#4 Cherish Ball
– Unified Minds
December 26, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Cherish Ball (SM – Unified Minds 191/236, 191a/236, 250/236) is our 4th-place pick for all of 2019, and was our 2nd-place pick from its home set. This Trainer-Item lets you search your deck for a Pokémon-GX. There are no costs to using it. It can be any Type, any Stage, possess or lack any other mechanics… it just needs to be a Pokémon-GX. While this is indeed a very good effect, what really helps it is the timing. Not “timing” in terms of game mechanics, but with respect to when Cherish Ball was released.
SM – Unified Minds released not too long before this year’s set rotation, a rotation which robbed us of not only the best Item-based Pokémon-search, but arguably the next best options as well. I thought Pokémon Communication would prove to be a sufficient replacement; weaker, but acceptably slow given how the game was losing many other sources of speed. I was wrong. I still am uncertain how much the ascendance of Pokémon-GX was inevitable, and how much was because they were one of the few Pokémon “groupings” that still had good search (another being Mysterious Treasure and what it meant to [N]and [P] Pokémon).
Cherish Ball is definitely not in every successful, competitive deck, but if it runs on Pokémon-GX that aren’t all TAG TEAM Pokémon, odds are Cherish Ball is in the list. Well, in the Standard Format, anyway. In the Expanded Format, it still has to compete with older search options, like Nest Ball, Ultra Ball, even certain older Supporters like Brigette. It does compete with them, showing up in some high performing lists among the little data I have for the Format (I haven’t had a chance to play at all lately). As for the Limited Format, go ahead and run it even if you’ll have nothing to search for with it; seeing your deck to know what is Prizes is valuable knowledge, and you’ll rarely lack the space.
Cherish Ball is yet another great card, and it needed to be, given that it is our fourth-place pick. Personally, though, it was only my ninth-place pick. Why? It missed nearly half of 2019, and for as great as it has been, there were eight other cards that I thought were either used in as many or more decks, were more powerful, or were harder to “replace”. If Cherish Ball didn’t exist, we’d have just made do with our other search options; some decks would have worse performances, and some better because they already have worthwhile alternatives, but the difference wouldn’t have been dramatic.
Cherish Ball from Unified Minds came at the right time for this card to really matter in Standard because several other Ball related item cards left the format, including but not limited to Ultra Ball and Nest Ball. This card also invites certain combos and is easily searchable via Apricorn Maker. Being able to search for any GX Pokémon – even Tag Teams – means that you can get your main attacker or utility Pokémon with ease. Something like getting a Dedenne-GX to draw more cards, Tapu Lele-GX for fetching a Supporter card, Zeraora-GX for free retreat for Pokémon with lightning energies, and much more.
Besides item lock and restricted search, there isn’t any other drawbacks to Cherish Ball. It provides a simple search that is significant to the format it’s currently in. In the Standard format that’s full of GX Pokémon, Cherish Ball is crucial to those specific decks. Other decks that use non-GX or Pokemon-V/V-Max will need alternative searching methods as Cherish Ball isn’t helping them. This actually hurts Cherish Ball’s future potential, but it still does its job well for specific decks.
…well yeah, that makes sense.
Actually, there’s not a whole lot to say about Cherish Ball. You get a Pokemon-GX from your deck. Doesn’t matter if it’s Tag Team, Evolution, whatever – you just add it to your hand, no questions asked! Why wouldn’t that be powerful?
Standard: 5/5 (nah, that’s it – good card is good)
Expanded: 5/5 (like…really good)
Limited: 5/5 (…it’s really good though, okay?)
Arora Notealus: My ninth wish would be that we make some better Stadiums more generally available. And what I mean by that is, we need to have more Stadiums that can work with decks in different ways. Currently, we’ve only got 16 Stadium cards in the format – most of which don’t even see play – but we’ve had formats before that had as many as 25 Stadium cards, which all saw a variable amount of play. Maybe we could use Stadiums that interact with Energy in different ways, or have different effects if you’ve played a Supporter or have Tools in play, something to make you think about the way you construct your deck and use different cards would be really cool.
Next Time: Fire up those ovens, cause we’ve got metal to melt!
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