Jessie & James
– Hidden Fates
August 30, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Anyone who doesn’t know Jessie & James must have never played Pokémon up until this point, but it has appeared in numerous medium. Whether it be from the anime (almost every single episode) or the main series games (well maybe not so much, as they appeared on Yellow and the Let’s Go series), you would at least seem this duo causing trouble all the time….and fail all the time too! Let’s see what the TCG version of today’s card has to offer.
Well, prepare for trouble and make it double because it makes both players discard two cards from their hand, and your opponent has to discard first before you do. This is actually pretty useful because when your opponent discards their cards first, you get to know which cards are being discarded since the discard pile is public knowledge (and provides pretty useful information), and you can determine what you would discard. Most cards can be recovered from the discard pile, but even then, you might be forced to discard something that you would need much later on….and you might be out of luck. The effect is weaker than Delinquent (which is banned in Expanded), but it doesn’t need to discard a Stadium card for that to happen, and you can potentially limit the option your opponent can do.
Jessie and James can be just as useful in Expanded with an exception. There might be a chance that they are banned on a similar manner to Delinquent. The exception comes from that one card that brings itself back from the discard pile: Exeggcute from Plasma Freeze! If your opponent simply placed two Exeggcute from the discard pile, then they’ll get it back via Propagation ability, making the discards futile. Which means you gotta have to shuffle their hand and hope they don’t draw into those Exeggcutes again! And if The Pokemon Company decides to ban this card, then Team Rocket will blast off to the skies from the ban hammer, never causing trouble ever again.
And I hope they would do that! Oh wait, they already did that in Expanded! Thanks Otaku for the information!
Prepare for trouble, and make it double! Unless you haven’t paid much attention to Hidden Fates, it should come as no surprise that Jessie & James (Hidden Fates 58/68, 68/68) is our first-place finisher! This new Trainer-Supporter forces each player to discard two cards from their hand, and your opponent discards before you do. At a glance, this may seem balanced, even underpowered; you’re spending your Supporter for the turn on doing the same thing to both players. It is important to remember that you control when cards are played and what cards are with them in your deck… give or take luck of the draw and luck in what is or is not in your Prizes.
Your opponent may still be fortunate, having cards in hand they wish to discard, or at least which are less painful for them to discard than what you must discard, but in a well-built general deck, you should still have a chance to really wreck your opponent’s hand once it drops down to two cards. Additional cards can be used to shrink your opponent’s hand down to a smaller size, while others can be used to at least partially control what is on top of your opponent’s deck. This means Jesse & James can create a lock situation, though a hard-lock is less likely than a soft-lock. So, what cards and tactics can enhance Jessie & James?
In almost any deck, you can safely discard specialized cards you won’t need for this match up e.g. unneeded TecH. Reset Stamp is a commonly played card that could shrink your opponent’s hand. Chip-Chip Ice Axe gives you some control over what your opponent has on top of their deck. Additional control elements can reinforce a lock. Two cards that mention Jessie & James in their effects: Arbok (Hidden Fates 27/68) and Weezing (Hidden Fates 29/68). Arbok simply has an attack that does additional damage if you have at least one copy of Jessie & James in your discard pile. Weezing, though, has an Ability that triggers when it is discarded by the effect of Jessie & James; this Ability gives you the option of forcing your opponent to discard a card from hand. That would be in addition to whatever your opponent discarded from Jessie & James.
In a cardpool where you can reliably draw into, search out, and/or recycle Jessie & James and the cards that combo well with it, Jessie & James is broken. That isn’t just my opinion; due to its capacity for abuse like Delinquent, Jessie & James is banned from the Expanded Format, or at least will be on September 6, 2019, when Hidden Fates officially becomes tournament-legal. Besides what I already mentioned, there are additional cards that compliment the effects of Jessie & James, as well as Weezing. At least for now, the powers-that-be don’t believe one can reliably obliterate an opponent’s opening hand T1 using Jessie & James but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done with some luck. Just putting a good dent into your opponent’s opening hand could lead to a one-sided game.
Before we get to my Ratings for Jessie & James, there are some ruling questions I have about this card. This could simply be a mental malfunction on my part, but the way the text is written, discarding is purely an effect for both players. That should mean you can play Jessie & James if you have one or zero cards in your hand, as opposed to Jessie & James being dead in your hand if you don’t have at least two other cards to discard. That is a big difference. For now, I’m going with the card text but I’ll update this review if I find out I was wrong. The Ratings below will be lower if you can’t play Jessie & James when you cannot discard two cards from your hand.
Jessie & James should change how you currently play the game, at least a little. You already had to worry about your opponent messing with your hand mid-to-late game through Reset Stamp, and now you have to worry about Jessie & James throughout the entire game. No wonder this card topped both the reviewer lists we used to create the site’s Top 4!
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