– Ultra Prism
August 3, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
5th-place in our countdown is Escape Board (SM – Ultra Prism 122/156, 122a/156, 167/156), a Tool that reduces the Retreat Cost of the Pokémon to which it is attached by [C] and lets that Pokémon retreat even while Asleep or Paralyzed. We’ve looked at this card once before, as the 8th-best card of 2018. Why is a mild Retreat Cost reduction and retreating while Asleep or Paralyzed such a big deal? There are some attackers that need to retreat to reset effects, there are some supporting Pokémon your opponent may try to strand…
…but the main reason is Jirachi (SM – Team Up 99/181; SM – Black Star Promos SM161). It isn’t in every deck, but it is in the vast majority, and for good reason; slap an Escape Board on it, promote it anytime you have an excuse, use its Ability to snag a Trainer from the top five cards of your deck, then retreat it and carry on with the rest of your turn. Jirachi is not rotating, but we’re losing this simple, potent combo. Many other cards take advantage of it as well, but this one combo is found in so, so many decks. Plus, if the Pokémon in question is not going to be Asleep or Paralyzed, it can still utilize U-Turn Board or Air Balloon or less general options.
Escape Board sees far less play in Expanded, but it still sees some play in competitive decks. No surprise, it seems to boil down to whether or not the deck uses Jirachi or not; if you don’t need to retreat while Asleep or Confused, Float Stone zeroes out any Retreat Cost. In the Limited Format, only skip Escape Board if you’re building a Mulligan deck: no other Pokémon means no retreating. Unlike in Standard or Expanded, you’re much more likely to need one or both of Escape Board’s effects and on more than just Pokémon with a Retreat Cost of [C]. The same is true of the Theme Format, where you can find Escape Board in the
Theme Decks, its similarly great… but also remember these decks are getting on in years.
Escape Board is a very good card, but it is the value of the Jirachi combo that makes it great. Without that, it’d just be a two-out-of-five; again, it is competing with Air Balloon and U-Turn Board. Even Jirachi might just get used to other combos taking its place. If you went back and looked at our previous Escape Board review, you’ll notice that many of us (myself included) thought Escape Board was below average, but that it would get better in the future. It released well before Jirachi and while Float Stone was still Standard-legal. Which is why I left this one off of my list… and once again, I’m rather torn which cards I did include that I could leave off the list for Escape Board.
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