Wally – Generations
Date Reviewed: January 21, 2021
Expanded: N/A (Banned)
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Wally (XY – Roaring Skies 94/108, 107/108; Generations RC27/RC32) originally released in May of 2015). It is pseudo-reprint of Wally’s Training (EX – Sandstorm 89/100; EX – Emerald 85/106), which originally released in September of 2003. To be clear, by pseudo-reprint, I mean they have different but similar
If you’re messing around in the Unlimited Format, they’re still totally separate cards, despite all the similarities. Both cards are Trainer-Supporters that let you search your deck for card that evolves from one of your Pokémon in play, then immediately play it on that Pokémon to evolve it from your deck. Wally’s Training can only do this for your Active Pokémon, while the much more recent Wally can evolve any of your Pokémon in play excluding Pokémon-EX. Both cards can be used on a Pokémon which has already evolved another way this turn, but you cannot manually evolve something that already received the effect of Wally or Wally’s Training this turn. Were Turn 1 Supporters still a thing, Wally and Wally’s Training would still be legal plays. As is, you can use either the first turn a Pokémon is in play, including Turn 2 (the first turn when you can currently use Supporters).
We can get the briefest look at how Wally’s Training performed through its one prior Card of the Day review, as well as the World Championship Decks from its time legal in the Modified (Standard) Format. We didn’t review Wally’s Training right away, suggesting it may not have been a big deal at first. The review indicates that Wally’s Training wasn’t a general play, but was quite valuable to the Turn 2 decks of the day. The following combo makes it quite clear why:
- Use the “Wishing Star” Poké-Power of Jirachi (EX – Deoxys 9/107). This Poké-Power may only be used when Jirachi is Active, lets you look at the top five cards of your deck, add one to hand, then shuffle the rest back into your deck. Wishing Star then leaves Jirachi Asleep.
- Play Swoop! Teleporter is a Trainer-Item that lets you search your deck for a Basic Pokémon (excluding old school Pokémon-ex) and replace one of your Basic Pokémon in play (again, excluding Pokémon-ex) with it. All attached cards to and effects resting on the old Basic transfer to the new.
- Make sure that whatever you’re getting with Swoop! Teleporter is something you want to use Wally’s Training on, because that is the final step. Wally’s Training counts as evolving, so your new Stage 1 is no longer Asleep.
As for World Championship appearances:
Two decks out of a potential 12 isn’t great, but it is still good.
Finally getting to Wally, you can see our initial review of it here, followed by a re-review here. Wally didn’t make our Top 10 for the countdown, but we got to it the week after, and we reviewers agreed that it was… alright, a solid three out of five card in Standard, and maybe a bit better in Expanded. When we re-reviewed it nearly three years later, Wally was (and to this day is), still banned in Expanded. What happened in between? The World Championship decks featuring Wally don’t tell us anything; even with another three-years Standard-legal (like Wally’s Training), there are zero World Championship decks featuring Wally.
Fortunately, Wally is new enough I still remember why it was banned: Trevenant (XY 55/146)! I believe the original, official announcement has been lost to annoying habit of the official website just deleting these things after a while, not recognizing the historical significance to their community, but there are enough second hand accounts that I can (mostly) trust my memory on this. Prior to the current (SW-era) Turn 1 rules, you could use a Turn 1 Wally to ensure a Turn 1 Trevenant. The Trevenant mentioned has an Ability that – while Active – prevented your opponent from playing Item cards from hand. It was a strong deck for at least some of its Standard Format run, but the Expanded Format is often much, much more Item reliant than Standard. If not always, at least by the time VS Seeker rotated from Standard e.g. by the time this ban happened.
Wally meant you might never get a turn with normal Item access. Yes, there were counters, but in a metagame where the best decks are relying on cards like Ultra Ball and VS Seeker to aid in their setup, good luck getting those cards. This was also predated Dedenne-GX (let alone Crobat V); Shaymin-EX (XY – Roaring Skies 77/108, 77a/108, 106/108) is still the best of those three, and was available, but your hand was likely cluttered by the Items you’d normally use to search it out. So, again, good luck getting that to work. At the same time Wally was banned, so was one of the counters to it (Hex Maniac). All of that aside, it was made clear; players should have at least one turn with access to the fundamental game mechanics.
However, it was and apparently is still okay to lock down Item cards by the end of Turn 2 (Player 2’s first turn). Trevenant itself is still legal, as is Phantump (XY – BREAKpoint 64/122). This is the Phantump with the attack “Ascension” for [C]. An attack that lets you search your deck for a card that evolves from Phantump and immediately play it upon Phantump, evolving it. Which has led to another question:
Why is Wally still banned?
Thanks to the current Turn 1 rules, the dreaded Turn 1 Trevenant isn’t an option. I haven’t heard a huge amount of uproar over this, but I have read (and participated) in discussion over it. In general, I think it is a smart bit of caution on the part of the powers-that-be: who knows if or when they’ll release something else that is “broken” by Wally. At the same time, I wonder if they needed to “unban” Wally, even should it almost immediately need to go back on the list, to prove the point. In terms of troublesome Abilities, Dracovish (SW – Darkness Ablaze 053/189) is a Stage 1 Pokémon with an Ability that, while it is Active, prevents your opponent from playing Pokémon from their hand to evolve. With Wally, Dracovish can hit the field Turn 2 (Player 2’s first turn), before Player one can manually evolve on Turn 3 (Player 1’s second turn).
Still speculation, but Wally says nothing about Pokémon VMAX, which means they are fully compatible with him. Even when the new Turn 1 rules went into effect, we had Snorlax VMAX and still had Shaymin-EX, though the latter was eventually banned. Turn 2, rely on Item and Abilities to fill your Bench. Then Wally Snorlax V into Snorlax VMAX, and drop a Triple Acceleration Energy onto Snorlax VMAX. This would let you swing with its “G-Max Fall” attack for 300 damage, plus any other bonuses you could muster (like another +20 from Muscle Band). Throw in some added disruption, like you opening with Wobbuffet (XY – Phantom Forces 36/119; Generations RC11/RC32), and your opponent may never get a chance to setup before you start tearing them down.
- Standard: N/A
- Expanded: N/A (Banned)
Wally, apart from the cards it breaks, is a good-but-not-great card. Something certain decks can use for a valuable leg up, but then a portion of that portion use it to stomp down on the collective metagame. As long as it is legal, the powers-that-be have to be very, very careful in designing cards. Yes, a problem they have in general as Expanded grows more and more bloated.
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