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Pojo's Pokemon Card of the Day


Poliwrath #21/95

HS Unleashed

Date Reviewed: June 15, 2010

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 2.13
Limited: 3.25

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

Combos With: See Below

Baby Mario
2010 UK National

Poliwrath (Unleashed)


Poliwrath is one of those Pokémon that I always think should be better than it is . . . both in the TCG and the VGC. I mean, it’s got good typing (Water and Fighting) and should make an awesome Physical attacker . . . but somehow it just doesn’t.


This Poliwrath comes with a nice 130 HP (though that is pretty much the standard for a Stage 2 these days), the worst Weakness in the game (hello Luxray!), and an appalling Retreat Cost of three, so you had better make sure you have a way to Retreat without paying it.


Poliwrath’s first attack, Steamroll, cost [W][C] and does 40 damage with a 20 snipe to the Bench. Now I’m not going to say that’s terrible, because it isn’t, but it IS outclassed by other cards. Just look at Kingdra LA which does 60 +20 for only ONE Water Energy . . .


The other attack Poliwrath offers is Dynamic Punch. For one more Colourless Energy, this has a base damage of 60 (which would be terrible), but it does offer a big bonus if you flip heads. Then you will be doing 100 damage and getting Confusion on the Defending Pokémon. That’s actually pretty sweet, but having to flip a coin is terrible. Get heads and you could get a vital KO; but flip tails and you will do worse than mediocre damage which could cost you the game. There is enough luck in Pokémon without having to rely on even more of it just to get off a decent attack. This is why players will avoid coin-flip attacks unless they are a) completely broken or b) pretty good, even if you get tails. Unfortunately, Dynamic Punch isn’t either of these things, and for that reason a good player will always choose one of the many, many cards that are better than Poliwrath.


Even the LA one is better than this, and when was the last time you saw anyone play that?




Modified: 2 (so many better cards to use)

Limited: 3 (decent here, but it’s a Stage 2 so I can’t score too highly)


Combos with . . .


I suppose you could make a Poli family deck with Politoed LA and/or Politoed UL but don’t expect to win anything with it.


Welcome back Pojo readers! Today we are reviewing a card that won me a few games at the set's prerelease, Poliwrath from the HS Unleashed.

Poliwrath is a Stage 2 Water Pokemon. 130 HP is standard for a Stage 2, allowing Poliwrath to take a hit or two. Double weakness to Lightning is awful, as Luxray GL will continue to be a big problem, even after rotation. No Resistance is disappointing, and a Retreat Cost of 3 is terrible = use Switch or Warp Point instead.

Poliwrath has two attacks. The first, Steamroll, costs [WC] and deals 40 damage to the Defending Pokemon and 20 damage to one of your opponent's Benched Pokemon. This attack isn't bad, as it allows you to hit both your opponent's Active and something benched, however the damage output is a bit low. The second attack, Dynamic Punch, deals 60 damage for [WCC] to begin with but has you flip a coin and adds 40 damage and confuses if you flip heads. At worst, this attack will deal a slightly expensive 60 damage for 3 energy, but 100 damage and automatic Confusion can be really annoying for your opponent if they don't have a Switch or Warp Point, and a few favorable head flips will probably net you a prize or two.

Modified: 2.25/5 I like Poliwrath. While it doesn't do anything spectacularly gamebreaking, it has two very solid attacks, which is more than most cards from the past few sets can say. However, in today's fast paced metagame, Stage 2 Pokemon should either hit fast, hit hard, or have a game-changing effect, where Poliwrath sadly has none of these. Lightning weakness and high Retreat Cost don't help, either.

Limited: 3.5/5 Poliwrath is excellent in Limited. High HP and good attacks mean that you can easily take a few prizes, especially if you are lucky with your flips for Dynamic Punch. Being able to hit Benched Pokemon and your opponent's Active at the same time with Steamroll is also a huge plus.

Mad Mattezhion
 Professor Bathurst League Australia
Poliwrath (HS Unleashed)
Poliwrath is one of the many Water Pokemon featured in this set, and has been the subject of both some good and bad card versions. The Base Set version looked cool and played decntly but LA version sucked due to the first attck having a lousy drawback (60 damage for F, but no damage if Poliwrath was damage during the opponent's last turn). That may be why the design team gave us Donphan Prime. Moving on...
This Poliwrath has a healthy 130 HP (standard, but a good standard) with the usual Lighning weakness (Manectric PT, Entei/Raikou and of course Luxray making that a very BAD thing) and a retreat cost of 3. Poliwrath needs to lose some weight, it seems. Or is it that muscle weighs more than fat?
Now the attacks. 2 seems to be the standard and Poliwrath does not dissapoint with Steamroll and Dynamic Punch. Steamroll costs WC and provides 40 damage to the active with 20 damage to one of your opponent's benched Pokemon. This is a strange choice for an attack, and while I can't really complain about the numbers it lacks synchronicity with the second attack, especially since there is very little support in the game for boosting damage dealt to benched pokemon. Sure, there are plenty of poke-powers you can use to place damage counters beforehand (Kingdra Prime is the most obvious combo here) but light sniping just doesn't seem useful or desirable on a Stage 2, especially when it costs 2 energy to use.
Dynamic Punch is another strange choice for an attack, with a cost of WCC. For that investment, you get to flip a coin and deal 100 dmage with confusion for a heads, or 60 damage for a tails. Flippy = bad in the books of serious players, and this attack probably won't change their minds. At least the tails flip doesn't leave you dealing no damage or even self damage. At an average of 80 damage for 3 energy (confusion is far too weak to consider here) you can safely say that there are better options available.
If this card sees play it will be in a rogue deck using Politoed LA. If you have a Poliwag, Poliwhirl and Poliwrath in play, Politoed LA boosts the attacks of each of those Pokemon by 60 damage which would make this Poliwrath playable, but the difficulty in getting those pokemon into play without providing easy prizes to your opponent means that it probbaly won't ever happen. Also, Politoed only boosts the damage against the active Pokemon, so the snipe is still useless.
Modified: 2 (and that is only because I like Poliwrath normally)
Limited: 3.5 (a good choice next to Blastoise, and the attacks are great in this slower format)
Combos with: Politoed LA

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