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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Hand Scope

- Phantom Forces

Date Reviewed:
Jan. 28, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 1.43
Expanded: 1.40
Limited: 3.00

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

...seriously. What am I holding? This is a child's idea of how to pretend to be a submarine. It really is! It's Hand Scope!

 

Lemme start out by saying, "Don't run this card." In fact, let me reiterate: DO NOT RUN THIS CARD. I don't care HOW useful it is to see your opponent's strategy in their hand or HOW great it is to see what you're about to N away or what's gonna be sent to the discard pile with their copy of Sycaper or HOW much you think you're gonna get out of this card. Seeing your opponent's hand is NOT that useful.

 

Lemme list off a series of actions you can take during your turn that are more useful:

1) Evolving a Pokemon

2) Attaching Energy to Pokemon

3) Activating Abilities

4) Drawing Cards

5) Healing damage

6) Healing Status Conditions

7) Saving your Active Pokemon by switching it so it doesn't die from Poison between turns

8) Saving your Active Pokemon by switching PERIOD

9) Poisoning your opponent's Pokemon or else inflicting some kind of status on them

10) Thinning your deck

11) Getting the card you need added to your hand

12) ATTACKING YOUR OPPONENT'S POKEMON

 

You get the idea? Don't run Hand Scope.

 

Rating

 

Standard: 1/5 (Do NOT run Hand Scope)

 

Expanded: 1/5 (DO NOT RUN HAND SCOPE)

 

Limited: 1/5 (what, you think this gets more points cause it's Limited? NO!! DO NOT RUN HAND SCOPE!! YOU KNOW WHAT CARDS ARE IN THE SET!!)

 

Arora Notealus: Perhaps in another era or another time, Hand Scope would be useful. Like, if there's a Trainer that requires you to know the contents of your opponent's hand or an attack that needs you to know, perhaps Hand Scope would be useful. As of this format, no. Just...no.

 

Next Time: I'mma bat, seeeee? I fly around, seeeee?


Otaku

Let us try to break up some of the monotony of reviewing Pokémon after Pokémon (an expected dilemma since it is the Pokémon Trading Card Game) and check out a Trainer: Hand Scope (XY: Phantom Forces 96/119).  Hand Scope is specifically an Item with a very simple but potentially strategic effect; your opponent reveals their hand to you.  It is a one time viewing (as opposed to having to play that way for a set period of time) and a decent pun (there are indeed viewing instruments called “hand scopes”) but is it a good play? 

At the moment, the answer is easily “no”.  Even the simple aspect of gathering information about your opponent’s hand suffers because this is the Pokémon TCG: hands are much more dynamic than in some other games.  Not only will your hand size go up and down, the entire contents can be shuffled away and replaced.  As such the information you gain may be quite fleeting.  There is also the frequent threat of Item lock as Seismitoad-EX fits in more than few decks even when it isn’t the main focus.  All Items are of course affected by the threat of being blocked; this common threat just means that Items that aren’t as easy to use or potent suffer more because they had less going for them in the first place. 

So why look at this card at all?  Besides simply wanting something more interesting to review than say “filler” Evolving Pokémon, this effect isn’t entirely without merit, even with how the Pokémon TCG is typically played.  Even with all that is going against it, knowing what your opponent has in hand can help you predict and even manipulate their future plays.  It can let you know if using N is a wise choice; maybe they have an awesome hand you need to sabotage or an awful hand you should let them keep, even if your own isn’t the greatest.  If you’ve got N plus an alternate Supporter option to play, especially if the alternate has its own downside, this becomes even more relevant.  At the risk of sounding like I’m ignoring that this is “Pokémon”, I’ve seen enough cards from other that would combo with (or would be at least partially countered) by Hand Scope. 

I do not have any good examples for the Pokémon TCG, but I can give you an idea by looking at a few real cards.  Rocket’s Sneak Attack (Gym Heroes 16/82, 72/82) is quite old but was quite potent back in its day and if nothing at all about it changed I suspect it would be heavily played as a staple today, with great weeping and gnashing of teeth by those on the receiving end.  Its effect forces the opponent to reveal his or her hand, after which you to shuffle away the Trainer card of your choice from said hand.  Though its name and art suggest otherwise, this is an Item card: the Item/Supporter concept didn’t exist at the time and it simply a “normal” Trainer card back then and all such cards are now treated as Items.  Delphox-EX isn’t something I am inclined to run competitively, but being able to use an Item to know ahead of time what kind of damage you’re looking at is handy.  So from cards like these, we can extrapolate what would be useful… and its relevant to the discussion because honestly, it isn’t that fanciful.  How about a Supporter that allowed you to name a card and if it is in your opponent’s hand, all copies of it there plus in the opponent’s deck end up discarded (plus you get to see the opponent’s hand and deck for verification)?  An Ability on a Psychic-Type Pokémon that allowed you to name a card in your opponent’s hand and if it is there, your opponent shows you there hand and then shuffles said card back into his or her deck? 

Ratings 

Standard: 1.85/5 - A low score but also a generic one; there are much better cards would actually be worse additions to your deck.  In a format where hands are more stable, even without hypothetical combo cards it might prove useful just to know what your opponent has and thus is likely to do. 

Expanded: 1.8/5 - There are more “generic use” Items here to compete with, plus the few “kind of” combos like with Delphox-EX are also further diluted. 

Limited: 5/5 - Here your opponent’s hand is stable and you are unlikely to have as many cards vying for space in your deck.  As such, you really should be running it and while it might not “feel” like a card worth a five out of five a lot of the time, but here it can do its job well even lacking “killer combos”. 

Summary: Handscope has a simple effect but not one that is easy to leverage for advantage.  There are a few cards, even one or two widely played cards, where knowing what is in your opponent’s hand before you decide to play them would be a serious advantage, but as you still can’t do much about the situation besides “play the card” or “don’t play the card” you had intended, it becomes a combo without a significant return.  Enjoy it in Limited and don’t forget about it for Standard or Expanded because it does have some potential.


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