Hello and welcome to a week of
(mostly) Fire Pokémon here on
We kick off the week with
Combusken, the Stage 1 of
the Blaziken line. Starter
Stage 1s have always seemed a bit awkward to me.
Everyone loves getting their
Torchic, Piplup, or
Bulbasaur, and it’s great
when they evolve into something cool and powerful like
But the in-between Stage?
That never gets much love – it’s just something you have
to endure before you get your hands on the real deal.
You can say the same thing for the
vast majority of evolving Stage 1s in the TCG (things
like Eelektrik NVI are very much the exception), and
this Combusken does nothing
to buck the trend. With a Mediocre 80 HP, its Water
Weakness and Retreat cost of one might not be too
problematic, but the attacks are pretty average-to-dull.
The first, Double Kick, is at least
cheap at one Energy of any
Colour, but all you get for that is the chance to flip
two coins and do 20 damage for each heads. I can see
that being pretty decent on a Basic (for the
against very low HP Pokémon) but on something you have
gone to the trouble of Evolving? An average
of 20 damage isn’t ever
really worth it. Flamethrower is slightly more
threatening, with a damage
output of 70, but the cost for this attack is two Fire
and one Colourless Energy
and it needs
a discard. Honestly, by the time you can get
three Energy on a Pokémon,
you need to be doing a bit better than vanilla 70.
But that’s because TCG
Combusken is exactly the
same as video game Combusken.
He’s something that you have to go through to get
Blaziken if you don’t have
enough Rare Candy. You would likely play a couple in a
Blaziken deck for this
reason, but the real question is: would you want to play
a Blaziken deck in the first
That’s a subject for another day .
Modified: 1.5 (Standard boring
evolving Stage 1)
Limited: 2.75 (not completely
horrible if you are running Fire. 70 damage isn’t too
bad in this format)
Hello once again, Pojo readers! We're continuing more
Dark Explorers reviews this week, so be sure to check
back to see if your favorite cards have been reviewed.
We're moving into Fire types for the beginning of the
week, so we'll kick things off with Combusken.
Combusken is a Stage 1 Fire Pokemon. Fire-types aren't
too common in Modified anymore, but you'll still see the
occasional Reshiram-EX or Emboar every once in a while.
80 HP is what we'd expect for an evolving Stage 1,
meaning Combusken can take a weak hit before going down,
but probably not a strong one. It's also worth pointing
out that 80 HP means that Combusken is searchable with
Level Ball. Water Weakness is wholly expected from a
Fire-type, but isn't too bad due to the relative lack of
Water in the format these days. You should still be on
the lookout in Limited, though. To round out the bottom
stats, Combusken has no Resistance and a Retreat Cost of
1, which is easily paid.
Combusken has two attacks. Double Kick is your standard
flip attack, allowing you to flip two coins and deal 20
damage times the number of heads for a single Colorless
Energy. Probability suggests you'll average 20 damage
for the cost, which honestly isn't too bad in slower
formats like Limited. In Modified, however, you'll
probably want to use another attack, if possible.
Flamethrower, Combusken's second attack, does 70 damage
for two Fire and a Colorless, with the additional effect
of discarding an Energy attached to Combusken. It's
notable that the discard can be ANY Energy, so you can
leave the Fire Energies on Combusken in order to make
sure you have the proper requirements. While this effect
isn't much, it's worth noting. As for the damage output,
it's quite solid in Limited for most situations and
Modified if you're really in a pinch, but most of the
time, you'll simply want to evolve your Combusken into
Blaziken as fast as possible.
Modified: 2.25/5 Combusken will likely only be played in
Modified in the context of Blaziken, and as far as
evolving Stage 1s go, Combusken is fairly run of the
mill. Double Kick is your standard flip attack, and
Flamethrower is a standard "discard Energy for big
damage" attack, combined with average HP and bottom
stats you'd expect. While there's nothing wrong with
being totally average, it also means that Combusken
fails to stand out. All in all, if you're playing
Blaziken, Combusken is a must; if not, don't bother.
Limited: 3/5 Combusken is a solid beater in Limited, but
it does require you to run Fire. Double Kick is
serviceable for the cheap cost, although the attack is
somewhat unreliable. On the other hand, Flamethrower has
unfriendly Energy requirements for the Limited format,
but deals excellent damage that will likely dent
anything that isn't a Pokemon-EX. If you draft a few
Fire Pokemon and aren't worried about discarding the
Energies, Combusken is a nice choice for Limited