Turbo Patch – Darkness Ablaze
Date Reviewed: January 4, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Apologies for the delay!
Turbo Patch (SM – Darkness Ablaze 172/189, 200/189) would have been our 12th-Place finisher, but since our countdown of the best cards from 2020 was a top 10, it has to settle for being a runner-up. In order to use this Trainer-Item, you need a Basic Pokémon in play that is not a Pokémon-GX, and at least one basic Energy card in your discard pile. You then flip a coin; if “heads”, you get to attach that basic Energy card to that Pokémon! If tails… it does nothing. Fortunately, Energy acceleration, especially through an Item card, is crazy powerful; failing half the time hurts, but it doesn’t ruin the card. You’ll also notice I said nothing about Pokémon V just now: it works with Basic Pokémon V.
So, while you cannot use this to accelerate Energy to Basic Pokémon-GX (including TAG TEAM Pokémon), you can use it directly with any other Basic Pokémon, and thus indirectly with any Evolution you evolve from a Basic Pokémon. Which is nearly all of them, as precious few enjoy Evolution “acceleration” that lets you put an Evolution card directly into play, without a Basic under it. This means the card can work in nearly any deck, and I’ve mentioned it multiple times in reviews for that reason. So, it is more a matter of what decks are not running it, right? Nope. We first looked at Turbo patch here, where I thought so highly of it that it ended up as our 13th-Place pick. I expected this card to be in a wide variety of successful, competitive decks and…
…that didn’t happen. However, I am relieved it showed up in at least a few well performing decks. I noticed some Eternatus VMAX decks use it, one managing to finish in (I think) 4th-Place at the Ocenia Players Cup II Regional Finals. The 3rd-Plaec finisher in the Pokémon Online Global Championship also ran it. The deck in question was a Vikavolt V deck, one that did not run Pikachu & Zekrom-GX. The original Players Cup Finals actually had five of 16 decks running it, one Eternatus VMAX list and four Zacian ADP builds. Those last two events were from when SW – Darkness Ablaze was the newest set; the Oceania Players Cup II Regional Finals suggests the best Eternatus VMAX decks still run it, we didn’t see any more Vikavolt V lists in later events, and the later Zacian ADP decks appear to be sticking with just Metal Saucer.
That is more than I realized going into this review. So, why isn’t Turbo Patch usage as widespread as I predicted? Look at the most dominant decks. Of them, Zacian V variants have Metal Saucer and, in terms of basic Energy cards, run almost entirely or purely on basic Metal Energy cards. In other words, they don’t need Turbo Patch. If it didn’t require the coin flip, then they would gladly use it for even more reliable Energy acceleration, but the flip is a deal breaker… and that seems to be the case with the other decks. Whatever other Energy acceleration they already included was already doing the job well enough. Overlooking that was my folly.
In the Standard Format, I still think Turbo Patch has a lot of potential, but I’m definitely not rating it as highly as before. I have to guess at Expanded, and it has real competition from Max Elixir… but also maybe a partner, if anti-Item effects aren’t in ascendance. Using both eats up a lot of space in a deck, though, so even giving it an average rating may be generous. For the Limited Format, it still looks great to me; probably run it it everything, though it might be a waste in Mulligan builds. For the Theme Format, it works reasonably well in the Galarian Sirfetch’d Theme Deck and Galarian Darmanitan Theme Deck. I like the former better than the latter, and in Theme Decks, you’ll “feel” the “only Basics Pokémon” restriction. The deck would likely still be stronger with additional copies of it, unless they removed something vital, so I’ll still score it quite well there.
- Standard: 3/5
- Expanded: 3/5
- Limited: 4/5
- Theme: 4/5
Turbo Patch didn’t live up to my hype, but it had a better finish than I realized. As it didn’t show up in the Players Cup II Global Finals, and I only had skimmed the Regional Finals, I thought its use had dropped off completely. That means I am the one who left it off his best of 2020 list! I’m still not sure if it belonged there in the first place, but Turbo Patch seems like it is a good card. It does something incredible when it cooperates, but the competition and unreliable nature keep Turbo Patch from being the loose-staple I expected last time.
Vince had this at #9 on his personal Top 10 List
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