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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Top 10 Cards of 2012

#6 - Sableye

- Dark Explorers

Date Reviewed:
December 26, 2012

Ratings & Reviews Summary


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: See Below

Baby Mario
2010 UK National

#6 Sableye (Dark Explorers) 

Hello and welcome back to our top 10 countdown. I hope everyone enjoyed Christmas Day itself and is managing to extend the celebrations for as long as possible. No rest for us Pojo reviewers though . . . we have work to do. 

We kick off this (short) week with a look at Sableye DEX. This card is undoubtedly the holder of the ‘best starter Pokémon in the format’ award, even if its use is really confined to Dark decks that run enough of the relevant Energy to pay the cost of Junk Hunt. Because that’s what this card is really all about: that attack that recovers two Trainers from the discard pile. 

On release, Sableye didn’t make that much of an impact. After all, we still had Smeargle to help set up and Junk Arm to re-use Trainers. The one exception to that was the ‘Hammertime’ deck which used Sableye to keep recycling Crushing and Enhanced Hammer to negate the opponent’s Energy attachments before sweeping with Darkrai. However, once Junk Arm went, it put Sableye firmly in the spotlight as the only card reliably capable of re-using those oh-so-powerful Trainers like Dark Patch, Random Receiver, and of course Pokémon Catcher. Sure, there’s always Recycle, but that was flippy and didn’t even put the card you wanted into your hand, just on top of your deck. 

Now Sableye is run in practically everything that uses Dark Energy: Darkrai/Hydreigon, Darkrai/Mewtwo, Darkrai/anything really. Oh and Hammertime is still very much a thing. More so now than it was in the past. The fact that Dark decks can use Sableye while others can’t is one of the reasons why they have been so powerful this season. 

As long as powerful Trainers exist in the format, Sableye will remain a good card. A glance into my special Pojo Reviewer’s crystal ball tells me that the Ghetsis Supporter might act as a disincentive to run Sableye in the future, but that is some way off. If you are playing a Dark deck currently, just enjoy the fact that today’s card can generate the kind of advantage for you that makes other decks insane with jealousy. 


Modified: 4.25 (limited to Dark decks, but so good in them)


Happy Boxing Day and a belated merry Christmas readers!


Today we look at a card that has made a huge impression on me and has seen a lot of play this format: Sableye (BW: Dark Explorers 62/108).  It clocks in as our sixth best card of 2012.  We first took a look at the card here, in a review that was near the end of the previous format.  It didn’t make the Top 10 for BW: Dark Explorers, so how did it make the Top 10 for the year?


When Sableye debuted, we still had Junk Arm, allowing decks to run a TecH Item and spam it up to four times, as well as recycling important Items that were run in higher concentrations.  This meant for me it barely missed making the cut.  Especially post rotation, we’ve seen Sableye in most competitive decks capable of meeting the (D) Energy requirement to use its infamous “Junk Hunt” attack.


Probably the most notable usage for this card is in Hammer Time… or any other deck relying on repeatedly playing Crushing Hammer and the occasional Enhanced Hammer a.k.a. “Hammer Spam”.  While some decks are more resistant or more vulnerable to the strategy than others, very few decks can afford to have Energy cards (basic or Special) discarded rapidly.  Most decks have efficient attackers, but those cards are usually not enough to carry the deck to victory.


Yes, even when essentially sacrificed as a Prize, Sableye is usually well worth it.  Computer Search and Skyla have just made it even better; while pricey a Sableye player can use Computer Search and a loaded hand to set-up complicated combos over a few turns.  Skyla on the other hand improves the odds of having used a “good” Item that turn, including snagging Computer Search first turn to begin abusing it.


So what holds Sableye back from ranking higher?  Three things and I can’t tell you which is more significant.  As Junk Hunt requires (D) to use, it requires effort to fuel in decks not running a solid count for basic Darkness Energy or running a combination of basic Darkness Energy, Blend Energy GRPD and/or Prism Energy.  This card might have taken first place if Junk Hunt only required (C).


The second concern is Sableye is only really good for Junk Hunt.  Its HP is only 70, making Confuse Ray even less intimidating; you have to be awfully fortunate for Confuse Ray to save Sableye from a KO.  This may sound like nitpicking because it was likely needed for game balance, but the simple fact is that a slightly stronger attack (even for an increased cost) or a useful Ability would have helped this card’s ranking.


The third and final issue is N; usually you want whatever you reclaimed from the discard via Junk Hunt in your hand, but your opponent always has a turn to mess with your hand.  Again this might sound like a minor point, but it is a common issue for Junk Hunt usage, occurring at least once a game.


In Unlimited, as stated, you won’t use this.  Sableye (DP: Stormfront 48/100) is quite infamous as it stars in its own Donk deck and is often used for other First Turn Win decks; if you’re running a Sableye here, it is the one.  Sure, you might want to recycle Items, but you have access to up to four copies of Item Finder before we get to more elaborate combos or specific cards.


For Limited, just like before it is always a solid “filler” pick thanks to Confuse Ray and its stats, and becomes a must run if you have any Items (of which the set contains multiple) and are already running basic Darkness Energy (or can squeeze a few in).




Unlimited: 1/5


Modified: 4/5


Limited: 4.5/5




Sableye has made a strong showing this year, and I don’t think it is going away anytime soon.  However, a lot of its potency comes from interactions with other cards, and the most important ones were going to be heavily run anyway.  Its usefulness is tied directly into what Items it can reclaim and a lack of good alternatives, as well as what it can easily support.


Which is why I actually left it off my Top 10; shocking given how much I’ve hyped the card.  Part of me thinks this was a major oversight on my part and… that is what it was; a major oversight on my part.  There were a lot of impressive cards this format and this one got lost in the shuffle.  While not everywhere, it is in a good chunk of decks where it generates a good deal of advantage, and well deserving of its place in the Top 10… possibly even deserving a higher place than it received.

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