A Look At The Format – Part 5 – Tornadus EX/Ho-Oh EX

texToday will wrap up our overview of what we have seen as the top decks of the format up until now.  So far, we’ve looked at Blastoise/Keldeo, Eels, Darkrai/Hydregion, Klinklang/EX, and Darkrai variants.  The list posted in the Darkrai article was a list designed to counter most of the other decks.  The last list that we will look at is similar in its mission.  Tornadus/Ho-Oh is a good counter deck that thrives on setting up an attacker quickly.  As with most of these decks, there are multiple ways to build the deck.  This deck continues to shift its make-up as other cards come out (mainly Keldeo).  Lets take a look.

Tornadus EX since its release has always carried with it the threat of “donking” your opponent.  Its usefulness beyond that recently got a huge boost with the release of the stadium, “Aspertia City Gym”, in the Boundaries Crossed set.  “Aspertia” boosts the HP of all colorless Pokemon by 20, taking Tornadus EX out of the 2-hit range of most opponents.  Add an “Eviolite” and you officially have a tank.  The major drawback of Tornadus EX is that, depending on the coin flip, its “Power Blast” attack may make you discard an energy card.  If a game runs long and the coin flips don’t go your way, you may find yourself short on energy.  Enter Ho-Oh EX.  The synergy between Ho-Oh‘s ability “Rebirth” and Tornadus‘s attack is excellent.  List time.

  • 3 – Tornadus EX
  • 2 – Landorus EX
  • 2 – Mewtwo EX
  • 1 – Ho-Oh EX
  • 2 – Bouffalant (DRE)
  • 4 – Professor Juniperhoohex
  • 4 – N
  • 3 – Skyla
  • 2 – Bianca
  • 4 – Pokemon Catcher
  • 4 – Switch
  • 4 – Ultra Ball
  • 3 – Eviolite
  • 3 – Energy Switch
  • 2 – Potion
  • 2 – Plus Power
  • 2 – Aspertia City Gym
  • 1 – Computer Search ACESPEC
  • 4 – Double Colorless Energy
  • 5 – Fighting Energy
  • 1 – Psychic Energy
  • 1 – Grass Energy
  • 1 – Fire Energy

The first thing that may stand out when looking at this list is the single Ho-Oh EX.  That is no accident.  Earlier builds that we have tried had a stronger line of the rainbow bird, but he is another character that Keldeo EX has driven into the shadows thanks to the Water-type weakness.  Ho-Oh‘s ability only works once it is in the discard pile.  Starting with Ho-Oh EX as your active Pokemon is devastating to the success of this deck.  That is the main reason we use only 1 copy in this list.

Your goal as the game progresses should be to discard Ho-Oh EX with “Ultra Ball”, “Computer Search” or “Professor Juniper”.  This does not have to happen quickly, so do not waste resources trying to do it early in a game.  Where Ho-Oh shines is once you have 3 different Basic energy cards in the discard pile, which again may not happen until later in your game.  A successful “Rebirth” gives you a fresh attacker that can hit for at least 80 damage (100 if you can attach the 4th type from your hand).  The other bonus of the “Rebirth” comes from it combined with “Energy Switch”.  The sudden appearance of 3 extra energy cards on your field may allow you to move the energy and load up a Mewtwo EX or the big punch (Land’s Judgement) from Landorus EX.  The obvious draw back of only playing 1 Ho-Oh is that it may get trapped in your prizes.  This can be fixed by adding a copy of the item card “Town Map”, letting you view your prize cards and take the Ho-Oh EX when you need it.

The combination of Tornadus EX, Mewtwo EX and Landorus EX gives you a high percentage chance of opening the game with someone who you can attack with immediately, putting pressure on your opponent’s set up, if not ending the game with the fabled “donk”.  If you find yourself across from Blastoise/Keldeo, your Landorus EX should never hit the bench.  In that match-up, discard Landorus EX the same way you would Ho-Oh and fight with Tornadus, Mewtwo and Bouffalant.  Tornadus EX with your stadium in play can one-hit all of the basics that must be evolved, such as Squirtle, Deino and Tynamo. 

The “Aspertia City Gym” stadium makes both Torrnadus EX and Bouffalant pretty nasty characters to deal with, as the added HP and “Eviolite” may allow 1 of them to last you 3-5 turns.  If you ride these guys as long as possible, then you should have the resources to counter anything your opponent does late in the game with your Mewtwo, Landorus or Ho-Oh.  We put a little taste of two different options for this build in the list above.  If you want to be more aggressive, you may increase the number of “Plus Power” cards, add “Tool Scrapper” and change to the “Skyarrow Bridge” stadium to aid everyone’s retreat cost.  If you like the idea of “tanking” these characters, then you may want a 3rd copy of the Aspertia City  and a full line of “Potion”.  If you really want to tank, then you could change out the “Computer Search ACESPEC” with the “Gold Potion ACESPEC” and just laugh off attempts to KO Tornadus and Bouffalant.  Keeping the “spirit of the game” in mind while you laugh, you should release your evil “Mwahahahaha” with a pleasant inside voice.

That’s it for the deck reviews for now.  We will follow all of this up with a look at how our new set, Plasma Storm, affects these decks and what it may change in the format.  We hope that these articles have been helpful to you whether you are looking to build a deck for competitive play or just looking to rule your league.  We suggest that before you dive into one of these decks and either trade for or buy the cards (if you don’t already have them), that you print some proxies of the cards you need first.  Play the deck with the proxies at home and at league and see if it a good deck for you.  If you have any questions about the decks or need some help building them with what you have, find a Gym Leader at league and we will be glad to help.  Until next time… see you at the Gym!


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