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Pojo's Pokemon Card of the Day

 

Potion

Date Reviewed: July 12, 2011

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 1.75
Limited: 3.00

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


Baby Mario
2010 UK National
Seniors
Champion

Potion

Next up for an errata review is that classic staple of theme and new player decks alike: Potion. This card was released in the original Base Set and along with Switch is the only card ever to remain modified legal throughout the history of the game (I think) . . . and now, after 12+ years, they have seen fit to change it.

Errata

The wording of Potion now heals 30 damage from 1 of your Pokémon instead of 20 damage.

Why was it changed?

Presumably to give some point to the card’s existence. Potion may very well be in all new player and theme decks from the start, but it is also practically the first card to be dropped once players start to get a clue about deckbuilding. Healing has rarely been a massive factor in Pokémon (with some notable exceptions) due to the prevalence of OHKOs and even when it has been good, it’s because there have been better ways to accomplish the task than Potion such as Gold Berry, PokeHealer, Nidoqueen RR, or Life Herb. Upping the damage removed to 30 makes Potion as good as a Moomoo Milk in the hands of a player with exactly average luck.

What effect will it have?

Not much right now. The only use I have seen for Potion is in a few decks with Typhlosion Prime for Energy acceleration, where Potion is used to heal the 10 damage from using Afterburner. In this case, the change makes no difference. In the future, it’s just possible that the enhanced effect will make Potion playable in a deck that focuses on tanking and healing strategies as a more conservative alternative to Moomoo Milk. For that to happen though, the format will need to shift away from being so OHKO dominated.

Rating

Modified: 1.75 (it’s improved, but still very niche and there is usually a better alternative)

Mad Mattezhion
 Professor Bathurst League Australia

Potion (Black & White)
 
Hello Pojo readers, wlecome to a special event! Today, we are doing a 2 for 1 deal where you get 2 CotD reviews for the price of 1! That's right, there have been two uploads today (the other card is Great Ball) so prepare yourself for a great moment in Pojo history!
 
Now that I'm finished the introduction and built up your expectations, I'm going to leave you hanging and skip the review...
 
Psyche!
 
Now that I'm finished having a laugh at your expense (while you are sitting there, shaking your head and wondering how people like me are alllowed out in public) I'll get down to business.
 
Potion is an Item card that is as old as the game itself. Released as 94/102 in the original release of the Poke'mon TCG (the infamous Base Set). Alongside Switch, Potion has always been available and has never been rotated out of the Modified (or the earlier Constructed) format. Despite this incredible longevity, Potion has never been used in a tournament viable deck with any success. I don't think we have ever reviewed it either, so today is a 'first ever' on two counts.
 
Potion's effect is simplicity itself: remove 2 damage counters from one of your Poke'mon. Due to the fact that this amount was, at most,  half of the damage that most attackers would deal in a single hit, noone ever considered devoting precious deck space to such a weak card (unless your collection was small). With the release of new sets after Base Set, the average damage yield continued to climb and the number of competing cards (either more powerful healing cards or other Trainer cards that were more useful in general) also increased. Although Potion has been reprinted roughly once a year (as well as being included in pretty much every theme deck ever made) the circumstances have never improved. But now we can rejoice, for the faithful (those of us with enough Potions to build a deck containing nothing else, simply for giggles) have been rewarded at long last!
 
Unlike the other cards this week, Potion has been reprinted rather than given an erratum (but this is only due to the proud tradition of reprinting Potion so it still fits in with this week's theme) which changes the effect to healing 30 damage rather than 2 damage counters. 'Healing damage' and 'removing damage counters' mean the same thing as far as the rules are concerned, so the big change is that Potion is now a whopping 50% more powerful!
 
This is a major game changer, because the current average damage for a main attacker is... north of 100 damage, which according to my previous argument means that Potions is still damned near useless because we still have an abundance of more effective cards and a shortage of deck space. Dang it!
 
Still, all is not lost. If you only consider the healing cards available to us at the moment, Potions is the most powerful of the cards which are completely reliable and don't have a drawback. Both Life Herb and Moo Moo Milk can heal more damage but are subject to coin flips, while Blissey Prime is liable to discard many of your important energy. If you want healing, then running 4 Potionwith a maxed-out line of Junk Arm as well is the best option, finally giving the unloved bottle a home.
 
Oh wait, we have Serperior BW for that. Foiled again!
 
While Potion remans an exceptionally terrible card, the power boost is long overdue and shows that behind it all, the powers-that-be who rule Poke'mon still care deeply about their creations. Every last one of them.
 
*sigh*
 
Yes, that includes Base Set Gastly and Watchog BW.
 
To all of you who made it to the end of this review, thankyou for tolerating my sense of humour. However, I must warn you that there is no antidote for my terrible jokes so you can expect your monitor to shatter in the next few minutes...
 
Maybe this warning should have been written up at the beginning of this article?
 
Modified: 1 (noone with a collection bigger than a single theme deck has ever used Potion in even a semi-competitive environment. I doubt that will ever change)
 
Limited: 3 (it's an Item, and it heals you. You can probably find a use for this card at the prerelease)
 
Combos with: Papier Mache. Or you can wallpaper a room with them. Or even use them to line your compst heap. Maybe you can send me a Potion with your hate mail to heal some of the electronic beatdowns I will shortly receive from my dark masters?


Otaku

Continuing our week of cards that received errata, we come to a card we have never reviewed before! Making it more astounding, it has been a card that has both been with the game since the very beginning (the Base Set) and very rarely rotated out of Modified. I speak of Potion. Originally a “normal” Trainer and now a Trainer-Item, it enjoys the fact that it is easy to play, though not easy to search. It can be recycled with Junk Arm or the single Energy attack “Pickup” on Lillipup (Black & White 80/114), but the former is too pricey given the effect and the latter just isn’t a worthwhile Pokémon line to play. The only limits to playing Item cards comes from actually getting them into your hand or actual card effects; either being unable to carry out any part of the effect text on the Item or when facing a card that blocks Item usage like Vileplume (HS: Undaunted 24/91) and its Allergy Flower Poké-Body.

So what did Potion originally do? Back in the Base Set it allowed you to remove up to two damage counters from one of your Pokémon, and eventually printings started stating that you had to remove two damage counters if able and one if the Pokémon only had a single counter on it. This fine distinction seems quite trivial but occasionally did matter, usually when fine-tuning damage counters for an effect or when another effect made it desirable to play Trainers for no effect; again that would usually be to carefully control your hand size due to another effect.

So what does Potion do now? The wording of Potion now heals 30 damage from 1 of your Pokémon instead of 20 damage. (Apr 11, 2011 TPCi Announcements; May 5, 2011 PUI Rules Team). If I understand correctly, TPCi is looking towards using more keyword terms, like healing, to reduce the amount of text on a card. This is a common TCG practice, and “healing 30 damage” takes up just a little less room than “remove 3 damage counters”. It is quite nice that they have scaled up how much it recovers since both maximum HP and average HP scores are higher than they were when the game began. Of course, since Pokémon HP scores have not gone up in scale to each other, neither can this increase in the amount of damage healed be in scale to all of them.

So is it worth playing? Surprisingly yes, though in very select circumstances. In general it is a filler card, mostly for those whose card pool or skill is extremely lacking. If your deck is excellent at reducing damage to next to nothing or does damage to your own Pokémon via a means other than an attack (which Defender could block), Potion should be considered. There are “better” healing cards in that there are cards that remove more damage counters. The catch is that right now Modified is such that you’ll usually take very little damage or practically get OHKO’d. This means you risk wasting the “better” healing cards in one of two ways: using them when you’ve got very little damage on you or wasting them because your guys keep getting KO’d before you think they really need the healing. When you just need to reliably handle periodic bits of damage, Potion is a great fit. Oh, and of course it’s great for Limited play where thanks to average HP scores and damage output being lower, healing effects are disproportionately stronger.

Ratings

Unlimited: 1/5 – The best options are all still available here.

Modified: 2/5 – This is a general score. Potion belongs in a select few decks, but is functional anywhere.

Limited: 5/5 – Run it as healing is on par with draw and search power in this format!

Summary

For years I dismissed Potion as worthless. Then I got pounded on by guys like Vince, Will, and Joe from Marshalltown, IA. They showed me that it was more than just a filler card after we got EX: Team Aqua Vs Team Magma. Since then I learned it was a useful filler card, especially for beginners, and there really were decks that just needed to heal a small hunk of damage a few times a game for devastating returns.

Of course I am still selling my former possessions on eBay here. Pojo.com is not responsible for any transactions.


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