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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Top 10 Cards of 2013

#3 - Dowsing Machine 

- Plasma Storm

Date Reviewed:
December 31, 2013

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 4.50
Limited: 4.80

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

#3 Dowsing Machine 

So, we move into the exciting(ish) top 3 of our countdown of the best cards of 2013, and taking third place is the only ACE SPEC to make the list. 

A lot of players will remember the days of abusing the you-know-what out of Junk Arm’s ability to recycle Trainers. A few older ones might remember similar shenanigans with Item Finder. Both of those cards were bordering on the ridiculous at times, so it’s no surprise that when the concept was re-introduced, the game designers attempted to control its power by making it a one-per-deck ACE SPEC. 

Of course, it is still incredibly good: turning your discard pile into a searchable toolbox of Trainers (and yes, unlike Junk Arm, it also works on Supporters). Need some big draw, then grab a Juniper. Want to evolve fast, then choose Rare Candy. Fancy having another go at flipping heads on a Pokémon Catcher? Then use Dowsing Machine and go ahead. It can be the ‘fifth copy’ of a staple Trainer, or it can let you run slightly lighter on those Trainers that are not always useful but can turn particular match ups (such as Tool Scrapper or Enhanced Hammer). 

Not quite as versatile or as good early game as Computer Search, Dowsing Machine comes into its own after the first few turns and can stretch your deck that little bit further. Unless you run a deck which requires a more specialist ACE SPEC like G Booster or Scramble Switch, then you have a very tough decision to make between the two. Speed decks and those which demand a quick set up will most likely go for Computer Search, but if you are going for a longer game, then Dowsing Machine is likely to be your best option. 


Modified: 4.5 (fully justifies being an ACE SPEC and a top 3 card of 2013) 

Happy New Year to everyone: may all your favourite Pokémon become playable in 2014!


We end the year with the third place pick for our Top 10 Cards of 2013, Dowsing Machine, originally reviewed here as our sixth place pick for our Top 10 cards of BW: Plasma Storm.  Were the cards we rated higher back then that much better?


Well if you have basic math skills, you know we have an issue: we have five “better” cards for our BW: Plasma Storm countdown but right now have only two places left in this countdown.  BW: Plasma Storm did have several great cards, but we have already covered some of the cards we initially rated above Dowsing Machine: Colress and Lugia EX.  This tells you that either we overrated them or that at that time they were indeed more promising at that time.  After all, Lugia EX was one of the few Team Plasma Pokémon-EX we had at the time, so it represented the “early” Team Plasma decks; so an entire archetype or family of archetypes rested upon it.


It also helps to remember what Dowsing Machine is; for a more conventional review our old ones still stand as Dowsing Machine is one of the few Ace Spec cards that rival Computer Search.  It still boils down to getting any card whenever you need it versus getting a spare copy of a Trainer from your discard pile; maybe the exact one you need, maybe not, but always a “spare” copy (sometimes to the surprise of your opponent).  Continued play has shown that sometimes this is indeed a little more valuable than that universal search.


My thoughts on Unlimited also still stand; even without play testing or hard data, how can you make Dowsing Machine sound like a good deal when you could be running four Item Finder (with other options if that still isn’t enough)?  You can’t; save your Ace Spec for something more important.  For Limited Play, you just need another Trainer worth using.  If you don’t have one, it’s a dead card.  If you read the previous review, I scored it on the assumption you had at least one Trainer worth running e.g. not Colress Machine when you lacked Plasma Energy.  This time I will attempt to average it out a bit.  The set has a decent assortment of Trainers so odds of only getting Dowsing Machine seem low.




Unlimited: 1/5 

Modified: 4.5/5 

Limited: 4.8/5




A relatively short review for me; Dowsing Machine is a great Ace Spec because access to a spare copy of a Trainer is amazing when competitive decks rarely if ever lack a Trainer that isn’t at least “good”.  I view it as being just as good as Computer Search, where the differences ultimately balance out, such as Dowsing Machine being weak if not a dead card first turn.


By now I am pretty sure I underrated Dowsing Machine when we first looked at it, and I might have this time as well.  I had this card ranked #3… but most of our Top 10 list this year is odd in that if I removed a card from the format, for most the format would adjust without being significantly difference, and the exceptions are cards like Genesect EX whose absence would eliminated an entire deck… but its presence still isn’t as significant as the generic “we could get by without it” cards like Dowsing Machine.  Being an Ace Spec especially dilutes this cards potency, though I certainly wouldn’t want something this powerful available at a higher count; I just mean that when you’re in direct competition with the likes of Computer Search, Scramble Switch, etc. and aren’t usually the focus of a deck, your absence can only change the format so much.


3 - Dowsing Machine (Plasma Storm)
  For many years Item Finder was deemed so powerful it wasn't printed again. Then suddenly during the Heart Gold Soul Silver season it was back as Junk Arm! With the power-creep (or return to power) of Trainer cards during Black and White, Junk Arm was quite overpowered, being able to recover another Base set revival, Pokemon Catcher.
  Now with Junk Arm rotated we have a new mechanic to help balance otherwise overpowered Trainer cards in Ace Specs. For the most part, a deck's choice of Ace Spec would be Dowsing Machine or Computer Search. But people figured out between Skyla and a Ball engine, Dowsing Machine fulfilled a more unique role. The star user of Dowsing Machine has to be the infamous Darkrai/Sableye/Hammer deck in its various forms. Energy removal effects have always been powerful, even the risk of flipping tails is worth it on Crushing Hammer to render a whole turn's Energy attachment null. Sableye can restock 2 such Item cards at the cost of an attack but Dowsing Machine can help take off the crucial extra Energy when you can't afford to give up an attack or prize.
  It'd be ridiculous to suggest only Darkrai decks use this card though, every deck plays Items! As the Black and White series comes to a close and we see the dawn of XY there's only even more powerful Item cards to recycle. Dowsing Machine essentially lets you play 5 of an essential Item or turns your 1 of techs into 2 just when you need it. The abundance of discard/shuffle and draw effects around means the drawback of discarding 2 cards often isn't an issue. With so much utility it's no surprise this is the most widely selected option for that precious Ace Spec slot.
  After such a sparkling review for Modified, it seems like a let down to review it for Limited. When you open your sealed packs and see that shiny border... you really want it to be a nice, big Pokemon EX. There are a few good Items in the set, if you pull 1 Hypnotoxic Laser you'll surely want to play it twice! If you don't open a lots of Items though, it will often be a dead card which is quite likely considering the lowest rarity for Items in this set is Uncommon.
Unlimited 150.
  You thought this card was good in Modified? That's nothing compared to how good it is in U150. Recycling is the name of the game in this format, when you can only have 1 of a card it pays to be able to reuse it! This is a format where Marley's Request, previously almost unused is a staple for reusing cards. And just check out the cards available to recycle: Energy Removal, Super Energy Removal, Gust of Wind, Hypnotoxic Laser. Just when your opponent thinks you've crippled their Pokemon as much as you can with Trainer cards, out comes the Dowsing Machine. The choice of Ace Spec between Computer Search and Dowsing Machine is a bit more complicated here, being able to find any 1 card in a 100 card deck clearly has its advantages. It will often come down to deck style, do you need to set up combos, find several Stage 2 Pokemon or get awkward-to-find cards like Stadiums? Computer Search is probably the right choice here. But if your deck wants to make the most of the horribly disruptive Items available then Dowsing Machine is the way to go. Even though it's effectively Item Finder #3 it is often preferable to having Computer Search #2.
  Always fighting for supremacy with Computer Search Ace Spec, these 2 cards are certain staples of the format.
Modified: 4.5
Limited: 2
Unlimited 150: 5!

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