Welcome back to Tech of the Week! Each week we’ll be looking at at interesting cards that may be effective in the current metagame. If you missed last week’s TotW, I looked at the bench protector, Mr. Mime.
For the fifth edition of Tech of the Week, we’re going to discuss a unique Item card with a lot of potential, Team Plasma Badge.
At first glance, Team Plasma Badge may not seem very useful. Why in the world would I want to change something into a Team Plasma Pokémon? Sure, it’s cool, but what does it actually accomplish? Well, inherently, it really doesn’t accomplish anything. Making something into a Plasma Pokémon really doesn’t do anything unless you combine it with other cards. But what cards can take advantage of that? Oh yeah, a lot.
Before we delve into the uses of the card, first let’s just marvel at how cool the effect really is. Over the history of the Pokémon TCG, there have been very few effects that alter the actual properties of a card. While things like Retreat Cost, HP, and Weakness/Resistance have been manipulated easily over the years, the other areas normally are left untouched. Probably the first instance of changing a different area was Smeargle’s Paint, which could change the type of an opposing Pokémon. Then we had Crystal Shard, a card that changed your Pokémon’s type to Colorless. But that’s not really what Team Plasma Badge does.
The only card remotely similar is an old Ampharos d from EX: Dragon Frontiers. With its Holon Veil Poké-Body, it turned every one of your Pokémon in your discard pile, hand, deck, and in play into a d (Delta) Pokémon. While the effect was cool, it really wasn’t playable because d Pokémon didn’t have too many effects to take advantage of. Besides Trainers that allowed you to search specifically for them, there were no big benefits that were notable. In addition, Ampharos was a Stage 2, which made it difficult to get into play. As a result, Holon Veil wasn’t very useful.
Now let’s return to Team Plasma Badge. Clearly Plasma Pokémon have a lot of supporting cards, but where do we begin? Perhaps the biggest reason to play it would be the ability to use Colress Machine.
Nowadays just about every attack has a flexible cost with at least one Colorless Energy requirement. Therefore, Colress Machine becomes an effective form of Energy acceleration for most Pokémon! With a Team Plasma Badge attached, now you can give any Pokémon an extra Energy! Yes, it’s just a Plasma Energy, but it can be the difference between being able to use a big attack or having to pass. Here are some examples of Pokémon that can benefit from this little boost.
Virizion EX – A quick Emerald Slash can power up the rest of your Pokémon.
Landorus EX – Land’s Judgment now takes two turns to power up instead of three.
Trubbish – Tool Drop can be used in an instant.
The list goes on. Frequently we’ve seen players try to use Virizion EX in conjunction with Team Plasma Badge, but it’s yet to be seen whether or not it’s an effective strategy. In addition, Landorus EX could benefit greatly from the acceleration since Fighting Energy does not have any sort of support. Plenty of Pokémon out there could use the speed boost, and Team Plasma Badge combined with Colress Machine may be the answer. Perhaps it’s just a matter of time before someone discovers the correct combination!
Overall, the biggest benefactor of the Badge appears to be… Trubbish? Yes, that’s right – Trubbish. One of the biggest problems with the Tool Drop deck is that it lacks any sort of recovery. Since Trubbish has such low HP, it can be difficult to keep up an exchange of attackers. After all, the attack requires two Energy. Normally the response to that is to use Exp. Share, but that’s easily countered by Tool Scrapper or even Hypnotoxic Laser (to avoid a direct KO). So how else can you get more Energy into play? Team Plasma Badge plus Colress Machine seems to be the perfect solution. Since you already have to run lots of Tools for the deck, it’s a natural fit.
Even if that Energy acceleration weren’t enough of a reason to use Team Plasma Badge, there’s one more benefit of converting your Pokémon over to Team Plasma. The benefit comes in the name of Deoxys EX.
For the most part, Deoxys EX’s Power Connect is the reason that Plasma decks are so powerful. Adding anywhere from 10-40 damage is game-changing. Think about how many times you’ve been just 10 or 20 damage away from winning a game. With Team Plasma Badge and Deoxys EX, that can be solved! Let’s consider some Pokémon that may benefit from this the most.
Mewtwo EX – X-Ball can start to reach high amounts of damage very quickly.
Cobalion EX – Righteous Edge and Steel Bullet gain some much needed oomph.
Empoleon – Attack Command can benefit a lot from the additional damage.
Again, the list goes on. Just about anything can benefit from additional damage! While Colress Machine probably is the main benefit of using Team Plasma Badge, Deoxys EX’s Power Connect can’t be overlooked either. Any time you can use one less attack to get a KO in Pokémon, you win the game one turn sooner. Cards that provide additional damage (PlusPower, Hypnotoxic Laser, etc.) have been crucial in the metagame for the past few years. Obviously Deoxys EX is a solid attacker as well, so it would fit in if you’re running Colress Machine and Plasma Energy already.
Okay, so there are some clear benefits to running Team Plasma Badge. However, there are downfalls as well, and they’re pretty big. To start, let’s look at the obvious one. It takes up a lot of space in your deck! In order to use Team Plasma Badge effectively, you’ll basically need to focus your entire deck around it. When you play it, you also need to use other cards. If you’re playing 3 Team Plasma Badge, 3 Colress Machine, and 4 Plasma Energy, that’s already 10 cards you’re committing just to this combo. Plus, those Colress Machines aren’t doing anything if you can’t find the Badge to actually attach to your Pokémon. Probably the biggest knock on the card is that it’s too complicated to use in a competitive setting.
Furthermore, the trend recently has been for decks to counter Plasma Pokémon. If that weren’t enough, just about every deck is running Tool Scrapper at this point. Pretty much every aspect of this Team Plasma Badge + Colress Machine combo is getting a lot of hate in the current metagame. Off the top of my head, here are some popular cards that affect it.
Tool Scrapper – Discards the Team Plasma Badge, taking away your benefits.
Enhanced Hammer – Discards Plasma Energy, negating your Energy acceleration.
Drifblim (Plasma Blast) – Not only can it attack for cheaper, but it also discards Plasma Energy.
Drifblim (Dragons Exalted) – Feeds off of your Plasma Energy.
Silver Mirror – Whoops, you can’t touch a Pokémon with Silver Mirror attached.
As long as these cards remain popular, being a Team Plasma Pokémon isn’t going to be very fun. Depending on how you’re using Team Plasma Badge, though, some of these methods may not be very effective. For example, you may not mind too much if a Tool Scrapper discards your Badge as long as you got to use Colress Machine for Energy acceleration already. If you got a crucial attack off, Enhanced Hammer may not upset you. Hey, if you got to use Trubbish’s Tool Drop one turn because you had the Badge, you could care less! Even though all of these are major annoyances, the difference is that your entire deck probably won’t revolve around Team Plasma Pokémon, so you won’t be hit as hard.
If anything, Team Plasma Badge is a card that screams potential. At some point, it seems like it will find a use; it’s just a matter of finding how to use it. Since it is an unusual card, it will take a while for someone to figure out the correct combination of cards. But when it happens, it will be extremely powerful. Then again, maybe this is just one of those cards that seems good, but it just isn’t practical. Time will tell!
What do you think about Team Plasma Badge? Let me know down in the comments! Thanks for reading.