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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Top 10 Cards of 2011 Countdown - #4

Professor Juniper

Black & White

Date Reviewed: Jan. 4, 2012

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 4.75
Limited: 5.00

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being the worst.  3 ... average.  5 is the highest rating.

Back to the main COTD Page

Combos With:

Baby Mario
2010 UK National
Seniors
Champion

#4 Professor Juniper (Black and White)

Just one day away from the Pojo top 3 of 2012, and just failing to make it is today’s card, Professor Juniper. I must admit, this one did make my own top 3. I think it has had a massive (and often overlooked) impact on the game right from the moment it was released.

Juniper is a Supporter version of the old Professor Oak card from the original Base Set. The effect is incredibly simple: discard your hand and draw seven cards.

What Junps (as I like to call her) brought to the game was speed. Play out your hand of everything useful, then dump what you don’t need and draw a massive SEVEN cards. Wow. Nothing in recent Pokémon history has given that kind of drawpower. Nothing. This card just turns games around completely, turning a dead hand or an empty hand into a fresh one of seven. Unlike Sage’s Training, you are always aware and in control of what you have to discard. Unlike shuffle/draw cards like Prof Oak’s New Theory and Copycat, you are not returning unwanted cards back to the deck where you will (thanks to Sod’s Law) be drawing them again.

Now a lot of new players, younger players, and just very cautious players in general, often shy away from using Professor Juniper. They look at the cost of discarding the entire hand and think about how they might end up losing something they might need later in the game. This isn’t as big a deal as you would think though. For one thing, it’s relatively rare to have to discard something that will be needed: Pokémon decks tend to have a lot of consistency built in to them, and this means that some cards will become pretty much redundant during the course of a game. Secondly, the game has a lot of recovery right now in the shape of Junk Arm and the new Super Rod. Yes, it takes a bit of skill to use Juniper properly, and sometimes calculated risks are involved, but the trade off of the massive draw is worth it. That’s why you will sometimes even see this card in slower Stage 2 decks, as well as it rush/donk decks like Zekrom and Stage 1 variants.

Junps is the best draw card in the format right now, and a speed deck’s very best friend.

Rating

Modified: 4.25 (you will rarely see a deck without a couple of copies of this card)

virusyosh

Hello once again, Pojo readers! I hope that all of you had a great New Year's holiday. Today's Card of the Day (and #4 card in our countdown) is Professor Juniper from Black and White.
 
Professor Juniper is a Supporter, and acts like a new version of Professor Oak: you discard your hand, and draw seven cards. Seven new cards can often be great, especially if you have a hand that isn't so great or that is easily recurred using something like Junk Arm or Typhlosion Prime's Afterburner, although one slight con of using Professor Juniper is that you sometimes won't want to throw your hand away, leading to some rather difficult game decisions. More conservative players should also consider Professor Oak's New Theory, N, or Copycat, which will not discard any cards, although it is worth noting that Professor Juniper will reliably provide more card advantage than any of these other options. Realistically, most tournament decks will run some number of Professor Juniper along with other hand refresh cards (most commonly PONT and N), as these sorts of effects are very important to keeping decks consistent in a format where Pokemon-based draw is rare.
 
Modified: 5/5 Professor Juniper is an excellent draw Supporter, and is quite worthy of our #4 Card of 2011. Seven new cards can easily pull you out of some bad situations, even if you have to occasionally discard a hand worth keeping. Chances are that if you're running a competitive deck in Modified, you will include at least 3 copies of this card, if not a full set of 4 (although some decks will occasionally run 2).
 
Limited: 5/5 Like with N yesterday, card draw is relatively rare in Limited, and any sort of hand refresh is great. However, it is worth noting that one must be careful when using Professor Juniper in Limited, as the chances of discarding something you might need later are much greater here than they are in Modified. That being said, Professor Juniper is still an excellent option in Black and White Limited, and should be run if you pull it.

Mad Mattezhion
 Professor Bathurst League Australia

Top Card #4: Professor Juniper (Black & White)
 
Personally I wasn't too keen on Professor Juniper when it was first released, but the massive power of this card was obvious so I scored it higher to account for those players who were not afraid of discarding cards like it was going out of fashion for potentially huge rewards.
 
Then, with the release of Kyurem, I thought I finally had a chance to make my Rain Dance deck shine. Sadly, I suffered from 'empty hand' syndrome and lost almost every game I played. I ran through all of the options for drawing cards and was close to giving up when suddenly I spotted Super Rod. Now that I no longer needed to fear losing my Evolutions to the discard effect, Profeesor Juniper became my saviour.
 
For those of you who missed the Black & White expansion, Professor Juniper is a Supporter that makes you discard your current hand and then draw 7 cards. As veterans of the last format will know, drawing 7 cards is a massive advantage, which is why Uxie LA was so popular. In fact, the strategies that people used to maximise Uxie's effectiveness (namely, reducing their current hand size as much as possible) are also very effective with Prof Juniper, although the reason is to reduce the discard cost rather than to draw more cards with the Set Up Poke-power.
 
However, you shouldn't be afraid to play Professor Juniper at any stage of the game, even if you are holding a massive hand. If you aren't able to use the cards you have, it is far better to get rid of them for a fresh hand than pray for a useful topdeck that will alow you to play your hand out because the extra time you give your opponent will almost certainly spell your doom.
 
In order to minimze the risk however, it is a good idea to include all of the usual discard retrieval Items so that you can get your vital cards back later in the game if you are forced to discard them early. Junk Arm is a must-have that will get back any Item cards you need to be played on the same turn (including the other retrival Items) while Super Rod will put your important Poke'mon (probably Evolutions, Basics with coming-into-play Poke-powers and Legend Pieces) back into your deck to be found again, as well as restock your deck so that you don't run out of cards. Burned Tower will allow you to get back your Basic Energy as long as it is in play (although your opponent also gets the benefit) and Energy Retrieval will perform the same service for players who dislike coin flips/giving the opponent an advantage. Finally, Revive will put your Basic Poke'mon right back onto your Bench whenever you need them.
 
If you are using Prof Juniper, you should avoid playing Fisherman or Flower Shop Lady however. Because all 3 cards are Supporters you can't play them on the same turn, and if you are already holding the Fisherman or Flower Shop Lady when you play the Juniper, you won't be able to retrieve them from the discard pile (we really need another reprint of VS Seeker). Stick to the Item cards if you want to avoid a conflict of interest, especially since you can play all of your Item cards out of your hand to reduce the cost of Juniper in the first place.
 
Professor Juniper is as powerful in this format as its ancestor Professor Oak was back when the Poke'mon TCG was first released and has definitely earned its place as #4 on our Top 10 Countdown!
 
By the way, we've had a few cards that seemed like reprints in the Top 10 (Vileplume UD, Junk Arm and Poke'mon Communication alongside today's card) despite the restriction says that says we can't highlight reprints (or Double Colourless Energy would have been on last year's list for sure). However, Junk Arm plays quite differently to the old Item Finder (you can't just grab any Trainer card and you can't cycle a pair of Junk Arm to discard cards for a refill draw effect like Uxie LA either) so I don't think it counts, and Vileplume UD is not a reprint of the old Dark Vileplume for the same reasons. Professor Juniper suffers the disadvantage of being a once-per-turn Supporter that stops it from being utterly broken like Professor Oak was.
 
Poke'mon Communication is the closest case, having exactly the same effect as the old Poke'mon Trader. The play environment today is completely different from when Trader was released but it still fulfills the exact same function, so it only escapes being a reprint due to the rule about having the same name, although I'm willing to be lenient because a) we didn't have Poke'mon Legend or Lv X cards when Trader was released b) because Poke'mon Trader is an age-old card that most newer players have never even heard of before now and c) because we've already finished last year's countdown and have absolutely no interest in going back to change it. Besides, we all like Poke'mon Communication and the lovely consistency it brings right? Especially me, I like that card way too much to suggest striking it from the Top 10 of 2010. Unlike Double Colurless Energy, which I've never quite learned to trust but which inevitably makes me cry when I see on the opposing side of the field. Please, get rid of all your DCEs, I don't like being sad! [\slightly off topic and mildly disturbing rant]
 
Anyway, back to Professor Juniper. Whilever we have Super Rod, Energy Retrieval and Junk Arm (especially Junk Arm) to cover the costs of playing Juniper, it will be the strongest draw card outsied of the godly Professor Oak itself. Even after we lose Junk Arm, it will still be an awesome card that everyone will need a playset of, even if their particular deck doesn't use it. Juniper is just that powerful!
 
Modified: 5 (even with paying the full discard penalty, you can just use multiple copies of all of your Poke'mon to cover the loss, or use Poke'mon Communication to hide the really imporant Poke'mon in your deck to be picked up again later. With the retrieval Items we have available even that stops being a major concern, so stop being afraind of discard and play Professor Juniper like you mean it!)
 
Limited: 5 (unless you are down to your last 7 cards in the deck or you are holding your only copy of your tuly awesome attacker in your hand, there is no reason not to play Professor Juniper the second you draw it. An auto-inclusion if I ever saw one)
 
Combos with: Junk Arm, Super Rod, Poke'mon Communication, Energy Retrieval


Otaku

Today is not only the revelation of the fourth best card released last year, but also the Pojosama’s birthday!

Hail Pojosama

Many Games Learner Teacher

Our Thanks For Sharing

On to the review!

Professor Juniper is a Trainer, and the third to grace our Top 10 list so far. She is also a Supporter, only the second to make the list. This means her effect has to be potent enough to justify burning your Supporter usage for the turn. Said effect is discarding your hand and then drawing seven cards. Anyone who played in the early days of the game (and many besides) shall recognize that effect as once belonging to Professor Oak. I am trying to figure out if I should be scared or pleased they didn’t just reprint the good old Professor as a Supporter instead of bestowing (while taming down) his effect by releasing it as a new card that is a Supporter.

Professor Oak was fantastic because when he was released in the original Base Set, he wasn’t alone for powerful Trainers. Bill (then a “normal” Trainer as Supporters didn’t exist), Computer Search, and Item Finder came out alongside him. Between the four (and sometimes even without Bill) you regularly had the option of crashing through your entire deck (or nearly your entire deck) provided you didn’t mind about half of it ending up in the discard pile. Coupled with strong Basic Pokémon who needed little Energy to attack and a few PlusPower to shoot for a donk and you had the basics of the game for many sets.

Professor Juniper cannot crash through your entire deck in a single turn, but she doesn’t need to in order to be powerful and deserve a spot in several decks. Speed is still the name of the game, and the fastest decks we have right now regularly play out most of their hand, minimizing the loss of cards for Professor Juniper. For decks that aren’t as fast, you have many options to minimize the sting. The classic answer would be that which your deck probably already runs, some recursion cards to recycle what you had to discard after the fact. Yes you have to toss those cards, but you’ll get them back later.

Smart deck design and play can help many decks. Since you aren’t going to be rushing through your entire deck like with Professor Oak, alternating between “shuffle and draw” Supporters can help you keep drawing into cards without building up a large amount of “dead” cards in hand. This is especially true if you’re trying for disruption with N or Judge, the next turn Professor Juniper (should you have been fortunate enough to draw into it) makes a great follow up. Sometimes the simple nature of Supporters will help as well, just because you’ll have all the time after you play one Professor Juniper and the subsequent time next turn before you play a second to finish off the rest of your hand. This mostly matters for burning a second Energy, finishing off an Evolution, etc.

In Unlimited, this card has little use. Few decks will need a “fifth” Professor Oak, given all the recycling power available to them. In Limited play Professor Juniper is another must run. Yes you will probably lack a method of retrieving what you discard, but your deck is also largely basic Energy you run just to make sure you have at least one to attack and Basic Pokémon: you’ll have few Trainers or Evolutions you’ll have to toss. Even if you sometimes do have to toss something valuable, you control when you use the card so you won’t be throwing away anything good unless you truly believe you need to.

Ratings

Unlimited: 1/5

Modified: 4.75/5

Limited: 5/5

Summary

Professor Juniper provides an amazing level of raw draw power, and if you build your deck correctly at a minimal cost, possibly even just Professor Juniper herself! I score her so highly because while there are some decks where running her would be counterproductive, the actual way the format has played out is with decks that can maximize her usage. So by being useful in most decks and vital to so many major decks, Professor Juniper secures the number four spot in our Top 10 of 2011. So what could beat her? Either something stronger, more universally used, or perhaps cards that by being so prevalent contributed to the strength of Professor Juniper?


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