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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Professor Oak's New Theory

HeartGold & SoulSilver

Date Reviewed:
Aug. 2, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Legacy: 4.75

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

Back to the main COTD Page


Otaku

Professor Oak’s New Theory (HeartGold/SoulSilver 101/123, Call of Legends 83/95) is our second subject this week because I found it to be the second most influential of the generic cards in the Legacy Format.  If you skipped yesterday’s review and are wondering what the Legacy Format is you can read an article covering it in some detail here.  Of course some folks either can’t or won’t be able to read another article at this time, so the short version is that it is a format currently unique to the official Pokémon Trading Card Game Online (PTCGO), but one I was surprised to find I really enjoyed and which I would like to see allowed for at least side events in Pokémon organized play.  Professor Oak’s New Theory has a simple enough effect for a Supporter, shuffling your hand into your deck, then drawing six cards.  This is the same effect as Shauna (and the much older Professor Oak’s Research), except drawing one more card.  This didn’t overly impress Baby Mario when he reviewed the card six years ago but by his Shauna review he was missing it… and that path actually explains why Professor Oak’s New Theory is so important to the Legacy Format. 

For years we were holding out for a third core draw Supporter.  We had Professor Juniper (later Professor Sycamore) and we had N (which we later regained).  Professor Juniper/Professor Sycamore set the pace of the game because even if discarding your hand could be painful, the raw power of a fresh hand of seven cards just meant we learned how to lessen that pain.  Already potent strategies that relied more on Basic Pokémon, low Energy counts, and abundant Items so that playing down your hand was easy both feed and feed off of Professor Juniper being the standard of draw power.  N wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t just draw but potential disruption, and it wasn’t stable in either respect.  Early game it was better at the draw and late game it was better at the disruption, but I know I got in the bad habit of counting on my opponent’s use of N to buffer riskier plays or at least improve my overall odds of a good set up (until I started taking Prizes, anyway).  Cards like Ultra Ball were useful because… well… it is a good card in the first place, but you could toss stuff that would go to waste anyway with Professor Juniper or that you were worried would do more harm than good by remaining in your deck.  N makes deck thinning very valuable due to the risk your opponent can shrink your hand down to just a few, random cards. 

In Standard and Expanded, we eventually received Battle Compressor, VS Seeker, and (a little bit later) Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108, 106/108).  We no longer needed a trifecta of potent draw Supporters, which was good because we never quite got it (Colress came close, but was simply unreliable in a different way than N).  With Junk Arm joining Ultra Ball and N still threatening to trash your hand, one might think Professor Oak’s New Theory wouldn’t add much, it anything to your typical deck.  Going against what seems logical (at least at first), it turned out that a stable form of shuffle-and-draw power was exactly what we had been waiting on (and never received) in back in the day, and what we receive in the Legacy Format.  With Junk Arm one might think that it would be less of a problem tossing stuff for Professor Juniper, but it isn’t.  With Junk Arm and Ultra Ball run in most decks as multiples, you only have enough discard fodder if you also run Exeggcute (BW: Plasma Freeze 4/116; BW: Plasma Blast 102/101) or absolutely need a massive amount of basic Energy or Pokémon in your discard pile… and notice how I just talked about running stuff.  Even with those, you dedicated deck space to them and often have other risks associated with them, like opening with a 30 HP Basic in a format where Hypnotoxic Laser plus Virbank City Gym is still a possible (if not popular) early game play; getting donked in a format without first turn attacks is embarrassing. 

Even with Junk Arm some Items are so valuable that you can’t afford to discard them too casually, and of course Junk Arm itself is one of those major exceptions.  If you’re running Random Receiver exclusively so that Junk Arm can fetch it from the discard pile, then sure toss it as soon as possible or use it if you have a shuffle and draw Supporter already in hand - doesn’t matter if you immediately toss the Supporter you just searched out back in.  Each Pokémon Catcher, Hypnotoxic Laser, etc. is at least potentially precious as you can’t be sure how many you’ll need in total; for sure once you have one in the discard pile (for your Junk Arm needs) you don’t need any others being wasted.  Some of the TecH Junk Arm revitalizes is also hard to predict; nothing like tossing Tool Scrapper or Lost Remover when (for whatever reason) now your opponent starts playing key Pokémon Tools or Special Energy cards (respectively).  Yes N is an option for this as well, but you could only run four of it and sometimes it would backfire.  Professor Oak’s New Theory increases your deck’s chance of stable, reliable opens and maintaining a good hand the rest of the game. 

Typical deck builds in the Legacy Format will have three or four Professor Oak’s New Theory, which is all you’ll be running of N or Professor Juniper.  Colress still sees some play as well, so you might be running 10 draw Supporters but only three of each of the big names.  Other Supporters are still useful for deck setup and maintenance as well, so being used so heavily with so much competition further underscores that Professor Oak’s New Theory is just that important.  Frankly it makes me wish Professor Oak’s New Theory (or new card, same effect) was still Standard/Expanded legal; while we have many added options, it would still be great to have another (and I suspect a single would become a staple).  In Limited play this is a must run should you pull it.  Of course, that means you’re participating in a Limited event using HeartGold/SoulSilver or Call of Legends booster packs.  Or dedicated enough to Limited Play to set up something with opened product to simulate it. 

Ratings 

Standard: N/A 

Expanded: N/A 

Limited: 5/5 

Legacy: 4/5 

Summary: Jirachi-EX, Junk Arm, Random Receiver and/or compatible Pokémon search, on top of a trifecta of great draw Supporters give the Legacy Format a flow that is just so… stable overall.  Some of these could be lost and it wouldn’t change much, but I don’t think Professor Oak’s New Theory is one of them.  It isn’t the most important part either, but there is a reason why even with Professor Juniper and N I am still scoring thi a four out of five (and worrying I lowballed it).  While many decks could get by on the other two major draw Supporters alone, they would be diminished and then there are many that just couldn’t.  They can’t handle the unpredictability or discarding the hand so often.


aroramage

No surprises, but otaku was just telling me that I did make a couple little mistakes in my review on Junk Arm. Course it's probably easier to address them in hindsight, and if you really want an in-depth look at Legacy, check out the article he wrote up on it. 

Anyway, onto Professor Oak's New Theory! It's an older card for a new trick on an old idea. See, the old Professor Oak was a lot like Sycamore and Juniper are nowadays - you discard your whole hand and draw 7 cards. Under his New Theory though, you end up shuffling the rest of your hand into your deck and then draw 6 cards. 

Now in a format that includes all the sets up to the XY series (that is, every set from the HGSS era going to Legendary Treasures but stopping at the XY Base Set and not including those cards), this does lead to a slight conflict of interest - Professor Juniper is in this format too. So which one's better for you? Well if we were looking at them from any regular casual scenario, Juniper is probably the better of the two. Not only does it draw 1 additional card more than Professor Oak's New Theory, but it also makes sure you won't actually see those cards again by discarding them instead of shuffling them back into the deck, meaning you're likely to see those cards back again. 

That being said, since technically they're not the same card effect, Professor Oak can run his New Theory with Professor Juniper, meaning there's a bit more of a give-and-take between the two. You're less likely to deck out if you play with Professor Oak, which is good if you want to prevent an auto-loss or need to preserve your deck against a Durant Mill, and since he only counts as a Supporter, he won't get stopped by cards that hit Trainers like Professor Juniper. Not that I can think of too many off the top of my head from the Black&White era, but there's no doubt there's something in HGSS that it avoids. 

Course you could just use him like you would with Sycaper and draw 6 fresh new cards. No big deal there. 

Rating 

Legacy: 4.5/5 (still a very solid card only beaten out by Juniper, though your deck may thrive on one better than the other) 

Limited: 5/5 (but let's face it, having both around is really nice) 

Arora Notealus: I wonder what Professor Oak decided on that changed his theory in the first place...maybe it's got something to do with that Imposter Oak that was skulking around... 

Next Time: Get out your paintbrushes, we're gonna paint the town!


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