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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Hitmontop

- Furious Fists

Date Reviewed:
Oct. 31, 2014

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 1.50
Expanded: 1.63
Limited: 4.13

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

You know what I remember Hitmontop for? Being one of the first cards I got back when Neo Discovery came out back in 2001. Wish I still had that somewhere, but hey, the days go by (water flowing underground). Welcome back guys, today we're looking at Hitmontop's latest incarnation into the TCG!
 
Hitmonchan was decent, Hitmonlee was disappointing, so perhaps Hitmontop will land somewhere in the middle. In a strange way, he does, but let's take a look at why that might be. His first attack, Quick Draw, is a simple 1-Energy for 1 card attack. There's no damage output here, and draw engines like Sycaper, Roller Skates, and Bicycle are still around - never mind the various searchers like Skyla, Ultra Ball/Master Ball, Computer Search, and Professor's Letter to name a few - so this kind of attack isn't that impressive. Card advantage ain't bad, but if you're going to be attacking in this format, you're gonna want something for it other than a card for your next turn.
 
Helicoptero is...interesting. It's not a very strong attack, being a 3-for-40, but it allows Hitmontop to switch with one of your Benched Pokemon. If the base damage were 60, I'd say this would be a good hit-and-run strategy, but I imagine the folks at the Pokemon TCG Office were thinking this could be combined with Muscle Band, HTL, and Strong Energy - along with potentially Machamp and Fighting Stadium - to deal absurd amounts of damage AND get a free switch off. Which when put in that light....makes this pretty good!
 
The main issues I see though are these: first, the attack is expensive. Who's going to want to spend 3 Energy on an attack that only does 40 damage to begin with? Sure, the retreat aspect is nice, but 40 isn't a lot of damage; it's going to take major investment to make it worth the wait, and that's the other issue - you need to invest to make this attack worth it, and there are just other Pokemon you'd want to do that with. Another thing is who you're going to switch to, and it better be prepared to come out into the main slot and fight off what Hitmontop couldn't (let's face it, he's not gonna be OHKO-ing anything), or else hope that you can get it out quick without losing a prize to whatever your opponent's running!
 
Hitmontop can be a nuisance in the right deck, so if you're willing to set him up he can be beneficial; otherwise, I wouldn't put much stock into him.
 
Rating
 
Standard: 1.5/5 (a bit of a nuisance with the right set-up, but ultimately not that helpful)
 
Expanded: 1.5/5 (not much more useful here)
 
Limited: 3.5/5 (definitely the best of the 3 Hitmons, given the draw attack and his ability to rotate around)
 
Arora Notealus: Now how do you figure we got to Hitmontop? Like, we've got Hitmonlee with feet and Hitmonchan with fists, so is Hitmontop supposed to be head? But using his feet? Maybe he's just great at break-dancing.
 
Weekend Thought: Just cause the thought came up, would you want to see Baby Pokemon back in today's format (i.e. Tyrogue, Cleffa, Igglybuff, etc.)? Would they be like their older incarnations or would you improve them somehow?


Otaku

Happy Halloween!  Our review for this spooky day is… Hitmontop (XY: Furious Fists 49/111)!?  In my defense (as I’m the one that picked the cards for this week) remember that our beloved Pokémon are “Pocket Monsters”: does that not make them all appropriate for Halloween? If you responded “No”... well honestly I forgot what I was doing when picking the cards and didn’t think to schedule something more seasonal.  Fortunately we’ll soon be diving into XY: Phantom Forces, so perhaps it is best if we have a less-than-seasonal entry; we’ll have many a Halloween-flavored review this November.  Now it is time to get to the bottom of Hitmontop! 

If you’ve been paying attention this week (or to the game in general), it will come as no surprise when I say it is good to be a Fighting-Type: it often hits three other Types for Weakness (Colorless, Darkness and Lightning) and while it does encounter Resistance somewhat often relative to other Types, “relative” is the key word as no Resistance is still far and away the most common.  Plus Resistance isn’t too hard to bypass, especially with the ample direct and indirect support the Fighting-Type enjoys, perhaps being the best supported Type right now.  Being a Basic is similarly the best; while you’ll have to deal with the occasional inconvenience like Pyroar (XY: Flashfire 20/106) this is the Stage that needs no other cards or extra time to get into play and indeed is the Stage you must have in your deck for it to be legal and that you need at least one of in hand to start the game. 

We now hit a much less impressive Attribute: 90 HP.  While this isn’t pathetic, it definitely isn’t good.  Even referring to it as “average” (as in “between good and bad” not a mathematical mean) seems off.  90 is low enough that most decks, once they have something approaching a competent attacker set-up, will score a OHKO, usually with little cost.  It can survive a hit if that set-up is wanting, such as very early game or recovering from a sudden Pokémon (and other resource) loss, but that is about it.  Due to the card’s Psychic Weakness, well known attackers like Mewtwo-EX have a field day, as if there is any Energy attached to Hitmontop, X-Ball will score a OHKO: using only its own Energy Mewtwo-EX just needs a third Energy attached or any boosting tricks, even a simple Hypnotoxic Laser.  The card lacks any Resistance; most cards do and Resistance is underpowered instead of overpowered like the Weakness mechanic, so this is average (the middle ground between “good” and “bad”) even if it is technically the worst Resistance.  The Retreat Cost of [C] is good; you should usually have enough Energy attached to manually retreat as well as being able to recover from paying the cost… and if you’ve got any effect that would lower its Retreat Cost even by just one, Hitmontop becomes a free retreating Pokémon. 

So what are the card’s effects?  Two attacks, which is not promising; for something this small an Ability is usually a better bet.  The first attack is Quick Draw, costing [C] to use.  It… has you draw one card.  Well, honest name I suppose, but underwhelming.  The second attack has the awesome name of Helicoptero and requires [FCC] to use.  It hits for 40 points of damage and forces you to switch Hitmontop with one of your Benched Pokémon.  The attacks have mild synergy; the costs are such that you can use a Double Colorless Energy to lead with Quick Draw but next turn go right to Helicoptero.  Quick Draw won’t help much but technically is a “set-up” move, and Helicoptero would help deal with your low HP.  In fact, we already know how to play this in a deck, but the reason we won’t is because Donphan (BW: Plasma Storm 72/135) can hit just as hard for one Energy… which makes sense because three Energy for 40 with this effect is way overpriced. 

I’m not sure if Hitmontop could have been designed to work with Donphan - one is almost certainly going to push the other out of a deck.  As is, if Donphan rotates out in a few years but Hitmontop remains, Hitmontop is probably not good enough at the job to slip in. 

Ratings 

Standard: 1.5/5 - Technically you could build a porter style deck around it akin to Donphan, but it would be much more vulnerable due to needing three Energy to start hitting and running, yet doing no additional damage.  Plus it lacks a big finale attack like Donphan and when it does get stuck Active, is more likely to get KOed.  Still, the deck would be functional. 

Expanded: 1.75/5 - As above, but you gain access to Level Ball and Skyarrow Bridge, which could help.  Still far inferior to Donphan and friends. 

Limited: 4.75/5 - Even weak draw power is good here.  Helicoptero is decent as well, provided you have something that can get back out of the way or do some good while stuck up front.  You’ll need some source of [F] Energy if you wish to attack and obviously, don’t bother with this if you’ve got something like Lucario-EX you can try to build a +39 deck around. 

Summary: We end the week with a card that shows how it might have worked, but in the end doesn’t deliver anything that we can’t get being done better, elsewhere.  Even though it is a Basic Pokémon, its a nerfed Donphan.


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