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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Top 10 Boundaries Crossed Countdown!

#6 - Ditto

Boundaries Crossed

Date Reviewed: Nov. 9, 2012

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 3.17
Limited: 3.75

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

Baby Mario
2010 UK National
Seniors
Champion

Ditto (Boundaries Crossed)

Ditto is quite possibly the strangest of all the Pokémon. In the video games he celebrated for his ability to breed with just about anything (but let’s gloss over that, just like they do in the actual games); in the anime he appears transformed into pretty much any other Pokémon (even if the eyes sometimes look a bit wrong), and in the TCG he always comes with some very strange effect, ranging from the awesome PokéPower of the original Base Set Ditto to the downright odd Duplicate Dittos from Delta Species.

It’s just possible that this Ditto has the weirdest Ability of all.

But let’s start with the obvious stuff. Ditto is unevolving Basic (well, sort of, as we shall see) with a poor Weakness to Fighting, but just enough HP (70) to enable him to survive an unboosted single Energy attack from Landorus-EX or Stunfisk DRX. The retreat cost of one is fine: pretty standard and neither a help or a hindrance. But what really matters here is the Ability. Transform states that at any time during your turn, you may play a Basic Pokémon from your hand on top of Ditto: Ditto now becomes that Pokémon.

What does this actually mean? Well it means that Ditto can turn into any Basic whenever you like (including right after you play him). The tricky part to understand is the rules about evolution. As long as Ditto has been in play for a turn, you are free to Transform him into the Basic and then evolve straight away. For example, you can play a Ditto down on your turn, and then on your next turn, play down a Tynamo on top of it, and then evolve straight to an Eelektrik. Or you could turn Ditto into a Deino, play Rare Candy, and evolve into Hydreigon. It’s pretty straightforward once you get your head around the idea that Ditto effectively becomes the Basic when you use the Ability.

But . . . why would you want to do this at all? Why put extra cards in your deck that you don’t actually need? Several reasons spring to mind: firstly, Ditto can take hits that some low HP Basics just can’t. Secondly, he introduces an element of surprise: if your opponent doesn’t know what Ditto will evolve into, they won’t know whether to target it or not. Thirdly, Ditto increases the number of Basics in your deck, making stronger opening plays possible while cutting down on Mulligans. Fourthly (and possibly most important), Ditto gives you options. A Ditto on your Bench is free to turn into anything next turn, depending on what you need: a support Pokémon, a main attacker, a tech . . . anything, really. It is just the most versatile start you can imagine.

Those are just a few rough ideas, and I’m sure players will be theorizing and testing all kinds of strategies with Ditto. How it will impact on the format is really unclear right now. It could be fantastic or it could be a total bust. I admit, I’m on the fence about it myself, and find this card incredibly difficult to score/rate.

Ratings

Modified: 3 (Aaaargh! I just don’t know! Happy?)

Limited: 3.75 (really solid starter here)

Jebulous Maryland Player

Ditto is a Basic Colorless Pokemon with 70 HP.  It is weak to Fighting and has a retreat cost of 1.  It is searchable by Level Ball.
 
'Transform' is an ability that lets you put a Basic Pokemon on top of Ditto and Ditto becomes that Pokemon.  All damage and effects still remain on Ditto/New Pokemon.  This is all Ditto has.  I guess there is a lot of debate on whether or not Ditto is good.  It is good in the sense that it becomes a place holder on the field until you turn it into something.  This is definitely good for a surprise, for example, you start with 3 Ditto, your opponent will have no clue what you are playing.  The only problem with that is that they will soon know what they are playing against.  You can't keep that secret all game or you won't get anywhere.  Now, you can surprise them in the sense you play a regular deck but have an added tech line that would surprise them (like a Jolteon line in an Eels deck).
 
Ditto can also be used to mess with your opponent.  When you play it, they will have to make the decision to either deal with it now or when it changes.  Especially if you attach an energy to Ditto.  Another good thing is you can have Ditto on the field, turn it into a Basic, then Rare Candy into a Stage 2.  The drawback, you need those 3 cards in hand and Ditto has to have been on the field for a turn.  So its a pseudo 1 turn Stage 2.
 
Some drawbacks... Ditto keeps the damage.  Put 40 damage on Ditto and it can't become a Tynamo.  Once a certain amount of damage is on Ditto, there are some things it can't become.  Though if it gets to that point you can turn it into a big basic.  The weakness also hurts in a format where the most used decks are weak to Fighting.  That means it'll have enemies (it'll survive Landorus EX unless the y have a PlusPower).
 
So right now I have 1 copy of Ditto (that I got from the prerelease).  I might play around with it in a deck; really I need more copies to see if it'll work.  Hopefully it will be a helpful addition to decks running Stage 2s (by helpful I mean 'make more competitive').
 
Modified: 3/5
Limited: 3/5
Combos With:  ...
 
Questions, comments, concerns: jebulousthemighty@yahoo.com


Otaku

If you’re reading this, then I forgot to write an actual intro.

Stats

Ditto is a Basic Pokémon, the best Stage to be right now; minimum deck space and easy to get into play. It is a Colorless-Type Pokémon, so it won’t have to worry about natural Weakness or Resistance in Modified; granted, the card has no built in attacks so they wouldn’t matter anyway. Being Colorless also allows Ditto to tap Aspertia City Gym for +20 HP, pumping its low 70 HP (for Basic Pokémon that don’t Evolve) to a sturdier 90 HP that is actually likely to survive a mid-level attack.

Ditto has Fighting Weakness, but while its HP is low for a Pokémon that doesn’t Evolve, it is just out of the range of an easy OHKO for the faster Fighting-Type Pokémon… that is to say, the ones that attack for a single Energy. Any serious attack from a Fighting-Type would have OHKOed Ditto anyway, since I usually consider averaging 70 points of damage to be the cut-off. It will mostly be the odd mid-level attack that often isn’t heavily used that will suddenly score a OHKO.

Ditto has no Resistance; no Resistance is the worst Resistance but is also quite common, so it doesn’t really hurt the card so much as fail to help it. To finish the Stats, we’ll look at the Retreat. Ditto just needs a single Energy to retreat; this is easy to pay plus you have the option of using Skyarrow Bridge.

Effects

Ditto posses a single Ability and nothing else. Said Ability is Transform, and it allows you to play another Basic Pokémon on top of Ditto and treat Ditto as that Pokémon. You may only do this if Ditto doesn’t already have a Pokémon attached to it via the effect of Transform, and there is (at least for the foreseeable future) no way to discard whatever you Transformed into from Ditto.

This is an odd effect, and at a glance looks nearly worthless, but I’ll cover what you can and should do with it in the Usage section. Here I’ll just emphasize that once Ditto uses Transform to “become” a Pokémon, for game purposes it is that Pokémon. If something shuts down Abilities, Ditto remains whatever Pokémon it has Transformed into. The Basic Pokémon Ditto has Transformed into not only counts as a Basic Pokémon, but if all other conditions are met you can even Evolve it (and then it counts as an Evolved Pokémon).

It is also important to note that while Ditto becomes something else, it retains all effects and counters that are on it. If Ditto was affected by a Special Condition before Transforming, it will be afterwards when it is considered the attached Pokémon.

Usage

So why use Ditto? While not as hyped, if you have a deck that desperately needs to start with a specific Pokémon (or even one of a group of Pokémon), coupled with search and/or draw power Ditto becomes a spare, variable copy of those Pokémon, allowing you greater flexibility and greater reliability.

For example, if you wished to run an extremely aggressive deck built around Tornadus EX (BW: Dark Explorers 90/108, 108/108), the vast majority of the time you will want to start with it. If you only run Tornadus EX, the odds of opening with no Pokémon are painfully high; prepare to give your opponent a free “Bill” many games, and sometimes an even bigger free draw. Ditto allows you to run up to eight Basic Pokémon that are essentially the same one.

It also helps when you have multiple starters meant for optimizing scenarios. With the same example, you probably wouldn’t want an aggressive Tornadus EX deck that was only Ditto and Tornadus EX; a single Sigilyph (BW: Dragons Exalted 52/124) would shut your game down entirely, and Lightning-Type decks would be a serious threat due to Tornadus EX possessing Weakness towards that Type. So whatever flavor back-up Basic Pokémon attacker you run, Ditto improves your starts. Provided you can follow up, it gives you a 2/3s chance of starting with the “correct” attacker (provided you run an even amount of each).

Of course, I haven’t even gotten to what really has people excited. As previously stated, Ditto essentially “becomes” whatever Basic Pokémon you play on top of it via Transform but retains all game effects that were “on” Ditto, and this includes “time spent in play”. So if you Bench a Ditto on one turn, the next turn you may not only use Transform to turn to play a Basic Pokémon on top of it, but that Basic Pokémon is considered to have been in play for the same amount of time as Ditto was; you can immediately Evolve it!

Adding yet another card to the already resource intensive process can seem counterintuitive, but this creates a “buffer” for lower HP Evolving Basic Pokémon. You still need to be careful, since Ditto isn’t that much bigger than most of them, and unless you pack healing an opponent can damage Ditto to prevent you from using Transform to become something smaller the next turn, but that is usually preferable to them dealing with your current Active Pokémon or flat out OHKOing something small like a Tynamo (any version).

This may even revive some more interesting uses for Evolutions. With recursion cards, you can use multiple copies of Ditto to make a lower count Evolution line function as if it were bigger. Something that probably won’t see much play now but which will have access to better combos in the future is Raticate (BW: Boundaries Crossed 105/149), but Rattata (BW: Boundaries Crossed 104/149) only has 30 HP!

If you had a deck that wanted to use Raticate, you could run several Ditto and recursion (like Rescue Scarf) so that a 1-1 or 2-2 line was all you needed, and you didn’t run as big a risk of a Rattata open. You just keep dropping Ditto that you can instantly Transform into your recycled Rattata and Evolve into your also recycled Raticate!

So for Modified, Ditto looks to be a great card in some specific decks, but it does have one last use for more general plays; the fact that Ditto allows you to obscure your future plays and/or adjust them. You can play Ditto and begin preparing it to become one Pokémon, but then if the situation warrants you can use Transform to turn it into a different Pokémon more appropriate to the current state of the game. Remember, I am talking about changing your mind before you use Transform; once you become something, you’re stuck as it!

For Unlimited, we have Broken Time Space for Pokémon wishing to Evolve quickly, but you still should give Ditto a look if you just need to pad out your Basic Pokémon count. For Limited, Ditto is a must run; even if you have no true surprises in your deck, you can use it to bluff your opponent. Just be careful since you won’t have the draw/search power to get a target to Transform into.

Ratings

Unlimited: 2/5

Modified: 3.5/5

Limited: 4.8/5

Summary

Ditto is another odd card to rate; technically it can be used in every deck, but it can only be used well in some specific ones, and deck lists are still incredibly tight. It isn’t for every deck, but it is in enough decks you had better learn what it is and what it does, and probably should pick up your own play set just in case.

Ditto clocked in at number seven on my own list, right after Town Map, but while Ditto serves decks less well in general, I think I had that backwards; Ditto is probably going to become a vital, common play for decks with low HP, Evolving Basic Pokémon, plus some that just need it for an extra Basic or a method of obscuring planned strategies.


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