Big Charm
Big Charm

Big Charm
– Sword & Shield

Date Reviewed:
February 26, 2020

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 3.00
Expanded: 1.25
Limited: 4.75

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

Reviews Below:

vince avatar

Big charm


Standard: 3/5 (this will be the score I’d be giving for now; it will definitely drop much lower on the next set)

Expanded: 1.5/5

Limited: 4.5/5

Details: I don’t know if anyone realizes this but some people actually wears a piece of charm that’s usually tucked in inside their shirts so that they can’t see it. No matter what their beliefs are, just wearing one brings good luck. I know I’ve worn one before, and such charm has a red string so that I can wrap it around in my neck. Whether this myth is proven true or not remains to be seen, but I’m not going any more about this because we’re looking at Big Charm today.

This is a Pokémon Tool card which increases the Max HP by 30. Any Pokemon can benefit from this effect, but the ones that’ll benefit the most would be one that has incredibly high HP that’s worth the prizes that they’re giving up for. For single prize Pokémon, it could be as high as 230; for one worth two prizes, maybe around 280; for ones worth three prizes, maybe 370.

The real kicker is that HP enhancing effects don’t last forever, and you’re not actually healing your Pokémon, a misconception. I’ve seen HP increasing effects from Tools, Stadium, and/or abilities, and they’re no stranger to being shut off or being discarded. Once your Pokémon is down to 30 HP or below, you’re on borrowed time; it’ll take a Tool Scrapper (which is actually going to be reprinted, as well as Skyla) to remove it…and KO that Pokémon for easy prizes. And your opponent hasn’t used an attack yet.

Big Charm would have been a good card, but a familiar card is rearing its ugly head to remove them just like they did to that outclassed Giant Cape! So you might as well enjoy the HP boost while you still can.

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Big Charm (Sword & Shield 158/202) is a Pokémon Tool, a specialized form of Trainer-Item.  In order to use it, you’ll need to attach it to one of your Pokémon; most may only have one Tool attached at a time, and the mixed blessing of Tools is how they stick around until a card effect discards them.  This means some effects can be used multiple times, but it also means you’re stuck with whatever you attach until you or your opponent use something else to remove it.  Since they’re not mutually exclusive, you can both make use of support but will have to deal with counters that specify Trainers, Items, or Tools.  It is worth highlighting that, among semi-recent Supporters, we’ve got both Guzma & Hala as well as Rosa to help with getting a Tool when you need it (any Trainer, in Rosa’s case), in addition to Adventure Bag, a Trainer-Item.

Big Charm’s effect grants +30 HP to the Pokémon equipping it, and has no restrictions on what can use it.  This isn’t the same as healing 30 HP; the amount of damage counters on your Pokémon does not change, but amount of damage counters that can be on your Pokémon before it is KO’d does.  HP increases only matter if they increase how many turns it takes for your opponent to score a KO or for the purpose of triggering/not triggering certain effects.  30 isn’t a huge amount, but a Pokémon that would have been KO’d by an attack instead survives with 10 to 30 HP.  Which means your opponent not may need to use another attack to finish it off, but you have access to that Pokémon’s attacks, Abilities, etc. for another turn and your opponent doesn’t take a Prize until a turn (or more) later.

There are a few things to be cautious of when using Big Charm.  First up, regardless of what your opponent does, you may benefit more from a different Pokémon Tool.  Second, +30 HP may simply not matter; your opponent’s offense may already do enough “overkill” so that nothing changes.  Third, your opponent usually has the opportunity to discard or negate the effect of Big Charm before it matters.  Not a bad thing, but just something to remember; if you’ve already denied your opponent a KO through Big Charm’s HP increase, your opponent could then take a Prize by discarding or negating its effect.  This sounds worse than it is, however; if a Pokémon is being sustained only through the HP bonus from Big Charm, then you’ve already delayed your opponent taking a Prize, and have at least had the chance of benefiting from that.

Big Charm has already begun showing up successful Standard Format decks, though not as much as I was expecting based on the (very limited) amount of Japanese tournament results I was able to view before Sword & Shield became tournament-legal.  After the Oceania Regional Championship, I can see Big Charm isn’t going to be as big of a deal as I thought.  Out of 34 available deck lists, spread throughout the top 48 of the event, Big Charm only showed up in seven decks,  mostly as a single.  For comparison’s sake, Air Balloon showed up in eight decks, and Vitality Band in 10.

Big Charm is a good option to have for the Standard Format, just not a great one.  The Expanded Format has more support, more counters, and more rivals.  There are near universally great Tools like Muscle Band and Float Stone, plus less general (or even deck-specific), and some of the latter include other HP-increasing options.  Big Charm completely replaces Giant Cape, but I don’t remember Giant Cape being used well anytime recently.  Big Charm is a must-run for Limited Format; even if you pull another Tool you’d prefer to have attached, you should just have the room here.

Looking to the future, things aren’t looking good for Big Charm, or most other “passive” Tools you’ll rarely (if ever) benefit from using on your own turn.  That is because Tool Scrapper is coming back, a Trainer-Item that select and discard two Tools from the field.  It can target your own Tools, but people play it for being an easy two-for-one card trade.  Well, much of the time.  If history repeats, we’ll enter a kind of cycle where Tool usage is heavy, so more people run more copies of Tool Scrapper, then Tool usage drops, then Tool Scapper usage drops, then Tool usage rises, then Tool Scrapper usage rises, etc.  What this means for Big Charm is that it’ll lose a point in Standard.


  • Standard: 3/5
  • Expanded: 1/5
  • Limited: 5/5

Big Charm is a goodoption to have in Standard, one has already seen a little success.  Unless Vitality Band usage keeps going up, Big Charm seems to be on par with it, which seems like a success in terms of game design and balance.  At the time I made my Top 20 list, though, I thought Big Charm was going to be much more important, based on the results I’d seen from the December 21st Championship League that was held in Aichi.  Which is why it was my fourth-place pick!  In hindsight, I was still overrating it according to the data I had, but definitely now.

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