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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Top 10 Plasma Storm
#6 -
Dowsing Machine 

- Plasma Storm

Date Reviewed:
February 8, 2013

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 4.45
Limited: 4.75

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

Combos With: See Below

Baby Mario
2010 UK National
Seniors
Champion

#6 Dowsing Machine 

Fun fact for our #6 card: Dowsing Machine shares its name with the Japanese version of Base Set Item Finder, which is what this card basically is. It is also the first of two ACE SPEC cards to make our top 10 countdown (*SPOILER*: the other one isn’t Victory Piece). 

Dowsing Machine will seem pretty similar to anyone who played in the previous format and abused the you-know-what out of Junk Arm (AKA Trash Claw). The effect is straightforward enough: you discard two cards and then put a Trainer card from your discard pile into your hand. 

There’s a couple of things worth noting with Dowsing Machine that make it a little different from Junk Arm though. Firstly, you get back a Trainer which means that it is not limited to recovering Items. Yep, you can use this card to get back a Juniper, Skyla, or other Supporter. Secondly, there are two important rulings on this card that you must be aware of: you cannot play it if you have no Trainers in your discard and you cannot use it to get back one of the cards you just discarded when you play it. As I expect this card to see play, it’s very important to bear those rulings in mind . . . especially the second one. 

It should be pretty obvious just how good Dowsing Machine can be in a game. It effectively turns your discard pile into a searchable resource. It can be your fifth copy of Pokémon Catcher; it’s the Professor Juniper you need but couldn’t draw into; it’s that Rare Candy that you were forced to discard with Ultra Ball when you were trying to set up. There are as many uses for it as there are Trainers in your discard pile. 

Will it be played though? It has some very stiff competition from Computer Search and the higher-placing ACE SPEC in Plasma Storm, but nevertheless, I do think it is worth testing. It’s versatile (though not as versatile as Computer Search), and can provide a bit of a safety net for early game discards. It can also give you the opportunity to give your opponent a nasty surprise when they have counted four Catcher in your discard pile and is banking on you not being able to drag anything out. Personally, I think it’s just slightly edged out by its rivals but . . . hey, it’s Junk Arm on steroids . . . how can that not be a good thing? 

Rating 

Modified: 4.25 (a high utility card that can make discarding less painful and lead to some surprise plays)

Limited: 4.5 (you would play it as long as you pulled some other Trainers)

virusyosh Happy Friday, Pojo readers! Today we end out COTD week with a new ACE SPEC card from Plasma Storm that could make some noise in Modified. Today's Card of the Day (#6 on our countdown) is Dowsing Machine.
 
Dowsing Machine is an ACE SPEC Item card, meaning that you can play as many of them as you'd like during your turn, but are only allowed one in your deck (in addition to not being able to use any other ACE SPECs like Computer Search or Scramble Switch). Dowsing Machine's effect is simple, yet powerful: you discard two cards from your hand to get any Trainer card (Item, Supporter, or Stadium) from your discard pile. In many respects, Dowsing Machine is an upgraded version of Junk Arm, and is almost a total reprint of Base Set's Item Finder. At any rate, cards with Trainer recursion are quite good, meaning that this one will see some play. Like Junk Arm, Dowsing Machine will allow you to reuse those critical Pokemon Catchers and Switches, while also grabbing you Junipers, Ns, Tropical Beaches, or other Supporters and Stadiums. As previously witnessed in the past few formats dominated by Junk Arm, this type of card will likely see a lot of play, and for good reason.
 
Modified: 4.5/5 Dowsing Machine is really good, but as an ACE SPEC, it competes for a deck slot against the likes of Computer Search and Scramble Switch. All three of those cards are very good, and while I think Computer Search is slightly better than Dowsing Machine, whichever ACE SPEC you decide to use will largely be a matter of personal preference and the individual strategies your deck is trying to accomplish.
 
Limited: 5/5 The only reason not to run Dowsing Machine would be if you would also get another ACE SPEC, or if you didn't get any other Trainers worth running. Even still, the card is great in Limited, and should probably be used in most circumstances.
Jebulous Maryland Player

Dowsing Machine
 
Dowsing Machine is an ACE SPEC Item that lets you get any Trainer from your discard at the costs of discarding 2 cards.
 
So Dowsing Machine is like Junk Hunt, but not really.  Junk Hunt needs Sableye and a Dark (Prism/Blend) dedicated in the deck to get 2 Items.  Dowsing Machine can be in any deck and can get any one Trainer.  You get less with Dowsing Machine, but you get more variety (and it can be put in any deck).
 
I guess the main comparison to make is between this and Computer Search.  Computer search lets you get anything from your deck at the same cost.  Early game Computer Search is good because you have access to a lot more cards and it can quicken setting up.  Dowsing Machine early game is hit and miss.  If you don't haven't played anything that you want to reuse, then Dowsing Machine is a dead card.
 
Late game Computer Search has les targets, and your hand might not have 2 cards that you want to discard.  With Dowsing Machine you have access to a lot more (since it's late game and you should have a decent discard).  It can also get you that draw Supporter you need.
 
Modified: 4.5/5
Limited: 4.5/5
Combos With:  ...
 
Questions, comments, concerns: jebulousthemighty@yahoo.com


Otaku

We finish our first week of BW: Plasma Storm reviews and the best of the bottom half of our Top 10 Promising Picks of Plasma Storm with Dowsing Machine (BW: Plasma Storm 128/135).  As you probably noticed before you started reading, I still will not be following my usual review structure, as it is ill suited to Pokémon cards that aren’t actually Pokémon, and while probably half as long as normal, “short” isn’t a good description either.

 

Dowsing Machine is one of the three new Ace Spec cards we received this set.  Like all Ace Spec cards we have so far, it is a Trainer, specifically an “Item”.  Its effect is a familiar one originally seen (with slightly different wording) on Item Finder, a “normal” Trainer released in the Base Set (the only kind, back then).  Said effect is that you discard two cards from hand in order to reclaim a Trainer from your discard pile.  Junk Arm was another attempt at “nerfing” Item Finder, though instead of being one-per-deck it was restricted to targeting Items.

 

The similarities between Dowsing Machine, Item Finder, and Junk Hunt are a great starting point for understanding how to use this new card, but the differences are quite important.  Had I not already been encountering this in conversations, I would write this off as me being overly thorough, but turns out its justified.  Item Finder could be used in multiples, and without giving up an intangible resource like your Ace Spec slot.  Junk Arm could as well, but it didn’t get back Supporters or Stadiums.  Begin with how those cards were run, but don’t end with that.

 

Item Finder quickly became a staple in decks until it rotated out; I don’t recall any competitive deck not running at least one copy, usually three or four.  As long as the format has worthwhile Trainers, it is worth trading three cards from your hand to re-use one from your discard pile.  Junk Hunt was still was one of the major (if not the major) shaping force of the format it was in, in spite of being restricted to targeting Items.  In fact, it was arguably more important than Item Finder; decks running less than the full four copies were uncommon.

 

Decks can function without Trainers, but even in Unlimited such decks don’t function well.  Trainers are so important to speeding a deck up and maintaining a steady flow of resources that even before factoring in disruptive or damaging Trainers, Dowsing Machine proves valuable and potent.  Dowsing Machine is only as good as the targets it can recycle, and is often quite weak first turn.  Still, its power grows and in the hypothetical average game it shouldn’t take more than a few turns for its power to become significant; a variable Trainer that also ends up being a spare copy, including the unexpected “fifth [insert Trainer/]!”.

 

Again, based on actual discussions I have to emphasize the importance of a spare copy of a Trainer, be it true TecH, maxed out, or something in between.  You have the benefit of that extra copy without being restricted to just that, though discarding two cards from hand can be quite painful at times (most decks don’t cards they want in the discard pile).  You also get the psychological benefit, when using a card like Dowsing Machine, making a “safe” moment “unsafe”; keeping track of what your opponent has used is an important game skill.

 

Computer Search has become the default Ace Spec card because it increases a deck’s reliability; it is a floating copy of whatever the deck needs.  It doesn’t give you an extra use of a card, though.  On its own, it doesn’t even greatly enhance reliability, being just one of 60 cards.  Dowsing Machine also only offers a small increase in reliability, but with an extra use of a spent card.

 

The simple combos that make Computer Search good almost all work for Dowsing Machine.  The chief exceptions would be those that retrieve Computer Search from the discard and/or are meant to be used early game: spamming Computer Search with Sableye (BW: Dark Explorers 62/108) and its Junk Hunt attack is not recommended.  I’ve still had some insisting it is worth it, but no one has proven it to me yet.

 

Past early game, a Skyla and two discards for any card versus a Skyla and two discards for any Trainer in your discard favors the latter, at least in Modified. I expect Dowsing Machine to see significant play, and perhaps even to replace Computer Search as the “default” Ace Spec, used until a deck proves it needs that early game search or the “tricks” granted by other Ace Spec cards more than an extra use of the potent Trainers most decks run.

 

In Unlimited play, Dowsing Machine is a waste as you still can run four copies of Item Finder and many decks don’t need a full four of that.  There are even more advanced tricks if more than four uses of a spent card was needed  In Limited play, it depends upon having another Trainer to target; useless without another Trainer but probably a must play with.  This set is quite heavy with Trainers, so I will score the card with the assumption you did indeed pull at least one viable target.

 

Ratings

 

Unlimited: 1/5

 

Modified: 4.5/5

 

Limited: 5/5

 

 

Summary

Dowsing Machine is definitely a worthy choice for your Ace Spec slot in any deck, but may not be the best choice.  Those keeping track will notice I scored Dowsing Machine lower than Computer Search, last reviewed just over a month ago.  My review paints Dowsing Machine as equal to or better than Computer Search, so what gives?  Competition: Computer Search now isn’t as good as Computer Search then.

 

Dowsing Machine was my number six pick as well.


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