Big Charm – Big Charm (Rebel Clash RCL 206)
Date Reviewed: January 12, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Today we’re looking at another Honorable Mention from our 2020 countdown; cards that
- did not make the Top 10
- did not show up on either Vince’s list
- but did see enough competitive success to deserve a shout out.
Big Charm (Sword & Shield 158/202, SW – Rebel Clash 206/192) is a Pokémon Tool, one that raises the equipped Pokémon’s maximum – and current HP, at the moment of attachment – by 30. Now, HP buffs are like damage and defensive buffs; if it isn’t triggering a specific effect, not triggering a specific effect, or altering how many turns it takes for you to score a KO, you’re not actually changing anything. Well, you’re wasting the resources that granted the HP buff, barring blanket ones used to boost something that is relevant. 30 isn’t a massive swing, but it turned out to be enough.
Rather than lay down some dubious Theorymon, let’s look at some actual tournament results. Even though 2020 was rather anemic when it came to available events, from the Players Cup II Global Finals we have:
- Two copies in the 2nd-Place Pikachu & Zekrom-GX deck
- One copy in the 4th-Place Zacian V/Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX deck.
Of course, that is just a tiny, tiny snap shot, but guess what happens when we keep looking back at the results from the Players Cup II Regional Finals, the unofficial Pokémon Online Global Championships… all the way back to the events shortly after it released, though it is sparse or absent from the earliest of these. I’m also not seeing a lot of results where it was maxed out, but some decks do pack three copies of Big Charm, with others utilizing two or even just a single clutch copy.
There are a few threats to Big Charm. Anti-Item effects are a concern, but not a major one in Standard. Remember when I was panicking about Vikavolt V? Now I’m just happy that it has placed well in a few events, so that I wasn’t 100% wrong. Tool Scrapper is still a solid enough play, and it means any deck could have an easy answer to Big Charm, the downside of buffing HP instead of (for example) soaking damage is that a Big Charm you’ve had in play for multiple turns may ultimately do you zero good. The main issue is, while there is no single Tool to rule them all, there are quite a few on par with Big Charm. Some, like Air Balloon, are relatively general plays, seeing about as much use. Others are like Buff Padding, Cape of Toughness, and Metal Goggles; Tools designed to help your Pokémon survive hits, but arguably doing a better job than Big Charm except they’re more specialized.
If that sounds pretty good for Big Charm in Standard… you’re right. In Expanded, however, we see where those problems might lead. I’ve got no recent data for Big Charm usage, but not only do you face better Item-denial, not only do you face better Tool counters, you face the best Tools from the past (nearly) 10 years. There isn’t anything with as generous of a general HP bonus, but Basics wanting an HP boost can get +40 and do 10 extra damage with Fighting Fury Belt. Which sounds like Big Charm would be in great shape but this is the cardpool that still has Float Stone and still has Muscle Band. They don’t keep you alive longer, but zeroing out retreat costs, a flat +20 damage against anything… these are still fantastic effects!
In the Limited Format, Big Charm is a must run, and has a good chance of mattering. It is entirely possible it won’t do you any good, but you ought to have room in your deck and – even though this set has a lot of Tools – not enough competition to crowd it out.
- Standard: 3/5
- Expanded: 2/5
- Limited: 4/5
Big Charm is a good, solid Tool, at least in the Standard Format. You can see the CotD crew’s original thoughts on it here. Big Charm is somewhat impressive in that is has remained a solid card all this time, even though I had my doubts.
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