Cheryl – Battle Styles
March 25, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Our 9th place finisher of SS Battle Styles is Cheryl! Not only this is her first appearance in the Pokémon TCG (unless I missed something back in the DP series), it also reintroduces an similar effect from another card before it got an errata.
Pokémon Center (Base Set 85/102, BW Next Destines 90/99) previously had a different effect due to receiving an errata when it reprinted in BW Next Destines. The current version is a Stadium card which lets you heal 20 damage from 1 of your Benched Pokemon. Before that, however, it was a Trainer-item which lets you heal all damage from your Pokémon while also discarding all energy attached to your Pokémon that had any damage counters on it. The pre-errata effect of Pokémon Center is identical to Cheryl, except that she is a Supporter card, works on Evolution Pokémon, and using her means you give up other opportunities to use a different Supporter card of your turn. On another note, Blissey Prime from HGSS series also has an Poke-Power which does the exact same thing as Pokémon Center the moment you evolve it from Chansey.
However, this kind of effect is actually worth using up your Supporter under the right circumstances. Healing all of your damage from all of your Pokémon (even on a VMAX that took 330 damage) is a massive game changing effect that could save you a turn or two. Sure, discarding all of your energies makes it unbearable if you don’t have any methods to recover them from the discard pile, and it might even mandate the use of Bronzong from Battle Styles (or any energy trans users) in order to move energies to an undamaged Pokémon so that it won’t be affected by Cheryl due to being undamaged in the first place, thus avoiding the energy discard; you then move those energies back to your attacker after using her. If a damaged Pokémon get healed but has no energies to discard from, then the discard clause is inconsequential.
She may not be able to compete against Professor’s Research, N/Marnie, or Boss’s Orders, but her effect is by no means solid. When it comes to healing/bouncing in Expanded, the list of competition increases such as Super Scoop Up and Max Potion (though only healing all damage from any one Pokémon, but doesn’t use up your Supporter).
After nearly over a decade of absence of such an effect, Cheryl picks up where pre-errata Pokémon Center left off…well, almost. I did not find a much older review of the pre-errata Pokemon Center, but I imagine it would have been a power play back in the day, when there’s Venusaur to move energies around or Blastoise to fuel up energies after using Pokémon Center.
Cheryl (SW – Battle Styles 123/163, 159/163, 173/163) takes 9th-Place in our countdown for SW – Battle Styles. This Trainer-Supporter heals all damage from each of your Evolution Pokémon. After that, you discard all Energy attached to any Pokémon healed through the first part of Cheryl’s effect. If an Evolution card has no damage to heal, you don’t discard any Energy from it. If it is not an Evolution Pokémon, it isn’t affected at all. If you’ve forgotten, anything that isn’t a Basic is an Evolution Pokémon. While an Evolution card put directly into play – such as through Archie’s Ace in the Hole – is not an “Evolved” Pokémon, it remains an Evolution Pokémon.
Having to discard all Energy from anything you healed is a big cost… unless, of course, something is being healed that has no Energy attached. It can further be mitigated with Energy acceleration. Not healing your Basics is a drawback, but a necessary balancing agent, as well as sometimes useful. You see, Cheryl is a new card, and I don’t know of any past Trainers that work the same way… but there have been multiple similar cards over the years. Let’s start with the oldest: Pokémon Center. Wait, what does Cheryl have to do with a Stadium card that lets the turn player heal 20 damage from one of their Benched Pokémon? That is the effect Pokémon Center received when it was reprinted as BW – Next Destinies 90/99.
The original Pokémon Center worked far differently. Initially released as Base Set 85/102, it was then re-released as Base Set 2 114/130 and then again as Black Star Promos 40. This version of Pokémon Center was a “normal Trainer”, what would now be classified as an Item card. When played, you removed all damage counters from all of your Pokémon that had any on them, then discarded all Energy attached to those Pokémon. In other words, Cheryl as an Item that didn’t care about Stage of Evolution. The next example we’ll focus on is Pokémon Nurse (Expedition 145/165); this Supporter required you select one of your injured Pokémon, remove all damage counters from it, then discard all Energy that was attached to it.
Which is almost exactly the same as the final Trainer like this we’ll discuss: Max Potion (BW – Emerging Powers 94/98; BW – Plasma Freeze 121/116; XY – BREAKpoint 103/122; SM – Guardians Rising 128/145, 128a/145, 164/145). This is Pokémon Nurse, but as an Item card. It is also still Expanded-legal, so it is probably the most familiar of these cards. We already know how to use Max Potion well. Use it to heal something without any Energy attached. Use it to heal something with only a single Energy attached, or that your available Energy acceleration can immediately refuel. Which is how you use Cheryl except…
…you have to mind what else is injured. This can be great if your opponent keeps failing to finish off your Pokémon, and every Evolution injured has no Energy attached, or you can spare whatever Energy is attached. This can be very risky, as your opponent may have a Bench hit or Boss’s Orders to finish something off before you drop Cheryl. When you can time it all correctly, though, it proves rather potent. The other major, obvious difference is you’re giving up your Supporter for the turn; being a Supporter makes Cheryl harder to block, a little easier to search from your deck, and a little easier to recycle than an Item, but it means no Professor’s Research, no Boss’s Orders, etc. during that turn.
So, what are some decks/strategies that might take advantage of Cheryl? Single-Prize attackers don’t have the bulk to survive big hits, so decks built around them are a terrible candidate. An Evolution backed by Frosmoth should be able to make solid use of Cheryl. Jst try to have enough Water Energy in hand so that after using Cheryl, you can immediately attach it and get back to attacking. The Cramorant VMAX deck backed by Porygon-Z (SM – Unbroken Bonds 157/214) may or may not prove viable here, but if it does, it is another good candidate; Recycle Energy discarded by Cheryl returns to your hand, and Boost Energy you attached the previous turn will already be gone by the time you heal.
Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX and Single Strike Urshifu VMAX might be able to make use of Cheryl. Both are Pokémon VMAX with 330 HP. The former has an attack for [F] that can do 150 damage if it moved from your Bench to the Active position this turn, and its second attack does 120 to two opposing Pokémon of your choice, but forces you to discard all attached Energy. Single Strike Urshifu VMAX was already reviewed; while it lacks an attack for [F], Houndoom (SW – Battle Styles 096/163, 179/163, SW – Black Star Promos SWSH090) with Single Strike Energy can provide energy acceleration for either of its attacks, and its second attack discards all attached Energy. Its first attack could also be fueled entirely by a Triple Acceleration Energy. No promises, but I think they’re worth a mention with Cheryl.
The deck that is probably best suited to exploit Cheryl, is half new, half old. Zacian V gets another variant, joined by Bronzong (SW – Battle Styles 102/163; SW – Black Star Promos SWSH091) and Corviknight VMAX. Bronzong’s Ability lets you move [M] Energy around, and Corviknight is just a decent-sized Pokémon VMAX capable of retreating for free and using Metal Energy for fuel. Cheryl cannot help Zacian V, but you can move all your [M] Energy to it when you drop Cheryl to heal your Corvinkight VMAX. While I am excited for Cheryl in Standard, in Expanded, her main selling point is probably to supplement Max Potion, especially in decks where you can’t afford to use bounce to fake additional mass healing.
- Standard: 4/5
- Expanded: 3/5
I’m absolutely being generous with Cheryl here. Most decks aren’t going to benefit from her, because even if you’ve got an Evolution large enough to heal, discarding all attached Energy hurts. Working on all Evolutions at once is a mixed bag, as sometimes it means a massive amount of healing, but it also means just one damage counter results in something being healed but losing all of its Energy. In the decks where she works, though, you may have to OHKO a Pokémon VMAX or never KO it. Cheryl was actually my 3rd-Place pick, though I admit I’m betting a lot on decks like Bronzong.
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