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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Steam Siege Top 10

#2 - Ninja Boy
- Steam Siege

Date Reviewed:
Aug. 18, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 4.4
Expanded: 4.4
Limited: 5.0

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

Back to the main COTD Page


Say, what would you say if I told you there was a card that could get you any Pokemon you wanted right now? "You mean like Ultra Ball or Master Ball?" Right, but in the form of a Supporter. "Well that sounds a bit silly, I mean it shouldn't be able to grab just anything willy-nilly." Okay, what about just Basics? "Oh that's fine, I guess." That includes Pokemon-EX. "OHHHHHH NOOOOOOO!!!" 

Enter Ninja Boy. 

Basically, all he is is a trader of sorts. You pick a Basic Pokemon in play, search your deck for another one, and put the new one into play while shuffling the old one back into your deck. What makes this card interesting is that anything that was attached or affecting the old Pokemon - things like Energies, Tools, damage, Special Conditions, etc. - now affect the new Pokemon, so it's a lot like you just pulled off a Zoroark Illusion moment between the two. 

Still, I imagine this is going to be wildly abused to get out any Pokemon-EX in your deck with ease. I mean outside of the Megas, they're all Basic Pokemon, so unless it's something like Shaymin-EX which would rather you play it from your hand, chances are strong that whatever you put into play will benefit wildly from what's happening. Say for instance you play said Shaymin-EX to get a new hand - then you Ninja Boy the Shaymin-EX for whatever Basic Pokemon-EX you're going for, and you've just made a fantastic play into whatever major Pokemon you wanted to get into. Or better yet, why not just power up a Benched Basic with a bunch of Energy and cards and then swap it out for the Pokemon you want? After all, there's no restriction on what you attach a Spirit Link to. 

Yeah, you heard me. Just because the Spirit Link cards only really work with one Pokemon each doesn't mean you can't attach them to something else. Keep that in mind as you start plotting your troll Mega Ninja Boy deck. 

Ninja Boy has a lot of hidden potential, and I sincerely hope he's going to show up in a lot of decks after rotation in order to make good on his ninja way. 


Standard: 4.5/5 (really the only thing that holds me back on that perfect score is the restrictions, and even then that's not a hindrance so much as a limitation to work around) 

Expanded: 4.5/5 (and given the range of Basics to work with, that's easily done) 

Limited: 5/5 (you just gotta get...creative) 

Arora Notealus: Maybe he'll grow up one day to become the Hokage. 

Next Time: But for now, that title of "the best" goes to...


Go ninja go ninja go! 

The runner up in our top 10 picks from XY: Steam Siege list is Ninja Boy (XY: Steam Siege 103/114).  This is a new Supporter with a familiar effect to long time players: first you choose one of your Basic Pokémon in play, then you search your deck for a Basic Pokémon and swap them.  So if you have Basic Pokémon A on the field, you search your deck for Basic Pokémon B, replace Basic Pokémon A with Basic Pokémon B, and lastly Basic Pokémon A is shuffled back into your deck.  As the card itself makes clear, all attached cards (Energy, Pokémon Tools, etc.) stay in play and instantly go from being attached to Basic Pokémon A to Basic Pokémon B.  So do all damage counters and Special Conditions.  Even intangibles like turns in play and other effects on Basic Pokémon A will now shift over to Basic Pokémon B.  The differences between Basic Pokémon A and Basic Pokémon B can cause something to be discarded or removed if applicable.  Type specific Special Energy cards will discard themselves is Basic Pokémon B is the wrong Type.  So will Pokémon Tool F if you go from Pokémon-EX to non-Pokémon-EX.  If Basic Pokémon A has a Special Condition, but there is an effect that would remove it from Basic Pokémon B after the swap, then it gets removed after the swap; for example if Basic Pokémon A is not a Metal Type and is Poisoned while Steel Shelter is in play, then you use Ninja Boy to swap into Basic Pokémon B which is a Metal Type, the Poison is removed after the swap completes.  Yes, that was the easiest example without going into older cards or those pending release. 

So is this worth the cost?  What about restrictions?  If I haven’t stressed it enough, this is your one Supporter for the turn (barring certain taxing or no longer legal combos), and it must be Basic Pokémon for Basic Pokémon.  No other Stages work; BREAK, Restored, Stage 1, Stage 2, and Mega Evolutions don’t count, even if the ones of those you can put directly into play without Evolving via other card effects.  You cannot target the Basic Pokémon under an Evolution, either.  No official ruling yet, but I do believe the game state recognizes two copies of the exact same card as being different; Basic Pokémon A and Pokémon B should be able to be two cards with the same name, which is important as they could have very different effects.  Again no official ruling yet, but as this involves a search element, you ought to be able to allow the search to fail (possibly also swap two completely identical cards) if you needed to just “burn” Ninja Boy for another card effect, like shrinking your hand before playing Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108, 106/108) or so that Gallade (XY: BREAKthrough 84//162) can the additional 70 damage over its base 60 when using “Sensitive Blade”. 

So… how is this good?  Those who played while Swoop! Teleporter (EX: Team Rocket Returns 92/109) was legal already know what to look out for and I just spent a lot of time chronicling the minutiae before realizing I was boring and even confusing myself a little.  So let me paint in broad strokes.  First while Swoop! Teleporter wasn’t a Supporter (just what we would now classify as an Item), it also had targeting restrictions so Ninja Boy is more a tweaked than a nerfed version of it, because Ninja Boy works with Pokémon-EX while Swoop! Teleporter did not work with their predecessors (Pokémon-ex) from that time period.  This is a way to exploit certain once-per-turn effects, especially if they are on something not worth keeping around after the effect.  This is a way to sneak an Evolving Basic into play without it actually having to have survived being in play a turn.  This is another way to recycle cards like Shaymin-EX, extra important post-rotation because Standard loses AZ and Cassius.  Swapping out a Shaymin-EX in play for something else, search out that same Shaymin-EX with an Ultra Ball, and odds are good you are no worse off than if you had just bounced Shaymin-EX with AZ (maybe you’re even better off).  Ninja Boy allows you to switch attackers on the fly; even if the new one is as damaged as the old, it also inherits its set up.  That means Type matching is going to change, in some ways being easier and in some ways being more difficult. 

Exploiting attacks that work while your Pokémon is injured or afflicted has become incredibly easy.  I don’t expect it to become the norm but Kyurem-EX (BW: Plasma Blast 30/101) is just one more thing you’ll have to consider when you attack something without scoring a KO; its “Outrage” attack means a near OHKO on typical Basic Pokémon-EX will give the opponent something that can OHKO you back for just [CC].  For Fighting decks I do expect them to make room for a copy of Machamp-EX (and of course Ninja Boy); the “Steaming Mad” attack on Machamp-EX should be easy enough to meet on something you already had up, Active, and attacking the turn before.  The attack does 20 damage per damage counter on Machamp-EX itself, so even something like 90 damage counters on Machamp-EX results in 180 damage wallop.  It is a little pricier, but if afflicted by a Special Condition that doesn’t interfere with attacking, Machamp-EX can unleash Crazy Hammer for 160 (80+80) damage to not only hit hard but rid itself of the Special Condition.  Zygarde-EX was probably already being used in such a deck, but now its second attack for [CC] becomes more important; Machamp-EX provided an answer for hard hits but this attack allows Zygarde-EX to deal 60 damage for [FC] while healing 30 damage from itself.  For Standard play, Fighting decks will have Focus Sash until rotation, helping out such hijinks, and afterwards they may have a need for added search as they lose Korrina. 

Right now you’ve got somewhat clunky tricks that hint towards future uses, or perhaps current uses I have simply missed.  Swoop! Teleporter was best known because it allowed you to exploit Jirachi (EX: Deoxys 9/107).  That Jirachi has a Poké-Power (like an Ability, but not) that let you look at the top five cards of your deck, add one to hand, shuffle the rest back into your deck, and leave Jirachi Asleep, but it only worked while Jirachi was Active.  So decks would use that Poké-Power and (provided Jirachi had been in play long enough) then use Swoop! Teleporter to replace it with an Evolving Basic, Evolve said Basic, and attack.  The closest I can come to exploiting multiple aspects of Ninja Boy is much less likely to see play, but it’s the best I can do with the time I have.  Genesect-EX (BW: Plasma Blast 11/101, 97/101) a.k.a. Genesect-EX [Plasma] is usually not the ideal opening Pokémon for VirGen decks, an older archetype that was once the top deck in Standard play and periodically shows up still in Expanded.  VirGen decks almost always prefer to open with Virizion-EX, using its “Emerald Slash” attack to start attaching [G] Energy to Benched attackers like Genesect-EX [Plasma].  With Ninja Boy, not only can you swap out a Virizion-EX for an opening Genesect-EX [Plasma], but before you do you can use Colress Machine to attach a Plasma Energy to Genesect-EX [Plasma].  Either before or after the swap you can attach a Grass Energy and that will allow Virizion-EX to use Emerald Slash right away (unless it is the first turn of the game).  Again, this is not a killer combo example, just an idea of what kinds of exploits to seek out with Ninja Boy. 

So for Standard and Expanded play, this card should change how decks operate; even decks not using it (and there will be plenty that don’t) will need to be prepared for opposing decks that do.  After the rotation it will likely become better, as it will allow you to shift gears if your opponent locks down Abilities, Special Energy cards, etc. and so you need an attacker not reliant upon them (just remember to also run that attacker), as well as due to the loss of other related, niche Supporters like AZ and Cassius.  Yes, Battle Compressor leaving Standard hurts as it means waiting to draw into Ninja Boy or running more copies, but that applies to all Supporters.  For Limited play, this is a great pull.  Only leave it out if you risk running a +39 build, where you only have a single Basic Pokémon in the first place.  This even shows up in Theme Decks, where it is one of the highlights of what could otherwise be a frustrating experience.


Standard: 4.3/5 

Expanded: 4.3/5 

Limited: 5/5 

Theme: 5/5 

Summary: Ninja Boy is at worst one of the new Supporters you wish you could run but just could not make room to include in your deck.  I expect it to be a lose or near staple, that card you literally just missed running out, or that many decks do indeed include.  It could even become an actual staple.  The swapping mechanic is far less specialized than it looks, because it allows you to shift tactics on the fly, keeping all your current setup intact even if you’re stuck with the damage as well.  Plus Ninja Boy may even given you a use for the damage.  All that before you get to more specialized tactics: the above score is a composite of Ninja Boy general usage value and decks that rely heavily upon it. 

Ninja Boy earned 17 voting points; tomorrow’s first place finisher earned 18, while as mentioned previously our third and fourth place choices only had 12.  Just a slightly variation in voting and it could have topped our list, but it would have taken something a bit more substantial to drop its rank.  My own list had it as my number three pick and it probably should have been number two or even number one.

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