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Pojo's Pokemon Card of the Day


Defender #72/90

HS Undaunted

Date Reviewed:
September 14, 2010

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 2.00
Limited: 3.75

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

Baby Mario
2010 UK National

Defender (Undaunted) 

Defender is a reprint of a card we last saw way back in Base Set – the very beginning of the Pokémon TCG! (Outside of Japan, anyway). 

It looks very like a blue version of Pluspower and it has a similar, but opposite, effect. You attach it to your Pokémon and discard it at the end of your opponent’s next turn. While it’s there, it reduces attack damage taken by your Pokémon by 20. 

Remind you of anything? Yep, it’s very similar to Buffer Piece, but with some important differences. On the plus side, you can stack it to reduce up to 80 damage from an attack! You are also free to go ahead and attach a Tool to your Pokémon, so it can be used with Expert Belt or Unown Q (for example). A relative downside is that you can’t search it out as you can Buffer Piece (using Department Store Girl), but taking everything into consideration, it is the better card. 

But is it good enough? Well, you will undoubtedly find game situations in which it would be very useful in allowing your Pokémon to survive for an extra turn (I once won a game by putting an Expert Belt on a damaged Combee SF, stopping my opponent from taking a Prize by KOing it with Shadow Room). The real question is: is it good enough to be worth a punt, especially since your opponent can work around it by switching the Pokémon out, or by sniping the Bench? 

I suspect that the answer will almost always be ‘no’. Deck space is usually just a bit too tight to include cards which are only situationally useful, and Defender definitely falls into this category. If you have an issue with low HP Pokémon getting OHKO’d too easily, you could always give it a try, but I don’t expect it to make the cut in many tournament-winning decklists. 


Modified: 2 (nice, but not quite nice enough)

Limited: 4 (really good here: buying a turn for your big-hitter could be game-winning)


Defender was never as popular as Plus Power, simply because it was a more specialized card.  Soaking 20 points of damage was useful, but Plus Power could help you avoid damage by ensuring a speedy KO.  Defender might buy you an extra turn.  Its real use back in the day was when running a self-damaging Pokémon.  You could drop this to get off a fat attack without finishing yourself off and make it harder for the opponent to finish you off to boot!


Alas, modern wording changes this: while it still is a plain Trainer and can be attached to any of your Pokémon without counting against things like Pokémon Tool usage, it only reduces damage from an opponent’s attack.  Still reduces the damage by 20 points and after Weakness and Resistance and still only lasts until the end of your opponent’s next turn (at which point it is discarded).  So its main use is now gone.  It can still be handy for helping a Pokémon tank out, I suppose, and if you make room for multiple copies they can still stack: if you can manage to drop all four at once you can ignore 80 points of damage, basically one solid attack.  Unfortunately, the “normal” Trainers face quite a few lock decks right now, so while that earns the card points by allowing it to stack (unlike, say, Buffer Piece).


Of course, due to the intense number crunching and smaller damage yields in Limited, it is good pull.




Modified: 2/5


Limited: 3.5/5


I am still selling my former collectables on eBay.  I’ve had a lot of hobbies over the years, so at various times I’ll have comic books, manga, action figures, and video games on the auction block.  You can take a look at what’s up for bids here.  I usually add new stuff on Wednesdays and Saturdays.  Just a reminder, Pojo is in no way responsible for any transactions and was merely kind enough to let me mention the auctions here. ;)

Mad Mattezhion
 Professor Bathurst League Australia

Defender (HS Undaunted)

This is one of my many late reviews, sorry for the delay.

See people? I AM catching up.

Here we have a trainer that was first printed back in Base Set and was the counterpart to Pluspower (which has had many more reprints). What it did back then was reduce any and all incoming damage by 20 (after weakness and resistance to the Pokémon you attached it to, and was discarded at the end of your opponent’s next turn. This included spread damage (if it was attached to a Benched Pokémon) and self-damage.

Defender would remain in play if it was used to reduce self-damage due to the wording so it would also take 20 out of the next incoming attack, giving a total reduction of 40. The card was occasionally used by players who favoured recoil attacks to take the sting out of the self-damage and better the chances of getting off a second attack. Defender could also be stacked (to a maximum of 4 on a single Pokémon) to give more protection, though this was generally not a good strategy as you had to find space for 4 almost unsearchable cards and get them into your hand for only a single turn of survival.

Sadly, the new version has been nerfed (game-speak for weakened by the designers) since it no longer prevents self-damage, which was the most useful aspect of the card. Power creep has further reduced the effectiveness of Defender since average damage totals are now higher, yet the damage reduction remains the same. Even worse, the current meta-game favours trainer denial, and plenty of cards place damage counters as opposed to actual damage which dodges Defender altogether.

In the end, Defender is a terrible choice for any modern deck, and it wasn’t a top pick in the old days either.

Modified: 2 (more damage reduction, say to 30 or maybe 40, would make sense in this modern gaming environment. Sadly, this card is now useless)
Limited: 4 (here this card can buy you an extra turn and help you win the game, as it often comes down to attacker VS attacker with the first Pokémon to get a 2HKO being the winner)
Combos with: maybe Steelix could use this card to really annoy the opponent, or if you have vital techs and Blastoise or Garchomp are annoying you.

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