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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Combusken #16

Dark Explorers

Date Reviewed: June 18, 2012

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 1.87
Limited: 2.87

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

Combusken (Dark Explorers)

Hello and welcome to a week of (mostly) Fire Pokémon here on Pojo’s CotD.

We kick off the week with Combusken, the Stage 1 of the Blaziken line. Starter Stage 1s have always seemed a bit awkward to me. Everyone loves getting their Torchic, Piplup, or Bulbasaur, and it’s great when they evolve into something cool and powerful like Blaziken, Empoleon, and Venusaur. But the in-between Stage? That never gets much love – it’s just something you have to endure before you get your hands on the real deal.

You can say the same thing for the vast majority of evolving Stage 1s in the TCG (things like Eelektrik NVI are very much the exception), and this Combusken does nothing to buck the trend. With a Mediocre 80 HP, its Water Weakness and Retreat cost of one might not be too problematic, but the attacks are pretty average-to-dull.

The first, Double Kick, is at least cheap at one Energy of any Colour, but all you get for that is the chance to flip two coins and do 20 damage for each heads. I can see that being pretty decent on a Basic (for the donking possibilities against very low HP Pokémon) but on something you have gone to the trouble of Evolving? An average of 20 damage isn’t ever really worth it. Flamethrower is slightly more threatening, with a damage output of 70, but the cost for this attack is two Fire and one Colourless Energy and it needs a discard. Honestly, by the time you can get three Energy on a Pokémon, you need to be doing a bit better than vanilla 70.

But that’s because TCG Combusken is exactly the same as video game Combusken. He’s something that you have to go through to get Blaziken if you don’t have enough Rare Candy. You would likely play a couple in a Blaziken deck for this reason, but the real question is: would you want to play a Blaziken deck in the first place?

That’s a subject for another day . . .

Rating

Modified: 1.5 (Standard boring evolving Stage 1)

Limited: 2.75 (not completely horrible if you are running Fire. 70 damage isn’t too bad in this format)

virusyosh

Hello once again, Pojo readers! We're continuing more Dark Explorers reviews this week, so be sure to check back to see if your favorite cards have been reviewed. We're moving into Fire types for the beginning of the week, so we'll kick things off with Combusken.
 
Combusken is a Stage 1 Fire Pokemon. Fire-types aren't too common in Modified anymore, but you'll still see the occasional Reshiram-EX or Emboar every once in a while. 80 HP is what we'd expect for an evolving Stage 1, meaning Combusken can take a weak hit before going down, but probably not a strong one. It's also worth pointing out that 80 HP means that Combusken is searchable with Level Ball. Water Weakness is wholly expected from a Fire-type, but isn't too bad due to the relative lack of Water in the format these days. You should still be on the lookout in Limited, though. To round out the bottom stats, Combusken has no Resistance and a Retreat Cost of 1, which is easily paid.
 
Combusken has two attacks. Double Kick is your standard flip attack, allowing you to flip two coins and deal 20 damage times the number of heads for a single Colorless Energy. Probability suggests you'll average 20 damage for the cost, which honestly isn't too bad in slower formats like Limited. In Modified, however, you'll probably want to use another attack, if possible. Flamethrower, Combusken's second attack, does 70 damage for two Fire and a Colorless, with the additional effect of discarding an Energy attached to Combusken. It's notable that the discard can be ANY Energy, so you can leave the Fire Energies on Combusken in order to make sure you have the proper requirements. While this effect isn't much, it's worth noting. As for the damage output, it's quite solid in Limited for most situations and Modified if you're really in a pinch, but most of the time, you'll simply want to evolve your Combusken into Blaziken as fast as possible.
 
Modified: 2.25/5 Combusken will likely only be played in Modified in the context of Blaziken, and as far as evolving Stage 1s go, Combusken is fairly run of the mill. Double Kick is your standard flip attack, and Flamethrower is a standard "discard Energy for big damage" attack, combined with average HP and bottom stats you'd expect. While there's nothing wrong with being totally average, it also means that Combusken fails to stand out. All in all, if you're playing Blaziken, Combusken is a must; if not, don't bother.
 
Limited: 3/5 Combusken is a solid beater in Limited, but it does require you to run Fire. Double Kick is serviceable for the cheap cost, although the attack is somewhat unreliable. On the other hand, Flamethrower has unfriendly Energy requirements for the Limited format, but deals excellent damage that will likely dent anything that isn't a Pokemon-EX. If you draft a few Fire Pokemon and aren't worried about discarding the Energies, Combusken is a nice choice for Limited battles.


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