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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Pokémon Catcher

Emerging Powers

Date Reviewed: August 1, 2011

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 4.87
Limited: 5.00

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

Combos With:

Baby Mario
2010 UK National
Seniors
Champion

Pokémon Catcher (Emerging Powers)

So . . . here it is, the card that players have been dreading and theorising about for months: Pokémon Catcher.

It’s basically a reprint of Gust of Wind, Luxray GL LV X in Trainer form, or Pokémon Reversal without the flip (depending on how long you have been playing the game). You play this Trainer, you get to choose one of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon and drag it active.

No-one needs a reviewer like me to tell them how good that effect is. Want to take a Prize but the Defending Pokémon has too much HP? Use Catcher and bring up something weaker from the Bench. Need to cripple your opponent’s deck by getting rid of support Pokémon like Typhlosion or Emboar? Use Catcher on them. Want to take out a potential threat like Vileplume or Magnezone Prime before they can hurt you? Play Catcher while the vulnerable Basic is sitting on the Bench.

Pokémon Catcher will have a huge impact on the format. Almost all decks will run multiple copies; fast, hard-hitting Pokémon that require little support (such as Cinccino and Donphan Prime) will become extremely powerful; and anyone wanting to set up a Stage 2 better be grabbing a couple of copies of the Basic because one is very likely to get KO’d before it can evolve. Expect to see a rise in Trainer Lock decks featuring Vileplume or the new Gothitelle (I’m calling that deck Emo Lock) to try and combat the effect of Catcher, though whether they will be fast enough to make a difference remains to be seen.

Is Catcher a bad card for the game? I don’t believe it is, Would you rather have everything decided on Pokémon Reversal flips as it sort of is right now? Sure, it will bring about change, and speed up the game (even more), but neither of those things are necessarily terrible. The good players will do what good players always do: adapt and master the format they are in.

From now on, you will need to play knowing that nothing on your Bench is safe.

Rating

Modified: 4.75 (not a perfect score? Trainer Lock still exists y’know)

Limited: 5 (eh . . . should be easy enough to deal with Gothitelle before it evolves)

Combos with . . .

Junk Arm (did they really need to put these two cards in the same format?)


Otaku

It is at last time to start looking at BW: Emerging Powers cards! We begin with the card that will make or break the game, Pokémon Catcher. This is a Trainer-Item card and is effectively a renamed Gust of Wind. Hard to believe but the game has been around long enough that some new players don’t actually know what Gust of Wind does: it wins games.

In all seriousness, Gust of Wind (whether inspired by a typo or not) was nicknamed “Gust of WIN!” by players of the pre-Modified days for a reason. The effect of Pokémon Catcher, like Gust of Wind, is simple: it forces your opponent not only to Bench their Active Pokémon, but then allows you to choose the replacement. You know, like Pokémon Reversal, except without the coin flip! This is brutal as it allows fast decks to force Active whatever a player tries to build on the Bench. The most likely target is a Basic Pokémon being prepped to Evolve the next turn, since that is usually the Pokémon with the lowest HP and but also with a significant investment going. Bench-sitters with excellent powers are next on the list because they too are usually on the puny side. This makes Pokémon Catcher an incredibly powerful card and staple in almost every deck. The only decks I can think of that legitimately have a reason to play few or no copies of it would have to be the best, fastest Lost World or Vileplume (HS: Undaunted 24/90). If they aren’t, then it still might be good to include at least a copy or two, especially if you get creative with the combos (like using Seeker on your only copy of Vileplume so that you can push for the win).

What does this mean for the game? The only thing I am confident in is that cards protected by Sweet Sleeping Face are going to see a significant drop in play. Pokémon Catcher basically just says “forget about it” and let’s you take the fight to something else, or even worse (or better if you’re the aggressor) bring up a different “Baby” Pokémon for an easy OHKO. Given the grumbling I’ve heard about coin flips post-Nationals, I get the impression this is more the last draw than the start of anything surprising. Expect a lot of decks to struggle now that the Bench is guaranteed not safe… well, unless you do already have Vileplume down. The question is how will decks handle this? In the “bad old days” you just learned to drop two of whatever Basic you wanted to Evolve, and accept that one was a goner. Can a classical Haymaker strategy dominate once again, or will the lack of old, non-Supporter draw/search/recycle cards as well as the lack of Energy Removal/Super Energy Removal result in a simple deck building shift favoring more Pokémon and/or ways to recycle them?

I am cautiously optimistic that like PlusPower, Gust of Wind (in the form of Pokémon Catcher) really is safe to bring back to the game. As stated Pokémon Catcher is the new deck staple and you’ll definitely want a full play set. Sniping attacks will become less important now that you can just force something hiding up front, at least in Modified. In Unlimited this card can just be used instead of Gust of Wind, although should TPC come up with some good Item supporting cards, Gust of Wind might finally become obsolete even there. Lastly, it should go without saying that this is a must-run for Limited play, where the card has all its normal uses except the less common uses become common.

Ratings

Unlimited: 5/5 – Well, at least right now it is just as good as Gust of Wind, so they score the same!

Modified: 5/5

Limited: 5/5

Summary

Meet the new staple and pray that it just forces players to run more robust lines and unintentionally reduce donks while increasing the probability of FTKOs. That sounds like crazy talk but in all seriousness one does get used to facing this kind of threat even if one doesn’t especially enjoy it. This might actually counter some of the combos fueling current popular decks, since it won’t be safe to leave any Basic Pokémon with less than 70 HP in play anymore.

Check out my eBay auctions! Pojo is in no way responsible for any transactions, though.

virusyosh

Hello once again, Pojo readers! I hope that all of your weekends went well, and for those of you preparing for Worlds, good luck! Today's Card of the Day is a currently unreleased card from the new Emerging Powers expansion that is a functional remake of a Base Set staple, and will definitely see tons of play in every format that it's in. Today's Card of the Day is Pokemon Catcher.

Pokemon Catcher is a Trainer - Item card under the new Black and White rules. Items work the same way that older Trainers did, in that you can play as many of them as you'd like per turn. In terms of gameplay effects, Pokemon Catcher's effect is very simple, but very powerful: it allows you to choose one of your opponent's Benched Pokemon and switch it with their Active. Older players will immediately see that this card is a functional reprint of Gust of Wind, and newer players will see that this card is Luxray GL Lv. X's Bright Look in Trainer form. Either way, being able to drag up your opponent's Benched Cleffa/Emboar/weakened Pokemon will seriously disrupt your opponent, and will lead to many free KOs, just as how Gust of Wind and Luxray GL Lv. X did in their respective formats. With the addition of things like Junk Arm, this card's playability became even more ridiculous.

Modified: 5/5 Pokemon Catcher is going to be a format-defining card, in a very similar way to how Luxray GL Lv. X was dominant, only now you can run it in any deck you build. You're probably going to see this card in 3-4 copies in almost every deck. That's how good it is.

Limited: 5/5 Pokemon Catcher is just as good here in Limited, where you can easily drag up an opponent's weakened Pokemon or something with a high Retreat Cost to either disrupt them or go for the KO. If you pull any, play them.


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