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What is the Best Purugly Card in the Pokemon Trading Card Game?

First introduced in the fourth generation of Pokemon games – Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum – Purugly is a Pokemon that isn’t especially popular, despite actually having decent base statistics. Unfortunately, it has a rather shallow move pool, although it has been used in lower tiers of competitive play thanks to having access to some useful moves such as Fake Out and U-Turn. In the Pokemon Trading Card Game, Purugly has a few cards that while not all that great from a competitive standpoint can be fairly useful in a casual gameplay setting. It also is one of the easiest Pokemon to acquire and adventure with in the Diamond and Pearl remakes: Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl for the Nintendo Switch. 

Here we will be looking at the eight Purugly cards printed as of January 2024, starting with the Diamond & Pearl Base Set and ending with the Sword and Shield: Astral Radiance set. 

Before we proceed with analyzing each card, there are several things that should be pointed out first. Six out of the seven Purugly cards are Stage 1 Pokemon, meaning that they require an evolution from a basic Glameow first. Interestingly, there are some notable Glameow cards which are more competitively useful than any of the Purugly cards listed below, but we’ll look at those in a separate piece. Additionally, all the Purugly cards are colorless, meaning any energy cards can be used to power their attacks and they can appear in any deck that wishes to play them.

With all these things in mind, the question we’re asking is: what is the best Purugly card in the Pokemon TCG?

Purugly #36 – Diamond and Pearl

Purugly didn’t get off to a great start in the Pokemon Trading Card Game, as although the Tiger Cat Pokemon is a rare card in the set (denoted by the star symbol in the bottom right next to its collector number), it didn’t feature good attacks and no ability. It does feature a respectable 90 HP for the time, with colorless Pokemon’s usual weakness to Fighting type Pokemon. 

The first attack isn’t terrible for a single colorless energy, High Hat, which chooses one card from your opponent’s hand to discard. It’s not a bad first move. But, its second move requires a huge investment of four energy for only 50 damage. It does have a useful second ability you have to flip a coin for, and if it comes up heads, it paralyzes the Defending Pokemon. This is an extremely overcosted ability, even at this point in the TCG, and this card understandably wasn’t relevant in the game at all. 

Is it the worst Purugly card, though? From an artwork perspective, the typically lax Tiger Cat is actually looking fairly peppy, so it has that much going for it, especially in reverse foil.

Purugly #50 – Diamond and Pearl: Great Encounters

For the Great Encounters set, Purugly was actually demoted to the uncommon slot, yet the card is functionally somewhat better. The first attack requires two energy to use, albeit colorless, and deals only 20 damage. However, you flip a coin, and if it comes up heads, you discard an energy attached to the Defending Pokemon. Arguably this is much better than the High Hat attack of the Diamond and Pearl rare card as it can have a direct effect on your opponent’s ability to attack with their Pokemon.

The second attack relies on three coin flips, much as its namesake Fury Swipes attack does in the game.  It does 40 damage for each heads, meaning it can deal up to 120 damage. For three energy, this isn’t terrible, and at the time, would’ve been enough to deal with a wide variety of Pokemon. Overall, this uncommon version of Purugly is significantly more playable than its Diamond and Pearl base set predecessor. The art is much more generic, though.

Purugly G #88 – Platinum

The Purugly belonging to Galactic Commander Mars from the Platinum game is depicted here on this common Pokemon card. Being a common, you wouldn’t expect it to be better than the rare and uncommon cards that came before it. Indeed, it has a very poor second attack in Poor Sleep, requiring an investment of four energy to do potentially 80 damage, but with a chance to put Purugly G to sleep. But, clever deck builders would play Purugly G only for its first attack, which costs only a single energy to use. Also, because it’s a G card, it’s a Basic Pokemon, meaning no Glameow is required to evolve it!

Chip Off actually deals 20 damage, but its additional effect is quite powerful. If your opponent has 6 or more cards in hand, you discard a number of cards until your opponent has 5 cards in hand. Potentially, if your opponent is drawing a lot of cards, you’ll be chipping away at your opponent’s hand at random. While this doesn’t seem powerful on the surface, the Pokemon Trading Card Game has no maximum hand size. Therefore, it’s not unlikely for some players to bide their time drawing just the right combination of cards to finish the game. Purugly G makes this potentially a dangerous strategy.

Indeed, Purugly G did show up as a one-of “tech” card in competitive play for use in the late game against the powerhouse Shuppet Donk decks in the other powerhouse Luxchomp (Luxray & Garchomp) decks of the day. There were objectively better cards, though, including Dialga G, that saw play over it. Still, the very fact that it was considered shows that it’s an objectively better card than the two Purugly cards that preceded it.

Purugly #94 – XY Breakpoint

Purugly only received one card in the XY sets of the Pokemon TCG, this one at uncommon, and it wasn’t very good. The art is cute, with Kagemaru Himeno doing a fine job of showing Purugly being its usual prissy and lazy self. It also gets 100 HP, ten points better than its three previous incarnations. Unfortunately, the attacks don’t do the art justice. The first attack requires two energy to use, and it deals a measly 30 damage. 

The second attack, Nyan Press, isn’t much better, dealing just 40 base damage for 3 energy. The good news is that the coin flip has a positive effect for you either way: if heads, the attack deals 80 damage instead, and if tails, it Paralyzes the opponent’s active Pokemon, meaning it has a one in two chance not to attack. It’s not terrible, and is perhaps, still better than the first two Purugly cards. However, no one would realistically play this card in a deck unless they purposely wanted to play Purugly as a joke.

Purugly #109 – Sun and Moon Ultra Prism

Sun and Moon finally gave Purugly its best overall card yet with an uncommon with two useful attacks.  This Purugly features some very cute art taking up an entire bed by Shibuzoh, and actually gets some usefulness beyond looking cute in a card binder. The first attack, Own the Place, deals 20 damage for just a single energy, and also discards your opponent’s Stadium card if they have one in play. Then, if you do discard a Stadium card, you prevent all effects of attacks done to this Purugly during your opponent’s next turn. Talk about a sweet tech card, especially at a time where Stadium cards were pretty prevalent in the game.

The great news is that Purugly #109 gets another useful attack, Toss Aside. While the investment is three Energy and deals a mediocre 60 damage, it also discards random cards from your opponent’s hand until they have 3 cards in hand. This means that it’s actually even more devastating than Purugly G. Overall, Purugly #109 is objectively better than Purugly G, but requires a specific metagame being played around it. If your opponent doesn’t happen to use Stadium cards, it becomes quite a bit worse. It does have 110 HP, though, significantly better than all other Purugly cards to come before it. It might not be better than Purugly G, though, in the final ranking, because it never really came up in any sort of competitive context, thanks to being so niche.

It is worth noting that the Glameow in the same set also has a decent first attack, Gentle Bite, which not only deals 10 damage, but also makes it so your opponent’s Pokemon does 40 less damage. This isn’t going to affect the ranking of the Purugly cards, but it’s worth mentioning.

Purugly #160 – Sun and Moon: Unbroken Bonds

While Purugly did get another card in the Sun and Moon sets, this one a rare, it’s not better than its Sun and Moon: Ultra Prism counterpart. The buff to 120 HP is nice, but its attacks are considerably less powerful. The first attack requires two Colorless energy and deals just 30 damage. It does discard a random card from your opponent’s hand, and if it evolved from Glameow that turn, you discard two cards instead. It’s a nice little way to drain your opponent’s hand, sure, but for an evolved Pokemon, it’s really underwhelming.

The second attack is a straightforward 80 damage for three energy with no drawback. While this appears better from a pure power standpoint, and it is, having no additional effect makes this vanilla attack much less appealing than Purugly #109 and its ability to devastate an opponent’s hand. Not surprisingly, this is a rare card that absolutely would ruin an Unbroken Bonds card pack. The art is cute, with Purugly taking up an entire kitchen sink, but if you were to throw the kitchen sink at an opponent, it would hopefully not include this Purugly card.

Purugly #116 – Sword and Shield: Battle Styles

Finally, we have the Sword and Shield entry for Purugly, and being back at uncommon, we don’t expect as much. Hilariously, this card is the entire reason this article was even written, as its first attack is named for the day of the week this article was originally posted. Yes, it has an attack called Caturday. It costs just a single energy and draws you three cards. Unfortunately, Purugly then goes to sleep. 

When it does wake up, though, it has an attack that deals 120 damage, granted you actually invest four energy into this underwhelming Pokemon. The grumpy cat artwork by Akira Komayama is excellent and overall, this is a better card than Purugly #160 by far.

Purugly #128 – Sword and Shield: Astral Radiance

Certainly not my favorite artwork on this card, but it does have two decent attacks. The first is Body Slam, which does 30 damage, with a coin flip to potentially make your opponent’s Active Pokemon Paralyzed. The second attack is a vanilla 100 damage for three colorless Energy. With 110 HP and a 2 retreat cost at uncommon, it’s actually better than the rare from Unbroken Bonds! It seems to me that this is probably the 4th best Purugly card of all time. Unfortunately, I don’t know why you’d ever play it over Caturday.

So, what is our final ranking?

  • 8. Purugly – Diamond and Pearl
  • 7. Purugly – Great Encounters
  • 6. Purugly – Breakpoint
  • 5. Purugly – Unbroken Bonds
  • 4. Purugly – Astral Radiance
  • 3. Purugly – Battle Styles
  • 2. Purugly – Ultra Prism
  • 1. Purugly G – Platinum

After reading through this article, this ranking should come as no surprise. The cards did get better over time, thanks to the nature of power creep. Purugly G mostly wins on its merits as a Basic Pokemon and the fact it even showed up in competitive tournament play at all. The “real” Purugly in the video games was always quite a bit better than her Trading Card Game counterparts and we will be looking at her in another article.

Which other Pokemon would you like to see us rank in the Pokemon Trading Card Game?

~ Amelia <3

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Amelia Desertsong is a former content marketing specialist turned essayist and creative nonfiction author. She writes articles on many niche hobbies and obscure curiosities, pretty much whatever tickles her fancy. Personal Website: https://www.thephoenixdesertsong.com

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