– Ultra Prism
April 13, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Gardenia (SM – Ultra Prism 124/156, 149/156) is the second Trainer-Supporter we’re looking at this week. Her effect is that she lets you heal 80 damage from any one of your Pokémon that has any [G] Energy attached. Right away, my mind goes to Pokémon Center Lady. She’s also a Trainer-Supporter, and she only heals 60 damage from one of your Pokémon, but she also removes all Special Conditions from it, though that doesn’t matter for Pokémon on your Bench. 20 less healing versus not treating Special Conditions and no worrying about having Energy attached, let alone [G] Energy… why would you pick Gardenia?
Well, the easy answer is you’re a Gardenia fan and don’t care about the optimal play. It isn’t a good answer, but it is an answer. A better answer is that Pokémon Center Lady wasn’t Standard-legal for the 2018-2019 Standard Format, but that wouldn’t explain any recent tournament usage. The best answer is that there are multiple effects that can prevent and/or remove Special Conditions, so you just need to find decks that run enough [G] Energy to make that requirement meaningless.
Except neither of these cards is a common play. In fact, to find a successful deck that used Gardenia, I had to go to the 46th-place finisher from the Regional Championship that was held on December 7, 2019 in San Diego, CA. It was a Lucario & Melmetal-GX deck, built with basic Grass Energy and… that doesn’t work for modern Zacian V/Lucario & Melmetal-GX decks. Seems they get by Mallow & Lana for healing. Other decks might work with lesser – but less expensive forms of healing, or reusable forms (such as certain Abilities).
Gardenia’s place to shine is the Limited Format; mixing in some basic Grass Energy can let you use it even off-Type, you won’t always have a Supporter to play each turn, and healing 80 is a lot more effective here, due to the lower damage output of most decks. Gardenia avoids minimal scores for the Standard Format, though only barely; she falls between easy-but-weak and pricey-but-potent healing. In Expanded, she does score that poorly, but she faces crazy healing (and bounce) options like Acerola, AZ, and Max Potion.
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