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Yu Yu Hakusho
Harry Potter
Vs. System

Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


 Professor Oak's Hint
- XY: Evolutions

Date Reviewed:
Nov. 25, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 1
Expanded: 1
Limited: 2

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

Back to the main COTD Page



Today is the only other card this week, and if you want my thoughts on Zapdos, he is...well, he's a thing that exists, but the cons outweigh the pros in my opinion on him, so let's talk about another card whose cons outweigh its pros (spoilers, we're reviewing it today) PROFESSOR OAK'S HINT!! 

Much like the old Professor Oak, this card can let you draw 7 cards. Unlike the old Professor Oak, it's got nothing to do with the recycled effect that's been used on other Professors like Juniper and Sycamore as of late. Instead, Oak only lets you draw up to 7 cards, which is a bit of a downgrade but also expands on his usability. After all, maybe you don't want to scrap the rest of your hand - you've got a key card in there you want to save for later - so his Hint might help you out a bit! 

Except there's this one little tiny teensy weensy itty bitty detail on the card: IT ENDS YOUR TURN. 

You play this, your turn is over. End of story. 

That little bit kills any chance of this card seeing the light of day, let alone regular play. Sure you'll get all the resources you need, maybe, but you lose out on playing any of those cards, especially if you really need to use them. It also kills any chance of you ATTACKING, which is kind of a big deal. So no, consider this a rip-off in every sense of the word. 

...kinda like how many Black Friday sales are just an excuse for stores to get rid of merch-I mean, whaaaaa, no it isn't, what're you talking about, go fill your garage up! 


Standard: 1/5 (there are other better draw options that won't end your turn) 

Expanded: 1/5 (that's pretty much the bottom line) 

Limited: 1/5 (...I mean really, what else needs to be said?) 

Arora Notealus: I suppose they couldn't just recycle the Oak effect, either because it's been in the format for years anyway or because they're planning on having it cycle out anyway. Who knows? It is a mystery~ 

...like why people torture themselves by running into stores simply to get TEH DEALZ

Weekend Thought:...nah, nope, be thankful and stuff, that's all. GOOD NIGHT


For those who don’t know, this is “Black Friday” in the United States of America, as well as a few other places where the practice is catching on and is staying on the same day (other places have similar events but on different days).  Black Friday is a day where most stores have massive sales; you can research the specifics yourself, I’m just using it as a fancy introduction for today’s card.  You see, while you can find some fantastic deals this time of year, you can also find a lot of less-than-impressive ones alongside them, often presented as if they were the same bargains.  In that spirit, I give you Professor Oak’s Hint (XY: Evolutions 84/108), our subject for today’s review.  Professor Oak’s Hint is a Trainer, specifically a Supporter.  Its effect is that you draw until you have seven cards in hand, and then your turn ends.  Some people may think this sounds good, probably because it is the effect of the rather rare Stadium card Tropical Beach.  I’ve seen others defend it because it is a better Bianca, or because Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108, 106/108).  I assume most of these were people who really aren’t good at the game, or that I utterly failed to detect their sarcasm.  Evaluations such as those are why I go into so much detail that it can become bothersome for competent players that are well aware of the basics of the game.  For newer players who need the assist, please don’t think I am mad at this, I am just explaining why this review isn’t just something along the lines of “Hint: Don’t use this card!” followed by very low scores. 

Trainer cards are potent; they have been since the game began.  Supporter cards are usually quite strong, and they have to be as you only get to use one each turn.  Stadium cards are also once per turn, but Tropical Beach worked so well because it was assumed your Supporter usage for the turn was already going towards your setup (or else an important effect).  Plus even before the current first turn rules, the idea was that you were using Tropical Beach when your deck either couldn’t attack, or couldn’t attack well enough to be worth more than drawing until you had seven cards in hand.  The “Draw until…” mechanic hasn’t proven that great in Supporter form.  We have Bianca, and long before her we had the original Professor Birch card, which had the exact same effect.  The issue is that even in formats where most decks are already great at thinning out hands, Bianca saw only a tiny bit of competitive play before later releases outclassed her.  With cards like this, once the hand becomes too large something like Cheren and Tierno begin to show it up.  If you have four other cards in hand, then Professor Oak’s Hint is a Cheren (or Tierno if you prefer) that ends your turn.  Shaymin-EX and its Set Up Ability have been so strong because like Tropical Beach you could use it in addition to using your Supporter for the turn, and unlike the other options you could even use Set Up multiple times via bounce effects or additional copies of Shaymin-EX.  You also had the chance to use what you drew right away, let alone still attack. 

If it isn’t clear, ending your turn is usually a crippling effect; Tropical Beach has been one of the few exceptions.  So don’t use this card in Standard or Expanded.  It isn’t even worth a slot to try and fool your opponent into thinking you’re a not dangerous.  In Limited play, this card benefits from the dearth of Trainers you experience.  Enough that in general, you will actually run it.  Just don’t expect it to do much; hand sizes can stay large and get stuck there even while you’re losing horribly as it is more likely you’ll have Pokémon and/or Energy cards in hand you just cannot play down quickly enough.  Before we go onto ratings though, I’ve got to explain why this card isn’t just bad, but insulting.  It uses the artwork from Professor Oak (Base Set 88/102; Base Set 2 116/130).  It has the familiar “Discard your hand, then draw 7 cards.” effect we currently enjoy via Professor Juniper and Professor Sycamore.  The Supporter mechanic was implemented a few years after Professor Oak released; when the game began everything was a “normal” Trainer, what would eventually become “Item” cards.  Older normal Trainers are still played as if they were Items in the Unlimited Format.  Obviously re-releasing Professor Oak as an Item would have been a horrible idea, but there were three other options that would not have hurt the game, and may in fact have helped it.  You know, besides just coming up with at least a slightly better still new effect.  Please indulge me here, and know that all three assume use of the touched up art from the original Professor Oak, that was actually used for Professor Oak’s Hint. 

Option 1 is simple; use another card.  The options are robust if we just pick another preexisting card that, whether it had anything to do with Professor Oak before, we slap his face and name onto it.  So instead, we’ll narrow it down further to cards that already do feature Professor Oak’s name and likeness, which doesn’t include the “Impostor” cards since the point of those is that they are not actually Professor Oak but someone pretending to be him (and because I don’t want to cite them in detail).  So we have Professor Oak’s Research (Expedition 149/165; EX: FireRed/LeafGreen 98/112; EX: Dragon Frontiers 80/101), Professor Oak’s Visit (DP: Secret Wonders 122/132; PL: Arceus 90/99), and Professor Oak’s New Theory (HeartGold/SoulSilver 101/124; Call of Legends 83/95).  Professor Oak’s Research has the same effect as Shauna; as Shauna hasn’t proven particularly good it would most likely end up handled the same as Cheren and Tierno with players being allowed to use both.  While not great, this would still be an improvement over Professor Oak’s Hint as Shauna is mediocre, not actually bad.  Professor Oak’s Visit is a weaker version of Cheren (and TIerno), but again still better than what we actually got.  Professor Oak’s New Theory has the opposite problem; it shuffles and draws six cards which has made it a staple in the PTCGO’s “Legacy” format, as detailed in the recent re-review we did of it. 

Option 2 is only complicated in that the current rule about only being allowed either Professor Juniper or Professor Sycamore in a deck would need a mild revision: they ought to have released a Supporter named Professor Oak and its classic “Discard your hand, then draw 7 cards.” effect.  So just make it so that the rule now prevents you from having Professor Juniper and/or Professor Sycamore and/or Professor Oak in the same deck.  The Unlimited Format would probably feel it as this would mean older copies of Professor Oak would no longer be legal due to the significant change in the card’s game relevant text (being a Supporter instead of an Item), or if an errata was issued for the older copies, functioning as a Supporter in general.  I would welcome such a change, but then again I haven’t played using the Unlimited Format in a while; last I saw it was kind of a mess but sometimes new releases create an odd sort of balance as something broken gets countered or someone figures out a new trick to solve an old problem.  What if the designers want to retire the effect of cards like Professor Sycamore in the new Sun & Moon era?  Professor Sycamore was reprinted as XY: Steam Siege 114/114, which would keep it and all previous printings of it legal in any format that didn’t exclude that set.  We would have to see a rotation to specifically XY: Evolutions and later sets, cutting out all but this last XY-era set, for it to happen. 

Option 3 is similar to Option 2, but with a small and very important difference.  We get a new “Discard your hand, then draw 7 cards.” Supporter featuring Professor Oak in the art.  However name the card simply “Professor”.  Issue an errata for Professor Juniper and Professor Sycamore changing their names to “Professor” as well (possibly doing the same for the original Professor Oak).  Now eliminate the irritating rule about being unable to use Professor Juniper and Professor Sycamore together, because thanks to the errata, now you can only have a combined total of four from all three of the Professor cards.  I find errata preferable to special rules, and they don’t have to mess with the Unlimited Format unless they really want to.  Added Bonus: The powers that be could quickly rush out promos also named “Professor” but featuring art of each of the other “professor” characters from Pokémon lore, including more obscure works and side games.  It creates a useful promo for new players and something I would think many fans would find fun.  If we get a “Discard your hand, then draw 7 cards.” card in the Sun & Moon expansions, worst case scenario is they make it someone who is not a “professor” character and we go back to having that vexing (but necessary) rule.  If it is a professor character, then it gets named “Professor” and features the appropriate character in the artwork and we don’t have to rush on those hypothetical promos. 


Standard: 1/5 

Expanded: 1/5 

Limited: 3/5 

Summary: Professor Oak’s Hint is insultingly bad.  It would have been mediocre even if it didn’t end your turn when you use it, but it ends your turn when you use it.  Rubbing salt in the wound is how there were several preferable options available.  I know it’s already cliché but Hint: Don’t Use This Card!  I guess we should be grateful they didn’t waste a Full Art on it.


Note ... this last review is from June 22, 2017: 

Professor Oak’s Hint (Evolutions, 84/108), most recently reprinted in last fall’s Evolutions expansion set, allows you to draw until you have seven cards in your hand – which most players would love and run at least two if not four of in most decks… except that your turn ends after you draw those cards.  And if your luck is anything like mine, your opponent will follow that play up immediately with an N (Fates Collide, 105/124) to remove all of those cards from your hand.

I honestly can’t recall ever seeing this card in any matchup I’ve ever played on PTCGO.  I actually had forgotten that it was Standard legal.  It’s such a bad card – if the designers had allowed you to draw up to ten cards or if they just designed it so you couldn’t attack but could still actually play the cards you just drew, then maybe it’d be more useful.  But having your turn end after usually getting something less than seven cards is simply less than desirable.  You just can’t play this card and expect to be competitive.  Especially with Lillie (Sun & Moon, 147/149) now available, Professor Oak’s Hint is absolutely unplayable.

So… since I’ve got a little extra space to fill, how about we look forward a little bit to draw Supporter cards that will be Standard legal assuming a Breakthrough on format:

ˇ         Judge (Breakthrough, 143/162)

ˇ         Skyla (Breakthrough, 148/162)

ˇ         Misty’s Determination (Breakpoint, 104/122)

ˇ         Psychic’s Third Eye (Breakpoint, 108/122)

ˇ         Professor Sycamore (Breakpoint, 107/122)

ˇ         Lass’s Special (Fates Collide, 103/124)

ˇ         N

ˇ         Shauna (Fates Collide, 111/124)

ˇ         Professor Oak’s Hint

ˇ         Professor Kukui (Sun & Moon, 128/149)

ˇ         Ilima (Sun & Moon, 121/149)

ˇ         Hau (Sun & Moon, 120/149)

ˇ         Lillie

ˇ         Hala (Guardians Rising, 126/145)

ˇ         Mallow (Guardians Rising, 127/145)

ˇ         Hau (Guardians Rising, 144/145)

ˇ         Wicke (Burning Shadows)

As you can see, pretty much every draw card commonly found in the meta will still be available post- rotation (assuming Rotationageddon does not occur and we’re only left with SUM cards on).  The only card we’ll be losing that I’ll miss is Professor Birch’s Observations (Primal Clash, 134/160), and I haven’t even been using it that much recently… and I know that virtually everyone else used it far less than I did.


Standard: 1 out of 5


If it had been designed differently, it would probably see more use, but Professor Oak’s Hint is just about the worst draw Supporter that we have in the format today.

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