– Unbroken Bonds

Date Reviewed:
July 10, 2019

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 2.50
Expanded: 2.00
Limited: 3.75

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.

Reviews Below:

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Janine (SM – Unbroken Bonds 176/214, 210/214) was already referenced in our Venomoth-GX review, but now we’ll give her a look over proper.  She’s a Supporter, and most decks only have room for only so many of this Trainer subclass; too many and they clutter your deck but too few and you risk whiffing on your once-per-turn Supporter usage.  Janine has you look at the top four cards of your deck, selecting two to add to your hand before shuffling the rest back into your deck.  Janine has elements of both draw and search power, but the range is such that I am comfortable putting her squarely in the camp of the former.

I’m not sure if we’ve ever seen this anything close to this before, but I can think of some modern cards which are similar.  Janine is like a double Acro Bike, but (for better and worse) shuffling the cards you don’t select back into your deck instead of discarding them.  She is like a heavily altered Misty’s Determination, sparing you the discard cost and adding two cards to your hand (instead of just one), but halving the range.  Getting the best two out of four isn’t likely to improve the results dramatically over just drawing two, but it does help.  I’d probably rather run Cynthia or Lillie or even something more specialized, like Professor Kukui, when it comes to draw power.

There’s just a bit more to Janine, however.  So far, she’s referenced in the effects of three other cards, all of which are Pokémon:

  • Gligar (SM – Unbroken Bonds 98/214)
  • Tentacool (SM – Unbroken Bonds 40/214)
  • Venomoth-GX

Gligar has an attack for [CCC] that does only 30 damage, but if you used Janine that turn, hits for 120 instead.  It is a 60 HP, Basic [F] Type Pokémon with an Ability that zeroes out its Retreat Cost if it has no Energy attached to it, but while that’s a good hit from a Type that has a decent chance of striking Weakness, you’re still investing three Energy.  That’s enough to pay for 90 damage right there, but instead, if Janine is a no-show it only does 30.

Tentacool is a 60 HP [W], but its doesn’t have an Ability or other attack.  For [C] it can hit for 10 damage, or 60 if Janine was used that turn.  Useful for OHKOing Blacephalon, or with a Choice Band, Blacephalon-GX, but it’ll fall well short of taking down a Reshiram & Charizard-GX in a single hit.  Both Tentacool and Gligar might be warrnated in decks already running Janine, but don’t strike me as reason enough to add the Trainer and one or both Pokémon.  Venomoth-GX might be able to support its own deck, but for now, that doesn’t seem to be the case.  As a reminder, its regular attack gains an effect which protects it from damage done by the attacks of your opponent’s Basic Pokémon next turn if Janine was used the turn you attacked.


Standard: 2/5

Expanded: 2/5

Limited: 3/5

Right now, I don’t think Janine is all that great in Standard or Expanded, though post-rotation there’s a slight chance new releases or the loss of more familiar faces will give her a chance.  Then again, we’re keeping Cynthia and Lillie so… probably not.  Expanded scores about as high just because Janine fares better a Venomoth-GX “gimmick” deck with stuff like Battle Compressor and VS Seeker.  The only real place where Janine earns her keep is in the Limited Format; when your deck is only 40 cards big (before Prizes or your opening hand and draw), a four card range effectively goes further.  Plus, almost any draw power tends to be welcome here.

vince avatar
Editor’s Note: Vince reviewed Janine as part of his Venomoth-GX review, which you can read here.  Below are the scores he awared Janine in that review.

Standard: 3/5

Expanded: 2/5

Limited: 4.5/5

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