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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Heatmor #18

Noble Victories

Date Reviewed: Dec. 19, 2011

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 1.67
Limited: 3.50

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

Combos With: See Below

Baby Mario
2010 UK National
Seniors
Champion

Heatmor 18/101 (Noble Victories)

Hello and welcome to the last week of Pojo’s CotD before Christmas!

We kick off with Heatmor, the Anteater Pokémon, and natural enemy of Durant, and by ‘natural enemy’ I mean that Heatmor likes to burn through Durant’s body and feast on the goo inside. Don’t believe me? Check out the flavour text on this card.

Heatmor is an unevolving Basic Pokémon with 90 HP. At one time that would have been considered very good, but now we have the Legendary Basic that put that number to shame: still, barring Zekrom/Pachirisu/Shaymin shenanigans, it should survive at least the first turn. The Fire typing is good too: unfortunately Heatmor lacks the damage output to threaten most playable Pokémon that are Weak to it, but with so little Water being played (Kyurem excepted), its own Weakness isn’t much of a drawback. The Retreat cost of two is on the heavy side, and not something you will want to pay with actual Energy, so bring a Switch with you, or be prepared to leave Heatmor active until it is KO’d.

As for the attacks . . . eh, as I hinted earlier, they are underwhelming. A single Fire Energy gets you Singe, which does no damage, but does inflict Burn. Don’t know about you, but I can think of a lot better ways to inflict a lot better Status Conditions at the moment (Vanilluxe NV, Roserade UL, Lilligant EP, Muk UD etc). Burn’s might force a Pokémon to switch out, but the damage is flip dependent and therefore unreliable. Add another Energy (any Colour will do) and you get Incinerate. This has a horrible base damage of 30, but does have the effect of discarding a Tool attached to the Defending Pokémon. At the moment there are just two Tool legal in Modified: Eviolite and Rocky Helmet. Both are good cards and see some play, but Heatmor is just not the best way of dealing with them. In both cases simply doing more than 30 damage is a more effective strategy, especially as the opponent will more than likely have access to Junk Arm to get those Tools back.

In the end, Heatmor seems designed for a niche role as a counter to decks playing Tools. Unfortunately, it isn’t designed well enough to fulfil the role to a competitive standard, and as a result won’t be getting any table time in premier tournaments.

Rating

Modified: 1.5 (Does something that’s sort of useful . . . but does it poorly)

Limited: 3 (decent HP, and spamming Burn can be handy. With players using all the Eviolites and Rocky Helmets they got their hands on, even the second attack could be ok)


Otaku

We open the weak with the predator of Durant, Heatmor. Unfortunately for people like me, TPC can’t seem to make up their minds if Pokémon are animals or people, and constantly portray them as both. So for me, that makes the flavor text on Heatmor quite, quite disturbing, since apparently it eats the (insides) of Durant! If Pokémon are just animals, not a problem, but since many Pokémon are depicted as not only being as smart as humans, but with similar psychological make-ups, emotions, etc. that would make Heatmor a cannibal of sorts. Don’t get me started on portraying some Pokémon as divine, or this will quickly become an essay.

Stats

Heatmor is a Basic Pokémon, which is actually quite good in the current format: for a long while, Basic Pokémon have only been strong when part of a supported family or as part of a gimmick, but as of right now in general they just have some solid support, with at least a little more on the way if I’ve read some spoilers correctly. As a Basic Pokémon (with no extra strings attached) you’ll be able to max out its line for a mere four deck slots, and of course it is easy to simply drop into play.

Heatmor, as the name implies, is a Fire-Type Pokémon. This is a mixed blessing: it is quite hard to compete with Reshiram for deck space in most (if not all) Fire focused decks. While Fire Support is actually almost too good (working for many non-Fire-Type Pokémon), hitting Fire Weakness is becoming more important as the Type spread seems to be balancing now that we are getting more sets.

Heatmor enjoys 90 HP, still a good, solid amount even with recent surges in HP scores for Basic Pokémon. The hardest hitting decks in the format will still OHKO it without too much of a fuss, but anything more technically minded will need some help or have to settle for a two-hit KO. I’ll point out that for many decks, 90 is an awkward number to hit: it can be done but often requires overkill, and that overkill is likewise often expensive in terms of resources. Water decks will not suffer this problem owing to the card’s Water Weakness.

The lack of Resistance is depressing and the two Energy needed to Retreat, while functionally “average” seems a bit high. I say “functionally average” because most decks I know can pay it without too much fuss, but it will still be a set-back. While the Retreat Cost is almost in line with the HP (again, adjusting for the power creep that has plagued the last few formats), historically functional Basic Pokémon tended to have a Retreat Cost in line with the number of turns they were likely to survive. The hardest hitting (and commonly played) decks will turn this into a OHKO, meaning Heatmor will be lucky to survive through your opponent’s turn. This is not a hard and fast rule, but rather a general guideline.

Effects

Heatmor has two attacks, Singe for (R) and Incinerate for (RC). Simply put, both are either overpriced or underpowered, and lack any real synergy save for the first attack costing one less Energy than the latter. Singe does inflict automatic burn, but that’s it. Incinerate has a useful effect of discarding a Pokémon Tool from the Defending Pokémon before doing damage, but the damage it does is just 30 points. For a Pokémon that doesn’t Evolve this is rather underwhelming.

Right now we only have two Pokémon Tools in the format, and discarding them is quite useful, but much less so as a small attack that needs two Energy to work. It is nice that the attack discards them before doing damage (which means those Tools won’t get their respective effects), but you really have to look at the investment: Heatmor, something to provide (RC), and an attack. You almost certainly won’t be KOing what you are hitting, so while your next Pokémon might be able to finish the job, you gave up a Prize and now your second attacker will be at a disadvantage trading blows with your opponent’s second attacker.

If we really have to burn an attack to discard a Pokémon Tool, Singe and Incinerate should have been a single attack: Burning and discarding would be worth a single (R) Energy requirement, and then the second attack could have been something useful but inexpensive if Heatmor survived, like a classic Rage attack or even something for (RCC) that just did solid damage; it is worth losing a Double Colorless Energy for most decks if it gets a Prize.

There is one redeeming thing about these attacks (besides the fact that discarding Pokémon Tools might barely be worth the price); while each attack needs something supplying Fire Energy, there is only a single such requirement per attack and thus a deck can just use Rainbow Energy to cover the cost, or slap a few Fire Energy in, even. Getting back to hypothetical designs, changing all the (R) requirements to (C) would have made this card less likely to backfire as well.

Usage

As implied above, this is a card you run in decks to discard Pokémon Tools that could ruin your strategy, with the mixed blessing that you’ll be able to hit Fire Weakness now (but requiring extra investment for most non-Fire-Type decks). Durant is about the only Pokémon I can think of that this card somewhat counters, but even that is tenuous; a Durant without the Special Energy version of Metal Energy still needs a PlusPower to score a OHKO. Still remember this if we get some annoying, small Fire Weak Plant-Type Pokémon that is greatly enhanced by Pokémon Tools.

For Unlimited play, it is nice that this will discard Focus Band (and the many other amazing Pokémon Tools of this format), but you have Windstorm for that. Assuming you weren’t facing some kind of lock or First Turn Win deck anyway, it makes more sense to focus on countering your opponent’s expected Trainer denial (so Windstorm can go through) and/or speeding up your own Trainer denial (so that Focus Band can’t even get into play).

In Limited play, it is all a question of can you afford room for a few Fire Energy cards. A Basic Pokémon with 90 HP and inflicting automatic Burn for (R) is a good pull here unless you cannot afford the room for the Fire Energy, and the damage of the second attack isn’t a bad follow-up. Should you encounter any Pokémon Tools (as this set brought us both Eviolite and Rocky Helmet), this makes for insurance against someone fortunate enough to get some crude combo going (as both those Pokémon Tools are fantastic here).

Ratings

Unlimited: 1/5

Modified: 1.75/5

Limited: 4/5

Summary

I see the niche this card was intended for, but it doesn’t quite fit right: for the investments needed to discard the Pokémon Tools, you might as well run a beefy attacker and go for the OHKO, or enhance what you already have. Enjoy it in Limited play and then wait for upcoming Heatmor if you really want a hard counter to Durant.

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