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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Top 10 Primal Clash Cards

#8 - Acro Bike

- Primal Clash

Date Reviewed:
Feb. 11, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.17
Expanded: 3.20
Limited: 4.87

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

Back to the main COTD Page

Baby Mario
2010 UK National
Seniors
Champion

#8 Acro Bike 

In certain other TCGs, a card like Acro Bike would become an immediate staple. Essentially, it replaces itself with a choice of one of the top two cards of your deck, allowing you to dig a little for what you need and run the deck ‘thinner’ than would otherwise be the case. In games where particular combinations of cards can yield an instant win, this is brilliant. 

But this is the Pokémon TCG, and in Pokémon we already have tons of draw and search cards, thank you very much. Neither does our TCG use elaborate one-turn win combos (KOing a lone starter isn’t really the same thing). Running thin is not always possible or even desirable in this game either. The 60 card limit makes it hard enough to include everything you need in the first place: rarely will you find space for a card like Acro Bike. 

We have seen an almost identical card in the TCG before, and Diamond and Pearl era players will doubtless be reminded of the very precisely-named Pokedex Handy910is. That was likely a slightly better card than Acro Bike as it allowed you to put the card you didn’t choose at the bottom of the deck, rather than discarding it. It didn’t see much play back then, except in a few speed-focused things like Scizor/Cherrim (probably not very quick at all by today’s standards) and some builds of Sabledonk. If Acro Bike is going to find a place in the format, then it will likely be performing a similar role in a similarly fast deck: something that doesn’t mind burning resources to get set up for big hits from the first attacking turn onwards, and which runs very light on Pokémon. 

For the majority of decks, though, more Supporters, or even the regular Bicycle, are going to be played in preference to Acro Bike. 

Rating 

Modified: 3 (adds speed, but most decks will find they get along better using other sources of draw)

Expanded: 3 (ummm . . . I could see some Turbo Dark decks liking it)

Limited: 5 (run it. No question)


aroramage

Our #8 slot goes to Acro Bike, a rare example of Item-based draw. We've seen cards before that draw cards without being Supporters - more recently cards like Fiery Torch (FLF), Roller Skates (XY) and Bicycle (PLS) - and now we get to add this card to the list! So what makes Acro Bike special? 

First off, Acro Bike grabs you two cards!...that...doesn't sound that useful, actually. With Fiery Torch, you grab two, but you have to discard a Fire Energy to use it, but with Bicycle you can draw up to four cards! And if we include Supporters, well we already know Sycaper tops the list by netting seven cards at the cost of the rest of your hand. So two's not really impressive, and on top of that you only keep one card and send the other to the discard pile, so why would you-WAIT!! 

Remember Battle Compressor? The card that could send 3 cards to the discard pile? Remember how useful that was? Well Acro Bike just does something similar but also nets you a card! So you draw 2 cards, put the one you want in your hand, and send the other to the discard for later. This could be a Supporter to use with VS Seeker, a Pokemon to retrieve with Archie/Maxie from yesterday, and even if it's not something useful, you're still thinning two cards out of your deck! 

Acro Bike's big weakness right now is being an Item, making it vulnerable to the lock provided by Seismitoad-EX, but any deck that can make it work - and I wouldn't be surprised if you see a couple if Garbotoad - will be happy to have a merciful savior in the form of this trick bike! 

Rating 

Standard: 3.5/5 (it nets you a card, sends a card to the discard, and is pretty useful...well, the Item quality being the surprising drawback) 

Expanded: 3.5/5 (more draw power to more decks!) 

Limited: 4.5/5 (the deck-thinning aspect is its primary usage here, and while it loses a bunch of combos, it also doesn't have to face Seismitoad-EX!) 

Arora Notealus: Between the Mach Bike and the Acro Bike, I always did like Acro. Sure, you could go fast on the Mach Bike, but you could do wheelies and bunny-hop around town with the Acro Bike! Apparently you can combine the two in the new one... 

Next Time: MEKAGOJIRA!!!...okay, not really, but would you be surprised?


Otaku

Welcome to our Top 10 list for XY: Primal Clash!  I’m not sure how to specifically describe this Top 10 list; as usual cards can’t be a reprint but other than reviewer has a lot of leeway over what criteria to consider.  A popular, powerful card worth running in every deck should be the pinnacle of picks… but thankfully few cards like that are released and thus it becomes our job to weigh the different aspects of the card, even though it is often like comparing apples to oranges.  I took into account how strong a card was in general, how strong it was in a particular deck  (or decks) and how popular I expected it to be regardless.  That last bit is important because sometimes a card sees disproportionate play relative to how “good” it actually is simply because its easier to obtain than better cards (re: the budget deck) or because people don’t care how good it is, they just love that Pokémon and insist on running it.  Then I ran out of time so I kind of had to eyeball things, so unsurprisingly my picks didn’t match-up very well to those of my fellow reviewers. 

Acro Bike (XY: Primal Clash 122/160) is an Item card that lets you take a look at the top two cards of your deck and then add one to your hand while discarding the other.  This means its easy to play and give you a shot at a better card.  It also means you might be able to discard a useless card.  Unfortunately therein lies the rub; some decks have amazing combos with respect to the discard, but how often will they work out with a mere two card “range”?  How many cards that you want to discard will most decks run?  Even in something like Night March, you’ve only got 12 Pokémon with Night March and only four of those are “absolutely discard” cards.  Decks that attach Energy from the discard usually about 8-12 Energy: even if its all of a sort that is safe to discard, at most we are talking 20% of your deck.  I don’t know the exact odds, but it the denser your deck is with good cards (which is usually the hallmark of skilled deck design) the more likely you’ll get to add a great card to your hand but be forced to toss something nearly as good… and that begs the question of what you might have run instead of Acro Bike. 

When I first saw Bicycle, I was so worried it would wreck the game.  By the time we reviewed it (click here if you want to give it a read) I had calmed down and I think I actually gave it a fairly accurate review.  There were a few decks where it was amazing and if space permitted it was nice to have as a Skyla target (with Skyla being a more or less general deck choice herself).  That… actually isn’t too far from today.  Most decks its nice but space requirements and the need to get your hand down in cards make it just as likely to be run as left out.  In those decks that are good at playing out their hand, like Night March, it can be scary watching them pull off multiple Bicycle in a single turn, when one good (3-4 cards drawn) usage is significant enough on top of another Supporter being used that turn.  So what is the relevance of Acro Bike?  Risk versus reward and likely combos, I think. 

Acro Bike is a little underwhelming for general deck building in Pokémon; you’re probably better off using a slot for something with a useful effect than for a card that only might draw/discard what you want to draw/discard that turn.  On the bright side it isn’t going to be dead-in-hand like whatever else you might have been planning to run; its a small victory but a victory nonetheless.  Deck thinning is a useful skill but the mechanic isn’t as important in Pokémon as in other games, between crazy draw and (once again) crazy card recycling hijinks.  When you get those incredibly aggressive decks, especially ones that are running a decent chunk of cards you’ll want to discard (and a lot of cards can become “dead” in the deck at a certain point in the game).  It might work better with specific combos, such as Swampert (XY: Primal Clash 36/160), which we looked at Monday; a Diving Search before use turns Acro Bike into something of a discount Computer Search.  Item lock is also an issue; all Items are affected, but an Item with the simple purpose of getting another card seems a bit… superfluous when you need to keep your Item count from getting too big.  For a smaller scale version of that trick, consider Lunatone (BW: Plasma Storm 73/135); you’ll only get a peek at the top two cards of your deck, but that lets you know exactly what choice Acro Bike will force you to make if you play it.

Ratings 

Standard: 3.10/5 - Not bad but not overly good and so a bit of a surprise that it made the Top 10.  This is a composite score; honestly I find it a little underwhelming but functional in most decks, but it really shines in a few extremely aggressive ones. 

Expanded: 3.15/5 - On one hand, there are a few additional combo options here; a Pokédex could potentially give you two “perfect” Acro Bikes and an Ether.  Then again you’ll have more competition for deck space and we already had a few Pokémon like Swampert that didn’t require as precise of timing to pull off a similar trick, just spread out over a few turns. 

Limited: 5/5 - It is draw, you run it. 

Summary: Acro Bike is better than the previous two review subjects, but not by much, and this is mostly because I favor cards with a good, general application while the last two candidates were at least somewhat deck specific.  Trading a card from hand for a fresh draw isn’t worthless, but it isn’t much in a format where that same slot could go to (another?) Hypnotoxic Laser, Muscle Band, VS Seeker, etc.  The discard might be capitalized in a few decks but unless you’ve got something to reveal the next two cards of your deck it can be quite the gamble. 

Acro Bike did not make my Top 10 (or Top 15); once again I’m a little concerned by that but only a little. 


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