Mars – Ultra Prism
March 6, 2018
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
It seems like these days, the Pokemon Company has this motto behind a lot of their recent draw Supporters. “What do we need it to do?” “Well we need it to draw cards, but then let’s get it to do something else.” Kukui, Pokemon Breeder (talk about that in a sec), and now Mars.
Mars is a Supporter card who lets you draw 2 cards and then discards 1 from your opponent’s hand. This is arguably one of the better “draw 2” Supporters, where Kukui would be the best and Breeder would be…lower than Mars, but that really depends on how you look at Mars and the advantage of discarding 1 card from your opponent’s hand. And ultimately that depends on what deck you’re facing and what card you ultimately end up discarding.
Discarding in most card games tends to be a great advantage, decreasing your opponent’s options and making it more difficult for them to gain an advantage in the fight. In effect, Mars is what we’d call a +2, as playing it costs you the card itself but gives you 2 cards to make up for it as well as put your opponent behind by a card. With Pokemon, though, there are several advantages to getting stuff in the discard pile. For instance, Energy can be cycled back through various means, the most recent example being the Mt. Coronet Stadium for Metal decks, and with Pal Pad back in Standard thanks to reprint in this set, Supporters are never far away either.
That mainly leaves Items and Pokemon as potential discard fodder, which both have ways of coming back in Expanded at least. Discarding Pokemon in Standard could lead to some awkward line-ups with Stage 1/Stage 2 GX unable to see play, and Items could benefit a Garbodor’s Trashalanche that you might be running. The only other downside to this card is that the discard is random, so you’re chancing the idea that your opponent hasn’t played everything they could have and isn’t holding onto anything they could benefit off of in some form or get back in some way. So Mars is a debatable option in that sense.
It’s also likely that you’d rather run a better draw Supporter over Mars too, so there’s that.
Standard: 2.5/5 (it’s one of the bigger draw 2s in the game)
Expanded: 1.5/5 (from a card advantage standpoint)
Limited: 3.5/5 (but sometimes there are just better options)
Arora Notealus: Mars is definitely one of those Supporters that will probably be played more in specific decks rather than in every deck. It’s also going to be strongly dependent on what’s good in the game going forward, as discarding random stuff can end up hurting you more than helping you if you’re not careful.
…also what’s with her hair anyway? I mean Gen 4 hair has always been a little weird, but…
Side Review: Pokemon Breeder – a good example of the draw 2 card design, Pokemon Breeder does two things: draws cards, and heals Pokemon. Unfortunately, the healing is worse than Potion, which is a card no one runs anyway, and that means that Breeder is likely going to be the only one in your binder out of all the draw 2s.
Next Time: Time for a card of MAXIMUM POWER
What is up with those cards that draws you two cards and have an additional effect? We’ve seen them from Professor Kukui and Pokémon Breeder, and now Mars. Mars, however, did a similar thing before back in the DP era, most specifically Team Galactic’s Mars (DP Secret Wonders 126/132) (both the Secret Wonders and Ultra Prism art was made by Ken Sugimori). The old version was to draw 2 cards, then choose a card from your opponent’s hand and put it on the bottom of their deck. This one from Ultra Prism also draws 2 cards, but then you discard a card from your opponent’s hand. I feel that that’s an upgrade from it’s older counterpart.
Unfortunately, like what 21times said, both effects are underpowered even if it did two things for one card. And the random discard could be a disruption or a blessing of disguise; like taking away one crucial card or helping your opponent out by discarding what they wanted to discard anyways. Even Mars gets outclassed by Cynthia in Limited.
Mars (UP 128) makes its debut in the Pokemon TCG in the Ultra Prism expansion set. This Supporter card allows you to draw two cards and discard a random card from your opponent’s hand.
Sigh. Again an extremely underpowered card. It just doesn’t do enough to even warrant consideration for usage. How about three cards and your opponent reveals their hand and you get to choose what card gets discarded? That might see some play. People would think about it.
But think about what would happen if it got even more of a bump: what if you got to draw four cards AND discard two random ones from your opponent’s hand? I would guess that that would be at least a one of in everybody’s deck, right? That could be a potentially really good card, especially late in the game.
So why not Pokemon? Why not ratchet up the Supporters and Items a little more? You’ve pushed the pedal to the metal on GX Pokemon and Ultra Beasts, why not pick up the pace on Supporters and Items? Make the game more interesting. So many decks have so many of the same Item and Supporter cards. Of the top 8 out of Collinsville, seven of the same Item or Supporter cards (N, Guzma, Sycamore, Cynthia, Ultra Ball, Choice Band, Float Stone) can be found in six of the top 8 decks. Six of those cards (all of the previously mentioned save for Choice Band) can be found in seven of the top 8, and four (N, Guzma, Ultra, Float) can be found in all eight decks.
These are all GREAT cards (well except for N but that’s a different story) and are worthy of being played, but we lack some diversity. It’d be great if we had more Item and Supporters to give us more creative choices. We are Supporter and Item weak – we could use some more good Item and Supporter cards to give more flavor to the game. They would add a level of complexity that the game lacks.
Standard: 1.5 out of 5
I know what many of you are saying: if you’re bored with Standard, go play Expanded. Peace – I’m not even going to argue with you there – you are 100% correct. Expanded provides an infinite amount of variations when compared with Standard. There’s no question about that – but that just serves to make my point. Standard shouldn’t be so limited when it comes to ancillary cards.
I just wish that out of the 156 cards in the UP expansion, a few more of them had been bumped up a level or two to make them more useful and worthy of being played in decks. All I’m saying is that of the 16 new trainers out of UP, I’ve played four of them in decks I’ve made so far. 12 of the 16 new trainers out of the set (and 16 trainers BTW is like one tenth of the entire set – that’s a ridiculously low proportion) I haven’t even put into a deck list. You’re telling me that the designers couldn’t have made two or three more GOOD Supporters or Items?
Note: My review for yesterday’s Magearna (SM – Ultra Prism 91/156) went up late yesterday, but it did go up. My apologies for the delay!
Today we look at the card that would have been our 20th place pick, at least if we’d done a top 10 countdown for SM – Ultra Prism, as it appeared on one actual top 10 and took 19th place in my own personal top 20. Mars (SM – Ultra Prism 128/156, 154/156) is a new Supporter with a somewhat familiar effect; she allows you to draw two cards, then discard a random card from your opponent’s hand. Several years ago, we received the card Team Rocket’s Trickery (HS – Undaunted 78/91), which I actually thought had the same effect, because I wasn’t paying attention. The differences are subtle but significant. Well, the first difference is; Team Rocket’s Trickery draws two while forcing your opponent to discard a card from hand… meaning YOUR OPPONENT gets to pick which card hits the discard pile. The other difference is unlikely to ever matter, but the wording on Mars requires you draw two cards for the discard effect to happen: if you have only one card left in your deck, I don’t think you get to discard. Of course, since you just drew your last card, making your opponent discard probably won’t have mattered.
Having a Trainer draw two cards goes all the way back to Bill (Base Set 91/102; Base Set 2 118/113; Legendary Collection 108/110; HeartGold SoulSilver 89/124). At first, everyone ran Bill, because he was not a Supporter until that very last printing. The concept of a “Supporter” didn’t come about until Expedition, which the first three releases of Bill predate. Instead, he was a “normal Trainer”, what we now call an “Item”. This is true of many character-based cards from the earliest days of the game, like Professor Oak or Erika. Unlike those cards, however, Bill was re-released as a Supporter. As an Item, Bill was amazing, but as a Supporter, people didn’t bother with him. We started seeing some Supporters that drew two cards AND had another useful effect, but the first one of those I recall really making good was… Professor Kukui. That’s right, it took 10 years to make such a thing actually viable for competitive play, for the metagame to align so that we had enough decks worth using where +20 damage and drawing two cards were worthwhile. So, what does this have to do with Mars?
Discarding a random card from your opponent’s hand can be beneficial, or it can backfire as you hit something your opponent actually wanted in the discard pile or at least a card he or she doesn’t mind losing. After all, you gave up your chance to use a Supporter like Acerola, Guzma, N, Professor Kukui, or Professor Sycamore to use Mars; even if you hit something your opponent would rather have kept in hand, as long the card lost is less significant than you having used a stronger Supporter, the deal is in your opponent’s favor. Even when you discard something vital, odds are decent your opponent has some way of reclaiming it, or at least runs multiples of it because he or she couldn’t risk too many being Prized. Yet sometimes you can hit something important and your opponent either cannot or cannot easily replace; just like your opponent benefits from you not using a better Supporter when you don’t discard something good, you might come out ahead if your opponent has one less chance of using a good card, even if they run multiples of it and/or can recycle it. It may even be more likely than you think, given how often a player intentionally things out his or her hand because next turn he or she plans on using a Professor Sycamore.
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