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Pojo's Pokemon Card of the Day

 

Top 10 New Pokémon Cards of 2010
#10 - Junk Arm
 

HS Triumphant

Date Reviewed: Jan. 3, 2011

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 4.00
Limited: 1.00

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

#10 Junk Arm (Triumphant)

 

Hello and welcome to the start of Pojo’s annual countdown of the top 10 cards released during the past year. That means we are only looking at cards from Heart Gold Soul Silver onwards, and reprints of old cards don’t count . . . so Double Colourless Energy won’t be making an appearance!

 

It’s always interesting to see what my fellow reviewers pick, and we start with a card that just failed to make my own list (it was top 15 for sure though). Junk Arm may only be a recent release but it has already been proving its worth. There are two parts to this card. One which can be situationally useful, and one which is undeniably brilliant . . .

 

Firstly, when used, Junk Arm requires you to discard two cards from your hand. For most decks, that’s a fair cost that’s usually easy enough to pay (after the first turn, discarding starters, unneeded techs, and Pokémon Collectors isn’t really a problem). For some decks though, this is a positive benefit. Regigigas and Gyarados  in particular love to discard as a means of kick-starting the deck’s engine. It’s also a useful way to minimise damage from attacks like Gengar SF’s Poltergeist by limiting the number of Trainers and Supporters in your hand.

 

The big thing about Junk Arm, though, is what you get for that discard . . . you can fish any Trainer you need out of your discard pile. With so many powerful Trainers in the format, you can see why Junk Arm gets a fair amount of play. You can use it as a fifth Poke Turn in an SP deck, another Rare Candy in an evolution deck, or second Luxury Ball in just about any deck there is. The possibilities are almost endless.

 

Because of its high utility and the fact that it can be used in almost any deck, Junk Arm is a card you should seriously consider in any list. Just one teched into a deck, if you have a free slot, can grab you the card you need to win a game. It is (obviously) hurt by all the Trainer hate in the format right now (looks at Vileplume and Spiritomb), and it isn’t always easy to find a slot for it in a very tight list, but if you can squeeze it in, it’s very unlikely that you will regret it.

 

Rating

 

Modified: 3.75 (will almost always be useful, if you can find the room for it)

Limited: 1 (The only other Trainer in the set is an Alph Lithograph so . . . yeah)

 

Combos with . . .

 

Gyarados SF

Regigigas LV X

virusyosh

Hello again, Pojo readers! Today we begin to bring in the new year with our two-week long journey into the Top 10 Cards of 2010. These cards are only from sets released in 2010, meaning HGSS-On. Our first Card of the Day on our list is very important because it resurrected a deck archetype and helping bring it back into the spotlight as a tier one deck in Modified. Today's Card of the Day is Junk Arm.

Junk Arm is a Trainer card from Triumphant with a very powerful effect: by discarding two cards from your hand, you can take a non-Junk Arm Trainer from your discard pile and place it into your hand. Junk Arm is great because it allows you to reuse powerful Trainers like Pokemon Communication and Super Scoop Up, but also has great utility as a way to discard unwanted cards from your hand. If you are facing an opposing Gengar SF, for example, you can Junk Arm away some of your Trainers and Supporters so that Poltergeist hits for less damage (provided of course they don't have a benched Vileplume UD). Another amazing use for Junk Arm is in a deck based around Gyarados SF, in which one can use Junk Arm to discard Magikarps from your hand to increase Tail Revenge's damage output. However, there are a couple of things of note: since Junk Arm is a Trainer, you won't be able to use it when Spiritomb AR is active, or when Vileplume UD is in play, especially when these two are coupled with a deck based around Gengar SF. Aside from this (rather common) scenario, Junk Arm is worthwhile to use when you use many different types of Trainers to expand your options, and is definitely worth a spot on our Top 10 List.

Modified: 4/5 Trainer use can be somewhat limited right now due to the rather common Gengar/Vileplume builds, but that doesn't stop Junk Arm from being a great card. The discarding requirement can more often than not be used to your advantage, such as getting rid of unneeded set-up Pokemon in the late game to maximize your Uxie's Set Up. That being said, Junk Arm doesn't really do much of anything on its own, and requires you to already have played some Trainers before you can use it, slightly limiting its usefulness. It doesn't belong in every deck, but it's still very, very good.

Limited: 1/5 Junk Arm is the only Trainer card in Triumphant, and you can take a Junk Arm with a Junk Arm, making this card absolutely useless in Limited.

Combos With: Gyarados SF, Uxie LA, any Trainer in your discard pile.

Mad Mattezhion
 Professor Bathurst League Australia

#10 Junk Arm (HS Triumphant)

Welcome to a new year of reviews here on Pojo, and to the newest rendition of the world famous Top 10 Cards!

To start off the top 10 for 2010, we have a nifty little Trainer called Junk Arm, which has proven to be the salvation of Gyarados decks and a nice boost to any player who loves their Trainer cards.

The effect is simple. You discard any 2 cards from your hand, and then pick a Trainer that doesn’t have the name Junk Arm out of your discard pile and return it to your hand.

Gyarados decks love this card because they can quickly discard all of the Magikarp they want to power Revenge Tail and retrieve one of the many trainers they like to run (Pluspower, Switch/Warp Point, Pokémon Rescue, Expert Belt and draw trainers all come to mind).

After the loss of Felicity’s Drawing in the last rotation, everyone thought the archetype was pretty much dead since the Banette PT/Gyarados hybrids tended to be too inconsistent (though ironically these hybrids are doing better now that Junk Arm exists). Junk Arm fixed that problem and made Gyarados decks stronger than before into the bargain (since you no longer have to burn your Supporter use discarding the Magikarp, which means you can still use your search Supporters like Pokémon Collector). HS Triumphant has been called the new Stormfront since it has brought about several new archetypes, most notably Gengar, Machamp and Gyarados decks (just like Stormfront did, is there a pattern here?)

Of course, Gyarados isn’t the only deck to like Junk Arm. Many decks have Trainer cards they would dearly love to reuse and usually there is a bit of fodder in your hand you can sacrifice to pay for Junk Arm, especially if your deck likes to attach energy from the discard pile (CharPhlosion, Tyranitar, the odd Raichu deck, Salamence if anyone still uses it). The discard also helps when you want to drop an Uxie, since it can clean out your hand rather nicely to allow for a big draw.

In the current format, the only other way to retrieve Trainer cards is to use Porygon Z TM, which is terrible because it is a Stage 2 with a flippy power that doesn’t actually put the Trainer card back into your hand but rather puts it on top of your deck, forcing you to burn draw power to pick it up or risk your opponent messing up your deck. Seen in that light, Junk Arm is a lifesaver.

There are problems with the card however. Junk Arm is susceptible to Trainer locking (Gyarados really hates it when that happens) and sometimes you just don’t have anything you can sacrifice. This is particularly true of decks that have tight lists with multiple techs that are only single copies in the deck (my Gengar deck is like that, and some hybrid SP decks as well as Blastoise decks have that particular problem) which would want to steer clear of this card.

There may also be a problem with Junk Arm being a dead draw early game, since it says you have to search your discard pile for a card and show it your opponent. Other cards like Bebe’s Search and Warp Point can be played using only one effect or the other, but that is only in certain circumstances and is based on what parts of your play area are ‘public knowledge’ (your opponent is allowed to know what is there without a card effect, such as what cards are in your discard pile, how many cards are in your hand or deck but not what they are, and what cards are on your bench).

For example, you can play Warp Point when you only have one Pokémon in play and your opponent will be the only one who has to switch (and vice versa) but if both of you can switch, you must switch a Pokémon whether you want to or not (but if you didn’t want to switch out, why did you play the card? *evil laughter*). Also, Bebe’s Search can be used to put a single card in your deck without getting a Pokémon out even if there are Pokémon available to take, but that is because you opponent cannot see your deck (it isn’t public knowledge, so it is a legal play and not cheating since your opponent wouldn’t be able to tell if you chose not to take anything or if you just don’t have Pokémon left in your deck). However the discard pile is public knowledge (both the number and the contents of the pile), so that little ruling doesn’t apply

Based on that, I think you have to be able to use both effects of Junk arm in order to be able to play it so early game it is a dead draw unless you can burn a Trainer card from you hand to fulfil the second requirement. I’m looking into the rulings; I’ll get back to you on that.

Now that I am finished thinking out allowed I’ll get back to the review and finish off by saying that Junk Arm is a brilliant card in the current format and will see a lot of play, even if it doesn’t appear in all decks. To quote Otaku, this is a ‘must-eliminate’ card that will appear in the list of cards you like and will have to go through the cutting and play-testing process to figure out whether or not you want to play it.

Modified: 4.5 (some problems, most notably Trainer Locking, stop me giving out a perfect score. Bump it up a quarter of a point if you can play it for the discard without having to retrieve a Trainer form the discard pile)
Limited: 1 (nothing in the set to retrieve except for Alph’s Lithograph, a really strange occurrence in Limited since having Trainers usually means having at least some consistency. If there were other Trainers in the set, this card would be scored much higher)

Combos with: any Trainer you want to play twice, but some of the best are Pokémon Communication, Power Spray and Rare Candy

conical

#10: 1/3/2011(hey!): Junk Arm(Triumphant)

Didn't we review this thing like 2 months ago? Oh right, Top 10.

A staple in Gyarados, and a nifty little tool in any other deck. While in my previous review of this card, I mentioned specifically re-using Team Galactic's Inventions with this here card, it totally slipped my mind that Rare Candy and Luxury Ball could also be brought back. While most trainers today aren't as broken as the ones when Junk Arm's ancestor, Itemfinder, was usable, there's still plenty of excellent options to bring back. You could even throw in a couple of these to substitute for Rare Candies if you only have 1-2 of them, and don't want to shell out 7-8 dollars each for the rest. It's a massively inferior choice, but one that is cost-effective, and better than just running 2 Candy alone.

Modifed: 3.5/5
Limited: 1/5(there are no other trainers in Triumphant)


Otaku

We begin counting down our Top 10 Pokémon cards of 2010 today.  Note that we are specifically focusing on cards released in 2010, and not just what was popular: this is a pretty important distinction since a lot of potent cards were still left from older sets, and we didn’t want to end up with a rehash of last years Top 10.

 

Junk Arm is clocks in at #10.  It is a Trainer from HS – Triumphant and we reviewed it exactly two months ago on November 3rd!  Even if we hadn’t, its effect is quite familiar to those who played Pokémon in the early days of the Base Set: “Discard two cards from your hand.  Search your discard pile for a Trainer card, show it to your opponent, and put it into your hand.  You can’t choose Junk Arm with the effect of this card.”  It is an almost identical effect to Item Finder, a card from the original Base Set that is a heavily used in Unlimited play.  The two big differences are that Item Finder can snag another copy of itself from the discard, and that when Item Finder was printed there was only one kind of Trainer.  As new sub-types of Trainer came out, it was ruled that Item Finder could still snag them, even after they made Supporters and Stadiums their own basic card types.  Still, when reviewing an “updated” of a past card, what it is an update of is the best place to start.  Let us examine Item Finder and its uses:

 

a)      Variable Trainers

b)      Maximizing deck space

c)       Combos

 

My first point is pretty obvious, but perhaps my terminology isn’t: I just mean that each copy of Item Finder can function as any one other Trainer in your discard.  Especially in a format such as Unlimited, where you have as much potent, reliable and easy to use search/draw power, you will regularly be able to use any Trainer you want pretty quickly.  Item Finder then earns its keep by letting you essentially trade it (and two cards from your hand) in for the exact Trainer you needed from your discard pile.  This means instead of having to draw into a specific card, you can draw into that card or Item Finder.  If you need to go to extremes and you’ve maxed out on a Trainer and Item Finder, you can essentially play that same Trainer eight times!  More realistic is playing a single Trainer you were running for specific match-ups multiple times, so your potentially bad match-up evens up or even swings to your favor.  That is very important since actually running three or four copies of a specific counter-card would weaken your deck.

 

The second reason for Item Finder being so potent is how much deck space it can save: you can get by running just three copies of really important Trainers if you are maxing out on Item Finder, and as alluded to above, run just singles or doubles of less important Trainers.  In Unlimited, decks are often half to two-thirds “classical” Trainers, and half of those would be maxed out Trainers if it wasn’t for Item Finder: rarely would a deck not make cuts and find running at least two Item Finder reliable enough to justify itself, and indeed instead running three or even four often frees up enough slots that you made room for the copies of Item Finder and then a few more cards!

 

The final point is the most unique to Unlimited.  You have cards like Computer Search and Item Finder itself that have significant discard costs, and cards like Professor Oak that discard your entire hand!  All three have effects that are well worth it, and ensure you’ll almost always have cards in hand to meet those costs.  Item Finder takes the sting out of having to discard Trainers you might want later, even if it ends up being later in the very same turn.  This is the heart of the Unlimited “Trainer Engine”, that is the core method of setting up and “running” your deck.

 

As we have seen, Junk Arm is being played.  It is a “nerfed” Item Finder: besides lacking things like Computer Search and Professor Oak, it only hits the contemporary Trainer (not Supporters or Stadiums). The two big reasons not to use it are fear of Trainer lock or feeling you won’t have enough targets in the discard soon enough to revive.  Those are real concerns, and can be enough to keep it out of some great decks.  Still, even without access to the powerful Trainers of the past, it provides some great benefits.  The player running it can afford to be less stingy with Trainer use, and that enables bolder plays.  You can’t feel safe because an opponent has used up four Plus Power: if they can build their hand up this turn, they can afford to throw it all away (via Junk Arm) to reload.  A piece of TecH they’d be crazy to run two of will get multiple uses.  Combo the card with Vs Seeker and you get a taste of “the old days”.  Together they allow you to access any Trainer or Supporter for a net cost of two cards from hand.  Despite all this, it is only half of why Junk Arm makes the Top 10 of 2010: it is a good general usage card, but not a must run.  Instead, it is a staple for decks that must discard cards from hand as a part of their strategy, the most notable of which is Gyarados Lv.52 from Stormfront.  As long as you can safely discard Magikarp (instead of waiting for them to be KO’d) you get a Stage 1 with 130 HP that can easily hit for 60 to 90 points of damage for no Energy.  Without Junk Arm, the deck was on the decline (it had relied on cards cut in the last set rotation for this effect) but now its back and a force to be reckoned with.  Junk Arm is on the list as a representative of that deck.

 

In Limited play, the only reason not to use this card is a good one: there is only one other Trainer in this set, and it is a Secret Rare.  I actually didn’t even realize it was in the set when we first reviewed this card.  Still, even if you get that one Trainer and you get Junk Arm, it is so situational it just isn’t worth it.

 

Ratings

 

Modified: 4/5

 

Limited: 1/5

 

Summary

Junk Arm scores well because it is a good general card that is great in a few specific decks, one of which (Gyarados) is a real presence in organized play.  Modified players should make sure they own a play set, because with the current card pool I think it stands to get better, not worse, next format.  Players new to Unlimited might want a set as well, to function as a “poor man’s” Item Finder: since Unlimited decks run only a handful of Supporters it can get the job done well enough, though it should be switched out for Item Finder as soon as you can track them down.


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