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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Bianca

Emerging Powers

Date Reviewed: Sept. 15, 2011

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 2.50
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

Baby Mario
2010 UK National
Seniors
Champion

Bianca

Have you seen this girl in the Black and White anime? Wow is she annoying: needy, selfish, and very, very loud.

As a Supporter, she is a functional reprint of Professor Birch from the old EX series sets with a very simple and straightforward effect: draw until you have six cards in your hand. This makes her effectively a Supporter version of Magnezone Prime’s PokePower. We all know how good that is, but does Bianca measure up? To answer that, we have to ask another question: how does she compare to the other draw Supporters in the format?

Essentially, there are three types of draw Supporters in Pokémon. Hand refresh like Copycat or Professor Oak’s New Theory, where you shuffle your hand into the deck and draw a fresh one; discard draw like Professor Juniper or Sage’s Training where getting new cards means sending some to the discard pile; and straight draw like Cheerleader’s Cheer or Emcee’s Chatter, where you just add more cards to your hand. Most decks at the moment prefer to run hand refresh (in decks that can’t afford to drop cards) or discard draw (for its ability to dig deeper into the deck). Straight draw is relatively unseen: largely because we really lack decent cards in this area (Message to TPCI: reprint Steven’s Advice, please!). Cheerleader hands a card to your opponent, Emcee needs a coin flip to be decent, Engineer’s Adjustment requires Energy discards and cards like Bill and Team Rocket’s Trickery only get your two more cards.

But let’s just assume you WANT to run some straight draw. Maybe you can’t afford to dump cards with Juniper and don’t want to run the risk of drawing again cards that you don’t need with hand refresh. Will Bianca do then?

Well, that depends really on how your deck plays. If you are typically holding a hand of four or more cards, then Bianca is no better than the ‘draw two’ Supporters that see no play. On the other hand, if you are constantly finding yourself with 1-2 cards left at the start of your turn, then Bianca is obviously superior. Right now the only deck I can think of that might burn a hand that fast is Stage 1 Rush (Yanmega/Donphan/Zoroark, Cinccino variants), and they will typically prefer Juniper for its ability to grab seven fresh cards from the deck instead of the 4-5 offered by Bianca.

I guess if you are a super cautious person who somehow finds themselves starting a turn with only a couple of cards, one of which they want to hold on to, then Bianca might be a good option. However, I honestly can’t recommend this card over Juniper in those situations, and for the person who really hates to discard, there’s always tomorrow’s card to turn to.

Rating

Modified: 2.25 (it’s not horrible, but there’s half a dozen cards I would look at before this one. Nobody really played Birch either)

Limited: 5 (pretty much any draw card will get that score here)


Otaku

Stats

Bianca is a Trainer-Supporter: she "costs" you your Supporter use for the turn, but is immune to most of the Trainer locking cards currently Modified legal. The Supporter “support” cards used in Unlimited are geared towards first turn win combos that don’t lend themselves to Bianca usage, while we have almost no such supporting cards currently in Modified. Fortunately cards that punish Supporter usage are all but useless in Unlimited and just as rare as the Supporter support in Modified.

Effect

Bianca has a very simple effect: when you play her, you draw until you have six cards in hand. Based on past cards you won’t be able to play it unless you can draw at least one card, but I can’t find the ruling for that so feel free to double check with a judge. This is an adequate effect: properly run you’ll probably snag three cards with the potential of up to six. I can’t really call the card good because as I’ll explain in the Usage section, it only belongs in select decks or to people with a specific playing style. I won’t call it bad because it does what it is supposed to: it just could do that job better. If you can’t afford returning cards from hand to deck or discarding them, this is your only “big” draw card.

Usage

This card does have use, and to better explain it let me examine the history of this style of effect. While not seen frequently, this isn’t the first time this effect has been seen on a Supporter, let alone in the game. I found four cards besides Bianca all had the same effect, though there are slight wording variations:

1) Dialga (DP: Majestic Dawn 4/100) and its Time Shift attack for (M).

2) Magnezone (HS: Triumphant 96/102) and its Magnetic Draw Poké-Power.

3) Porygon2 (EX: Delta Species 25/113) and its Back-Up Poké-Power.

4) Professor Birch (EX: Ruby/Sapphire 89/109, EX: Emerald 82/106, and EX: Power Keepers 80/108), who is identical to Bianca in stats and effect but with minor wording differences in English.

There is an attack in the TCG named Return (which does not work anything like the video game attack of the same name) that also includes the effect of Bianca, plus does damage. The cards with that attack (and their specifics for it) are:

1) Blissey (Platinum 22/127), also doing 20 for (CC).

2) Dunsparce (HS: Unleashed 29/95), also doing 10 for (C).

3) Lickilicky [C] (DP: Rising Rivals 30/147), also doing 40 for (CCC).

4) Nidoqueen (HS: Triumphant 28/102), also doing 30 for (C).

Then there are just some similar draw cards with additional effects and sometimes slightly different draw amounts:

1) Claydol (DP: Great Encoutners 15/106) has Cosmic Draw; a Poké-Power that allows its player (once per turn before that player’s attack) to bottom deck two cards from said player’s hand, then proceed to draw until said player had six cards in hand. It couldn’t be used if Claydol was affected by a Special Condition.

2) Snorlax LV.X (Rising Rivals 111/111) has Big Appetite; a Poké-Power that allows its player (once per turn before that player’s attack) to draw until you have six cards in hand but only while Snorlax LV.X is Active and then Snorlax LV.X is afflicted with Sleep, plus Big Appetite doesn’t work while Snorlax Lv.X is affected by a Special Condition.

3) Volkner’s Philosophy (Rising Rivals 98/111) is a Supporter that requires you discard a card from your hand before drawing until you have six cards in hand, and specifically states you can’t play it if you can’t draw any cards.

So why list all of these? First, as even a new reader has figured out by now, I tend like to be thorough to the point of being a little obsessive, hence my screen name. Second, examining how these cards performed gives you an idea of the strength’s and weaknesses of Bianca. The cards that saw (or are seeing) serious play are Magnezone Prime, Porygon2, Claydol, and Volkner’s Philosophy. The reason for this is simple: this effect clashes with other draw power: the better the rest of your deck is at keeping your hand well stocked, the less use you have for cards like Bianca. Magnezone Prime is also a great attacker. Claydol allowed you to send up to two cards currently unneeded to the bottom of your deck, so unless you had the six cards you thought were best, you could at least attempt to improve the overall quality of your hand, and since it was optional this meant you always could improve the quantity if you had a one or zero card hand. Volkner’s Philosophy is similarly flexible: you can optionally discard one card, a “cost” that can often be used to fuel combos, plus you can again try to improve the quality of your hand in addition to quality (though outside of combos the cost is steeper than with Claydol).

I saved Porygon2 for last because it was the first time I saw this effect played competitively, and the technique that made it so useful can be applied with all other listed cards: it was used in decks that could spam the opponent with Trainers. This simple but true fact is less impressive but still matters to Supporters or “once-per-turn” effects, but becomes stellar on effects that can be used multiple times in one turn: skilled builds would rip through their decks incredibly fast, using Trainer after Trainer for sometimes minute gain that builds into impressive momentum. Claydol improved on this formula, while Magnezone Prime is simply a solid Pokémon overall with a good attack and stats as well as a lack of competition; unlike Porygon2 or Claydol it isn’t a universal or even frequent component of decks, though the decks that use it are fairly widely played.

Bianca has two advantages over many other draw supporters (though usually these advantages won't apply at the same time). First you don't have to shuffle your hand away, so if you have part of a combo in hand, you can try to build on it. Second you could draw upwards of six cards. The negatives of this card are the flip-sides of the positives. If you have dead cards in hand, you're not getting rid of them and they'll reduce the effectiveness of Bianca. You have to draw until you get to six, so you could deck out or end up with a larger hand than you really wanted. After all, the bigger your hand is the harder it will be to make good use of a second Bianca next turn: Bianca use conflicts with itself. Most importantly there are just many times when your hand is going to be big enough that this ends up giving you only as much or less draw than a Cheren would.

Few decks won’t want to draw a lot of cards. The most combo heavy decks want as large a hand-size as possible. An extremely large combo like Zekrom, Pachirisu, Shaymin, and two Lightning Energy will be frustrated by the fact that the closer you are to completing the combo, the less cards you'll be able to draw and the less likely you will be to accomplish your goal. All the other major draw cards are preferable because they either provide greater reliability or a bigger payout for building combos.

Bianca has a place in the game but it’s definitely narrow. Maybe you have a simple but important combo and your deck otherwise is very fast. Professor Oak's New Theory and Professor Juniper would then disrupt your own attempts and securing the combo and Bianca (since I said the deck is very fast) would regularly match or exceed the three cards Cheren would snag for you. This is a great card for players who just can’t handle determining what to discard or shuffle back in. As you can see these are small niche uses, but exist.

In Unlimited there is no good reason to use this: when playing brutal, competitive Unlimited decks the Supporter you’ll be spamming is Seeker (if you need to use a Supporter at all) and in a more laid back setting, besides still wanting to consider Seeker you’ll probably want to utilize something with a more unique effect than raw draw power since Unlimited has access to the very best draw and search power from the earliest days of the game.

In Limited play Bianca is a must run... but be aware she might also be a dead draw. Draw power is just so precious that even though the nature of Limited play will result in many matches where she shows up too late to be useful (or doesn’t show up at all) or when your hand is already full, even when she is just snagging two or three cards she’s amazing.

Ratings

Unlimited: 1/5

Modified: 2.75/5

Limited: 5/5

Summary
Despite might lukewarm review, I am happy to see this style of draw return to the game because it really does benefit some specific decks and play styles, though I do wish they had included an optional way of reducing your hand size into the effect, like Claydol.

Please check out my eBay auctions here!

virusyosh

Welcome back once again, Pojo readers! Today's Card of the Day is one of the new Supporters from Emerging Powers, Bianca.

Bianca has a fairly simple effect: you draw cards until you have six in your hand. In most decks, Bianca will compete for a spot as a draw Supporter with other cards like Professor Juniper, Professor Oak's New Theory, Judge, and Engineer's Adjustments. Where Professor Juniper, PONT, and Judge all refresh your hand, Bianca simply adds to what you already have, making it an attractive option if you don't want to put down a very important card that you have in your hand. That being said, Bianca is also useless if you have a hand size over six, meaning you will have to go with a shuffling hand refresh option there. All in all, Bianca is good to replenish your hand, but should be used in conjunction with other hand refresh cards, as there are going to be many times where it won't be useful.

Modified: 3.25/5 Bianca is a fairly good card, but it's not for every deck. Most decks will enjoy the shuffle and draw Supporters like Professor Juniper and Professor Oak's New Theory more, but if you are running a combo deck and have a piece in hand, Bianca will be good to draw you some cards without giving up the other things that you need.

Limited: 5/5 Draw Supporters are really good in Limited, and Bianca is no exception. If you manage to get one, definitely use it.


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