If you are reading this… thanks. Unfortunately I hit
a snag and submitted it late enough that it wasn’t
posted right away. Today we look at another runner-up
for our Top 10 Promising Picks of Plasma Storm, Escape
Rope (BW: Plasma Storm 120/135).
Escape Rope is a Trainer-Item; you can fetch it from
your deck with Skyla and you can retrieve it from the
discard with certain attacks, though probably the only
example of that you’ll regularly see will be Junk Hunt
by Sableye (BW: Dark Explorers 62/108). No worries about
anything more complicated, really, as you would if it
was an Ability, Supporter, Stadium, or even Special
Escape Rope is an interesting card; each player ends up
swapping their Active Pokémon with a Pokémon from their
Bench. If one player has no Bench, the card can still be
played as it will affect the other, but it is a dead
card if neither player has a Bench. The opponent chooses
first, giving an additional, slight edge to the player
using it, besides the obvious fact that the turn player
has chosen to run it, likely build his or her deck
around it, and almost certainly wouldn’t be playing it
if it wasn’t to his or her advantage.
This is literally like dropping a Switch alongside a
Pokémon Circulator; two cards in one. All in all this
seems promising; even two weaker effects in one card are
often a good deal.
First things first, this is not at all a new card. New
name, old effect: Warp Point was first released in Gym
Challenge, the sixth set released outside of Japan
(seventh including the reprint set known as Base Set 2).
This means the effects official “birthday” outside of
Japan was October 16th, 2000! It was legal before the
Modified Format even existed, and was legal for at least
part of every Modified since then until the emergency,
early rotation to the HGSS-On format.
It was a very good card; in some formats, it was
often the reliable back-up to other cards that could
force your opponent to change out while at the same time
replacing Switch. Those formats are not the current one,
and obviously Warp Point is not Switch; I presume
Creatures, Inc. felt a “warp point” wasn’t Item like
enough. Plus it prevents previous printings from being
used, those as a mere Uncommon this would just have been
a small bonus for them; I doubt they expected it to be a
driving force for sales.
Minor (by my standards) otaku rant: don’t
overcomplicate things, Creatures, Inc.
• Warp Point represents the teleporting tiles in some
locations; a feature of the stage is close enough to an
Item by many accounts. You didn’t need to come up with a
new name for it.
• The ability to use such things as an Item would still
be great for the games. Tricky to design, but great. At
the very least it would have been fun for the whole
“Secret Base” thing. This also would have saved you
• Calling it “Warp Tiles” would have saved the name
“Escape Rope” for something more deserving; Escape Rope
allows the player to leave certain areas (mostly
tunnels). This actually would make more sense as a
replacement for Switch, Super Scoop Up, or as an
Escape Rope can act as a Switch if your opponent has
no Bench while you do or as a Pokémon Catcher if they
have just one Pokémon on the Bench and you have nothing.
Acting as a Switch and a Pokémon Catcher is also a
possible combination; you both have a Bench, but your
opponent’s Bench is just one target. Neither situation
is common past the opening turn, but they happen and are
well worth noting… and exploiting. If you have no Bench,
and they have more than one Pokémon on their Bench, it
still acts as a Pokémon Circulator. If neither of you
have a Bench, again this is a dead card, but that
situation shouldn’t be too likely either.
What about the bulk of the time, when both players
have a Bench of more than one Pokémon? Is this card any
good then? Depends on the exact circumstances, but at
least some of the time it is. Usually your opponent will
have something Active they want Active, thus Benching
that Active will inconvenience them. However this format
has somewhat unusual aspects that can actually make
Escape Rope backfire.
This format has multiple forms of reusable “retreat
aids”. You’ve got cards like Skyarrow Bridge to drop the
Retreat of Basic Pokémon by one, usually played when it
will result in at least one important Pokémon (sometimes
several) having free Retreat scores. Well known and
popular, Darkrai EX (BW: Dark Explorers 63/108, 107/108;
BW Promo BW46) has its Dark Cloak Ability that zeros out
the Retreat of any Pokémon with a (D) Energy attached.
It is often paired up with Keldeo EX (BW: Boundaries
Crossed 49/149, 142/149), whose Rush In Ability allows
it to replace an Active Pokémon, and is also used on its
own. Their presence allows decks to avoid giving up a
resource to “fix” their Pokémon positioning.
The format is about OHKOs and 2HKOs for the most
part, and in many decks the best defense has proven to
be a good offense; that KO not only has the usual
benefits, but can give you a turn without being hit by a
major attack. Even if it doesn’t, this style of game
play coupled with good sniping attacks or good general
attacks plus Pokémon Catcher make the Bench unsafe; most
cards on the Bench aren’t that much easier of a OHKO,
and anything important is usually duplicated. In the
past, you had a better chance of taking out the only
copy of an important Bench-sitter.
Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym were just
released; the format is now about scoring big off of
Poison damage. While it should be an obscure occurrence,
sometimes you might be forced to use Hypnotoxic Laser
before you would gain access to Escape Rope; obviously
you don’t want to play Escape Rope then. Hypnotoxic
Laser also jumped the offensive capacity of the game up.
What really is irksome is that Escape Rope came out in
one of Japanese sets that largely went into what we
received as BW: Boundaries Crossed: would have been nice
to break in Escape Rope before things got crazier.
Escape Rope does get a few benefits from the format
as it currently is. Hypnotoxic Laser makes getting your
own Pokémon to the Bench high priority; even if it ends
up being an “inferior” Switch, many decks won’t be able
to effectively use the earlier combos and thus may
honestly need more than four copies of Switch. As we do
have Pokémon Catcher, the “nightmare” scenario of having
to Bench the Defending Pokémon when you really wanted it
Active but also needed to Bench your own Active is… just
Same thing goes for those Retreat aids; Pokémon
Circulator wasn’t a bad card it was just overshadowed
while legal. Having an “emergency back-up” to the other
alternatives to retreating at full price is often good;
in a format where things like Darkrai EX and Keldeo EX
being run together in off-Type decks, it is also
justified in focusing on taking them out. It isn’t fun
throwing that combo down and then having it sabotaged
while Keldeo EX stranded up front and being 2HKOed.
Keldeo EX and its Rush In Ability also work nicely with
Escape Rope; you’ll be able to Bench and re-promote your
Active whether to shake effects or fake a Pokémon
In Unlimited play, this card might be worth running.
Any deck already using Warp Point can just as easily use
it, and as I understand that all former “normal”
Trainers have been reclassified as Items, there is no
advantage or disadvantage to running one over the other.
I am unaware of how many decks need either, and suspect
the number to be low. There is also Double Gust, a card
that acts like a Gust of Wind for you… and for your
opponent. Most of the tricks that would allow you to
abuse Escape Rope/Warp Point work better with Double
In Modified, this is a very good card, but like Warp
Point in most formats, it isn’t for every deck. I
strongly encourage testing with Escape Rope; when it
doesn’t work, you’ll know and easily cut it for
something else. When it does work, you’ll usually be
replacing a Switch while enjoying a fifth Pokémon
Catcher… some of the time.
In Limited… it is a Trainer-Item. It was already
likely a high priority card. In Limited, knowing when to
retreat is an important skill, and while there is still
a chance of it backfiring, most of what hurts Escape
Rope in Modified simply won’t be present (or at least,
reliably present) in Limited decks. You have a decent
chance of both saving one of your attackers for a later,
finishing blow and forcing up something completely
unprepared from the Bench to buy yourself time, maybe
even score an easy Prize. Even if you pull an
appropriate Basic attacker and want to run 39 Energy…
drop one and run Escape Rope as well.
Escape Rope is going to often be one of those cards you
want to run, but don’t have room for. Those worried
about it backfiring when compared to Switch aren’t
wrong, though I think this point is overemphasized. You
should be testing it; in some decks it is amazing and in
the worst case scenario it is functional but sub par.
On my extended Top 10 list, Escape Rope clocked in at
number 13. I don’t think it deserved to beat out
anything that actually made the top 10 for BW: Plasma
Storm, though it might have snuck in had it shown up as
expected in BW: Boundaries Crossed.