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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Top 15 Ancient Origin Cards

#10 - Ace Trainer

- Ancient Origins

Date Reviewed:
August 31, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.55
Expanded: 3.13
Limited: 4.60

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being horrible.  3 ... average.  5 is awesome.

Back to the main COTD Page


ACE TRAINER!! Or as I like to call it, N2!! 

...well, sort of. 

Welcome to our Top 10 list for Ancient Origins! Although I guess technically it's a Top 15, but hey, who can blame us? We've had a great number of cards to work with from this set! And here today we take a look at Ace Trainer! 

Now the Ace Trainer is not necessarily the greatest card, but it does emulate a rather popular one: N. Indeed, it's got very similar properties; like N, it shuffles both player's hands back into their decks and lets them draw new cards. And it's a Supporter! But that's about where the similarities end. See, there's a couple of key notes about Ace Trainer that will make it work very differently from N, and they're pretty obvious once you look at the card. 

Unlike N's Prize-based draw, Ace Trainer sets it to be very clearly in your favor: no matter what the Prize count is, you will draw 6 cards, and your opponent will only draw 3. Well, the Prize count really wouldn't matter, except there's another piece of text on Ace Trainer that dictates that you can only play it when you have more Prizes left than your opponent. So technically, you're losing the match already when you play this card, and if you're winning the match, it's a dead card. 

That's where N holds the advantage over Ace Trainer, as it utilizes greater flexibility and more strategic-operating. If you're playing Expanded then, go with N, but if you're hanging around Standard, Ace Trainer's not a bad option to consider adding, just as long as you're aware of the price it holds. 


Standard: 3.5/5 (a weaker N substitute in a N-less environment) 

Expanded: 2/5 (VASTLY inferior to N, so don't bother with it if you can here)

Limited: 4.5/5 (hey, if you're behind, this can really shake things up for your opponent) 

Arora Notealus: Ace Trainers are always perceived differently from other Trainer classes, even back when they were Cooltrainers in RBY. Most Trainers had a "theme" going about them, but Ace Trainers tended to have more solid builds for their team, more strategy involved. Sure, they were still usually no match for your team of big strong Pokemon, but hey, some might have put up a decent challenge, right? 


Next Time: Down came the rain, and two sets later...


We begin this week by cracking the Top 10!  Echoing what I’ve been trying to make clear most of last week, the collective Top 10 was a lot closer than usual which is why we went with a Top 15.  Not only have their been many ties, but the way in which we compile the list results in “points” being awarded to the cards (not to be confused with the actual CotD scores) and 16th place not only tied with 15th place, but was just two points lower than today’s CotD due to 14th through 12th place being a three-way tie.  Interestingly, 10th place actually accumulated 10 points and that card is… Ace Trainer (XY: Ancient Origins 69/98).  For those unfamiliar with the video games, this is one of the “classes” that NPCs Trainers you battle will fall under. 

No surprise; as a “character” Ace Trainer translates to the TCG as a Supporter with an effect that states it can only be played while you have more Prize cards remaining than your opponent.  When you can use it though, it forces both players to shuffle their hand into their respective deck; you get to draw six new cards while your opponent only gets to draw three.  Right off the bat it is important to remember that barring the few cards that can cause a player to add Prizes to the field or most forms of Limited play (as they use four Prize cards to start, not six), there are only 36 possible Prize match-ups.  Of those, only 15 (so 41.7% rounded to the nearest tenth) of those will allow you to actually use Ace Trainer.  The slight upside is that should go for your opponent as well if they are using a card like Sableye (XY: Ancient Origins 44/98), based on an older ruling involving a Pokémon effect copying a Supporter’s effect: 

Q. When using Smeargle's "Portrait" Poke-POWER, can I choose a Supporter that will have no effect?

A. You cannot pick a supporter you couldn't normally use; for example you can't choose "Twins" unless you are behind on prizes at that time, nor Aaron's Collection if you don't have anything in your Discard Pile. You would have to choose a different Supporter if one is available. (Dec 9, 2010 PUI Rules Team) 

Just because it is situational doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it, though.  To determine that we need to consider more: after all there are already decks that are good at “giving up” a KO in order to use Teammates, sometimes multiple times during a single game.  As such, the same approach could be used for Ace Trainer; VS Seeker means you could even access the effect multiple times off of a single copy.  Is the effect worth it?  Teammates snags the exact two cards you want from your deck; Ace Trainer instead provides you with a specific, usually favorable N outcome.  While Teammates can technically “whiff” because one or both of the cards you desire are Prized (or you simply lack anything you really needed to search out), draw power can always whiff on getting you what you need as well while forcing the opponent to shuffle and draw X cards always carries the risk of improving his or her hand. 

N (unless reprinted) has left the format… well technically not until tomorrow but Ace Trainer doesn’t officially join said format until then.  A lot of us are looking for a replacement to N and when it was first revealed, Ace Trainer looked like a serious contender.  Now?  Not so much.  Right now the PTCGO has an “artificial” format as Standard allows XY: Ancient Origins but also still goes back to BW: Boundaries Crossed; I’ve run into a lot of people playing Ace Trainer either because they need to or because they have to and it hasn’t really impressed.  At the same time, I finally started testing some decks build with the impending rotation in mind and I found that I really, really missed N.  No, I have not changed my mind on N: it is still a card I don’t want in the format and I hope reports that it will be getting a reprint are wrong even though the Skyla reprint was confirmed.  This is where we get the difference between what I believe is good for the game and what will win you the game, though in this case the latter is more “successful habits that used to help win the game”.  Until I get used to not having N, a single copy of Ace Trainer might be a necessity, though perhaps Teammates and a Red Card would make more sense when I need an answer for an opponent with a game-winning-combo in hand. 

So yes, at least for the short term your general deck building should include a copy for Standard and Expanded, but definitely do not run it in multiples unless the deck specifically calls for it.  There are cards that allow you to KO them for a beneficial effect, as well as strategies that don’t even take Prizes to win.  I do not have any current, successful examples that can afford shuffling an opponent’s hand into his or her deck (that defeats the purpose of something like a Wailord-EX stall/mill deck), but something may arise, especially in Expanded where there are more options.  Shiftry (BW: Next Destinies 72/99) First Turn Win decks may take over this format, in which case Ace Trainer would be useless (like nearly all cards in the card pool at that point).  If it doesn’t then the larger card pool should provide more options.   In Limited play only six of the 16 (or 37.5% of) potential Prize combinations will allow you to use Ace Trainer, which would normally suggest it a bad idea to run but draw power is at a premium here; I would only avoid it in a +39 build.  The reason is simple; you can’t use it in a deck that runs a lone Basic Pokémon as your opponent will win if they ever take a Prize and thus you will always be tied or ahead of them in the Prize count. 


Standard: 3.25/5 

Expanded: 3.5/5 

Limited: 4.8/5 

Summary: This Ace Trainer Card of the Day required a lot of rewrites on my part largely because I keep changing my mind.  Ace Trainer wasn’t even close to making my own list and just based on the math (well, what little I did) I thought it was a terrible card, far too often useless.  Since then I’ve had more time to see it in action and it has failed quite a bit; most of us are used to bouncing back from N, which can be much worse late game.  Not all the time, though and in light of being used to having N for the disruption as well as the draw, a single copy might be a must… at least for a little while.  So with a hypothetical good specific deck performance and a solid general performance (at least for the immediate future), it gets a decent score.

Emma Starr

            Ace Trainer can be a really sneaky addition to our Draw Supporters, and offers some benefits to using it instead of its many substitutes, but along with being bundled with a couple disadvantages.

            What helps separate it from cards like N or Colress? Well, you get a much greater degree of stability, since you know you will always be getting 6 cards from it. With N, if you don’t draw him early in the game, you will probably be drawing less than 6 cards, and if you are currently losing, N certainly won’t help, as he may actually end up helping your opponent more than he would you, if your opponent has a small hand. Colress is obviously dictated by the number of benched Pokemon in play, so if it’s early in the game, and you feel comfortable with having only one Pokemon in play on your side, so you don’ have to deal with getting Lysandre’d (or if it’s just early in the game in general), Colress won’t be much help either. With Syciper, you can draw 1 card more, but you still have to discard your hand, which could be bothersome in some cases. Professor Birch's Observations also can get you 1 more card, but is too luck-based to use reliably. So, are the Ace Trainers perfect without a hitch? Well, not really, as they can only even be activated if you’re losing, by having more Prizes left than your opponent. If you can’t activate them, they just end up being deadweight in your hand/deck. Of course, your opponent gets to draw 3 cards as well, but since they must shuffle their hand into their deck as well, the Ace Trainers have officially reached N levels of disruption! And no matter what, you’ll still have a 3-card advantage. 

            Modified: 3.9/5 (One of the best all-around Draw Supporters, but beware that you can only use it if you’re losing, not if you’re winning, or even tied.)

            Expanded: 3.9/5

            Limited: 4.5/5 (Draw Support = god tier)

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