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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Heliolisk

- Flashfire

Date Reviewed:
July 9, 2014

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 1.85
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

Heliolisk (Flashfire) 

Today we take a look at the debut card from a brand new Pokémon: Heliolisk. As a Stage 1 with pretty low HP, he will need to work hard to make that debut have any impact. 

This card does carry Heliolisk’s ‘signature’ attack – Parabolic Charge – but instead of being a damage-plus-healing thing as it is in the video game, it searches the deck for two Energy cards. The one good thing is that it does not specify Basic Energy, which means you could use to it grab DCE, Rainbow, or similar. Otherwise, it’s pretty much the same thing as Professor’s Letter, which is an Item and therefore many times more efficient than using an attack. Speaking of attacks, if you wanted to do damage with Heliolisk, you have that old classic Quick Attack as your option. Yep, it’s the same damage-plus-flip-for-more-damage thing that we have seen on dozens of cards over the years. Heliolisk’s is better than most, but still not very good. 

When you consider that even attacks which actually accelerate Energy, rather than just put it into your hand, are barely worth using, then it’s clear that Heliolisk doesn’t have a whole lot to offer. Especially when you realize that that’s the best thing about this card. 

Rating 

Modified: 1.75 (poor low HP Stage 1)

Limited: 1.75 (Dunno about you, but my hand is usually full of Energy in this format anyway)


aroramage

Welcome back to another Pokemon review! Today's card is an interesting Pokemon from Gen VI, Heliolisk, who bears a striking resemblance to the Dilophosaurus that attacks Wayne Knight's character in Jurassic Park. Almost could've made him Electric/Poison by that logic rather than Electric/Normal, but hey, interesting type combinations are interesting.

Does the TCG's Heliolisk prove to be interesting as well? Technically yes, but that depends what you use him for and if that's worth a Stage 1. He comes along with the BRILLIANT THUNDER Theme Deck for Flashfire as the main headliner, so you've got a pretty good idea of where he's gonna fall in terms of playability (or maybe not; after all, Blastoise (BCR) was available as a non-holo in the Ice Shock Theme Deck, and that's a pretty good card).

Heliolisk has two attacks, one of which is a 3-Energy Quick Attack that just does more damage if you flip heads. Of course, that 60 damage becomes the magic 90 damage if you're lucky, but chances are Heliolisk isn't going to end up as your main attacker. His other attack is more interesting, Parabolic Charge.

Now Parabolic Charge in the games hits everyone near the user and lets them recover half the HP. The TCG decided that its version of Parabolic Charge didn't need a silly HP-recovery Absorb/Mega Drain/Giga Drain kind of attack (thank goodness) and instead took a different route: adding 2 Energy to your hand. You can see that Heliolisk was designed to get Energy first, then over the course of a couple of turns get the rest of the Energy to become super-powered.

But I think there's better uses for Parabolic Charge. Think about it: it's another Professor's Letter for the deck, and while it's not that great in terms of an attack, gathering Energy could prove useful in a Electric/Fire deck running Emboar or even splashing him into a Water deck (no pun intended) running that infamous Blastoise. Sure, it's probably not consistent enough to win tourneys, but just imagine the look on an opponent's face after you've supercharged your Rayquaza-EX (DRX) with the Fire Energy you got using your Emboar and Heliolisk to massacre a giant MCharizard-EX!

Again, super casual, but still there's not lost potential here.

Rating

Modified: 2/5 (he's better support than attack)

Limited: 2.5/5 (potential attacker here, but still he's better support)

Arora Notealus: don't mind him, he just loves dancing around~

Next time: Wait, haven't I seen this guy before?


Otaku

I have been writing CotDs again to draw attention to this fundraiser.  The surgery is scheduled for the next day, but if you would like to donate it still isn’t too late and there still is some need. 

Today we look at Heliolisk (XY: Flashfire 37/106); let us see if it will brighten our day. 

Stats 

Type: As a Lightning-Type Pokémon, Heliolisk can tap into their Type support… which to my knowledge currently doesn’t exist.  Even the “pseudo” Type-support is few and far from worth playing.  Fortunately the Lightning-Type is still quite good right now, due to striking Lightning Weakness being an important part of the current metagame, thanks to Yveltal-EX and Lugia-EX, among others. 

Stage: Heliolisk is a Stage 1 Pokémon; as expected, this is worse than being a Basic as it makes Heliolisk slower and requires twice the resources, but is at least technically better than being a Stage 2 as you require one less card and are a turn fast (or just as fast if a player used Rare Candy to Evolve directly from Basic to Stage 2).  The format is shifting to where Stage 1 Pokémon are becoming more important, though unfortunately it is due to the risky introduction of an anti-Basic Pokémon (and also Stage 1) card, Pyroar (XY: Flashfire 20/106).  Still, Stage 1 Pokémon often seem to get “shortchanged” as Stage 2 Pokémon often are given access to better Stats and Effects in general, as opposed to Stats and Effects appropriate to the card in question; some things are only balanced on a Stage 2, of course. 

Hit Points: 90 HP on a Stage 1 Pokémon is not good, but it may not be bad, depending on the card’s role.  Until Level Ball rotates out (which is almost certain to happen given that it is in the oldest set of the current format), 90 HP is sometimes better than 100, maybe even 110 or 120 due to the improved search option.  Even with Level Ball, it pretty much consigns the Pokémon in question to being a Bench-sitter or a glass-cannon, depending on what it actually does; few competitive decks, competently built and played, will fail to deliver 90 points of damage reliably and effectively once their set-up is completely, and many can do so with incomplete or rapid set-ups; even if you could somehow get Heliolisk into play on your first turn and when going first, your opponent would have decent odds of OHKOing (or effectively OHKOing) it. 

Weakness: Fighting-Type Weakness has often been dangerous in the history of the game, and the last few years to the present have been no exception; Fighting-Type Pokémon (especially that see competitive play) possess inexpensive attacks that have good damage-to-Energy ratios, possess a useful effect and/or are reliable; sometimes all three!  Some Fighting-Types are even Lightning Resistant.  To make matters worse, the next set is XY: Furious Fists; while the exact contents are unknown, if translations of the Japanese set are any indication (and usually they are) then this set will do for Fighting-Types what the previous did for Fire-Types; several new, useful Pokémon coupled with good Trainer support, and something that didn’t happen last set, more support in the form of a new Special Energy!  In short, Fighting Weakness was already one of if not the worst… and soon it will be even more dangerous! 

Resistance: While unlikely to often matter, Heliolisk does enjoy Metal-Type Resistance.  As mentioned in my (late) Walrein (XY: Flashfire 23/106) review, the Metal-Type currently lacks any successful competitive deck built around it, so most of the time you will only encounter Metal-Type Pokémon in an otherwise non-Metal-Type deck, making this easier to work around.  Still, any Resistance is better than no Resistance, and it is a small bonus I am glad the card enjoys. 

Retreat Cost: A single Energy Retreat Cost is good; the current format makes it quite likely a deck will either run a means of lowering Retreat Costs or bypassing manually retreating, or OHKOs and 2HKOs leaving little reason for a Pokémon to retreat, making it less impressive than it otherwise might have been. 

Effects 

Attack #1: Parabolic Charge requires (C) and allows you to search your deck for up to two Energy cards and then add them to your hand.  This is a slight improvement over the Item Professor’s Letter, which can only fetch basic Energy cards while Parabolic Charge can also fetch Special Energy cards: you could snag two Double Colorless Energy with the latter, for example.  Still, it is important to consider the difference in cost; running Heliolisk and Helioptile, attaching an Energy card, and attacking, which significantly diminish the net return as you are investing far more than a simple Item card. 

Attack #2: Quick Attack is a familiar sight; this go round it requires (LCC) and does 60 points of damage, plus an additional 30 should you get “heads” on the mandatory coin flip.  While it is good that the attack is Double Colorless Energy compatible, the damage is too low.  A Pokémon’s “big” attack, unless there is something else more important that gets the card played, needs to have a great effect or at least score a 2HKO reliably and/or easily, and Quick Attack fits none of these.  Lowering the Energy requirement would still leave us with a weak attack so the real answer would be that the damage simply needed to be greater; 90+30 sounds about right, as elaborate combos would give an unreliable OHKO against Pokémon-EX (other than Mega Evolutions). 

Miscellaneous 

Internal Synergy: Parabolic Charge has some synergy with the second attack, as especially with a Double Colorless Energy it would make powering up the next turn a breeze… but the HP is so low that it is unlikely to survive and thus you would probably be better off dedicating the resources you invested in getting out Heliolisk, a Stage 1, onto getting the Energy more directly (even if only through additional draw power).  Being a Stage 1 really hurts this card, as if it were a Basic Pokémon, while still a bit underpowered, it would also be a bit more practical. 

Related Cards: As of right now, the only connected card is the Basic Pokémon from which Heliolisk Evolves, Helioptile, and the only option is XY: Flashfire 36/106.  It is a Lightning-Type with 60 HP (still easy to OHKO, even on the first turn of the player going second), Fighting Weakness, Metal Resistance, and a single Energy Retreat cost.  Its two attacks are Pound, requiring (L) and doing a flat 10 points of damage and Destructive Beam, requiring (LC) and doing no damage, but requiring a successful coin flip to discard an Energy attached to the Defending Pokémon.  Both attacks are either under powered or overpriced… and given the circumstances the former is more likely.  In short its another filler Basic Pokémon from which to Evolve. 

Usage 

Modified: There is very little reason to run Helioptile here; mainly you have to be a fan of the Pokémon or very desperate for a Lightning-Type to work into your deck and with a very shallow card pool.  Still, I suppose if someone is truly desperate for a Yveltal-EX counter, it is a lot easier to get a hold of than Raichu (XY 43/106); while its official Rarity is “Rare”, its available in the “Brilliant Thunder” Theme Deck, both as the usual standard “Rare” and as a Theme Deck exclusive Holo-Rare.  Thus a full four copies requires merely purchasing two of such theme deck, and the 2-2 line that might be more likely (if being run as a poor and desperate man’s Raichu alternative) requires but a copy of the Theme Deck. 

Limited: Searching out even two basic Energy cards with an attack can be advantageous here, and while the HP and damage output still aren’t amazing, they are effectively “better”.  Being easy to splash is huge here, and as you have decent odds of having a turn to use Parabolic Charge to get the Lightning Energy needed for Quick Attack, it's even easier than it looks at first glance.  The Resistance will almost never come in useful, but the Weakness is a lot better as XY: Flashfire contains only five Fighting-Type Pokémon, a Common-Uncommon-Rare Stage 2 line and a Common-Rare Stage 1.  If you get “Heads” on Quick Attack, you should OHKO anything Lightning Weak that isn’t somehow protected. 

Theme Deck: As the PTCGO gives players the options to play with Theme Decks only, I feel it worth mentioning.  As the PTCGO includes Theme Decks that don’t exist in the physical TCG but that is where my firsthand experience comes from, your mileage may vary if you are sticking to real, physical Theme Decks.  This Theme Deck  isn’t very good, as the PTCGO gives everyone a PTCGO-Only Fighting-Type Theme Deck that is arguably one of the best choices, and like most real world Theme Decks “Brilliant Thunder” is too unfocused to be reliable.  Heliolisk is one of the better attackers in the deck, but that is saying very little. 

Ratings 

Modified: 1.75/5 - Potentially useful as a budget Stage 1 Lightning-Type attacker, but both at that and at getting Energy it is fragile and inefficient. 

Limited: 4.9/5 - Quite the surprise here; unless you’re running a deck like a +39 build or fail to get even a single Helioptile, you should be running this! 

Theme Deck: 3/5 - I often find myself wishing Heliolisk was something else, but its still a solid card in what often felt like fairly bad Theme Deck. 

Summary: Heliolisk is an easy to get card due to being in a Theme Deck, and if you’re an extreme budget player it might be a functional place holder for Raichu, but not something to intentionally build a deck around.  There may also be some obscure combo due to the first attack being able to target Special Energy, but nothing really comes to me.  In Limited play, this card should be quite amazing, so at least it isn’t totally useless.

 


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