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Pojo's Pokemon Card of the Day


Honchkrow #16/90

HS Undaunted

Date Reviewed:
September 22, 2010

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 2.00
Limited: 2.75

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

Honchkrow (Undaunted #16) 

For some reason we get two Honchkrow in Unduanted, and neither of them are even Primes. Usually when this happens I differentiate between them by calling one of them ‘the good one’. Sadly, that won’t work with these Honchkrow, both of which are best described as ‘mediocre’. 

Stat-wise, they are identical. Low-ish 90 HP, dreaded Lightning Weakness, useful Fighting Resistance, and a totally unnecessary Retreat cost of two (starts usual rant about how bird Pokémon shouldn’t have a high Retreat cost). 

Attack-wise, there is nothing that makes this card stand out from the crowd either.  For the cost of [D][C], Shadow Bind does a slightly less than acceptable 30 damage and prevents the Defending Pokémon from Retreating next turn. The effect is so easily worked around with Poke Turn, Warp Point, or Evolution, that it is never going to be anything more than slightly inconvenient for your opponent. The strategy can be a somewhat effective stall tactic against Spiritomb AR (which prevents switching Trainers and can’t evolve), but even then Chatot MD or Azelf LA  will do the job better as well as being extremely useful in other ways. 

 For another Colourless Energy, you get to use Honchkrow’s second attack offering, Vengeance. This manages to do 10 damage, plus another 10 for each Dark Pokémon in your Discard Pile. Obvious ways to use this attack would be late game when you had plenty of Dark Pokémon Knocked Out, or with cards like Regice to discard the Pokémon early to boost the attack. Both of these are a waste though. Even with six Dark Pokémon  in the Discard, you only have a base damage of 70 for three Energy which is really not al all special. Any more than six Pokémon in there and you will either  a) already be losing badly, or b) have spent multiple turns discarding most of your remaining deck. Your reward for these efforts? 80-100 damage? It really is not worth it. 

On balance, the other Honchkrow from Undaunted probably is better than this woefully underpowered card. But I still can’t call either of them ‘good’. 


Modified: 1.5 (low on attack, Weak to Luxray . . . what else do you need to know?)

Limited: 2 (Trapping can work better here, but still not up to much)


Our first Pokémon of the week is Honchkrow (HS – Undaunted 16/90 Rare).  This is a Stage 1 Darkness-Type Pokémon, allowing it to utilize the ever useful special Energy version of Darkness Energy for some bonus damage.  90 HP is as low as I tend to tolerate in a Stage 1, barring some fantastic abilities on the card.  The Lightning Weakness x2 is a major downer, turning this into a guaranteed OHKO for any serious Lightning-Type attacker.  The Fighting -20 Resistance is just enough to frustrate the fast-but-strong Fighting Types I’ve either seen or heard of being run, but remember even with it most main-hitter Fighting-Type Pokémon will still down you in two hits without the countermeasures they are likely to run.  Seems almost silly that a Pokémon who is half Flying-Type in the video games has a Retreat Cost, and it is a hefty two Energy!  This is kind of a surprise, and while “average” means you have to run something to change out your Pokémon due to the normal concerns.  So all in all, Honchkrow won’t be played because of its attributes, but they won’t keep it from being played if the rest of the card is good. 

This card has two attacks, which is a bad sign on a Stage 1 Pokémon.  Usually they need a Poké-Power or Poké-Body to stand a chance.  The first attack has some promise, and harkens back to the first Murkrow released.  Like Mean Look before it, Shadow Bind will prevent the Defending Pokémon from retreating during your opponent’s next turn.  It even does a respectable 30 points of damage, base.  That’s just about right: with the right support, you should be able to lock something vulnerable that can’t really fight back up front.  From there, determine if it is better to just Shadow Bind it until it is KO’d or to load it with damage and then force it back, trying to set up for a string of rapid fire KOs mid-to-late game.  The worst drawback is that it requires (DC), so without an overly elaborate combo, you aren’t getting it off on your first turn.  The second drawback is that Honchkrow is going to be vulnerable to retaliation and doesn’t have the HP or other protection to try and tank out.  The third drawback is that unlike Mean Look, you have to use it each turn (instead of relying on a Bench sniping move to win the game after an initial Mean Look).  The least problematic but still worth mentioning is that unless you lock something that is able to shrug off 30 damage a turn, you have no choice but to break your own lock.  That’s four serious things to consider, but at the same time, even with the standard ways of ditching an attack effect (retreating, assisted switch out, evolving); it can be a brutally effective strategy. 

The final attack is the big one.  Fortunately, it only costs (DCC), so a single Darkness Energy (either version) and a Double Colorless Energy and you’re good to go, by your second turn in a well made deck.  This attack is called Vengeance and it does… just 10 points of damage.  Well, unless you have some Darkness Pokémon in your discard pile.  Then you get an extra 10 per.  Still pretty weak, but with special Darkness Energy and the right set-up, you could generate some big hits fast and cheap, and should have them mid-to-late game.  Again, an alright attack. 

There is mild synergy between the two attacks: if your deck “goes off” well, just jump to Vengeance and start racking up KOs.  Most of the time, I suspect you’ll want to use Shadow Bind coupled with strategic support cards to build your discard pile to the point where Honchkrow is scoring OHKOs.  It takes some doing, but is certainly possible.  Pokémon G tend to be Darkness Types, and this might be an unpleasant surprise for an opponent expecting the normal Team Galactic deck.  Stormfront Tyranitar has a Poké-Body that attached Darkness Energy from your discard pile to itself when your opponent uses a Poké-Power.  Since you want a deck that can discard a lot of its own cards, this keeps Energy you are forced to discard from being wasted, helps cover Weakness, and the big attack on Tyranitar does a 30 damage spread to your entire opponent’s Pokémon (which would help Shadow Bind).  Tyranitar Prime can also be used, or used in conjunction with its cousin.  It can spread damage around quickly with its first attack, and its big attack discards from your deck.  Both allow Honchkrow to function as a powerful cleaner. 

Or you can focus on useful Basic Darkness-Type Pokémon and use Trainers and Supporters to achieve the discard.  Sage’s Training can help set big hits up a lot faster.  The downside is you’ll want to use it at least twice and it only adds two cards to your hand.  With a good build and solid luck, you’ll discard two or three Pokémon with it at the same time.  Unfortunately, there aren’t that many good options besides it. 

I really like this card, but seems like all the good discarding cards I can think of have left Modified (to be fair, some quite a while ago).  I think it is something to keep an eye on, because it feels like we are missing just one piece of a nice deck.  At least you can enjoy it in Limited play: Undaunted has a good amount of Darkness-Type Pokémon, even when limiting yourself to commons.  If you can get Shadow Bind out at the right time, it too can be devastating. 


Modified: 2.5/5 

Limited: 3.5/5 

I am still selling my former collectables on eBay.  I’ve had a lot of hobbies over the years, so at various times I’ll have comic books, manga, action figures, and video games on the auction block.  You can take a look at what’s up for bids here.  I usually add new stuff on Wednesdays and Saturdays.  Just a reminder, Pojo is in no way responsible for any transactions and was merely kind enough to let me mention the auctions here. ;)

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