– Ruby & Sapphire
June 21, 2018
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
I like how the first thing I see with an older card is that it’s got less HP, and I immediately think, “Man there’s no way a Stage 2 with that low amount of HP would survive in today’s metagame.” Then I remember that there’s a whole subset that’s coming out devoted to adjusting cards just like this one to actually be able to compete in today’s game. Go figure.
Blaziken is a Stage 2 Fire Pokemon, 100 HP, with a Water Weakness, no Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of 2. Its Firestarter Ability lets you attach a Fire Energy from your discard pile to a Benched Pokemon – ya know, like Eelektrik or Malamar. Fire Stream then is a 3-for-50 move that can do 10 damage to each of your opponent’s Benched Pokemon if you discard an Energy.
Energy acceleration and widespread damage potential make for a pretty solid Pokemon, to be honest. The more damage you inflict early on, the easier it gets to KO stuff later, and with Firestarter powering up Pokemon on the Bench – usually using the Energy Blaziken can discard – it ends up cycling the Energy around in a unique way. The reprint just has 50 more HP and does 3-for-90 and 20 damage against one of your opponent’s Benched Pokemon, which makes it a bit of a trade-off in that sense by comparison to this version.
In any case, Blaziken is a potent Pokemon, and I can imagine that it’ll have some play. The only issue that really plagues it is being a Stage 2, which by comparison to the Stage 1 Pokemon that fulfill the same niche will dampen its playability. Still though, it’s the most offensively capable of these Pokemon, and maybe that makes it a better pick as an alternate attacker. Coupled with the snipe damage, and Blaziken could be a major player in any Fire deck.
Standard: N/A (it’s certainly the best attack on any Energy accelerator we’ve seen in recent years)
Expanded: N/A (even though it is ultimately a Stage 2)
Limited: 3.5/5 (still, coupled with the lower scores overall, Blaziken can still make a high impact)
Arora Notealus: Blaziken has some explosive potential, so it might be that the newer reprint that eventually comes out will have a fairly high-impact. It’s also possible that no such impact is had. It’s hard to tell how these things will go.
Side Review: Beast Ring – this card can’t really combine with Blaziken that well, but it can grab the Energy needed to trigger Firestarter. The only real issue with that is that there aren’t any Fire-Type Ultra Beasts in the TCG – not yet, at least. So it’s really more useful for powering up the Ultra Beasts we currently have rather than speculating on the potential Blacephalon-Blaziken combination.
Next Time: Where death did sweep, life brings back.
Our Throwback Thursdays is Blaziken from EX Ruby & Sapphire and has another print in EX Power Keepers! The set where generation 3 Pokemon has debuted as well as Nintendo taking over the duties TCG. This was reviewed by the crew (https://www.pojo.com/COTD/2003/August2003/11.html) and (https://www.pojo.com/COTD/2007/Jan/31.shtml). Looking at older reviews, they are mostly favorable, at least for their time in Modified (which would be present day Standard format).
Blaziken is a Stage 2 Fire type with 100 HP, weak to water, and a retreat cost of two. It’s Poke-Power, Firestarter, lets you attach a fire energy from the discard to one of your Benched Pokemon. Sounds familiar? That’s because you’re used to seeing it in Stage 1 forms instead of Stage 2. Eelectrik NVI, Bronzong PHF, and Malamar FBL comes to mind, albeit supporting their own respecting types. Being a Stage 1 would’ve been efficient, but as a Stage 2 means that you can use Rare Candy to make Torchic skip into Blaziken.
So energy recovery is nice, but what else does it have? It has Fire Stream, which costs RCC for 50 damage, and after you discard a fire energy attached to this Pokémon, you do 10 damage to each of your opponent’s Benched Pokemon. This attack is arguable better than the other three modern energy accelerators. Except that there wasn’t Double Colorless Energy at the time, so it’ll take a while to load up energy for this attack.
Only one World Championship deck features Blaziken, and that’s Chris Fulop’s Blaziken Texh deck of 2004. This deck not only has Firestarter Blaziken, but also Blaziken-ex, Delcatty, Bellossom, Team Aqua’s Manectric, Dunsparce, and Rayquaza-ex. Blaziken was for energy acceleration, Blaziken-ex for raw damage output that can almost OHKO anything at the time sans stage 2 ex Pokemon, Delcatty as ability based draw that compliments well with Firestarter, Bellossom for healing 20 damage from one of your Pokemon each turn, and Dunsparce for searching Basic Pokémon (most OP call for family variants). Not sure what Manectric does for this deck. That……seems like a lot of moving pieces, and Supporter based draw wasn’t too many.
So why look at a older card? That’s because, again, we’ve got a modernized Blaziken card that does the same thing, except bolstering the HP and damage output to keep up with power creep. And since Double Colorless Energy is in modern Standard, Fire Stream becomes easier to use. But I’ll leave that story for another time. One thing for sure, it also has a GX counterpart, so maybe you might create a deck similar to Chris Fulop’s Blaziken Tech.
Limited (both sets): 3/5
Blaziken (RS 3) probably dominated back in its time, and even today it might bring Fire decks back to prominence. Look at what Malamar is doing for Psychic decks. Although this is a Stage 2 Pokemon, so you might only be able to get one or two of them up at any given time (I’ve been playing a lot with FrostBiter12’s Talonflame Gardevoir GX Archetype lately, and I took Super Boost energy out because I just wasn’t ever getting it in hand on the rare occasions that I did have three Stage 2’s in play).
And it would pair well with Celestial Storm’s Blaziken GX which does a massive 210 damage with its main attack (for only three energy!) but forces you to discard two energy cards upon attacking. If you could use Dawn Wings Necrozma GX or some other switching mechanism, Blaziken could power up Blaziken GX so he could get up there and do 210 damage again. I have heard that this Blaziken is getting a reprint, but I haven’t been able to find it myself, so I’m just assuming it’s very similar to Blaziken RS 3 since all of the other cards being reprinted are very very close – if not identical – to their earlier incarnations.
Standard: 3.5 out of 5
One way I can think of to get Fire type GX Pokemon on the bench is Ho-Oh GX’s seldom (and by seldom I mean never) used GX attack Eternal Flame. If you can get GX Pokemon into the discard (and not just Basics, Stage 1’s or 2’s work for Eternal Flame), Ho-Oh GX can get them immediately on your bench. You could potentially get multiple Blazikens on the bench instantly (maybe Super Boost would actually be playable with this kind of deck!). It’s just a question of being able to get multiple Blazikens in the discard early. Not a problem if they make a reprint of Battle Compressor!
Blaziken would definitely help Fire types, which seem to have fallen out of favor. I only saw Fire decks nine times in 247 games in May, and I’ve only seen Fire types eight times in 212 matches this month. Grass and Metal decks have to be thrilled!
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