Now we come to
First Ticket; yeah early spoilers
for this card had the name wrong, or
else they changed it during translation.
I really wish they had called it
“First-Class Ticket”, but that is just
me being obsessive.
Still, just realize if you see
comments about a card with a name
First Ticket, it probably
First Ticket from an earlier, less
accurate translation; it was quite hyped
when first revealed, and many thought we
wouldn’t even get it.
Why was that?
is an Item, which is one of the many
kinds of Trainers.
Items have been important since
before that term applied to them, and
while there are areas where I complain
about a lack of balance in the modern
game, the relationship between the three
branches of Trainer cards
isn’t one of them.
Items provide useful
effects and aren’t
burdened by a
Supporters bring forth
the most potent effects,
are a once-per-turn
Stadiums stick around,
so the effects can be
continuous or at least
recurring, but work
equally well for both
players (provided both
players have legal
targets for said
your own Stadium is the
easiest and most
effective way to get rid
of your opponent’s.
Right now, the best support we’ve got
for Items is
Sableye (BW: Dark Explorers
62/108), while the main opposition for
Items comes in the form of the
Disconnect attack found on
Zebstrika (BW: Next Destinies
The rest just hasn’t proven
potent enough to mention or isn’t out in
English yet… and as you’ll see, I could
have left these out anyway.
The effect of
First Ticket may be unique amongst
only has an effect during set-up of
Before you would flip a coin to
determine who goes first, you can reveal
an in hand
First Ticket to skip the coin flip
and just go first.
If your opponent has one,
however, then the coin flip occurs as it
Multiple copies cannot be used by
the same player; no bonus if you have
more than one in hand and your opponent
has none, and if you have multiple but
your opponent has just one copy, you
still end up flipping to see who goes
first as you normally would.
Going first is a huge advantage, but a
card that is dead for all but the set-up
of the game is quite a huge cost.
Especially when you remember that
roughly half the time the card works…
you would have gone first anyway.
That is right; unless you are the
rare statistical anomaly that is going
second significantly more often than you
go first, even when drawn, this card
essentially only works
half the time.
I am not the greatest as calculating
probabilities, but I can tell the odds
Getting the effect means opening
with at least one copy in your initial
seven card hand. You also still need a
Basic Pokémon to make it stick; you
can’t use the effect until after meeting
that set-up requirement.
This is important since, as a
comparative example, opening with
particular Pokémon is aided by the fact
that if you fail to get any Pokémon at
have to shuffle your hand back into
your deck and try again; no such luck
First Ticket fails to show.
You could just run one, which wouldn’t
be too hard to fit into a deck, but even
with “seven chances” of pulling it in
your opening hand, when it is one of 60
cards (technically a one in 60 chance
the first card drawn, one in 59 the
second card drawn, etc.), that really
impresses upon you how low your odds
You can run multiples (and indeed
if you play it you
should), but now you’ve just got a
four in 60 (or one in 15) chance on the
first of seven drawn, four in 59 of the
second drawn, etc.
Whenever I’ve discussed this card in a
group, someone always seems to feel the
need to point out that you can always
use it for discard fodder, but this is
every card ever released.
Being able to make use of cards
dead-in-hand is a benefit of other
particular cards, not the cards being
Still, I’ll mention it again;
you’re going to have to deal with those
inert cards because this looks to be a
card you run four of or none at all.
Four slots in the average deck is
a tall order.
On first glance, this card had me
thinking about the potency of
Sableye (DP: Stormfront
48/100), but then I had to consider the
Sableye was a Basic Pokémon that
(for the time) okay Stats coupled with
not one but two different useful
attacks; the first required
no Energy and let you discard a
Supporter from your deck, then
duplicated the Supporter’s effect, while
the second required just (D) and 40 if
the Defending Pokémon had less HP
Sableye (it did 10 otherwise).
So even if you failed to open with
Sableye or your opponent also opened
with it, it was a good opening Pokémon,
and not the worst thing to be stuck with
mid-to-late game, either.
First Ticket has the slight benefit
of allowing you to open with a different
Pokémon, but does that really offset
being totally dead the rest of the game,
and even when it works sometimes only
canceling out your opponent’s copy?
Possibly in some select decks.
I can really only see running
this in Modified if you are building a
dedicated “donk” deck; a deck that wins
by KOing your opponent’s lone Pokémon
first turn to win because your opponent
no longer has any Pokémon in play.
When this card was first revealed
(and the hyping began) we also still had
decks that could deal 120 points of
damage first turn, plus
Seeker, a Supporter that could
forcefully bounce a Pokémon from your
opponent’s Bench and usually had other
uses within the donk deck.
When you did fail the donk, you
still had a good shot of scoring enough
rapid fire OHKOs to still win the game.
That isn’t what
First Ticket comes into; we’ve still
got plenty of donk potential, but it
requires your opponent doesn’t have a
second Basic Pokémon in play, and none
of the first turn combos I am aware of
yields three digit damage without
So what about Unlimited?
We really need a ruling on how
Sableye (DP: Stormfront
48/100) interacts with
The way the text reads,
Sableye activates after
First Ticket; you skip your coin
First Ticket, but if someone reveals
Sableye, its Poké-Body kicks in.
This really hurts
First Ticket if it holds true; all
the decks abusing
Sableye get its normal benefits,
plus if your opponent used
First Ticket, it was a waste.
This won’t ruin
First Ticket here; this is a format
where dead cards are less problematic,
owing to copious amounts of draw and
search power, and where at the most
competitive level, you go first or lose.
It will hurt making room for four
copies and won't matter often, but it
may prove worthwhile.
So what about Limited play?
Well, this card is part of a new
mini-set, so that isn’t applicable.
If it ends up re-released in
another set down the road, odds are
you’ll always run it “just in case”,
because you’ll only pull one, decks are
smaller, and you’ll have the room.
is a card that makes me ask “Why?”
because there was such a narrow range of
it being good for the game.
As is, it won’t address the
potential balance issues with going
first, and its only real use it to boost
“donk decks”, which are considered by
some to be an abuse of the game’s
mechanics as is.
The execution is wanting enough
that at least it isn’t strong, but had
it been, it would have quickly become a
staple just so most players could enjoy
“restoring” the game to the 50-50 odds
starting first we began with.
There isn’t a lot of space between
“underpowered” and “overpowered” with
this type of mechanic.
If they wanted to represent an
effect from the video games, okay; if
they wanted to balance out going first,
how about making some cards themed
around going second, e.g. that flat out
give you better effects for having gone
Assuming we can’t just find a way
to balance out the actual rules.