Marnie – Sword & Shield

Date Reviewed:  December 30, 2020

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 5.00
Expanded: 4.00
Limited: 5.00

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

Reviews Below:

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Marnie (Sword & Shield 169/202, 200/202, 208/202; 056/073) is our 3rd-Place pick for the best cards of 2020!  This Trainer-Supporter is somewhat complicated:

  1. Shuffle your hand.  Not into your deck, you’re just randomizing the order before proceeding to the next step.
  2. Place your still randomized hand on the bottom of your deck.
  3. As long as at least one player bottom decked any cards, proceed to the next step.
  4. The player who used Marnie draws five cards, while the other player only draws four.

We first reviewed Marnie as the second best card of Sword & Shield.  In other words, we thought she was great then, and clearly we think she’s great now.  Marnie is a combination of draw power and disruption.  Like many such cards, she isn’t completely wrecking your opponent’s hand, and she doesn’t draw as much as cards like Professor’s Research and Cynthia.  Marnie does almost the same thing to both players, except the player using Marnie draws one extra card, and gets to decide when to play Marnie (barring extenuating circumstances).

Though it might offend Team Yell, Marnie isn’t perfect.  I’m not actually worried about her power balance; she’s looking good there.  Forcing a four-card hand onto your opponent was good enough for Red Card, which did see competitive play until it was banned in Expanded (it had already rotated from Standard).  It is still possible your opponent will actually benefit from having Marnie used on them, but the odds are decent (maybe good) that it won’t.  There’s also the other side of things as well; it is possible bottom decking your hand and then drawing five will leave you with a worse hand.  Thankfully, since you’re the one playing Marnie, can try and play her when the odds are in your favor: your hand being low and/or full of cards you don’t need right now, hopefully while your opponent’s hand is large.  Especially if your opponent searched something out but didn’t use it last turn.

It may seem superficial, but I believe the powers-that-be over complicated Marnie’s effect.  If each player just bottom-decked their hand, no shuffling before required, it makes things simpler, but otherwise doesn’t make Marnie better or worse.  Yes, it technically makes her ever-so-slightly less disruptive, but it is applying to both players and combos with adding cards from your hand to the bottom of your deck haven’t exactly been a big success.  If you’re thinking of Oranguru (SM – Ultra Prism 114/156), remember it was recycling those cards from your discard pile, not moving them from your hand to the bottom of your deck.  Then there’s the confusing business from Step 3.  Marnie would be better, though still not by a huge margin, if you could use her while both player’s have no hand.  What is odd is… they just didn’t say you couldn’t play her when neither player has a hand.  So does Step 3 mean you can play her legally to “do nothing”, or was it a fancy way of saying you can’t use Marnie when both players’ hands are empty?

Oh, these aren’t reasons to dock the card’s scores, I’m just wondering if she might be one of those cards we’ll see get a “quality of life” errata.  Almost as much of a nitpick would be worrying she’s not as strong at drawing as the pure draw cards and that she’s a relatively tame form of hand disruption, both of which fall squarely into “game balance” territory.  Unless the effects done to your opponent were seen as a drawback, why would she be better draw than the Supporters which do not mess with your opponent?  We also don’t need another Supporter aiming for the Ban List by being any stronger form of hand disruption.  I suspect this is also why she puts the cards back into your deck the way she does; she doesn’t interrupt top-decking combos, and unless your hand was smaller than what you drew, she doesn’t get you any closer to decking out.

In Standard, the vast majority of competitive decks run Marnie.  There are exceptions, and the most significant of them also makes total sense: Welder decks are about using Welder turn after turn.  Such decks do typically run a few other Supporters, but they’re ones like Boss’s Orders; there simply isn’t room for Marnie, despite what she offers.  In Expanded, things are hazy.  I haven’t been able to play Expanded most of the year, and the only major event for which I have results is from 10 months ago.  The big thing, however, are the many, many cards banned since then.  As such, I am optimistic that Marnie is going to have a larger presence here than these old results indicate.  You probably aren’t getting a chance to use Marnie in the Limited Format.  Most of the time, the only official Limited Format event is a Pre-Release tournament, and they don’t have an online equivalent in the PTCGO.  For the sake of discussion though, Marnie is a great pull and a must-run here.


  • Standard: 5/5
  • Expanded: 4/5
  • Limited: 5/5

Marnie could easily have been our number one pick.  I only had Marnie as my 4th-Place pick, but that was because everything in my top five easily could have taken 1st.  Given that we don’t have another mediocre draw/disruption option, let alone another good one, I probably should have had her at least one spot higher.  When it comes to hand disruption that doesn’t become too good, there aren’t many cards better than Marnie.

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Vince had this at #2 on his personal Top 10 List of 2020’s best new Pokemon cards

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