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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Heliolisk

- Phantom Forces

Date Reviewed:
Dec. 11, 2014

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 1.53
Expanded: 1.75
Limited: 2.93

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

Heliolisk (Phantom Forces) 

Today’s card is one of those Pokémon that offers effectively limitless damage (well, enough to OHKO anything, anyway), and these always tempt players into a second look as they try and search for a way to make it work. 

Unfortunately, they are wasting their time with Heliolisk. Parabolic Spark may offer the possibility of huge attacks by doing 30 for each Lightning Energy you discard from any of your Pokémon, but making that function with the cards we have just isn’t possible. With five discards needed to OHKO an EX, it would take something with the Energy acceleration of Emboar LTR or Blastoise BCR to make Parabolic Spark worthwhile. Lightning doesn’t have anything like that. 

Bear in mind too that Emboar and Blastoise themselves are barely playable these days. Add to that the fact that Heliolisk is a Stage 1 with very low HP and only a low damage alternative attack, and I think it becomes obvious that it isn’t really a competitive card, and that that fact is very unlikely to change. 

Rating 

Modified: 1.5 (it’s no Black Kyurem EX)

Expanded: 1.25 (it’s no Rayquaza EX either)

Limited: 2.75 (Pound is somewhat decent)


aroramage

Welcome to Jurassic Park, featuring the mighty dilophosaurus with its frills and acid spray-wait a sec...nope, sorry. Wrong script! Welcome to the Pokemon Card of the Day, featuring the mighty Heliolisk with its frills and electric charge! Is this Stage 1 a threat to anything out there, or is he gonna be trampled over by the mighty Fighting EX?
 
His first attack is just Pound, dealing 30 vanilla damage for 1, so let's skip to the fun part: Parabolic Spark. With an additional Energy, this attack does something very VERY different. You can send any number of Electric Energy attached to ANY of your Pokemon in order to use the attack, dealing 30 damage for each Energy discarded for the attack! We've seen this type of attack plenty of times, so we know the drill on this by now, right?
 
On the one hand, it has the potential to OHKO with 6 Energy total - 3 for anything weak to Electric (looking at you Yveltal-EX!). On the other hand, your main form of Energy acceleration in Standard is MManectric-EX, and he's a much better attacker than Heliolisk. In Expanded, you've got Eelektrik to help out with adding up to 4 Energy each turn, but you have to take care of the rest of it, and a better partner for Eelektrik is Rayquaza-EX, so Heliolisk is tossed aside.
 
These weaknesses - coupled with the regular Fighting weakness that's been heavy-hitting as of late - are going to cripple Heliolisk in terms of competitive play, but at least he can make a fun casual deck!
 
Rating
 
Standard: 2/5 (a quick Stage 1 that has potential, but requires a lot of set-up and support)
 
Expanded: 2.5/5 (combine the MManectric-EX with Eelektrik support, and you have a fun quick Electric deck to use!)
 
Limited: 3/5 (not a lot of competition for that Electric spot, so maybe he's a good backup attacker in a MManectric-EX deck!)
 
Arora Notealus: He's stopped dancing from his last card in Flashfire and just ready to lay down some wires to fry everything with electricity! Fun times!
 
Next Time: Well now I know you're just making words up.


Otaku

Today we look at Heliolisk (XY: Phantom Forces 30/119): are its prospects bright or does its future seem dim? 

Heliolisk is a Stage 1 Pokémon, meaning it is a turn slower than the Basics that dominate the format plus it also requires an extra card per copy to get into play.  Like Stage 2 and even Mega Evolutions it will be enhanced through heavy Item usage, both to aid in quickly getting the Basic form out of the deck and into play as well as Heliolisk itself, but it isn’t horribly crippled under Item lock since manually digging for them via Supporter based draws (or a lucky draw for the turn) is functional, even if far from optimal.  I often gloss over the Evolution support that is available, as it tends to be rather hit or miss, but to be fair there are cards like Training Center and Evosoda to help them out (it varies as to how often they will be worth the space of running). 

As a Lightning-Type, Heliolisk is not all that well supported.  I don’t recall any direct support for the Type nor did a quick pokepedia.net search turn any up, unless you count Emolga (BW: Noble Victories 37/101) because its Electrichain attack does 20 (+20 if you have any Lightning-Type Pokémon on your Bench)... which I suppose technically does count, but is so minimal that I wouldn’t have remembered it without said search (plus just running multiples of itself would fill the requirement).  For indirect support, we’ve got a solid assortment of attackers (some that merely make good use of Lightning-Type Energy) plus Eelektrik (BW: Noble Victories 40/101), which is well known for its Energy accelerating antics.  Yes, both of the Pokémon I specifically cited are from Expanded; Standard merely offers some useful attackers.  In both Expanded and Standard hitting for Lightning-Type Weakness is useful primarily due to the popular and potent Yveltal-EX.  Unlike for some Types, Resistance is often a serious concern but not because hitting for 20 less is so important on its own, but because it so very often is found on Fighting-Types, for which most Lightning-Types possess Weakness. 

90 HP is all Heliolisk possesses; pretty much every competitive deck with its set-up in tact will OHKO this.  Most decks with a partial set-up will usually OHKO with.  Some decks with a minimal set-up will again, OHKO something with this low of an HP score, though at least in Expanded this is low enough to search out via Level Ball.  It has the misfortune of being Fighting Weak; with a low HP sometimes a Pokémon gets lucky because competitive attackers of that Type would score a OHKO anyway and thus being Weak just results in overkill.  Fighting-Types are known for hitting hard and fast, but not to the point that sans Weakness, they would still be scoring a low Energy, low prep OHKO against Heliolisk and its 90 HP.  With Weakness, a popular attacker like Landorus-EX just needs a Muscle Band or a single Strong Energy and its Hammerhead attack will score 100 against Heliolisk (plus 30 damage to a Benched target) all for a single Energy attachment.  Landorus-EX is a doubly useful example; it is a Fighting-Type with Lightning-Resistance, so while its scoring double damage Heliolisk is doing 20 less.  Heliolisk does have its own Resistance to Metal-Types, and 110 damage is a little trickier for some attackers to hit than 90, so it is a welcome thing though more of a bonus than a major feature.  At least it only requires [C] to retreat; free would have of course been better but one Energy is often easy to pay and recover from, plus most decks are going to need to back alternatives to retreating at full price anyway because that is how the last two or three formats have Evolved. 

Heliolisk has two attacks, so unless its presence is a trigger for some other card, that means it is trying to be a glass cannon.  For [L] it does a straight 30 damage with Pound; this isn’t bad, but it isn’t overly good either and certainly not enough to earn it a place in decks.  Its second attack is Parabolic Spark for [LC], which allows you to discard as many [L] Energy as you wish from any and all of your Pokémon in play.  That means if you could discard six total [L] Energy in a turn, you’d score 180 points of damage!  Well, that is impressive if you’ve got an easy way to “reload” the Energy into play, or something else you’re running the card for (and thus you can resort to it for a final big hit).  You can leave its own Energy intact if you wish; for example because you’re running the earlier referenced Eelektrik and thus can Dynamotor whatever you discarded back onto your Benched Pokémon, like I said, Heliolisk is at best a glass cannon; it’ll be shattered by your opponent during their next turn unless you’re somehow able to sabotage their set-up… or got lucky and they have nothing able to take an easy OHKO against your 90 HP attacker.  The attacks do compliment each other a little, as Pound can finish off a tiny or wounded target and save you further discard plus it is a little less expensive, but that is really a pretty basic requirement of good card design. 

Heliolisk needs to Evolve from Helioptile and we’ve got three options: XY: Flashfire 36/106; XY: Phantom Forces 28/119 and XY: Phantom Forces 29/119.  All are Basic Lightning-Type Pokémon with Fighting Weakness, Metal Resistance, single energy Retreat Costs and no Abilities.  XY: Flashfire 36/106 has 60 HP and for [L] can attack for 10 damage, while for [LC] you get a coin flip to discard an Energy attached to the opponent’s Active Pokémon.  XY: Phantom Forces 28/119 has just one attack for [LC], which does 10 damage plus another 20 per “heads” from two mandatory coin flips.  XY: Phantom Forces 29/119 has just 50 HP, can attack for 10 (+10 if you get heads on a mandatory coin flip) at a price of [C] or for [LCC] can attack for 30 points of damage.  Pick whichever you prefer of the first two and skip the 50 HP version; none of the attacks are very good though sadly are the standard fare of Evolving Basic Pokémon. 

There is one other Heliolisk available in English plus one more unreleased promo (out in Japan) that I’ll cover as well because we have the space in this review.  Both have the same attributes as today’s card.  XY: Flashfire 37/106 has two attacks; for [C] it can use Parabolic Charge to function as a Professor’s Letter (you search your deck for up to two Basic Energy cards and add them to your hand).  For [LCC] it has Quick Attack for 60 (+30 if you get “heads” on the mandatory coin flip).  The other is the Japanese XY Promo 82/XY-P and it actually has an Ability.  Not an overly useful one, but according to Bulbapedia its “Dry Skin” Ability drops the damage done by attacks from your opponent’s Water-Type Pokémon against itself by 30.  For [LCC], its Hyper Beam attack does 60 points of damage, with a coin flip to discard an Energy attached to the opponent’s Active should you flip “heads”. 

Whether looking at them separately or together, no Heliolisk seems worth the effort of running in a competitive, Standard or Expanded deck.  Today’s card would be worth working into a Limited deck, provided you can run quite a few Lightning Energy basic Energy cards and perhaps into a “fun” Expanded deck where it does indeed partner up with Eelektrik (just no where near as well as most other cards).  At least you could use Level Ball for all your searching needs… but even there it faces stiff competition as Galvantula (BW: Plasma Storm 51/135) is a Stage 1 Lightning-Type that lacks Resistance (bad) and a Retreat Cost (perfect!) and can attack for [L], discarding all [L] Energy attached to itself for 30 damage per discard or for [CC] to do 30 with a coin flip for to Confuse the Defending Pokémon.  As both are expected to be OHKOed but easy to stream and Galvantula has a free Retreat Cost (as it has to be loaded with the Energy itself), I’d give it to Galvantula but only just and since we were already talking fun or casual game play, it really doesn’t matter which you run. 

Ratings 

Standard: 1.1/5 -  It tries to be a glass cannon, but without worthwhile Energy acceleration it just can’t do it. 

Expanded: 1.5/5 - Here it has the Energy acceleration, but the same set-up serves other Pokémon so much better, now it is the amount of Energy needed to reach OHKO levels that holds it back (plus its attributes). 

Limited: 3/5 - As stated above, here it has a chance to shine.  It still isn’t a must play because you’ve got to run a good chunk of basic Lightning Energy cards to get off two or three moderately sized attacks or one big one, and your opponent should get at least one turn’s warning that this combo is coming. 

Summary: Heliolisk tries to be an attacker with small HP but big damage, but it just can’t do it.  In Standard it lacks the support necessary to really be functional and in Expanded while it just barely gets that support, other Pokémon use it better whether you want to be competitive or unorthodox.  On the bright side, it isn’t going to make the format any worse other than being a missed opportunity for one of the rare (theoretical?) cards that are good enough to be competitive but yet still balanced.


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