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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Top 15 Ancient Origin Cards

#6 - Hoopa EX

- Ancient Origins

Date Reviewed:
September 4, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.92
Expanded: 4.20
Limited: 3.67

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

Back to the main COTD Page



...alright, so we've all known about Hoopa for a while anyway, unless you're one of the few and the proud who avoid this sort of thing until the official reveal is made. And even then, I don't think any of us saw Hoopa Unbound coming! Whatever your opinion on Hoopa may be, there's no doubt that he's got an interesting card that will have its own set of uses. 

The main Ability to keep an eye on is Scoundrel Ring (or Bandit Ring in Japanese, which as you may recall is also the Japanese name of this set). Similar to how Shaymin-EX's Set Up, Scoundrel Ring activates once Hoopa-EX hits the Bench and helps add cards to your hand. Rather than drawing up to a certain number though, Hoopa-EX allows you to search through your deck for up to 3 Pokemon-EX and put them into your hand. This is actually very useful for Mega decks, as they now have access to a reliable means of getting exactly what they need. Combined with Shaymin-EX, Sycaper, and Unown for draw power, EX decks - and notably Mega decks - are about to get a whole lot faster. 

And that's not even including his attack!...which is, you know, okay. Hyperspace Fury costs a hefty 3 Energy and, after discarding 2 Energy, you deal 100 damage to an opponent's Pokemon. This can be useful sniping to finish something off or power your way through an attack, but as far as a main attacker goes, it's too costly to keep up with that discard to be worth it. You can't even lower the cost with Dimension Valley, making it even more difficult to use! 

So Hoopa-EX will most likely see a lot of play in 1s or 2s thanks to Scoundrel Ring, boosting the consistency of all manner of EX-heavy decks and making them an even more rampant part of the format than they were before. As though you're surprised~ But these EX-heavy decks aren't the only ones getting a boost in the new set, as another far more sinister archetype rears its ugly head... 

You probably know it already, since it's been entangling you with vines...vines... 


Standard: 4/5 (a very welcome boosting to the consistency of EX-heavy decks that will make them even more playable than before) 

Expanded: 4/5 (it's going to be very challenging to catch a Mega-Evo player with their pants down unless you've got a Safeguard-ready Pokemon raring to go) 

Limited: 4.5/5 (I suppose if you draw out an EX, it'll be useful with Hoopa-EX, and Hyperspace Fury is much more usable in this format for pegging off Benched non-EX Basics) 

Arora Notealus: Man, I don't even know if they'll ever make a Hoopa card using the basic form anymore. I mean, Hoopa Unbound is just so much cooler-looking! He's got six arms! He's got a vicious grin across his face! He's tearing rings apart and summoning legendaries everywhere! Regular Hoopa's...meh, by comparison, I suppose. Still, maybe he'll get a smaller card or his own EX if he's lucky! 

Weekend Thought: Do you agree with the list so far? Are you just as curious over some of the picks as I am? Maybe you've got a good idea of what our Top 5's gonna be, or maybe you've got your own thoughts as to what will make the Top 5! What other cards in this set that we've yet to cover also strike you as interesting and potentially powerful? 

Next Time: Be wary of that one, she's...a bit strange.


Time for the sixth place finisher, the card that was just a little outside of making the Top 5: Hoopa-EX (XY: Ancient Origins 36/98, 89/98)!  This is a Psychic-Type Pokémon, meaning it hits a decent amount of Weakness (a good amount in Expanded) as a good chunk of Fighting-Types and Psychic-Types are Psychic Weak but also hits a comparatively large amount of Resistance as most Darkness-Types and Metal-Types are Psychic Resistant (though remember “No Resistance” is still by far the most common).  In terms of Type support, peeking ahead we see one of the go-to tricks for the Psychic-Type - Dimension Valley - won’t be doing Hoopa-EX much good.  It can still cash in on Mystery Energy and peaking ahead yet again we’ll experience some deja vu because being a Psychic-Type will prove important because one of the two main ways to shut down Abilities left in Standard is Wobbuffet (XY: Phantom Forces 36/119) and it won’t affect its fellow Psychic-Types… like Hoopa-EX.  Overall this is the better of its two Types to represent: the artwork is of a Hoopa (Unbound), which means it Type would be Psychic/Dark in the video games as opposed to the “Confined” form’s combination of Psychic/Ghost (which would both be represented in the TCG by the Psychic-Type). 

Hoopa-EX is a Basic Pokémon, making it easy and fast to get into play, which will prove important (no surprise there).  Also no surprise because it is part of the name, it is a Pokémon-EX; while this usually justifies better attributes or effects, sometimes one or the other or both seem lacking, so the only guaranteed thing you get from being a Pokémon-EX is giving up an extra Prize when KOed, inability to access certain pieces of support and being vulnerable to certain counter-cards.  Hoopa-EX does cash in on it to sport 170 HP; of the typical HP scores for Basic Pokémon-EX, this is the slightly lower (only by 10 points).  Nothing is guaranteed to survive a hit from the hardest hitters (or certain effects/combos that simply score a KO without doing damage) but 170 will usually survive a hit but at the same time several competitive decks can reach that number, it is just not all can do it reliably and repeatedly.  The Psychic Weakness could be a problem as we still have some good Psychic-Type attackers left even post rotation, and in Expanded we still have old, established powerhouses like Mewtwo-EX.  As mentioned when describing offensive capacity, no Resistance is typical so we’ll move onto the Retreat Cost of [CC]; low enough you could pay it but high enough you really won’t want to, thankfully besides more generic tricks you can zero it out with Mystery Energy. 

Hoopa-EX has one Ability and one attack and it is the former that has people excited… so I’m going to do that sometimes annoying but often useful thing and cover the attack first.  Most decks will not use this attack or even have the option to use it because it requires a full [PPP] to use “Hyperspace Fury” (love that name and it’s from the video games to boot!).  From there the effect (do they word attacks so that it is a “cost” to use anymore?) states to discard two Energy from itself then the attack does 100 damage to one of your opponent’s Pokémon: it is your choice whether to hit the Active or something on the Bench, though the latter won’t apply Weakness or Resistance.  Given the difficulty of paying the cost once, let alone replenishing the Energy required as well as it coming in 10 shy of taking out a Benched Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108; 160/108) I am thinking this is intentionally a high level “filler” attack, an intentional “near miss” for being worthwhile in select decks. 

So, what about that Ability?  Hoopa-EX has “Scoundrel Ring” which joins the list of Abilities that trigger when that Pokémon is put into play.  In this case Scoundrel Ring allows you to search your deck for up to three Pokémon-EX to add to your hand excluding cards named “Hoopa-EX”, reveal them to your opponent and add them to your hand.  This effect would be on par with a powerful Item or a somewhat weak Supporter and unless you’re brand new to the game or having an off day, you should know at least once usage for this already: Shaymin-EX (again).  Now any search effect doesn’t just lead to Shaymin-EX, but can lead to multiple Shaymin-EX or Shaymin-EX plus two other useful Pokémon-EX.  Unless you don’t want to snag three targets, in which case it does state “up to” so less is fine and as searches are allowed to “fail” in Pokémon even taking no cards after looking at and shuffling your deck is an option. 

There are plenty of decks with multiple Pokémon-EX to search out and it does not specify “Basic” so Mega Evolutions are legal as well.  The major examples that spring to mind are M Rayquaza-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 76/108, 105/108) decks as well as M Sceptile-EX (XY: Ancient Origins 8/98, 95/98); the former has the Ancient Trait “Δ Evolution” while the latter can tap Forest of Giant Plants to avoid having to wait a turn to Mega Evolve so you just need the appropriate Spirit Link card for the combo to avoid ending abruptly.  Assuming the rest of the M Rayquaza-EX deck is mostly Colorless it can use Winona to try and kick things off (you can’t get a Hoopa-EX with that Supporter, but you can get your first Shaymin-EX plus up to two more Colorless Pokémon) or you can use Pokémon Fan Club, the latter getting only Basics and one less card but not caring about Pokémon Type.  You can also just use Ultra Ball and save your Supporter for something else.  The Pokémon Fan Club and Ultra Ball options are pretty important as they are so… generic.  You just need a deck where it wouldn’t make more sense to run another Shaymin-EX or Ultra Ball or (possibly) Pokémon Fan Club. 

If you are running a deck that eschews most Pokémon-EX other than Shaymin-EX or which does run multiple Pokémon-EX but they are at very low counts and not essential to set-up, Hoopa-EX is not going to be part of an “optimal build”, though it shouldn’t ruin the deck and in fact may be useful quite often (just not enough to justify its inclusion).  If Bench space is tight or there are somewhat unusual circumstances (usually from Ancient Traits or Abilities interacting), you’ve got another reason to skip it.  On the other hand if your deck already has significant Pokémon-EX, ones you need to get to the field quickly and reliably plus runs Shaymin-EX?  A lone Hoopa-EX seems like a good inclusion.  Running a deck that absolutely loves to spam multiple Shaymin-EX and needs to fill its own Bench?  Say “Hello!” to your new friend.  Have Mega Evolutions you can spam to the field?  We already discussed M Rayquaza-EX and M Sceptile-EX decks.  So for Standard and Expanded, that is my take on the matter.  For Limited Play, I don’t think this is a strong enough Pokémon to run solo in a “+39” deck; the Ability would go totally to waste and the attack is far too slow.  If a mono- or nearly mono-Psychic Energy deck works for your booster pulls and/or you pulled another Pokémon-EX that should be good for what you are running, then Hoopa-EX is a welcome sight. 


Standard: 3.85/5 

Expanded: 3.85/5 

Limited: 3.5/5 

Summary: Hoopa-EX continues the trend of giving me scores I feel the need to explain some more.  Shaymin-EX has become more or less a deck staple and at worse Hoopa-EX should be a “less efficient/effective” combo partner for it than something else.  Often it should be a good, solid choice and sometimes it will be a great choice!  On top of that there are specific decks where the Hoopa-EX/Shaymin-EX gains another partner that makes it a must for such decks.  At the same time, I can’t ignore how dependent this is on other cards and it can take away space for said other cards.  One moment I’m wincing because it seems kind of “broken” given its company and the next I’m wondering what I was thinking because it doesn’t do all that much on its own. 

For my personal Top 15 I had Hoopa-EX as my 11th place choice; making sure it was included as part of the “main event” was one of the reasons I thought this set needed a Top 15, or “Top 10 plus the honorable mentions/runners-up leading the list”.  Running into it more and more on the PTCGO, I keep having my mind changed; it gets used poorly one game in an otherwise competently built and played deck, but a few games later it facilitates a vicious victory for my opponent.  I am pretty sure I lowballed it, but I’m still not sure by how much.

Emma Starr

    Hoopa EX was very hyped about since it was first unveiled to many people. “3 EXs in just one turn? This is must be a super-powered Winnona!” echoed in many trainer’s minds. Is it worth the hype, and being heralded as this set’s ‘mascot’? Let’s take a look.
    170 HP is the staple for many EX Pokemon, so nothing special there, along with it’s Psychic Weakness and Retreat Cost of Two. It’s attack, Hyperspace Fury, while sounding awesome, only does 100 damage for three Psychic Energies. So, it could actually make a very decent sniper if need be, and fulfills Mega Latios EX’s ‘job’ much quicker and more efficiently, just by being a basic, and not having to discard any Energy. Sure, all three energies have to be Psychic, but it’s better than relying on Double Dragon Energy for Mega Latios EX, then having to discard it after one use (in addition to Mega Evolving, too!). So, it may not come in handy all the time, but it can still get you some prizes from time to time, just don’t plan on Hoopa EX being your main attacker! Hoopa EX’s real job comes in it’s ability!
    Bandit Ring lets you search for 3 EXs (except for Hoopa EX), you reveal them, then put them into your hand, then shuffle your deck. There are definitely some good sides and some bad sides to this. The first good part is that you get the EXs in your hand, so no having to deal with a ‘Call for Family’ sort of effect, where they get put onto your bench, which may not be the best in some cases, in case you wish for your ability Pokes to use your valuable bench space, like Ariados or Garbodor, but you still want to have your EXs in hand to activate abilities that only take place when a Pokemon is moved from your hand to the bench. But...how many times would you actually need three EXs? Often times it’s hard to dedicate your turns to power up more than one Pokemon at a time, so why would you really need this sort of effect for EXs? Well, there are two Pokemon that comes to mind that would provide a nice combo with this ability - Shaymin EX (ROS 77) and Jirachi EX (PB 60). While Jirachi EX is technically only available in Expanded now, I think it’s worth mentioning him here too. Jirachi EX lets you search for any Supporter in your deck whenever played from your hand, so that means you could look for anything from N, Ace Trainers, Lysandre to switch out to your opponent’s Pokemon for easy KOs, or even Sklylas to find the always-useful Switch, or even a Super Scoop Up, to allow for more ability repetitions from either Shaymin EX, Jirachi EX, or even Hoopa EX! Shaymin EX also works very nicely with this ability, allowing you to draw until you have six cards in your hand. While Shaymin can’t be as Super Scoop Up abused as Jirachi EX, you could still use Shaymin’s Set Up to get a free Energy or Supporter, than Super Scoop Up once more to replace whatever cards you just used. And as stated, Hoopa EX can even be abused with Super Scoop Up, allowing you to get a whopping six EXs if you so desired, which means you could get as many Jirachi EXs and Shaymin EXs as you could ever need! But...would you really want that many of them in your deck? They may be very useful, but if you run 3-4 of them, chances are you may be stuck with having to make them your active Pokemon in some of your starting hands, and all of their attacks are pretty sub-par, barring Hoopa EX’s, which can come in handy in the mid-late game. Not to mention that any of the three Pokemon’s abilities only work if you play them to the bench anyway. So, although Hoopa EX can accomplish some scary things with it’s pals, sometimes it’s better to play amazing Pokemon in moderation (or even just search them out with Pokemon Fan Club or Ultra Ball instead, while not having to rely on an ability Poke that can get Lysandre’d.)
    Standard: 3.9/5 (Shaymin EX is probably the main Pokemon you want to search for here, but you would usually only need one anyway, unless you don’t have a Super Scoop Up on hand, or you have two other EXs you want to quickly get instead. The sniping is nice too. But don’t forget you have other searching options as well, like I mentioned.)
    Expanded: 4.5/5 (Jirachi EX spamming? Check.)
    Limited: 3/5 (Well, if you manage to pull ANOTHER EX, you could definitely use it, but the sniping could be useful here too, but you’ll definitely want to run at least part-Psychic.)

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