– Sword & Shield
April 12, 2020
Legacy: See below
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Happy Easter! Or should I say Hop-py Easter…
We begin this week with Hop (Sword & Shield 165/202). This Trainer-Supporter simply has you draw three cards. This is far from a new effect. We first saw it on Cheren in the BW-series, then on Tierno in the XY-series, and again on Hau in the SM-series. For a few very, very brief moments, some of those older “Draw 3 cards.” cards have just barely been competitive. From what I recall, it only happens to decks that can’t afford to shuffle away or discard their hand, and need to keep drawing cards regardless of how large their current hand size is.
The vast majority of the time, however, they’re just too weak. For example, most of them released alongside a Supporter that would let you discard your hand and draw seven cards. While discarding your hand seems like it should be a hefty cost, most decks just evolved to be able to afford it, sometimes even use it for combos. As such, a card like Hop is mostly about providing a nice, simple draw Supporter for beginners, or aiding in Poké Math. Even after power creep, the designers think that your Supporter for the turn is worth drawing three cards.
I’ve been saying since Tierno, and possibly shortly after Cheren, that a plain “Draw X cards.” Supporter really needs to draw four cards. For a time, I entertained the notion that being able to stock a deck with more than four “Draw 3 cards.” Supporters might carry some sort of significant advantage but… it doesn’t. You can run some or all of these together, unlike Professor Juniper/Professor’s Research/Professor Sycamore. I was actually a bit surprised to see Hop, as I thought this card might be receiving the same treatment as some of the other Supporters that are “New name, same effect for characters from a familiar role.” Such as how we have Professor’s Research, which has the image and name of Professor Magnolia on it, but it does the same thing as Professor Juniper and Professor Sycamore.
Hop is a little under powered, but useful for those still getting a feel for more complicated draw Supporters, or some very niche deck needs. While this would seem to make it a little too specialized, it is also a good example of a card that is functional in most decks, but far from the optimal play. Oh, and if you only found an incomplete review for yesterday’s Card of the Day when you checked our site, the full version is up now.
We have another character from Sword & Shield, but if you look at what the card does, then you realize it’s one of those card with recycled effects. Drawing 3 cards without any other effect is pretty underpowered as a Supporter, but it does seem to be a safe option in regards to straight draw, and it also serve as a baseline to see if other draw based Supporter cards are better than him or not.
There’s so many straight draw based Supporters that I can fit into one review, but I’ll still list some just to give you an idea.
Superior options against Hop:
-Professor’s Research (discard your hand and draw 7)
-Marnie (shuffle your hand into the bottom of your deck, then draw 5, or 4 if opponent used it)
-Lillie’s Full Force (draw 4, but then at the end of your turn, put cards from your hand back into your deck until you have 2 cards remaining)
-Roller Skater (draw 2, then draw another 2 cards if you discard an energy from your hand)
-Coach Trainer (draw 2, then draw another 2 if your Active Pokemon is a Tag Team)
-Sightseer (discard any number of cards from your hand, then draw cards until you have 5 cards in your hand. If you dumped your entire hand, then you get to draw 5.)
Weaker draw based Supporters but can be situationally worth it:
-Professor Kukui (draw 2 and also 10 extra damage)
-Mars (draw 2 and also discard a random card from your opponent’s hand)
-TV Reporter (draw 3, but discard a card from your hand afterward)
That makes Hop seem hopeless in the competitive scene, especially Standard and Expanded. However, other formats that can make Hop useful is in Limited and Theme formats, where there isn’t much competition unless you also pulled Marnie and/or Professor’s Research from those 23-card evolution packs. Sometimes, they’re not enough draw power so it doesn’t hurt to include him in your decks. Hop is included with four copies of him…as well as three Professor’s Research in all three of those Galar Starter Theme Decks. If you had a situation where you have both Professor’s Research and Hop in your hand, it’s better if you play him first, otherwise you would dump your hand to draw 7 and not be able to draw 3 more.
Legacy (of those other draw 3 cards like Cheren): 1/5
Another note that I’ll point out is that Cheren, Tierno, and Hau also possess the same effect, so you could have 4 of each rivals totaling 16 of those draw 3 effects. Yet you still can’t put a total of twelve of those discard your hand and draw 7 Professors in the same deck due to a ruling. I’ll also include a score in Legacy since Cheren does the same thing. He did see some play when it came out, but when N was released a set after Cheren (from BW Emerging Powers to BW Noble Victories), he no longer saw any more play due to being outclassed.
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