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Pojo's Pokemon Card of the Day

 

 

Buffer Piece

Arceus

Date Reviewed: 12.30.09

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 2.25
Limited: 3.25

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being the worst. 
3 ... average.  
5 is the highest rating.

Back to the main COTD Page

Baby Mario
Top 4 UK Nats


Buffer Piece

Our final CotD is a reprint of an old favourite . . . well maybe not ‘favourite’ exactly, but it has seen play in the past.

Buffer Piece is a Pokémon Tool that you attach to your Pokémon. If your opponent attacks that Pokémon next turn, the attack does 20 less damage. Then Buffer Piece is discarded. Pretty simple huh?

Obviously, there are quite a few situations where this might be useful. You can use it to ensure a Pokémon survives for another turn, denying your opponent a Prize and giving you another hit with your active. Unfortunately for Buffer Piece’s playability, there are several alternatives out there that are more generally useful. Expert Belt doesn’t have to be discarded and raises HP by 20 as well as increasing attacks by 20 damage (watch out for this if you DO play Buffer Piece . . . it could upset your calculations). Unown E has no downside, stays attached, and increases HP by 10. If Weakness is your problem then you will probably find Bubble Coat to be a more effective single-use Tool to keep your Pokémon in the game. Then you have the various Healing cards like Poke Healer +, Blissey PL, and even Nidoqueen RR. All of these can do (in effect) a similar job Buffer Piece while serving other purposes as well.

So, yes, Buffer Piece can be useful, but there are other cards around that perform the same function almost as well and have a much higher utility. Because of that, it’s hard to see that a competitive player giving this space in a deck over the alternatives.

Rating

Modified: 1.5 (just not useful enough to justify)
Limited: 2.5 (it’s all you’ve got here)


Otaku

If the review seems too long, skip to the Summary and Scores section.

 

Name   : Buffer Piece

Set       : Arceus

Rarity   : Uncommon

Card#   : 84/99

Type    : Trainer

Sub-Type: Pokémon Tool

Text     : Attach Buffer Piece to one of your Pokémon that doesn’t already have a Pokémon Tool attached to it.  If that Pokémon is Knocked Out, discard this card.

 

Any damage done to the Pokémon this card is attached to by an opponent’s attack is reduced by 20 (after applying Weakness and Resistance).  After the end of your opponent’s turn after you played Buffer Piece, discard Buffer Piece.

 

Buffer Piece is a returning Pokémon Tool, and that is why I chose to review it.  Much as I love this game, I still haven’t the time or money to pursue it and on this, my birthday, I wished to review a card.  Pojo was kind enough to oblige my request.  So with a familiar card, I can explain its strengths, its weaknesses, and its application in broad strokes and let you deduce its proper place in your metagame for yourself.

 

Pokémon Tools are most useful because they often have an effect that is utilized during your opponent’s turn, and Buffer Piece is no exception.  Reducing the damage you take from an opponent’s attack during your opponent’s turn seems needlessly specific.  If you’ve played this game from the beginning or merely done your homework, you’ll remember the usefulness of an even older Trainer named Defender or high utility granted to Metal Energy from its original wording.  If you are unaware, just know that both were fantastic at preventing self-damage and stacking, and Metal Energy even blocked effect damage in its original iteration.

 

In spite of its extremely specific text, Buffer Piece has a solid use: making math hard. ;)

 

Pokémon is a game of math.  From the probability of card draws, to coin flips, to damage accumulation, math is at the heart of this game.  Reducing damage by 20 points can extend your Pokémon’s life for a single turn.  That single turn means as little as denying a Prize draw by a turn to as much as that plus getting off a great attack and Poké-Power use on your next turn.  It also can act as insurance, thwarting what would have been a successful KO from the use of a Plus Power or similar minor damage boost.

 

So, why would you not use this card?  First, a Pokémon can only utilize a single Pokémon Tool at a time.  Clearly if you have a better Pokémon Tool for your deck, you’d rather use the space for it.  Second, the amount is small enough that a heavy hitting deck might not be affected by it; you still suffer a one- or two-hit KO.  Third, the amount is small enough that a similar effect can be attained from healing: only if your Pokémon has taken 10 or less damage would you not be better off using Potion (conveniently freeing up that Pokémon Tool use).  Fourthly, your opponent might have a deck that doesn’t have to deal damage via an attack, or can select the target for the attack, or is more interested in an effect of the attack over damage.  From Special Conditions to attacks that aide in setting up, to simply placing damage counters (which Buffer Piece would not block), it just may not matter.  Lastly, at different points in the game’s life there have been cards that specifically undermine Pokémon Tool use.

 

I am out of touch with the game, but a quick search of cards containing the word “Tool” on Pokepedia.net showed me a few cards that reward the use of Pokémon Tools, and a few punish a player for their use.  None were so overwhelming as to make this card unplayable, and a few that receive extra bonuses from using Pokémon Tools could indeed make good use of this card.

 

Scores

Unlimited         : 1/5

Modified          : 3/5

Limited            : 4/5

 

Summary

Buffer Piece is a Pokémon Tool that does a simple job, reducing the damage you take just enough to upset your opponent’s plan of attack and preserve your own.  It can be worked around, however, and there may be a better Pokémon Tool for your deck, like Expert Belt.  If you either need a lot of Pokémon Tools or have none and some open slots in a Modified deck, it is worth testing… along with just about every other currently legal Pokémon Tool.  In Unlimited matches, it is far outclassed by the classics and in a Limited event its strategic value increases.

 

-Otaku


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