It is a functional reprint of the EX Crystal Guardians “Windstorm” Trainer Card, and continues the destruction-of-stadium-by-force-of-wind thematic (see also: Lugia EX’s Deep Hurricane attack). More importantly, Field Blower is a trainer-based tool removal option. This is a mechanic the format has been sorely missing since the rotation of Tool Scrapper and Startling Megaphone.
The following is an analysis of how Field Blower could impact the current competitive Standard Format.
Giving players the ability to easily remove their opponent’s Tools from play will impact the strength and playability of numerous meta decks.
- Big Basic decks rely on Fighting Fury Belt (FFB) to push their hit points just out of reach to be one-hit knocked out (OHKO). With the ability to remove FFB, Vespiquen requires four less Pokémon in the discard pile. Mega Rayquaza requires one less Pokémon on the bench (can get away with seven rather than a full Skyfield bench of eight) to achieve a OHKO on most EX or basic GX Pokémon. Further, Steam Siege Mega Gardevoir can now OHKO a basic GX (previously impossible when FFB was attached due to it’s attack ceiling of 190 damage). The loss of FFB also reduces the ceiling of Tauros GX’s Rage attack.
- When Tool Scrapper was legal in the standard competitive format, EXP Shares were prime targets for discard. Given the popularity of Turbo Darkrai decks, and their reliance on EXP Share, it is likely that Field Blower will be used to target EXP Shares. In this way, Turbo Darkrai and Umbreon GX/ Espeon GX focussed decks lose some of their consistency.
- Decks that rely on Float Stone will suffer. It becomes easier to Lysandre stall Pokémon with high retreat costs (Volcanion EX is particularly prone to this tactic). This means that cards like Switch, Escape Rope, and Olympia (and potentially Ninja Boy as a pseudo-switching option) may see an increased amount of play. Solgaleo GX may also emerge as a commonly played supportive Pokémon, due to its Ultra Road ability.
- The ability to remove Tools through Field Blower means that Garbodor is considerably less threatening. This buffs decks that benefit or depend on abilities – for example Decidueye GX, Volcanion EX, or Vileplume. This also means that players can be more creative with deck-building, as some abilities become “playable” (for example, Vikavolt’s Strong Charge). In response to this, there may be a tendency to move towards playing Hex Maniac and /or Alolan Muk.
Field Blower also gives players the option to remove their own Tools from play
- This may be useful in the case of Tools that offer a one-time benefit – for example, Spirit Links or EXP Shares (when the player is finally using that Pokémon to attack). Ideally, a player will utilise their Spirit Link on the the turn that they play it down. On subsequent turns, they can use a Field Blower to remove the Spirit Link then play other tools like Assault Vest to make them even more beefy.
- Yes, you can just play your own Stadium to counter an opponent’s Stadium. However, the ability to remove a Stadium from play through other means is particularly important in Stadium mirror matches. An example of this is Reverse Valley or Parallel City, or against decks running Pokémon that benefit from having a stadium in play such as Lugia EX or Primal Groudon. There are Stadium removal options in the form of Paint Roller and Delinquent, but neither cards are considered to be staples in decks. Stadium removal is not your priority effect for your supporter for turn, and Paint Roller offers little else.
It’s so interesting that a single Item card could potentially have a such an impact on the meta of the competitive Standard Format. I’d look to get your hands on at least a pair of Field Blowers when Guardians Rising is released – particularly since Mega Gardevoir has recently seen a resurgence in play, and the new set offers at least 4 new and potentially powerful Stadium cards.
This article is part of a weekly series for competitive Pokémon Trading Card Game players. Never miss an article! Follow me on Twitter here.
Special thanks to David Patane for his contribution to this article.