– Unbroken Bonds
May 6, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Normally, we try to avoid reviewing reprints of cards unless they have an important reason to be reviewed – like if Muscle Band was reprinted, it would definitely be reviewed simply for being so impactful in its time and for the extended break it had from seeing play in Standard. You might say that, for similar reasons, Pokegear 3.0 has ended up not only getting reviewed, but it’s also made it into the Top 10 of our list.
Pokegear 3.0 is an Item card that lets you check the top 7 cards for a Supporter, then you can pick 1 of the Supporters you find to add to your hand. After that, you shuffle the rest into your deck. If you’re unfamiliar with this card, you’d likely equate it to Great Ball, which does the same thing but with Pokemon instead. And that’s how Pokegear 3.0 was meant to be when it came initially in the HeartGold & SoulSilver expansion.
So imagine all the strengths of Great Ball now applying to some of the most impactful cards in the entire game, and you start to see why Pokegear 3.0 is such a tremendous card to introduce into Standard. Not to mention being an Item card means you can play the Supporter you searched without any worry of it conflicting with Pokegear 3.0! There are a few powerful Supporters printed in this set, to be sure, but just having the ability to look through and find something like a Cynthia or Lillie or Guzma when you need it is definitely an effect worth looking at.
There’s no doubt in my mind that Pokegear 3.0 will see play as a staple of sorts, though it’s hard to see its overall impact. Searching Supporters shouldn’t be underestimated, but it’s the quality of the Supporters that are being run that can vary between formats. Expanded I think will likely welcome Pokegear 3.0 with open arms, especially since they play Supporters like Professor Sycaper, N, Colress, etc. that have a tremendous power level by comparison to the Supporters of today. But I wouldn’t say that Pokegear 3.0 isn’t to be shunned by Standard players who are looking for that nice easy searcher for their next Supporter.
Standard: 4/5 (honestly, if anything, this card could’ve been higher up on the list)
Expanded: 4.5/5 (a card like this comes highly rated overall, but just like Great Ball, there are those times where it can miss)
Limited: 4/5 (so it’s hard to say that the card is perfectly flawless)
Arora Notealus: Personally I kept Pokegear 3.0 off of my own list, which considering the evaluations are between at least the three of us, that’s probably the biggest reason why it’s this low. I usually don’t put reprints of cards on my lists, regardless of whether they’d have a tremendous impact on the game they enter into again or that it’s been years since they’ve been in the Standard game. But I’m also not going to deny that a card like Pokegear 3.0 would’ve likely placed highly on my list, and that in turn can usually deprive a newer card that’s of similar power level from making it onto the list at all. It’s one of those things about reprints that makes it tricky when it comes to these reviews, though the rest of the list is entirely of newcomers, so I suppose it can’t be something that’s complained about that much.
Next Time: Might as well just start by saying this week ought to be called “The Tag Team Week”, cause these duos are amazing!
I may not have pulled Pokegear 3.0 when I was opening booster packs from HeartGold & SoulSilver, but looks like I have been given another opportunity to pull one. Here’s a extremely dated review nine years ago and another review from couple months ago as a throwback Thursdays. For the most part, I haven’t changed what I’ve thought of about this card. Obviously, this card is unreliable on its own unless you have other cards that help PokeGear 3.0 guarantee what you’ll need. So far, the only thing I can think of that greatly helps this item card is Magcargo from Celestial Storm, whose Smooth Over lets you fetch a card and put it on top of your deck. Because it can fetch anything, Pokegear 3.0 will become consistent. Overall it’s awesome seeing this card back!
Welcome to our first full week of counting down our Top 11 Picks of SM – Unbroken Bonds! If you’re a new reader, this article will get you up to speed on the process, but the short version is that the review crew worked together and came up with what we thought were the most important cards from the latest expansion, barring reprints of cards that were already legal prior to that set’s release. You’ll also notice that I said this is a Top 11 list but today we’re looking at our tenth place pick; we started this countdown last Friday on May 3, the official release date for SM – Unbroken Bonds. Tenth place is Pokégear 3.0 (HeartGold SoulSilver 96/123; SM – Unbroken Bonds 182/214; 233/214), a Trainer-Item that has you look at the top seven cards of your deck, then lets you add a Supporter you find there to your hand. The other cards you looked at are then shuffled back into your deck; all seven if you didn’t find any Supporters, or just didn’t like any of the Supporters you saw (you can choose to take none).
Pokégear 3.0 is not a new card; we reviewed it a few months after its original release, and then again for a Throwback Thursday. As it wasn’t even Expanded-legal prior to this latest release, we allowed it for our top pick lists. Only one of us thought highly of it, however, and that was me: I had Pokégear 3.0 as my second place pick! Why? Jirachi (SM – Team Up 99/181; SM – Black Star Promos SM161), Magcargo (SM – Celestial Storm 24/168), Tapu Lele-GX… we already have ways of getting a Supporter we need into our hand when we need it. Pokégear 3.0 is neither reusable nor reliable, and these three are one, the other, or even both! Jirachi and Magcargo are more versatile as well, as Jirachi can grab any Trainer and Magcargo can grab any card!
All three of the options I listed rely on Abilities; in Standard, Abilities are easier to counter than Items. Jirachi and Tapu Lele-GX are Basics, so Alolan Muk (Sun & Moon 58/149) can shut them down. Glaceon-GX and Power Plant (SM – Unbroken Bonds 183/214) can shut down Tapu Lele-GX. While Magcargo has very little to worry about directly, its “Smooth Over” Ability just lets you topdeck the card you want from your deck; actually getting a Supporter into your hand that same turn requires a non-Supporter draw card be used. Typically, this means something like Oranguru (Sun & Moon 113/149; SM – Black Star Promos SM13) or Zoroark-GX and… yeah, they also have to worry about the above counters. We’re also talking about using up one or more Bench-spaces, which can be a problem. Some decks need to avoid Pokémon-GX or Evolutions, which would leave only Jirachi…
…and Jirachi can actually work with Pokégear 3.0. Even if Jirachi whiffs on the exact Supporter you need, Pokégear 3.0 gives you a more-restricted second chance. It may seem like overkill, but you can actually use Pokégear 3.0 with Magcargo as well. Another factor are several new cards from this expansion. This review is already getting long enough I worry I’ll obscure my own points through sheer wordiness, so I’ll just name them: Dedenne-GX (SM – Unbroken Bonds 57/214,195/214, 219/214), Green’s Exploration (SM – Unbroken Bonds 175/214, 209/214), Lt. Surge’s Strategy (SM – Unbroken Bonds 178/214), Mismagius (SM – Unbroken Bonds 78/214), Red’s Challenge (SM – Unbroken Bonds 184/214, 213/214), and Welder (SM – Unbroken Bonds 189/214, 214/214). Future CotD’s will go into more detail, but the main thing to understand is that even before the 2020 Standard Format goes into effect, we should expect how decks flow to change, and some potent new specific strategies. Oh, and some existing decks that have been struggling may gain new life, like Granbull (SM – Lost Thunder 138/214).
On its own, Pokégear 3.0 is a decent shot at getting a Supporter from your deck, maybe the exact one you need or maybe not. Functional (if not good) in almost every deck, solid in most, but vital to a few. The few results I’ve seen out of Japan suggest it won’t be everywhere, but it’ll be in enough high-performing decks to spike its score… and that assumes they aren’t just early adopters of a new general deck-building change. Expanded and the Legacy Format, however, have potent anti-Item effects and better alternatives, so Pokégear 3.0 isn’t doing much there. Even if I’m wrong about all the others, this is clearly something to run in the Limited Format; make it more likely you’ll get to use a Supporter you did pull and run, and even if you’re out of Supporters, you may want the excuse to see seven cards and then shuffle.
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