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Pojo's Pokemon Card of the Day



HeartGold & SoulSilver

Date Reviewed: 04.14.10

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 1.75
Limited: 3.13

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

Back to the main COTD Page

Baby Mario
Top 4 UK Nats

Growlithe HGSS


What I really like about this card is the way that the art complements that of the Arcanine in this set by keeping an oriental-style theme/background. It’s little things like that that make me love this game.


Unlike yesterday’s card, Growlithe is an evolving Basic so its playability is completely determined by the worth of the various Arcanine’s that are floating around the format. Unfortunately, the ones from HGSS and SV are pretty much unplayable (especially the SV one). Arcanine RR is half-decent, though some way short of being competitive, while the Secret Wonders version used to make very rare appearances as a tech in Blissey MT decks. But let’s assume you are going with a rogue Arcanine RR deck for some reason (maybe your league is dominated by Grass and you don’t have Charizard AR or Blaziken FB) . . . is this new Growlithe the one you want to use with it?


For an evolving Basic, it has a pretty impressive 70 HP which is offset somewhat by a retreat cost of two . . . not a disaster, seeing as you will want to evolve it as fast as possible. Water Weakness is predictable, but thanks to the high HP, it can still take a hit from most Water Pokémon on the first turn, which is the only time it should be active.


Growlithe’s attacks are  . . . to be honest, a bit dull. For [C] Bite does 10 damage, and for [R][C][C] Combustion does 40. If you don’t have a Call Energy to attach, you might use Bite on the first turn of a game because it’s better than doing nothing, but apart from that, they are never going to be used.


So, Growlithe HGSS is a solid enough Basic to use with Arcanine . . . capable of surviving a hit before it evolves. Still, it isn’t going to be played at all thanks to the existence of Growlithe RR in the format. Like its HGSS cousin, it has 70 HP and a Retreat cost of two, but its Weakness is +20, not x2, and more importantly, it has a useful Energy accelerating attack in Stoke. If you are playing Arcanine, then the Growlithe from Rising Rivals is hands down the better choice.




Modified: 1.5 (it’s ok, but there’s a much better version)

Limited: 2.25 (decent Basic that should survive long enough to evolve)


Today we look at… Growlithe from HeartGold & SoulSilver?  A Basic Pokémon capable of Evolving further is an unusual for review for us, but at the same time I am somewhat happy: in an ideal world all cards in a set would deserve and get a review. 

Growlithe is actually close to deserving it, too: it’s a Basic Fire Pokémon and they actually did what they should: they looked at what it could Evolve into and gave it a beefy 70 HP.  That is enough that (if the rest of the card is worthwhile) you could indeed run it without running an Arcanine.  The double weakness to Water makes it an easy OHKO for most serious Water decks, but again that 70 HP puts it in a nice place: serious attackers would OHKO it anyway, relegating the Weakness to only mattering when Growlithe is facing a solid supporting Water Pokémon.  No Resistance is at least a little less sad here since it might be an actual balance issue.  The two Energy required to retreat hurts but isn’t crippling.  Again, this is probably a balance issue as TPC learned early on how potent a free-retreat enabled Basic Pokémon can be. 

Growlithe is pretty vanilla when it comes to attacks: 10 for (C) is underwhelming given the advent of zero Energy attacks, and I’d rather it helped set up than just did 10 damage.  Combustion is a solid 40 damage for three Energy; this would normally be bad except – you guessed it – this is a Basic Pokémon capable of further Evolution.  The single Fire Energy required also makes it easy to slip into non-Fire decks. 

Besides being a stepping stone to Arcanine, I could see using this card a Basic Fire Pokémon for a deck that needs to Type Match to that Weakness.  Sadly for this Growlithe, it’s outclassed by its elder sibling from Secret Wonders.  That Growlithe has the same HP and Retreat Cost, but a tamer +20 Water Weakness.  The important difference is that it has Stoke: for one Energy of any type, you can search your deck for a Fire Energy card and attach it to Growlithe, and take down hits for 50 for the same cost as Combustion with 10 damage to itself.  Stoke is huge and makes this card better for splashing a Fire Pokémon into the deck or for powering up to make Arcanine faster. 

At least this is a great pull for Limited – mostly Colorless attacks and solid HP.


Modified: 2/5 

Limited: 3.5/5

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