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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


 Gym Badge
- XY: Promo

Date Reviewed:
Jan. 20, 2017

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 2
Expanded: 1.75
Limited: Promo

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

Back to the main COTD Page


Boy does Pokemon love its coin flips! And Gym Badge is an excellent example of a trait that's been around since the earliest days. 

Gym Badge is a simple Item that says, "Hey flip a coin. Draw a card for every heads you get in a row!" It's a chancy card that could end up being as profitable as often as it can be useless. Chances are that you'll average around 1-2 cards per use, and that just makes it worse than a lot of the other draw cards out there. There are Pokemon whose attacks are better than this, but there's also Professor Sycamore, N, Colress, Bianca, Cheren - FREAKING CHEREN DRAWS 3 CARDS, AND THAT'S GONNA BE BETTER THAN THIS!! 

At the very least though, it's a highly collectible card! I mean there's like upwards of 16 different prints of this card, each featuring different badges and Gym Leaders! So I guess there's that much. Have fun collecting them all! 


Standard: 1.5/5 (but if your plan is to use em...ehhhh) 

Expanded: 1.5/5 (I wouldn't hold my breath) 

Limited: N/A (promos can only go so far) 

Arora Notealus: Gym Badges are a proof of a Trainer's hard work and determination...which is why it's great to give it away as a promotional item? I guess so. 

Weekend Thought: So how about dem promos! Or those last couple of cards in 2016? Feel like we oughta move on? Well we're almost to the new set, just a couple more weeks! You excited for that yet? Or maybe you're just waiting to hear our thoughts on some other cards? Feel free to suggest more, I thought it was really cool last week to hear about Salamence-EX!


We end the week with Gym Badge (XY: Black Star Promos XY203, XY204, XY205, XY206, XY207, XY208, XY209, XY210).  Sadly the developers didn’t think of doing this with cards like Professor Juniper and Professor Sycamore, or with Cheren, Tierno, and Hau, at least they finally realized “Hey, why not take a generic element of the TCG that shows up generation after generation and create multiple versions with the same effect but different art?”  I mean in the case of Professor Juniper and Professor Sycamore we wouldn’t need  a special ruling that prevents us using them in the same deck, and unless somehow third time’s the charm, it isn’t like people run four each of Cheren, Tierno, and Hau (in fact it’s rare for a non-beginner to even run any one of those as even a single).  Gym Badge could be reprinted even more times, since all core series games have eight badges, there are a lot to work into the TCG!  If you don’t have scans handy, each Gym Badge promo depicts the Gym Leader and the badge he or she awards, and the numerical order follows the standard order for beating the Gyms from Gen I: Brock from Pewter City with the Boulder Badge, Misty from Cerulean City with the Cascade Badge, Lt. Surge from from Vermillion City with the Thunder Badge, Erika from Celadon City with the Rainbow Badge, Koga from Fuchsia City with the Soul Badge, Sabrina from Saffron City with the Marsh Badge, Blaine from the Seafoam Islands with the Volcano Badge, and Giovanni from Viridian City with the Earth Badge. 

So with all of that out of the way, what does the card Gym Badge actually do?  It is an Item card that allows you to flip a coin until you get “tails”, then draw a card for each “heads” you flipped.  So assuming all the usual factors with Pokémon TCG legal randomizers, there should be a 50% chance the card does nothing other than use itself up, and a 50% chance that it at least replaces itself.  Each coin flip always has that 50:50 split and calculating probability gets messy, so I’m not even going to attempt calculations for the probability of drawing two cards, three cards, etc.  We really don’t need it; that 50% failure rate already means that this is a card for decks that have an incredibly rare, precious commodity in the Pokémon TCG, or an all-too-common need worth the risk.  That’s right: empty space or the need for extreme speed!  If your deck is otherwise perfect at 56 to 59 cards, the only direct rival to Gym Badge is Unown (XY: Ancient Origins 30/98).  It is a Basic Pokémon, and its Ability allows it to discard itself from your Bench in order for you to draw a card.  That means a reliable one card draw, and for effects that worry about Pokémon it counts, but it can get stuck in your Active slot or have its Ability negated.  Gym Badge can be blocked by Item lock effects, and of course it can simply fail, but it has a chance of drawing extra cards! 

Even the downside of Gym Badge has a silver lining.  There are many effects, usually those with a “Draw until you have…” clause for a certain amount of cards in hand, where whiffing on Gym Badge isn’t so bad.  The obvious example is Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108, 106/108): if you get “tails” while trying to use up your hand, then the “Set Up” Ability on Shaymin-EX will draw another card.  If Gym Badge draws another card you’re really no better or worse off; that’s the same card you would have gotten if Gym Badge hadn’t drawn anything but you still used Set Up.  If you draw two or more cards, you drew two or more cards!  Slight chance a big draw could backfire, but now we are getting into the extremes of luck.  So are there any decks that can really use Gym Badge right now?  Not that I know of, but it can function in most decks, just not in an optimal manner.  It is something to remember because it is really only an additional combo element away from having a good use… and it could be as simple as enough combos that require additional draw Trainers using it because it becomes another card that is “‘Tails’ fails but ‘heads’ wins!”.  I think it might be a be better in Standard play than Expanded; less Item lock as well as fewer cards fighting for deck space.  This would be great for Limited play, but it isn’t in a set so no Pre-Releases or other Limited Formats for Gym Badge. 


Standard: 2.5/5 

Expanded: 2/5 

Limited: N/A 

Summary: I don’t expect Gym Badge to become the next must-run promo card.  At first glance I thought it looked kind of bad.  I still cannot call it good, but it might just be adequate.  In fact, Pokémon can be so fickle it is possible (just improbable) that a future metagame shift or combo will turn this into a must run.  I do recommend getting one of each because unless prices are outrageous… why not?  It is the kind of collectible most Pokémon fans can appreciate, even if never makes a profit on the secondary market, and should you actually need them for a deck, you’ve got them! 

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