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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Throwback Thursday

Ultra Ball
-
Dark Explorers

Date Reviewed:
March 16, 2017

Ratings & Reviews Summary

S
ee Below

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

Yes, Ultra Ball is our throwback card this week, and while it may not feel like it, this card is in fact nearly 5 years old. Think about that for a minute. 

I don't have to tell you guys how great Ultra Ball can be in the right deck. For pitching 2 cards, you get to grab any Pokemon you'd like - that's it! But it should be noted that over the course of these past few years, the card has had its ups and downs. It's a staple in decks that really need their one Pokemon, but in other decks, it doesn't always see play. Perhaps it's because of the cost that can't be remedied in those decks, or that deck space is tight, or that there's a better search card for what they need - Hoopa-EX does exist to grab Pokemon-EX with ease. 

Still, Ultra Ball's a great card, and I think if you can fit it into your deck's strategy, it can provide a lot more benefits than just a search. In Night March and Vengeance style decks, it can fuel the discard pile. In decks that accelerate Energy from the discard, it can put the Energy there in the first place. It gets rid of things you don't need in for just what you need! 

As long as Ultra Ball remains in Standard - and hey, since it's been reprinted in Sun&Moon, it'll be around a while longer - there's no doubt in my mind there will be a deck or two that plays it. 

Rating 

Standard: 4/5 (it's not perfect in every deck, but for those that it fits into, it aids a lot) 

Expanded: 4/5 (just take a look at most any deck list, and you'll probably find there's an Ultra Ball hanging around it) 

Limited: 5/5 (doesn't matter if it's Dark Explorers or Base Sun & Moon) 

Arora Notealus: I distinctly recall my friend getting the secret rare version of this card in a pack one day. I'd be jealous, but it's fine cause I've got that secret rare M Heracross-EX from Furious Fists...even if I did want that Lucario so bad.

Next Time: Another Basic-GX approaches! Riding in on a big wave is...


21times

Ultra Ball (first printed in Dark Explorers, 102/116) has dominated the meta for several years, and you’ll find it in many top tier decks today.  To give you a little perspective, every world championship deck in the past five years has run at least two copies.  In each of the past three years, the world championship deck has carried four copies of this, the most powerful of all Pokemon search tools. 

We all know that every Pokemon search ball has some kind of limitation placed on it.  Ultra Ball, however, differs from all other Pokeballs in that its limitation can actually benefit the player under the right circumstances.  The Ultra Ball player commonly uses the card to free up room in his or her hand.  If you have three cards in your hand and play Ultra Ball to grab a Shaymin-EX (Roaring Skies, 106/108), you can draw the full six cards from your deck.  Even better, players commonly use Ultra Ball to grab Hoopa-EX (Ancient Origins, 36/98) to grab two basic EX pokemon and Shaymin-EX

Of course, as we all painfully know, you must discard two cards when playing Ultra Ball, and you must discard these two cards prior to going to find the Pokemon you desire.  Fortunately, we have a wide variety of retrieval cards available to us to bring back cards out of our discard pile.  Ultra Ball, like most other Pokeballs, also provides the tremendous opportunity to scan through our entire deck.  This provides essential, vital information in developing in game strategy.  If no one has ever mentioned this to you – or if you’ve never thought of this – please realize that ALL of the top players take this opportunity to look at what’s missing from their deck.  It’s very easy (especially on PTCGO) to simply click the Ultra Ball, select the cards to discard, and then click on the Pokemon we want to put into our hand.  DO NOT STOP THERE!  Take this opportunity to at least look at your Pokemon (including any broken evolution chains) and how many Energy cards you have.  If you’re playing PTCGO, you can fairly quickly run through your deck and identify what cards you have prized.  I have a spreadsheet that contains all of the decklist for the deck I’m playing open while playing PTCGO, and I put the number 1, 2, (or – gulp – 3) in column B, immediately to the right of the list of cards in column A.  This tells me exactly what is prized, and I can easily flip between the spreadsheet and the game by pressing ALT-TAB simultaneously.  In real life, it’s not that easy, but I promise you that the best players count their missing cards and can tell you exactly what they have in their prizes.  That’s part of what makes them the best, what separates them from the majority.  Granted there’s a ton of variability in Pokemon due to the various aleatoric aspects of the game, but this is something that the best players are doing.  If you want to compete with them – if you want to significantly improve your win percentage – count your missing prize cards!  (And thus endeth today’s sermon.) 

Without a doubt, Ultra Ball rules as the most useful Pokeball available today, and its full art reprint in Sun & Moon means that it will remain part of the meta for years to come.  With the upcoming expected rotation of Shaymin-EX and Hoopa-EX, combined with the introduction of Timer Ball (Sun& Moon, 134/149) and Nest Ball (Sun & Moon, 123/149), we might see less usage of Ultra Ball; however, the much anticipated Tapu Lele (release date of May 5th as part of the Guardians Rising expansion) probably will ensure that Ultra Ball will be a staple of the majority of decks well into the next rotation.

Rating

Standard: 4 out of 5

Summary

The most commonly used of all search cards, Ultra Ball allows a player to search through his or her deck and find any Pokemon they desire.  It may not be the best option for every deck, but it will be invaluable in the majority of decks you play.


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