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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Countdown: Top 10 Plasma Freeze Cards

#5 - Team Plasma Ball

- Plasma Freeze

Date Reviewed:
May 20, 2013

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 4.10
Limited: 5.00

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

#5 Team Plasma Ball 

Hello and welcome to the second instalment of our top 10 Plasma Freeze countdown, here on Pojo’s CotD. As you would expect, every card that we review this week is set to see a lot of play during Spring Battle Roads and at the biggest and most prestigious tournaments of the year: the National and World Championships. So, I guess I had better get on with the job. 

Today’s card is Team Plasma Ball, a Trainer-Item which an effect which is probably obvious to anyone once they have heard the name of the card. Simply, it allows you to search your deck for any one Team Plasma Pokémon, reveal it, and put it in your hand. Unlike Ultra Ball or Pokémon Communication, Plasma Ball has no cost to use; unlike Heavy Ball or Level Ball, there is no restriction on the Pokémon you can search for, beyond the Plasma requirement. Anything from the smallest 60 HP Rotom PLS to the mightiest Lugia-EX or Plasma Stage 2 such as Infernape PLS or Metagross PLF is accessible with Team Plasma Ball. 

So, if you are running a deck that is completely Plasma, there is no real downside to using Team Plasma Ball as a Pokémon search card of choice. This doesn’t mean that all Plasma decks will rely on it exclusively, however. Ultra Ball is also likely to be used in decks that get direct benefit from the discard cost, such as those using Thundurus-EX for Energy acceleration, and in decks that also have a non-Plasma element. A few copies of Ultra Ball can also be run alongside a playset of Plasma Ball to maximize search consistency: after all, they can come in handy for discarding cards that you don’t want to draw again if an opponent plays N. 

Team Plasma Ball is one of those cards that really gives you nothing to complain about, unless your objection is that it can only really be used in Plasma decks. For those decks it offers cost-free search with comprehensive coverage, and that is a very powerful and useful thing to be gaining from a Trainer card. 

Rating 

Modified: 4 (Great for those decks that can use it)

Limited: 5 (tons of Plasma Pokémon in the set, and Pokémon search is golden in this format)

virusyosh

Welcome back, Pojo readers! We're continuing our Top 10 countdown of Plasma Freeze this week with the five best cards (according to our COTD reviewers, at least). Today's card (and #5 on the countdown) is an Item that should see a lot of play in the coming Team Plasma decks. Today's Card of the Day is Team Plasma Ball.

Team Plasma Ball is an Item, meaning you can play as many copies as you'd like during your turn with no drawback. Team Plasma Ball's effect is simple and intuitive: you search your deck for a Team Plasma Pokemon, reveal it, and put it into your hand, shuffling afterward. The ability to grab a Deoxys-EX, Thundurus-EX, or Kyurem can be absolutely huge, and this card is quite important for the decks running these Pokemon. Team Plasma Ball is an immediate upgrade over Ultra Ball in Team Plasma decks since it doesn't require a discard, although the deck will still likely run both for consistency. That being said, any deck using Team Plasma Pokemon in large numbers, in Modified and Limited, should be using Team Plasma Ball.

Modified: 4/5 A somewhat short review today, but not much can be said about Team Plasma Ball except that it's incredibly good at what it does, and should only be used in a Team Plasma deck. Expect to see tons of these in Deoxys/Thundurus/Kyurem decks and variants thereof.

Limited: 5/5 Plasma Freeze has tons of Team Plasma Pokemon, and searching with no drawback is always fantastic. Play it!


Otaku

Welcome to the second week of the Top 10 Promising Picks of Plasma Freeze; we crack the top five with Team Plasma Ball (BW: Plasma Freeze 105/116)!

 

Stats

 

Miscellaneous: Team Plasma Ball belongs to two different families of cards, the Team Plasma family and the “Ball” family; the former is pretty well known considering the previous set, the current set, and the next set have “Plasma” in their names, while the latter appears to have been abandoned.  If you look up older cards, you will see Apricorn Maker, a Supporter that let you look for up to two Trainers with “Ball” in their names in your deck and add them to your hand.  I miss this kind of support.

 

Type: Team Plasma Ball is a Trainer-Item.  Notable interactions due to it being a Trainer are Skyla can fetch it from your deck and Dowsing Machine can reclaim it from your discard pile.  Notable interactions due to it being an Item are mostly against it: Dragonite (BW: Plasma Freeze 83/116) blocking Items with its “Roar” attack, Zebstrika (BW: Next Destinies 48/99) is doing the same through its “Disconnect” attack, and Gothitelle (BW: Emerging Powers 47/98) blocking Items via its “Magic Room” Ability.  Sableye (BW: Dark Explorers 62/108) can reclaim it from the discard with its “Junk Hunt” attack, probably the only “positive” Item specific effect in the game that sees competitive play.

 

Otherwise, Items tend to perform well in this game because the minimal investment required to play (at least based on general mechanics and not specific card effects) means that you can afford to benefit from “small” returns.

 

Effects: Team Plasma Ball allows you to search your deck for a Team Plasma Pokémon.  This is a simple but efficient effect, naturally favoring Basic Team Plasma Pokémon over Evolutions; the latter will need another search card or be forced to rely on drawing to get needed lower Stages as only the highest Stage of the Evolution line is Team Plasma Affiliated.  Simple seems pretty good, and this kind of “affiliated Pokémon support” has been seen since The Boss’s Way first released in the original Team Rocket expansion.

 

Team Plasma Ball, as a “search” card is technically a placeholder; technically you never want it, you want the card it will search for with two key exceptions: when you don’t know what you’ll need in the future and thus it is better to have it than what might be the wrong Pokémon, or when you just need a Team Plasma card.  Normally one worries about being a “dead card”, but in this case when you need the effect it is great and when you don’t, its painless discard fodder as ultimately your deck doesn’t lose anything by tossing it at that point, and if forced to discard it earlier you’re losing potential speed that may not even ultimately matter.

 

 

Usage

 

Card Family: Let us begin with the “Ball” card family.  Right now, there is no support specific to it and there hasn’t been since the game was still being handled outside of Japan by Wizards of the Coast; what purpose does bringing it up have besides my obsessive attention to such details?  In this case it is because of the overlap these cards have in usage; sometimes undermining each other, sometimes supporting each other.  Team Plasma Ball joins Great Ball, Heavy Ball, Level Ball, Poké Ball, and Ultra Ball.

 

Ultra Ball is the preferred form of search as it can get anything; the two card discard cost can really hurt, however, and it isn’t uncommon to see a deck, even one that has a “combo” with the discarded cards, run one of the other Ball Trainers instead of just maxing out Ultra Ball.  Great Ball and Poké Ball are pretty much ignored because the risk of failing to get what you need (kind of the point of such cards), but Level Ball and Heavy Ball see play when a deck can access significant cards with them, despite being relatively restricted in target.

 

Team Plasma Ball will join Level Ball and Heavy Ball in supplementing Ultra Ball as the primary search for most decks, provided said deck runs a decent compliment of Team Plasma Pokémon; “decent” being relative based on quantity and importance of the Team Plasma Pokémon.  Mostly though it will be how Ultra Ball, Heavy Ball, and Level Ball help Team Plasma Ball in decks that aren’t built purely with Basic Team Plasma Pokémon… or that need to discard cards.  This is probably most important to Team Plasma Evolution decks, where Level Ball will almost always be able to snag Basic and Stage 1 Pokémon that are meant to Evolve (and thus aren’t Team Plasma Pokémon) and avoid a lot of discards.

 

You can get a run down of Team Plasma support here but I will list the highlights.  Shadow Triad likes Team Plasma Ball because it increases its own versatility; with a Team Plasma Ball in the discard Shadow Triad can now access any Team Plasma Pokémon in deck or discard pile.  Team Plasma Grunt benefits enough from having potentially painless discard fodder and a search card to improve effective card yields that I finally can take it as a serious (but unlikely) candidate for Team Plasma decks.  The last worth highlighting will seem almost backwards; as a Basic Team Plasma Pokémon Deoxys EX is supported by Team Plasma Ball, but as Power Connect (the Ability of Deoxys EX) boosts the damage done to Active Pokémon by attacks from Team Plasma Pokémon, and it isn’t terribly fragile, expect Team Plasma Ball => Deoxys EX to be used as a pseudo-PlusPower.

 

Combos: Most have been outlined or at least implied above, but I want to emphasize something; outside of where another form of Team Plasma support interacts with Team Plasma Ball, the combos are just updates of what players were doing with Ultra Ball, Level Ball, and Heavy Ball to get Team Plasma Pokémon before.

 

Future: More Team Plasma Pokémon and support are coming, but so are counters; odds are Team Plasma Ball will either experience a net gain or remain steady, but exact usage will change.

 

Ratings

 

Unlimited: Team Plasma Ball doesn’t seem overly useful here, given the classical Trainer support available from the days before Supporters and thus cards like Professor Oak are now reclassified as “Items” despite modern counterparts like Professor Juniper being Supporters.  Even if you come up with a powerhouse deck that focuses upon Team Plasma Pokémon, between the raw search and draw power available, something this specialized probably won’t matter… and that was already a big “if”. 1.75/5

 

Modified: If you deck runs Team Plasma Pokémon, either in abundance or in a key role, this should be your search card for it.  Maybe not completely maxed out, maybe used in conjunction with other search, but if your list is “too tight” to fit it in, your list may truly be too tight.  I may be in the minority, but I really don’t like discarding cards in a format where the best general recursion I have is Super Rod and I already expect to discard a lot from Professor Juniper.  4.25/5

 

Limited: You tend to have a lot of “room” in your decks in Limited.  Draw and search cards are “must runs” unless there is some bizarre, extenuating circumstance… and that isn’t here.  If you don’t get a single Team Plasma Pokémon worth running, even if your deck would otherwise be just a lucky Pokémon-EX and Energy cards, Team Plasma Ball will confuse your opponent and allow you to see/shuffle your deck, and is thus still worth it. 5/5

 

Summary

Team Plasma Ball is the kind of support that Team Plasma Pokémon needed badly; whether a deck runs nothing but Team Plasma Pokémon or a few very important ones, this easy one-for-one trade dramatically increases the odds of getting such Pokémon into hand.  It also combos well with specific Team Plasma and even general Trainer support, making it one of those indirect game winning cards as you will often be getting either your primary attacker or some key piece of support.

 

As such, on my own Top 10 list I ranked Team Plasma Ball as the number two because of what of its usefulness (sometimes importance) in setting up for some decks; not everything can use it, not everything should use it, but quite a few both can and should.


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