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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Blaziken EX

- XY54 Promo

Date Reviewed:
August 18, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.80
Expanded: 3.00
Limited: Promo

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

Next up in our line-up is Blaziken-EX, and he looks ready to cook up some turkeys! Hehehe...it's not even close to Thanksgiving... 

Blaziken-EX has some similarities to Sceptile-EX from yesterday, but I'd like to think his chancy attack is more...usable, in a way. But first, we've got warm up to that attack, and that's where his Fist of Focus comes into play (wait, why not Focus Pun-riiiiiiight, already a move)! At the cost of 2 Energy, it can deal 30 damage and attach an Energy in the discard pile to Blaziken-EX, fueling him up for his next big attack. Add in stuff like Battle Compressor and Fiery Torch to get that Energy into the discard and Blacksmith to bring it out faster, and Blaziken-EX almost doesn't even need Fist of Focus. 

The real kicker (not to pun off the artwork there) to Blaziken-EX though is the powerful Flare Storm. Initially, it's a 4-for-100 strike, which isn't that great in the grand scheme of things, but with every additional Fire Energy attached, you get to flip a coin and add 20 damage for every heads that comes up. So potentially, you could one-shot any Pokemon-EX just by having 4 Fire Energy, but you're more than likely to deal on average about 140 damage. Throw in a Muscle Band, and that's still a fairly solid hit...but not quite enough to make things work out. 

Sure, you could always throw on more Fire Energy to up your chances of KOing a Pokemon, but you're gonna have to watch yourself around Mewtwo-EX in Expanded and Yveltal-EX in Standard, as they'll be ready to annihilate your Blaziken-EX in an instant. Aside from that, Blaziken-EX still has a solid chance to only be able to deal a 2HKO, which can give the opponent enough time to easily OHKO Blaziken-EX or at least deal a LOT of damage. 

And that's where Blaziken-EX's chancy ultimate attack falters. Sure, you can speed up to it quickly, but if you don't get lucky and get momentum off of it, it can bring you down very quickly. Thus, Blaziken-EX, like his attack, is left to a chancy situation and is thusly banned to the depths of casual play. 

Rating 

Standard: 2.5/5 (...okay, he's not "banned" banned, and he's got a decent ways to eliminate stuff, but he's not gonna be the best by far) 

Expanded: 2.5/5 ("meh") 

Limited: PRRRRRRRROMOTION!! 

Arora Notealus: In Japan, there's also a M Blaziken-EX, which means of the three evolved Hoenn Power Tin starters-EX, only Blaziken-EX has a Mega Evolution...well, until Ancient Origins comes out, then only Swampert-EX won't have a Mega Evo-WHOOPS DID I JUST SAY THAT OUT LOUD 

Next Time: I heard you liked Mudkips, soooooo...


Otaku

Our second promo for the week should be a bit less confusing as the new (current) set doesn’t have another version: Blaziken-EX (XY: Black Star Promo XY54).  Again, I’ll try to cover the card as is “now”, but also take into account what it will be like post rotation, which will include the new cards (and for Standard, cards lost to rotation).  Being so new I’ve mostly just seen (as opposed to used and/or faced) most of XY: Ancient Origins, though. 

Blaziken-EX is a Fire-Type; while this is what one tends to expect it is a dual-Type Pokémon in the TCG and so is also a Fighting-Type there… and being a Fighting-Type in the TCG right now is generally much better than being a Fire-Type.  We’ll have to see if the rest of the card makes it clear that it is better off as a Fire-Type or if it would rather have access to Strong Energy, Fighting Stadium and Korrina as opposed to Blacksmith and… does Fire have any other noteworthy, Type specific support?  The Fire-Type does at least hit vast majority of Grass-Types and Metal-Types for double damage via Weakness, so its not too far behind the Fighting-Type (which hits at least half of Colorless-Types, most Darkness-Types and most Lightning-Types for Weakness).  There are some more pieces of Fire support like Scorched Earth… kind of: the Stadium technically is support for basic Fire Energy (usually not not always used with Fire-Types) and it also works for the Fighting-Type: you can discard a basic Energy of either Type from hand to draw two cards.  Like yesterday though, at least the Fire-Type doesn’t have to worry about Resistance.  The main thing to consider about the new set/rotation is that we might be seeing more Fire Weak Pokémon… or not as the Grass-Type is expected to see more play but I have no idea if the other major Fire Weak Type (Metal) will see more, less or the same amount of play. 

Blaziken-EX is a Basic Pokémon and for the last several years and the foreseeable future, that’s the best!  They have a natural advantage over the slower and more resource intensive other Stages, though I think that could be mitigated with proper design: not making Evolutions stronger but rather making Evolving Pokémon more useful and non-Evolving Basics a bit slower.  Enough about that, onto the HP: 170, which is good though still within OHKO range of many decks once their setup gets going as well as when being hit by Weakness.  In this case, Weakness is to Water and it can be a real pain when facing something like Seismitoad-EX, normally a Pokémon feared because of the Item blocking effect of its Quaking Punch and not its low damage output that is usually augmented by combos.  The lack of Resistance is typical so we’ll move onto the Retreat Cost of [CC]; low enough you’ll usually be able to pay it but high enough you’d really rather not and sometimes, recovering from it can be tricky. 

Blaziken-EX has two attacks but no Ability or Ancient Trait.  The first attack (Fist of Focus) requires [RC] and hits 30 while attaching an Energy card from your discard pile to Blaziken-EX.  The damage is decent while the attachment cares nothing about Type or being a basic Energy, allowing you to target any Energy card at all, Special or basic.  For [RCCC] you can use the second attack (Flare Storm) to hit for 100 damage “plus”, where the “plus” is that each [R] Energy attached to Blaziken-EX gives you a coin flip good for another 20 damage per “heads” and… no bonus on “tails”.  As the attack requires at least one source of [R] Energy and again it doesn’t specify basic Energy, Flare Storm will always be hitting for a 100 (tails) or 120 (heads).  Averaging 110 for four isn’t bad but it isn’t good.  A second source of [R] Energy jumps it to a 100 minimum, 120 mean and median and 140 maximum.  Three means a 100 to 160 range with a little more variance in between and if all four required are [R] Energy, the range is 100 to 180.  More Energy can be added, but four is already a lot and you’d get a better return most of the time from using it on something like Mewtwo-EX instead. 

Still if you want a basic, Fire-Type Pokémon-EX that has two solid attacks, Blaziken-EX is adequate.  If you go second and can manage a Double Colorless Energy plus a Blacksmith for the two full Fire Energy, you’ll hit that 100/120/140 split.  There are a few options to back that up so that it turns into a OHKO on the high end, but it is probably better off to try and be patient and just get the four Fire Energy on there.  Victini (latest printing BW: Legendary Treasures 23/113) can help you reflip, but since you have to reflip all coins or none it is best saved for when you do quite poorly (like when you get no “heads” at all and thus there is no chance you can do worse).  Trick Coin would also be an option, but that precludes using Muscle Band for a guaranteed +20.  Also making things a bit awkward are cards like Mega Evolutions that exceed 180 damage, especially the cards with 210+ HP: even with four attached [R] Energy and four “heads” on your coin flips and a Muscle Band, Pokémon with 210 or more HP can survive. 

If/when Blaziken-EX gets a Mega Evolution, this should be a solid basis (though I wouldn’t be surprised if we also got a new Blaziken-EX to rival it at the same time).  For now though, if you insist on using this for Standard (either Standard) or either Expanded, it is just slightly inadequate.  The same pieces needed to go from zero to Flare Storm in a single turn work with other, better attackers, sometimes not even Fire-Types (again, Mewtwo-EX).  If you just want a big, Basic Fire-Type Pokémon-EX that can get by with just one single source of [R] Energy, Charizard-EX (XY: Flashfire 11/106, 100/106) has a similarly priced “big” attack that requires a single Energy (any Type) discard but does a reliable 120 damage.  For an actual Fire-Type attacker with a deck built around him, there is Reshiram (last printed as BW: Legendary Treasures 28/113, 114/113 and RC22/RC25 because “mascot”) or Charizard-EX (XY: Flashfire 12/106) can hit for reliable amounts of damage, have a great (Reshiram) or decent (Charizard-EX) all Colorless attack and out of those three, only Reshiram is scheduled to rotate out.  So really, only the potential increase of Fire Weak targets is going to really change in the foreseeable future. 

Ratings 

Standard (Pre-rotation): 2/5 

Standard (Post-rotation): 2.1/5 

Expanded (Pre-rotation): 1.9/5 

Expanded (Post-rotation): 2/5 

Summary: If you love fire and coin flips, Blaziken-EX might be for you.  If you want reliable damage on a big Fire-Type, there are better options though at least this isn’t unworkable.

 

            Before I start today’s review, I’d like to apologize for falling behind in my reviewing. My family wanted to get in a number of things with me before I go back to college on Friday, so I didn’t have much time to review anything during that week. That being said, since college is starting back up, there may be a few more times yet where I may fall behind, and I apologize in advance.

            Today, we have the long awaited Blaziken EX making an appearance. 170 HP and an expected Water weakness are predictable, however, you wouldn’t expect a Pokémon with the infamous ‘Speed Boost’ ability in the games to have a Retreat Cost of two. Well, you can’t have everything! Maybe it only has the Blaze ability instead, or something.

            Fists of Focus (I’m surprised they didn’t name it after Focus Punch or anything, since it can learn it now in the games) does 30 for a Fire and Colorless, and lets you attach an energy card from your discard pile onto this Pokémon. If you may have noticed, the phrasing of this effect means you could potentially attach Special Energy to Blaziken as well, which could definitely surprise your opponent in a number of ways. Have a Plasma Energy that was discarded in a Plasma deck? Just attach it to Blaziken with this attack, and play an Energy Switch to get it on the Pokémon that will use it! …Okay, that circumstance won’t come into play very often, but it definitely has some synergy with Energy Switch, if the time ever calls on it. It can also directly help Blaziken, too, with its huge attack cost of his next attack.

            Flare Storm (again, Flare Blitz is a move in the games it can learn, so IDK what’s with these slightly different names) costs one Fire Energy and three Colorless, and does 100 damage, plus 20 more for each heads that you can flip per coin flip for each Fire Energy attached to Blaziken EX (…I probably could have said that better somehow). As stated before, the previous attack could help out with this, but so can Emboar (BW 20) (in Expanded, at least). So, let’s say you managed to fill the whole Energy requirement with just Fire Energies. With an average of 50% each flip, the average amount of damage you could do would usually be around 140, which is actually very decent. However, I can imagine that the only way you would be paying this cost in only Fire would be if you ran a monotype Fire deck. And although you can have a chance to boost the damage further with Trick Coin, it still relies on luck, which some people may not prefer, especially if you’re in a tight spot. However, it is at least a very fun card to play, and once you get Blaziken powered up fully, he can become as much of a beast as he is in the video games. 

            Standard: 3.9/5 (Luck based to an extent, and can be difficult to power up fully, he can still manage to do even more damage than most EXs if you play him right, though.)

            Expanded: 4.4/5 (…because Emboar)

            Limited: 4.3/5 (Crazy power is crazy, so if you pull him, unless your opponent plays a Water deck, you could have enough time to power up and wreck stuff.)


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