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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Entei EX

Dark Explorers

Date Reviewed: May 31, 2012

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 3.25
Limited: 4.75

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

Entei-EX (Dark Explorers)

We are going to close the week by taking a look at the two EX Pokémon from the set which failed to make our list of top 10 cards. By implication, these are the lesser EXs from the set: the ones that come with a slight feeling of disappointment when you pull them from a pack.

Actually, you shouldn’t feel too depressed about getting an Entei, as he really isn’t so bad. His 180 HP is right up there with the current maximum for EX Pokémon, and his Fire Typing is ok as well. Water isn’t used very much in the current metagame (with the possible exception of Empoleon DEX), so Entei should be able to absorb a hit or even two without disappearing to the discard pile (as a Basic, he also gets to benefit from Eviolite). The retreat cost of three might mean that you need to run Switch, but on the other hand it also makes him searchable with Heavy Ball . . . very handy as you don’t need to rely on flips (like Dual Ball) or discard in order to search him out (Ultra Ball).

So, there’s definitely something to work with there, but of course it will all come down to the attacks. The first, Fire Fang, costs one Fire and one Energy of any Colour to do 30 damage and inflict Burn. That kind of damage output makes for a bit of a filler attack on an EX, though you could combine it with Volcarona DEX if you wanted the Burn to have a more devastating effect. The trouble with Burn though is that it is depends on a between-turns coin flip and is therefore unreliable.

Much more interesting is Entei’s Grand Flame for [R][R][C]. This does 90 damage, and has the effect of allowing you to attach a Fire Energy from the discard to a benched Pokémon. That damage output may seem on the low side for an EX, but it’s actually a pretty good number to be hitting at the moment with the big EXs all having 180 HP, putting them in two-hit KO range. Meanwhile the Energy acceleration is more than nice: getting Fire in the discard is not hard with Junk Arm and Juniper, and you can easily build up another Entei on the Bench while the first attacks.

That’s most probably the way you will see this card run: in a mono Entei deck with plenty of healing cards to make sure that the active never gets KO’d, and can be switched out with a ready-and-waiting replacement when necessary. You could also find it as a tech in some Reshiram/Typhlosion lists too.

It might not be as desirable as Darkrai or as versatile as Tornadus, but Entei is a very solid card and most definitely playable.

Rating

Modified: 3.25 (good in his own deck . . . just try and avoid the Penguins)

Limited: 4.5 (hugely overpowered for this format, like virtually all EX Pokémon)

virusyosh

Hello hello, Pojo! Today we're reviewing one of the new Pokémon-EX in Dark Explorers. Today's Card of the Day is Entei-EX.

Entei is a Basic Fire Pokémon-EX.Fire types are relatively uncommon right now, with Reshiram and Entei seeing a bit of play with a few Stage 2 support Pokémon thrown in for good measure. As a Pokémon-EX, the opponent takes two prizes for each KO on it, so you'd better make Entei last as long ad possible. 180 HP is good on an EX, and Entei should be able to take a powerful hit before going down. Water Weakness is largely irrelevant right now, as Kyurem and Kyurem-EX don't see much play anymore. Entei also has no Resistance and a Retreat Cost of 3, making it hard to retreat (though it is searchable with Heavy Ball).

Entei has two attacks. Fire Fang deals 30 damage and Burns for a Fire and a Colorless, which is fairly underwhelming for an EX attack. However, it is good in Limited, and can absolutely be used until you power up something better. Grand Flame does 90 damage for two Fire and a Colorless, which giving Energy acceleration by attacking a Fire Energy from your discard to one of your Benched Pokémon. Energy acceleration of any kind is always good, and Entei is no exception. It would have been better if this attack did slightly more damage though, as 90 isn't quite enough to make a huge difference in Modified.

Modified: 3.25/5 Entei has potential, but probably just falls short of being playable. It has a huge body, irrelevant Weakness, and built in acceleration, but also has somewhat sad damage output. Overall, someone will break Entei eventually, but it isn't good enough to compete right now on its own.

Limited: 5/5 Like each of the other EXs, Entei should win games by itself here. Fire Fang is great, and Grand Flame's acceleration is fantastic in a format with limited options. High HP is also very nice, too.

Otaku

Time to heat things up Entei EX!

Some prefer a bad pun to one of my lectures, and just be glad you’re not getting a long lecture that is supposed to be a joke! XD

Stats

Entei EX is a Pokémon EX; unless you are extremely new to the game (or at least this period of the game), you already know that means it is worth two Prizes when KOed. Besides a compulsion to include obvious facts like this, I like to get people thinking about those obvious facts; the precursors of Pokémon EX were Pokémon ex (and no, they are not considered the same for game purposes despite their blatant similarities). They were very easy to under- or overrate when this simple fact of “KO equals two Prizes” was forgotten. Pokémon EX need to be about twice as effective as whatever the next mostly like Pokémon to be used in a similar situation would be, though certain built-in advantages keep it from being strictly formulaic; two Pokémon doing the same job usually require twice as many deck slots and twice as much Energy.

Entei EX is well on its way to exploiting that foundational aspect of Pokémon EX: it is a Basic Pokémon, so it is as fast, space-efficient, and well supported as any other Basic Pokémon in the current format. Again if you’re a new let me elaborate: Evolved Pokémon always need another card to get into play, sometimes two. They also will almost always need a turn before they can Evolve, and the exceptions to that I can think of aren’t Modified Legal or else use an attack (precluding the Evolution using an attack or non-attack effect on your first turn). Basic Pokémon not only need less space and can simply be put on your Bench, but they enjoy the support of cards that can easily search them out from your deck (Dual Ball, Pokémon Collector), resurrect them from your discard pile (Revive), and several other spiffy benefits.

180 HP is the current maximum printed in the TCG, and historically just 20 points below the maximum printed on a legal-to-play card. Simply put, without utilizing a powerhouse combo or exploiting Weakness, Entei EX is going to take a good two hits to KO, possibly three. Water Weakness isn’t too big a deal right now; Water decks have really struggled the whole format despite some cards that looked strong, and the best (and most used) Water-Type Pokémon I can think of is Kyurem (BW: Noble Victories 34/101) also focuses on “spread” damage, making it likely Entei EX can still survive a hit. The lack of Resistance is a little less frustrating for Fire-Type Pokémon simply because their Resistances were less important in the video games, and even if it was irritating Resistance is uncommon enough that possessing it is a “bonus” rather than lacking it a “deficiency”. Even the chunky Retreat Cost of three isn’t so bad; you certainly never want to pay it unless it is basically to win (or avoid losing) the game, and even then you might not have the Energy to do so (a fully powered Entei EX only has just enough), but you can and should build your deck so that you have alternatives to manually retreating and that high Retreat Cost makes Entei EX a legal target for Heavy Ball.

Effects

Entei EX has two attacks: Fire Fang and Grand Flame. The former requires (RC) and does 30 points of damage, plus inflicts Burn: no flips, discards, or other conditions required. This is only a modest “discount”: if this same attack was on something meant to Evolve twice (like a Tepig) I’d expect it to only cost another (RCC) or maybe even (RR), though that would be a good attack for such a Pokémon. It’d be merely adequate for a “plain” Entei; you’re getting 30 points of damage for two Energy and a chance that you’ll place another two damage counters on the Defending Pokémon between turns. While it is possible your opponent could leave something Active long enough for Burn to rack up some serious damage, it is quite unlikely given the short lifespan of Pokémon against successful decks (usually only one or two turns). Attacking first turn with Entei EX, unlike a few of the more popular Pokémon EX, will also prove more challenging since most others have an attack with Colorless Energy costs (or of a type that has first-turn Energy acceleration available).

Grand Flame requires a sizable investment of (RRC), though to be fair three Energy is “low-to-average” for a card’s “big” attack. You score a reliable 90 points of damage plus are allowed to attach a single (R) Energy card from your discard pile to one of your Benched Pokémon; currently (and for that matter the entire history of the game) the only Energy that counts as (R) while in the discard pile would be basic Fire Energy. The damage is high enough to often score a 2HKO, but just barely misses against larger Pokémon EX if they are protected by Eviolite. The good news is that most of the time you’ll have a Fire Energy card in your discard pile and that effectively makes Grand Flame cost just (RR), since its effect means a different Fire Energy is attached elsewhere (like to what you would rather be powering up).

The main gripe I have about this attack is that unless I am running another form of Energy acceleration, it can be hard to do more than “break even” with Entei EX. It can’t attack for a single Energy making it a less-than-desirable opening Pokémon, and for two Energy it isn’t all that hot either… but this isn’t a format where slowly building a Pokémon on the deck is a good option. Whatever I use to speed up Entei EX can almost always be used for a different Pokémon, and Grand Flame gives a good (but hardly great) damage return by the format’s current standards.

Usage

So why use Entei EX? It is a nice, large Fire-Type Pokémon EX with two more or less average attacks. The key appears to be momentum, or perhaps synergy. Obviously we already have multiple “general” Pokémon EX that can be used in most (perhaps all) decks, and effectively at that. Focus on a deck that can run a good chunk of Fire Energy cards (no, Rainbow Energy and Prism Energy won’t due) and can work well with Exp. Share. My time is short so I won’t bother carefully listing all the Pokémon a more traditional “big Fire” deck for this format would run, but you can get some creative ideas by either “chaining” Entei EX to each other and constantly delivering solid damage (while having ample room for a variety of disruptive Item cards) or by using Grand Flame and Exp. Share to easily set-up another Fire-Type Pokémon, be it Basic or Evolution. Ignoring Entei EX to take out what you are building is quite dangerous, but so is focusing on it to take out what you are building. I can’t say I consider this a brilliant strategy, but I do find it more appealing as I return to it.

Don’t worry about it for Unlimited, though; you’ve got better Fire Pokémon to work with there, even after adjusting for the brutally competitive nature of a format dominated by first turn win, lock, or even more traditional dock and soft-lock decks. This is a great pull for Limited, unless you simply can’t run a deck that is about half Fire (or rather capable of running with half of its Energy as Fire Energy). The lower average HP scores and damage outputs make Entei EX amazingly durable and possibly a OHKO machine, and if you are stuck using Fire Fang, all Special Conditions are more effective here as well. Energy acceleration is amazing and plenty of Pokémon can make use of at least some Fire Energy. Just remember that when Entei EX does fall, it is two Prizes… but in Limited that is half of your initial four Prizes!

Ratings

Unlimited: 1/5

Modified: 3/5

Limited: 4.5/5

Summary

I’m glad that others showed me this card has some potential I’d miss; putting Energy acceleration on a three Energy attack in a “fast” format still takes effort to make useful, but it can be done. Entei EX could be help surprise rogue deck for the format, or just end up as part of a fun League deck, but at least it seems to do things reasonably well and is somewhat creative by Pokémon EX standards.

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