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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Cheren

Emerging Powers

Date Reviewed: Sept. 16, 2011

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 3.13
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

Cheren

In yesterday’s review I talked about the different options for Supporter draw in the format. Well, today we get another one, and it too is based on one of the companion/rivals from the Black and White video game. Cheren is yet to appear (as far as I know) in the anime, but when he does, I hope he won’t be as annoying as Bianca.

Cheren is a Supporter card with an effect that is about as simple as you can get: draw three cards. No discard, no shuffling into the deck, no coin flips, and no conditions: just straight draw.

He doesn’t give you the same potential to recover from a bad hand that shuffle draw does, and he won’t dig as far into the deck as Juniper or Sage will. On the other hand, he will get you three cards in any situation (as long as you have them left in your deck), no matter how many you are holding. Historically, ‘draw three’ has been the threshold at which Supporter draw becomes viable (compare TV Reporter and Professor Oak’s Visit), especially in a format that lacks a Pokémon-based draw engine (like Claydol or Uxie). Cheren meets these criteria and offers no real downside whatsoever, so the question is, could he be playable?

The answer, I think, is a qualified ‘yes’. In decks that retain large hand sizes (e.g.: by using Ninetales draw), Cheren is a better option than cards that force you to shuffle in, or discard your hand (Copycat, Juniper etc). I would never like to rely on it as the only means of draw, but used in conjunction with cards like Professor Oak’s New Theory or Sage’s Training, it can give certain decks a valuable consistency boost without running the risk of a crippling penalty.

Finally, I should mention that Cheren is an absolutely brilliant card for a new player or inexperienced younger player. It offers draw power and deck consistency without forcing them to make tough decisions about shuffling or discarding cards they might want to hang on to. If I was helping out someone like that with a deck, four copies of Cheren would pretty much be the first thing I put in. But don’t think of it as a ‘noob card’. I reckon it will find its way into quite a few decks during its time in Modified.

Rating

Modified: 3.25 (uncomplicated but good. Won’t always be the optimal play, but its reliability can make up for that)

Limited: 5 (If I could give more than 5, I would)

virusyosh

Happy Friday, Pojo readers! Today we're ending our COTD week with another Supporter from the new Emerging Powers expansion. Today's card is a representation of your other rival in the Black and White video games, as we reviewed Bianca yesterday. Today's Card of the Day is Cheren.

Cheren is a Supporter with an incredibly simple effect: you play it and draw 3 cards. That's it. In Limited, any kind of card draw is amazing, so you should run Cheren regardless of whatever else you get, especially because Supporters are so rare in the format. In Modified, pure card draw is often decent and it's an upgrade on never-played Bill (and the older Mom's Kindness) in that it gets you three cards instead of two, but keep in mind that you need spots for it in your deck. Being a Supporter, Cheren is going to be competing with Professor Juniper, Professor Oak's New Theory, Judge, Pokemon Collector, Seeker, and Copycat for spots in a deck, all because you can only play one Supporter each turn. Much like Bianca yesterday, there are some combo decks were pure card draw is better than hand refresh, but if you're running a deck where you need to get certain pieces into your hand to make something work (such as ZPS), Cheren may be worth running, depending on your list's needs. In most other cases, you're likely better off with a hand refresh card, given your deck is built consistently.

Modified: 3/5 It's not for every deck, but Cheren is serviceable for pure card draw. It often won't bring you the number of new cards that a hand refresh card would, but if you run a combo deck, it's an option worth looking at. If you're running something more consistent like PrimeTime or Stage 1 Rush, chances are Cheren will be too slow for your deck, and you should just stick with other draw Supporters.

Limited: 5/5 Card draw in Limited is always important to make your deck more consistent, and you should include as much of it as you can. Therefore, if you draft any Cheren, run them.


Otaku

We end the week with Cheren… who is apparently a dude. As someone who hasn’t played Pokémon Black or Pokémon White yet and was pronouncing the name like “Sharon”, I just sort of assumed it was a female character. The artwork honestly looks like an androgynous (and stereotypical) “nerd” character to me. Oops.

Stats

Cheren is a Supporter. The good news is that blocking Supporters is no where near as easy as blocking Items so the only reason you won’t able to play Cheren is because you’ve already used a Supporter that turn. Cheren will need a good, solid effect for just that reason: your Supporter use per turn is such a critical part of your deck’s flow. For now there also aren’t any really good supporting cards for Supporters, except in Unlimited and those are only used for cards that aid in first turn wins.

Effect

Cheren has a very simple effect: draw three cards. This is somewhat noteworthy because other “draw three” Supporters always had a small drawback, and while many decks learned to use those drawbacks to the player’s advantage, this is a good example of “power creep” nonetheless. Three cards for one is not a bad deal at all, and quite solid even for a Supporter.

Usage

The “Draw two” Supporters (Bill and Mom’s Kindness) were obsolete either upon printing or shortly after due to the “Draw two plus” cards that came out around the same time, because you might as well run those even if you rarely make good use of the bonus effect. The “Draw three minus” crowd has long been popular, where you can draw three but with a small cost (discarding before, discarding after, shuffling in before, shuffling in after, coin toss, etc.) Cheren has now made the “Draw two plus” and “Draw three minus” Supporters a little less useful, though of course many weren’t especially useful to begin with. Emcee’s Chatter or Cheerleader’s Cheer should only see play if four copies of Cheren aren’t enough non-shuffling draw power. You still might prefer something like Engineer’s Adjustments if your deck can handle (or combo with) the Energy discard requirement, and hand control decks might still back up Judge with Team Rocket’s Trickery, but Cheren is now the height of straight draw power for Supporters.

So in Modified, Cheren is at least useful to a deck. He might not be the optimal choice, but he’ll always net you three cards. The nature of the format right now is pretty fast and decks are currently built to minimize the pain of cards like Professor Juniper, so I honestly can’t predict how important Cheren and his “just draw three cards” approach will be to the game. Right now he strikes me as a great “deck-testing” staple: he is part of your default build and you only drop him out right away if absolutely necessary, and then replace him with one of the other options if your deck testing indicates them to be preferable. He does have to compete against Engineer’s Adjustments (discard an Energy, draw four), Professor Juniper (discard your whole hand, draw seven), Professor Oak’s New Theory (shuffle your hand away and draw six), Copycat (shuffle your hand away, draw as many cards as are in your opponent’s hand), Judge (both player’s shuffle their hands into their respective decks and draw four cards), and those are just the ones currently out that see a lot of play.

Decks that will probably keep Cheren are likely those where the player just can’t afford to mess with his or her own hand, perhaps due to a larger combo, or more likely because they have an Ability or Poké-Power that provides the player with a larger-than-normal average hand size, making discarding the whole thing with Professor Juniper or shuffling it away with something like Professor Oak’s New Theory undesirable. Baby Mario had to explain to me how this could be useful for a deck using Ninetales since I didn’t realize that four Engineer’s Adjustments might not be enough, and I just explained why other popular draw Supporters clashed with the deck’s own strengths. Lastly for Modified usage, this is just a good card for inexperienced players, those who dislike having to make hard choices, and players like me who tend to crack under pressure. ;) Learning the game can be overwhelming as is without trying to figure out what draw back effect to deal with, and seriously I had to finally admit that I was my own worst enemy in competitive events, where I almost always was either over or under thinking things and defeating myself with my own mistakes.

In Unlimited, even outside of the “first turn win” decks you can just use an alternate Trainer card like Erika: Unlimited decks are quite good at disrupting your opponent’s draw and/or your opponent will already have all the draw power s/he needs, making the cards Erika allows them to most often be negligible. Odds are between Professor Oak, Computer Search, and Item Finder you won’t even need the small draw. It does still provide a decent return, but it certainly isn’t optimal, and the more Supporters you run the worse it will become.

In Limited, this is a must run should you pull it. It only fails you if you have less than three cards in your deck and can’t win the game this turn.

Ratings

Unlimited: 1.75/5

Modified: 3.25/5

Limited: 5/5

Summary

Whether he sees play or not (and I expect he shall) Cheren is now the new standard for straight draw power, and nearly-straight draw power. He already renders several cards as either useless or “only when four Cheren isn’t enough”, like Bianca. At the same time, Cheren isn’t going to be your “main” draw card, but rather your secondary option or possibly tertiary option.

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