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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Xtransceiver

Noble Victories

Date Reviewed: Dec. 23, 2011

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 2.33
Limited: 2.33

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: See Below

Baby Mario
2010 UK National
Seniors
Champion

Xtransceiver

Our final CotD before Xmas is Xtransceiver: a card that is capable of bringing gifts to a player, but only if they have been good (at flipping coins). Ok that’s my quota of seasonal references done for the year, time to get on with the review.

Xtransceiver is a Trainer-Item which is great because, unlike Supporters, there is no restriction on its use . . . unless a Trainer Locking card like Vileplume is out on the Field of course. The effect it offers is absolutely brilliant: search your deck for a Supporter card and put it in your hand. Obviously this is a fantastic boost to any deck’s consistency: it increases your chances of grapping a first turn Pokémon Collector, and enables you to get exactly the Supporter you need at any point in the game, whether it be a hand refresh card like Professor Oak’s New Theory, or a tech Supporter for a specific job like Seeker or Flower Shop Lady. With a utility like this, why on earth isn’t everyone running four copies of Xtransceiver in every deck? Why, it’s almost as good as the wildly popular Holon Transceiver from the Delta era of the TCG. (I suspect that the similarity of names is not a coincidence).

The answer to that question is that Xtransceiver only works if you flip heads. That means that 50% of the time it’s a wasted card. That doesn’t necessarily make it unplayable: after all, Super Scoop and Crushing Hammer do appear in decks from time to time, and Pokémon Reversal was extremely popular until Catcher was released. The difference is that there isn’t always a satisfactory alternative for either of those cards (Seeker is a Supporter and Lost Remover won’t get rid of Basic Energy). With Xtransceiver though, players will prefer to simply include more draw Supporters to boost their consistency, rather than rely on a coin flip, or they will run Pokegear 3.0. Pokegear itself does not have a guaranteed chance of success (though it gives better odds in most decks than Xtransceiver), and will not always hit exactly the Supporter that is needed, but it is a safer bet than the flippy card.

If you are the kind of player who likes to take risks rather than go for the conservative option, than Xtranseiver might appeal to you. The fact that its effect is so good, and it is re-usable with Junk Arm almost tempts me into thinking it is worth at least trying in some decks. But then I remember just how tight deck space is these days, and how important consistency is in a big tournament where you need to make it to the top cut. It’s at that time that I stop thinking about Xtransceiver and add in some more draw/refresh Supporters instead.

Rating

Modified: 2.5 (I give it 50% . . . the same as its chances of working)

Limited: 3.75 (there’s only one Supporter in the set (N), but if you pull one or two, then this card can be useful. At the very least it will help to thin out the deck)

Ok, that wraps it up for this week. When Pojo CotD returns, it will be with our Top Ten of 2011, which is always fun to do (and hopefully to read). Whatever you are doing this Christmas, I hope you have a great time and enjoy your break from work/school/whatever.

Mad Mattezhion
 Professor Bathurst League Australia

Xtransceiver (Noble Victories)
 
Despite the massive functionality of the Xtransceiver in the Gameboy games (I don't care that the name was dropped years ago, I'm sticking to it!), it doesn't have much use as a card. Simply flip a coin and if you get Heads, you search your deck for a Supporter card, which is a far cry from the handy gadget that allows you to do everything from trade on the fly to polling unsuspecting passersby!
 
There are three reasons this card won't make the grade in a tournament setting. First of all, it relies on a coin flip so half the time you will lose a card to no effect.
 
The second problem is that Xtransceiver doesn't gain you a major advantage when it works. Sure, you get a Supporter, but the odds are better if you simply increase the number Supporters in your deck instead of running Xtransceiver. Also, you can only play 1 Supporter per turn so grabbing a Twins when you are already holding a Professor Juniper probably won't help you much.
 
The third and greatest problem is that Xtransceiver has way too much competition. If you want more copies of Poke'mon Collector than the legal 4, you can use Dual Ball instead with the added benefit of being able to search for Basics while playing a different Supporter to grab other necessary cards. The same applies for Seeker (use Super Scoop Up), Fisherman (fill the void with Energy Retrieval or Burned Tower), Flowershop Lady (hello Super Rod!), Black Belt (skip it for Pluspower), Twins (try Victory Medal if you have one) and Elm's Training method (Great Ball, Poke'mon Communication and Poke'ball fit here).
 
There aren't any Item cards that act as weaker versions of the various card-drawing Supporters we have, but even then you can swap Xtransceiver with  Pokegear 3.0, which looks at the top 7 cards of your deck to find a Supporter (instead of flipping a coin). In a Supporter-heavy deck this is likely to be more effective than Xtransceiver even with the reduced choices, but both cards are pretty weak due to Problem #2. Just run more copies of the draw Supporters if you have them!
 
At the end of the day, Xtransceiver is has limited use as a search card and doesn't net you much in the way of card advantage, so if you are using this card to improve your deck's performance then you probably need to rethink how you build a deck. Leave this one in the shoebox!
 
Modified: 1.5 (much like with cards that search for basic energy, cards that search for Supporters have to do something more to be worth a space in your deck)
 
Limited: 2 (the only card you can search for is N but it is still worth including for that reason)
 
Combos with: absolutely nothing. Wait for a card that grabs a Supporter and something else before you get excited.


Otaku

Merry Christmas and happy Hanukkah, dear readers! For better or worse, this became a surprisingly lengthy CotD. Yes I realize that for you it probably comes as no surprise, but I really thought today’s pick was going to be a short, fast, easy review.

Xtransceiver is our final CotD this week. It is a Trainer, specifically an Item, while it must fear effects that block either of those card types, it also is easy to use and can be recycled with Junk Arm. Anyone playing this format should be well aware of how much increased utility the ability to recycle an Item gives such a card, even at the cost of three other cards (Junk Arm and two discards), and in fact this will prove quite important for Xtransceiver.

The effect is coin flip based, something I missed when spoilers for it first appeared; if you ever read the older CotDs, you can get a laugh at me in some reviews on account of this. I was also spelling it wrong and missing the pun. So is the rest of the effect worth using since the card is expected to fail half the time? That effect is searching your deck for the Supporter of your choice, and I have to say: probably.

A good Trainer engine is vital for any deck, and Supporters are chief amongst them, barring some questionable design choices. The raw power of a Supporter coupled with the inability to legally play more than one per turn, barring some special exceptions through other card effects, means a deck can neither afford to flood itself with them for fear of becoming bogged down by cards dead for the rest of the turn after the allotted Supporter is used; neither should you find yourself, except in very specific circumstances, skipping your Supporter usage for the turn.

Had my original misreading of the card been correct, Xtransceiver would have been a staple, maybe even a four-per-deck staple for Modified (and probably a near staple for Unlimited). With the flip, there will definitely be decks that won’t want to or need to run it. So what decks will want to use a card that will likely fail half the time, and even when it works might not be able to get the Supporter you really want because you’ve burned through your entire supply or the last copy is Prized?

I would say decks where a specific Supporter is incredibly advantageous, if not outright vital. While I am not fond of losing through my only Pokémon being KOed first turn, “donk” decks should be testing this. I won’t promise every build will be enhanced but if every card isn’t 100% vital (that is, if Xtransceiver fails it won’t cost you the entire match) better you draw into it and have a chance at getting exactly what you need than some “extra” Pokémon or Energy card.

Speed decks (which would be most of them right now) are the next candidate. If build space is tight, test it anyway. Think of this a lot like when Pokémon Reversal was so vital before Pokémon Catcher released: when it fails, you just recycle it until you can’t anymore, or it works! When it works, barring unfortunate circumstances beyond your control such as a Supporter blocking effect or the target being Prized, you get the exact Supporter you need. If your hand is almost empty, the risk versus reward likely stays the same, because hey that is the perfect time for getting that Juniper buried in your deck. Opponent threatening to run you out of Pokémon next turn? Make sure you have a Pokémon Collector and aren’t just hoping to luck into a blind draw with another card.

Set-up decks that don’t block out their own Item or Supporter usage also could use this card, but by this point making room for it does become painfully difficult. Still just as above, when it works it will be amazing, and unless you’re low on resources it failing is just… one card gone, not a huge deal for Pokémon.

While it might fall into any of the above categories (probably not “donk decks”) decks where Supporters aren’t the only draw power are the best candidates for Xtransceiver: you are most likely to be able to afford it failing, and have Junk Arm with discard fodder to try again. In these decks, it is most likely that Xtransceiver usage will allow you to cut back on the amount of particular Supporters you run. I don’t recommend this for all decks since a failed Xtransceiver becomes a game loser if you don’t have access to even your third best Supporter option already in your hand. When you have something like Magnezone Prime sitting on your Bench, waiting to refill your hand? Now you can afford to no longer max out the Supporters important to your set-up.

Xtransceiver can also make some of the situational Supporters more potent. Again, most useful when your deck has built in draw/search power to keep you covered when Xtransceiver fails, but even outside of that if you’re just replacing a second copy of Twins you run just so you stand a real chance of having it in hand when you are down on Prizes, the increased versatility of Xtransceiver (even with the times it fails) will probably be equal or better for your deck than a Twins that remains dead. Of course, I truly hope that decks that run Xtransceiver will give Black Belt a second look: when you only run a single copy and have a Trainer that can search it from your deck, suddenly that situational extra 40 points of damage is less desperation and more strategic risk.

So after saying all this, I have to seemingly do an about face by pointing out there is another option, one that some might consider of equal or better merit. We’ve had Pokégear 3.0 since HeartGold/SoulSilver debuted. You can read the first impressions the review crew (myself included) had of Pokégear 3.0 here. You’ll notice in my review will note that I liked the card, but thought the format of the time rendered it unnecessary. I still scored it relatively high – ‘twas a time of ridiculously powerful cards all around instead of just Basic Pokémon, so if it wasn’t “Broken/5” was what a 3/5 was competing against for half your deck slots. Fast forwarding to the current metagame, I’d probably give Pokégear 3.0 the same score, but now it doesn’t face anywhere near as steep of general competition. Pokégear 3.0 and Xtransceiver have overlapping areas of usefulness, but Pokégear 3.0 is more about ensuring you have a Supporter in hand while Xtransceiver is a gamble at getting the exact Supporter you need. That may seem a fine difference, but playtesting will tell you which (if either) a deck should run.

In Unlimited play this card isn’t worth using outside of very specific decks. First and foremost, Supporters are just less important here, where you have access to Professor Oak, Item Finder, and Computer Search, and those very same cards not only replace most Supporters players would use, but also ensure that whatever you have to use a Supporter for, that Supporter is available. In fact, the only decks that should consider it are those focusing on First Turn wins that absolutely must have a specific Supporter. I don’t promise it will improve all such decks, just that it should be considered and will likely enhance at least one such deck.

In Limited play, it is all about how many Supporters you pulled alongside it. Noble Victories, the set from which Xtransceiver comes, has a single Supporter in it, though it is an excellent one (N). If you manage to pull multiple copies of N, you should then run that lucky Xtransceiver pull. If you only get a single of each, look at your deck and weigh it out: you might be better with an extra Pokémon or Energy: when you draw into Xtransceiver first and it works, it will be amazing, the rest of the time it will be awful. Obviously if you only get Xtransceiver, don’t run it.

Before I go to the scores, let me state how much I miss Vs Seeker and Scott. The former if re-released will just increase the versatility of Xtransceiver, and I could see a 1-1 pairing becoming a staple. I know of no such re-release coming, but this is the kind of thing that has come out of seemingly no where in the past.

Scott sadly will almost certainly never be re-released, but perhaps someday a similar card effect will be given to a new Supporter. If that happens, Xtransceiver becomes an incredibly specific niche card, only useful really for donk decks. If you never played with Scott being legal, many of us scoffed at the card at first (using one Supporter to clog your hand with up to three more you can’t use that turn), but if we get any Stadiums with immediate returns, suddenly the beauty of Scott is revealed. It becomes common to run multiple Scott to force your opponent to use hand disruption because if not, you’ve thinned your deck, lined up all of your Stadiums to help you control the field, and ensured you had a non-shuffle draw Supporter to keep your deck humming in hand. If you didn’t play during this period, take some time to go back and read-up on it: Scott came out when Pokémon-ex were in full swing, and TPC chose to counter Pokémon-ex with a Stadium of all things (and it worked pretty well).

Ratings

Unlimited: 1.25/5

Modified: 3/5

Limited: 1/5 to 5/5, see text above.

Summary

Oh how I wish Xtransceiver had just been given a discard cost, but perhaps that would have been broken. As is, it is a luck based card that unlike Pokémon Reversal won’t make or break most of your games, but generally the riskier it is to play, the greater the reward and thus it is almost always worth consideration when building a deck.

Yes, I am going to risk being crass by still linking to my eBay sales; some of us have bills to pay and downsizing to do before moving, and in my case it is both. Please don’t take this as cheapening the season: for one thing, various complications mean most of my latest offerings won’t be up until this Saturday, and thus far too late to be received in time for Christmas. ;)


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