Battle VIP Pass – Fusion Strike
Date Reviewed: December 5, 2021
Standard: 4.00 Expanded: 3.00
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Battle VIP Pass (SW – Fusion Strike 225/264) is not a runner-up from our recent countdown of the Top 15 Cards of SW – Fusion Strike. I’d love to tell you it just flew under the radar, but I… thought it looked bad. Then I checked recent, competitive deck lists and BAM! There it was! Certainly not in every deck, but in a few. In particular, Mew VMAX/Genesect V. I’m getting a bit ahead of myself, though… what is Battle VIP Pass? This is a new Trainer-Item, which normally means it has about as low of a cost as you can get in the TCG; just run it and play it during your turn. Battle VIP Pass’s effect, however, contains a scary first line: you may only use it during your first turn! What could be worth that kind of restriction?
Fetching up to two Basic Pokémon from your deck, then putting them onto your Bench. Now, this is not as potent as it could be, since it plays the Pokémon directly from your deck. The upside of doing it that way is you can bypass effects that hit Pokémon when they’re being put into play from your hand, like the effect of Team Magma’s Secret Base. Even if I’m missing a more recent example… this is a very minor benefit with some major drawbacks:
- If your Bench is full, you cannot play Battle VIP Pass from your hand. This is a bigger deal than normal because it may only be used on your first turn; there’s no saving spare copies to use later, or thinning your hand by playing one but whiffing on the search just so you can then drop Crobat V from your hand to draw more cards, etc.
- Speaking of Crobat V, you won’t be able to activate coming-into-play effects like its “Dark Asset” Ability. Even if you only have one such card in your deck, being incompatible hurts as now that search Item cannot restart a stalled deck so easily. Nor is Dark Asset the only worthwhile coming-into-play Ability.
So, hopefully I won’t seem quite as stupid for not seeing the value of Battle VIP Pass. Perhaps ironically, one of the things that helps Battle VIP Pass out is its competition, Quick Ball. That’s right, we’re not replacing Quick Ball in decks, we’re supplementing it. Decks that absolutely need to get multiple, specific Basic Pokémon into play on the player’s first turn use both… and leftover copies of Battle VIP Pass can serve as discard fodder for mid or late game copies of Quick Ball. You can also get rid of leftover copies of Battle VIP Pass by simply using Professor’s Research, which discards your entire hand anyway. There’s one other use I noticed in the the deck lists I’d sampled as well: Cram-o-matic! Another Trainer-Item I’d badly underestimated until the evidence was right in front of me. It requires both a coin toss to work and discarding an Item card from your hand; well, any leftover copies of Battle VIP Pass serve as pain-free discard fodder!
If you’re still not sold… hey, I get it. I’ve tried to be crystal clear that I thought this was a bad card at first myself. Let me address perhaps the idea deck for Battle VIP Pass, the one I already mentioned: Mew VMAX/Genesect V. Genesect V has a great Ability: draw until your have a number of cards in hand equal to the number of Fusion Strike Pokémon you have in play. You can only use it once per turn per instance of it you have in play. Have two Mew V (Fusion Strike version) and four Genesect V in play? Each Genesect V can use its Ability once to draw until you have six cards in hand, for a total of four uses! You won’t need a full four copies of Battle VIP Pass to fill out your Bench, even if you’re starting with just one Pokémon, but you’ll want to run as many as you can to you do get your full setup. Oh, and if you already have multiple copies of Battle VIP Pass in your hand to use up? While you can’t use the spares after your Bench is full, you can always intentionally whiff or grab a single Pokémon with it, then proceed to play the next copy (or copies) to get what you need.
Battle VIP Pass appears to be pretty important, probably even a staple, for Mew VMAX/Genesect V decks. Probably any Genesect V deck, should variants lacking Mew VMAX pop up. Being important but only to one deck isn’t as good as being important to all decks, but I did notice at least a few other decks using it. Not enough for me to declare this a staple, but enough that it is probably decent for general usage and important for one of the dominant archetypes at the moment. That I’ll round up and score it as a four-out-of-five for Standard. Expanded has more search options, and I have no evidence suggesting Mew VMAX/Genesect V (or any other Genesect V decks). This is speculation, but I think this is against both a pro and a con. Spare copies of Battle VIP Pass can be used to cover discard costs, like that of Ultra Ball. So decks that really need to get certain Basics in play should consider Battle VIP Pass. Unless, of course, those Basics are all about coming-into-play Abilities. I think Battle VIP Pass will ultimately be less valuable here than in Standard, but that’s good enough for a three-out-of-five.
- Standard: 4/5
- Expanded: 3/5
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