– #PLS 129
Date Reviewed: Sept. 29, 2017
Ratings & Reviews Summary
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Scramble Switch (Plasma Storm, 129/135) was my personal favorite of all the Ace Spec cards. This item card allowed you to switch your active Pokemon with one of your benched ones and then move however much of the energy attached to your old active Pokemon to the new one that you want. I played this with Mega Mewtwo EX (Breakthrough, 64/162). My active Mega Mewtwo would tank a hit, I’d play Scramble Switch, move all the energy to a benched Mega Mewtwo and bring that one up to attack, and then (hopefully) find a Max Potion (Breakpoint, 103/122) to heal off the damaged one. It was a good tactic that won me a number of matches
These were the early days of Pokemon for me. I started playing in March of 2016. I had hosted a Pokemon party for my son and a bunch of his friends. They were mostly playing with cards, but a couple were playing Pokemon online. My son said to me, “We should try to get that installed on our new computer, Dad. I have all those code cards.” After a couple of hours of entering probably more than a hundred codes into PTCGO, we had all of these cool cards for the online version. And that’s when it hooked me – when I realized that you could try to put together all of these different combinations of cards and finding Supporters and Items and how to try Pokemon with different abilities to augment your chances of winning. And then when I found the trading platform? Bam shut the door, I officially became completely obsessed.
Pokemon has become a big part of my life. It’s become more than a hobby, considering how much time I sink into it on a weekly basis. I’ll hand it to the creators of the game, they’ve done a great job of putting together a game that is very approachable yet at the same time involves quite a bit of tactics and strategy. We’re always looking for new combinations, new choices, new options with the cards we have available to make our deck as competitive as possible. The Mega Mewtwo Scramble Switch was one of those first such combos for me. It was one of the reasons I fell in love with the game.
I know that most people bypassed Scramble Switch for some of the other Ace Spec cards, but this one was my favorite, and I definitely enjoyed using it whenever I could. I kind of hope that the designers of the game will again bring back something like the Ace Spec cards in the future, although I wonder what that would do to the meta. I would prefer a meta that had about ten or twelve really good decks that could go out and when a tournament on any given weekend. I fear that the re-introduction of Ace Spec type cards might actually reduce the number of top tier decks rather than expand that number, and I’m not sure that that would be good for the game.
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 Sped 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 reviewing 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 is Scramble Switch (BW Plasma Storm). It was reviewed by the crew as the third best card of BW Plasma Storm. This item acts as a regular switch card in addition to moving as many energies from your old active to the new active Pokemon. Switch is still a good card when your deck is unable to have Keldeo-EX/Zoroark with Float Stone or Solgaleo-GX.
There are some strategic use to Scramble Switch. You could get a Pokemon with high retreat cost or a bench sitter away from the active spot. Those energies could be moved away from a damaged Pokemon, waiting for it to be healed with Max Potion. It could be used to promote another Pokemon whose abilities requires you to be Active such as Greninja BREAK, and XY Trevenant/BW Emerging Powers Gothitelle item lock. It also helps Golisopod-GX maintain 120 damage with first impression. It also gets rid of effects and special conditions affecting the Pokemon.
Switching is valuable in the Pokemon TCG. It probably won’t be fun if no switching is allowed; the match would be one-on-one like the games.
Standard: N/A (would be 4.5/5)
Scramble Switch originates from a very odd concept that now one ever saw when it came on stream or when it rotated out of the Standard format, and I bet will never be replaced ever. It has such a wayward competitive time, being very viable at one point and then becoming a so-so Ace Spec as the time went on, but it’s still very interesting to look back.
Scramble Switch is essentially a Switch on steroids. Not only it allows you to switch your Active Pokémon with 1 of your Benched Pokémon, but it also allows you to move as many energy from the old Active Pokémon to the new Active Pokémon. Not only have this allowed prize, energy and Pokémon conservation, but it also allows you to essentially swing your board around, making sure that your board state is completely safe. An obvious technique when using this Ace Spec is obviously Max Potion; since you will move all the energy away, using Max Potion to heal your old Active Pokémon is beneficial to you as the old, wounded Pokémon will not have any Energy anyway.
The deck that automatically gives away the impression of using this Ace Spec is obviously Primal Groudon-EX (XY Primal Clash). Since Primal Groudon-EX has a monstrous 240 HP and it needs what is essentially 4 Fighting Energies to power up, using Scramble Energy to switch the Groudon around when you lead one is injured is beneficial. Also using Focus Sash (XY Furious Fists) is also its key strategy; if you can’t one shot it, be ready for a dose of Scramble Switch + Max Potion combo! Then when your Groudons are setup, the process repeats itself with the usage of Puzzle of Time (XY BREAKpoint) to regain the Scramble Switch, making sure you can use the Ace Spec throughout the match.
However, there is a reason why Scramble Switch is less popular than the other Ace Spec cards. It is very deck specific, in which it only exerts its full potential on slow decks like the Primal Groudon-EX one shown above. Against most decks which have faster setup and lower energy investment, Scramble Switch fell short in favor against more explosive and consistent cards such as Computer Search and Dowsing Machine. They are just faster and offer more utility than Scramble Switch.
And that, unfortunately is the fate of Scramble Switch; although it works really well on decks that are slow and tanky, most decks are the opposite; fast, has a bit less health and can deal more damage.
Expanded: 3.27/5 (Has its uses, but in very specific archetypes)
And for the last card of the week, we take a look at Scramble Switch! It’s pretty neat, having the same effect as…well, Switch. On top of that, though, it also gives you the ability to take all the Energy from the old Active Pokemon and put it on the new one.
While this card is a bit underpowered for a card that’s meant to be run at one and only one and be the only one of its kind ran in a deck, Scramble Switch is also perhaps underrated, especially in light of newer cards. Sure, it’s no Computer Search, but not only does it get rid of Status Conditions from a Pokemon you might not want such Statuses on, but it also powers up the other Pokemon you put in the Active slot, meaning most of the time you’re going to be able to attack with a fresh Active Pokemon. You also get the ability to use Max Potion on your old Active to heal off all the damage it took while it was Active – neat-o!
As I mentioned, though, this card gets better when combined with some newer cards – specifically Golisopod-GX. Aside from being yet another Switch card, it also gives you free range to switch one Golisopod-GX for another, move all the Energy to the new one (who maybe even has none to begin with), and even start smacking around with First Impression for a solid 120 damage. Never mind Guzma, the original Switch, and various other tricks are available at your disposal, Scramble Switch is just outright a staple in Golisopod-GX decks!
That said, it might not be the definitive staple for other decks – again, it depends on what your deck is and what you’re building it around. I could understand passing it up even in Golisopod-GX decks for just Computer Search in Expanded, since that search power is just as amazing as the ability to have another Switch, but in most other decks, it’s hard to justify Scramble Switch even with its potential. As always, I’d recommend testing it out in your own builds to see if it’s a good fit in your deck.
Cause believe it or not, not everybody’s got that much money for a Computer Search.
Standard: N/A (as always, it’s no good here in Standard)
Expanded: 3.5/5 (but don’t underestimate its potential in Expanded)
Limited: 4/5 (you can do a lot with something that gives you a renewed attacker)
Arora Notealus: Scramble Switch is one of the ACE SPECs that I believe is on the fence alongside Dowsing Machine. It’s a good fit in some decks, great in others, but in the rest it’s only okay. It’s like I’ve got to rank ACE SPECs on a scale of Crystal Wall to Computer Search.
…yeah, I didn’t forget about those Pokemon-specific ACE SPECs.
Weekend Thought: What are your favorite ACE SPEC cards to use? Do you even remember what ACE SPEC cards were? Did you even play in the game during the time when ACE SPEC cards were a thing? Which of these ACE SPEC cards do you think you’d run in which decks? Is Gold Potion useless? I mean really, it was probably the worst non-Pokemon-specific one I can recall. Maybe next week I’ll find one that’s worse!