Luxury Ball – Stormfront
December 14, 2017
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Our Throwback Thursday pick was suggested by one of the other reviewers and it seemed like a good choice to me: Luxury Ball (DP: Stormfront 86/100)! This card is a Trainer-Item, even though its labeled a “Trainer-Trainer”; the short version is that the term “Item” is still a relatively recent invention in the history of Pokémon, however, the mechanics associated with Item cards have been around since the game began (we just called them “Trainer cards” or just “normal Trainer cards”). Its effect allowed you to search for any Pokémon from your deck and add it to your hand except for Pokémon LV.X (those were off limits). The effect also stated that you could not use Luxury Ball if there was already a Luxury Ball in your discard pile. Pokémon LV.X are a precursor to BREAK Evolutions, with a similar – but distinct – mechanic… and also taking over the metagame. Not being able to search them out hurt… but they had to “Level-Up” from their legal-to-search counterparts, so it was still a very good effect as long as you didn’t run too many copies of itself. Two was usually the most, and that was just in case one was Prized.
This card released around the time I lost almost all track of the Pokémon TCG, competitive or casual. Just looking at the four commemorative decks (selected from among the top four of each age group) from the 2009 World Championships, half the decks picked (including the Masters Division champion) ran a copy of Luxury Ball; another ran two copies while the fourth did skip it entirely. Luxury Ball remained legal for the 2010 World Championship Decks, where again it appeared as a single in three out of the four, with one being the deck which won the Masters Division and another skipping it entirely. Due to an early rotation causing the 2011 World Championship to use the 2011-2012 Standard Format, Luxury Ball was no longer legal… but even I remember it being a great play in its final days because Junk Arm released as HS: Triumphant 87/102, a decent amount of time before that early rotation occurred. As an Item, Junk Arm allowed you to make use of Luxury Ball up to five times in one game; with Junk Arm itself often appearing with high counts in most competitive decks.
If you’re somehow able to play a Limited Format event using DP: Stormfront packs, Luxury Ball is a great pull (just don’t bother with more than two). I’ll hazard a guess that it is still a very good single for the Unlimited Format; even First Turn Win decks need to grab Pokémon, and you have Item Finder, itself a better Junk Arm. Luxury Ball is too old for the Legacy Format, and for the PTCGO as a whole. So even though it appears in both the “Raging Sea” and “Dark Rampage” Theme decks, those aren’t available for the PTCGO Theme Format. If re-released – and assuming they just left off the LV.X part – a single copy replacing an Ultra Ball in nearly all decks. If they tried to “update” the effect, excluding Pokémon-EX/GX, it might not find nearly as much favor.
Today’s Throwback Thursdays is Luxury Ball from DP Stormfront! It is one of my favorite item cards of all time and still is to this day. Nowadays, however, I have far more cards related to Expanded that I don’t need to resort to using compatible and incompatible cards together. That’s probably a good thing for me, since (as much as I want to play those) I really don’t want to put Broken Time Space, Luxury Ball, Pokémon Collector, Uxie, Claydol, etc. to upset the opponent.
Luxury Ball allows you to search your deck for a Pokémon just like Master Ball. Unlike Master Ball, Luxury Ball exclude Pokémon Lv.X., which would’ve been a big deal back then due to Lv.X being released during 2007-2009. Lv.X Pokémon are very much like BREAK Evolutions, letting you use the attributes from it’s previous evolution, as well as increased HP. Note that the letter “s” is not present, so for example, you can’t access attacks from Piplup or Prinplup, but you can access attacks from Empoleon and either Empoleon Lv.X or Empoleon BREAK.
So already this is a “must run 4 of those” reaction. But it makes sense to just use one copy of your deck. This is because the last sentence of this card’s effect states that if any Luxury Ball is in the discard pile, you cannot play this card. Doesn’t matter if you played it or not, and it sucks to see your first Luxury Ball in the discard pile, rendering the other three Luxury Ball dead cards. That’s why I use only one copy in my deck, though you can put two or more if you are worried about one of the cards being in the prizes. That doesn’t mean that you can use only one Luxury Ball per game. If you have any recovery methods such as Recycle or Puzzle of Time, you can use Luxury Ball again because that card has been pulled out from the discard pile.
Due to how Luxury Ball is being used, it can fake being an Ace Spec Master Ball, letting you use another Ace Spec card of your choice, or you could use alongside Master Ball for double unrestricted search. If this card would be reprinted, I would imagine everyone, whether competitive or casual, will put a single copy or two in their decks. Consistency without limitations is precious and the Lv.X mechanic has long been retired. I’ll risk scoring unlimited because Luxury Ball is just as good here! This card is also available in both the Raging Sea and Dark Rampage Theme Decks as a single copy, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Luxury Ball will do it’s job excellently.
Standard: N/A (4.75/5 if reprinted; if it weren’t for that last sentence, then it would be a 5/5!)
Expanded: N/A (same above)
Unlimited: 4.5/5 (a bit low since this card may risk being redundant and there’s not enough room to fit this card in the deck)
So, after a very long break thanks to finals week, its back to reviewing some more cards! Today’s look is indeed a blast from a past not too long ago, and its Luxury Ball, a very powerful card indeed. Back in the DP-on era, it was a staple on almost all decks alongside those classics like Ultra Ball, Broken Time-Space and Cyrus’ Conspiracy. So what does it do?
Luxury Ball basically acted a pseudo-universal Pokemon search method; it allows you to search for any Pokemon (except Pokemon Lv.X) and put it in your hand. On those decks, searching for any Pokemon without having to pay any price (except for the regulations in the card itself) is amazing, for many reasons. One, it allows you to take a Pokemon from the deck; simple enough, but it is crucial for all decks to continue their combo. It may not allow you to take Pokemon Lv.Xs, but it is forgivable because back when this card is legal, it was one way for non-Lv.X decks to compete against those Lv.X decks, particularly Luxray, Garchomp and Uxie Lv.X which sees high competitive play. (Well, imagine a drawback-free search Pokemon that can just become a gust effect Pokemon back in the relatively frailer meta; it might just be banned immediately.) Two, you get to look into your deck without any problems, determining what cards are prized. Finally, it allows you to get Pokemon-SP, which is huge since you can just search for a Crobat G to get the last 10 damage needed to take a knockout for example, or an Ambipom G to immediately take out a Garchomp C Lv.X. It can fetch you the second piece of any Pokemon-Legend card, making decks like Rayquaza-Deoxys Legend/Legend Box, the only Legend card that sees high competitive play, much more powerful.
However, it does come with a little caveat. If any copy Luxury Ball is in your discard pile, you can’t play any more from your hand. This is the balancing method for Luxury Ball for it to be an Item card, similar to two other universal search cards; Computer Search and Master Ball. I will liken the latter, since both of them are Poke Ball Item cards. While Master Ball forces you to include only a single copy in a deck thanks to its Ace Spec ruling, you can technically use 4 copies of Luxury Ball in your deck, but with that ruling, why would you? Basically, this method of balancing is perfect for the meta at that time, and it made Luxury Ball a staple one-off in all decks to improve consistency.
So, with all the Sinnoh-hype in the new upcoming Ultra Prism set, what will happen to the meta when Luxury Ball is reprinted in say, SM6 or SM7? The answer is that it will be as good as it has ever been. Aside from a little ruling change, such as preventing you to search either Pokemon-GXs or Pokemon Prism Star, this is yet another great card you can include seamlessly in your deck to, again, improve Pokemon outs and consistency. However, Luxury Ball gains a new friend that will allow you to be able to get this card, thanks to its mostly one-off status in decks, 100% of the time.
And that is Gladion.
That Supporter card that allows you to swap Prizes with itself. This will be great with Luxury Ball, as you can (since Gladion is a one off Supporter taken with Tapu Lele-GX’s Wonder Tag ability most of the time) to retrieve the Luxury Ball from your prizes, converting a Supporter into draw power. It might not be one of the best plays you can use with Gladion, but it can work like that.
Overall, I can see Luxury Ball being a card that is already strong to begin with at the start and since it’s unaffected by power creeps, will continue to see play whenever its legal.
Standard: 4.6/5 (Its very powerful to start, and it doesn’t seem to falter off anytime soon.)
Expanded: 4.7/5 (A pseduo-Master Ball? In a world where Ace Specs reign supreme, having the option to use both Computer Search/Dowsing Machine and this card makes for a world of difference.)
Next, we’re back on track. Don’t worry!
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