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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Dimension Valley
- Phantom Forces

Date Reviewed:
Oct. 20, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

See Below

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

Back to the main COTD Page


Otaku

Lucky number seven on our countdown of the Top 20 Cards Lost To Rotation is Dimension Valley (XY: Phantom Forces 93/119).  This is our fourth Trainer card this week; while cards that affect a particular class or subclass of Trainer are reasonably common in the TCG (in either Expanded or Standard play), those that affect all Trainer cards are not.  Possibly because experience has taught the designers that such cards tend to be quite, quite potent.  Older cards like Item Finder and Dark Vileplume (Team Rocket 13/82, 30/82) apply to all Trainers simply because they predate any future divisions, while Chaos Gym and Slowking (Neo Genesis 14/111) still predated the creation of Supporters: we still were able to use these cards alongside some later Trainer additions and so this isn’t hypothetical; affecting all Trainer cards is potent.  Right now there are only a few standouts like Dowsing Machine, Skyla, and Trainers’ Mail, all of which are support: even I am comfortable glossing over the underperforming general Trainer counters of the modern card pool.  General Stadium support is almost non-existent: an attack here or there like on Regirock (XY: Black Star Promos XY49).  Attacks that discard Stadium cards are uncommon but out there.  Countering Stadiums is much easier to find; Paint Roller gives us an Item that discards a Stadium in play then lets you draw a card, while Delinquent gives us a Supporter that discards a Stadium then three cards from your opponent’s hand.  

There are also some effects like that both help and hurt Stadiums: Giratina-EX (XY: Ancient Origins 57/98, 93/98), Gothitelle (XY: Furious Fists 41/111), and Ninetales (XY: Primal Clash 21/160) usually help the player using them but also counter the opponent’s Stadium cards as well (and careless usage of Ninetales can block you from playing your own Stadium cards).  This is a nice lead in to how Stadium cards are their own counter; between both players you may only have a single Stadium card in play.  The instant someone plays a Stadium card any Stadium card already in play is discarded.  You also may only play a single Stadium card on your turn and it must have a different name from the Stadium card already in play (if there is one).  Stadium cards usually apply an effect more or less equally to both players, though besides the owner choosing when to play it and having had the chance to optimize his or her deck for it, a few have two different effects split between both players, determined by which way the card is oriented; right side up means one effect while upside down means the opposite effect applies to that player.  Stadium cards are usually among the least run Trainers, even in formats where they are considered vital.  Why?  The rules involving them makes their usage even more constrained than that of Supporters.  You can effectively run more than one Stadium card; if you have room and your deck doesn’t revolve around a particular Stadium I actually recommend splitting them; not only can your extras be dead in hand, but your opponent may need that same Stadium card more than yourself.  The corollary is that running more than two Stadium cards is likely to prove too unreliable or space consuming. 

Experienced players already knew what I just said, but it was important not just for the newbies but so that we keep all of this in mind while evaluating card effects.  Plus if you’ve read even a handful of my reviews you can probably tell I’m a creature of habit and prone to over-explaining versus under.  Dimension Valley reduces the attack costs on Psychic Type Pokémon by [C], effectively making it a form of Energy acceleration as it still enables you to attack more quickly and effectively.  At a glance this might seem like a must-run for Psychic decks, but like bumping up damage dealt or reducing damage taken, Dimension Valley still has to shift the attack cost into a “sweet spot”.  For example an attack that needs [PPCC] doesn’t get much help from Dimension Valley; you would only need [PPC] but while it is one less Energy, the original cost of [PPCC] could be met with three Energy cards (two basic Psychic Energy and a Double Colorless, plus a few other options).  It still may help a little, since now a manually Psychic Energy attachment from hand and two successful uses of Max Elixir can do the job but you are using up your Stadium for a mediocre return.  Making a [C] attack free, [CC] into [C] or [CCC] into just [CC]; needing no Energy, just one Energy, or just one Double Colorless Energy is pretty spiffy.  Where [X] is a non-Colorless Energy requirement, changing [XC] to [X] or [XXC] to [XX] also tends to make a difference, though not always. 

We’ve seen attack cost reducers before, though off the top of my head I don’t remember it as a Stadium effect.  This is where the first half of this review earns its keep.  While it means all of your Psychic Types with appropriate attack costs can cash in, so too can your opponent’s.  With some Types this wouldn’t be too big of a deal, but the Psychic Type doesn’t seem to stay out of the spotlight for too long in the Pokémon TCG, at least since the BW-era.  Both Mew (XY: Fates Collide 29/124) and Mew-EX with their attack copying ways, as well as the various versions of Mewtwo-EX and M Mewtwo-EX can take at least some advantage of Dimension Valley, with Mew, Mew-EX, and Mewtwo-EX (BW: Next Destinies 54/99, 98/99; BW: Black Star Promos BW45; BW: Legendary Treasures 54/113) making some significant gains.  Night Marcher Pumpkaboo (XY: Phantom Forces 44/119) would have been just more discard fodder without Dimension Valley allowing it to attack for a single Double Colorless Energy.  All of this means that Dimension Valley is not a Stadium to casually toss into a Psychic deck (after all, many have Psychic Weakness) but at the same time it will also be worth running in many (most?) of them.  It tends to be vital to strategies, so you’ll run the deck heavily - splits are unlikely to work - and you need to be careful not to waste them.  That doesn’t mean some won’t end up as discard fodder, but if you’re counting on it to enable attacks (or at least affordable attacks) you may really pay for dropping one too soon.  The good news is that since we are talking about attacks, you cash in on the effect on your own turn; if you hit for a good amount of damage, Dimension Valley won’t have gone to waste even if your opponent immediately discards it. 

I believe it is still a near staple for Psychic Type decks in Expanded, but take this with a double grain of salt: Karen became legal between Regionals - hard counters Night March and Vespiquen (XY: Ancient Origins 10/98) - and even if I had not been busy and barely able to play the last few weeks, remember I’m a PTCGO player - it isn’t a totally alien metagame but despite being international, it behaves more like a “local” metagame instead of something more broad.  If you pull it in Limited, run it: even if you pull no Psychic Types that can make use of Dimension Valley, you would likely have the space to make it worth including just to discard an opponent’s Steel Shelter (the other Stadium this set). 

So what if Dimension Valley was still Standard legal?  Decks built around M Gardevoir-EX (XY: Steam Siege 79/114, 112/114) strike me as the only ones that really could make good use of it in Standard play.  Said deck has other Stadium cards worth using as well, but with it you can use the “Despair Ray” attack on it for just [Y], which is pretty great since that’s 110 damage on a decent sized Mega Evolution with the option of pushing for up to 160 with its own built in effect (Despair Ray allows you to discard Pokémon from your own Bench to do +10 damage per).  We probably need to get around to reviewing that card… but back to the discussion at hand, most of the other decks that had been making great use of Dimension Valley in Standard prior to the rotation lost other cards, badly nerfing or completely eliminating them.  Night March is totally gone (and Karen would be an issue for it had it stuck around) and  Trevenant BREAK decks lost Trevenant (XY 55/146).  M Mewtwo-EX (XY: BREAKthrough 64/162, 160/162) has become the star attacker of its own deck, but even though it is a Psychic Type it gets only a mild benefit from Dimension Valley being in play.  This is another deck I haven’t been able to run first hand, so maybe it would value using its “Psychic Infinity” attack for just [C], but since that attack does more damage based on the Energy attached to all Active Pokémon, you’re just burning your Stadium to attack with on less Energy attachment and for 30 less damage than if you had used a Mega Turbo, Double Colorless Energy, etc. so that M Mewtwo-EX could just attack with Psychic Infinity at the full price.  Mewtwo-EX (XY: BREAKthrough 62/162, 158/162, 164/162) might like dropping its “Damage Change” attack’s cost down to just [PP], but the deck already likes Shrine of Memories so that M Mewtwo-EX can use that attack instead. 

Ratings 

Standard: N/A 

Expanded: 3.75/5 

Limited: 3.5/5 

Summary: Scores might seem out of synch with my review; being awesome on Type but pointless (or backfiring) everywhere else but having an overall score tends to do that.  On Type Dimension Valley is usually awesome, but sometimes even there it is just nice or has the potential to backfire: many Psychic Types are Psychic Weak, so if it really helps out your opponent but somewhat helps you, s’bad.  Off Type, the only reason it would have any use is because it can discard other Stadium cards.  Vital to some decks, mediocre in a few, and almost pointless in the rest?  Overall that means it falls a bit short of “four out of five” territory.  If we get another killer deck that absolutely needs it?  That quickly changes for the better: it is just that kind of card. 

Dimension Valley managed to earn 35 voting points; a point above yesterday’s Korrina and a point below tomorrow’s 6th place finisher.  So what about my own list?  I had this as my 14th place pick: it is good Type support and perhaps I should have had it a few slots higher, but I kept finding so many cards that were either even more important to their niché, mattered to more cards that did not rotate, or were killer cards for general deck building.


Zach Carmichael
 


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