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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Top 15 Ancient Origin Cards

#15 - Flareon

- Ancient Origins

Date Reviewed:
August 24, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3
Expanded: 3
Limited: 3

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being horrible.  3 ... average.  5 is awesome.

Back to the main COTD Page


Well guys, we're finally digging into it. We've finally managed to formulate a Top 10 List for the new Ancient Origins set and been able to compile our lists together to make a fairly accurate list of probably what may be one of the most powerful sets to come out in a while. Lots of good cards came in this set, and it would come as no surprise if several new decks got formed around some of these cards. 


That's right, we're gonna be weird with this and start up with runner-ups, starting with...Flareon? Wait, really? Ummm...okay then! 

I can't really talk about Flareon from this set without also bringing up Vaporeon and Jolteon. All three of them came together, and true to Eeveelution gimmicks, they have something in common. The difference between these new Abilities and other gimmicks from before is that these actually can be good, when in the right situation. Each of them has an "effect" Ability that corresponds to their Typing, and every Stage 1 Pokemon in play gains that Typing for as long as the Eeveelution is in play - Flareon gives out Fire while Vaporeon gives out Water and Jolteon distributes Electric. 

Now not to burst anyone's bubble on the matter, but I'm pretty sure this doesn't work with Mega Evos. Sorry, but they count as a different kind of "evolution" card as far as I'm aware. That being said, let's assume I'm wrong for a moment and say they'd also apply to Mega Evos - how does that change the current game? Well, that depends on which Eeveelution you go with, and that decision in turn is something you'd make based on what's popular in the game today. For instance, Jolteon would probably be a good run since M Rayquaza-EX seems to be running rampant at the moment, and with the potential surge of Grass decks thanks to the new Grass support, as well as the potential for Fire to come back accordingly, Flareon and Vaporeon are about to become relevant really fast. 

Other than that, Flareon's attack is okay. Heat Breath does 3-for-60 damage with a 50/50 shot of an extra 20 damage. Compared to his brothers, he's better than vanilla Vaporeon's Hydro Splash half of the time, and depending on your view of discarding Energy, he could be better than Jolteon's Thunder Blast. I can't really think of too many Stage 1s that get played right now though - you've got Trevenant for those Gengar-EX builds, maybe some supports like Slurpuff, some Night March stuff, but aside from that, most decks I'm aware of tend to be geared towards Mega Evos. 

Ah well, gives a new refreshing look at a few archetypes, so I'm appreciative of that much! 


Standard: 3/5 (he'll be relevant with Grass coming back and subsequently Fire coming back as well) 

Expanded: 3/5 (his biggest weakness - as that of the other Eeveelutions - is mostly relevance) 

Limited: 3/5 (still, he could do some neat stuff!) 

Arora Notealus: Gotta appreciate the gimmicks they'll give Eeveelutions. Sometimes they're golden, sometimes they're "meh," but they're nothing if not unique and interesting gimmicks. 



We are counting down the Top 10 cards of XY: Ancient Origins!  However… we are starting with our runners up for the list, so it is actually a Top 15.  As usual, we looked at the new cards in this set (reprints were excluded) and tried to whittle it down to the best on our own, then our individual lists were averaged out to get the list for the CotD crew to review.  I was given the honors of actually tabulating the results… as well as breaking ties.  As we are now reviewing cards that will not be tournament legal until the September 1st rotation, I will of course be scoring them for the formats as of September 1st.  Well, not Limited since that would be affected regardless. 

We begin with the 15th place finisher, Flareon (XY: Ancient Origins 13/98).  This card actually tied with the 16h place finisher, Primal Groudon-EX (XY: Ancient Origins 97/98), which was a legal pick because while almost totally identical to Primal Groudon-EX (XY: Primal Clash 86/160, 151/160) they each have different Ancient Traits.  Technically the list containing Flareon had it tying with two other cards from this set as I initially proposed officially reviewing the other two Eeveelutions alongside it but seeing that it was going to be the very first card of the list, that just seemed mean to the other staff. 

Flareon is a Fire-Type which might be really, really important as XY: Ancient Origins has some fierce Grass-Types in it (that have the traditional Fire Weakness) and some good support to go along with them.  It also allows Flareon to tap Fire-Type support but said support isn’t that hot with notable cards like Blacksmith proving tricky to incorporate into actual play when it was new, though perhaps it is worth looking at again now that we both have more non-Supporter draw options freeing up the Supporter use for the turn a bit more readily.  It also slams most members of the Metal-Type for double damage as well and doesn’t have to worry about Resistance.  I’m not sure how the Metal-Type will be changing post-rotation; it has had a solid showing in the twilight of the current format and while it loses a few tricks, it retains many others.  If it remains at least a solid choice, hitting most of them for Weakness will also prove important.  All in all, things seem to be looking up for the Fire-Type, at least if it can deliver something which capitalizes on most if not all of these things. 

Being a Stage 1 is manageable; right now Evolving is a bad deal but for better or worse, there are various tricks to take some of the sting out of it and Stage 1 cards tend to have access to those tricks while also not having it as bad as Stage 2, Restored and Mega Evolutions.  There are even some new tricks unique to Stage 1 Pokémon this set, but more on that later.  90 HP is more than likely a OHKO right now, with exceptions coming from incomplete set-ups or perhaps lock decks (not sure if the current examples of the latter will make the transition) but it also makes Flareon a legal search target for Level Ball, which was reprinted (and thus restored to Standard play) this set.  Water Weakness is typical and could be an issue, but only in those situations where it wouldn’t already be a OHKO before Weakness, the mixed blessing of being on the small side.  The lack of Resistance is typical and had there been any it would have merely been a small bonus, so moving on Flareon has a Retreat Cost of [C]; easy to both pay and recover from, at least most of the time. 

Flareon has an Ability and an attack.  The former is “Flare Effect” and it causes each of your Stage 1 Pokémon in play to count as a Fire-Type in addition to its normal Type.  The attack is “Heat Breath” for [RCC], which does 60 damage plus has you flip a coin; “heads” means 20 more damage.  The attack is underpowered but it isn’t totally without merit (we’ve seen worse prove useful in clutch situations), but the Ability is the impressive thing; the Weakness mechanic in this game is simply broken because damage multipliers (as opposed to bonuses that just add a fixed amount) are prone to that, especially when there aren’t a lot of damage divisors floating around (in the TCG, there aren’t any).  This isn’t as bad as something that flat out doubled damage being done all the time, but when you face Fire Weak Pokémon (most Grass- and Metal-Types), it can give a huge edge to your other Stage 1 attackers (the ones normally not Fire-Types).  Seems pretty clear the filler attack is here because the Ability is expected to be strong enough.  It is also interesting (and probably a good idea) that the bonus only extends to Stage 1 Pokémon; it probably won’t do much for Evolving Stage 1 Pokémon, but it could be a big deal for the fully Evolved ones (and I’d be quite worried if this effect extended to Basics or Mega Evolutions!). 

I began grinding through the various versions of Eevee and trying to mentally prepare as I ran through not only the other Flareon options but all the other Eeveelutions that could potentially clash or combo with this Flareon but while I really, really want to do it (I’m not kidding when I call myself “obsessive”) I am afraid that will confuse the issue.  It shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that if you have a Stage 1 attacker that isn’t already a Fire-Type, a 1-1 line suddenly gives you two more match-ups (versus general Grass and versus general Metal) where you can enjoy a sizable damage boost.  You can also scout various Stage 1 attackers with [CC] in their attack Energy costs and consider whether or not Blacksmith might help them out… especially among older cards that predate both Flareon and Blacksmith and thus couldn’t have been designed with them in mind.  Then comes Jolteon (XY: Ancient Origins 26/98) and Vaporeon (XY: Ancient Origins 22/98).  They are so similar to Flareon they create a pattern; while the Retreat Costs and exact nature of the second attack vary, they each have their own version of the Ability that adds their respective Type to all Stage 1 Pokémon in play.  If you have all three of them in play at the same time, every Stage 1 is its own natural Type(s) plus Fire-, Lightning- and Water-Typed. 

As nothing currently has multiple forms of Weakness at one time, overlapping all of them at once might look impressive but it isn’t too likely to matter.  Running one or two Eevee and then one of each XY: Ancient Origins Eeveelution means 4-5 deck slots but it also means hitting three additional forms of Weakness on top of whatever else the deck can hit.  We also have some new Stage 1 attackers to consider this set, as well as re-examining some old ones.  Vespiquen (XY: Ancient Origins 10/98) is a Stage 1 Grass-Type attacker with an attack for [CC] that does 20 plus 10 per Pokémon in your discard pile.  Backing it with the Eeveelution lines is a real possibility, with “unneeded” Eeveelutions simply being discard fodder.  Of course it might also be the wrong approach (I lack significant data on the matter).  There is also Golurk (XY: Ancient Origins 35/98) is a Psychic-Type Stage 1 with an Ability that makes it count as also being a Fighting-Type.  With these Eeveelutions backing it up, it could enjoy a Type advantage against almost all Colorless-, Darkness-, Fire-, Grass-, Lightning- and Metal-Types, plus sizable chunks of the Fighting- and the Psychic-Types! 

You also could just stick to the Eeveelutions themselves, especially in Expanded play where you can access the older and very potent versions of them, as well as gaining access to more Stage 1 Pokémon to consider.  For Limited, only skip it is you can pull off a good +39 deck or you’re already running nearly all Fire-Types. 


Standard: 3.25/5 

Expanded: 3.35/5 

Limited: 4.75/5 

Summary: Flareon isn’t much on its own but it isn’t supposed to be the focus of a deck, but instead enable better Type-matching and sometimes killer combos.  This means that even though I’m scoring it only a little above average, it is a pretty impressive card.  To paraphrase an old commercial slogan “Eeveelutions don’t make the attacker that scores KOs for your deck; they provide the Ability that makes your attackers even better.”  Alongside Jolteon and Vaporeon (and initially planned as a “triple”review), Flareon snagged ninth place.

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