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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Top 10 XY: Evolutions Cards

#10 - Hitmonchan
- XY: Evolutions

Date Reviewed:
Nov. 7, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.08
Expanded: 3.25
Limited: 4.25

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

And now we're here, finally looking at our grand list for the latest set, Evolutions! Kinda like the spiritual successor to Generations or more akin to Legendary Treasures, this set is composed almost entirely of reprints...kinda. It's actually a bunch of Pokemon cards from wayyyyy back in the day that have been reprinted and updated to fit into today's game alongside a few new cards. Some cards have been given minor fixes, other cards have been completely reworked. 

So let's start with not only an iconic one but one of the examples of the former: Hitmonchan. Originally in Base Set, he was a 70 HP Basic (back when that really meant something) with two attacks, the 1-for-20 vanilla Jab and the 3-for-40 vanilla Special Punch. Here, he's a 90 HP Basic with two attacks, the 1-for-30 vanilla Jab and the 3-for-90 vanilla Special Punch. 

...you might have noticed there's a slight change. 

Now does that mean Hitmonchan is as big a force to be reckoned with as he once was? Well, not really. Nowadays, we've got a lot of stuff to contend with, most notably Pokemon-EX, who have HP scores upwards of over 200 in the case of Megas. So Hitmonchan doesn't punch as hard, even with the slight boost in power. That being said, don't be fooled in thinking he's useless - as a Fighting-type Pokemon, he does gain a lot of advantage, such as support from Strong Energy and Carbink BREAK. 

The good news is he's got a lot more support these days. The bad news is everything's gotten stronger for it, but in the end, he'll still make a pretty good hit in some decks, so feel free to tech him in and give him a whirl! 

Rating 

Standard: 3/5 (simple, effective, not a bad start with the right hand) 

Expanded: 3.5/5 (considering with the right cards, he can deal upwards of 70-90 damage with just his Jab) 

Limited: 4.5/5 (he's a strong contender, even if he's not the perfect 5/5 he once was) 

Arora Notealus: It goes to show how far the game has come since its early days, where a card like Hitmonchan becomes largely irrelevant and looks relatively weak compared to some of the newer cards. Heck, you'd rather run this Hitmonchan over the Base Set one now, and that's only cause he got purely buffed!  

Next Time: The return of the legendary...legendary.


Otaku

Time to countdown the Top 10 Picks of XY: Evolutions (or whatever the Pojosama decides to call it).  Yes, just a week after we wrapped up our Top 20 Lost To Rotation countdown and less than two months before we’ll probably do a Top 10 list for the entire year of 2016; life happens, so that Top 20 kept being pushed back, and since we started doing countdown lists for individual sets, the final set of the year has always fallen a bit close to the end of year countdown as well.  XY: Evolutions is a misleading set; it isn’t a reprint set but it often resembles one.  We have a few actual reprints of the cards from the original Base Set, several that would be reprints albeit for a small change, some which appear to be “remixes” of the original cards, and finally a few that are there because they vaguely resemble something from the Base Set, enough to keep this nostalgia train on track.  No actual reprints were allowed for this countdown, but some of the ones with small but significant game changes were indeed permitted picks. 

Which brings us to the tenth place finisher, Hitmonchan (XY: Evolutions 62/108), the updated version of the original Hitmonchan (Base Set 7/102; Base Set 2 8/130; Best of Game 2; Platinum 129/127).  Though they are nearly identical, the differences present change the card enough that either they’ll count as completely different versions of Hitmonchan, or else this will be considered a reprint but one so different that (barring an errata) the earlier versions will not be legal.  If you’re curious the Pojo crew has reviewed the predecessor to today’s Hitmonchan three different times.  So does XY: Evolutions 62/108 only rank this high for nostalgia, or because most of the rest of the set was that unimpressive?  Mostly yes, still we’ll run through its stats and effects quick to show there is a little something here beyond warm fuzzies and lackluster competition.  To begin with it is a Fighting Type, and I often praise it because of its capacity for hitting Weakness (Many Colorless Types, nearly all Darkness and Lightning Types), Type specific support (Korrina, Strong Energy, etc.), and Type-ish support (strong stable of attackers that work better on Type than off).  There are some anti-Fighting effects, but they aren’t very good; the bigger concern is Fighting Resistance mostly because it is numerous and can easily mess up a play if you miss it, as the Fighting Type is known for stacking damage bonuses to hit key KOs.  This Typing is unchanged from the its Base Set counterpart. 

Hitmonchan is a Basic Pokémon because the-powers-that-be unfortunately didn’t take advantage of the break between releases of Hitmonchan cards that occurred between Gen IV and Gen V to reintroduce it as a Stage 1 which Evolves from Tyrogue.  Most folks won’t care about such a thing, but should care that being a Basic is still the best Stage as it requires the least deck space, the least time, enables a Pokémon to open the game for you, has a natural synergy with many card effects, and can make use of potent Basic Stage support like Fighting Fury Belt.  The only drawback to being a Basic Pokémon is how there are some strong anti-Basic card effects.  Hitmonchan has 90 HP, up 20 from its earlier printings other than Best of Game 2 (which was misprinted as having only 60 HP).  In terms of HP scores seen on “regular” Basic Pokémon that’s a decent update, but actually considering the pace of the metagame, it falls short.  Whereas before Hitmonchan was tricky for fellow Basics to OHKO, most competitive attackers (Basic or Evolution) should be able to hit 90 turn after turn.  We aren’t talking a major amount of setup required either.  Psychic Weakness is mostly a danger because there are some other prominent Pokémon with it running around, plus we’ve got a decent amount of splashable Psychic Type attackers.  Lack of Resistance isn’t devastating, though even one slightly more favorable match-up would have been handy.  The Retreat Cost of [CC] is low enough the typical deck can afford to pay it up front, but it hurts in the long run.  If your strategy can’t afford a stranded Hitmonchan, you’ll need a little something to help with retreating. 

Hitmonchan keeps things simple with two attacks, neither of which has any effect text.  The first is “Jab” for [F], and originally this did 20 damage but now it does 30.  This isn’t on par with something like Landorus-EX, Lucario-EX, or Zygarde-EX but those are three Pokémon-EX so it shouldn’t be; 30-for-one is a good return for a Basic Pokémon and with a Strong Energy it becomes 50, a Muscle Band makes it 70, and a Fighting Stadium (against Pokémon-EX) makes it 90.  Silver Bangle and Fighting Fury Belt can further tweak the numbers.  All in all, Jab is good, so what about the second attack?  [FFC] pays for “Special Punch”, and this version hits for 90 damage (the original did just 40 for the same cost).90-for-three is solid; if it had been priced as [FCC] then I’d have considered it a good attack, but even needing two sources of [F] there are decks that can work with it.  Which we’ll discuss but first, what about other Hitmonchan cards? 

Only Hitmonchan (XY: Furious Fists 48/111; Generations 48/83) is legal for Standard or Expanded play.  Same Stage, Type, HP, Weakness, and two attacks plus the same lack of Resistance, Ability, and Ancient Trait.  This version only needs to pay [C] to retreat and its attack costs feature more [C] Energy requirements, allowing it to utilize Double Colorless Energy and/or work better in mixed Energy decks.  For [CC] its first attack is “Bullet Punch” which does 20 damage plus has you flip two coins, each good for +20 damage per “heads”.  20 for [CC] is poor, 60 for [CC] is good, while 40 for [CC] is decent; being unreliable can be a real turn off, however, and obviously needing two Energy means it isn’t as handy as the single that Jab needs, even if Jab requires [F] and not [C].  “Mach Cross” is the big attack and its [FCC] Energy cost is noticeably easier to pay, however the damage is noticeably lower at just 60.  So this is not a rival for XY: Evolutions 62/108; that comes in the form of other Pokémon.  Landorus-EX, Lucario-EX, and Zygarde-EX I mentioned; they have more HP and have better attacks but are Pokémon-EX so having a single Prize attacker that can hit for 30 gives us a niche.  Carbink BREAK can do 20 for [F] while attaching two Energy cards from the discard pile to one of your [F] Pokémon.  Hawlucha (XY: Furious Fists 63/111 can do 60 for [F] but only to Pokémon-EX (and no Weakness or Resistance while Abilities are working).  Even with all of those, there may be a niche for Hitmonchan in both Standard and Expanded.  Enjoy it quite thoroughly in Limited play; there are Psychic Type attackers and Fighting Resistance on certain cards really hurts, but even with these two negatives the rest of the card is quite appealing here. 

Ratings 

Standard: 3.15/5 

Expanded: 3/5 

Limited: 4/5 

Summary: An old favorite that was once king, then fell out of use, makes a return hitting just hard enough it might matter.  Don’t think Hitmonchan will be kind of the ring once again, but for an aggressive opener it is seems decent, and slightly less so in Expanded where you have more options from which to pick.  Hitmonchan scored four voting points from our individual Top 10 lists; two of those came from my own, where I had it in ninth place.  I don’t disagree with it being 10th though as not only is it just one place difference, but the bottom few cards on my list seemed very close based on my cursory examination.  Hitmonchan beat out what would have been the 11th place pick by just one point.


Zach Carmichael

Today we kick off yet another Top 10 list, this time for the new Evolutions expansion. Released just in time for the 20th anniversary of the franchise, the set pays homage to a number of older Pokémon from the original games and is, in some ways, a reprint of the Base Set from the 90s. Today we are looking at Hitmonchan, the iconic Punching Pokémon that dominated in the infamous “Haymaker” deck back at the start of the TCG. It has received a bump in stats, but is this enough for it to compete with the power creep that has ensued since Pokémon-EX entered the format once again?

Hitmonchan now 90 HP versus its original 70 HP counterpart in the Base Set. Its Weakness and Retreat Cost remain the same. It has two attacks: Jab and Special Punch. Both are rather basic, with the first attack doing a clean 30 damage for a single Fighting Energy, while the latter does 90 damage for 3 Energy. Because it is a Fighting-type, Hitmonchan can take advantage of Strong Energy, as well as Regirock-EX’s “Regi Power” Ability to boost its damage output considerably. Combine these with a Fighting Fury Belt, and this Hitmonchan is now in a different league compared to the original. With a Fighting Fury Belt + Strong Energy, and 4 Regirock-EX in play, its Jab attack does 100 damage for a single Energy, and Hitmonchan now sits at a comfortable 130 HP. Unfortunately, I don’t think Hitmonchan will see much play because it is limited by a number of factors. First, the “Regi Power” Ability can easily be shut off by Garbodor’s “Garbotoxin” and Hex Maniac. Also, Strong Energy can easily be knocked off with things like Enhanced Hammer and Team Flare Grunt. Lastly, the card will struggle against Yveltal decks due to Fighting resistance. I like the fact that Hitmonchan is a single-prize attacker and hits for only 1 Energy, but that’s really all I can say about it.

In Expanded, Hitmonchan gains Fighting Stadium for another damage boost. It also gets Korrina, completing the Fighting engine and making it a bit more consistent. Unfortunately, the meta-game in Expanded is largely dominated by both Trevenant and Yveltal decks, both of which give Hitmonchan a straight auto-loss. While Garbodor may not be too relevant, Hex Maniac is still a staple in most decks, as well as Tool removal cards like Tool Scrapper and Xerosic.

 

Ratings

Standard: 1.5/5

Expanded: 1/5

Limited: 2.5/5

 

Summary: It’s a shame that Pokémon did not put a bit more effort into the Evolutions set, which is probably one of the worst expansions we’ve seen in terms of card playability. Few cards in the set will see play in the competitive scene, and Hitmonchan is no exception here. While it is a single-prize attacker capable of hitting for solid damage, it is easily countered by a number of popular cards in both Standard and Expanded.

 


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