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Pokémon Guide: ACE SPEC - Everything You Need to Know

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Check out in this article everything you need to know about the ACE SPEC Trainer cards and the story behind them 12 years ago. These cards' return was teased for Standard in Scarlet/Violet in 2024.

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переведено Joey Sticks

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рассмотрено Joey Sticks

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Hello to all. I am Rodrigo, bringing news about Pokémon TCG.

A lot has been revealed through the spoilers that came in the Japanese versions of the Scarlet/Violet block, the famous Wild Force and Cyber Judge sets, which will form the base of the fifth expansion's western set. The ACE SPEC cards have reappeared, the special "tech" cards that help your deck in unique ways, a mechanic that popped up in the Black/White era.

This article is for everyone who doesn't know anything about these cards' influence, importance and story, which started in 2012, around 12 years ago.


Let's go!

ACE SPEC Trainer: The Black/White Mark


Everything started with the release of the first ACE SPEC cards in the 7th Black/White base set: Boundaries Crossed. Four cards in this category were highlighted then.

With a "tech" design, they presented a specific rule: it isn't possible to have more than one ACE SPEC card in your deck, something similar to what we have now in the Standard format with Radiant cards.

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Some cards were presented in the "final stages" of the Black/White block, which lasted until 2013. I'll touch on these cards' singularities and their stories.

The Sets

Black/White: Boundaries Crossed

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Computer Search

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As you can see in the list above, there is one card in specific that is practically a mark in the history of Pokémon TCG. I'm talking about Computer Search BCR 137, which has existed since the remote early days of this TCG, in the Wizards of the Coast era, when it was considered a common Trainer card (1996 in Japan and 1999 in the west).

You could use four copies of Computer Search BS 71 in your deck, and it has one of the best filter effects in any TCG I've seen: it searches for any card you want in your deck, but, of course, forces you to discard two cards in your hand. Considering that at that time (Base Set era, and initial Wizards of the Coast sets era) there wasn't a distinction between Supporter and Item cards, for instance, you could play as many Trainer cards you wanted.

Nowadays, only by looking at this card, we can already classify it as an "item".

It is an incredibly strong card, and this is why it has returned only 13 years later, in the ACE SPEC format, which has made the game more balanced considering the filter power it provides.

Computer Search BCR 137 was essential for many competitive decks in Standard at the time (2013), such as, for instance, ”Darkrai Deck”link outside website, ”American Gothic”link outside website, e ”Ultimate Team Plasma”link outside website.

Everyone is expecting this card to go back to the current Standard format, in 2024, in the Scarlet/Violet block. Some players think this is grossly absurd because in the current rotation we have search cards, like Forest Seal Stone SIT 156 (when equipped to a Pokémon V, Arceus VSTAR CRZ GG70's own ability), and, if we resort to abilities, we also have Pidgeot ex sv3 164 from Scarlet/Violet: Obsidian Flames.


However, due to the nature of Pokémon TCG, and its "power creep" history, acquired ever since Sun/Moon, I consider this to be an unnecessary complaint, and it would be good if this card returned to the format.

For the Expanded format, a format that allows this card to be used at the moment this article was written (we still don't have any dates for its release in Standard), you can use the Wizards of the Coast version in your deck, but only one copy, respecting the rules of ACE SPEC cards, considering this is the current version of this card.

As a bonus piece of trivia: this card was reprinted in Pokémon TCG Classic, in the Premium Deluxe box (both the American version and the Japanese one), which had reprints of these cards from the Wizards of the Coast era in Venusaur, Charizard and Blastoise decks. They use two copies of it, but apply the old rules from this TCG's early days, and not the ACE SPEC rules. To tell which one is which, just look at the left-bottom corner of the card's layout, which shows its catalog acronym with the "Classic" abbreviation.

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Gold Potion

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For the current format, healing 90 damage is something banal and almost futile, but in 2012, it was incredibly strong. Nowadays, saving a slot in your deck to heal so little is inefficient, considering current Pokémon have a huge amount of HP and guarantee their own durability. We can even list Venusaur ex sv3pt5 3 as a better alternative because it is a healing recursive Pokémon through its ability, and it is an excellent "healer" for this format. We are, of course, considering Expanded, on this macro scale.

Focusing on the Expanded format, we have much better healing cards, such as, for instance:

1) Hyper Potion SSH 166 heals 120 damage at the cost of discarding two energies attached to the Pokémon that was healed. This cost can easily be circumvented. For instance, in the Fire archetype, we can use Blacksmith FLF 88 to recharge the Fire Pokémon again with the basic energies discarded in the discard pile. We can even use Welder UNB 189a, if you have two basic Fire energies in your hand, and create this loop.

2) Last Chance Potion CES 135 is excellent for a few particular game states, for instance for those Pokémon that use Outrage attacks, such as Reshiram CEL 113 and Reshiram & Charizard-GX PR-SM SM247, if you want to preserve the Pokémon in question just a little bit longer.

3) We also have Super Potion XY 128, which heals just 60 damage, but removes any bad statuses the Pokémon has, which is very useful.

4) Finally, we have Max Potion GRI 128, which has an effect similar to Supporter cards like Cheryl BST 123 (in this case, you can only use it for evolved Pokémon). Usually, you'd spend an entire turn using this card, but because it is shaped like an "item", you can use it as many times as you want at the cost of losing all energies attached to the Pokémon in question. This is also easily circumvented, and the solution to this problem, for instance, is Pokémon that can move or transfer energies, like Bronzong PR-SW SWSH091 (for the Steel type) and Weavile-GX UNM 132 (for the Darkness type).


This is a card that deserves to be reworked under the supervision of The Pokémon Company, maybe with a much better healing effect (perhaps even 200 HP), and it could even remove bad statuses without removing energies from the Pokémon in question. Or even fully heal the Pokémon and also remove bad statuses (who knows?), but that is only what I would prefer.

Crystal Edge & Crystal Wall

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These cards in particular were useful as equipment for White Kyurem and Black Kyurem, respectively. Crystal Edge BCR 138 provided more attack points to the White version, and Crystal Wall BCR 139 provided more health points to the Black version.

The White Kyurem and Black Kyurem versions used were:

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Black/White: Plasma Storm

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Dowsing Machine

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Another strong card in the competitive scene at the time, Dowsing Machine PLS 128 had the power to recycle any Trainer card you wanted in the discard pile at the cost of you discarding two cards from your hand. It was an ACE SPEC "version" that was a bit contained compared to its "predecessor", Junk Arm TM 87, in the Heart Gold/Soul Silver era.

Additionally, this card was so strong it became a headache for Control decks, particularly because of the loop Sableye DEX 62 created, which eventually caused its ban (I wrote about this ban in this article explaining the banned cards in Expandedlink outside website).

It was also included in a very familiar deck at the time, practically the "father" of the "Dynamotor" mechanic (yes, you're probably familiar with it because of Flaaffy PR-SW SWSH122 in Miraidon Box decks): ”Anguille Sous Roche”link outside website, used by Clément Lamberton, who got second place at the Senior category in 2013's World Championship.

Scramble Switch

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This another "staple" card that was incredibly strong in its time. It transfers energies from one Pokémon to the other, and allows you to not lose these energies, even more so if they're special energies, like, for instance, in this deck, ”Plasma Power”link outside website, used at 2014's "World Championship". At the time, there were no cards to recycle special energies, and this deck had 12 special energies, which were practically this strategy's core/heart. Alongside Max Potion EPO 94, they healed a Pokémon in particular, transferring these energies to another Pokémon before using the healing item.


This strategy in Expanded is strong in decks that use special energies, such as, for instance, Fire type deck strategies with Charizard VMAX DAA 20 with Heat Fire Energy DAA 174.

Victory Piece

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This is a very forgotten card (and rightfully so) among the ACE SPEC cards because it only offers to zero the cost of energies attached or added to pay for Victini-EX PLS 18's attack. This Pokémon, however, doesn't need this ACE SPEC occupying space in its deck, and you could fulfill other roles using the attack's usual costs (particularly the first attack, which is great).

Nowadays, in Expanded, it can be used with Victini ex sv3 33, even if the ex suffix is not in capital letters (unlike its predecessor, which has the EX suffix in capital letters).

Black/White: Plasma Freeze

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Life Dew

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This is another card that was overlooked by players, but it is very efficient because it provides the following effect (as equipment/Tool): if the Pokémon that has this tool equipped is knocked out, the opponent draws one Prize Card less.

This means that if "baby" Pokémon, the famous "single prize" Pokémon, are knocked out, the opponent won't draw a Prize Card like it should, which will delay their game plan. This is excellent for Control decks, and these decks tend to use these strategies very frequently.

There are also benefits for ultra rare cards:

1) For EX, GX, V, VStar and ex Pokémon: your opponent will only be able to draw a card if one of these Pokémon is equipped with Life Dew PLF 107.

2) For Tag Team GX, VMax, and VUnion Pokémon: the opponent will only be able to draw two cards if one of these Pokémon is equipped with Life Dew PLF 107.

In Expanded, we have the combo that uses Froslass ex sv4 3 with Life Dew PLF 107, which you can check out by clicking herelink outside website. It is one of the most efficient combos using this tool.

Rock Guard

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As equipment, this card was very useful in its time as a "counter damage" mechanic, if the opponent tried to attack the Pokémon equipped with this tool. They'd end up taking 5 damage counters.

The most famous deck that used this card was used at the 2015 World Championship, ”Punches 'n' Bites“link outside website, one of the Control decks that lock down items. Many players were traumatized by this deck that year (and it ended up getting a bad rep among the community).

In Expanded, we have simple examples, like M Tyranitar-EX AOR 43. Its Beta "ability" (which is at the top of the card, right below the Pokémon's name) allows you to equip two Tool cards to this Pokémon at the same time, which means, you can equip, like so, for instance, Rock Guard PLF 108 and Rocky Helmet NVI 94 at the same time.


This will create 7 damage counters for each attack this Pokémon gets hit with, and enable its own attack combo, Destroyer King. It totals 110 + 60 for each damage counter the opponent has, and, like so: 60 x 7 damage counters = 420 damage. Adding the remaining 110 damage, we have a total of 530 damage!

Additionally, we have Pokémon that use the ability to equip multiple equipment cards like Honchkrow V BRS 88, Revavroom ex sv3 156, and Genesect-GX LOT 130, ultra rare Pokémon that can use Rock Guard PLF 108 in their favor.

This is another card I'd like The Pokémon Company to bring back, but with adjustments and more damage, such as, for instance, 12 counters.

Black/White: Plasma Blast

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Scoop Up Cyclone

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This card was another great ACE SPEC card that was created. It retreats the Pokémon in play targeted to your hand directly, without requiring you to toss a coin (like Super Scoop Up FFI 100), or use Supporters that take up your entire turn, like AZ PHF 91 (In 2023.2/2024.1 Standard, we had its successor, Professor Turo's Scenario sv4 171).

Rowan Stavenow used this card in 2015's World Championship events, in ”The Flying Hammer” decklink outside website, and was champion of that year's Junior category.

It was also used in certain Expanded decks to remove a Pokémon from play initially, and boost one of your other Pokémon. It is very common to find this card in decks that use Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX CEC 156 with Double Dragon Energy ROS 97 to apply the GX effect and get all its benefits. Like so, we activate its effect, and remove it from the board with Scoop Up Cyclone PLB 95 to not give our opponent three Prize Cards so easily. Using it like so depends on the type of deck you're playing, and it isn't useful, for instance, if Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX CEC 156 can't use its combos correctly.

Master Ball

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This another card from the Wizards of the Coast era, from the Gym Challenge set. Master Ball PLB 94 returns in the Black/White era as an ACE SPEC card, but its text was modified with an "errata". Its ancient version, Master Ball G2 116 states that:

"Look at the top seven cards in your deck, look for any basic or evolution Pokémon that you find over there and place it in your hand. Then, shuffle your deck".

This text has remained ever since the previous versions, such as the Expedition set (during the e-Cards), and in the Ruby/Sapphire block, in the Deoxys, Delta Species and Power Keepers sets:

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However, this old text has become a part of the most "recent" translation (allegedly) of Great Ball BCR 129 during the Black/White: Boundaries Crossed set because it also went through a "change". Its original text stated, "look for a basic Pokémon in your deck, except the ex type", during the Ruby/Sapphire block.


The most recent and canonical version is the ACE SPEC version. This card will return in the 5th edition Scarlet/Violet's base set, with this new layout:

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G Booster & G Scope

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To finish, we have the equipment meant for Genesect-EX PLB 11. The one which stood out the most was G Booster PLB 92, thanks to its effect of dealing 200 damage (one of the highest amounts of damage in the format that, on top of it all, ignores any effect the enemy Pokémon might have). It was used in 2014's World Championship, in the ”Emerald King” decklink outside website used by Andrew Estrada, who won the Master category that year. He is a renowned player in the competitive scene, and is currently attending tournaments.

As for G Scope PLB 93, it served as a source of "sniper" damage to Genesect-EX PLB 11.

Scarlet Violet ACE SPECS


The announcement regarding this mechanic's return was in the closing video at the last Worlds, which took place in Yokohama (Japan) in 2023:

In the spoilers listed briefly in this article, in the final topics about Wild Force & Cyber ​​Judge spoilerslink outside website, three ACE SPECS cards were announced, at the date this article is being written, for the next set, that will be here in March 2024.

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Counting with Master Ball (on the left), following the order, we then have two cards and their descriptions:

1) Prime Catch: Forces your opponent to move a Pokémon from its bench to the active position. Next, you'll do the same with your Pokémon, promoting one from the bench to the active position.

It is practically a Guzma BUS 115 (from the Sun/Moon era) in item-form.

2) Neo Superior Energy: Grants just one colorless energy (C) to the Pokémon it is attached to. However, if this Pokémon is a stage 2 Pokémon, it will provide two colorless energies (C)(C).

This is the first ACE SPEC card that uses energies as a base.

Final Words

We hope The Pokémon Company has the decency to keep the ACE SPECS mechanic in the game for longer. However, the Pokémon Company has a tendency to shorten the durability of cards with specific mechanics, which ruins the metagame long term. These cards, for instance, could have been kept since 2012 in this hiatus between sets, and these are problems I discussed in this article about the durability of certain mechanics in the ACE SPECs topic.link outside website


Another thing I hope, and many players hope too, is that ACE SPECs are more diverse in the future, with at least 20 different models to enrich this mechanic even more. If possible, it would be cool to bring some old mechanics, like Scoop Up Cyclone PLB 95, Dowsing Machine PLS 128, Scramble Switch PLS 129, and, of course, Computer Search BCR 137. We also hope other cards are reworked, such as Rock Guard PLF 108 and Gold Potion BCR 140, into stronger versions with more relevant effects.

This is all for now. I hope this article has been useful for you to know these cards' history and past, and I hope you're up-to-date with them. Comment down below your opinion about the cards that deserve to be ACE SPECs, and why!

See you next time.