– Lost Thunder
July 24, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
On August 28, 2020, the 2021 Standard Format will officially go into effect, switching us from UPR-On to TEU-On for sets, and SM158+ and SWSH001+ for Black Star Promos. As is our tradition, we looked at all the cards that are currently Standard-legal, but which be loss when the set rotation goes into effect about a month from now. As always, there’s a chance we’ll be wrong in a very objective manner; reprints happen, and sometimes we don’t know they’re going to happen until after we’ve made our lists and slated something for review.
Our 15th-place pick is Counter Gain (SM – Lost Thunder 170/214; 230/214). This Trainer-Item is also a Pokémon Tool; if your opponent has fewer Prize cards remaining than you do, Counter Gain shaves [C] off of the equipped Pokémon’s attack costs. Prize card counts are a quick and dirty method of determining who is “winning”… which is why they’re so often misleading. Even when trying to win on Prizes, who has the stronger field, hand, even remaining deck can be as or more important. Then there are alternate win conditions – chiefly decking your opponent out – that don’t care about the Prize count at all.
The thing is, this isn’t a flaw in Counter Gain’s design. It took me a while to accept it, but by now this is clearly a feature. If your deck needs it only as insurance, that’s fine, but slow starting decks, those using self-KO effects, and/or those that aren’t trying to take Prizes can just cash in on it as easy Energy acceleration. You’ll have to burn that Pokémon’s Tool slot on it, and you trade pros and cons of being an Energy for the pros and cons of being a Tool. Seems like its main use lately is in Galarian Obstagoon decks… and they’re going to miss it when it is gone. Even if I’m overestimating them, Counter Gain is that card that can work with so much, it seems unlikely it couldn’t find a new home if it wasn’t rotating.
The good news is that Counter Gain is sticking around in Expanded, so it’ll have a future there. It hurts that it has to worry about Item-lock and compete with Tools like Muscle Band, but it has been used in Expanded before, and will continue to see use unless we get something better. Should you have the chance to try this set in the Limited Format, it is a great pull… unless you’re going for a mulligan build. If you’re running a lone, Basic Pokémon-GX, your opponent cannot pull ahead in Prizes without immediately winning the game (because they KO’d your only Pokémon in play). It is also possible, though unlikely, your deck would have few to no [C] Energy requirements in your Pokémon’s attack costs.
Counter Gain is a Tool that is mediocre in many decks, but great in a few. That’s still good enough for a three-out-of-five, even in the more cutthroat arena of Expanded. It isn’t a massive loss for most of the Standard Format, but there’s at least one current deck that will miss it, and some future opportunities it will miss due to having rotated from the game. Personally, I had it as my 14th-place pick, but 15th-place is still fitting.
As Otaku already explained, it’s that time again where we look at the top 15 cards lost to rotation as the 2019-2020 season ends at near the end of August this year. The upcoming format is Team Up onwards, so that means the sets before that have been sliced:
-and some SM Promo
Yup, the amount of expansions that are rotated out will affect how certain decks will be played in Standard without such cards, and whether or not it would be feasible to continue using.
But anyways, starting with 15th place is Counter Gain from SM Lost Thunder. There is a previous review if you’re interested (https://www.pojo.com/counter-gain-pokemon-review/) as Counter Gain was a regular review and didn’t make it on the list. This is a Pokémon Tool card which stated that if you have more prizes than your opponent, then the attacks of the Pokémon this card is attached to costs (*) less. So if there was an attack that cost FC, for example it would cost just F. It’s still useless against other attacks that cost FF or RR or whatever that doesn’t let you shave off that C cost. This effect could be useful if you are falling behind and useless when you’re ahead. Actually, with power creep continue to rise, you’ll have absurd attacks that eventually cost a single energy and still does respectable damage (look at Inteleon’s Aqua Bullet or Galarian Obstagoon’s Obstruct).
The thing is, that Prize cards are NOT an indicator to who is truly winning or not. One could be behind by one prize, but then you come back with the KO against multi-prize Pokemon, and suddenly you’re two or even three steps ahead, and possibly winning you the game. If there wasn’t any EX/GX/V Pokemon or any attacks that does damage to multiple Pokemon, then I would have said that the prize pile would be an accurate indicator because you wouldn’t be able to take multiple prizes, just one prize at a time.
Counter Gain will be missed and there might be some attacker that won’t see as much play without the tool. And unless you have another source of multiple energy attachments, you may find that you’ll need a turn or two to fuel up attacks, and there’s not much time for that.
Like the clash of a wave of cards upon the rocky shores of the TCG, so too does the tide ebb and flow…something something Water pun, IT’S TOP 15 CARDS LOST TO ROTATION! Since it’s that special time of year to lose cards from Standard and limit them to Expanded, we get to take a look at the sets from Ultra Prism to Lost Thunder and all the promos inbetween.
Counter Gain starts off the list, and I’m not that surprised. It was something I was looking at when making my own list, though I did end up keeping it off of mine. I just felt there were bigger cards in general, but Counter Gain is pretty big itself! If you’re behind in Prize cards, your Pokemon’s attacks cost 1 less Colorless Energy. That’s pretty colossal!
As more attacks in recent years grow in power to accommodate the ever-increasing power of special Pokemon – think Pokemon-V/VMAX nowadays – having the ability to get cheaper versions of those powerhouse cards is amazing. Even being behind in Prize cards isn’t really a downside, considering the biggest Pokemon cost 2 or even 3 Prizes these days. So naturally, this means that without Counter Gain (or a suitable replacement), attacks are going to cost more, and that means it’s gonna take more to use them. And the more expensive an attack is, the less likely competitive players will want it around.
Counter Gain was a big reason decks could make a comeback against difficult opponents, since it’s a lot easier to get 1 Energy for an attack than 2 (and easier to get 2 instead of 3 and so on). Expanded has a lot of options though, so it might not always find a home in decks there. But as for Standard, well, it certainly made its mark.
Standard: N/A (none too shabby, but certainly far from the biggest loss)
Expanded: 3/5 (I think generally it’s a good card, but finding room in these decks is getting tougher as the card pool expands)
Limited: 4/5 (solid card for the set though!)
Arora Notealus: Counter Gain is one of those “catch-up” cards that I don’t mind as much. Usually, when a card needs you to be behind in some way, it’s only giving you something like HP or drawing cards. For the few cards that do give Energy, they do max out on what they give, but it’s only for a short while. Counter Gain helps in a similar fashion, but instead of giving more Energy, it just makes the cost easier to pay, and even then it won’t work on every Pokemon.
Next Time: Time to put this card back in the kitchen!
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