– Guardians Rising
July 24, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Oh right, a damage boosting card is about to leave Standard.
Choice Band really defined the meta when it came out. It gave attackers an extra push to hit important numbers designed to specifically OHKO or 2HKO targets that their base damage output otherwise fall short on. 30 extra damage to EX and GX Pokémon is a significant jump, as it makes those Pokémon frail than its HP suggest. And with Shrine of Punishment, that’d be 10 extra damage against EX/GX Pokemon between turns. What makes Choice Band more valuable than other passive Pokémon Tools is that you would be able to benefit from this effect at least once before being eventually removed by Field Blower, but the extra damage is already done. That’s probably why Choice Band is the 4th best card of the set and the 5th best card of 2017.
Choice Band is not for everyone, however, like not facing EX/GX Pokemon makes you wish you’ve used a different damage boosting card that can hit anybody, and in Expanded’s case, Muscle Band or Fighting Fury Belt. Attacks that got no damage in the first place won’t get boosted, which is obvious. This really replaces Silver Bangle, making it obsolete, though it can be incredible in Legacy Format. I don’t think there would be any good damage boosting cards without restricting things. Hustle Belt may seem like a huge damage boost, but it requires the holder to have dangerously low HP…yeah, he have yet to find a replacement.
Out of what we’re losing as we shift to the 2020 Standard Format, Choice Band (SM – Guardians Rising 121/145, 121a/145; SM – Burning Shadows 162/147) clocked in third on our countdown. If we go through the hierarchy, this is a Trainer, an Item, and a Pokémon Tool. Its effect is that the attacks of the Pokémon to which it is equipped do an extra 30 damage to Pokémon-EX/GX. Some finer points to understand is that this is before Weakness or Resistance, and the attack must be one that is capable of doing damage in the first place. We first reviewed Choice Band as our fourth-place pick from SM – Guardians Rising, then as fifth-place pick for all of 2015!
Choice Band is another of those cards run in most competitive decks; those leaving it out are those that have to use another Tool, aren’t interesting in upping their damage, or have no need for this particular damage boost. You know, the obvious reasons you wouldn’t run a card that otherwise seems like it fits every deck. I’d be remiss if I didn’t reminds you all how damage modifiers can be misleading; even juicy looking damage bonuses are meaningless if they don’t reduce how many turns it takes to score a KO, or else trigger (or avoid triggering) certain effects. Choice Band makes the list because anymore it is vital to just that; turning 3HKO’s into 2HKO’s and 2HKO’s into OHKO’s.
There’s more, even though we’ve easily justified it making the Top 11, if not claiming this rank. We’ve been on a bit of a run, with something similar in the Standard Format (and often just as prominent) for the last six years. If we include non-Tools that still provided a similar generic damage buff, we can extend that back further than I can clearly remember, though I do recall periods where we did not have anything similar (at least, that was worth playing). So why not rank Choice Band higher? The obvious answer is that there are some even more vital cards we lost, and it can be reasonably argued a few of the cards we already covered before Choice Band should then qualify, which brings us to the last point:
There’s no clear replacement for Choice Band. The best I can come up with is Koga’s Trap, and using up your Supporter for the turn to Poison and Confuse your opponent’s Active is not the same as a flat 30 bonus against a heavily-used class of Pokémon worth more than one Prize when KO’d. There are less generic alternatives, either because they only work for Pokémon of a particular Type or simply because they are more involved and so need more cards, but we might see a radical shift as certain HP scores become “safe” after years of being in the danger zone. Choice Band should still see play in the Expanded Format, though it will still often be a question of whether to run it, Muscle Band, or a combination of the two. A decent pull for the Limited Format, though your opponent needs to have luckily pulled a Pokémon-GX while you need to draw into Choice Band at the right time.
For my personal list, I had Choice Band as my third-place pick. At times, I worry this was a bit too high, but like I said, we’ve been used to this – or a similar – damage buff for years now, and it is going away at a time when the numbers matter. Especially with several of the other cards we’re losing around the same time. I always go on and on about the game’s pacing, and that doesn’t just include draw and search, but also damage output and Energy acceleration. We’re losing prominent examples of all four this time! If we didn’t have so many other standout cards on this list, Choice Band could have easily taken first-place!
Choice Band – I dunno why, but I don’t think Choice Band should have been this high. Yes, it’s a stronger card against EX/GX decks, and yes it is a damage-boosting effect, but I think there were a lot of other decks – mainly rogue stuff – that didn’t run a lot of EX/GX, and so they weren’t as impacted by Choice Band as much. Granbull was the one that came to my mind immediately, but you get what I mean with the idea of there being powerful non-EX/GX archetypes around and about. Choice Band’s kinda like a balanced out Muscle Band in that regard, and I feel like it would be more likely to come back into Standard than Muscle Band would. Unless they said Muscle Band couldn’t be used on EX/GX, then maybe we’d have something crazy there.
Note: The above is an excerpt from an email discussion about this Top 11 list, as aroramage was unable to submit a full review in time, but agreed that this would let him still share his thoughts. As such, there are no Ratings.
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