Rotom – Shining Fates

Date Reviewed:
February 16, 2021

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 3.00
Expanded: 3.00

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

Reviews Below:


If you skipped yesterday’s review, we’re celebrating this Friday’s release of Shining Fates with a Top 5 countdown.  While most of our usual guidelines apply, Vince and I didn’t submit individual lists with me tallying voting points.  Instead, we just talked it out… something only made possible by this being a very, very small set once you leave out the reprints and alternate prints of cards.  Which brings us to 4th-Place: Rotom (Shining Fates 034/072, SV038/SV122)!  This is a baseline Pokémon; no unusual alterations to its name, no “tags” or labels denoting it belongs to a card subgroup, and no Rules Box to worry about.  While many of these things can come with advantages, this means you don’t have to worry about counters for such things, or giving up more than the default one Prize when KO’d.

Rotom is a Lightning type, which is normally good, but (peaking ahead) Rotom isn’t much of an attacker, and doesn’t really make the best use of most [L] support. Being a Basic Pokémon is great, though; one copy is just one card, and there’s no waiting to evolve.  80 HP is quite likely to get OHKO’d, though Rotom might survive against more technical attackers (Vikavolt V), or just those with a bad setup.  We’re supposed to be getting Level Ball back in some future release, so the 80 HP might have a silver-lining.  It does mean the [F] Weakness and total lack of Resistance are less relevant, though in the current metagame that was somewhat true already.  That Retreat Cost of [C] is good; free is better, but you’re a U-Turn Board away from it.

Rotom’s Ability is known as “Roto Choice”.  You may use it when you Bench this Rotom from your hand, during your turn.  If you do, you search your deck for up to two Item cards that have the word “Rotom” in their names, show them to your opponent, and add them to your hand.  Exactly how good this is will depend mostly on the Rotom Items available to it.  In a vacuum, I’d prefer if it was not a coming into play Ability; even if it only snagged on Rotom Item card, being able to use it turn after turn would probably be more helpful.  For [LC] t can attack with “Thunder Shock”, doing 30 damage and letting you flip to Paralyze your opponent’s Active.  In a pinch, you can try and stall, and Tapu Koko {*} can help with the Energy cost, but it isn’t a good attack, just decent filler.

So, let’s discuss those Item cards with the word “Rotom” in their names:

  • Drone Rotom
  • Rotom Bike
  • Rotom Dex (Expanded only)
  • Rotom Dex Poké Finder Mode (Expanded only)
  • Rotom Phone

None of these are deck staples, but they have their uses.  Drone Rotom clues you into your opponent’s plans, with a peak at their hand and the top card of their deck.  Rotom Dex can help if something is trapped in your Prizes, though it is a gamble.  At least it is based on the shuffle and not a coin toss.  Rotom Dex Poké Finder Mode and Rotom Phone let you manipulate the top card of your deck in different ways, but you’ll still know what the very top card is in either case.

I skipped Rotom Bike because it might be the best option.  You see, Rotom Bike had a lot of us excited when we first saw it; a Bianca except it is an Item and not a Supporter.  Yes, it ends your turn after using it, but we were shown it shortly after learning about the SW-era rules doing away with Turn 1 Supporters.  Obvious replacement seemed obvious, you know?  Except it wasn’t, because getting a specific Item card into your hand Turn 1 is difficult even when you max it out… and you really only needed to run more than one Rotom Bike if you were worried about it being Prized.  Now you have a legitimate option of using Rotom with Rotom Bike as an early game substitute or supplement to Crobat V. 

Though it may be better to compare it to Snorlax (SW – Vivid Voltage 131/185; SW – Black Star Promos SW068).  Snorlax has the Ability “Gormandize”.  It only works while Snorlax is Active and ends your turn, but Gormandize lets you draw until you have seven cards in your hand.  That is one more than Rotom Bike but with the mixed blessing of a 130 HP, single Prize Pokémon as your Active.  If you just need a body up front to soak an attack, even with that body getting KO’d and your opponent taking a Prize, Snorlax is the go to choice.  If you want anything else, then at least consider Rotom and Rotom Bike.  In some slower decks, there is also the question of how often you’ll need to draw; if it is more than one or two times, and certainly if it is more than four, Snorlax is the go to choice.  Well, that or neither card.


Standard: 3/5

Expanded: 3/5

Rotom isn’t great, but it seems decent.  I could be underestimating it, and many or even most decks will soon have Rotom plus Rotom Bike in them for big Turn 1 and Turn 2 pushes.  You can use a Supporter and attack Turn 2 but a decent amount of decks cannot attack especially well that turn, so using your Rotom Bike would still be a good deal.  I’m thinking it will only be select decks, but that’s still far better than nothing, and better than almost every other card from Shining Fates.  There is also the chance we’ll get some more Rotom Item cards that improve things as well.


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