Pokémon released during the Chilling Reign set from Sword & Shield. Though it doesn't attack for much, its Max Toxify attack can slowly grind your opponent's Pokémon down by Poisoning them! But unlike typical Poison effects, Galarian Slowking's Poison Condition will deal a whopping 120 damage to the affected Pokémon each turn!
While certainly not the most powerful VMAX option available in the standard meta, there are strategies players can leverage to pin their opponent's Active Pokémon and subject them to massive amounts of damage as a consequence of being Poisoned!
Another benefit of playing this is that because it's not a very common deck archetype, you can pick up a lot of the necessary singles at relatively affordable prices!
Let's take a look at the decklist!
Standard Galarian Slowking VMAX with Houndoom & Toxicroak Decklist
Here's how you build the deck!
- 4x Galarian Slowking V CRE
- 3x Galarian Slowking VMAX CRE
- 4x Croagunk SSH
- 4x Toxicroak SSH
- 3x Houndour BTS
- 2x Houndoom BTS
- 1x Crobat V SHF
Trainer Cards: 31
- 4x Quick Ball SSH
- 4x Galar Mine RCL
- 3x Evolution Incense SSH
- 3x Switch SSH
- 3x Marnie SSH
- 3x Boss's Orders SHF
- 3x Urn of Vitality BST
- 3x Tool Scrapper RCL
- 3x Fan of Waves CRE
- 2x Professor's Research SSH
- 4x Single Strike Energy BST
- 4x Hiding Energy DAA
Developing Your Board in the Early Game
When you start your game, you will ideally be able to play Galarian Slowking V in the Active position, and be able to set a Houndour and/or a Croagunk on the Bench. Until you have these three Basic Pokémon on the field, your goal will be to get them all out as quickly as possible, using cards like Quick Ball, Marnie, Professor's Research, or Crobat V.
If you can attack, attach an energy to Galarian Slowking and use Concoction to discard one card and draw three!
Once you have all of your Basic Pokémon cards set, you will want to evolve as many as possible by the second turn. Hopefully you'll already have them in hand, but if you don't, you can use Evolution Incense to draw one of them from your deck.
Unless your Slowking is at risk of being knocked out, you will probably want to evolve Houndour into Houndoom so that you can quickly start using the Single Strike Roar Ability, allowing you to attach a Single Strike Energy directly to your Active Slowking V or VMAX from your deck.
If you can also manage to evolve Galarian Slowking V into VMAX, this is ideal. By doing so, you can use Max Toxify by the end of your second turn. However, before you do this, check to see whether you can evolve Croagunk into Toxicroak, supercharging Galarian Slowking VMAX's attack using its continuous More Poison Ability, which will deal an additional 20 damage to your opponent's Pokémon when it receives its Poison damage.
Is This Enough Damage?
At this point, you may be wondering whether 120 to 160 damage will be enough to get the job done. This is a great point because alone, Galarian Slowking VMAX is not strong enough to take down most V and VMAX Pokémon in one attack, and all your opponent needs to do to heal the special condition is retreat their affected Pokémon.
But there are things you can do to help prevent your opponent from being able to retreat short of using Trainer cards like Switch, Escape Rope, or Bird Keeper. The primary mechanism for doing this is your Galar Mine, a Stadium that increases both Active Pokémon's retreat costs by two colorless energies.
You can also discard your opponent's Pokémon Tools like Air Balloon, a common tool which decreases the equipped Pokémon's retreat cost by two colorless energies, using Tool Scrapper. This Item card can also be used to discard other commonly played Pokémon Tools that slow down this deck like Cape of Toughness, or Tool Jammer.
Or, if your opponent is running Hiding Energy, which reduces an equipped Pokémon's retreat cost to zero, you can use Fan of Waves to place that energy on the bottom of your opponent's deck. But even if they aren't playing Hiding Energy, Fan of Waves can still help slow the opponent down, which is always useful.
Let's also not forget that, by not evolving Galarian Slowking V, you can use the World of Ruin attack, which will automatically knock out the opponent's Pokémon if they can't retreat.
The only drawback, however, is that this attack is essentially useless if the opponent can retreat during their turn, so be sure only to use this attack when you have Galar Mine in play and your opponent has few cards in their hand. This will give you the best chance of getting that attack to stick.
It's also a good idea to ensure that your opponent's Bench doesn't have any Pokémon capable of dealing enough damage to knock out your Galarian Slowking V. If they can retreat their Active Pokémon using a Trainer card and bring out a Pokémon capable of knocking out Galarian Slowking V, you will be in trouble.
So one drawback of using this deck is that your board will be locked up along with your opponent's. Between Galar Mine and Galarian Slowking's expensive retreat cost, protecting your Pokémon from being knocked out by retreating will be a challenge.
However, using Hiding Energies to power up your Galarian Slowkings' attacks will allow you to retreat them without paying a cost. However, if you need to, you can also use one of the three Switch cards this deck runs.
Even if you aren't able to Switch or retreat your own Pokémon, you can alternatively use Boss's Orders to force your opponent's weaker Pokémon into the Active Position, buying yourself some time to find the resources you need to prevent your Slowkings from being knocked out.
Although some people have seen success using this deck in competitive formats, this deck will probably perform best and be the most fun to play in casual settings.
You will have your opponents scrambling to try to heal their Pokémon and manipulate their board rather than spending resources targeting your Pokémon. Also, the fun you'll have working to increase your Poison damage by stacking Toxicroaks is really rewarding, especially if you win!
Quick Tip: Though the decklist above is quite effective as is, you may want to run a Manaphy or two from Brilliant Stars if you find yourself playing against a lot of decks that target Pokémon on the Bench. This Manaphy has an Ability called Water Veil, which prevents attack damage from targeting Benched Pokémon. Naturally, this deck heavily relies on Houndoom and Toxicroak, so keeping them alive is a priority.
If you are interested in learning how to play the Pokémon Trading Card Game, check out my Comprehensive Guide!