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Magic Pro Reviews Pokemon Cards

Hi, I’m Luis Scott-Vargas, and I’ve been a professional Magic player for over a decade. I do set reviews of every Magic set that comes out, and have evaluated many thousands of cards, so I’m used to looking at new cards and trying to figure out how good (or bad) they are. When it comes to Pokemon, however, I’m far from an expert. The last time I played a game of Pokemon TCG was over 20 years ago, when me and my brother cracked some first edition packs (he even opened a Charizard, which I’m told is worth a couple bucks these days). Let’s see how I do when it comes to this list of cards, which Caleb hand-picked for me.


Charizard VMAX

LSV’s Rating: 3/5

Charizard has a ton of HP, though as a higher-level Evolution (I think?), this requires a lot of resources to get going. Its attacks are also not cheap, though 100 damage on the Slash and 300 damage on the Wildfire is an impressive set of numbers. This looks like a good high-end finisher for a Fire-type deck, though because it requires such a huge investment, it doesn’t get the highest grade.

Luis starts a little off here, Charizard VMAX is very bad. There is a way to ramp its Energy up in Welder, but it still needs more than that to get going. It’s incredibly clunky to use and while it was originally touted as a potential new archetype, it’s fallen into complete obscurity today. Also to clarify, its a Pokemon VMAX, basically a “Stage 1” Pokemon (play the Basic, wait a turn, then evolve into this guy) – it requires a bit of set up to “cast”. Caleb’s Rating: 1/5

Claydol

LSV’s Rating: 3/5

Claydol has weak stats, but who cares about those when it’s drawing you four cards a turn! This looks like a great utility Pokemon, and if you can empty your hand and start using it, it can give you a ton of extra action. I am worried about it dying, since the low HP and mediocre attack makes it a liability in combat. I suspect this is worse than it looks (to me), so I’m giving it a three instead of the four that I want to.

LSV was on the right track here, but the stats threw him off. Claydol was played in a format with little Bench disruption – it was able to sit there all day in most cases and draw a bunch of cards each turn unabated. Sure, there were still some ways to take it down, but those were powerful strategies in their own right just because they could eliminate Claydol. Garchomp C Lv.X and Luxray GL Lv.X come to mind as counters. Simply, this was one of, if not the best, support Pokemon of all time in its hayday. Caleb’s Rating: 5/5

Luxray GL Lv.X

LSV’s Rating: 4/5

Getting to pull back one of their Benched Pokemon seems like it leads to a huge swing. You can snipe their weakest threat, and potentially mess up their next turn badly by forcing them to pay a Retreat Cost or have a combat mismatch. This looks like it’s sneakily good.

Spot on, there are a few more current examples, Ninetales and Lycanroc GX, for example, that have also seen varying degrees of play. These cards are never quite broken, but they are incredibly solid and see play. Luxray GL Lv.X was one of the better versions of these cards (for its time) and was played in the best deck of its era. Considering its power then compared to the rest of the format it might have been closer to a five. Caleb’s Rating: 4/5

Oranguru

LSV’s Rating: 5/5

I’m pretty sure Caleb tried to trick me with this one. This looks terrible if you’re from a Magic background, but I do know that getting to put discarded cards back is way more powerful in Pokemon. I’m giving this a 5/5 for the ability to infinitely recur cards you’ve already used, and the high HP doesn’t hurt either. I’m shooting for the moon here – either this is awesome and I’m a genius, or it’s actually terrible and Caleb did trick me. I can’t wait to find out.

Very true, completely a trick – you passed! What’s amazing here, though, is that you singlehandedly determined this card was broken from the jump – the rest of the Pokemon world took a little bit of convincing to get the hang of it. It eventually saw play as a one-of in many Zoroark GX decks, a build that drew copious numbers of cards, and it also became the centerpiece of a few control builds, including a Pidgeotto deck that my team and I brought to Worlds in 2019. What’s more, is that Oranguru was (finally) banned in our Expanded format today! Truly a broken card, one of the best of all time. Caleb’s Rating: 5/5

Shaymin-EX

LSV’s Rating: 5/5

This draws you up to six cards when you play it, not when it becomes Active? That seems awesome to me, and a great way to make sure you never run out of things to do. Shaymin even bounces back to your hand after attacking, meaning you can keep drawing and drawing. If this isn’t busted, I’ll be very surprised.

Exactly, this one was also banned today. Even upon release, it made Lysandre’s Trump Card too strong for its own good, a ban followed the day after the first tournament Shaymin-EX was legal for. Set Up was completely unchecked, you could do it as many times as you liked during your turn (Super Scoop Up and other cards could even pick it up!) There’s a new, similar card, Crobat V, that has the wise restriction of “once per turn”. Shaymin-EX might just be the greatest card of all time, it completely changed the game for many years. Sky Return was just icing on the cake – a nice little bonus when you didn’t have a better attack for turn, it could even set up important math! Caleb’s Rating: 5/5

Vikavolt

LSV’s Rating: 3/5

Vikavolt has some real Primeval Titan vibes, and that card is one of the best creatures in Magic. This gets you multiple Energy a turn, which helps pay for its expensive attack, though as a Stage 2 it requires a lot of investment. Like the Charizard before, this seems like a good heavy finisher, and doesn’t look broken to me.

Your ranking is right about where I’d put it, also. It was usually just used as a support Pokemon, though – with cards like Tapu Bulu-GX. Sometimes you would Electro Cannon, but it wasn’t that common. There are other ramp-Abilities out there like Blastoise or Magnezone, but I decided to give you this one because I felt like it’s power was a little more subtle. Caleb’s Rating: 3/5

Professor Juniper

My Rating: 5/5

A zero-cost draw seven sounds great to me. I know you can only play one Supporter per turn (thanks to it saying so on the card), but this seems like a great use for that slot. I’m not sure what would have to be going on for this not to be great in a card game, since this is exactly what the best card in all of Magic does (Contract from Below), so I just had to give this full points.

Exactly! In modern-day Pokemon the name has changed a few times, but this effect remains on a Supporter card today. It’s nearly a four-of (the maximum copies you can play in a deck) in any deck. It’s not quite “broken”, more because we’re just used to it being around at this point, but it’s a staple in almost every deck. Caleb’s Rating: 5/5

Rocket’s Admin.

LSV’s Rating: 1/5

Rocket’s Admin is a really swingy card. If you’re losing, this can help you come back (at least I think that’s how it works – if they’ve won a bunch of fights they won’t have many Prize cards left and you would have a bunch, right?) I don’t know how well it operates as a comeback mechanism, and seems like it wouldn’t do much if you were even or ahead, so I’m going to give it a low rating.

Really intrigued by your thoughts here, there’s a newer Item card today, Reset Stamp, and a slightly newer Supporter, N, that have similar effects. Both see lots of play in Standard and Expanded, respectively. During its heyday (around 2004-2006) it saw play in almost every deck. There are many cards in Pokemon that can intentionally give an opponent Prizes, then forcing them to draw less with Rocket’s Admin./N/Reset Stamp. It’s also just a great comeback card that fills two responsibilities: card draw and disruption to potentially gain the advantage. Some decks play four, others one, but cards like this are almost always staples. There are a few decks that are super aggro, playing zero – perhaps that’s the logic that threw you off? Caleb’s Rating: 5/5

Battle Compressor

LSV’s Rating: 1/5

I don’t know why you’d want to do this besides getting bad cards out of your deck, which doesn’t sound very powerful. This is one I’m likely wrong about, since if there are cards that do powerful things from discard, this acts as a way to search them out and get them right where you want them. Absent that knowledge, I have to say that this doesn’t seem good.

Also surprised here a bit, Battle Compressor is really good – it enabled play-from-the-discard-pile strategies like Night March and comboed with cards like VS Seeker. Take the example of Tarmogoyf, it would ramp that up rather quickly on the MTG side of things. While Battle Compressor wasn’t in every deck, it was incredibly powerful and many decks played their full four copies. It’s maybe not broken, but definitely deserving of a five. Caleb’s Rating: 5/5

Double Colorless Energy

LSV’s Rating: 5/5

I know that Colorless Energy isn’t the easiest to use, but it’s still a two for one resource card. I gave Caleb a similar Magic card to review, and that one is busted too. Nice try.

Nice work, perfect. Some people would go so far as to call for this card being banned in Expanded – in Standard we only have Twin Energy now, a bit of a nerfed version of this. Both are still strong, but Double Colorless Energy is one of the best cards of all time and sped up the format considerably. Caleb’s Rating: 5/5


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