Arcanine's a very simple card. So
this is a simple review!
Soaring Flames is alright, but
3-for-60 is expensive even for an attack that delivers
Burn. And while there are ways to fuel Firestorm's
impressive 4-for-190 cost, the discard is really heavy
for what is a Stage 1 with 130 HP. Not to mention if the
next set is going to impact the meta and put more
emphasis on Water decks, it's not going to go well for
Probably a pass in most cases, but
he might be decent in the right build.
Standard: 2/5 (he's okay, but not
great or exceptional)
Expanded: 2/5 (he might do well
with the right cards)
Limited: 3/5 (but that really
demands the right deck)
Arora Notealus: I wonder if
Arcanine ever lived up to his name and became
"Legendary." Even in the card game. Like was he ever
worthy of note? Who knows?
Next Time: How're you doing?
(Sun & Moon, 22/149) returns in the Sun & Moon
base set. A
Stage 1 Fire type Pokemon with 130 HP,
For one Fire
energy and two Colorless energy,
does 60 damage and then the opponent’s active Pokemon is
Firestorm, does a very impressive 190 damage, but
costs three Fire and 1 Colorless energy.
Also, after playing
you need to discard three Fire energy off of
Unfortunately, I played five matches with
had no success.
I paired it with
Siege, 25/114), but I had significant difficulty
just trying to be competitive.
In five matches, I never even got to the point
where I could even use
I will say that in four of the five matches my
opponents in PTCGO had the advantage, and in the fifth
match neither of us had the advantage.
I also faced strong decks in all five matches.
I played against
Mega Mewtwo EX
(Steam Siege, 107/114),
Darkrai EX (Breakpoint,
GX (Sun & Moon, 35/149), and
Espeon GX (Sun
& Moon, 140/149).
So we need to keep that in mind –
completely overmatched in all of these games… but at the
same time, it was completely overmatched in all of these
Arcanine a little bit of a break because it went up
against such strong competition, but the fact is that
it’s just not a very good card, and I think it will
struggle against all of the good decks out there right
Standard: 1.5 out of 5
would appear to have a couple of decent attacks, the
cost of powering up these attacks makes it difficult for
him to compete against the best decks in the format.
(Sun & Moon 22/149) is a Fire Type, allowing it
to score double damage against most Grass Types and
nearly all Metal Types (due to their Fire Weakness).
The best Fire Type support right now is Blacksmith
(Expanded-only) and the “Steam Up” Ability found on
Volcanion-EX (but that only helps Basic
Pokémon). While there are other bits, including
some very nice Basic attackers, dedicated [R] Energy
acceleration, etc. most of it still works best with
Volcanion-EX. There are some anti-Fire Type
effects, but other Parallel City (usually played
for its other effect), you aren’t likely to
encounter them in competitive play. Arcanine is
a Stage 1, so while it isn’t as fast or cost efficient
as a Basic Pokémon, it beats out all other Stages, and
may still be competitively viable. Just don’t
forget to adjust for Stage-specific or
Evolution-specific support and counters; I’d couldn’t
think of a good use for any of the pieces specific to
Stage 1 Pokémon. Arcanine has 130 HP, enough I
believe it is more likely to survive a hit than not, but
by a small enough margin, I wouldn’t count on it.
Water Weakness shifts that to an almost guaranteed OHKO,
as Weakness usually does. Arcanine has no
Resistance; expected and yet still a bit disappointing.
The Retreat Cost of [CC] is low enough you can probably
afford it but high enough you’re better off if you can
work around it.
has two attacks. The first is “Searing Flame” for
[RCC], which does 60 damage while Burning the opponent’s
Active, so an effective 80 damage for three, with an
ever-diminishing chance of extra damage. Not
great, but not bad. For [RRRC] Arcanine can
unleash “Firestorm” to do 190 damage, but you have to
discard three [R] from itself. Factoring in the
discard cost, this is another attack that isn’t great,
but neither is it bad. 190 damage scores a OHKO against
almost anything that isn’t an Evolved Pokémon-GX, a Mega
Evolution, protected by an effect, or enjoying boosted
HP. That sounds great but remember that
Basic Pokémon-EX and Pokémon-GX are still a major
presence and may use Fighting Fury Belt to
simultaneously boost their damage output by 10 while
their HP goes up by 40… usually enough to endure a hit
from Firestorm. One also needs to remember that
Basic Pokémon that are not Pokémon-EX or
Pokémon-GX are usually less resource intensive than
Arcanine, but may still be able to OHKO it
back. Fire Storm has some real potential, but
you’ll need a deck that uses it well and compensates for
the drawbacks of Arcanine.
As I am running
behind, I am not going to address every card
directly related to Arcanine. I will cover
the ones I think are most relevant. For
Growlithe, none are particularly good, but I
favor Growlithe (XY: Evolutions 17/108).
It is a Basic, Fire Type Pokémon with 70 HP, Water
Weakness, no Resistance, Retreat Cost [CC] and two
attacks. 70 HP is the lower of the two HP scores we see
on Expanded and Standard legal Growlithe, but I
think it has the most useful attack on them: “Hind Kick”
costs [C] and does 10 damage, but the main thing is that
it then sends Growlithe to your Bench.
Unless we run something like Shrine of Memories
or Celebi-EX, so Arcanine may use the
attacks of Growlithe, “Hind Kick” seems to be the
only attack that realizes Growlithe is there to
Evolve. One or two others might help with setup,
but not realistically due to the pacing of the game:
Growlithe is getting KO’d if it remains Active after
attacking. Growlithe (XY: Evolutions
17/108) may also use “Flare” for [RC] to do 20 damage,
but Hind Kick is why I decided to actually mention this
Arcanine, we are only going to look at Evolutions
18/108. It has the same stats as today’s
Arcanine (Sun & Moon 22/149) but with the
Ability “Burning Road” and the attack “Scorching
Breath”. The former triggers whenever this
Arcanine moves from the Bench to the Active
position; you may any [R] Energy attached to your
Pokémon to this Arcanine. That can be a
handy trick, as it allows you to quickly power-up this
Arcanine albeit at the cost of Energy already in
play. Scorching Breath costs [RRRC], the same as
Firestorm, but does less damage with a different
drawback: 150 instead of 190, and Arcanine (or
whatever used Scorching Breath) cannot attack the next
turn, instead of having to discard Energy from itself.
I’d rather have to deal with that effect than replace
[RRR], as there are multiple workarounds for it, but
150 damage doesn’t hit as many key HP scores. The
good news is that it should 2HKO almost everything in
the game, but most competitive cards it can OHKO could
be taken out with a less costly attack. You can
combo it with other cards to increase its OHKO range,
but the same effort has a better yield elsewhere.
Finally, let us
consider Arcanine BREAK. As the BREAK
Evolution of a Stage 1, it functions like a Stage 2
without the perks. It remains a Fire Type and has
160 HP with the attack “Turbo Flame” which costs [RC],
does 80 damage, and attaches two basic Energy cards from
your discard pile to one of your Benched Pokémon.
It will also retain access to the effects, Weakness,
Resistance, and Retreat Cost of the underlying
Arcanine. While this increases the resources
invested, 160 HP is noticeable sturdier and Turbo Flame
does solid damage while fueling your next attacker.
So do I have a deck with any of these?
Unfortunately, no; I don’t have the cards on the PTCGO
and even if I did, I didn’t leave myself enough time to
test. This is another review of pure Theorymon,
but there is just enough here I would like to test the
deck… except SM: Guardians Rising is
slated to help Water Type decks in a big way with
Aqua Patch. If you already have the needed
cards, give it a whirl while you can. Otherwise,
this card will only be worthwhile in Limited play, where
even an opponent’s lucky-pull Basic Pokémon-GX has to
fear being OHKO’d. Just remember that you’ll need
to invest some extra Energy and alternate between
Searing Flame and Firestorm, as you won’t have the
combos to constantly refuel Firestorm.
If you read some of
I’d been waiting for this Arcanine probably isn’t
going to prove useful anytime soon. The package is
reasonably solid, but it was released in a format of
hard hitting decks and/or Item lock, and likely we’ll be
awash in reinvigorated Water decks. I’m not really
expecting anything out of this card in the immediate
future, and its long-term prospects aren’t great either…
just not abysmal.