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Yu Yu Hakusho
Harry Potter
Vs. System

Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


 M Houndoom EX

- XY BREAKthrough

Date Reviewed:
January 14, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.75
Expanded: 2.75
Limited: 3.88

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

Back to the main COTD Page


So here's the thing with Houndoom-EX - you're going to be using him to get M Houndoom-EX, smash away at your opponent without a care in the world, and then you're going to look at your Energy-less M Houndoom-EX and you're going to think to yourself, "Man, I really wish I had an Emboar right about now." 

Houndoom-EX has a couple okay attacks, yeah, what with the completely irrelevant milling effect and the decent Energy acceleration that his second attack gives. At the very least, he could be used to push Energy onto a M Houndoom-EX. Unfortunately, Houndoom-EX giving Energy to M Houndoom-EX is like a poor man giving money to a rich man only to see that rich man blow it all on something that costs much more in the long run than it's worth, like gambling or running for president. 

Alright, I'm checking my topical "Trump reference" off my list of "Things I Never Wanna Talk About While Reviewing Card Games More Than Once". 

Here's the thing about M Houndoom-EX: he has 1 attack, Inferno Fang. It's basically a 2-for-80 strike, which for a Mega Evo, that's pitiful. I know there are only so many M-EX in the game right now and even fewer that have attacks that cost 2 Energy (which is extremely cheap for them to have), but compared to some of the other ones...it's no contest. To give you guys an idea, the Pokemon in question are M Manectric-EX, M Absol-EX, M Sceptile-EX, and none other than M Mewtwo-EX (our #4 card on the Top 10 list). 

Now let's compare all of these attacks together: 

1) M Manectric-EX's Turbo Bolt is 2-for-110 and charges up a Benched Pokemon with 2 basic Energies

2) M Absol-EX's Diaster Wing is also a 2-for-80, but it mills off the top card of the opponent's deck and, if it's a Trainer card, does an extra 80 damage

3) M Sceptile-EX's Jagged Saber only does 2-for-100, but it also gives the option to accelerate Grass Energy from the hand to a Bench sitter AND heal off all the damage done to it

4) M Mewtwo-EX's Psychic Infinity does 2-for-10 while adding on 30 more damage for every Energy attached to both Active Pokemon, which is an effect that has seen great abuse in the past

5) M Houndoom-EX's Inferno Fang is 2-for-80...but if you want it to do more, you have to discard all Fire Energy attached to it to make it do 80 more damage 

The only one of these that's comparable to M Houndoom-EX is M Absol-EX - who, might I remind you, is a PROMO card - and even then, M Absol-EX has a better way of pulling off his effect! But now I know what you're thinking - what about Burning Energy from earlier in the week? Even just having 1 of those makes the attack pay for itself, provided you can play around it. And that's true, M Houndoom-EX is built around using Burning Energy to discard then reattach itself back on so he can hit for another 160 damage on the next turn, but you've got to ask yourself is it really worth it? Is it really worth spending all this time and effort to make this guy more appealing than he really is, when he's got as much access to things like Burning Energy but also really wants Spirit Links and Blacksmith to make him more than he seems to be? Is it really worth making yourself vulnerable to some common base threats like Giratina-EX or any Special Energy hate just to be able to hope you'll hit it big and bounce back from the brink of defeat? Or does it just cost you too much of your time, too much effort, just to make this one-trick pony work? 

I think I might have gotten a little off-track there, but my point is don't vote for Donald Trump. 


Standard: 2.5/5 (without Burning Energy or Blacksmith, M Houndoom-EX would be absolutely terrible) 

Expanded: 2.5/5 (so if you're playing M Houndoom-EX, make sure you're playing with everything you've got) 

Limited: 4/5 (cause otherwise, people are going to take advantage of that and blow through you with ease) 

Arora Notealus: All things considered though, Mega Houndoom is freaking awesome to look at it. Where regular Houndoom looks like a pet you might have, Mega Houndoom looks like an actual hellhound! And that's freaking amazing!! I love that the Pokemon Company is looking at ways to revitalize older Pokemon like this rather than just giving power to the powerhouses to make them greater than great. I mean, would you have believed it before Kangaskhan got a Mega Evo that he'd be rated as an Uber tier threat? I don't think so!



The compliment to yesterday’s review, today we look at M Houndoom-EX (XY: BREAKthrough 22/162, 154/162).  The downside of a Type-themed week like this is you’re probably tired of hearing things like how Fire-Types nearly all Grass- and Metal-Type Pokémon for double damage thanks to Weakness and have Blacksmith for a quick double attachment of basic Fire Energy from the discard pile* without having to deal with Weakness or explicitly anti-Fire-Type cards.  Being a Mega Evolution means being a Pokémon-EX with some extra drawbacks.  The usual giving up of an extra Prize, inability to access certain beneficial effects and being the target of certain detrimental effects (Silver Bangle being an example of both) of being a Pokémon-EX is joined by needing extra deck space and taking an additional turn to get into play like a Stage 1… and both of those are joined by the truly Mega Evolution specific issues of your turn ending due to Mega Evolution (unless you have the correct Spirit Link equipped) and certain cards that explicitly cause issues for Mega Evolutions (like Faded Town).  Unlike Pokémon-EX but somewhat like Stage 1 Pokémon, there are a few cards that benefit Mega Evolutions, like Mega Turbo.  Just to be clear though, Mega Evolutions do not count as Stage 1 Pokémon for the purpose of card effects. 

M Houndoom-EX sports 210 HP, a bit low for a Mega Evolution but still high enough to be difficult for many decks to OHKO, with the exceptions at the threshold for “OHKO deck”... apart from Weakness.  The good news is that at 210 HP, you aren’t going to be an easy OHKO for the smaller attacks and the biggest attacks are just going to score pointless overkill, but there will be moments where this will dramatically shrink the time and/or resources needed for the KO.  The lack of Resistance is still the norm as I’ve been stating all week, and nearly every time it has come up for the last how many years?  So yeah moving on we have a Retreat Cost of [C] which is nice and low.  While it still won’t hurt to have an alternative to manually retreating in case of things like Sleep or various attack effects, much of the time one should be able to afford and manage the loss of a single Energy. 

M Houndoom-EX has no Ancient Trait or Ability, simply a single attack (Inferno Fang) for the low cost of [RR] and hitting for 80+ damage.  In this case, the “plus” is an additional 80 damage should you discard all [R] Energy attached to M Houndoom-EX.  [RR] is low enough that Blacksmith covers it entirely and where using a Burning Energy or two seems like at least a plausible (if not good) choice.  160  damage is a bit shy of what you’d need to OHKO typical Basic Pokémon-EX attackers, relevant because that is what you’ll need to keep up on Prizes most of the time.  As you already know even if skipped the review for Houndoom-EX, you really want to use Houndoom Spirit Link to Mega Evolve because the “your turn ends” clause of Mega Evolution is usually a very bad thing… so you’ll either need to supply the extra damage another way or use a card to ditch your own Houndoom Spirit Link Tool after you’re done with it so you can replace it with Muscle Band.  There are a few options, but I’ll just name Tool Retriever as it is an Item while also being both Standard and Expanded legal.  If your opponent manages to get out a Mega Evolution in the face of your onslaught, most are going to be a pain to OHKO while either scoring a OHKO or a 2HKO against M Houndoom-EX.  Increasing your effective damage yield even further is possible, but clunky.  It may be more effective if you aren’t OHKOed (especially if not using Burning Energy) to just drop a Max Potion between turns to flush away all damage taken before using Blacksmith to immediately ready Inferno Fang. 

That doesn’t sound like a bad deal, but M Houndoom-EX only managed three top four finishes over the eight weeks of City Championships in Standard and one more top four finish in Expanded.  I am seeing a few that managed Top 8 finishes, but as I’m still going off of the article at The Charizard Lounge I don’t have a handy count for that (or maybe I do but I didn’t see it).  I am seeing that Crobat (XY: Phantom Forces 33/119) is showing up as a dance partner for M Houndoom-EX, probably to make up the difference between 160 damage and whatever is required for an effective OHKO.  I am also seeing more Houndoom-EX decks, and the list draws a distinction between Houndoom-EX decks and M Houndoom-EX decks.  Houndoom-EX variants that were not labeled with M Houndoom-EX totalled 16 top four finishes over the eight weeks of City Championships in Standard, though only one in Expanded.  Houndoom-EX is a Basic, Fire-Type with 170 HP, the same Water Weakness and lack of Resistance, Ability and Ancient Trait.  It has a slightly worse Retreat Cost of [CC] but two solid looking attacks: “Melting Horn” for [R], which discards two cards from the top of the opponent’s deck and “Grand Flame” for [RR], which does 50 damage while attaching a basic Fire Energy card** from your discard pile to one of your Benched Pokémon. 

I am not sure if it is the mill, the small but solid shot while accelerating Energy or both, but it’s got at least a small presence in the metagame that is much bigger than that of M Houndoom-EX.  Decks do rip through themselves at incredible speed right now and are tight on space, so losing the wrong cards can be crippling, but some cards aren’t too hard to recycle and others you want in the discard.  Just 50 damage might seem bad but there are quite a few glass cannon style attackers that it can put down (especially with a Muscle Band added in).  If you can tank a hit, just like with M Houndoom-EX a Max Potion plus Blacksmith has you ready to go, but as Grand Flame attaches to the Bench, you also might just use Super Scoop Up and a manually Energy attachment.  Did I mention the various approaches aren’t mutually exclusive?  Anything too big or fast to handle with hit-and-heal tactics you can try to deck out as well as vice versa.  At least I think; I’ve never even built the deck (let alone run it) and while I’ve run into it on the PTCGO, it can be hard to tell when wins and losses are due to skill in playing, skill in deck building or luck… and I mean all around.  Hence looking at those tournament results for which I lack details. 

I don’t think that is the real challenge for M Houndoom-EX, though.  For all I know it’s a common inclusion for Houndoom-EX decks I am supposed to be well informed enough to know that without it being spelled out in the names of winning decks but the real hurdle is competition.  Not just the general competition one sees but Entei/Charizard-EX decks.  Yes folks, I let this one sneak up on me but thankfully on the next-to-last review of our Fire Week, I realized what I dismissed as (at best) a nice rogue Fire-Type deck is kicking butt and taking names.  Entei (XY: Ancient Origins 15/98) is the main attacker, though sometimes a single Entei (XY: Ancient Origins 14/98) might be included as an alternate: the winning list I Googled for just focused on the former and ran a full four count.  Charizard-EX (XY: Flashfire 12/106) is included as an alternate attacker.  Both are used to do the same thing - either bump up their damage to OHKO level or tank hits - though they do it a little differently.  Charizard-EX just has the base damage and HP to build off of but is worth two Prizes while Entei is taking advantage of its Ancient Trait to double up on Pokémon Tools… Tools that Charizard-EX also uses since against various match-ups it either isn’t hit quite hard enough or soaking damage quite well enough without one.  In short, just about everything a M Houndoom-EX deck will accomplish, Entei/Charizard-EX does and with your choice of plain Basic or Basic Pokémon-EX as opposed to a Mega Evolution.  Still that deck has its own particular vulnerabilities (Startling Megaphone) so there may still be a little room for M Houndoom-EX. 

So if you’ve got them handy or can get them for cheap, M Houndoom-EX joins the list of decks to try for Standard and/or Expanded.  In Limited, odds are low that you’ll get both Houndoom-EX and M Houndoom-EX, but if you do go ahead and work them into your deck unless you pull something else just as good or better but that is less demanding (if as good) or more demanding (if better) for Energy requirements.  As you’ll be discarding your Energies, odds are you’ll have to run a mostly or mono-Fire deck as far as Energy cards are concerned.  You have the option of building a more fleshed out Limited deck, or trying your luck with a +39 build where Houndoom-EX is your only Basic Pokémon, though Houndoom Spirit Link is more important if you do. 


Standard: 3/5 

Expanded: 3/5 

Limited: 3.75/5 

Summary: M Houndoom-EX seems to not care about whether it is Expanded or Standard play but also hasn’t had as good of a performance as some of its rivals.  Still it looks like a solid enough option, perhaps something you would try if you want big Fire but with the less commonly seen option. 

*Technically if we had some Special Energy that counted as [R] in the discard it would work on that but we don’t.

**Again, the effect works on any [R] Energy in the discard pile but after all this time, the only Energy card I know of that counts as [R] there basic Fire Energy.

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