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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Rotom Dex
- Sun & Moon

Date Reviewed:
April 18, 2017

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 1.62
Expanded: 1.38
Limited: 3.0

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

Man, I love the Rotom Dex. The idea of Rotom being this electrical ghost that can inhabit anything and then putting him into a Pokedex? It just makes sense, ya know? Funny that it took em 3 generations after Rotom's introduction to come up with that. 

...come to think of it, where's my Rotom Bulldozer? And Rotom Hammer? 

Anyways, Rotom Dex is basically your Prize reshuffler. You count up your remaining Prize cards, and then shuffle them back into the deck. Once you're done with that, you replace your shuffled Prize cards with new ones from the top of your deck. This can be useful in case you run a one-of card that ended up getting stuck in your Prizes at the beginning of the game, and when you went to look for it with some search card or just happened to notice while searching for another card, it wasn't there! 

The only thing is...Rotom Dex feels like one of those one-of cards. There's no real functional use for it other than maybe getting the card you want back, but there is also a slight chance that you'll end up reshuffling it back into the Prizes again. And even then, what exactly does Rotom Dex do otherwise for you other than maybe get you the card you want...in your deck? 

It's a pretty basic card that probably won't see play simply because there are just so many other cards to play over it. A one-of card most of the time is only run because it helps out the deck or it forms a specific counter against another - it shouldn't be actively relied upon in most cases, which means Rotom Dex's one utility is weakened a bit, and so is his status as a one-of potential retriever.

Rating 

Standard: 1.5/5 (he's got some utility, but compared to most other cards, not so much) 

Expanded: 1/5 (he'll probably end up getting shafted for another card) 

Limited: 3/5 (at least 9 times out of 10) 

Arora Notealus: At the very least, I'd expect Rotom Dex to see some play in Limited if only because the majority of cards in your possession will probably be one-ofs for the most part, and having any crucial piece stuck in Prizes is no good. Hopefully though Rotom Dex himself won't be part of your Prize collection in those matches. 

...also my Rotom TV when 

Next Time: Straight from Kanto, it's a new makeover for this feline!


21times

Rotom Dex (Sun & Moon, 131/149) allows you to take your prize cards and shuffle them into your deck.  Then you replace the amount of prize cards you had with cards from the top of your deck.  So I had completed my review for this a little bit in advance, was satisfied in totally writing this card off, and emailed it to the Pojo crew happy that I had finished this ahead of time.

Then I went and had an exchange of emails with MarquisEXB (the Youtuber who does Discount Pokemon Decks), and he turned my analysis of this card completely upside down.  I had originally written about how Rotom Dex would greatly benefit you if you had a number of key cards buried in your prizes – for example, if you have two of the same stage of Pokemon prized in an evolutionary chain, you could get those back into your deck.  After the conversation I had with MarquisEXB, though, I realized I had totally missed the boat with Rotom Dex.  Rotom Dex isn’t for getting cards you have prized back into your deck, it’s about getting cards in your deck into your prizes.

Wha????  Getting cards into your prizes?  Yes, that’s what I thought as well, until I realized that Marquis was using Rotom Dex in conjunction with Greedy Dice (Steam Siege, 102/114).  If Greedy Dice is in your prize cards and you take it as one of your prizes, you flip a coin.  If heads, you can take an additional prize card.

Greedy Dice is a bad card.  Pojo has previously reviewed this card on August 30th, 2016.  Otaku’s review on this is especially good.  This is a bad card because it allows you to take a prize card if you are lucky.  Greedy Dice inherently promotes luck over skill.  Compare it to the game of chess: at any point in the game of chess do I get to take an extra piece by flipping a coin?  Compare it to American football: what if a team scored a touchdown and then got to flip a coin to see if they would get an extra touchdown?  I’m not going to go on any further about Greedy Dice being bad for the game – but I could.

Now, having said all that, I had previously calculated Greedy Dice at about a 17% chance of getting you an extra prize card.  However, with Rotom Dex, you have the potential of significantly improving that possibility.  Without going into probability calculations, here’s the big picture:

IF – and this is a big IF – you could somehow get through, say, half your deck, and not have discarded  any Greedy Dice or have any in your hand, you would significantly improve your chances of putting MULTIPLE Greedy Dice in your prize cards.  Theoretically, you have much better odds of putting one or two copies back in your prizes, and this greatly improves your chances of pulling a Greedy Dice, especially if you’ve already taken a prize or two.

Bottomline: this is why Rotom Dex exists – to increase the chances of pulling a Greedy Dice out of your prizes.

Ok so before you start grabbing all of your copies of Greedy Dice and throwing them and Rotom Dex into every deck you own, here’s my list of why this still won’t work:

1.    It’s statistically improbable that you can go through half of your deck and not discard any Greedy Dice or have any in your hand.  Honestly, you’ll probably have discarded or be holding multiple copies of Greedy Dice. 

2.    You have to actually take prize cards.  Sometimes this isn’t easily done.

3.    Opponents frequently concede shortly into the game before you even take a prize card.

4.    Greedy Dice and Rotom Dex are essentially five dead cards – that’s almost ten percent of your deck that’s completely worthless in helping you get Pokemon out, find draw support, add energy to your hand, etc.  You could tech in a wide variety of cards that would help you each and every game.

5.    It’s still a coin flip, even if you do pull Greedy Dice out of your prizes.

But to prove all of that, I went and tested it in twelve matches.  I plugged Greedy Dice and Rotom Dex into a Lycanroc GX (SM14) hammers deck.  I pulled out four Puzzle of Time (Breakpoint, 109/122) and a Team Flare Grunt (Generations, 73/83) to make room.  I went 8 and 4 in those twelve matches.   Although this is approximately 67%, this is a little less than the 72% (18 and 7) I was running with the previous version of this deck.  However, I had the advantage in 8 of the 12 matches and my opponent had the advantage only two times.  Also, many of the decks I played would not be considered top tier decks, and I played a couple of decks that were weak to me.

I only pulled Greedy Dice one time… and that was in a match where I donked my opponent early and he only had one Pokemon out, so even though I pulled Greedy Dice as my prize card, I didn’t even get to flip a coin to see if I got to take an extra prize card.  I prized one Greedy Dice three times, and I played Rotom Dex only twice.  Most of the time when I came across Rotom Dex, I had already been forced to discard a Greedy Dice or two.  I will say that in three of the four matches I lost, I probably would have lost with the non-Greedy Dice / Rotom Dex version of this deck, but there was definitely one match where I was sure I would have won if I had an extra hammer or two.

Rating

Standard: 1.5 out of 5

Conclusion

Rotom Dex doesn’t see any play at any of the major tournaments.  It’s a gimmicky card that probably won’t do anything to increase your win percentage.  You’re much better off using that deck space for Town Map (Breakthrough, 150/162) in your deck instead of Rotom Dex to see what cards are prized.  If you want to try it with Greedy Dice, go for it, but in twelve matches I only pulled it once.  There’s very little doubt in my mind that the five card slots Greedy Dice and Rotom Dex would take up could be used for cards that will definitely help you win more than they would.


Otaku

Dear readers, it is time for a change.  I don’t normally time myself, but I rarely write one of these in less than 30 minutes.  I usually sit down for 45 minutes to three hours to write my reviews and if that was my job, that’d be great.  It isn’t and frankly, I’d be underqualified if it was, so it is time I try to research and write these reviews in 20-30 minutes, so I can just take a single afternoon to cover the entire week’s material in a single afternoon.  For some, this should be an improvement, as I tend to go on at length.  For those that prefer my longer reviews, feel free to write in and let us know.  It is a bit easier to justify this time being spent if I know a lot of folks are looking forward to my card vivisections. 

Today we look at Rotom Dex (Sun & Moon 131/149, 159/149), an Item that allows you to mess with your Prizes.  This could be a very potent or very pointless effect, as we have seen from the handful of cards over the years with this specialization.  Rotom Dex specifically has you count how many Prize cards you have in play, then makes you shuffle them into your deck.  Finally, you put the same amount of face down cards from the top of your deck into your Prize area, to become your new Prizes cards.  This means you have a chance of getting something important out of your Prizes and put into your deck.  Not bad for an Item, but I am uncertain as to how good it actually is, either.  The Prize mechanic can be a significant source of variance - ya know, luck - in the Pokémon TCG.  No matter how well you build and play your deck, if you have any significantly important cards in it (like a competitive deck would), up to six of them can be locked away in your Prizes when you need them, and one card you’ll never get a chance to use!  If I haven’t made it clear before, I really think the designers ought to balance the TCG against the inherent variance that cannot easily be eliminated from any TCG: the luck of the draw, and the luck of the match-up.  I doubt the powers-that-be would ever eliminate the Prize mechanic, but at least allowing you to select which cards are in your Prizes would be nice… 

…but I am getting off topic.  If you have a strong, aggressive deck that worries about key cards being locked away in your Prizes, Town Map still remains your best option.  It will allow you to see which Prize is what, and so long as you aren’t truly crippled by what you find, you can just focus on taking the Prizes you need most.  It is also an Item, so it retains the easy to play nature of Rotom Dex, at least when both aren’t being shut down by the popular Item lock effects.  If knowing your Prizes while facing Item lock is a real concern, then you’ll have to try and make Here Comes Team Rocket! work, as it is a Supporter.  Now, there is a use for Rotom Dex, but it is more specialized than Town Map.  You see, most decks take Prizes so Town Map is better, but when you have decks trying to win through an alternate means like running the opponent out of cards, or at least taking all Prizes after a long setup, Rotom Dex is going to be superior to Town Map.  I haven’t used it in a few months, but I was partial to BRaH decks, those focused around (but not limited to) Bunnelby (XY: Primal Clash 121/160), Raticate (XY: Evolutions 67/108), and Houndoom-EX.  It was a mill based deck with a lot of low count cards, and those cards it maxed out were rarely spares but needed.  It could only take Prizes easily late game, and against certain match-ups, so most of the time if something was Prized, I was out of luck.  With Rotom Dex I could hope to get lucky and free something valuable from my Prize cards while replacing it with something I could spare. 

My wording was meant to demonstrate the real problem with this card.  While it is an Item, and thus so inexpensive to use, for a card meant to combat bad luck, it seems so unreliable.  While there are no coin flips, you shuffle all your Prize cards into your deck, even any you don’t mind or even prefer (because they aren’t needed this match-up) being Prized.  Since you count, shuffle away, and then place your new Prize cards, it is possible that this card will only shuffle your deck.  Improbable, unless you have very few cards left in your deck, but the more Prize cards you shuffle back into your deck and the smaller your remaining deck, the better the odds are that at least one Prize card will end up being the same.  Most of the time, you won’t need to replace all six cards, but will just need to switch out one or two.  As this is all blind shuffling and placing, you might not change out the ones you need.  You might put something else valuable into your Prize cards.  You might even do both.  Pardon the Create-a-Card moment, but this would have been much better if it allowed you to swap even just one Prize card with a card from your hand.  Sure, you might have nothing safe to spare from your hand, but you’d know.  Even if you could only target facedown cards (no comboing with Town Map), it would be better.  As is, this is a niche card that a few decks might be desperate enough to run (I’m still considering it for BRaH), but it probably should be ignored for everything else, both for Standard and Expanded play.  In Limited play, go ahead and run it; even with the smaller deck size (40 instead of 60), you’ll probably have only a few really good pulls and the rest mostly filler, which means you don’t want the good stuff Prized. 

Ratings 

Standard: 1.75/5 

Expanded: 1.75/5 

Limited: 3/5 

Conclusion 

Rotom Dex isn’t without its uses, but they are very, very niche because it just doesn’t do its job very well.  Most decks worry about something important being locked away in the Prizes, where even a deck that wins by taking KO’s might have a problem because it can’t start to take KO’s without that card.  So even though you’re no Prizes ahead, freeing something from their grasp can be very valuable.  Unfortunately, Rotom Dex makes it all luck based; you may not need to flip for the effect, but it is all Prizes (not just the ones you want to change out), you risk some or even all of your new Prize cards being the same as your old, and even if you get all the stuff out of your Prizes that you wanted to, there is a pretty sizable risk you’ll just be adding something else you needed to your Prize cards.  Even for an Item, the net result just seems to weak.

For those wondering, this review still took me an hour.  Oops.


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