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Yu Yu Hakusho
Harry Potter
Vs. System

Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


 Reversal Trigger  

- Plasma Blast

Date Reviewed:
September 10, 2013

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 2.00
Limited: 4.25

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

Reversal Trigger 

In amongst all the dedicated Plasma-hate in the new set, there is a card intended to give the archetype a bit of a boost: Reversal Trigger. 

This is a Pokémon Tool that works only with Plasma Pokémon: when the Pokémon it is attached to is Knocked Out by damage from an opponent’s attack, you can search your deck for a card. 

Obviously getting any one card you want is useful in and of itself, but is it really useful enough to justify inclusion in a deck? Most players would rather have a Silver Bangle on their Kyurem and Absol for extra damage, and Float Stones to give their Deoxys-EX free retreat. The only Pokémon you would prioritise putting this on would be Thundurus-EX under most circumstances. Reversal Trigger can be discarded with Tool Scrapper and played around by taking KO’s with Status Conditions too, which only adds to the reasons not to play it. 

Like most of the ‘get a bonus for being KO’d’ cards in Pokémon history (Lucky Egg, Manaphy PLS, Jirachi RR), Reversal Trigger just doesn’t seem to be quite worth the deckspace. 


Modifies: 2 (we have loads of brilliant Tools at the moment – this isn’t one of them)

Limited: 4.5 (if you run any Plasma Pokémon, you’ll definitely want this card attached to them) 


Today we look at Reversal Trigger (BW: Plasma Blast 86/101); whether good or bad I’ve always preferred prioritizing the review of Trainers because they usually can work in any deck (though not always well).  That isn’t the case this time.  I’ll also be eschewing my usual card breakdown (or at least its formal formatting) because I think I need to tweak it again as it is slowing me down and artificially lengthening the review, instead of allowing me to concisely and precisely target each feature. 

So Reversal Trigger can’t be just a “regular Trainer” because such a category doesn’t exist anymore; it is an Item and specifically a Pokémon Tool.  As such there are many cards that can affect it for better or worse; anything that affects Trainers in general (such as Skyla), anything that affects Items (Sableye, BW: Dark Explorers 62/108), and anything that specifically targets Pokémon Tools (Tool Scrapper).  I just named the big three but there are of course many more that just haven’t proven as competitive. 

Pokémon isn’t a game of perfect balance, but it succeeds better than some because I can’t cite a particular branch of cards as being the “most” important.  You lose the game without having a Pokémon in play and they are the primary mechanism for achieving win conditions, but without Energy to fuel their attacks they are just punching bags and without Trainers to aid in set-up and supply some tricks are only slightly less helpless.  Trainer-Items lack the raw-but-focused-power of Supporters but aren’t restricted to usage on your turn, while they also tend to have stronger effects than Stadium cards and aren’t accessible to your opponent but won’t of course are “one and done”. 

Pokémon Tools add one more level of consideration; they require a Pokémon in play to be attached to in order to have any effect.  Outside of Sigilyph (BW: Plasma Blast 41/101) a Pokémon may only have a single Pokémon Tool attached to them, leading them to behave a bit more like Supporters.  Pokémon Tools also remain in play until their effect says to discard them, the Pokémon they are attached to is removed from the field (usually by being KOed), or another card effect specifically acts upon them.  They often can have an effect that is applied constantly (making them behave a bit more like one-Pokémon-Stadiums) but Reversal Trigger (appropriately enough) is of the variety with a “triggered”, one-and-done effect. 

With all of that set-up out of the way, I can finally address Reversal Trigger itself; I apologize for the delay but I keep seeing new cards being championed “because they do X” without explanation of how to avert their “Y” costs, so I felt the need to lay down the underlying mechanics so you can more accurately compute whether or not you are getting what you pay for. 

Reversal Trigger is a Team Plasma card, giving them a second Pokémon Tool.  The first was Team Plasma Badge, which would be pretty pointless to equip to a Team Plasma Pokémon, so a second one is definitely justified.  Reversal Trigger will be able to tap some of the Team Plasma support; most of it is for Pokémon but a few apply to any Team Plasma card or at least target Trainers.  None of the direct Team Plasma counter-cards target Trainers, so all in all it is a good deal. 

Reversal Trigger only works for Team Plasma Pokémon as per its own effect.  Said effect is that when the Pokémon it is attached to is KOed via damage from the attack of an opponent’s Pokémon, you get to search your deck for the card of your choice and add it to hand.  In isolation that effect is marvelous, so hopefully you can appreciate why I had to go into so much detail because the card itself is very poorly designed, given the metagame. 

We just got a new, mass-Pokémon-Tool discard option from Chatot (BW: Plasma Blast 77/101), which ended up being our 11th most Promising Pick of Plasma Blast (click here for the CotD) and even if it hadn’t, Tool Scrapper still discards up to two Pokémon Tools in one shot.  There is a definite advantage for Pokémon Tools that aren’t “passive”, which benefit you on the turn you play them, like Silver Bangle – attach and enjoy +30 points of damage attacking a Pokémon-EX before your opponent gets a chance to discard it or KO the Pokémon to which it is attached. 

Not only could Reversal Trigger not go off until you didn’t really need a card from your deck (including after you’ve already lost the game), not only does it allow time to discard it before it can trigger, but it is very specific about what triggers.  This card really needed to trigger anytime it hit the discard pile after being attached to one of your Team Plasma Pokémon, because attacks that don’t KO the opponent through damage (so via effects, including Special Conditions), Abilities that can KO the Defending Pokémon (rare, but there are a few), and of course Trainers that can KO a Pokémon (extremely rare, but Hypnotoxic Laser is still well known).  This is before we get to the really obscure tricks, like attacks that send a Pokémon back to the hand or deck! 

All this before we compare it to other Pokémon Tools; the competition here is fierce because a card has to be worth using in light of things like Tool Scrapper or space that could be used for other cards, and older cards that were near staples like Eviolite are now just seen on occasion.  We just received Silver Bangle and Silver Mirror, two Pokémon Tools that explicitly counter popular, heavily used mechanics, plus there is Float Stone, which has also proven quite useful and seen heavy play.  Reversal Trigger just doesn’t stack up. 


Unlimited: Better options. 1/5 

Modified: Better options. 2/5 

Limited: A good pull here unless you are running very few Team Plasma Pokémon, and even then there is an exception: if you are running very few Pokémon but most/all are Team Plasma, it again becomes a great pull.  Yes, some of the Pokémon-EX this set are Team Plasma affiliated, so even in some “+39” builds. 4/5 


Reversal Trigger reminds us that a card can lack discard costs, coin flips, etc. and still be unreliable.  By running it, you’re including a form of search that only triggers if your opponent KOs your Pokémon “plainly” (with damage from an attack).  That may be the most common way of KOing something, but it isn’t by enough of a margin to be reliable, especially after factoring in tricks to discard Pokémon Tools.  Unrestricted search for a single card is good, but not better than the other options provided by popular Pokémon Tools. 

I actually rated this card as the seventh most Promising Pick of Plasma Blast on my personal list, and you can bet I’ve got buyer’s remorse… but it probably would still make a newer list.  That is because it is bad due to competition from even better Pokémon Tools and fact that the metagame is such that bypassing the effect is easy; disregarding the lack of Team Plasma Pokémon (since they didn’t exist until recently) this card would have been much more promising in various past formats (just assume it was re-worked for the appropriate generation’s “Team”).  A lot of cards that made the list fall into this category – not bad but badly outclassed.

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