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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Ho-oh EX

Dragons Exalted

Date Reviewed: Sept. 13, 2012

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 3.40
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

Ho-oh-EX (Dragons Exalted)

Every so often in the TCG, something comes along which is truly revolutionary and brings something utterly new to the game. Remember the SP Pokémon that had Stage 2s like Garchomp and Luxray as Basics; the Arceus cards that broke the 4 per deck rule; or even the Lost Zone mechanic which banished cards from the game? Well, Ho-oh-EX is another one of these rare phenomena.

Why? Well, we shall get to that in a minute. First, the standard stuff. Ho-oh is a Fire Type EX Pokémon (which means it won’t be hitting much for Weakness), with Water Weakness (not noteworthy now, but wait for Keldeo-EX), a handy Fighting Resistance, and an annoying Retreat cost of two (annoying to pay, can’t use Heavy Ball). Nothing too unusual there, unless you count the fact that it is the first EX to have 160 HP (a little mediocre for an EX – Darkrai two-shots it regardless of Eviolite).

Now for the good bit – Rebirth, Ho-oh’s Ability, activates in the Discard pile. That’s right, not when it’s in play, or when you put it on the Bench, but when it’s in the Discard. (Now you know the reason for Garbodor’s comprehensive Ability text). Once Ho-oh finds itself in the Discard you can flip a coin and, if heads, put Ho-oh and up to three different Types of Energy from there on to the Bench. (I love how that is nicely on-theme with Ho-oh being very phoenix-like).

Discarding Ho-oh and some Energy should be easy enough with Professor Juniper and Ultra Ball in the format and once he’s in there, you have some interesting possibilities to work with. Ho-oh’s own attack, Rainbow Burn, costs three Energy of any Type and does 20 damage plus 20 more for each different Basic Energy attached (so no, Prism and Blend won’t work). Under ideal conditions, you could be reviving Ho-oh turn 1 for 80-100 damage and a possible first turn win, but there’s more to this card than that. Not only is a discarded Ho-oh a constant threat, but he can also be used as a source of Energy acceleration for other Pokémon. Combine him with Energy Switch and you can be hitting fast and hard with Mewtwo-EX, or Terrakion NVI, or maybe a Tornadus-EX.

This deck as already enjoyed some success at Battle Roads in the US. Combining it with other attackers that can work independently of it goes some way towards mitigating the downside of Ho-oh being a flippy card. If you don’t hit the Rebirth until mid-game, then it’s still effective Energy acceleration. For a card that was somewhat written off at first, it seems to have become the surprise hit of the season so far. For that reason, you may well see it turning up more and more frequently at tournaments. The most important thing about Ho-oh though is that it is the first Pokémon to use its Ability in an entirely new way. This shows that the card designers are willing and able to innovate and I hope to see more stuff like this in the future.


Modified: 3.75 (a revolutionary mechanic and a pretty playable card)

Limited: 3 (tough to discard early)


Greetings once again, Pojo readers! Today we're reviewing a new Pokemon-EX from Dragons Exalted that has been seeing a bit of play during Battle Roads as an Energy accelerator. Today's Card of the Day is Ho-Oh-EX.


Ho-Oh-EX is a Basic Fire Pokemon-EX. Fire Pokemon rarely see play these days in Modified, as no one really plays Reshiram, Reshiram-EX, or Emboar anymore. Therefore, the only Fire-types you're likely to see are Ho-Oh (at least right now). As a Pokemon-EX, Ho-Oh had better have some impressive stats and abilities to justify your opponent taking an extra Prize when it is Knocked Out. 160 HP is slightly under standard for a Pokemon-EX, but even still, Ho-Oh should be able to take at least one hit before going down. Water Weakness is currently irrelevant (but could be a problem later), Fighting Resistance is great against Terrakion and friends, and a Retreat Cost of 2 is payable if you absolutely must.


Ho-Oh has an Ability and a single attack. Rebirth allows you to flip a coin once per turn while Ho-Oh is in your discard pile, and if heads, you put it back onto your Bench with up to three different types of Basic Energy, also from the discard pile. This is a very interesting and flavorful ability, playing on Ho-Oh's being a phoenix (and doing a very good job at that) while also allowing for a bit of Energy acceleration. There are a few Modified decks right now running Ho-Oh as an Energy accelerator along with big basic attackers and cards like Mew-EX or even Energy Switch in order to move Energy around. These decks have had some success at Battle Roads over the past few weeks, and we'll see if the trend continues.


Rainbow Burn, Ho-Oh's attack, also builds quite flavorfully on Ho-Oh's association with rainbows in the video games. It deals 20 damage plus 20 more damage for each type of Basic Energy attached to Ho-Oh for three Colorless Energy, which also synergizes well with Rebirth. This attack is actually quite awful by Modified standards in most respects (you'll be lucky to do 80-100 for three or four different Energy types), but is usable in the decks described above in an absolute pinch (not to mention the fact that Rebirth accelerates this attack quite nicely).


Modified: 3/5 Ho-Oh-EX is a very interesting card with a lot of potential. Decks currently utilizing Ho-Oh have demonstrated some success in Battle Roads, and will probably continue to see play up through Regionals as the hype grows. Ho-Oh's long-term viability as an Energy accelerator will rely primarily on the Energy manipulation cards available in the format, such as Mew-EX and Energy Switch, but since both are doing an adequate job right now, Ho-Oh is definitely worth consideration while building a Modified deck.


Limited: 5/5 Ho-Oh is a high HP basic with Colorless Energy requirements that can revive itself from the discard pile while accelerating Energy for its attacks. All of these things are great in the Limited format, and you should probably run Ho-Oh regardless of what other types you run, although the damage output is admittedly a bit lower than other Pokemon-EX.


Combos With: Energy Switch, Mew-EX

Jebulous Maryland Player

Ho-Oh EX
Ho-oh EX is a Basic Fire Pokemon with 160 HP.  It has a weakness to Water, resistance to Fighting, and a retreat cost of 3.  Obligatory 2 prizes when Knocked Out.  The weakness is much to worry about, with Empoleon being the most common Water Pokemon used (though it will wipe the floor with Ho-oh EX).
'Rebirth' is an ability that lets you flip a coin once per turn while Ho-oh EX is in the discard.  If it is heads, you put Ho-oh EX onto your bench and attach 3 different types of basic energy to it.  That is a lot of energy coming back, and it powers up its attack.
'Rainbow Burn' costs 3 Colorless and does 20 plus 20 more for each different type of basic energy attached to it.  So the minimum would be 20 (all the same), the normal would be 80 (3 different), and there is potential for more.
To me, this seems like a card meant for its own deck.  Running more than 2 basic energies never really works in the TCG (1 is easy, 2 is manageable, 3+ thins things out too much).  That is including those types of Pokemon as well (Colorless can get away with it).  Anyway, the strategy here is to put Ho-oh EX and 3 different energies into the discard as quick as possible.  Professor Juniper and Ultra Ball are the only things that come to mind that easily do this.  Once you do that, just hope 'Rebirth' doesn't keep flipping tails.
This can be comboed with Energy Switch as a round-a-bout way of energy acceleration.  The biggest problem is damage output.  For all that effort, you are doing 80-100 damage.  That doesn't hold up well against a lot of the EXs, especially since Ho-oh EX only has 160 HP.

Mewtwo EX just laughs in a battle against this.  A deck built around it would seem fun, but I don't think there is that much out there right now that could support this enough to make it a top tier deck.
Modified: 3.5/5
Combo's With:  ...
Questions, comments, concerns: jebulousthemighty@yahoo.com

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