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Pojo's Pokemon Card of the Day

Balloon Berry - Dragon EX

Date Reviewed: 12.29.03

Ratings & Reviews below

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

Bullados Balloon Berry


Advantages of Balloon Berry:


Free retreat.  This is a monster advantage at any point in the game, especially in the late game, when you’re probably not going to have a 2nd attacker up.  Aside from that, there really are no real good advantages…


Disadvantages of Balloon Berry:


Pokemon Tool.  This isn’t as big in Modified, but it still prevents you from attaching Oran Berry and other more helpful tools.  Counts as your retreat.  This is huge.  You only get one retreat in a turn, and you should try and avoid using it whenever possible.  This is the main reason why it won’t be used much even in the new format.





Switch is better and always will be.  Also, there are too many Pokemon Tools to put this thing on.  1/5



Slightly better, but Switch is still better.  Not as many Tools in Modified as in Unlimited, but they do help out a lot.  Keep this thing in your binder.  1.125/5



It’s one decent format, and it’s not all that great here either.  However, free retreat is very rare in Dragons, and this thing helps out a lot.  Don’t take this thing first pick, take a holo or RH over this, but it’s good as a mid-to-late pack choice in Draft.  2.5/5




Okay, I missed a combo and possibly the main use of Latios ex.  The combo is to use a Roselia to hopefully spend your a few turns attaching 3 Energy per turn to Latios ex.  The second is that its supposed to be almost purely a cleaner-wait until you need just 2-3 Prizes and have it loaded up-you can probably “Rambo” (for those who aren’t familiar with the term, it means relentlessly attacking while ignoring your own injuries-think going berserk) your way to a win.  This is important to note, since its pretty good that way: GGGGGL buys two quick prizes often.  For that matter, GGGL, attach G that turn, Purge (discarding GGG), then next turn one more of any Energy and that’s two powerful shots.  Still just makes it a 3/5 in Modified, but it matters. :-P 

Name: Balloon Berry

Type: Trainer

Sub-Type: Pokémon Tool

Text: Attach Balloon Berry to 1 of your Pokémon that doesn’t already have a Pokémon Tool attached to it.  If that Pokémon is Knocked Out, discard this card.

When the Pokémon Balloon Berry is attached to retreats, discard Balloon Berry instead of discarding Energy cards.

First, some rulings from the Compendium/ex:

== BALLOON BERRY (Neo:Revelation; EX:Dragon) [See Also: Errata]

* In the Japanese card, there is text saying "If Balloon Berry is attached to one of your Pokemon, the Pokemon's retreat cost is 0". So, you should play Balloon Berry as if it negates the Pokemon's retreat cost while attached to that pokemon, not just when it actually attempts to retreat. For example, Muk-EX's "Slimy Water" attack damage will be reduced to only 40 against a Pokemon with Balloon Berry attached to it. (Nov 13, 2003 PUI Rules Team)

Q. If I have Balloon Berry attached to a Pokemon, do I *have* to use it to pay for the Retreat Cost, or can I choose to discard energies and save the Balloon Berry for later?
A. No, you must use Balloon Berry if you retreat that pokemon normally. (Nov 13, 2003 PUI Rules Team)

Q. Can Apricorn Maker be used to search for the Trainer "Balloon Berry"? Taking the card literally, *BALL*oon Berry contains the exact same "Ball" as given on Apricorn Maker.
A. Of course not, don't be silly! You can only search for cards like Poke Ball, Fast Ball, Master Ball, etc. Nice try, slick... (Nov 13, 2003 PUI Rules Team)

Q. For Aquapolis Octillery, the only instance when its PokeBody would work is when the opponent "manually" (no Switch/DoubleGust/etc) retreats their active Pokemon, correct?
A. Yes, though retreating with Balloon Berry would still trigger its power. (Jan 16, 2003 WotC Chat, Q548)

Q. When using Balloon Berry on a Pokemon with a non-zero retreat cost, do you need to have the correct amount of energy required to retreat already attached to it, or can you retreat it with no energies attached regardless of the normal cost?
A. No you don't. You can retreat by just discarding the Balloon Berry. (Aug 1, 2002 WotC Chat, Q254)

Q. Can Balloon Berry be used to retreat a Paralyzed, Confused, or Sleeping Pokémon?
A. No. You have to be able to retreat normally to use the balloon. (Jul 18, 2002 WotC Chat, Q20)

A few notes: I left out one out-dated archive ruling that had been directly over-turned in the Compendium ex.  You can look it up if you want to know it, but if I list it, it will just confuse people.  Also note that I used “ctrl+f” to find all listing of Balloon Berry, so you will have to do that if you want to find what I found easily: some rulings were listed under more appropriate fields (the one about Apricorn Maker was under “Apricorn Maker”).

Okay, so what is the purpose of this card?  It makes retreating easier (Well d’uh, Otaku).  The most obvious aspect is that you discard it instead of Energy, thus saving you Energy for other purposes (double d’uh).  Under normal circumstances, you only get one Energy attachment per turn, but as many Trainers as you want.  So not only can it save you discarding Energies, but if you are just one energy attachment away from the retreat cost and needed it for another Pokémon, then not only can you still retreat, but the energy attachment can go where it is really needed (Ooooookay…).  So, why use this over Switch?  The primary draw power in this format involves cards that do a lot of shuffling.  You can drop this so that you not only get to keep it (Otaku likes stating the obvious), but also means that you have one less old card to draw.  Similarly, it can go into play and be one less card for Copycat to count.  On the downside, this still counts as retreating; it can’t get you out of Paralysis, or by pass a Mirage Stadium.  So, is there any reason not to use it?  Yes.  First, let’s look at the Special Conditions: only Sleep and Paralysis can’t be retreated out of, and the one can be gone before your turn even begins while the other will be gone when your turn ends.  You could also handle those with another Pokémon Tool, Lum Berry.  If you didn’t want to be benched, then Lum would be better; it also is better at removing Special Conditions since Poison and Burn would not have a chance to do damage if Lum was already attached.  Since we are on the subject of Tools, let me broach another point: since you only get one Tool attached at a time to a Pokémon, that’s another reason why many would chose something else: in Unlimited, what’s almost always better: Focus Band or Balloon Berry? If you just want to focus on the Benching aspect of it (though Benching will of course get rid of those Special Conditions and well as ending certain attack effects), then we have Switch, Warp Point, and Warp Energy for Balloon Berry to compete with.  Switch can get around those nasty things that would mess up a retreat.  Warp Point does too, and will make your opponent switch out their active.  Warp Energy is basically a Switch that uses up your Energy attachment but also gives you a Colorless Energy.  So, is there any use for Balloon Berry?  Yes.  If use a lot of hand changing Trainers (I have some decks were I am running 3 each of Copycat, Desert Shaman, and Professor Oak’s Research), then you just can’t count on a Switch, Warp Point, etc. to be in hand when you need it.  Second, there are only a few cards that put the hurt on Pokémon Tools but ignore other Trainers (Neo Revelation Sneasel and Aerodactyl ex come to mind).  Most other forms of Trainer disruption will affect all (Dark Vileplume, Neo Genesis Slowking) Trainers.  If a Pokémon Tool is already in play, it doesn’t care about Dark Vileplume or Slowking.  Also, Armaldo (side note: where is it?  Try Armaldo people!can shut down most draw/search power, so you couldn’t search for a Switch as easily.


Unlimited: 1.75/5-A few decks can really use this card, but most will make do with Warp Energy, Double Gust, or Switch.

Modified: 2.5/5- A few decks can really use this card, but most will make do with Warp Energy, Double Gust, or Switch.  There are fewer options here than in Unlimited, though.  Also, bigger stuff gets played with more consistency.  Also, there are no where near as good of Tools to use.

If this and the other formats that use Modified seem high, remember that Muk ex eats most of my decks. :-P

2-on-2: 2.5/5-Same deal again, though to be fair Warp Point is less useful here, but then again, so are some of those really huge (5 retreat) guys.

TMP: 2/5-It can’t be used on your partner since it is put into play.

Limited: 3/5-Chances are you won’t draft that many Trainers, let alone Tools.  While you are apt to have plenty of Energy, getting it into play at the right time is the tricky part, so this is a decent pick.

Summary: A specialized card that is outdone by a couple more general cards.  If its use didn’t count as retreating, it’d be much more attractive.

Balloon Berry its kind of like switch- but is it better or worse?
Unlimited-  Nearly anything you use has free retreat already and many pokemon tools will be used anyway, so try not to use it.  Switch is better here since you can still have your tool attatched.
rating--- 1
Modified-  With certain cards, such as Cradily or Mirage Stadium, the free retreat that balloon berry gives you will not help, so, yet again- I prefer switch for that reason.
rating--- 1.5
Draft-  I doubt that this will help very much in draft, but you can use it to send a pokemon up as a punching bag and retreat back for free.
rating--- 2.375
2 vs 2-  Nothing special, although there is more of a chance that your opponent may use either Octillery (AQ) Cradily or Mirage Stadium, since it will weaken you as part of their strategy- also preventing balloon berry from helping.  Switch is better once again.
rating--- 1
Multiplayer-  Same as in Modified, although the chance that you may fight one of the 3 previously mentioned pokemon is higher =/.  Use switch, not balloon berry- if any.  I actually would rather use warp energy as it is more card efficient.
rating--- 1
This is going to be a brief review of one of the new tools for retreating, the balloon berry.  First seen several sets ago, balloon berry is one of those interesting tools that allows you to discard the berry in lieu of paying a retreat cost.
It is much more limited in the current envio than either switch, warp point, or warp energy, in that you are limited to one retreat per turn.  Further, you can switch, warp point or warp energy any pokemon that is asleep or paralyzed, whereas with balloon berry, you may not retreat if your Pokemon is asleep or paralyzed.  This is the limitation that makes the card flawed.  This may help some of the new giants, such as AggronEX, whch have prohibive retreat costs, but I still prefer other options in this envio.  This card will not, and should not see much play.  There are many other tools which are better at this point, such as Oran Berry, Star Piece, or even Buffer Piece.
I rate this as a 1.5/5 in unlimited, 2.5/5 in modified play.  Some will play it, most should not.
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