– Cosmic Eclipse
November 8, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
We close the week with our 6th-place pick, which helps demonstrate Pokémon Mathematics (PokéMath), though only if you understand that sometimes values change. Great Catcher (SM – Cosmic Eclipse 192/236, 264/236). It is a Trainer-Item that requires you discard two cards from your hand to play it, and lets you switch one of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon-EX/GX with their Active Pokémon.
Right away, you should be asking “Why am I going to run this instead of Custom Catcher?” Custom Catcher lets you do the same thing without having to discard two cards from your hand or only working if they have a Benched Pokémon-EX/GX. The answer is twofold. In Standard, we’re in a Pokémon-GX heavy metagame, making it quite likely there will be either a supporting or unprepared focal Pokémon-GX trying to hide on your opponent’s Bench. Having to discard two cards can sometimes be difficult but it is often easier than having to discard a second copy of the same card (as with Custom Catcher).
So where does the PokéMath come in? As Custom Catcher shows, this isn’t a new effect, just a new permutation of the “Gusting” effect we’ve had since Gust of Wind released in the original Base Set. In the Expanded Format’s cardpool, you’ll find cards like Trevor and Ultra Ball. Both are Trainer cards with the same effect but Trevor is a Supporter while Ultra Ball is an Item with an added two-card discard cost. This suggests that being a Supporter is an equivalent cost to an Item that requires you discard two cards from your hand.
Enter Guzma, Lysandre, and Pokémon Catcher. All three let you force your opponent to switch one of their Benched Pokémon (you choose which) with their Active Pokémon. Guzma also forces you to switch one of your own Benched Pokémon with your Active (again, your choice which), while Pokémon Catcher requires a coin flip and only works on “heads”. Guzma and Lysandre are Supporters while Pokémon Catcher is an Item, like Custom Catcher or Great Catcher.
If costs were remaining consistent, Great Catcher would work on anything and not just Pokémon-EX/GX. Yet Great Catcher is a great card! It is possible the results I have from a single (Japanese) Standard Format are anomalies, but it looks like Great Catcher is being run alongside Guzma, at least in certain decks. Why would they do that? Custom Catcher requires you have two to four slots for it, while Guzma eats up your Supporter for the turn; Great Catcher’s costs and restrictions still leave it a potent card.
For the Standard Format, unless your deck is good at pulling off a double Custom Catcher or more deck-specific alternative like Ninetales (Sm- Team Up 16/181), you probably need to clear some space for Great Catcher. If your deck only has one or the other (especially if it isn’t maxed out), you should at least consider swapping some things around to work Great Catcher into it. Some decks really will not need it, but plenty should.
The Expanded and Limited Formats are not so great for Great Catcher. You’ve got greater deck diversity in Expanded, plus three great alternatives I’ve already mentioned: Guzma, Lysandre, and Pokémon Catcher. The Supporter options also enjoy that VS Seeker is legal here, and if you want to go the Item route, Pokémon Catcher is flippy but works on anything. Still, that does leave a niche for Great Catcher. The Limited Format is a much simpler matter; your opponent has to be fortunate enough to have a Pokémon-GX and have it on their Bench (as opposed to active and attacking). You may as well run it, but don’t count on it proving useful.
Great Catcher doesn’t add much to Expanded, but the Bench became significantly less safe in Standard… which is pretty relevant for cards like Dedenne-GX, injured TAG TEAM Pokémon, etc. It impressed me so much that Great Catcher was my 4th-place pick, even though I thought it too specialized at first. I don’t think this will be another Mega Catcher… at least not until V-Max or other future mechanics seriously impact the metagame.
Our sixth best card of Cosmic Eclipse is another catcher card designed to drag whatever they’re hiding from the Bench to the Active. So far, they’re doing a good job on its iconic purpose, and while some saw a lot of play, others didn’t see as much play. I think because of how specific catcher cards are targeting.
Anyhow, Great Catcher makes you discard two cards from your hand so that you get to target a Pokémon-EX or Pokémon-GX from the Bench and drag them to the Active. One may wonder that this is so restrictive, and that there is still Custom Catcher in the Standard format. However, they are significantly different than each other. While Custom Catcher may Target any Pokemon, you have to have TWO custom catchers in your hand to use the second effect. Great Catcher is quite limited, but this can be used as a single copy as opposed to needing two of them.
The deciding factor to determine whether or not you’ll need Great Catcher or not depends on how you analyze the entire tournament scene. Not all deck uses GX Pokemon, but that’s like a small fraction of the overall pie chart. Spirit Burner Chandelure and Recall Empoleon may be able to stand against big GX Pokemon if opponents are unprepared. But besides that, you’re gonna see a lot of GX titans such as Blacephalon, SlowDuck, PikaRom, ReshiZard, MewTwos, Gardeon, 2Creation1Creator, and much much more. Great Catcher will be an effective way to drag them as long as you can afford to lose some cards as fodder and if you know that you’ve got recovery options.
I don’t know if it’s something that’s really necessary, but it seems like the folks making the card game think there needs to be a series of these “catcher” cards because the original Pokemon Catcher was so dang popular. Course you can’t have a card that powerful anymore these days, so let’s just agree that we’re looking for the next best thing.
Great Catcher’s an Item that lets you swap out your opponent’s Active Pokemon with one of their Benched Pokemon, as all great Catchers do, except the Benched Pokemon needs to be an EX/GX, also you have to discard 2 cards to do so. I get that we’re trying to go for “Catcher but not Catcher” here, but isn’t it enough that this has to target an EX/GX on the Bench? The original Pokemon Catcher got errata’d to have a coin flip, so why does this have to tack on the extra discard cost?
I’m not saying that this card is bad – the discard can end up as set-up for way better stuff – but considering the limitations already put into this card, the discard just seems excessive to me. This could have just as easily read “Switch a Benched Pokemon-EX/GX with your opponent’s Active Pokemon”, and it would have been just as playable, but that discard now reads very differently for different decks. You’ll want to take advantage of that if you can, but now not every deck wants to play this necessarily, which is probably the real reason you might see this popping up on this card here.
I think though that as we get further into our list and exploring more of the cards actually on the list – especially cause we’ve got some coverage of those Tag Team Supporters as well – it’s going to seem apparent as to why Great Catcher is only in the middle of the list. I think it looks great in the context of today’s game, but it’s just got a really steep unnecessary cost added onto it for “balance” which is likely to be its greatest detriment to any deck that wants to run it. And yes, that’s still considering all of what you can do with those discards, but then think about how much of that is playable in Standard.
Standard: 3.5/5 (good card for grabbing that pesky EX/GX your opponent’s trying to set-up)
Expanded: 4/5 (with more cards to benefit off the discard, it’s great here!)
Limited: 3/5 (in a slower format with less EX/GX available, it’s a tougher sell here)
Arora Notealus: I think right now, Custom Catcher – which is still in the format by the way – is a better option to pick out from Great Catcher. Sure, you have to play 2 copies of Custom Catcher to get the benefit of its effect, but you’re not having to discard another card on top of that to switch out only a select few of your opponent’s possible Pokemon pool of sorts. Custom Catcher has the benefit of being broader in its effect, whereas Great Catcher doesn’t need another copy of itself to work. Pros and cons to both, but I think for now it’s better to stick to Custom Catcher.
Weekend Thought: As always, do you agree with the list? Anything that should be higher or lower? Think there are some cards we’ve missed so far? What’s your favorite card from this set? Do you think there’s some potential for these cards here and there, or do you think they’re too far and few between in the quality?
Next Time: TAG!! You’re it.
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