Cursed Shovel
Cursed Shovel

Cursed Shovel
– Rebel Clash

Date Reviewed:
May 1, 2020

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 3.25
Expanded: 3.25
Limited: 3.50

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.

Reviews Below:


Today is the official release date for SSH – Rebel Crash, and that means the beginning of our countdown.  Now that we’re posting reviews seven days a week, we’re going try doing a Top 15 this time.  If you’re totally new here, we’ve got an article explaining things in a bit more detail here.  If you just need a quick refresher, each reviewer submits their own personal list, tally the results, and we use that as the basis of our site’s top pick list.  Reprints aren’t allowed unless it restores something to Standard (or both Standard and Expanded) legality.

15th-place goes to Cursed Shovel (SSH – Rebel Clash 157/192).  This new Pokémon Tool has an effect that only triggers when the Pokémon to which it is attached is KO’d by damage from an opponent’s attack.  If that happens, Cursed Shovel forces your opponent to discard the top two cards of their deck.  Cursed Shovel works regardless of whether its on your Active or a Benched Pokémon; as long as that Pokémon is KO’d through attack damage from one of your opponent’s Pokémon and nothing is negating Tool effects, Cursed Shovel will force your opponent to discard the top two cards from their deck.

Two cards is not a lot to discard, but if your opponent isn’t prepared, they can’t really avoid it.  It only costs you running Cursed Shovel and having a free Tool slot, so two’s a pretty good deal.  The real concern I have with it is your opponent being able to discard it; we just got Tool Scrapper back, so neither Standard nor Expanded is safe for Tools at the moment.  Anti-Trainer, anti-Item, and anti-Tool effects all work on Cursed Shovel, but even without those, your opponent may also be able to attack around the equipped Pokémon or finish it off with an attack effect (other than doing damage) or an Ability.

What are some good uses for Cursed Shovel?  As long as it can make room for it, I would think Mill decks would be the most obvious.  Yes, they already have Tools they run, but I believe they have some leeway with what they slap on their current Active.  Cursed Shovel seems especially nice when equipped to Lillie’s Poké Doll; you give up no Prizes but your opponent still has to discard!  Rebel Clash also gives us Palossand (SSH – Rebel Clash 082/192); I won’t go into too much detail as we will eventually get around to reviewing that card, but its first attack has an improved milling effect if Cursed Shovel is attached to it.

Cursed Shovel may have a harder time in Expanded, as Item-lock and Tool discarding effects are stronger here.  However, it is possible that Item-lock could be turned to Cursed Shovel’s advantage; it just needs to be one-sided, or not go into effect until Cursed Shovel is already attached.  Your opponent may still have ways of discarding or negating Cursed Shovel, but when supported by a lot, its much less likely.  For the Limited Format, if you pull Cursed Shovel, you run it.  While your opponent is less likely to rip through their decks here, you each have a 40 card deck.


  • Standard: 3/5
  • Expanded: 3/5
  • Limited: 4/5

Cursed Shovel can work in just about any deck, but not especially well.  In a few select decks, though, I expect it to be a very valuable asset.  Is that enough to justify it on the Top 15 list?  Ordinarily, no.  So why is it here?  The only one who had this on their individual Top 15 list was me, in 9th-place.  There were eight clearly better cards, but after that, things got murky so I decided to go with a gut feeling… but also to warn you that was exactly what it was if Cursed Shovel actually made the list.  Which it did.


Hey guys! Been a while, but as always, I return to make my place known in this world as “that other guy who also reviews the cards on the countdown.” And as always, it’s that time of year where we get to do a whole new countdown for a brand-new set, Rebel Clash! And unlike always, it’s a Top 15 because we’ve got this whole weekend-review format thing too! SO THAT’S A LOT OF CARDS TO WRITE FOR!!

Starting off at the bottom of the list is Cursed Shovel, a Tool that discards the top 2 cards of your opponent’s deck when the Pokemon it’s attached to gets KO’d. There are a lot of cards that made it onto the list that made perfect sense to me in terms of how they might’ve made it, even if I didn’t put it on my own list (of which there’s really only 1 or 2 – we’re more in-sync than ever!), but this is the one card that made it that I’m pretty much clueless on.

To briefly recap my experiences with deck-milling strategies in the Pokemon TCG…they don’t usually work. The last “good” deck-milling strategy I remember playing against was Durant from Noble Victories – you know, the set that came out almost a decade ago now? The Durant deck was centered around Devour, an attack that did no damage but could mill out 4 cards from your opponent’s deck all at once, depending on how many Durant you had in play. Combine that with some Hammers and your opponent’s own willingness to draw half their deck out by themselves, and in theory you could do well. The main issue with the strategy was more that you might not mill out your opponent’s most useful cards, all the while giving them Energy in their discard pile to use with Dark Patches and Eelektrik Abilities that fueled the biggest Pokemon out there in the game…at the time.

Cursed Shovel doesn’t really strike me as being much better, with the only Pokemon that really cares about Cursed Shovel being Palossand (RBC),and the only reason he cares about that is for Sand Sink, an attack that mills cards from your opponent’s deck based on whether or not Cursed Shovel’s equipped. Normally, it’s just one card, but if the Shovel’s attached, it mills another 2, which makes 3 in total for quick maths. Combined with the likely possibility that somewhere along the way it’s gonna lose its 140 HP and get KO’d, the Shovel will take another 2, so bare minimum you’re getting at least 5 cards milled out – more than Durant could conceivably do.

Do I think Cursed Shovel made the list for Palossand? No, not really. There may be another deck in the game that might like putting the Cursed Shovel on some of its Pokemon though – recently in Standard, there’s been something called, “Bellelba & Brycen-Man Mill” that’s going around. It basically works similar to stuff like Oranguru Control and Pidgeotto Control, where it dictates the pace of the fight while recycling resources, but the main headliner is Bellelba & Brycen-Man, a TAG TEAM Supporter that mills out 3 cards and possibly reduces the Bench for both players down by a bit. I’m guessing that deck is the most likely candidate for Cursed Shovel to see play with, though my understanding is Zacian V is the deck to beat at the moment.

So while Palossand might get left behind on the beach to wash away with the tide, Cursed Shovel will be put back into the plastic bucket to be brought home with another deck in mind. I don’t know how prominently this will feature into everything, but hey, if a mill deck can be the 3rd most played deck of the format right now, I guess anything is possible.


Standard: 3.5/5 (I’ll give it the extra half-point just for likely being part of a well-represented deck at the moment)

Expanded: 3.5/5 (there’s also the Wall Stall deck in this format that could potentially run it, though that deck is pretty bloated…no pun intended)

Limited: 3/5 (not so prominent here I would imagine, even with Palossand and all that)

Arora Notealus: This is what happens when you don’t keep up with things in the ever-changing format of the game – you end up running across stuff like this and dismissing it without noticing that it could be one of the biggest parts of the game today! I dismissed Cursed Shovel as a bit of a meme with Palossand, but knowing about the prominent mill deck that’s out there has given me a reason to reconsider it. That might have made it a better pick than Dragapult V/VMAX…

Next Time: We have a Saturday review? And it’s so shiny!


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