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Vs. System

Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day



- Fates Collide

Date Reviewed:
June 23, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 1.88
Expanded: 1.38
Limited: 3.50

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

Back to the main COTD Page


...hm...Moltres, eh? Seems like an easy enough card to review, honestly. Maybe too easy... 

Aw well, he's a 120 HP non-EX Basic that gets a 1-for-20 vanilla Combustion attack and a 4-for-80 Flying Flare that lets you do 40 more damage at the cost of dealing 20 damage to Moltres. At its best, he's something that can take on a lot of Energy to deal a punishing blow to anything weak to Fire. At its worst...well, it's a collectible at the least. 

There's probably a good reason Moltres is uncommon. 

...I uh...don't know what else to say about this guy. 


Standard: 2/5 (decent finisher, I suppose) 

Expanded: 1.5/5 (...I'm not really sure if you'd run him over anything else though) 

Limited: 3/5 (...yeah...) 

Arora Notealus:...I uh...guess that was a review? Wanna just hear me sing something from Sound of Music? Doe, a deer, a female deer, Re, a drop of golden suuuun~ 



Quick note: By now both Monday’s and Tuesday’s CotDs should have finally gone up.  The delay was my fault. 

Moltres (XY: Fates Collide 9/124; XY: Black Star Promos XY127) soars into our Thursday review.  This is a Fire Type, so it will hit nearly all Grass and Metal Types for double damage thanks to Weakness, and doesn’t have to worry about Resistance.  There are a few anti-Fire cards, and they end up acting like Resistance, which is why they aren’t notable.  Fire Type support is hit or miss; Blacksmith is amazing largely thanks to Battle Compressor and VS Seeker, providing a quick double attachment of basic Fire Energy from your discard pile.  Scorched Earth doesn’t work directly with Fire Types but rather [R] Energy from hand (so basic Fire Energy) in order to draw two cards; it also works with [F] Energy as well.  The indirect Fire Type support has been growing with the likes of Delphox BREAK since it attaches extra [R] Energy from the deck via Ability, but we’ve had a lot of Pokémon like that, and it has been years since they were truly competitive.  Moltres is a Basic Pokémon, the easiest Stage to put into play, squeeze into your decks, and naturally working better with many card effects.  It is also the only Stage you can use to open the game so you have to have one and more Basics means a lower risk of a mulligan.  There are anti-Basic effects but also Basic Stage support.  So one real drawback versus a list of awesome explains what you likely already knew; being a Basic is the best. 

120 HP is 20 shy of the maximum seen printed on Basic Pokémon that are not Pokémon-EX.  This is the high end of “ambiguous” in terms of surviving a hit; 120 per turn is enough to 2HKO most things in the format so you’ll find a lot of decks can manage it, but at the same time you’ll find decks that don’t quite hit that hard, or need a complete setup to do so and so things aren’t as bleak as they are for say a 90 HP Pokémon.  Moltres is Water Weak, which is going to matter; Water Types aren’t known for being Energy efficient, so this allows weaker hits to do the job.  Commonly used Pokémon like a Keldeo-EX, being run for “Rush In” and not to attack, can still power up for a OHKO with a Fighting Fury Belt, Muscle Band, or [W] (as one of the three it needs to attack).  At the same time, this isn’t as bad as it could be, as Water isn’t the most commonly splashed Type or used deck right now.  The Fighting Resistance is handy; 140 clears that ambiguous threshold, so even though Fighting Types are known for damage buffs and aren’t the most heavily used Type, it still should matter at least a little.  Retreat Cost [C] is low enough to pay and recover from having paid, so it’s pretty good. 

Moltres has no Ability but does have two attacks.  For [R] it can use “Combustion” to do 20 damage, which seems adequate.  For [RRCC] Moltres can use “Flying Flare” to do 80 damage.  This attack has an optional effect; Flying Flare can do an extra 40 damage if Moltres does 20 damage to itself.  I prefer a four Energy attack do at least 100, adjusted depending on its effect (the better the effect, the lower the base damage can be): between Blacksmith and Double Colorless Energy, Moltres can go from “zero” to Flying Flare in one turn.  That doesn’t seem too hard to power up (and also might make Combustion kind of pointless), but even considering that and the potential bonus damage for half as much done to itself, Flying Flare seems underpowered.  If it met that 100 damage threshold and had the same effect, it would be possible for buff Flying Flare enough to score OHKOs against Basic Pokémon-EX (usually an important threshold).  It isn’t awful though, just a little underpowered. 

The only other Moltres is BW: Next Destinies 14/99 (re-released BW: Legendary Treasures 22/113), only legal for Expanded play.  Also a Fire Type Basic Pokémon with 120 HP, Water Weakness, Fighting Resistance, no Ability, and two attacks.  It has a higher Retreat Cost at [CC], a higher first attack cost of [RCC], and a slightly lower second attack cost of [RCCC].  Said first attack is “Searing Flame” which does 50 damage and inflicts Burn, while the second is “Fire Blast” which does 90 plus requires you discard a [R] Energy from Moltres itself.  These attacks were a overpriced back when this card was new (and reviewed here), and I get to correct my older review by admitting that.  This is why I go so detailed, though as I can tell you exactly what went wrong; I evaluated the card based on damage-to-Energy ratios developed during the origina EX series of expansions.  Power creep in from the DP-era sets had already rendered this inaccurate with the Platinum-era and HGSS-era also having passed by that time, it was completely obsolete.  Don’t use this card. 

So should you use today’s Moltres?  Only in Limited play, where it is magnificent.  While you can run (and buff) this card in Standard and Expanded, your efforts are better spent on other cards.  In Limited though it may not be a big enough Basic to build a deck around, but unless you absolutely cannot make room for some Fire Energy, you work this in because everything about the card is better here. 


Standard: 1.75/5 

Expanded: 1.25/5 

Limited: 4/5 

Summary: Moltres isn’t as bad as my scores might make it seem; remember it isn’t just how good a particular card is, but its place in the format.  Moltres is underwhelming, don’t get me wrong, but it actually is just a little more damage shy of being a solid Fire Type attacker.  It just so happens though that there isn’t much demand for such a card right now (even for non-Pokémon-EX), and if there was Entei (XY: Ancient Origins 14/98) or Entei (XY: Ancient Origins 15/98) just do it better.

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