Team Galactic’s Wager
– Mysterious Treasures
September 14, 2018
Standard: See Below
Expanded: See Below
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Sometimes it’s good to take a break from the game…to play another game within that game. Kinda like these ideas actually, though if you ever do anything like Shahrazad from MTG, that’s not as enjoyable. I didn’t ask to play literally another card game in my card game, have you seen how long these games can last?
Team Galactic’s Wager is a Supporter that shuffles back both players’ hands into the deck, and then you get to play a game of Rock-Paper-Scissors. If you win, you get to draw 6 cards, and if you lose, you get to draw only 3 cards. Fun fact: this is one of two cards that have Rock-Paper-Scissors as a game mechanic, the other being Misty’s Duel from Gym Heroes, and it is in fact mandatory to play Rock-Paper-Scissors – not roll a die or flip a coin, you either throw your hand signs out or use some super special cards used for the purpose of this card.
Like I said before, I like this card for what it does in terms of putting in another game to the game and having it do its thing, I think that’s a nice little break. And if you play this when you’ve got a low amount of cards in hand, as could happen in the days of D&P, you could stand to benefit no matter what the result was. Obviously you’d rather win since that lets you draw more cards than your opponent and puts you at a bigger advantage as a result, but that’s all left to chance with this card.
If you’re looking for something with a bit more consistency, I’d say you could pass on this card most of the time. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lotta fun, but sometimes you’d rather just shuffle your hand back and draw 6 cards rather than play R/P/S to have the chance of getting 6, only to have your opponent win and you only draw 3 cards while they get 6. So in an objective overarching sense, there are better draw Supporters for sure, but there aren’t as many fun ones like this card.
Standard: N/A (I wouldn’t put much stock in this card in Standard due to Cynthia)
Expanded: N/A (and this card’s easily overshadowed by all the better draw Supporters here)
Limited: 5/5 (but for its time – and for its set – this card was a good staple of sorts)
Arora Notealus: Team Galactic’s Wager introduces an element of randomness that isn’t used often in card games. Having a sub-game in your regular game is definitely a lot fun and breaks up the monotony of playing a card game, but that’s something you imagine is more for a casual player base rather than a streamlined competitive one. That said, when one of your best draw Supporters is a card like Team Galactic’s Wager, you can at least be that one opponent that everyone remembers as the guy who enjoyed playing R/P/S for a time.
Next Time: The fiery legend returns once more!
For today’s Throwback Thursdays, we’re taking a look at one of the cards from the Diamond & Pearl series: Team Galactic’s Wager (DP Mysterious Treasures 115/123)! It was reviewed twice: one as a regular review and one as the best card of 2007.
It makes both players shuffle their hand into their deck and play rock-paper-scissors. For those who never know what rock-paper-scissors does (mostly the minority), both players do a chant while fisting their hand twice before revealing your desired choice on the third. Sounds weird, but that’s what it looks like when I saw it. Easy to visualize but hard to put it into words. The outcome of victory/defeat goes by this: Rock>Scissor, Scissor>Paper, Paper>Rock. Fortunately, you can compare this analogy with Grass, Fire, and Water types for Pokémon. Anyhow, the winner gets to draw six cards while the loser draws three cards.
This is a card that’s probably bad in real life, not because of the effects, but because that invites an incentive for players to cheat. Why’s that? Because any player can purposely reveal their hand later than the opposing player so that they can use an advantage. Again, hard for me to explain. Let’s say after the chant is about to wear off, you see your opponent reveal paper. You’re 0.01 to 0.5 seconds late but you saw what your opponent used, you go for scissor. You’ll get the advantage. The opposing player can try to do the same, but then it’ll end up taking forever just to reveal one of the three choices. If this were implemented in the PTCGO, it would be fair game as neither player can “digitally” see what the opposing player chose. I believe if neither wins, they’ll perform the hand match again until someone wins.
But let’s just say that you’re really, really good at rock-paper-scissors, then what can shuffle and draw six do for you? It’s probably a stranger to most Supporters in the DP card pool, but eventually Professor Oak’s New Theory came out February 2010 while Team Galactic’s Wager was still legal until September 2010, and many are comfortable of doing a guaranteed shuffle and draw six as opposed to cheating to get the desired effect. If you are bad at rock-paper-scissors, then you draw three cards, which compared to six cards, you don’t get to do much. However, getting a smaller hand size isn’t the end of the world if you have other ways of replenishing your hand, and there actually is, albeit appearing later. You see, Uxie (DP Legends Awakened) has Set Up that makes your hand size become seven cards, while Claydol (DP Great Encounters) has a constant self-cycling draw engine that lets you put one or two cards from your hand to the bottom of your deck, then your hand size becomes six cards. Obviously for both cards, if you have more than X cards in your hand, then their respective powers won’t draw you any more cards. So it’s pretty much a win-win for both players. Win the hand game, you get a big hand size, lose the hand game, and your Pokémon’s draw based ability will still get you back to a good hand size again.
Which makes it pointless to use even if it was reprinted. With good draw based supporters in the Standard and Expanded card pool, there’s absolutely no need to make your brain and hands suffer in an attempt to get the most desired result. Perhaps the most blatant example that treats like an instant-win regarding hand match is Ace Trainer (XY Ancient Origins), albeit having to be behind on prizes. That makes both players shuffle their hand into their deck; you draw six and your opponent draws three. There’s also Cynthia that guarantees you six cards. N also guarantees six cards (or more if altered by GX versions of Ultra Beast, could by upwards of eight after Nihilego’s effect) if you haven’t taken any prizes yet. Sycamore/Junipers guarantees you seven cards albeit dumping your hand first. Overall, Team Galactic’s Wager is not good for the game and even its effects are outclassed even when it came out due to Rocket’s Admin. I no longer understand why it was number one in 2007, which happens to be Pojo’s first top X card of the year countdown. In Limited, it would be a must run if you pulled one regardless of the outcome, as it can help you get the cards you need or avoid decking out. The 5/5 score is earned due to being the only draw based Supporter in the set.
Conclusion: Cheating or not, this card’s glory days are heavily numbered. You now have several good Supporter based draw cards that won’t make both players suffer, especially in Swiss where both players’ time is extremely limited. Almost every past reviewer praised it with high marks. Me, on the other hand, I think it’s an unfair card.
I had never heard of Team Galactic’s Wager (MT 115) until I did this review. Very similar to Ilima, this card, however, will result in one player with six cards and another with three, whereas Ilima could put six in both players hands or three in both players hands.
There is so much to Rock Paper Scissors. There are actually tournaments and scientists have done studies to predict what people will choose based on their hands or other body language. If you want to completely waste about five or ten minutes of your life, you can go google Rock Paper Scissors. I’m very sorry that I did.
This is one area where I really hate living in the hypothetical. Even if you think you can read other people’s body language or know from studies that certain people tend to choose one option over another, you’re still running a significant risk of putting yourself down to three cards and increasing your opponent to six. In today’s meta, why not just play Judge? Judge – again living in today’s reality – has a lower card average than Ilima, 4 vs. 4.5. This was the same thing with N – most of the time when people played it, it gave their opponents more cards – and the late game N was a myth because there are so many Pokemon used now that have abilities to draw cards. Even Judge isn’t as effective as everyone thinks it is. Four cards is barely below average (the study I just did on Copycat identified the average hand size as 5.39 cards). After Judge and drawing for turn, that’s a fraction below average. And with Oranguru and Swampert and Zoroark GX, hand disruption just isn’t as effective as most people think it is.
Standard: 2 out of 5
And that’s an EXTEMELY theoretical 2 because this card would never exist again in the game. I suppose the programmers on PTCGO could easily enough write code to prompt you to choose Rock Paper or Scissors, but the ambiguity of the IRL aspect of the card tends to lead me to categorize it as pretty close to if not well inside the “bad card design” bag.
Today’s Throwback is Team Galactic’s Wager (DP – Mysterious Treasure 115/132) is a card released about 11 years ago. This Trainer-Supporter forces each player to shuffle his or her hand into his or her deck, then play Rock-Paper-Scissors. No. Really. You play Rock-Paper-Scissors and the winner draws up to six cards while the loser draws up to three. In this case “up to” has been ruled to require you draw at least one (unless you have no cards left in your deck). Oh, and if for some reason Team Galactic’s Wager is your only card in hand, your opponent has no cards in hand, and neither player has any cards left in their decks then you can’t play the card. Now, the game of Rock-Paper-Scissors is all about luck… except it isn’t. The short version is that more than few people have “tells”, so there is both a kind of psychological aspect to the card. This is actually intended as a skill-based challenge.
Which is supported because you HAVE to resolve this card by playing Rock-Paper-Scissors, either in the traditional manner where you make the correct shape with your hand or by
Emphasis because you can’t choose blindly. Again, this is an actual ruling! If you want it to flip a coin or roll a die to determine who wins, play Ilimia. I mean that; Team Galactic’s Wager is only legal in the Unlimited Format. Well, if you’ve got money to burn or aren’t playing in a sanctioned event that reuses opened packs, you can enjoy it in the Limited Format, I suppose. Ilima is just Team Galactic’s Wager with a coin flip instead of Rock-Paper-Scissors… oh, and Ilima forces both players to draw the full three or six cards. I don’t recall Ilima seeing any competitive success; even with N gone, decks that want to force both players to shuffle and draw seem to be using Judge or Marshadow (Shining Legends 45/73; SM – Black Star Promos SM85). So, why would you want to play Rock-Paper-Scissors instead of flipping a coin?
Well, back in the day part of the answer is it was a different card pool, where we didn’t have a card like Professor Oak’s New Theory or Cynthia. As I’ve tried to stress, there is also an actual element of skill to Rock-Paper-Scissors in terms of reading your opponent. Put the two together and the really skilled players (apparently) had good enough odds of getting the big draw… or else really valued forcing the other player to deal with not only shuffling away his or her hand, but it being based on Rock-Paper-Scissors. Personally, I just enjoyed having to play Rock-Paper-Scissors, at least back then.
I don’t think they’d re-release this card, even with a new name, because we have Ilima. If they do… worst case scenario, it is another mediocre Supporter, but I’m thinking it would replace Judge in at least a few decks. After all we reviewed it favorably the first time and the second time we ranked it as the top card of 2007. Tempts me to give Ilima another shot, at least in decks that have something like Zoroark-GX as a fallback option, though it hurts a bit because, again, we didn’t have a reliable shuffle-and-draw-six card like Cynthia.
Standard: N/A (3.5/5)
Expanded: N/A (3.25/5)
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