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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Pangoro

- Furious Fists

Date Reviewed:
Oct. 21, 2014

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 1.75
Expanded: 2.25
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


aroramage

Welcome back to another-PSYCH!! Nah, just kidding, we're back to Furious Fists again, this time with another Gen VI Pokemon in the form of the mighty Pangoro! He got the unique Fighting/Dark typing (well, unique if you don't count Scrafty's Dark/Fighting), and he's a giant cuddly PANDA OF DEATH!! Does he translate this same ferocity into the TCG though? What new surprises lie in a card like this?
 
Actually both attacks have a bit of a surprise to them, coming from a Dark Pokemon. The first attack Clobber does 30 damage for 2 Energy, then if you discard an Item from your hand, you can add 40 more damage. What a neat way of dealing more damage - if you have any Items you don't want in your hand. And let's be honest, with the Items we have in the format, why would you be doing anything but using them right away? Waiting for the timing of Ultra Ball or Computer Search maybe? I suppose if you've got dead Items this becomes useful, but that's a Late Game kind of scenario when you should be relying on your Junipers to draw more Items or else decimating your opponent's field.
 
So we come to a 3-for-80 Hammer Arm, something you've probably seen on other Pokemon, namely those of the Fighting-type. It works very similarly, milling the top card of the opponent's deck, a useful scenario against anything that doesn't want stuff tossed into the discard pile like a valuable Juniper. Again, though, this has its own usage and relies a LOT on the opponent to have no need for the discard pile, ideally when they have little to no cards in hand. There's also the randomness factor involved; you'll usually end up hitting an Item or a Supporter in a tournament environment, but there's always that chance you'll hit a Pokemon or Energy instead. Not to say that's not bad, and it does add a certain pressure to the opponent's tactics!
 
Pangoro is very situational on both attacks, the first of which involves a situation you'd never have Pangoro attacking in, and the latter of which relies on a lot of luck to be beneficial in more than just damage. This makes him far too chancy for tournament play, but perhaps there's a combo to use with him in casual play - focus on that Hammer Arm with other Pokemon that discard from the deck, perhaps like Durant (NVI) or Aggron (DRX).
 
Cause let's be honest, you'll never wanna play with Clobber for more than just the 30.
 
Rating
 
Standard: 1.5/5 (did I forget to mention he also suffers from Fighting
weakness?)
 
Expanded: 2/5 (I love you Pangoro, but seriously, get better)
 
Limited: 2.5/5 (the extra damage on Clobber might be worth tossing out an Item, and the mill could really help out, but beware dem Fighting-types)
 
Arora Notealus: It's funny that Pangoro's best allies are Metal-type Pokemon. You'd think they'd be enemies given the natural weakness!
 
...come to think of it, where are all the Metal-type Pokemon in this set?
 
Next Time: Float like a Butterfree, sting like a...fairy?


Otaku

Pangoro (XY: Furious Fists 68/111) is a Darkness-Type; like yesterday its actually a Dual-Type Pokémon in the video games, specifically Fighting/Dark hybrid… which means like yesterday’s CotD it would have been immensely powerful had it been allowed the same Dual-Type status in the TCG (it was rare, but once this was an actual TCG mechanic as well!).  Being a Darkness-Type is good in Standard; you don’t hit much for Weakness and while Fairy-Types are Resistant, they generally keep to their own deck.  Direct Type support is forgettable or limited to Expanded (where it can access the impressive Dark Patch).  Mostly those Darkness-Types benefit from the indirect support; great Darkness-Types like Darkrai-EX, Yveltal-EX and Yveltal (XY 78/146; XY Promos XY06).  On the other hand thanks to hitting so much Weakness on top of even better Type support, this card probably would have been better off as a Fighting-Type (since it seems unlikely they’ll revive the Dual-Type mechanic for the TCG anytime soon).

Being a Stage 1 is a knock, but its not as bad as being a Stage 2; just a single turn delay and you have better odds of pulling it off sans Items (Seismitoad-EX has made that an important distinction).  We’ll take a look at Pancham later to see if the Basic actually carries enough of its own way to really address the imbalance between non-Evolving Basic Pokémon and Evolutions.  Pangoro has 120 HP, which may be adequate; it can’t reliably take a hit (but most things that aren’t Pokémon-EX are in the same boat) but its odds are decent, at least outside of getting hit for Weakness.  Speaking of which, unfortunately it has the iconic Fighting Weakness of Darkness-Types; its video game Typing means that it really should have been Fairy Weak (and I’d rather have to deal with that than Fighting Weakness, at least for the immediate future).  Just to underscore how odd Fighting really is… in the video games a Pangoro takes double damage from video game Fighting-Type attacks but normal damage from Ground-Type moves and only half damage from Rock-Types: those are the three Types that form the TCG Fighting-Type. 

This card actually has Resistance: Psychic to be specific.  Again referencing its video game Typing, something else might have been better: Darkness!  About as useful (Resist X-Ball or Evil Ball?) it also wouldn’t have any clashing: Poison-Types are one aspect of the Psychic-Type, and that should actually do normal damage.  Of course as this combination is Immune to Psychic-Types and Resistant to Ghost-Types, it still fits; I guess I just appreciate the novelty of the hypothetical.  Plus Resistance just is just a small bonus right now; -20 is nothing compared to (for example) the x2 of Weakness.  The Retreat Cost is relevant… to a degree.  Most decks should be packing something to either lower the Retreat Cost (possibly zeroing it out completely) or to bypass manually retreating all together, but if you do have to retreat you’ll suffer a significant setback… if you can even afford it.  The small silver-lining in Expanded is that it makes Pangoro a legal Heavy Ball target. 

Pangoro has two attacks; Clobber and Hammer Arm.  Clobber requires [DC] to use and hits for 30 points of damage, with the option of discarding an Item from hand to jump the damage by +40.  Unfortunately you can only discard one Item for a single +40, so its not going to score you a OHKO.  Items are usually valuable, but decks also tend to pack several including “spare” copies of cards you run mostly to ensure you get the one or two copies you’ll really need early on as well as context sensitive cards (like TecH) that just aren’t going to matter at a particular point in the match or at all during a particular match-up… so the cost is very borderline; I don’t like it but you can probably make it work out reasonably well.  You’ll still need something else on top of this damage to reach 2HKO level and there will be times when you either lack an Item you can afford to discard, or any Item at all. 

Hammer Arm requires [DCC], allowing it to make use of off some of the less restrictive forms of Energy acceleration, like Double Colorless Energy.  For three Energy you score 80 points of damage plus you discard a card from the top of your opponent’s deck; the discard can backfire, either because its specifically a card your opponent wants in the discard pile or because the card after it ends up being a better draw worth the loss.  Sometimes you’ll hit something valuable so overall its a decent bonus… but not something I’d consider worth the effort of running a Stage 1 Pokémon to access; its 10 points shy of the magic 90 per turn, and while that isn’t fatally bad, it again gives us no reason to run the card.  There is also a lack of synergy between the attacks; they don’t compliment each other save the first being less expensive than the second, and the second providing a steady source of damage.  The big thing to note is that the Energy costs may look complimentary at a glance, but if you’re running Double Colorless Energy (and you should be) then you also should be able to skip Clobber and go straight to Hammer Arm!  If Clobber was priced at [CC], even if it was 10 points weaker, it would have helped the card. 

Pancham has two options: XY: Furious Fists 59/111 and 60/111.  These set-mates are both Basic Fighting-Types with Psychic Weakness and no Resistance.  59/111 has 60 HP, a Retreat Cost of just one and two attacks; for [C] the first allows you to search your deck for a card that Evolves from it and Evolve right away, but only if you have a Darkness-Type Pokémon on your Bench (reflecting its video game Evolution requirements).  For [FCC] it can also do 30 points of damage.  60/111 has 70 HP, a Retreat Cost of two and just one attack: for [CC] you flip four coins and score 10 points of damage per heads.  Honestly I am a bit torn; 70 HP is better than 60 of course, but lower Retreat Cost and ability to attack and Evolve are likely more helpful for reaching Pangoro… with the additional caveat that (as you can’t attack the first turn of the game) your opponent will have a chance to take down Pangoro before it can attack.  As such, use whichever best fits your deck.  Neither Pancham is great, but at least 59/111 both reflects how the video game works and aids in setting up Pangoro.

So much again like yesterday’s CotD I don’t see a lot of reason to run Pangoro.  We’ve got other Stage 1 Darkness-Types if you think your deck needs one, such as getting around Intimidating Mane on Pyroar (XY: Flashfire 20/106) without resorting to Garbodor (BW: Dragons Exalted 54/124; BW: Plasma Freeze 119/116; BW: Legendary Treasures 68/113); something like Zoroark (BW: Dark Explorers 71/108; BW: Legendary Treasures 90/113), which (with effort) can actually ramp its damage up to OHKO levels against Pokémon-EX. 

Ratings 

Standard: 2/5 - Though it isn’t something I’d run and expect to win a tournament with, it can be made at least somewhat functional with the correct build; it is a pretty even mixture of not doing what it does do especially well, in addition to other cards just filling its role better. 

Expanded: 2.5/5 - I cannot under emphasize how amazing Dark Patch can be; a Benched Pangoro can go from zero Energy to Hammer Arm ready in a single turn with either two Dark Patch and your manual Energy attachment or one Dark Patch and a Double Colorless Energy for that manual Energy attachment.  An Energy Switch could let you ready an Active one in a similar manner… but in the end all these tricks work just as well or better for other Stage 1 Darkness-Type Pokémon. 

Limited: 3.75/5 - A great pull for Limited; the fact that there are two Pancham in the set increase the odds of a more fleshed out Evolution line, and everything that was nearly good enough in Standard is definitely good enough here.  Just mind the Weakness! 

Theme Deck: 4/5 - This particular Pangoro is part of the Dark Hammer Theme Deck that released alongside XY: Furious Fists; as such it qualifies for a particular specialized Limited format.  On the PTCGO you simply can select a Theme Deck you have access to and play someone else who is also using a Theme Deck, and occasionally in real life there are both identical events as well as similar events; the latter may include a few booster packs of either the same or a different set with which to augment your deck.  In either case, the Theme Deck contains other Darkness-Types, Pancham (XY: Furious Fists 59/111) and Pangoro and in multiples, plus a decent compliment of Items, Korrina and Professor Sycamore.  All these elements being pre-assembled for either just makes Pancham function that much better than in a regular event.  The score would be higher but that would be spilling into the other cards’ territory (Professor Sycamore improves pretty much everything, after all). 

Summary: Pangoro is another Pokémon that wishes it were either a Dual-Type; as a Darkness-Type it just lacks a niche and it isn’t good enough as a general attacker to not occupy a niche.  If the attacks hit a bit harder it might have been a contender, but even then there isn’t much demand for Stage 1, Darkness-Type attackers anyway: the major Darkness-Type attackers just work so well with Garbodor, which handles Intimidating Mane, which is the main reason you’d need to run said Stage 1 Darkness-Type. 


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