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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Top 10 Cards of 2015

#6 - Twofer - Archie’s Ace in the Hole & Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick

- Primal Clash

Date Reviewed:
December 18, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary


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

Back to the main COTD Page


I know, I know, another twofer on another Top 10 list, but considering that both of these guys are functionally the same, I think you can let it slide. 

...I mean, we don't have to, we already did. 

So Archie's and Maxie's, as I'm just gonna call them for the review and for simplicity's sake, are effectively the same card, just for different decks. Both of them need to be the last card in your hand to be played, both bring back a Pokemon from the discard pile, and both let you draw 5 cards. Really, the only difference is that Archie works on Water Pokemon, and Maxie works on Fighting Pokemon. 

Now both cards have a slew of their own Pokemon to play with. Archie's proved to be popular for getting out Evolutions like Empoleon and Blastoise with ease, though he could also be used to get out the mighty Primal Kyogre-EX with ease! Maxie's could similarly draw out Primal Groudon-EX, albeit to less effect, but he could even grab onto stuff like Machamp or even Archeops in Expanded! 

There's a certain sense of creativity with these cards - they're not just "catch-up" cards that work to mitigate the uphill battle of fighting off the opponent's Pokemon, they can easily be taken advantage of to benefit more off of! I mean, how many other cards can bring out an Evolution without playing it on some other Base form? There aren't many, but then how many of THOSE cards also let you DRAW MORE cards?! They're nuts! 

And that's why they've ended up as our #6 spot! 


Standard: 4/5 (really powerful cards when used in the right manner, providing support for a deck that needs it to comeback and an already ridiculously powerful deck)
Expanded: 4/5 (they'll see just as much play here as they would in Standard I'm sure)
Limited: 5/5 (running Water or Fighting? or both? PLAY THESE CARDS)
Arora Notealus: Much advantage to be gained indeed. And heck, as the card pool expands, so too do the uses for these cards... 

Weekend Thought: What cards do you think ought to have made our list so far? I'm sure there are a few that already are on-board for the next couple of weeks anyway. How about our picks so far? What do you think of those? You facing some of these on your own? I'll bet you are.
Next Time: Should I even bother hinting at this one? THIS card? I mean really, we've only deemed it "broken."


We end the week by… cheating?  Oh my! 

Kidding aside, what I mean is that we have a tie, but not because the cards each received the same amount of voting points (they didn’t) but because each card has the exact same effect except for what Pokémon-Type they target: that’s right sixth place is shared by Archie’s Ace in the Hole (XY: Primal Clash 124/160, 157/160) and Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick (XY: Primal Clash 133/160, 158/160)!  We did the same thing when we first looked at them (again, together) as our 9th place pick from XY: Primal Clash! 

Reading that original review aroramage is the one that called it, but in defense of both Baby Mario and myself, at first it looked like we had called it!  Why?  Let us review what these two cards do; both have the tricky requirement of being the last card in your hand in order to be played.  We’ve got decks that can pretty reliably pull this off now, but when they first released?  We had only just gotten Acro Bike, didn’t yet have Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108, 106/108) or Trainers’ Mail.  We also have been getting more and more useful targets for these cards, which brings us to the rest of the effect: your reward for getting your hand down to one of these is to select a Water-Type (for Archie’s Ace in the Hole) or Fighting-Type (for Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick) from your discard pile and put it directly onto your Bench. 

This isn’t a big deal when it is a Basic Pokémon but Stage doesn’t matter so long as the Pokémon is a complete card: Basic, Restored, Mega Evolutions, Stage 1 and Stage 2 are all legal targets but BREAK Evolutions as well as some older things no longer in use (like Pokémon LEGEND) don’t work because they don’t have all of the relevant information for a Pokémon on a single card.  Once you do this, you get to then draw five cards.  If you don’t have a target in the discard pile or don’t have room on your Bench, you can’t use the card which means you can’t draw any cards, either.  Also, a Pokémon played in this manner still counts as it’s printed Stage but is an “unevolved” Pokémon: Training Center (for example) still grants its HP bonus to Stage 1 and Stage 2 Pokémon played in this manner, but “Intimidating Mane” will protect Pyroar (XY: Flashfire 20/106). 

At first people used this card about how Baby Mario and I predicted; it wasn’t the main (or at least only) means of getting a particular Evolution card onto the field in a deck, but it was used to augment a more traditional method.  By the time World’s 2015 was over I had to admit it; I was wrong and Archie’s Ace in the Hole was proven as it was the only way Masters’ Division World Champion Jacob Van Wagner had to get his either of his two copies of Blastoise (BW: Boundaries Crossed 31/149; BW: Plasma Storm 137/135; BW: Plasma Blast 16/101) into play.  Even I got it right (aroramage said it plainly and probably better) that you just run one or two copies of whichever of these two Supporters your deck need and use VS Seeker if you need more than that.  What I find interesting is that, while I am often tempted to rate one over the other, I’m starting to think that is a bad idea because it keeps changing.  I originally favored Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick over Archie’s Ace in the Hole but the latter has usually been noticeably better represented, at least in Expanded.  As such, I’m just going to give them a join score because they are both amazing in all formats, even if the finer points do differ. 


Standard: 4/5 
Limited: 4/5 

Summary: Archie’s Ace in the Hole and Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick are amazing in decks built around them, with Limited being a bit awkward because while they are even more potent they are also even more difficult to pull off.  What I thought would be an occasional trick is now the basis for decks and the default method for running Stage 2 Pokémon of the appropriate Type, at least competitively. 

The first time we looked at these two cards, I missed the ball as my own personal XY: Primal Clash Top 15 list.  This time I initially had these two as the tops of my list, but that was in the first draft, then they plummeted, and in the end Archie’s Ace in the Hole was my fourth place pick but Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick just missed out as the 11th place pick (we weren’t sure if we were reviewing them together or separately at first).  On the actual Pojo Top 10 list for 2015, the combined duo managed to beat the 7th place pick by two voting points and only missed tying for fifth place by one.

Jason Klaczynski
(Three time
World Champ)

Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick (Primal Clash)

In Expanded, a Turn 1 Archeops can shut down any evolution deck before your opponent has a chance to even play a card. In Standard, you can use it to get an easy Gallade. 

Archie’s Ace in the Hole (Primal Clash)

How good is Archie’s Ace in the Hole? Good enough to be the center strategy of Jacob Van Wagner’s Masters Division World Championship winning deck. Combined with Ultra Ball, Battle Compressor, and other useful trainer cards, Archie’s Ace in the Hole allows players playing the Expanded format to get out a Turn 1 Blastoise or Empoleon, or even recover knocked out Pokémon, plus the bonus of drawing five cards.

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