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Pojo's Pokemon Card of the Day


Ho-Oh - SL5

Call of Legends

Date Reviewed: Feb. 3, 2011

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 1.50
Limited: 2.33

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
2010 UK National

Ho-Oh (Call of Legends)


So far this week, we’ve reviewed a reprint and a couple of new cards that were originally from the Japanese Lost Link set. Today we review the third type of card that has gone into making up the numbers in the Call of Legends set.


These cards are translations of highly collectible, rare (and expensive) Japanese shiny cards featuring various Legendary Pokémon. Sounds great, right?


Well, it’s good news for collectors (unless the value of their Japanese versions falls, of course), but not so good for players. See Japan tends to make its ultra rare promo cards very prettyful but utterly useless when it comes to playing the TCG (see also Raichu and Espeon Prime). This is basically a good thing for them: if they made that type of card playable, the price would rise to levels that would make Luxray GL LV X look like a budget card. As it is, they provide something nice for Collectors while players don’t have rubbish cards bulking out their sets.


Weirdly, in Call of Legends they decided to print these cards twice: once as a normal holo rare, and again with different art and card design as a series of shiny card with set numbers SL01-SL11. From a playing point of view though, they are identical . . . same attacks, same HP . . . you get the idea.


But like I said earlier, these cards are a very long way from playable. Take Ho-Oh for example. Nice HP, predictable Weakness and Resistance, and a shocking Retreat cost are not a good start. However, it’s the attacks that really demonstrate how this card was never meant for competitive play. Combustion costs three Energy for vanilla 50 damage, while Scorching Wing demands a ridiculous five energy to do 100 AND may discard three Fire Energy on a coin flip. I don’t honestly think any analysis is necessary . . . any player will know just how good those attacks are.


When it comes to rating these cards, it’s obvious they will score poorly. In some ways this is very unfair as they were only ever meant to be collectibles and there’s no denying that they look nice in a binder. The shiny versions at least will be quite rare and collectors will love them. If you are only interested in competitive cards, then I’m sure you will be able to do some good trades with any you pull.




Modified: 1 (it was never meant to be played)

Limited: 1 (don’t play it in prerelease either, put it straight in the binder and keep it in good condition)


2/3/11: Ho-Oh(Call of Legends)
It's a shiny Ho-Oh! How cool! Also pretty bad to use, sadly.
This will be pretty brief. Combustion really doesn't do enough damage for the energy necessary; Arcanine HGSS and Typhlosion HGSS/CL both do the same damage for less energy, and neither of them are terribly playable. Then there's Scorching Wing, which does 100 damage, which, even with the RRRCC energy cost, isn't awful, in the sense that Steelix Prime has a similar attack. Of course, Steelix has high HP, energy acceleration, is Metal-type, and doesn't have a major downside like discarding all energy on a coin flip. It's not horrible in Limited, because of its Fighting resistance, but it's certainly not playable in Modified.
Modified: 1.5/5
Limited: 2.5/5


Ho-Oh is a really annoying way of spelling it.  I liked Ho-oh better.  I wonder how that works with certain effects since it is spelled Ho-oh on earlier versions.  Still, it probably won’t affect most current cards so I’ll move on.  It is a Fire Pokémon, and I am not seeing a lot of combos geared specifically for them in the current Modified, let alone ones that see regular play.  The good news is that this is a Basic Pokémon with 100 HP and Fighting Resistance.  Unfortunately it has Water Weakness, which is both expected and appropriate, but quite bad in the current format: Gyarados decks will need just two Magikarp in the discard to go for the OHKO, instead of needing all three and a PlusPower.  The three Energy needed to retreat also hurts, since it is too expensive to bother paying or lowering, and simply needs to be bypassed with cards like Switch or Warp Point.


Ho-Oh has two attacks.  The first is Combustion which needs (RCC) and hits for 50.  The second is Scorching Wing which needs a massive (RRRCC) and hits for 100 points of damage, but also requires a coin toss and if it comes up as “tails” all attached Fire Energy gets discarded.  There are two basic aspects of synergy between the attacks I want to highlight because many of my more recent reviews seemed to lack them: both attacks can use Double Colorless Energy reasonably well and were expected to do so, and the first attack was clearly designed as an opener and then fallback attack to keep the discard aspect of the second attack from completely denying you an attack.  One Double Colorless Energy means even if you are forced to discard all your Fire Energy by Scorching Wing, you’d just be a single Fire Energy attachment away from being able to use Combustion.


That is the good of the attacks, the bad is short, simple, but also important.  They don’t do enough for the energy going into them, and if you open with Ho-Oh you either have to lose a turn, be able to set up an Energy acceleration combo and use it instantly, or use Call Energy which then means Double Colorless Energy is a waste and you’ll have to wait yet another turn for the real attacks.  Both attacks really needed another beneficial effect, or more damage.  Ho-Oh does not Evolve and lacks a Level X form.  It must be “good enough” on its own or with a Bench sitter, but the only real “enhancers” I see would slow it down to the point you might as well find a good Stage 1 Fire Pokémon (or Basic with a Level-Up available) and use that instead.  Donphan Prime and Gyarados from Stormfront really raised the bar, and Ho-Oh doesn’t even come close.  Combustion could have been priced at (CC) and still probably worked out, and even dropping the damage to just 40 while costing only (CC) would have helped this card.  Scorching Wind is the real disappointment though.  Three specific Energy requirements alone are usually good for 70 to 90 points of damage, so being an a Basic that can’t Evolve, requiring another two of any Energy, and discarding all Fire Energy attached to the card on a coin flip is worth only another 10 to 30 points of damage?  It really needed to hit for at least another 20 points of base damage, and perhaps had a beneficial effect tacked onto the coin toss.  It could have been something extra on heads, or even something extra on tails to compensate for the massive discard, like “…discard all Fire Energy attached to Ho-Oh.  For each Fire Energy discarded this way, place a damage counter on each non-Fire Pokémon in play.”


At least it can shine in Limited play.  If you are a regular reader, you know the routine: decks are built from what you can pull, thus decks will usually lack well developed Pokémon lines and the support structure to get specific cards out quickly.  Because of this, the average HP is lower than in constructed play, as is the average damage done each turn.  The full implication of this is sometimes missed: not only does this result in lower standards that Ho-Oh can reach easily reach, maybe even surpass, but a lot of “better” cards in the set (with respect to constructed formats) suddenly become poor pulls.  Being a Basic becomes that much more important.  Ho-Oh enjoys having a lot of Colorless Energy requirements to balance out its need for so much Fire Energy.  Fortunately only Scorching Wind is Fire Energy intensive so if you want to splash it, you still get a big Basic Fire Pokémon with good stats and the capacity to hit for a solid 50 points of damage.  The set composition will make that Fighting Resistance useful and the Water Weakness less bad than in constructed.  There are some good Water Pokémon in the set (for Limited play) but enough good Fire Pokémon and Fire Weak Pokémon to offset it.




Modified: 2/5


Limited: 3.5/5


Yup, still selling collectibles on eBay; click here to see what I’ve got up for bids right now!


Happy Thursday, everyone! We continue our COTD week this week by reviewing more cards from the new Call of Legends expansion. Today's Card of the Day is one of the elusive new shiny Legendary Pokemon from the set (although you can get it as a non-shiny form as well). Today's Card of the Day is Ho-Oh.

Ho-Oh is a Basic Fire Pokemon. Fire Pokemon aren't that common in today's Modified metagame, with the relative popularity of Gyarados and Kingdra. However, in the future, Fire may become more playable, as Charizard may have what it takes to be a great deck next format, depending on what the rotation is. 100 HP is good for a non-evolving Basic, as Ho-Oh should be able to take a few hits at this value. Water Weakness is unfortunate, as Gyarados will OHKO in most circumstances, as will Kingdra LA. Fighting Resistance is great against Donphan and Machamp. Finally, a Retreat Cost of 3 is terrible, so make sure to switch using Switch, Warp Point, or Warp Energy.

Ho-Oh's two attacks, Combustion and Scorching Wing, are both rather expensive for their damage output. Combustion deals a vanilla 50 damage for [RCC], which is rather underpowered considering that Charizard can fairly easily do 50-80 damage for just [R]. In Limited this attack is fairly solid, as a straight 50 damage will still be a problem for your opponent, although the damage output could still afford to be a bit higher for the cost. Scorching Wing, on the other hand, deals a fairly huge 100 damage for the gigantic cost of [RRRCC], discarding all Fire Energy on a tails flip. 100 damage for 5 is still expensive, and the discard makes this attack relatively unusable, even in Limited.

Modified: 1/5 Ho-Oh's attacks are too expensive to be of any good use here.

Limited: 2/5 Combustion is decent, but Scorching Wing is seriously not worth using, because discarding a minimum of 3 energy is still somewhat difficult in Limited. Even still, Ho-Oh is a big HP basic with a good Resistance and decent attacks that could probably be used in Limited.

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