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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Sableye #62

Dark Explorers

Date Reviewed: July 20, 2012

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 3.0
Limited: 3.9

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

Sableye (Dark Explorers)

For quite an obscure Pokémon, Sableye has been given some quirky and unique cards in the past. Experienced players will remember the one from Crystal Guardians, and few people will forget the problems caused recently by Sableye SF.

The current version of the card carries on that tradition. The fact that it has no Resistance or Weakness only adds to the uniqueness, but aside from that, the 70 HP and Retreat cost of one seem pretty average for an unevolving Basic. It’s only when you get to the attacks that it starts to get interesting.

The first, Confuse Ray, costs just one Colourless Energy. For that, you only get 10 damage, but you also have a coin flip for Confusion, which can be disruptive enough to buy you a turn at a crucial moment. The real attraction though is the second attack, Junk Hunt. For one Dark Energy, you get to put 2 Trainer-Item cards from your discard pile into your hand.

The uses for this are as diverse as the number of useful Items in the format. We have seen it play a key role in ‘Hammertime’ decks which aim to use and re-use Crushing Hammer and Enhanced Hammer in order to destroy an opponent’s deck by removing all their Energy. As far as general Item recovery is concerned, most decks at the moment will prefer to use Junk Arm, but when that card rotates in September, Junk Hunt will be the best (and probably only viable) source of Trainer recovery that we will have. Decks running Dark Energy will be able to get multiple use out of crucial cards like Pokémon Catcher, Switch, Dark Patch, Rare Candy and many, many more. Sure, it will usually be at the cost of a Prize (thanks to Sableye’s low HP), but then you will have already recovered a couple of Trainers and maybe Sableye has taken the hit for one of your main attackers.

Sableye is one of those cards that have a very high utility, and I’m sure that players will find many ways to exploit it in the future. Expect to see it as a regular feature in Dark decks, which are already well-supported and powerful as it is.

Rating

Modified: 3.5 (offers something unique and useful to Dark decks)

Limited: 4.25 (would I like to use my Ultra Ball and Random Receiver again? Why, yes. Yes I would)

Jebulous Maryland Player Sableye
 
Oh Sableye.  As I start writing my thoughts on this card, I realize that some cards let me go on and on about them (specifically cards I like and cards I see played a lot).
 
Sableye is a Basic Dark Pokemon with 70 HP.  No weakness, no resistence, and 1 retreat cost.  Being basic, Sky Arrow Bridge allows this guy to retreat for free.  No weakness means not having to worry about Fighting Pokemon too much (Terrakion can't Retaliate kill it without it being for revenge).  You can use Level Ball to get it.
Dark Patch can be used to power it up.  So many things going for this card.
 
'Confuse Ray' costs 1 energy, does 10 damage, and confuses if you flip heads.  This is not the reason why people use this card.  It is a good thing that it has an attack that does damage and possibly a status condition (is case you get backed into a corner).  I still don't like the coin flip...
 
'Junk Hunt' costs 1 Dark energy.  Well now, Dark Patch fully powers this guy up to use either attack.  This attack lets you put 2 item cards in your discard into your hand.  The good thing is that you can power him up with Dark Patch and get it back.  Search for it with Level Ball, use Dark Patch, bring him up and Junk Hunt for both back to your hand.  What is great is that you get 2 items back.  I know Junk Arm and Dual Ball were other viable choices last format.  Also the decks that feature heavy usage of the hammer items used this card to recycle the hammers and cause energy disruption.  Junk Hunt just has so many options, even if it's just limited to tools.  The drawback is that it is an attack, meaning you have to wait until your next turn to use the items (so possible N disruption could hurt).
 
Sableye has a lot going for it.  Though the low HP means it can get OHKOed by the big boys of the format, hopefully you can use 'Junk Hunt' before it gets knocked out.  It certainly is useful in setting up if you can open with it.
 
 
Modified: 4.5/5
Limited: 4.5/5
Combo's With: Tools in the discard, SkyArrow Bridge, Level Ball, Dark Patch, Darkrai EX
 
Questions, comments, concerns: jebulousthemighty@yahoo.com

Otaku

It is a funny thing; I’ve found myself slipping lately calling copies of SableyeSneasel” instead. Perhaps it reflects Sneasel (Neo Genesis 24/111) being the first card officially banned from a Modified Format (in fact, the very first two Modified formats, after which Neo Genesis itself rotated out) while Sableye (DP: Stormfront 48/100) and a deck built around it became so overpowered under the Black & White-era rules that it forced an early rotation last year?

Maybe it is simply because both are usually the same Stage and usually the same Type (in the TCG), and at a glance both have vaguely humanoid forms. Let’s take a look and see!

Stats

Sableye is a Basic Darkness-Type Pokémon. Basic Pokémon enjoy an unprecedented level of support right now, with most of it remaining after the rotation. They are almost always important to a deck, either composing most of it or at least being the deck’s preferred attacker; a few even has useful non-attack effects that allow them to be helpful merely sitting on your Bench. So in short this is the best Stage to be at present. Being a Darkness-Type is also quite beneficial; the same set we got this Sableye brought us three key pieces of Darkness-Type support: Dark Patch for from-the-discard-Energy-acceleration, and as an Item no less; Dark Claw for an extra 20 points of damage onto attacks that already do damage, and Darkrai EX (Dark Explorers 63/108, 107/108) who’s Dark Cloak Ability zeroes out the Retreat Cost of anything with a source of (D) Energy attached. Being a Darkness-Type isn’t much for hitting Weakness, though it does show up from time to time, and Resistance doesn’t exist.

70 HP isn’t much right now, but at least an opening Tornadus EX (Dark Explorers 90/108, 108/108) with a Double Colorless Energy and Stadium in play still needs more help to score a OHKO, though mid-to-late game being taken out in one hit is pretty much a given; at least Level Ball can snag Sableye from your deck. Due to Sableye being a Ghost/Dark-Type in the video games, the benefits of that Type combination are represented by having no Weakness (the best) and no Resistance (the worst), instead of receiving the usual Fighting-Type Weakness for Darkness-Type Pokémon or the Resistance/Immunity to damage from certain Types usually represented as “Fighting” in the TCG. Finishing this off is a nice, low single Energy Retreat cost, which is easy to pay and easy to avoid; Skyarrow Bridge or Darkrai EX will usually result in a Sableye with a free Retreat Cost.

Effects

Sableye has two attacks. The first is Confuse Ray for (C), which does 10 points of damage and (provided you get “heads” on a mandatory coin toss) Confuses the Defending Pokémon. I really wish the Confusion was automatic; all Special Conditions are far too weak (and generally have been), but especially since Confusion was nerfed; you used to have to flip a coin to successfully retreat out of Confusion. This attack is better than nothing, but not why you play the card.

Junk Hunt is why you play the card: for (D) you get to retrieve two Items from your discard pile. Right now with Junk Arm still legal, it may not seem like much, but for many who will go through Junk Arm withdrawal it will seem impressive. Using it that way can be risky, since you’re giving up an Energy attachment, an attack, and a Prize for those two Items.

Usage

Fortunately, while not as versatile as Junk Arm, it does grab two Items at once, and with proper deck design that makes it really, really… irritating. Not for the person running it, but the one on the other side of things. A constant stream of Crushing Hammer, Pokémon Catcher, and Lost Remover (Enhanced Hammer post rotation) can leave an opponent high and dry if they don’t have a good method of Energy recursion, and of course a deck focused on Special Energy doesn’t have especially good options. Your opponent will likely still push through and KO Sableye, which is why you’ll want two or three, and you have to be smart enough to use discretion and not try this against inappropriate decks (like ones that can repeatedly attach Energy from the discard).

While it is risky being down a few Prizes because of this strategy, once an opponent is suffering an Energy crisis like it was the 1970’s, whatever partner(s) you have for Sableye can finally pop up and clean house with impudence. It is finding the exact right partners that is the challenge; Excadrill (BW: Dark Explorers 62/108) was reviewed earlier in the week, and while its Dig Uppercut costs (FF) and only recycles one card, but the important things are that you’re hitting for damage (only 50 though), and you can recycle any card, not just Items. I think it has a shot, since even some damage is better than none. Sableye actually becomes more effective in BW-On; though it loses some tricks the other decks lose more.

In Unlimited, there isn’t a place for this Sableye; you have Item Finder to recycle any Trainers. In Limited, it happens to be in the set that even contains the Item based Darkness Support, plus a few other Items, so unless you absolutely can’t run Darkness Energy with it, run it. Its 70 HP should last long, and Confusion is more effective here as well.

Ratings

Unlimited: 1/5

Modified: 4/5

Limited: 4.5/5

Summary

Sableye is an amazing card; I had my eye on it when we gave our top picks and it didn’t quite make it. Having had this time to see how things played out perhaps it should have, and if I were making picks based on BW-On it most definitely would qualify, and the only reason it wouldn’t be at the top would be the handful of incredibly potent cards also in the set that just edge it out. If the format shifts to focus around low Energy, solid damage Basic attackers then Sableye will lose steam. Otherwise, it can keep Item reliant strategies going (even if the cost is steep) and with the right Item selection is sick as an opener. You won’t have to run it, but it’s a definite edge when your deck is Sableye-compliant.

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