February 28, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Ninetales from HeartGold & SoulSilver is our Throwback Thursdays, and you can read an older review nine years ago. I won’t go through the entire card, but the first reason for this Throwback is that it has a very good ability, I meant Poke-Power even though the rest of the card is unimpressive. Roast Reveal states that once during your turn, you may discard a Fire energy from your hand and draw 3 cards. When it came out, draw Supporters are somewhat lacking. Sure, there’s Professor Oak’s New Theory and possible Engineer’s Adjustment to facilitate draw power, but the rest are mostly search cards. Discarding a Fire energy can hurt, but there are ways to get Fire energy back. Well, even better is that Typhlosion Prime’s Afterburner can recover AND fuel up attacks. With Ninetales/Typhlosion, the one thing it needed is a heavy hitter. And it finally got it in the form of Reshiram from Black & White. However, Professor Juniper also came out and players felt that there’s no need for a 2-2 or 3-3 line when a card draws for seven cards, and still save deck space. Sadly, Ninetales saw no play since.
So what does it matter now after many years? Another reason it warranted a Throwback is that there’s another card from Japan that possesses the same ability name. We’ve got Salazzle from Japan’s Sun & Moon tenth expansion called Double Blaze. It possesses the same Roast Reveal ability but with better stats all round. 10 more HP (100 vs 90) and an attack costing R less than Ninetales’s Will-o-the-Wisp attack while still doing 60 damage…not that you attack with this Pokémon. In a Sun & Moon format, there may not be Professor that discards and draw 7 cards, but Sightseer and Ingo & Emmet comes close. And there’s no shortage of Pokémon or trainer cards that recover Fire energies. Blacephalon-GX would love this card since it adds more combos to first put Fire energies in the discard pile and then recover it via Naganadel’s Charging Up Ability. Roast Reveal, Heat Factory, and other methods of discard fodder from your hand helps their cause. Of course, it isn’t limited to just one successful deck, any or most Fire decks can enjoy using Salazzle.
So back to Ninetales. It is legal in the Legacy Format, except that it isn’t seeing as much play. If there’s any indication of its competitive worth during the seasons of September 2009 to 2010, September 2010 to July 2011, July 2011 to September 2012, then you could say the same for Legacy. Ninetales is not worth the Bench slot, or even a deck slot, for reasons including the advent of Professor Juniper, getting dragged Active via Pokémon Catcher and KOed, and/or getting KOed in the Bench. That’s what I would’ve said but two things changed. Pokemon Catcher was nerfed such that it requires a coin flip to be successful and any player that goes first cannot attack. So Vulpix might not be easily defeated. Still, the bench slot is subject to debate, bench damage and Pokémon Catcher can still cause grief. Another option for Ninetales related cards is one from Black & White Dragons Exalted, whose Bright Look ability is effectively the effect of Gust of Wind. So having both draw ability and Catcher like ability can be useful in Legacy if you’re willing to run 4-2/2, but is not that important. Best case, Roast Reveal cannot be shut off by Garbotoxin, since it is a Poke-Power, not an ability.
It’s a bit early to determine how good Roast Reveal is overall, so I’ll have to wait and explore how much Salazzle will see play. For this review, however, Ninetales gets a N/A for both Standard and Expanded, though Ninetales would be unneeded since Salazzle eventually comes out (had it updated to change from a Poke-Power to an ability).
It’s always good to refresh yourself on older cards, especially because the Pokemon Company tends to revitalize old ideas onto newer cards. No, I don’t just mean with the vanilla attacks, though today is no exception.
Ninetales is a Stage 1 Fire Pokemon, 90 HP, with a Water Weakness, no Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of 1. Will-o’-the-Wisp requires 3 Energy and a spooky voice with some haunting music in the background and will let you deal 60 damage while turning off the lights and waggling your fingers at your opponent and hiding under a bed sheet with eye holes cut out from it. That way you can see how scared and frightened your opponent will be as they proceed not to get burned by your Fire Pokemon and even less burned by your scathing scary outfit.
Roast Reveal on the other hand is an Ability that lets you discard a Fire Energy to draw 3 cards. We’ve seen this Ability pretty recently in the form of Swampert’s Power Draw, only that could discard any card whereas this has to discard a specific kind of card. Course Swampert’s also a Stage 2 which requires at least 1 more card to bring him out than Ninetales, and he doesn’t benefit from things like Ditto <Prism> being in existence.
So why bring up Ninetales now? Well rumor has it that Roast Reveal is on its way back into the game soon, and that could mean an easier means of drawing 3 cards. Combined with some of the more recent Fire support that aims to add lots of Fire Energy to your hand, you can see that Roast Reveal coming back provides an ample opportunity to draw lots of cards! That kind of advantage can keep you going in the late-game. Even in Ninetales’s time, Roast Reveal proved to be a powerful Ability, and Swampert even saw success despite being a Stage 2 with a similar Ability!
Needless to say, drawing cards is good~
Standard: N/A (course Ninetales exited the format a while back, but he’d be a solid 4/5 or even 4.5/5 thanks to Ditto <Prism>)
Expanded: N/A (being in the HeartGold/SoulSilver expansion, he missed the boat on being in Expanded)
Limited: 4/5 (I don’t see too much of a reason why you wouldn’t run him here, though decks tend to be smaller)
Arora Notealus: Ninetales is still one of my favorites from Gen 1. I think for Fire Stone evolutions not named Flareon, it was either this guy or Arcanine that you’d want to pick from, and while Arcanine stats-wise is overall the better of the two, Ninetales just has a real pleasing aesthetic and cool concept! It’d be hard to say a legendary Pokemon would be able to do much about the curse of the Ninetales.
Next Time: Another powerful duo makes its way into the game
Another Thursday, another vintage card to review. Ninetales (HeartGold & SoulSilver 7/123; Call of Legends 17/95) is a Stage 1 [R] Type with 90 HP, [W] Weakness, no Resistance, Retreat Cost [C], the Poké-Power “Roast Reveal”, and the attack “Will-o’-the-wisp”. Poké-Powers – along with Poké-Bodies – are the predecessor of Abilities; think of Poké-Bodies as “passive” Abilities, the kind that are always on, and Poké-Powers as the Abilities you’d have to Activate. Roast Reveal is a once-per-turn Poké-Power you may use prior to attacking; you discard a [R] Energy from hand, then draw three cards. It cannot be used if Ninetales is affected by a Special Condition (a restriction common to almost all Poké-Powers). Will-o’-the-wisp costs [RRC] and does 60 damage. I don’t recall all the [R] Type support that coexisted alongside Ninetales, but I do remember decks which ran on basic Fire Energy ran it… at least at first. I’ve only got two [R] based decklists from this period, both from World Championship decks after Black & White had already released: Twinboar and Reshiphlosion. Twinboar was a “Magneboar” deck, which combined Emboar (Black & White 20/114; BW – Black Star Promos BW20; BW – Next Destinies 100/99; BW – Legendary Treasures 27/113) with Magnezone (HS – Triumphant 96/102); Magnezone provided plenty of draw power already. Reshiplosion decks, though, they used to contain Ninetales.
Ninetales was all about Roast Reveal. The attack was almost never used, the Stage and HP were adequate, the Retreat Cost solid, and Weakness/Resistance acceptable. That’s pretty close to the present day as well. I can’t tell you for sure because it has probably been over a year since I even played a Legacy Format game, but the [R] decks I did run when it was easier to find opponents prefer to have a Ninetales or two on the Bench for the supplemental draw. Reprinting this card just can’t happen – as I pointed out, we have Abilities now, now Poké-Powers or Poké-Bodies. If it happened, though, I think this would be a good addition to any almost any deck running on [R] Energy, though I also admit it would be difficult to make room. Whether learn whether I am right or wrong soon enough; one of the recently revealed new Japanese cards is a Salazzle with Roast Reveal as an Ability!
Ninetales was a solid card back in the day, is probably a solid card in the Limited Format, and I’m looking forward to seeing what its successor Salazzle will become in the near future.
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