January 9, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Today’s Throwback is perhaps one of the most controversial cards to ever exist in the Pokémon TCG: Tropical Beach (BW Black Star Promos BW28, BW50). It wasn’t controversial because of its effects, though it was decent at the time; it was controversial because of how this card was being distributed. Tropical Beach was being distributed on just two occasion, both being on World Championships for the years of 2011 and 2012. Those who owned Tropical Beach may or may not be willing to trade or sell those. If they did, one piece could be sold for around hundred dollars. I was lucky to find and purchase two legit copies from a hobby store back in September 2015 (and paid $200 total), only to be traded those two copies away to one of my most trusted competitive players. Anyways, according to Bulbapedia stating one of the Trivia regarding Tropical Beach:
“Two copies of each of the top-ranking versions were awarded to respective players across the three divisions making a total of 192 top thirty-two versions, 96 top sixteen versions, 48 quarter-finalist versions, 24 semi-finalist versions, and 12 finalist versions at each tournament. For the first time at Worlds 2012, a champion version was also produced. Two copies were awarded to those who placed first in each division, making a total of six.”
In short, that means for both years, only a total of 744 legitimate English printed Tropical Beach cards are being distributed…in the United States! Six other countries also had their Tropical Beach cards retain their respective languages (Japanese, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian), bring overall Tropical Beach counts in the world to be 5208 copies. That’s still a small amount when comparing their card to millions – or tens or even hundreds of millions – of Pokémon players, and such a short supply made this card banned at 2013 in Japan due to being extremely hard to attain copies. If every deck ran a full four of Tropical Beaches regardless of language, then only 1302 decks can do that. Not only that, Tropical Beach is also printed as a World Championships 2011 card because a player from the Master Division named Ross Cawthon used a single copy of his rogue deck called “The Truth”, which made 2nd place in 2011 Worlds, only to be defeated by David Cohen’s TwinBoar Deck. Plus, world championship decks usually contain 4 decks: one from the champion of junior division; one from the champion of senior division; and two from the champion from Master Division and 2nd place. That world championship card, however, cannot be used in official tournaments. That was another part of the controversy; if a World Championship player actually used this exclusive promo and win the championship, then it makes other players think that this card is very, very good. Most of those exclusive promotional cards are designed to not be competitive but Tropical Beach seemed to break that tradition. While players frantically tried to get copies of those cards due to its usefulness, it’s important to know what this card actually does.
Tropical Beach is a Stadium card which lets you draw cards until you have 7 cards in your hand. Your turn instantly ends afterward. This seems to be the balancing agent of such a clause; you’ll miss out being able to attack if you use this effect. In isolation, this may seem like a terrible effect. Even though you have seven cards in your hand, it’ll be a matter of time until your opponent uses cards that either shuffle your hand – possibly giving you a reduced hand size via N or Reset Stamp – or copy your hand size so that your opponent also has seven cards in their hand (via Copycat) AND be able to do something from those cards. That’s pretty much the flaws and aftermaths of using Tropical Beach. However, there are good sides to it as well. There’s several occasions where your Pokémon won’t be able to attack right away due to being Paralyzed, Asleep, by an effect, or not having enough energies to fulfill the attack cost. Due to the change of first turn rules in late 2013, the player going first cannot attack, making it more valuable if you can search it out, and Stadium Nav might help to some degree. Also, your opponent won’t be able to use two different Stadium effects because Tropical Beach ends their turn as well. They can still discard your Stadium and use their own stadium effect, albeit not being able to use the effect of Tropical Beach.
Back when Tropical Beach was distributed, there weren’t many Stadium cards to compete against during the HGSS-on format. There is Burned Tower, Ruins of Alph, and Lost World, but those are deck specific and not geared towards draw power. But fast forward to 2019 now, and there’s just way too many Stadiums to compete with and whether or not you even have the deck space to sneak a couple copies of Tropical Beach in, let alone being able to get those. Other Stadium cards are no stranger to draw power; Scorched Earth and Heat Factory draws cards without ending your turn, and that’s the Expanded side of things. For the Legcay format, however, even though there are some potent stadium cards such as Skyarrow Bridge and Virbank City Gym, the Stadium card pool is still scarce, meaning more room for Tropical Beach to fit in a variety of decks.
You may not see Tropical Beach very often, but when it does, the effect could prove to be useful when no other options of your turn is available. There’s two previous reviews of this card: one from August 19, 2011 and one as the best card lost to rotation in 2014. These were reviewed at the time where Tropical Beach was a pretty big deal for players to get ahold of. But now? It seems like there’s far more things to worry about then just getting those cards. Tropical Beach isn’t for every deck, even if it was printed in an expansion.
Do I regret trading away my two copies? Not at all; I had no plans on using it and kept it protected in my binder as a souvenir, but at least I made a competitive player in my area very happy because he really needed it for deckbuilding purposes. Like Aroramage, I’ve never attended any World Championships, let alone having any Championship points at all, so I can’t say that I’ve seen this card before, only after I’ve seen other credible sources revealing such cards.
Today’s Throwback is Tropical Beach (BW – Black Star Promos BW28, BW50). This is a Trainer-Stadium that lets the turn-player draw until they have seven cards in their hand, but using that effect ends your turn. We first reviewed Tropical Beach on August 19, 2011, then again on August 22, 2014. That first time, we liked it, but were a little concerned at its rarity: it was only handed out at the 2011 and 2012 World Championships, and the language rules mean certain areas have to fight over compatible copies. The second time, Tropical Beach topped our countdown of the top 10 cards we were losing to rotation in 2014. What changed between those reviews, and what has changed since then?
The rules. Tropical Beach may have been designed under the Platinum-era T1 rules: no Trainers T1 (using the modern definition of Trainer). If not those, then the Black & White-era rules, which had no T1-exclusive rules, just the shared “No manually evolving on a player’s first turn.” I didn’t forget about the HS-series of releases; they spent time being used under either rule set. It wasn’t until the XY-era that we switched to “No T1 attacks”. Had Tropical Beach released under the Platinum-era rules would still have made it one of the best (most competitive) Worlds Promos, though just a “decent” card in general. The BW-era rules made it a solid play for slower decks, and the shift to the current (soon to be former) T1 rules really helped slower decks that did not have to rely on a different Stadium.
Tropical Beach left Standard Format play over five years ago. A hypothetical re-release wouldn’t become a true staple, but could really help slower decks. Most major events do not use the Expanded Format, so lacking Tropical Beach in your personal cardpool isn’t a deal-breaker, but it does mean you have to avoid running – or play inferior versions of – certain archetypes. Tropical Beach isn’t legal for the Limited Format, as it was only ever released as a promo. It would be a great pull if it was available in a booster. In the Legacy Format, it is on par with its Expanded Format performance.
There are no rumors about Tropical Beach being re-released, or at least no credible ones that I’ve heard. There is, however, a somewhat similar card that released in Japan’s “Sword” set, so it will likely be in our Sword & Shield expansion. Rotom Bike is a Trainer-Item that lets you draw until you have six cards in hand (not seven) and then your turn ends. As an Item, it isn’t reusable, nor could it be fetched from your deck with Stadium Nav, but if your deck doesn’t need to reuse Tropical Beach turn after turn, it might be the better choice.
Man, this card takes me back to when I had just gotten back into the game again because of some friends of mine playing it at the time. Course now those friends aren’t around anymore, and I don’t play the game as much as a result…but hey! It was cool to see this card while I was playing with other people at a card store I used to visit on occasion that was at least a 30-40 minute drive away from me!…until the store closed down…geez…
Tropical Beach is an older but newer Stadium card that was initially given out as the prize card at the World Championships in 2011 and 2012, before being replaced by Champions Festival at Worlds 2013. Players participating at Worlds 2011 were able to get a special 9-card set of Tropical Beach, 7 in each of 7 languages and the final 2 advertising the 2012 World Championship (the 2012 set was just the 7 cards in 7 languages). And the effect of this card was incredibly impactful for anyone who could play it: once during each player’s turn, that player could draw until they have 7 cards in hand, but if they do, their turn immediately comes to an end.
If cards like Professor Juniper and Sycamore would be played despite the restriction of being a Supporter on top of discarding your hand, and if Pokemon like Shaymin-EX or Silvally-GX can exist that draw you an obscene amount of cards during your turn, then it probably stands to reason that DRAWING CARDS IS GOOD!! The symmetrical effect means that both players can have access to this card, meaning they can both set-up for their next turn by drawing at what would be the end of their turn anyway (minus the attack, obviously). Set-up becomes a lot easier when you’ve got access to draw power like that, so it’s good to skip a turn when it’s to your advantage!
Tropical Beach was a card that defined an era of the game for a time, and even to this day, it can still pull its weight in Expanded! Though there’s really only one particular deck that uses it, since we’ve had some pretty outrageous Stadiums show up the past few years, but hey, if you can afford to lose a turn for that immense draw power, you’ll be in good business for sure!
Standard: N/A (the card isn’t Standard-legal at the moment, but hey, if it did I’m sure it would see play)
Expanded: 3/5 (it’s not in a high-impact deck in the format, but it is pretty reliable for such a deck)
Limited: N/A (having never come out in a main set, it’s actually not playable in Limited!)
Arora Notealus: The only deck I could find that reliably ran Tropical Beach is something called “Shock Lock”. It looks like the main goal is Paralyzing your opponent’s Active Pokemon, keeping them from attacking you while you…deck them out, I guess? There’s probably a good reason the deck isn’t used, though – outside of the general inconsistency it has, what with having to loop around Raichu’s Evoshock multiple times while milling cards with Team Rocket’s Handiwork of all things, there’s also the small problem of Tropical Beach costing…well, a lot of money. But hey, what would you expect from a World Promo?
Next Time: Time to celebrate the end of the week with a bang!
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