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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Moltres #14

Next Destinies

Date Reviewed: March 15, 2012

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 1.90
Limited: 4.13

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

Moltres

With so much attention in recent sets being given to all the new Legendary Basics, it’s nice to see the Legendary Birds from Generation I making an appearance in Next Destinies. While they are nowhere near as powerful as the Unova Dragons and Weather Genies they are at least a lot better than the Black and White Monkey Trio.

Take Moltres for instance. A Basic Fire Type Pokémon with a healthy 120 HP. Fire Types are nice right now because although they don’t hit much for Weakness (except Durant and the occasional Cobalion), Water has all but disappeared from the metagame and poses very little threat. Moltres has a Fighting Resistance which is pretty useful too right now, seeing as Terrakion (and even Landorus) are getting a lot of play. Meanwhile the Retreat cost of two is not only bad, it’s downright inappropriate for a Pokémon that can fly.

Moltres has two attacks, both of which are quite expensive and both of which are ultimately mediocre. Searing Flame costs [R][C][C] and does just 50 damage plus Burn, while Fire Blast adds another Colourless Energy to the cost, does 90 damage, but does require the discard of a Fire Energy. Now at this point everyone will be thinking ‘why not just play Reshiram BW?’, and they would be absolutely correct to do so. It has more HP and better attacks, so why wouldn’t you?

Even without Reshiram as a competitor, I doubt Moltres would have seen any significant amounts of play in modified. Put simply, the attacks are just a bit overpriced and a little short on damage output. The combination of those two factors is more than enough to keep Moltres away from the top tables. Limited is a different matter of course: the damage is good enough here, and the high HP and guaranteed Status Condition make it an excellent choice.

Rating

Modified: 2 (if Reshiram wasn’t fairly cheap anyway, I would call this a poor man’s Reshiram)

Limited: 4 (A big Basic with reasonable attacks is perfect for this format)

virusyosh

Greetings once again, Pojo viewers! Today we're reviewing one of the new iterations of the Gen I legendary bird trio from Next Destinies. Today's Card of the Day is Moltres.

Moltres is a Basic Fire Pokemon. Fire has made a bit of a resurgence with the release of Reshiram-EX, and many people are pairing the fire dragon with both Typhlosion Prime and Emboar from Black and White. There is a chance that Moltres could see some play in these decks as well, much as how Zapdos is teched into Zekrom/Eels builds. Let's go over what it has. 120 HP is fantastic for a Basic, and Moltres should easily be able to take at least one unboosted hit provided it isn't from Reshiram, Zekrom, or an EX (although those Pokemon are very, very common in Modified today). Water Weakness is a problem against Kyurem and Kyurem-EX, but both of those are increasingly rare these days. Fighting Resistance is great against Terrakion and the rare Donphan Prime, and a Retreat Cost of 2 is decent, and can be paid in a pinch.

Moltres has two attacks. Searing Flame deals 50 damage and Burns the Defending Pokemon for a Fire and two Colorless Energy, which is good in Limited, but is unfortunately quite weak in Modified. The same can be said of Fire Blast, which does 90 damage and requires a Fire Energy discard for the price of a Fire and three Colorless. Moltres has very nice Colorless Energy requirements to fit into any deck, but it doesn't do anything particularly well enough to justify a Modified deck slot.

Modified: 1.75/5 Moltres has high HP, good typing, and can abuse Double Colorless Energy, but its attacks don't do enough damage to use the firebird here. Reshiram and Reshiram-EX outclass it completely aside from having a Fighting Resistance, and even then, that's really all Moltres has going for it.

Limited: 4.5/5 Moltres is a star in Limited. 120 HP is amazing on a Basic (even up against all of the powerful Pokemon-EX), and both attacks are powerful for the cost in this format. Furthermore, Moltres makes great use of both Prism and Double Colorless Energy, making it easily splashable in any deck. Moltres' only drawback is Fire Blast's discard, which can be problematic if you're running multiple types in Limited. All in all, Moltres is an excellent choice for the Limited format, especially if you are running Fire as a main type.

Mad Mattezhion
 Professor Bathurst League Australia

Moltres (Next Destinies)
 
Today we continue the B&W tradition of having massive Legendary Poke'mon that are, if not brutally powerful, at least functional as cheaper replacements for the top cards available. As opposed to the Legendaries of Gen IV, which with very few exceptions were terminal embarrassments (check out some of the Dialga and Palkia cards they made!).
 
Moltres is a non-evolving Basic Fire type with 120 HP, Water Weakness, Fighting Resistance, a retreat cost of 2 and two attacks. These stats are comparable to the powerful Reshiram, with the slight loss of HP being compensated for by the Resistance. Maybe ReshiPhlosion has a secondary attacker to add?
 
Sadly, that isn't the case. While Moltres has the healthy body to go toe-to-to with the various other Basics beatsticks around, the attacks are only mediocre. Searing Flame costs [r][c][c] to deal 50 damage and inflict a Burn, which is underpowered even if your opponent takes the extra damage. Fire Blast is in the same mould, dealing 90 damage for [r][c][c][c] and a [r] discard.
 
While giving every Legendary an attack that deals 120 for 3 energy is a bad idea, giving them attacks that cost more energy for less damage is also a problem. Granted, Moltres can abuse Double Colourless Energy and will 2HKO almost anything it comes up against, you may not get that second shot. Between Lost Remover being used as a counter to the ever popular DCE and the extra energy Moltres needs if you pay it all in basic [r], you won't get enough return for your efforts.
 
Reshiram won't be supplanted by Moltres now or in the future, but if you don't have a full set of the fiery Dragon then you can substitute in a Moltres or two until you can replace them. Then again, with Reshiram printed 3 times in two different expansions as well as being sold in two different promo packs and having a pair of them in the Next Destinies theme deck, shouldn't you have a full set already?
 
Modified: 1.5 (when B&W rotates out and the power creep is pulled back, this may be a better card. Until then, it's a very poor person's Reshiram)
 
Limited: 4 (not much specific energy needed for the first attack, and 120 HP is hard to turn down especially if the Burn can be used to get in the extra damage needed to fell a Poke'mon EX)
 
Combos with: keeping a deck slot warm until Reshiram shows up to claim it


Otaku

Despite Legendary Pokémon spanning multiple generations getting the Pokémon EX treatment in BW: Next Destinies, the Legendary Bird Pokémon of Gen 1 were released as standard Basic Pokémon. Will they be on par with the fifth Generation Legendary Pokémon that, even without being Pokémon EX, shaped the format?

Stats

First and foremost, Moltres is your classical Basic Pokémon; not a Pokémon EX, and certainly not a Pokémon LEGEND. While I realize you have to be able to read since you’re reading this very review, I find it so easy to rush and compare the standard fare to the hyped up extremes of the latest fad Pokémon; a straight up comparison obviously isn’t accurate given the special rules that apply to the two aforementioned specializations. As a Basic Pokémon, Moltres naturally enjoys minimal deck space requirements and the ease of simply being played from hand as long as there is room for it. So fundamental, and yet this is what makes Basic Pokémon so powerful. On top of all of that, this is a format where Basic Pokémon are receiving some of the best supporting cards they’ve had in a long time!

As a Fire-Type, Moltres doesn’t get much Type related help. Fire Weakness is not especially common, though you’ll see it on an off-type Pokémon splashed into a more mainstream deck. Cards explicitly supporting the Fire-Type are non-existent this format. 120 HP is superb for a Basic Pokémon, just 10 shy of the maximum printed HP score for them. Sadly, the raw attack power of most modern Pokémon means Moltres is still not safe from a OHKO; the most vicious “donk” strategies should even take it down first turn. At least it falls in one shot only to the strongest attackers, and stands an excellent chance of sticking around for a second turn if properly supported.

I am still largely unaware of Water decks making regular, successful showings at tournaments, you can’t mistake it for a “safe” Weakness. I admit, I am once again behind on the latest tournament results, so if you know there was a new (or revived) Water-deck surging to victory, you don’t need this warning. If the status quo remains the same, there is the ease of splashing (pardon the pun) a Water-Type basic Pokémon into your average deck, and our format still has enough strong Fire-Type decks to make that tempting. We might even have a viable Water deck or two hiding in plain sight, given the false alarms and failed hype so many Water-Type Pokémon have received and tendency for players to try and develop a “secret” deck and save it its debut for large scale events.

Fighting-Types aren’t seen that regularly now outside of being added to a multi-Type deck or as an off-type splash, though you might run into an older Donphan (HeartGold/SoulSilver 107/123) deck or someone experimenting with something new (or something old with some new tricks), as Fighting is only slightly less overdue than Water to make a new showing. In that case you’ll enjoy Fighting Resistance -20. It isn’t a huge advantage, but it is an advantage.

Moltres has a two Energy Retreat Cost, which functionally is about average: many decks will have that attached and can just barely get by with discarding it. Expect to run something to help out or be prepared to let Moltres go down fighting. I do dislike having more than a single Energy Retreat cost on an avian Pokémon, but here it is justified by the rest of the stats, so unless the effects are garbage two should do.

Effects

Moltres has two attacks, Searing Flame and Fire Blast. They have a promising start: at a glance you can see both could make use of Double Colorless Energy, and the solitary Fire Energy requirement in each could make for an off-type splash. Unfortunately, there is some reason for concern. Searing Flame requires (RCC), three total Energy, and in the current format that’s a bit slow. You get 50 points of damage and automatic Burn in return for the investment. In a format of fast damage, that isn’t much, and this is the card’s “fast” attack. Still, especially if you’re opponent is unlucky and flips “tails” on the Burn check between turns, it can be useful in the right circumstances.

Fire Blast looks great good at a glance; I usually allow 10 points of damage per (C) requirement, and 15 per specific Energy requirement (like needing an (R) Energy), plus if there is a discard cost you might as well add it in as if it was part of the Energy requirement. The last bit is because if the attacker survives it’d actually expend much more than the initial investment, but the short lifespan of Pokémon means just two shots is about average. So (RCCC) becomes (RRCCC), or 60 points worth of damage. The attack actually does 90 points of damage, so 30 extra points of damage must compensate for this being the final Stage (and ultimate “big” attack) of the card and that even with Energy acceleration, four Energy is simply a significant investment. Unfortunately, since you have to discard an Energy providing (R), the second attack is expensive in an off-color splash. Of course you’d probably be exploiting Weakness and thus a Searing Flame followed by a Fire Blast (if needed) wouldn’t be bad; you just won’t be able to reliably dominate like you would if the “big” attack didn’t threaten to discard what is likely a rare source of Fire Energy in your deck (probably a Prism Energy or Rainbow Energy).

Basic Fire Energy cards actually have some great support, and something more than a few people would classify under “Fire-Type” support, but I believe the term is best reserved for support that actually is based on the Pokémon’s Type. So here is where I’ll mention that in a dedicated Fire Energy using deck, Moltres performs well... just not as well as the Pokémon that already owns that position, Reshiram (Black & White 26/114, 113/114; BW: Next Destinies 21/99; BW Promos BW004, BW23).

Usage

Moltres really only makes sense as an off-type splash, which is why that specific Fire Energy discard requirement hurts it so bad. The aforementioned Reshiram or Reshiram EX (BW: Next Destinies 22/99, 95/99) are clearly better picks for the “big Basic attacker” role for the actual Fire decks I’ve seen, as the Energy acceleration from Emboar or Typhlosion Prime make such discards negligible. Even when adding a Fire-Type Pokémon to a deck that has little or no sources of Fire Energy, those two still are likely candidates, as Reshiram can use two of any Energy for its Outrage attack, and Reshiram EX needs just one source of Fire Energy for its first attack (and only two for its big attack). Still, if you can’t afford to wait around for Outrage or the two Prizes a Pokémon EX gives up, Moltres has potential as all previous big, Basic Fire Pokémon save that Reshiram are smaller, and only Victini (BW: Noble Victories 15/101) can hit harder for less (and even that is because of a conditional restriction on the attack).

I won’t mince words about Unlimited: Moltres is even less likely to be used there. First you just don’t generally need this kind of attacker in a deck, and if you do there are quite a few options. That being said, it does have nice, solid stats, so I won’t it isn’t hopeless. As for Limited, it is a great pull here. As long as you can afford to run some Fire Energy, its impressive HP should last several turns. You may even be okay if you have to power it up while Active. Just remember to save Fire Blast as your parting shot before Moltres is about to be KOed, unless Fire Energy is your deck’s main Energy type. Searing Flame should do nicely most of the time anyway, as all Special Conditions are more effective here.

Ratings

Unlimited: 1.75/5

Modified: 2.5/5

Limited: 4/5

Summary

Another Pokémon that is unlikely to see worthwhile play outside of Limited, Moltres really does come close. In fact, it is probably one of the best designed Moltres we’ve seen, though a little bland. While there have been better, they’ve been non-standard Pokémon (like the discontinued Pokémon ex, not to be confused with modern Pokémon EX). Today’s Moltres has near perfect stats and this is probably the second best format in which to be a Basic Pokémon, but Reshiram really set the bar high. In fact, I’d say Moltres really is close to being “just right”, and Reshiram (amongst many other Pokémon) is simply overpowered.

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