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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Level Ball

Next Destinies

Date Reviewed: Feb. 17, 2012

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 3.67
Limited: 4.93

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: See Below

Baby Mario
2010 UK National
Seniors
Champion

#6 Level Ball

After a week spent reviewing nothing but –EX Pokémon, we finally hit the first Trainer to make the Top 10 list: Level Ball.

Level Ball is, like most Trainers, a relatively straightforward card: play it and you can search you deck for any Pokémon with 90 HP or less. You can use it to grab any Baby Pokémon, any evolving Basic, a lot of Stage 1s (especially the evolving ones), and even a couple of Stage 2s (Jumpluff and Reuniclus). But what does this actually mean in terms of competitive play? Well, it means cards like Durant NV, Victory Star Victini, Eelektrik, and even Electrode Prime can be fetched from the deck with this Trainer as well as all the more obvious stuff such as Cleffa, Litwick and Lampent, Oddish and Gloom, Magnemite and Magneton, etc etc.

The real question is: how does this stack up against the other search options? Obviously, it can’t search out the big Basics, like the Dragons and the –EX Pokémon. As far as they are concerned, Pokémon Collector and Dual Ball are the answer. It also can’t fetch the higher HP evolutions like Magnezone, Donphan, Vileplume, or Chandelure: that’s where you need Pokémon Communication or possibly Professor Elm. This doesn’t mean that Level Ball is useless though: unlike Collector and Elm, it won’t take up your Supporter for the turn; unlike Dual Ball, it isn’t coin flip dependent; and unlike Communication, you don’t need another Pokémon in hand to use it.

Because it offers something different in terms of search, it may well find a niche in some decks alongside Cards like Collector and Communication. I can see Durant players who are wary of the flip choosing this over Dual Ball, while decks that rely on good Level Ball targets such as Zekrom/Eelektrik and Cobalion/Kyurem/Electrode Prime can also make excellent use of it. Reliable Pokémon search in Trainer form is always a welcome addition to the card pool and Level Ball gives players another way of fine-tuning their search engine for optimum performance. It’s not going to become a staple Trainer or anything like that, and Communication is still the card that gives the most flexibility, but I do expect it to get a decent amount of play in the right decks.

Rating

Modified: 3.5 (for decks that need to get out Pokémon with less than 90 HP, this card is a reliable alternative to what we already have)

Limited: 4.7 5 (Any form of search is an automatic inclusion in this format)

virusyosh

Happy Friday, Pojo readers! Today we're reviewing our #6 card from Next Destinies, and this one happens to be a new Trainer - Item card. Today's Card of the Day is Level Ball.

Level Ball is a Trainer - Item, meaning you can play as many of them as you'd like per turn, but the effects are blocked by Vileplume UD's Allergy Flower and Gothitelle EP's Magic Room. Level Ball's effect is fairly simple: you search your deck for a Pokemon with 90 or fewer HP, show it to your opponent, and put it into your hand, shuffling afterward. Level Ball is quite useful in searching out smaller Basics (usually those as part of Evolution lines) as well as some Stage 1s (Magneton, Eelektrik, and others come to mind). Unfortunately, Level Ball can't search out larger Pokemon like most Stage 2s (save Jumpluff and Reuniclus) and the big Basics, but those can be searched out using older methods, like Pokemon Communication and Pokemon Collector. Overall, if your deck runs many Pokemon with 90 HP or less, running Level Ball is a great idea, especially if many of those Pokemon are Evolutions that can't be searched out with Pokemon Collector.

Modified: 4/5 Level Ball is incredibly good at what it does, but it doesn't belong in every deck. As I said before, if you have a deck that runs many Pokemon that fit its conditions, it'll definitely be worth using; if not, other options are probably better.

Limited: 5/5 Level Ball is fantastic here. While it can't search out any of the Pokemon-EX, it can get pretty much anything else you might need if it's a smaller Basic of an Evolution chain or a Stage 1. Plus, searching is always good in Limited, and you're pretty much guaranteed to have at least one Pokemon to fit the conditions here.


Otaku

It is time to wrap up our week with the number six promising pick of BW: Next Destinies, Level Ball! Yes, we finally review something that isn’t a Pokémon EX. I am having second thoughts about where I placed this on my own list.

I guess I should level with you.

Stats

Level Ball is an Item, a subcategory of Trainer. While not currently in use, in the past we have had at least one card that was designed specifically to help the “Ball” Trainers, the Supporter Apricorn Maker (EX: Skyridge 121/144), which of course is not legal for Modified. Still, maybe they’ll bring back this concept (I know I liked it, though the actual card was a bit weak).

In general, Level Ball enjoys being an Item, since without outside interference Item cards are the easiest to play in all of Pokémon: if you have it in hand and the effect can work, you can play it! Since you’ve obviously read the card by now, this is important since it has a search effect: if something is a viable target, it may free up a Supporter usage for other purposes than search. Just be careful since there are multiple Item blocking decks out right now.

Effect

The effect looks rather overspecialized at a glance: Level Ball let’s you search your deck for a Pokémon with 90 HP or less and add it to your hand. Yes, you also have to show your pick to your opponent (to verify you chose a legal target) and shuffle your deck afterwards; standard parts of the game. At first this sounds pretty limited, but with respect to the card pool you have about 600 choices. Surprisingly, few Stage 1 Pokémon are excluded, and not surprisingly even fewer Basic Pokémon don’t make the cut. Even the smallest Stage 2 Pokémon actually fit.

As such, this really is a great effect: any better and it would fall into the category of ‘too good’ since really this is an Item after all.

Usage

The most basic combo I can think of with this is using it after using a recursion effect like Flower Shop Lady to get something you just threw back into the deck, back into your hand without having to wait a turn like you would with a second supporter or relying on a lucky coin toss.

If this card is so great, where can I use it? Well in Modified it is specialized, but there are still some obvious highlights. Pachirisu (Call of Legends 18/95) and Shaymin (HS: Unleashed 8/95) are part of the well known ZPST decks, and indeed are the center two letters of the name. I wouldn’t stop running Pokémon Collector, and indeed perhaps it would be overkill to include in the deck, but someone really focused on the combo could include Level Ball to get two-thirds of the needed combo. Plus while a bit riskier, Dual Ball is more rewarding for this particular deck. In fact, this can be said of most Basic Pokémon we could search out.

So let us expand our search to Evolved Pokémon. Notable Evolved Pokémon with an Ability, Poké-Body, or Poké-Power that at least could (in some cases will) see play include Amoongus (BW: Next Destinies 9/99), Cinccino (BW: Next Destinies 85/99), Eelektrik (BW: Noble Victories 40/101), Electrode (HS: Triumphant 93/102), and Reuniclus (Black & White 57/134). I’d say the last three are well worth considering.

So what about Unlimited? Well Unlimited has access to the most potent cards ever printed, and is dominated by decks that can win first turn and this card helps them! Snag a Crobat [G] (Platinum 47/127) so you can begin spamming Flash Bite, or Porygon2 (DP: Great Encounters 49/106) so you can spam Seeker to make sure your opponent has a single Pokémon in play. Well what about decks that obliterate your hand first turn? Umbreon* (OP Series 5 17/17) is a legal target as well! Lock decks? Well, it depends on the exact sort of lock, but everything I can think of has better options, so probably not. Well, if it is a soft lock, then the next card probably applies… once you get past the above three kinds of decks, what is probably the most played Stage 1? That is right, Slowking (Neo Genesis 14/111)! There are a lot more than that, but those are some of the most prominent.

Then again, Unlimited does have something I nearly forgot about: Luxury Ball. Luxury Ball (if you were like me and need someone to remind you) can snag any Pokémon in your deck, with the only drawback being it won’t work if you have another copy of it in your discard pile. If your deck consists of all legal targets, I’d go with Level Ball so that you don’t have to constantly Item Finder for it if you need it more than once. Some decks might only want to run one search card anyway, more as a “fifth” copy of the Pokémon in question, so again Luxury Ball would be better. Given that Unlimited isn’t exactly heavily played to begin with, I wouldn’t lose too much sleep over it, but personally I think it worth at least considering and often using provided Luxury Ball isn’t obviously better (you need more choice flexibility, you’re only worried about the one Pokémon you need a single copy of first turn, etc.).

As an Item that searches for a Pokémon, even restricted to 90 HP or less, this is a must run for Limited. Realistically you are not going to have a deck with no targets, or even just a few targets. You will have several targets, and this will help you, so it is a must run.

Ratings

Unlimited: 4/5

Modified: 3.5/5

Limited: 5/5

Summary

Level Ball looks to be a very useful card in specific decks in Modified, and might help some Pokémon see serious play that otherwise wouldn’t. I believe it could be quite useful in Unlimited decks, but at the same time it is Unlimited: with so many of the best cards available even the high marks I gave it in Unlimited don’t make it a staple. For those curious, Level Ball actually was my pick for the number six slot.

Please check out my eBay sales by clicking here. It’s me whittling away at about two decades worth of attempted collecting, spanning action figures, comic books, TCGs, and video games. Exactly what is up is a bit random. Pojo.com is in no way responsible for any transactions; Pojo is merely doing me a favor by letting me link at the end of my reviews.

Mad Mattezhion
 Professor Bathurst League Australia
#6: Level Ball (Next Destinies)
 
Hey folks, now we come to some of the great Trainers released in Next Destinies! First up is Level Ball, one of the new Poke'balls from Black & White. Hopefull this indicates that we'll get many more Poke'ball-inspired cards in the near future!
 
The effect is very simple. You drop Level Ball (provided you aren't facing off against Vileplume UD or Gothitelle EP) and then you search your deck for a Poke'mon with 90 HP or less.
 
There are many worthy Poke'mon you can grab with this card, including many evolving Basics and most Stage 1 Poke'mon, as well as Reuniclus BW and Jumpluff HGSS. This flexibility is great for deck building, although Level Ball has heavy competition. Both Poke'mon Collector and Dual Ball can reach many of the same Poke'mon plus other fine critters that Level Ball can't target, as well as having the advantage of grabbing multiple Poke'mon at a time. And if you have spare Poke'mon to drop back into the deck, Poke'mon Communication doesn't have any searching restrictions which is gives even more flexibility (not to mention that if you are about to run out of cards, you can put a Poke'mon back into your deck without having to take another Poke'mon out to nuy yourself a turn).
 
The advantage  Level Ball has is that besides being an Item card (play as many as you want, provided you can draw them since Item searching is thin on the ground), it doesn't cost you anything to use. If you have a variety of both Basic Poke'mon and Evolutions that are legal targets in your deck (Eelektrik NV, Cincinno ND, Ninetales HGSS, Dodrio HGSS, and Mismagius UL all come to mind), you would do well to give Level Ball a try. There may be cards that can do a better job of search ing for Basics or Evolutions, but one can grab both without an immediate downside is great to have!
 
Modified: 3.5 (I can see Durant decks running 4 of these and if another Stage 1 deck becomes popular then Level Ball will be a staple there too. But even without a regular tournament level deck to call home, Level Ball makes the game better)
 
Limited: 5 (even if you can't target everything in your deck with Level Ball, you would have to be crazy to avoid this card. Search wins games in Limited)
 
Combos with: a foramt that is kinder to Evolution cards 90 HP or smaller but failing that a turbo deck (like an Illumise/Volbeat swarm or Durant army) will still love this card.

 


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