Single Strike Style Mustard – Battle Styles
Date Reviewed: April 3, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
He’s popped up in multiple reviews, so let us officially review Single Strike Mustard (SW – Battle Styles 134/163, 163/163, 177/163)! We’ll also kick out a separate review for Rapid Strike Mustard (SW – Battle Styles 132/163, 162/163, 176/163). The two cards have nearly identical stats and effects, so I’ll be repeating myself a lot, but they different enough to just stick into a single review. However, they were close enough we decided to lump them together for our countdown, where they just missed the cut; 16th-Place in a Top 15. Ouch.
Single Strike Style Mustard is, as the name suggests, a Single Strike card. The main benefit to this currently is minor, but appreciated; you can discard it for the effect of Tower of Darkness to draw two cards. You’re only allowed to play one Supporter per turn under normal circumstances, so you must balance how many you run. Too few, and there will be turns where you don’t get to use a Supporter, but too many and they’ll clutter up your hand. If you can afford to use Tower of Darkness as your Stadium, it gives you a little more wiggle room for balancing Supporters… at least, with respect to the Single Strike options.
Tower of Darkness can help in another way with Single Strike Style Mustard, because it comes with not one but two additional requirements in order to use it: it can only be played if it is your last card in hand and if you have an open spot on your Bench. Oddly enough, only the first is stated plainly, but the next part of the effect requires you have room to Bench something, because Single Strike Style Mustard searches you deck for a Single Strike Pokémon, then Bench it. No, you cannot exceed your maximum Bench-size through this effect. Yes, you do skip any lower Stages the Pokémon you Bench through this effect would normally require. After shuffling your deck, you then draw five cards. The wording at the end of the effect is a bit odd; I’m not sure if you have to search and Bench to get the draw, or if you can fail the search but still draw. I’ll update this review when I have a proper ruling.
This effect should be at least somewhat familiar to most of us, because it is a variation of what Archie’s Ace in the Hole and Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick do. These older Trainer-Supporters have the same “last card in hand” and “open Bench space” requirements, but they field Pokémon based on their type from your discard pile to your Bench. For Archie’s Ace in the Hole it is a Water type, while Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick is for Fighting. Both have been responsible for strong, competitive decks, with Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick proving so effective, it was (and still is) banned! So, how awesome is Single Strike Style Mustard?
On paper, he’s fantastic, potentially broken! In practice? He’s okay. There are two reasons for such a big difference. At first, I thought it might be because he pulls from the deck and not the discard pile, but that is probably to his benefit more than detriment. Those two older Supporters were legal at the same time we had cards like Battle Compressor, Ultra Ball, and VS Seeker. The former was good not only for discarding Pokémon to target from your deck (something today’s card does not need), but to toss a copy of the desired Supporter as well, which VS Seeker could then snag from the discard pile in order to pull off the whole combo. Ultra Ball was handy for thinning your hand in a controllable manner, besides just being a great Pokémon search card in general.
In Standard, we have options for these things, but they’re just not as good. That’s still only half the problem. The other is… what are you going to Bench via Single Strike Style Mustard? Archie’s Ace in the Hole and Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick taught us that this kind of effect is usually a waste for Basics and for Stage 1 Pokémon. It is great you can select such targets in a pinch, but those alone aren’t worth the hassle. So you need a useful Stage 2 that is also a Single Strike Pokémon. The only one that comes close, and this is still just based on Theorymon, is Emboar (SW – Battle Styles 25/163). Its “Fighting Fury Stance” Ability causes the attacks of your Single Strike Pokémon to do an extra 30 to your opponent’s Active.
That actually sounds pretty good, but we still don’t have the kind of combos to pull this off as well as we did with Archie’s Ace in the Hole and Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick. What’s more, with Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick, decks usually had two or three key cards they fielded through its effect. They didn’t worry about getting them all out, but thanks to VS Seeker, they technically could. They just prioritized the most important, and if the others showed up, even better. As such, even in Expanded, even if we get a competitive Single Strike deck there, Single Strike Style Mustard is only a little better.
Single Strike Style Mustard still seems like a good card to me, but it isn’t the powerhouse I expected when I first saw the effect. However, it all depends on the future. If we get more worthwhile targets, everything else staying equal, then Single Strike Style Mustard will become a better card. As I made my own top picks list for this set, at first Single Strike Style Mustard was a lock… but when I had to start whittling things down to a Top 15, I realized he wasn’t as impressive as I initially thought.
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