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Pojo's Pokemon Card of the Day


 Ho-Oh Legend

HeartGold & SoulSilver

Date Reviewed: 04.02.10

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 2.00
Limited: 3.00

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

Ho-Oh Legend HGSS


Yay! Finally we get to review the new Legends cards!


So far, we only have this and Lugia Legend, but it looks like Legends are going to be a big part of future sets so it is probably a good idea to look at some of the new mechanics that they introduce and some of the rulings that affect them.


Probably the most important thing to bear in mind is that the Legends are NOT Basic Pokémon. You cannot play them during set up and therefore cannot start with them, even if you have the required two halves in your opening hand. You can’t search for them with Roseanne’s Research or Pokémon Collector either. You have to use cards like Bebe’s Search, Luxury Ball, or Professor Elm’s Training Method.


The second important point is that the Legends are not Evolved Pokémon either. Apparently, they count as ‘unevolved’ Pokémon when in play. This means that they WILL be knocked out by Machamp SF’s Take Out, and they do not get around Mewtwo LV X’s Psybarrier Body.


The third thing everyone should know is that both halves of the Legend are counted as having the same name (in this case Ho-Oh Legend). This means that they all count towards the four cards per deck limit. You can play two tops halves and two bottom halves, or three of one and one of the other, but you can’t play four of each.


So, know that we know those rulings and restrictions, is this particular Legend even worth playing? Well, it does have a terrific 140 HP for a start. Double Water Weakness could be a problem if Water decks like Gyarados retain their popularity, but a Fighting Resistance is a pretty good thing to have. A Retreat cost of two isn’t much fun, but can be managed with Switches and Warp Points. Thanks to its PokeBody, Warp Energy can work nicely with Ho-Oh too.


That PokeBody, Sacred Rainbow, does what the old Base Set Charizard did . . . turn every Energy attached to Ho-Oh into a Fire Energy. This is great as it means you can still play stuff like Call Energy and DCE (which will provide two Fire!) without messing with Ho-Oh’s Energy requirements (as long as Dialga G LV X isn’t on the Field, that is). In theory (emphasis on theory) this means that Ho-Oh can be run in virtually any deck (though I wouldn’t recommend that at all).


Ho-Oh certainly needs the pseudo acceleration from its body to work with DCE as its only attack, Bright Wing, costs [R][R][R][R]. True, it does do 100 damage for only a single discard, but that’s still a pricey attack, and it falls short of a OHKO on Levelled Up SP Pokémon, as well as all Stage 2s. This is quite a problem for Ho-Oh . . . being difficult to set up and slow to get going means that it isn’t really going to make much of an impact at tournaments. Maybe Legends will get more support in future sets and that will change, but even then, it will probably be neglected in favour of the faster and even more powerful Legends that we should be getting soon.




Modified: 2 (Too slow, and often short of being able to get the OHKOs it needs)

Limited: 2 (You’ll need some VERY unlikely pulls to get this working)


Now for a challenge: a Pokémon Legend!  This floored me when I semi-returned to the game, since it is a fascinating new mechanic that my friends and I half-joked about in the past.


Now it is real!


Today’s CotD is Ho-Oh Legend, and unlike the Pokémon “Prime”, Legend is indeed printed on the top half of the card and so is part of its name.  First I’ll run through some relevant rulings on Pokémon Legend in general, taken from  The Pokémon Trading Card Game Rulings Compendium LVX are that you can only have a total of four copies of the Pokémon – each half still counts as the card.  You don’t have to run an even amount of tops and bottoms, but you cannot run four of each.  You have to put both halves of the card into play at the same time, at which point they are treated as a single Pokémon for the purposes of game effects and rules, like taking one bench space, one prize when KO’d, etc.  Card effects that let you search for “a Pokémon” or “a [insert type/] Pokémon” will work on them, but not something that specifies Basic Pokémon or Evolved Pokémon, because they are officially considered an “Unevolved Pokémon”.  This means you can’t lay them down during your set-up before the first turn either.  Effects that put Pokémon into play won’t work on them since each half counts as “Unevolved Pokémon” and they are always two of such a card, not one.


Whew!  That explains a lot.


So when we look at Ho-oh Legend, we have to take into account that it takes twice the deck space and perhaps more than twice the effort to run of a Basic Pokémon, and is more complicated to run than a Stage 1 Pokémon.  In a sense, it is the worst of both worlds.  Which explains the fantastically high 140 HP.  Outside of Lv.X. X Pokémon, only four others top this.  Other than Water Pokémon (who can take advantage of Water Weakness for double damage) OHKOing this card requires a lot of luck (and deck with damage boosting tricks).  For that matter, anything but a main (or Water) attacker will probably require three full attacks for the KO.  This is quite nice, but again is warranted by the complex nature and required effort of playing the card.  As for the aforementioned Weakness, I’d rather it Water than the other obvious choice: Ho-Oh is a Fire/Flying Type in the video games so Lightning Weakness is appropriate (but less desirable). The Fighting Resistance is welcome: unless you’re facing a Fighting Pokémon that can bypass or gets a bonus against it, it will take a lot to KO this card: one big shot doing 160 points of damage or multiple shots that need another 20 for each extra shot.  The two Energy retreat cost is annoying, but not crippling: you can pay it if you must but dedicate at least two slots to something to get around it.


The actual effects of the card don’t disappoint: Sacred Rainbow turns all attached Energy on Ho-oh Legend into Fire Energy.  It’s a trick that has been around under different names since the Base Set, but it still screams for abuse.  Bright Wing hits hard: 100 damage takes most Basic or Stage 1 Pokémon down in one hit.  To use it, though, you need something providing 4 Fire Energy and then you have to discard an Energy as well.  That knocks it down from “great” to “good”: after all that you’re getting a slight bonus and the Poké-Body does allow you to abuse Double Colorless Energy.


Otherwise it looks like it needs a partner along the lines of yesterday’s Typhlosion so that you can consistently get off 100 damage each turn.  Indeed, Typhlosion (Prime), Ninetales (with Roast Reveal), and Ho-oh Legends looks like a sound deck.  It doesn’t look like a tournament winner to me, though.


Unless you are insanely fortunate and can get both halves at a Limited Event, in which case you should risk running it (unless you plan on selling it afterwards).  The bad news is that it will be hard to get out.  The good news is that any deck can afford the Energy, and provided you can get it out when your opponent doesn’t have anything with a lot of HP or Water out, it should turn into at least two, probably three Prizes as a trade off.




Modified: 2/5 – Looks great but needs an “engine” capable of manipulating Special Energy cards.


Limited: 4/5 – If you pull both halves.


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