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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Typhlosion Prime

HGSS

Date Reviewed: July 29, 2011

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 3.75

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

Combos With:
 

Baby Mario
2010 UK National
Seniors
Champion

Typhlosion Prime (HeartGold SoulSilver)

Typhlosion comes from the very first batch of Primes we got when HGSS was released. From the start, it looked like it should be a playable card: good HP, a useable attack, and an Energy accelerating Power. As Powers go, Energy acceleration is right up there with the best: anything that allows you to break one of the fundamental rules of the game (in this case, one Energy per turn), is most definitely worth consideration.

Add to this the fact that the HGSS Ninetales works perfectly with Typhlosion (discard an Energy to draw, then attach it using Afterburner), and it was clear that this was a card with real potential. The trouble was that, like the other HGSS Energy accelerating Prime, Feraligatr, Typhlosion did not have a top notch partner to take advantage of its Power. Sure there was Charizard AR, but then you were looking at setting up two Stage 2s and a Stage 1 to make the deck work. In a format full of super-fast SP decks with power-locking capabilities, not to mention Gyarados SF, that was never going to be a tier 1 prospect.

But, while Feraligatr still waits for something worthy of its Rain Dance to come along, Typhlosion seems to have found the right playmate. The Black and White set brought us Reshiram: a Basic Pokémon with Stage 2-like HP and damage output that needed Energy acceleration to support continued use of its Blue Flare attack. The synergy with the Typhlosion/Ninetales combo was both obvious and powerful.

The real question, of course, is: is Typhlosion better than Ability Emboar? After all, Emboar has the advantage of being able to attach multiple Energy per turn without placing a damage counter on the recipient. In my opinion, both decks are viable, but Typhlosion just has the edge. With no need to run a bunch of Energy recovery like Fisherman and Retrieval, the deck has more room for consistency cards, while Typhlosion definitely eclipses its rival when it comes to being used as a secondary attacker.

At the recent US National Championships, Typhlosion-based decks were only outnumbered by Yanmega variants in the top cut (though they were a very distant second). The deck has a solid match up against Stage 1 decks, and most of its Basics have 60+ HP, making it relatively safe from a first turn donk. I can see Typhlosion being a useful Prime for the foreseeable future.

Rating

Modified: 3.75 (finally found its soulmate in Reshiram)

Combos with . . .

Ninetales HGSS, Reshiram

virusyosh

Happy Friday, Pojo readers! Today we are ending our week of reviewing Primes by reviewing Typhlosion Prime, which saw quite a bit of success at the recent North American National Championships.

Typhlosion is a Stage 2 Fire Pokemon. With the popularity of Reshiram, Typhlosion, and Emboar and the lack of a strong Water-type counter, Fire Pokemon have made a very strong resurgence in our current Modified metagame. 140 HP is just about average for a Stage 2, but the value is high enough to survive a weak hit or two, and even some stronger ones: for example, Magnezone Prime has to remove three Energies in order to OHKO with Lost Burn, and both Reshiram and Zekrom need two PlusPowers to secure the knockout. Water Weakness isn't so bad right now, but with all of the hype that Beartic is getting from Emerging Powers, may become more of an issue in the future. No Resistance is indeed unfortunate. Finally, a Retreat Cost of 2 is payable, but chances are you'll want something like Switch to get Typhlosion out of the Active Position if the need arises.

Typhlosion has a Poke-POWER and a single attack, both of which are useful and see play in some popular decks. Afterburner allows you to attach a Fire Energy card from your discard pile to one of your Pokemon once per turn, with the additional cost of placing a damage counter onto that Pokemon. This Power has great synergy with many other Fire-types, who usually have high-powered attacks with significant Energy discard requirements. Reshiram is a natural partner for Typhlosion in this regard: after using Blue Flare (Energy cost: RRC) for a powerful 120 damage and discarding two Fire Energies, the Reshiram player can use Afterburner in addition to their Energy attachment to power up Reshiram again and use Blue Flare again. This "Reshi-phlosion" combo is one that is well known throughout the metagame, and once set up, can be absolutely devastating.

Flare Destroy, Typhlosion's attack, deals a decent 70 damage for two Fire and one Colorless, with the added effect of discarding an Energy from Typhlosion AND the Defending Pokemon. While the damage output is less than stellar compared to big hitters like Reshiram, Zekrom, and Magnezone, 70 damage is still a serviceable number in Modified, and the Energy discard can work wonders against any opponent that isn't Yanmega, especially if the opponent has something like a Double Colorless Energy. Finally, with the possible release of Crush Hammer in the next set, an Energy removal deck based around Typhlosion may be viable, although many powerful threats in the metagame are very good at Energy acceleration.

Modified: 3.5/5 Typhlosion is an excellent Pokemon to use in a Fire deck, especially with Reshiram as stated earlier. Many Fire decks also run Emboar with its Inferno Fandango Ability instead, which allows for multiple Fire Energy drops per turn without dealing damage to your Pokemon. However, this requires having Energies in hand, therefore making Typhlosion a slightly better combo piece, especially if you're running Ninetales and/or Reshiram. However, whether or not you use Typhlosion or Emboar as your form of acceleration is mostly a matter of personal preference, as both are quite effective at what they do. It is worth noting, however, that although Emboar has more HP and does slightly more damage, Typhlosion has a lower Retreat Cost and the potential to discard Energies.

Limited 4.5/5 Typhlosion is great in HGSS Limited, taking out many threats that aren't Feraligatr very easily. As a Stage 2 it's a bit hard to get out, but if you do, the acceleration Typhlosion provides as well as the Energy discard make Typhlosion a top pick here, if you can draft the lines.

Combos With: Reshiram BW, Ninetales HS/CL


Otaku

Let me wish a happy (Happiny?) 34th Wedding Anniversary to my parents, Gene and Birdie Lee. :D

Now for the card, and since I am in a celebratory mood:


From beginners’ ranks
Arise leader of the flames
Old power made new

Yeah, on my second try I finally got the haiku right, serving the dual purpose of referring Typhlosion “Prime” and Rodimus Prime. As a Stage 2 Pokémon it will eat up deck space and is hard (but not impossible) to run as TecH. Almost as obvious (but still needing to be touched upon) is that Typhlosion is a Fire-Type, providing it some advantages. Most are from synchronicity with other Fire Energy using and/or manipulating Pokémon: if there is something in the current Modified card pool that specifically assists Fire-Type Pokémon, I couldn’t find it. 140 HP seems to be the new average for Stage 2 Pokémon in the Black & White sets, though as a Pokémon from the previous block this is actually a little more impressive and shows that TPC really was thinking ahead with the execution of the HeartGold/SoulSilver block. While the HP is good, Water Pokémon will douse this card's flames pretty quick due to Fire Weakness. Right now that isn't a huge problem because Water decks can't seem to find their flow, but my understanding is we should be getting some new support that fixes that next set. The lack of Resistance is common and doesn't detract from the card's usefulness, but also feels a bit lazy in design. The two Energy Retreat Cost is high enough you won't want to pay but low enough you'll usually be able to; still you might want to make room for an extra Switch just in case.

So on top of a solid foundation, what do the effects of this card add? A Poké-Power and an attack: Afterburner and Flare Destroy. The Poké-Power is why you'd consider running this card: Afterburner has appeared more than once and this latest iteration works well, allowing you once per turn to search your discard pile for Fire Energy and attach it to one of your Pokémon. That Pokémon then has a damage counter placed upon it. The damage received only tends to be an issue during a tight match-up; most of the time it will prove negligible or can possibly be turned to your advantage. Afterburner is a very potent effect because it can allow a deck to constantly cycle through the same Energy cards over and over again, thus freeing the deck up to run more Pokémon or Trainer cards, while also providing Energy acceleration. The former is useful, the second is powerful, and the two together are amazing!

Flare Destroy pales in comparison: for (RRC) this attack deals a respectable 70 points of damage with a mandatory effect. Said effect is that you must discard an Energy card from Typhlosion and from the Defending Pokémon, unless you were unable to: the wording is such that if one or both Pokémon in question lacked Energy, the damage would still go through. I am hard pressed to think of a scenario where the Pokémon using Flare Destroy would lack the Energy, though. The damage yield is enough to two-hit KO most Pokémon and OHKO those that are on the small side. On the small or injured Pokémon removing one of their Energy won’t matter since you’re OHKOing them. Otherwise it can prevent a counter attack while robbing your opponent of a past Energy attachment (hopefully one they don’t have many copies of). Most commonly attackers either have some form of Energy acceleration or low cost attacks, which makes me really wish this effect was optional. Since it isn’t, the attack really strikes me as being neither good nor bad.

Unfortunately, Typhlosion Prime doesn't get a lot of help from the rest of its line or alternates, though at least in the case of the latter neither is it getting pushed out by them. There are two Cyndaquil: HeartGold/SoulSilver 61/123 and HS: Call of Legends 55/95. No contest here: while the HeartGold/SoulSilver version has underpowered vanilla attacks, it has 20 more HP. The smaller version doesn't even have better attacks, just a little more creative but still underpowered single attack. There are two currently legal Quilava, but one is a reprint of the other. You get an underwhelming 80 HP, but the attacks give decent damage for the Energy going into them. As it is small and just gives decent damage, only attack if you have to, but that's better than pure filler. You'll want to use Rare Candy for at least your first Typhlosion anyway, just so it can be in play on your second turn. Speaking of Typhlosion, the other legal Typhlosion (HeartGold/SoulSilver 32/123; HS: Call of Legends 35/95) isn't a bad card, but it is just a pure attacker with only 130 HP. The attacks are nicely spaced and priced at 50 points of damage for (RC) and 120 for (RRC) and discarding two Energy: this could have been brutal had it come out even just a few years ago. If you find yourself desperately needing an extra beatstick and not desperately needing a fourth Afterburner, you could run it in your deck for a decent return. That’s a big “if” on top of an unlikely situation.

So now for the obvious question: why run this over Emboar (Black & White 20/114)? There actually are a few reasons. I've already stated one: this card won't constantly need to use other cards to recycle Energy, as it does so itself, and thus can get by with less Energy in the deck overall. This in turn frees up space for other cards. While not a huge boon, Typhlosion Prime has better synergy with Ninetales (HeartGold/SoulSilver 7/123; HS: Call of Legends 17/95): discard a Fire Energy for Roast Reveal to draw three cards, then attach it to a Pokémon in play with Afterburner. Reshiram (Black & White 26/114, 113/114) even can make use of the damaging nature of Afterburner, since it will happily use Outrage (which does more damage based on the amount of damage on Reshiram) in addition to its Energy hungry Blue Flare attack. Both those Pokémon can function in an Emboar deck, and it is hard to say in which they work better.

What I think really helps this card most amounts to speculation. In general, we don't go long in this game without a counter to the inherent non-attack based effects of Pokémon. I doubt it will be long before we get something that easily shuts down Abilities just by being in play and/or that can attack Pokémon for more damage (or all Pokémon at once) that have Abilities. If that happens, suddenly Typhlosion has a real reason to see play: there most certainly are counters for Poké-Powers, but unless Emboar decks ditch a lot of their current supporting Pokémon they'll have both Abilities and Poké-Powers. Typhlosion builds can run completely without Abilities. There is even a remote possibility of running Typhlosion with Emboar. Why? First they might both offer Energy acceleration but in different ways, and while multiple Typhlosion are nice, once you have one Emboar (Black & White 20/114) you don't need another. The amount of deck space it would take is immense, but with this build you don't need as many Fire Energy cards. You could even still maintain two brutal attackers as Reshiram is a Basic Pokémon and the other Emboar (Black & White 19/114) is no slouch as long as it has Energy raining down on it or being re-attached from the discard pile. Of course the challenge is making such a build fast and reliable in the set-up department, and only 60 cards.

So what about the Unlimited format? Unless I missed a reversal of the ruling that cards which affect Pokémon Powers also affect both Poké-Power and Poké-Bodies, the tricks available to Typhlosion Prime aren't apt to be more useful than Emboar (Black & White 20/114). Still you should be able to build at least a medium functioning deck with it, something that not only can beat other established Unlimited decks. I wouldn’t expect it to win a tournament (should you actually find one) and if someone insists on playing decks that win (or lock a player down) first turn, Typhlosion is toast.

In Limited of course this card is phenomenal: it is much harder to run but the payoff is immense. Everything about it becomes stronger! This set's Cyndaquil and Quilava are good for Limited play if you are already running Fire Energy and at least "alright" if you can make room for about five Fire Energy in your deck. There is even another Typhlosion that, while not especially good for constructed play is ferocious in Limited and more importantly makes it just a little easier to pull a fleshed out line. In fact, that’s the only real reason not to run it: an incomplete line.

Ratings

Unlimited: 3.5/5

Modified: 4/5

Limited: 4/5

Summary

Emboar (Black & White 20/114) burns brighter and hotter, but Typhlosion Prime provides a sustainable, controlled burn. I’ve hear a lot of players thinking about shifting to it over Emboar, but we’ll have to see if that holds true. Being able to conserve Energy while at the same time attach it more quickly really is phenomenal, and a skilled player will find several minor combos that add up to a major advantage.

Mad
Mattezhion
Typhlosion Prime (HeartGold/SoulSilver)
 
Here is a Prime that is dear to my heart. Before the last rotation I had a lot of success at League with a CharPhlosion deck using Spiritomb as a starter (I never got to try it out at a tournament because I was always playing a Speed Gengar/SP hybrid build but I imagine it would have justified its existence) so I've always though it was good. However, the new format has definitely changed the field for the Johto firebreather.
 
Typhlosion is a Fire type Stage 2 with 140 HP, Water weakness, a retreat cost of 2, a Poke-power and an attack.
 
The HP is exceptional because Typhlosion is intended to sit on the Bench and support your attacker, so this monster will be safe from most snipers (even Blastoise UL will need 2 shots) and will probably survive a heavy hit if it gets dragged Active by Poke'mon Catcher. The weakness is nothing unexpected, although it will prove to be a problem if a Rain Dance archetype ever becomes viable. The retreat cost is actually quite low, especially since the Poke-power allows for energy acceleration from the discard pile and you won't often have Typhlosion Active anyway. All in all a great set of stats that means Typhlosion won't be a liability, although you'll need a lot of deck space because the lower stages aren't very good at surviving (I use a 3-3-2 line myself).
 
If you are able to make the investment to put Typhlosion in your deck, you get quite a nice set of effects. Afterburner is the Poke-power, which has the effect of taking 1 [r] energy out of your discard pile and attaching it to one of your Poke'mon, at the cost of placing a damage counter on them as well. Before considring the effect, it is great to know that the only currently legal card that can block Poke-powers is Grumpig TM (which does make an appearance in some Mewbox builds) so you will usually be completely free of disruption. Unfortunately any Special Conditions will ruin your day but if Typhlosion is on the Bench that shouldn't be a problem.
 
Since many Fire Poke'mon have a high-discard high damage attack (Reshiram and BlitzBoar are the latest models in a long tradition stretching back to the original Arcanine, Ninetales and Charizard from Base Set) this power is invaluable for continuing your attacks without having to rely on one-shot Items and Supporters to recycle your energy. Even better, this attachment doesn't cancel out your manual attachment for the turn so you can power up an attacker quicker than you usually would. To top it all off, the power stacks so for every Typhlosion Prime you have you can attach another energy (but a small downside is you also have to place the extra damage counters).
 
Afterburner combos extremely well with the Ninetales from HeartGold/SoulSilver and Call of Legends, since you can discard an energy with Ninetales' Roast Reveal Poke-power turn after turn to draw cards and then immediately attach the energy to your attacker to quickly power up your attacks. Reshiram makes an excellent third piece to this combo because not only does it cost very little deck space (leaving more room for extra Ninetales and Typhlosions or consistency cards) but it can use the damage counter penalty to its advantage with Outrage. Known as a ReshiPhlosion build, the deck is enjoying quite a lot of success due to the advantage of energy acceleration along with its own reusable draw power (most decks have to rely on one-shot cards for draw).
 
However, if your Reshiram gets beaten up and you don't have a spare on the Bench you can use Typhlosion's attack in a pinch. Flare Destroy costs [r][r][c] as well as an [r] discard (Afterburner helps a lot). The payoff is 70 damage, which is enough to 2HKO most Poke'mon but isn't all that impressive, especially for the cost. The added effect is much more useful, as you get to choose an energy attached to the Defending Poke'mon to discard which will hopefully slow your opponent down by a turn, giving you time to draw into a Revive and get you Reshiram back. This is especially true if your opponent is relying on Rescue Energy or Double Colourless Energy but doesn't work so well if you are facing a deck with it's own energy acceleration engine (mirror matches are fun!).
 
You could try working Typhlosion into other archetypes, such as MagneBoar and any deck that runs Rayquaza & Deoxys Legend, but the problem of deck space is a lot harder to solve. The ability to pull energy back without Fisherman or Energy Retrieval is quite tempting though so if you are in a roguish frame of mind then I suggest you take a crack at it. The results should be entertaining if nothing else (and isn't that why we play Poke'mon in the first place?).
 
I'm not convinced Typhlosion is versatile enough to fit into another archetype so the combo potential is limited. Still, Typhlosion Prime is the best partner for Reshiram which guarantees it will be seen at tournaments until it rotates out.
 
Modified: 4.5 (a powerful combo piece that serves as a decent backup attacker, balanced out by mediocre lower stages and a heavy price in deck space)
 
Limited: 4 (if you draft enough Fire, or better yet a Ninetales then you will do extremely well with Typhlosion attacking and providing energy support, and hopefully you also drafted enough Trainers to make searching your deck a little easier than in most Limited events)
 
Combos with: Reshiram BW, Ninetales HGSS


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