– Unbroken Bonds
May 15, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Interesting how the first playable girl character didn’t show up until Crystal, yet we’d already had designs for a female protagonist since Gen 1. I should know that, especially since she showed up in the guide to my RB games!
Green’s Exploration is a Supporter that lets you search your deck for up to 2 Trainer cards, though you could try just looking around the crowded hall in order to find your fellow Trainers and grab two of them. Although I’m told that that’s not a great way of gathering Trainers anyway, since they’re incredibly elusive despite playing Pokemon. Still though, there is one other catch to Green’s Exploration: you can’t have any Pokemon in play with Abilities. Just like you shouldn’t have the Ability to reach out into a crowded hall and nab two Trainers.
At first glance, this card makes you think of deckbuilding strategies, where your aim is to build a deck of Pokemon with no Abilities whatsoever, thereby enabling Green’s Exploration to be active all the time as a free “draw 2” type of card. And since you can grab any kind of Trainer card you want – similar to Skyla – you can snag exactly what you need, whether it’s an Item, a Tool, a Stadium, or even another Supporter! Granted, there’s no playing this before Lt. Surge’s Strategy – you play the latter first, otherwise you only play Green’s – but you can still set yourself up nicely. Then you start looking through all the Pokemon in the main game with Abilities – things like Zoroark-GX, Tapu Lele-GX, Alolan Muk, Ditto <Prism>, Zeraora-GX, Tapu Koko both GX and non-GX, Jirachi, Malamar, Giratina, Marshadow, the list goes on.
And then you start to realize: there are a lot of Pokemon with Abilities that see play, and a lot of those Abilities are really good, even critical to the decks they show up in.
But good news! This isn’t like a Hearthstone effect where you have to have only Pokemon without Abilities in your entire deck to benefit from this card – you just can’t have any of them in play when you want to use Green’s Exploration. That makes it ideal particularly in the set-up of early game, where you might have a Pokemon with an Ability if it’s a Basic, but you also might not if it’s gotta evolve from something or better yet isn’t even in your starting hand to begin with. And even if it is in your starting hand, you’ve got the distinct advantage of setting up to be able to use Green’s Exploration first, and then play down your Pokemon with the Ability.
Even in the mid-game, you might find yourself without a Pokemon that has an Ability because it got KO’d or removed from your board for one reason or another – some of those GX Attacks do actually hit the Bench, whether by damage or even shuffling stuff away! In those cases, Green’s Exploration becomes really good, since you can use it to grab something to help you out of that dire situation. And in the late game, if Green’s Exploration comes up and can be used, well there are still good Trainer cards to pull at that point to turn things around! Just saying, even something as simple as an Energy Search for a Basic Fighting Energy to use with that Martial Arts Dojo you teched in might be worthwhile with this card!
There’s a lot of utility in Green’s Exploration, and the condition is not as restrictive as it first appears. Optimally, a deck that wants to take the most advantage of Green’s will balance out how many Pokemon Abilities they run. I’m not saying you shouldn’t run any – if anything, you shouldn’t really consider running none, since they are pretty useful – but you could afford to trim down the Ability line-up such that Green’s has more opportunities to be active. After that, it’s just a matter of your situation and grabbing exactly what you need. And if Red’s was anything to go by, this type of effect is amazingly strong.
Standard: 4.5/5 (there are only a few small instances in which Green’s can’t be used, even in normal play)
Expanded: 4.5/5 (but for the most part, you could just look at it as a better Skyla – which we already knew was pretty freaking good!)
Limited: 4.5/5 (while there are a good number of Pokemon with Abilities in the set, unless you’re running a very important Ability, chances are you can get away with running Green’s)
Arora Notealus: It’s really hard not to admire this kind of support in a single card. Trainer cards remain as a large portion of most people’s decks, given their great utility in many situations, so to have a card that searches not just 1 but 2 of them is an extremely necessary component. I’ll be optimistic and assume that at least 1 Green’s makes it into every deck, though if another deck comes out with less of a focus on Abilities and more on the Trainers fetched by Green’s, you can bet we’ll be looking further into it!
Mistakus Unreadablus:…did you know you could actually misread cards and end up saying the wrong things about them? This is why Otaku likes to read my stuff, cause sometimes I get things wrong. So on Tuesday’s review of Martial Arts Dojo, I got to talking about how one could possibly use Rainbow Energy to take advantage of the effect. Turns out, you can’t do that, because Dojo only applies the effect to Pokemon with BASIC Fighting Energy attached to them. What does that mean? Well, you can pretty much cut out the special tech option of Rainbow Energy, cause you’re gonna want to run the pure Basic Fighting Energy to take advantage of the Dojo. The advice is generally the same, might even be improved considering the vast number of effects that specify basic Energy over Special Energy, but you will have to keep in mind that, if you’re not a pure-Fighting deck, you’ve got a couple of bricks that won’t provide the Energy your Pokemon are looking for – or worse, the Energy they need.
Next Time: And the top of our list hits it for many reasons – like adorableness!
Our runner up spot is Green’s Exploration, which is a Supporter that can only be used if you have no Pokémon with Abilities in play; you get to grab two Trainer cards from your deck into your hand. Like Red’s Challenge from yesterday, Green’s Exploration benefits greatly with Lt. Surge’s Strategy, and still does fine without it. Because it searches for Trainer cards, two of the three categories can be played instantly: Items and Stadiums. You can fetch for Supporters, but you won’t be able to use it until your next turn because you’ve just used your Supporter on your turn. However, if you played Surge first, then you can play Green second and whatever Supporter you’ve fetched third.
Such power of grabbing multiple trainers is offset by making sure your Pokemon in play has no abilities, or your plan may be halted. Technically, there should be no abilities that’s printed on a card. Even if your abilities go offline, the ability still exists. Some decks rely on abilities to function while others won’t need them, so Green may or may not fit in certain decks. However, even if you have Pokémon with abilities, you can make them leave play with bouncing effects like Super Scoop Up, letting you use her effects, and after she serves her purpose, you can put that Pokémon back into play. So looks like it won’t be much of a problem if you can play around her built in restrictions.
Green’s Exploration (Unbroken Bonds)
Q. If I have Pokemon GX with Abilities in play and the Power Plant Stadium is also play, can I now play Green’s Exploration since those Pokemon “have no Abilities”?
If I were feeling cheeky, this is all I’d write for my review of our second-place finisher in our counting down of our Top 11 Picks of SM – Unbroken Bonds. The runner-up, Green’s Exploration (SM – Unbroken Bonds 175/214, 209/214) is a Trainer-Supporter that lets you add up to two Trainer cards from your deck to your hand, but can only be used if you have no Pokémon with Abilities in play. As it is sometimes confusing, “in play” means as your Active or Benched Pokémon; it doesn’t matter what is in your deck, hand, discard pile, the Lost Zone, or even Pokémon that can be attached to other Pokémon as Tools or Energy. While your Supporter for the turn is quite valuable, being able to grab any two Trainers even with the “no Abilities in play” restriction is great! For decks that eschew Abilities, Green’s Exploration is probably a must-run. You could grab an Item and Stadium card (or two Items) you need right now. You can grab something for now and something for the next turn, which includes other Supporter cards or multiple Stadiums. While you’re probably better off with Guzma for now, post-rotation this might be fantastic for Custom Catcher.
Most decks have Abilities, but that isn’t quite the dealbreaker it seems to be. Decks that only have Abilities on something like a Stage 2 should still consider Green’s Exploration to facilitate getting their first copy of that Stage 2 (or a replacement after it was KO’d) back into play. Green’s Exploration is great for fetching a Rare Candy and Item-based Pokémon search to quickly Evolve the appropriate Basic into its Stage 2 form! There are also the decks where the only Abilities are on cards like Tapu Lele-GX or Dedenne-GX. Use them, then bounce them with something like Acerola, discard them with something like Giovanni’s Exile (SM – Unbroken Bonds 174/214), or drop something like Power Plant (SM – Unbroken Bonds 183/214) so they act like they don’t have Abilities. We’ve seen similar combos with most other successful Ability-denial, like Alolan Muk (Sun & Moon 58/149).
There are also Pokémon with Abilities that you either don’t want to put into play as Pokémon or that aren’t sticking around in play for long. For example, Exeggcute (BW – Plasma Freeze 4/116, BW – Plasma Blast 102/101), the new Marshadow (SM – Unbroken Bonds 81/214), the new Charjabug (SM – Unbroken Bonds 58/214), the new Mismagius (SM – Unbroken Bonds 78/214), or Unown (XY – Ancient Origins 30/98). I’m less sure of using Green’s Exploration in Expanded, but maybe I shouldn’t be; there are more Ability-counters here and a larger number of powerful Pokémon which lack Abilities. I’d definitely take it in Limited; even if you have Pokémon with Abilities in your deck, getting them to the field and keeping them there aren’t always going to work out, so Green’s Exploration has a good chance of still being fantastic.
Green’s Exploration provides a powerful incentive to cut extraneous Abilities from our decks. What we’ve seen out of Japan and Korea (both use the Japanese versions of our Formats) Green’s Exploration isn’t as heavily used as I thought, but it is being used well competitively. On my personal list, I had Green’s Exploration as my fourth place pick, so second place seems a bit high. Were I to rewrite my list today, I might even drop Green’s Exploration a spot or two to make room for other exemplary cards I lowballed previously. Oh, and since he brought it up… I read both Andrew and Vincent’s reviews most days because I enjoy reading Pokémon articles and because they both see the game differently than I do. 😉
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