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Yu Yu Hakusho
Harry Potter
Vs. System

Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


 Ho-oh EX

- Dragons Exalted

Date Reviewed:
Aug. 11, 2014

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: See Below
Expanded: 2.83
Limited: 4.40

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

#10 Ho-oh EX 

Hello and welcome to something a bit different for the next two weeks of CotD. Otaku suggested that it might be fun to take a look at the top 10 cards that will rotate out of the Modified format in September, so that’s what we’re going to do. Of course, you need not be too sad about their loss: the newly announced Extended format for 2014-15 means that it’s still possible to get some use out of these cards, should you have the opportunity and the inclination. 

We kick off the list with Ho-oh EX, a very interesting card that saw a reasonable amount of play during its time in rotation. Not so much for its Rainbow Burn attack (which was ok in certain situations), but more for the Rebirth Ability, which could be used in conjunction with Energy Switch to provide Energy acceleration for . . . well, just about anything. 

It was this flexibility which allowed Ho-oh to form the basis for a pretty successful ‘Toolbox’ style deck back in the day. Between Rebirth and Double Colourless Energy, it has the potential to power up Mewtwo EX’s X Ball so that it could hit for a lot of damage. Throw in some techs like Terrakion NVI and Landorus EX (to hit Fighting Weakness), plus some other good Pokémon that weren’t too fussy about Energy Types (Tornadus EX and Bouffalant DRX), and you had a deck that was somewhat risky (as all coin flip decks can be), but which also had the power to overwhelm an opponent very quickly. Rebirth was also explosive enough to earn Ho-oh a spot or two in a few other decks as well, to provide that surprise acceleration out of nowhere (Darkrai/Terrakion and even Genesect/Virizion have used it). 

Looking ahead, it’s always possible that Ho-oh will get some play in Extended. Dragonite EX from the upcoming Furious Fists set looks like a potential partner as it benefits from Ho-oh’s ability to accelerate multiple Energy Types and what’s more it doesn’t even need Energy Switch, thanks to its Bust In Ability Which lets you move Basic Energy on to it when played from the hand. 

Ho-oh was always something of an acquired taste, but it managed to carve out a successful niche for itself in the format. The same will likely apply to its role in the future. 


Overall impact: 3.5

Extended: 3.5


Hello guys and welcome back! Before we get into the might of the Furious Fists set, we're going to take a look at the Top 10 Cards Lost to Rotation. We put our heads together and scoured the few sets and promos that will only be around in the upcoming Expanded format, and now we've got a good assortment of interesting cards to talk about!
Today's card comes from the Dragons Exalted set, Ho-oh EX. Interestingly enough, both of the Johto Birds came into the format with an interesting twist on what they could do; Lugia-EX (PLS) came in with an extremely powerful Ability that could claim an extra Prize when he KO'd a Pokemon, bringing an overwhelming offensive force into play. Ho-oh EX did something much more unique, and that's why we've put him on our number 10!
Ho-oh EX has an Ability and an attack that work together in an interesting manner. Rainbow Burn does a measly 20 damage for 3 Energy, but there is a catch: it does an extra 20 damage for each different Basic Energy attached to him. It may not have been Mewtwo-EX levels of crazy, but in the right build Ho-oh EX can average 80 damage a shot! And that's assuming you leave him at 3 Energy! The fact that the cost is entirely colorless also makes Ho-oh EX splashable into decks you'd never expect one in; the only catch is that the deck needs to run multiple basic Energies, since you can't just attach a Rainbow Energy to Ho-oh EX and get 180 damage in one Energy - that would be way too overpowered!
So what kind of Ability could work with an attack like that? Well it would have to be something that takes advantage of the basic Energy clause within Rainbow Burn while also balancing it out so that Ho-oh EX wasn't dealing intense amounts of damage (like he might if he counted any basic Energy as ALL different kinds of basic Energy, which that's now at 9 different types). Enter Rebirth, probably the most unique Ability in the entire history of the TCG.
Rebirth does exactly what its name implies: it brings back Ho-oh EX from your discard pile...on a coin flip. That's a 50/50 shot, but unlike many Pokemon that use it as a means of applying effects for an attack, this happens before the attack and brings back a huge Pokemon-EX straight from the discard pile. That means Ho-oh EX doesn't have to be KO'd first in order to be brought back! As long as he's in the discard pile, you can flip a coin once per turn to try and bring him back! 
But wait, there's more! Bringing back a big Pokemon-EX like Ho-oh EX would be great if he didn't come back with zero Energies, forcing you to attach 3 different kinds straight from your hand just to attack with him. That's where Rebirth's other effect kicks in; if you do manage to bring Ho-oh EX back from the discard pile, he'll grab 3 different kinds of basic Energy within there and attach them to himself, making him ready to attack the moment he goes Active! Amazing!
Ho-oh EX is a slightly chancy card that requires a great deal of skill to play. I've seen a guy work on a build around Ho-oh EX, and I've even implemented him into a Dragon-themed deck (they do require different Energies usually, and Ho-oh EX can take full advantage of that!). He has lots of versatility, but he can be difficult to play with mostly because you have to rely on basic Energies to power him up - and most people like their Special Energies. Still, he's a unique card with a unique concept, and hopefully we'll see another card like him in the future!
Modified: N/A (he's going to rotate out, remember?)
Expanded: 3/5 (tricky to play, but in just the right deck, he can do wonders!)
Limited: 4/5 (sure you can't openly rely on his Ability in a +39 deck, but you can run multiple basic Energies, and that makes him very good here)
Arora Notealus: Ho-oh sure likes his Fire-typing; he could work well with Fire decks if they ran a couple other Energies. Also HIS CARD IS ON FIRE!!
Fun fact: Ho-oh is usually associated with the phoenix, but more specifically he's based off of the Fenghuang of China and the Huma bird, both of which are avians that come back to life from the ashes - like Ho-oh EX's Rebirth!
Next time: Gotta go faster, faster, faster fasterfastfastefafafa-*BOOM*


This week we tackle our Top 10 List of cards we lose due to pending rotation.  The first of the cut is Ho-Oh-EX (BW: Dragons Exalted 22/124, 119/124) and no, I don’t think that spelling looks right but official text seem to write out the names of Pokémon-EX so that the “EX” is connected to the actual name via a hyphen, and I don’t remember exactly when it started (the first few cards were named “Ho-oh”) but “Ho-Oh” is written so that the second “o” is also capitalized.


We have looked at this card for nearly two years: you can see the original reviews here.  As a Fire-Type, it could tap into the new support but not very well due to the nature of the attack (more on that later); it also could enjoy the fact that hitting for Fire-Type Weakness is fairly useful right now.  As a Basic Pokémon it is one slot for one copy, and is easy to search out and Bench.  Being a Pokémon-EX is probably what the designers used to justify giving it its Ability and good HP, but of course the only thing that being a Pokémon-EX actually ensures is that when KOed, the Pokémon gives up an extra Prize, can’t access certain pieces of support and is vulnerable to certain counter cards.


160 HP is good but a bit low for your typical Pokémon-EX, which usually have 170 or 180.  Its Water Weakness isn’t good but it isn’t too bad, either: there are some solid Water-Type attackers out there but nothing to make it as dangerous as the likes of Fighting, Darkness or Psychic Weakness.  Fighting-Type Resistance is welcome; it won’t come in handy too often but when it does, it can mess up careful calculations.  The Retreat Cost of two has functionally been the worst; most decks won’t manually retreat often or at full price, so while it can be a bit of a pain to pay, the main issue is not qualifying for Heavy Ball… and even that isn’t major.


Ho-Oh-EX possesses a complex Ability called “Rebirth”.  While it exists in the discard pile, once during your turn you may flip a coin and if the result is “heads”, you can Bench Ho-Oh-EX from your discard pile as well as attaching three basic Energy cards from said discard pile to Ho-Oh-EX… but all three must be different Types (if you’ve got less than that, attach as much as you can).  If you get “tails”, you can try again the next turn and the next; as long as Ho-Oh-EX exists in the discard pile, once-per-turn you are allowed that flip.  The effect also resets if Ho-Oh-EX enters a non-public knowledge zone like the hand or deck as the game doesn’t track such things e.g. if you get Rebirth to work and then used Scoop Up Cyclone (for some reason) on that Ho-Oh-EX, then discarded the same Ho-Oh-EX for Ultra Ball, you could try again.


Ho-Oh-EX has Rainbow Burn for its sole attack: for [CCC] it does 20 points of damage plus another 20 for each different type of Basic Energy attached to itself.  This gives a damage range from 20 (why you’d attach all Special Energy I don’t know) upwards of 200 (one each of Darkness Energy, Fairy Energy, Fighting Energy, Fire Energy, Grass Energy, Lightning Energy, Metal Energy, Psychic Energy and Water Energy), though when it debuted the max was 180.  The Ability of course directly combos with the attack and that was what initially attracted attention to the card; 80 for three wasn’t a record, but as long as you accomplished it off of a Rebirth it was fast!


Ho-Oh-EX enjoyed using Energy Switch, allowing it to act as (again) complex Energy acceleration, but it only worked well in a deck tailored to it.  So does it see competitive play now?  I don’t have the information in front of me, but from what I can remember, not really.  There have been several changes since it debuted.  Water got Keldeo-EX and Blastoise, and those were followed up with the smattering of good Water-Type attackers we enjoy now… several of which can fit into non-Water decks.  The popularity of Garbodor (BW: Dragons Exalted 54/124; BW: Plasma Freeze 119/116; BW: Legendary Treasures 68/113) is also problematic; as the Ability functions on a coin flip you can’t be sure you’ll get a Rebirth off before Garbotoxin can be retriggered.


Mostly though, it seems like Ho-Oh-EX just can’t keep up; you’ve got to have your manual Energy attachment or a Muscle Band to get into the 2HKO range for most Pokémon-EX, it can’t try to attack first anymore, and there seem to be better forms of Energy acceleration available.  If you really wanted to, you could build a Ho-Oh-EX deck and when the coins cooperated, it would be functional, maybe even fairly good… but when the flips failed you (or you just couldn’t disable Garbotoxin at the right time), it would grind to a halt.  I don’t expect it to fare any better in Expanded; in fact it will probably be worse.  It isn’t a bad pull for Limited (not that I expect people to have BW: Dragons Exalted boosters just lying around to try), but attempting the +39 build means no Rebirth and manually building would give your opponent at least two attacks worth of a head start.  Most decks will feature multiple types of basic Energy, so it can likely fit into almost anything you would run with little to no additional “tweaking”.




Modified (NXD-On): 2/5 - It still looks fun, but being so reliant on an unreliability Ability coupled with power creep means for all it can do, it still isn’t enough.


Modified (BCR-On): N/A - Like everything else on this Top 10, its only available in the part of the card pool that is rotating out.


Expanded (BW-On): 1.75/5 - Whether it ends up being more or less diverse, I ultimately expect this format to be more brutal, and without a specific reason for expecting this card to do well, its going to instead do worse.


Limited: 4.8/5 - Pretty much a must run, unless you pull a different, better Pokémon-EX or get an abnormally focused card pool where squeezing in another two basic Energy Types is still a waste, even factoring in what Ho-Oh-EX could possibly do for you.


Summary: This phoenix isn’t rising from the ashes; odds are it would have received a reprint by now if it had one coming.  Ho-Oh-EX appears to have outlived its usefulness anyway, so I’ll just remember the bright moments of its life and try not to dwell on how something like this actually feels noticeably underpowered by the current standards.

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