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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Top 10 Cards Lost To Rotation

#2 - Computer Search - Boundaries Crossed

Date Reviewed:
August 7, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 4.85
Expanded: 4.85
Limited: 5.00

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being horrible.  3 ... average.  5 is awesome.

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

Well of course this card - of COURSE we picked Computer Search! I mean, it's so obvious, right? Right? 

In all seriousness, I'm almost positive this comes as a surprise to few of you to say the least. Just looking across the list, we've had a solid Top 10 running - and there were so many more cards that went unmentioned! Think about it - we're losing Exeggutor's Supporter-stopping Blockade, Flareon's Vengeance, Dusknoir's Sinister Hand! We've got entire archetypes disappearing into Expanded forever and no way of knowing if and when they'll return! 

But Computer Search? Man, that's a whole different league right there. 

It's only other print was back in the days of ye olde Base Set, and back then it was merely an Item card. With its reprint, it didn't just come back free-range - it got gilded the title of ACE SPEC, meant to denote the most powerful cards in the game (at the time), cards so powerful that a player could only ever put one of their kind into a deck! Some were underwhelming, like Crystal Wall that only gave Black Kyurem-EX 300 HP; others were decently powerful, like Life Dew stripping a Prize away from your opponent's keep, and then there were a small handful that were amazing, such as G Booster dealing 200 damage per strike or Dowsing Machine letting you bring back a Trainer card. 

And at the top of that pyramid, there's Computer Search. 

So why is Computer Search so good? Well there's a simple reason for that; despite its limitation to being a one-off in any deck it's played in, and the additional cost of two cards from your hand, its effect lets you snag any card from your deck and put it in your hand. 

That's it. Grab a card and go. 

Seeing as there are cards like Skyla and Jirachi-EX on our list, it should come as no surprise then that a flexible searcher tops the list. Jirachi-EX was limited to only grabbing Supporters while Skyla got broader and could grab any Trainer card. Computer Search simply does the job of Skyla or Ultra Ball or even just a...well, I dunno what grabbed Special Energies if anything, but it can do that too! Basically, it's WORTH the extra two cards, especially nowadays where such a cost could be circumvented by recycling the cards with stuff like Bronzong for Energies or like VS Seeker for Supporters! 

A card with such power was worth it even at only one, but at least with Expanded we still have access to a staple for all decks. Meanwhile in Standard, we wave farewell not only to this godsend of cards, but to all the others on this list and all the other unmentioned cards we lose. 

Rating 

Standard: 5/5 (the only reason you wouldn't run this card is the cost...and that is no excuse not to run this card) 

Expanded: 5/5 (AB. SO. LUTE. LY.) 

Limited: 5/5 (YOU WILL RUN THIS CARD) 

Arora Notealus: Funny thing about Computer Search is that it's meant to emulate the PC function in the games. In other words, the reason it can grab any card is because you can grab just about anything from your PC!...though I'd be a little skeptical on how you withdraw people and entire fields of play out of your lowly computer. No wonder they limited it to one - too much power to get those things! 

Weekend Thought: Do you agree with our list? Any particular cards you're going to miss upon rotation? What do you think the game will be like without some of these cards? I mean, obviously not in Expanded, that's gonna remain the same in some sense, but for Standard the game has changed again! A new and exciting turn of events is upon us - and a new set awaits us in the next week!


Otaku

The card the collective lists indicated we’ll be most likely to miss post rotation is… Computer Search (Base Set 71/102; Base Set 2 101/130; BW: Boundaries Crossed 137/149)!  An Item that allows you to search your deck for any one card for the simple price of itself and two additional cards discarded from hand: this may be one of the best deals in the game ever even factoring in one additional cost: it is an Ace Spec.  As you can only have a single Ace Spec card in your deck, each and every other Ace Spec is in competition with the others… and they are all rotating out of Standard play.  We’ll come back to that in a bit, first some more about Computer Search; it is the oldest card on this list and tied as one of the oldest cards in the game.  Though the review isn’t as old as the card itself, you can find the earliest review we have of it here and… there isn’t a lot of info there as CotDs used to be quite short.  The next time we looked at it, it was our top pick from BW: Boundaries Crossed and after that, it was the third place finisher of 2012. 

When first released in the Base Set (and re-released in Base Set 2) Computer Search was simply a Trainer because either a card was a Trainer or it wasn’t: the various subclassifications hadn’t come into being yet and all Trainers functioned the Items do now (and still do if they weren’t reprinted or didn’t receive an errata stating otherwise).  Back then decks could run up to four copies of Computer Search and many did, though I often found three to be sufficient.  Now, even in Unlimited play (finally found the ruling that I missed a year ago) you can only run one copy and as your Ace Spec.  That probably brings us to the best use for the Ace Spec mechanic: fixing Unlimited.  Wait, do I care that much for Unlimited?  Perhaps, but mostly I mean the Ace Spec mechanic is a flawed concept.  A card that is a single requires more luck to access at the correct time, though usually this also makes it “weaker” than it otherwise would be: the basic premise seems to be that being restricted not only to a single but to a single competing with all other Ace Specs for deck space will balance out being so strong.  Except it never really did. 

For starters, we received Ace Spec cards in the same set we received Skyla; Skyla allows you to burn your Supporter usage for the turn to access any one Trainer from your deck.  With Computer Search this meant Skyla plus two cards you could spare for discard fodder could access any card in your deck, and you could have as many as five chances to pull it off (four Skyla and Computer Search).  You couldn’t re-use the effect without other cards (one of the reasons Lysandre’s Trump Card was banned) but Skyla was already a good play even without Ace Spec cards.  So for running a Supporter many decks would normally run anyway, one of the drawbacks meant to balance out Ace Specs was all but eliminated.  Even without Skyla, the Pokémon TCG is known for massive amounts of draw power.  Before we even got our first Ace Spec, Sableye (BW: Dark Explorers 62/108) was successful in a deck all about spamming and then recycling Items to use over and over again. 

The real kicker is that even if none of these combos were available and it was down to simple luck of the draw… why should that be so powerful?  We have sufficient variance enough to keep the game exciting from players building their own decks (as opposed to being like chess where both sides have the same pieces) and from the default luck-of-the-draw that comes with having a sufficiently randomized deck to pull cards from to add to your hand… so the best case scenario seems to be that Ace Specs would increase the amount of luck in the game and the worst case is they do that while the players that do have skill leverage them for far more advantage than is healthy to game balance.  So… I’m not too sad that this mechanic appears to be done.  I am sad that Computer Search didn’t get the axe last rotation.  Whether I like it or not (indeed, whether I’m even close to correct or not), they exist and a lot of them saw very little use.  A few just don’t seem like good cards but most?  Well Computer Search is so awesome it is amazing that so many of them actually have seen legitimate use in competitive play, but without Computer Search things open up a little more; not too much though because Dowsing Machine just becomes the next amazing-in-almost-everything card. 

If you don’t have your own copy of Computer Search yet, you’ll still need to try and get one for Expanded play post-rotation.  You probably already have one if you’ve been “serious” about your Standard play because it is basically the “default” Ace Spec, only dethroned when something specific to the deck gives another Ace Spec the needed leverage (though Dowsing Machine is a close second).  If you pull this in Limited, you run it. 

Ratings 

Standard: 4.7/5 

Expanded: 4.7/5 

Limited: 5/5 

Summary: Re-reading my own previous reviews of the card, I was partially right in saying future Ace Spec cards would lessen the importance and usage of Computer Search, but not by much.  It still remains the overall best Ace Spec because even though it only improves consistency (and not by much in a build that lacks appropriate combos), that is something from which every deck may benefit.  I thought it would have fallen a bit further but it largely remains strong. 

As a reminder, I based my own list the lists for the Top 8 decks in each bracket of the U.S. Nationals.  I looked at how many decks used a card and then how many copies of said card were run… as compared to a hypothetical “perfect” card that was maxed out in all decks.  I did make sure to adjust the formula for Ace Specs, since they were of course a maximum of one per deck anyway.  Even with the multiple decks at U.S. Nationals choosing a different Ace Spec, Computer Search came close to snagging first place on my own list as well.  A hypothetical perfect card (every deck running as many copies as are allowed) could have earned 67.5 points: N managed 50.125 while Computer Search got 42.625. 


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