Today we’ll be looking at
Emboar (BW: Boundaries Crossed
26/149); another one of those cards many
of us barely knew existed.
Apparently this is another card
from the Japanese National Pokédex
Beginning Set; of course as I don’t
read Japanese (my not-so-secret shame) I
am relying on Bulbapedia.
The cards in this set apparently are
meant to include the then latest
generation of starters, plus popular
Pokémon, to appeal to younger fans and
Are they actually good for
Does that give them any hope for
League play, let alone the tournament
is a Fire-Type Pokémon.
No support exists for Fire-Type
Pokémon, though basic Fire-Type Energy
sees support in the form of
Emboar (Black & White 20/114,
BW: Next Destinies 100/99, BW
Promo BW21) and
Entei EX (BW: Dark Explorers
Unfortunately for today’s
Emboar, neither of those cards have
current, successful decks (though they
have in the past).
Fire Weakness isn’t as common
right now; cards played competitively
with it are
Klinklang (Black & White
Registeel EX (BW: Dragons Exalted
81/124, 122/124), and perhaps the odd
Cobalion (BW: Noble Victories
is a Stage 2 Pokémon, making it
painfully difficult to play in our
acceleration addled format that also
requires very lean Pokémon counts to fit
in other cards.
Requiring a minimum investment of
two other cards per copy of
Emboar you want in play
simultaneously, your deck will fill up
fast… and Evolution mechanics means it
will hit the field slowly, at best the
second turn of the game and without
Rare Candy, with a full two turns of
does enjoy 150 HP, enough to take at
least one hit outside of Weakness, but
usually not two without some help.
Said Weakness is Water, which
makes sense but is also one of the worst
to have right now due to the popularity
Keldeo EX (BW: Boundaries Crossed
49/149, 142/149), able to 2HKO
Emboar even in a deck lacking a
source of (W) Energy, and with at least
two sources of (W) (plus a third Energy
of any Type) score a OHKO.
has no Resistance; as usual this is
quite common so I don’t treat it as a
deficiency when evaluating the card, and
I understand how hard it is to properly
emulate the Weakness/Resistance cycle of
the source material (the video games)
when the 17 video game Types have been
often strangely mixed and matched to
create 10 TCG Types.
That doesn’t mean a player has to
like the situation.
has a massive Retreat Cost of four; this
is pretty much crippling to actually pay
and so you will most definitely need an
In the current metagame it would
behoove you to actually have a primary
and a secondary option, even though this
usually requires three or four slots
minimum to accomplish.
The only alternative is to
attempt to “tank out”
Emboar, and as we are about to
cover, it lacks the effects needed to do
There is the slight bonus that
Heavy Ball can fetch it, but not all
of its lower Stages.
possessed two attacks, the first of
which is Fire Breathing at a cost of
The attack yields 40 points of
base damage, with an extra 30 points
(totaling 70) if you are successful with
a coin flip.
The Energy structure for this
attack would allow it to work in an deck
with only a few sources of (R) Energy,
and even to take advantage of some
off-Type Energy acceleration, however
even if you do the damage yield is
simply too low.
From a design standpoint it seems
sound, but with the pace of the format,
it falls short by at least 20 points for
the low end.
The second attack is Fire Blast, with an
Energy cost of (RRCC) and damage output
It also requires you discard an
Emboar when it is used.
This is again an attack that
would be fair and balanced… disregarding
the acceleration that has defined the
Even if you wanted to run a “Fire
deck” that wasn’t using mostly
Fire Energy, the big attack only
requires two sources of (R) and the
discard cost is generic.
You could again use off-Type
acceleration to help with the (CC)
portion of the attack.
For those that consider this
double-talk, recall that the vast
majority of cards currently legal are
not powerful enough to win tournaments
in a deck tailored to them, or at least
not win more than the cards that do see
Something as simple as
Double Colorless Energy means your
first and second turn Energy attachments
(barring KO or Energy removing cards)
Rare Candy would allow
Emboar to hit the field Turn 2 and
hit for 40/70, and a third attachment
would then allow a steady barrage of 120
each turn until it was KOed.
That just isn’t enough anymore with the
minority of Pokémon that dominate the
format, and perhaps the near misses that
have dominated or would dominate without
the cream of the crop.
There is one last shot for this
Emboar to shine, and that is with
how you play it.
I’ll resist going into detail
about the lower Stages; none have
effects that compensate for the slower
pacing and increased about of space a
Stage 2 requires over a Basic or Stage 1
This is where that should be made
up, at least if you share my view of the
game that fully Evolved Pokémon (which
includes Basic Pokémon that don’t Evolve
at all) should all be on roughly equal
If you want such Pokémon to compete
directly against each other it doesn’t
make sense to give Stage 2 Pokémon
universally better Stats and all the
best effects (though effects that would
be overpowered on a Basic Pokémon might
be fine on an Evolution due to timing
The secret (and we have rarely
seen this done in the game) I believe to
be designing lower Stages so that they
give greater contributions to the deck.
The available versions of
Pignite do neither.
Decide whether more HP or a lower
Retreat is more important to your deck,
and then select whatever attacks or art
you fancy more.
At least with the other
Emboar, which we can easily run
alongside this one, we do have some
Emboar cited earlier, with “Inferno
Fandango” could of course quickly power
up today’s card, but I don’t think it
would be efficient enough to function as
the main attacker.
There is one other
Emboar available, Black & White
As it did see some play in the
role I suggested for today’s
Emboar, I thought it might outclass
it, but going back it likely wouldn’t.
It has the same Stats as the
Emboar, but it’s “big” attack (Flare
Blitz) has the nasty clause of
discarding all (R) Energy from
Emboar; far too expensive in a pure
(R) Energy deck even with Inferno
Fandango to feed it, and only a little
better in a deck where it had access to
Of course ultimately I can’t recommend
any version for competitive play in
In Unlimited, I’ve seen some
interesting ideas using the Inferno
Fandango version (namely in First Turn
Deck Out builds), and the nature of
Unlimited makes it less likely a player
would have to resort to brute force.
There is one place for this card to
It isn’t something to throw into
any deck as a
You need at least some
Fire Energy cards in the deck, so if
you can’t work those in don’t bother,
and this set has a lot of Water-Types in
it as well, you still might reconsider.
Well… I like the art, though even there
I have reservations: despite liking the
general style and having no issues with
using forced perspective for dynamic
poses, a second glance has be concerned
about proportions (which are admittedly
difficult with Pokémon as they often
have unrealistic proportions to begin
Actually, unlike some of the cards that
are from the Japanese National
Pokédex Beginning Set, this one
comes close to being useful while also
would likely have been good for teaching
children and look “cool enough” for
those just wanting something with
“Pokémon” on it.
I wouldn’t want anything more
“advanced” for newer players, and the
infamous Inferno Fandango version of
Emboar was still worth playing, this
could have been a decent “one-of” for
So if you’re actually using it for its
intended purpose of teaching novice
players, enjoy it.
For the rest, quite annoying to
find this card in your BW: Boundaries
Crossed booster since is a Holo