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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Fiery Torch
- Flashfire

Date Reviewed:
Oct. 3, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: See Below
Expanded: 2
Limited: 4

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

Back to the main COTD Page


Zach Carmichael

Today, we begin showcasing of some notable cards that have recently left the Standard format because of the Primal Clash-on rotation. Kicking off this segment will be Fiery Torch. When Flashfire was released, the set showed promise to breathe new life into Fire-type decks thanks to cards like Fiery Torch and Blacksmith. How will the format be without it though?

The effect of Fiery Torch is simple enough: discard a Fire Energy from your hand to draw two cards. Combined with something like Scorched Earth, you could potentially burn through your deck rather quickly if you play a high count of Energy cards. However, Fiery Torch proceeded to be overshadowed by Acro Bike due to the latter’s greater versatility and immediate effect, versus having to discard to use it. Scorched Earth is essentially the same card in Stadium form, giving you to have a way to counter your opponent’s Stadiums while having constant draw power instead of a single use. In the Standard format, I can’t really think of a time when the card was actually saw competitive play.  

In 2014, Michael Pramawat took 2nd at the US National Championships playing a Pyroar deck. He was essentially ahead of the curve, realizing the strength of Pyroar in a format dominated by Basic Pokemon-EX. Blacksmith played a critical role in the deck’s massive success, but what about Fiery Torch? Surely it was used for its fast draw power, right? Actually, Michael opted to play Bicycle to draw additional cards. Even later on in the game when the format shifted to XY-on, decks like Entei/Charizard-EX played other options. Before the recent rotation, players had a plethora of draw options, including the notorious Shaymin-EX, a staple card that is still a good $70 at the time this post was published. Simply put, Fiery Torch was quickly overshadowed because it was not only limited to Fire-type decks, but also because it had a cost to use it, making it a dead card some of the time. 

In Expanded, the same holds true. Pyroar and other Fire-types still exist in this format, but because Water decks like Keldeo-EX/Blastoise and Water Toolbox (Seismitoad-EX and other attackers) are big, these Pokemon will never see play. Scorched Earth is used pretty often in Primal Groudon-EX variants, so the draw effect itself is good – the problem is that Fiery Torch is too bland to justify playing it. An interesting option for Fiery Torch could be Typhlosion from BREAKthrough, whose Massive Eruption attack makes you discard the top 5 cards of your deck and does 80 damage times the number of Energy cards discarded. The deck is usually considered extremely low-tier and plays upward of 25-30 Energy to assure that you can discard enough for KO’s every turn. Fiery Torch could provide additional consistency given that your main attacker is a Stage 2 and requires setup.  

Limited formats like Prereleases certainly benefit from Fiery Torch. It’s one of those cards that, while it may not see competitive play, can have its uses in a more fun and laidback environment. Typically, a Prerelease deck consists of 40 cards and you can put as many Basic Energy cards in it as you want. Pulling Supporter cards out of booster pack at this type of event isn’t guaranteed, so that extra boost of draw power can be a big advantage. Having to discard the Fire Energy isn’t that relevant when your deck might play 20 or more Energy! Just keep in mind that you will want to center your deck around Fire and/or Colorless-types in order to fully take advantage of Fiery Torch. 

Ratings

Standard: 1/5
Expanded:
1/5
Limited:
4/5 

Summary: Unfortunately, Fiery Torch is a card that never lived up to its potential during its time in the Standard format. While the draw effect was nice for an Item card, having to discard Energy to do so made it lackluster compared to cards like later cards such as Acro Bike and Shaymin-EX. It can be a great asset to have in Limited events like Prereleases, but otherwise Fiery Torch proved to be a very short-lived card in the competitive scene.


Otaku

Welcome dear readers as we count down our Top 20 Cards Lost To Rotation list!  This would be the 2016-2017 Edition… or would that be the 2015-2-16 Edition?  Whichever one corresponds to the the shift from XY-On to PRC-On for the Standard Format as of September 1st, 2016, I guess.  As usual, the criteria for these lists are pretty loose, and as we’ve got some time before our next set plus rotation cuts a lot of cards, we went all in for a massive 20 card list.  Personally, I tried to look at how a card would perform if it (and it alone!) were to suddenly be reprinted ASAP.  This means I might have very different opinions when compared to some of the other reviewers… or we may be the same.  I haven’t seen their reviews (or re-reviews in most cases) for these cards either, just their Top 20 lists. 

So without further ado we begin with Fiery Torch (XY: Flashfire 89/106).  This is a Trainer - specifically an Item - that allows you to discard a [R] Energy card from hand to draw two cards.  The discard is a cost to play, not an effect; reminder text on the card makes it clear you can’t play Fiery Torch at all if you’ve got no [R] Energy in hand to discard.  Currently the only source of [R] Energy that counts as such while in hand (as opposed to attached to something in play) is the Basic Fire Energy card.  Being an Item is significant as drawing two cards (with a cost) would be horrible as a Supporter.  In fact, drawing two cards with no cost (or even a small benefit) hasn’t been worth your Supporter for some time, hence why Cheren and Tierno see no play as draw-three Supporters.  Now the discard cost wasn’t too big of a deal; basic Energy aren’t too hard to reclaim from the discard pile and Blacksmith released in the same set.  As an Item you can play as many copies of Fiery Torch in a single turn as you want; you’re only limited by how many you can run in total, how many you can get into your hand, and how many you can pay the discard cost in order to use.  When Lysandre’s Trump Card was legal, I think it was possible to use Fiery Torch 10 times in one turn (four copies run and used, Dowsing Rod to use one more, Lysandre’s Trump Card to shuffle your discard pile into your deck, then use all four copies of Fiery Torch plus one copy of Dowsing Machine for a Fiery Torch again).  Originally this card was our number two pick for the Top 10 Cards of XY: Flashfire, though it also was reviewed at a time when none of the current crew were on duty.  Did they get it right? 

Nope, but I don’t fault them for that as I had high hopes for Fiery Torch back then as well.  In fact I was worried we might see a shift to Item-based draw power as we still had Bicycle and Roller Skates, and it was quite easy to find multiple, solid beatsticks which either needed or could get by with mostly (even all) basic Fire Energy.  My concern proved entirely unwarranted as the competitive Fire Decks since have never bothered with Fiery Torch, at least outside of early testing.  The reasons for this are numerous enough that I am unsure where to start.  I suppose the best place is with direct competition available at the time; you could run Fiery Torch or Roller Skates.  Roller Skates may be a “tails fails” draw three cards, but unless Items are locked down you can always attempt it.  Also already an option was Item denial in the form of Trevenant (XY 55/146).  With the release of the set after XY: Flashfire -XY: Furious Fists - we received Seismitoad-EX for an even more potent form of Item denial.  XY: Phantom Forces gave us two Items that worked fantastically well together, Battle Compressor and VS Seeker.  They worked so well (even in the face of Item lock) that players could not only run fewer Supporters, but could a wider variety in what was there.  XY: Primal Clash brought us Acro Bike, which let you look at the top two cards of your deck and add one of those cards to hand while the other was discarded; more reliable for draw than Fiery Torch and if you were trying to combo off of a discard, Acro Bike could handle that as well. XY: Roaring Skies came after that to give us Trainer’s Mail and Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/106, 106/108); while not a direct combo again this just made decks better at setting up, making a simple Item with a sometimes pesky requirement not worth it.  Finally we got Vileplume (XY: Ancient Origins 3/98) to provide yet a third form of Item denial. 

The actual Fire Decks that have happened during this time relied on the the various other draw/search card options for a good set up, and often would not have had enough basic Fire Energy cards in them to bother with Fiery Torch anyway.  So why would Fiery Torch possibly be a significant loss post rotation?  I mean the Fire Type also lost Blacksmith!  Well the answer may be Volcanion and Volcanion-EX.  The former has an attack that accelerates basic Fire Energy cards from the discard pile to your Bench, while the latter can pump up the damage from Fire Type Basics by discarding a Fire Energy.  Simply put, the deck already runs a healthy chunk of basic Fire Energy cards and ways to get them back into hand from the discard.  Fiery Torch may have found a home at last (but probably not).  The other noticeable example is an odd deck built around Typhlosion (XY: BREAKthrough 20/162).  Its first attack mills its own deck for five cards, but for each [R] Energy discarded in this manner, the attack does 80 damage.  This has led to decks that are a third to half basic Fire Energy cards, trying to stream Typhlosion while hitting for OHKOs against just about anything… provided a lucky enough discard occurs.  This is a deck heavily influenced by luck, but when it works, massive Mega Evolutions fall from a single Energy attack used by a Stage 2 Pokémon!  It seems a stretch to classify such a deck as “competitive”, but by the same note it works too well to be written off completely as a “joke deck”.  Anyway, in such a deck you might be able to make use of Fiery Torch.  Except this deck is more of a “Standard” thing and Fiery Torch is no longer an option. 

Ratings 

Standard: N/A 

Expanded: 2/5 

Limited: 4/5 

Summary: Fiery Torch provides some solid, Item based draw… except it keeps being outclassed by the alternatives.  As a concept it seems sound, so I still give it a decent score; without the competition it likely would have been good (maybe great!).  Were it suddenly reprinted, it might have a chance in a deck or two (but not likely).  The only place to almost certainly enjoy it is in Limited; XY: Flashfire is Fire heavy, so running a lot of basic Fire Energy cards shouldn’t be an issue, and draw power is at a premium, so even off Type decks might want to risk working it in (using the Fire Energy to fuel Colorless attacks). 

Fiery Torch didn’t make my own list, but I get why it might make someone else’s.  It missed tying for 19th place by four points.  It missed tying for 21st place by three points; neither a close nor distant finish.


aroramage

OH GEEZ IT'S FINALLY HAPPENING 

So we've been working hard on getting together a list of the cards that we're gonna miss the most from the set rotation this year, and we've ended up with a good 20 cards - so hopefully you guys will enjoy reminiscing with us over our recently fallen comrades, our Pokemon, our Trainers, our Items, and our Stadiums...not so much Energy though, surprisingly, not a whole lot got lost.

Today we talk about Fiery Torch, which is a bit of a small card that came out in Flashfire. It helped promote Fire Decks by giving them draw power of 2 cards for the price of a Fire Energy, providing fuel for Blacksmith while speeding up the deck. It's a really nice card to touch on, and it's a shame to see it go just as we get into Volcanion and his crazy shenanigans.  

So for those of you in Standard, take a moment to appreciate that Volcanion no longer has tools like Fiery Torch and Blacksmith to speed up its crazy damage outputs. 

Rating 

Standard: N/A (not anymore, this card has rotated out) 

Expanded: 3/5 (draw power is still really nice to have, even at the cost of an Energy, and Fiery Torch gets great synergy with Blacksmith) 

Limited: 4/5 (draw is draw is draw) 

Arora Notealus: Though it may not have seen a whole lot of play in more recent days, Fiery Torch is not a card to be underestimated - it's got a lot going for it, and it's a Fire deck's best friend, though try not to go overboard with it. It may be a great card for drawing, but your low amounts of Energy won't warrant running the full 4 copies you've got. 

Next Time: A double showing from a much beloved Mega!


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