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Yu Yu Hakusho
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Vs. System

Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day



- Boundaries Crossed

Date Reviewed:
January 15, 2013

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 1.40
Limited: 2.88

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

Emboar (Boundaries Crossed) 

When I first saw the Black and White starters, I really wanted to play Tepig in the video game. For one thing, he’s adorable, and for another a fire pig allows many, many jokes about bacon. Unfortunately, using Tepig at the start means you end up with the hideously ugly Emboar before too long, and that is just unacceptable. So, under protest, I picked Oshawott. 

But we should remember that a different Emboar won Worlds in 2011, so this one at least deserves a fair review. Like that Worlds-winning card, this Emboar is a Stage 2 that boasts a nice 150 HP, has a Weakness to Water (which hardly mattered back then but counts for a lot now), and is handicapped somewhat by a massive retreat cost. Unlike Emboar BLW, this version has no Ability, so I guess it’s time to take a look at the attacks. 

Unfortunately, they are both extremely expensive and quite underwhelming. The first, Firebreathing, costs one Fire and two Colourless Energy and does just 40 damage with a coin flip for 30 more. Even if you hit heads, this is not exactly stunning value for your investment in a Stage 2 and three Energy. At least Fire Blast can do some reasonable damage. 120 seems decent, but it’s still way short of a OHKO on an EX or even Stage 2s like Blastoise and Hydreigon. The massive four Energy cost and the fact that you have to discard are just things that make a bad attack even worse. 

If you really wanted an all-out attacking Emboar to pair with the Ability one, you are much better off sticking with the old Black and White version with Flare Blitz. Blastoise/Keldeo’s popularity makes that a very bad idea, mind you. 


Modified: 1.5 (useless holo rare)

Limited: 1.75 (too slow and clunky even for limited) 


Greetings once again, Pojo readers! We are continuing our Boundaries Crossed reviews this week, and today we're reviewing the final evolution of one of the Black and White starters. Today's Card of the Day is Emboar.
Emboar is a Stage 2 Fire Pokemon. Fire-types aren't very common right now with the high usage of Blastoise and Keldeo-EX, but Ho-Oh-EX still sees play occasionally. However, in Emboar's case, it would likely work in tandem with Inferno Fandango Emboar from Black and White as a secondary attacker. 150 HP is excellent for a Stage 2, allowing Emboar to take most unboosted hits without going down. Unfortunately, Water Weakness means that Blastoise and Keldeo-EX easily OHKO. Emboar also has no Resistance, but does have a huge Retreat Cost of 4, for which you should use Switch. It's also notable that since the Retreat Cost is so high, it is searchable with Heavy Ball.
Emboar has two attacks. Firebreathing starts off at 40 damage for a Fire and two Colorless, but can deal 30 more if you flip heads. Not very impressive by any means, as the attack could just do a vanilla 70 and still be very average. Fire Blast is the other attack, inflicting 120 damage to the opponent with the additional effect of discarding a single Fire Energy from Emboar. Once again, this attack is not very impressive for its cost, and as such, Emboar will probably be relegated to Limited play.
Modified: 1.5/5  Unfortunately, the Mega Fire Pig's attacks are too slow for the current metagame, and it has a terrible Weakness offsetting its very high HP score.  Emboar could theoretically work in a deck alongside Ability Emboar, but there are generally better options (and the non-Ability Emboar usually would work better in such a role).
Limited: 3.5/5 Emboar is very powerful in Limited, as it has high HP and both of its attacks deal very good damage with fairly reasonable Energy requirements. However, Emboar is incredibly slow, so make sure that you're able to power it up before your opponent can KO it!

Jebulous Maryland Player

Emboar is a Stage 2 Fire Pokemon with 150 HP.  It is Weak to Water and has a retreat cost of 4.  It is searchable by Heavy Ball.
'Firebreathing' costs 1 Fire and 2 Colorless energy.  It does 40 and if heads, 30 more.  That is not a good attack at all.  You have to set up a Stage 2 and get 3 energy on it to just do a possible 70.  No.
'Fire Blast' costs 2 Fire and 2 Colorless energy.  It does 120 and you discard an energy attached to Emboar.  Still, not a good attack.  Reshiram is a Basic and can do 120 for 3 energy.
So I won't play this card.  It's definitely not competitive, and I'm not a huge fan of Emboar.  I don't think there's really anything else I can say.
Modified: 1/5
Limited: 2.5/5
Combos With:  ...
Questions, comments, concerns: jebulousthemighty@yahoo.com


Today we’ll be looking at Emboar (BW: Boundaries Crossed 26/149); another one of those cards many of us barely knew existed.  Apparently this is another card from the Japanese National Pokédex Beginning Set; of course as I don’t read Japanese (my not-so-secret shame) I am relying on Bulbapedia.


The cards in this set apparently are meant to include the then latest generation of starters, plus popular Pokémon, to appeal to younger fans and beginners.  Are they actually good for beginners?  Does that give them any hope for League play, let alone the tournament scene?



Emboar is a Fire-Type Pokémon.  No support exists for Fire-Type Pokémon, though basic Fire-Type Energy sees support in the form of Emboar (Black & White 20/114, BW: Next Destinies 100/99, BW Promo BW21) and Entei EX (BW: Dark Explorers 13/108, 103/108).  Unfortunately for today’s Emboar, neither of those cards have current, successful decks (though they have in the past).  Fire Weakness isn’t as common right now; cards played competitively with it are Klinklang (Black & White 76/114), Registeel EX (BW: Dragons Exalted 81/124, 122/124), and perhaps the odd Cobalion (BW: Noble Victories 84/101, 100/101).


Emboar is a Stage 2 Pokémon, making it painfully difficult to play in our acceleration addled format that also requires very lean Pokémon counts to fit in other cards.  Requiring a minimum investment of two other cards per copy of Emboar you want in play simultaneously, your deck will fill up fast… and Evolution mechanics means it will hit the field slowly, at best the second turn of the game and without Rare Candy, with a full two turns of delay.


Emboar does enjoy 150 HP, enough to take at least one hit outside of Weakness, but usually not two without some help.  Said Weakness is Water, which makes sense but is also one of the worst to have right now due to the popularity of Keldeo EX (BW: Boundaries Crossed 49/149, 142/149), able to 2HKO Emboar even in a deck lacking a source of (W) Energy, and with at least two sources of (W) (plus a third Energy of any Type) score a OHKO.


Emboar has no Resistance; as usual this is quite common so I don’t treat it as a deficiency when evaluating the card, and I understand how hard it is to properly emulate the Weakness/Resistance cycle of the source material (the video games) when the 17 video game Types have been often strangely mixed and matched to create 10 TCG Types.  That doesn’t mean a player has to like the situation.


Emboar has a massive Retreat Cost of four; this is pretty much crippling to actually pay and so you will most definitely need an alternative.  In the current metagame it would behoove you to actually have a primary and a secondary option, even though this usually requires three or four slots minimum to accomplish.  The only alternative is to attempt to “tank out” Emboar, and as we are about to cover, it lacks the effects needed to do so efficiently.  There is the slight bonus that Heavy Ball can fetch it, but not all of its lower Stages.



Emboar possessed two attacks, the first of which is Fire Breathing at a cost of (RCC).  The attack yields 40 points of base damage, with an extra 30 points (totaling 70) if you are successful with a coin flip.  The Energy structure for this attack would allow it to work in an deck with only a few sources of (R) Energy, and even to take advantage of some off-Type Energy acceleration, however even if you do the damage yield is simply too low.  From a design standpoint it seems sound, but with the pace of the format, it falls short by at least 20 points for the low end.


The second attack is Fire Blast, with an Energy cost of (RRCC) and damage output of 120.  It also requires you discard an Energy from Emboar when it is used.  This is again an attack that would be fair and balanced… disregarding the acceleration that has defined the format.  Even if you wanted to run a “Fire deck” that wasn’t using mostly Fire Energy, the big attack only requires two sources of (R) and the discard cost is generic.  You could again use off-Type acceleration to help with the (CC) portion of the attack.


For those that consider this double-talk, recall that the vast majority of cards currently legal are not powerful enough to win tournaments in a deck tailored to them, or at least not win more than the cards that do see play.  Something as simple as Double Colorless Energy means your first and second turn Energy attachments (barring KO or Energy removing cards) and Rare Candy would allow Emboar to hit the field Turn 2 and hit for 40/70, and a third attachment would then allow a steady barrage of 120 each turn until it was KOed.


That just isn’t enough anymore with the minority of Pokémon that dominate the format, and perhaps the near misses that have dominated or would dominate without the cream of the crop.



There is one last shot for this Emboar to shine, and that is with how you play it.  I’ll resist going into detail about the lower Stages; none have effects that compensate for the slower pacing and increased about of space a Stage 2 requires over a Basic or Stage 1 Pokémon.  This is where that should be made up, at least if you share my view of the game that fully Evolved Pokémon (which includes Basic Pokémon that don’t Evolve at all) should all be on roughly equal power levels.


If you want such Pokémon to compete directly against each other it doesn’t make sense to give Stage 2 Pokémon universally better Stats and all the best effects (though effects that would be overpowered on a Basic Pokémon might be fine on an Evolution due to timing issues).  The secret (and we have rarely seen this done in the game) I believe to be designing lower Stages so that they give greater contributions to the deck.


The available versions of Tepig and Pignite do neither.  Decide whether more HP or a lower Retreat is more important to your deck, and then select whatever attacks or art you fancy more.  At least with the other Emboar, which we can easily run alongside this one, we do have some options.  The “other” Emboar cited earlier, with “Inferno Fandango” could of course quickly power up today’s card, but I don’t think it would be efficient enough to function as the main attacker.


There is one other Emboar available, Black & White 19/114.  As it did see some play in the role I suggested for today’s Emboar, I thought it might outclass it, but going back it likely wouldn’t.  It has the same Stats as the other two Emboar, but it’s “big” attack (Flare Blitz) has the nasty clause of discarding all (R) Energy from Emboar; far too expensive in a pure (R) Energy deck even with Inferno Fandango to feed it, and only a little better in a deck where it had access to non-(R) Energy.


Of course ultimately I can’t recommend any version for competitive play in Modified.  In Unlimited, I’ve seen some interesting ideas using the Inferno Fandango version (namely in First Turn Deck Out builds), and the nature of Unlimited makes it less likely a player would have to resort to brute force.


There is one place for this card to shine: Limited.  It isn’t something to throw into any deck as a 1-1-1 line.  You need at least some Fire Energy cards in the deck, so if you can’t work those in don’t bother, and this set has a lot of Water-Types in it as well, you still might reconsider.






Unlimited: 1.5/5


Modified: 1.75/5


Limited: 3.5/5




Well… I like the art, though even there I have reservations: despite liking the general style and having no issues with using forced perspective for dynamic poses, a second glance has be concerned about proportions (which are admittedly difficult with Pokémon as they often have unrealistic proportions to begin with).


Actually, unlike some of the cards that are from the Japanese National Pokédex Beginning Set, this one comes close to being useful while also would likely have been good for teaching children and look “cool enough” for those just wanting something with “Pokémon” on it.  I wouldn’t want anything more “advanced” for newer players, and the infamous Inferno Fandango version of Emboar was still worth playing, this could have been a decent “one-of” for the deck.


So if you’re actually using it for its intended purpose of teaching novice players, enjoy it.  For the rest, quite annoying to find this card in your BW: Boundaries Crossed booster since is a Holo Rare.

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