is a Basic Pokémon, but it shouldn’t be;
you see when the Pokémon was first
introduced in the video games, it
was a Basic Pokémon there.
The same holds true for the TCG.
Eventually the video games gave
us a Pokémon that came “before”
Understandably, to keep things
functional in both the TCG and the video
Magby Evolving to
Magmar got special rules.
understandable is why with all the video
game generational “breaks” where older
games aren’t directly compatible anyway
and with set rotations where there was
no overlap, is why this hasn’t been
Adding a “pre-Evolution”
shouldn’t be a major game mechanic, it
should be a “patch”: the developers
realized that it would be “cool” to have
a lower form and that what was once a
Basic Pokémon should now be a Stage 1.
We haven’t had a
Magmar in the Black & White
family of sets before now, and we still
Magby, ergo this would have been the
time to fix this for this Evolution line
and several others in the TCG; I don’t
know the video games enough to know when
the best time was for those to change,
but in both cases it just needs to be
Incompatibility (or at least odd
interactions with) older cards aren’t
stopping things like the revamp of
“Fossil” Pokémon, after all.
So with that off my chest, again,
Magmar is a Basic Pokémon.
This is beneficial since this
makes it easy to play than Stage 1 or 2
Pokémon, and until you Evolve it you can
even tap support for Basic Pokémon.
Being a Fire-Type doesn’t really
help it out right now, though; few Fire
decks see play and the ones I am
familiar with probably don’t need
Magmar, plus hitting for Fire
Weakness isn’t a high priority for now
(but that will likely change in the
I am not seeing anything in way of true
Fire-Type support either; support for
the basic Energy-Type and for the “Burn”
Special Condition, but not the Type
itself, plus of the Support I mentioned,
few if any are really a presence on the
This is unfortunate for
has 80 HP; not an easy OHKO, especially
first or second turn or if resources are
scarce as they can be late game, but
many decks can dole out 80 damage a turn
reliably, if not more.
The consolation is this makes the
Water Weakness largely irrelevant;
Magmar would be OHKOed anyway.
Magmar does Evolve, this goes from
crippling to just a vulnerability,
however; ideally it won’t even be Active
(and thus easy to hit full force) unless
it is acting at bait.
The lack of Resistance is so common and
the HP low enough that it wouldn’t have
Magmar a lot, but it still would
have been nice and been of some benefit.
The two Retreat finishes off the
Stats, and it is too low for
Heavy Ball to search out and too
Skyarrow Bridge to completely
eliminate, though dropping it to one is
still useful until you Evolve.
Two attacks for
Magmar; “Beat” is pure vanilla
scoring 10 points of damage for (C).
This is not only uninspired, but
downright weak for modern standards, the
kind of thing we see (still to my
chagrin) on twice Evolving Basic
“Magma Punch” comes closer, as
for (RRC) you do a flat, reliable 50
points of damage, but
Magmar is a Basic Pokémon that
Evolves only once; I still expect more.
If the second attack required
only (CCC) then at least this could be a
so-so Fire “splash” for some decks,
which isn’t too bad for an Evolving
If you insist on running
Magmortar in Modified, this is your
Notice how we haven’t reviewed
Magmortar (BW: Dragons Exalted
21/124) yet; you really shouldn’t have a
reason to run
If you’re curious, I’ll point out
Magmortar has the same Type,
Weakness, and lack of Resistance as
Magmar; the Weakness just matters
more since you can’t Evolve again to try
and escape it.
also has 120 HP, just enough to not be
an easy OHKO mid-game, but that means I
have to point out that Water-Types that
see play probably can score the OHKO
easily, plus next set looks to
finally give us the long awaited
bruiser of a Water-Type deck.
It has a Retreat of three, which
is a pain to pay, but we do have
alternatives to paying it, and it does
allow it to be searched out via
Heavy Ball; this in turn makes me
wish they had given
Magmar a bigger Retreat, at least to
has two attacks, and the good news is
that they are somewhat friendly to being
The first requires (R), hits for
40, and reduces the damage
Magmortar takes next turn by 20
after Weakness and Resistance.
Not good, but not useless.
Unfortunately the second attack,
Flamethrower, does a slightly weak 90
for (RCC) and requires discarding an
Energy attached to
Magmortar; for the Energy and the
damage, no discard should have been
Still, since only one Energy
requirement of each attack needs to be
(R), perhaps in the future there will be
enough Fire Weakness to justify running
For now though, only use it for
So it is a “no” for Modified, and I’ll
be straight to the point, a “no” for
Limited is probably the only
Magmar is worth playing, especially
It is the usual reasons; most
Evolved Pokémon can’t be played in
Limited since they are pulled without
their lower Stages, so the average HP
and damage output is lower.
That means the HP and damage done by
Magmar is much better.
Unfortunately since its first
attack only doe 10 (which is still weak)
and the second needs two sources of Fire
Energy, you can’t easily “splash” it…
unless you also pulled
This keeps it from being a good
Fire-Type splash, but if you have room
for it (probable) and to run basic
Fire Energy as a good chunk of your
deck’s Energy (probably at least a
quarter, maybe even a third of the usual
16 to 20 Energy cards of a limited deck,
even for just one
Magmar), it is a good pull.
shows exactly why Evolved Pokémon
struggle so much; the high
damage-to-Energy ratio in an Energy
acceleration rich format is the biggest
right now, but throughout almost the
entire game the
real problem is that “Evolving”
Pokémon are almost always filler, a
penalty inflicted upon their later
Very few have provided something
useful to the decks built around their
final forms, which is exactly how you
balance out non-Evolving Basic versus
Stage 1 versus Stage 2.