– Detective Pikachu

Date Reviewed:
March 20, 2019

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 3.75/5
Expanded: 3.25
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

I think I’m burned out from making an Greninja essay yesterday, but I still got work to do!

Time to copy with Ditto (Detective Pikachu  17/18)! This is a Basic Colorless type with 60 HP, weak to Fighting, and a retreat cost of one. The attributes can matter. Being a Basic means taking up less deck space and is easy to be put into play. The Colorless typing lacks any way to deal double damage to Pokémon because there’s no Colorless weakness sans cards before Black & White. There are counters to Colorless Pokemon, but most notably, Necrozma-GX Light’s End Ability makes it take no damage from Colorless Pokemon. Fighting weakness is bad, Diancie Prism Star makes it that you take 40 more damage instead of 20 and before factoring whatever attacks coming from Fighting Pokemon; even a base damage of 10 backed with Diancie Prism Star spells doom for Ditto.

Ditto has only one attack. Copy Anything costs C and lets you use any attack from any of your opponent’s Pokemon as long as you have the necessary energy to meet the attack cost. It is a bit of a shame that you still need an energy to meet the cost of Copy Anything even if you picked an attack that costs no energy. Even then, this is a phenomenal attack; I think the reason is that Zoroark-GX has done this before, albeit as a GX attack. Zoroark-GX can copy any attack via Trickster-GX without having to meet the attack cost of any particular attack, but at the expense of your GX slot of the game. Ditto can repeatedly do this, and meeting the cost can be circumvented by Rainbow Energy or Double Colorless Energy, depending on what your opponent has.

Unfortunately, it’s that bit of text that keeps Ditto from being too good. Because it has to exactly meet the attack costs, Ditto is not a splashable as one would think outside of mirror matches. It comes down to being useful for copying Colorless attacks with ease. As for type specific attacks, ultimately it depends on what you’re facing against, so I wouldn’t depend on Ditto to pull its weight in any situation. Even then, Ditto is perhaps the best card of the Detective Pikachu mini-set, and I would expect myself to account for Ditto when I play.


Standard: 4/5

Expanded: 4/5

Limited: N/A


Ditto is versatile – despite the last bit of text – and is worth a single prize. If you can make room for Ditto, then by all means, use this.

Otaku Avatar

Ditto (Detective Pikachu 17/18) is one of those cards where almost every aspect of it matters. However, almost everything needs to be viewed in light of one (or more) other aspects of the card, so we’re just going to have to deal with some backtracking. Its defining characteristic is its attack, so we’ll start there. “Copy Anything” allows you to select an attack from one of your opponent’s Pokémon – Active or Benched – and use it as this attack. The catch? You do need to have enough Energy attached to Ditto to pay for using the copied attack. As such, even though Copy Anything has a printed requirement of [C], its true cost to use is whatever the copied attack needs. As important as what the attack says is what it does not mention: GX-attacks. As it does not expressly state any kinds of attacks it cannot copy, that means Copy Anything can be used to copy a GX-attack, making Ditto one of the few non-Pokémon-GX able to use a GX-attack, even if only by copying it from something else.

Which brings us to the rest of the card. Ditto isn’t competing against any other Ditto cards when it comes to the 4-Copy rule. Many decks utilize Ditto {*}, but they’re different names. Not being a Pokémon-GX means Ditto is only worth a single Prize when KO’d and doesn’t have to worry about anti-GX effects. Ditto is a Basic, so it does not have to deal with the hassles of being an Evolution. Ditto is a [C] Type, so it doesn’t get to exploit Weakness or have to worry about Resistance. That may sound like an even deal, but it is really a net negative because exploiting Weakness is powerful. Most [C] Type support and counters don’t see much play, though Necrozma-GX may still pop up every now and again; its Ability makes it a near-perfect wall against your [C] Type attackers. 60 HP means Ditto is a glass cannon but also means both Level Ball and Professor Elm’s Lecture can fetch it from your deck. [F] Weakness just means competitive [F] Type attackers barely have to try to get the OHKO. Lack of Resistance hardly matters because we’re only dealing with 60 HP in the first place: -20 against a single Type would seldom make enough of a difference. The Retreat Cost of [C] is good but largely irrelevant. You shouldn’t Bench, let alone promote, Ditto until you’re ready to attack with it, and we were already expecting Ditto to be OHKO’d, which means it’ll almost never have the chance to retreat.

Ditto is quite unlikely to be a deck’s main attacker. Where it may prove very, very useful is as a deck’s TecH attacker. Probably just a single copy of Ditto, run to handle a few situations that are either uncommon (but not rare) or common (but not always worth exploiting). The easiest example is the mirror match; Ditto still needs the same amount of Energy, and your opponent will almost always OHKO Ditto afterward, but if your deck can just as effectively power-up Ditto as its usual Pokémon-GX and/or Evolved attacker, you can win the Prize trade, win card-investment trade, win the speed trade, or some combination of all three. If your deck is one of the few that has a Prism Star Pokémon as an attacker, using Ditto to replicate the attacks from your opponent’s copy (remember, we’re discussing the mirror match) is a neat little treat as well. Beyond that, there are many attacks with all or mostly [C] Energy requirements and many attacks with zero to two Energy requirements; the overlap between these is much less, but still results in quite a few attacks that can pretty easily be covered by most decks if they run a Ditto without having to change anything else. It won’t always be worth copying such attacks with Ditto, but it is a good option to have.

If a deck can make room or already runs stuff like Counter Energy, Rainbow Energy, one (or more) of the Unit Energy cards, or even just multiple basic Energy cards, Ditto’s options greatly expand. The same for Counter Gain, Energy Switch, Multi Switch, etc. The metagame is also going to be a huge factor for Ditto; the more easily copied attacks there are in the metagame, the more useful Ditto can be. Even specific combinations of Pokémon could prove relevant. Zoroark-GX isn’t as heavily played as it once was, but it is still a pretty common sight. If your opponent has Zoroark-GX in play and has taken more Prizes and you still have your GX-attack for the game, you can use Ditto with a Counter Energy to copy Zoroark-GX’s “Trickster-GX” attack to then copy a different attack from one of your opponent’s Pokémon without having to worry about that attack’s Energy cost. Pretty pointless most of the time, at least considering the attackers usually run alongside Zoroark-GX, but a decent example of how many variables can affect Ditto. This naturally works against Ditto as well; even in a metagame full of attacks that aren’t overly expensive, Ditto may suffer because certain attacks are worthless without the proper setup, like Lost March or Blacephalon-GX decks, though Ditto still would function in the mirror match.


Standard: 3.5/5

Expanded: 2.5/5

Limited: N/A

Ditto has much potential; I think it will likely be on par with cards like Sudowoodo (XY – BREAKpoint 67/122) and its “Watch and Learn” attack, with a reasonable chance of proving a little better, and an outside chance of becoming a single for most decks. At least, for the Standard Format; while much is similar for Expanded, there is not only more competition in general, but more from decks where copying attacks won’t mean much because the rest of the deck is what makes such an attack worthwhile, like Night March needing specific Pokémon in your discard pile or Trevenant BREAK’s attacks working because of the combination of Dimension Valley and the “Forest’s Curse” Ability of the Trevenant (XY 55/146) from which Trevenant BREAK evolves. Still, we’re talking reduced usefulness, as opposed to being useless.

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