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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day
Top 10 Plasma Storm
#8 - Bicycle
- Plasma Storm
February 8, 2013
& 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
Combos With: See Below
Our #8 card was something that we were all expecting to
appear in Boundaries Crossed, but for reasons best known
to the Pokémon Company themselves,
they decided to hold it over. Was it worth the wait?
Yes, yes it was.
Bicycle is something that we haven’t seen in the game
for ages. It
is Trainer-Item draw. Because draw is so powerful in
Pokémon (as it is in all TCGs), it has been (more or
less) exclusive to Supporters and Pokémon with Powers
for many, many years. The reason for this is that both
come with a built-in cost – you only get one Supporter
per turn, and if you go down the Powers route (as with
Uxie LA and
Claydol GE), then you need
to devote Bench space and possibly give your opponent
the chance of an easy Prize.
The difference with Items is that their use is
unrestricted: if you have them, you can play them as
much as you like during your turn (ok . . . unless your
opponent attacked with Zebstrika
NEX). As a result, you couldn’t expect Bicycle to have
the same effect as a Professor Juniper, or even a
Cheren, and it doesn’t. What
Bicycle does is let you draw cards until you have four
So . . . when is it useful? For
those situations where you have a very small hand size
of course. This can happen more often that you
would think. Burning your hand in order to get set up
quickly is one scenario (those Ultra Balls and Computer
Search come with a heavy discard cost). Another is your
opponent playing a nasty N when you have taken four or
five Prizes. In these situations, Bicycle is a fantastic
out and of course you
the option to play a Supporter as well if you happen to
draw one off of it.
Bicycle isn’t powerful enough to become a reliable
source of draw in its own right, and it’s absolutely no
substitute for proper hand management and a solid
Support line up. What Bicycle does do is allow some
less-than-conservative play when appropriate and it can
also get you out of some tricky situations if you are
the victim of hand disruption. Speed decks that burn
through their 40-odd Trainers will love it, and I can
see an acceleration deck like
Blastoise using a copy or two to re-stock the
hand after Deluge-ing a
handful of Energy. I think it will see quite a bit of
play, if only as a single copy. If you’re a
hyper-aggressive player who often over-extends, or if
you find your deck tends to leave you with a small hand
size, then this is definitely a card you should be
Modified: 3.75 (a gift to aggressive decks and players
Limited: 4.75 (it’s a draw card – you play it)
Happy midweek, Pojo readers! Today we're reviewing a new
Item card that has been widely spoken about, but has to
really have a deck built specifically around it to work.
Today's Card of the Day (and #8 on our Top 10 Countdown)
Bicycle is a Trainer - Item card, meaning that you can
play as many Bicycles during your turn as you would
like. Bicycle also has a fairly simple effect: Draw
until you have four cards in your hand. Trainer-based
draw power is something that the Pokemon TCG hasn't seen
in a very long time due to its potential game-altering
power, so it is important to prove it with some
limitations. For example, note that Bicycle can only be
used for an effect if you have fewer than four cards in
your hand, which is a somewhat uncommon situation.
Therefore, for a deck to run Bicycle effectively, it
needs to be optimized for running low hand sizes. This
goes against many common strategies in the Pokemon TCG,
where draw Supporters like N and Professor Juniper can
often give you more than four cards in hand. There are,
however, places where this card can run, such as very
fast decks that want to draw through their decks
quickly, such as donk decks. Overall, Bicycle doesn't
fit into every single deck, but will probably be quite
effective in certain niches where it will definitely be
a force to deal with.
Modified: 4/5 Item-based draw is very rare in the
Pokemon TCG, and is almost always good. I see Bicycle
being no exception to this rule, but once again, it
doesn't fit into every deck. I would test with Bicycle
extensively first before committing to the card as it
doesn't run well with N in the early game or Colress,
but it is potentially very powerful when you're in a
Limited: 5/5 Any draw power is good here, especially
Item-based draw. While Limited games tend to have larger
hand sizes, there's no reason not to run the card since
it's potentially very powerful.
Jebulous Maryland Player
Bicycle is an Item that lets you draw until you have
4 cards. This has ups and downs, so let's look at a few.
A good thing is that this is an Item, and it lets you
draw. Drawing either has taken the form of a Supporter
or an attack. So at best, you play your hand down to
Bicycle, play it, get a Bicycle and 3 playable cards,
and continue this two more times. The likelihood of that
is very low (better odds with a Blastoise on the field
or you just draw a bunch of hammers).
A bad thing is that if it's anything like Bianca, you
won't be gaining much. With Bianca you are lucky to play
your hand down to 1-2 cards (or you have to go out of
your way to do so). With Bicycle, the maximum you draw
is less, so you really will need to play down to 1-2
cards for the best draw.
Another good thing is that you can get it with Skyla,
so you can draw the turn that you play Skyla. Kind of
like giving you an out with the Skyla you get stuck
I haven't had any plans to use it right now, so I
haven't thought too much about it.
Combos With: ...
Questions, comments, concerns:
Welcome to the number eight pick for our Top 10
Promising Picks of Plasma Storm…
Plasma Storm 117/135)!
This card was originally expected by many
(including myself) in BW: Boundaries Crossed due
to when it was released in
The nature of this card doesn’t lend itself to my
current structuring of reviews, so for better or worse
I’ll be reviewing this in a more freestyle form.
Do not expect that to make the review any
is an Item, a subdivision of Trainers.
What makes it special is that it the only Item we
currently have with a “draw” effect.
lets you draw until you have four cards in hand. A
general rule of the game is you can’t play a card when
you know it has no effect, so we already know you can’t
play this card if you have four other cards in your
As you can’t play it for zero cards, the draw range is
technically one to four cards.
It isn’t a good
thing, but if you draw one card it is like you ran a 59
card deck legally.
Drawing two cards from an Item is good… that is
worked when it was first released in the Base Set
and when it was re-released in the Legendary
Collection (he wasn’t reprinted as a Supporter until
Obviously, once you hit three cards you’re getting the
kind of return you would from
a full four is even better.
Still, you have to be able to empty out your
hand, and that isn’t always easy.
sees play, but she isn’t one of the main Supporters in
most competitive decks; Supporters like
Juniper are usually run in threes or fours, while
usually run at a two count or less, including not at
all. It is
easy for a hand to be clogged by spare Pokémon, spare
Energy, and even spare Supporters or other Trainers.
There is also an older example to consider as well.
The effect of this card appeared on the “Normal”
Trainer (Items before they were called “Items”)
Mail From Bill.
Bill had different text, but the same effect (I
prefer the modern wording).
Mail From Bill widely run?
In a word, “no”, but that is oversimplifying
Mail From Bill
was released as part of
over 10 years ago. This
put it in the first two Modified formats, when a deck
with a 20-20-20 split for Pokémon, Trainers, and Energy
was pretty common, perhaps even the norm.
Getting your hand down to four cards was not easy
as the format was big on Evolutions and about as slow
paced as the TCG every has been.
Dumping cards from your hand wasn’t an easy
Today, decks are structured differently, and can run
Juniper to discard cards from the hand.
Many popular Items that can be played for
less-than-optimal effect while still nabbing a decent
Decks can run
Skyla to fetch key Trainers, as opposed to having to
rely only on big draws (that result in big hands you
probably can’t play down).
You can also use
to fake being a draw Supporter.
It can even be a handy retrieval pick for the
signature move of
Dark Explorers 62/108), Junk Hunt.
If you are trying to build a donk deck, this isn’t a
must-run card, but it is a must-try.
If your donk deck runs low on cards that aren’t
easy to play out or dump, it really is amazing when you
pull off multiple copies of
even just one before or after a Supporter.
Well, for Modified; for Unlimited,
Mail From Bill
still doesn’t see play so the same card by another name
isn’t going to, either.
In Limited, even though it can be hard to drop
your hand size, it is a must run.
had me very worried when I first saw it, but then again
that was as a translation from when it first released in
and our metagame was more different from now than I
expected it to be.
I haven’t tested this card a lot lately; most of
it was when I was expected it in BW: Boundaries
I am thinking a single copy could be good in most
decks running heavy
a few special cases here and there, but a lot of decks
can leave it.
You should probably get a full play set, though; I am
sure some deck will warrant it.
Despite the recommendation, I was surprised to
see it make the list; on my own list it clocked in at
number 12, because I submitted a Top 20 list to help
with tie breakers.
That really shouldn’t shock anyone, given my
Professor Bathurst League Australia
Promising Pick #8: Bicycle
Now here's something we haven't seen in a while: card
draw on an Item card. The last was Pokedex Handy-101
from Platinum, and before that Poke Drawer + from
Stormfront (I loved that card!), so a new tool for the
'turbo' decks is much appreciated.
For the uninitiated, a turbo deck is on that focuses
on cheap attackers backed by drawing through as much of
the deck as possible in the first few turns, typically
with the plan of using multiple damage boosters (Pluspower,
Hypnotic Laser, various old coming-into-play
Poke-powers) to rack up a series of successive KOs. This
strategy works best when paired with a single-energy
attacker that can somehow recur the boosters (the old
Shuppet PT returned itself to hand along with the
attached Pluspowers back before they were changed to
their current rules text) and when the metagame is
dominated by low HP attackers relying on cheap attacks.
If you have ever been on the receiving end of the
dreaded Sableye SF Donk deck in Unlimited (or if you
faced the Modified version at Battle Roads just after
the release of The B&W base set), you have seen exactly
how the strategy works... and how ridiculously cruel the
strategy can be.
So why am I celebrating the creation of a turbo card
now, when I've just stated it sucks the fun out of
playing for your opponents and the metagame is loaded
with high HP nightmares anyway? Because unlike the other
Items I mentioned, Bicycle can do more than simply
replace itself with another card from your deck.
The effect is to draw cards until you have 4 cards in
hand, so right away it is an awesome topdeck if your
hand is empty. Better yet, it doesn't stop you playing
any of the possible 4 cards you draw, unlike the
hand-refill Supporters around (Bianca, Colress and Hugh,
plus the usual suspects N and Professor Juniper).
Of course, this is balanced out by the low cap it
places on your hand size, because you won't want to play
it unless you are at 3 or fewer cards, something that
happens rarely thanks to the aforementioned N and
Professor Juniper. And a card you can't play very often
is not going to be included in your deck, no matter how
ridiculously powerful the effect is (just look at all of
the attempts to make a playable Charizard, only a few of
which have found any niche and none of whom were ever
the format defining terror that Poke'mon EX have
The saving grace for Bicycle is that we have several
other powerful Items that force us to discard cards from
our hand to use the effect. Computer Search, Dowsing
Machine and Ultra Ball all provide powerful effects at
the cost of a 2 card penalty, which is still a heavy
price even when mitigated by the diverse retrieval cards
we have available (Sableye DEX, Recycle, Energy
Retrieval, etc). Adding to the pain is the fact that
they are useless is drawn later when you don't have any
disposable cards in hand to throw away. Both of these
drawbacks turned into advantages by Bicycle.
Most decks in their current forms cannot take proper
advantage of Bicycle, but by migrating away from relying
on Bianca and Juniper while increasing the count of
Ultra Ball and Skyla in your decks, you can turn to
Bicycle as your primary draw engine and guarantee that
you can play whatever Supporters you happen to draw.
Best of all, if you can play out your hand, you can drop
another Bicycle in the same turn to draw cards again,
digging deeper into your deck for whatever you most need
while avoiding the pain that comes from having multiple
Junipers in hand (being unable to hit another draw card
after I discarded one or two Supporters previously has
cost me more than a few matches in recent months).
Much like Crushing Hammer and Random Receiver,
Bicycle is a powerful card if you optimise your deck to
abuse it but will feel anaemic if you simply shove it
into decks willy-nilly. 4 copies of Professor Juniper is
still the best way to ensure consistency and
availability of cards in your deck, but I can see a
future where Supporter-light decks speed up their draws
by playing a 4/2 Bicycle/Juniper split with Sableye for
backup, letting them pull ahead in the race for the
first KO. With Colress Machine, Dark Patch and other
Item based accelerators, Bicycle is sure to find a home.
Modified: 4.5 (as long as you can reliably play out
your hand and/or discard the spares, Bicycle is a vastly
superior Cheren, but you do have to work at it. As such,
I can understand Bicycle being at #7 even though I
marked it personally at #2)
Limited: 5 (if it says "draw" and "card" in the same
line of text, you play it in Limited, and Bicycle is no
Combos with: Ultra Ball, Sableye DEX