did do reviews last week… I just got them in late. Go ahead
and check out last weeks CotDs for my thoughts on them.
EX Holon Phantoms
(C) Grind [10x]
damage times the amount of Energy attached to Torkoal.
(RCC) Combustion 
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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?
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.