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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Magmortar #21

Dragons Exalted

Date Reviewed: Oct. 4, 2012

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 2.00
Limited: 3.40

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

Baby Mario
2010 UK National
Seniors
Champion

Magmortar (Dragons Exalted)

So, what did Magmar end up evolving into? A big fat creepy-looking clown Pokémon with flamethrowers for arms, that’s what. I’ve never been a fan of Magmortar’s design, but he has been given a couple of decent cards in the past (notably the one from Secret Wonders and the LV X), so let’s see if that can apply here.

First off the 120 HP is pretty decent. It means Magmortar will be able to take a hit from most Pokémon. It won’t even have to worry about that Water Weakness until the next set is released either. Meanwhile, that Retreat cost of three means you will be playing Switch and quite possibly Heavy Ball if you ever want to include it in a deck.

But will you? That all depends on the attacks. The first, Flame Screen does 40 damage for a single Fire Energy, and reduces any damage Magmortar takes on the next turn by 20. To be fair, this is good value for one Energy, but at the same time doesn’t give you much reason to play it either. 40 damage is shrugged off by the big EX Pokémon and Stage 2s alike and the damage reduction will not prevent Magmortar from becoming the two-hit KO that it would most likely have been anyway. At least it gives you something useful to use for a turn while you wait to use Flamethrower. This attack costs one Fire and two Colourless Energy and does 90 damage at the cost of a single Energy discard. 90 is a very good number to be hitting at the moment, as it will secure a two-hit KO on any of the EX Pokémon (unless they have Eviolite). The discard cost doesn’t seem too harsh either. All in all, Magmortar does seem to offer two more than decent attacks.

So, why doesn’t it see any play then? Well, this is one card that is really less than the sum of its parts. There are just too many areas in which it seems to fall just that little bit short of what is required. A three Energy Stage 1 Pokémon is just a little too slow; 120 HP just makes it that little bit too easy to OHKO for Zekrom BLW, Mewtwo-EX or Rayquaza-EX; that Energy discard just makes it a little bit difficult to keep up with your attachments so that you have something for when Magmortar is KO’d.

It’s not a ‘bad’ card exactly . . . just not quite good enough.

Rating

Modified: 2.5 (There are too many things to play which are simply better than this)

Limited: 3.5 (good HP, reasonably hard hitting Stage 1)

virusyosh

Greetings once again, Pojo readers! Today we're reviewing another new Fire-type from Dragons Exalted, which happens to be the evolution of yesterday's COTD. Today's Card of the Day is Magmortar.
 
Magmortar is a Stage 1 Fire Pokemon. Fire-types are relatively uncommon outside of Ho-Oh-EX in Modified these days, but that isn't to say that they won't see more play if a good deck utilizing them comes along, as there are very few Water Pokemon in Modified right now as well. 120 HP is very good for a Stage 1, allowing Magmortar to usually take one medium-sized to large hit before going down. Water Weakness is largely irrelevant right now, but is still a problem against Empoleon and Kyurem; no Resistance is still rather unfortunate, and a Retreat Cost of 3 is huge, so be sure to use something like Switch to get Magmortar out of the Active position.
 
This version of the Blast Pokemon has two attacks. Flame Screen does 40 damage for a single Fire Energy, while granting Magmortar 20 points of damage reduction during your opponent's next turn. This attack isn't too impressive in Modified, but truly shines in Limited, where 40 damage for a single Energy is always great coupled with a potentially powerful stalling effect. Flamethrower is a standard decent damage for a discard attack, dealing 90 damage for a Fire and two Colorless while requiring you to discard one Energy (not just Fire!) from Magmortar. While there are still usually better options in Modified, this attack is notable for fitting extraordinarily well into Limited decks, as you aren't constrained to Fire Energy while discarding to hit hard.
 
Modified: 2/5 Magmortar is probably a little too slow to see play in Modified, so you're generally better off finding other options.
 
Limited: 4/5 Magmortar is an excellent Limited Pokemon. Flame Screen's combination of damage, cheap cost, and protective effect is simply amazing for the cost, and Flamethrower isn't to bad either, especially with its relaxed discard requirements. Making things even better are Magmortar's relatively high HP for the format, as well as Flamethrower's largely Colorless Energy requirements. Overall, Magmortar fits very well into decks running at least a bit of Fire (or Blend GRPD), and probably won't disappoint you in Limited matches.

Jebulous Maryland Player

Magmortar
 
Magmortar is a Stage 1 Fire Pokemon with 120 HP.  It has a weakness to Water and a retreat cost of 3.  It is searchable by Heavy Ball.
 
'Flame Screen' costs 1 Fire energy and does 40 damage.  During your opponent's next turn, any damage done to Magmortar is reduced by 20.
For the cost, you actually get a lot out of it.  The 40 damage for 1 energy is good, and the Eviolite effect is good as well.
Unfortunately, it's nothing ground breaking.  Bouffalant has a built in Eviolite, plus the increase of damage to EXs.  Empoleon has an attack for 1 energy and can do a max of 120.  In other words, there is better out there.
 
'Flamethrower' costs 1 Fire and 2 Colorless energy.  It does 90 damage and you discard 1 energy from Magmortar.  Not a great attack.  90 damage won't do much in the OHKO business.
 
I think this card would have done a lot better had Exs never been made (the current ones).  But that can be said about a lot of cards.  The low HP and low damage output won't get you very far in tournaments.
Neither will being a Stage 1 without an effect.
 
Modified: 1.5/5
Limited: 2/5
Combo's With:  ...
 
Questions, comments, concerns: jebulousthemighty@yahoo.com


Otaku

Today we are looking at Magmortar (BW: Dragons Exalted 21/124); you got good summary of what it was like in my review of its Basic counterpart yesterday, Magmar (BW: Dragons Exalted 20/124), but I’ll lay it out again with a touch more detail.

At least I remembered an intro this time, instead of just having the place holder “Intro” text from my template. I am just so professional, aren’t I?

Stats

Magmortar is a Fire-Type Pokémon. This isn’t very useful right now; they’ve got no real Type support, only some Energy Support that doesn’t see much play or works best in decks that can’t fit a Stage 1 Pokémon. The good news is you can hit most Grass-Type and all Fire-Type Pokémon I am aware of for double damage… the bad news is that those are two of the least played Types right now, pretty much beaten only by Fire-Types; in a word, “ouch”.

Being a Stage 1 Pokémon is just a little easier than being a Stage 2; generally speaking the speed is the same (most Stage 2 decks will liberally use Rare Candy) but they always need one more card; said Rare Candy and sometimes the relevant Stage 1 form. Unfortunately in a format where the best attackers are almost all Basic Pokémon, that still makes it a tad slow.

120 HP is 10 less than a Stage 1 really needs right now; cards like Zekrom (Black & White 47/114 and multiple other printings) may not be the premier attackers of BW-On, but the 120 damage in a single shot they delivered is still approximately the threshold for survivability; if a Pokémon can take a Bolt Strike and hang on, even if only just, it’s in good shape. If not, most decks will have to work to hit for 120 in one shot, but they have the capacity, and they certainly can strike that hard over the course of two shots. Still, I do have to acknowledge that Magmortar isn’t known for its HP, Defense, or Special Defense in the video games, and so 120 HP isn’t bad from that perspective.

Water Weakness matters more on Magmortar than it did on Magmar because the Water-Type Pokémon that see play will actually want and need that double damage. Empoleon (BW: Dark Explorers 29/108) normally needs both players to fill their respective Benches in order for Attack Command to score 120, but now the Empoleon player does not even have to completely fill his or her own for the OHKO. Kyurem (BW: Noble Victories 34/101) just needs to have 40 points of damage on it for Outrage to score the KO in one hit, and Glaciate can always score a 2HKO; it isn’t good when Weakness allows a spread attack to hit your Active hard. Despite these concerns, this is the logical Weakness for it and the other reasonable choices (based on Typing) would have been worse.

No Resistance is still the worst Resistance, but is also the most common to have so it isn’t so much hurting Magmortar as a missed opportunity: based on the video game Resistances available, Fire, Grass, and Metal might not have been overly useful right now, but would have been interesting. Moving onto the next and final Stage is a Retreat Cost of three; far too high to pay manually unless desperate, and even then you might not be able to afford it. Slight benefit in that it makes Magmortar a legal target for Heavy Ball, but especially with Magmar not also being a legal target, that doesn’t help nearly enough. Make sure you’ve got something to aid with or bypass manually Retreating.

Effects

Magmortar has two attacks, and the Energy “spread” for them looks good. What I mean is the first attack, Flame Screen, only requires (R) to use while the second attack, Flamethrower, just needs (RCC); the first attack can be handled easily without any Energy acceleration, while almost every currently legal form of Energy acceleration is compatible with the second, even something as simple as dropping a Double Colorless Energy.

What do the attacks actually do, though? Flame Screen delivers a reasonable 40 points of damage while reducing the damage Magmortar takes by 20 (after Weakness, of course) during the next turn. The good news is that is just enough (when not being hit for Weakness) to keep a fully healthy Magmortar from being KOed except by the biggest attacks, those hitting for 140 or more damage. The bad news is those attacks are very uncommon but not truly rare in this format, and most decks will have ways of wiping the effect from play (like Pokémon Catcher).

Flamethrower is so close to being a solid attack. The good news is that two shots will take out anything unprotected based on “natural” HP scores, except the now infamous Wailord (BW: Dragons Exalted 26/124); 90 points of damage is an important number to hit. You will need to discard an Energy from Magmortar with each use, and that is where you can see the real cost; if you find a way to make Magmortar last, you basically will need four total Energy (at least one providing (R)) to get off those two attacks.

The first attack doesn’t hit quite hard enough to set-up for an almost guaranteed KO from the second attack; the larger Evolutions, Pokémon-EX, and even the biggest Basic Pokémon that aren’t Pokémon EX can survive, though the last two will be relying on Eviolite or (much less likely) Giant Cape. In a format of mostly OHKOs for anything that doesn’t exceed 120 HP before “help”, that becomes an issue.

Looking purely at Energy-to-damage, both attacks are good, close but not quite “great” levels. Looking at the investment as a whole, and the fact that a Stage 1 Pokémon will require effort and isn’t a good candidate for splashing into another deck, and we see that Magmortar probably needed something even less expensive (and thus faster) for its “big” attack, or something a little pricier but bringing the big damage.

Usage

The good news is that if you love Magmortar, you should be able to create a functional deck with this card. “Functional” in this case means if your opponent doesn’t have a great open (or is running Water), you should be able to put up a fight, with the deck actually setting itself up even if it doesn’t win. The big problems are the usual; many decks can use Max Potion quite effectively, so the 2HKO strategy isn’t reliable enough, plus as already stated once the opposing deck gets going, Magmortar is doing good to remain a 2HKO itself.

Most (if not all) of what you can effectively back Magmortar with are better used with other cards. Sticking to the most generic will give you a shot at winning, but the odds will be against the deck, barring some very key match-ups (which may favor Magmortar, or give it little chance of winning). When I look at how close Magmortar comes, I really have to focus on… Magmar.

If you didn’t read the CotD for Magmar (BW: Dragons Exalted 20/124), I’ll explain what I just wrote: Magmar contributes nothing to Magmortar save having the slightly above average “once Evolving Basic Pokémon” HP score of 80. It has the same Type, Weakness, and lack of Resistance, but its technically better Retreat of two is disappointing as it means Magmar can’t be searched out via Heavy Ball but still isn’t easy to Retreat. Worst of all, not only does Magmar have vanilla attacks that are boring and a little overpriced, since they are vanilla they do nothing to truly help Magmortar.

This is a huge area where card design seems to be failing, and why it is so hard for the designers to balance the various Stages of Evolution; Evolving is purely a penalty, which goes against the “flavor” of Pokémon while also wasting a potential balancing factor. “Evolving” Pokémon need to protect themselves, accelerate set-up, or disrupt the opponent; doing more than one of those things is fine.

So while it isn’t a total waste, I can’t recommend Magmortar for Modified. If Unlimited were a tad slower, it might have some potential there, but because of Magmar (Fossil 39/62) and its Smokescreen attack, with both Magmar and Magmortar being backed by Trainer denial and hopefully with an equipped Focus Band. It would still just be “functional”, but that beats being worthless… unfortunately that was if Unlimited didn’t have decks that reliably won so long as they went first, or effectively won by initiating some kind of “lock”.

So Modified is the place where Magmortar can burn brightly. Magmortar is nearly a must run; if you only pulled one Magmortar and one Magmar, as long as you had room for three to five Fire Energy in your deck, I still say run it! As usual, HP scores and average damage output are lower with so many Evolutions being pulled without adequate support. For Magmortar, this means Flame screen can protect it almost completely from lesser attacks, 2HKOing most of what you face, while Flamethrower scores OHKOs. Plus the Energy requirements are very friendly to splashing into other decks; Magmar may not be that great, but Magmortar needs just one Fire Energy to start doing its thing!

Ratings

Unlimited: 1.5/5

Modified: 1.75/5

Limited: 4.25/5

Summary

Magmortar is a near miss, which is always bitter sweet. Most of what it does, other cards can do better with the kind of support it demands, and the Basic it Evolves from is almost pure filler, though at it isn’t intentionally horrible like some Pokémon lines receive. I would actually keep an eye on this card; it could be some simple combo away from being a decent card, despite the low score I am giving it now.

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