If you think this review is too long to read, just skip
straight to the Ratings and Summary sections!
EX: Team Rocket Returns
You can play only one Supporter card each turn. When
you play this card, put it next to your Active Pokémon.
When your turn ends, discard this card.
Shuffle your hand into your deck. Then, count the
number of cards in your opponent’s hand and draw that
Copycat was introduced back in Expedition, the first of the
last three WotC sets. Expedition was the first set to
introduce a then controversial new game mechanic:
Supporters. Supporters are standard fair now, and the
backbone of most decks. Unfortunately, when Copycat was
last reviewed, the gaming environment was rather different.
We Bill, Neo Genesis Cleffa, and Professor
Elm were dominating mainstream decks. Those cards made
hands get pretty big. So, how well does this card work in
the modern Modified Format? First let’s review what it
Copycat gives you draw power, but that draw power is
not straight draw power: the amount drawn is variable, and
it shuffles your hand into your deck before drawing takes
place. The amount is variable because Copycat has
you draw the same amount of cards as your opponent has in
hand (after you shuffle your hand into your deck).
Depending on your outlook, this can be good or bad. Some
have pointed out that it’s only big draw when your opponent
has a huge hand, which is bad: they have a lot of options
then. This is only true if the large hand resulted from
their end of turn action. Otherwise, a large hand probably
means they have a lot of stuff they can’t make use of.
That’s why I almost never run Stephen’s Advice-I seem
to only draw it when my hand has too many cards, consisting
of Energy and Evolutions I can’t get rid of even if I wanted
to. The main reason it ends up poor is that a good player’s
deck will run fairly smooth in most cases, resulting in a
smaller hand size during the opponent’s turn. On the bright
side, this also means that late game, if your opponent’s
hand size is small enough; you can replenish your deck by
shrinking your hand. This makes Copycat versatile,
but not reliable.
Aside from using it as general draw power, there are some
specific combos. In Unlimited, for example, you can combine
it with things like Erika, which let each player draw
up to three cards. Play a few, get what you need from your
deck, play what you can, then Copycat. Then follow
up with some hand depleting cards. Imposter Oak’s
Revenge, assuming you can draw it after a successful
Copycat practically turns around the hand advantage.
They get even better together: Erika a few times,
Copycat the large hand, then IOR their hand down
to four cards. That could make your hand of four cards and
their hand of seven cards turn into your hand of seven cards
and their hand of four cards.
Modified, the current format sees a lot of draw power. More
importantly for Copycat, the only other cycling
(shuffle your hand into your deck then draw) card seeing a
lot of play is Prof. Oak’s Research. Conversely, we
have more or less straight draw power coming from
Professor Birch, Steven’s Advice, Bill’s
Maintenance, and TV Reporter. This tends
to give most decks a slow, steady increase in hand size.
Even after we finish looking at some of the new Team Rocket
Returns’ Supporters, we will at most see one more to each
category, likely keeping things the same. This can be
really fun against an opponent using TV Reporter and
Delcatty’s Energy Draw in the same turn. ;)
of more specific decks, Hidden Legends Shiftry loves
this card. Its Supernatural Power attack normally does 40
for (CCC). However, if you and your opponent have the same
number of cards in hand, it hits for 80.
3/5-I wouldn’t use it for general draw power, but it might
work for a new take on the Trapper deck, or for someone who
refuses to give up their Erika (which, to be far, I am
thinking I might want to go back to…).
4/5-This should see a lot of play. Most decks will either
be running the mostly “straight” draw power I listed above,
Hidden Legends Shiftry.
4.75/5-It’s draw power that can also be used as recursion.
Hand sizes are either non-existent or huge in this format,
usually large once the bench fills. Go for it. I pulled
two at the Iowan TRR pre-release. ;)
is more a
specialist in Unlimited, but its something roughly half to
two-thirds of all Modified decks should be running, since it
will usually pay off big time. Feed off your opponent’s
success. They then have to choose between slowing down and
helping you out.