Every so often in the TCG, something comes along which
is truly revolutionary and brings something utterly new
to the game.
Remember the SP Pokémon that had Stage 2s like
Luxray as Basics; the
Arceus cards that broke the
4 per deck rule; or even the Lost Zone mechanic which
banished cards from the game? Well, Ho-oh-EX is another
one of these rare phenomena.
Why? Well, we shall get to that in a minute.
First, the standard stuff.
Ho-oh is a Fire Type EX Pokémon (which means it won’t be
hitting much for Weakness), with Water Weakness (not
noteworthy now, but wait for Keldeo-EX),
a handy Fighting Resistance, and an annoying Retreat
cost of two (annoying to pay, can’t use Heavy Ball).
Nothing too unusual there, unless you count the fact
that it is the first EX to have 160 HP (a little
mediocre for an EX – Darkrai
two-shots it regardless of Eviolite).
Now for the good bit – Rebirth, Ho-oh’s Ability,
activates in the
Discard pile. That’s right, not when it’s in play,
or when you put it on the Bench, but when it’s in the
Discard. (Now you know the reason for
Ability text). Once Ho-oh finds itself in the Discard
you can flip a coin and, if heads, put Ho-oh and up to
three different Types of Energy from there on to the
Bench. (I love how that is nicely on-theme with Ho-oh
being very phoenix-like).
Discarding Ho-oh and some Energy should be easy enough
with Professor Juniper and Ultra Ball in the format and
once he’s in there, you have some interesting
possibilities to work with. Ho-oh’s own attack, Rainbow
Burn, costs three Energy of any Type and does 20 damage
plus 20 more for each different
attached (so no, Prism and Blend won’t work). Under
ideal conditions, you could be reviving Ho-oh turn 1 for
80-100 damage and a possible first turn win, but there’s
more to this card than that. Not only is a discarded
Ho-oh a constant threat, but he can also be used as a
source of Energy acceleration for other Pokémon. Combine
him with Energy Switch and you can be hitting fast and
hard with Mewtwo-EX, or
Terrakion NVI, or maybe a
This deck as already enjoyed some success at Battle
Roads in the US. Combining it with other attackers that
can work independently of it goes some way towards
mitigating the downside of Ho-oh being a
flippy card. If you don’t
hit the Rebirth until mid-game, then it’s still
effective Energy acceleration. For a card that was
somewhat written off at first, it seems to have become
the surprise hit of the season so far. For that reason,
you may well see it turning up more and more frequently
at tournaments. The most important thing about Ho-oh
though is that it is the first Pokémon to use its
Ability in an entirely new way. This shows that the card
designers are willing and able to innovate and I hope to
see more stuff like this in the future.
Modified: 3.75 (a revolutionary mechanic and a pretty
Limited: 3 (tough to discard early)
Greetings once again, Pojo readers!
Today we're reviewing a new Pokemon-EX from Dragons
Exalted that has been seeing a bit of play during Battle
Roads as an Energy accelerator. Today's Card of the Day
Ho-Oh-EX is a Basic Fire Pokemon-EX.
Fire Pokemon rarely see play these days in Modified, as
no one really plays Reshiram, Reshiram-EX, or Emboar
anymore. Therefore, the only Fire-types you're likely to
see are Ho-Oh (at least right now). As a Pokemon-EX,
Ho-Oh had better have some impressive stats and
abilities to justify your opponent taking an extra Prize
when it is Knocked Out. 160 HP is slightly under
standard for a Pokemon-EX, but even still, Ho-Oh should
be able to take at least one hit before going down.
Water Weakness is currently irrelevant (but could be a
problem later), Fighting Resistance is great against
Terrakion and friends, and a Retreat Cost of 2 is
payable if you absolutely must.
Ho-Oh has an Ability and a single
attack. Rebirth allows you to flip a coin once per turn
while Ho-Oh is in your discard pile, and if heads, you
put it back onto your Bench with up to three different
types of Basic Energy, also from the discard pile. This
is a very interesting and flavorful ability, playing on
Ho-Oh's being a phoenix (and doing a very good job at
that) while also allowing for a bit of Energy
acceleration. There are a few Modified decks right now
running Ho-Oh as an Energy accelerator along with big
basic attackers and cards like Mew-EX or even Energy
Switch in order to move Energy around. These decks have
had some success at Battle Roads over the past few
weeks, and we'll see if the trend continues.
Rainbow Burn, Ho-Oh's attack, also
builds quite flavorfully on Ho-Oh's association with
rainbows in the video games. It deals 20 damage plus 20
more damage for each type of Basic Energy attached to
Ho-Oh for three Colorless Energy, which also synergizes
well with Rebirth. This attack is actually quite awful
by Modified standards in most respects (you'll be lucky
to do 80-100 for three or four different Energy types),
but is usable in the decks described above in an
absolute pinch (not to mention the fact that Rebirth
accelerates this attack quite nicely).
Modified: 3/5 Ho-Oh-EX is a very
interesting card with a lot of potential. Decks
currently utilizing Ho-Oh have demonstrated some success
in Battle Roads, and will probably continue to see play
up through Regionals as the hype grows. Ho-Oh's
long-term viability as an Energy accelerator will rely
primarily on the Energy manipulation cards available in
the format, such as Mew-EX and Energy Switch, but since
both are doing an adequate job right now, Ho-Oh is
definitely worth consideration while building a Modified
Limited: 5/5 Ho-Oh is a high HP
basic with Colorless Energy requirements that can revive
itself from the discard pile while accelerating Energy
for its attacks. All of these things are great in the
Limited format, and you should probably run Ho-Oh
regardless of what other types you run, although the
damage output is admittedly a bit lower than other
Combos With: Energy Switch, Mew-EX
Jebulous Maryland Player
Ho-oh EX is a Basic Fire Pokemon with 160 HP. It
has a weakness to Water, resistance to Fighting, and a
retreat cost of 3. Obligatory 2 prizes when
Knocked Out. The weakness is much to worry about,
with Empoleon being the most common Water Pokemon used
(though it will wipe the floor with Ho-oh EX).
'Rebirth' is an ability that lets you flip a coin once
per turn while Ho-oh EX is in the discard. If it
is heads, you put Ho-oh EX onto your bench and attach 3
different types of basic energy to it. That is a
lot of energy coming back, and it powers up its attack.
'Rainbow Burn' costs 3 Colorless and does 20 plus 20
more for each different type of basic energy attached to
it. So the minimum would be 20 (all the same), the
normal would be 80 (3 different), and there is potential
To me, this seems like a card meant for its own deck.
Running more than 2 basic energies never really works in
the TCG (1 is easy, 2 is manageable, 3+ thins things out
too much). That is including those types of
Pokemon as well (Colorless can get away with it).
Anyway, the strategy here is to put Ho-oh EX and 3
different energies into the discard as quick as
possible. Professor Juniper and Ultra Ball are the
only things that come to mind that easily do this.
Once you do that, just hope 'Rebirth' doesn't keep
This can be comboed with Energy Switch as a round-a-bout
way of energy acceleration. The biggest problem is
damage output. For all that effort, you are doing
80-100 damage. That doesn't hold up well against a
lot of the EXs, especially since Ho-oh EX only has 160
Mewtwo EX just laughs in a battle against this. A
deck built around it would seem fun, but I don't think
there is that much out there right now that could
support this enough to make it a top tier deck.