And now for the last card of the
week, it's Level Ball!
It's good. GOOD NIGHT, EVERYBODY!!
Stan-alright, alright, I'll look at
Not that there's much to say about
it - it's a reprint of itself from Next Destinies, and
it's pretty much got the same effect, just a new shiny
coat of paint. Like every Ball Item card, Level Ball
searches your deck for a Pokemon - like catching a wild
one! - before adding it to your hand. Now the developers
have made different balls that do different things and
help out different decks in different ways. Poke Ball,
Great Ball, and Ultra Ball (and Master Ball, if you run
that) are all generic support for just about any deck,
but there are a few cards like Level Ball that are
For instance, there was a time
period when Heavy Ball was in the format - snatching up
Retreat Cost heavy Pokemon (which the card figured was
3+ Energy in the Cost) and adding them to your hand.
This made things easier to grab stuff out like Blastoise,
but it wasn't as wildly versatile as Ultra Ball since it
couldn't grab lower stuff. Likewise, Dive Ball only ever
worked in decks that ran Water Pokemon since it could
only snatch up Water Pokemon from the deck - but people
found a way to use it effectively!
And now we come back to Level Ball
here, another searcher that does things in a particular
way. Its niche is picking up really low-HP Pokemon -
we're talking 90 or lower here - and putting them in
your hand. Now 90's been a magic number in the game as
the universal signature of the OHKO-2HKO range for
Pokemon, and it's only gotten easier to hit 90 as time
goes on. That said, there's a lot you can do with up to
While you can't just grab a
Pokemon-EX, you can get a lot of Evolving Pokemon - and
a lot of Evolutions in turn! In fact, there just so
happens to be a particularly good one to grab - Ariados!
Pick him up and get that Spinarak evolved quick, and
your opponent won't even remember how it felt to NOT be
Poisoned! You could also snatch up Gloom and, with
Forest of Giant Plants, instantly evolve your Oddish
right into Vileplume, setting up your Item-Lock!
Then you've got stuff like the
Eeveelutions of this set - the ones that give your
Pokemon an additional Type to take advantage - as well
as Vespiquen to access Bee Revenge a bit sooner (if you
like your Vengeance-style decks). Or maybe you just need
the Basic of whatever you're evolving into, and then
BOOM! You've got it! And that's all JUST examples from
this set, not even including stuff in Expanded!
...well, you pretty much know
what's in Expanded, Level Ball's still legal there.
In any case, this a more than
welcome reprint into the game, and I'm sure those of you
in Standard will appreciate this comeback.
...well, unless you don't want to
call it a comeback. It has been here for years.
Standard: 3/5 (again, not every
deck can make use of it, but those that can will find it
runs efficiently well - searchers are very good, after
Expanded: 3/5 (of COURSE it does
well here, gotta get my Eels somehow!)
Limited: 4/5 (better up for
grabbing those Evolvers!)
Arora Notealus: I mean, I never
really had to use a Level Ball back in Gen II, and it
wasn't a big deal after that gen since the Nest Ball did
the same thing more or less. So why the change-up? And
why has the TCG stuck with Level Ball over Nest Ball?
The questions I wonder aloud...
Weekend Thought: Okay, you've got a
LOT of time to think about this "weekend" thought, since
it's five days long, but this is something I've given a
little bit of thought to. Once upon a time, there was an
era in the Pokemon TCG that had some cards focusing on
an area called the Lost Zone, something that worked like
the banished zone in Yugioh but you couldn't really get
cards out from there. There was even a deck centered
around this alternate win condition using Gengar Prime
in conjunction with Lost World to get 6 of your
opponent's Pokemon sent into the Lost Zone.
So my question then is this: should
there be another means of "winning the game" outside of
picking up Prizes, "donking" the opponent's Pokemon
until they have none, or decking out - another alternate
win condition, if you will? What do you think it could
be? Would you want to see the Lost Zone mechanic
comeback, or was it a terribly impractical idea? Or
maybe you can think of another way to make things work
out in the TCG? Maybe it's impractical as can be - maybe
it's something they should try or try again!