If you are reading this, I
forgot to write an introduction.
Switch is an Item, the easiest
form of Trainer to play. You’ll be
able to fetch it from the deck on a whim
with Skyla or reclaim it with Junk Hunt
via Sableye (BW: Dark Explorers 62/108).
Simple is not a bad thing; in fact here
it is definitely "good".
Switch allows you to send your
Active Pokémon to the Bench, allowing
you to promote any of your other Pokémon
to the Active slot. Again, this is
simple, but quite nice. Your
manual Retreat for the turn is
preserved, and you didn’t have to
Switch, or a card or
combination of cards resulting in a
similar effect, are often staples in
Pokémon. There are definitely
exceptions, but in general I tend to
expect a card like this in a deck.
The current format started out
bucking this; we had Skyarrow Bridge and
Basic Pokémon with already low Retreat
costs allowing many decks to get by
without Switch, though one might argue
was in some ways filling the role.
Then we got Darkrai EX (BW: Dark
Explorers 63/108, 107/108; BW Promo
BW48), and via its Dark Cloak Ability,
players began to fill this role with it.
Now we have Keldeo EX (BW:
Boundaries Crossed 49/149, 142/149), it
is seeing some use as a Switch
substitute as well, combined with
Darkrai EX and a source of (D) Energy:
attach the Energy to Keldeo EX, use its
“Rush In” Ability to force its way
Active, then Retreat with no Energy
discarded due to the effect of Dark
However, all of these
substitutes lack the simple efficiency
of Switch. The preceding combo is
three different cards, and while it can
be used over and over again, you do
still give up that manual Retreat.
Being so complex also makes it more
vulnerable to disruption; while Items
can be “blocked” by a few effects, most
decks don’t run those cards.
Abilities can be shut down (and
while not common, it is seen more than
Item blocking effects right now), but
more importantly a Crushing Hammer (or
Enhanced Hammer if the deck doesn’t run
any basic Darkness Energy) can give you
two, purposeless Pokémon-EX on your
Bench. If you only need an
aid/alternative to manual retreating
once or twice per game, Switch is
actually a better deal; thanks to Skyla
a single Switch is often easy to fetch
at the necessary time.
For Unlimited play, you might
want to work this or Warp Energy into
your deck, as both can break important
locks/soft-locks. Warp Energy
might be better, however; as an Energy
card it is even more difficult to block.
If you cannot spare your Energy
attachment, however, then Switch is
still good. There are other
options as well, like Warp Point, which
has the bonus of being a Switch combined
with a Pokémon Circulator (potentially
disrupting the opponent).
If you pull this in Limited,
you run it unless you are doing the “One
Basic Pokémon plus 39 Basic Energy”
strategy. Switch shedding effects
of attacks becomes incredibly important,
in addition to the fact manually
retreating is also often a key strategic
move: denying your opponent a Prize by
using Switch to Bench a heavy hitter
while leaving it able to come back in
for a final attack is potent.
Switch is a simple but good
card, easy to overlook. Keldeo EX
will take a bite out of how many decks
should use it, but even if you’re
relying on Darkrai EX I recommend having
one copy as a fall back on unless you
are also running Keldeo EX. The
fragility and/or space demands of such a
combo means a deck that doesn’t need to
retreat repeatedly is probably better
off with a few copies of Switch instead.