– Team Up
March 4, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Today, we’re looking at Nanu (SM Team Up 150/181, 179/181). He is a Supporter card which lets you choose a basic Dark Pokemon and switch it with one of your Pokemon in play, and it still retains any attached cards, damage counters, Special Conditions, turns in play (not sure what this means, maybe something to do with evolving that new basic dark Pokémon), and any other effects from the previous Pokémon to the new one. Pretty straightforward, I hope; you can’t cheat from existing situations. This is actually a pretty nice trick for Dark decks because it helps you get another Pokémon ready after your previous Pokémon had served a purpose (or didn’t get to serve a role). For example, if you start the game with Jirachi, you get to fetch a trainer card via Stellar Wish. Afterwards, you may manually attach a dark energy, play Nanu, then grab your big basic Dark Pokémon from the discard pile (assuming you have one in the discard), and put Jirachi in the discard pile. That’s possibly one trick you could do, and I think Nani’s potency would be early game because there’s no prior damage to your Pokemon, like first turn of the game for instance.
This card does remind me of two cards: Ninja Boy and Swoop Teleporter (deja vu, but now with the new Jirachi that’s same as the old one). Both have the ability to swap Pokémon in play. For better or worse, Pokemon with coming-into-play abilities will miss the chance to use it because it came from the deck or discard pile as opposed to from the hand. At the same time, Pokémon’s ability whose constantly working will benefit with those cards. Swoop Teleporter is an item card in modern times while Ninja Boy is a Supporter. The former would have seen lots of play if it was reprinted, but Ninja Boy didn’t meet expectations, even if it took the runner up spot of the best cards of XY Steam Siege. By using Ninja Boy, you are giving up – for a turn – draw power or even disruption. This may sound bad, but if you have other sources of draw that isn’t a Supporter, then Ninja Boy gets a chance to perform its trick.
Nanu is no different in that regard in terms of competing against other Supporters. But it is inferior to Ninja Boy because Ninja Boy can search for ANY basic Pokémon, while swapping with a Basic Pokemon in play. Nanu only fetches a basic Dark Pokemon while swapping with any Pokémon in play. I still think Ninja Boy has the edge, which makes Nanu see less play in Expanded. For Standard, if a dark deck emerges and Nanu is essential to its strategy, then he has its place. In Limited, there isn’t any need to use sophisticated tricks unless you have a way to put basic Dark Pokemon in the discard pile, which there isn’t based on looking at the trainer card pool of this specific set: Team Up. If a basic Dark Pokemon is KOed, then I suppose Nanu can bring it back. But for the most part, Nanu is almost a dead card in Limited.
Nanu brings a familiar trick, except that it’s restricted to very, very few decks. This is something I would try to experiment with instead of writing it off as gimmicky (even if it is). Pretty hard to score because it has a niche that benefits a specific type, so I settle for a average score for just Standard.
…is it bad that I actually thought that this was a typo and that we were reviewing a Natu?
Nanu is a Supporter card, not to be confused with a Psychic Basic Pokemon, usually having 30-40 HP, with a Psychic Weakness, no Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of 1. Since Nanu is not a Pokemon, you can’t place him onto your Bench or use him as your Active Pokemon, and since he has no attacks you wouldn’t want to use him for that anyway. In exchange for that, Nanu does let you swap out a Pokemon you control with a Basic Darkness Pokemon from your discard pile, though you transfer everything from your old Pokemon to the new one.
It’s an oddly unique effect, to say the least, but it doesn’t seem like the kind of effect that would have a major impact unless the Pokemon you get was a Pokemon-EX/GX. On top of that, it’s not great for removing things like Status Conditions, damage counters, etc., since it transfers all of those to the new Pokemon along with all of the Energy they had attached. Even things like the number of turns in play gets specified on Nanu, even if there aren’t any effects related to such things. So why is Nanu useful?
Well recently, he’s been popping up in some decks as a means of getting Zoroark-GX and more notably Alolan Muk out into play, primarily by getting their Basic forms (Zorua and Alolan Muk) out onto the Bench. This is actually where something like “turns in play” would come in handy, because technically you’re not allowed to evolve a Pokemon on the turn you put it onto your Bench. But if that Pokemon was, say, already on your Bench for a turn or more, then you could evolve it. And Nanu sets it up such that you can evolve on that turn.
Needless to say, Nanu has a place in the game right now, even if it’s a particularly niche spot. He’ll be around to help out anyone in need. As long as they don’t need him to be a Pokemon.
Standard: 2.5/5 (such an odd effect wouldn’t normally see that much play)
Expanded: 3.5/5 (but when you expand on what it can do, it can actually prove useful!)
Limited: 3/5 (if you get the right Pokemon to tag team with him, he’s a great card to play)
Arora Notealus: Nanu was always a bit aloof in the games. He helps out for what he can, but otherwise he’s not particularly impactful on what happens. Though he does battle you as the Kahuna, which is a pretty neat surprise.
Next Time: OHHHHH YEAHHHHHH, BROTHER, IT’S TIME TO LAY DOWN THE SMACKDOWN CAUSE IF YA SMELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL WHAT THE ROAR IS COOKING, YOU’RE IN FOR A WORRRRRRRRRLD OF HURT
We’re starting the week with a Supporter, Nanu (SM – Team Up 150/181, 179/181). Nanu lets you select one of Basic [D] Pokémon in your discard pile, then swap out one of your Pokémon in play for it. Things like lower Stages go along for the ride to the discard pile, but everything else does not. Examples even the text states cleary include attached cards (like Energy and Tools), damage counters, Special Conditions, the number of turns that Pokémon was in play. As a Trainer, an effect like the “Stellar Wish” Ability found on Jirachi (SM – Team Up 99/181; SM – Black Star Promos SM166) can snag it, but you MIGHT have to sweat something such as Gengar & Mimikyu-GX’s “Poltergeist” attack. Being a Supporter comes with perks, like being a legal target for Tapu Lele-GX’s “Wonder Tag” but drawbacks being discarded if revealed by the effect of Tormenting Spray. If you hadn’t noticed, I do not always use competitive examples in my reviews, especially when I’m more concerned with something else: in this case, if you use Nanu you’re giving up using a different Supporter that turn. Nanu means no Cynthia, no Guzma, etc. Unless you’re using Magnezone (BW – Plasma Storm 46/135) – and last I knew, it had never proven worth the effort – or Lt. Surge’s Battle – which is only out in the Japanese Format.
The good news for Nanu is we’re in a metagame where decks don’t always need to use that turn’s Supporter on drawing or searching, and it isn’t quite as bad as it has been the last few years if you whiff on a Supporter, either completely or just accepting subpar performance for the turn. Which brings us to the actual effect. Swapping in a Basic from your discard pile can have value because you’re recycling a spent card, but this is a pretty steep requirement for something that could be done with a Rescue Stretcher. Clearing your Bench of clutter is a bit more valuable, but not to where you’d drop a Tapu Lele-GX, use Wonder Tag to fetch Nanu, then use Nanu ON the spent Tapu Lele-GX. It is nice when you can do such a thing after the fact, meaning you used Wonder Tag for a totally different Supporter, and now are just making sure Tapu Lele-GX doesn’t become a somewhat easy 2-Prize KO. Making good use of Nanu is going to require exploiting the that into which the Basic [D] Pokémon is swapping. Running multiple evolving Basic [D] Types? Make sure the right one is able to evolve, including having them swap with something more durable and/or which doesn’t usually evolve. From what I can tell, this is how the card has been semi-successfully used so far. That’s what we’re seeing in some Zoroark-GX builds, as it means anything can be replaced by a Zorua, one ready to evolve if the previous Pokémon had already been in play for at least a turn. Alolan Grimer and Sneasel also in these lists, allowing low-count options to be a tad more reliable. What did I mean by semi-successfully? Decks making the top 10% of finishing good but not great, like in the top 10% but far from the Top 8 or 16.
What could make or even break Nanu, however, will be stuff the designers either didn’t see coming or else did see but improperly estimated. You can open with a wall and then switch into an attacker or swap an attacker into a wall if you suddenly need to turtle up; with regards to that last one, Hoopa (Shining Legends 55/73) springs to mind. Attached Energy sticks around, so it acts as a form of Energy acceleration. You can focus on bringing in an attacker tailored to that situation, and avoid telegraphing it quite as bad. An example for both is using the new Incineroar-GX (SM – Team Up 97/181, 167/181, 188/181) to lead into something like Guzzlord-GX or Hoopa-GX due to their solid second attacks or even GX-attacks. The Expanded Format is where you have the best chance of finding some combo the designers missed, plus VS Seeker is still legal but so are many, many other potent Supporters. For Limited Format play, reclaiming Pokémon from the discard pile is not as easy and you probably don’t have to worry about having too many Supporters competing for the same space in your deck. What can trip you up is not having any Basic [D] Pokémon worth running alongside Nanu.
Nanu was not a card nominated by anyone back when we were counting down our top 11 picks from SM – Team Up, but I did consider it. We might have half of a future killer combo before us, and not even a complicated one at that; just one Basic [D] Type Pokémon almost universally worth swapping into is hardly a leap when you consider some of the stuff they’ve released, even recently. I don’t think it exists yet, however; for now, we’ve got a solid but specialized card.
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