Detective Pikachu

Detective Pikachu

Date Reviewed:
March 18, 2019

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 1.50
Expanded: 1.13
Limited: N/A

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

Reviews Below:

vince avatar

We begin the week with another thematic subject. This time, we’re taking a look at cards from Detective Pikachu mini set, and we start with actually looking at Detective Pikachu. This is a different Pikachu card since it cannot evolve into any Raichu cards. I have not played any Detective Pikachu games or watched the movie, so I have no idea what’s going on unless I actually invest my spare time to find out.

But other media aside, this one is a Basic Lightning type with 90 HP, weak to Fighting, resist Metal, and retreat cost of two. It only has one attack. Brilliant Deductiom costs L and lets you look at the top 4 cards of your deck, pick one of them, and put it onto your hand. This effect reminds me of Trainer’s Mail, as it looked at the same amount of cards, but only fetches Trainer cards. This one can search for anything, so it may be a better effect than Trainer’s Mail, at the expense of using your attack.

For Standard, I can’t see this card getting as much play, outside of being a good starter for the first few turns of the game, because it’s pretty much useless as the match progresses (unless you have no other attacks to use and can even be a clutch moment). It can’t deal any damage at all, and it takes up a Bench slot, even if you think it’d be a good option for Zoroark-GX; there are better utilities out there. For Expanded, Trainers’ Mail exist, and while it can only fetch Trainer cards, it saves you a Bench slot and an attack.


  • Standard: 1.5/5
  • Expanded: 1.25/5
  • Limited: N/A
Otaku Avatar

The Detective Pikachu film is still over a month away but the tie-in Pokémon cards officially release in a little under two weeks… and we’ve actually seen English scans of all the cards. Some are from the special Pokémon TCG: Detective Pikachu mini-set, while others released as Black Star Promos. In fact, we’re starting with one such card: Detective Pikachu (SM – Black Star Promos SM194)! I mean, it would be strange not to begin with one of the actual Detective Pikachu cards. There is also Detective Pikachu (Detective Pikachu 10/18), which is also receiving a review today. That’s right, today’s a twofer!

Detective Pikachu (SM – Black Star Promos SM194), as this is the card’s printed name, cannot Evolve into cards that evolve from baseline Pikachu, and won’t count against regular Ash’s Pikachu, Pikachu, etc. for the 4-Copy Rule. It’s a Basic Pokémon as you’d expect; easy to slip into decks, fast to the field, etc. Detective Pikachu only has 90 HP, potentially nice if you’re playing in Expanded, as you can take advantage of Level Ball, but pretty fragile; once your opponent’s deck has at least a half decent setup, OHKO’s are quite likely. If Detective Pikachu is facing [F] Types, due to Weakness Detective Pikachu is an almost guaranteed OHKO. Any Resistance is appreciated, though it won’t make a huge difference on top of 90 HP. The Retreat Cost of [CC] is mediocre under normal circumstances and seems outright bad on a smallish Basic Pokémon unable to evolve. Detective Pikachu only has one attack, “Brilliant Deduction”, which costs [L]. Brilliant Deduction lets you look at the top four cards of your deck and add a card you find there to your hand (the rest are shuffled back into your deck). This isn’t horrible, but it is why I didn’t bring up Pokémon-Type earlier; the attack does no damage, so most [L] support (and the handful of counters) don’t apply. You could still take advantage of a card like Thunder Mountain {*} but that gives you an idea of what Detective Pikachu is competing against for deck space.

Detective Pikachu is up against the likes of Jolteon-GX and Zapdos (SM – Team Up 40/181; SM – Black Star Promos SM159) in terms of attackers, and Jirachi (SM – Team Up 99/181; SM – Black Star Promos SM161) in terms of early game setup. Jirachi’s “Stellar Wish” is very similar to Brilliant Deduction… but as an Ability and not an attack. There’s really no contest; my own “brilliant deduction” is that you shouldn’t be using this card in Standard, and things would be worse for it in the slightly faster Expanded Format. The one place it might be worthwhile – the Limited Format – doesn’t allow promos like this, at least last I checked.


  • Standard: 1.5/5
  • Expanded: 1/5
  • Limited: N/A

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