– BW Plasma Freeze
July 26, 2018
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
This is likely the odd hit on the list, seeing as this card has been around for a long time – over 5 years since its release in Plasma Freeze! After all this time of being legal in Expanded, only now does Ghetsis get the hit. But why?
Ghetsis is a Supporter that lets you look at your opponent’s hand and puts all the Item cards in it back into their deck. After that, you get to draw cards based on the number put back. Inherently, Ghetsis is a powerful card, offset by the fact that it wants everyone to play Item cards so that he can tear their hands apart. One good combination is to use Seismitoad-EX’s Quaking Punch to prevent your opponent from playing Item cards and then use Ghetsis to obtain massive advantage by throwing them all back and draw into more cards, which is especially useful after Seismitoad-EX gets KO’d.
The problem that faced Ghetsis, though, was that Seismitoad-EX wouldn’t be around for at least a year, and most decks at the time were playing out all their Item cards faster than a Ghetsis could come in and put them back. Throw in Juniper and N being used to draw cards, and Ghetsis found itself at a very niche level of use. Even when Seismitoad-EX came out, Ghetsis hardly saw any play since the deck was already good enough at what it did thanks to Lysandre’s Trump Card, and once the Trump Card got banned, the deck saw a major decline, and Ghetsis was just about ready to rotate out of Standard.
So why now, after all this time, is Ghetsis hitting the ban hammer? Well primarily, I think it’s because of the massive advantage it provides in the early game. A Turn 1 Ghetsis can be so devastating to an opponent that it won’t matter if they get Item Locked by Seismitoad-EX or if something evolves too quickly or Energy gets put out onto Pokemon so fast, cause at that point they’re likely to not have the tools necessary to making a comeback against such an aggressive opening move. Meanwhile, their opponent has gained such a massive card advantage on them, it’s unlikely that they’ll have the ability to play around their opponent crushing their set-up with something like, say, Hex Maniac.
Time has only proven to make cards like Ghetsis stronger; as more cards enter into the format, the more powerful cards like Ghetsis and Hex Maniac and Wally and Puzzle of Time all become. Hopefully with these bans in Expanded, the format will allow for a greater diversity of strategies to be utilized, as is the goal of this list of bans.
Standard: N/A (he hasn’t seen Standard in years, but against a lot of the Item-heavy decks, he could prove to be extremely powerful)
Expanded: BANNED (again, more cards is more power)
Limited: 4/5 (having draw power is great, but hitting those Items will be a little tricky)
Arora Notealus: Ghetsis surprisingly was also only reviewed once, wayyyyyyy back at the bottom of the Top 10 list for Plasma Freeze. Perhaps the presence of so many other Supporters and not as many Item-heavy decks prevented him from making an impact of sorts. In any case, having him get banned shows that he was seeing enough play to completely ruin some decks, or at the very least his presence made others think about deck-building. Kinda like Garbodor if Garbodor let you draw cards.
Next Time: There’s one other card to talk about on the ban list for this week! Not a new addition though, just a very very old one…
Ghetsis from BW Plasma Freeze is another card that got banned from the Expanded format. I’m trying to think why, but mostly because your opponent won’t have item cards in their hand (unless they top deck an item card) due to being shuffled away in their deck and you drawing extra cards. Looks like another case of thinning down your opponent’s options.
Ghetsis hasn’t been Standard legal for three years now, and it rotated a little before I strarted playing. To me, this seems like a good card design. It does two things (disrupts opponent and gives you draw support) and is not your typically underpowered Trainer card. It seems like this would be a valuable card to play and would easily be a two if not three or even four of.
I looked at the last Expanded tournament back in May at Roanoke, however, and the vast majority of the top 64 decks weren’t playing Ghetsis. Only ten of them ran Ghetsis, and each deck ran only a single copy.
So why is this card getting banned? Apparently, much like Hex Maniac on Monday, playing a turn one Ghetsis when going first gave you too much of an advantage over your opponent. You would strip them of all of the Item cards in their hand, and that was just too much of a head start. It was providing an unfair, unbalanced advantage to the player going first.
I think the argument could be made that it only affected Item cards and not Supporters, so you would still have any draw support cards, energy, and Pokemon currently in hand. Between May 19 and June 23, top finishing decklists averaged 12.8 Items per list, 21.4% of their sixty cards. Even if you have a full hand of seven cards to start the game, statistically, probably only one or two of them will be Items. That’s just simple math (21.4% of 7 = 1.5). And, as I mentioned, most players at the competitive level aren’t using this card, and those that are only carry a single copy.
Maybe there’s a wombo combo I’m not seeing here, maybe something coming out in Celestial Storm or Dragon Majesty that would elevate this card to broken status. But looking at it objectively, of the four cards that were banned last week, this one seems to be the biggest headscratcher of the group.
Standard: 2 out of 5
Having said that, I’m not against Pokemon banning cards. Better to be safe than sorry – if they think this card is creating – or even has the potential to create – an unfair playing environment, peace. Pulling Ghetsis is an easy fix, even if a preemptory one, and, honestly, it doesn’t seem like most people will care much considering how few people are actually playing it.
In our week of Whine & Cheese, covering the various cards either already or soon-to-be-banned cards of the Expanded Format, we’ve had Maniac Monday, Trump Tuesday and Wally Wednesday. So what are we calling today, as we look at Ghetsis (BW – Plasma Freeze 101/116; 115/116)? Throwback Thursday!
I couldn’t think of anything better, sorry. What has me worried is that I might not be able to explain why a Trainer-Supporter that lets you look at your opponent’s hand, shuffle all Items you find there back into your opponent’s deck, and finally draw a card for each Item you shuffled away, was banned. After all, Ghetsis isn’t even a staple single in most Expanded Format decks, let alone something being run in threes or fours. Looking at the Regional Championship held in Roanoke, VA on May 26, 2018, with its 401 Masters participating… only saw one deck in the Top 8 include Ghetsis. It was the seventh-place finisher, a Trevenant (XY 55/146) deck, that included one. So, what’s up? I can’t give a bulletproof answer, but I’ll do what I can with the available data and time.
If you’re not even passingly familiar with Expanded Format play, let us remember that deck space is even tighter than the Standard Format; enlarging the card pool might not add a proportionate number of competitive cards but the number still grows. You keep Tapu Lele-GX tricks, but gain VS Seeker, Shaymin-EX (XY – Roaring Skies 77/108, 106/108) and Battle Compressor, if your deck has the room. So a single Item can pretty reliably show up first turn, you can spam a single copy of a Supporter two or three times with relative ease (and some decks up to nine times with effort), and decks can get by with fewer draw Supporters because they have the Abilities and/or Items to make that not only an option, but often the most competitive choice.
Out of that Top 8, three of the decks not running Ghetsis were Buzzwole-GX decks, which usually take a pretty direct approach and were the same decks that shocked me by skipping out on VS Seeker. One of the Top 8 decks was a Wailord-EX deck, designed to win via stalling until your opponent decked out; shuffling Items from your opponent’s hand back into his or her deck tends to go against that approach to winning. Three of the decks were Trevenant-based; Ghetsis doesn’t appear to be a standard TecH for Trevenant decks. The real shocker to me is that the Zoroark-GX deck skipped out on Ghetsis. It is a deck that could easily spam it throughout the game and/or combine it with a few other control singles and really wreck an opponent… but you’ll see this list focused on other control/disruption cards, like Hex Maniac. A card that is also being banned.
Now take a look at the Top 32. Suddenly, almost one in three decks are running a clutch Ghetsis (10 out 32). Four Zoroark, three Night March, another Trevenant, and a Drampa-GX/Garbodor (SM – Guardians Rising 51/145)/Garbodor (XY – BREAKpoint 57/122) join the earlier Trevenant deck in running Ghetsis. This looks a lot more like what we expected; not every deck can afford to run every cheap trick. Good thing a broken card doesn’t need to be omnipresent or even heavily played to be broken. Ghetsis allows the player going first to take a chance at seeing an opponent’s hand, crippling it, and still getting a little draw power by running one additional card over what many decks usually run, at the cost of a Supporter in a format where there are even more ways to fetch it from the deck and offset whiffing. Even past the first turn, this can be pretty handy in several decks, so you’ve got another solid general card with a vicious T1 (possibly VS Seeker spam) option.
Ghetsis fans should enjoy him while he lasts, or possibly in the Legacy Format as I don’t think the bans apply there (I could be wrong). Again, being banned (and ban-worthy) doesn’t mean a card is automatically a 5/5 or the like; broken cards are like mountains, often coming in ranges of larger and smaller ones. Plus, your vantage point can allow not only a bigger one to hide a smaller one but even a small one to hide multiple big ones. Broken cards don’t even have to currently be seeing play. You can have multiple broken cards that occupy the same niche; as soon as one of them gets banned, another can take its place. The player-base can adjust surprisingly quickly, so a good ban list needs to be three steps ahead.
Expanded: 3.25/5 (Likely to have gone up if not banned alongside others)
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