Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Bruno takes 14th-Place as we countdown our top 15 picks from SW – Battle Styles. Bruno is a Trainer-Supporter that shuffles your hand into your deck. What happens next depends on whether or not any of your Pokémon were KO’d during your opponent’s last turn. If at least one was, you draw seven cards, making Bruno a better Cynthia. If none, then you draw four cards. That is the same as if your opponent hit you with a Red Card… only you’re giving up your Supporter for the turn to do it to yourself. Bruno is also a Single Strike card. While this can mean a lot for certain cards, currently for Bruno, it just means you can use it as discard fodder for Tower of Darkness.
Bruno is very similar to a card known as Cynthia’s Feelings, which released all the way back in August of 2008, and remained Standard-legal until July of 2011. During this time, I went from barely being able to play, to not even being able to keep up with the game passively. As such, I am trusting others when they tell me Cynthia’s Feelings was a great card… though I can believe it. However, the devil is in the details. Bruno does not look like a good card to me, at least for Standard. I seem to be in the minority. Perhaps because I didn’t playtest Bruno. Indeed, I barely had a chance to discuss the card with others, and only read or watched a few others opinions on this card. So let me explain why I don’t think Bruno is an especially good card.
First and foremost Bruno is not Cynthia’s Feelings. Unless its status as a Single Strike card proves far more useful than it currently seems, Cynthia’s Feelings is clearly the better of the two. Though they draw the same minimum of four cards, when one of your Pokémon were KO’d during your opponent’s previous turn, Cynthia’s Feelings draws eight cards. Yes, this is one more card than Bruno, but in the metagame from 10 to (nearly) 13 years ago! For comparison’s sake, Professor Oak’s Research was a solid draw card around the time Cynthia’s Feelings first released. Professor Oak’s Research has you shuffle your hand into your deck to draw just five cards. That’s the same as Shauna, and we know from how she didn’t see competitive success that such a level of draw power hasn’t been worth it in seven years!
Cynthia’s Feelings may predate the Expanded Format, but it was Standard-legal long enough for not only Professor Oak’s New Theory to join it, but Professor Juniper as well, back in 2011. If you aren’t familiar with those two cards… well, you probably are, just under different names: Cynthia and Professor’s Research. When I looked up the World Championship Decks, the four commemorative ones they release after the fact, only two used Cynthia’s Feelings. They both were from Standard Formats that predated Professor Juniper and Professor Oak’s New Theory. Cynthia’s Feelings was good when draw Supporters were weaker than they are now, and Bruno is weaker than Cynthia’s Feelings… and there’s more.
Cynthia’s Feelings released as Pokémon-ex (the ones from Gen III) were on their way out. Multi-Prize Pokémon were just barely reintroduced by the time Cynthia’s Feelings rotated. No, not Pokémon-EX (from the BW and XY eras), but the Pokémon LEGEND cards from the HS-series. Cynthia’s Feelings missed being legal in a Pokémon-EX focused Format by a few sets. Both Cynthia’s Feelings and Bruno only draw well when one of your Pokémon were KO’d during your opponent’s turn. If your deck involves multi-Prize Pokémon that are being KO’d, you’ll have fewer chances to use Bruno or Cynthia’s Feeling for big draws. If your deck is built around denying your opponent KO’s, or involves KOing your own Pokémon during your own turn, you also have reduced chances to hit the big draws.
A minor thing, at least compared to what I’ve already said, is that Bruno doesn’t trigger if you self-KO during your own turn, or if you’re KO’d between turns by Special Conditions. That seems like a nitpick now, but between Cynthia’s Feelings and Bruno, we had a few Formats where Hypnotoxic Laser, often with Virbank City Gym on the field, was a common finisher between turns. Thankfully, your opponent using the “Headbutt Tantrum” Ability of Galarian Zigzagoon (Sword & Shield 117/202; Shining Fates SV078/SV122) still happens during their turn. Whether it sets up for a KO or delivers the finishing blow, the Knock Out still happens during your opponent’s turn.
There are places where Bruno can be good. If your deck is built around only, or at least mostly, single Prize cards, then running multiple copies of Bruno to increase your odds of having it handy at the correct time isn’t too bad. In a deck where your opponent takes reduced Prizes for KO’s, especially zero Prizes, then Bruno is fantastic! In a Single Strike deck, discard fodder for Tower of Darkness may be welcome. Tower of Darkness is a Stadium that lets you discard a Single Strike card from your hand in order to draw two cards, once during your turn. The turns when Bruno is only a shuffle-and-draw for four, you’ll have the option to save your Supporter for something else and instead discard it to draw another two.
Bruno isn’t the only card that rewards you for something of your own being KO’d during your opponent’s last turn. There are cards such as Rosa; maybe the two compete for the same deck slots, or maybe they will work together. Where things finally look good for Bruno is in Expanded. All the stuff from Standard still applies but Expanded has more ways to search out Supporters (like Tapu Lele-GX) and more ways to quickly recycle them (like VS Seeker). VS Seeker in particular makes a massive difference. Even if Bruno proves only worth using once, it is okay if it ends up in the discard pile ahead of time, because it is just that easy to recycle it.
An earlier release of VS Seeker was legal during the middle stretch of Cynthia’s Feelings, which may explain some of that card’s success.
I actually scored Bruno far better than I expected, considering it didn’t even come close to making my list. Maybe I’m just missing the boat on how great Bruno is going to be, but I just don’t think the metagame is primed for it right now. Which absolutely could change, either due to more Single Strike support, or if the metagame starts focusing more on single Prize attackers again. Indeed, in the long run, especially in Expanded, we’re probably just waiting for the next deck that force feeds your opponent cards like Lillie’s Poké Doll. Yes, such a thing being KO’d still enables Bruno to draw seven!
Our 14th best card of Sword & Shield Battle Styles is Bruno! It is also a Single Strike card as well, which could be useful in certain situations if a certain card lets you search for a Single Strike card. This kind of feature is nothing new, as Team Plasma from the BW series also had it on the top right corner, and is also useful to search for cards under “Team Plasma”. Though the Team Plasma mechanic would only last for just 3 full expansions (BW Plasma Storm, Plasma Freeze, and Plasma Blast). Single Strike/Rapid Strike might share a similar fate of such cause.
Anyways, Bruno has an effect which makes me think of an much older card: Cynthia’s Feelings (DP Legends Awakened), which was reviewed once (https://www.pojo.com/COTD/2008/Sept/17.shtml). That Supporter lets you shuffle your hand and draw 4 card. But if any of your opponent were knocked out last turn, then you draw 8 cards instead. As she debuted at a time where there’s no “discard your hand and draw 7 cards”, she saw a great amount of play. And she still continued to be despite later cards competing with her such as Professor Oak’s New Theory and eventually Professor Juniper, though she was one of those cards that were pulled from an emergency rotation in July 2011, and I didn’t see Cynthia’s Feelings played alongside Professor Juniper or Professor Oak’s New Theory in the last 3 months.
So what does this mean for Bruno now? Well, Professor’s Research and Marnie are still deck staples, though not demanding as before. Since it didn’t matter about who’s ahead or behind on prizes, Bruno can at least try to help you make a comeback with those seven cards for when your opponent is down to a couple prizes remaining. I’m guessing he might be a loose staple or two.
Bruno not only gave a slightly nerfed Cynthia’s Feelings (albeit still gives a good draw yield), but also takes advantage of the new Single/Rapid strike mechanic, which might help Bruno in the long run. I don’t recall where I placed Bruno, but I had it somewhere on my personal list, because that effect reminded me of something nostalgic.
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