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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Escape Rope  

- Plasma Storm

Date Reviewed:
February 21, 2013

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 3.75
Limited: 4.5

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

Escape Rope 

Since I first started playing the game (over six years ago), there was always one card that I really, really loved. I didn’t always find the space to run it in decks, very often it was my 61st and 62nd card, but when I did, I was usually grateful that it was there. That card was Warp Point. It had been in constant rotation since it was first printed in Expedition, and I took it for granted that, like Potion and Rare Candy, it would always be around.  

But I was wrong. Warp Point got rotated out when we went to HGSS-on and we have had to make do without it since. Until now that is. Yes, it got a name change (because all Items are now named after actual physical items), but Escape Rope is the same card with the same effect: when it’s played, your opponent switches their active with a benched Pokémon of their choice, and then you do the same. 

So, what you have here is a Switch with a bit of bonus disruption. On the face of it, that seems to make it better than Switch, but that isn’t necessarily the case. There are some situations where you don’t want to let your opponent’s damaged or easily KO’d Pokémon off the hook, or waste a Catcher, just so you can swap your active. Although Escape Rope does offer some disruption, the fact that the opponent makes the decision on what to switch in could mean that your Escape Rope actually helps them by giving them a chance to promote something that you can’t KO, or they don’t mind losing. 

While we have Pokémon Catcher in the format to dish out the Bench disruption (with a playset run in every deck), I feel that the more conservative Switch is likely to be superior to Escape Rope in most decks. That’s not to say that Escape Rope is totally useless: against an opponent with nothing but high retreat Bench sitters (like Garbodor or Klinklang) it can cause problems if they don’t have a switching card of their own. In a deck that runs a heavy Switch count, it may be worth dropping one for Escape Rope’s Catcher-lite effect, but with deck space being so tight, I don’t see running this in addition to Catcher and Switch as being a viable option. 

Rating 

Modified: 3.25 (neither as good as Catcher or as safe as Switch, it may have a time to shine when the former is rotated)

Limited: 4.5 (any kind of disruption will most likely be helpful. If you pull it, then run it) 

Jebulous Maryland Player

Escape Rope is an Item that switches both players' Pokemon.  Your opponent switches first, and if someone doesn't have a Bench, then they don't switch.  This is pretty much a reprint of Warp Point.  
 
So let's look at the different cases.  1) Nobody has a bench, so the card is useless.  2) You have a Bench, your opponent doesn't.  The card is now a Switch. 3) You have no Bench, they have 1 Pokemon on the Bench.  It is now a Catcher.  4) They have more than 1 on the Bench, you have no Bench.  It's a Switch for them.  5) You both have benches.  It's a Switch for both of you.
 
As you can see there are a lot of different scenarios (I probably left out a few combinations, I'm half asleep).  It's great that one card can do so many different things.  If you wait for the right situation, you can use it however you want.  But there is also a downside.  You might never get that situation.  What if you can have game with a Cather, but you have this and they have a full bench.  If you want a versatile card, then this is it.  Just be sure to recognize the downside.
 
Modified: 4/5
Limited: 4.5/5
Combos With:  ...
 
Questions, comments, concerns: jebulousthemighty@yahoo.com


Otaku

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).

Stats
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 Energy card.

Effects
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.

Usage
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 renaming it.
• 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 original effect.

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 annoying.

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 Circulator.

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 Gust.

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.

Ratings

Unlimited: 1.75/5

Modified: 3.5/5

Limited: 5/5

Summary
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.

virusyosh

Greetings once again, Pojo readers! Today we're reviewing a new functional reprint from Plasma Storm that should quite easily get some attention in today's Modified metagame. Today's Card of the Day is Escape Rope.

Escape Rope is a Trainer - Item card, meaning that you'll be able to play as many Escape Ropes (and other Items) as you'd like during your turn before you attack. Escape Rope's effect is very similar to that of the old Warp Point card, where both players switch their Active Pokemon with one of their Benched Pokemon, with your opponent switching first. Warp Point has always been very popular in every format it has been legal, and I'm guessing that Escape Rope will be no different, and the ability to force your opponent to make difficult plays and potentially act to grab some easy KOs can make all of the difference in the Pokemon TCG. Expect Escape Rope to be very popular on the tournament circuit at States, and for very good reason.

Modified: 4.5/5 Escape Rope will probably replace at least some of the Switch cards in each deck, although the difference could be largely up to personal preference moreso in this format than it has been in the past. Forcing your opponent to switch, even with them choosing, is a very powerful effect that can't be overlooked. Once again, expect to see a lot of this card, as like N, it provides excellent disruption for the opponent while helping out the user immensely as well.

Limited: 5/5 Switching out is always good in Limited, and both Switch effects and free retreaters are both quite good in this format. Use it!


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