– Guardians Rising
July 18, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Rescue Stretcher (SM – Guardians Rising 130/145, 130a/145; SM – Burning Shadows 165/147) is the seventh best card we’re losing when we shift to the 2020 Standard Format, at least according to Top 11 list created by averaging out two Vince’s and my own lists. Rescue Stretcher is a Trainer-Item that lets you pick between two effects:
Rescue Stretcher has only been reviewed once before, which shocked me. Re-reading my own review from that time, it seems pretty clear Rescue Stretcher was undermined by Super Rod, which has a similar effect. Super Rod only lets you shuffle three Pokémon into your deck, but you can also shuffle three basic Energy or three of a combination Pokémon and Energy cards that totals three. There were also some strong anti-Item effects dominating the metagame of the time, plus many other hyped cards from its debut set, some of which delivered on the hype. I can only surmise that this is the same reason why Rescue Stretcher didn’t make our Top 10 Cards of Pokémon 2017 countdown.
Yet I haven’t explained why Rescue Stretcher is so good. You’re only allowed four copies of any Pokémon in your deck, excluding those that are restricted to even less such as Prism Star cards. There are many cards that are useful in multiples but maxing them out won’t be optimal for your deck build (like TecH). The demands of your own card effects (like Ultra Ball) or an opponent running disruption effects, copies of something you need can hit the discard pile too soon. You also may end up with some copies of a key Pokémon Prized. All of this together just makes Rescue Stretcher an incredibly valuable card.
At present, Rescue Stretcher seems to be in most competitive decks, though only as a single. The only replacements I’m seeing for it are Brock’s Grit and Lure Ball, and I’m not sure they’re up to the task. If Rescue Stretcher was sticking around, then at least for the short term, it would have remained so heavily played… I think (again, I’ve been struggling to anticipate the post-rotation metagame). Rescue Stretcher is an important card for Expanded, unless things have radically changed in the last few months; even facing more competition and counters, Rescue Stretcher is heavily played there. Rescue Stretcher is also quite good for the Limited Format, but for different reasons: unless you’re running a +39 (Mulligan) deck, odds are you’ll have at least one really good Pokémon you’d like to use again.
Rescue Stretcher was actually my sixth place pick, because (and I cannot stress this enough) we’re losing so many potent, widely played, or potent and widely played cards this rotation. Plus, while we don’t have good replacements for it, some of what we’re losing has no equivalent or only lesser options.
Rescue Stretcher is another one of those cards that I had on my list because I don’t think there’s a reliable substitute for what it does. It lets you either put a Pokémon from the discard pile onto your hand, or put three Pokémon from the discard pile onto your deck. This kind of flexibility can help you determine which choice you’re going to make in a particular situation. Discarding too many Pokémon due to a cost? Put three into your deck. Needing a Pokémon to be put into play right away? Put one into your hand.
Rescue Stretcher – I think I remember this card more for appearing in lists later in its lifespan than at its release. Something must have rotated out to create some space, and if the deck is high-impact enough, this kind of effect of putting a Pokemon into your hand to reuse again can be really powerful. It might have ended up a little lower on my list, 7 or 8 sounds about right compared to the rest of the Top 11, but I would have to admit that the card does have enough of an impact in its later life to warrant a spot on the list somewhere.
Note: The above is an excerpt from an email discussion of our Top 11 picks, shared with aroramage’s permission as he was unable to submit a full review in time. As such, there will be no Ratings.
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