– Darkness Ablaze
August 30, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Houndoom-V seems pretty straightforward Pokemon with those attacks. A basic Fire Type with 210 HP, weak to Water, and a retreat cost of one, it has two attacks. Searing Flame costs a single Fire energy for 20 damage as well as Burning the Defending Pokemon, making it take 20 more damage between turns, so that’s already 40 total damage. This could only be used early game as that’s not what’s Houndoom-V is used for.
It has to do with its second attack, Vengeful Flame, which costs RRC for 100 damage plus 100 more damage if any of your Benched Fire Pokemon has any damage counters on it. Seems easy to fulfill, doesn’t it? Just slap a Rainbow Energy to damage one of your Benched Fire Pokemon, and the damage boost is immediate! Except that Rainbow Energy is no longer in Standard, and I don’t know any thing else besides Rainbow Energy that can damage your own Pokémon. At least Vengeful Flame can be rapidly fueled up by Welder and a manual attachment.
I can’t see Houndoom achieving OHKOs in Standard unless it’s exploiting Weakness found on most Grass and Metal types, and even then, there are some cards that can shave off Weakness. The upcoming Special Metal Energy acts similar to Weakness Guard Energy such that it removes weakness, so exploiting weakness is out of the question. While Vengeful Flame is a clean 2HKO against everything else, it just doesn’t seem enough.
In Expanded, you can actually achieve OHKOs but it requires a lot of investment. Rainbow Energy is indeed remaining in Expanded indefinitely, making self damage easier done. As a basic Fire Type, it benefits from Volcanion-EX’s Steam Up ability in which your Basic Fire Pokemon gets to do 30 more damage in you discard a Fire energy from your hand, and it can be stacked as much as four times due to having four Volcanion on the Bench. Top it off with Muscle Band, and you can do 340 damage, enough to KO the maximum printed HP.
If you pull this in Limited, I see no reason why you wouldn’t run this card. Searing Flame is a good attack to use right away in this Format, and Vengeful Flame, even unboosted, can still be good there.
Houndoom-V is a decent attacker that falls a bit short due to having to meet an requirement in order to be truly effective. If it did a flat 200 to begin with without effects, I would’ve still use it. But fulfilling certain conditions just asks for more trouble.
Note: At the time I am writing this, I do not have the final results from the Players Cup Finals.
Houndoom V (SW – Darkness Ablaze 021/189, 178/189) is a Pokémon V. The downside of this is it is worth an extra Prize when KO’d, is excluded from certain beneficial card effects, is targeted by certain detrimental card effects. The upside is that it should have better effects (relative to their costs), higher HP (relative Houndoom-EX and baseline Houndoom), and is a Basic Pokémon (instead of being a Stage 1). Being a Basic is the best, as it means Houndoom requires minimum deck space and no time to evolve; it can even be your opening Active. Being a Fire type is good for type-matching, exploiting the majority Weakness of Grass and Metal types. They also have some nifty support, though the most important technically only cares about basic and not Pokémon type (Welder).
210 HP is typical for Basic Pokémon V; Houndoom V has a decent chance of surviving a hit but is still well within OHKO range for the “big hitters” in a variety of decks. [W] Weakness hasn’t been a problem but that may finally be changing. Going into the second day, There was a Frosmoth/Inteleon VMAX deck in the top 6. No Resistance is technically the worst, but rarely matters… which isn’t changing anytime soon. A Retreat Cost of [C] is good and low. Houndoom V knows two attacks. [R] pays for “Searing Flame”, which does 20 damage and Burns your opponent’s Active. “Vengeful Flame” can be used for [RRC] to do 120 damage, plus 100 more damage if any of your Benched [R] Pokémon have at least one damage counter on them.
Searing Flame is decent for a single Energy attack; before Weakness, Resistance, or other effects you’ll score 20 damage plus at least another two in damage counter placement (faking 40 damage) or with luck another four damage counters (faking 60). If an opponent is only able to wall against damage or only able to wall against effects, half this attack still goes through. It really needs to do another 20 or so damage to really be worth it. Vengeful Flame can go from zero to attacking with your manual Energy attachment and full power Welder. Which is underwhelming if you’re not getting the bonus damage from the effect. If you have a deck that can reliably damage at least one of your Benched [R] Pokémon, you’re OHKOing most single and double Prize targets.
A Fire deck might consider Houndoom V as a back-up attacker; as long as something of yours takes some damage and you then retreat it, Houndoom V becomes a solid threat… maybe even a good one. You can also try and exploit its effect, though it isn’t as easy as it would have been pre-rotation. We no longer have Rainbow Energy to easily place a damage counter on one of your Benched [R] types. Charizard (SM – Team Up 14/181; SM – Black Star Promos SM158, SM226) can do it via its Ability, which attaches two Fire Energy from your deck to itself in the process… but that’s a Stage 2 meant to hit hard. Seems like it would be the focus, not Houndoom V. Maybe it is better to use something like Spikemuth?
Should you build a deck around it? Zacian V/Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX are six of the 16 decks going into Day 2, and another two are Zacian V/Lucario & Melmetal-GX decks. However, I’m not sure how well it will stack up against the other decks that finished well. Houndoom V is a lot less impressive if Centiskorch VMAX, Eternatus VMAX, Inteleon VMAX or even Zacian V are scoring OHKO’s… and I just named all but one deck from the top 16. The last one would be Decidueye (SW – Darkness Ablaze 013/189; SW – Black Star Promos SWSH035) and Galarian Obstagoon… which likely doesn’t need to, given it can wall against your damage or soft-lock you out of attacking. Nor is it like anyone did well with this deck pre-rotation, at least, not in the Pokémon Online Global Championship.
In the Expanded Format… Houndoom V is almost tempting. I strongly suspect I’m being naive, as I was thinking of backing it with Volcanion-EX, and there are more easy options for getting damage counters onto your Benched [R] Pokémon. Volcanion-EX, assuming you can keep your Abilities working, lets you pump up Vengeful Flame even further, as would likely Fighting Fury Belt or Muscle Band. For the Limited Format, you could risk running this as a Mulligan; Vengeful Flame might barely do enough damage for it to still work out. I wouldn’t recommend it though… but that just means using it in a non-Mulligan build, where you’re not guaranteed to open with it but you can hopefully get at least one other [R] type on your Bench with at least one damage counter on it.
Houndoom V is has decent stats and can hit good damage but we may be entering a time when that 210 HP isn’t as big as I thought it was, and when keeping an injured [R] Pokémon safe on your Bench is tricky. In Expanded, these things can be done, but the competition is much more fierce. In the Limited Format, a Mulligan build won’t let you tap the bonus damage for Vengeful Flame, and even a regular deck may have some trouble with it. Houndoom V would have been our 17th-place finisher, but it didn’t make my list. I did, at least, consider it, but dismissed it pretty early because I expected Centiskorch VMAX to be the go-to new Fire deck.
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