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Pojo's Pokemon Card of the Day


Darmanitan #25

Black & White

Date Reviewed: May 20, 2011

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 2.00
Limited: 3.87

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

Darmanitan #25 (Black and White)

Another Fire Pokémon up for review today, and it’s Darmanitan: the weird monkey-thing with the giant flaming eyebrows.

A non-evolving Stage 1, Darmanitan certainly has playable HP at 120. That’s the same as Donphan Prime and not far off Gyarados SF. As you would expect, this bulkiness is reflected in the Retreat cost . . . although two isn’t that bad, I suppose. Water Weakness is also predictable, and probably won’t be such a bad thing in the HGSS-on format . . . at least at first.

Darmanitan comes with two attacks. The first, Fire Fang, costs [R][C] (which is ok) and does 20 damage (which is certainly not ok, even with the bonus of auto Burn). The attack isn’t so terrible that you wouldn’t want to use it, but if it ever wants to see play, Darmanitan will need to do a lot better than that.

Thrash is a decent effort, I suppose. With a cost of [R][C][C] it can at least make use of Double Colourless Energy. For this cost you get 70 damage and a coin flip. Get heads and Thrash will do 90; hit tails and it will do that extra 20 damage to Darmanitan. The attack itself gives reasonable return for the Energy investment but suddenly, that 120 HP doesn’t look quite so good now that you know it may have to soak up some recoil damage.

Darmanitan may have the high HP of a playable Stage 1 Pokémon, but it lacks the speed and power which cards like Gyarados and Donphan have. It’s not a bad card at all, and can be a bit of a beast in Limited, but unfortunately there are better choices in Modified.


Modified (HGSS-on): 2.25 (quite close to being playable, but just seems to lack something)

Limited: 3.75 (in this format, relatively fast and hard-hitting)


We close the week with Darmanitan. Is it “dar man?”

No, clearly it is a Pokémon, and the tone of that bad pun sadly sets the mood for the review.

Darmanitan is a Stage 1 Fire-Type Pokémon with 120 HP. Fire is a solid type right now, and being a Stage 1 is as balanced as it has been in several formats. That 120 HP is even pretty good; the old maximum and still a high amount for a Stage 1 Pokémon. The Water Weakness is expected and awful in the current format (Stormfront Gyarados decks) and problematic in the next (due to anticipated rise in Water-Type usage to counter the anticipated rise in Fire-Type decks). The lack of Resistance is disappointing as always, but more irritating than inconveniencing as so many other Pokémon also lack Resistance. A Retreat Cost of two falls into that grey area of not being easy to pay, but is just low enough to be reasonable to pay, especially if combined with some form of Energy acceleration.

Darmanitan has two attacks. The first is Fire Fang, requiring (RC) and doing 20 points of damage while also inflicting the Burn Special Condition. This is technically fair for the Energy invested in it. The second attack is Thrash, requiring (RCC) and doing 70 damage and an extra 20 damage based on a coin toss: if “heads” that is an extra 20 to the Defending Pokémon, if “tails” to Darmanitan itself. Again at a glance this is sound: 70 points of damage for three Energy, especially when two of those Energy can come from one Double Colorless Energy is a solid deal, and it is somewhat fair that either you hit the opponent for 20 more or yourself. Then again, you’re the player getting this Pokémon into play, attaching Energy to it, and declaring the attack. Somehow, it doesn’t seem equitable that your damage is only going up by the same amount you have the same chance of taking. As an optional effect it might be useful and fair, but it is mandatory and especially vexing when you need 30 to 70 points of damage and Thrash is the only way to guarantee the KO but you just don’t need that extra 20.

Darmanitan Evolves from Darumaka. Both are Basic Fire Pokémon with good (but deserved) 70 HP scores (as they can only Evolve once), the same probably problematic Water Weakness, utter lack of Resistance, and two Energy Retreat cost. The Retreat Cost is a bit steep for a Basic. The attacks on either version are adequate but unexciting. Black & White 23/114 has a lone attack for a single Fire Energy that does 10 damage or 20 if you get “heads” on a mandatory coin toss. The first attack on the second version, Black & White 24/114, feels a hair overpriced to me: inflicting Burn, even with no extra requirements, is only worth a Colorless Energy requirement and this attack costs (R). For that I’d expect 10 points of damage and the Burn effect, or an “enhanced” form of Burn. Then for (CC) it can do 20, which is mostly valuable since it is Double Colorless Energy compatible, like Thrash; you can attach a Double Colorless Energy open with that attack (Rollout) and then hopefully Evolve and attach a Fire Energy to use Thrash the very next turn. Of course, the other version can still do the same, except attaching a Fire Energy first and then the Double Colorless Energy after Evolving on the next turn. Barring finer points of your local metagame, like if Lost Remover is popular, both Darumaka are equal. They even have the same flavor text, and it might be useful as a weapon: apparently in the world of Pokémon, people would use the droppings (re: feces) of Darumaka to stay warm by putting them in their clothes. Apparently unlike normal droppings, they started warmer and/or retained their heat longer. Either way, sounds unsanitary. Given how much thought I’ve already devoted to the subject, this is definitely an effective distraction against someone such as me.

Darmanitan suffers in a manner similar to many of the other Pokémon we have reviewed this week. First, there is little synergy between the two attacks: if you use a Double Colorless Energy you wouldn’t even have to use the first attack, but instead would have access to the second just as quickly. It also suffers because there are only two reasons to run this over Reshiram: you really need a Pokémon to inflict Burn or you really can’t afford any discarding of Energy. Ironically the one card I can think of that would benefit from having a Stage 1 Pokémon that inflicts Burn also recycles Energy discards: Heatran Lv.X. Likewise there are better Pokémon to Burn with, at least until the rotation. Even after the rotation, Darmanitan is simply outclassed by Reshiram.

Limited is the only format where this card is especially good, and it is… especially good. By the nature of the format, most players won’t be able to play a lot of cards because they won’t have the support needed to even get them into play, let alone support them. So average HP and damage output is lower. This makes both Darmanitan and Darumaka effectively “bigger” and “harder hitting” than they actually are. Burn, like all Special Conditions is quite nasty and since it doesn’t discard its own Energy and only needs one Fire Energy for its attack costs, it should be reasonably easy to splash into most decks. Even having two versions of Darumaka is a benefit just because it makes pulling a functional line easier.


Modified (MD-On): 1.75 – Functional but definitely sub-par.

Modified (HGSS-On): 2/5 – Less behind than in the previous format, but still the functional-but-inferior choice.

Limited: 4/5 – Still technically inferior to Reshiram, but if you pull both you should have ample room to run both.


A solid example of underperforming, Darmanitan isn’t all that bad but neither is it good. In an older format it probably would have been a solid Fire Pokémon, but right now we have ample Energy attachment options and in Reshiram a Basic Pokémon that is just better across the board.


Happy Friday, Pojo readers! Today we end our COTD week with a new Fire Pokemon is a fan favorite that was also the Black and White set's prerelease card. Today's Card of the Day is Darmanitan.

Darmanitan is a Stage 1 Fire Pokemon. With the release of Reshiram and Emboar, Fire Pokemon have been seeing a lot more place recently, and will probably make a very good deck come next format, which is HGSS-on. Running Fire right now is probably quite risky though, as Gyarados is still very common. 120 HP is great for a Stage 1, but is still unfortunately within OHKO range for Reshiram and Zekrom. This allows Darmanitan to take many weaker hits easily, though. Water Weakness is to be expected for a Fire-type, no Resistance is meh, and a Retreat Cost of 2 is a bit much, but it's basically what we'd expect for this Blazing Pokemon.

Darmanitan's two attacks, Fire Fang and Thrash, tend to be more suited towards Limited play than Modified. Fire Fang deals 20 damage and automatically Burns for the price of [RC]. While decent for a weak attack, I can't help but feel that this attack should have cost less, such as a single Fire Energy. In Modified, this attack probably won't see much play as there are many other ways to deal much more damage at that price, and Burn isn't so much of a problem due to the many ways to get rid of it (switching, Super Scoop Up). In Limited, where switching is less common/harder to do, this attack can be nice, especially if you just played Darmanitan.

Thrash starts at 70 damage for [RCC], and can do 20 more to the Defending Pokemon if you flip heads, but 20 to yourself if you flip tails. 90 for RCC is good, but if you're running a Fire deck, chances are you're better off running Reshiram, which does 120 for RRC, and in most cases, the discard is negligible.

Modified: 1.5/5 Good HP and unspectacular attacks, also greatly outclassed by Reshiram in terms of damage output.

Limited: 3.5/5 Darmanitan's high HP is great here, and it's able to deal quite a bit of a damage quickly. 70 for 3 is always very good in Limited, and Fire Fang can even work well here too. If you're running Fire (or even maybe if you're not) and pull a few Darumakas, Darmanitan is a great attacker for Limited.

Mad Mattezhion
 Professor Bathurst League Australia
Darmanitan (Black & White)
Hey Pojo readers, today we are reviewing the prerelease promi! What fun!
Darmanitan is a freaky, fiery cross between a gorilla and an Easter Island Head. The overall effect is good, but I feel very sorry for the guys who clean this thing's Poke Ball.
Darmanitan is a Fire Type non-evolving Stage 1 with 120 HP, Water weakness, a retreat cost of 2 and two attacks.
That HP is definitely in the playable range, though the weakness will shorten your lifespan if Rain Dance variants finally get their act together (I can hear Gyarados laughing in the background). The retreat cost is manageable, though you will still want to use Switch when you can. So do the attacks combine well with these decent stats?
Fire Fang does pretty much the same thing it does in the game. For [r][c] you deal 20 damage and inflict the Burned Special Condition, which is okay but nothing brilliant. If the cost were lowered to just [r] then this attack would be a good opening salvo but as it stands you may well skip it with energy acceleration and go straight to Thrash.
Thrash also does pretty much the same thing it does in the video game. For [r][c][c] you deal 70 damage plus 20 more damage if the coin flip comes up Heads. On a Tails result however, you deal the bonus 20 damage to yourself instead of your opponent so be warned that Thrash will possibly hurt you more than your opponent, especially because even 90 damage isn't enough to take out an undamaged attacker if you aren't hitting for weakness.
It would seem that Darmanitan looks brilliant and has some weight to throw around but the attacks have let it down terribly. There is a silver lining however, as there are enough newbies buying theme decks to make sure this guy sees play at League.
Just like Scolipede, Galvantula and Seperior 5/114, Darmanitan is a relatively powerful card available in a theme deck, so newbies can play at League with a slightly smaller gap between them and the veteran players than normal. In fact, Black & White in general have a lot of cards that, while not tournament grade, are decent enough to shorten the odds when a newbie takes on a stronger player. Great work, kudos to the Poke'mon Compnay Inc.!
Modified: 3.25 (the average is improving in Black & White, so newbies can better enjoy the game)
Limited: 4 (between the high HP and inflicting Burn, Darmanitan is a solid choice and much easier to evolve than other cards. Zekrom and Reshiram still beat that frankly intimidating face into the ground though)
Combos with: newbies and small collections to even the playing field just a bit.

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