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Pojo's Pokemon Card of the Day

 

Emboar #20/114

Black & White

Date Reviewed: May 2, 2011

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 4.00
Limited: 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: See Below

Baby Mario
2010 UK National
Seniors
Champion

Emboar #20 (Black and White)

Hello and welcome to a new week of Pojo’s CotD. Last week was a momentous one in the Pokémon TCG – we found out that the next rotation will be HeartGold SoulSilver-on. That’s right, no more SP, no more Gengar, no more Gyarados . . . what are we going to do without them??!! Hopefully have a balanced format that promotes skilful play and deckbuilding and isn’t plagued by turn 1 wins, that’s what. Even more of a shock was the news that the rotation may take place early on July 1st (i.e.: before US Nats and Worlds), saving the two biggest tournaments of the year from a Sableye donk fest. In my opinion, it’s fantastic news for players. I’m really looking forward to the new format, and I congratulate Play! Pokémon for taking this brave decision. Because of this announcement, from now on my reviews are going to focus on a HGSS-on environment. I no longer see the point in telling you that card X is unplayable because it’s weak to Luxray when Luxray will disappear from the format after Spring Battle Roads. My Modified ratings will assume HGSS-on too.

Now that preamble is out of the way, let’s kick off the week with Emboar #20. This card has probably won the race to become the most hyped card of the new Black and White set. Why is that? Well the 150 HP is great, but that’s not the reason, and neither is the mediocre attack that does vanilla 80 damage for four Energy. The Water Weakness is what you would expect, and the Retreat cost is a downright disgusting four Energy so . . . what IS all the fuss about?

Simply put, the fuss is all about Emboar’s brilliantly-named Inferno Fandango Ability. This allows you to attack a Fire Energy from your hand to one of your Pokémon as often as you like during your turn. It’s like Feraligatr Prime’s Rain Dance only for Fire Energy . . . but it’s better than that as Inferno Fandango can attach to ANY Pokémon regardless of type. This makes Emboar usable with any Pokémon that can use Fire Energy, or doesn’t care what Type the Energy is (see Magnezone Prime and its Lost Burn attack), but it’s especially good with Fire Pokémon as they often have attacks which do big damage while discarding Energy (see Reshiram, Typhlosion, Emboar #19 for details).

Is there ANY downside to this Pokémon? I mean, even if dragged out active it can at least put up a fight and won’t go down easily with that massive HP. Water may even decline in play at the start of the next format, partly thanks to the presence of Zekrom, and partly because we don’t have any really killer Water Pokémon yet in HGSS-on. The obvious problem is that it needs a constant supply of Fire Energy to function, and this means Emboar decks will have a relatively high Energy count and will probably need to include Energy recovery and search cards like Interviewer’s Questions, Fisherman, and Energy Retrieval. All of this could impact on deck consistency. A more serious issue is the conflict with Ninetales HGSS. Ninetales gives Fire decks the best draw engine in HGSS-on, but it does require constant discarding of Fire Energy: something that clashes with Emboar’s need for it to stay in the hand.

However, I have no doubt that these problems can be solved with careful deckbuilding and testing, which means that Emboar is a very likely candidate to be included in some of the very best decks in the new format. If I were you, I would grab a playset of these while prices stay reasonable.

Rating

Modified (HGSS-on): 4.25 (with this and Ninetales, Fire is now the best supported type in the TCG)

Limited: 3.5 (Stage 2 = meh in limited, but if you DO get it out . . . )

virusyosh

Welcome back, Pojo readers! I hope that all of you had good weekends, and I also hope that you did well at any Black and White releases that you may have attended. Today's Card of the Day is a card from the new expansion that has a fair bit of hype around it, and for a very good reason. Today's Card of the Day is Emboar #20 from Black and White.

Emboar is a Stage 2 Fire Pokemon. Fire Pokemon aren't terribly common in the MD-on Modified format, with the occasional Charizard or Blaziken FB, but will become very common in the upcoming HGSS-on format, mostly due to this card. 150 HP is amazing for a Stage 2, meaning it should be able to take at least three unboosted weak hits, and can probably KO back. Water Weakness is unfortunate but expected, so look out for Gyarados, Kingdra LA, or Feraligatr. No Resistance is expected, and unfortunate. Finally, a Retreat Cost of 4 is gigantic, so you'll want to use something like Warp Point or Warp Energy to switch Emboar out.

Emboar has an Ability and an attack. Abilities are the new forms of Poke-Powers and Poke-Bodies, going somewhat back to the way how Pokemon Powers worked early in the TCG's life. Inferno Fandango works as a Fire-type version of Rain Dance, but instead allows you to drop Fire Energy onto ANY of your Pokemon. This makes Emboar great in a Fire deck (say with Charizard or Reshiram), or even in some decks with a non-Fire main attacker (like Magnezone Prime). Either way, the energy abuse that Inferno Fandango allows is ridiculously powerful, and will definitely play a huge role in next format, where this and Rain Dance will both be viable archetypes.

Emboar's single attack, Heat Crash, does a vanilla 80 damage for RRCC. While nothing terribly spectacular, it can be used in a pinch for decent damage output, and is easily powered up if you have a good way of drawing into Fire Energy.

Modified: 3.5/5 SP decks and Gyarados limit Emboar's usability right now, but once the rotation happens, expect to see Emboar used a lot. It pairs disgustingly well with Reshiram and Magnezone Prime, and will be a driving force in those decks.

Limited: 4/5 It has huge HP and a great Ability, but it's also very slow, has a huge retreat cost, and an expensive attack. Even still, if you are able to get one out and fully powered up, you should have no problem winning your match.

Combos With: Reshiram BW, Charizard AR, Magnezone Prime, any other big attacker with Fire or Colorless energy requirements

Mad Mattezhion
 Professor Bathurst League Australia

Emboar 20/114 (Black & White)
 
We are all going to have to learn the set numbers for the new starters so that when we mention one or the other of them the rest of the population knows which card we mean. Or maybe call it a nickname, like Firedancer or Dancing Pig? I know those are lousy attempts at a play on words, but the idea of Emboar in a tutu has me laughing too hard to write anything better (my fingers are still shaking as I type now).
 
How about Fanboar and Blitzboar? Dangoboar just sounds stupid and Flareboar fails to grab my attention.
 
All right, enough joking around. The stats for this Emboar are almost identical to its cousin, so we know that Emboar is a Fire type Stage 2 with 150 HP, Water weakness, a retreat cost of 4, an Ability and an attack.
 
Obviously the HP is great but the weakness is not, as you are likely to run up against Gyarados or Kingdra before the rotation and Rain Dance will be a problem immediately afterwards. The retreat cost is terrible but expected and the Ability can help make up for that, so let's see what the fuss is about.
 
The attack is Heat Crash, which quite simply deals 80 damage for [r][r][c][c]. With the help of Inferno Fandango you can power the attack up quickly, but 80 damage for 4 energy is quite a bit below the current curve and will fail to deal an OHKO on at least half of the cards you will come up against (unless you've had a little help). Only use Heat Crash if Emboar gets dragged active and you don't have a Switch, or if you are in major trouble and want to go down fighting.
 
We all know that the Ability is the important part of this card, so I can forgive the mediocre attack. Inferno Fandango is an interesting and useful Ability that allows you to attach a [r] energy from your hand to one of your Poke'mon as often as you like during your turn. For newer players, this means that if you have Emboar in play and some [r] Energy in your hand, you can attach them to your Poke'mon in any way you like (when it says attach the energy to one of your Poke'mon, it means that you can't put the same energy on 2 Poke'mon at the same time, as opposed to only being allowed to attach the extra energy to 1 Poke'mon).
 
As you will undoubtedly have already noticed, Feraligatr Prime has a similar trick with [w] energy, but Emboar actually has the better Ability. Because Inferno Fandango is not a Poke-power, it isn't affected by the same things that Poke-powers are. For instance, you can't use Mesprit LA or Power Spray to stop Inferno Fandango, and you can't shut it down with Special Conditions either (as if Special Conditions weren't weak enough already!).
 
But the truly brilliant part is that Inferno Fandango doesn't say you have to attach the [r] energy to a Fire Poke'mon, so you can power up any other Poke'mon you have as well. Colourless Poke'mon can take the best advantage of thus little omission since they don't need any specific energy, but any Poke'mon with a large [c] energy requirement for its attacks can abuse Emboar effectively.
 
Since this is the first card with an Ability up for review, a few pertinent points are that they are not affected by things that affect Poke'mon Powers, Poke-powers and/or Poke-bodies (Dialga G is feeling the burn) and they aren't affected by Special Conditions either. Generally the text will tell you whether it is automatically in effect or if it is optional (much the same way that the original Poke'mon powers did) and for now they are completely unblockable.
 
I'm sure that Ability-lock effects will be printed on cards in the near future, and you shouldn't rush to get ris of your Poke-power and Poke-body counters just yet. Except for Fanboar and the Royal Healing Serperior
 
However, it isn't all roses for Emboar. It has some stiff competition from Typhlosion Prime, which is better prepared to form a combo with Ninetales HGSS due to attaching energy from the discard pile instead of the hand, and Reshiram BW would also work better with Typhlosion as the damage counters are great for powering up Outrage. The discard-heavy nature of Fire Poke'mon in general also favours Typhlosion, who can recycle the same energy over and over again while Emboar has to keep using Item and Supporter cards to retrieve lost energy in order to play them down for another attack.
 
Emboar is the ultimate in energy acceleration (it can attach energy faster than Typhlosion and do it without hurting your attackers), but unless you consider the effect of multiple discards when you build your deck you are going to find yourself running out of energy and stalling halfway through a match.
 
Fortunately, Fisherman comes to the rescue. This nifty little Supporter from HS Unleashed allows you to return 4 basic energy cards from your discard pule to your hand, so feel free to burn those [r] energy with Ninetales for draw power, as you can get them back later to instantly power a heavy attack. Did you just lose four energy to the other Emboar's Flare Blitz? Drop a Fisherman and you are back in business. Has you opponent's revenge KO inconvenienced you? Fisherman puts you back in the game.
 
Emboar could have gone the same way as Feraligatr Prime after its release (Feraligatr had a lot of hype but it just hasn't found an effective niche in this format) and Fisherman has been extremely underused (good players don't want lots of energy choking up their hand and prefer the flexibility of Palmer's Contribution) but together these card will have a quite different future. ReshiBoar (Reshiram BW/Fanboar) promises to be popular immediately after the rotation and a NinePhlosion variant using Blitzboar is also a possible contender (both now and post-rotation, if someone can pull off a build).
 
To all of you rogue deckbuilders out there: run amok with Fanboar. If you think a Colourless Poke'mon hasn't been getting the repect it deserves, this is the answer. Flygon RR could make a comeback, and I would personally love to see someone run Fanboar with Slaking PT and Dialga G Lv X for a laugh at Spring Battle Roads.
 
Throw in Exploud SV to remove Gyarados' and Machamp's advantage, and you can run any Colourless or Fire Poke'mon you can dream of. Flygon Lv X and Magmortar TM could make a nice combo if someone wants to try deck destruction (commonly known as 'milling') and the other possibilities are only limited by your imagination!
 
Disclaimer: other limitations may include such mundane things as the size of your collection and/or budget and your willingness to repetitively answer questions like "What are doing!?" and "Why aren't you running XYZ card instead?"
 
Also, future errata may really ruin Fanboar's day. Truly, my favourite part of this card is being able to run Colourless as well as Fire Poke'mon at no extra cost and if that gets changed for whatever reason, I will cry and write a very rude letter to Poke'mon Organised Play. So there!
 
Modified: 4.5 (I have a good feeling about this card, and the potential for abuse in rogue decks is awesome. With Ninetales for superior draw you should be able to pull the energy you need, so the speed problem that plagues Rain Dance decks is no longer so bad. With Fisherman to deal with the discards and the ability to power Colourless Poke'mon as well, we have a tournament viable tech!)
 
Limited: 3 (there is plenty of search to make Stage 2 Poke'mon more viable in this set. If you have enough Fire and colourless to run a mono deck and pulled 1 or more Professor Juniper with an Energy Retrieval or 2, you have a viable deck, especially if you pulled Reshiram. Just watch for Panpour and the other Water menaces)


Otaku

Behold the BaconatorTM!

That joke makes me wish I could still digest beef in that quantity.


Emboar is a Stage 2 Fire Pokémon. That makes it a bit slow but well supported, and with the coming rotation its future looks bright. 150 HP is a great though one should note that while newer cards seem to be taking a step back in how much damage they do, the upper end of HP scores are remaining high. In short while I don’t think a lot of cards with higher scores will be released, I would not be surprised if this is now the “norm” for even a slightly bulky Stage 2. Water Weakness is a pain but giving it no Weakness wasn’t really an option given balance issues and source material. Both now and next format, Water looks to be making a big splash so learn to play around the Weakness as best as you can. No Resistance is depressing as always, but at least it isn't especially problematic or as glaring an oversight as it is for some cards. We finish the stats by coming to the massive four Energy Retreat Cost; retreating isn't much of an option as the set back in Energy is huge, even with energy acceleration available. Build your deck so you have another option, possibly which could include just supporting Emboar as your Active Pokémon.

I mentioned Energy acceleration. Emboar gets the incredibly fantastic Inferno Fandango. The Ability is fantastic: drop as much Fire Energy as you like onto any one of your Pokémon. This means you can not only use this as the backbone of a Fire deck, but with any Pokémon so long as it can use a lot of Fire Energy. The attack is also friendly to multiple Energy Types, as two of the four Energy requirements are Colorless. Using the classical pricing structure that has been abandoned the last few years, the attack is solid: each Fire Energy requirement should yield 15 points of damage, each Colorless Energy requirement 10 points. That totals 50 points of damage, with the remaining 30 points being a "Stage 2 Evolution" bonus. By modern standards, this seems an almost miserly return, but now that TPC is dialing back the power of attacks, in the coming format it should be much better. Additionally, with such a powerful Ability, one would expect the attack to be either vanilla or extremely watered down, and I'll take vanilla.

Always important is where a Pokémon comes from, so let us see what we have for lower Stages. Including promos, I know of four English versions of Tepig and two Pignite. I like both Pignite though odds are none of these Pokémon will do much other than Evolving unless something is wrong. One Pignite is better at setting itself up, the other is better at attacking, and I'd run both since if everything was going right Emboar you’d technically need neither; this is all about having options when Emboar isn’t showing up or if something can shut down an Ability. The Tepig also just need to hold out long enough to Evolve, and as such I'd go with one of the 70 HP versions. Even if you take the attacks into consideration, those two have decent attacks even with the draw backs, while the 60 HP versions are sub par at best.

The most obvious support I can see for Emboar is combining it with Ninetales from HeartGold SoulSilver for added draw power and Reshiram from Black & White for a big, hard hitting attacker who is only a Basic! The thing is, in the current Modified Format, this might actually suffer from a little bit of speed and/or consistency issues. It’s a pretty classical take on building a deck but the format is anything but “classical” right now: if you aren’t facing a “donk” deck you run the risk of facing one of several prominent, closely related decks that can shutdown a lot of supporting aspects. If even one of those supporting aspects isn’t present, the deck can trip over itself, failing to set-up Evolutions, running low on Energy, etc. This sounds more like nitpicking than a real weakness, but such is the current format. The next format won’t be quite as troublesome. It will be slower and you’ll be relying on a less developed engine to run your deck, but at least you should have a few turns for it to get going before you lose. There are also some very interesting options available besides the more traditional one I just listed in the current format, though: DragonClyne725 pointed out that (barring a ruling otherwise) Emboar should be able to repeatedly trigger the Iron Shell Poké-Body of Forretress (Legends Awakened 28/146). A coin flip based Poké-Body that triggers each time an Energy is attached from hand (and not by attack effects) to Forretress, it has you place 2 damage counters on each Pokémon in play (both players) for each tails you get but doesn’t affect Forretress. Emboar does have a great HP score after all, so if you are supremely confident you can draw into all your Energy fast and get plenty of tails, I say give it a go.

For Limited, there are two reasons not to run this: failing to pull the full line, or failing to have enough Pokémon that can use Fire Energy at least half your Energy will need to be that Type. Both are going to be frustratingly common, but also tend to be true of most Stage 2 Pokémon. Otherwise, Both Pignite are solid enough that in similar circumstances you'd run them even without Emboar, further making this a great pick.

Ratings

Modified (Current): 3.75/5 – This score is a little misleading: I can tell you that either people will play this and it will effectively jump about a quarter point, or they’ll stick with what they know and it’ll effectively score a quarter point less.

Modified (HGSS-On): 4.25/5 – This isn’t likely to be the cornerstone of “the” top deck next format but it should be one of them.

Limited: 4/5 – Again, as long as you have enough support to run it, run it!

Combos with: Just about anything that needs a lot of (unspecified) Energy, especially Fire Types! Specifically, try it with Reshiram from Black & White!

Summary

Emboar seems almost guaranteed to have success because it “breaks” the single-Energy-attachment-per-turn rule utterly, and unlike similar cards in the past, the only Type Restriction is on the Energy-Type, not the Pokémon-Type. It might barely warm-up this format, but once we switch to the next Modified it will be hard to put out.


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