– Crimson Invasion CRI 59

Date Reviewed:
February 2, 2018

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 1.88
Expanded: 1.75
Limited: 3.74
Theme: 3.87

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

Reviews Below:


Did you guys know that Houndoom in Japan is called “Hellgar”? That sounds amazing, I just found out myself!

Houdnoom is a Stage 1 Dark Pokemon, 110 HP, with a Fighting Weakness, a Psychic Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of 1. His first attack, Fire Fang, is a 2-for-30 that Burns the opponent’s Pokemon while Puncturing Fangs is a 3-for-90 that is unaffected by Resistance.

Burning has definitely gotten a lot more powerful since its recent update at the advent of the Sun/Moon era, applying the damage first then flipping the coin to see whether or not it remains. It makes Fire Fang a good 2-for-50 in a sense, with the potential to do more over several turns. Puncturing Fangs is also pretty good, especially since it can’t be reduced outside of an Ability or Tool, and that makes it effective enough to KO little Basic EX/GX, though it’s gonna require more effort to KO larger GX. And being Dark does have its benefits in Expanded, though Standard has limited options by comparison.

That’s about where all the good stops. Stage 1 commits a 1-1 lineup at least in any deck you run Houndoom in, and while he’s got a lot going for him, he’s also not doing enough on his own to be a main attacker. Burn can only get you so far even these days, but with the damage output that Houndoom currently has, it’s not that significant. Assuming you hit a Fire Fang followed by a Puncturing Fang without any boosts, the total is only about 140 damage – 30 for Fire Fang, 20 from one turn of Burn, and 90 from Puncturing Fang. That means a Choice Band will barely get it to 170-200, and an additional turn or two of Burn damage,  if you’re lucky, is what brings it up to 220-240 max. So in a perfect world, Houndoom is capable of taking down Stage 2 GX.

But as we know, that ain’t perfect. Houndoom could do 240 over 2 turns with Puncturing Fangs and a Choice Band against an EX/GX, which is more reliable since Burn is luck-dependent, but that’s still 3 Energy to commit to a Stage 1 with only 110 HP. Makes it a bit more difficult for him to compete with Stage 1 GX that can do that without the aid, making them more ideal targets. It’s these sorts of thoughts that show that cards like this, while good in their own environment, are not going to be the best that ever was.

Still, credit where credit’s due – he’s got reliable extra damage in Burn and an attack that gets past the Resistance that Fairies have, so he can keep on trucking. Just that 110 HP ain’t what it used to be.


Standard: 2.5/5 (Houndoom makes a good case for himself at least)

Expanded: 2.5/5 (it’s just a shame he’s outclassed by other cards)

Limited: 3.5/5 (but in a Limited setting, he has some more potential)

Arora Notealus: You might have noticed I’ve started a slightly different style to my reviews, introducing basic key parts of the card first and all. I think it’s a nice little change of pace for me, makes it all come together. Kinda like how Houndoom needed to change itself up with a Mega Evolution-EYYYYYYYYYYYYYY, thought I wasn’t gonna bring it around, did ya? 😛

Side Review: Damage Mover – another reviewer pointed out that another Colorless GX that benefits from moving damage counters around was Tauros-GX! Kinda funny that I forgot all about Tauros-GX. Maybe it’s the lack of impact he’s had overall compared to recent additions like Golisopod-GX, Gardevoir-GX, or even just Garbodor? Or maybe it’s the idea that he’s not usually the main headliner in any deck he’s run in, like Drampa-GX? In any case, Damage Mover still doesn’t seem like it’s worth the slots you’d devote to it – there’s just something better out there usually.

Weekend Thought: Have you gotten your hands on the new Ultra Prism set yet? Feel like it’s all it’s cracked up to be? Do you think these cards work well with all these new cards? What decks do you think you could slot these into?

When you look at the entire card attributes and effects, one might wonder why this card is in the “rare” category. Both attacks are nothing special, with Fire Fang doing damage and inflict burn which damages that Pokémon even more, and Puncturing Fangs doing 90 for DCC, which would’ve been alright for a Basic and not a Stage 1.

Standard: 1.25/5
Expanded: 1.25/5
Limited: 3/5
Theme: 3/5


Possibly, for Standard and Expanded play, you might dismiss this Houndoom as being just a bad card to play, even if its a Stage 1. But actually, in a Theme format, this card is a godsend. Thus, I shall review this card mostly in the context of the Theme deck format.

Houndoom is a Dark type, which is fine, and a 110 HP build is decent. Its a Stage 1, so its easy to prepare as well. Being weak to Fighting is a problem with Buzzwole running around, but in a Theme deck format it isn’t a big problem. Resistance to Psychic is a great resistance, as many great attackers in the Theme format are Psychic types – Hidden Moon’s Lunala (my favorite Theme deck atm) and Mewtwo Mayhem’s Mewtwo to name a few. A retreat cost of 1 is also wonderful. 

The first attack, Fire Fang, has been seen before – on Roaring Heat’s Incineroar (SM Base) and it’s as simple as being the Dark variant of it. 30 damage plus burn for a [D][C] is great in the slow theme format, as the game there is so slow and thus burn damage has a greater chance to stick as players rarely can commit to retreat their Pokemon unless they have a Switch item card or something like that. The second attack, Puncturing Fangs, adds another [C] to Houndoom and it hits for a flat 90 damage, ignoring resistance. If you face a Fairy focused Theme deck, Houndoom can be a great starting attacker while you prepare a Hydreigon in the bench to do the big work. Also Dark weakness is quite relevant in the format – many Dark weak Psychic decks are around, and combined with a Professor Kukui, arguably the strongest draw supporter in the format, it makes for consistent OHKOs for a Stage 1! 

Overall, as a Theme deck attacker, Houndoom is an amazing attacker and its one of the big piece on why Destruction Fang is a good theme deck to start with. But in Standard and Expanded…. its quite bad to be honest. 


Standard: 2/5
Expanded: 1.5/5
Theme/Limited: 4.7/5


The last of the cards from the SM – Crimson Invasion Theme Decks that we’ll be highlighting is Houndoom (SM – Crimson Invasion 59/111).  As a reminder, I’ll touch upon its Constructed Format usage later, sans Unlimited because I don’t know and don’t really worry about that.  For the Theme Format, Stage 1 Pokémon are well worth using as the happy medium between the speed of Basic Pokémon and the power of Stage 2’s.  Houndoom would be better as a [R] Type, as there isn’t much [D] Weakness to exploit in the Theme Format and I’ll explain why that wouldn’t (or at least shouldn’t) be a problem for the Energy requirements when I cover the attacks.  For now, we’ll look at the 110 HP; when dealing with Theme Deck versus Theme Deck, the biggest attacks will score a OHKO, but medium ones will just barely whiff most of the time and the small ones may take two, three, or even more blows.  Fighting Weakness is very dangerous – a decent amount of the good (as well as the recent) Theme Decks are part Fighting and most of those are capable of at least mediocre attacks that become vicious when their damage is doubled.  Psychic Weakness won’t always help, given how the [P] Type includes quite a few Pokémon that focus on attack effects and not just damage, but it can be a life (and a game) saver often enough.  Another potential lifesaver is the Retreat Cost; most recent Theme Decks include a card or three that help you chance out your Active without having to manually retreat at full price, but only a few and you won’t don’t have the raw draw/search power of the Constructed Formats to help you get such support to your hand.  Quite a few Evolutions have chunkier Retreat Costs, so [C] on a Stage 1 is quite nice.

So, at last we come to the card’s effects, which are two attacks.  “Fire Fang” needs [DC] to do 30 plus Burn the opponent’s Active; most of the time, this means an effective 50 damage for two Energy.  With Weakness being so unlikely Special Conditions more useful here than in the Constructed Formats, hitting a little softer for something that requires protective effects stop both attack damage and attack effects, and might allow you to bypass certain triggered effects (like that of Wishful Baton) if you time it right, it is a good deal.  [DCC] pays for “Puncturing Fangs”, which does 90 damage and ignores Resistance.  Only Fairy Types are [D] Resistant, I only count four that contain [Y] Pokémon.  Among those, maybe the most recent (“Sky Guardian” of XY – Fates Collide) strikes me as being competitive, though a step or two below most of the recent SM-series Theme decks.  Honestly, before looking at it, I thought there were even fewer decks (and none competitive) for the Theme Format.  In other words, the effect is pretty useless, which is the norm for most anti-Resistance effects, as you’d be better off if the attack just did 20 more damage, or even just 10 more damage, as that would apply against everything and not just Resistant targets.  However, 90-for-three is still very good for the Theme Format, taking out most Basic Pokémon and a good deal of Stage 1’s in a single shot, and 2HKOing everything else.

I mentioned I wish Houndoom was a [R] Type instead of a [D] Type… why is that?  In the video games, Houndoom is a Dark/Fire Dual-Type Pokémon.  Even the TCG sometimes has allowed it to be both Types at once, during those rare periods when there was a mechanic for such a thing.  At other times, we’ve seen them fake it being a Dual-Type by being [D] or [R] but having the Weakness, Resistance, and/or Energy costs associated with the other Type.  Even for the Theme Format, Houndoom wouldn’t be too overpowering if it kept its [D] Type costs but was actually a [R] Type.  The effect of Puncturing Fangs would become pointless – nothing so far is [R] Resistant – but it is mostly pointless already (as explained above).  Such a change would certainly help Houndoom in the Expanded and Standard Formats.  As is, Houndoom is still a beast in the Theme and Limited Formats, having solid stats while hitting solid amounts of damage for the Energy required, even brining a worthwhile Special Condition and mostly [C] attack costs.  None of the specifics change when we switch over to Standard and Expanded, but whatever added support is gained is better spent elsewhere as now the HP and damage output are too low.


Standard: 1.75/5

Expanded: 1.75/5

Limited: 3.75/5

Theme: 3.85/5

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