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Pojo's Pokemon Card of the Day

 

Hitmonlee #52/90

HS Undaunted

Date Reviewed: Oct. 5, 2010

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 1.50
Limited: 2.75

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being the worst. 
3 ... average.  
5 is the highest rating.

Back to the main COTD Page

Baby Mario
2010 UK National
Seniors
Champion

Hitmonlee (Undaunted) 

Apparently, this is the first time Hitmonlee has had a CotD since 2002! The version up for review that time was the Legendary Collection reprint of the original card from Fossil. Clearly, Hitmonlee gets no love . . . can this card turn things around? 

Well, on the positive side, it has 80 HP, which is good for an un-evolving Basic. The Psychic Weakness is never fun, but it could be worse (i.e.: Lightning), the Retreat cost of two is a big downside. 

Hitmonlee doesn’t have any Powers or Bodies, so it isn’t intended to be a support Pokémon, and neither does it help you get set up, so it’s no starter. Instead it has two very straightforward, simple attacks that do vanilla damage only. Kick is cheap at [F], but only does 20 damage, while High Jump Kick gives you a more substantial 60 damage, but ramps up the cost to [F][F][C]. That means can’t make any use of Double Colourless Energy, unfortunately. 

To say that Hitmonlee is not good enough in Modified is just stating the obvious and, to be honest, I don’t think it is supposed to be. This is one of those easy-to-use cards that can stay around for a bit and maybe do some decent damage at a pre-release. If you wanted to be unkind, you could call it useless set-filler, but I prefer to think of it as a decent pick for a Fighting deck in Limited. 

Rating 

Modified: 1.5 (we waited eight years for this??)
Limited: 2.5 (decent no frills attacker) 

virusyosh

Welcome back, Pojo readers! Today we are reviewing a card that reminds me of the very beginning of the Pokemon TCG. Today's Card of the Day is Hitmonlee from HS Undaunted. But first, a history lesson.

Way back in the days of Base Set, there was a very popular deck called the Haymaker. It focused on having really powerful basics that didn't evolve, and combined with the absurdly powerful Trainer base of that time, it was a really fast and powerful deck. One of the main Pokemon in that deck was Base Set Hitmonchan, which did 20 damage for a single Energy and 40 for 3. Modern players may scoff at the seemingly low damage output, but when the Stage 2s of the format rarely topped 100 HP, 2HKOs were really easy, especially with a bunch of PlusPowers. Other Pokemon in the deck included Base Set Electabuzz, Jungle Scyther, and occasionally things like Magmar and Machop. Each of the three main Pokemon (Hitmonchan, Electabuzz, Scyther) were reprinted in Platinum, and are still Modified legal today.

So what does this history lesson have to do with Hitmonlee? Other than being the first Hitmonlee being printed in a really long time, this card would have fit into that deck perfectly. 80 HP is fairly good for a non-evolving basic (both then and now), and Fighting is a pretty good type to be, as there are quite a few common Pokemon with Fighting Weakness and relatively few with Fighting Resistance. Psychic Weakness is definitely a downside, but can be worked around. Finally, a Retreat Cost of 2 is rather average: It can be paid, although you should probably use some kind of other method of Retreat, like Switch or Warp Point.

Hitmonlee has two very straightforward attacks. Kick deals 20 damage for [F], and High Jump Kick does 60 for [FFC]. Unfortunately, the game has evolved quite a bit from the days of the Base Set Haymaker, so Hitmonlee probably won't be making a splash into Modified any time soon. However, if you need a solid, no-frills attacker for Limited, Hitmonlee won't let you down.

Modified: 1.5/5 Too many things outclass Hitmonlee these days for it to really be playable. Two vanilla attacks simply don't cut it anymore.

Limited: 3.5/5 Hitmonlee is excellent in Limited, especially against the rest of the Undaunted set. There are many Pokemon weak to Fighting in the set, and Hitmonlee's straightforward attacks are actual quite nice and reliable here, as many attacks in Limited are very coin flip/luck based. 80 HP is pretty good for a basic too. Unfortunately, there aren't too many Fighting types in the set and a Retreat Cost of 2 is a bit high, although Hitmonlee may be good enough to use against all of the Darkness Pokemon in the set, even if you don't have many other Fighting types.

RocketProf

RocketProf

Welcome back all!!  Today We'll be checking out Hitmonlee from the Undaunted set today. A Basic Fighting type with 80HP (eh), 2X Psychic Weakness (ouch), no Resistance and a Retreat Cost of 2 (not admirable on a Basic).  Back in the opening days of Pokemon competitive play this card would have been a good partner to its in-game counterpart Hitmonchan with it's HayMaker-esque attacks hitting for 20 for a mere F with Kick and a solid 60 for an expensive FFC with High Jump Kick.  Now a days this card is obsolete considering in most builds you can have a Donking Donphan P or Machamp in the same amount of time it would take to be doing Kick, and definitely quicker than you'd be hitting with High Jump Kick. 

Modified-1.75/5
Limited-2.5/5- A decent card to use and easy to splash

Conical

10/5/10: Hitmonlee(Undaunted) 

You know what this card reminds me of? Base Set Hitmonchan. The parallels between this and 'Chan are pretty easy to see—the above average HP, the F for 20 attack, followed by the 1FF for similar damage, not to mention the comparisons between Hitmonchan and Hitmonlee in general. They even have the same bottom stats. However, Hitmonchan was pretty good at the time(one might use 'excellent' as a substitute word), because F for 20 was a solid attack. Ten(or so) years later, we have giant elephants that do F for 60, and other cards that make 'Lee seem insignificant in comparison. So, for now, Hitmonlee has to stand near the back of the 'Unevolving Basic' line.  

In Limited, though, it's a solid option. F for 20 is good value, it's a common, and it doesn't evolve.(Or rather, doesn't need to evolve.) What a deal! You could certainly do worse than amass an army of Hitmonlee for a deck. 

Modified: 1.25/5
Limited: 2.5/5

Combos With: Hitmonchan PL, aka Base Hitmonchan, who is likely standing behind Hitmonlee in the hypothetical 'Unevolving Basic' line.

P.S. This is my first COTD review. Hi people reading this! (Or the people who skimmed!)

Mad Mattezhion
 Professor Bathurst League Australia
Hitmonlee (HS Undaunted)
 
This card is in the same mould as Hariyama from yesterday, with 2 underpowered attacks in a format dominated by the speedy OHKO (when has the format not been dominated by speed and power though?)
 
At first look, Hitmonlee gets decent stats. 80 HP (about right for non-evolving Basic Pokemon with no starter/tech abilities), Psychic weakness (most Psychics played now are either low-damage techs or deal indirect damage anyway, but still not a good weakness to have) and a retreat cost of 2 (payable, but use Switch or Flygon). All of this hints at a Pokemon with initial staying power which could then be scooped to let the main attraction into the arena.
 
The attacks seem to support this. Kick (that is an unusually short attack name!) deals 20 for F (cheap and nasty) while High Jump Kick deals 60 for FFC (which is where Hitmonlee fails). If only it had been 60 for FCC, Hitmonlee might have had a spot in a few Machamp decks as a starter. Since you could start cheap with Kick, then throw on an Expert Belt and a Double Colourless Energy to start beating into the opponent, Hitmonlee could start the game quite nicely. Then, use a Super Scoop Up and slap the Belt and DCE down on the Machamp you just promoted to continue the beatdown!
 
Sadly, Machamp players will continue to use Chatot MD and Spiritomb PA as starters because Hitmonlee has been outmoded by ten years of power creep (most would have anyway, but creativity and surprise are key to this game, so I’d like to think a few would take the chance!). Not that I dislike power creep either, the game is much improved from days gone by. Keep the TCG going from strength to strength!
 
Modified: 1.5 (It could have been so different!)
Limited: 3 (Just like Hariyama, splash this in Limited for good damage/survivability)
Combos with: all those Haymaker decks that dominated the early years of the game.
Otaku

Today we look at Hitmonlee from HS – Undaunted.  There is a reason we don’t often see Hitmonlee in the TCG: even in the video games he often felt too similar to Hitmonchan and in the TCG adaptation of Pokémon, it is very, very hard for him to distinguish himself and remain a viable contender.  There is a reason that a Hitmonlee reprint in 2002 was the first and last time we reviewed a Hitmonlee card, I am afraid.  At least last I checked Hitmonlee are always male, so I get to be lazy and just use male pronouns instead of trying to be gender neutral. ;)

 

The newest iteration has a good 80 HP.  The TCG is tricky since Hit Points don’t mean exactly the same thing here as in the video games.  In the video games, Pokémon have several stats that tend to be amalgamated into the HP score.  So Hit Points, Evasion, Defense, and Special Defense can all contribute.  I always thought Hitmonlee was supposed to be light on his feet, so 80 HP seems an appropriate amount that can keep him survive for more than a turn, at least early game.  Psychic Pokémon will ruin that, of course, as he is Psychic Weak at the doubling level.  At least it isn’t a more devastating weakness.  The lack of Resistance is as disappointing as always, though it isn’t like Fighting Pokémon are known for their resistance anyway.  The two Energy required to retreat hurt: this is the stat where Hitmonlee could have demonstrated some of his speed.  Still, this is a solid start.

 

Unfortunately the card falls apart when we get to what he can do.  Hitmonlee has two vanilla attacks.  No effects, just damage.  Kick isn’t bad, it just isn’t good: 20 points of damage for a single Fighting Energy was great during much of the games life, but not these last few years.  Still, it provides an inexpensive opening move that could capitalize on Fighting Weakness, especially when coupled with Plus Power.  The second attack requires (FFC) and hits for 60 damage.  That is just too slow unless there is some effective form of Fighting Energy acceleration.  Even if the attack did 10 less damage, had it merely been priced at (FCC) then Double Colorless Energy could have allowed it to go off turn two, and this would have been a possible Fighting TecH for some decks.  As is, it shouldn’t see play in Modified, except perhaps as a decent “beginner” card.

 

In Limited play, you can actually make use of this card.  The single Fighting Energy needed for Kick is low enough that you can splash it and some Energy into a non-Fighting deck and take advantage of the significant number of Fighting Weak Pokémon you’ll face.  Even without Weakness, the solid HP, single Energy opening attack and reliable second attack won’t face the same level of speedy competition it would in Modified, and thus can prove useful.

 

Ultimately, I hope they learn from this and return to having Pokémon like Tyrogue capable of “fake evolving” into Pokémon like Hitmonlee.  With this, they can give the Tyrogue a useful ability and then reward a player for using Pokémon like Himonchan, Hitmonlee, and Hitmontop be played like Stage 1 Pokémon.  Past such Hitmonlee and Tyrogue weren’t quite good enough to see real competitive play, but there were getting closer.  That or we need to see some Fighting Stage 1 and 2 Pokémon with big, supportive Poké-Bodies and Poké-Powers, either boosting HP, reducing damage taken, increasing damage done, or speeding up Energy attachments just for Fighting Pokémon.

 

Ratings

 

Modified: 2/5

 

Limited: 3.25/5

 

I am still selling my former collectables on eBay.  I’ve had a lot of hobbies over the years, so at various times I’ll have comic books, manga, action figures, and video games on the auction block.  You can take a look at what’s up for bids here.  Just a reminder, Pojo is in no way responsible for any transactions and was merely kind enough to let me mention the auctions here. ;)


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