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Pojo's Pokemon Card of the Day

 

Great Ball

Date Reviewed: July 12, 2011

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 2.00
Limited: 4.00

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

Great Ball

Now this is a weird one . . .

Most cards have their text changed to fit a new ruling or correct a mistake. With Great Ball something else entirely happened: it stopped being Great Ball altogether and became exactly like the old Master Ball card!

Errata

The wording of Great Ball is now as follows, "Look at the top 7 cards of your deck. You may reveal a Pokémon you find there and put it into your hand. Shuffle the other cards back into your deck." This card works very differently now; it can no longer search the entire deck for a Pokémon and put it directly onto Bench.

Why was it changed?

The old effect of Great Ball (grab a Basic from your deck and Bench it) was mediocre in the last format where more often than not you wanted to play the Basic from your hand to get the benefit of a coming-into-play Power (Uxie, Mesprit, Azelf, Crobat G etc). Now though, we have super powerful Basics Zekrom and Reshiram, with more on the horizon (Kyurem, the Weather Genies), and getting them out at the cost of playing a Trainer might just be too good.

Of course, it’s also possible that Pokémon wish to re-jig what the Pokéballs do and have something special up their sleeves for a future Master Ball. After all, it is supposed to be the best one, and should offer something a bit more special than just digging through the top of your deck for a random Pokémon.

What effect will it have?

At the moment, none whatsoever in Modified. The Unlimited format is completely degenerate anyway and having the original text Great Ball in there wouldn’t have made it any more broken than it already is. The card was reprinted with the new text in the Japanese Black and White sets, so we will likely be seeing it in our format soon, where it will once again be a mediocre search card. Let’s just hope they really do have some big plans for Master Ball . . .

Rating

Modified: 2 (when it comes out – risky, random, search Trainer)

Mad Mattezhion
 Professor Bathurst League Australia
Great Ball (Stormfront)
 
If you have read my Potion review, then you are indeed brave to continue reading. Don't worry, I'm going to keep it simple here.
 
Great Ball is a strange case because at this point in time, it doesn't mean a thing. With Great Ball being rotated out (the latest version was printed in Stormfront) it won't see play in Modified until it is reprinted, at which point it should have the revised text printed on it. So why issue an errata?
 
The effect itself is also weird, because the old effect and the new effect are almost completely unrelated. The old effect was to search your deck for a Basic Poke'mon and put it onto your bench, which was largely unused due to a mixture of the competition from Roseanne's Research and Poke'mon Collector, and the fact that playing the Basic directly onto the bench rather than putting it in the hand meant you couldn't use many of the coming-into-play powers that were so popular (with good reason) in the last two formats. As a Trainer - Item, the effect was good but not good enough, althouugh in the new card pool it could have easily found a niche as a 1-of tech (a common approach to Items now that we have Junk Arm) to cover the weaknesses of Poke'mon Collector (namely, you can't play other Supporters in the same turn)
 
Sadly, we will never find out. The new effect is that you look at the top 7 cards of your deck, choose a Poke'mon you find there, reveal it and put it into your hand. I'll discuss the uses of this card in a moment, but I have to say that this is a really messed up card. Great Ball was fine the way it was, and if they wanted this new effect then they could have simply reprinted Master Ball instead, which matches the errata exactly. So why did the creators of Poke'mon feel they had to ruin Great Ball, when they could have simply not reprinted it (if they feared an imbalance in favour of Basics) and instead reprinted Master Ball?
 
Either way, the new effect is pretty weak. Admittedly it can grab any type of Poke'mon card you find in the top 7 cards, but the odds are that you won't find the exact card you are looking for because of the size of your deck in the early game (in the late game you are probably already doomed if you are still searching out Poke'mon). There is even a chance that you won't find any Poke'mon at all, so my personal recommendation is to stick to Poke'mon Communication and Poke Ball.
 
I'm not going to argue with the Poke'mon design team who have poured their mind and soul into this franchise to make it what it is today, but I remain completely baffled by this completely unnecessary complication. I hope that the future will reveal the reason behind this madness. Maybe Master Ball is about to get an overhaul as well?
 
Modified: 1 (who is going to play a card that relies on top decking when a card with all of the same advantages of being an Item will allow you to search your deck instead?)
 
Limited: ? (in Stormfront it was great because search of any kind is always appreciated in Limited, even when you have cards like Luxury Ball and Poke Drawer + in the same set. But that was under the old rules, so it hardly counts here. I know it will be reprinted in the new Emerging Powers set with the new rules and text, but I do not know what cards will be in the set so I can't give a proper score)
 
Just messing with you, Bill.
 
Limited: 3 (draw power and search power are infinitely better, but topdecking is still preferable to nothing at all)
 
Combos with: a conpsiracy theory: the Poke'mon design team is slowly making the TCG an illogical mess that will drive us all mad and make us into slavering minions who will serve in the army they will use to take over the world!
 
No, that can't be right. They already control the world, Poke'mon is everywhere! Definitely a good thing however, a franchise that encourages teamwork, loyalty, strategy and good petcare is the perfect candidate for world domination. Hail Poke'mon!

Otaku

Great Ball is the second (or is that third?) Item card we are reviewing for Errata Week. First and foremost, when last printed it was just a “normal Trainer”. The other big difference is the effect: originally Great Ball allowed you to search your deck for a Basic Pokémon (excluding Pokémon-ex) and Bench it. Since it was first printed in FireRed/LeafGreen that exception mattered, but lately (as it was last printed in Stormfront) that wasn’t a problem. In fact last format we had so many “coming into play” Poké-Powers that it was actually a drawback being forced to Bench what you searched. I’ve heard this card was re-released in Japan so as to be Modified legal, but it currently isn’t here. With the old effect it would have been a staple for the most popular decks, fetching the potent Basic Pokémon we have reviewed lately like Reshiram and Zekrom. This might be why it has been almost completely rewritten, with the erratum stating the correct text for the card now reads "Look at the top 7 cards of your deck. You may reveal a Pokémon you find there and put it into your hand. Shuffle the other cards back into your deck." This should sound familiar as this is the effect of Master Ball, a Trainer first seen back in Gym: Challenge and last seen in EX: Power Keepers. This leads to some speculation that Master Ball might be seeing a re-release in the future with a new, more appropriate effect; in the video games Master Ball is the ultimate Poké Ball that automatically catches anything it is thrown at and this effect seems a bit weak for that since it can fail to catch anything.

So with the errata out of the way, how useful is this card? Not very because it is currently only legal for Unlimited play as I said, and there are so many better options there. Still I want to point out that if this card were reprinted so that it would be Modified legal, it would be a good pick for many decks and probably become a common sight. Right now your Trainer options to get either a Basic or Evolved Pokémon are limited to Poké Ball and Pokémon Communication. Poké Ball is a “tails fails” card and while Pokémon Communication can’t fail, but it requires you have a Pokémon in hand and are willing to shuffle that Pokémon back into your deck after showing it to your opponent. In a healthy, diverse format where even two players running the same deck can have radically different lists, that reveal can be a problem; you already had to show them what you were looking for and when they see what you were willing to trade away, those two cards can reveal a significant amount of your deck strategy. You have more options if we relax our standards, but what I am getting at is that we don’t have the kind of Pokémon search we’ve gotten used to in recent formats. If you have a deck that runs a lot of Pokémon this can be a great card, but there is always a risk of it failing, either finding no Pokémon in your top seven cards or just not finding the one you really wanted. You could run some other cards to reduce the risk but unless they already belong in your deck, that’s counterproductive; you might as well just run some of the other options I mentioned earlier. If your deck is Pokémon heavy or does an excellent job of thinning out non-Pokémon cards, this becomes a quick and easy way to get a semi-random Pokémon from your deck, and as an Item that is all it needs to do.

I have no better place to put this, so let me be a bit fanciful in hoping that we get more cards that make use of Items in future sets. I’ve noticed that a lot of Item cards, many of which are reprints of past Trainers or updates of them are so close to being useful right now. In the past, these cards were eclipsed by later releases that improved upon what they did, and that ultimately led to the power creep we’ve seen in recent formats. As such I really hope to see the return of Supporter blocking effects or actual support for Items sees release. Junk Arm is a good start, now give me more: most Items just need the option of being searched for and added to your hand in multiples or inexpensive recycling tricks to make them a great boon to decks.

Ratings

Unlimited: 1/5 – A bit harsh as it isn’t worthless, but you are so much better off using a different Trainer, or rather one of a dozen.

Modified: N/A – If it were legal it’d be a solid card, a 3/5.

Limited: 5/5 – Search is at a premium here, even if it is limited in scope and could fail.

Summary

So that is how Great Ball works now. In the end (and assuming this is reprinted soon) if I am running a deck that has a lot of Pokémon of varying stages and I just need to get one of them, any of them, Great Ball becomes a great choice. This format has little in the way of direct competition, though I would recommend Pokémon Communication for most decks and anything that specializes in Basic Pokémon should be running Dual Ball (for an Item) or Pokémon Collector (for a Supporter). I’d even consider (but rarely actually run) Poké Ball in this format though, and that should put this whole review into perspective.

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


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