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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Phantom Forces
Top 10

#9 - Jamming Net

Date Reviewed:
Nov. 4, 2014

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.67
Expanded: 3.75
Limited: 3.33

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

Baby Mario
2010 UK National
Seniors
Champion

#9 Jamming Net 

I must admit I had this card and the other Team Flare Hyper Gear (Head Ringer) a lot higher on my own top 10 list. 

These Flare Cards introduce a new and subtle mechanic to the game in a way that we haven’t seen since Team Galactic’s Power Spray back in the (much-missed by me) days of SP. They are Pokémon Tools which you attach to your opponent’s EX Pokémon. As you would expect, they do bad things to them: Jamming Net reduces their attack damage by 20, while Head Ringer increases their attack costs. 

Obviously, these effects are sweet in themselves and players will use them to buy an extra turn before a KO or render relatively low-damage attacks, like Seismitoad EX’s Quaking Punch, ineffectual. They also stop your opponent attaching their own Tools, so no damage-boosting Muscle Band or retreat-enabling Float Stone. These Tools can be highly disruptive to an opponent’s game plan when used carefully. They are not that easy to get rid of either. Effects that get your Pokémon off the Field will do it (such as Cassius or Super Scoop Up), but other than that you are looking at Tool Retriever or Masquerain PLB’s Ability to do the job . . . pretty low-utility cards up till now, but if Flare Tools prove annoying enough, then you can bet they will get some play. 

I for one welcome our Team Flare overlords: these cards are tricky to use and encourage thoughtful play. Anything that moves us away from the blunt force trauma of attach-then-attack-with-an-EX-Pokémon can only enrich our gaming experience. 

Rating 

Modified: 4.25 (subtle ways to mess with your opponent)

Expanded: 4.25 (see above)

Limited: 3 (depends on if your opponent pulls an EX, doesn’t it?)


aroramage

Checking out our #9 spot, we've got one of the new Team Flare Tool cards, Jamming Net! Between this and Head Jammer, the other Team Flare Tool, this one is definitely more useful, and we're going to take a look at why!
 
Jamming Net and Head Jammer both follow the same set of rules as Team Flare Tools. They can be attached to any Pokemon-EX your opponent controls so long as they don't already have a Tool attached to them, so it's best to throw these down before your opponent can play a Tool of their own. Additionally, if one of these is removed for any reason, it goes straight to the discard pile, so there's no using Tool Retriever to add one of these put on your Pokemon-EX to your hand.
 
With that in mind, Jamming Net and Head Jammer have two very different effects. Head Jammer forces an extra Energy to be used on the opponent's EX-attacks, a nifty stalling tactic that buys you at least one turn unless they need a DCE to get by and just so happen to have it or are running something like Blastoise or Emboar. On the other hand, Jamming Net reduces the damage output of the Pokemon-EX by 20 before Weakness and Resistance get applied to any Pokemon!
 
To put it in perspective, this makes Manectric-EX do 0 damage on his Overrun and only 40 on Assault Laser (100 with the Tool Bonus). Lucario-EX now does 10, 40, and 80 damage on his attacks prior to boosting. Mewtwo-EX and Yveltal-EX need at least 1 more Energy somewhere when attacking to KO things as hard! Rayquaza-EX has to go for 4 Energy to guarantee KOs rather than 3! Genesect-EX can't even equip a G Booster to himself to get rid of the net!
 
There's plenty of Pokemon-EX around, both in Standard and Expanded. so Jamming Net won't have much of a shortage of targets unless you're going up against a deck that doesn't rely so much on EX, such as the Dusknoir-Flygon-Accelgor deck or a variant of the Empoleon deck. For now, in a format where EX are heavily used, Jamming Net's got a lot of usage.
 
Rating
 
Standard: 3.5/5 (requires an EX to be attached, but the damage reduction is supremely useful)
 
Expanded: 4/5 (more EX means more targets!)
 
Limited: 4/5 (better to run it for those +39 decks at least)
 
Arora Notealus: I wonder what the video game effects of stuff like Head Jammer and Jamming Net would be like...
 
Next Time: A dragon descends again in new form!


Otaku

For those of us in the United States of America over the age of 18, its Election Day.  Remember that it is important to not just vote but to vote informed; while I discourage people from abstaining completely, there should be something on the ballot to which you can agree with a firm “yes” or “no” and thus signify that you’re paying attention even if you don’t like many of the choices, or struggled to find adequate information on the options given. 

Welcome dear readers as we continue the first week of our Top 10 Promising Cards of XY: Phantom Forces!  As a reminder, reprint cards are not eligible as the review crew each submits a 10 card list to Pojo, who then averages them out to produce the master Top 10 list we use for the review order.  The official release date for this set in the U.S. is November 5th, so XY: Phantom Forces cards aren’t tournament legal until November 21st; however we’ll be scoring them as if they were indeed legal. 

Jamming Net (XY: Phantom Forces 98/119) is one of the new “Pokémon Tool F” cards.  As you know there are three major divisions in Pokémon cards: Pokémon, Trainers and Energy.  Within Trainers, there are Items, Stadiums and Supporters.  Within Items there are… quite a few, especially if we include abandoned mechanics.  Relevant to this discussion one long running (though not original) mechanic are Pokémon Tools, and Pokémon Tool F cards are their new subdivision.  So are Team Flare Hyper Gear cards, a status indicated as part of (or possibly simply after - it isn’t unprecedented strange as it sounds) the card’s name.  There is also a large read “stamp” printed on the card that reads “Flare” in the card’s effect text area, with the actual effect text showing over it (where the two overlap).  No idea yet of the exact relevance, but fellow Robot Substitute Team Flare Hyper Gear (XY: Phantom Forces 102/119) lacks it while Head Ringer Team Flare Hyper Gear (XY: Phantom Forces 97/119) shares it; the latter is also a Pokémon Tool F.   For now there are no effects that reference either Team Flare Hyper Gear or the Flare stamp, but this could change. 

While I haven’t played a lot of TCGs (about half a dozen), cards that you attach to something of your opponent’s can be quite common or rare, depending on how the game works… but for Pokémon its a brand new thing.  This will require some care just due to the simple things like not walking away with someone else’s cards.  Relevant to the review, Pokémon Tool F cards still count as the one Pokémon Tool you're allowed to attach to a Pokémon (at least under normal circumstances).  This already gives the Pokémon Tool F cards a bonus use as well as a weakness; attaching one will prevent your opponent attaching his or her own Pokémon Tool, but at the same time any Pokémon-EX with a Pokémon Tool is effectively protected from Pokémon Tool F cards (at least until you use something like Startling Megaphone).  Of course if you have any Pokémon Tool F cards already in play, you’d hit them as well with any non-selective, mass discarding effects so that’s another potential issue.  Pokémon Tool F can only attach to Pokémon-EX; while those are the most common attackers and dominate the format, they are not the entire format even now.  They also state that when an effect removes them from a Pokémon, they are automatically discarded; this is to prevent accidentally sending them to the wrong player’s hand, deck or discard pile, though of course it means any effect that could move them also discards them. 

So what about Jamming Net itself?  We have a problem; it contains a confusing phrase stating that damage done “…to all Defending Pokémon…” that in the past was only used because of the alternative rules that allowed players to have two Active Pokémon at once.  Normally you would just write it as “Your opponent’s Pokémon” if it was supposed to reduce damage done to the opponent’s Active Pokémon and Benched Pokémon, while just reducing damage done to the opponent’s Active would simply be written as that (…damage done to the opponent’s Active Pokémon…) or “…the Defending Pokémon.”  It could be quite a significant difference; Landorus-EX is already popular for hitting Active and a Benched Pokémon, Manectric-EX might become popular for it as well, while a Pokémon-EX that hit every one of your opponent’s Pokémon in play (such as the Expanded Legal Groudon-EX) would be significantly diminished.    Still, even if it was just bad wording and it does only reduce the damage to the opponent’s Active Pokémon, it can be fairly handy; you’re blocking a different Pokémon Tool like a Muscle Band, so you could create an effective -40 damage as compared to what your opponent intended.  That may not always matter, however; in order to be useful in that situation you need to make sure that a OHKO becomes a 2HKO, a 2HKO becomes a 3HKO, etc.  An attacker that was going to hit a 180 HP Pokémon-EX for 110 damage twice doesn’t really care that its technically doing 20 less. 

Early combos for this card are leading with a Startling Megaphone (or in Expanded, Tool Scrapper) to clear the way for Pokémon Tool F cards, setting up so that Manectric-EX will get the extra damage from its second attack, and attempting to revive the Tool Drop decks built around Trubbish (BW: Plasma Storm 65/135).  To be blunt, right now I’m not overly impressed with the Pokémon Tool F cards; even without any special measures taken just to counter this strategy, some decks have options.  The simplest is - as so many attackers are resource light - abandoning the equipped Pokémon-EX, at least until it can still make a worthwhile attack with its reduced damage capacity or you do get to something that can ditch the Jamming Net.  Decks that run Super Scoop Up or the new AZ for bouncing their own Pokémon will shed Pokémon Tool F cards as a side-effect, and some decks may even run Tool Retriever already for those key moments of Tool swapping. 

As stated yesterday, Manectric-EX and its fighting Weakness make me hesitant to rely on it as a main attacker… and as a secondary I’m not sure if it is worth the space to run Pokémon Tool F cards.  Tool Drop’s “revival” is also something I doubt; it does benefit from a few of the cards released in this set, but it still seems like a very fragile combo… the type that only works when people don’t see it coming, or refuse to acknowledge it as a threat.  When it comes to running cards to “mess with your opponent”, I think I’d prefer that slot go to Enhanced Hammer (recently reprinted) or the like instead of something this specific. 

Ratings 

Standard: 3.25/5 - I think its a good card, but in a metagame of great cards. 

Expanded: 3.25/5 - Before thinking it through I had expected Tool Scrapper to make it worse here, but not being forced to discard Pokémon Tool F you already have in play is likely to regularly benefit a deck using them, while other decks really only benefit from the “downgrade” from Startling Megaphone in this one match-up. 

Limited: 3.25/5 - Same score, but it is also a must run.  How can that be?  The vast majority of the time it will simply do you no good as your opponent won’t have any Pokémon-EX to target.  The rare times when they do, it can be quite the lifesaver and your opponent will be hard pressed to get rid of it.  Generally Limited decks can spare the space for a specialized Trainer, so always go for it but realize it won’t actually be used very often. 

Summary: As you might have guessed, Jamming Net didn’t make my own Top 10.  I am intrigued by this mechanic but that doesn’t mean I expect it to prove strong immediately.  Definitely a card to keep an eye on and obtain a playset of (if the price is right), and the threat of it and its counterpart Head Ringer might help shift the game away from being quite so heavily Pokémon-EX dominated again (though the beneficiaries would simply be regular big, Basic Pokémon).


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