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Pojo's Pokemon Card of the Day


Torkoal #25/95

HS Unleashed

Date Reviewed: June 23, 2010

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 2.00
Limited: 1.75

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:

Baby Mario
2010 UK National

Torkoal (Unleashed)


With a new generation of Pokémon due to appear in the next few months, I can’t help wondering if Torkoal is going to get an Evolution, or maybe even a Baby form. Who knows? It could become the Fire Blastoise!


But what we have for now is this hefty Fire Pokemon. With 80 HP, it is durable for a Basic, not that it will matter if it comes up against a Water Pokémon. The Retreat cost of two isn’t great, but what do you expect? Free Retreat on a Tortoise?!


Torkoal’s single attack, Flare, is not much use. For [R][C] you get a vanilla 30 damage. You definitely won’t want to be attaching Energy and attacking with him, that’s for sure.


Luckily, Torkoal has something else to offer: it’s Hot Snort PokePower (yes, that’s right, Hot Snort). When you Bench Torkoal from your hand, you get to flip a coin. If you get heads, the Defending Pokémon is Burned.


Now Special Conditions are . . . well, not very special in this format. They are easily dealt with through Retreat, Evolution, Poke Turn etc., but there are times in which something like Burn can be useful. For example against a Pokémon which is trying to tank (like Torterra or Donphan). It can also be used to avoid Gengar SF’s Fainting Spell, or combine with Blaziken FB LV X to increase the amount of damage that card can do. The problem is that Torkoal takes up valuable Bench space, and only has a 50-50 chance of working. You could combine it with Super Scoop Up, I suppose, but that’s just more coin flip gambling.


The good news is that your opponent is unlikely to Power Spray a flippy Power. The bad news (for Torkoal’s playability) is that there are a couple of better options when it comes to inflicting Burn from the Bench. Magmortar SV is a Stage 1, but it has a coming-into-play Power that will both Burn and Confuse. Blaziken  PL is even slower (it’s a Stage 2), but at least its Fire Breath Power can be used every turn. Its attack is decent too.


In the end, the fact that there are better ways of doing Torkoal’s job (assuming you need it done at all), means that this Pokémon is not going to see play outside of a prerelease.




Modified: 1.5 (it does something, but you have better options)

Limited: 2 (high HP, SSU in the set, nothing better to put in your deck? Torkoal could be semi-useful)


Combos with . . .


Blaziken FB LV X

Mad Mattezhion
 Professor Bathurst League Australia
Torkoal (HS Unleashed)
Torkoal doesn't get much love, probably becuase it looks dopey and coal burning is viewed as evil when we consider what we are doing to the atmosphere and local ecosystems with coal-fired power stations. Maybe we can get a windmill or solar-powered Pokemon in the next release with Black and White?
Moving on, Torkoal has 80 HP and Water weakness with a retreat cost of 2. Healthy for a starter but actually pretty much wasted on Torkoal, due to the fact you want top play it from the hand after the match has already started (if for some inexplicable reason you want to play it at all).
Torkaol has an attack and a coming-into-play poke-power, both of which seem underdone. Hot Snort is the amusingly titled power, and does pretty much what it says on the manual: makes you opponent snort all over the cards.Actually, it allows you to flip a coin when you play Torkoal from your hand onto your bench, and Burns your opponent's Active if you get heads. Seriously, would an auto burn be too much to ask? It's not like the card will actually set your oppoent's hand on fire or do anything even remotely broken without a flip. What gives?
Now the attack. Assuming you mange to get the Burn (which is easily removed and may not even do damage anyway due to the flip) you can now do some more damage with Flare. This is an old standard for Fire Pokemon, and this time around you get 30 damage for RC. Truly, this attack is not worth the effort, unless you think you can make your opponent collapse a lung from laughing so hard and have to forfeit the match.
Now that I have completely shredded Torkoal for being such a waste of cardboard and animation, I feel obliged to point out that I find Torkaol in general and this card in particular to be hilarious. I even tried to play the LA version for giggles, and did some surprising things with it against a BlastCatty deck. Also, this card may actually have a place in a Tier 1 deck! Ridiculous as it seems, Torkoal could actually do okay in a cheap version of a Blaziken FB/Heatran deck where Burn leads to major damage. If Torkoal had auto-Burn and the same attack for just R, I'd say it's a must have in the deck but as it stands it is only for people who can't get multiple copies of Blaziken PT. Still, I felt I had to say something nice after I just **** all over it, and the tears of laughter in my eyes have made me generous. I dare people to play this card just for giggles, come on and try it!
Modified: 2.5 (it possibly has a place in Blaziken/Blaziken FB/Heatran decks, but probably only if you somehow miraculously have empty space to fill)
Limited: 1.5 (leads to intense laughter and numerous in-jokes, but not even remotely playable)
Combos with: Blaziken FB, Heatran Lv X

As you can probably guess from my Primeape review Monday, I grew up on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and even if I hadn’t, turtles are one of my favorite animals.  So I am a bit of a Torkoal fan.  Not huge, but as a whole I like it more than some other Pokémon.


Torkoal doesn’t seem to get much love.  I blame ignorance.  The Pokémon Company has this need to require Pokémon to “Evolve”.  Since “Evolve” in Pokémon doesn’t mean anything remotely like it means in the real world… yeah that’s just an arbitrary decision that hurts all Basic Pokémon.  Mad Mattezhion made some comments in his review about the negative image of coal burning.  I grew up in a state that was big on both coal and wind power (Iowa) and so I got to hear the pros and cons of both sides and see them used firsthand, so that never really occurred to me.  Torkoal is also a third generation Pokémon.  By that point in the Pokémon franchise, it was getting hard to remember them all, let alone catch and effectively raise them all. ;)


Enough of my soap box, the actual Torkoal card almost, almost is useful.  80 HP is good for a Basic, even if it can’t Evolve into a larger form.  Water Weakness isn’t happy, but at least is appropriate; just remember any Water Pokémon meant to attack will be able to OHKO Torkoal.  The lack of Resistance is disappointing but at least Torkoal only has a two Energy Retreat Cost.  This isn’t a good thing per se, but at least it isn’t higher given its solid HP and turtle status.


The attack is regrettable: just 30 damage for (RC).  They could have at least just given it Smokescreen so it had stalling potential.  The Poké-Power is so close to making this worth playing: Hot Snort let’s you Burn the opponent’s Active Pokémon, but there are three catches: it’s a once-per-turn Poké-Power, only works when you Bench Torkoal from your hand, and requires a successful coin toss.  The first two seems kind of redundant: most effects that would return it to your hand would reset the effect, and that’s the only way to use it more than once-per-turn.  No matter what, all three are overkill: Burn isn’t that good.  A little less restrictive and this might be a nice way to give up some Bench space for a little extra damage for your attacks.  After all, Burn itself is easy enough to get rid of and half the time does nothing between turns.


You might be able to make some use of it in Limited play, but if you do it might be better to consider it a flippy Trainer that is awful if it is your only opening Basic.  Sure if you pull enough Fire Pokémon to justify running the Energy you can, but no matter what you get, having a possibility of Burning the Defending Pokémon is nice.  Whether it succeeds or fails, you can then save it for when you have to sacrifice something to buy time.




Modified: 1.5/5


Limited: 3/5


I’d also like to add I’ll be selling quite a bit of my soon-to-be-former possessions on eBay.  You can take a look here at my first auction if you’re interested in some SNES games.  Just a reminder, Pojo is in no way responsible for this and was merely kind enough to let me mention the auction here. ;)

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