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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Hawlucha

- Furious Fists

Date Reviewed:
Sep. 26, 2014

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.00
Expanded: 3.25
Limited: 3.50

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

Over the course of this week, we've looked at all kinds of interesting Stage 1 and Stage 2 Pokemon with interesting Abilities, attacks, and partners! Today we look at a Basic from Gen VI, the uniquely-typed Hawlucha with the unique move Flying Press (featured on the card itself!). Hawlucha here may even be the most interesting Pokemon of the week, and we're here to take a look at why!
 
I think the first notable thing to take a look at is Hawlucha's Retreat Cost: it's at zero. There have been few Pokemon in recent memory (save for, say, Emolga (LTR)) who have a Retreat Cost of zero. Usually the developers want you to pay some kind of cost to retreat one of your Pokemon; back in the day, this could be even be prevented with Confusion, which acted similarly on retreating as it does for attacking, forcing an opponent to use Switch. Nowadays, we've got lots of options to make a Pokemon's Retreat Cost = 0 (i.e. Float Stone and Fairy Garden), but it's always important to note the retreat cost when it hits that magic mark.
 
Does Hawlucha have the tools then to take advantage of his Retreat Cost? Looking at his Ability, Shining Spirit, it's good to know that his attack will never be resisted by Yveltal-EX or Tornadus-EX for instance. Not that Fighting Resistance is a major resistance, though it is probably one of the more common resistances to run into. Heck, you could hit Emolga for full damage if you wanted to!...well, except that you can't.
 
Flying Press is an absurd attack at 1-for-60. That's better advantage than most Pokemon in general, including Pokemon-EX! Compare this to Lucario-EX, who only gets 1-for-30. To balance that though, there has to be a limitation of sorts, and that's where the text comes in: "If your opponent's Active Pokemon isn't a Pokemon-EX, this attack does nothing."
 
In other words, you can't hit Emolga (LTR), but you can hit Emolga-EX. Yveltal (XY) will laugh while Yveltal-EX will cry. Tornadus scoffs at Hawlucha, but Tornadus-EX scoffs at the pain he's taking from Hawlucha. That's the basic gist of this.
 
So why run an anti-EX Pokemon? Kinda silly a question, don't you think? What with this EX-heavy environment? And taking out what is usually a third of their HP for a cheap loss of one Prize isn't that bad. I've seen a couple of people using Hawlucha as a lead against EX because of 1) Hawlucha's super-cheap attack and 2) his free Retreat Cost. He can dish out what he needs, and before the EX has time to figure out what happened, he's gone! The scary thing is, Hawlucha also has the potential to beat an EX in 2 turns with Strong Energy, Muscle Band, and all the new Fighting support!
 
Okay, fantastic, Hawlucha's an insane potential EX-killer, but that's a risky move putting him up front and center if your opponent runs non-EX Pokemon that aren't Bench-sitters. Casual decks don't always have an EX to deliver the smackdown on, and there are even some competitive decks like Pyroar that don't use EX's as their main offense. Against these decks, Hawlucha can't do much; he's designed a certain way against a certain type of opponent, but he's not flexible enough to match up against every deck type this way.
 
Hawlucha is a beast at times and a slacker at others, but there's no denying he's got that competitive edge about him. It's not every day when you can deal 60-100 damage on your turn one strike, after all! Just make sure his opponent isn't something he won't rain down some pain upon, and Hawlucha may prove to be a great ally in the fight against the EX!
 
...that, or he'll just help the EX fight off other EX.
 
Rating
 
Standard: 2.5/5 (right down the middle for a right down the middle kind of guy)
 
Expanded: 3/5 (there's a few more EX to go around here, and I'd love to see someone just wallop a Rayquaza-EX with this guy while they figure out what just happened)
 
Limited: 2/5 (here's a list of Pokemon-EX in the set: Lucario-EX/MLucario-EX, Heracross-EX/MHeracross-EX, Seismitoad-EX, Hawlucha-EX, Dragonite-EX. That's 7 total out of 110 cards, though if someone pulls an EX, chances are they'll play it. At least you can hit that guy hard.)
 
Arora Notealus: Big things come in small packages. Can you just imagine a Hawlucha fighting off a legendary like Groudon or Kyogre? Actually won't be that much longer for Standard; Expanded can do that with the EXs that came out in Dark Explorers!
 
Weekend Thought: What cards in the past have you seen potential for? Do you think these cards also have potential in the right deck?


Otaku

We end this week with Hawlucha (XY: Furious Fists 63/111): if you don’t have to fight the urge to pronounce it “Hawluuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuchaaaaaaaaa!”, either in a raspy fake scream or actually yelling… you are not me, and be glad for that. 

Breaking down Hawlucha we see that it is a Fighting-Type (great), Basic Pokémon (great) with 70 HP (bad in Standard) with Lightning Weakness (...I’ll explain later), Fighting Resistance (good) and a free Retreat Cost (perfect!).  Its Ability, Shining Spirit, simply causes its attacks to not apply Weakness or Resistance: this a net negative since exploiting Weakness (the capacity it loses thanks to the Ability) is much more useful than bypassing Resistance (the benefit it gains from the Ability).  It only has one attack printed on it, but the Ability is worded so that if you can use a Technical Machine or the like (as far as I know, all possibilities only work in Unlimited) then this effect would apply to them as well.  Its one single attack is very good: Flying Press (besides fitting the artwork) requires just [F] to score 60 points of damage, however it also has a clause stating it can only be used against Pokémon-EX.  This restriction is significant, but not crippling as Pokémon-EX still dominant the role of attackers. 

Which gets us into why Hawlucha is… a pretty good card.  I already stated that the Type and Stage are great; Fighting Pokémon are still riding high after receiving so much support (both direct and indirect) and Basics have been the best Stage (again) for years now.  Its Ability is often shut off because Garbodor (BW: Dragons Exalted 54/124; BW: Plasma Freeze 119/116; BW: Legendary Treasures 68/113) is so popular; there is a decent chance at least one player will be running it.  When that happens, its attack becomes amazing versus Fighting Weak Pokémon-EX; that may not be a huge amount of targets, but its nice when you can do 120 for [F] with a Basic Pokémon against Darkrai-EX or Thundurus-EX.  A Silver Bangle easily puts such targets into OHKO if Shining Spirit has been switched off.  Even when you’re not hitting for Weakness, Silver Bangle allows Flying Press to half-KO most Pokémon-EX (and now Shining Spirit can come in handy, making sure even Yveltal-EX can still feel the full impact).  If you’re already insisting on running something like Machamp (XY: Furious Fists 46/111; XY Promos XY13), it requires a very unlikely set-up but you could pump Flying Press up to OHKO levels… at least against Pokémon-EX. 

Having a Pokémon with a free Retreat Cost has long been handy; its actually something that has been nerfed and remained largely nerfed since “the old days”: besides Basics with free Retreat Costs being rare only relative to the amount of Basics Pokémon released, the original rules for this game allowed a player to retreat as many times per turn as he or she could pay for, meaning you could rapidly swap back and forth to shake off attack effects, including Special Conditions.  Even needing a Switch or similar method of Benching without actually retreating, it remains a wonderfully useful trick… and Korrina can search it out, even alongside a Switch!  In Expanded, you don’t have to use a Supporter; Level Ball will do the job (though not with the bonus Item). 

Diversifying your Weaknesses while having a Resistance to one of the more popular Types is handy, though constrained by the cards low HP.  70 HP is enough that Mewtwo-EX or Beartic (XY: Furious Fists 22/111) or Virizion-EX can all score OHKOs, but not without boosting.  Those three are among the most likely to exploit the Weakness found on other Fighting-Types.  Similarly, a Landorus-EX might be a threat to finish off a wounded Hawlucha on the Bench, but an Active one can survive a Hammerhead even when Muscle Band and a Strong Energy are involved.  The more skilled your opponent, the more capable his or her deck and the better his or her current resources available the less relevant all of this is… but even without misplays, this kind of Type-matching comes in handy (and before damage long outstripped HP+Resistance, was quite common). 

Still is it a strong enough “glass cannon” to justify running it?  No.  Is it that important to have a “pivot Pokémon” that Korrina can search out?  No.  Is it that important to have a second, third or fourth Weakness in your Fighting-Type decks to help with match-up diversification?  No.  Resistance is definitely not enough to justify running a card… but all of these things together is, at least in a deck that does supply the necessary pieces.  In fact there are really only three good reasons not to run this card, but they are significant: 

  1. No source of Fighting Energy
  2. Messes up “seventh Prize” strategy
  3. No room at all!

A “free-retreater” used to be a standard component to deck builds, only begrudgingly skipped.  Even now, its more common than it seems because we’ve got things like Darkrai-EX (Dark Cloak), Fairy Garden and Float Stone faking it.  The lack of space in decks is the main reason not to sneak in a Hawlucha, and that is a common problem for a lot of cards.  Make room for it if you’ve got a deck running Fighting-Type support in Standard or Expanded.  Only skip it in Limited if you’re running a deck built around a single, big Basic Pokémon (like a Pokémon-EX); otherwise even if you don’t plan on attacking with it, you just want it for the free Retreat Cost and decent size (for Limited). 

Ratings 

Standard: 3.5/5 - Composite rating; across the board it is at least good for a three out of five, but in decks that suit it it spikes up to being a staple (at least a four out of five) and its impressed me so much that I’m leaning towards it being pretty good. 

Expanded: 3.5/5 - I am a little more worried about it here facing more competition (and perhaps more Lightning-Types to worry about), but it gains access to Level Ball, so all in all I think it evens out. 

Limited: 4.9/5 - Are you running a +39 deck?  Then skip it.  Anything else?  Make room. 

Summary: Hawlucha did not make my own top 10 list from a few weeks ago, but I am pretty sure by now that it should have.  It doesn’t do any one thing well enough to make it a must run, but it does a lot of little things well to make it a “must have reason for not running” card.  Of course, deck space is a very viable reason; isn’t that why most of us aren’t running the useful TecH attackers to counter various decks?


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