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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Top 10 XY: Evolutions Cards

#6 - Brock's Grit
- XY: Evolutions

Date Reviewed:
Nov. 11, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.43
Expanded: 3.00
Limited: 4.25

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

Dang, if only we had a Lt. Surge card to put up today for Veteran's Day...although that could just be an American holiday, so that wouldn't make sense for a lot of folks out there...ah well, details, WE'RE REVIEWING BROCK'S GRIT!! 

So what rock-hard determination and persistence can we expect from the likes of Brock? Well, true to his grit, his Supporter effect shuffles back Pokemon and basic Energy back into your deck from your discard pile - ideally 6 total. The good news with this is that you get to choose your ratios between how many Pokemon and basic Energy you put back - you could even put 6 Pokemon back or 6 basic Energy back if you so desired. Definitely a lot of options, although if you've got less than 6 of one and at least some of the other, I think you need to put as much as you can back. 

That being said, how can we really make use of Brock's Grit? We've been in a format of speed and precise dumping into the discard pile to get the most benefits, but with the rotation of certain cards, things have taken a bit of a slower pace. Battle Compressor's no longer around to just dump what's needed into the discard, and Bronzong leaves us one of many Pokemon short of Energy acceleration. Sure, we've still got Carbink BREAK and the new Mewtwo-EX, but these aren't Abilities - they're attacks, which are by their very nature slower. 

This actually does leave us some room for Brock's Grit to have a real presence in the format. Recycling valuable resources like Hoopa-EX and Shaymin-EX can prevent prematurely decking out and make use of them for later, most notably with M Gardevoir-EX (STS). Her Despair Ray can discard them for her own attack, from which on the next turn Brock's Grit can be played and recycle those discarded Pokemon with ease. On top of that, with so few Energy to go around, putting back a few key amount can keep you from running out in the late game when you'd need it, although you'll want a quick draw option ready to go so that you're not getting dead draws. 

Brock's Grit runs in the face of adversity for sure. As the game shifts into a new direction, Brock stands proudly on his own merits and prepares himself for the future. He won't always be around, but he's gonna do his best to leave an impact on the way things are going. He'll work hard to make things right again, promoting the decks that need it most while taking away from those decks that don't need it as badly. He'll fight where he needs to and where he has to and-DANGIT I SAID NO MORE POLITICAL SUBTLETIES IN MY CARD REVIEWS 

Rating 

Standard: 3.5/5 (he's gonna be pretty big as a tech in the format to come) 

Expanded: 2.5/5 (but he'll be much less played in a format with more options - and faster ones at that) 

Limited: 4.5/5 (truly he is what we need in a slower time period) 

Arora Notealus: Stay strong, Brock. We will endure, and we will fight. 

Weekend Thought: What're your favorite cards out of this week's pick? Think there are some that should be higher? Did you catch a card that ought to have made the list? Are you super nostalgic for these old art designs? I mean seriously, it's been years since I've seen that 3D Diglett of silliness! Among others, of course. 

Next Time: TIME TO BREAK AWAY FROM TRADITION WITH A FIERY NEW ADDITION!!


Otaku

In the United States of America, today is Veterans Day.  As such I am taking this opportunity to say “Thank you!” to those who have served in the United States Armed Forces.  Especially those who risked so much to protect my rights even when we don’t agree on how I ought to use them.  For readers in several other countries, it there are quite a few World War I related remembrances as happening, and in fact Veterans Day evolved from a similar such thing in the USA.  There are also some totally unrelated holidays (the world can be a big place at times), so feel free to check your calendars to see what’s happening. 

With that concluded, I’ll mention that my review for Mewtwo-EX (XY: Evolutions 52/108, 103/108) went up yesterday afternoon, ruining what had been a streak of me being all nice and on time.  I hurt my back not too long ago, then overdid it before I’d fully recovered.  Perhaps by the time it’s fully healed I’ll finally learn to be concise, because for now I need to write in much, much shorter stretches.  Thankfully our sixth place finisher might allow me to do just that because it’s Brock’s Grit (XY: Evolutions 74/108, 107/108).  Even with it borrowing the art from one place and the effect being inspired from another, that’s still a lot less to cover than with many an Evolution line.  To begin with, this is a Trainer card.  As there aren’t any worthwhile anti-Trainer effects unless we delve into the recesses of the Unlimited Format, that’s a good thing.  You need at least one Basic Pokémon in your deck for it to be considered legal, you need a Pokémon (or something which counts as one) in play to avoid losing the game, and if you want to attack you’ll normally need a Pokémon and the correct Energy… but Trainer cards have often been what made it all work.  There aren’t a lot of cards that work for any and all Trainers, but at least I can toss Trainers’ Mail out there as not only an example for both Standard and Expanded play, but one that’s frequently used to good effect. 

Being a Supporter means Brock’s Grit has to compete with all other Supporter cards.  The only restriction on how many Supporters you may run in your deck is that rule about needing at least one Basic Pokémon, but under normal circumstances you may make use of only a single Supporter each turn, leaving the rest dead in hand until the next turn.  Sometimes you’ll have a turn where not using a Supporter is okay, maybe even a good thing but usually whiffing on a Supporter for the turn is a sign of a weak hand as they truly do that much for you in this game.  Few decks can afford to run few Supporters, but too many and they’ll get in each other’s way, even though they are a vital source of draw power, search, disruption, and even some more specialized effects.  Supporter cards were developed so that Pokémon could preserve the powerful Trainer based effects it had when the game first began, but finally have a solid balancing mechanism without saddling them all with various costs.  VS Seeker is the main piece of “Supporter support”, allowing players to be a bit more flexible with their Supporter selection as it reclaims one from the discard pile.  Thus a piece of TecH may be spammed or an essential staple used much more than four times.  In Expanded it is even better as you can use Jirachi-EX to search out a Supporter, or Battle Compressor to toss them into the discard pile… where you can avoid drawing into overly specialized ones (like TecH not needed for the current match) while a VS Seeker nabs one that you do need, faking the search of Jirachi-EX. 

So… what does Brock’s Grit actually do?  You may shuffle any combination of six Pokémon and/or basic Energy cards from your discard pile to your deck.  If you have less than six cards, the usual “Do as much as you can.” rule applies.  This is a fairly generic effect, aesthetically appropriate for Brock more for for his role in the animation.  There he often served as a caregiver, for his companions, for Pokémon in general (as he focused on being a skilled breeder), and when at home for his siblings.  Not sure how much of that worked its way back into the video games, but as the first Gym where you can earn a badge, this might be appropriate for another reason as we make the shift to the TCG.  When learning this game, you need the freedom to experiment and that means not worrying about running out of Energy and/or Pokémon.  Not that that this is only an effect for beginners; Brock’s Grit is a pretty nice option for decks in general.  In fact the only knock against it, besides the usual competition for deck space found among Supporters, is that it faces a lot of competition.  Super Rod has the same effect, but for half as many cards (three), and is an Item so you don’t have to use up your Supporter for the turn on it.  Sacred Ash returns up to five Pokémon from your discard pile to your deck and it too is an Item, while Energy Recycler is the same except for basic Energy cards.  Karen is a Supporter like Brock’s Grit, but she shuffles all Pokémon from both players’ discard piles back into their respective decks.  Other Trainer cards can add Pokémon or Energy directly back into your hand from the discard pile, and some Pokémon Abilities and attacks can also recycle your cards. 

What may help Brock’s Grit stand out above these is that Super Rod has long been the best “generic” option and we’ve seen a pattern of effects you find on both Item and Supporter proving worthwhile on either, so long as the Supporter steps things up enough.  This is due to the potent nature of Item lock as well as the potent nature of VS Seeker (especially with Battle Compressor) and how in both Standard and Expanded play we have enough non-Supporter draw search that unlike during most of the BW-era and the early XY-era, your deck can be built so that it doesn’t slow to a crawl when your Supporter is doing something other than drawing cards.  Your typical deck has three or four copies of VS Seeker, and while you usually won’t need that much recycling, it is quite nice to have the option of reclaiming up to 24 Pokémon and/or basic Energy cards (and without helping your opponent).  So when should you use something else?  When you cannot spare your Supporter for the turn, when you don’t manage a sufficient return, or when you find yourself being forced to pick between keeping something in your discard pile you want there or recycling what you really want back in your deck.  I’ll also add or when you really, really need Karen to help with your Night March matchup; I’m not ready to give up on her yet, but I did separate this out from the rest because it’s often both deck and metagame specific. 

So… where did this come from?  Brock (Gym Heroes 15/132, 98/132) has a totally unrelated effect, but Gym Heroes 15/132 and Brock’s Grit (XY: Evolutions 52/108) have very similar art; the backgrounds are different as are a few details on the image of Brock, but it’s the same underlying image with alterations.  The effect is similar to several other cards.  I mentioned how it is like a double Super Rod, but until being re-released in the BW-era, Super Rod had a different effect; however its effect was seen as far back as Nightly Garbage Run (Team Rocket 77/82).  Several other cards released that had similar effects, and Town Volunteers (Aquapolis 136/147) became the first Supporter to try it.  Unlike Brock’s Grit it only shuffled five cards, but it was still limited to Pokémon or basic Energy cards.  Actually both it and Nightly Garbage Run are worded a bit oddly: all cards which counted as “Pokémon” while in your discard pile at the time of each card’s release were affected, but the designers felt the need to list different Stages of Evolution so later on when we got cards things like Level-Up cards or modern BREAK Evolutions, those would be excluded.  Palmer’s Contribution (PL: Supreme Victors 139/147) used more modern, future friendly wording to do what Town Volunteers did.  Flower Shop Lady (HS: Undaunted 74/90) was the last card that shuffled both Pokémon and basic Energy to your deck from your discard pile, and she even affected six cards.  However she also specified exactly three Pokémon and Basic Energy cards, making her less flexible than Brock’s Grit. 

Ratings 

Standard: 3.35/5 

Expanded: 3.5/5 

Limited: 4/5 

Summary: Brock’s Gut should see successful competitive play in Standard and Expanded play, following the simple guidelines I just laid out in earlier in the article.  If you pull it while participating in a Limited Format event, only leave it out if for some reason your deck can’t make good use of it; realistically that’s probably only in a +39 deck where your entire deck includes only a single Basic Pokémon and usually has more Energy than you’ll need so there is no demand for recycling either Pokémon or basic Energy.  Most decks should be able to use in Constructed play, with some using it very, very well, which would justify a higher score… except it’s entering a crowded field at this point. 

Brock’s Grit managed nine voting points for our collective Top 10 list, and it all came from me as I had him as my second place pick.  This might be too high, but I believe it only to be by a little; as should be clear by now, this set doesn’t have all that many impressive cards.  Second place might be reaching a little, probably influenced by my fondness for Brock as a character in the animation and the comics, as well as his original English voice actor Eric Stuart.  Not that Bill Rogers did a bad job after him, I am just less familiar with his work.  6th place seems too low, however, and if it wasn’t for the presence of similar cards already available, Brock’s Grit would be my number one pick for this set.  He’s got solid general usage, plus added potential in some more specific builds.  Brock’s Grit missed out on at least tying for 5th place by just a single point, and only beat out our seventh place finisher by the same amount.

 

Happy Friday! Today we finish off the week with Brock’s Grit, a Supporter from the new Evolutions set. Is anyone else loving the full arts for these Kanto Gym Leaders? First we had Giovanni, and now Brock and Misty – here’s to hoping the remaining five will get cards as well. I think Brock’s Grit has a lot of potential and will certainly become a staple in a number of competitive decks. 

You can think of Brock’s Grit as a more powerful Super Rod. Instead of shuffling any combination of 3 Pokémon and Basic Energy, you can now shuffle 6. The different here is huge, allowing decks like Rainbow Road and Greninja BREAK to quickly recover resources. While Super Rod doesn’t use your Supporter for turn, it is significantly weaker and might get discarded before you can actually use it, making your discards more adversely impactful throughout the game. Brock’s Grit may be a Supporter, but the Ability to use it multiple times via VS Seeker easily warrants its use alone. Any deck that relies on a large number of Pokémon – sans Vespiquen – or runs 9-10+ Energy with Max Elixir should run Brock’s Grit over Super Rod, in my opinion. 

Expanded it a bit of a trickier situation. This format is a bit more aggressive thanks to Night March and the possibility of a turn one Item lock thanks to Trevenant BREAK. Yveltal decks are also scary because they now have both Dark Patch and Max Elixir to power up attackers, so having to waste a Supporter to recover Energy is pretty bad. The more ideal combination here would be 1 Super Rod and 1 Karen. Super Rod can recover a few cards quickly, while Karen can recover all Pokémon while disrupting your opponent by putting them back in their deck as well to give them a dead late game. There’s a reason why the Top 8 at Philadelphia Regionals didn’t feature Night March, and that’s largely due to Karen being a staple in Expanded. 

Ratings

Standard: 3/5

Expanded: 1/5

Limited: 2/5 

Summary: Brock’s Grit may not be a game-changer, but it does provide players with another option to recover resources, albeit in the form of a Supporter card. While Super Rod may be preferred in certain decks that focus on speed, I think the card has a lot of potential in a number of decks that focus on Evolutions and high Energy counts to accelerate attackers, at least in the Standard format.


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