Hello readers. If you are wondering where I’ve been let
me solve the mystery: I currently lack home internet
access and as such, can’t make enough time to review
(and still can’t play test online either). I am not in
a position where I can afford to visit the local library
often, nor even my sister and brother-in-law’s place to
use there computer, so the reviews I do this week may be
the last I do for anywhere from one month to several.
is an old Trainer card. So old calling it a “fossil” is
appropriate, because that is the expansion set it came
out in, Fossil (the third English set ever released). I
am opening the week with it so that I can review my
favorite first, second, and third generation Pokémon in
order but still have my absolute favorite, tomorrow’s
CotD, on the 30th.
Why would I do that? Because this is my birthday week
and tomorrow is my actual birthday. Simple, isn’t it?
has two straightforward effects: either
shuffle your hand into your
deck and draw eight card or shuffle it in and draw just
one. The catch is that the first effect only works when
you flip “heads” on the coin toss the card calls for,
and the second only works when you flip “tails”. This
was an interesting first attempt at solving the early
problems of balanced draw power in Pokémon. The penalty
for either result is technically less harsh than the
classic Professor Oak card (discard your hand to
draw seven cards), since no matter how much you shuffle
back you aren’t permanently out the cards. Shuffling in
and drawing eight new cards is of course a stellar
deal. It is that second possibility of only drawing a
single new card that scared players away.
I on the other hand ran this card often and didn’t
abandon it in Unlimited play
until we got Professor Oak’s Research. The
reason was I’d often get opening hands where I couldn’t
afford to part with more than a few cards, usually hands
with multiple important Trainer cards like two or three
Professor Oak or Computer Search. I’d
then just search out or wait on drawing a Gambler
(usually didn’t take long) and restart things so I
didn’t have to trash my future hands. Usually, when I’d
flip heads I’d want to draw those eight cards, and when
I got tails I’d draw into one incredibly useful card.
Sometimes it’d be the exact single card I needed anyway,
like that last Plus Power or a Double
Colorless Energy. Other times it would be a
Professor Oak I could use guilt free. Late game I
could use it to avoid decking out when I had a massive
hand. All in all, it served me rather well.
Then TPC developed and realized Supporter cards. I no
longer needed this because I could safely burn my
once-per-turn Supporter usage on it. It has of course
never been reprinted in so it has never been legal for a
Modified Format, and I doubt it ever will. It might be
fun if it were… until someone figured out it was worth
the risk to run four of it with some solid Pokémon with
either a lower Energy/high damage attack and/or a way to
energize it quickly and reliably, and then four copies
of Plus Power. Basically, it’d make it possible
to re-invent the old “First Turn Knock Out” decks and
risk plaguing the metagame
with those again. There’d be a somewhat high risk of
failure, but generally players who take that risk do so
because the odds of lucking into a win are better than
getting one through more skill oriented approaches.
So I will just fondly remember this card unless TPC can
figure out a way to revive it. I would not like it to
get the Here Comes Team Rocket!treatment since as a
Supporter, it’d be too weak/unreliable. A similar
mechanic might be interesting for a
Poké-Power, new normal Trainer (with lower
rewards/bigger risk), or new Supporter. Unless someone
has a lot of money and feels generous enough to let me
sit in on a booster draft for Fossil. ;)
Analysis: This was a decent card way back when,
especially if you are good at flipping heads. It was a
decent idea to put one in a deck. You would really only
want to use it if it is one of two or less cards in your
hand. I do prefer Bill and Professor Oak, though,
because they are not luck-dependent.
At time of release: Not bad. Flippy though. (2/5)
Unlimited (now): There are many more better choices now.
12/29 Gambler (Fossil) (How have we not reviewed this
Hello everyone, hope you all had a good Christmas and
got what you wanted from Santa. Being New Years week, we
have another reduced week of reviews. As you may have
guessed from the card today, they aren't the standard
thing you may be used to. They are, in fact, Unlimited
cards, the reason for why you should probably already
know, but I have to say, thanks Otaku for choosing this
card. Back to today's card, and what a card, Gambler
from the 3rd Pokémon set, Fossil. This was the first
Shuffle-Draw trainer made I believe, and it's not too
bad really. You shuffle your hand into your deck (duh)
and then one of two things can happen based on the flip
of a coin. Heads, you draw 8 cards. Tails, you draw 1.
This really is the original all or nothing card. Getting
a new 8 card hand is brilliant. Getting 1 card to
replace your hand isn't, unless you get really lucky and
get another Gambler or a Professor Oak. However, the 8
card draw is really good and should net you what you
need. Being a normal trainer, it doesn't have the
limitations of other, newer Shuffle-Draw of not being
able to use a Supporter that turn. Mind you, this being
Unlimited, there aren't many supporters you'd want to
I love this card. Unfortunately, there are so many other
good trainers in Unlimited that there really isn't much
room for it. Oak, Bill, Plus Power, Gust of Wind,
Computer Search, Rare Candy, Item Finder, probably even
Poké Drawer +, one of few newer trainers that might be
worth space in an Unlimited deck, and loads more
besides, you will definitely have run out of room in
your deck before you even think about adding Gambler or
probably any Shuffle-Draw. In fact, the straight draw
and search you can use here is so good, there probably
isn't any need for any Shuffle-Draw at all. Also, it is
risky. Mind you, that's quite obvious. Your average
return from this card is 4.5 cards, which is the same as
Team Galactic's Wager, .5 less than Rowan or Oak's
Research, 2.5 less than Elm, and worse than a well timed
Copycat. The only one this may be better than is
Cynthia's Feelings, and even than, that can almost
double the output of Gambler is you use it at the right
time. Of course, all of these limit your trainer use for
the rest of turn in one way or another (Elm being worst
of all, since you aren't allowed to play any more of any
trainer at all for the rest of the turn), where as
Gambler doesn't. However, with Gambler, you run the risk
of not ending up with any trainers at all from your 1
Unlimited: Space is tight in Unlimited decks, especially
with all of the great trainers you could play in your
deck, Shuffle-Draw takes a very minor role in most
decks. Even if you do go down the route of adding
Shuffle-Draw to your deck, there is a lot of stiff
competition, and all of them have they own advantages
and disadvantages over Gambler. Because of that 50%
chance of a 1 card draw, I probably wouldn't use this
card, and would probably plonk with Copycat instead.
Still, this is worth taking a look at. 2/5
Limited: Can you still play Fossil in Limited? If you
are lucky enough to play Fossil draft or something, and
you see this card in a pack, take it, no questions
asked, since this is the only draw in the set, so if you
don't take it, don't think there will be another for you
to get. 5/5
Oh, an unlimited card!
This card had a brief heyday right after the release of
Fossil. There was a certain “rush” about the all or
nothing aspect of this card.
I have a feeling it was the basis for other great cards
for the future, such as Team Galactic’s Wager, which is
a greater card in every respect.
I remember playing these in my deck, oh the memories.
If I were playing an unlimited deck today, I would put
this right up there with Imposter Professor Oak as a
card NOT to play.
Sorry Otaku, this is not a winner, in any respects.
Unlimited 1/5 PLEASE DON’T PLAY IT.
Limited 4.5/5…If you are drafting fossil, this is one of
the ONLY draw cards in the set, and well, in Limited any
draw is good, even this.
This is Otaku Week™, where we review Otaku's favorite cards. Wait for Woche des MonsterOfTheLake™, where we review nothing but German Cubone cards. This is not a joke. It will happen.
Representing the testicular fortitude of WOTC over Nintendo, Gambler is one of those rare cards that isn't quite appropriate for children, lest they learn about the unclean. Gambling is awesome, kids! It's even better when you do it while drinking alcohol.
Being a tailsfails card -- tails, it fails -- you need to have a method of recovering from the dreaded 1 card hand through either topdecking or using a Pokémon. Or even donking several heads in a row with Speed Stadium. Claydol works wonders here -- as always --, allowing you to get a brand new 6+ card hand either way!
You can also combo it with a Neo Genesis Cleffa, but it's a push to suggest that it would be a combo. Kinda like calling a PlusPower and a damaging attack a combo. Technically, yes; but not really.
Ratings(1 - Sux, 3 - Meh, 5 - Rox)
Modified: 3/5. Assuming it was reprinted as a Promo or something, this card wouldn't be that bad in Modified, despite being tailsfails. You can always Cosmic Power if you lose, and if you don't, you get a brand new 8-card hand! Limited: 2/5. Quite risky here. Alongside Double Full Heal, this is one of those cards where you should think twice before drafting, against the usual adage of grabbing whatever Trainer you can get. Winning the flip would be fantastic, obviously, but if you lose, you will be left in a really bad situation, as this is the only draw card in Fossil. Unlimited: 1/5. Much, much better options available here.
Gambler: cool concept, with the mediocrity typical of tailsfails cards. Should it be reprinted? I wouldn't mind that at all.