Scoop Up Cyclone – #PLB 095
Put 1 of your Pokemon and all cards attached to it into your hand. Date Reviewed: October 6, 2017 Ratings & Reviews Summary Standard: N/A Expanded: 3.58 Limited: 4.33 Legacy: 4.25
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
|Acerola and Az are both strong in their own right, but neither of them is quite as strong as the Scoop Up Cyclone. Arguably, it’s the ACE SPEC that doesn’t need to be debated – you can play it if you want, but with Acerola and Az around, it’s probably not necessary to have it. It has the ability to put one of your Pokemon in your hand, just like those two, but it also grabs all the cards attached to it into your hand as well. Az only grabs the Pokemon, and while Acerola can do the same thing, she requires that it’s damaged first in some manner. So it’s a Item that does better than the two Supporters that could do something similar – neat! But like I said, this isn’t really that necessary anymore. Garbodor threatens the Item count of decks with Trashalanche, so while having the option is nice, it might not be the go-to ACE SPEC if there’s one that’s better. Sure, it’s nice to deny the opponent a KO or get out Golisopod-GX again with yet another card like this, but I dunno if it’s needed to run this. You can honestly probably skip it. It’s not bad if it’s the only one you’ve got, but there are a number of other ways to work with the same effect. Rating Standard: N/A (still no good in this format) Expanded: 2.5/5 (and not nearly as strong as it might have been in this format) Limited: 4/5 (…still really good here though) Arora Notealus: It’s the most powerful Scoop Up, at the very least, so there’s that distinction. I just wouldn’t consider it the most powerful ACE SPEC out there. I wouldn’t say it’s the worst one, but it’s definitely one of the more niche ones. That’s really all there is to say about the ACE SPECs for me. Weekend Thought: What are your thoughts on all the ACE SPEC cards? Does Computer Search top your list, or is there another ACE SPEC that you favor more? Which ones do you have, and which ones do you wish you could have? Would you ever want the ACE SPEC idea to come back into Standard?
|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. First, we got Scoop Up, which picks up the Pokemon with its evolutions, but had to discard other cards attached to it. Next, we have Super Scoop Up, which picks up the Pokemon and all cards attached to it if you flipped heads, otherwise it does nothing. Then we have AZ, which does the same thing Scoop Up does, but as a Supporter instead of an item. Last, we had Acerola, which does the same as Super Scoop Up does but requires a Pokemon to be damaged. With different bounce cards that has their own requirements and tearful drawbacks, is there going to be a card that we don’t have to deal with trivial requirement and drawbacks? Well, there’s actually might just be one! Enter today’s Ace Spec card: Scoop Up Cyclone (BW Plasma Blast)! Scoop Up Cyclone won’t ask you for anything; it’ll simply employ the power of Super Scoop Up without a coin flip. The catch? You can only have one in your deck while barring you from 12 other Ace Spec cards that you could’ve use. Scoop Up Cyclone is the ultimate bounce card, marginally better than healing cards such as Max Potion. Bouncing a Pokemon also flushes away damage, conserve resources (saving Pokemon tools and energy cards), and bring out another Pokémon from the bench to the active (if you scooped up the active instead of the bench). You could also use it to reuse coming-into play abilities. Shaymin-EX, Jirachi-EX, Tapu Lele-GX, Decidueye-GX (ridiculous with Forest of Forbidden Area), and Greninja BREAK comes to mind. Standard: 4.25/5 Expanded: 4.25/5 Limited: 5/5 Legacy: 4.25/5 Sylveon’s Notes: This item, by the way it looks, would help me vacumn clean my living room! Coming Up: Well, it’s the weekends isn’t it? Have a great weekend! That’s covers the eight ACE Spec cards that was being reviewed. Maybe some food for thought: Would you like to see that mechanic again? Or maybe you like to see a limited or semi-limited amount of copies you can have in your deck, just like Yu-Gi-Oh?
We end our two Inverse – or was it Reverse – week of reviews where everyday was “Throwback Thursday” except for Mondays (didn’t want to leave the Standard-only crowd hanging that long). If you’re just joining us, we took this tie to review eight of the 13 Ace Spec cards; the five that only work with specific Pokémon would take another week we just don’t have, so they’ll have to wait until an available Throwback Thursday sometime down the road. Today’s subject is Scoop Up Cyclone (BW: Plasma Blast 95/101), an Ace Spec Trainer-Item that allows you to select one of your Pokémon (Active or Bench) and return that Pokémon and all cards attached to your hand. There are no additional costs or stipulations, besides the usual for Item cards – has to be used before you attack – and being an Ace Spec – only get one Ace Spec per deck, both to the exclusion of running any other Ace Spec and in terms of copies allowed.
Being a Trainer is usually a good thing in that most decks run them heavily; I’m not sure if there has been a format where you did not run as many Trainers in your deck as you could manage, but now we regularly see decks composed of half to three-quarters Trainer cards. Not a tremendous amount of Trainer-specific support or counters, with the only ones likely to matter being former “loose” staples Skyla and Trainers’ Mail (both pieces of Trainer support). Item cards don’t have much in the way of general support in Expanded, though Junk Arm is a staple in the Legacy Format (three or four copies preferred). Pretty big deal, being able to discard any two cards from hand to reuse any Item, including Ace Spec cards the designers intended to mostly be once-per-game tricks. There are some other pieces of Item support, but not a huge amount, and they tend to be deck specific. Item-counters, on the other hand, come in several flavors. I can think of only one that is generic enough to fit into any deck – Ghetsis – and one that can fit into many or most decks – Seismitoad-EX. You’ll find multiple that can be the focus of their own deck, and with only some overlap between the Expanded and Legacy Formats, simply because of the cardpools. There is no explicit Ace Spec support, though Puzzle of Time and a few other cards can fake it; Spiritomb (BW: Legendary Treasures 87/113) prevents either player from playing an Ace Spec from hand via its Ability; not sure about present-day Expanded but it sometimes is worth it in the Legacy Format. As for the specifics of Scoop Up Cyclone, in one sense it is weaker as this is just one of many proven bounce options. The Legacy Format has Super Scoop Up and Seeker, while Expanded also has Super Scoop Up but swaps Seeker for AZ and Acerola. Each of these handles bounce a bit differently, with the pros often doubling as cons, such as Seeker bouncing an opponent’s Pokémon as well or being an Item or being a Supporter. Fortunately, things are better for Scoop Up Cyclone in this situation than for Master Ball, the card we looked at yesterday. Master Ball was in an unhappy middle position; you could suffer a discard cost from hand that might actually be beneficial (depends on the deck) and instead use Ace Spec Computer Search to fetch anything or save your Ace Spec slot for something else entirely and just use Ultra Ball (again, with the two card discard) and still fetch any Pokémon. Scoop Up Cyclone avoids this problem because other than being your Ace Spec, it has the best mix of the good and the bad. You’ll have to deal with Ace Spec and/or Item countermeasures, but you aren’t using your Supporter for the turn, you don’t have to flip a coin, you bounce everything attached to the target Pokémon, and you don’t have any conditions or restrictions on what you target. So… why bounce? This is a good way to reuse coming-into-play Abilities and to deal with the effects of attacks – including damage, providing you have another attacker ready to go or can Bench, promote, and power-up your original attacker without missing a beat. It also can get something stranded up front out of the Active position or free up space on your Bench. Though not the best current example, as it isn’t legal for the Legacy Format and is no longer competitive (at least to my knowledge) in the Expanded Format, “Landobats” decks built around Landorus-EX, Golbat (XY: Phantom Forces 32/119; Generations 31/83) and Crobat (XY: Phantom Forces 32/119). The two bats have coming-into-play Abilities that place damage counters on one of your opponent’s Pokémon (your choice which, if any), while Landorus-EX has a still solid 180 HP and attack for [F] that does 30 to the opponent’s Active plus 30 to one of the opponent’s Benched Pokémon (again, your choice but this time you must pick one). While the deck could have used Devolution Spray to reuse the Abilities, instead you would see Super Scoop Up and Scoop up Cyclone used to bounce the entire Crobat line or to bounce Landorus-EX after it had taken a hit or two. Even when AZ was added, the deck just made room for him and kept the two Items. Besides needing as much bounce as possible, Korrina allowed you to fetch a Landorus-EX plus a Super Scoop Up or Scoop Up Cyclone. Even though Landobats is a dated example, Scoop Up Cyclone is still a strong play in a variety of decks for the same reasons. Seismitoad-EX provides us an example better in that it is current, but worse in that Seismitoad-EX decks have been able to use six of the other seven Ace Spec cards so well (Master Ball is the one exception). If that sounds like an exaggeration, remember that Seismitoad-EX focused decks make it hard to damage the Active Seismitoad-EX, so even less impressive Ace Spec cards like Gold Potion, Life Dew, and Rock Guard perform better with it than in many other decks. Scoop Up Cyclone allows the Seismitoad-EX player to bounce a Shaymin-EX or Tapu Lele-GX to reuse their coming-into-play effect or an injured Seismitoad-EX. Acerola, AZ, and Super Scoop Up can do all of these things, but Scoop Up Cyclone is the only one that doesn’t eat up your Supporter for the turn, doesn’t require a coin flip, doesn’t require being damaged, and returns all attached cards. Bench-sitters aren’t like to be damaged, while your Active Seismitoad-EX probably has a Double Colorless Energy and Pokémon Tool attached that you would prefer to keep, and cannot easily recycle separately or search out. This is why Scoop Up Cyclone would be heavily played – though not a staple – if it were reprinted in a manner to make it Standard legal. It isn’t a top tier Ace Spec card in Expanded or Legacy play, but not only does it have niche decks where it is the best choice, but most competitive decks can make use of its generous bounce, allowing it to actually do well as a general inclusion (just not optimal). As with many of the other Ace Spec cards, it is better in the Legacy Format than in Expanded, but not by a huge margin: Junk Arm for extra uses in nearly all decks plus only two other alternatives instead of three. It is a must run for Limited Format play if you pull it unless you are running a +39 deck. It won’t directly help you win, but it should help you not lose as long as it shows up at the right time.
Standard: N/A Expanded: 4/5 Limited: 4/5 Legacy: 4.25/5
Scoop Up Cyclone is one of those Ace Specs we didn’t see as much simply because it always shared a format with Computer Search, Dowsing Machine, and Scramble Switch. Most decks benefit a little from having a bounce effect Trainer, and while there are multiple alternatives most decks can include, Scoop Up Cyclone does it better than they do, unless you want to use a Supporter (and sometimes you do).