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Card Vs Card: Professor Elm's Lecture & Apricorn Maker

Welcome to our first ever edition of Card Vs Card! This series will provide thought provoking discussions to see which card truly deserve a place in your deck. For most decks, one of the best ways to assure victory is consistency. Getting all the Pokemon out you need to battle, use abilities, and more is one of those things that can make or break a deck. There are many options, from using things like Net Ball, Ultra Ball, Timer Ball, and other related cards to grab Pokemon, or using a card like Professor Elm's Lecture to pull them out of the deck if the HP is right. However, when looking over these basic strategies, we noticed there may be a serious reason to include and use Apricorn Maker over simply using the ball cards alone (and not just for Granbull decks). So today we'll have these two cards do battle to determine which is the best to use in your deck!

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Before we take a look at the two main cards we're here for, it would be wrong for us to not at least mention Olivia and Pokemon Fan Club. These cards also can get Pokemon into your hand and ready to hit the bench. Why aren't they up for competition? For Olivia, it's simply because it's such a specific card. For the most part, the items you'll gain from Apricorn Maker could grab any of these GX Pokemon and others as well, so unless you're running a strange all GX deck, it's not really going to keep up. 

For Pokemon Fan Club, it could have its uses as it lacks the HP restriction Professor Elm's Lecture has. Again however, the items Apricorn Maker can get can easily grab any Basic Pokemon. If there was some reason you'd rather have them in your hand, maybe Pokemon Fan Club could have the edge. It's just not common enough of an experience to give it a real fight against our two main contenders. With that in mind, let's introduce our cards that will be doing battle!

Professor Elm's Lecture

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This card created a lot of buzz when it was announced for release in Lost Thunder, but why was that the case? Let's take a look at what makes this card strong! 

Ribombee LOT 146More Room For Other Cards: Even with the maximum amount in a deck, this card only takes up four slots. That's not very much! To be fair, most decks that run it also run at least two Ultra Ball with it as well, but that's still less than the four Nestball, three Ultra Ball, and sometimes even two Timer Ball players run in other decks. This card allows you to have a lot more of whatever other cards you may want in your deck, which is awesome.

ANY 60 HP Pokemon: This can make for some crazy quick grabs and setups for certain decks. Here's a big list of examples: Hoppip & Skiploom LOT 13, Alolan Diglet & Alolan Dugtrio UPR 79, Cutiefly & Ribombee LOT 146, and there's plenty more. It can bring out a few low HP Stage 1 Pokemon you need alongside with the basics to evolve them all in one card play, which can get you built up to wipe opponents even faster.

In Hand, Not On Bench: With the ball cards in Pokemon, some make you put the card you grab onto the bench. With the potential to bring them to your hand first, there's a lot more options you can use. Get rid of basics you no longer need with an Ultra Ball, sacrifice some the next turn for a Plumeria, or just have them safe so your opponent can't pack on damage to them on the bench that turn. It gives you more options on what to do with them once they are out of the deck. 

Apricorn Maker

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So we took a look at what makes Professor Elm's Lecture so strong, so let's take a look at the same for Apricorn Maker.

Thinning Power: We play several different cards that reshuffle cards into the deck before you draw them like Cynthia or Tate & Liza. There's also just a lot of cards in your deck, and you want to be able to draw what you need with less junk in the way. If we look at Professor Elm's Lecture, by playing that one card, and hopefully grabbing three Pokemon from the deck, you have thinned a total of 4 cards out of your deck. With Apricorn Maker, you draw two cards out, and those two cards likely get you two Pokemon, so you end up thinning 5 cards total. This can potentially be more if you're also discarding junk you don't need with Ultra Ball.

Ultra Ball SUM 135More Potential Options: Now to be fair, you may thin more cards, but don't you need more cards to use Apricorn Maker? Even at its heaviest, players only have four Professor Elm's Lectures in their decks. However, usually once the beginning of the game is over, there are so few reasons to ever want to have one in your hand. Apricorn Maker, and the items it procures, can usually maintain at least some value throughout the game. With Net Ball if you have a deck that can use Grass Energy, you can grab Energy you need at any time, something Professor Elm's Lecture cannot do. Need to clear your hand for a maximum draw with Oranguru SUM 13? Here comes Ultra Ball! There's lots of oddly specific cards too, like Lure Ball, Friend Ball, and Beast Ball that you could grab if needed in a pinch. Not to mention Great Ball or even Poke Ball for the brave. 

Even without Apricorn Maker in hand, these other cards could have use during any point of the game, where as Professor Elm's Lecture looses value quickly. Not to mention, Nest Ball can grab ANY Basic Pokemon, where Professor Elm's Lecture can only grab them if they have low enough HP. Apricorn Maker simply creates more available options. 

Not Always A Supporter: Now what does this mean? To put it simply, the other cards that work alongside it are item cards. If you're drawing the item cards themselves, you can still use another Supporter during your turn to do something else. At times this can be nice as it lets you have a bit more options if you add it to a usual ball strategy.

More Chances To Start Building: With many decks that use Professor Elm's Lecture, outside of thing like Brooklet Hill or potentially using Alolan Vulpix GRI 21 to Beacon, they have few other ways to start getting the bench set up. If you don't draw an Apricorn Maker, the other items in the deck you may draw still can be useful for getting started.

So which card wins out? Truthfully, it depends on the kind of deck you are running. Several people run decks that simply have enough draw power that ball cards alone can power the deck reasonably. These decks may be more willing to risk a Professor Elm's Lecture as well, knowing they can likely get one in the first few turns. There's also the possibility a deck just needs other cards badly enough that this is just the option they need to pick.

However, consider a deck like Lost March where setting up fast is paramount. Now Professor Elm's Lecture might look tempting, but with how much faster Apricorn Maker could be at thinning, not to mention how it can grab Net Ball for Energy, it may truly be the better option. Keep the deck simple, clear out cards quickly, and only grab what you need to really get the opponent down for the count. This could also work for decks like Alolan Dugtrio that need to roll quickly as well. Apricorn Maker could honestly be a way to get your deck going that much faster if it's needed to win the game, so it's something that should be considered. 

My conclusion? Apricorn Maker should be considered a bit more in the meta as it could provide the speed, thinning, and potential that Professor Elm's Lecture cannot, and it may even have a place in decks that normally only run ball cards. However, I want to hear what you think! Do you agree with that assessment or think I'm crazy? Tell me in the comments below or directly on Twitter @LiteralGrill. Until next time, stay lit trainers!

- Linnea 'LiteralGrill' Capps

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