– Team Up
December 30, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Second-place in our countdown of the Top 12 Cards of 2019 is Jirachi (SM – Team Up 99/181; SM – Black Star Promos SM161). When we were counting down the best cards of SM – Team Up, this Jirachi finished in fifth-place. Yeah, I wasn’t too happy about that back then, either. Though I was blessed by hindsight becoming foresight; what I hope is one of my worst reviews focused on this card’s ancestor, Jirachi (EX – Deoxys 9/107). It is a pity it went up on April 20,2005 and not April 1, because I made a total fool of myself on that one.
If you don’t feel like reading either of those, the most important things about Jirachi are:
Stellar Wish is one of those Abilities you can activate only one per turn per instance of it. In this case, not only must it be used before you attack, but Jirachi must be your Active. Stellar Wish then lets you look at the top five cards of your deck, and you may add a Trainer you find there to your hand After you show your opponent to prove you grabbed a legal target, the other cards (or all of them, if you picked none) are shuffled back into your deck and the Jirachi that used Stellar Wish is Asleep.
Unless you’re brand new to the game, you should know that Trainers are useful. Unless you’re brand new to competitive play, you know they’re really important, often making up over half of a competitive deck. Jirachi’s [M] Typing and “Slap” attack (30 damage for [MC]) are unlikely to matter. With 70 HP, its almost certainly getting OHKO’d; its [R] Weakness and [P] Resistance likely not making a difference. As its Retreat Cost is just [C], you can slap Escape Rope onto it and retreat Jirachi for free even while it is Asleep… so odds are good you’ve just used a two-card combo (and Bench-slot) to not only have a pivot Pokémon, but one that most likely gives you a bonus Trainer each turn!
Which is how many (most?) competitive decks make use of Jirachi. Those that don’t are either relying on a different Bench-sitter’s Ability or can’t afford to have Jirachi on the Bench (restricted Bench-space and/or Green’s Exploration engine). Otherwise, it is showing up as anywhere from a single to a full four in competitive Standard Format decks. In Expanded, Jirachi is a solid card, but far from a must-run. To many anti-Ability effects (like Silent Lab), and too much competition from other Ability Bench-sitters… and even from the Trainers themselves (Trainers’ Mail?). Unless you’re running a Mulligan (+39) deck, run Jirachi if you pull it at a Limited Format event… but remember you’ll be manually retreating.
I’m glad we got the chance to correct the record on this Jirachi; I’m actually a bit miffed I never re-reviewed that older one, because I didn’t just miss the forest for the trees, I argued the trees weren’t a forest. While this was my first place pick for SM – Team Up, it was my second-place pick for 2019, so Jirachi is exactly where I think it belongs. We already covered my #1 pick (Welder), but we’ll wrap this countdown up with my #3 pick that was almost my own #1 as well…
So we’re down to the runner-up, and both the runner-up and the first place card have to do with utility. They’re here to make your deck operate smoothly so that you get to do more stuff in one turn. They’re both so good, it was either used together or otherwise one or the other.
But they can’t both win, so the 2nd best card of 2019 goes to Jirachi from SM Team Up. Jirachi has an ability called Stellar Wish which only works when you’re in the Active spot and lets you look at the top 5 cards of your deck and grab a Trainer card from there if there’s any. Then it puts itself to sleep. While being asleep keeps you from attacking or retreating, Escape Board is a nifty Pokémon tool card that reduces the retreat cost by one and lets you retreat even if you’re Asleep or Paralyzed. That makes it that such a drawback from Stellar Wish is a non-issue.
Jirachi supply and demand is similar to that of tomorrow’s card or 2015-2017 Shaymin-EX, but it sits around $15-$20 apiece. I haven’t looked at how many Jirachi was used, but I’m sure that if you ran a full four, you would have a better chance of starting with one. Magcargo’s Smooth Over ensures that you’ll get exactly the trainer card you’ll need since putting it on the top of your deck is already at Stellar Wish’s range. I guess some things to take away is that anything that increases retreat cost and ability lock will be a problem for Jirachi, but besides that, if you haven’t got this card yet, try finding it from Prerelease Kits or the Ultra Necrozma Battle Arena Deck.
Coming out at the start of the year, it’s probably no surprise that a Pokemon with an Ability like Jirachi’s ends up having a major impact. And hey, who could blame ya? It’s a good Ability!
On the surface, getting a Trainer card from out of five cards on top of your deck and putting Jirachi to Sleep might not seem that great. But when you consider that this makes Jirachi an ideal opener – especially if your’e going first and don’t have the luxury of being able to attack – and that you can get yourself a good card to work on setting up, and you don’t have to worry about the other 4 cards for a while, well there’s a lot of promise to a card like Jirachi.
And promise it delivered! Jirachi has since been in many of the top competitive decks, and it has earned its place alongside the staple of the BW-era Jirachi-EX in terms of competitive impact. It’s in lots of decks for lots of reasons, as numerous as the stars in the sky.
Standard: 5/5 (super great card for every deck)
Expanded: 4.5/5 (I will say this card is outranked by big bro Jirachi-EX, but it’s still pretty useful here)
Limited: 5/5 (can’t argue with the results here)
Arora Notealus: So now with just 2 days left, what could my eleventh wish be? Well I think maybe it’s time we give the promos their dues and make something of them. We’ve seen what some promos can do with a little ingenuity in the past – M Audino-EX comes to mind right away, but recently there’s even been Trevenant & Dusknoir-GX apparently making the scene. Giving people an accessibly competitive card in an easy manner like a promo set isn’t necessarily detrimental, as long as it isn’t the type to be a “Buy 4 and you win the tourney” thing. M Audino-EX is probably the better example between the two, since it took a guy from Japan to build a unique deck and win the world championship with it! In terms of power level, we’re talking something that can hold its own competitively, but maybe isn’t obviously supported or overtly powerful.
Next Time: And the top of the list supports just about every deck too!
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