– Lost Thunder
July 28, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
11th-place in our countdown goes to Custom Catcher (SM – Lost Thunder 171/214, 231/214). When we counted down the best cards of SM – Lost Thunder, it was our 2nd-place pick; when we counted down the best cards of 2018, it still managed to clock in at 9th-place. This is a Trainer-Item with two effects… or three if you count the fact that Custom Catcher is one of the few Trainer-Items that lets you play two Items at the same time. The rest of the effect depends on whether you played just one Custom Catcher, or played two at once. A single lets you draw until you have three cards in hand; not great, but far from bad. Two at once let’s you switch one of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon with their Active.
The second effect is what made Custom Catcher a metagame defining card… after Guzma was no longer Standard-legal. Before then, it still saw some success, but only in certain decks. Those that really wanted a non-Supporter alternative to Guzma (and couldn’t settle for Great Catcher). Those that had Item-search and/or recycling effects that could combo nicely into Custom Catcher – see Alolan Ninetales-GX (SM – Lost Thunder 132/214, 205/214, 225/214). Those that are almost as interested in the first effect as the second, not that I can think of any examples that don’t also fall under the previous point – see Granbull (SM – Lost Thunder 138/214), or at least, builds of that deck.
We’ll miss Custom Catcher in Standard but not as much as we would have prior to SSH – Rebel Clash joining us. Just as Custom Catcher was niche while Guzma was in Standard, Boss’s Orders has taken Custom Catcher’s place as a deck staple. In Expanded, Custom Catcher also has niche usage, but it is a smaller niche; not only does it share “Item-based gust-effect” with Great Catcher and Pokémon Catcher, but Counter Catcher is still here. Custom Catcher is a must-run in the Limited Format, though remember you may have a hard time using the first effect. That is the thing about the Limited Format: you may have a lot of cards in your hand you just can’t play or discard.
I actually feel somewhat bad we never looked as Custom Catcher while it was at its height… but if you’re reading this review years from now, then yes, it was a great card between reviews. Custom Catcher didn’t make my Top 15 list, but once again, it would have if its main replacement hadn’t just released. Custom Catcher actually tied with tomorrow’s 10th-place card, but lost the tiebreaker.
Custom Catcher from SM Lost Thunder was a pretty impactful card. This is an item card that has multiple effects depending on how many you played from your hand. If you played one, you draw cards until you have 3 cards in your hand. If you’ve played two of them at the same time, you get to choose one of your opponent’s Benched Pokemon and switch it with their Active Pokemon.
This second effect is why this card receive major recognition, to the point that it made two countdowns (and temporary became somewhat expensive for what would be a Uncommon card due to low supply and high demand): the runner up of the best card of the set and the 9th best card of 2018. Gusting effects aren’t to be underestimated, even if it takes resources (like this card), opportunity cost (such as Supporter cards like Boss’s Orders), and/or luck (Pokemon Catcher needing heads on a coin flip) to reap that vaunted effect. Cards like those will ensure that no Pokémon will be safe from being attacked, whether it be a Bench sitting Pokemon with useful abilities or a heavily damaged Pokémon just waiting to be gusted and KOed for easy prizes. If there’s anything to make you win the match sooner, Custom Catcher would be one of those.
While Pokemon Catcher still exists and Boss’s Orders reintroducing am guaranteed effect at the cost of a Supporter, it doesn’t perfectly match what Custom Catcher accomplishes. Custom Catcher has a guaranteed effect and it doesn’t use up your Supporter for the turn. However, it does mandate that you have at least two of them in your hand, or otherwise you can’t abuse the second effect. While the first effect of draw power is nice – if this card was the only card in your hand, you get to draw three – sometimes you won’t be able to use that effect if you had a big hand, and you can’t play this card in this case. Item lock, Poltergiest style attacks, and Garbodor’s Trashalanche are some discouraging factors that could ruin Custom Catcher.
Even with those disadvantages, we will surely miss Custom Catcher. It’s one of the few cards that can get away with such a powerful effect, and now we’re finding ourselves needing to insert one or two Boss’s Orders in order to target what you’re after.
Standard: 3.5/5 (soon to be N/A)
Ah yes, the somewhat nerfed version of the once-powerful staple Pokemon Catcher. Now customizable for whatever you need!
Custom Catcher is one of those Items that can be played with other copies of itself to get different effects. On its own, it’s a simple hand refresh, letting you draw until you have 3 cards in hand. If you play another copy alongside it, it retains the old Pokemon Catcher effect to switch 1 of your opponent’s Benched Pokemon with their Active Pokemon!
It’s not the first card to implement the old Pokemon Catcher effect – Lysandre and Guzma similarly managed to copy the effect verbatim. The big difference is, this is an Item card, meaning you weren’t spending your Supporter for the turn. It’s what made the OG Pokemon Catcher so powerful! So is playing 2 cards worth it to get that effect? You bet it was! Custom Catcher definitely made the play alongside high draw-power cards like Lillie, Cynthia, Welder, even Cynthia & Caitlin, since they could get you to draw a bunch of cards at once. And if you get 2 copies in hand, Custom Catcher could nab whatever Pokemon you want to KO!
Granted, this isn’t guaranteed to be the case all the time. You won’t always have 2 Custom Catchers in hand, and it’s really only worth it if you can run the maximum 4 copies. And as deck space grows tighter, it makes more sense to have a single Supporter in the deck to use for that kind of resource as opposed to the 4 Items for 2 uses. It’s also pretty easy to use an Item to bring a Supporter back than to bring back multiple Items. So while it’s easy to get the Custom Catchers in hand, it might not always be easy to cycle them back.
Custom Catcher definitely had a major impact on the game while it was around, even if it didn’t always stick it out in a lot of decks. Just its presence made you consider what could be on the Bench! And depending on what deck you’re facing, you’d have to be wary that a pair of these would ruin your whole strategy.
Standard: N/A (to my knowledge, this card has mainly been dropped in favor of Great Catcher)
Expanded: 3/5 (there’s plenty of other good effects here of a similar breed, not to mention the anti-Item hate is stronger here)
Limited: 3.5/5 (still need to have 2 to max off of this, but the draw power is somewhat relevant)
Arora Notealus: As one of many cards of this kind, Custom Catcher has a lot of competition in Expanded, and even more so it has tough competition for the space it demands. But while it was here in Standard, it definitely had a place…well, until it was no longer the best option. Great Catcher does discard cards, but it’s targeted towards Pokemon-EX/GX, which remain one of the better targets for this kind of effect anyway, so it made more sense to use 1 copy of that and benefit off of the discard than 2 copies of this to…well, do the same thing. Even with the minor draw effect, Custom Catcher just can’t keep up with that usage.
Next Time: This belongs in a museum anyway…
We would love more volunteers to help us with our Card of the Day reviews. If you want to share your ideas on cards with other fans, feel free to drop us an email. We’d be happy to link back to your blog / YouTube Channel / etc. 😉
Click here to read our Pokémon Card of the Day Archive. We have reviewed more than 4200 Pokemon cards over the last 20 years!