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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Blaziken #17

Dark Explorers

Date Reviewed: June 19, 2012

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 2.75
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

Blaziken (Dark Explorers)

Let’s be clear about this from the start – I like this card. I like its stats, I like its attacks, and I love the typically awesome artwork by TOKIYA. However, by the end of this review I will end up giving a rating that will make it seem as though I think this card is pretty mediocre at best. So let’s see how I ended up doing that.

Blaziken is a Fire Type Stage 2 Pokémon with a solid (but not exceptional) 140 HP, which should keep it out of the unboosted OHKO range of most playable attacking Pokémon (Zekrom-EX perhaps being the exception). Fire Typing is kind of neutral right now: you won’t often get to hit for Weakness as Metal and Grass Pokémon are rarely played, but on the other hand there is very little Water in the metagame right now to threaten Blaziken. The Retreat cost of two is a bit of a disappointment as it is neither low enough to be painless nor high enough to make Blaziken searchable with Heavy Ball, but it doesn’t really affect the playability of the card too much.

No Abilities here so Blaziken is meant for straight-up attacking . . . and it’s actually pretty good at it. Blaze Kick is reasonably priced at one fire and one Colourless Energy and even though the base damage of 40 is a bit low, you do get a coin flip for some extras. Even better, it is a win-win coin flip: get heads and Blaze Kick does 30 more damage, get tails and the Defending Pokémon is Burned. You’re either hitting decent damage, or causing your opponent some disruption with a potentially nasty Status Effect . . . it’s not a devastating attack by any means, but as something to use when you don’t have the Energy for anything bigger, or when 40 damage is enough, it’s more than fine.

Add another Fire Energy to the cost and you get to use Flamethrower. The downside? You have to discard one Energy to use it. The upside? It hits for a big 130 damage. A few months ago, 130 was a real magic number in the TCG: it was what you needed to OHKO the Unova Dragons, plus almost any Stage 1 or Stage 2 Pokémon. With the release of the 170+ HP EX Pokémon, that has changed somewhat, but Flamethrower is still a very powerful attack. Combined with Blaziken’s decent HP, you should at least be trading two-hit KOs, even with the EX-Pokémon, and that’s a good thing, right? After all, Blaziken gives up only one Prize when it gets knocked out.

But there are two problems . . . and this is where we get to the heart of the issue regarding Blaziken’s playability. First off, it’s a Stage 2 that needs three Energy for its big attack. This makes it relatively slow and difficult to swarm against Pokémon-EX. Sure, you can trade KOs, but what then? Will you always be able to set up another Blaziken ready to use Flamethrower in time? I seriously doubt it. Yes, the deck does have Fire Energy acceleration available through Typhlosion Prime or Ability Emboar BLW, but that means adding another Stage 2 to the deck, with the resulting loss of speed and consistency. The second problem can be expressed with one word: Reshiram.

Yep, I’m sure everyone has notice the similarities between the two Pokémon. Blaziken may have a very slight edge in terms of HP and damage output, but essentially, Reshiram does the same thing as Blaziken, except that it’s a Basic which means it’s quicker, takes a lot less resources to get into play, and has access to a lot of support cards. The sad fact is that if you ever decide to build a Blaziken deck (for competitive purposes), you could stop at any time, switch the Blaziken for Reshiram, and have a faster deck with more or less the same attack power and at least six empty slots that you could use for consistency cards and/or techs.

Blaziken? Yeah, he’s a good Pokémon, but you know what? There’s something even better that’s a lot less hassle. Unfortunately, that means there is little or no reason to play him other than for fun.

Rating

Modified: 2.75 (even the good Stage 2s are outclassed by Basics these days)

Limited: 3.75 (Rare Candy is in the set, so setting up this Stage 2 is achievable. He’ll do very well here too)

virusyosh Jeff
Mad Mattezhion
 Professor Bathurst League Australia
Matt

Otaku
otaku


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