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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day



Target Whistle

- Phantom Forces

Date Reviewed:
Dec. 3, 2014

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.25
Expanded: 2.17
Limited: 2.00

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

Baby Mario
2010 UK National

Target Whistle
One of my all time favourite decks was Dusknoir/Lumineon. You used Lumineon SF for its Fin Luster Power to pull a Pokémon from your opponent’s hand, and then shuffled away threats with Dusknoir DP and spread damage around like mad with Dusknoir SF and the LV X. It was crazy good and they just don’t seem to make fun decks like that any more (or at least if they do, they aren’t remotely viable).
The reason I bring it up is partly because I love remembering it, and partly because Target Whistle has a similar effect to Lumineon, only this Item puts Pokémon from your opponent’s discard pile on to the Bench. Obviously, this is not as helpful to an opponent as it seems (otherwise, why would anyone play it?). There aren’t any spectacular Dusknoir-esque combos for Target Whistle, but you could use it with a Lysandre to take a further two Prizes from a discarded Jirachi EX (or other easy target), or you could seriously annoy a Bronzong PHF deck by filling their Bench with big Energy intensive EX Pokémon and deny them the space for the Bronzongs that would power them up.
Of course, all this is pretty dependant on your opponent using those cards and them ending up in the discard pile. If that doesn’t happen, Target Whistle is useless. Whatever happens, I can’t see it ever being worthwhile against a lot of decks and unless we do get a much better combo for it, Target Whistle doesn’t really have enough utility to see widespread play.
Modified: 2.25 (could annoy people with Jirachi in their deck, but is that
Expanded: 2.25 (still a combo piece in search of a combo)
Limited: 1.25 (Can’t imagine it would ever hurt an opponent here)

And now we take a look at a card that...wait a sec, is this supposed to be a good thing? No wonder Team Flare went down so quickly, they'd been using stuff like this! Welcome back, today's card is Target Whistle, which might just be one of the worst cards ever made.
So what does it do? It takes a Basic Pokemon from your opponent's discard pile and puts it on their Bench. Now I know what you're thinking: "Why would I want to do that?" I think the premise of the card is to take something like a Froakie or a Trubbish or a Pumpkaboo, for example, and situate on the Bench to make for an easy Bench-KO through some effect of sorts. I can imagine using this in combination with Dusknoir's Sinister Hand Ability to grab an easy Prize.
But there's a problem: decks these days tend to have Basic Pokemon with larger HP, and some of the biggest targets you'll find are the Pokemon-EX with as much as 180 HP! Sure, it'd be worth it to KO an EX like that, but if you're thinking of using it with Dusknoir, there's a few problems that come to mind. For starters, you probably will have to have already KO'd the EX to begin with, cause chances are your opponent isn't going to be willingly sending those guys to their discard pile. Then you have to have enough damage already available on the field in order to shift it around onto the "revived" Pokemon, which having 170-180 on the board isn't so easy when you have to spread it around. And on top of all of that, you're basically using up a lot of that damage to take out a Pokemon that you brought back yourself, which in most cases could mean you won't be KO'ing your opponent's Active Pokemon-EX unless you didn't have to take so much off of it.
Never mind how situational, high-risk high-reward this type of strategy is (after all, if you're lucky, you can net anywhere between 2-4 Prizes in a single turn). Just examining the fact that part of the set-up requires you to bring back an opposing Pokemon is a good sign that this strategy shouldn't be used competitively. If this were Yugioh in which there are some scenarios where you'd want to bring back your opponent's monster to benefit off of destroying it in one hit for, I'd understand that, but Pokemon here has something called Hit Points that make it less "one hit and it's gone" and more "several hits and it's gone". Even some of the smaller Basic Pokemon that decks these days run like Landrous have around 100-130 HP, so unless you're snagging a small Basic to immediately KO in some form or another, Target Whistle is NOT a card to use.
Maybe it's good for filling up the Bench, but that's about the most open-minded I can be with this card, and trust me there's many other Items that are far better for your deck.
Standard: 1.5/5 (an extra half-point if only for Dusknoir, but please, don't waste your time)
Expanded: 1/5 (too many good Items to waste a slot on this card)
Limited: 1/5 (Battle Compressor, Enhanced Hammer, VS Seeker, Robo Substitute, Head Ringer, Jamming Net - in a set with Items like this, why would you use this?)
Arora Notealus: I wonder how exactly this whistle "revives" Pokemon. I mean, technically a Pokemon in the discard pile is usually there cause they've been KO'd, so apparently this whistle can bring them back somehow. Now if this Whistle could only bring said Pokemon to YOUR Bench, this whole scenario would be different! Still situational, but different.
Next Time: Speaking of situational cards...


Today we look at Target Whistle, a very interesting Item that allows you to select a Basic Pokémon in your opponent’s discard pile and put it onto his or her Bench.  This is a very valuable effect but suffers because of how crowded decks are and the fact that unless your opponent has something they really don’t want back or you can successful KO the target that same turn, you’re actually helping them out.  Still I call it “valuable” because we have a format with an amazing offensive capacity in most decks, small-but-important Pokémon that make for relatively easy OHKOs and the most strategic but perhaps hardest to implement, decks that require a fairly specific set-up (whether its a static set-up across all matches or a dynamic set-up that tries to tailor itself to what it is facing). 

If you are already running a very aggressive deck, this is quite tempting to work in.  Maxing it out is probably overkill, but two or three copies in a deck that can easily deal 90 points of damage to a Pokémon-EX makes Jirachi-EX one of the worst plays ever… of course there is no guarantee of there being a Jirachi-EX.  Exeggcute is another card that its player doesn’t want being recycled, and in this case the KO is optional: leave it in play as long as it is safe to deny your opponent self-recycling discard fodder and then take a final, easy Prize if you need it (30 HP is low enough for many forms of spread damage to take down).  Even a Mewtwo-EX can be a boon if you’ve got Lysandre (and your Supporter for the turn) handy and your own Mewtwo-EX with a Double Colorless Energy and Muscle Band ready to go. 

The current format is very heavy on discarding cards thanks to the likes of Professor Juniper, Professor Sycamore and Ultra Ball; if your opponent has something they won’t want Benched via Target Whistle, it can be hard to keep it out of the discard pile (plus if they run something like Bicycle, clutter in the hand is a pain).  If they run nothing you would want to revive for your opponent, Target Whistle becomes a dead card cluttering your own hand.  Most decks can score a OHKO on something small or with the correct Weakness easily, and also pack at least one Lysandre and a few VS Seeker and/or can score solid Bench hits and/or manipulate damage counters etc. so in general, this card is useful but not great.  At best, a “61st” card you wish you had room for but don’t… along with (another?) Enhanced Hammer, a Crushing Hammer, Pokémon Catcher etc.  Now, what happens if we get specific?  Extremely aggressive decks might find the risk worth it; after all in Pokémon the best defense is a good offensive and if you’re able to easily OHKO something Turn 2 or 3, there is a much better chance your opponent can’t score a retaliatory KO and you can take down that same target again with no additional effort beyond the Target Whistle and (unless its something you can OHKO on the Bench) a Lysandre. 

When you really start looking, you remember specialty attackers like Espeon [Plasma]; its second attack does 40 to one of your opponent’s Pokémon (Active or Benched, its your choice) but has the unusual feature of applying Weakness and Resistance for Benched Pokémon.  Trubbish are pretty common right now and all are within OHKO range.  Eevee (XY: Furious Fists 80/111) makes it easy to speed out an Espeon and giving up a single Prize for a single Prize is good or bad depending on how well you’re doing it.  Here the issue is what happens if they don’t have something Espeon [Plasma] can OHKO: perhaps you can use some of the other Eeveelutions to still create a viable deck, perhaps not.  Hand control decks might have another piece of the combo(s) they need to become viable in a game where a single Supporter can grant a fresh seven card hand: if you can actually discard cards from the opponent’s hand or deck, you can improve your options for Target Whistle.  As you can tell, these are pretty vague ideas; I don’t know of any specific and if you’re wondering yes at the time of writing I still haven’t heard much about this first weekend of Cities (to the point I am wondering if I got the dates wrong). 


Standard: 3/5 - Composite score: this isn’t a bad card and its in a format where most decks can use it assuming it would be of use in a particular match-up.  The risk of there being no target worth reviving and the amount of competition is significant but not overwhelming.  In decks that can use it well, it is purely about whether you have the room for it.  This means for everyone that you probably won’t build your deck to counter it but you will need to allow for it in mental calculations. 

Expanded: 3.25/5 - Tynamo are tiny.  The popularity of Eelektrik (BW: Noble Victories 40/101) backed decks is significant and the best such decks can do is a 40 HP Tynamo.  Not quite small enough for common bonus Bench hits to OHKO but for decks more dedicated to Bench obliteration, its a fairly sweet target.  It isn’t alone either, but seemed the best example and that’s worth a bonus. 

Limited: 3.75/5 - In Limited, your own deck usually has plenty of room for specialist Trainers, so Target Whistle is no exception: run it whatever deck you build, excluding scenarios where you are far too fortunate in your pulls that it gets crowded out.  Tempering this (and lowering the score) is how your opponent might just need a warm body to sacrifice for something useful on the Bench, and how much harder it is to tell the filler from the focus. 

Summary: Target Whistle is an interesting trick that can enable game winning plays in the right circumstances… unfortunately careless play can make it a game winner for your opponent and not just you.  Like many recent cards, it seems like it is late to the party; past formats (both relatively recent and far back) would have done some amazing things with Target Whistle, but right now it feels like yet another killer play your average beatdown decks wants to run but can’t justify the space to include.  I say get a play-set just in case, and even if it seems like no one is running it, don’t forget it when trying to anticipate an opponent: this is the kind of card that seems stronger the less people pay attention to it.

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