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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Ho-Oh-EX

- XY BREAKpoint

Date Reviewed:
April 15, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 1.63
Expanded: 1.38
Limited: 3.88

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

Man, sure has been a nice week to just...accidentally forget to write a review for a couple of days, am I right? Guess it's just that time of year or something. Anyways, what was I saying? Oh right, it's Ho-Oh-EX! 

Now Ho-Oh has always been an interesting Pokemon in the TCG. He's almost always had some sort of correlation with having lots of different Energies on him. Maybe it's got something to do with his rainbow features or the idea of him being a fire bird? Something like that. Rainbow Wings aside, Ho-Oh just hasn't been extremely playable if only because there are so many different basic Energies now - heck, we've got Steel, Dark, and Fairy Energy introduced since his introduction into the game! 

But I digress: here, Ho-Oh-EX is...well, a monstrous hybrid of Types culminating into just the Colorless Type with ridiculous Energy requirements. At the very least, being Colorless means he can benefit from the support in Roaring Skies, so he's got that going for him at least. On top of that, he's not weak to Electricity like most Colorless "Flying" Pokemon are - he's weak to Water instead. Still keeps that Fighting Resist though, and at least he's got the full 180 HP instead of the 160 HP his last incarnation had. 

Once again, he's got an Ability, but it is so very different from Rebirth. Remember that I started this out with "ridiculous Energy requirements". Purifying Fire is just the beginning of that, requiring Ho-Oh-EX to have Fire Energy on him. If you do, he can heal himself off for 50 damage. Normally, I chastise this sort of Ability for just recovering HP, but 50 is still a significant portion. After all, if something like Rough Seas can see play in decks just to heal off 30, then Purifying Fire can easily be used in something like a Ho-Oh-EX based deck. 

...I say that, but then we get to Elemental Feather. It's a 3-for-130 hit that hits a Benched Pokemon for 30 damage, which is pretty awesome to be honest. I mean it's an attack that can 2HKO anything in the format! How can you say no to that? Don't worry, I'll give you 3 reasons to say no to that: GRASS. ELECTRIC. WATER. 

Those are the 3 Energy requirements you need to use for this attack. Never mind that you would also need Fire Energy to use his Ability, the fact that you need to have 3 DIFFERENT ENERGIES on him to use his one attack is just absurd! I would have vastly preferred something akin to Rainbow Burn, only making it a decent attack with more power based on the different Energies you attached. Or maybe having an effect that changes or adds on based on the Energies attached to Ho-Oh-EX, simplifying it down to these three, since they seem to be so important. 

Ho-Oh-EX is just unplayable at this point. You might be able to get away with teching him into a Fire deck to stall out with Purifying Fire while fueling up your Benched guys, but that's about it. Man, Ho-Oh, get your Energies straightened out. 

...then again, there is that Smeargle. With it, you could be able to fuel Ho-Oh-EX's ridiculous Energy cost by switching around the Energies you need to. And if you've got multiple Smeargle in play, well that'll make it go by faster. Then maybe - MAYBE - you can play Ho-Oh-EX. Don't expect that deck to top any tournaments though. 

Rating 

Standard: 1.5/5 (...I won't say he's the absolute worst EX ever) 

Expanded: 1.5/5 (I mean, he's got minimal usage with that attack, and Smeargle's existence alleviates that a lot) 

Limited: 3/5 (but still...) 

Arora Notealus: Seriously though, if they just gave Ho-Oh-EX one really big complicated attack that changes effects based on the different BASIC Energy it's got, I'm sure it'd be played. It'd be weird, and if they make it too good people will wanna play around it, but hey, they can't make the Energy requirements too strict on him, ya know? Then again, that'd be such a Yugioh thing to do in Pokemon... 

Weekend Thought: Care to know my thoughts on the other cards review this week? Charizard-EX isn't too bad, and Floral Crown...exists. Anything else you wanna know about this week's cards? Think any of them are useful? You think any of them will see play? I mean they might! You never know! Just saw a Floral Crown the other day in PTCGO, dunno what that was about...also I'm terrible at PTCGO.


Otaku

We end this week with Ho-Oh-EX (XY: BREAKpoint 92/122, 121/122).  This is a Colorless Type Pokémon, reflecting the Flying portion of its Fire/Flying Typing.  Nothing is Colorless Weak or Resistance unless we look at Unlimited and we aren’t going to do that.  The Colorless Type has some support like Aspertia City Gym to bump up their HP, Altaria (XY: Roaring Skies 74/108, XY: Black Star Promos XY46) can nullify their Weaknesses, and Winona can snag three of them from your deck, but its main strength is that it usually works well with any other Type.  There is also some cards that explicitly counter Colorless Type Pokémon but they haven’t proven worthwhile even when we’ve had major decks built around Colorless Types.  All in all, a solid start to the card since (peeking ahead) the Fire Type support wouldn’t be much help for Ho-Oh-EX.  Being a Basic Pokémon is the best: there is both Basic Stage support and counters but the main thing is general game mechanics and card effects have a natural synergy with Basic Pokémon since they take less space and are faster and easier to use.  Speaking of the obvious, being a Pokémon-EX means Ho-Oh-EX gives up an extra Prize when KOed, being a target for certain anti-Pokémon-EX, and being unable to use certain pieces of support.  The positive is that Ho-Oh-EX might have better attributes and/or effects than it would otherwise have.

Right away we see it has 180 HP, the higher of the two common scores for Basic Pokémon-EX.  It won’t keep it from being OHKOed but it gives it good odds of surviving a hit.  Ho-Oh-EX has Water Weakness, which we’ve mentioned a few times this week has definite drawbacks.  Suicune (BW: Plasma Blast 20/101) and Regice (XY: Ancient Origins 24/98) are both cards that can block damage from Pokémon-EX and thanks to this Weakness will just need a Muscle Band to also score OHKOs.  Greninja BREAK decks have been doing well at recent State Championships.  Seismitoad-EX has also had a strong showing, both on its own and helping out other decks.  Unlike many cards Ho-Oh-EX sports Resistance, specifically to Fighting Types.  Taking 20 less damage isn’t a huge shift but it helps.  The Retreat Cost of [CC] is low enough you can often afford to pay it and recover from having paid it, but high enough it is much better if you don’t.  So you can’t go bare bones with retreat assistance or alternatives, but you won’t be totally dependent upon it. 

Ho-Oh-EX has one Ability and one attack.  The former is “Purifying Fire”, which you may use once per turn, though if you have multiple Ho-Oh-EX they could each use Purifying Fire.  This Ability requires you have a basic Fire Energy card attached in order to use it and the reward is healing 50 damage from Ho-Oh-EX.  This isn’t bad but it isn’t going to often make much of a difference; attackers that manage OHKOs won’t let you get a chance to heal, and 120-per-turn is hardly uncommon and will still manage a 2HKO.  To put this Ability into proper perspective you need to look at this card’s attack, “Elemental Feather”.  For [GWL] this attack does 130 damage to the opponent’s Active and 30 to one of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon.  As usual, Weakness and Resistance won’t apply for Bench hits, though as Ho-Oh-EX is Colorless in the first place this requires some comboing to actually matter.  For the Energy, the attack is solid as 130+30 for three Energy is great but requiring three different Energy Types is not.  Notice however that the attack has no use for [R] Energy, which means the basic Fire Energy you need for the Ability will have no use.  This is a kind of negative synergy. 

In Expanded you actually have another Ho-Oh-EX to pick from: BW: Dragons Exalted 22/124 and 119/124.  Differences between today’s version and the original are that the older version is a Fire Type, has 20 less HP (so 160), a different Ability (Rebirth) and a different attack (Rainbow Burn).  Rebirth can be used once per turn per copy of this Ho-Oh-EX in your discard pile.  It allows you to flip a coin and while “tails” does nothing, “heads” allows you to take Ho-Oh-EX from your discard pile and put it on your Bench, then attach up to three different Types of Basic Energy card from your discard pile to that Ho-Oh-EX.  You can’t use the Ability if your Bench is full.  Rainbow Burn requires [CCC] to do 20+ damage, where the plus is another 20 damage for each different Type of Basic Energy attached to Ho-Oh-EX itself.  So if you get the full three from Rebirth and then promote that Ho-Oh-EX to attack, it can Rainbow Burn for 20+20+20+20=80 damage.  We’ve reviewed this Ho-Oh-EX twice before, first here when it was new and then again here when it was just about to rotated out of the current Standard Format (still referred to as Modified because it was long enough ago).  It has had its ups and downs but overall is a good card, just very coin flip reliant.  Some decks have used it along with Energy Switch for Energy acceleration while others use it to help another attacker in a different way: Huntail (XY: Primal Clash 50/160) can do 20 damage times the amount of Energy attached to all of your Pokémon which means each Ho-Oh-EX provides +60 damage, at least if you get the full Energy compliment with Rebirth. 

If you want a Ho-Oh-EX to play, stick with BW: Dragons Exalted 22/124.  If you insist on using this new one… good luck.  I am at a loss for how to really maximize it.  I guess you might use the old Ho-Oh-EX plus Golduck BREAK; get the basic Energy you need into play quickly through Rebirth then use “Hyper Transfer” on Golduck BREAK to move it all onto Ho-Oh-EX (XY: BREAKpoint 92/122, 121/122).  So not much else to say for Standard and Expanded; in Limited this is a good pull.  You should be able to milk the healing even with the slow startup and difficulty of getting all the needed Energy Types attached.  A great candidate for a +39 build where the only Basic Pokémon in your 40 card Limited Format deck is Ho-Oh-EX. 

Ratings 

Standard: 1.75/5 

Expanded: 1.25/5 

Limited: 4.75/5 

Summary: Ho-Oh-EX is fantastic in Limited play but as Pre-Releases are far behind us and it is a Pokémon-EX (with their heightened rarity) few of us are going to get the chance.  Which is a shame because this is not a card to use in Standard or Expanded unless you want to challenge yourself a little.  Fighting Fury Belt can help it survive a bit longer so that the healing can come into play but by now most are quite used to dealing with Fighting Fury Belt (namely including more cards to discard Pokémon Tools).


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