#12 – Pokégear 3.0
– Unbroken Bonds
December 17, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Pokégear 3.0 (HeartGold & SoulSilver 96/123; SM – Unbroken Bonds 182/214, 182a/214, 233/214) is our 11th-place finisher and yes, this is a bit of a cheat. As you can tell by the printings I just listed, Pokégear 3.0 did not first release in 2019; it originally debuted in February of 2010! It has three prior reviews because of this. Being that old is actually part of why we made an exception to the “No Reprints” rule for our countdown. Being reprinted this year didn’t just make Pokégear 3.0 Standard-legal, but Expanded-legal as well!
The other part of why it makes the list is much simpler; Pokégear 3.0 is an Item-card that lets you search the top seven cards of your deck for a Supporter, show it to your opponent, then add it to your hand. Supporters are usually vital to your deck’s setup and flow. You’re only allowed to use one Supporter per turn so missing one hurts, but after you’ve used that Supporter per turn, the rest are dead-in-hand until your next turn. This creates conflicting needs; run as many Supporters as you can so you always have one, or run few so that you rarely (if ever) have a bunch of dead-for-the-turn Supporters cluttering your hand.
Enter Supporter searching effects, like Pokégear 3.0, which improve your odds of having the Supporter you need for that turn in hand, as well as having a Supporter at all. You don’t get to select from your entire deck with Pokégear 3.0; other cards let you do that, but they have higher costs or drawbacks to compensate. Pokégear 3.0 is an easy-to-play Item, something you can even burn just to lower your hand’s size. Pokégear 3.0’s initial re-release is from May of this year, back when Tapu Lele-GX was still legal… and people ran both! In the present, many decks use Pokégear 3.0, and those which don’t usually have an alternative effects to improve their setup and flow, like Jirachi (SM – Team Up 99/181; SM – Black Star Promos SM161) or Tag Call.
Pokégear 3.0 is a lot less useful in Expanded. It still has seen some competitive success, however; there are some decks that need to increase their odds of hitting a maxed out Supporter, especially early game but can’t spare the Bench-space for a card like Tapu Lele-GX. It may seem counter-intuitive, but because you’ll have fewer Supporters in your 40-card Limited Format deck, Pokégear 3.0 is still amazing; hitting your Supporters at the right time is just that much more important! Due to this card’s unusual nature, I’ll also mention it can be used in the Legacy Format of the PTCGO. I’m very out of touch with current builds for successful decks there, but if it hasn’t changed too much, Pokégear 3.0 doesn’t see a lot of play due to competition from Random Receiver and Jirachi-EX.
Pokégear 3.0 is technically the oldest card on our list but its re-release didn’t happen until 2019 was about half gone. It is in many decks, but not all decks. Personally, I had it as my 4th-place pick and that is how it managed to take 11th-place. I think this is a bit low for it, but I can certainly understand why it didn’t make the others’ lists. I mean, apart from it being a “special circumstances” reprint.
When looking at PokeGear 3.0, I’m actually feeling conflicted. That’s because I read my past two reviews as well as three previous reviews of that card from other members. Clearly, there are some glaring flaws and brimming potential this card has, and it’s up to the player to optimize that.
You might not find any Supporters from the top seven cards of your deck, and in other times, you might. There are ways to guarantee yourself a Supporter (like Magcargo’s Smooth Over), but that has a different cost to it (Bench space, prone to KOs). But even if you fail the search, that’s one less card in your hand, and draw yields might be better than if you still have it in your hand. Something like Cynthia or Lillie to improve draw yield if you used PokeGear.
I can’t say I’m surprised that something like Pokegear 3.0 made it onto the list, more so that I didn’t think to put it on mine. Part of that is there are so many cards that came out this year, and part of that is I skipped over a lot of cards that were reprints of older cards. So it’s like “FRESH” from this year.
That said, Pokegear 3.0 is a really strong card, and the last time we saw it before Unbroken Bonds was back in HGSS. And considering it’s an Item that effectively acts as a Great Ball for Supporters, it’s hard to see why you wouldn’t include it in a ton of lists. Nice generic support for any deck! And pretty much any deck worth its salt ran it. Expect that to be a common theme going up the list, by the way.
I don’t really have much else to say about the card. It’s good, it’s great, and it did a lot in 2019!
Arora Notealus: So with a whole new Pokemon “type” with Pokemon-V coming around, it seems like Expanded is going to get even more bloated than before. I mean between Pokemon-EX, Pokemon-GX, Tag Team-GX, and now Pokemon-V? That’s a lot of stuff to work around. So I think my next wish is to finally address the Expanded format and start rotating out older sets. We don’t have to lose all of the BW era of expansions, but I don’t think there are too many cards from those sets that are even relevant compared to the cards that have come out lately. So it might just be good to start trimming the card pool down a bit, make it easier for people who want to play in the format, and you’d avoid a few other broken combinations as a result. And based on some wording in the translations of certain cards getting leaked in the upcoming Sword & Shield set, it’s possible that that’s the intention going forward…
Next Time: When you got a job and need some extra help, who you gonna call?
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