Dowsing Machine

  • Plasma Storm


Ratings & Reviews Summary
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Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average.  5 is great.



Over the course of this week and next week’s COTD, we will be reviewing two cards from the Burning Shadows expansion on Mondays and eight Ace Spec cards on the rest of the weekdays.  If you don’t know what an Ace Spec card is, it is a mechanic that existed between BW Boundaries Crossed until BW Plasma Blast.  Based on 13 cards, they’re all trainer-item cards.  These are item cards that are said to be very powerful that only one Ace Spec card is allowed per deck.  This means as soon as you designate your Ace Spec card of choice, you are barricaded from using 12 other Ace Spec cards, so choose wisely.  This mechanic can also affect card legality from much older cards such as Computer Search and Master Ball, but more on that later.  We decided to leave out Pokemon specific Ace Spec cards (there are five of them, two for Kyurem, one for Victini, and two for Genesect) and review only eight Ace Spec cards that doesn’t care about what deck you’re playing.  All Ace Spec cards are Expanded and Legacy legal, and I may put Unlimited scores for Computer Search and Master Ball as well.  I may also score Standard even though it’s no longer legal, kind of a hypothetical score.

Today’s Ace Spec card goes to Dowsing Machine (BW Plasma Storm).  It was reviewed by the crew as the sixth best card of BW Plasma Storm.  In the games, it is a key item (quite fitting for an Ace Spec card since you’ll have only one Downing Machine in the game) that locates hidden items.  How does this translate to the TCG?

Well, for the price of 2 cards from your hand, you search your deck for a trainer card and put it on your hand.  That covers items, supporters, and Stadium cards.  This is equivalent to Itemfinder from Base Set.  This could act as a 5th copy of your deck.

Puzzle of Time may steal some of its thunder, utilizing its second effect to get back any two cards from the discard to the hand.  But having to use two Puzzle of Times from your hand is not that easy.

Dowsing Machine would be fighting head to head against Computer Search and two other Ace Spec cards.  However, if you like to retrieve resources instead of reliability, then this card is for you.


Standard: N/A (would be 4.75/5)

Expanded: 4.75/5

Limited: 4.5/5

Legacy: 4.5/5 (Junk Arm is still in the format)

Sylveon’s Notes: This key item is always handy!

Coming Up: Some sort of a remote control that switches…


            And here it comes, the universally acclaimed second best Ace Spec there is. It’s Dowsing Machine and what did it do so it can achieve that title? In the games, the Dowsing Machine/Itemfinder is a very handy tool that can help you search for hidden items in the overworld. Maybe it’s a hidden Hyper Potion or an Ultra Ball, or is it even a TM for a very good move such as Acrobatics? Only the Dowsing Machine knows its secrets.

In the TCG plane, Dowsing Machine works almost the same as it does for the video games, and in short works almost similarly to Computer Search but in reverse. It discards 2 cards from your hand, and it searches your discard pile for a Trainer card. Yes, it includes the Supporters and Items that you have just used, ready to be used once again. This helps reuse important resources such as your precious Superior Energy Retrieval (BW Plasma Freeze), your Muscle Band (XY Base Set), your Dark Patch (BW Dark Explorers), and so on, and so forth. This is a better variant of VS Seeker (XY Phantom Forces, XY Roaring Skies) which should have been since it’s an Ace Spec!

This is a very amazing card that works really well in decks that thrive from the discard pile. Dark decks that abuses Dark Patch such as Yveltal-EX (XY Base Set) or Darkrai-EX (XY BREAKpoint), which thrives from getting the Dark energies to its board as quickly as possible, will love this card more than Computer Search because it allows them to have 5 Dark Patches, or a second Superior Energy Retrieval, or a second/third Guzma (SM Burning Shadows) or Lysandre (XY Flashfire, XY Ancient Origins) to grab momentum, and so on. Compressor decks (Vespiquen/Flareon and Night March) might have the option to use Dowsing Machine to help preserve their board state in the mid-late game, especially after being hit by a Karen (XY177 Promo) so you can have a 5th Battle Compressor in your deck.

But when you look at the weaknesses of Dowsing Machine, it explains why it is less popular than Computer Search. While Computer Search is more of a Turn 1 card, Dowsing Machine is more of a Turn 5/Turn 6 card, which makes it more of a situational card rather than an integral part of your plan. It also only allows you to search for Trainer cards; while the Trainer cards that it fetches can search for other cards as well, it does mean that now you need 2 cards to do the job of what is possibly a single-card job, and it can prove problematic against Item lock/Item hate decks like Trevenant BREAK and Garbodor, where your job is to prevent them from steamrolling you by pure annoyance alone.

But, despite those weaknesses, I think that Dowsing Machine is a great card that can help swing board momentum hard and fast to your side, giving you a great advantage in a late game match.


Expanded: 4/5 (More situational than Computer Search; but when it does, it is better in different aspects than Computer Search ever will.)

Next on Inverse Week:
Teleport the heart and soul.



Dowsing Machine is the other “discard two cards” ACE SPEC, though it does remind you that if you can’t discard 2 cards you can’t play it. Not that that’s ever an issue. All the same, its main gimmick is grabbing Trainer cards out of the discard pile and back to your hand. That’s really good if you need to recycle that one copy of that one Trainer card you teched in this one time to get that one KO from your opponent that you needed to in order to do…anything, but there you go. Outside of that though, I’m not so sure about this guy being “the best”, especially compared to Computer Search. Either I grab anything I want from my pile of cards I haven’t had access to yet, or I grab any Trainer I want from my pile of cards I’ve already used.

They’ve both got their uses and functions in different decks, so it’s a matter of figuring out which is better for the deck you have. Personally? I think Search is better than Dowsing, but that’s more due to its expanded versatility, since literally any deck can run it. Not to say you can’t run Dowsing in anything as well, but it just won’t have the same impact in every deck.


Standard: N/A (looking for good cards you’ve played is a nice usage of time)

Expanded: 4/5 (but then there’s grabbing any card you need)

Limited: 4.5/5 (it’s a bit hard to compare the two)

Arora Notealus: Dowsing Machine does have a lot of benefits, but it depends on what deck you want to run it in. You also should think about the decision you make – you’re effectively giving up 3 cards for 1 you’ve already played, rather than 3 cards for a card you haven’t gotten like with Search. It’s a mixed bag of sorts, but it means you’ve put a lot of value into the card you’re going to retrieve – keep that in mind.

Next Time: Let’s mix it up! A LOT!!