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Franco Takahashi

Ho-Oh is Cool and Burning Hot

Franco goes over his Ho-Oh-GX list, breaking down in detail explaining why he believes that Ho-Oh is a strong deck along with some match up analysis and some changes you can try in the deck as well.

03/12/2018 by Franco Takahashi

 

Introduction

 

Hello 60 Cards readers, now that the 2nd quarter has ended and we’ve entered into the 3rd quarter along with the new Ultra Prism set, things seems to be shaking up a little with the new cards and I’m sure everyone is still trying different combinations of cards and strategies trying to find the new formula for the new format, and I am currently working in that as well.  However, in this article I wanted to share some of my league cup experience from the 2nd quarter since I was able to win 2 cups using Ho-oh and I personally felt like Ho-oh was still good in the current standard format. Also we were able to notice that some Ho-oh decks were able to achieve some results at the Oceania Internationals and in the recent Regionals as well, and if the meta is shifting appropriately I even think that it can remain viable in the Ultra Prism format so I thought I would write this article about Ho-oh for those who are interested to know my experience or want to get to know Ho-oh better perhaps.

 

Ho-Oh-GX 1.0 

So here’s the original list I used to win one of the cups, it is a simple Ho-oh Salazzle build, but I’ll go into depth with the list.

 

 

3 Ho-oh-GX

The heart and main attacker of this deck.  It’s a 190 HP basic Pokémon that have lightning weakness which isn’t heavily popular in the current meta, and the fighting resistance is actually nice bonus against Pokémon like Buzzwole-GX and Lycanroc-GX forcing them to commit little more for them to hit the ideal damage output numbers.  Its main attack Phoenix Burn deals 180 damage which is actually good damage output number allowing you to one shot most EX Pokémon and GX Pokémon like Tapu Lele-GX.  In addition to this, by combining cards like Choice Band and Volcanion-EX’s Steam Up ability, Phoenix Burn can increase up to 210 or even 240 damage which it puts in one shot range for almost all of the popular GX Pokémon that are currently played at the moment.  Its other attack, Sacred Fire is not the best attack for 3 energies but it’s not so bad either allowing you to put 50 to the bench or even 80 to the active Pokémon with Steam Up ability can be helpful sometimes to setup those future knockouts as well.  Its GX attack, Eternal Wing-GX is a cute attack but in this deck you rather use Turtonator-GX’s Nitro Tank-GX attack almost every game so I personally never had the chance to use it at official events yet.  In addition to the attacks, since Phoenix Burn have a side effect where you can’t use Phoenix Burn the following turn, the 2 retreat cost is not the optimal but it is reasonably a nice retreat cost considering you have decent amount of ways to get those 2 energies back right away, it comes in handy time to time.  Ho-oh-GX is actually one of the Pokémon you would like to start with when the game begins, and since it is also your main attacker, I thought 3 would be a reasonable number to play in the deck , 4 is also a nice number and I’ve also considered before but due to the fact that the list is pretty tight and due to the fact that there are cards like Ultra Ball and Nest Ball that can search for Ho-oh from the deck as well so I decided that 3 was a fine number in the deck.

 

 

2 Volcanion-EX

Volcanion-EX is actually a very important card in the deck.  The first reason is the obvious reason of utilizing the ability Steam Up to deal more damage to your opponent’s Pokémon, however the other major role that Volcanion-EX have in the deck is that it is a 3 energy attacker.  Since Ho-oh requires  energies to do Phoenix Burn, having a good 3 energy secondary attacker becomes a key in the deck since it helps you to keep your temp better due to having 1 less energy to attack, therefore it helps you to maintain your attackers with attachment per turn and Max Elixirs.  Since Volcanion-EX is a Fire and Water type, having the option to hit for those weakness is a nice bonus, plus with a Choice Band and Steam Up on its own can deal 190 damage which is a good damage output as well, therefore it is another nice secondary target that you can use Kiawe if you need to also.  As of copies in the deck, despite that it plays fair amount of energies in the deck, you generally want to maintain your tempo and attackers streaming through the game, you generally don’t have much of the luxury to steam up all the time either since you want to consistently have an energy in hand to attach for your follow up attackers and another energy to steam up, however since you play cards like Kiawe and Max Elixirs plus adding the fact that several energies can end up been prized, sometimes it can become to have the luxury to Steam Up all the time, not to mention a Ho-oh-GX with Choice Band can still one shot most of the stage 1 GX Pokémon as well so you don’t really need to have to Steam Up all the time either; also unlike the traditional Volcanion heavy decks, the deck doesn’t have much ways to get the energies back to the board therefore your energy resource management becomes key when it comes to piloting this deck.  Therefore I thought that 2 was a solid number overall considering prizing and etc.

1 Turtonator-GX

Turtonator-GX is also another very key card in this deck.  Its Nitrotank-GX attack allows you to get back 5 fire energies from the discard into the board which is very good allowing you to setup another Ho-oh-GX and even Turtonator-GX itself putting your opponent on a spot where either Turtonator-GX or Ho-oh-GX can swing back the following turn.  It’s attack Bright Flame requires to discard 2 fire energies but the damage output with Choice Band and Steam Up an add up to 220 which is very nice and strong.  Its first attack Shell Trap is rarely used since majority of the times you want to go aggressive with Ho-oh-GX but still a nice option to have it around, and Turtonator is also another nice target to use Kiawe as well.  I have seen several other Ho-oh decks that plays multiple copies of Turtonator-GX in the deck, however since I run other attackers such as Salazzle-GX that takes significant slots in the deck, and generally I promote a Ho-oh-GX as an opening attacker then once that Ho-oh gets knocked out, I promote the Turtonator-GX to utilize Nitrotank-GX to charge up my board, generally the Turtonator that I promoted have the chance that it gets knocked out or gets scratched from the attacks so I felt like you won’t really be using more than 1 Turtonator if you manage to be attacking with Ho-oh-GX, yet still just like Volcanion-EX, it is a 3 energy attacker also this is also another important aspect to keep in mind as well. However unlike Ho-oh and Volcanion, since Turtonator requires discarding 2 energies it is actually much harder to constantly spam Bright Flame where Ho-oh and Volcanion-EX allows you to do that if you manage to switch back into the bench.  Under those reasons I came to conclusion to only play 1 copy in the deck  since it have a lower chance to get prized, and if anything since the deck goes aggressive taking prizes early game, I figured it wouldn’t be a major issue most of the time.

 


2-2 Salandit / Salazzle-GX

I personally think Salazzle-GX has a very important role in this deck for different reasons.  First, the Salandit is a nice basic Pokémon since 70 HP makes 3 shot range from attacks like Jet Punch from Buzzwole-GX, and the 1 retreat is also a nice bonus since you can combo with Guzma to retreat easily if you don’t have Tapu Lele-GX on the bench and helps you to attack with Ho-oh-GX to spam Phoenix Burn slightly better.  Now moving to Salazzle-GX, It’s attack Heat Blast is actually nice attack where it allows you to go aggressive early in the game in scenarios where you somehow weren’t able to hit the Turn 1 Kiawe to Ho-oh-GX or other big basic attackers and 110 is a nice damage output to putting things into two shot range and you also have Choice Band to change the numbers in you favor as well.  Due to this deck’s characteristic where it focuses on taking prizes really quickly, Salazzle-GX becomes a very important Pokémon that will allow you to close the game.  Its attack Diabolical Claws does 50 more damage per prize you have taken and it only requires 2 energies which is practical and strong late game since late game your opponent will most likely tries to N you to lower hand size and it becomes difficult to setup your board when most of your attackers requires 3 or 4 energies to deal significant damage to close the game.  Therefore Salazzle-GX becomes is important card that will put your opponent into a “check” state since once you take 4 prizes it can deal 200 damage and with Choice Band it will deal 230 damage which it puts majority of GX Pokémon in one shot range.  Since it is stage 1 Pokémon and important closer that even allows you to go aggressive early game, and there might be scenarios where you’re forced to discard the Salazzle-GX card early game or potential prizing, I thought that 2-2 line was balanced and consistent, also depending on certain matchups there are scenarios where you have to full utilize the 2-2 line Salazzle-GX as well so I felt like it was good number in the deck.

1 Volcanion

Volcanion is in the deck to serve as a midgame backup attacker since Power Heater allows you to get some energy back onto the board while you’re chipping some damage to your opponent’s Pokémon, and it also serves as the 7th prize card Pokémon as well.  From my personal experience the card comes in handy time to time but most of the time if you’re attacking with Power Heater at the start of the game, it is a sign that you’re not having a great start and most likely you could struggle mid game on.  It is helpful it isn’t essential, yet sometimes having that extra energy acceleration that Max Elixir can’t provide you is nice, therefore I thought 1 was enough in the deck as of now.

 

 

3 Tapu Lele-GX

Not much to explain here, the key card that allows you to search cards like Kiawe, Guzma, and draw supporter based on your board sate.  I have seen lists that play 4 Tapu Lele-GX in Ho-oh decks, but from my personal experience generally cards like Ho-oh-GX and Turtonator-GX puts so much pressure on board that your opponent generally don’t go after your Tapu Lele-GX early game unless their plays are limited that they are forced to go after, but if they go after Tapu Lele-GX that generally means that they are ignoring Ho-oh-GX and it’ll most likely get Phoenix Burned the following turn so the odds are pretty low in my experience for that scenario to occur.  In addition to this, I simply didn’t want to make my deck too ability reliant so Garbo Toxin Garbodor won’t hurt me was another reason.  As a result, having more Lele in the deck does help to increase your consistency, but I find that I generally only get to bench 2 Lele in a game and generally by the time I bench the 3rd Lele is to close the game or under desperate scenarios since each time you bench a Lele, it’ll most likely take up a bench spot for the most part in the game, therefore I thought that was 3 was a fine number in my deck.

 

4 Professor Sycamore

Standard draw supporter, this likes to go aggressive with its setup therefore 4 is a good number since you also play cards like Super Rod to get back some of the resources if anything.

3 N

Another draw supporter that can be useful time to time mid game on or even late game to disrupt your opponent,  I played 3 copies in my deck due to the fact that there weren’t many strong draw supporter at that time, but with the release of Cynthia I think it can be cut down to 2.

 

3 Kiawe

The primary energy acceleration card for Ho-oh-GX, one of the main cards of the deck.  I have seen some decks running 2 Kiawe and thicker line of Tapu Lele-GX, but as I explained before about Tapu Lele-GX, and also staring the game with Kiawe in hand also means that you don’t have to bench a Lele and you can save those Wonder Tags for later in the game for other occasions so I thought having 3 Kiawe seemed to be fine.

4 Guzma

Another important card that allows you to target on your opponent’s GX/EX Pokémon to knock them out while resetting the effects of Phoenix Burn or Volcanic Heat.  Since there are times where you need to discard some of them early game and once Ho-oh is charged up, you want to have it in your hand so 4 was the ideal number to have in the deck for consistency purpose.

 

4 Ultra Ball

Searches for any Pokémon, therefore 4 are a must for max consistency.

 

2 Nest Ball

Nest Ball is a very versatile card in the deck, based on my experience I had many moments where the Nest Ball came in handy since it allows you search for cards like Ho-oh-GX, Turtonator-GX, and Salandit which it needs to evolve, so I generally find the card to be very handy since it helps you to hit the turn 1 Kiawe Ho-oh combo slightly better, and even mid game on it helps you to search Turtonator-GX or Salandit without having to discard 2 cards like Ultra Ball, and you can use that Ultra Ball to Tapu Lele-GX if necessary instead.  I have seen many lists playing at least 1, but since I play a stage 1 in the deck and the reasons I just mentioned, I think having 2 in the deck was a nice number.

 

3 Max Elixir

A good way to energy accelerate your energies to your backup attackers mid game on, it one of the important cards in the deck as well.  Most deck generally seems to be playing 4 copies of Max Elixir and I think the logic seems to makes sense where you want to constantly want to have as many energy possible in the deck.  However, the reason why I decided to only play 3 Max Elixir is because based on my testing experience upon using Max Elixir I felt like I wasn’t hitting much of the Max Elixirs mid game on.  The reason behind it is because I played 14 fire energies total in my deck, and let’s just say that there is a decent chance that you can potentially start with 1 or 2 fire energies in hand, then you turn 1 Kiawe, that means at least 6 energies out 14 are currently not in the deck.  In addition to that there are other factors to consider such as potentially 2~3 energies getting prized + energies that were drawn from Sycamore or energies getting discarded via Ultra Ball or Steam Up and etc.  To make it long story short, if you add those factors, by the time you play the 3rd or 4th Max Elixir, and you haven’t got to play cards like Super Rod, most likely there will be low count energies remaining in the deck I felt like the odds of hitting from Elixir seemed low based on my personal experience, therefore that was my logic behind on playing 3 copies of Max Elixirs.

 

2 Super Rod

One of the recovery cards in the deck.  Since the deck plays Salazzle-GX where Salandit needs to be in play for a turn in order to be able to evolve, but you also have to constantly setup your board by trying to draw into the cards you need or even cutting some cards through Ultra Ball time to time, since the deck relies on Salazzle as a closer and there might even time where you have to cut Super Rod itself early in the game as well so to in order to have the Super Rod consistently when you need it, I thought that 2 was a good number in the deck.  It is also very helpful to get your energies back from the discard into your deck so Max Elixir has a better chance to hit also.

 

4 Choice Band

This is the key card that allows Ho-oh-GX reach 210 damage without having to Steam Up which is enough to one shot majority of the popular stage 1 GX Pokémon’s, it also have a nice synergy with Volcanion-EX allowing you to reach 190 damage combining with Steam Up which is enough to knockout basic EX Pokémon and a lot of the basic GX Pokémon as well if it needs to be done.  Since it is an important card for Salazzle-GX to deal 230 damage once you took 4 prizes and most players might be running 2~3 Field Blower in their decks, I figured 4 was the number to play in the deck.

 

2 Switch

Switch is an important card Ho-oh deck, since it allows you reset Phoenix Burn and Volcanic Heat’s side effect, and often times you want to have a Choice Band attached into your attackers so having a switching card that allows you to do that is very important since you don’t want to or have the Guzma all the time either, therefore I thought 2 was a good number since the deck also plays other important cards as well. 

1 Float Stone

It is a neat card as many of you guys know allowing you to have a free retreater on the bench for Guzma or simply allows you to have it attached into a Pokémon to serve it as a wall or to switch back Pokémon that was unexpectedly dragged out, however as I mentioned in the Switch section, your attackers will mainly prefer to have Choice Band instead and you play so many other switching cards and having more than 1 copy of Float Stone is still nice, yet since the list is tight and I personally felt like utilizing other switching cards I would be fine in terms of resource management so I thought 1 was fine in the deck.

 

14 Fire Energy

Personally I wish I could run 1 more energy but I still think 14 is a balanced number considering  the deck plays 2 Super Rod as well, so as long as you take a good track on your energies it didn’t felt like much of an issue to me.

 

 

Cards That Did Not Made the Cut

 

So that was a breakdown view of my Ho-oh Salazzle deck.  Now I would like to go through some of the cards I considered but end up not making into the deck.

 

Field Blower

I’d say this card can become the 61th card, since there are no way to in the deck to break stadiums but honestly the only stadium can annoy you is Parallel City, aside from that, I personally don’t see much of an issue stadium wise.  As for tools, there aren’t many tools that I consider threating since most decks does play heavy amount of Choice Band that I feel like 1 Field Blower won’t do much of a difference most of the time, Fighting Fury Belt can potentially become annoying but you still have Choice Band and Steam Up so you can deal up to 240 damage if anything.  Combining all those factors plus that the list was super tight and I wanted to focus on consistently executing my basic strategies, I decided to opt it out from the deck for those reasons.

 

Wishful Baton

It was a neat tool that allows you to recover 3 energies if it’s attached to Ho-oh-GX moving it to your second attacker, I personally think this card is cute that can pull few tricks as long as it doesn’t get discarded from Field Blower.  Also since the current meta have a lot of Pokémon that have over 200 HP, you generally want to have Choice Band attached instead, and often times you rather attack your energies into your backup attackers rather than discarding them for Steam UP, so considering there is a decent chance that you can whiff the energy to do a knockout or it gets blown away by Field Blower were the reason that I end up opting it out from the deck.

 

Oranguru SUM 113

Oranguru is a card that seems to be very common in Ho-oh deck, however I decided not to play in the deck due to several reasons and here is my perspective towards Oranguru in Ho-oh.  Since the Ho-oh deck tends to go aggressive from the beginning with prizes and often times your opponent will try to N you into lower hand size hoping for you to slow down with setup and prevent you from trying to close the game and Oranguru can come in handy to draw some extra cards, I personally understands and agree how game changing or it can save you few games from Oranguru, however when your opponent generally tries to shrink your hand to 3~2 cards +1 card from draw.  You actually have a decent chance of hitting a supporter that’ll get you out of there, even if you didn’t if your board set up is strong such as having a solid attacker or Salazzle-GX ready most likely you’ll be able to stall until you hit something or even close the game despite of the N.  In addition to this, there are times where you might need to hoard or draw into cards that you won’t be able to get rid of them or use at the time so generally Oranguru will most likely be drawing only 1 or 2 cards.  Would those 1~2 cards can make the difference? My answer is, “Sure, but would those 1 or 2 cards make the difference in a majority of games?” Then my answer to that would be most likely, “Not unless you having a really good day.”  Also Oranguru itself have 2 retreat cost which means that if you start off I’d have to either hit my only Float Stone perfectly, or burn one of my Switches that I rather save on to them for other occasions, or somehow hit other fire attackers Kiawe along with my opening hand so I can do the turn 1 Kiawe then Guzma to switch Oranguru back into the bench in order to be able to apply fast pressure to your opponent.  Last but not least, based on my personal experience generally toward mid game my bench generally have 2 Tapu Lele-GX, 1 Volcanion-EX, 1 Salazzle-GX, 1 Turtonator-GX or another fire attacker, also considering the fact that your opponent can get alarmed about Salazzle-GX, they can try to go after it before it gets charged up, therefore sometimes you want to have 2 Salandit on the bench as well.  Considering all these board states and my personal experience from playing the deck I came to a conclusion that there isn’t really a bench spot for Oranguru thinking all the factors I mentioned.  Therefore in the end I came to a conclusion that Oranguru is a card that can be helpful time to time but overall felt like it have a higher odds to be a liability so that was my reasoning behind why I decided not to include Oranguru in my deck.

 

 

 

Matchups

So, now I’m want to go over some of the matchups based on my personal experiences through the games I’ve played against and what I think they feel like, making the matchup ration into number seems kind of weird for me to make it precisely, so I’m just going to break them down into “Favorable”, “Even”, “Unfavorable” to make them easier to distinguish then I’ll go into details for each matchups.

 

Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX (favorable)

I want to say overall is favorable from personal experience, however it does require some momentums in your luck and resource management to plan your game turns ahead.  The advantage you have as a deck is that Ho-oh-GX has 190 HP and it can one shot pretty much every GX in that deck with a Choice Band or a Steam Up.  While Zoroark Lycanroc deck have to try to two shot the Ho-oh or use Dangerous Rouge-GX to one shot Ho-oh-GX.  As a result it generally creates this prize trade advantage in the game, and as a Ho-oh player, you have to have your board prepared for Dangerous Rouge-GX since with cards like Choice Band, Strong Energy, and Professor Kukui, despite that you try to narrow your own bench and Ho-oh have resistance to fighting type, they’ll most likely hit the knockout due to all these cards in the deck, therefore it is important to have an answer to it quickly such as Nitrotank-GX or have another attacker ready to start applying the same pressure again to close the game.   The matchup also swings a little depending on how quickly they can apply pressure as well since if the Ho-oh happens to have a slow start, then it becomes winnable for Zoroark Lycanroc as well, but overall the matchup seemed fine for Ho-oh player.

 

Zoroark-GX/Golisopod-GX (Favorable)

This matchup is also very similar to Zoroark Lycanroc, if the Golisopod player doesn’t run cards like the promo Lurantis then there really isn’t a way to one shot Ho-oh-GX while you have the advantage to one shot them.  However yet they can still utilize cards like Mewtwo or Tapu Koko with Choice Band to make the prize trade awkward, but as long as you maintain to stream your attackers, it should be fine.

 

Golisopod-GX/Garbodor (Favorable)

If the deck doesn’t play Trashalanche Garbodor then the matchup becomes easier since their main attacker is Golisopod, and your Tapu Lele-GX would be shut down but other than that your attackers will be able to one shot their Golisopod’s while they’ll have to two shot you.  Even if you happen to miss the turn 1 Kiawe due to a weak hand start, you still have other alternative attackers like Salazzle-GX that can one shot the Golisopod’s as well which is a nice bonus.  Overall as long as you take good care of their techs such as Tapu Koko and maintaining your attacker setups, then the matchup should be favorable.

 

Buzzwole-GX/Lycanroc (Even)

This matchup is kind of tricky since Buzzle and Lycanroc have a way to one shot Ho-oh and since they both have 190+ HP it requires to for Ho-oh to hit a Choice Band.  This matchup is generally favored, but it can be even considered as even due to the fact that it can swing whether how quickly the Buzzwole player can hit their Max Elixirs to have an immediate answer to Ho-oh, or how quickly the Ho-oh can use Kiawe becomes also another factor as well.  Overall the matchup really becomes based on who can apply quick pressure and maintain their board state.

 

Buzzwole-GX/Garbodor (Unfavorable)

This matchup similar as well, the difference is that instead of Octillery the deck plays Garbo Toxin Garbodor so it doesn’t have that extra push that can lead into hitting extra Elixirs for potential quick respond, however the deck generally tends to play Carbink BREAK which is a 1 prize attacker and it can instantly charge up the Buzzwole.  In addition to that, Fighting Fury Belt pushes Buzzwole’s HP to 230 and along with Garbotoxin Garbodor, it shuts down Volcanion-EX’s Steam UP ability which means that the damage output for Ho-oh-GX will remain capped to 210, making the match up even more difficult.  In the end the game really comes down for Ho-oh players to how quickly they can take the prizes to setup for Salazzle to pull the closing damage output or by trying to pin point knockout the board threats based on the board state, if it is the version that plays Trashalanche Garbodor with Rainbow Energy then the matchup becomes more tricky since you’re in a spot where you have to manage your resources more carefully but since Buzzwole is a deck that you can’t give much time to breath, eventually you’ll be in a spot where you are forced to use some items as well and the matchup becomes difficult, therefore I would make this matchup as unfavorable from all these factors.

 

 

Zoroark-GX/Gardevoir-GX (Unfavorable)

This is another unfavorable due to the fact of how Zoroark’s trade ability makes the deck consistent and explosive with the setup which it makes a lot easier to setup Gardevoir-GX and other key cards that it needs to get the knockout.  Since Ho-oh requires 4 energies to do Phoenix Burn, it is very easy for Gardevoir-GX to pull the knockout.  Even if Ho-oh plays Fighting Fury Belt, it’ll require to Steam Up twice which is very difficult for Ho-oh to do under pressure therefore it becomes a very difficult match.  As Ho-oh player, this is where Salazzle-GX becomes a key card in the matchup, since Salazzle-GX can start apply pressure for 2 energies, you have to utilize Salazzle-GX and even Ho-oh-GX to grab quick prizes in order to pull the final knockout with Salazzle-GX for closing.  But nonetheless, I’d say this is not an unbeatable matchup, yet it is one of the most difficult matchup for Ho-oh so I concluded as an unfavorable matchup.

 

Ho-Oh-GX 1.5 

Now that I went through some of the common matchups, I’d like to briefly go over to my Ho-oh list with a minor tune up that I managed to win a cup also.

 

 

Logic Behind

Honestly the idea came initially from Ho-oh-GX Garbodor during 2017 World Championship so I knew Ho-oh and Garbodor was able to pair up together fine, however we’re in a different time period and with different format, plus based from my personal experience I knew that Volcanion-EX and Salazzle-GX was going to be a key to close some deals, so I wanted to keep them as well.  Since the game was becoming very ability heavy and there were decks like Vikavolt Tapu Bulu where generally the matchup was almost even but if I start the game second, it becomes even more difficult so I wanted to have Garbodor to slow them now to gain that momentum, plus in a format where ability is heavily used I figured it would be a plus since Ho-oh doesn’t heavily rely on ability as long as you manage your resources efficiently.  The reason behind I decide to only do 1-1 Garbodor line basically because I still wanted to keep the Ho-oh Salazzle concept, and Garbodor was really the purpose as a tech to slow down my opponent a little or apply some sort of pressure simply by having it in the bench, therefore I only played a thin line of Garbodor since I didn’t wanted to make a build that is reliant on Garbodor as well. 

Since the initial deck only played 1 Float Stone and 2 Switch, I decide to swap 1 of the Switch to bump the Float Stones to 2 since you want to attach them into Trubbish ideally; also you have Choice Band as well so I wasn’t personally worried about the low cunt on tools as well since Switch still gets out of active and Guzma does the same job as well.  At one point I was considering to play 2 Trubbish but having a thicker line of Trubbish also means that you’ll have a slight higher chance of starting off with it, despite that it is not huge deal to start with Trubbish but you still rather start with another Pokémon instead since you can use it as a Kiawe target and other things however, starting with Trubbish can complicate your start as well since you need to have your attackers ready and need to hit a switch card or else you miss the appropriate momentum to apply pressure to your opponent as well, therefore I decided to only play 1 Trubbish under those reasons. 

As of Ho-oh Garbodor, you can make a thicker line of Garbodor, but by making the Garbodor line also means that you need to cut some of the Pokémon lines, and these changes can change the deck concept significantly, in fact the Ho-oh Garbodor list I had during Worlds 2017 had a thicker line of Garbodor so I’m sure the deck functions well but I wanted to point that out as something consider for those who wanted to try that version out. 

 

 

 

Cards You Can Add From Ultra Prism

Cynthia

No need to explain much here, it is the new staple supporter card, since some decks are cutting down their N from their deck to replace them with Cynthia, also means that there are going to be some matches where you are going to get N early in the game, therefore having a decent amount of Cynthia in the deck can be help for you as well, not to mention that this deck goes really aggressive with prizes early game so Cynthia does better job getting you out from dead hand late game as well, therefore I think Cynthia is a good plus in the deck just like the rest of the decks in the format as well.

Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX

This card is mainly for its ability “Invasion” which is the same ability as Zoroark’s “Stand In” ability.  It’ll allow you to reset Ho-oh’s Phoenix Burn’s side effect and even Volcanion’s Volcanic Heat as well so it is actually a very strong ability allowing you to use those attacks much more practical without having to rely on hitting cards like Switch or Guzma then retreat as long as Dawn Wings Necrozma have a Float Stone attached.  This card is very strong and neat but yet still is a consideration that it’ll take one of your bench slots, and you still are required to have Float Stone attached or else the ability won’t be efficient and the card is weak to Dark type which means that it can easily become a 2 prize target for Zoroark-GX.  Therefore the card is very strong, but those needs to be aware as well upon inserting this card into the deck so make sure those factors are considered and have outs for those scenarios.

 

Pal Pad

Pal Pad is a nice card since it allows you to get draw supporters for late game to make your consistency better or Guzma which has always had a nice synergy with Ho-oh.  The only minor issue with the card is that there are going to be times where you need to cut the card early game and once you discard it and you only play a single copy in the deck, and then it becomes a dead card for the rest of the game.  Also the list is generally tight so it’s actually quite tricky to determine what card can be replaced since you generally other cards that you’d prefer to run, however it is still a neat card that can be a plus if it’s drawn from the deck at the right time so it definitely an option that can be considered in the end.

 

Salandit

70 HP is a solid HP, and 1 retreat is also plus, along with its attack Combustion have a better damage output than the one from Guardians Rising so definitely a plus.

 

 

 

Conclusion

I think Ho-oh is a deck that can still remain relevant in the current standard format even with the release of Ultra Prims as long as the Meta shaped where not many Pokémon can one shot Ho-oh-GX practically.  And as I wrote through the article and based from other lists that managed to do well at different events, the deck have shown that there are many ways you can build the Ho-oh deck whether it’s pairing up with Salazzle-GX, Garbodor, Wobbuffet, or even just keeping it simple with just Turtonator-GX and etc.  Hopefully this article was able to help you understand some of my logic behind about my Ho-oh list and hopefully it was something that can help you somehow in your future deck building whether you want to try to create your own Ho-oh deck or something else in the future.  But for now I want to say thank you very much for reading this article and see you guys until next article!

 

Franco

-Twitter @FCTakahashiINFO

[+18] okko


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