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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Entei

- Ancient Origins

Date Reviewed:
October 5, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.45
Expanded: 2.08
Limited: 4.08

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

So this week is a bit of a mix of Fire and Fighting, so I guess it wouldn't be inappropriate to call this Lava Week! Or would it be Magma Week? Either way, we've got cards to review! And we're starting the week off with a look at Entei!

...well, one Entei at least. 

This one is a bit of a mixed bag, depending on what deck you're running. His first attack, Burning Roar, only costs 1 Energy, but it does something a little different than what you'd expect from most Pokemon in general. Instead of dealing damage or Burning the opponent, Burning Roar discards the top 4 cards of your deck to check for Fire Energies, which can then be attached to your Pokemon any way you like.  

Off the top of my head, I can't say there are too many decks that would benefit from having 4 cards tossed into the discard pile aside from Vengeance and Night March decks, and even then I'd think they'd rather run Battle Compressor to guarantee that the cards they send are, in fact, Pokemon - not just any 4 cards willy-nilly. Still, it's something if not a form of Energy acceleration, and if you build a deck well enough, you could get instantaneous Energy to use on Vespiquen or Joltik or whoever you're running. 

Combat Blaze is okay; at 2 Energy, it only deals 20 damage, with an additional 20 damage for each Pokemon on your opponent's Bench. Most of the time, this maxes out at 120 damage, a fairly sizable amount, but it could also gain and extra 60 damage if you're facing off against a deck running Sky Field, hitting that powerful 180 damage instead. 120 is the magic number for 2HKOing Megas, and 180 is the amount to KO most any regular EX, so it's a neat trick to pull out in a pinch; the fact that it relies on your opponent's plays, though, means they can play around it, so you'd have to be crafty about putting Entei down. 

Overall, he's pretty much an okay support and secondary attacker for Fire/Vengeance decks. I imagine the latter will pass up on Burning Roar if only because Battle Compressor does it better with less risk of losing out on valuable Supporters and other Trainers, and I can't imagine running Entei solely on Combat Blaze. It's a bit tough to work him in, but I can imagine the right deck build could accommodate his assets and let him truly shine. 

Rating 

Standard: 2.5/5 (modest Energy acceleration and self-milling alongside an attack meant to counter one of the more prominent archetypes as of late make Entei an interesting card to play around with) 

Expanded: 2/5 (of course, there may be better options to work with in the first place) 

Limited: 3.5/5 (and in smaller formats, he could be both powerful and dangerous, so use him wisely!) 

Arora Notealus: I can see what they were going for with Entei, but I think Combat Blaze could have benefitted from being a tad stronger - say, tacking on an extra 30 damage for each Benched Pokemon. That'd be 170 damage for a full Bench normally, while also being 260 damage on a full Bench on Sky Field - it would have made Entei extremely powerful against these kinds of decks and a powerful addition to any Fire deck! Though perhaps they didn't want to make him so noteworthy, knowing it could have potentially gone crazy like that. In which case, maybe boosting the base damage of it before the additional 20 per Bench - making it, say, 50 damage at 2, for 150 on a full normally and 210 at max. Then again, who wouldn't run a 2-for-50 non-EX Basic? 

Next Time: Amidst the desert sands, a secret code gives access to...


Otaku

Welcome to another week of reviews here at Pojo.  As you would expect, we’ve knocked out the Grass-Types remotely worth discussing this set so now onto some Fire-Types, right?  Right, though I’m telling you now that this won’t be a mono-Fire week because “reasons”.  First up is Entei (XY: Ancient Origins 14/98), or the “plain” Entei (as the other one is an Ancient Trait and thus has expanded artwork beyond the usual borders).  As stated this is a Fire-Type, but what does that mean right now?  Metal-Types were doing reasonably well at the end of the last format and Grass-Types just got a boost recently, so at least in the short run hitting it should be a real boon to the Fire-Type as most members of these two Types are Fire Weak.  There is nothing Fire Resistant and if there are anti-Fire-Type cards in the current cardpool, they have escaped my notice.  Fire-Type is getting its own Energy in the next Japanese set… but that is just some bonus information because it doesn’t affect them right now.  What does matter is the exclusive Fire-Type support does exist and while it seemed to flame out shortly after it was introduced, we’ve seen a spark of effectiveness more recently, due to both Fire-Type and general additional support (more on that later). 

120 HP is just 10 below the maximum we’ve seen printed on “regular” (lacking special mechanics like being a Pokémon-EX) Basic Pokémon.  Nothing is safe from being OHKOed, so the real question is “How rapidly, reliably and repeatedly can this Pokémon be OHKOed?” and in the case of this Entei, your opponent will need a full set-up to do all three, though only decks not focused on damage output are going to lack an option that meets only two or three of the criteria listed.  Water-Types are the exception as Water Weakness turns your 120 HP into an effective 60: if you’re lucky something like Seismitoad-EX will fail to get all of its damage buffs so that it still whiffs on the OHKO but most everything else doesn’t need them to finish the job.  Lack of Resistance is common but a bit of a disappointment; a 120 HP Basic Pokémon tends to be near the “sweet spot” where it matters.  The Retreat Cost of [CC] is average; I don’t know what the mathematical mean is for the entire card pool but for the currently printed Retreat Costs of “None” through “[CCCC], two is the mean and the median value.  More relevant though is that it is average in terms of functionality; high enough that sometimes you’ll be hard pressed to both supply the Energy and recover from having discarded it but more often you should be able to afford it both as an upfront cost and long term investment.  Still, pack some alternatives to manually retreating at full price if you have the deck space. 

This Entei has neither an Ability nor an Ancient Trait, so on to the attacks.  First up is “Burning Roar” for [C], which discards the top four cards of your deck and allows you to attach any [R] Energy discarded in this manner to your Pokémon in any way that you like.  Second is “Combat Blaze”, good for 20 damage plus another 20 per Pokémon on your opponent’s Bench and at a cost of [RR].  These attacks weren’t good enough to get it a spot in our Top 15 but overall they seem solid; the self-mill can backfire horribly and to get a good return out of it requires running a more Fire Energy heavy build plus some luck (there isn’t a good stacking effect with which to combo) but it attaches to anything and upwards of four Energy.  Combat Blaze is puny against a lean Bench, amazing against something dependent upon Sky Field and solid against those which are in between. 

You do have one other option for an Entei right now, XY: Ancient Origins 15/98: yes we are going to review it but no it won’t be tomorrow.  I’ll still only touch upon it briefly though since we only need to consider how well it works with (or against) today’s version.  XY: Ancient Origins 15/98 has the same Type, Stage, Weakness, lack of Resistance and Retreat Cost as today’s version, but 10 more HP (so a perfect 130, though that isn’t much more durable than 120) and an Ancient Trait in addition to two attacks.  The Ancient Trait is “Θ Double” allowing it to equip two Pokémon Tools at a time.  If the attacks can make good use of it, this can be a potent trick.  The first attack (Flame Screen) requires [RC] to hit for 30 while reducing the damage done to itself from attacks during your opponent’s next turn by 30.  The second (Heat Tackle) requires a hefty [RRCC] but delivers 130 damage with minor drawback of flipping a coin and doing 30 damage to itself if the result is “tails”: you do the 130 damage to the opponent either way.  The Ancient Trait and attacks do appear to work together but what is relevant here is that nothing about this card seems to scream “You must use me instead of the other version.”; in fact they look quite compatible overall, allowing this to be at least a small bonus for today’s card instead of detracting from it. 

So how would you use Entei (XY: Ancient Origins 14/98)?  You could go for a Fire Energy heavy build and try to use it more for its Energy acceleration, but the main purpose is probably as a solid backup attacker.  Combat Blaze doesn’t strike me as hitting hard enough, reliably enough to be your main attacker but with its speed (Blacksmith readies it at once, manual attachments in two turns) it should be a suitable backup/alternate attacker.  Speaking of Blacksmith, what I was alluding to earlier is that cards like Blacksmith, Fiery Torch and the more recent Scorched Earth seem to finally be “working” for Fire-Types.  There appear to be a few reasons for this.  Battle Compressor plus VS Seeker has been around for a bit, but while Item lock strategies are still quite strong they don’t have quite the stranglehold they did last format.  Burning your Supporter on something other than draw power or Lysandre is a bit easier due to Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108, 106/108) picking up the draw power slack.  These metagame shifts aren’t unique to the Fire-Type, but perhaps were bigger hurdles for them to overcome.  I’m not sure how Flareon (XY: Ancient Origins 13/98) factors in; on one hand since it allows any Stage 1 to function as a Fire-Type, you don’t need to work in another actual Fire-Type to exploit Weakness but if you’re trying to also take advantage of Blacksmith… why not? 

In Standard it doesn’t have much in the way of competition; the other Entei but again they seem to partner together to cover different scenarios.  Not needing a lot of Energy (overall) and only two sources of [R] Energy may open up some even more niche usage: perhaps in a Fairy Transfer deck?  Expanded gives us some older, proven options, so Entei won’t score quite as high.  In Limited this is definitely not good enough to run as a +39 deck (too low of damage output if the opponent doesn’t rush to fill his or her Bench, might not survive long enough even is he or she does) but any deck that can run a good chunk of Fire Energy should include it; remember that Burning Roar only cares about the Energy Type and not the Pokémon Type so it can accelerate to whatever else you’ve pulled, and unless your luck is awful most Pokémon you run will have at least one or two [C] requirements in the attack costs (best case scenario is that they will be fully compatible!).  Almost anything you mill is as good as gone but decks tend to be about half Energy here; they also are only 40 cards so try not to deck out. 

Ratings 

Standard: 3.35/5 

Expanded: 3.25/5 

Limited: 4.75/5 

Summary: Entei (XY: Ancient Origins 14/98) looks like a good addition to the current card pool, providing Fire Energy using decks (or those that can fake it) and while it depends upon your opponent having a big Bench, that also happens to be exceedingly common in the current metagame.


Emma Starr

    Alright, looks we’re starting off with a Fire Type Week! And who doesn’t love Fire Types? Well, I guess Bugs, Grass or Steel Types don’t, but...hey look, an Entei!

    For one Colorless, Burning Roar lets you discard the top four cards of your deck, and if you come across any Fire Energies, you can attach them to any of your Pokemon! That may be nice if you’re running an energy-filled deck, but otherwise, this may not cut it. Let’s look at the type of deck that I personally like, that runs ~20ish energy. With that amount of energy, you’ll  get 1 or 2 energies attached on average, but you also may end up discarding some more important cards in your deck as well, such as Supporters, and unless you have a way to get them back (such as VS. Seeker), you may end up losing in the long run, especially if they run Vileplume, but that’s another story altogether. It may be helpful if you run Pokemon like Lugia EX or Camerupt EX, but Burning Roar is usually just too risky to rely on. The fact that it deals no damage doesn’t help either. At least with that Energy Cost, it is splashable, but it won’t attach any Special Energies (until the next set, at least), and they will get discarded with the bunch as well, sadly.

    Combat Blaze costs two Fire Energy, and does 20 plus 20 more for each benched Pokemon your opponent has in play. This, I feel, would have been a much more appropriate card in the last set, Roaring Skies, due to all of the Sky Field and Mega Rayquaza shenanigans that went on. But would this even have been enough then? Without Sky Field, this does a maximum of 100 damage, and with Sky Field, it goes up to 160. Obviously it’ll be nice if your opponent does capitalize on this, and the Energy Cost is reasonable, but from what I’ve seen, Sky Field and Mega Rayquaza just don’t seem to be very...popular. This also makes it very deck-specific too, because most times, your opponent won’t have their normal bench full anyway, and if they see you put down this Entei, what’s to stop them from putting even less Pokemon of their own in play? Especially since it takes two Energies to power it up, your opponent will have already seen it coming. Not that he’s too much to worry about really, unless your opponent is using Grass Types...or a Mega Rayquaza.
 
    Standard: 1.5/5 (Being a Fire Type is good right now, and so is energy-acceleration, no matter how risky it may be. But he can’t hit too well, and relies on what your opponent plays, as detailed above.)
    Expanded: 1/5 (Emboar accelerates energy WAY better than than Entei can!)
    Limited: 4/5 (Since most of your deck WILL be energies, AND he’s splashable, I’d play him just for these reasons, but WHY wasn’t he in the last set?!)


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