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Yu Yu Hakusho
Harry Potter
Vs. System

Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day



Heavy Ball

- BREAKthrough

Date Reviewed:
December 2, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2.5
Expanded: 2.7
Limited: 3.9

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

Back to the main COTD Page


Hey, I remember this card! I actually ran it in my builds with Blastoise and Groudon-EX from Dark Explorers once upon a time! Ahhh, memories......I'm really not competitive with this game. 

Anywho, Heavy Ball is a useful card in some decks and...well, unused in others. The ones that do use it, of course, want it because of what it does: retrieves a Pokemon with a Retreat Cost of 3 or higher. This was useful in ye olden days with stuff like, again, Blastoise, retrieving it quickly and going straight into Rare Candy to play out your Energy-laden hand. Nowadays, there are a few new Pokemon that can make use of it. 

The first couple of suspects I think of would be Primal Kyogre-EX or M Tyranitar-EX, since both of them are very bulky in their Retreat Costs. Primal Groudon-EX is another great example of a huge Pokemon that can benefit from a little Heavy Ball action, but then there's also M Ampharos-EX or Machamp-EX! Sure, stuff like M Rayquaza-EX and M Sceptile-EX can't make use of it, but then again, they're not why Heavy Ball's here, are they? 

Okay, so a lot of Megas can take advantage of Heavy Ball, but you could just as easily run Hoopa-EX and retrieve them with ease! We're looking for other examples too, right? How about Magnezone from BREAKThrough? He's got a Retreat Cost of 3! And we can't forget about the ever-present Regice, can we? All we needed was a way of getting him out faster so we could put up Resistance Blizzard even quicker than before!  

I suppose one downside to Heavy Ball is that it can't locate BREAK Pokemon - no searching for Zoroark BREAK or Florges BREAK here, since the cards themselves don't have a Retreat Cost, inheriting their own from their previous evolution. Not that that's really going to have much of an impact as of yet, I would say. Other than that, Heavy Ball's really a niche card for a niche purpose, and hey, it can get to more targets than Hoopa-EX. 

...not that that should stop you from running Hoopa-EX in an EX-heavy build. 


Standard: 3/5 (some good cards have come out to work with this nifty Item!) 

Expanded: 3.5/5 (hey, it was good before, it's still good now...in some decks) 

Limited: 3/5 (there are only a handful of Pokemon that can make use of it here, in which case if you get one, I suppose you could run it, but otherwise it doesn't seem so great here) 

Arora Notealus: I think I've had commentary before about potentially throwing in other balls that haven't been translated into cards...prolly on Dive Ball or something like that. In any case, it'd still be really cool, though I doubt people are gonna be all up in arms that Heavy Ball got a reprint rather than a whole new card making it on the scene. 

Weekend Thought: Which of the Trainers from this week works best in your deck? You gonna be running a full play set of any, or just stick with one-offs at best? There might be some potential with a few of them, though I can't speak for every one of them.


Four final subject this week does not deviate: Heavy Ball (BW: Next Destinies 88/99; XY: BREAKthrough 140/162) is returns another Item to Standard play that was still available in Expanded.  As a Trainer you can snag Heavy Ball with cards like Skyla and Trainer’s Mail, with the anti-Trainer cards being rather lackluster like Venomoth (XY: Phantom Forces 2/119) and its “Dizzying Wind” attack.  Things aren’t quite as rosy for Items; there are still plenty of cards that combo well with them like Korrina and Sableye (BW: Dark Explorers 62/108) but there are also a lot of cards that can completely prevent them from being played, like Seismitoad-EX via its “Quaking Punch” attack, Trevenant (XY 55/146) through its “Forest’s Curse” Ability while Active and Vileplume (XY: Ancient Origins 3/98) so long as it is in play at all thanks to its “Irritating Pollen” Ability. 

When it comes to Item based Pokémon search, it is hard to beat Ultra Ball; getting any one Pokémon from your deck is often worth the seemingly steep cost of discarding two from your hand… plus in addition to decks that have Pokémon they want in the discard pile (like Night March), in many cases you are just tossing cards that would have been discarded anyway by Professor Juniper or Professor Sycamore, or that you needed to discard to improve your draw off of Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108, 106/108), or rather its “Setup” Ability.  Heavy Ball takes an approach similar to Level Ball; instead of having to pay a cost from hand to be allowed to fetch a Pokémon from your deck, it simply restricts what you can grab.  Level Ball does this by restricting you to targets that have 90 HP or less, and we were pretty happy when it was reprinted in XY: Ancient Origins because while it wouldn’t replace Ultra Ball in most cases, there were enough niche uses to make it a welcome addition to the card pool.  Heavy Ball doesn’t worry about HP but instead looks at Retreat Cost: if the Retreat Cost if [CCC] or higher it is a legal target for Heavy Ball.  So is this better, worse or about the same as Level Ball? 

Though still a welcome addition to the card pool, it is unfortunately not as useful as Level Ball (and no where near as useful as Ultra Ball).  It all boils down to what it can target, and Level Ball just has many more options.  Most Evolving Basic and Stage 1 cards (as well as non-Evolving examples of each) had less than 90 HP, and this was backed up by several key cards, often run as just singles, that a typical deck had reason to consider: Exeggcute (BW: Plasma Freeze 4/116; BW: Plasma Blast 102/101), Jirachi-EX, Mr. Mime (BW: Plasma Freeze 47/116), Unown (XY: Ancient Origins 30/98), etc.  The two of these together added a lot to decks, with Jirachi-EX especially as it allows any copy of Level Ball (or Ultra Ball) to indirectly snag a Supporter.  Heavy Ball doesn’t have any exceptional, generic targets of note, and while Heavy Ball can sometimes snag any member of an Evolution line, this tends to be rare: lower Stages usually have a lower Retreat Cost, sometimes Evolutions oddly have the lower cost and in either case, plenty of Evolution lines contain nothing with a high enough Retreat Cost. 

In both Standard and Expanded, there are a few decks that ought to at least consider Heavy Ball; those that aren’t already built to accommodate Ultra Ball and where Heavy Ball easily snags something important or several somethings that are at least somewhat important.  Most of the time though Ultra Ball is just the better deal.  As such the place this can really shine is in Limited play… so long as you have something with a high enough Retreat Cost in your deck.  This set actually has a decent number of chunky Pokémon and while many of them won’t thrill you in a constructed format, in Limited most of the are at least average with some looking quite good! 


Standard: 2/5 

Expanded: 2.1/5 

Limited: 4.75/5 

Summary: Talk about ending the week on a heavy note, but in the end I am still glad Heavy Ball returned.  As the score indicates it isn’t hopeless and without all those generic, useful cards I mentioned for it, Level Ball would be similarly rated.  Even just one Pokémon with a Retreat Cost of [CCC] and useful to many decks would greatly elevate Heavy Ball, and as is it should still prove useful in some very niche decks.

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