Quick Ball – Sword & Shield
Date Reviewed: December 28, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
I am convinced that any card from the top half of our top 10 has a legitimate claim to being the number one card this year. Part of this is because my number one pick for 2020 is today’s 5th-Place finisher, Quick Ball (DP – Mysterious Treasures 114/123; DP – Majestic Dawn 86/100; Sword & Shield 179/202, 216/202)! Quick Ball is a Trainer-Item, the easiest cards to use in Pokémon. The only natural, universal restriction on using an Item card is that it has to have some effect on the game (costs to play don’t count). Quick Ball’s only specific cost is that you discard a card from your hand, so if it is the last card in your hand, then even Quick Ball is a dead card. Quick Ball’s effect is that you search your deck for a Pokémon and add it to your hand; as you can intentionally fail searches, as long as you have any cards left in your deck, you can still attempt to use Quick Ball. If you look at older versions of Quick Ball, they have a different effect… but an official errata was issued, so even in Unlimited they work like the modern Quick Ball.
I’ve been struggling to write a review for this card that would explain why I think so highly of it. Hopefully, it is pretty obvious why it made the countdown; unless you’ve got a more specialized form of search that can outperform it in a particular deck, Quick Ball is how you field your Basic Pokémon. Basics-only decks only skip Quick Ball if something deck specific is better and they don’t need more than four cards of search. Much more likely is them maxing out Quick Ball and then using something else to supplement it. If they are built around more than Basics, three or four Quick Ball are still usually the best call, and then you use something else to fetch your Evolutions. Even in Expanded, where Ultra Ball is still legal, decklists focus on Quick Ball first and then use Ultra Ball to supplement it. At least, in general.
Besides fielding the main focus of your deck, there’s the importance of snagging support like Crobat V, Dedenne-GX, Eldegoss V, etc. Especially those first two under the current Turn 1 rules; we went from using them for crazy openings T1, to just needing them for a solid T1 opening now that we cannot use a Supporter. Quick Ball into those first two still helps with a crazy Turn 2 opening, and the rest of the game, Quick Ball for any of the listed three (or a few I didn’t list) will let you restart your deck, or shoot for massive combos. But what about the existing alternatives? Yes, that does reduce the impact of Quick Ball, or at least it does with how I compose my list. Just like, all other things being equal, I’ll rank a general card higher than something deck-specific, I’ll rank the card without a decent alternate option higher than something with one. However, Quick Ball became the go-to search card even in Expanded. That has been Ultra Ball’s role since Expanded was introduced, and that counts for a lot in my book. There is also the fact that everything else of similar quality form this year was either were more deck-specific and/or also had at least one alternative option that could have picked up the slack had it not released.
For the sake of being thorough, in the Limited Format, Quick Ball is a must run unless you’re running a mulligan deck. Even then, it can still be handy just to see what cards are in your deck, so you can work out what is Prized. Also for the sake of being through, here’s a link for the original (pre-errata) Quick Ball review, and another for our first review of Quick Ball with its modern effect.
- Standard: 5/5
- Expanded: 5/5
- Limited: 5/5
This was a surprisingly difficult review for me to write. I think it was because Quick Ball being so great seems “obvious” to me, that when I try to explain it, I either go into too much detail or not enough. Which is why I began pointing out that any card in the top five has a legitimate claim to the number one spot. Even if I may not score them as high as Quick Ball, and definitely even though I didn’t rank them as high as Quick Ball in my list.
Vince had this at #10 on his Top 15 cards of 2020 list
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