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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Ho-oh & Ho-oh BREAK

- Fates Collide

Date Reviewed:
July 27, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.35
Expanded: 2.15
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


Otaku

Welcome to a double feature: Ho-Oh (XY: Black Star Promos XY153) and Ho-Oh BREAK (XY: Black Star Promos XY154)!  As there is no other Ho-Oh currently legal in either Expanded or Standard play, almost everything that applies to Ho-Oh goes for Ho-Oh BREAK as well. 

Ho-Oh is a Fire Type which means it strikes Weakness when attacking nearly all Grass and Metal Type Pokémon, but never faces Resistance.  It will face some anti-Fire Type effects, but most are like that of Parallel City; one side of it causes a 20 point reduction in the damage done from attacks by Fire Types (plus Grass and Water Types).  Of course Parallel City is played for its other effect (reducing maximum Bench size down to three), which is why it’s the one anti-Fire effect you’re likely to encounter.  The important bits of Fire Type support are Blacksmith and Scorched Earth; the former provides amazing Energy acceleration (two basic Fire Energy attached from the discard) at the cost of your Supporter for the turn, while Scorched Earth actually works with either Fire or Fighting Energy cards, allowing you to discard one of either from your hand (once per turn) to draw two cards.  There are a few great Fire Type attackers, though they tend to take over a deck and have added requirements, at least to be good.  Flareon (BW: Plasma Storm 12/116) needs a discard full of Pokémon but it was strong even before it could team up with Vespiquen (XY: Ancient Origins 10/98).  Entei (XY: Ancient Origins 15/98) was the star of its own deck, along with Charizard-EX (XY: Flashfire 12/106; XY: Black Star Promos XY121) to back it up.  Entei (XY: Ancient Origins 14/98) also saw some competitive play backing up other Fire Types, including some of the above.  The thing is, none of these are too hot right now, with Entei/Charizard decks being totally burnt out. 

Ho-Oh is a Basic Pokémon and that’s the best for the obvious reasons; one card = one copy, no waiting to put it into play, can act as an opener/reduces risk of mulligan, enjoy specific Stage support, and just naturally work better with certain card effects.  Yes there are some potent anti-Basic effects like the “Flash Ray” attack on Jolteon-EX, but the net result is clear.  Its 120 HP is 20 shy of the maximum.  It also just misses the point where I believe odds of surviving an attack go from less likely to more likely; 120 damage per turn is a good amount, enough to 2HKO nearly anything in the format.  Of course several decks just push for the OHKO while others are more focused on attack effects rather than damage.  Which unfortunately transitions well into the Water Weakness; this is dangerous because there are now multiple Water Type attackers (with competitive decks!) that will fit the bill; Seismitoad-EX, Greninja BREAK, etc.  Fighting Resistance is a nice bonus; -20 to damage doesn’t mean a lot, but 120 helps you leverage it better, even when the Fighting Type is focused on damage buffs.  In fact sometimes it plays to your advantage; in a close game resource management is the deciding factor so your opponent has an incentive not to overcommit… which means forgetting about Resistance can lead them to whiff on a KO they ought to have taken (or maybe that is just me).  The Retreat Cost of [CC] is low enough you probably (but not always) can pay it, but high enough you won’t want to, especially as two Energy can be a lot in the long run.

Ho-Oh has two attacks that have been seen on other cards before.  First up is “Stoke” for [C], which lets you flip a coin and if “heads”, search your deck for up to two [R] Energy cards to attach to Ho-Oh.  On “tails” is does nothing.  For [RRCC] it can use “Fire Wing” to do 100 damage.  These are a bit weak for my taste but not truly bad.  You can Stoke to build into Fire Wing or try for a Double Colorless Energy from hand plus a Blacksmith to attach two Fire Energy cards from the discard pile to go from zero to 100 in one turn.  100 for four when it is a little underwhelming, but you can 2HKO anything other than most Mega Evolutions, Wailord-EX, and cards with HP boosts or other defensive buffs.  So what will Ho-Oh BREAK add?  It becomes a BREAK Evolution instead of a Basic, so that is obviously different.  It gains 30 HP (so now its 150) and the attack “Shining Flame”, which requires [RRRCC] to do 160 damage, and it can’t use Shining Flame again the next turn.  Powering up in one turn requires a lot of effort, but you can use Fire Wing and then (if Ho-Oh) survives follow up with it.  On its own, Shining Flame just needs a Muscle Band to OHKO the typical 170/180 HP Basic Pokémon-EX.  So is that enough you ought to run it? 

      

Probably not.  The big draw would be that Ho-Oh BREAK can act as an Evolved Fire Type attacker, getting around certain problematic effects, while at the same time not being a Pokémon-EX like a Mega Evolution.  I don’t remember that being the big issue plaguing current Fire Type decks; an issue, sure but not the one that is keeping them from seeing successful competitive play.  In Expanded we already have Flareon [Plasma] and that should be a decent enough sweeper in general should a Fire Type deck have the room.  There is also Flareon (XY: Ancient Origins 13/98) to let any worthwhile Stage 1 Type fake being a Fire Type.  Plus while we are getting a little Fire Type support in the next expansion (XY: Steam Siege) it looks like it will help enough other cards that these two still won’t be a major draw.  However they aren’t that far away from it either.  Ho-Oh on its own would be, but as a tag team combo it and Ho-Oh BREAK are either a litte more damage or one less [R] Energy requirement (for sure no more than both) from being pretty useful.  That or perhaps a different Weakness; had Ho-Oh been Lightning Weak it would have given us not only a pseudo-Stage 1 that was a bit clunky but manageable to deal with effects that countered Basics or Pokémon-EX, but a Fire Type that could deal with Water Types.  These two would be pretty sweet for Limited play but as promos, that doesn’t matter. 

Ratings (Same for both) 

Standard: 2.35/5 

Expanded: 2.15/5 

Limited: N/A 

Summary: Ho-Oh can try to speed itself up is stuck without backup or deliver a solid enough hit for the Energy invested (though only just), while Ho-Oh BREAK needs just a Muscle Band to cross a critical OHKO threshold, except it needs about one more Energy than it should to be impressive for doing so.  They may still fill some niche, but I do not believe they will do so well enough to see competitive play.  Neither is a truly bad card but as the score suggests neither are they up to par on their own or together.


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