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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Top 10 Dark Explorers Cards:

#8 - Heatmor

Dark Explorers

Date Reviewed: May 9, 2012

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 3.00
Limited: 3.33

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

Dark Explorers Countdown
#8 Heatmor

Ok, here’s another surprise for me in our top 10 countdown. Heatmor is in many ways a very unique card though, and definitely worth a look.

Heatmor is an unevolving Fire Type Basic with 90 HP, Water Weakness, and a Retreat cost of one. Nothing very special or noteworthy about that, is there? However, the clue as to why it’s on this list can be found in the attractive flavour text: ‘using their very hot, flame-covered tongues, they burn through Durant’s steel bodies and consume their insides’. Yes, I used the word ‘attractive’ ironically.

What this means is that Heatmor’s first attack, Hot Lick (*ahem*) is rubbish against almost all Pokémon, doing just 10 damage for a single Energy of any Colour, but absolutely devastating against Durant. This is because its effect is to increase the damage to 60 whenever the Defending Pokémon is one of those annoying bugs. Factor in their Fire Weakness, and it means that Heatmor utterly destroys the ant, regardless of any Special Metal or Eviolite it may be carrying.

So, does this make Heatmor an effective Durant counter? Oh yes. Thanks to the Colourless cost of Hot Lick (really, translators?) it’s splashable in any deck as an easily searched-out Basic that OHKOs Durants turn after turn. It’s not bothered much by Energy Removal cards, and Rotom struggles to KO it, thanks to the low Energy needs. Unless they can mill it (and any recovery cards) early, Heatmor will single-handedly slaughter a Durant deck.

If this card had come out prior to Dark Explorers, it would have seen a lot of play as Durant was an extremely viable deck that could win tournaments without the need for the player to go spending money on expensive Mewtwos. Now though? Well, most of the top decks won’t have as many problems dealing with Durant. Darkrai-EX OHKOs ants all day, Zekrom/Eelektrik has always had at least a 50-50 match up against it, and things like Zoroark DEX, Empoleon DEX and Tornadus-EX are fast and efficient enough to cope. All of this means that Heatmor is unlikely to be needed as much in the future as it was in the past and players are likely to prefer using the space to make their deck more consistent over including a tech card that counters a deck in decline.

I guess the thing I like most about Heatmor is how on-theme it is. Heatmor and Durant are natural enemies in the world of Pokémon, and the card designers have translated this into the TCG. If you are traumatised by bad experiences in the past when facing Durant decks, if you fear that they will still be popular in your area, or even if you are concerned that your deck has a terrible match up against it, then you may well want to make space for a tech Heatmor in what you play. In general, however, I think it missed the boat by one set. The biggest impact Heatmor may have is to keep Durant out of the metagame purely through fear of a card that not many people will actually play.

Rating

Modifed: 2.75 (one-trick pony . . . but it’s a pretty good trick)

Limited: 2.5 (lack of Durant in the set means this is just another mediocre Basic)

virusyosh

Happy midweek, Pojo readers! Today we're reviewing the #8 card on our countdown, and it's a card that's been receiving a fair bit of hype, as it's thought to be a very powerful tech against one of the most common decks in Modified right now. Today's Card of the Day is Heatmor.
 
Heatmor is a Basic Fire Pokemon. Reshiram and Reshiram-EX are the most common Fire-types right now, although Heatmor is probably going to see some play in a variety of decks, for good reason. 90 HP is great for a non-evolving Basic, although sadly it falls within the range of being Knocked Out by most of the metagame's premier threats. Water Weakness isn't too big of a deal right now, with only Kyurem being an uncommon threat; Heatmor also has no Resistance and a single Retreat Cost that's easy to pay.
 
This flaming anteater has two attacks. The first, Hot Lick, is why this card has received so much hype. For a single Colorless Energy, Hot Lick deals 10 damage to start, but deals 50 more if the Defending Pokemon is Durant. Since Durant is weak to Fire, this attack will do 120 damage (before any other factors), which should be enough to KO even the hardiest of Durants. This is very significant given the popularity of the mill deck focused around Durant NV, and Heatmor's presence is likely to see the deck's usage drop slightly. If Durant is common in your area, running one or two Heatmor should suffice, as you won't want to get it any other time except in the Durant matchup. However, it's also important to realize that if you run a low number of Heatmor, Durant can easily mill them, restricting you easy access to your counter. This attack is mediocre aside from its anti-Durant effects, so you'll only really want to use it if Durant is huge in your meta, or if you're out of other options.
 
Firebreathing, the second attack, starts at 50 damage for a Fire and two Colorless, but can do 20 more damage if you flip heads. You won't even use this attack most of the time in Modified since Heatmor will be in most decks as a Durant counter; however, you can use it in a pinch if you give Heatmor a Prism and a Double Colorless. 70 damage for 3 Energy is very mediocre, and 50 is even worse. In Limited, however, this attack is very playable.
 
Modified: 3.25/5 Heatmor does one thing very well in Modified, but that's also all that it needs to do. Countering Durant is a huge factor in today's Modified metagame, and Heatmor can do the job quite nicely. Aside from that, however, Heatmor is about as mediocre as you can get. Therefore, you should only consider running Heatmor for as long as Durant stays around.
 
Limited: 3/5 Although there isn't a Durant in Dark Explorers, Heatmor is surprisingly useful. Hot Lick will act as a standard weak 10 damage attack here, but Firebreathing can be good with its two Colorless Energy requirements and decent damage output. Overall, even if you're just splashing Fire, Heatmor can be a productive member of a Limited deck with its nice HP score and passable attacks.


Otaku

We continue our Top 10 Promising Picks of Dark Explorers with card number seven, Heatmor!

More like “hate more”, am I right Durant?

Stats

Heatmor is a Basic Pokémon, which is great for the current format; minimal deck space, easy to drop into play, and quite a bit of support in the current card pool. Being a Fire-Type is important due to it’s first attack and main reason for being – it is about hitting Metal Pokémon (one in particular) for double damage via Weakness. The 90 HP on the other hand is less important; in the current format that’s only about 10 damage shy of what seems to be sort of the going rate. Top decks will regularly hit harder and thus OHKO Heatmor and most just need the simplest of combos (e.g. PlusPower) to do it.

Water Weakness is expected, and unless this set finally disrupts the dominance of Lightning-Type Pokémon Water isn’t expected to be a huge presence; it isn’t entirely absent and this set contains an Empoleon that has many excited. No Resistance is a bit annoying but not a huge deal. A single Energy Retreat Cost is a great deal, though: on it’s own it is easy to pay and with Skyarrow Bridge this Pokémon can retreat for free!

Effects

Hot Lick just needs one of any Energy to use, and does base damage of 10… which would be poor except for the additional effect: if the Defending Pokémon Heatmor is wailing on is named Durant, Hot Lick does an extra 50 points of damage! So that’s 60 points of damage before Weakness, which would double it to 120. That’s enough to blow through Eviolite and three Special Energy Metal Energy cards’ worth of protection for the Iron Ant Pokémon and still score a OHKO. There is only one Durant currently printed, so this is apparently a direct counter to Durant (BW: Noble Victories 83/101).

For (RCC) Heatmor can use a second attack called Firebreathing, which does 50 points of damage, plus another 20 points if you get “heads” on a coin flip. For the Energy going into it, Firebreathing isn’t bad, but as a three Energy big attack on a Basic Pokémon that can’t Evolve, it is pretty average. I think I’d rather it did a reliable 60. It mostly exists so that this card could theoretically be irritating to something Fire Weak other than Durant, since for something like a Prism Energy and Energy acceleration, you can slap such a Pokémon for 100 to 140 points of damage in one hit (after Weakness and with no other effects).

Usage

Since there are so many excellent Fire Pokémon that a few Prism Energy and Energy acceleration (even as simple as running Double Colorless Energy as well) can enable this format, you’ll only see this run to counter Durant. So how well does it counter Durant?

I’m flying blind here, to be honest, and haven’t been able to see two decks using them square off. If you’re running several Heatmor it’d be a slaughter, but who wants to run several Heatmor? Running just one or two, you have to worry about them being Prized or discarded by Durant using Devour. OHKOing Durant is not fun for Durant decks, but my general understanding of them is that most do expect an opponent to at least eventually set-up.

I believe if you can get Heatmor out your first turn and start swinging, counter Durant it will. If you’re a little slow, it might still save you, but a Durant deck that sets up quickly and even just “goes with it” is likely to recycle five Durant before you take your sixth Prize. If they managed to get all four into play first turn, that’s 20 card’s lost to Devour. After subtracting out your opening hand, Prizes, and your draw for the turn, you don’t have a huge margin to expend on setting up. I don’t think you can afford to dedicate space to more than one Heatmor; unless that is the deck you’ll be facing the most Heatmor is just a warm body or discard fodder in almost all non-Durant match-ups. As a warm body it can at least do a token 10 damage without any additional support (and if you can power-up Fire Breathing a decent chunk of damage), but that makes for a poor return on investment even then and a probable OHKO the next turn.

I honestly think Heatmor may ultimately make Durant deck’s stronger. How so? It may be a big “if”, but Durant decks may simply update into something where they still go about discarding like mad, but are backed up by a more substantial attacker. Already a quickly readied Cobalion (BW: Noble Victories 84/101, 100/101) is a common back-up attacker for the deck… and just throwing it up front to weakly attack is still going to force an opponent to invest more heavily in Heatmor or see said Cobalion power up to KO it in three turns. So without even breaking new ground, we’ve got potential trouble for a lone Heatmor. We might get something seemingly crazy like a Durant deck backed by an Empoleon (BW: Dark Explorers 29/108). I doubt we’ll see something as crazy as backing Durant with Kyogre & Groudon LEGEND, but I really wish we would (or that I could make it work myself), but as is it looks like both minor tweaks to Durant and really thinking outside the box can combat Heatmor.

Perhaps that is the point; Heatmor may only be meant to combat lazily designed/played Durant decks. If it is, then it is designed reasonably well. I don’t believe Durant is played except “for fun” in Unlimited, though I could be wrong. I would think there would be better ways to deal with it there, anyway, since Focus Band basically wrecks Heatmor as a counter. In Limited play, Heatmor can’t function as a Durant counter unless you are pulling from two different sets, and even then your opponent would have to have pulled and run multiple Durant for Heat Lick to matter. Fortunately it’s “okay” HP for the current Modified Format is great in Limited play, and its single Energy Retreat Cost remains wonderful. Firebreathing also becomes great due to lower-than-Modified average HP scores, and its Energy cost makes it reasonably easy to run Heatmor in multi-Type deck so long as it has at least a handful of Fire Energy available.

Ratings

Unlimited: 1/5

Modified: 3/5

Limited: 4.5/5

Summary

As stated, if we view Heatmor as an easy counter to overly simple Durant deck, it succeeds admirably. In a format without some of the great, easy to splash Fire Pokémon we’ve seen lately, it would have more use as a general Fire splash as well, even though it needs one Energy providing Fire for Firebreathing. I actually had Heatmor in the 10th place slot of my own list, and I still would rate it there. My opinion of it is better now that I realize it isn’t meant to end all Durant decks, just shake them up.


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