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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Charizard

- Generations

Date Reviewed:
April 12, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2
Expanded: 1,75
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


Otaku

Didn’t get enough of Charizard when we reviewed Charizard (Generations RC05/RC32) last week?  Here’s hoping because today we are covering Charizard-EX (Generations 11/83)!  This strikes me as another card where it will be more efficient to just cover all releases at once because they are very similar and many were released when I was not reviewing.  So we’ll be discussing Charizard-EX (XY: Flashfire 11/106, 100/106; XY: Black Star Promos XY29), Charizard-EX (XY: Flashfire 12/106), and Charizard-EX (XY: Black Star Promos XY17) as well. 

All of these are Fire Types.  Fire Type support isn’t deep but it has some spiffy options that are probably better now than when they released, like Blacksmith and Scorched Earth.  Nearly all Grass Type and Metal Type Pokémon are Fire Weak and at least the former is still a major factor in the game, though often with smaller targets so the Weakness is a bit less important.  There are some anti-Fire Type effects but they just aren’t used competitively and there is no Fire Resistance unless we go to Unlimited play and we aren’t.  Being a Pokémon-EX means giving up an extra Prize when KOed, being the target of certain detrimental effects, and being the unable to access certain beneficial effects.  That is also the order of significance with the extra Prize shaping the format, the handful of useful effects they cannot access being mostly negligible, and the anti-Pokémon-EX effects being somewhere in between.  One additional thing that does not always apply is that a Pokémon-EX is either a Basic or  Mega Evolution regardless of its actual Stage: that means Charizard gets to be a Basic instead of a Stage 2.  Being a Basic is the best so this is a good deal for our favorite charred lizard.  Just drop Charizard-EX into play and it’s good to go; a few effects punish a player for using a Basic or reward playing Evolutions but the natural synergy with game mechanics plus the cards that explicitly help Basic Pokémon easily outweigh such things. 

180 HP is the higher of the two typical amounts seen on Basic Pokémon-EX.  We’ll have to wait until the set after XY: Fates Collide to know if HP scores are going up in general, for certain Stages or just for certain Pokémon: that set contains a Snorlax with 140 and the new Zygarde-EX gives us our third Basic Pokémon-EX with 190 HP.  These could be anomalies or the new norm for the “bigger” Pokémon.  180 is still plenty good as you’ll often survive a hit with at least a small chunk of your HP intact even after many decks “get going” with their main tactic and a solid setup.  Water Weakness is not good, especially on Basic Pokémon-EX: protected Pokémon like Suicune (BW: Plasma Blast 20/101) and Regice (XY: Ancient Origins 24/98) would be a problem for a Pokémon-EX anyway, but thanks to Weakness these two can score a OHKO against a Charizard-EX unless it is using and able to keep Fighting Fury Belt attached.  The lack of Resistance is typical so we’ll move onto the Retreat Cost.  Here we get the first bit of variety; all but XY: Black Star Promo XY17 have a Retreat Cost of [CC] which is low enough you probably can afford it but high enough you’d prefer not to.  XY: Black Star Promo XY17 has a Retreat Cost of [CCC] which is chunky enough you really need to avoid paying it, at least at full price.  It could make use of Heavy Ball or Heavy Boots but those aren’t exactly important to competitive play right now. 

No Charizard-EX has an Ability or an Ancient Trait but all at least have two attacks.  Charizard-EX (XY: Flashfire 11/106, 100/106; XY: Black Star Promos XY29) has “Stoke” for [C] and “Fire Blast” for [RCCC].  The former gives you a coin flip and on “heads” you search your deck for up to three Basic Energy cards and attach them to Charizard-EX.  It is good that it can be any Type of Basic Energy in case you are running more than just Fire Energy and three Energy is a good amount but “tails fails” and even if you succeed, you attached Energy at the end of your turn.  That means Charizard-EX has to survive a turn before it can actually capitalize on that Energy and several significant attackers will even be able to hit Charizard-EX harder because their attacks do more damage based on the Energy attached to the opponent’s Active.  Fire Blast does 120 damage and you have to discard an Energy from Charizard-EX itself; this strikes me as potentially adequate if we are just using this card as a stepping stone to the Mega Evolution but that also means we need an M Charizard-EX worth running and still it could be replaced by something better.  Still, it is 120 damage for four so most things fall into 2HKO range, with smaller Pokémon in the OHKO range.  It just is not big enough to build into OHKO range for say typical Basic Pokémon-EX without investing a bunch of resources that work better for other Pokémon.  CotD reviewer Baby Mario weighed in on this card here and got it pretty much spot on. 

Charizard-EX (XY: Flashfire 12/106) can use “Wing Attack” for [RCC] and while its “Combustion Blast” requires [RRCC] to do 150 damage but that specific Charizard-EX cannot use it again next turn.  It can be easy to sell this card short, especially with that first attack.  Wing Attack is basically your emergency fallback for when you cannot pull off a Combustion Blast, but it is enough to set-up for or finish pulling off a 2HKO when paired with something bigger, like the aforementioned Combustion Blast.  While 120 damage could be built up to actually or effectively score OHKOs on 170 or 180 HP Pokémon-EX, it would require a lot of effort.  Combustion Blast requires a Muscle Band to take out the 170 HP crowd plus a Hypnotoxic Laser (in Expanded) or Giovanni (in either format) to manage the 180 HP.  Remember how earlier I was talking about Zygarde-EX potentially signaling more 190 HP Basic Pokémon-EX?  Combustion Blast + Muscle Band + Giovanni still can handle that.  Of course Giovanni precludes using Blacksmith that turn, and that is an option you want to keep open as Blacksmith for two basic Fire Energy cards and a Double Colorless Energy from hand means this Charizard-EX goes from nothing to Combustion Blast in a single turn.  Being unable to use Combustion Blast twice in a row can be an issue but often won’t be: Charizard-EX has to survive the next turn, lack a decent use for Wing Attack, and/or lack a simple trick like Keldeo-EX with Float Stone to reset the attack effect.  No wonder this was our 10th place pick for XY: Flashfire.  Not that I was a part of that “we” at the time. 

Charizard-EX (XY: Black Star Promos XY17) can use its “Mega Ascension” for [RC] to search your deck for M Charizard-EX and add it to your hand (after showing it to your opponent, of course).  Its “Brave Fire” attack can also score a decent 120 damage, but this Charizard-EX also does 30 damage to itself.  This card is not rubbish but it is disappointing.  Mega Ascension should just be “Ascension”, an attack seen on more than one worthwhile Evolving Basic, including examples that pre- and post-date this Charizard-EX.  While it would make M Charizard-EX a little easier to use, that would not have been a bad thing.  The improvement would be relative as you would still be giving up an attack to Mega Evolve, so there would be a turn wait before an M Charizard-EX could attack.  Since it would be Active it would only really help if some sort of “turbo” build came out that needed a player to attack with M Charizard-EX on his or her second turn.  Brave Bird is overpriced as it basically should have done the same 150 as Combustion Blast, maybe more.  If it needed to have its cost bumped up to [RRCC] then so be it.  Since you are doing enough self damage that something hitting for 150 can OHKO this Charizard-EX without any additional damage buffs it could also “pay” for more damage by hitting both the opponent’s Active and itself harder.  It does none of these things though so while it still isn’t totally hopeless, it falls below both of its XY: Flashfire cousins.  We (yeah this time I was there) took a look at it here and I was a little too generous even though I only awarded it a two out of five. 

At last we come to today’s Charizard-EX (Generations 11/83); will it become the new best or worst option or just give us another one in between?  For [RC] it can use its “Flame Cloak” attack to do 30 damage while attaching a [R] Energy card from your discard pile to itself.  For [RRCC] it brings “Burning Breath” to the table, which does 80 damage plus flips two coins: each “heads” means an extra 40 damage while “tails” adds nothing but at least has no additional drawbacks.  Flame Cloak should probably only cost [R] or even [C] but it isn’t bad; same concerns with prepping something while it is Active as I had with Stoke earlier, but while it only attaches a single Energy it does damage and does not rely on coin flips.  Unfortunately Burning Breath relies on coin flips, though at least you’ll get 80 damage as a base.  Possible results are double “tails” for 80 damage, double “heads” for 160, or one of each for 120.  While only one quarter of the possible outcomes, that 80 just isn’t enough of a base for me.  I mean 120 wouldn’t have been enough for this attack even if it did straight, reliable damage.  Maybe if the two flips still added 40 each a base damage of 100 would have sufficed.  The good news is that once again, this isn’t horrible; if you and your deck can cope with the variance it may even still be adequate.  Just remember the usual issues with fluctuating damage based on things you can only influence but cannot actually control (like coin flips): unless you are lucky your average effective damage will be lower than your average damage.  Sometimes you’ll find yourself getting double “heads” to finish off something that had low enough HP you didn’t even need one. 

So… should you use this Charizard-EX?  On its own, definitely not: XY: Flashfire 12/106 retains its title as the “good” Charizard-EX.  So what about with M Charizard-EX?  Our options there are XY: Flashfire 13/106 (and 107/106),XY: Flashfire 69/106 (and 108/106), and Generations 12/83. XY: Flashfire 13/106 never got a review but XY: Flashfire 69/106, 108/106 did and Charizard-EX (Generations 12/83) will be reviewed tomorrow.  That last fact means I won’t go in depth here, but a quick read through suggests you might actually consider today’s Charizard-EX because it can reliably attach an Energy and all three M Charizard-EX have reasons for wanting major amounts of Energy acceleration.  I would still be inclined to stick with Charizard-EX (XY: Flashfire 12/106), though, and use other forms of Energy acceleration.  Generations 11/83 at least is better than the promo version and possibly on par with XY: Flashfire 11/106.  So what about Limited where it is all on its lonesome?  Well I’ll stress that there isn’t a lot of opportunity to use Generations for Limited play but if you can manage it, then it is a good pull.  You could probably risk running it as a +39 deck (where your 40 card Limited deck contains just one Basic Pokémon) but the uncertain nature of Burning Breath means some bad flips might give your opponent just enough time to build up to 180 damage on Charizard-EX. 

Ratings 

Standard: 2/5 

Expanded: 1.75/5 

Limited: 3.75/5 

Summary: Another Charizard-EX but while it isn’t another mainstream contender at least it has a potential niche usage.  It is a specialization unlikely to really matter outside of fun decks, but at least it is there.


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