Sordward and Shielbert – Battle Styles
Date Reviewed: April 25, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Sordward & Shieldbert (SW – Battle Styles 135/163) is a Trainer-Supporter that features multiple characters, even follows the “[insert character] & [insert other character]” naming pattern, but is not a TAG TEAM Supporter. Its – their? – effect has you choose a Trainer card from your discard pile. Your opponent then decides whether you get to add that Trainer card back to your hand, or if you draw three cards instead. So, either you get a Dowsing Machine without the two-card discard cost or you get… Hop. There is a word to describe this, and it is… “bait”. Unfortunately, I don’t mean it in the sense of baiting your opponent, but as in “Johnny-Bait”.
I refer to a card as Johnny-Bait, that means it does something interesting or useful, to the point it is very tempting to creative types… but the drawbacks are most likely too great. Many times, I’ve mentioned that supporters which only draw three cards just aren’t competitively viable. Cheren, Tierno, Hau, Hop… this is the fourth generation in a row with a straight “Draw 3 cards.” Supporter, and maybe once or twice there were brief periods where such a Supporter was useful, and for a specific deck. It isn’t a horrible “booby prize”, but it isn’t worth your Supporter for the turn.
Your opponent won’t give you the Trainer unless drawing three cards is somehow the better option for you. If you just want a draw three card, you could use Hop. Yes, you can hope to fool your opponent, but is it really worth the effort to build your deck and learn how to play it properly in order to do so? I cannot even say Sordward & Shieldbert replace Hop and company, for the reason I just gave; if you do need to draw three, your opponent will just give you the Item you pointed out from the discard pile.
- Standard: 1/5
- Expanded: 1/5
I appreciate that this is not a “tails fails” card, but explores the mechanic of presenting your opponent a choice between what benefit you gain. When the options are this disparate, though, it isn’t going to do you much good. The metagame for Pokémon is such that the decision should be so obvious, you aren’t even going to be able to play mental games with your opponent.
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