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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Countdown: Top 10 Plasma Freeze Cards

#10 - Ghetsis  

- Plasma Storm

Date Reviewed:
May 13, 2013

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 3.40
Limited: 4.00

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

#10 Ghetsis 

Hello and welcome to an exciting two weeks here on Pojo’s CotD, where we will be counting down our top 10 cards from Plasma Freeze. The May set always seems to bring some powerful, format-warping cards (last year it was Darkrai and friends), and this one is no exception.  

We kick off the countdown with the most controversial card in the set: Ghetsis. I say it’s controversial for two reasons: firstly there is some argument amongst players as to whether or not it is any good, and secondly it is the first Trainer to be printed as a holo rare instead of as an uncommon (not including things like Full Art versions and ‘secret’ rares like Time-Space Distortion and the Alph Lithographs). So the Pokémon community is full of people complaining about how difficult it is to get a card that they don’t even think is worth playing anyway. Yep, the player base can be annoying at times.  

But what does the card actually do? Well, there are basically three parts to this Supporter. First off, when you play it, you get to look at your opponent’s hand. Now that’s always useful information. Not only can it tell you which deck they are playing, it will also let you know what kind of shape they are in for the next turn. Do they have the resources to pull off some aggressive moves, or are they stuck with an unplayable hand? The second part is that you get to remove any Trainer-Items from your opponent’s hand and return them to the deck. Again, in most circumstances, this is good, especially if they aren’t holding a Supporter. You can foil their attempts to destroy your set up by sending their Lasers, Ultra Balls and/or Rare Candy back to their deck and you get to draw a number of cards equal to the number of Trainers you made the opponent shuffle in. That’s the third part. 

But let’s not pretend that everything is great with Ghetsis, because it isn’t. There are times when your opponent won’t be holding a bunch of Trainers, and this means that you run the risk of not drawing very much at all. Remember that Cheren, which draws three, is not considered especially good right now, so any time Ghetisis nets you less than that, you will probably feel you could have done better. There are also circumstances under which it might actually help the opponent. Say they are holding Juniper and a bunch of Trainers they can’t use at once . . . well, then you have saved them from having to discard them next turn by helpfully putting them back in the deck. 

So . . . where do I stand on this card? Actually, I’m in the minority: I think it’s very good. No, I wouldn’t recommend it for set up decks that demand huge draw/refresh early game, but otherwise I think Ghetsis is mostly excellent. In a way it reminds me of Absol SW’s Baleful Wind in that it can really cut down on your opponent’s options in the first turn. Of course it’s less painful if they are holding a draw Supporter, but then that won’t always be the case, will it? Ghetsis can also perform well in the late game (when a lot of draw Supporters have already been played), by denying the opponent the Catcher or Laser that they need for the win, as well as providing you with invaluable information on their hand. 

There’s an element of risk to running Ghetsis which isn’t particularly desirable in a draw Supporter, but when it works it does the double job of helping you and hurting your opponent. You would have to be extremely brave to run more than a copy or two, but that could be all you need to put yourself in an incredibly strong position. If you’re sceptical, try it and see before making your mind up. 


Modified: 4 (prepare for months of people whining because they got Ghetsis’d on turn 1)

Limited: 4 (hmmm . . . you will be lucky to hit many Trainers, but it’s unlikely you will have any better Supporter to use on any given turn)


Welcome back, Pojo readers! We're starting our Top 10 countdown for Plasma Freeze this week, so be sure to check back daily to see if your favorite card from the set makes our list! We'll start things off by reviewing a Rare Trainer (something that hasn't happened much outside of ACE SPECs or shiny reprints). Today's Card of the Day (and #10 on our Plasma Freeze countdown) is Ghetsis.

Ghetsis is a Supporter, meaning that you can only play it once per turn, and when you do, you can't play any other Supporters that turn. With powerful Supporters available to us in Modified right now like Professor Juniper, N, and Colress, Ghetsis will have to do something with quite an impact. Luckily, it does: When you play Ghetsis, your opponent reveals their hand and shuffles all Item cards find there into their deck, and you draw cards equal to the number of cards shuffled back in this way. This is potentially powerful in a format where most decks are full of Trainers, but there are a few things holding it back. First of all, with the amount of shuffle and draw support in today's Modified, your opponent can easily shuffle out of a bad hand, minimizing the impact of the Team Plasma leader for disruption. Additionally, Ghetsis only shuffles ITEM cards back, keeping your opponents' Supporters and Stadiums totally happy in their hands. Finally, with average hand sizes being around five or six, you'll often only draw one or two cards, making Ghetsis a card with similar impact to Bill, or maybe Cheren if you're lucky. Now, a Cheren with an additional disruption effect definitely isn't bad, but the unreliability of not knowing how many Items your opponent will have in hand is definitely a problem.

Modified: 3/5 I think Ghetsis has potential, but only in the right kind of deck. The card would be MUCH more useful if the opponent discarded the Items or if it shuffled back all Trainers, but as those would probably be too powerful, we have a significantly weakened effect. That being said, Ghetsis has a natural role in Item-lock decks, so random Gothitelle variants (Gothitelle/Accelgor?) could easily play Ghetsis. In general, Ghetsis is a card with lots of potential if your deck is built for it, but on the same token, can't be simply thrown into any deck for maximal effect.

Limited: 5/5 Your opponent probably won't have that many Item cards here to begin with, but since you won't have many Supporters either, you should still probably run it with the hopes of getting lucky and hitting a Team Plasma Badge or something.


At last, it is that time again; the Top 10 Promising Picks of BW: Plasma Freeze!  For those that weren’t here for the last few lists like this, the choices are “promising picks” because unlike our yearly Top 10 lists, these are based on speculation or (at best) early testing (sometimes even Japanese results and rumors).


So the reviewers submitted their lists and the Pojosama compiled the results, averaging them out.  Our first candidate is one that received some hype followed by a lot of doubt, Ghetsis!  I prefer to “dissect” cards when I review them, but that doesn’t work as well for Trainers where there just isn’t as much to break down and what is there is more closely interwoven.


Ghetsis is a Trainer-Supporter with a Team Plasma affiliation, and its effect forces your opponent to reveal his or her hand to you then shuffle all revealed Items back into his or her deck.  Finally, you then must draw a number of cards equal to the number your opponent shuffled back into his or her deck.  This effect has three major components, and I believe this has made it very easy to “misclassify” this card; I consider it disruption but I find those that really don’t like it think of it as “draw power”.


The first effect is “information” based; you get to see your opponent’s hand.  This may technically be a “side effect” made necessary by the rest of the card’s effects, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t useful.  What it does mean is that it probably isn’t worth much; most “information only” cards in Pokémon are about revealing Prizes.  This kind of effect right now is worth at most an Ability slot on something that already has another reason for being played, or again as part of a larger effect.


The second effect is “disruption”; your opponent loses Items from his or her hand; it could be zero, or it could be up to 58 (through that requires unrealistic circumstances).  As you are shuffling the Items back into the deck, they are not completely gone; your opponent will giving up potential draw power as they are re-drawing those cards instead of something new as the game progresses.  If the cards in question were already sitting dead in hand, this can be quite potent, but on the other extreme there are multiple forms of draw power that are happy to have you de-clutter the hand before being used.


The third and final effect is draw power, which is equal to the amount of Items the second effect sent back to your opponent’s deck, this makes the return from this card start out pathetic, but means the unlikely “big hit” creates a huge swing in card advantage.  Now these three effects together are actually pretty good, so the question now becomes “Is this worth my Supporter for the turn?”  Right now I would say yes… but only if you have a particular combo or can make room for a single of it without taxing the rest of your deck’s space.


In the case of the former, the best candidates I can see are those decks with an auxiliary form of draw power, like Empoleon, and those that block or negate Item usage, like the new Dragonite (BW: Plasma Freeze 83/116).  Togekiss actually does both but lacks a strong offensive, or it would be the best choice.  Using combinations like these, Ghetsis is less of a problem when it fails and/or has reduced odds of failing.


The latter is probably more relevant to most players, running Ghetsis as tech.  If a deck is using Sableye (BW: Dark Explorers 62/108), and a decent chunk of decks do, you can drop Ghetsis knowing you’ll get to draw at least two cards while sending two cards your opponent valued enough to attack to reclaim back to their deck.  Considering many such decks are Item heavy, in these matches Ghetsis is likely to provide at least Cheren level draw power while also scoring disruption… or if your opponent tries to play around it, forces him or her to rethink much of his or her strategy.


It doesn’t still count as “tech” (as it isn’t really countering something specific), but that general threat to Items in hand is pretty important.  Whether it is a lucky opening Ghetsis when it does hit a good deal of Items or just at a point where you hit the one Item you really needed to or revealed you didn’t have to hold back because your opponent really did have a dead hand, Ghetsis has the capacity for some killer players.  Also important to general usage is the “threat” value and how your opponent may adjust to the risk of being hit by Ghetsis.  True, just existing creates some of this threat, but running a single copy has to make your opponent wonder… is there more in this deck?   The threat of N can lead a player to hoard search and similar Items in hand since it is much easier to draw them or the resources you wanted than just the resources you wanted… but Ghetsis makes holding onto such Items a risk as well.


Ghetsis is a Team Plasma Supporter, which I mentioned but didn’t go into detail on earlier; most of the Team Plasma support won’t help it, but the few pieces that will such as Shadow Triad do enhance its value, and I am unaware of any cards that punish Team Plasma Trainers or Supporters (though cards that punish usage of their Pokémon are already out in Japan).


Lastly, I’ve explained this cards good and bad points for Modified, but what about Unlimited and Limited?  Reversing the normal trend, it is reasonably handy in Unlimited but a poor pull for Limited.  Unlimited runs on Items, and most first turn win/lock decks that need to use Supporters have tricks to use more than one per turn, so while it probably isn’t the best play, you can use a few Erika to beef up both players hands, then Ghetsis to send most of the important stuff your opponent drew back into his or her deck while you get even more draw power.  In Limited, the main reason it isn’t useless is that you won’t likely have a different Supporter to use, and knowing your opponent’s hand is more important here as that hand is hard to change; expect to get no draw power from it.




Unlimited: 3/5


Modified: 3.25/5


Limited: 3/5



Ghetsis is another piece of combination draw/hand-disruption, with the latter really being the card’s focus as the former will rarely be potent enough to carry the card.  It isn’t anywhere near as useful as N (the poster boy for this combination), but it seems a lot more useful than Hugh.


Still, Ghetsis just missed by personal Top 10 list (clocking in at #11 of my Top 20) because this just seems like the wrong format for it; most Items can be played immediately for a return, and most decks are totally reliant upon Supporters for draw power, so despite Item counts being high in decks it is a risky play.  On paper, it looks like a single Ghetsis is worth it, but I don’t have the real world results to prove it.


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