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Yu Yu Hakusho
Harry Potter
Vs. System

Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Hawlucha EX

- Furious Fists

Date Reviewed:
Sep. 29, 2014

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.25
Expanded: 1.75
Limited: 3.50

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


After ascending the heights of stardom, the great Hawlucha proceeded to win the coveted gold belt and elevated his status unto EX-dom! Welcome back, guys, and today we've got the mighty Hawlucha-EX ready to fight off all who step into arena! But how prepared is he for what he'll have to face? And will there be people who give him a chance? Let's find out!
Now while most Pokemon-EX have a large 170-180 HP score, the first thing you'll notice about Hawlucha-EX is he's one of the smaller ones. Not 110 HP small, but 130 HP is still in the ballpark of smaller EX (though I don't recall there being an EX with 130 HP - a real right-down-the-middle kind of score, huh). Keep that in mind, because it makes Hawlucha-EX much more vulnerable to getting OHKO'd than most EX.
So what does a slightly more vulnerable EX bring to the table that could turn things around? For starters, his Ability Counterattack acts like Druddigon (LTR)'s Rough Skin or Qwilfish (FLF)'s aptly-named Counterattack Quills. You've seen it before, so you know that whenever Hawlucha-EX takes damage, you put 2 damage counters on the attacker even if Hawlucha-EX is KO'd. I know it's a pretty decent way of dealing a little damage to opponents and setting them up for massive KO sweeps, but maybe Hawlucha-EX, being an EX and all that, could do 3 damage counters rather than 2? Or maybe even 4, something to justify losing the extra Prize you'll give your opponent when they OHKO Hawlucha-EX in one fell swoop - let's not pretend like they won't at least try.
But wait! Hawlucha-EX does have a hefty attack in Moonsault Stomp! It's a 3-for-60 attack, but consider that Strong Energy, Muscle Band, and even Fighting Stadium exist as well! In fact, Fighting Stadium pairs extremely well with Moonsault Stomp, since the attack does an extra 40 damage if there's a Stadium in play. 100 damage may not sound like much, but with all this support, Hawlucha-EX can easily put an opposing Pokemon in the right territory to either OHKO it or else Counter-KO it with its Ability!
Hawlucha-EX has a nice attack that's going to be pretty relevant in the format, but I think his Ability combined with his HP make him less desirable. Even with a resistance to his own Type, which would work out against other Fighting decks, his HP is just too low to make it matter; to give you an idea, it only takes Lucario-EX 2 Energy for Corkscrew Smash (60), one being Strong Energy (80), equipped with a Muscle Band (100) and using Hypnotoxic Laser/Virbank between turns (130) - a total of 6 cards for one of the smaller damaging combos in the game. Add a third energy for Somersault Kick at 100, and you don't even need HypnoVirbank, making it 5 cards to finish off Hawlucha-EX - for two Prizes! Compare that with Landorus-EX with 180 HP (who can just wipe off Hawlucha-EX with a good Land's Judgment, mind you), which needs Somersault Kick (100), Muscle Band (120), Strong Energy (140) and Hypno-Virbank (170) for a total of 7 cards and even then needs ANOTHER 10 DAMAGE to get KO'd!!
This is what is probably going to keep Hawlucha-EX from seeing play; while he's got great typing, a decent Ability, and a pretty good attack, his HP being on the lower end of the EX spectrum and the fact that when he's beaten he gives 2 Prizes will definitely keep him from being a main attacker. You don't need as much investment to beat Hawlucha-EX as you do with other Pokemon-EX, but I don't imagine he'll see no play at all. You might see him teched here and there similarly to his non-EX counterpart, but it's going to be hard to justify space in a deck for either of them.
And let's face it, you're not running both even if you want to!
Standard: 3/5 (good attack, decent Ability, and great typing, but that low HP won't let him stick around for long)
Expanded: 2.5/5 (ehhh, there's better EX to compete with here)
Limited: 4/5 (with fighting support and Stadiums abound? sure, he's got less HP, but he's still an EX, gosh darnit!)
Arora Notealus: He really is stomping out the corner of the card, isn't he? Moonsault Stomp should be a real attack, GET ON THAT GAMEFREAK!!
Next Time: The dark avenger raises his claws with venomous purpose!


Mucha Hawlucha!  We begin the week with Hawlucha-EX (XY: Furious Fists 64/111), whose “regular” counterpart and set-mate Hawlucha was reviewed just that week: I’ll be referencing Hawlucha at points so click here if you need to go back and read it.  As a Fighting-Type, Hawlucha-EX enjoys access to the new Fighting-Type support XY: Furious Fists brought us, and while it has to deal with Resistance, that is far outweighed by Colorless-, Darkness- and Lightning-Types being mostly Fighting Weak.  It also enjoys being a Basic-Type, though it does have the drawback of being a Pokémon-EX: though that status can justify higher than normal HP and better than normal attacks and/or Abilities, it isn’t guaranteed.  What is guaranteed is that Hawlucha-EX gives up an extra Prize when KOed, can’t use certain pieces of support (as they exclude Pokémon-EX) and is the target of certain Pokémon-EX specific counters. 

Hawlucha-EX has 130 HP; for a non-Pokémon-EX this is great (the most such Basic Pokémon have had), but it is about 40 below the going rate for competitive Pokémon-EX.  It isn’t a guaranteed OHKO for your opponent or even an especially easy one, but its fairly probable that once your opponent gets their set-up going, that Hawlucha-EX won’t last long.  The fact that Hawlucha-EX is just that - a Pokémon-EX - means not only giving up two Prizes when (similarly sized) competitive Pokémon would just give up one, but that your opponent’s can tap things like Silver Bangle.  I do realize that the “regular” Hawlucha from this set only has 70 HP and thus its Pokémon-EX counterpart is sporting just 10 less than twice that while other Pokémon-EX are getting a much smaller bump, but the effectiveness of the HP score doesn’t care about that.  Even if it is “fitting” that doesn’t mean it is competitive.  To give you an idea, a Lugia-EX needs to make up just a 10 point damage difference for a Plasma Gale OHKO that Overflow turns into a three Prize turn.  A very cherry-picked but still illuminating scenario, a Hawlucha (regular) with just one Strong Energy, a Silver Bangle and a Fighting Stadium OHKOs Hawlucha-EX! 

Hawlucha-EX is just large enough for its Weakness to prove relevant; contrast that with Friday’s Hawlucha, who was often in OHKO range without such boosting.  It is still useful that its Lightning-Type Weakness isn’t the same as nearly any other Fighting-Type,and most Lightning-Types are going to be Fighting Weak).  With little(r) Hawlucha, its Weakness often often didn’t matter since it was so small (and no sense double penalizing the card for such a thing).  Not so with Hawlucha-EX; Raichu (XY 43/146) still can do the deed with less than a full Bench and a Silver Bangle for a Circle Circuit KO (what it would need sans Weakness), Thundurus-EX goes from having no chance of a OHKO with Raiden Knuckle to having decent odds (at least in decks running multiple buffs)  and in Expanded Zekrom (latest printing BW: Legendary Treasures 51/113) can use an unaugmented Bolt Strike or to Outrage with at least five damage counters on it (or just two if it has a Silver Bangle attached), instead of having to boost Bolt Strike or be nearly KOed from damage counters when it goes to use Outrage.  Hawlucha was more fragile, of course, but it also wasn’t a Pokémon-EX. 

Hawlucha-EX does enjoy the same Fighting Resistance as Hawlucha, and again its a nice bonus, but it only does so much good.  Generally speaking, more HP allows something to take more hits, and the more hits something can take the more damage Resistance can ultimately soak, but that 130 HP falls into a weird place.  The good news is that it isn’t pointless; things like a Landorus-EX with a Strong Energy and Muscle Band will miss the 2HKO against an active Hawlucha-EX, but the bad news is that as a Pokémon-EX, Fighting-Type Pokémon have the option of running Fighting Stadium to add 20 points of damage when attacking Pokémon-EX, nullifying Resistance.  In fact, the anti-Pokémon-EX and/or anti-Resistance measures in Fighting-Types magnify each other, to the detriment of Hawlucha-EX.  It is the goal of many competitive Fighting-Type decks to open with a Basic attacker that can attack for [F], a Strong Energy and Pokémon Tool on that attacker, and a useful Stadium in play.  Sometimes the Stadium is Fighting Stadium (that only grants its +20 to Fighting-Types attacking Pokémon-EX), sometimes its Virbank City Gym (which mean a Hypnotoxic Laser is required to further the combo), sometimes the Basic isn’t a Pokémon-EX so that opening Tool can be a Silver Bangle instead of a Muscle Band and while the full combo of this opening is probably less likely to happen than it is to happen (at least for most decks), it still happens often enough to be a concern (plus we are just talking early game - mid-game or late game you face attackers that are fully powered and scoring a OHKO).  What this means is as you look at common attackers for these decks… they usually just whiff on a OHKO of Hawlucha and just manage a 2HKO of Hawlucha-EX when they get their intended opening set-up.  A bit of a nitpick as it shouldn’t matter all that often?  Perhaps, but since I was covering the usefulness of Resistance (which is already niché), it seems appropriate to point out how when you need it most, being a Pokémon-EX with 130 HP ends up being only marginally better than being a non-Pokémon-EX with the same Resistance and 70 HP. 

Hawlucha-EX has a single Energy Retreat Cost - this is very good (perhaps great) as it is fairly easy to pay and won’t usually set you back an overly significant amount.  This is why I look at such traits in isolation, in conjunction with the rest of the card and then with the format.  A single Energy Retreat Cost is only surpassed by a free Retreat Cost, but that free Retreat Cost enables some great tricks that are much harder even when you have to pay but a single Energy.  Among Fighting-Type Pokémon-EX it is the lowest, but that still isn’t good enough for a pivot Pokémon, unless of course its something like Keldeo-EX… which requires a combo but brings an awesome Ability and great HP score to the job.  This point is worth emphasizing because little(r) Hawlucha was useful to decks for doing a wide variety of things, and this wasn’t one of the lesser points. 

So we’ve covered the cards “Attributes”, what about its “Effects”?  Hawlucha-EX has one Ability and one attack.  The Ability is familiar: when Hawlucha-EX is damaged by an attack from an opponent’s Pokémon, Counterattack places two damage counters on said attacking Pokémon.  We’ve seen it before with different names, text and damage output as Abilities (and mechanics that were the precursors to Abilities) date back to Machamp (Base Set 8/102) and its “Strikes Back” Pokémon Power.  Even though such a mechanic has been with the game a while, it hasn’t actually had much success; more recent examples like Qwilfish (XY: Flashshire 21/106) have had some success, but due to several aspects overlapping in the card that are not replicated here: not being a Pokémon-EX (since it was usually a sacrifice play) and being able to attack with a Double Colorless Energy alone, Poisoning the Defending Pokémon, and generally being a decent counter to Landorus-EX and Pyroar (XY: Flashfire 20/106).  Its almost like Qwilfish and Pyroar were right next to each other to signal that the former just needed a Muscle Band to take down Litleo with a single attack and that Poison plus the Ability could still get through Intimidating Mane.  Hawlucha-EX seems unlikely to find a similar place in the format, and instead seems more like Lucario (BW: Next Destinies 64/99; BW: Legendary Treasures 80/113); being a Stage 1 with 100 HP it is neither an affordable sacrifice nor a durable wall, Lucario also has seen no successful competitive play (at least of which I am aware).  On such a small frame, Counterattack needs to hit much harder, or else scale with the damage being taken (such as two damage counters per 10 damage done to Hawlucha-EX). 

Moonsault Stomp is an awesome name and the Energy cost looks almost promising, especially when you can use a Double Colorless Energy to cover two of the three requirements, but it is a bit pricey compared to the other successful Fighting-Type Pokémon-EX.  Sure Landorus-EX and Lucario-EX actually have even more expensive attacks, but those are just their “big” attacks; they also have less expensive attacks for [F] that they can open with and fall back on or even buff to the point where the little attack is the “main” attack!  The base damage is only 60 (30 below what would be needed for an unaided 2HKO against most Pokémon-EX).  The effect adds another 40 points of damage (so a total of 100) when a Stadium is in play, but even before considering the rest of the card, you basically needed to hit that hard for that much Energy regardless.  Though at least the condition will be fairly easy to meet most matches, it still is being double billed for what you’ve already covered (Energy cost plus trigger).  A low Energy cost or better damage output seems in order. 

Now when you put it all together, you see the lack of synergy.  A Bench-sitter with a fantastic Ability can handle having 130 HP.  Something beefy meant to soak hits in the Active slot would enjoy the two damage counters Counterattack grants, especially if the attack helped heal it or reduce the damage taken to a more manageable amount (note that healing wouldn’t likely help Hawlucha-EX due to its size).  A Pokémon-EX with amazing damage output can be justified for being as small as the above reference Zekrom, but Hawlucha-EX is none of these.  Skip it in all formats save perhaps Limited, but do not attempt a deck built around just it (and no other Basic Pokémon) like you would a Lucario-EX in Limited; instead include it to augment what you have and even then, only if you get one of the many Stadiums in the set to go along with it because for two Prizes in a four Prize format, the rest still isn’t worth it without triggering the effect of the attack. 

If you love Hawlucha-EX and really want to base a deck around it, either attempt to spam Machamp (XY: Furious Fists 46/111) and accept that most other Fighting-Type Pokémon-EX would still be better, or find a way to boost its HP.  For that latter, all I can think of is Team Plasma Badge and Umbreon (BW: Plasma Freeze 64/116) and again, there are better choices for this tactic.  If you just want to run it, toss it into a Landorus-EX and Lucario-EX focused Fighting-Type deck with the usual support and no Garbodor (BW: Dragons Exalted 54/124; BW: Plasma Freeze 119/116; BW: Legendary Treasures 68/113); it will make the deck ultimately a little worse but a single copy or two won’t be a major detriment.  


Standard: 1.5/5 - It does stuff, but really poorly.  It could however plausible be worse as not everything is as bad as we’ve seen before. 

Expanded: 1.25/5 - As for Limited, but I suspect the Weakness will come into a little more often, enough to justify docking it a quarter point. 

Limited: 3/5 - Sadly a bit misleading; if you can’t run sufficient Fighting Energy and get at least one Stadium, skip it as it is too fragile for what it does, even here.  Do not attempt a +39 build with it. 

Summary:   Attributes that demand the card be a Bench-sitter or glass cannon with an Ability that wants to be on a tank and an attack that is slightly nerfed, as if the Attributes, Ability or combination of the two were supposed to have already proven magnificent and well worth playing.  Hawlucha-EX isn’t greater than the sum of its parts, and I just went into detail about why those parts vary from adequate to substandard to just plain bad.

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