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Pojo's Pokemon Card of the Day

Arcanine - Sandstorm

Date Reviewed: 09.24.03

Ratings & Reviews below

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale
1 being the worst.  3 ... average.  
5 is the highest rating.


Name: Arcanine

Type: Fire

Stage: 1 (evolves from Growlithe)

HP: 80

Weakness: Water

Resistance: None

Retreat: C

Poké-BODY: Fire Veil

If Arcanine is your Active Pokémon and is damage by an opponent’s attack (even if Arcanine is Knocked Out), then the Attacking Pokémon is now Burned.

Attack: (RCC) Burn Up [60]

Flip a coin.  If tails, discard all (R) energy cards attached to Arcanine


Name: As an Arcanine, this card has a good deal of competition from past cards: 4 “plain” Arcanine and a Light Arcanine.  This is a mixed blessing.  One can run a combination of these, but other than Light Arcanine, you must run one less of each other version to run one more of another.  Still, if this is the best version or has a much different place in the environment, that won’t matter, will it?


Type: Good old Fire: About half to 2/3 of Grass is Fire-Weak, and all Metal Pokémon that I know of are also Fire Weak.  Best of all, there is nothing Resistant to Fire Pokémon.  Probably one of the better types (in terms of what it can do).


Stage: Being a Stage 1 is generally better than being a Stage 2 and worse than being a Basic, as most of you already know.  The reason evolutions are automatically at a disadvantage is that they depend on another card(s) to get into play.  To offset this, most evolutions are made “better” than basics or lower evolutionary stages: being given cost breaks on attacks and access to Pokémon Powers.  A quick reminder, when I want to refer to Poké-POWERS, Poké-BODIES, and Pokémon Powers collectively, I will just say Pokémon Powers.  This is because Poké-POWERS and Poké-BODIES are sub-catagories of Pokémon Powers just like a human and a cat are both mammals, but a human is a human and a cat is a cat and a mammal can be either or neither… yes, that was annoying, but I have found a distressing number of players still have difficulty with this. *sigh* Where was I?  Ah, yes, so evolution cards tend to get perks that are not allowed to lower stages of Pokémon.  As for being a Stage 1 Fire Pokémon, there are many of them, so Arcanine has to face even more competition for deck space. =/


Being an evolution card also means more space requirements, which means running it limits your options more than an equivalent basic Pokémon would, as you need to dedicate more space for the lower stages.  In this case, we need at least one Growlithe (and preferably at least as many as we have Arcanines) for each Arcanine.  This brings us to another thing: which Growlithe to use?  Having looked at all 6 currently available, all seem to have a purpose.  First, I mention that having 6 versions available is definitely an advantage, since more than once a card released at a later date has altered the “preferred” version of a card (look a Gyarados and Magikarp selections and how they changed after Recall became available).  All but two versions of Growlithe have 50 HP, and all have a Water Weakness, no Resistance and a retreat cost of one.  The original Base Set version and the Uncommon Aquapolis version have 60 HP.  The Base Set version and the new Sandstorm version both possess a slightly over-costed Flare at (RC) to do 20-(R) does 15 and (C) should do10, ergo (RC) should do 25 (so probably round up to a slightly discounted 30 or get a minor effect).  Chances are, this was done on purpose to offset the Base Set versions 60 HP and the Sandstorm version’s Poké-Body, Fire Veil (works the same as Arcanine’s).  That Uncommon Aquapolis version does 30 for (RC), but with a discard of (R), which again us probably over-pricing for balance.  The Neo Destiny version can do a straight 20 for (CC).  The Common Aquapolis version can make your opponent Switch out there active for (C) or do 10 with a 50% chance of 20 for (R).  Lastly, the Skyridge version can do 10 for (R), which is bad, but does 20 times the number of heads (from two flips) for (CC).  Since all of them have different perks, chose one that fits how you plan to use Arcanine.  If you want to run few fire energy, the Skyridge or Neo Destiny versions are best, since they can work with none.  If fire energy is abundant (and available for discard), then the Uncommon Auqapolis version would be best.  If its not, then you might want to try the Base Set one.  If you are comboing with something like Neo Revelation Aerodactyl or Memory Berry, then the common Aquapolis version might be good due to reliable damage and moderate bench disruption.  Lastly, the Sandstorm version’s Poké-BODY works nicely as it matches our Arcanine we are looking at.  Nothing like watching someone’s eyes light up because they think they’ll be able to safely “attack”, only to see more of the same coming.


Hit Points: Arcanine’s HP is a mixed bag.  For the record, 80 HP is more or less good, particularly for a Stage 1.  It’s 10 above the “minimum” acceptable score of 70: most Pokémon with reliable attacks won’t be able to OHKO Arcanine.  Still, including discards and attacks with uncertain elements like flips can do it without relying on the Weakness.  As for how it stacks up, amongst Stage 1 Fire-types its reasonably common.  Amongst “plain” Arcanines, it’s just about the mean of 85, (mathematical average), and is the median (score that is halfway between highest and lowest values in the set) and the mode (most common HP score in the set).  I didn’t include Light Arcanine as “Light” Pokémon are supposed to have a bit more HP than non-Light version.  If we do include it though, then the mean becomes 86 and 1/3, the median becomes 85, and the mode becomes 80 and 100 (as both show up twice), still not too bad.


Weakness:  Like all weaknesses, this hurts.  A Neo Genesis Wooper, with just two of any color Energy has a 25% chance of OHKOing a completely healthy Arcanine.  Still, that is not always a viable option since most Water Pokémon have a significant weakness of their own.


Resistance: *sighs* Moving on…


Retreat: A single energy.  Nice.  Second best retreat you can have.  A little rarer on evos, making it a little bit sweater.  You should be able to high tail it to the bench if the need arises with little effort.


Poké-BODY: Fire Veil is fairly nice.  Even with no energy, you are a threat, unless they back off and don’t attack you.  It only works while active, but if it worked on the bench then it could lead too… complications, like from Pokémon that can hurt their own bench mates.  Now Burn is, as far as Special Conditions go, on the weak side.  While it averages the same damage as Poison, if your opponent’s makes their Burn check, then retreats or heals it, they basically mess up your efforts.  Since this afflicts them after they attack, they have to wait until their next turn, giving you a 25% chance of them having to place at least 2 counters on the afflicted Pokémon.  There are a few ways they could heal after attacking, but most are inefficient. 


Attak#1: Burn Up looks good at first, then you see the fine print (50% of losing all your attached Fire Energy) and then if you are good you notice it needs one lone Fire Energy for the attack, meaning yes, it is good. ;) (RCC) should yield (15 + 10 + 10=35) damage.  There is a 50% of losing a minimum of one Fire Energy from Arcanine, which of course is an added cost and thus should result in more damage. 25 damage for a discard of one Fire Energy half the time sounds good too me. :D As long as you play smart, this is a good attack.


Uses/Combos: This card screams to be combined with another color, given its relatively low energy requirements (even for a “discarder”).  Give its Special Condition inducing Poké-BODY, I would think that it should at least be interesting, if not effective, to run it with Cacturn (which Poisons an opponent when attacked), or Sharpedo (which places damage counters).  All three of these bad boys have basics with identical (or nearly identical) Poké-BODIES.  Only that Growlithe, this Arcanine, and Sharpedo need specific colors of energy, though Sharpedo will need some Dark Energies to reach its full potential.  Still, in a 20 energy deck, you could include 4 Multi Energy Rainbow (don’t use them if you have another special energy attached ;) ), 6 Fire, 4 Dark, and 6 Water.  Now, if you want to simplify, just use one or the other with Arcanine, and just include like 6 to 8 Fire Energy.  In Unlimited, one could use a Double Colorless (and maybe No Removal or Chaos Gyms) to actually build a deck around Arcanine.  Not apt to be too effective, but it could be fun.  In general, things that make it harder for your opponent to shake a status effect or remove your energy would be good. *coughslowkingcough*


Miscellaneous:  This Arcanine appears to be meant to be run in a multi-colored deck.  As such, it really doesn’t compare to the other Arcanine directly: they were more or less meant for mono-fire decks.  The other versions all need discards for serious damage or have some other negative that makes their second attack… tricky.




Unlimited: 3/5-You could build a fun deck around it, particularly with Slowking.  Plus, it throw Pichu for a loop: if it Zaps, if Arcanine is active its Poké-BODY would burn Pichu!  Take that, you annoying yellow rat!


Modified (Neon): 3.25/5-Things like ‘Gatr, Encargo, Damage Swap Mewtwo ex, and all the other old archetypes smack it down due to their comparative speed.  Still, it has potential.  Broken Ground Gym could be useful here…


Modified (LC/Eon): 3.5/5-Here it starts to come into its own better.  Of the main archetypes to fear, Scizor is weak to Fire and can be Burned.  Mewtwo ex would be the real threat to it.


Nintendo Only: 3.75/5-Possibly higher… Special Conditions seem to be more effective here, given that I think Maril is the only free retreating basic.  Add in solid damage and the potential to be easily run with another color, and we could have half an archetype here.


TMP: 3.5/5-Low HP hurts, but you could run it with the Pokémon mentioned above in the other deck and this with Damage-Swap Alakazams for some potential carnage.


2-on-2: 4/5-Going out on a limb here, but with this and either Sharpedo or Cacturn, I think it could be a dominating force.  Just pack what little healing there is in the Nintendo cards.


Draft: 4.5/5-Okay, the Sandstorm Growlithe, as established, has the same Poké-BODY, and needs only one fire energy.  So I though think that it would be a good draft pick anyway, given the potency of Special Conditions in Draft.  Add in that this Arcanine seems to be meant to be run in a minimum two color deck and does even damage to OHKO most small basics while at the same time Burning whatever attacks it and its just sick.  The only downside is you need to run some non-Fire Energy unless you want to mess yourself up.

Thundachu Arcanine Sandstorm-

Overview:This card has to have one of the best PokeBodies I have ever witnessed. If it is attacked, even if KOed, the attacker is burned. NICE! I would have played this card in pre-release, but I didnt get growlithe. For 2 colorless energy and 1 fire, it does 60. The bad thing? You have to flip a coin, and if tails, you energy. The good thing? Only fire energy! Which means if you pay only the attack cost on this card in fire energy, you could only lose one. 80HP is a little low for a stage 1, but it still ok. Retreat of 1 is wonderful. Ofcourse since it is a fire pokemon, it is weak to water. That could be a problem with Wailmer, Wailord ex, etc.

Unlimited: Better fire cards in the world like Entei and Magcargo. But still they dont have the awesome pokebody. 3/5

Modified: Defintley use it. That poke-body could win you the game if you play your pokemon cards right. 3.5/5

Draft: If you get it. Play it. Since it is a rare, it shouldnt be too hard to draft(I drafted 2 in Pre-Release Tournament). The problem is, it is a stage 1 evolution(I drafted NO Growlithe though ;_;). 4/5
pERfeCt0ne Arcanine Sandstorm

Now this Arcanine made quite an impact in draft, from what I've seen.  His poke-body also makes you want to pass your turn!

Unlimited-  Unless you get a fire and then a DCE, I doubt he will ever attack, also, he can OHKO sneasel, but then again, sneasel can OHKO near anything...except that darn Wailord ex...
rating--- 2.25

Modified-  With 'EX Dragons' right around the corner, I predict Salamence (unless his text is changed) will be an enourmous archetype!  (you may remember me rambling about a Magcargo ex and ampharos ex... well i thought nintendo would combine ADV2 and ADV3 to make sandstorm, but they used some ADV4 instead.) To the point--- Salamence resists Fire and Water, yes that's right!  Arcanines only hope of killing salamence would be a Crystal Shard (SK poke-tool).  He deals with Scizor very very nicely, kills sceptiles, but water and salamence will beat this puppy into the ground.
rating--- 3.675

Draft-  I've seen him here... and he was used against me!  I actually lost to it after my Dusclops and espeon fell to its power.  If you can get him here, use him!  The poke-body alone makes him a great staller, but a likely 60 a turn in draft!?  He is a force to be reckoned with!
rating--- 4.75

2 vs. 2-  He really can't combo with any other pokemon to really make him stronger, but I guess you could try a pokemon with 'Intimidating Fang' with him in order to let him live to induce more pain.  Having him active also will sway your opponent from attacking him, and in fear of burn, will attack your other pokemon.  You may be able to use this to your advantage, although, i couldnt think of anything at the moment.
rating--- 3.365

Multiplayer-  Hes pretty much the same here as in 2 vs 2.  No matter what, his awesome poke-body, C retreat and 80HP for a stage 1, will make him great, even if used as a punching bag.
rating--- 3.5
I like this card, but how does this card stack up against the previous Arcanines you ask? Let's find out, shall we?
Unlimited- Not the best, but not the worst either. I would still rather play Base Arcy in Unlimited. And if you happen to still play under Wizards rules, you can still use Metal Arcanine. 70-10 with 100 HP is wicked. 2/5 here.
Modified- Better in this format. Burn up is sort of like a powered up Flamethrower, just as long as you only power it up with one fire energy. I think it would be best to play this in Modified with Manectric, and use the Electrikes to help power it up. Put a fire and two Electric energies and this attack is better then the average Flamethrower. Burn to the attacking pokemon is nice too, or at least it is better than no burn at all. Water is still highly played, so with the 80 HP things could go South quickly when playing this card. 3.25/5
Limited- The only thing this card has going against it in Draft is that it is a rare. It has status, a multi-colored friendly attack, nice 80 HP, one retreat, and a basic that deals status also. All nice things for a draft. 3.75/5 here. is here to provide guidance to all Pokemon trainers out there.  Whether it's the Gameboy Game, N64 or the Trading Card Game, provides all the wisdom you desire. 

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