G Booster & G Scope – BW Plasma Blast
November 9, 2017
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
There are a lot of different Tools in the ACE SPEC department, but there’s a pair that can be attached to the same Pokemon: G Booster and G Scope! And they’re much different from the other ACE SPEC Tools that specify a Pokemon!
Both of these cards are support for Genesect-EX, which there’s only one version of. Genesect-EX came out in Plasma Blast, right near the end of the Plasma sets, and is equipped with the Red Signal Ability and Megalo Cannon. Red Signal acts as a free Lysandre against your opponent by swapping out their Active Pokemon with a Benched Pokemon when a Plasma Energy is attached to Genesect-EX. Plasma Energy is a Special Energy card that only provided a Colorless Energy, but it granted certain Plasma Pokemon – which, go figure, Genesect-EX is – additional effects with either their Abilities or attacks. Meanwhile, Megalo Cannon is a 3-for-100 move that snipes an additional 20 damage on a Benched Pokemon. It’s not the strongest sniping move, but for the time period it came out in, it was pretty good for damage.
So now that that’s all covered, what do G Booster and G Scope do? Well both of them grant Genesect-EX access to an additional attack, which both cost the same as Genesect-EX’s own Megalo Cannon. G Scope grants Genesect-EX the ability to attack a Benched Pokemon for 100 damage while G Booster deals 200 damage, is unaffected by effects on the defending Pokemon, AND discards 2 Energy from Genesect-EX upon use. If it’s not obvious which of the two people preferred, having the power to OHKO anything in the format at the time without being stopped by Abilities such as Safeguard was much more powerful than merely sniping around 100 damage to possibly KO something, even though you could already deal 100 damage to a threat in front of you, switch around Pokemon if you needed to, and even tack on an extra 20 damage to something else by default.
G Booster is the ACE SPEC of choice, and it’s what helped Genesect-EX become the mainstay attacker in the aptly named “VirGen” deck, a deck that focused primarily on utilizing Virizion-EX’s Emerald Slash to power up Genesect-EX and covering it with the protection from Verdant Wind so he wouldn’t get hurt by Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym (aka HTLBank), all while Genesect-EX tore apart the competition using G Booster as needed to get around pesky Safeguard walls and OHKO other Pokemon-EX. It’s not to say that G Scope is a bad Tool for Genesect-EX to use, but at the time it was an inferior option to G Booster. Nowadays, though, that might change a bit!
With the advent of Pokemon-GX and a bigger emphasis on Evolution, G Booster is a little weaker than it used to be, as it can’t perform OHKOs against Mega-EX or Stage 1/2 GX, who all have more than 200 HP by default, and since Emerald Slash is needed to power up Genesect-EX for his G Booster move, it requires a two-turn investment in switching him around for Virizion-EX before putting him back upfront for more a quicker assault. It’s still a powerful move in its own right, but it doesn’t quite hit the mark for decimating opponents the way it did in the past.
Alternatively, G Scope is actually a little bit stronger because of the recent shift in the game, and that’s mainly in part due to the Pokemon-GX being more geared towards Evolutions for the ones with the highest HP. While it can’t do much against an opponent who has already put down their Pokemon-GX, it’s a powerful enough move that can usually one-shot most of the pre-Evolutions that lead up into a Stage 1/2 GX – for instance, Kirlia (BUS) only has 80 HP before she evolves into Gardevoir-GX, who has 230 HP, making Kirlia or even Ralts a prime target! And unlike G Booster, G Scope doesn’t require a discard, so you can continue to pelt your opponent’s back line with it turn after turn!
Between the two, overall, I’d say that G Booster is still the stronger, but G Scope is no longer as inferior an option as it was in the past. It may be that in Expanded VirGen decks aren’t as impactful as they were before, but at the least, I won’t fault someone putting in a Scope over a Booster – again, especially considering the value of sniping for 100 damage in more recent years.
Standard: N/A (of course, neither of these is legal in Standard, but Scope would ultimately age better than Booster if only because of the GX)
Expanded: 3/5 (for both of these cards, since each has their own utility; if I were to give differing scores, Booster would be closer to a 3.3-3.4 while Scope is about a 2.8-2.9)
Limited: 4.5/5 (but in either case, they’re EXTREMELY powerful in the limited setting)
Arora Notealus: It’s interesting to see how a card’s viability ends up shifting over time, simply based on the ebb and flow of the game. New patterns come up, new rules, new cards, everything that can shift the balance of the game as time goes on can affect a card’s performance in the long run. This is also a pretty good example of how the power creep in the game has not only affected a card that was really powerful in its own time, but it’s also benefited a card that wasn’t as powerful as its brother! Go figure, eh?
Next Time: Warp back to the present with the works of the shining!
Finishing the remaining Ace Spec cards for review is a two-fer: G Booster and G Scope! Both tools only work for Genesect-EX, but can be attached to any Pokemon. Those Ace Spec Cards are from BW Plasma Blast. As for Genesect-EX, there are two printings for that Pokémon: one from BW Plasma Blast and XY Fates Collide (almost forgot about that one).
Being an Ace Spec card adds some burden in terms of deck construction and playability. As you’re allowed only one Ace Spec card per deck, using either G Booster or G Scope means you’re giving up on consistency and recovery such as Computer Search or Dowsing Machine. As a Pokémon Tool, it can eventually be removed when the Pokémon with the tool is knocked out or if the tool is removed via Field Blower/Tool Scrapper. Fortunately for both G Booster and G Scope, the Genesect-EX user would be able to take advantage during his or her turn.
Now onto the cards. Both G Scope and G Booster costs GGC. G Scope does 100 damage to one of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon. G Booster does 200 damage while discarding 2 energy from this Pokémon. It also bypasses effects that may affect the damage output of G Booster, so it’ll always do 200 damage. G Scope hasn’t seen any play as of late, probably because a flat 100 on the bench may not be enough. G Scope falls short on many support Pokémon but OHKOs a benched Jirachi-EX. G Booster used to be a OHKO machine, but due to power creep, even this attacks falls short of an OHKO on the highest HP printed in the game.
Then we get to the Pokémon that can make use of these tools. Genesect (Plasma) is a Grass type, has 170 HP, weak to fire, and a retreat of one. It has an ability and an attack. Red Signal only works when you attach a Plasma Energy from your hand to this Pokémon. If you do, then it functions just like Gust of Wind, choosing one of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon and force it active! Megalo Cannon costs GGC and does 100 damage and 20 damage to one of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon. This Pokémon and Virizion-EX formed a deck archetype called VirGen. Genesect-EX was the main attacker while Virizion-EX is a supporter, accelerating energy or protecting your Pokémon from status conditions, a counter to Hypnotoxic Laser at the time. G Booster is a must, OHKOing nearly all Pokémon in it’s time (even a 180 HP with a Eviolite won’t save it).
Genesect-EX from XY Fates Collide is a Metal type, has 180 HP, weak to fire, resists Psychic, and a retreat of two. It’s ability, Drive Change, allows you to put a Pokémon Tool from this Pokémon to your hand. This is useful since you can change which tool to have on Genesect EX and not worry about having it stuck for the duration. There are some good Pokémon tools out there such as G Booster, Fighting Fury Belt, Muscle Band, or even Choice Band. It’s attack, Rapid Blaster, costs MMM for 100 damage, plus 20 more for each M energy you discarded from this Pokémon as many times as you like. At a minimum, should you choose to discard 3 energy, you’ll do 160 damage, needing a tool to deal more damage for the OHKO. Because G Booster and G Scope needs Grass Energy, having a Grass/Metal energy split may or may not be a good idea. You could still use these tools on the Metal Genesect-EX if you don’t care about Rapid Blaster. This EX saw a moderate amount of play.
Overall, these tools can give you ideas on how you use your Genesect-EX. Even without these tools, Megalo Cannon and Rapid Blaster (without discarding energies) still reaches 2HKOs on Basic EX/GX territory. G Booster is still playable but G Scope will see no play. G Booster may take your tool slot, but 200 damage, and maybe a bit of help from Professor Kukui, can still OHKO almost all Basic EX/GX as well as some Mega Evolutions and Stage 1 GXs. In Limited, using Plasma Blast booster packs, if you pulled Genesect-EX and either G Booster or G Scope, your luck is insanely high! G Booster is a OHKO machine, but discarding 2 energy means you probably have to attack once every two turns. G Scope is actually a good card in Limited, as 100 damage takes care of most cards in the Plasma Blast set.
This Throwback Thursday, we have a twofer, double-feature, or whatever you want to call it, as we review the final two Ace Spec cards: G Booster (BW: Plasma Blast 92/101) and G Scope (BW: Plasma Blast 93/101). Both are Trainer-Items and also Pokémon Tools. Both can be attached to anything, but unless the Pokémon in question is a Genesect-EX, they do nothing. When it is a Genesect-EX, both provide access to an attack sharing the same name as the card; looks like my insistence on italicizing card names to distinguish them may come in handy this review. Both attacks cost [GGC] to use, at least up front. “G Booster” also requires an additional two Energy discard cost, unless copied by something with less than two Energy attached to itself (in which case, discard as much as you are able), and does 200 damage while ignoring all effects on the Defending Pokémon. “G Scope” does not have any additional costs, and allows you to do 100 damage to one of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon; you pick which one and neither Weakness nor Resistance applies.
As both cards are Ace Specs, they compete directly with each other and all other Ace Spec cards for the one Ace Spec you’re allowed in your deck. The rules text for this is printed on the card, so you cannot run more even in the Limited Format (where the 4 Copy Rule doesn’t apply). Spiritomb (BW: Legendary Treasures 87/113) is the only non-Ace Spec that refers to Ace Specs. Its “Sealing Scream” Ability prevents either player from playing Ace Spec cards from hand. This is more relevant in the Legacy Format than in Expanded. Unlike any other Ace Spec, both of these cards are Team Plasma affiliates. None of the explicit Team Plasma counters work on Trainer cards but a few pieces of Team Plasma support work on Trainers. Of particular note is Shadow Triad, a Supporter that allows you to add a Team Plasma card from your discard pile to your hand. Being a Trainer – as opposed to specifically being an Item – doesn’t mean much; whether for or against, most effects that only specify “Trainer” aren’t particularly strong or competitive. There are a few exceptions on the support side of things, like Skyla or Trainers’ Mail.
Being an Item means quite a bit. Items are the easiest Trainer cards to play; the game doesn’t restrict how many you may use in a turn, nor do they have any requirements or costs universal to them (individual cards can have either or both). There isn’t much in the way of Item-support, especially general support that has proven competitive; the exception is Junk Arm, a staple Item itself in the Legacy Format. Item counters are much more common, though thankfully not constant. You’ve got the truly generic like Ghetsis, you’ve got the fairly generic like Seismitoad-EX, and then you’ve got those with varying levels of deck specificity like Vileplume (XY: Ancient Origins 3/98). For the PTCGO-exclusive Legacy Format, anything from the XY-era (or later) is out, but cards from the HS-era (plus Call of Legends) are in. Besides cards like Ghetsis available in both formats, you’ll often find equivalents to the newer stuff among the older, Vileplume (HS: Undaunted 24/90) giving us yet another Vileplume that prevents both players from using Item cards from hand via a non-attack effect. Being a Tool is perhaps more demanding than being an Ace Spec, at least in this instance; while there are a few bits of Tool support, like Eco Arm, both the Expanded and Legacy Formats have cards that can easily take out multiple Tools in one shot!
G Booster provides a big hit for a pretty big cost. Weakness and Resistance still apply; they are considered game mechanics, not effects. G Booster isn’t as good as it once was (or remains, in the Legacy Format); when first released it all but guaranteed a OHKO. While this is still true in the Legacy Format, most Mega Evolutions and many Evolved Pokémon-GX can survive a hit, if only just barely. I haven’t mentioned the discard cost yet, either. If Genesect-EX is KO’d after attacking, it doesn’t matter, but you probably have a different problem. At times it can be slightly beneficial; plenty of Pokémon have attacks that hit targets based on how much Energy is attached to them, with more Energy meaning more damage. Still, it forces G Booster to be used only in decks that can keep a Genesect-EX adequately fueled; at least you can discard Energy of any Type. As for G Scope, 100-for-three to any Benched Pokémon is a solid deal under normal circumstances, but not when it eats up your Ace Spec for the turn.
All right, we can’t do these cards justice unless we actually look at Genesect-EX (BW: Plasma Blast 11/101, 91/101) and Genesect-EX (XY: Fates Collide 64/124, 120/124). Both versions of Genesect-EX are Basic Pokémon-EX with Fire Weakness, an Ability, and one attack that costs three Energy. Genesect-EX (BW: Plasma Blast 11/101, 91/101) is a Grass-Type Team Plasma Pokémon with 170 HP, no Resistance and Retreat Cost [C]. Its “Red Signal” Ability is a triggered effect; attach a Plasma Energy from hand to it and Red Signal Activates, giving you the option of promoting one of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon to the Active slot (your choice). I’ll be referring to it as “Genesect-EX [Plasma]” for the rest of this review. For the same [GGC] as the Ace Specs, Genesect-EX [Plasma] can use “Megalo Cannon” to deal 100 damage to the opponent’s Active and 20 damage to one of the opponent’s Benched Pokémon. Our other Genesect-EX (XY: Fates Collide 64/124, 120/124) is a Metal-Type with Psychic Resistance and a Retreat Cost [CC]. Its “Drive Change” Ability can be used once during your turn, before you attack, to bounce a Tool attached to it from itself to your hand. For [MMM] you can use its “Rapid Blaster” attack to do 100+ damage; the “plus” is because you have the option to return as many [M] Energy attached to this Pokémon as you wish to your hand, with each one bounced adding 20 damage. We’ll just refer to this as “the other Genesect-EX” for the rest of the review. Both versions of Genesect-EX have a solid chance of surviving a hit from non-Fire-Types in Expanded, while Genesect-EX [Plasma] is reasonably durable in the Legacy Format (though still unlikely to survive being attacked twice).
The Energy costs make Genesect-EX [Plasma] a natural fit for today’s Ace Specs, and G Booster even more natural as you can use Red Signal to make whatever you want into your opponent’s Active. If you don’t need to use it, then you can use Colress Machine to accelerate a Plasma Energy from the deck and attack a turn sooner. Shadow Triad is also handy for reclaiming any discarded Team Plasma cards. Back in the day (and in the Legacy Format), the single Energy Retreat Cost made it a natural with Skyarrow Bridge, while Virizion-EX accelerated Energy and protected against Special Conditions. The Legacy Format makes that setup even more potent, as it adds Celebi (HS: Triumphant 92/102) for even better Energy acceleration. Though the deck could use Deoxys-EX and/or the Hypnotoxic Laser/Virbank City Gym combo to up its damage output, it has all but faded from Expanded Format play. The other Genesect-EX isn’t totally out of luck with regards to the Ace Specs; while you’d have to work in an at least semi-reliable source of [G] Energy into any deck using it, for not worry about its Rapid Blaster attack, Drive Change can be a nice way to work with G Booster or G Scope. One of their drawbacks is that, as Tools, you can’t directly combo them with other Tools, and even the indirect route requires significant combos… but not in this case. Here, the Ability allows you to just bounce whatever Tool you don’t need right now, and replace it with the one you do need (assuming its available). Both Genesect-EX were once big deals, and both have all but faded from competitive play, though the other Genesect-EX is more likely to still make a showing in Expanded.
I’m starting to wonder if that should change. Venusaur (Shining Legends 3/73) and its “Jungle Totem” Ability will make Megalo Cannon, G Booster, and G Scope very affordable. You’ll still need some Energy acceleration, but between Colress Machine (Team Plasma Badge allows the other Genesect-EX to use it as well) and/or Max Elixir, that doesn’t seem too hard. Hitting Grass Weakness or Metal Weakness is pretty good right now. Of course, even if this fantasy ends up being something more, G Scope isn’t coming along for the ride; we want G Booster, and we’d have to build the deck so that the OHKO’s we still whiff are acceptable, or become OHKO’s due to other damage buffs. The weird thing is, this means if G Booster were reprinted, as the other Genesect-EX is still Standard legal, we might have a good place for it in Standard. Now that is a fantasy. It makes finding a Limited Format event using BW: Plasma Blast packs almost seem plausible. Pretty simple here; if you also pull Genesect-EX [Plasma], run G Booster or G Scope. If you somehow pull all three, still go with G Booster.
Ratings (G Booster)
Ratings (G Scope)
G Booster was amazing back in its day, and still is in the Legacy Format. While costly, it delivered a reliable OHKO back then and enjoyed ample support and combos due to being a Team Plasma card. It still has just enough potential that it remains the Ace Spec to run if you’re trying to make Genesect-EX [Plasma] work. The other Genesect-EX has a tiny bit of synergy with its Ace Spec Tools, but not enough the two were ever closely associated. While I presented a possible approach for a modern Expanded deck featuring both Genesect-EX and G Booster, I made clear it was wishful thinking. G Booster isn’t a good Ace Spec unless you’re running a VirGen deck in the Legacy Format. G Scope can’t even claim that much; it’s like the designers forgot everything else they were going to do for Genesect-EX [Plasma], and how it would make G Scope rather redundant.