Boss’s Orders – Rebel Clash
Date Reviewed: December 31, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
2nd-Place in this countdown was our 1st-Place pick for SW – Rebel Clash: Boss’s Orders (SW – Rebel Clash 152/192, 189/192, 200/192)! This Trainer-Supporter has a simple but potent effect: select one of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon and swap it with their Active. As it is an old term I’ve heard used again (and not just by me), this is a “gusting” effect. What does that have to do with Giovanni? Nothing, and since this is a Thursday – when we normally look at older cards or “Throwbacks”- why don’t I give an abridged history of gusting effects? The first appeared as a “normal Trainer” (what is now referred to as a Trainer-Item) all the way back in Base Set: Gust of Wind (Base Set 93/102; Base Set 2 120/130). It quickly earned the nickname “Gust of Win” because it was just as effective as you’d think: controlling what your opponent has Active allows for easier KO and/or more strategic KO’s, plus it might help you stall if that is your actual goal.
Gust of Wind was so good, it was never reprinted again, unless its counterpart, Switch. We did, however, receive various successors to Gust of Wind. Only one or two were as good as Gust of Wind (Double Gust, maybe POW! Hand Extension), while the rest were clearly nerfed versions. No, I won’t be listing. Eventually, we got a shock and Pokémon Catcher was printed. If that doesn’t sound like too big of a deal, you’re not thinking of the correct Pokémon Catcher. Originally, Pokémon Catcher was just Gust of Wind with a new name! The coin flip was added shortly before the release of Lysandre, and Pokémon Catcher was as overpowered as it should sound; you could use your Supporter for mass draw, fueling big combos, and still force a vital Bench-sitter, partially prepped attacker, etc. into the Active Spot for a quick OHKO.
Speaking cards that are the same except for their names, we then got Lysandre, the original version of Boss’s Order. Not literally: Boss’s Orders and Lysandre have different names, however the rest of their stats and their effects are the same. It seems unnecessary to me, but there is even a rule that you cannot use both Lysandre and Boss’s Orders in Expanded. With Pokémon Catcher clearly nerfed by the addition of a coin toss, Lysandre became a staple, with players trying to save their Supporter use (and Lysandre) for key KO’s. Lysandre was a solid compromise; the Bench wasn’t too safe, but neither was it too vulnerable. Nor did we have the false sense of security and inflated luck requirements of post-errata Pokémon Catcher.
Lysandre would eventually rotate, but it wasn’t really felt because Guzma was a more than adequate replacement. Indeed, Guzma is an equal, alternative to Lysandre, and sometimes was and is superior to it. Guzma has the same Gust of Wind effect as Lysandre, but partnered with Switch, with neither part of the effect being optional. While the secondary effect was bad if you needed to keep your current Active up front, most decks could mitigate the issue through simple tricks: second attacker, pivot Pokémon, etc. Which still makes Lysandre sound better, since there is never the hassle, but that ignores all the times you wanted to switch out your own Active. To the point it seems to have completely supplanted Lysandre in Expanded. Remember that point for later.
We eventually lost Guzma, and got to experience a Standard Format where we had no gusting Supporter. Decks had to rely on alternatives, usually Great Catcher and/or Custom Catcher. I have to say, I really missed having a Supporter to do the job, so I was thrilled when Boss’s Orders was revealed. It really is something I wished they hit upon when they released Lysandre: find a solid, generic name for the card, then slap the appropriate character’s image on it with the option of re-releasing the card with a different but still appropriate character. In this case, we know a version of Boss’s Orders with Lysandre (the character) in the art and – as with that little subtitle in the corner – instead of Giovanni. Subtitle? Well, for now it is a non-game relevant bit of text that shows up in the upper right hand corner of the card, above the art, bellow the big red “Supporter” label, and opposite the card’s name.
So… Boss’s Orders is most likely here to stay for the next several years. It is possible we’ll get alternatives that rival it, but odds are Boss’s Orders isn’t just a staple in our Standard decks, but in our release schedule. In the Expanded Format, Boss’s Orders will likely be no more popular than Lysandre. I prefered always having at least one Guzma and one Lysandre in my Expanded Format decks, but I haven’t had a good Expanded Format match in about a year. Maybe I was wrong back then, or maybe I was just lucky that my decks could make room for both instead of having to choose one of Guzma or Boss’s Orders/Lysandre. You probably aren’t going to be able to participate in any Limited Format events anytime soon, and even if you do, the most likely would be a restoration of Pre-Releases (which involve the latest set)… but if you do get to play with SW – Rebel Clash packs, Boss’s Orders is a fantastic pull you run in any deck.
You could say I’m being generous with the Expanded Format score, but I think of it as being cautios; if Guzma wasn’t an option, every deck would either run Boss’s Orders or Lysandre. In Expanded, Guzma is not an option, and neither is Lysandre, so Boss’s Orders is a staple. Yes, the odd deck here or there can skip it, but even that is because they absolutely cannot make room for it, and have a strategy where they need their Supporter for something else (like Welder). I had Boss’s Orders as my 2nd-Place pick for 2020, and nearly as my first. As with Quick Ball, we do still have alternatives (Pokémon Catcher, Great Catcher), and those alternatives even see some competitive success, but the metagame would be so drastically different without Boss’s Orders. More so than almost any other card from our top five.
Vince had this at #3 on his personal Top 10 List of 2020
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