Gold Potion

– Boundaries Crossed
– #140/149

Date Reviewed: Sept. 28, 2017

Ratings & Reviews Summary
See Below

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



Attention: I lack the time to rephrase what is mostly background information eight ways so that each review is unique; if you read yesterday’s CotD, you can skip down to the fourth paragraph.  Thanks to the Fort Wayne, IN Regional Championship kicking off the 2017-2018 tournament series using the Expanded Format, the debate of what decks should use which Ace Spec has been renewed.  We thought about just covering them as our “Throwback Thursday” picks, but that would take a while and really spread things out.  As such, for the next two weeks we’re inverting (or is that reversing?) our usual approach: we’ll have a “Modern Monday” review where we look at a recent TCG release like we normally do while we look at one Ace Spec each remaining day of the week.  Unless some readers contact Pojo and ask us to look at them, we will not be looking at Crystal Edge, Crystal Wall, G Booster, G Scope, or Victory Piece; G Booster and (maybe) Victory Piece have proven worthwhile in the Legacy and/or past Standard Formats where they were legal, but none of these seem to be worthwhile in the present Expanded Format and we only had so much room on the schedule without knowing that people wanted to read about them.

The Ace Spec Rule, printed on all Ace Spec cards, states you may only have one Ace Spec card in your deck.  To be clear, this does not mean that you may run one of each Ace Spec or that you may run up to four of a single Ace Spec, but that you get one copy of one Ace Spec card in your deck.  The first Ace Spec cards were introduced in BW: Boundaries Crossed (officially released November 7, 2012), while the last debuted in BW: Plasma Blast (officially released August 14, 2013).  In total, only 13 were released and at least some of them offer stellar effects; as the player base increases and existing copies degrade from play or are lost to collectors, the supply grows ever larger compared to the demand.  Every Ace Spec released is a Trainer-Item.  Can you win without an Ace Spec?  Absolutely.  Are there any decks that can’t benefit from having an Ace Spec in them?  Probably not.  All Ace Spec cards are Trainer-Item cards.  As I’ve stated many times in recent reviews, while Trainer cards don’t have a lot of great general support, there aren’t any general anti-Item effects and none of the deck-specific ones have proven competitive.  Skyla and Trainers’ Mail are appreciated by Ace Spec cards, though not to the point that you have to run them; back in the day, however, it was a fairly common play to use Skyla to fetch your Ace Spec so you didn’t have to wait to draw into it.

I don’t recall any general Item-support, though when Ace Spec cards were a thing, deck specific options like Sableye (BW: Dark Explorers 62/108) or Shadow Triad had players blessing and cursing the developers, as these potent, one-per-deck tricks were often not once-per-game.  I think this is why Pokémon-GX have to flip over your GX-counter when they use their GX-attack; to avoid a similar situation here.  Anti-Item effects of the time weren’t as potent as what we have now in Standard or the Expanded Formats; some Ace Spec cards will be more or less vulnerable to such things.  There are no pieces of Ace Spec-specific support, though there are a few that cards that combo so well they fake it.  Puzzle of Time in the Expanded Format and Junk Arm in the Legacy Format allow you to reuse your Ace Spec with relative ease.  Plenty of decks can’t or don’t use Puzzle of Time in the Expanded Format, but the only reason players don’t use Junk Arm in the Legacy Format is because they don’t own them (with three or four being typical in competitive decks).  There is one card that is specifically anti-Ace Spec: Spiritomb (BW: Legendary Treasures 87/113).  Its “Sealing Scream” Ability prevents either player from using an Ace Spec; this would seem too specific in what cards but too broad in what players Sealing Scream affects but some decks have the room or have a complicated combo that an Ace Spec could spoil, so it has seen competitive play before and shouldn’t be forgotten now.

Today’s actual subject is Gold Potion (BW: Boundaries Crossed 140/149).  Its effect heals 90 damage from your Active Pokémon.  When this card first released, this was enough to essentially “undo” half to all the damage from your opponent’s previous attack.  The heaviest hitters of this time were able to OHKO a 180 HP Pokémon-EX but couldn’t do so turn after turn or required heavy support in order to do so; 90-for-three seemed to be the minimum required for competitive attackers.  As always, healing (like extra damage) only matters if it shifts the number of turns required for a KO; in this case, a decent amount of the time Gold Potion would indeed buy you an extra turn.  Only working on your Active is a small hiccup; most of the time it won’t matter but every now and then, you’ll run afoul of it.  The real issue was that we also had Max Potion and Super Scoop Up, and would soon get Scoop Up Cyclone and Scramble Switch as rival Ace Specs.  None of these work the same as Max Potion, but the decks that ended up proving competitive were able to work with their particulars: low Energy attackers or high Energy attackers backed by reusable Energy acceleration.  To optimize Gold Potion over the others, you basically need something big that has would take too long to rebuild if you used Max Potion, Scoop Up Cyclone, or Super Scoop Up and that cannot (or cannot easily) have something worth comboing with Scramble Switch.

Moving to the present, HP scores and damage amounts have both seen increases, so that healing 90 is less impressive.  Fortunately, it still is enough to force your opponent to invest extra resources (and probably an extra turn) if they aren’t already in OHKO or 2HKO (with major overkill) territory.  Unfortunately, the advantage this generates isn’t enough to guarantee Gold Potion is worth a slot in your deck.  If it were suddenly reprinted in the Standard Format and was the only Ace Spec available, some decks would just prefer to spend the slot on a different card, possibly even a different healing card.  In the Expanded and Legacy Formats, Gold Potion is seen almost exclusively as a placeholder for a better Ace Spec card, as the same thing applies; you may just be better off with some other single (or additional copy of something already present) in your deck.  I will give it a slight bump in the Legacy Format; Junk Arm and the lower damage output/HP scores make a small but noticeable difference.  The one place where it still shines is where you shouldn’t really see it: the Limited Format.  Odds are you cannot afford unopened BW: Boundaries Crossed boosters to hold a sanctioned, Limited Format event using BW: Boundaries Crossed, and even the folks that like to find a workaround for unofficial events still aren’t likely to have done so for this expansion but know anyway that Gold Potion goes into your Limited Format deck unless you pulled Computer Search.  Timed well, the healing might undo your opponent’s first few turns.


Standard: N/A

Expanded: 3.15/5

Limited: 4.75/5

Legacy: 3.25/5


As is appropriate for a card that is basically a better version of Potion, Gold Potion is mostly about learning what it is like using an Ace Spec.  It lacks the what makes other Ace Specs powerful but also what can make them tricky to use well.  As the scores suggest, sometimes, you’re better off running no Ace Spec than running Gold Potion.  Rarely will you not be better off playing a different Ace Spec.  This is apparent in terms of pricing; Gold Potion isn’t the least expensive of the Ace Specs, but it is the least expensive of the ones we’re looking at over these two weeks.  Seems to go for a little under $5 USD, though it’s a bit pricier in the PTCGO, where it runs 2.5 generic packs.


Gold Potion (Boundaries Crossed, 140/149) continues our reminiscence over the Ace Spec cards from the Black and White era.  This item card allows you to heal ninety damage from your active Pokemon.  No conditions, no cost, you don’t have to discard an energy or anything you can just straight up take 90 damage counters off your active Pokemon.

And I’m sure you remember (and as I mentioned yesterday), Pokemon had significantly less HP five years ago than they do today.  Healing 90 damage off a Pokemon five years ago was probably comparable to healing 120 damage today.  Even today, the median damage from an attack that does damage to a Pokemon is 100.  Back then, this would more often than not wipe out all of the damage your opponent did in the prior turn.  Essentially, that would waste the opponent’s turn and give you a boost in momentum.

Again, we have no card in the meta today that can do this.  We have cards that will heal maybe twenty or thirty damage at a time, and we have Max Potion (Guardians Rising, 128/145) that will heal all damage but at the cost of discarding all energy on the Pokemon.  There’s nothing in the meta today that will take 90 damage off of the active Pokemon, though, and this again serves as an excellent example of how our Item cards today aren’t as impactful as Item cards several years ago were.

Gold Potion is a very good card, but I think it saw less play than some of the other Ace Spec cards just because the other cards were so integral to the discard strategy or could potentially be more valuable (for instance, Scramble Switch (Plasma Storm, 129/135) and a Max Potion potentially heals even more than 90 damage without losing any energy).  It’s not that Gold Potion is bad, it’s just going up against the absolute best Item cards in the history of the game, and you can only have one of them in your deck.


Standard: N/A


Gold Potion can help extend your game, erase the damage from your opponent’s attacks, turn a 2HKO into a 3HKO, and help increase your chances of winning a match.  If you aren’t running a deck that relies heavily upon putting cards in the discard pile, it’s worth considering adding Gold Potion as part of your list, but I think there may still be some other Ace Spec cards out there that will help you win even more than Gold Potion will.


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 Gold Potion (BW Boundaries Crossed).  It’s a healing card, healing 90 damage from your Active Pokemon.  During the time this card was released, HP scores were 180 HP for Basic EX and 200 for Stage 1 Wailord cards.  Decks that barely 2HKO will have to land a third hit to take it down.  Now we have HP scores of 250 for Stage 2 GXs and players are shooting not just the magic 130, but even 140, or 150 just to make sure.  This kind of thinking had made me worry about Gold Potion’s playability.  If players did a ton of damage, so much that Gold Potion won’t affect 2HKOs, then Max Potion remains to be the superior option.

Although it took the #7 spot of the BW Boundaries Crossed Top 10 , it couldn’t keep up with the continuous power creep being developed as more and more expansions are released.

Standard: 2.5/5
Expanded: 2.5/5
Limited: 5/5
Legacy: 3/5

Sylveon’s Notes: Gold Potion must be a TCG exclusive healing item, cause I don’t see it in the games.

Coming Up: Let’s search for treasure!


            We enter the second portion of the Inverse Spec Week with the second Ace Spec that is released alongside Computer Search in BW Boundaries Crossed; it’s Gold Potion. A very unique card indeed, that it is the only Ace Spec of its type, but it doesn’t get even a teensy portion of its viability, or even its popularity. So what happened?

For starters, let’s look at what Gold Potion does.

It heals 90 damage from your Active Pokémon.

That’s it. No energy discards like Max/Super Potion did, no Supporter investments like Pokémon Center Lady (XY Flashfire, XY Generations), and certainly not Ability reliant like Florges BREAK (XY BREAKthrough). This, on paper, seems like a very good card. It gives you a lot of healing on a whim, it’s on an Item card so you can use it without taxing your deck, and it can change game momentum quickly on situations where your opponent now needs to 3HKO your Pokemon instead of the original 2HKO scenario, giving you a very powerful momentum swing card.

Decks that I actually saw running Gold Potion are decks that can chain setup themselves without the need for consistency boosting cards such as some old variants of Deluge Blastoise (BW Boundaries Crossed) when combined with Keldeo-EX (BW Boundaries Crossed) and Black Kyurem-EX (BW Plasma Storm). As the deck runs Tropical Beach (BW28 Promo) to setup anyway, they don’t necessarily need Computer Search nor Dowsing Machine (BW Plasma Storm) as a key component of their deck; they can just use Gold Potion instead to help heal their Black Kyurem-EX continuously without having to burn more resources (in the form of energy) than they need to when using something like Max Potion.

However, this is where things started to go wrong. You see, not all decks needs longevity as part of their win condition. Some decks needs explosive Turn 1 setup in order to get their board setup quickly, or some other decks thrive on prize denial to win, which brings me to the main rival of potion as healing; scoop up cards. They can just scoop your target that is in threat and not only they save the Pokémon; they save up a prize and also game momentum. Gold Potion is good, yes, but it is outclassed at what it does best by other cards that can do more than what it does.


Expanded: 3/5 (faces heavy competition from other Ace Specs that can offer more, but it still has a place in the meta)

Next on Inverse Week:
Lost  or Hidden? Don’t know for sure, but you’ll get it.


Similarly to Computer Search, when Gold Potion came out, it also made the Top 10 list for Boundaries Crossed – it ended up in 7th place. Not a lot of talk has come up about it since, though, and today we get to re-review the card!

Gold Potion is pretty simple – you heal 90 damage from your Active Pokemon. Now right off the bat, 90 damage is a LOT of HP to recover. That’s about half the max HP of most any Basic-EX Pokemon, and it recovers over a third of the max HP for Mega-EX, as well as Stage 1 and Stage 2 GX! So that’s nothing to snuff at – even back during its time, that was a lot to recover!
But unfortunately, this card isn’t as powerful as another card that has seen a lot of use, Max Potion. Sure, Max Potion discards all the Energy off the Pokemon it heals, but it also restores them fully. Gold Potion would have no doubt seen more play if it was a free heal for no cost, but as it stands, this card is…honestly, it’s probably the weakest generic ACE SPEC card to run. And that’s really saying something coming off the heels of Computer Search.
If you have Gold Potion, know that it’s just an option for your deck if you want it. Even in today’s game, 90 HP is a lot to recover, but compared to the other ACE SPEC cards, this one’s probably not gonna be your first pick. It’s decent but outclassed.
Standard: N/A (you don’t gotta worry about it here)
Expanded: 2.5/5 (but I doubt it’ll be that much more worrisome here)
Limited: 4.5/5 (like I said, it’d be great if it was a no-limits full heal)
Arora Notealus: Gold Potion is just a fancier potion than the others. I don’t think it’s that great personally, but it’s far from the worst ACE SPEC in the game.
Next Time: Gotta search em all!