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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Repel
- Sun & Moon

Date Reviewed:
March 7, 2017

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 1.88
Expanded: 1.67
Limited: 3.13

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

Repel: it's like Lysandre but without you choosing or being a Supporter. 

It's an Item. 

That's it. 

... 

No seriously, that's all I've got. 

Rating 

Standard: 2/5 (I don't know what else you want) 

Expanded: 1.5/5 (I mean you should really just run Lysandre) 

Limited: 3/5 (...GO HOME ALREADY) 

Arora Notealus: Repel's got some minimal usage, but it's outclassed by better stuff available. Maybe once Lysandre rotates out with Ancient Origins, Repel could see some usage, but until then, it's Lysandre or bust. 

Next Time: A wild GX appears! Could the Totem Pokemon become GX?!


Otaku

Our second subject this week is Repel (Sun & Moon 130/149), a new Item but not one with a new effect; it forces your opponent to change out his or her Active Pokémon with one from his or her Bench (opponent’s choice if he or she has more than one Pokémon on the Bench).  Being a Trainer means you can snag a Repel with Skyla or Trainers’ Mail (among less common effects), but you won’t have to worry about anti-Trainer effects because nothing still legal is particularly good at it.  I’m drawing a blank on noteworthy Item support, at least for Standard play; in Expanded you have Korrina and Sableye (BW: Dark Explorers 62/108), but those are a bit deck specific.  Anti-Item effects are not uncommon and have proven quite successful, from Ghetsis with its combination of hand disruption and draw to multiple Item lock effects.  Other than that, however, Items may be the easiest kind of card to play in the game.  Besides costs specific to the text of a subclass of Items or particular Item, all you need to use one is for it to be in your hand and for it to have at least a partial effect on the game.  In this case, that means you cannot play Repel if your opponent has no Bench.  As your opponent gets to choose, this is a somewhat weak effect, but thanks to the mild cost it may still prove useful if you just need an inexpensive way to force your opponent into a different Active Pokémon. 

I said this wasn’t a new effect because this is basically a reprint of Pokémon Circulator under a new name.  If you look at a scan of that card, know that at the time a Trainer with the subclass of “Trainer” was an Item, and in fact counts as such if used with modern cards.  The only other change is, besides that and the name, is it states “his or her” instead of “their”.  This doesn’t change the effect at all, just annoy some folks due to rules of grammar.  The staff of the time reviewed Pokémon Circulator here, back when it was new, but were split over it.  Just like now, there were alternatives to using it, so you needed that deck that specifically expected situations where forcing the opponent to change his or her Active was worth it more than paying a bit more (or relying on a coin flip) to control which Pokémon was brought up front… or using a card that also changed out your own Active, which brings us to the current alternatives to Repel. 

The big gun is Lysandre, as he allows you to pick your opponent’s new Active from said opponent’s Bench.  He is a Supporter, so he’s unlikely to be blocked or negated by an opponent’s card effect, but you just used your Supporter for the turn.  Plus Lysandre is a common enough target of VS Seeker when it is used, as you will often draw into it at a point where you won’t need its effects; VS Seeker is an Item so Item lock can still be an issue even for this Supporter.  Pokémon Catcher originally had the same effect as Lysandre but was released before him.  It received an erratum so that it now requires a coin flip to work, but that is still enough to rival Pokémon Catcher.  I won’t be listing non-Trainers or cards that aren’t Expanded or Standard legal, so the final alternative is Escape Rope.  This is another example of an older card effect given a new name, as its predecessor Warp Point was one of the rivals to Pokémon Circulator (and Warp Point was seen as an older card back then!).  Escape Rope and Warp Point include the effect of Repel and Pokémon Circulator but also includes the effect of Switch as you must change out your own Active with your choice of your Benched Pokémon after your opponent does likewise.  This is the biggest reason, I think, that Repel has little shot of being played; not that the other two don’t matter, it is just that Escape Rope occupies what would be the most viable niche for Repel.  There will be times when you won’t want to change your Active at all, but in your typical deck, this is handled by including a pivot Pokémon, something that can retreat for free (either naturally or via combo).  As long as that is the case, there is no drawback to Escape Rope and its added effect, and instead, you enjoy shaking most attack effects (including Special Conditions) as you just Retreat into your original Active. 

Ratings 

Standard: 1.75/5 

Expanded: 1.75/5 

Limited: 3.25/5 

Summary 

Repel isn’t useless, it is just outclassed as nearly all decks will prefer to give up a Supporter to use Lysandre, chance a coin flip to use Pokémon Catcher or change out their own Active at the same time via Escape Rope.  Enjoy it in Limited play, where it doesn’t face the competition and where it may be harder for the opponent to cope with the forced change.  It makes me wonder if we’ll see something like a Max Repel in the future, with a similar effect; it could be Pokémon Catcher by another name. 

I didn’t expect Repel to be a meaty review and choose it for a few reasons.  I like to keep track of “Old cards name new again” like it and Escape Rope.  I really am curious as to whether or not the Repel line of Items from the video game will make the jump to the TCG along with its most basic member.  I was worried I’d be running behind in my reviews, so I wanted something relatively short and easy (and I did).  Finally, this was an Item that earned an initial grade of “C+” which dropped to a “D” after review, filling those slots for the week.  Of course, its score above corresponds to an “F”; I realized even its future usage was in doubt as Pokémon Catcher was reprinted in Sun & Moon.  No one had this on their top 10 list.


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