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
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
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
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
decks then this might be a smart choice. Of course if
everyone is playing Blastoise,
then it’s best to leave Emboar
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)
We close this week with the fourth printing of
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
Legendary Treasures 25/113) and
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
Most of us can’t justify using a card just for the art,
however, especially in competitive play.
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.
diminish was the onrush of potent Basic Pokémon,
eventually including Pokémon-EX.
So what has changed to make it worth considering
The answer is the rules of the game.
The new first turn rules give
Tepig a much
better chance of surviving to Evolve while
receiving an erratum that renders it
with a new name may decrease its use and even if not,
may yet be defended via luck (specifically your
opponent’s bad luck of flipping “tails”).
This gives decks using
chance to reliably “stream” them even against a foe
aggressively able to OHKO one each turn, and thus a
chance to realize what
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
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
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
(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
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
the set rotation to the current Modified Format.
EX was a regular on the tournament seen, backed
Noble Victories 40/101).
Now this powerful attacker needs a new backer,
is the most logical choice.
In fact, the shift in both card pool and rules also
makes a few other attackers once again appealing:
Vault 11/20; BW: Dragons Exalted 128/124),
with Blue Flare (too many printings to list) are proven
Plasma Freeze 17/116) backed by
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
probably won’t need or be able to use it, you might even
be able to work in
though with what little I’ve seen I don’t believe that
to be wise in conjunction with
(requires to much Energy that aren’t basic
For Unlimited play,
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
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
quickly or reliably.
While this is true of nearly all Stage 2 Pokémon
Emboar has an Ability that relies on another card or
rather cards: if you don’t run a lot of
you won’t benefit from Inferno Fandango.
If you can’t run at least six or seven
(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
Emboar is ultimately a good attacker due to its HP
and comparable speed (it can attach Energy to itself in
addition to something else).
As my score indicates, I am quite optimistic about
though it is still a guarded optimism; a Stage 2 backing
a proven deck would have scored at least a quarter-point
Circumstances have aligned so that
be relevant again… perhaps even quite significant.