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Pojo's Pokemon Card of the Day

 

PlusPower

Black & White

Date Reviewed: July 13, 2011

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 3.10
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

PlusPower

Here’s another old card that has been in and out of the format since the very beginning. Unlike most it has always been playable, but now it has received a significant change to the way it is played.

Errata

The wording of PlusPower is now as follows, "During this turn, your Pokémon's attacks do 10 more damage to the Active Pokémon (before applying Weakness and Resistance)." This card no longer attaches to a Pokémon when used.

Why was it changed?

Probably to prevent the kind of shenanigans that took place with the Uxie and Shuppet donk decks which we saw last format. Because PlusPower used to be attached to the Pokémon that was attacking, it could be recycled when using attacks which returned the active and all cards attached to the hand (Shuppet, Dunsparce) or to the deck (Uxie). This meant that Basic Pokémon with single Energy low-damage attacks were turned into monsters that could win on the first turn or dodge a return KO and hide behind a wall like Spiritomb AR or Mr Mime MT, ready to be used again.

What effect will it have?

Well, hopefully we won’t ever have to see the abuse of such a cheap mechanic for cheap wins ever again. In some ways though, it has actually made the card more powerful. Because it is discarded when used, it can be brought back again with Junk Arm and played again, meaning that a single PlusPower (with four Junk Arm) can theoretically give you a 50 damage boost for a turn. Ok, that’s an extreme example, but using it a couple of times to get the extra 20 you need for the KO is pretty common and easy to do.

On the whole I think this is a positive change: it makes the card better, but less open to cheap abuse. The only downside I can see is that players are going to need to be very careful when it comes to keeping track of how many PlusPower were played/re-used in a turn.

Rating

Modified: 3 (there’s always room for a decent damage modifier in any format)

Mad Mattezhion
 Professor Bathurst League Australia

Pluspower (Black & White)
 
Hello folks, we are back with more errata for the midweek review. Today's card is Pluspower, which is currently quite popular due to both the availability of Junk Arm and the loss of Expert Belt. As average HP scores are still increasing players need extra damage now more than ever, and currently the other options are limited to Black Belt and Special Dark energy so Pluspower will have a home in most decks (MagneBoar depends on it and Rain Dance builds using either Lanturn Prime or Armourott also find it extremely useful).
 
The old Pluspower was a Trainer you attached to your Active Poke'mon (but wasn't a Poke'mon Tool so you could play several at once as well as a Tool, like Expert Belt) which added 10 bonus damage to attacks against the opponent's Active Poke'mon before applying weakness and resistance.
 
The new effect is exactly the same for the purposes of damage calculation, but the change is that Pluspower is discarded immediately rather than attached to a Poke'mon and discarded after your attack. In most cases this won't make a lick of difference, but there are two important exceptions.
 
The positive effect is that if you play Pluspower, you can play a switching effect later in your turn and not lose the bonus damage, since it is now applied to whatever Poke'mon is Active at the time of your attack (as opposed to only affecting the Poke'mon that it is attached to). Usually you won't need this little bonus, but if you are about to discard your hand with Professor Juniper (because you can't attack and are desperately digging for a Switch) you can drop the Pluspower and still use it when you change out your luckless Active for your benched attacker. The same applies  if you are shuffling away your hand away (via Professor Oak's New Theory, Copycat orJudge) and it is a good option to have in those sticky situations, rare as they may be.
 
The downside is that Uxie Donk, Shuppet Donk and other Turbo decks that focus on abusing attacks which return the attacker (and all cards attached to it) to the hand/deck are now completely defunct. Because Pluspower used to be attached to a specific Poke'mon, it would be included in the phrase 'Return/Shuffle [card name] and all cards attached to it to/into your hand/deck' which meant you could draw like crazy and then reuse your Pluspower cards over and over again by returning them to a safe place before they could be discarded. Admittedly all of these variants of the Turbo deck have been rotated into Unlimited, but it still hurts any future Turbo decks that could become viable. That and Dunsparce is ruined in the Unlimited format. How sad...
 
Pluspower is slightly boosted overall by this errata, and the lack of easy-to-splash alternatives for bonus damage mean that Pluspower is currently at the highest popularity it has experienced since the bad old days of Haymaker dominance. Break out the beat sticks and have fun!
 
Modified: 4 (I can think of plenty of situations where 10 more damage would mean the difference between a victory-taking OHKO and a crippling return smash. Add that to the loss of Expert Belt, the ubiquitous Junk Arm and the total lack of other Item-based damage, and you can see why Pluspower is filling a slot in most current decks)
 
Limited: 5 (it's really quite beautiful; you play a Reshiram and you power up Blue Flare but your opponent has their healthy Zekrom ready for a KO with Outrage if you attack. Suddenly, like a laser dot on the forehead, Pluspower comes out to end the existence of both your problem and your opponent! Mwahahahaha!)
 
Combos with: Junk Arm, and all of those turns where 10 damage is the difference between a KO and having to promote yet another sacrificial lamb.


Otaku

Feeling sluggish now that it’s the middle of the week? Maybe you need a little pick-me-up… like a PlusPower! Yeah, PlusPower is another ancient Trainer first released in the Base Set, like Potion. PlusPower has actually received errata twice within recent history. I will list both, taken from The Compendium LVX of the Pokégym:

  • Three cards have been added to the list of errata for the Pokémon Trading Card Game. [...] The text below reflects what the card should say, not what was originally printed. "If the Pokémon PlusPower is attached to attacks, the attack does 10 more damage to the Active Pokémon (before applying Weakness and Resistance)." This is to match past versions of the card. Also, if the Pokémon uses an attack that would damage itself, PlusPower would also affect that damage. (May 6, 2010 PUI Rules Team; May 7, 2010 TPCi TCG Errata Update)

  • The wording of PlusPower is now as follows, "During this turn, your Pokémon's attacks do 10 more damage to the Active Pokémon (before applying Weakness and Resistance)." This card no longer attaches to a Pokémon when used. (Apr 11, 2011 TPCi Announcements; May 5, 2011 PUI Rules Team)

Both significantly affect the usefulness of PlusPower. At its root, PlusPower is good because sometimes it allows you to score a KO early. Nice and easy, yes? Being an Item (allowing you to use multiple copies on the same turn) makes it even better. The thing is, a good player will use PlusPower to play mind games with an opponent: the entire game a player has to be extra cautious of the damage on their Pokémon because your opponent might not be running a full count, or they could not only be running a full compliment of PlusPower but also a full batch of Junk Arm! Almost any deck can tap into both aspects of this card’s use, though some builds make it much more effective and of course some players won’t be able to handle the mental side of the game.

Here is how the first erratum affects use of the card: PlusPower becomes more useful when interacting with Weakness and Resistance. When you are fortunate enough to face something Weak to your attacks, you’ll get an effective +20 damage, while against Resistant Pokémon you’ll halve their Resistance. Well, there are three very mild exceptions: some Pokémon (only a handful legal still in Modified due to promos) have a Weakness along the lines of “+X damage”, originally Resistance was -30 (not -20), and of course there will just be some cards with specific effects that would contradict all this. Unfortunately this same erratum restores the classic downside of PlusPower increasing damage to self.

The second erratum is quite, quite significant. Perhaps the remaining classical drawback of PlusPower was that it attached to a Pokémon, only affecting that Pokémon. I still remember those frustrating times back in the early days of the game when I’d just need to play a PlusPower on something Benched, then Professor Oak and draw into a Switch or something else to get Switch and win the game and neither Switch nor something else every showed up, and I’d wasted PlusPower completely. Similarly, there were times when you’d play PlusPower on your Active Pokémon and after using Professor Oak realized that if you had played it on something Benched, you could have retreated to that Pokémon and dropped the other PlusPower you luckily drew and have gone for game. Scenarios like that, which nowadays would reference Professor Juniper, Professor Oak’s New Theory, or even just wanting to thin your hand as much as you can for Magnezone Prime’s Poké-Power. This minor flaw never ruined the card, but it is still great that it is gone now that the effect just basically rests upon the field.

In Unlimited play PlusPower is a must for some of the most aggressive decks, including the dreaded “donk” decks. Most Pokémon do enough damage to score a OHKO in this format, but that is in part due to Pokémon who boost themselves with PlusPower! Still, it won’t be in all decks, including the many of the best known because they either didn’t focus on raw damage or already could do it unaided. In Modified PlusPower is that card I really like to include at least as a single but often can’t; a single copy is all it takes to force your opponent to over think situations, always fearing you’ll drop another one to three and just the single copy is enough to help every few games. Again it is a must for donk or even stable but aggressive decks. No realistic Limited deck build will skip it either, making it a must run there.

Ratings

Unlimited: 3.5/5 – For some decks it is a must, but for almost all it is functional.

Modified: 3.25/5 – For some decks it is a must, but for almost all it is functional.

Limited: 5/5 – For some decks it is a must, but for almost all it is functional.

Summary

PlusPower is another simple Item that is now even easier to use, and only the constraints of deck space and need for other key cards crowds it out of most decks. Personally I hope to see its use rise because it truly was a great example of the cerebral aspect of Pokémon. For better or worse, when we get Pokémon Catcher I expect to see this used more as we will again be in a format where a strong Basic that OHKOs a Basic that is only being played to Evolve will win the game even if it isn’t a donk.

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


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