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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Hooligans Jim & Cas

Dark Explorers

Date Reviewed: May 30, 2012

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 2.13
Limited: 4.40

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

Hooligans Jim & Cas (Dark Explorers)

We got some great reprints from Dark Explorers (love the new Juniper artwork!), but only one completely new Supporter card. Yes, the picture does look slightly odd with the Scraggys and the weird perspective. Yes, it does seem strange that the card designers have given a card (and names) to those generic bikers that always appear at some point in the video games. But here we are, and I have a review to write.

Hooligans Jim & Cas is a very scary card. It’s scary for you, and it’s scary for your opponent. When you play it you flip a coin and, if heads, select three cards at random from your opponent’s hand. They show them to you and then shuffle them back into their deck. Why is this scary for you? Well, it’s a Supporter that has a 50/50 chance of complete failure . . . you could waste one of the most valuable resources that you can use in the game – that once a turn chance to draw more cards or refresh your hand. Why is it scary for the opponent? That’s even more obvious: Hooligans could cut their hand down to nothing, depriving them of key cards. Even if it doesn’t hit anything especially important, it could deny them the resources they need to use a discarding card like Junk Arm or Ultra Ball.

No doubt Hooligans will remind some players of Cyrus’s Initiative. It’s not as good (Cyrus gave you two flips and you got to choose what to return to the deck), but it does have the potential to seriously disrupt your opponent. Unfortunately, because of the level of risk involved (the random selection as well as the coin flip), I can’t see this being played competitively unless something comes along that somehow lets you play an extra Supporter per turn (like Sableye SF or Porygon2 GE), in which case a new disruption-based archetype may just be viable. Until that happens (if it ever does), it just isn’t worth giving up your main source of set up draw for something that stands such a good chance of being useless.

Nevertheless, if you find yourself playing in a match and you see your opponent slap Hooligans down on the table, you are definitely in for a few nervous moments.

Rating

Modified: 1.75 (not really practical with our current card pool)

Limited: 4.25 (tons of fun, and you won’t have that many other Supporters to play anyway)

virusyosh

Welcome back, Pojo readers! Today we're reviewing one of the new Supporters from Dark Explorers. Today's Card of the Day is Hooligans Jim & Cas.
 
Hooligans Jim & Cas is a Supporter, meaning you can play it once per turn, and you can't play any more Supporters for that turn. Due to this, the effects of Supporters are usually very potent. The Hooligans have an interesting but unreliable effect: if you flip heads, you choose three random cards from your opponent's hand, the opponent reveals them, and then shuffles them back into their deck. Removing three random cards from your opponent's hand is always great, and being able to do this one the first turn is especially effective (and cruel). However, Hooligans Jim & Cas has the terrible downside of requiring a coin flip to work, which severely hampers its usefulness, and this coin flip will likely keep the card from seeing very much competitive play.
 
Modified: 2/5 Playing Hooligans Jim & Cas turn one and flipping heads will probably severely cripple your opponent, and that alone might be worth the cost of admission. However, coin flips are generally terrible in Modified, and wasting your Supporter for the turn on a potentially dead card can really hurt you. Overall, Hooligans Jim & Cas is a very high-risk, high-reward card that some people will try to play, but most won't due to its unreliable nature.
 
Limited: 5/5 Supporters are very rare in Limited, so wasting your Supporter slot won't be as much of a problem as it is in Modified. Additionally, shuffling three of your opponent's cards back into their deck can really set their tempo back, which is also great. Professor Juniper, Cheren, and N are obviously better, but Hooligans Jim & Cas is also worth running if you draw a few, simply because the card's drawbacks aren't nearly as pronounced in this format.

Mad Mattezhion
 Professor Bathurst League Australia

Hooligans Jim and Cas (Dark Explorers)
 
Today's review is really simple, because this card is so easy for everyone to understand. You play this Supporter, you flip a coin and if Heads, you choose three cards from your opponent's hand without looking and have your opponent shuffle them back into the deck. No important choices, just you and Lady Luck trying to cripple your opponent.
 
If you are a regular reader, then you already know that the words "flip a coin" are a curse upon any card that bears them and will have no doubt come to the conclusion you should avoid this card like the plague. And you would be right.
 
As a Supporter, you can't play another Hooligans during the turn if the first one fails and you can't bring it back to your hand with Junk Arm to use on another turn so you have to draw multiple copies. Add in the necessity of early Supporters like Poke'mon Collector and Professor Juniper, as well as the power of other hand disruptors like Judge and N, and it becomes plain that Hooligans is completely outclassed. Still, I find myself wanting to test this card to make certain.
 
There are two different decks that could make good use of Hooligans; the Weavile/Houndoom/Sloking deck that focuses on destroying an opponent's hand before they can do anything, and the Durant mill deck which destroys an opponent's deck while using tricks like this to slow the opponent down until you've devoured the cards they really need and can't retrieve.
 
With a 50% failure rate and the inherent disadvantage of being a Supporter, I can't see Hooligans catching on in Modified. Even in Vileplume-based decks, it is easier to use Judge if you want use random chance for removing troublesome cards from the opponent's hand, but I'm waiting to be proven wrong by someone who will take the chance in order to shrink an opponent's hand down to nothing.
 
Modified: 2.5 (dropping an opponent's hand size by three is always going to hurt, but having the card do nothing half the time will often cripple you instead. While we have Judge and N, almost noone will use Hooligans)
 
Limited: 4 (getting rid of the energy in your opponent's hand to prevent powering up or removing that critical evolution before it can be played? Score!)
 
Combos with: Durant NV, Sloking HGSS, a different Item based version that is weakened to only remove 2 cards. Or make a Tails condition that allows you to look and remove 1 card instead.

Otaku

Today we look at Hooligans - Jim and Cas. I'll be honest, I wish there was more to their “team” because for the one with the beard looks more than a bit like Monkeywrench from the Dreadnoks, a band of mercenary/bikers from G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (and related series).

Yeah, and you thought the “Dark Claw” introduction was random. ;)

Stats
Hooligans - Jim and Cas is a Trainer, specifically a Supporter. Supporters are vital to nearly all decks (and all serious decks I am aware of) in Modified, as they are the primary source of reliable and/or sizable draw, search, and recursion plus several specialty effects. They have been blocked by certain effects in the past, but I don't know of anything that stops them in the current format. There is a bit of Supporter “support”: the ones worth mentioning are PokéGear 3.0, Random Receiver, and Xtransceiver. All can help search out Supporters (and only Supporters), though Random Receiver is the preferred option.

Effect
Hooligans - Jim and Cas is one of the few pieces of Trainer-based hand disruption available in Modified; you must flip a coin, and if you get heads your opponent has to shuffle three cards you randomly pick back into his/her deck. If you get tails... the card does nothing. That isn’t good.

Discarding three cards from your opponent's hands is pretty potent, even if those cards are shuffled back into the deck and not sent to the discard pile or Lost Zone. Without practically building your deck around this supporter, however, you're giving up your own primary draw or search effect yourself. Most draw or search Supporters give a return of two or three cards, so using Hooligans - Jim and Cas is in many ways like denying yourself of two or three cards. In the world of investment this is known as an "opportunity" cost; what you would have gotten had you invested in a different opportunity that was mutually exclusive to what you did invest in. In this case, the chance of reducing your opponent’s hand “costs” you a deck slot and a Supporter usage, the latter of which (as stated) would have given you a different effect.

So… half the time the effect does nothing, and the other half you randomly shuffle away three cards your opponent may not even need. That could actually help them if your opponent wanted to use a Professor Juniper, for example, but had something “important” in hand too valuable to just throw away. It also won’t affect a “shuffle and draw” card’s return, and Pokémon as usual still has some amazing ‘top deck recovery’ options to it. At the same time you might just need to hit any three cards, since so many decks have discard costs; shrinking a player’s hand can deny quality discard fodder, or even any discard fodder at all.

Usage
This card appears to be the Modified update of The Rocket's Trap. The latter was one of three cards (the others being Imposter Oak's Revenge and Rocket's Sneak Attack) that were the basis of Trapper decks that were dominant for a time in the pre-Modified days of the game. Imposter Oak’s Revenge required you discard a card from your hand, but then your opponent had to shuffle their whole hand away and draw four new cards. Rocket’s Sneak Attack let you see your opponent’s hand, select a Trainer, and make your opponent shuffle it back into his/her deck.

While the effects are identical (though worded differently), The Rocket's Trap existed long before Supporters; thus it was a “plain” Trainer, the equivalent of an Item. The Rocket's Trap could be used repeatedly; either by playing multiple copies or by recycling one copy with Item Finder. This was also a format with copious draw Trainers (and again, before "Supporters" were invented), and the single greatest search Trainer ever, Computer Search (also a "plain" Trainer). In conjunction with Imposter Oak's Revenge and Rocket's Sneak Attack you were almost guaranteed to strip an opponent's opening hand to nothing when the deck worked.

Hooligans - Jim and Cas has one partner to work with them first turn; Murkrow (HS: Undaunted 58/90). It's a Darkness-Type 60 HP Basic Pokémon with Lightning Weakness, Fighting Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of one. In short, it is a probable OHKO. For (D) it hits for 10 damage and gives you a coin toss; "heads" and you get to randomly shuffle away a card from your opponent's hand. While you might manage to take out four cards first turn, that would require two "heads"; unlikely.

After the first turn, you'll have more Pokémon options, but the rub here is that you'll be wanting (if not needing) those Supporters to maintain your setup, including the other Pokémon you would use to strike at your opponent's hand. The only Pokémon I can think of that really works with Hooligans - Jim and Cas also is a problem for it. Smeargle (HS: Undaunted 8/90, Call of Legends 21/95) can be used to try and get multiple uses out of Supporters in your opponent's hand... which in turn can free up your own Supporter use for Hooligans - Jim and Cas. Of course you're also providing your opponent the chance to do you one better and hit your own Hooligans - Jim and Cas with his or her own Smeargle!

With what we've got right now, I wouldn't use it in actual control decks; you need to focus on building your own stuff to make shuffling away you're opponent's cards actually matter anyway. There isn't a combo to completely scrap your opponent's hand in one turn, so without more support your opponent has too good a chance of rebuilding... at least too good for a Supporter that only works half the time. If you really need disruption as part of your Supporter options, your best bets are N, Judge, or Team Rocket’s Trickery. The first two may also disrupt your own hand, while the third is just weak draw power coupled with a single discard from your opponent’s hand (your opponent chooses the card). Even with those drawbacks, all three strike me as preferential to using Hooligans – Jim and Cas.

If you insist on running it, you'd need to build a deck around Hooligans – Jim and Cas, one that allowed you to “burn” your Supporter usage on them, moving functions like drawing to a Pokémon (preferably as a non-attack effect). Unfortunately we hit the same snags; 50% failure rate, needing effects that influence your opponent’s draw (to inhibit recovery), and what to do with the surplus if you succeed! A quick glance does bring me to Slowking (HeartGold/SoulSilver 12/123, Call of Legends 32/95) whose Poké-Power can do just that; “Second Sight” lets you look at the top three cards of either player’s deck and arrange them as you wish: if you can keep one functional the entire time, as long as at least one of those three cards isn’t immediately you might even be able to effectively lock down your opponent! Of course, you’re also going to still need something attacking if you want to win, and with all the resources going for “control” it will need to be Energy efficient and durable.


Future releases may help this card, but this is actually a concern as well. You see, this is a very potent effect, hence being a "tails fails" Supporter… but potent effects aren’t really balanced out by coin flips, are they? Either you get an effect that is still a bargain or it’s horribly overpriced due to the unreliable nature of the card. I personally don’t find it fun to win just because I happen to flip "heads" on a card like this, at least at a "serious" event, and I certainly don’t want to lose because I got “tails” at an inopportune moment. As long as such cards exist, there is the threat someone will figure out a combo that does make them useful. It'd be pretty scary for Hooligans - Jim and Cas if we got a reprint or update of Porygon2 (DP: Great Encounters 49/106), for example. In a format with very few Supporters (or very few “good”) Supporters, this card would also be better; if your Supporter use is apt to be wasted anyway, go ahead and risk it on a “tails fails” Supporter!

This card has no real potential for Unlimited. You can simply run The Rocket’s Trap, unless you are running a Pokémon that blocks Trainers other than Supporters. Vileplume ex (EX: Hidden Legends 100/101) or Vileplume (HS: Undaunted 24/90) would be examples of such cards, and they do see some play. Since your deck would be best built with mostly Supporters for Trainers, you could then run the aforementioned Porygon2; while all (or at least most) of your opponent’s Trainers are locked down, you could effectively play two to five Supporters per turn. Even if your opponent was running something that blocked Supporters, they’d also need to block Poké-Powers to stop Porygon2. You would also need Broken Time-Space as well in order to get all those Evolutions into play as soon as possible, and you really need to go first and thus you’d want Sableye (DP: Stormfront 48/100), since it itself can attack to discard a Supporter from your deck and duplicate the effect, plus its Overeager Poké-Body means you automatically go first (regardless of how the opening coin flip went) if you start with Sableye Active and your opponent doesn’t … and hopefully now you see the problem.

If you don’t, it is simple: I’ve got a good chunk of a Sabledonk deck built into an “inferior” deck. You just need to strip out the more complicated Stage 2 Pokémon and add in the missing pieces; Seeker so that Porygon2 can clear out your opponent’s Bench via bounce (remember that with Broken Time-Space Porygon2 gladly bounces itself, re-Evolves, and is able to re-use its Poké-Power) and Crobat [G] and the needed Trainers to bounce it (of which there are several) so that you can place enough damage counters to KO anything protected from Sableye using its second attack (Overconfident) to score a OHKO for game.


In Limited, yes you should run it; you are unlikely to have another Supporter to run (let alone in hand to play) anyway. Again this means that while it is still likely to fail, a single card is worth a 50% shot at costing your opponent three cards in hand... especially in a format where it is at last hard to replenish that hand.

Ratings

Unlimited: 1/5

Modified: 2/5


Limited: 5/5

Summary

If we are fortunate, this card is filler. If we are unlucky, it's the first part of a painful combo. Just like with Hooligan's - Jim and Cas, I don't like those odds.

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