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Pojo's Pokemon Card of the Day

 

Torkoal

Holon Phantoms

 

Date Reviewed: 06.19.06

Ratings & Reviews Summary
Unlimited: 2.33
Modified: 3.25
Limited: 4.00

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


Otaku

I did do reviews last week… I just got them in late.  Go ahead and check out last weeks CotDs for my thoughts on them.

 

Name: Torkoal

Set: EX Holon Phantoms

Card#: 18/110

Rarity: Rare

Type: Fire

Stage: Basic

Hit Points: 80

Weakness: Water

Resistance: None

Retreat: CC

Attack#1: (C) Grind [10x]

Does 10 damage times the amount of Energy attached to Torkoal.

Attack#2: (RCC) Combustion [40]

 

Attributes: Torkoal is what I like to call an “isolated” Basic Pokémon.  The mixed blessing is that, at least for now, Torkoal is all there is to Torkoal: no Evolved forms, and nothing Evolves into it.  If you think my terminology is lame… come up with something better. ;) I tried, but most have misleading connotations (pure, simple, plain, etc.).  Anyway, being a flat out Basic Pokémon is a great thing for the most part: Basics are the easiest Stage to search out (Holon’s Mentor, Dual Ball, etc.) and for better or worse, one of the few Stages to often be played by the searching effect (Call for Family and related attacks).  Obviously, the upside of being an isolated Basic Pokémon for Torkoal is that its one and done.  The downside is that it has no options or useful tricks that a Basic with an Evolution (like Scyther) or a “pre-Evolution” (like Wobbuffet) often have.

 

Being a Fire Type is a nice thing: Fire Weakness is fairly common while Resistance is pretty rare.  I will tell you know that the main use I see for this card will indeed be due to the interaction between its Type and one of its attacks.

 

Torkoal has a very nice 80 points.  While upwards of 120 is possible for a Basic, such a score is reserved for Pokémon-ex on anything recent, and even then said Pokémon-ex tend to be less than play worthy.  All Pokémon with 110 Hit Points made have been Pokémon-ex (at least in English), and we haven’t seen a 100 HIT POINTS non-Pokémon*/Pokémon-ex since the day’s of EX Team Aqua Vs Team Magma (and those had an incredibly demanding Poké-Body).  So the only realistic alternative for Torkoal is to have 90 Hit Points, and being just 10 shy of that is quite good.  For clarification and completeness, let me point out that only 4 non-Pokémon*/Pokémon-ex hit 90 Hit Points in Modified (two Chansey, a Rayquaza, and a Snorlax).  Being second to those two in Hit Points is far from a small accomplishment.

 

Water Weakness is quite common to Fire Pokémon, though there are other things Fire Pokémon are Weak to in the source material.  At least at the moment, it might be the preferred Weakness (Blastoise ex may be a common sight, but not as an attacker).  The alternative is Fighting Weakness as Rock Pokémon, a subset of Fighting, are a Weakness of Fire Pokémon in the source material.  Then again, that would also open vulnerability to Medicham ex, Hariyama ex, and Nidoqueen decks (and that is off the top of my head) plus any potential anti-Steelix ex Fighting Pokémon TecH.

 

As is far too often the case, they gave Torkoal no Resistance, so I’ll wrap up Attributes with Retreat Cost.  Two Energy isn’t bad, especially for such a large Pokémon.  It is low enough that you can retreat but high enough you won’t want to all that often.  Since this is a Fire Type, High Pressure System would be an option to give it a nice single Energy Retreat Cost.

 

Abilities: Grind is what makes this card.  Why?  Well, at first glance, Grind isn’t that impressive.  It’s one of those scalable attacks.  One of any Energy does 10 damage, two 20, etc. so in many ways its almost short hand for having attacks like (C) for 10, (CC) for 20, (CCC) for 30 and so on.  Of course, at (CCCCC) it really isn’t much of a bargain (since in addition to the base 10 for (C), additional damage is normally required as compensation for the difficulty/risk of requiring five Energy).  So why do I say it’s good?  Aside from the fairly obvious use as a solid, opening Basic Pokémon who uses Grind for a turn or two then switches to the second attack when it’s ready, head I can think of two widely used Fire Weak Pokémon.  The first, Jirachi from EX Deoxys, is a common opener and quite a pain.  Grind with one Energy for 20, then 40 for two Energy after Weakness.  More important, is countering one specific deck: LBS.  Steelix ex is Fire and Fighting Weak.  Since we are discussing Torkoal we are naturally thinking about the Fire Weakness.  Torkoal, added into your own LBS deck can give you an edge against an opponent using LBS.  In a single turn, provided you have the Energy available, you can drop an obscene seven Energy using Energy Rain, then your manual attachment for the eighth.  If Steelix ex has no Metal Energy attached, it is exactly a OHKO even if it is at full healthy.  If that sounds questionable, remember that Steelix ex should have at least some damage most of the time from the opponent using their Energy Rain on it, allowing a substantially lower Energy commitment to KO it.  In other words, it will probably be naked or already damaged.  Unless I was looking at the exceptions, LBS decks are forced to run very tight lines, so even burning such a large amount of Energy will be well worth it: that is probably half their Steelix ex gone (and two prizes gained) for your investment.  Then there are a few less played decks that still have Fire Weakness: why waste a Steelix ex or Lugia-ex when a much less vulnerable, Basic worth only one Prize will do?

 

Torkoal also has a second attack, Combustion, which hits for 40, five points of damage over what was paid.  It is a nice, straightforward attack and since it has only a single specific Energy requirement, it shouldn’t be difficult to add to nearly any deck.  Even with the LBS suggestion, this attack comes in hand.  If their Steelix ex is half KO’d already, Energy Rain two Water, use your normal attachment on one of your Holon’s Pokémon that provide two of anything, and Combustion can do the job just as well (and Torkoal would still have a good 60 HP).

 

Uses and

Combinations: I can think of no other currently popular decks that could really make good use of Torkoal, though should an Energy Trans (or similar) deck become popular, this is a pretty good Fire Pokémon to add: shift all in play Energy to it at the right time for a strategic, massive whack or just use for normal Type matching.  And of course, if they don’t OHKO it, you’ll just move the Energy back, use Mr. Briney’s Compassion on Torkoal and bring up your next attacker.

 

Ratings

 

Unlimited: 3/5 – Perhaps a bit high, but it is a solid, large Basic Pokémon and Energy Trans decks are not unheard of, and there is would be a nice Fire candidate.

 

Modified: 3.75/5 – It is a nice, solid Pokémon that a few decks could make decent use of because of their Energy manipulating ways.  Even there (and most anywhere), it will be used because it is specifically a Fire Pokémon offering this.  The score is boosted higher due to its potential for LBS Mirror Matches.

 

Limited: 4/5 – The only downside here is that it can’t tap the Pokémon δ Support that is so abundant in the set.  Otherwise it has great attributes and attacks for this format.

 

Summary

A fairly solid card, Torkoal is a nice, solid, Basic Fire Pokémon that can be added to just about any deck and a few with impressive results.  It is fortunate that a Fire Weak Pokémon is so important to the metagame right now.

 

-Otaku

0bsol33t Torkoal - Holon Phantoms

Unlimited

Hmm...this card is decidedly mediocre in Unlimited. It's decent - with a Fire and a Double Colorless, you could pretty easily take out anything with less than 90 HP that's got Weakness to Fire. I'm not sure how much Grind would benefit you here - high-damaging Fire Pokémon are easy enough to find in more efficient ways than C-for-10.
Water Weakness is dangerous with Blastoise running around, and that Retreat Cost of 2 is pretty heavy for Unlimited.

Unlimited Rating: 2.5/5

Modified

I think Torkoal has some possibilities here. When Otaku and I picked this card for reviewing last night, one of the things that came up is the possibility of using it as an Anti-Steelix ex contingency for LBS mirror-matches. With the right resources, if you manage to catch a Steelix ex without a Metal Energy, you could use Blastoise to drop 7 Water Energy (and add 7 damage counters, barely enough for Torkoal to
live) as well as one other Energy and then OHKO the Steelix. This is also a decent card for a modern beginner Potpourri for League play.
It may see more power as a Fire splash with the Charizard coming out in the next set, which can attach large amounts of Energy at a time.

Modified 3.7/5


Limited

I think Torkoal is one of the best choices you can have in this format. Not only does it mostly require Colorless Energy, but given time you can pump up the damage it deals. No evolutions, massive HP (80 is great for Limited) and a mostly acceptable Retreat Cost make it a solid investment for one of your 40 deck slots. This would've gotten a 5 if it could inflict a Special Condition or if it has a Resistance.

Limited - 4.4/5

- 0bsol33t
Kevin89 Torkoal

Unlimited;

torkoal has an awesome amount of HP for a basic pokemon, but that's really all this card has to offer in this format. Combustion for 40 damage is decent, but I wouldn't want to waste 3 energy on this pokemon. Basic attackers like Sneasel NG, Electabuzz BS are more effective.

1.5/5

Modified:

It can do some damage, but it will eventually lose when your opponent gets out his bigger pokemon. I just wouldn't waste my energy on this.

2/5

Limited;

This card is actually pretty good. It has an astonishing 80 HP, and the attacks build up nicely too. 40 is just 10 damage short of being amazing, since you can't OHKO a lot of basics in this set with just 40 damage. However, 40 damage is still very good. Grind is a pretty good opening attack. Torkoal's retreat cost are not that good though. But overall, Torkoal is a pretty good opening attacker, and if your opponent takes a few turns to get his evolutions out, Torkoal can easily get you multitiple prizes.

3.5/5


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