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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Emboar  

- Legendary Treasures

Date Reviewed:
November 27, 2013

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 3.87
Limited: 3.13

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

Emboar (Legendary Treasures) 

First of all, it needs to be said that the artwork on the whole Emboar line in this set is completely adorable, and you should buy them for that reason alone. This Emboar is a reprint of the one from the first Black and White set and has seen some play during that time (including in David Cohen’s 2011 Worlds-winning Emboar/ Magnezone deck). He’s basically a Fire Blastoise with the same Ability to allow unlimited Energy attachment from the hand every turn. 

And yet Blastoise is seen much more often and has had much more long term success than Emboar. Why is this? Well, basically because Blastoise has better partners than Emboar. Although he can be partnered with Rayquaza EX to do the OHKO job that Black Kyurem EX does so well, he does not have Keldeo EX to double up as great alternative attacker and extremely useful pivot for the deck (thanks to the Rush In Ability). I mean, you could play Keldeo in an Emboar deck, but he would only be half as useful as he is in Blastoise so . . . why not just play Blastoise? It doesn’t help of course that Emboar has a much worse Weakness than the Water Pokémon, and that Squirtle BCR is a better Basic than any of the Tepigs. 

But that doesn’t mean that Emboar can’t find a place in the format. The errata to Pokémon Catcher helps a lot as Emboar is now less vulnerable on the Bench. Blastoise/Keldeo decks now have their own worries about Weakness with Genesect and Virizion on the scene, so that closes the gap between the decks somewhat as well. I’d still give Blastoise decks the edge overall, but Emboar certainly does have its merits, including some usable non-EXs to work with like Reshiram and Little Rayquaza. If you are expecting to see a lot of Genesect/Virizion decks then this might be a smart choice. Of course if everyone is playing Blastoise, then it’s best to leave Emboar at home. 

Rating 

Modified: 4 (Great Ability, but Blastoise still edges it)

Limited: 3 (there are some good combos in the set, but that’s asking quite a bit in limited)


Otaku

We close this week with the fourth printing of Emboar (with Inferno Fandango), where only the art is different: you can run it as Black & White 20/114, BW Promo BW21, BW: Next Destinies 100/99, or today’s official version BW: Legendary Treasures 27/113.  For the record, my preference is this version; the artwork on this card is the final ‘chapter’ of a short visual story told by the art of Tepig (BW: Legendary Treasures 25/113) and Pignite (BW: Legendary Treasures 26/113) really shows what you can do with card art besides the technical; it may be short but we get three snapshots of the life of both this Pokémon and its trainer and his family.  This idea of family made it suited to a Thanksgiving review... plus I originate from a state with high pork production so ham is a staple of family meals (sometimes in addition to whatever is otherwise customary).

 

Most of us can’t justify using a card just for the art, however, especially in competitive play.  Emboar was actually a very potent card when it debuted, and it isn’t hard to see why; the card had solid Stats and while the attack was mediocre (by the standards of the time) the Inferno Fandango Ability proved amazing.  What caused Emboar to diminish was the onrush of potent Basic Pokémon, eventually including Pokémon-EX.  So what has changed to make it worth considering again?

 

The answer is the rules of the game.  The new first turn rules give Tepig a much better chance of surviving to Evolve while Pokémon Catcher receiving an erratum that renders it Pokémon Reversal with a new name may decrease its use and even if not, Emboar, Tepig, etc. may yet be defended via luck (specifically your opponent’s bad luck of flipping “tails”).  This gives decks using Emboar a chance to reliably “stream” them even against a foe aggressively able to OHKO one each turn, and thus a chance to realize what Emboar actually has going for it.

 

While a Stage 2, it still enjoys a good HP score that means decks which don’t already hit OHKO-to-overkill territory will struggle to do the deed reliably (if at all).  The Weakness isn’t a good thing, but it isn’t as bad as it appears at first glance; how many actual Water-Type attackers do you see, and then how much damage are they usually hitting for anyway?  From what I’ve seen, you’ve mostly got Kyurem (BW: Plasma Freeze 31/116) and Keldeo EX to deal with, and both tend to be boosted to the point they would score a OHKO before the Weakness or in the case of Keldeo EX (sans sufficient Water Energy) can’t hit hard enough for the OHKO even after Weakness (does not apply to it when run in Water decks).  The chunky Retreat Cost isn’t fun but it does allow some Heavy Ball usage if a player doesn’t want to go the Ultra Ball-only route.

 

The attack is still terrible, but you shouldn’t be attacking with it.  You should just be using Inferno Fandango to spam as much Fire Energy as you can effectively make use of that turn, which brings up another important change that likely helps Emboar; the set rotation to the current Modified Format.  Rayquaza EX was a regular on the tournament seen, backed Eelektrik (BW: Noble Victories 40/101).  Now this powerful attacker needs a new backer, and Emboar is the most logical choice.

 

In fact, the shift in both card pool and rules also makes a few other attackers once again appealing: Mewtwo EX, Rayquaza (Dragon Vault 11/20; BW: Dragons Exalted 128/124), and Reshiram with Blue Flare (too many printings to list) are proven choices.  Reshiram (BW: Plasma Freeze 17/116) backed by Zekrom (BW: Plasma Freeze 39/116) might work, as well as some other lesser attackers; things are still in a state of flux and it is hard to anticipate the exact metagame.  The card pool and rules change also means that certain non-attackers can help the deck: Mr. Mime (BW: Plasma Freeze 47/116) provides even more protection for a Benched Emboar and while Emboar probably won’t need or be able to use it, you might even be able to work in Virizion EX, though with what little I’ve seen I don’t believe that to be wise in conjunction with Rayquaza EX (requires to much Energy that aren’t basic Fire Energy cards).

 

For Unlimited play, Emboar still opens up some impressive combos if you want to play something that isn’t jus a First Turn Win deck, including tricks that are really hard to counter when unexpected, like using Wildfire from Moltres (Fossil 12/62, 27/62, Legendary Collection 30/110) and the copious amounts of draw power available to this deck in this format to likely discard your opponent’s entire deck over just two or three turns.  At least… in theory; its been quite some time since I got around to Unlimited play, and comparative resources for it are scant e.g. this is Theorymon.

 

For Limited play, there is the usual concern; pulling a complete Stage 2 line is awfully difficult and unless you are fantastically lucky (with a ridiculously fleshed out line that could pass for a Constructed format deck), you won’t be able to get Emboar out quickly or reliably.  While this is true of nearly all Stage 2 Pokémon in Limited, Emboar has an Ability that relies on another card or rather cards: if you don’t run a lot of Fire Energy, you won’t benefit from Inferno Fandango.  If you can’t run at least six or seven Fire Energy (which should be about a third of the total Energy in your deck), don’t bother.  The good news is that while its damage still isn’t great, Emboar is ultimately a good attacker due to its HP and comparable speed (it can attach Energy to itself in addition to something else).

 

Ratings

 

Unlimited: 4/5

 

Modified: 3.75/5

 

Limited: 3.25/5

 

Summary

As my score indicates, I am quite optimistic about Emboar, though it is still a guarded optimism; a Stage 2 backing a proven deck would have scored at least a quarter-point higher.  Circumstances have aligned so that Emboar could be relevant again… perhaps even quite significant.  Happy Thanksgiving!


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