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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Hippowdon

- Primal Clash

Date Reviewed:
April 15, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3
Expanded: 3
Limited: 3.75

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being horrible.  3 ... average.  5 is awesome.

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

You know a lot of the cards we look at tend to be mundane. Some are good, some are great, and then some are terrible, but most of them tend to be run-of-the-mill cards that are casual play at best, binder fodder at worst. Here we've got an example of what is a good card - possibly even a great one! This is Hippowdon! 

And what, pray tell, would make Hippowdon so great? It's a Stage 1 Fighting-type, which Fighting's pretty good right now. 130 HP is really high for Stage 1, oddly enough, but it doesn't seem so stunning with that Retreat Cost of 4. Grass Weakness, its ultimate attack Double-Edge is a hefty 4-for-100 with 20 recoil...starting to look pretty mundane, huh? Maybe even terrible. You figure it's time to start slipping it into the binder when suddenly-!! 

Resistance Desert. Aptly named, 3-for-60, which isn't phenomenal, but what IS phenomenal is the effect: "During your opponent's next turn, prevent all effects of attacks, including damage, done to this Pokemon by Pokemon-EX." 

You know what THAT means! No more Seismitoad-EX, no Primal Kyogre-EX, no Mewtwo-EX or Yveltal-EX - if that dreaded "-EX" is in the title, they can't do ANYTHING to Hippowdon during your opponent's next turn! That's incredible! 

But that's not without its fair share of problems. Even in tournament play, there are non-EX attackers to work around like Pyroar and Empoleon (as examples), so it's no fool-proof strategy. Still though, Hippowdon can answer a few good questions when it comes to EX match-ups, but ultimately what's going to kill it is deck space. You need to run Hippowdon with Hippopotas, which there are probably some good anti-EX options for Fighting decks - like Hawlucha from Furious Fists! 

Still, I think this is more of what evolutions need to be competitive, some sort of anti-EX form. Or better yet, how about increasing their damage outputs? That'd be pretty good. 

Rating 

Standard: 3/5 (a good Stage 1, but damage output's pretty low for the cost, and there are better options) 

Expanded: 3/5 (same here) 

Limited: 3.5/5 (whereas Resistance Desert loses some viability against anything not-EX, Double-Edge does get a bit better) 

Arora Notealus: Hippowdon's one of the more interesting Pokemon when it comes to genders. The male one is just like the one picture - a yellowish kind of color - but the female one changes colors completely and becomes black. Just like black sand! More interestingly, the shiny forms add a more tan-ish color and a green color! Which would be like beach sand and - believe it or not - green sand! You would not believe how clever those designers can be sometimes.

Next Time: BACK INTO THE DEPTHS WE GO!!


Otaku

According to The Charizard Lounge one Eduordo Gonzalez managed an 8th place finish at the Idaho State Championship with a deck featuring Hippowdon (XY: Primal Clash 88/160)... so let’s get the dirt on this Pokémon! 

 

Come back: I don’t think I have time for anymore puns so it should be safe!  Onto the card, Hippowdon is a Fighting-Type which might be as good as it gets right now; Weakness is found on most Darkness-Types, most Lightning-Types and quite a bit of Colorless-Types while the Type enjoys a great deal of direct and indirect support.  Fighting Resistance is one of the most common forms of Resistance but no Resistance is several times more common so it isn’t a huge knock and the few anti-Fighting-Type cards see so little play almost forgot about them.  Being a Stage 1 is not good, but its overall hasn’t been bad either; this might be the new “neutral” (at least if we take an optimistic view of the format).  Hippowdon has 130 HP; this is pretty far from the maximum HP we’ve seen on a Stage 1 Pokémon: Wailord (BW: Dragons Exalted 26/124) with its 200 HP and the handful of exceptions with 140/150 don’t see much competitive play, but they do exist.  This is a format where OHKOs can happen to anything: 130 HP being more likely to survive a hit (especially early game or when a deck’s set-up isn’t fully established) than be OHKOed is good. 

Grass Weakness both is and isn’t good; thanks to a few cards (like Seismitoad-EX) there is a big incentive to exploit that Weakness for the average deck (the bad) but the good (for Hippowdon - not sure about the game as a whole) is that it isn’t that easy to exploit for the average deck.  You’ll feel it when you do slam into a VirGen deck.  You won’t feel any Resistance though; even though it is a Ground-Type in the video games and totally immune to Electric (Lightning) moves there, for some reason the designers seem to be facing out Lightning Resistance.  Wouldn’t have made a huge difference though and this just puts Hippowdon on part with the majority of Pokémon (whom also lack Resistance).  The superchunky Retreat Cost of [CCCC] is flat out bad, but with a silver-lining in Expanded where it makes the card a legal target for Heavy Ball.  Otherwise this is so heavy you either need to pack something to lower it or bypass manually retreating entirely (perhaps both are in order) or build the deck so that you’re comfortable leaving a stranded Hippowdon up front. 

Hippowdon doesn’t do anything fancy like have an Ability or Ancient Trait, bringing two attacks to the table instead.  The first is Resistance Desert for [FCC]; it hits for 60 and prevents all effects of attacks, including damage, done to Hippowdon during the next turn by Pokémon-EX.  Like (nearly?) all such attacks, this can be reset if Hippowdon is forced to the Bench, though without being able to force it back up front again or hit the Bench that won’t do much good for targeting it directly (other Pokémon on the other hand…).  It also won’t block effects that aren’t being done to Hippowdon; sounds obvious but there are effects done to the player like that of Quaking Punch, and I’ve seen it confuse even some veteran players.  The second attack is Double Edge for [FFCC] and good for 100 damage to the opponent’s Active… and 20 to Hippowdon itself.  So how do the attacks stack up?  Both are pricey so you’ll probably need Energy acceleration to get them going.  Both can make use of Double Colorless Energy (plus other non-Type specific Energy acceleration) which is good.  Both attacks hit a bit low for the Energy invested in them, which is bad but not by much; the effect of Desert Resistance is very potent and if it doesn’t justify only doing 60 for three it comes close.  Double Edge seems like it should do another 20-50 damage to be competitive but 100 is still a solid enough foundation to be useful in competitive play, mostly for a finishing blow when you can afford to drop the lock.

Hippowdon Evolves from Hippopotas; looks like there are only two options for Expanded - BW: Next Destinies 65/99 and XY: Primal Clash 87/160 - while only the latter is Standard legal.  Both are Basic Fighting-Types with 90 HP, no Abilities or Ancient Traits but two attacks.  BW: Next Destinies 65/99 is Water Weak, Lightning Resistant, has a Retreat Cost of [CCCC] and for [F] it can hit one of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon for 20 damage (no Weakness or Resistance is applied) while for [FCC] it can Bite for 30 damage (no additional effects).  XY: Primal Clash 87/160 has Grass Weakness, no Resistance, a Retreat Cost of [CCC], Tackle for 20 at a cost of [CC] and Rolling Attack for 50 at a cost of [FFC].  This might be more of a metagame call as none of the attacks are really good enough to decide it; pick whichever one has the safer Weakness unless Lightning Resistance is useful. 

There is also another Hippowdon legal for Expanded - HW: Next Destinies 66/99 - which was I am a little surprised didn’t at least get a filler review.  The difference between it and today’s Hippowdon are Water Weakness instead of Grass, Lightning Resistance instead of no Resistance, the damage and the effects of the attacks.  That’s right, even the Energy costs of the attacks are the same: [FCC] for the first and [FFCC] for the second!  Said first attack is Sand Bazooka and it does 70 with the option of moving a Basic Energy from Hippowdon itself to one of your Benched Pokémon; it is nice that it is optional but bad that it can’t move Special Energies.  The 70 damage is a bit low too.  Its big attack is Rock Tumble and it does 90 without applying Resistance.  That means it does 20 less damage to itself than Rock Tumble but also 10 less damage to the Defending Pokémon (except against Resistance, where it does 10 more).  This is bad and probably why we haven’t heard from this card.  Skip it and focus on today’s. 

I don’t know what else was in the winning decklist apart from “Fighting support”, so let’s run through the options we have for that right now.  For direct Fighting support (the stuff that only works for Fighting-Types) we’ve got.  Fighting Stadium is almost guaranteed to have been in the deck, knocking out other problematic Stadiums and boosting your damage against the Pokémon you can also wall… though maxing it out might not be good since it is only good when facing something that you already have an edge against.  Focus Sash is tempting but there are so many conditions that even if it isn’t discarded it probably won’t make a difference, plus you have so many other Pokémon Tools to consider.  Korrina seems like a given as the deck will likely have a lot of Fighting-Type Pokémon and a lot of Items to snag.  Machamp (BW: Plasma Blast 49/101) is just a lamer version of Machamp (XY: Furious Fists 46/111, XY: Black Star Promos XY13), so if one of them is worth using, go with the latter for +20 against everything instead of just an effective +20 against the Fighting Resistant by the former (since it cancels out Resistance).  Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick is how you’d most likely get a Machamp out, and can be used to skip directly to Hippowdon as well.  Strong Energy is probably the most iconic option with its +20 damage per copy attached; besides not using Double Edge that often, Strong Energy is thankfully worded so it doesn’t bump up self-damage.

Indirect Fighting-Type support basically includes anything that is a Fighting-Type so I won’t be going through it all, but highlights are Hawlucha, Landorus (XY: Furious Fists 58/111), Landorus-EX and Lucario-EX.  From there it’s mostly figuring out its better to focus on  

a) beefing up your own attackers

b) disrupting your opponent’s attackers

c) shoring the deck up against non-Pokémon-EX

d) piling it on against Pokémon-EX

e) some combination of two or more of the above 

with the remaining space you have left.  I tried building a deck around Hippowdon and Fighting support myself on the PTCGO.  I only had time for about 10 games and some of those ended due abnormal circumstances (odd times to concede or the opponent being idle to long).  I didn’t think I had enough room for a “jack of all trades” approach and went with stacking damage bonuses with some being Pokémon-EX specific (Fighting Stadium and Silver Bangle) while others were general (Machamp with Fighting Fury, Muscle Band, Strong Energy).  I am uncertain if it was the best strategy, but most games Desert Resistance was good for at least a 2HKO, a fantastic set-up would have enabled a OHKO (came close one game) and the supporting cast of Pokémon I went with (Hawlucha, Landorus, Landorus-EX and Lucario-EX) were able to hit hard enough to buy time for setting up and handle things when Desert Resistance was pointless.  Well, not games I lost, obviously.  I did notice that the deck does need at least periodic OHKO capacity; plenty of Max Potion, Super Scoop Up, etc. going around. 

For Expanded play, this deck gains Heavy Ball but I’m not sure if that even matters given Korrina or what else helps it: maybe the presence of Eelektrik (BW: Noble Victories 40/101) decks?  The increased diversity may hurt it a little but I’m not sure; even when facing decks in Standard that didn’t rely too much on Pokémon-EX, my build (for better or worse) could fall back on other stuff for decent damage so even such decks here might be a negligible change.  I do know that in both Standard and Expanded, I got the feeling that I might as well be trying for a Primal Groudon-EX deck.  For Limited, this looks like a really good pull but as much for being a Stage 1 that can attack for decent damage but isn’t too terrible to splash as what you hope can be a clutch anti-Pokémnon-EX card.

Ratings 

Standard: 3/5 

Expanded: 3/5 

Limited: 4/5 

Summary: Tham Kennard piloted a Quad Sigilyph deck, built around Sigilyph (BW: Dragons Exalted 52/124; BW: Plasma Freeze 118/116; BW: Legendary Treasures 66/113), the well known Safeguard Pokémon to first place at the 2012 Southeast Asia Regional Championship (held in Singapore).  He wrote a wonderful tournament report you can read here on the matter and I bring it up because in that report he is honest; he gets credit not only for the win and for reading the metagame, playing and building the deck well but for his honesty and accuracy as he acknowledges that his match-ups were important as well.  He didn’t face the decks that focused heavily on non-Pokémon-EX attackers and some of the countermeasures against Safeguard the Pokémon-EX heavy decks ran ended up Prized. 

The relevance to Hippowdon is that Hippowdon is definitely a metagame sensitive choice; I don’t know how many people used it for State Championships, but it only had that one Top 8 finish that I could find.  Time it right and I think it could carry you all the way to a first place finish, but if enough people are prepared for it (which can be as simple as knowing how to play what you are already running when you encounter it) I think you’re in serious trouble.  As if this summary isn’t long enough, I do wonder about running it as a 2-2 or even 1-1 or 0-1 (the latter only if Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick is present) in other Fighting-Type decks, instead of making it the focus.


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