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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Pyroar

- Phantom Forces

Date Reviewed:
Nov. 17, 2014

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.25
Expanded: 3.25
Limited: 3.83

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

Pyroar (Phantom Forces) 

Decks using Pyroar FLF are the fly in the format’s ointment: on the one hand, no-one rates them highly; on the other, no-one particularly wants to play against them, much less give up deck space to techs that deal with the Intimidating Mane Ability. Life would be a lot easier if everyone just agreed Pyroar was bad and stopped using it altogether. Except it now has another version which can be slipped into Pyroar decks to annoy opponents even more. 

Cards which allow you to drag something Active from the Bench are always super powerful. Gust of Wind and the pre-errata Pokémon Catcher achieved staple status because they were relatively cost-free to use and the effect was guaranteed. But over the years, cards like Pokémon Reversal (flippy), Luxray GL LV X, Ninetales DEX, and (currently) Lysandre have all seen play because . . . well, being able to choose the target of your attack, or lumber your opponent with a poor Active Pokémon (like Garbodor) is an incredibly advantageous thing to do. Now you can add Pyroar PHF to the list of forced switching cards. Unlike Luxray and Ninetales, it’s a gift that keeps on giving too: as long as you can discard a Fire Energy, you can use Flare Command to mess with your opponent’s field in ways which they won’t like. 

Of course, discarding an Energy every turn isn’t easy if you are also trying to power up attackers, but there are ways around that. Fire decks have the Fiery Torch/Blacksmith engine to provide acceleration, and there are other methods too, such as M Manectric EX’s Turbo Boost attack and the old classic Emboar BLW/LTR (which I’m not going to recommend). 

Pyroar decks will likely run a single copy for its excellent disruptive Ability, while focusing on the walling capabilities and slightly better attack of the FLF Pyroar. I could also see it being used in decks that do have the acceleration to fuel Flare Command (such as M Manectric). It’s obviously not a card you can run in anything, but there are a couple of decks it can work with, and the effect is one of the best in the game. 

Rating 

Modified: 3.25 (always beware the Catcher effect)

Expanded: 3.25 (same deal here)

Limited: 3 (not so easy to use and the attack is very expensive)


aroramage

Hello again and welcome back to a week of (mostly) runner-ups to our Top 10 List! Today we're taking a look at the king of the wild flame, the cat with the burning mane, Pyroar! I can already imagine the biggest question of all: how well does he stack up to his copy over in Flashfire with his Intimidating Mane?
 
Actually, not too badly. Sure, his Inferno Onrush has a hefty cost of 4 (3 of those being Fire), but at lest it deals a mighty 110 damage! The Flashfire version only had Scorching Fang, which at most did 90 damage if you discarded a Fire Energy from him, though at least he doesn't damage himself for 30 like this one does. Still, the attack is probably not going to be the main draw so much as the Ability, Flare Command.
 
Using Pyroar's Flare Command, you can knock off one of his Fire Energies in order to switch the opposing Active Pokemon with one of their Benched Pokemon. It's a variant off of Pokemon Catcher but with less coin flips and more Energy discards. The discard may not sit well, but keep in mind that Blacksmith is a potential option for getting those Energies back into play, and combining Lysandre's Trump Card with all that draw power and a handy Emboar on the Bench will ensure firepower for all!
 
Still, given the status of the format, I'd say the Flashfire's Intimidating Mane still stands out as the better of the two, but that doesn't mean this is a bad Ability by any stretch of the imagination! A potentially costless version of PokeCatcher is always a good thing, and I wouldn't be surprised to see people throwing this guy into their decks to swap things around here and there. He still comes with all the weaknesses of being a Stage 1, of course, but feel free to give him a whirl and see how he fits before dismissing him to the card binder!
 
Rating
 
Standard: 3/5 (a good Ability, though he may be outclassed by his cousin)
 
Expanded: 3/5 (does about the same here)
 
Limited: 4/5 (oh man, I can imagine switching to be a great thing here!)
 
Arora Notealus: NAAAAAAAAAAA SAVANNNNNNAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
 
Next Time: I don't think we're in Kanto anymore...

 

This week we are covering the cards that made at least one individual reviewer’s Top 10 list but not the shared Pojo Top 10 list: in short its “Runners Up” Week.  The cards are not being reviewed in the order in which they placed but in the order that seemed best for review purposes. 

We begin the week with Pyroar (XY: Phantom Forces 12/119).  Fire is a fairly useful Type; the two main components of VirGen decks (for new players: Virizion-EX and Genesect-EX) are both Fire Weak, and the new Metal-Type decks are also chock full of Fire Weak Pokémon (often Pokémon-EX).  Fire Resistance hasn’t been a thing in before Expanded, so that isn’t an issue and the Type does have some useful support, the best of which seems to be the Supporter Blacksmith: two [R] Energy from the discard to the Fire-Type Pokémon of your choice is pretty amazing, with the high value of that Supporter usage for the turn.  As a Stage 1 Pokémon, Pyroar is going to be slow but still fairly playable; you’ll have to go through Litleo first (which we’ll discuss a bit later) but at least you won’t be relying on Rare Candy or wading through a Stage 1.  Its 110 HP is middle-of-the-road for a Stage 1 in terms of what we’ve seen on them, which ranges from the 60 HP of Shedinja (BW: Dragons Exalted 48/124) record setting 200 HP of Wailord (BW: Dragons Exalted 26/124).  There is just enough that you might survive a hit, such as when an opponent’s set-up isn’t complete or (or your own in the case of Mewtwo-EX and its X-Ball) they just aren’t running the kind of deck that reliably hits harder. 

Water Weakness is not happy, though there are far worse Types to take double damage from: Keldeo-EX needs at least one [W] Energy or (without external buffs) it falls 10 short of a OHKO, Kyurem (BW: Plasma Freeze 31/116) needs external buffs or to use Blizzard Burn, Seismitoad-EX only gets to skip Virbank City Gym for its usual combo attack (Quaking Punch plus Muscle Band plus Hypnotoxic Laser), etc. which is far preferable to dealing with something like Fighting Weakness.  The lack of Resistance doesn’t hurt as most things lack Resistance and even when present, it is a small bonus, a complication many decks can pretty easily get around.  The Retreat Cost of [CC] is more relevant; it is low enough you’ll probably be able to meet the cost without horribly ruining your set-up, but you’ll still notice it and wish to avoid paying it whenever possible.  Fortunately the format standard that the capacity to retreat for a reduced cost (preferably for free) or bypass manually retreating entirely is still a regular deck feature, only skimped upon when there simply is no room. 

Pyroar brings an Ability and an attack.  Flare Command allows you to discard an [R] Energy attached to Pyroar in order to force the opponent’s Benched Pokémon of your choice into the Active position.  This isn’t inexpensive unless you’re running something like Emboar (last printed as BW: Legendary Treasures 27/113), but it also isn’t as clunky or cost-prohibitive as something like Ninetales (BW: Dragons Exalted 19/124; BW Promos BW66 and its Bright Look Ability that only triggers once, when you Evolve into Ninetales.  Controlling your opponent’s Active has long proven formidable, and in a format where some cards are worth multiple Prizes and attackers hit fast and hard (and sometimes against double Weakness) it can decide a game (though never on its own; even stalling with it requires the opponent building a poor deck, making a poor play or having bad luck).  The attack has an impressive name: Inferno Overush, but its cost is a scary [RRRC]: even with a Blacksmith you’re going to need another attachment (so two total) to ready Pyroar.  For that chunky investment, based on it being a Stage 1, the Energy involved, and the trend amongst competitive attackers you get a slightly weak 110 damage that is made plain overpriced as Pyroar will do 30 points of damage to itself as well.  It seems like the Ability is the intended use for the card, though the attack is overpriced and not totally useless. 

So what Litleo to run?  You have three choices, all of which are Basic Fire-Types with Water Weakness, no Resistance and Retreat Costs of [CC].  XY: Flashfire 18/106 has 70 HP and for [RRC] can hit for 60.  XY: Flashfire 19/106 has 60 HP and for [RC] can hit for 30.  XY: Phantom Forces 11/119 also only has 60 HP but has two attacks: for [C] it can force your opponent to switch his or her Active Pokémon with a Benched Pokémon (opponent’s choice) or 20 for [RC].  Roar is nice but I like the 70 HP more: go with XY: Flashfire 18/106.  You also have two other choices for Pyroar: the well known XY: Flashfire 20/106 and XY Promos XY26.  The former was reviewed here by the Pojo Crew (during a period when I wasn’t reviewing): it has the same Attributes as today’s card but a different Ability and Attack: Intimidating Mane, which prevents Basic Pokémon from damaging it via attacks and Scorching Fang, which requires [RCC] to use to do 60 points of damage, or it can discard one of its attached [R] Energy to hit for.  The former is potent, the latter just barely adequate.  XY: Promos XY26 only has 100 HP but otherwise identical attributes to the other two: it has two attacks instead of an attack and an Ability.  For [RC] it can use Crunch to do 30 points of damage and (with a successful coin flip) discard an Energy card attached to the opponent’s Active Pokémon.  For [RRCC] it does 120 points of damage, but has two discard two Energy attached to itself.  Both attacks are a little pricey, but solid foundation points, but not good enough for competitive play. 

I can see the new Pyroar as a TecH inclusion in the updated version of Pyroar decks; yes Benching it means your opponent could bypass Intimidating Mane by hitting today’s version, but “Quad Pyroar” never impressed me much anyway; a single copy “gusting” the opposing Pokémon of your choice (even with the required Energy discard) seems too good to pass up entirely, and if you’re worried about running low on copies of XY: Flashfire (20/106) you have other options, including the recently released Lysandre’s Trump Card.  I could otherwise see this new Pyroar finding its way into decks that can afford the Energy discard which… is really just giving you the option of backing up another Fire-Type attacker with this new Pyroar instead of the old.  It is interesting to realize that today’s version can OHKO the Intimidating Mane version without boosting effects. 

Ratings 

Standard: 3.5/5 - This is a pretty deck specific rating; you just can’t splash this card into other decks, at least if you expect to get good results.  So its nice to have if you’re otherwise running a deck built around Fire-Types (perhaps as a 1-1 or 2-2 line), but everyplace else it would be deadweight.  Even there, its still optional. 

Expanded: 3.5/5 - As above; I’m don’t see the differences between the card pools mattering all that much. 

Limited: 4.5/5 - Skip it if you get a single big, Basic Pokémon worth building an entire deck around (that contains only that big, Basic Polémon), or if you’ve got room for several Fire Energy cards that are in the deck only to meet this Pokémon’s costs.  Everything about it ends up being functionally better here.

Summary: This could be the piece of indirect support that Fire-Type decks were needing to get back into gear, or it could be that card that won’t see a huge amount of play but will see enough that you can’t afford to forget it.  Overall Pyroar is a good card, perhaps very good in specific decks, but it isn’t as overpowered as what is currently dominating the format.


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