Ordinary Rod – Sword and Shield
Date Reviewed: January 16, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Our final Honorable Mention for 2020 is another supporting Trainer. Ordinary Rod (Sword & Shield 171/202, 215/202), originally reviewed as the 10th best card of Sword & Shield. Ordinary Rod is an interesting permutation of the card recycling Item. Like nearly all of such cards, Ordinary Rod is just concerned with Pokémon and/or basic Energy cards. Literally. It lets you choose between
- shuffling up to two Pokémon from your discard pile into your deck
- shuffling up to two basic Energy cards from your discard pile into your deck
- shuffling up to two of both basic Energy cards and Pokémon from your discard pile into your deck
So you’re getting up to a four-for-one recycling deal, though it has to go through your deck instead of going directly to your hand. It also won’t help you with Trainers or Special Energy cards, but so few recycling effects work with those that I only mention it out of my pedantic nature.
You’re also only out an Item card, the easiest kind of card to play; no costs, conditions, or other restrictions save for those specific to that Item card, to that subclass of Item (non-applicable here), and the universal rule about cards played from hand needing to have some effect on the game. As at least one Pokémon or Energy is returned to your deck, Ordinary Rod may still be used. Excluding anti-Item effects, which vary in important to the metagame. Ordinary Rod offers a finer level of control over many of its contemporaries; if you have Pokémon you need to recycle but basic Energy you need to leave behind, just select the first option. In case of the opposite scenario, you select the latter option. As the card is worded “up to”, you don’t even have to worry about being “forced” to recycle something you didn’t want to when using Ordinary Rod.
If you want general support that recycles both Pokémon and Energy, your only other Trainer-based option in Standard is Brock’s Grit. Brock’s Grit lets you shuffle six basic Energy cards or six Pokémon or a six total of a combination of both card types. This offers flexibility in the sense that you can shuffle more or only one of the two kinds of cards permitted, or go with a mix. You also get to recycle more cards. The catch is that you are using a Supporter to do the job.there is no “up to”. Less important, but still worth mentioning, is how you lack as fine of control. There is no “up to”, so if you need to leave certain Pokémon and/or basic Energy in your discard pile, you better have at least six other legal targets.
In Standard, there is also Lana’s Fishing Rod. She doesn’t recycle basic Energy at all, but she does let you shuffle one Pokémon and one Tool from your discard pile back into your deck. Again, no “up to” so if you only want to recycle a Pokémon or a Tool, the other card type needs to be totally absent from your discard pile. Honestly, the Pokémon seems more like a bonus as recycling Tools via Item – while not unprecedented – is rare. Ordinary Rod isn’t a staple, but it is a commonly used card because a lot of decks need general recycling. Whether due to Pokémon being KO’d either Pokémon or Energy being discarded for various card effects.
In Expanded, you still have Super Rod, an Item version of Brock’s Grit, but for three cards instead of six; Rescue Stretcher, another Item but it lets you return one Pokémon from discard pile to hand or shuffle three Pokémon from discard pile to deck, and several other variations on this theme. In the Theme Format, while it won’t always work out, recycling is a valuable effect in general, even restricted just to Pokémon and/or basic Energy. Ordinary Rod is very useful in the Theme Format. The Cinderace Theme Deck, Inteleon Theme Deck, and Rillaboom Theme Deck each have one Ordinary Rod, while the Charizard Theme Deck and Drednaw Theme Deck each contain two. In all cases, it is a good help… and takes some of the sting out of having to discard for cards like Professor’s Research. They also help with avoiding last minute deck outs, or spamming your best Pokémon.
- Standard: 3/5
- Expanded: 3/5
- Limited: 4/5
- Theme: 4/5
Ordinary Rod isn’t a deck staple in Standard. Nor is it even a loose staple. It is still a good, often used card filling a familiar roll. I almost docked it in the Expanded Format, because there are so many alternatives… but I think they each have their own niche and Ordinary Rod might be replacing Super Rod; the times I would want to recycle two and two are probably a lot more common than the times when I really needed to recycle just three Pokémon or three basic Energy cards.
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