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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Team Rocket's Handiwork

- Fates Collide

Date Reviewed:
June 16, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2
Expanded: 2
Limited: 4

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

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

So yeah, Mega Catcher was yesterday...woop-dee-doo! It's just a Pokemon Catcher for Megas, and I think otaku covered why that's really niche enough already. And succinctly too! That's so unlike him :P 

Anywho, Team Rocket's back again, and they've got some down and dirty business to work with! I wonder if all the Team Rocket drops are either callbacks to Kanto like how XY had the Kanto starters alongside the Kalos starters or if perhaps they've been hinting at something bigger...but enough about that, what's Team Rocket up to this time? Well, their Handiwork ends up flipping a couple of coins, and for each heads, the opponent has to mill off two cards. 

That's okay for an effect, but at that point, I'd rather it'd have been on an Item of some sort. Truth be told, milling is a powerful thing depending on the deck you play against, and considering the top of the line LOVES milling, it's likely you're not gonna see Handiwork teched into so many decks. In fact, chances are you're not gonna see Handiwork in most decks period; taking up that Supporter slot means abandoning stuff like Sycamore and Lysandre for the turn in favor of attempting to dump some of your opponent's better cards into their discard. Keyword: attempt. You don't know what cards you'll actually send to their discard, let alone if you'll send any at all. 

So Team Rocket's Handiwork proves to be more like Team Rocket's grunts: not that powerful, not that good at what they do, and yet for a very specific reason will probably still see some work. Who knows, maybe Durant decks in Expanded will make good use of the milling... 

Rating 

Standard: 2/5 (chancy flips don't make a strong card, and the mill effect at the moment isn't that great) 

Expanded: 2/5 (but if we get into a competitive format that doesn't involve so much going into the discard, there's a chance Handiwork may see more play)

Limited: 4/5 (as it is, it's going to be limited to mill-based decks) 

Arora Notealus: I wonder who these three grunts are anyway? And I wonder how they're able to form up the R so well. Don't get me wrong, it's amazing for sure, but I just can't help but feel like there was a lot more effort put into the choreography to get into that than their actual tactics. Considering they're apparently using a butterfly net. 

Next Time: Doubling up for the end of the week, it's two cards of the same Pokemon but with very different effects!!


Otaku

Team Rocket’s Handiwork (XY: Fates Collide 112/124, 124/124) is our card today; though I could have known when I scheduled it, I shall try not to be biased in its favor because I just pulled the Full Art version from a booster on the PTCGO.  Yes I can be that fickle if I am not careful; a card that does not really exist can sway me if I let it simply because I want the “cool thing” I pulled to be good. 

So what is this card and what does it do?  Team Rocket’s Handiwork is a Supporter, which means the turn you use it you are giving up access to the effects of any and all other beneficial Supporters.  In most cases it also means a valuable slot in your deck.  You never want to whiff on your Supporter for the turn as even if you choose not to play it, there is something about having one in hand for the next turn so you don’t have to topdeck one.  Yet at the same time you can’t afford to run too many Supporters because they’ll just clog your hand since - again - you can only use one per turn.  Battle Compressor, VS Seeker, and Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108, 106/108) have made it so using your Supporter for draw/search isn’t as big of a burden and made it easier for a single Supporter to make a big difference.  The actual effect of Team Rocket’s Handiwork is that you flip two coins and discard two cards from the top of your opponent’s deck for each “heads”. 

I think mill ought to be a competitive strategy, so I am happy to get a Supporter dedicated to it. I really dislike effects totally reliant on coin flips, however, as not only are variable effects more difficult to balance but at least I have a hard time feeling like I’ve earned a win or loss when it comes down to a coin flip on top of everything else.  Yes, luck is already baked into the traditional TCG; you pick the cards that go into your deck but you are supposed to be drawing (most of the time) from a sufficiently randomized deck.  Pokémon adds in the “Prize Card” mechanic so six of your cards (four in Limited Format play) are locked away from you, which can be awful or awesome depending on if that keeps you from a card you need or makes it conveniently available to you because you took a Prize at the right time and also selected the “correct” Prize card.  Team Rocket’s Handiwork at most discards four cards, not much even if you spam this card, which is good and bad; we don’t want the frustration felt during the heyday of Durant (BW: Noble Victories 83/101) but then again that deck was attacking to discard four per turn.  The real frustration of facing those Durant decks came from them sometimes getting lucky and discarding something really important and either difficult or impossible to retrieve, from them running many disruptive effects so that you often had to just sit there while the Durant deck did its thing, and of course various “come from behind” effects that proved to be ill thought out in the face of a successful mill deck. 

Team Rocket’s Handiwork has a real problem though with its low and unreliable discard output; discarding can backfire or be counteracted somewhat easily.  Maybe you discard a card your opponent would be worse off having drawn.  Maybe they have a tactic that wants that card in the discard pile.  Even if you do discard something your opponent would prefer wasn’t in the discard pile, you might hit something they can easily recycle.  The Item Trick Shovel isn’t a staple but has shown up from time to time because it allows you to pick either player’s deck, look at the top card, and then choose whether to leave it or discard a card.  I am resisting writing up all the mill Supporter ideas I have had, because as you can tell I’ve been hoping for one as a possible solution to the insane pace of the game, so let us discuss how this card might actually be used.  The best chance is the stall/mill deck built around Wailord-EX; if you don’t need your Supporter for something else, why not speed things up by up to several turns?  The only real answer is “Because I need that spot in my deck for something else.”  About the only place I feel comfortable really recommending Team Rocket’s Handiwork is in your Limited Format deck.  You likely have Supporter space to spare plus as decks are only 40 cards, each “heads” is a bigger deal.  Your opponent may have more “filler” in their deck, but he or she is also unlikely to have a way of reclaiming what you discard. 

The card may also have a bit of an expiration date beyond the usual rotation concerns.  In Japan there is a promo card named Karen, and she is a Supporter that shuffles all Pokémon in both players’ discard piles into their respective decks.  Most decks don’t run massive amounts of Pokémon, but since this should wreck Night March (their set up if not their actual prospects in competitive play), even decks without a massive amount of Pokémon have an incentive to include it.  It means mill is going to be a less effective approach, as a player just needs to fill his or her discard pile with Pokémon, then send them all back to the deck.  Pure theory though as I have not playtested the card nor do I know how well it is performing in Japan. 

Ratings 

Standard: 2/5 

Expanded: 2/5 

Limited: 4/5 

Summary: Team Rocket’s Handiwork will allow you to discard zero to four cards from your opponent’s deck; even if you hit double “heads” it may backfire because you end up discarding something your opponent didn’t want to draw (or specifically wanted to discard) anyway.  On the other hand you could discard something important and/or finish off an opponent with that discard, so Team Rocket’s Handiwork scores a bit better than it might otherwise deserve because it is an effect we don’t have a lot of and that can somewhat directly win you the game. 

In the end it’s biggest problem is that even the TecH or clutch Supporter is a crowded field right now.  Do you run this in the hopes of some mill?  What about Xerosic to discard either a Special Energy or Tool, even ones protected by Item lock?  Hex Maniac to shut off Abilities?  Another copy of Lysandre?  Odds are something will take that place in your deck before Team Rocket’s Handiwork.


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