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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Timer Ball
- Sun & Moon

Date Reviewed:
April 11, 2017

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.75

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

Back to the main COTD Page


21times

Krookadile (Sun & Moon, 85/149) a Stage 2 Pokemon with 150 HP has two attacks, False Accusation and Obsidian Fang.  We’ll focus more on False Accusation, but I used Obsidian Fang a fair number of times.  False Accusation can hit for quite a bit of damage – in one match against Lapras GX (Sun & Moon, 35/149) I hit for 300 damage (I’m pretty sure my opponent was ignorant of the parameters of False Accusation as he just kept using Lapras’ Collect attack and stacking cards in his hand).  However, the average hand size is only four cards, so the attack False Accusation has a significant amount of inconsistency inherent to its nature. 

I have not seen Krookadile used even a single time in the two months of play since SUM’s release, and I couldn’t find many videos on it, so I built the deck with four Unown (Ancient Origins, 30/98) as the only other Pokemon outside of a 4-2-4 line of Krookadile.  I managed to win only 3 out of 10 matches.  I felt that it provided a higher level of competition than some of the other decks reviewed recently (Vikavolt (Sun & Moon, 52/149) Dragonite (Sun & Moon, 96/149) and Gigalith (Sun & Moon, 71/149), but it still falls short of even tier two status.  I doubt that you will win half of your matches with this deck in the current meta.  Your opponent will usually limit their hand size to minimize the damage from False Accusation, and Obsidian Fang’s four energy cost for only 120 damage is less than desirable.

Rating

Standard: 2 out of 5

Conclusion

If the meta did not include EX and GX Pokemon, Krookadile would probably be a pretty good card.  Unfortunately, it seems to fall into that group of many other Stage 1’s and 2’s that’s just not up to the same level as many of the other competitive decks in the current meta.


Otaku

Timer Ball (Sun & Moon 134/149) is a new Trainer card, specifically an Item.  Item cards have no intrinsic cost to play, unlike say a Supporter that has a once-per-turn usage restriction.  Which is why Item cards typically are much weaker than Supporters, and why the powers-that-be are happy to give us multiple effective forms of Item lock while (thankfully) not giving us generic Trainer or Supporter lock (at least, not worth running competitively).  Though their general counters aren’t good, some of the generic Trainer support like Skyla and Trainers’ Mail can be quite good.  Conversely, while Items face some really bad counters, generic Item support isn’t great.  There are some nice deck specific options, though, like Sableye (BW: Dark Explorers 62/108) and Korrina… both of which are Expanded only.  So what does Timer Ball actually do?  You flip two coins, and for each “heads”, search your deck for an Evolution to add to your hand.  At a glance, this seems like a solid, maybe even a good, effect.  Unfortunately, it isn’t one I’ve had time to test out much myself; it is included in some of the Theme Decks (embarrassing though it is to admit), I cannot clearly remember if I tried it out in Standard or Expanded play myself.  So we’ll have to tackle this mostly in the realm of theory… or perhaps I should say Theorymon. 

There aren’t any Energy based search options in Expanded or Standard play, and the Pokémon based options are usually pretty deck specific.  Timer Ball isn’t completely general itself, seeing as it can only fetch Evolutions, but as there isn’t a Pokémon directly competing with this tactic outside of the deck specific options, I think we can skip them, at least for now.  So, let us look at the Trainer based search options.  We’ll start with the ones that offer totally unrestricted search; they get you the Pokémon you want, but they also have a different cost and only grab one Pokémon: Master Ball, Poké Ball, Trevor, and Ultra Ball.  Master Ball is an Item but an Ace Spec only legal for Expanded play.  Poké Ball requires one coin flip, but does absolutely nothing on “tails”.  Trevor is a Supporter.  Ultra Ball requires a two card discard cost from your hand.  These four are useful as a baseline both for search and for what different categories of Trainer are worth, though I suspect the latter may not be completely accurate if we try and transfer it to other effects.  To give you an idea, if this pattern were applied universally, being an Ace Spec, requiring a coin flip, being a Supporter, or requiring a discard cost of two cards from hand would all be interchangeable… disregarding that Ultra Ball is the one that people consistently choose to run, so clearly they are not equal.  Master Ball loses out to other Ace Spec cards, Trevor to other Supporters, while most prefer the reliability of Ultra Ball versus the uncertainty of Poké Ball. 

The two coin flips of Timer Ball are not a bad trade off; even though the discard cost of Ultra Ball often compliments preferred draw cards in competitive play, sometimes you just don’t have two cards in hand to discard.  Two flips to get up to two targets means only one in four possible outcomes gives you nothing, with two out of for providing a single Evolution and one in four yielding two.  Being restricted to an Evolution certainly matters, though.  It isn’t a killer, but let us expand our other search options.  Brigette, Lure Ball, and Pokémon Fan Club are all Trainers that get Basic Pokémon; they might be options for complementing Timer Ball in the right deck, but obviously, it won’t be replacing them.  Dive Ball is an Item that searches out any Water Pokémon; Timer Ball might have a chance in Water Decks that need more than Dive Ball but would prefer not to use Ultra Ball.  Perhaps Greninja BREAK decks?  Evosoda and Wally allow you to select one of your Pokémon already in play, search your deck for something that Evolves from that Pokémon, then plays what you searched out directly onto that initial target.  Evosoda is an Item but can only be used on a Pokémon ready to Evolve, while Wally is a Supporter and it cannot select a Pokémon-EX for the first step but it can be used the first turn a Pokémon is in play as well as a player’s first turn.  While this means they are indeed Evolution-only search, they are mostly used to get around Evolution blocking effects, or in the case of Wally, for decks that need to Evolve a turn sooner.  They also don’t trigger coming-into-play Abilities or Ancient Traits.  This means Timer Ball isn’t really able to replace them where they are already used. 

Heavy Ball can get anything with a Retreat Cost of [CCC] or more from your deck while Level Ball can get anything that has 90 or less HP; both are more likely to supplement Ultra Ball than anything else.  If the deck has a lot of Evolutions and was primarily using Heavy Ball or Level Ball to get a particular Evolution, you might switch to Timer Ball, but I am more used to seeing these two used in decks where many Pokémon of all Stages are legal targets.  Repeat Ball is mostly geared towards swarm decks, as it can snag anything you already have in play (Basic or Evolution), but is useless if you don’t need another copy of something.  It isn’t likely to be used on its own for this reason, so shifting from other search option and Repeat Ball to a Basic Pokémon focused search option and Timer Ball might be an improvement.  Hoopa-EX (XY: Ancient Origins 36/98, 89/98; XY: Black Star Promos XY71) and Winona can grab multiple targets, and they can be Basic or Evolved Pokémon, but Hoopa-EX uses its “Scoundrel Ring” Ability, which can grab up to three Pokémon-EX, while Winona is a Supporter restricted to Colorless Pokémon.  So once again, not really competition for Timer Ball because they only overlap partially. 

Then we get to the really deck-specific search, like attacks and Abilities that only grab one specific Pokémon (or at least the Evolutions of one specific Pokémon), or which are combos appropriate only to really one Type… like Battle Compressor plus Revitalizer for Grass Types.  That being said, Timer Ball may worm its way into some Standard Grass Type decks due to Forest of Giant Plants and the usual draw support; if you are ripping through your own deck and can Evolve into stuff, right away, it might work.  Then again, the most likely candidates involve Vileplume (XY: Ancient Origins 3/98); while normally one would want to run light on Items because they’ll be dead-in-hand once Vileplume hits the field, many builds run several Item cards but are trying for a reliable, first turn Vileplume.  As you are using cards like Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108, 106/108) to help do this, the Ultra Ball discard and reliability are probably better than Timer Ball, or you might even give Shiinotic a try.  So with all that said, I think Timer Ball is a general card that plays at being a niche card.  Its future (maybe even its present) is far from hopeless; it does a decent job in most Evolution decks, but simply isn’t the optimal play. 

This may seem like I’m about to go on a tangent, but I promise it swings back around to connect to the topic at hand.  Timer Ball reminds be of Dual Ball, a card still legal for the PTCGO-exclusive Legacy Format.  Dual Ball celebrates its 15th birthday this September, and it has almost the exact same effect as Timer Ball, except it grabs Basic Pokémon, not Evolutions.  Dual Ball rotated out of Standard play in September of 2012, and it didn’t become a potent play until (I think) 2011.  Card pool and game rules shifted around so that suddenly the metagame liked an Item that would probably snag one Basic and might snag two, even if it also might whiff completely.  Dual Ball isn’t a must run in the Legacy Format, but it definitely has a niche in certain decks, usually alongside Ultra Ball.  Timer Ball may have to wait until such thing happens for it, but I am not sure if the odds are in its favor.  The thing is, almost all decks need to get their Basic Pokémon to the field, and they don’t have to worry about waiting to Evolve.  Just fielding your Basics can help thin your deck, so that your normal draw power is more likely to hit the Evolutions you’ll need next turn.  This makes me wonder if circumstances will ever be right for Timer Ball, and I think it helps illustrate how being almost identical does not always produce equal results. 

Ratings 

Standard: 2/5 

Expanded: 1.75/5 

Limited: 3.25/5 

Theme: 3.25/5 

Conclusion 

Possibly, Timer Ball performs far better than I think, but for Standard and Expanded play, I don’t think enough decks need quantity over reliability, even in the face of things like the two card discard cost of Ultra Ball.  Expanded is the same, except decks have more options.  In Limited and Theme Deck play, Timer Ball can be a blessing or a bitter disappointment, as drawing into other search options or the actual cards needed is usually much more difficult here.  In turn, that means whiffing is that much worse, while double “heads” can be that much better. 

Timer Ball is the final runner-up from our Top 10 countdown for Sun & Moon.  If the list was extended to include Timer Ball, it would be our 19th place pick.  It earned one voting point, so it only just made one reviewer’s list.  It wasn’t me, but I do understand the pick; before realizing the differences between it and Dual Ball (and their respective metagames), I was much more excited for the card.  In hindsight, it might still have deserved to make the list more than some of our other picks as well.  Plus, it did score only one point lower than 18th place, Solgaleo-GX.


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