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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Hawlucha
- Steam Siege

Date Reviewed:
Sep. 9, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.25
Expanded: 2.25
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


aroramage

Sometimes having a couple copies of a card like Lysandre isn't enough, and you just wish you had more of them in your deck. Preferable ones with HP and attacks that dealt damage. Maybe ones that could even be used in unique ways. 

Enter Hawlucha! 

Now to start off, his attack Acrobatics isn't that crazy. It's a 2-for-20 hit that lets you flip two coins for a potential +40 in damage. It's alright, not that great or special, but it exists. Better than not, right? No, the real appeal is in Sudden Cyclone. When you play Hawlucha from your hand, he can blow away the opponent's Active Pokemon and bring out one of their Benched Pokemon. 

Now the phrasing is a little bit different from Lysandre's own text. Instead of, "Switch 1 of your opponent's Benched Pokemon with his or her Active Pokemon", the text is, "...you may have your opponent switch his or her Active Pokemon with 1 of his or her Benched Pokemon." This seems to imply that your opponent has the choice in which Pokemon gets switched out, and looking into some discussion around the card that does appear to be the case. What that means is that Hawlucha is not exactly Lysandre - he still switches, but Lysandre gives you full control. Hawlucha doesn't. 

And therein lies the difference between the two. Sure, Hawlucha can be useful regardless, forcing out one of your opponent's Pokemon for an easier Prize or even as a basic stalling tactic, but don't expect your opponent to be cooperative in handing you victory - you're still gonna have to earn it! He may see some teching in some decks, so feel free to experiment with your extra Lysandre...doppelganger? 

Rating 

Standard: 3/5 (not too shabby, just comes with his own bag of burdens here and there) 

Expanded: 3/5 (he's great for what he can do at least, and he's searchable in unique ways!) 

Limited: 3.5/5 (surely you'll have a use for him) 

Arora Notealus: No doubt there's potential, but having a 1-Prize potential cost weaker Lysandre might not appeal to everyone. It's important to keep that in mind while you're considering Hawlucha in your deck. Who knows, maybe there's a deck that would benefit from Hawlucha in other ways... 

Weekend Thought: What do you think of this week's cards? See the potential for these cards? How about the Evolutions set? Pretty neat huh? Or maybe you're still working around the new Standard format! Try your hardest and keep your guard up! Oh, and we may be taking a break for the next couple of weeks as the boss man sets out on his own journey. Keep thinking progressive!


Otaku

We conclude the week with the Pokémon that makes me think of ˇMucha Lucha!… that’s right it’s time for Hawlucha (XY: Steam Siege 97/114).  As a Basic Pokémon it is the best Stage for the usual reasons: minimum deck space, time/effort to put into play, reduces odds of mulligans (wait…), naturally works better with certain effects, and has access to some solid Stage support.  There are some good anti-Basic cards (like Silent Lab), but they don’t outweigh all the good.  It is a Colorless Type, so no Weakness or Resistance.  Anti-Colorless effects aren’t particularly good, though the Type offers at least a few nice pieces of support: Altaria (XY: Roaring Skies 74/108; XY: Black Star Promos XY46) to cancel out Weakness, Aspertia City Gym for +20 HP, and Winona to search out three Colorless Pokémon of your choice.  As most Colorless Type Pokémon have Colorless Energy requirements in their attack costs, the only real synergy from using them together comes from tapping shared Type support; without it you will usually be better off seeking Pokémon of other Types with similarly open Energy requirements, or which otherwise align with a particular Colorless Type thematically.  The good news is that this is why Colorless Type Pokémon are so easy to work into most decks. 

Hawlucha has 80 HP; small enough to be a probable OHKO, but at least it’s outside of the painfully easy range.  Your opponent might need a second attack if his or her set up is incomplete, damage ends up slightly reduced, or if the is focused on something other than damaging the other player’s Active Pokémon (effects, spread, etc.).  On the Bench it is outside of incidental KO range, where spread or bonus Bench damage is likely to gain an additional KO; in fact it will probably take three such hits.  Should it prove relevant, Level Ball can fetch Hawlucha, though it could have had 10 more HP and still made the same claim.  Its Lightning Weakness is dangerous, but somewhat blunted by the HP; attacks that already hit for 80+ damage are a OHKO even without the Weakness, and attacks that do 30 or less still won’t get a OHKO.  It’s Fighting Resistance is similarly unlikely to matter all that much as 100+ is still a OHKO, 60+ is still a 2HKO, etc.  The Fighting Type also specializes in stacking damage bonuses; sometimes this can help out as Resistance can goof up quick calculations.  The Retreat Cost of [C] is good; most of the time it is easy to pay and recover from having paid.  Still, a free Retreat Cost would have been much better, and isn’t unprecedented for Hawlucha (more on that in a bit). 

Hawlucha has one Ability and one attack.  The Ability is “Sudden Cyclone” and when you Bench Hawlucha from hand, you can force your opponent to change out his or her Active Pokémon.  Your opponent chooses which Benched Pokémon heads to the Active spot, though, so it is nowhere near as potent as Lysandre’s Trump Card.  This is half the effect of Escape Rope, or if you remember it the effect of Pokémon Circulator.  For [CC] Hawlucha can use the attack “Hidden Cyclone” to do 20 damage plus flip two coins; for each “heads” Acrobatics does 20 more damage.  The Ability is mediocre; normally you want to promote something from your opponent’s Bench, not just force a change in the current Active.  The attack is good when you get double “heads”, adequate when you get at least one, and is poor when you get double “tails”, but three out of four outcomes are 40+ so the odds aren’t bad.  I might be asking a lot, but this very much feels like a missed opportunity for some more wrestling flavor, with an attack that hit a fresh Active harder and was named after the clothesline or lariat techniques, but I don’t actually know that much about wrestling. 

There are already four other versions of Hawlucha competing with this card for deck space (since they share the same name): XY: Furious Fists 63/111, XY: Roaring Skies 39/108; XY: BREAKthrough 87/162, and XY: Fates Collide 48/124.  All of these are Basic Fighting Type Pokémon with Lightning Weakness and Fighting Resistance.  XY: Furious Fists 63/111 has 70 HP, that perfect free Retreat Cost I was wishing for earlier, the Ability “Shining Spirit” and the attack “Flying Press”.  The former prevents Weakness and Resistance from applying to the damage done by this card’s attacks, while the latter requires [F] to do 60 damage, but can only be used on Pokémon-EX.  It is the only Hawlucha we have which is not Standard legal.  Aroramage and I looked at it before here.  XY: Roaring Skies 39/108 has 80 HP, Retreat Cost [C] and two attacks.  For [F] it can use “Tackle” for 10 damage, while for [CCC] it can use “Midair Strike” to do 40 damage and flip a coin; “heads” means another 40 damage (80 total) while “tails” just means the original 40.  XY: BREAKthrough 87/162 also has 80 HP and Retreat Cost [C], but brings two different attacks: [F] pays for “High Jump Kick” which does 20 damage (nothing else) and [FF] buys “Skyward Kick” which does 40 while ignoring Resistance.  XY: Fates Collide 48/124 goes back down to 70 HP, but unfortunately keeps the Retreat Cost of [C].  It sports two attacks, the first being “Backflip” for [C] to draw a card and the second being “Wicked Jab” for [FC] to do 30 damage and flip a coin.  On “heads” the opponent’s Active is Paralyzed (“tails” just means the base 30). 

The original Hawlucha (XY: Furious Fists 63/111) is still the best; even with so many non-Pokémon-EX showing up, most decks have at least a few so its attack tends to be handy: 60 for just [F].  With Strong Energy, Fighting Stadium, and Fighting Fury Belt/Muscle Band/Silver Bangle, Hawlucha can OHKO a Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108, 106/108).  That Ability usually does more harm than good, as exploiting Weakness tends to be more useful than ignoring Resistance.  With the right plays (like Hex Maniac) you can selectively ignore Weakness for a big damage bonus; it becomes 120 for [F]!  With Strong Energy, Fighting Stadium, and the right Tool you’re taking out most Basic Pokémon-EX in two hits, and with a Hex Maniac you can OHKO the Fighting Weak among them.  That free Retreat is just as important though, perhaps more so: it gave many Fighting decks that pivot Pokémon so that they had something easy to get out of the way to promote, do-si-do with your Active so that cards like Escape Role and Switch allow it to ditch attack effects (including Special Conditions), etc.  As Korrina used to allow you to search out an Item and a Fighting Pokémon, this is even better than it sounds.  I think we lowballed it in our original review, and now it’s pretty much the Hawlucha to beat.  Except running four copies in one deck is unlikely, and it’s only in Expanded, so it won’t keep today’s Hawlucha (XY: Steam Siege 97/114) from seeing play if it is worth it. 

I don’t think Hawlucha (XY: Steam Siege 97/114) is worth it; a free Retreat Cost would have changed that in at least a few decks, and maybe in decks with Winona or Level Ball it might still be worth a shot, but it does a lot of stuff “okay” but nothing particularly “good”.  Sometimes that still works because a card is greater than the sum of its parts, but I’m not seeing that for this Hawlucha.  The future might change this, but for now just enjoy it in Limited where forcing a change in Active is pretty significant plus the stats and attack all become more useful. 

Ratings 

Standard: 1.75/5 

Expanded: 1.75/5 

Limited: 4/5 

Summary: Not without its uses, Hawlucha has a so-so Ability and so-so attack with so-so stats.  If it had been printed with a free Retreat Cost, I’d be all over including one in most decks because with three potential, non-exclusive uses it might carry its own weight.  As is, you’re usually going to have rosier prospects.


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