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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Skyarrow Bridge

Next Destinies

Date Reviewed: Feb. 21, 2012

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 4.0
Limited: 4.75

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

#4 Skyarrow Bridge

Must admit, I had this card a bit higher on my list.

One thing that the game has lacked for a while now is a selection of decent Stadiums. Tropical Beach is expensive and difficult to get hold of for many players, and that just left us with the rarely played Lost World, Burned Tower, and Ruins of Alph, along with the never-seen Indigo Plateau (I bet most people will have to look it up to find out what it does). Now we get Skyarrow Bridge, and unlike the Stadiums I just mentioned, this one is going to see a lot of play.

So, what does Skyarrow Bridge (from now on known as SAB) do that is so good? Well, it’s pretty simple actually: when in play, it reduces the Retreat cost for Basic Pokémon by one.

Obviously, this is generically useful. Most Basics effectively become free retreat Pokémon. Even some Legendaries like Tornadus achieve that status. Other big Basics like Zekrom, Reshiram, and Mewtwo-EX have their Retreat cost reduced to a manageable one Energy. Even something like Terrakion NV become viable to retreat with Double Colourless Energy (even though it’s not something you would want to do under most circumstances). Decks that rely on Basics become a lot quicker, more flexible, and more powerful as they can keep Energy in play and not have to waste it on Retreating. Less than ideal starts (for example Shaymin in a Zekrom/Pachirisu/Shaymin deck) become more manageable as a better starter can be searched out and pushed active without the need to waste an Energy drop or a Switch.

Additionally, a number of Pokémon which need to be active to use a PokéPower or Body become a lot more playable. Celebi Prime can now just accelerate Energy without taking up one itself to retreat; Absol Prime is a lot easier to get active on that crucial first turn, where he can put 20 damage on anything the opponent Benches. Smeargle UD/CL suddenly becomes useful again as he can use Portrait and retreat for an attacker without wasting an Energy to do so.

SAB is the latest bit of extremely good support for decks that focus on Basic Pokémon: we already have Pokémon Collector/Dual Ball to search them out, and Eviolite to make them more durable. Now they have a way of reducing Retreat costs which also acts as a counter Stadium to the Tropical Beaches that are often seen in slower, Trainer lock decks like Chandelure and The Truth. That’s not even the end of it either, as we shall see later in the week . . .

If you don’t already play fast and flexible Basics decks, then it looks like the people who make the cards would like to encourage you to do so.

Rating

Modified: 4 (yet more solid support for Basics that brings some older cards into play as well)

Limited: 4.5 (Great for Prize denial in a format where everyone will run a ton of Basics)


Otaku

The fourth most promising card of BW: Next Destinies is Skyarrow Bridge. Stadiums are pretty rare right now, and players who favor them (like me) desperately want one in their deck(s).

Is this one on target?

Stats
As a Stadium,
Skyarrow Bridge is a sub-type of Trainer. If you're new or returning to the game, a few of the older cards in the format are from the period where (to my annoyance) the Pokémon TCG decided to make Supporters and Stadium cards count as their own "card type" instead of as a sub-type of Trainers. So don't panic if you see something like Vileplume (HS: Undaunted 24/90); you can still play a Stadium while it is out.

I should also address the basic rules of Stadium cards, especially since they didn’t print them all on the card as they used to (perhaps because these rules have been tweaked more than once). Between both players, there can be only one Stadium card in play. When one player plays a Stadium card and there is already a Stadium card in play, the older Stadium is discarded. Lastly, you can only play one Stadium card per turn and you cannot play a Stadium that has the same name as one already in play. So in essence, you have a "Stadium space" in the field and once-per-turn usage that playing a Stadium eats up, but few decks worry about it since Stadiums are meant to be (pardon the pun) background cards more often than not.

The discarding effect of Stadiums is often what makes them vital to a format: one or two Stadiums usually arise as “must play” for at least a few key decks, and discarding them becomes a powerful counter-strategy. Since discarding Stadium cards isn’t easy, playing your own Stadium is your best bet. A player used to be able to play more than one Stadium in a single turn. It was a bit odd within the context of the game that a single Pokémon battle is spanning multiple locations when both players use different Stadiums, but when a single players turn has them warping around the world, it kills the flavor of the game. That may not have even been a consideration, however, since some past stadiums simply possessed effects that were worth playing multiple times in a single turn. Many stadiums balance out their effects by working equally well for both players (and requiring your deck is better suited to the Stadium to achieve true advantage); multiple Stadiums, especially ones with once-per-turn effects (before the current rules) could be spammed to safely generate advantage.

Effects
The actual effect of Skyarrow Bridge simply drops the Retreat Cost of Basic Pokémon in play by one, the opposite of the old Broken Ground Gym (Neo Destiny 92/105). Broken Ground Gym could be devastating back in the day, when many Basic Pokémon had a free Retreat and were in every deck, and that free Retreat Cost was a major component of general strategy and tactics. Skyarrow Bridge parodies this: many decks will get a marginal boost, but a few key ones will find it amazing. I’d say that makes this a simple but good effect.

Usage
To explain the use of this card, let's examine it with the currently printed Retreat Costs (since some effects can add to a Retreat Cost anyway, I won't be covering all hypothetical scenarios) on Basic Pokémon. For each turn you Retreat at a discounted rate, you're saving an Energy, though that can be a long time coming and your opponent will have a chance to potentially benefit just as much or discard Skyarrow Bridge.

For a Basic Pokémon with a Retreat Cost of four, the Energy savings doesn’t mean much: a Retreat Cost of three is only marginally easier to pay. If you actually have a deck that requires you regularly send a Basic Pokémon with a Retreat Cost of four to the Bench, and Retreating manually isn't some isolated occurrence (perhaps in certain Energy acceleration decks), a single copy TecHed into your deck may be worthwhile. You’d usually break even by saving an Energy card and right now, odds are against your opponent discarding it. Odds are you’ll just be better with Switch or an extra card to search out or recycle Energy.

A Basic Pokémon with a Retreat Cost of three Energy backed by this Stadium will still want to pack another Retreat alternative or assist, but now Double Colorless Energy can pay for something to Retreat in a single shot, and losing two Energy is just barely workable for the average deck. Again, this isn't a good enough boost to justify running it except perhaps as a single card TecH that, and if we get enough other Stadiums, not even then.

A Basic Pokémon with a two Energy Retreat Cost is greatly helped: most decks can handle a single Energy Retreat Cost with relative ease. A deck full of such Basic Pokémon, probably focusing on a combo or Type matching, should consider this card, but even at this point the space might be better spent on more copies of Switch. It is only when we reach Basic Pokémon with a single Energy Retreat Cost that
Skyarrow Bridge starts generating blatant advantage. If you needed to ditch the effect of an attack (like a Special Condition), a Switch is better, but a free Retreat cost enables some great plays and great combos.

There are some universal tricks you can do with a free Retreating Pokémon. The most important is you can usually send it up "safely" after something else has been KOed: even if it isn't the Pokémon you think you'll want Active, you can get it out of the way so easily that it is safer than sending up something that you can’t retreat for free and discovering after you draw that you want something else up front. Sometimes this can combine with an effect to make a Pokémon that would be a liability an asset: either your opponent ignores it (especially important for something small) and you start generating advantage, or your opponent decides to KO it instead of the real threat. Together sometimes an "opening" Pokémon or one-shot/niche combo piece that should be worthless can remain useful the whole game.

With those concepts in mind plus an eye towards specifics, a quick search on Pokepedia.net brought up a lot of Pokémon that will find this Stadium wonderful. If it is more complicated than “this card is already in a deck likely to use Skyarrow Bridge and now it gets a free Retreat Cost”, I have included an explanation.

The noteworthy examples I noticed are

  1. Absol (HS: Undaunted 91/102) - Open with it or just send it up between turns. Make it a nuisance your opponent has to deal with (instead of the rest of your deck), might be useful in a "porter" deck.
  2. Celebi (HS: Triumphant 92/102) - If your deck can use Grass Energy well, open with it and send one up between turns, especially if your deck blocks Pokémon Catcher.
  3. Durant (BW: Noble Victories 83/101) - I don't have a lot of experience with Durant decks, so this is totally on name recognition. I don't know if a Durant is likely to ever Retreat. Based on some comments it might actually help counter Durant, though that still makes it relevant to the list.
  4. Landorus (BW: Noble Victories 74/101) - It never hurts to be able to Retreat a big, Basic Pokémon, especially one whose opening attack provides Energy acceleration.
  5. Pachirisu (Call of Legends 18/95)
  6. Rotom (HS: Undaunted 20/90)
  7. Shaymin (HS: Unleashed 8/95)
  8. Shaymin EX (BW: Next Destinies 5/99, 94/99) – Besides the generic reasons, starting with Shaymin EX active is extra bad, so getting it to the Bench is a major priority (preferably to bounce back to hand with Seeker)!
  9. Smeargle (HS: Undaunted 8/90, Call of Legends 21/95) - There was a brief period where this saw play, and it might have a reason to see play again with the right deck behind it. Up to three Supporters a turn (your normal usage plus two uses from the Poké-Power on two different copies of Smeargle) is amazing if your deck can handle the possible variety.
  10. Thundurus (BW: Emerging Powers 35/98, 97/98) - It never hurts to be able to Retreat a big, Basic Pokémon, especially one whose opening attack is Energy acceleration.
  11. Tornadus (BW: Emerging Powers 89/98, 98/98) - It never hurts to be able to Retreat a big, Basic Pokémon, especially if you bounced an Energy card to from Tornadus the previous turn specifically to set-up something better!
  12. Victini (BW: Noble Victories14/101, 98/101)
  13. Virizion (BW: Noble Victories14/101, 98/101) - It never hurts to be able to Retreat a big, Basic Pokémon, especially one that combos with Celebi Prime (see above).

So for Modified play, there is a lot of potential.

There is also a lot of potential in Unlimited, but while there are likely more Pokémon it helps, the net benefit is less due to the format being dominated by First Turn Win, more traditional Donk and lock decks, as well as there being the greatest Stadiums ever released as competition. Beating out Broken Time-Space (Platinum 104/127), Chaos Gym (Gym Challenge 102/132), Crystal Beach (EX: Crystal Guardians 75/100), or Speed Stadium (Diamond & Pearl 114/130) is quit difficult, and not even those Stadiums are guaranteed to see play. Plus Windstorm (EX: Crystal Guardians 85/100) is already like to be played to discard the potent, must play Pokémon Tools in Unlimited: a Stadium that isn’t protected by Trainer denial is likely to be a bonus removal target to a key Pokémon Tool.


You really should run
Skyarrow Bridge in Limited, but be very careful not to play it until you need it, since your opponent will almost always be able to use it just as well. Many Evolving Basic Pokémon are capable of using this, so its general use is quite, quite high in Limited, where retreating to deny an opponent a Prize is a regular (and effective) piece of strategy. Saving it in hand until the exact moment you need it to use it for the first time forces your opponent to play “catch up” in gaining advantage.

Ratings

Unlimited: 3/5

Modified: 4/5

Limited: 4.75/5


Summary
This card was probably released at the best time for it: Basic Pokémon are dominating but most lack a free Retreat Cost, and we only have a handful of Stadiums currently, none of which are "must plays". It might make some new (or at least tweaked versions of existing decks) competitive, it should at least be good for some fun decks in Unlimited, and it just requires careful pay not to help your opponent more than yourself in Limited.

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.

virusyosh

Hello once again, Pojo viewers! Today we're reviewing our #4 card of Next Destinies, and this card is a new Stadium that has received a lot of hype from the set, and is already seeing play in many top-tier tournament decks. Today's Card of the Day is Skyarrow Bridge.

Skyarrow Bridge is a Stadium card, meaning that you can play one Stadium per turn, and it generally allows an effect for both players. In Skyarrow's case, the effect is very significant: The Retreat Cost of each player's Basic Pokemon is one Colorless Energy less. Skyarrow Bridge helps Basic-based decks such as Six Corners, Celebi/Mewtwo, and Zekrom/Eels immensely: Skyarrow Bridge allows Celebi Primes to pump up Mewtwos quickly, Six Corners to not waste precious resources, and even makes the Pokemon-EX somewhat easier to retreat. Additionally, Skyarrow Bridge makes a familiar face from last format playable again: Smeargle UD/CL. With free Retreat, Smeargle turns into an amazing setup and mid-game Pokemon, allowing you to easily use Portrait to utilize your opponent's draw Supporters. Overall, Skyarrow Bridge is one of the best Stadium cards available to us right now in Modified, and will see a lot of play on the tournament scene.

Modified: 4/5 Skyarrow Bridge is amazing for a format dominated by Basics. Retreating is a major part of the strategy in Modified, and Skyarrow Bridge facilitates Retreat in a big way. Even bringing a Reshiram or Zekrom's Retreat Cost down to one is very nice, but allowing many support Pokemon like Smeargle to have free Retreat is great. Once again, Skyarrow Bridge will see lots of play, so be sure to build your decks to either take advantage or play around it with your own counter-Stadium, perhaps a Pokemon Center or Tropical Beach.

Limited: 5/5 Chances are you'll have many evolving Basics in Limited with a Retreat Cost of one or two, and Skyarrow Bridge will help a lot with retreating here. Sure, it can help your opponent out as well, but Skyarrow also allows you to conserve resources, which is always great in the format.

Combos With: Smeargle UD/CL

Mad Mattezhion
 Professor Bathurst League Australia
#4: Skyarrow Bridge (Next Destinies)
 
Ah, we finally get some new Stadium cards into the pool. I was afraid that mechanic was going to become extinct after the next rotation!
 
Skyarrow Bridge has a very simple effect, reducing the retreat costs of all Basic Poke'mon by [c]. Stadiums that reduce the retreat costs of certain Poke'mon are always popular because you can abuse them while your opponent only gets a limited benefit (unless it's a mirror match) and this card will be no exception!
 
Since all decks have Basic Poke'mon, Skyarrow Bridge is still a double-edged sword and you will have to time your plays carefully if you don't want to start help your opponent more than you hurt them. Taking the skill out of Stadium use is what annoyed me mist about Lost World, so seeing the challenge remain with the great effect makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
 
I should note a few rulings. Effects that set a retreat cost to 0 cannot be further altered by other effects, but effects that simply reduce a retreat cost will compete with any effects that increase the cost. For all practical purposes this will almost never come up, but based on the remote chance you may face an opponent who uses Victreebel TM you need to know. So Metagross UL would still make all of your Poke'mon with [p] energy attached retreat for free even with Victreebel Active on your opponent's side of the field, but Skyarrow bridge would only reduce the effect and still leave you paying one extra energy to retreat through a Victreebel lock.
 
Obscure rulings aside, Skyarrow Bridge will help get all of those Dragons, Musketeers and Genies to move around much more freely, while my favourite card of the HGSS block will now make a comeback. Smeargle UD will once again go zipping about to peek at people's hands before scooting back to cover while a real moster doea the fighting!
 
Modified: 4.5 (you are going to see this card everywhere to give precious tactical movement options and it makes Smeargle playable again, so I had to retsrain myself from giving this card full marks!)
 
Limited: 4 (cheaper retreat is awesome when you need to deny a Prize, but be careful it doens't get used against you to often)
 
Combos with: all of those times you can't use or aren't holding a Switch (take that, Vileplume!).


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