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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Top 10 Roaring Skies Cards: #4 - Trainers Mail

Date Reviewed:
May 12, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.67
Expanded: 3.40
Limited: 3.83

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

Everyone loves Trainer cards. For a while now, they've been the source of great advantage, whether through draw power, Energy acceleration, or just getting what you need in general. And now we're taking a look at a Trainer card that GETS you MORE Trainer cards! Mail call has arrived, so let's open up our Trainers' Mail! 

...wait, no, I didn't-put the letter opener down, I didn't mean it! 

Trainers' Mail is, as most Trainer cards go, very simplistic. It lets you take a peek at the top 4 cards of your deck and snatch a Trainer out from them - easy to do! And what's more, it's even to do. Most competitive decks are usually filled about halfway with Trainer cards, so your chances of getting one such card are always strong with this in hand! And what's scarier is that it makes stuff like the Colorless M Rayquaza-EX potentially go FASTER - just imagine drawing into a Spirit Link card with Trainers' Mail! 

The other nice thing about Trainers' Mail is that it puts the cards back into the deck, so even if you retrieve nothing with it the first time, you don't lost much more than the card itself! And that's easily made up for with Sycaper! Basically, it's a card that makes decks work faster by getting them just what they need - and the best part is, it doesn't matter what kind of Trainer card it is! Be it an Item, Supporter, or Stadium, Trainers' Mail can retrieve it! 

There is one catch to this though, and that's just the general weakness all Items have suffered for the past few months: the infamous Seismitoad-EX. Sure, it doesn't seem like that big of a deal - one guy, right? - but his very presence means it's harder to use cards like Trainers' Mail. Still, the acceleration is too valuable to not run about 2-3 of these in a deck, just to make things roll! 

Rating 

Standard: 4/5 (a very good card to grab whatever you need!) 

Expanded: 4.5/5 (retrieving Trainers has never been more valuable!) 

Limited: 5/5 (thinning your deck is always worth it, even if it's just by a single card) 

Arora Notealus: You don't really get mail in the games, oddly enough. Unless you're counting the Streetpass newsroom from the new games, which I'm pretty sure that's what this is based off of. Can you believe they made a card based off of a function? It's like they'll make a card out of anything! Next thing you know, they'll make a card out of the PokeNav! 

...wait. 

Next Time: The great flourish of elegance and strength! A heroic knight's struggle to be the best!


Otaku

Just missing out on the top three is our fourth place pick Trainers’ Mail (XY: Roaring Skies 92/108).  This Item allows you to look at the top four cards of your deck and gives you the option to reveal a Trainer you find there to your opponent and add it to your hand excluding another copy of Trainers’ Mail (shuffle the cards you don’t select back into your deck).  That makes it a tiny version of Skyla; in exchange for only hitting the top four cards of your deck, you don’t give up your Supporter usage for the turn. 

This card is phenomenally potent and can function in any realistic deck (...if you want to, you can build a deck where it would be bad).  Trainers’ Mail excels in particular builds but at the same time it isn’t without its own drawbacks.  The first is baked into the card’s text: you can’t use it to snag another copy of itself.  The second is that it can be more situational than it appears.  Like I said it is a mini-Skyla and I mean a very mini as instead of searching a deck that has upwards of 57 cards in it is just those top four; sure successful, competitive decks are likely to be mostly Trainers (half to three fourths) but it can indeed whiff, either finding no targets at all or simply no worthwhile targets. 

The fact that you can indeed choose nothing is actually a strength, mitigating some of my concerns such as being forced to snag something you can’t make use of in a timely manner, leading it to either get tossed by a Professor Juniper or Professor Sycamore, shuffled back into the deck by N (either your own or your opponent’s) or getting in the way of Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108, 106/108) and its Set Up Ability.  Having to reveal what you take - while mechanically necessary - also means anything you can’t use right away is telegraphed to your opponent.  This can complicate what ends up being the optimal play even when you can use something right away: hold onto it or use it now before your opponent can adapt even if the return is likely to be less?  It is important to remember that a lot of the Trainers in your deck are likely to be Supporters, a once-per-turn card.  Stadiums are far less of your deck but also once-per-turn.  Throw these onto whatever Items may not be useful situationally and you start to see some of the risk to this card… though these are nearly nitpicks. 

The biggest problem is obvious as it was a problem for yesterday’s card as well: Item lock is huge thanks mostly to Seismitoad-EX.  This might not be so bad if we had a format that could take or leave Items, but we don’t; the short version is the current metagame can attack every part of your deck and in particular punish Ability, Pokémon-EX, Item, Supporter, Stadium and Special Energy use in some capacity.  On top of that there are decks that are able to quickly mount an incredible, raw offense or that can shed most damage that doesn’t result in a OHKO (and Seismitoad-EX decks often incorporate at least one of these additional elements, often two or three) and you’re setting yourself up for a fall if you adjust too much or not enough to Seismitoad-EX.  Bringing us back to the main topic, I worry that an Item that may end up getting me another Item (when I can get around the lock) may help me across many match-ups but make the Item lock matchup worse… and it seems like that matchup is quite common. 

In Standard, this looks to become a card you need a good reason to not run.  While that is an accomplishment, it actually isn’t that rare of a classification: there are a lot of great cards that one would include if on there was the room.  Lack of space or including it in the available space hurting the Item lock matchup more than it helps is a legitimate reason to skip Trainers’ Mail but by that same token, improving reliability in all matchups except Item lock is amazing.  Expanded both adds more cards in to run instead of Trainers’ Mail while adding in cards you’ll be trying to snag with it.  In Limited play, only skip this if you’ve got no other Trainers to find; even short range, one kind of card search is amazing here. 

Ratings 

Standard: 3.8/5 

Expanded: 3.8/5 

Limited: 5/5 

Summary: Trainers’ Mail is yet another way to try and get what you really want from your deck, into your hand.  Besides the catches specific to the card, like other such cards the space spent on such things detracts from running more of what it is you’d want to search out.  Running an Item to try and get another Trainer would be awesome if Item lock wasn’t abundant.  Still it scores well and it isn’t a deck specific score. 

I had Trainers’ Mail as my 10th place pick, and it almost didn’t make it.  Hopefully as the score indicates, I’ve had a change of heart and am comfortable with it taking fourth place.  Normally cards with high generic potential trump those with more restrictive uses, but even realizing this is a better card than I first gave it credit for being, there are a lot of specific use cards that make or break other decks.  Get a playset as soon as you can within reason: it is in the new Storm Rider theme deck that released with this set, so it should be okay to turn down bad deals, maybe even hold out for a good one.


Emma Starr

Today’s card is Trainers’ Mail, which is based off of…well…let’s see…um…you see, in Nuvema Town in Unova, there was a mail box near your house! …alright, that’s the closest I could find, as it was the most recent game in which a mail box even appeared, as you’re apparently too cool to have mailboxes in Kalos or Hoenn. I find this a bit odd in the TCG though, as many Item cards are usually something you could carry around, but carrying around a mailbox? Well, I guess in a game where everybody’s carrying around a Hypnotoxic Laser on their waists…

Anyway, we have yet another Item card, which obviously has the same Seismitoad EX weaknesses as usual, but that’s par for the course. What we do have is a nice Trainer Card searcher, which means you can potentially get any Item, Supporter, or Stadium card in your deck! However, it’s limited to the top 4 cards of your deck. If you play an Energy-heavy deck, this may not be the best card for you, but lately, I’ve seen that decks have been getting fewer and fewer energies in it. If you’re in the 12-18 range, you can probably make very good use of this card. Is it worth it, though?  It is, really, when you realize that we lost Skyla due to rotation. Remember her? The waifu of everyone who does what this mailbox does, but let you search your whole deck, instead of the first four cards of your deck for one, basically letting you find any Trainer Card you needed? She was a beauty in many ways, but unfortunately, in Standard at least, we have moved on from Unova, for the most part. Although we did feel the need to bring our mailbox along, though.

Standard: 3/5 (really, one of our best search options we have, since we ironically lost Computer Search in the same set we lost Skyla in.)

Expanded: 1.5/5 (we still can use the booty-licious Skyla over there, so just use her. I guess you can still use this here if you REALLY need even more Trainer cards, but…)

Limited: 5/5 (Seaching power = good for any deck. Why not run it?)


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