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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Switch

- Boundaries Crossed

Date Reviewed:
January 18, 2013

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 4.13
Limited: 4.95

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

Switch (Boundaries Crossed – and lots of other sets as well) 

Fun Fact (which I bet all the other reviewers will mention as well): since Potion got an erratum that increased its healing power to 30, Switch is the only card that has been present with its effect unchanged in every single format since Base Set. That should tell you something about how fundamental this card’s effect is to the game. 

There’s nothing fancy about this card, it does exactly what it says on the tin: switches your active Pokémon with one on the Bench. In decks which have to pay a cost of more than one Energy to Retreat their Pokémon (and sometimes even then), this is extremely useful: unless you use an acceleration deck, you only get one Energy attachment per turn and wasting it to Retreat Pokémon sets you back and weakens your board position. There are many, many game situations where Retreating is a good idea: deny a Prize on a damaged Pokémon, bring out a more effective attacker, re-set an attack that can’t be used on consecutive turns, get out of annoying Status Conditions like Paralysis and Sleep . . . it really is a high utility card. 

The extent to which Switch is played in any given format largely depends on what other cards are available. Decks that have alternative methods of Retreating Pokémon for free tend not to use it, so it saw little play in the SP era which was dominated by decks that had PokeTurn/Bronzong G or used free retreaters like Gengar SF. Formats where Warp Point was available also saw limited use of Switch as most players favoured the card which offered some disruption potential as well. The amount of Trainer Lock in any given format and the prevalence of high retreat cost Pokémon are other factors to be taken into account. 

At the moment Switch use is probably as high as it has ever been. Any deck that doesn’t abuse Darkrai-EX’s Dark Cloak or Keldeo’s Rush In Ability would be wise to include several copies. Maintaining Energy on the board is one reason for its popularity, but Pokémon Catcher is another huge reason why Switch is so necessary at the moment: when your opponent has the Ability to drag out a non-attacker like Eelektrik NVI or Garbodor DEX, or even an Energy-less attacker like Landorus-EX or Terrakion NVI which have a big retreat cost, Switch is invaluable at preventing their attempt to buy a turn or two. It’s also the only answer that most decks have to strategies like Paralysis Lock using Accelgor DEX or even Thunder Wave Tynamo. 

Switch is a card that has wandered in and out of decklists since day one of the TCG and no doubt that will continue. You won’t always want it in your deck; you certainly won’t want the hundreds of copies that you have accumulated from packs and theme decks over the years . . . but really the game will always need this card or something very like it, so just be grateful it’s there. 

Rating 

Modified: 4 (tough to score because it’s always taken for granted)

Limited: 4.75 (Prize denial will always be key here)

virusyosh Happy Friday, Pojo readers! Today we're ending our Card of the Day week with an iconic Item card that we're all very familiar with. Today's Card of the Day is Switch.
 
Switch is an Item card, meaning that you can play as many of them as you'd like in your turn (unlike Supporters and Stadiums), and will be discarded from play after use. Switch's effect is very simple: to switch your Active Pokemon with one of your Benched Pokemon. While better alternatives have existed in the past, such as Warp Energy or Warp Point, Switch plays a very important role in our current Modified. Many decks rely on big hitters with large Retreat Costs, as well as minimizing the number of Energy in their builds. Additionally, with Pokemon Catcher in the format, your opponent can force you to promote a Bench sitter with no Energy, potentially stalling you out. This combination of conditions lead to Switch being not only a requirement in most decks, but a 4-of. While some Pokemon can easily get around paying for Retreat (Darkrai-EX, Keldeo-EX, free Retreaters), almost all other decks (and even sometimes decks involving Darkrai and Keldeo) will want to run Switch. Switch's metagame presence make change again once Escape Rope (a functional reprint of Warp Point) is released in the US and Europe, but until then, this very basic card will continue to be a format staple.
 
Modified: 5/5 Switch has a very basic yet effective effect that gives rise to a large number of strategic decisions. Even though not all decks should run the card, most of them in this current format should run multiple copies to deal with things like normal Retreating tactics and Pokemon Catcher stall. Even if you don't end up running 4 copies of the card, Switch's integral place in the metagame requires you to at least consider it for deckbuilding in this format.
 
Limited: 5/5 Switch is equally effective here. While Retreat-based tactics are a lot less common in the slower Limited format, Switch's inclusion can still help you move a damaged attacker to the Bench to stop your opponent from getting a timely KO, or promoting your own newly-powered up beater. Like Modified, there are rarely times when you wouldn't want to run Switch in Limited, as the effect is potentially that powerful.
Jebulous Maryland Player Switch
 
Switch is a Item Trainer that lets you switch your Active Pokemon with one on the bench.  We all know it's great for when you don't want to pay that 3-4 retreat cost.  And when you are Paralyzed, it's your way out.
 
When I started back in Pokemon, it was mainly used to get Eelektriks out of the Active spot when the opponent is trying to Catcher stall.  Then it popped up when Darkrai decks were getting messed up by the Paralyzing Tynamo and Fliptini.  Since they relied on free retreat, they didn't run Switch (so Paralysis hurt them).  Then they started running 1-2 Switch.
 
Now that some beefy guys are sticking around, Terrakion and Landorus, Switch is showing up in those decks, along with Ho-oh and friends.  It really helps when you run high retreat Pokemon that just can't get out of the Active spot.
 
Since Keldeo EX came out, some people have opted to play it instead of Switch.  It's pretty much a Switch, the only thing is now you have Keldeo active, so you have to be able to do something next.
 
Switch... a card everyone knows about and has run at some point.  It's been around since the beginning.
 
It's a decent card, but still not competitive.
 
Modified: 4/5
Limited: 5/5
Combos With:  ...
 
Questions, comments, concerns: jebulousthemighty@yahoo.com

Otaku

If you are reading this, I forgot to write an introduction. 

Stats

Switch is an Item, the easiest form of Trainer to play.  You’ll be able to fetch it from the deck on a whim with Skyla or reclaim it with Junk Hunt via Sableye (BW: Dark Explorers 62/108).  Simple is not a bad thing; in fact here it is definitely "good". 

Effects

Switch allows you to send your Active Pokémon to the Bench, allowing you to promote any of your other Pokémon to the Active slot.  Again, this is simple, but quite nice.  Your manual Retreat for the turn is preserved, and you didn’t have to discard Energy. 

Usage

Switch, or a card or combination of cards resulting in a similar effect, are often staples in Pokémon.  There are definitely exceptions, but in general I tend to expect a card like this in a deck. 

The current format started out bucking this; we had Skyarrow Bridge and Basic Pokémon with already low Retreat costs allowing many decks to get by without Switch, though one might argue that Skyarrow Bridge was in some ways filling the role.  Then we got Darkrai EX (BW: Dark Explorers 63/108, 107/108; BW Promo BW48), and via its Dark Cloak Ability, players began to fill this role with it. 

Now we have Keldeo EX (BW: Boundaries Crossed 49/149, 142/149), it is seeing some use as a Switch substitute as well, combined with Darkrai EX and a source of (D) Energy: attach the Energy to Keldeo EX, use its “Rush In” Ability to force its way Active, then Retreat with no Energy discarded due to the effect of Dark Cloak. 

However, all of these substitutes lack the simple efficiency of Switch.  The preceding combo is three different cards, and while it can be used over and over again, you do still give up that manual Retreat.  Being so complex also makes it more vulnerable to disruption; while Items can be “blocked” by a few effects, most decks don’t run those cards. 

Abilities can be shut down (and while not common, it is seen more than Item blocking effects right now), but more importantly a Crushing Hammer (or Enhanced Hammer if the deck doesn’t run any basic Darkness Energy) can give you two, purposeless Pokémon-EX on your Bench.  If you only need an aid/alternative to manual retreating once or twice per game, Switch is actually a better deal; thanks to Skyla a single Switch is often easy to fetch at the necessary time. 

For Unlimited play, you might want to work this or Warp Energy into your deck, as both can break important locks/soft-locks.  Warp Energy might be better, however; as an Energy card it is even more difficult to block.  If you cannot spare your Energy attachment, however, then Switch is still good.  There are other options as well, like Warp Point, which has the bonus of being a Switch combined with a Pokémon Circulator (potentially disrupting the opponent). 

If you pull this in Limited, you run it unless you are doing the “One Basic Pokémon plus 39 Basic Energy” strategy.  Switch shedding effects of attacks becomes incredibly important, in addition to the fact manually retreating is also often a key strategic move: denying your opponent a Prize by using Switch to Bench a heavy hitter while leaving it able to come back in for a final attack is potent. 

Ratings 

Unlimited: 3.5/5 

Modified: 3.25/5 

Limited: 5/5 

Summary

Switch is a simple but good card, easy to overlook.  Keldeo EX will take a bite out of how many decks should use it, but even if you’re relying on Darkrai EX I recommend having one copy as a fall back on unless you are also running Keldeo EX.  The fragility and/or space demands of such a combo means a deck that doesn’t need to retreat repeatedly is probably better off with a few copies of Switch instead.

Mad Mattezhion
 Professor Bathurst League Australia
Matt


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