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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Computer Search - Boundaries Crossed

Date Reviewed:
Sept. 26, 2017

Ratings & Reviews Summary

See Below

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

Back to the main COTD Page



Or at least, that's what it is for us. Yesterday we reviewed a card that came out in the most recent set, Seviper from Burning Shadows, and the rest of this week is all about the older cards! Specifically, it's about a brand of card that showed up in the Boundaries Crossed and three Plasma sets a few years back - ACE SPECS!! 

ACE SPEC cards are extremely powerful Items that can be included in any deck, allowing for crazy plays to be made! The only catch is that you can only have 1 ACE SPEC card in your deck - that means not only can you not have any other ACE SPECs in a deck that you run one in, you can't run multiple copies of that one either. This makes these cards extremely niche most of the time, but if the effect is worth it even at one? You run that card. Period. 

Computer Search is one such ACE SPEC, and when it was last reviewed, it topped the Top 10 list for Boundaries Crossed and came up in 3rd place overall for the Top 10 of 2012. Computer Search itself was first printed though back in the very first Base Set and was later reprinted in Base Set 2 before being absent from the game for many years. To be fair, the early days of Pokemon were extremely different - Professor Oak and Bill, which would be Supporters in today's game, were unlimited Trainer cards alongside Computer Search, whose own effect could nab any card you wanted at the cost of 2 other cards. 

Coming back and limiting it to a strict 1-per-deck didn't stop people from using it though - in fact, I doubt that even in today's game it wouldn't see play. I'd be more surprised if there was a deck that didn't run Computer Search, but that might be more because it holds its value at around $50 a card. Yeah, that's a little out of most player's bank accounts...at least if you're anything like me and also poor. Needless to say, Computer Search isn't exactly a budget-friendly option, but since it is legal in Expanded, there's no reason not to play it in that format if you've got it. 

Computer Search is probably the pinnacle of the ACE SPEC cards, the absolute one-of you could ever ask for. And since they only take up 1 space in your deck, they're not immediately a detriment in the face of Garbodor (GRI) and his Trashalanche. They're pretty safe, but it's hard to beat out an Ultra Ball for any card in your deck. And that's why Computer Search probably remains the absolute best ACE SPEC in the game. But maybe it's not the one your deck needs to run... 


Standard: N/A (obviously since the set rotated out in the 2015 rotation, it hasn't been legal in Standard for a while) 

Expanded: 5/5 (but as I've said, this is most likely the must-run of your deck)

Limited: 5/5 (if you have a card that you needed to get to, Computer Search is absolutely the best pick) 

Arora Notealus: Computer Search is, like I said, the best ACE SPEC card of them all, at least in terms of utility as a one-of. But it's also not always the choice of ACE SPEC that a player would want. There are other ACE SPEC cards, and thus there are other one-ofs to consider. And these next couple of weeks will be looking over the different ACE SPEC cards available! 

Next Time: This mystical elixir has restoration properties beyond the normal potions!


Computer Search (Boundaries Crossed, 137/149) begins our look back at the Ace Spec cards from a couple of years ago.  This item card allows you to search your deck for any card – evolution Pokemon, Supporter, Special Energy, Stadium, any card you want.  The only cost to do this was that you had to discard two cards from your hand to play this card.

And back then, discarding cards wasn’t a negative, it was an essential part of your strategy!  The success of so many decks was predicated on how quickly you could get the cards you needed into your discard pile.  It’s almost as if being able to get any card you wanted out of your deck was just an added perk, that being able to discard two cards was the main reason for running this card.

Computer Search, in my mind, was one of the better Ace Spec cards.  I tended to shy away from the ones that were attachments as tool removal was quite prevalent, but all of these Ace Spec cards were uniquely powerful in their own way.  Indeed, we don’t have any Item or Supporter cards currently in the Standard format that are as powerful as the Ace Spec cards.  The direct comparison is Ultra Ball (Sun & Moon, 135/149), but that only allows you to grab a Pokemon.  There’s absolutely no card that will allow you to grab a Special energy (Energy Loto (Guardians Rising, 122/145) is close but doesn’t guarantee you a SPE).  Granted, we’re in the very beginning of the new Standard format, but one thing is clear: our Item and Supporter cards right now are less impactful than the Item and Supporter cards that were available during the Ace Spec era.  On the other hand, Pokemon today are significantly more powerful than the Pokemon of a few years ago.  Boundaries Crossed had only five EX Pokemon with 170 or 180 HP.  Burning Shadows has twelve Pokemon with at least 170 HP.

And the damage output from attacks is significantly higher as well.  Many of the Pokemon from Burning Shadows can hit for the high one hundreds and even into the low to mid two hundreds with some enhancements or the right situations.  The highest base damage you’ll find with Boundaries Crossed Pokemon is 150.  Maybe with some enhancements, those could push into the high one hundreds.  Keldeo EX (Boundaries Crossed, 49/149) might be able to push 200+ damage, but that’s with like eight energy attached to it.

I don’t think there’s any question that we’ve seen a specific, high level philosophical change over the past five years since Boundaries Crossed came out.  There has been a purposeful decision in the design of the game to reduce the influence of Item and Supporter cards while at the same time increase the strength and power of Pokemon cards.  And this makes sense: the game should be about the Pokemon.  And not just because kids want to collect the newest, coolest GX Pokemon, although that’s a pretty good reason right there.  It’s called the Pokemon Trading Card Game, not the Pokemon Trainers Trading Card game.  The human beings who are characters in these stories should have a more tangential role in the card game, the Pokemon should be the most influential cards in the game.


Standard: N/A


I would guess that for many decks in the Expanded format, this card is an absolute 100% must play.  Five of the top eight decks (including both first and second place finishers) in Fort Wayne earlier this month ran Computer Search.  This card will accelerate any strategy that involves putting cards in the discard pile, and it serves as the perfect example of how Item and Supporter cards have decreased in significance over the past couple of years.


Thanks to the Fort Wayne, IN Regional Championship kicking off the 2017-2018 tournament series using the Expanded Format, the debate of what decks should use which Ace Spec has been renewed.  We thought about just covering them as our “Throwback Thursday” picks, but that would take a while and really spread things out.  As such, for the next two weeks we’re inverting (or is that reversing?) our usual approach: we’ll have a “Modern Monday” review where we look at a recent TCG release like we normally do while we look at one Ace Spec each remaining day of the week.  Unless some readers contact Pojo and ask us to look at them, we will not be looking at Crystal Edge, Crystal Wall, G Booster, G Scope, or Victory Piece; G Booster and (maybe) Victory Piece have proven worthwhile in the Legacy and/or past Standard Formats where they were legal, but none of these seem to be worthwhile in the present Expanded Format and we only had so much room on the schedule without knowing that people wanted to read about them. 

The Ace Spec Rule, printed on all Ace Spec cards, states you may only have one Ace Spec card in your deck.  To be clear, this does not mean that you may run one of each Ace Spec or that you may run up to four of a single Ace Spec, but that you get one copy of one Ace Spec card in your deck.  The first Ace Spec cards were introduced in BW: Boundaries Crossed (officially released November 7, 2012), while the last debuted in BW: Plasma Blast (officially released August 14, 2013).  In total, only 13 were released and at least some of them offer stellar effects; as the player base increases and existing copies degrade from play or are lost to collectors, the supply grows ever larger compared to the demand.  Every Ace Spec released is a Trainer-Item.  Can you win without an Ace Spec?  Absolutely.  Are there any decks that can’t benefit from having an Ace Spec in them?  Probably not.  All Ace Spec cards are Trainer-Item cards.  As I’ve stated many times in recent reviews, while Trainer cards don’t have a lot of great general support, there aren’t any general anti-Item effects and none of the deck-specific ones have proven competitive.  Skyla and Trainers’ Mail are appreciated by Ace Spec cards, though not to the point that you have to run them; back in the day, however, it was a fairly common play to use Skyla to fetch your Ace Spec so you didn’t have to wait to draw into it. 

I don’t recall any general Item-support, though when Ace Spec cards were a thing, deck specific options like Sableye (BW: Dark Explorers 62/108) or Shadow Triad had players blessing and cursing the developers, as these potent, one-per-deck tricks were often not once-per-game.  I think this is why Pokémon-GX have to flip over your GX-counter when they use their GX-attack; to avoid a similar situation here.  Anti-Item effects of the time weren’t as potent as what we have now in Standard or the Expanded Formats; some Ace Spec cards will be more or less vulnerable to such things.  There are no pieces of Ace Spec-specific support, though there are a few that cards that combo so well they fake it.  Puzzle of Time in the Expanded Format and Junk Arm in the Legacy Format allow you to reuse your Ace Spec with relative ease.  Plenty of decks can’t or don’t use Puzzle of Time in the Expanded Format, but the only reason players don’t use Junk Arm in the Legacy Format is because they don’t own them (with three or four being typical in competitive decks).  There is one card that is specifically anti-Ace Spec: Spiritomb (BW: Legendary Treasures 87/113).  Its “Sealing Scream” Ability prevents either player from using an Ace Spec; this would seem too specific in what cards but too broad in what players Sealing Scream affects but some decks have the room or have a complicated combo that an Ace Spec could spoil, so it has seen competitive play before and shouldn’t be forgotten now. 

Three paragraphs in, and we finally get to today’s card: Computer Search (BW: Boundaries Crossed 137/149), which was among the first wave of Ace Spec cards we received.  Just to make things confusing, there are two much older versions of this card - Base Set 71/102 and Base Set 2 101/130 - but I didn’t list them in the previous sentence because the rulings on this matter are… complicated.  The short version is that you cannot use the older versions in the Expanded Format; you must use only the most recent version.  If you’re playing in the Unlimited Format, you can use either but the older versions do not count as Ace Spec cards.  Normally when an older card is reprinted with a significant change in text, either the older versions become illegal for competitive play or an errata is issued so that said older version becomes legal using the current card text.  For some reason, that didn’t happen here.  This is important mostly because more than a few new players have foolishly purchased older copies of Computer Search, hoping to use it in Expanded play… because Computer Search is awesome.  Computer Search has a built-in cost, requiring you discard two other cards from hand in order to search your deck for a card then add that card to your hand.  If three-for-one doesn’t sound like a good deal, you’re probably still adjusting to Pokémon; you will definitely have times when you lack two cards in hand to discard or lack two cards you’re comfortable discarding, but much more often you should have something you can spare or even want to discard from your hand. 

Once you’ve paid the cost, you can grab the exact card you need from your deck, at least as long as it exists in your deck in the first place.  Whether you’re after the piece of a particular combo, a useful counter card, or you just need something but don’t want to take the risk of trying to draw for it, Computer Search is amazing.  What it does not really add is extra capacity to your deck; apart from combos like allowing Skyla to ultimately fetch any card (and not just Trainers), you’re not gaining anything from using Computer Search.  With as fast paced as the Pokémon TCG can be, this might even seem like a waste, but the boost to consistency will never harm a deck, and can prove vital for those needing a cost-effective, reliable method of searching out anything other than Pokémon (most decks run Ultra Ball) or basic Energy (Professor’s Letter if raw draw power isn’t sufficient).  More than few decks are trying to make do with just the four allowed copies of Double Colorless Energy to fuel all their Energy needs; even with cards like Puzzle of Time and/or Special Charge to recycle them, Computer Search acts like a valuable fifth copy of Double Colorless Energy, greatly reducing how often you whiff on one early game.  Computer Search would be pretty amazing for Standard play if it were re-released, but I’m glad there don’t appear to be any plans for such a thing to happen.  Take what I’ve been saying and start applying it to things like situation specific counters or decks that are (barely) balanced out by how their setups tend to misfire; while it would be a nice boost to most decks, including a few I wish were more competitive, I wouldn’t want it putting certain others over the top. 

Which pretty much describes its place in the Expanded and Legacy Formats.  The Expanded Format contains everything already legal for Standard play, so the added decks and combos make it better than it would be with a hypothetical re-release of Ace Spec cards.  If just Computer Search was re-released, then it would be a toss-up; a format with no competition but fewer partners versus one with more of each.  Computer Search may actually be slightly less potent in the Legacy Format; this surprised me so much I couldn’t accept it until I realized I wasn’t making sense trying to explain otherwise.  On the side of most other Ace Specs in the Legacy Format is Junk Arm; though there are decks that can handle discarding two for Junk Arm and then another two for Computer Search, most can’t.  One the side of Computer Search in the Expanded Format are several key decks that don’t have Legacy Format counterparts, like all those decks running off of just four Double Colorless Energy; they aren’t non-existent in the Legacy Format, in fact, there are a few lock decks that might run even fewer Energy cards, but you don’t have stuff like Night March running around.  You also have VS Seeker, which makes discarding spare Supporter cards much less painful, sometimes even a smart move.  It is possible I’m putting too much weight on these differences, but then again, the scores aren’t that different. 

Odds are stupidly low you’ll be using BW: Boundaries Crossed packs for a Limited Format event, but since we usually cover that, I’ll mention that this is a must run if you pull it.  There are three other Ace Specs in this set, but you won’t have the draw/search to make sure you have it at the right time, so you may as well run Computer Search so any other useful pulls are more likely to show up at the right time.  As this review focused on the Ace Spec version of Computer Search, I will not be scoring it for the Unlimited Format (use the older versions) or the Theme Format.  Yes, some old Theme Decks had the pre-Ace Spec Computer Search, but nothing you’ll find on the PTCGO. 


Standard: N/A 

Expanded: 4.75/5 

Limited: 5/5 

Legacy: 4.6/5 


Computer Search/span> is the best of the Ace Spec cards, and the asking price for it both in real life and on the PTCGO show it.  I can’t think of any decks that would not benefit from running it, though there are those that would be better off using a different Ace Spec.  We’ve looked at Computer Search four times before now, if you’re interested: before it was an Ace Spec, as the number three card of BW: Boundaries Crossed and as the number one card of 2012.


Over the course of this week and next week’s COTD, we will be reviewing two cards from the Burning Shadows expansion on Mondays and eight Ace Spec cards on the rest of the weekdays.  If you don’t know what an Ace Spec card is, it is a mechanic that existed between BW Boundaries Crossed until BW Plasma Blast.  Based on 13 cards, they’re all trainer-item cards.  These are item cards that are said to be very powerful that only one Ace Spec card is allowed per deck.  This means as soon as you designate your Ace Spec card of choice, you are barricaded from using 12 other Ace Sped cards, so choose wisely.  This mechanic can also affect card legality from much older cards such as Computer Search and Master Ball, but more on that later.  We decided to leave out Pokemon specific Ace Spec cards (there are five of them, two for Kyurem, one for Victini, and two for Genesect) and reviewing only eight Ace Spec cards that doesn’t care about what deck you’re playing.  All Ace Spec cards are Expanded and Legacy legal, and I may put Unlimited scores for Computer Search and Master Ball as well.  I may also score Standard even though it’s no longer legal, kind of a hypothetical score.


Our Ace Spec card that we’re looking today is Computer Search (Base Set) (BW Boundaries Crossed)!  This card was reviewed on August 2, 2002, November 16, 2012 as the #1 best card of BW Boundaries Crossed, January 2, 2013 as the 3rd best card of 2012, and August 7, 2015 as the #1 card lost to set rotation.  I don’t know about other people who knows about this card, but to the shock of everyone who are reading this COTD:  Computer Search is actually a very, very old card!  Computer Search was first released in Base Set, the first set of the Pokemon TCG back in 1998!  It was just a Trainer card (or Trainer-item in modern days) and not an Ace Spec, meaning that you could previously have up to four copies of that card in your deck.  However, when Computer Search got reprinted in addition of being designated as an Ace Spec card, you can only have one copy of Computer Search in your deck, while being blocked from other Ace Spec cards.  This also affects base set versions of Computer Search, since you can’t use this on Expanded even with an reference, and if you decide to use the base set version, it can be only one card and play as the Ace Spec.  The link to that rule regarding deck construction of older cards is here.  The same can be said for Master Ball.


Now, you might be wondering: Why is Computer Search so expensive (@$70+)?  Why is it an important card to be worth consideration?  Well, I have an easy answer for you:



It lets you do anything that you want!



No, I am not joking.  Computer Search actually lets you do anything you want.  By discarding two cards from your hand, you search your deck for one card and put it onto your hand.  It can be any one card, be it Pokemon, energy cards, or trainer cards.  There are countless scenarios in which one card could be the card you need to turn the game around or to advance a plan.  You could be looking for a Special energy card to quickly prep an attacker such as DCE or Counter Energy; you could be looking for Max Potion or Super Scoop Up to flush away the damage; You could be looking for a draw Supporter such as Sycamore or N to draw more cards or get a fresh hand.  The applications to using this card is endless, and it doesn’t care what type of deck you’re running.


Computer Search was made to do one thing, and it has succeeded!  You’ll be hard pressed to not run this card in any deck unless you have another Ace Spec card that serves another purpose.  Several Ace Spec cards could give Computer Search a run for its money.




Standard: N/A (would be 5/5)


Expanded: 5/5 (being an Ace Spec card has made it slightly weaker, but it’s still powerful)


Limited: 5/5 (If you pulled one, you’ll run it. No question asked!)


Legacy: 5/5 (Just as good here)


Unlimited: 5/5 (Still great here, just be careful on deck construction)


Notes: I’m a casual player, not caring too much on using cards from a limited group of expansions.  Computer Search will always be in my deck.  I burned through my deck before, playing up to 4 Computer Searches and 4 Oaks to potentially draw 28 cards!  Nowadays, being an Ace Spec card toned down the craziness of reckless aggressive plays.


            Today marks the start of new event: Inverse Week, which is basically a look at Expanded’s biggest niche; Ace Spec cards. Since next year will feature several Expanded tournaments including the last one at Fort Wayne, we might as well look into what makes the Expanded format what it is, and that is to review several of these. Kicking things off in this first half of the Inverse Week will be the glory, the icon of Ace Specs, and the OU of the Ace Spec world; its Computer Search (BW Boundaries Crossed). It is so OU that prices for this little one-off card has shot off the horizon; it fetches a price of $79.99, which is about the same as a Full Art Tapu Lele-GX! Tapu Lele fetches that price because it is rare and it is playable in every deck whatsoever, so does Computer Search does the same? And the answer is…. Very.

            For those who has just joined the TCG metagame from the XY-on format, Ace Specs are a subclass of cards introduced in the BW2 era of the PTCG (BW Boundaries Crossed to BW Plasma Freeze), and they are normally beefed up versions of already existing concepts and tricks available to players that are generally considered broken or too strong. Hence, the rules of Ace Specs are that only one of these cards that has the Ace Spec title in their art is allowed in the deck. Have a Computer Search in your deck already? Forget putting your Dowsing Machine (BW Plasma Storm) there as the Computer Search has filled in the slot.

            So with the introductions to the Ace Spec done, let us see what Computer Search can do. For a price of discarding 2 cards from your hand, you can search your deck for 1 card (any card will do), reveal it, and put it in your hand. This is really broken. It’s a universal search card that will search for anything for the price of an Ultra Ball. As a small rundown, this card can be a 5th Ultra Ball. This card can be a 2nd or 3rd Skyla. This card can be a 2nd Teammates (XY Primal Clash) that it can search for any card without needing any harsh backlash. You can search for a Pokemon, Supporter, Item, Tool, and even Energies! As it is a consistency nitrous kit to all deck, it goes with all decks and it helps them setup very efficiently. As a small bonus, you can even search this card with a Skyla (XY BREAKthrough), which is brutal since Tapu Lele-GX (SM Guardians Rising)’s Wonder Tag can search for Skyla, so it goes without saying that any card is just an Ultra Ball away. And as for discarding the 2 cards, does it means that it will put us on the back foot by losing them? Well, we have VS Seeker (XY Phantom Forces, XY Roaring Skies) to reuse Supporters, Super Rod (XY BREAKthrough) and Rescue Strecher (SM Guardians Rising) to recover Pokémon, Puzzle of Time (XY BREAKpoint) to reuse Items (and all of the other cards when you play them as a pair), Special Charge (XY Steam Siege) and Brock’s Grit (XY Evolutions) to recover Energies, so the cost of Computer Search isn’t as horrid as it seems. 

            Several decks that thrive from the existence of Computer Search includes Night March (XY Phantom Forces) that needs their Double Colorless Energies available at all times to them to use Night March, and it makes them faster in setup and much more potent than its once popular Standard variant from 2 years ago. Trevenant BREAK (XY Base Set, XY BREAKthrough) also needs Computer Search to get their Turn 1 Item lock via Wally, and Computer Search helps reliably search for it. And although not exactly an old deck, Gardevoir-GX (SM Burning Shadows) also benefits from Computer Search to search their Rare Candy or their energies to use Secret Spring to beef up its damage output.

            However, as of all Ace Specs, Computer Search is plagued with its set of problems. Being only allowed as a one-off in all decks, grinding for one is an issue, unless you can hit one early game, in which case it allows you to use it to its fullest potential. Item lock (and hate) found in Trevenant decks and Garbodor (SM Guardians Rising) decks as a whole are still running around well in the Expanded format, and it does mean that usage of Computer Search isn’t as liberal nowadays.

            But despite that, those are extremely minor setbacks compared to the enormous benefit that it gives to the table and the meta, and without it, the Expanded format will never be the same ever again.


Expanded: 5/5 (Never imagined a format without one to be honest; its just a meta defining card)

Next in Inverse Week:
The Golden Magic, or the Golden Cock?

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