you think this review is too long to read, just skip
straight to the scores and then read the summary for a
Rocket’s Moltres ex
EX: Team Rocket Returns
Rocket’s Moltres ex has any (D) Energy attached to it, the
Retreat Cost for Rocket’s Moltres ex is 0.
(RC) Fire Dance 
your discard pile for (R) Energy card and attach it to 1 of
(RRC) Combustion 
Being a Rocket’s Pokémon is an advantage: you get to
use a lot of Rocket’s supporting cards. There are a
few cards you will be unable to use, but the only
significant ones (in Modified) wouldn’t work for you anyway
since they don’t work for Pokémon ex anyway. There are card
that negatively affect Pokémon ex that wouldn’t hurt a
Rocket’s Pokémon, so being a Pokémon ex means that you
need some compensation in other areas: after all, not only
are there cards that specifically hurt Pokémon ex, but they
are worth two prizes when Knocked Out.
area where Rocket’s Moltres receives a slight
boost is HP: it has a solid 20 to 30 more hit points than
any other Moltres that has been releases stateside,
and a full 40 more HP than the original Rocket’s
Moltres. Sadly, this is also just high enough to
trigger Desert Ruins.
Moltres is Weak to Water Pokémon, which is not good: Water
Pokémon see a lot of play. At least Water Pokémon also tend
to be in the OHKO category anyway, so the doubling of the
damage is not as significant. Still, it’s a nasty Weakness
to have. Rocket’s Moltres ex has no Resistance:
another card that really needed it. Finally, we have a
Retreat Cost of two. This is low enough that if you have to
pay it, you can, but high enough that if you can avoid it,
you should. Fortunately, as you’ll see, there is a built in
way to avoid it in this card’s Abilities.
Dark Lift (and having a (D) Energy attached to Rocket’s
Pokémon ex) means never having to discard Energy
for a retreat. The way the Poké-Power is worded, it will
even override other effects, like Dark Muk. As long
as it has some form of (D) Energy attached, it’s a
free-retreating Basic, and that is pretty useful.
attack, Fire Dance, is pretty good. You pay for 25 damage,
but you do 30 damage, and if there are any
Fire Energy cards in the discard pile, you can attach one to
one of your Pokémon. While this won’t let you power itself
up any faster, it does mean that you could prepare it as a
back up hitter, attack a few times with Fire Dance to set up
a new main attacker, and hopefully free retreat back to the
safety of the bench before they can nail you. If not,
attaching just one more Fire Energy to use Combustion and at
least take one thing (preferably a second thing) with you.
Combustion itself is a nice, no-nonsense 50 damage. What
makes it nice is that you only paid (RRC), which should
again, the individual abilities are not worthy of being a
Pokémon ex, but together, they seem to warrant it.
Here’s the problem: the job it does can be done infinitely
better by a Stage 2 Pokémon. That’s right: Fire Starter
Blaziken. If that didn’t exist, I’d suggest using it
with Energy Draw Delcatty to set up with lighting
speed. As is, I am hard pressed to find any better way to
use it. I guess run it with a lot of supporting Rocket’s
2/5-It’s slower than its fellow Rocket’s Legendary
Bird Pokémon ex; it doesn’t really fit in much of a niche
deck. If you really wanted to, you could try to make some
sort of bizarre Fire Beatdown deck using this, Dark
Vileplume, and any decent Basic Fire Pokémon.
3/5-Remember, this is the focus of the deck I described
(this active with Delcatty and other Fire Pokémon
waiting to be powered up on the bench), so that means its
rating is more or less the deck rating. It can work, and if
this format wasn’t OHKO oriented and Fire Starter
Blaziken didn’t exist, we might have a solid deck.
3.5/5-The rub lies in needing the Energy in the discard to
begin with. Unless you have to retreat a lot before
you bring this out, you can only make use of the first
attack to power up you bench after losing a prize already.
Which means this has a small window of opportunity for use:
after the opponent draws their first prize but before they
draw their second. Still, it’s big and can hit hard, which
helps. And if you can draw some supporting cards like
Rocket’s Hideout, t gets even better.
too late: this card tries to be a reasonable Fire Starter
Blaziken, and succeeds. Since the original is still
available, that means it’s just a second rate.