– Champion’s Path
October 3, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
This countdown, we’re doing things a little different. Besides the actual top 10, we’ll be covering some extra cards, either honorable mentions or lead-in cards to those that made the actual list. We’re doing this to avoid some of the messy, multi-card reviews that haven’t gone so well in the past, and so that the schedule ends up flowing nicely. Which brings us to an honorable mention, a card we either thought looked like it may have deserved to make our list, we come to Rotom Phone (Champion’s Path 064/073). This Trainer-Item lets you look at the top 5 cards of your deck, select one of them, shuffle the other four back into your deck, then topdeck your pick.
This seems like a nerfed version of of Rotom Dex Poké Finder Mode (SM – Burning Shadows 122/147), itself a permutation of Pokédex (Base Set 87/102; Base Set 2 115/130; Black & White 98/114; XY – Evolutions 82/108). I normally don’t include reference numbers for Trainer cards, but these have names very similar to other cards, so it seemed warranted. Pokédex dates all the way back to the dawn of the TCG; it is a Trainer-Item which lets you look at the top five cards of your deck, order them how you like, then put them back on top of your deck. Rotom Dex Poké Finder Mode is the same except it only looks at the top four cards of your deck but includes the option to instead shuffle those four cards back into your deck. Rotom Phone still has a five card range, but it only topdecks one card!
I don’t recall the older, stronger versions of this effect proving especially valuable. That doesn’t mean they never saw competitive play, it means that if they did, I don’t remember. It is possible there is something unique about the current metagame, where controlling which of the top five cards of your deck is the actual top card of your deck, at the cost of an Item and the potential cost or reward of shuffling the other four cards into your deck. Given how its predecessors, which seem at least a little better, performed, I am doubtful. Decks which need to control the top card of the deck, usually need to do so multiple times; burning an Item on it isn’t usually enough. Those that don’t have a specific combo in mind beyond “improving my next draw” aren’t usually worth it as a Trainer-Item. A reusable Ability? Sometimes. Not a one-and-done Item, however.
Standard may not have any such Abilities left, but Expanded does. It also still contains those previous two Item cards. As such, I just don’t see a use for Rotom Phone here. If you’re actually able to organize a Limited Format tournament utilizing Champion’s Path, using a set not available as single booster packs or booster boxes, nor with a Pre-Release Kit, finally Rotom Phone makes good. When you’re relying on your opening draw for the turn, and your opponent is not likely to smack you with a Marnie to prevent such a simple combo, then Rotom Phone improving that draw is great and a must-run!
That Standard Format score is actually me being generous, and a little bit me covering my behind. After finishing my own list, I watched a few PokéTuber lists and this card made one of them, to my surprise. Even with the reduced standards for Champion’s Path, due to its size and composition, Rotom Phone has a fun name with a dubious effect.
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