– Lost Thunder
December 10, 2018
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
So I managed to pull myself away from the new Smash Bros. Ultimate game so I can actually review cards again! Nothing says enthusiasm quite like taking a break from all the ridiculous challenges they throw at you in that game! And speaking of throwing…
Net Ball is an Item card that lets you grab either a Basic Grass Pokemon or a Grass Energy from your deck and add it to your hand. Sure makes something like Apricorn Maker really worthwhile, doesn’t it? And it speeds up Grass decks a good bit too! I especially like the flexibility of the card between a Basic Pokemon or an Energy.
Of course, it doesn’t attach the Energy, which means you still have to play it down yourself, and while you can get the Basic Pokemon, for anything with an evolution, you’re gonna have to grab the other pieces of the line-up too. But overall, Net Ball is as big a part of Grass decks as Dive Ball was for Water decks.
Feel free to add it into your decks!
Standard: 3.5/5 (the flexibility is great for a Ball Item)
Expanded: 3.5/5 (it’s got the most versatility, and that makes cards that support it even better!)
Limited: 3/5 (if you get good Grass Pokemon, you could run this)
Arora Notealus: I would definitely be down for the idea of Ball Items being able to nab Energy as well, but it also seems a tad out of flavor. I mean, you’re not capturing the essence of the Grass-type, are you? You’re capturing Pokemon! But then again, flavor in the Pokemon TCG isn’t always that big of a deal. Like sometimes it plays into mechanics, but not always…I think…what does a Pokemon even need a skateboard for…
Next Time: Every Trainer needs one!
Net Ball is another one of those “Ball” related item that fetches you Pokemon. Inevitably, it would have to compete with other Ball related items that is on the card pool. Ultra Ball, for the most part, is on the top of the pyramid – at least for Standard and Expanded- and any other Ball related item that isn’t specific enough to be worth using in a select few decks (like Dive Ball or Lure Ball) or just flat-out inferior to other Ball related cards (like Poke Ball and Great Ball) remains on the bottom of the pyramid. How would Net Ball be placed?
Well, it gives you options to either search your deck for a basic Grass Pokemon or a Grass energy card and put them into your hand. In isolation, this feels restricted since it doesn’t help search for evolved Grass Pokemon (no searching for Stage 1, Stage 2, defunct Restored Pokemon, Break Evolutions, and Mega Evolutions), but if it searched for any Grass Pokemon, it would make Dive Ball jealous. Still it isn’t too bad, as fetching a basic Grass Pokemon means you can grab a big basic or support Pokémon. Pokémon like Tapu Bulu-GX, Shining Celebi, and even the new Celebi & Venusaur GX Tag Team are wonderful targets for Net Ball to grab. As for fetching a basic Grass energy, it’ll be nice to manual attachment for when you don’t have an energy card in your hand. It also helps Eevee evolve into Leafeon (GX or not) because Net Ball grabs you a basic Grass energy.
So what do I think about Net Ball? Well, it would be placed in a similar vein to Dive Ball and other specific Ball related cards, meaning that it could be running a full four copies of Net Ball for Grass decks and useless on most decks. For Limited, the only reason not to run Net Ball is if you don’t have any Grass energy or Basic Grass Pokemon worth using.
Standard: 3/5 (Another welcome addition to the card pool.)
Expanded: 3/5 (More basic Grass Pokemon to target, but still a specific card.)
Limited: 4/5 (As I’ve mentioned earlier, either you have it or don’t)
Notes: Since Net Ball is already established on what effects it had, I’m going to be ranting a bit regarding comparison between the TCG and the video game. Since Net Ball performs well if the wild Pokémon is a Bug or Water type, why not make the TCG version fetch for either a Grass or Water Pokemon, or Energy vise versa? Seems to me that the designers won’t expand too many options for a single card, which is understandable.
Next up: One of the most essential things in your entire Pokemon adventure!
Net Ball (LOT 187) bounces into the Pokemon TCG from the Lost Thunder expansion set. Originally, I think I saw a translation (or maybe just misinterpreted a translation) where this card allowed you to get any Basic Pokemon or a Grass energy card from your deck, and I thought this card was REALLY busted, better than Dive Ball (PRC 125). However, it turned out that it was only for Basic Grass Pokemon or a Basic Grass energy card, but it’s still a very good card, probably a four of for Grass archetypes. Like so many other Trainer cards Pokemon is introducing, it does two things – it gives you options. I said it last week, and I’ll say it again today: the more options you have, the more chances you have at finding a path to victory. Give yourself as many options, as much flexibility, as possible.
Standard: 3.5 out of 5
I did give it a three and a half because it actually has some use outside of Grass archetypes. It can help get Chikorita if you’re running Meganium, Rowlet for Decidueye, or Shuckle for Zeraora GX Rayquaza GX. This really is a great card… but just think about how unbelievable it would have been if it were for Psychic!
Net Ball (SM – Lost Thunder 187/214, 234/214) opens our week. This is a Trainer-Item that lets you search your deck for either a Basic [G] Pokémon or a basic [G] Energy card. On the surface, this seems useful for many, maybe even most, [G] Type focused decks; you run Net Ball to increase the likelihood you can have the Pokémon or Energy those decks need at the right time. In some cases, you may even reduce the total amount of card slots you need while maintaining or increasing your deck’s reliability, due to the overlap. Of course, we have other search cards with which Net Ball must compete, especially if your deck requires multiple Types. Just one letter off, we have its fellow Trainer-Item Nest Ball, which can’t snag any basic Energy cards but can get you any Basic Pokémon, regardless of Type. Ultra Ball can get you any Pokémon, regardless of its Stage or its Type but you have to discard two cards from your hand to use it. Professor Elm’s Lecture is a Supporter and not an Item, but it can get you any three Pokémon with HP scores of 60 or less. There are several more options, but those are the most relevant for Standard.
Honestly, it’s not looking too great for Net Ball, but we haven’t looked at the Energy-searching aspect and… it is surprisingly difficult to affordable, reliably fetch Energy cards in Standard. In Expanded, it is easy; we’ve got Professor’s Letter to get two basic Energy cards of any Type and it’s an Item card. In Standard, you can use Energy Lotto to fetch an Energy (basic or Special) of any Type if it is in the top seven cards of your deck. PokéNav only looks at the top three cards of your deck but it can snag any Pokémon or Energy card. It is nice they can claim more but if they have a range restriction; Net Ball only gets one of two somewhat specific targets, but it searches your entire deck and doesn’t come with an additional cost. Which is what we’re seeing; decks that are [G] Type in terms of both Pokémon and Energy need a good reason not to run Net Ball, though even they aren’t always maxing it out and are running it with other Pokémon-search. Decks with a mix of [G] Pokémon and Energy along with other Types may run a copy or three of Net Ball. Of particular note are some very crowded multi-Type decks squeezing in a lone copy of Net Ball because they run a piece of Item-support like Alolan Ninetales-GX (SM – Lost Thunder 132/214, 205/214, 225/214).
Of course, we don’t have a lot of examples of [G] Type decks (partial or pure) making the top cut of recent events, and with what we do have, the multi-Types are about as numerous as the mono-Typed builds. We have even fewer results for the Expanded Format, so it is mostly guesswork there; apply the above guidelines, but remember if you aren’t worried about both Basic [G] Pokémon and basic Grass Energy cards, you’ve got all the above options plus more! Not a must-run for the Limited Format, though you can use Net Ball to view and shuffle your deck, regardless of whether you’re running anything of the [G] Type. In the Limited Format, Net Ball is a pretty good pull; there are 14 Common, Basic [G] Pokémon though most are only worth it if you also pull and run their Evolutions. Even if you don’t pull a single Basic, [G] Type Pokémon, remember that Net Ball can still ensure a basic Grass Energy in hand to meet a [C] cost on something else, in addition to letting you see the contents of your current deck and shuffle it afterward. When you’re playing a deck built out of what you’ve pulled, these smaller things not worth mentioning for the Constructed Formats become relevant.
Putting it all together, Net Ball has nearly attained staple status for mono- and mostly-[G] Type decks, and may even be worth it in a few decks that have only a small [G] Pokémon and basic Energy card presence. However, it is doing so as a supplement to more traditional search effects, appropriate to that deck. Net Ball actually has a lot of unrealized potential: imagine if this had released for one of the currently competitive Types. I’m jealous for the [Y] Type; remember that being a “Ball” Item makes Net Ball compatible with Apricorn Maker, so a [Y] Type equivalent would be phenomenal for Granbull (SM – Lost Thunder 138/214). Buzzwole decks could certainly make good use of a [F] Type version as well.
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