Happy Halloween readers!
There are many different
traditions around this holiday, but for
several regions this is a fun time to
celebrate a number of things.
Most in my area will consider is
a time for fun costumes, parties,
Trick-Or-Treating, harvest season, and
even multiple religious observances
spread across multiple faiths.
For my area,
Honchkrow (BW: Dragons Exalted
73/124) makes for a good Halloween
review; technically any “Pocket Monster”
should be at least a little spooky, but
crows are one of many animals considered
a little spooky… and if you’ve played
the right TCGs you should know that hand
disruption is terrified, and strangely
associated with them. @_@
is a Darkness-Type Pokémon; this means
it encounters a small amount of
Weakness, no natural Resistance, and
enjoys ample Type support. A quick
Dark Claw for boosting damage,
Dark Patch for basic
Darkness Energy acceleration and
Darkrai EX (BW: Dark Explorers
63/108, 107/108) for zeroing out Retreat
scores, and that is just the “easy”
This may be the best Type to be
right now, and it is a strong start for
Being a Stage 1 is not especially
advantageous right now; the game is in a
place where speed is as such a premium,
Evolving is just too slow.
The Basic Pokémon that see play
(even ones that are
not Pokémon-EX) tend to be as large
and powerful as Evolutions, but still as
fast as their smaller kin.
It isn’t going to ruin the card
outright, but it does mean the rest
needs to be pretty good.
The 110 HP on
Honchkrow is not encouraging, but
neither is it especially discouraging;
it may feel low because of the big,
Basic Pokémon that have been significant
(if not dominant) this format and last,
but you have a good chance of surviving
all but the larger end of attacks.
Decks can pretty easily kick out
70 to 90 points of damage a turn, but
above that usually requires extra effort
or just isn’t reliable.
Also, Weakness and Resistance
will affect both of these things.
Lightning Weakness is not a good thing,
as Lightning-Type decks are still strong
and common, but foreshadowing Usage,
this is not the most common Weakness on
Darkness-Type Pokémon, who are usually
This card also is blessed with
Resistance, and again it is different
from that of most of its kin; Fighting
Being not only “not Weak” to the
Type’s traditional vulnerability but
Resistance to it can be a great boon,
though as this card cannot utilize
Eviolite and isn’t big for a Stage
1, the return isn’t as great as I would
The last Stat is Retreat; you’ll need to
pay (CC) to Retreat this sort-of-big
Functionally this is average; you
won’t want to pay this, but you
regularly can even though it hurts.
Honchkrow doesn’t really strike me
as being slow or bulky, and it always
just feels “weird” to me when a
Flying-Type has more than a single
That being said, I checked out
its video game Base Stats and its Speed
stat is a little below average; since I
often associate the two, this makes it a
little easier to accept.
Darkrai EX, you’re not going to have
to worry about it much anyway.
has two attacks.
The first is Whirlwind, requiring
(CC) to use.
The good news is the cost makes
it fairly accessible; a
Double Colorless Energy,
Energy Switch and
Exp. Share all are fairly easy to
run tricks that can allow a
Honchkrow to go from no Energy at
the end of your last turn to “ready”
during your next with your manual Energy
For that matter, you could even
use most forms of more specialized
Energy acceleration, provided you had a
reason to run it in such decks.
Whirlwind hits for a decent 30 points of
damage, with an
optional force change out of the
Defending Pokémon (after doing damage).
This isn’t as good as having a
Pokémon Catcher on hand, and you
can’t rely on your opponent lacking
something worth promoting (to them) or
having a method of changing out the
Active Pokémon on his/her own turn, but
is far better than nothing.
I emphasized the optional aspect
since in the past it has often been
mandatory, and it is good to keep
something Active you want Active.
Diving Swipe requires (DCC), just a
single (D) more to use.
This means the Energy
acceleration suggested earlier will just
need one step more to enable it. Sadly,
it doesn’t hit the 90 points of damage
most attacks seem to need anymore,
instead dealing just 70.
It does come with an effect that
randomly discards a card from your
As this is random, it is more
“scary” than “effective.
It may also backfire, since many
decks have tricks involving cards in the
discard pile, but this is just a minor
concern; most such decks aren’t going to
need your help setting such things up.
Despite not hitting especially hard,
both attacks are solid; since the stats
were good but not great, that may not be
There are no other Modified legal
Honchkrow and only one such
Murkrow (BW: Dragons Exalted
Murkrow has weak, vanilla attacks:
(C) for 10 and 20 for (DC).
Fortunately it sports 70 HP, a
single Energy Retreat, and the same
Type, Weakness, and Resistance as
I am disappointed it doesn’t do
anything useful for setting itself up,
but it is good that it has at least a
chance of surviving a hit just based on
its Stats alone.
Even Lightning-Type Pokémon will
need a substantive attack;
Emolga (BW: Dragons Exalted
45/124) isn’t going to OHKO it without
two copies of
So should one use
Honchkrow in Modified? If “yes”,
I am not seeing anything that
deserves a firm yes, but I am seeing
just enough to move it into “maybe”
First, if you’re trying to run a
Darkness-Type deck that is
not focusing on speed and
Honchkrow being a Fighting Resistant
instead of a Fighting Weak Pokémon is
The big problem is that a deck
focused on something like
Darkrai EX is usually best of just
being focused on
Darkrai EX, or even going off-Type
for a nice, big, Fighting Resistant
If you are not focusing on
Darkrai EX (strange as that may
Honchkrow may have found a place to
Second is if you’re trying to build a
hand disruption deck.
Honchkrow is one of the few
attackers to do reliable damage and
reliable (in terms of quantity)
discarding with its attack.
If you aren’t damaging your
opponent while destroying his or her
hand, you’re just waiting for them to
top deck what they need to set-up and go
on the offensive, or even to just “tick”
their way to a Prize.
If you’re never scoring any
because you keep having to attack to
discard cards, your opponent just needs
to do enough damage to take six Prizes
before they deck out.
So what kind of hand disruption deck
I wish I knew.
I can give you one completely
Supporters can be great for
bringing an opponent’s hand size down,
but the two options we have for that
have draw backs.
doesn’t always wreck your opponent’s
hand, can never reduce it below one
card, and sometimes wrecks your own
Hooligans – Jim & Cas fails half the
As such, I would want a source of
serious draw and/or search power handy.
Right now, the best answer to that is
Empoleon (BW: Dark Explorers
29/108), but besides being a Stage 2, it
is also Lightning Weak, making the deck
far to susceptible to Lightning-Type
Pokémon, plus incapable of using the
While writing this, Pokepedia.net
is down and I can’t seem to recall
another currently legal Pokémon with a
good draw effect, so I’ll mention the
only other “search” effect I can
likewise think of:
Roserade (BW: Dragons Exalted
Pretty bizarre to run a
Honchkrow/Roserade deck, but at least
they both can use
Blend Energy GRPD.
As for Unlimited, best to rely on
several old-school Trainers; all of them
are Items or rather “normal” Trainers
grandfathered into the “Item”
This means they can go off first
turn and literally obliterate an
opponent’s hand before you go to attack.
As such, Limited is the last hope
Honchkrow, and it is one that seems
Lower average HP and damage
outputs, little to know discard
recovery, little alternatives to
manually retreating, Resistance to a
commonly run Type, and the Ability to be
run with little or even no
Yes, even Whirlwind is good
enough to run the card here!
The forecast isn’t super cheery for
Honchkrow, but an upcoming
Magnezone will allow a player to use
two Supporters per turn, allowing a
Supporter heavy deck to use disruptive
Supporters as well as those purely to
aid in your own set-up at the same time.
Poison Hypnotic Beam is an Item that
Poisons the Defending Pokémon and has a
50% chance of putting it to Sleep as
well, providing a little extra offense
is a Supporter already confirmed in
BW: Boundaries Crossed as 130/149; I
don’t like it much but in a hand control
deck its effect (both players draw up
to/discard down to five card hands)
might actually be worth the effort.
Skyla (BW: Boundaries Crossed
134/149, 149/149) also is coming and
likely to feature in many decks…
possibly leading to decks focusing more
on search than draw power; this could
Honchkrow since raw draw power is a
more serious concern than an opponent
able to get a single card.
is unlikely to spawn new, top-cutting
hand control decks, but it is worth a
look for League and maybe even the
future. At the very least it is a good
pull for Limited as long as you also get