– Unbroken Bonds
December 23, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
When we counted down the best cards from SM – Unbroken Bonds, Green’s Exploration (SM – Unbroken Bonds 175/214, 209/214) was our second-place pick, and for the entire year it is manages to take 7th! This Trainer-Supporter states it cannot be used if you have any Pokémon with Abilities in play, but if you meet that condition, you can search your deck for up to two Trainers and add them to your hand. Items, Stadiums, and Supporters can do some amazing things in the game, though you can’t normally use multiple Supporters in a single turn, nor can you play more than one Stadium.
Thanks to Item cards, which can do a variety of things even though their effects aren’t anywhere near as potent as those of Supporters (usually), Green’s Exploration is versatile. Grab Pokémon and/or Energy search to build or maintain your field. Get the Tool and Stadium you need to make what you already have amazing. Snag a Rare Candy so your ready-to-evolve Basic can skip to a Stage 2. Select an Energy Switch plus a regular Switch to Bench an injured attacker and finish prepping and promoting its replacement. Fetch a double Custom Catcher or Mixed Herb so you can more easily access their stronger effects. You can also snag Supporters, either for the next turn or because you already used Lt. Surge’s Strategy before playing Green’s Exploration.
Not having Abilities in play is a significant restriction on Green’s Exploration. Some Abilities let Pokémon fake acting like Trainer cards, others just shore up their combat capacity. Either way, they’re quite valuable to most decks. Fortunately for anyone interested in using Green’s Exploration, her effect only cares about the Abilities of your Pokémon currently in play. Even a deck relying on Abilities may be able to use her well if those Abilities don’t hit the field right away. There are also many tricks, like bouncing Pokémon, using an effect that discards them from your field, or that causes Abilities to be ignored (like Power Plant).
Still, for some successful deck archetypes, a split became apparent; you’d have the “Ability” version and the “Green’s Exploration” variant (or vice versa). Of course, I’m just speaking for the Standard Format when I say that; I don’t have a lot of data for Expanded. From what I have seen, she’s not a hugely popular pick for most decks but some still use her quite well. Besides there being many additional Ability-reliant decks, there is more competition for Supporter usage and additional search options.
As for the Limited Format, run her if you pull her, and she’ll almost certainly serve you well. I guess there is an exception if you’ve got an extremely Ability heavy deck or a +39 build where your only Basic has an Ability. As long as you’ve got a decent chance of starting and going even a few turns with no Abilities in play, and of course if nothing you’re running has an Ability, your Limited Format deck should include Green’s Exploration. Looking to the future, nothing about pending game changes should seriously hurt Green’s Exploration. Every Supporter is hurt by the rule change saying “No Supporter on Player 1’s first turn.” If anything, what we’ve seen of Sword & Shield should help out, as there are more Items worth fetching from your deck being released.
For my Top 12 – as opposed to the site’s – I had Green’s Exploration in 5th-place. What is kind of funny is that made her the 4th highest rated card from her set, and back when we submitted Top 11 lists for SM – Unbroken Bonds, 4th-place is where I had her. Then again, I also questioned my decisions to rank her that high back in our previous review of her. Future releases can change how good or bad a card is, which is why it is so hard to predict what will be (or remain) good in three weeks, three months, three years, etc. For now, at least, she’ll remain a good card.
Green’s Exploration from Unbroken Bonds was a very good card that was the second best card of the set and is now the 7th best card of 2019. She lets you search your deck for 2 Trainer cards as long as you don’t have any Pokémon in play with abilities, or if you have a way to make Pokémon with abilities nonexistent such as Power Plant affecting GX Pokémon with abilities.
Because it grabs any Trainer cards, there are some cards that you might be able to use right away such as Items and Stadium cards (assuming you haven’t played your Stadium for your turn) while you would have to wait a turn to play your other Supporter cards (unless Lt. Surge’s Strategy already went to effect). Most importantly is the timing which you play this card. Even though the card states that you can only play this card if you have Pokémon without abilities, it does NOT mean that you can’t have any Pokémon with abilities in your deck; you just don’t play them right away. So let’s say that you play Green’s Exploration first and grab two Trainer cards, then later on play Dedenne-GX on the Bench, or a Keldeo-GX, or Jirachi, or whatever. That’s one ideal and smart way to minimize the drawback due to playing certain cards first before you eventually deprive yourself from that opportunity.
Green’s Exploration is a good search card that could even let you use certain cards right away instead of just drawing cards in hopes that you’ll eventually get that particular card. Most decks would love it, and maybe a few decks can’t find use of those cards because maybe their Pokémon is flooded with Abilities. Perhaps the worst thing that could happen is that you’re forced to start the game with a Pokémon that has an ability.
There aren’t a whole lot of cards that can say they reshaped decks entirely based on their restrictions, but here we are with Green’s Exploration being our #7!
I can’t exactly say for sure that that’s the case most of the time, but having the ability to get 2 Trainers from your deck is amazing when you consider the only thing you have to do is not have a Pokemon with an Ability on it. It’s funny because it really asks a lot when some of the biggest effects in the game are Pokemon’s Abilities – usually they’re continuous and have lasting impact on the field while the Pokemon’s in-play, and while it’s not a large number that affects the entire board, many are still significantly impactful. Just take a look at the few that were mentioned in Power Plant’s review!
So why run Green’s Exploration over these Ability-laden Pokemon? Well that’s the trick isn’t it? Trainer cards themselves are frequently as powerful if not more so than Pokemon. Why do you think so many decks are filled to the brim with Items and Supporters? More important than having powerful Abilities in play is GETTING to those Abilities! And Green’s Exploration can help set-up your set-up!
Standard: 5/5 (good stuff for any deck that can run it…which is most decks)
Expanded: 4.5/5 (Abilities are more prevalent here, so it’s hard to justify it all the time)
Limited: 5/5 (can’t say no to that)
Arora Notealus: As one of my wishes goes, this one’s a bit more personal, but I’d like to make my sixth wish about a rating system that’s a bit more reflective of my outlook on what I think the cards will be like when they release. Which can be hard when you’re vaguely going on about a 5/5 type of system, but I’d like to try to rate less so on the individual cards themselves – which is what I’ve been doing – and more of a general rating as to the card’s impact on the game or on a particular existing deck archetype. So for instance, a 5 would represent a card that either A) has a tremendous impact on gameplay (i.e., Power Plant), B) defines a deck archetype on a highly competitive level (i.e., Reshiram & Charizard-GX), and/or C) is an essential component to a specific strategy even when it doesn’t fit into quite every deck (i.e., Lt. Surge’s Strategy). A 1 would be like, “This card won’t see play at all, period,” while a 2 would mean, “It’s not great, but it’ll be experimented with.” And a 3 is more of a, “Well, it might be a rogue deck or a tech card,” with a 4 being like, “This’ll be included in competitive decks but not as the main show piece” – Tag Call for instance would be a good 4/5 card, since it’s used in many competitive decks but isn’t something that on its own fills out one of the three parts of being 5/5!
Next Time: The greatest tag team is the original tag team!
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