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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Maintenance

- Furious Fists

Date Reviewed:
Oct. 09, 2014

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.30
Expanded: 1.70
Limited: 4.00

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


aroramage

Hey guys, welcome to another oldie-but-goodie blast from the past kind of card! I remember this card being out in Base Set! And it's never been reprinted since...I wonder why now?
 
For anyone unfamiliar with Maintenance, it's a simple card: shuffle 2 cards from your hand to your deck and draw 1 card. Back in the day, this could have helped you add that seventh card you need to Professor Oak-out your deck without losing, or else get a second chance after Bill failed you! Nowdays, such cards are Supporters like Sycaper and Tierno, so they're only once per turn effects. Still, not a shabby idea for a card, right?
 
But why now? Why after all these years give us a card that...well let's be honest, I don't remember Maintenance being used that much to begin with. What deck could possibly benefit from having cards returned to the deck instead of being in your hand? And the only one that comes to mind is Fossils. With the new Fossil mechanic searching for stuff at the bottom, Maintenance allows you to return those unusable Fossil Pokemon in your hand back in and draw a card - but why bother with Fossils when you can just use Fossil Researcher? Suddenly Maintenance looks pretty nice!
 
...with one card. I guess you could return an Item you don't need till you want to search for it with Skyla later? I don't really know if I'm clever enough to find a use for Maintenance, but I also don't see how in today's format there's a deck that could really benefit from this. I suppose you could save a card from the wrath of a Sycaper you're about to play, but then I'd imagine you're hoping for the card you draw to 1) be playable and 2) not be something you need immediately.
 
Still, Maintenance is a nice way of taking cards you don't need or can't use right at the moment and shuffling them back for a different card. Ultimately though, Maintenance is a -2 (-2 from the cards you return +1 card you draw -1 for playing Maintenance) in terms of card advantage, so unless you've got a good reason to return those cards back or you draw into the exact card you need a la heart of the cards, chances are you're losing advantage.
 
And that's the kind of reasoning that makes me think that Maintenance isn't going to see competitive play in the least. Fossils aren't really that competitive (I don't think) outside of Tyrantrum stomping on the ground, and there's only so much utility it can provide (never mind space in the deck these days), but hey, Maintenance might surprise us all! Who knows, maybe next Worlds there's going to be a bunch of decks running Maintenance. Then we can all turnaround and point at this review and be like, "Ha! What a noob, thinking this would be no good!"
 
...or maybe I'll be proven right, who knows.
 
Rating
 
Standard: 2.5/5 (good for keeping cards safe while getting a new card, but ultimately it's a minus in card advantage)
 
Expanded: 1.5/5 (okay, you're NOT going to give up deck space for a card like this, TRUST me)
 
Limited: 3/5 (I don't know if it'll be super-effective here, but then again we've got smaller decks and smaller prizes, so the chances of you getting the card you need even after a slight increase is still significantly smaller)
 
Arora Notealus: Maintenance hasn't seen print since its reprint in Base Set 2, over 14 years ago!! I wonder what other cards haven't been printed in over 14 years...
 
Next Time: Come here and give us a kiss~<3


Otaku

Today we come to a review I have mixed feelings about, and I’ll explain why after covering the fundamentals of the card and its history with the game.  We look at Maintenance, an Item that originally as Base Set 83/102 and shortly there after re-released as Base Set 2 112/130 before its third and latest release as XY: Furious Fists 96/111.  Its effect has you shuffle two cards into your deck and then you draw a card.  You must have at least two other cards in hand to meet the “shuffle in” requirement and you must draw a card. 

This is an Item meant to promote hand management in a game that is more and more about raw power across all fields… including draw power.  This is the mixed blessing for Maintenance; one one hand it can help you avoid chucking valuable cards with Professor Juniper and or Professor Sycamore but it also gives you a draw so that if you’re desperate you can try to draw into what you need with it even though you risk getting what you shuffled in back, less the copy of Maintenance you just played and the second card you shuffled back into the deck.  On the other hand when you’ve got raw power, you don’t usually worry about such things. 

Maintenance was not used competitively in the pre-Modified days of Pokémon (which would be the last time it was Standard legal).  My own testing of the early days of the game (primarily Base Set through Fossil plus WotC Black Star Promos 1 through 15), where I tested how removing Energy Removal and Super Energy Removal affected the game, made me realize it was a handy card in such a format, as you used it to minimize the impact of discarding for Professor Oak (which was still badly needed as the main source of draw in any deck).  I had hoped that would transfer over to a Modified release. 

My hopes were for naught.  There were a few factors I overlooked.  To some degree, my usual refrain of “deck space” applies, but I actually did consider the broad application of that principle; what I underestimated was how likely one is to draw yet another important card when lists are so tight.  A second major factor was N; your opponent can slam you with it and you do not want to draw into Maintenance when your hand is too small to use it (and you really need a Supporter).  It also makes long term “hand planning” near useless, which means trying to improve your hand quality with Maintenance is similarly pointless.  N is also either the best or second best draw card we have right now, so it is hard to build a deck where you’re not “undoing” any improvements to your hand as you shuffle and draw whatever it was you cultivated by your own play.  The big disconnect was that even though I was one of the players expecting great things out of Seismitoad-EX, I forgot that it was going to make extraneous Items a terrible play; if it is too dangerous to run multiple copies of Bicycle, Random Receiver and Roller Skates, it is too dangerous to worry about Maintenance. 

So even though I had hoped for this card to return, the reality is that it doesn’t add much right now.  The good news is that, it isn’t entirely useless, just regularly the suboptimal pick for your deck.  It might even have some niche usage, at least until we get Lysandre’s Last Resort (a Supporter which has both players shuffle their own discard pile into their own respective deck) which seems likely to serve as the answer for decks that really can’t afford reckless discards right now.  For the most part, don’t bother testing unless you constantly finding yourself needing to groom your hand, outside of Limited where any draw power is appealing, and this is most definitely worth running. 

Ratings 

Standard: 1.9/5 

Expanded: 1.9/5 

Limited: 5/5 

Summary: Maintenance regrettably didn’t receive any “tweaks” as I would have hoped to see, like making the amount shuffled in as many cards as you wanted (including zero) and the draw afterwards optional and while I thought even “as is” it could do some good things, the results of testing is that if any of my hopes might have been valid, Seismitoad-EX and its Item blocking Quaking Punch have made sure you don’t want any Items in your deck that are not vital.  If you do have a deck that just can’t afford the reckless discards but needs Professor Juniper or Professor Sycamore maxed out, then perhaps this is worth running.


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