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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Top 10 SM: Burning Shadows Cards

#2 - Acerola
- S&M:
Burning Shadows
- #BUS 112

Date Reviewed:
August 24, 2017

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 4.15
Expanded: 4.07
Limited: 4.67

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

Back to the main COTD Page


What can a quirky girl on your adventures do for you? Well that's ideally what Acerola here can answer for us, and it seems like quite a lot! 

In the last rotation before this one, where we lost out on the first few XY sets, we lost the powerful Az card, which could return a Pokemon to your hand at the cost of discarding all the cards attached to it. He had some niche use, but in the end he did see a bit of play for quickly denying a KO. Acerola will see very similar use, but she's got a lot more range, since she can return the Pokemon and all the cards attached to it to your hand, making for a lot of reuse on Tools, Energy, etc. 

The only real catch is that the Pokemon needs to be damaged first. That's not a hard factor all things considered, but it does limit you from scooping up completely random Pokemon - or at least, Pokemon that your opponent might easily be able to OHKO. Bulky GX don't have to worry about it at least - Golisopod-GX even likes this card, since you can get your Active out of there so he can rush in with First Impression - but smaller evolving Pokemon will have a rough time sticking around if they have to deal with a fully set-up team on the other end. 

That being said, it's not as restrictive as you think, and I'm sure Acerola will see a lot of play in different decks. Golisopod-GX in particular will likely be running Acerola a lot, though perhaps nowhere near as much as the #1 card that everyone will be running. Acerola will find her own spot here and there. 


Standard: 4.5/5 (pretty solid overall, useful for denying KOs) 

Expanded: 4.5/5 (and she can retrieve resources!) 

Limited: 4.5/5 (just be wary that you need damage down and what resources you get back) 

Arora Notealus: Man, orphan, last of royalty, a Trial Captain, an Elite Four member - I mean, what isn't Acerola? Adorable? Nope, wait, she got that too. Yeah, she's a pretty solid character in the Pokemon world, helping you complete your trials and track down the actions of Team Skull. Pretty neat Ghost-type trainer too! 

Next Time: Speaking of the #1 of Team Skull...


Acerola (Burning Shadows, 112/147) debuts in the Pokemon TCG in the Burning Shadows expansion set.  This card allows you to pick up ANY Pokemon on your side of the board and put it and ALL cards attached to it back into your hand.


The only caveat: you have to have at least a single damage counter on that Pokemon.  That’s about as tough as trying to climb over a fence that’s six inches high.

Five of the top eight decks in the Masters Division at worlds this past weekend ran at least one copy of Acerola – it’s not right for every deck.  Take Gardevoir GX (Burning Shadows, 93/147) as an example.  Gardevoir GX requires a lot of energy attached to it to do a lot of damage – and it’s a Stage 2 Pokemon.  If you use Acerola on Gardevoir GX, you have to pick up the whole Pokemon and re-evolve it.  Now if you already have a Kirlia (Burning Shadows, 92/147) on the bench, that’s not such a big deal, and you do get the energy back in your hand so you can use Secret Spring to attach an extra energy, but that’s probably the major weakness we saw this past weekend with Gardevoir GX – it sometimes doesn’t hit for enough damage because the energy count between the active Pokemon isn’t high enough to KO the opponent’s active Pokemon.

For Basic and Stage 1 Pokemon – especially those that are single energy or two attachment attackers – Acerola is an invaluable card.  I’ve frequently used it with Golisopod GX (Burning Shadows, 17/147) to help pick up the active Golly and get a new one up top.  I’ve also seen it used a lot with Tapu Koko GX (Guardians Rising, 47/145) and Tapu Bulu GX (SM Promo 32).  Last weekend at worlds, we saw the tactic of employing Rainbow Energy (Sun & Moon, 137/149) simply to ensure that you’d be able to pick up a Pokemon with Acerola.  We saw this with Decidueye GX (Sun & Moon, 12/149) because then you’d be able to pick Decidueye GX up and, if you had Forest of Giant Plants (Ancient Origins, 74/98) in play, put it all back down again and use its Feather Arrow ability again.

You completely erase the damage your opponent did in the previous turn by playing Acerola, and, in many cases, you can easily continue your offensive strategy without losing any tempo.  Acerola wastes your opponent’s attack and, maybe more importantly, the surprising suddenness of this card can psychologically demoralize them as well.


Standard: 4.5 out of 5


As I mentioned, this card may not work for every deck, but for the decks that are able to take advantage of it, it’s got to be at least a two of if not even a four of.  VS Seeker (Roaring Skies, 110/108) will no longer be available to us, and Puzzle of Time (Breakpoint, 109/122) has worked inconsistently for me in the past week or two of testing, so I think the best way to way to get to Acerola when you need it will be to run multiple copies and use Tapu Lele GX (Guardians Rising, 60/145) to access any copies that are still remaining in your deck.

But I could easily see this and Super Scoop Up (Burning Shadows, 124/147) combining to drive up the median damage amounts from attacks.  I could definitely see people running more Pokemon that have higher damage ceilings so they can do more OHKO’s, as Acerola will definitely turn two hit KO’s into three if not even four hit KO’s in the new meta.


The second best card of this expansion is Acerola (SM: Burning Shadows 112/147, 142/147)!  This Trainer-Supporter allows you to return one of your Pokémon and all cards attached to it to your hand but the target must have at least one damage counter on it.  Not a lot of effects care about a card being a Trainer, but there are a few like Dowsing Machine and Trainers’ Mail.  Those two are helpful, though the former is an Expanded-only Ace Spec and the latter is an Item that soon will be Expanded only and has fallen out of favor as a general usage card thanks to the prominence of various anti-Item card effects.  There are some general anti-Trainer card effects but thankfully they remain obscure because they have not proven competitive.  Being a Supporter puts Acerola up against steep competition just due to the core mechanic: you may only use them once during your turn, so any you’re not immediately using are dead cards.  Supporter cards are usually the most potent Trainer cards to compensate for this, so you do not want to waste your Supporter usage for the turn.  This balance makes it important to run neither too few nor too many of them.  Anti-Supporter effects are as or more obscure and ineffective than general anti-Trainer effects, but Supporter support is well-known thanks to Tapu Lele-GX and VS Seeker.  These two really helped open up Supporter usage, in addition to the various bits of non-Supporter draw power.  If you didn’t play during the correct past format (or even periods in a format), the game runs a bit differently when you pretty much must use your Supporter on a card like N, Professor Juniper, Professor Sycamore, or even a less effective draw or search card. 

Some may wonder why you’d want to return one of your own Pokémon from the Active or a Bench slot (no other place where it can have damage counters on it), especially something with a lot of cards attached to it; barring acceleration, Evolutions and/or Energy laden Pokémon require multiple turns of prep.  Even with acceleration, it is a concern unless said acceleration is reusable like Forest of Giant Plants for Evolving Grass-Types or Magnezone (XY: BREAKthrough 54/162) for attaching basic Lightning Energy cards.  Most already know why, however, as this is a mechanic with a good history in the Pokémon and even most other TCG’s I’ve played.  Perhaps the most obvious, especially given the targeting restriction, is to act as a form of healing.  Got something in play that has nearly been KO’d?  Bounce it to deny your opponent the Prize(s) they had almost earned and recycle the cards that went into it.  If it was just a Basic, it can then simply be played to your Bench again.  If it has affordable enough attacks, you may even be able to get it back up front and attacking that same turn, allowing Acerola to deal with damage and attack effects.  Though it is a more involved process than that sentence implies as you need a big, Basic Pokémon serving as your attacker, one with Energy costs that a single manual Energy attachment can cover, your manual Energy attachment itself, and a way of getting it from the Bench to the Active position (like Switch).  If it didn’t have it when you bounced it in the first place, you’ll also need the Energy for it to attack.  You can still do that with Evolutions but it will take more to get them back up and running, and usually won’t happen the same turn you bounced them. 

The use of bounce that rivals pseudo-healing for being the most obvious is reusing coming-into-play effects.  Acerola allows you to bounce a Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108, 106/108) for some draw power, Crobat (XY: Phantom Forces 33/119) and/or Golbat (XY: Phantom Forces 32/119; Generations 31/83) to place damage counters on your opponent’s side of the field, etc.  These two uses overlap with Acerola acting as an emergency switching card, clearing out clutter from the Bench, reusing things like Special Energy and Tools, and probably a few more that I’m forgetting.  I said bounce has quite the history, so let’s run through the Trainer-based portion of it.  We’ll start with fellow Supporters.  AZ (still legal in Expanded play) returns one of your Pokémon from the field to your hand but all cards attached are discarded.  Note that all Stages of Evolution that are treated as part of the Pokémon for this purpose; use it on a Crobat and both Golbat and Zubat go along for the ride, but not an attached Energy or Tool.  AZ was (and in Expanded, still is) a loose staple, boding well for Acerola.  Cassius - also Expanded only - tweaks the formula by shuffling the Pokémon and all cards attached to it back into your deck.  It only saw niche play, as it takes more work to re-ready the card(s) in question.  Going back just a little further - so that it isn’t legal for Expanded play but is for the Legacy Format - we have Seeker, which forces both players to bounce a Pokémon with all cards attached from the Bench to the hand.  Each player selects which of his or her Benched Pokémon are bounced and the player using Seeker goes first (unless he or she lacks a Bench).  This was another potent card, though more for deck specific combos than general play.  Going back a lot further, into Unlimited-only territory, Mr. Briney’s Compassion provides the same total bounce as Acerola but instead of requiring the target be damaged, it just required it not be a Pokémon-ex (the ancestors of Pokémon-GX).  Not something that saw a lot of general usage but great for certain competitive decks. 

Shifting to Item cards, first up is Scoop Up Cyclone, an Ace Spec that allows you to return one of your Pokémon (and all cards attached) from the field to your hand.  Competition among Ace Spec Trainers was (and still is) fierce, and Scoop Up Cyclone is almost as good as stuff like Computer Search and Dowsing Machine; if that doesn’t sound impressive, go look up those two.  Team Galactic’s Invention G-105 Poké Turn also provides full bounce (the Pokémon and all cards attached), but for one of your Pokémon SP (an old special gimmick).  Pokémon SP were pretty amazing while they were legal, both due to themselves and support like this.  Available now but actually released all the way back in the December of 2000 is Super Scoop Up; again this provides full bounce but its drawback is that it requires a coin flip and “tails fails”.  This card didn’t see a huge amount of play in the early days, but it seems like we find another cool trick for it every few years… or at least a new dance partner for old tricks.  Finally, we get to the original bounce card, Scoop Up.  It could target any Pokémon you had in play but not only did you have to discard all attached cards, Scoop Up only returns the Basic Stage of the Pokémon.  Yet it was a mighty card way back when, and it might be broken even now; as mentioned for Acerola, you can bounce big Basic Pokémon with good-but-low-cost attacks.  So… even if you have to discard the attached Energy, if it is just one or two, and especially if you can play, re-power, and promote it, it becomes a cure all forcing your opponent to shoot for OHKO’s.  At least until you lack a Scoop Up.

Acerola looks to be a great card, as history seems to demonstrate with its predecessors but it is important to remember that the target needs to have at least one damage counter on it.  Not an issue if you’re running Team Magma’s Secret Base or (with Evolutions) the new Po Town, or if you’re running something beefy and not facing a bad matchup, but remember things like bouncing Shaymin-EX?  Not as easy since you need it to be damaged but with 110 HP, surviving an attack is iffy.  This specific example is almost a non-issue given that so many folks have switched to the post-September 1st Standard Format guidelines already but it does create at least a small hurdle.  Until September 1st, your opponent can use this alongside Forest of Giant Plants; fail to OHKO a Decidueye-GX, Golisopod-GX, Vileplume (XY: Ancient Origins 3/98), etc. and your opponent can bounce it up then drop it back down.  The three named examples all carry fringe benefits.  I’m not completely certain, but I believe this resets the “Feather Arrow” Ability on Decidueye-GX, allowing you to use it again; perhaps not worth your Supporter alone, but if you are also shedding a lot of damage, quite nice.  Golisopod-GX can get out of the Active position, maybe even return needed Energy so that another Golisopod-GX can be promoted and hit hard with its “First Impression” attack.  Not only can you get a stranded, injured Vileplume out of the Active position but until you play the entire line back down - and barring other Item-locking effects - you’ll have access to your own Item cards but can still lock them back down in time for your opponent’s turn. 

So Acerola has a few slick tricks she’ll officially lose on September 1st but some good, nearly universal plays even after then.  This applies to both the Expanded and Standard Formats but the latter has more competition, counters, and complementary effects, so I’m inclined to score them numerically the same while emphasizing that the actual results will play out differently.  Unless you’re running a +39 build (only one Basic Pokémon), this is a must for Limited Format play.  Less emphasis on the fancy combos here (as they’ll probably be absent), more focus on healing, changing out your Active, and/or recycling resources (before they hit the discard pile).  I almost forgot that you get a single Acerola in the “Rock Steady” Theme deck!  Why is that exciting?  I don’t expect Acerola to be that hard to obtain through booster pulls or the secondary market, so it isn’t because this provides a reliable primary market means of obtaining it (though that is nice).  I haven’t been using it must competitively in the PTCGO Theme Format (yet) but I was able to grind through the Trainer Challenge for my bonus booster pack pretty easily.  Like any Theme Deck, Rock Steady misfires a bit too often, but it was built to make good use of Acerola.  You’ve got a couple decently sized Basic Pokémon and also Evolutions, you need an extra option to move around some of the Pokémon with a chunkier Retreat Cost, and there are two coming into play Abilities in the deck: Lucario (SM: Burning Shadows 71/147) and Rhyperior (SM: Burning Shadows 67/147). 


Standard: 4.25/5 

Expanded: 4.25/5 

Limited: 4.75/5 


Acerola is the new bounce Supporter, and while you’ve got to remember she may only target something injured, the fact that she returns all attached cards in addition to the Pokémon opens up some amazing combos.  Expect most decks to try and slip in at least one unless most Pokémon are intended to be disposable or some of the alternatives better fit the specifics of the deck (more a concern for Expanded than Standard play).  Based on her showing up in several of the Top 8 Masters Division Decks from the 2017 World Championships - including the first and second place finishers! 


Acerola earned 36 voting points and made all five of our personal Top 10’s.  She beat out yesterday’s Gardevoir-GX by six voting points and missed tying for first by 12 voting points.  Which might seem like a lot but not when you realize what tomorrow’s card obviously must be… While I know I personally low-balled Gardevoir-GX, the recent World Championships weren’t enough to convince me it should have beaten out Acerola.  The next few months could change my mind, of course.  Acerola took second place on my own list, and I remain as firmly convinced she deserves it as a flip flopper like myself probably can be.


Our runner up card for the Burning Shadows Top 10 is Acerola. She is a Supporter card that allows one of your Pokemon with any damage counters on it to put this Pokemon and all cards attached to it into your hand. This is a great way to deny the opponent the KO and conserve resources. Acerola doesn’t require a coin flip, unlike Super Scoop Up, which got reprinted in Burning Shadows.

Unfortunately, that bit of text saying that the Pokemon has to have damage keeps Acerola from being broken. It fails to bounce a Pokemon that is healthy (no damage), and even Pokemon with full HP can still be OHKOed by variety of means. I can see Acerola being used with Pokemon that manipulates their own damage so that it can be flushed away. Something like Reuniclus Damage Swap that moves one damage counter from one to another of your Pokemon.

So that’s what I can think of in Standard and Expanded. Acerola doesn’t add fuel to Garbodor’s Trashalanche while Super Scoop Up does due to being an item. AZ doesn’t require Pokemon to be damaged, it can bounce a healthy Pokemon, but with the unfortunate drawback of discarding all cards attached to it; you still keep the evolutionary line, I believe. In Limited, this is a good card to bounce a damaged Pokemon to your hand. However, do not run this on a +39 deck.


Standard (pre-rotation): 3/5
Standard (post-rotation): 3/5
Expanded: 3.5/5
Limited: 4/5

Summary: Acerola brings back a method of bouncing your Pokemon to your hand. But with Super Scoop Up reprinted, one may decide if it’s worth using your supporter on your turn or use an unreliable item that’ll help Garbodor do more damage.


            Are you tired of Super Scoop Up? That prize denial Item that allows you to retrieve a Pokemon from your hand on the basis of a coin flip. However, such methods are very unreliable to any game, and so we received a number of cards that followed it that tries to improve upon the faults of Super Scoop Up. There is the Ace Spec card Scoop Up Cyclone (BW Plasma Blast) which is an Item card that allows you to retrieve a Pokemon plus all the cards attached to it without fail, but it is an Ace Spec and you can only put 1 in a deck. Using it means no Computer Search, no Dowsing Machine, etc. Then we have AZ (XY Phantom Forces) that does scoop up a Pokemon into your hand, but it discards all cards attached to that Pokemon and it is your Supporter for your turn. This could prove problematic when you try to scoop cards that are part of a Stage 2 line such as Crobat (XY Phantom Forces) or indeed any Mega Evolution Pokemon-EXs, as you will discard the base Pokemon-EX. But now there is a new Supporter in town; its Acerola, the Ghost type Trial Captain. She is pretty much my favorite Trial Captain because she is very kawaii, she’s really strong, she has a mysterious background, and most of all, she perseveres to train harder until she’s accepted as one of the Elite Four of the Alola Region. Now that’s real skills there!

            You might see the link from the earlier paragraph, and you can conclude that Acerola is a scoop up Supporter. Well, Acerola is a mix of Scoop Up Cyclone and AZ, but it is better than both. Because what Acerola did is that it picks up a Pokemon and all cards attached to it, but only if they have damage counters. This all makes perfect sense, since you will mostly pick up attackers that have damage counters on it, and then you can put them down again, freshed and renewed in health, acting as it is a new Pokémon in play. There are instances where Scoop Up Cyclone is better, such as being able to pick up an entire line of Pokemon without using a Supporter and also without fail, and also instances where AZ is better, such as picking up and replaying a Pokemon with come into play abilities such as Shaymin-EX and Tapu Lele-GX when they are in full health, but for the most part Acerola provides stellar utility for all decks in the fact where you can just pick up a wounded Pokemon to “heal” them back.

            In the context of the current Standard meta, Acerola is extremely well resided in the meta. The meta is full of big evolution Pokemon-GXs, and using Acerola’s effect to pick up a wounded Decidueye or Gardevoir and then replaying them again not only helps heal them, but also free up a bench space for free. All you need is just a supporter and not a Prize card. That free bench space can be used in a multitude of ways; play down another attacker, use support Pokemon, or just keeping it empty for future use.

            In short, this little kawaii Trial Captain is one of the most useful recovery cards in the new format just because of its unique properties alone; and that warrants reason good enough for it to be a new staple card in the format. Good show Acerola….

Standard: 4.5/5 (the most reliable way of reusing resources)

Expanded: 4.5/5 (faces competition from Scoop Up Cyclone and AZ, but for the most part it does settle well)

Limited: 4.8/5 (hands down the best healing card in the set)

Next Up on Burning Shadows reviews:
What else can I say? Just stay tuned.

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