Dave H’s Super Spreadsheet

pokebeach.comWhether it be the specific Pokémon from 1-1 tech line or a key Energy card, every player encounters many times during a game when they need a particular card that is not currently in their hand. That’s where search cards enter the picture.

The Pokémon TCG is blessed with a wide variety of Trainer, Supporter and Stadium cards. Many of theses cards allow the player to search their entire deck or discard pile for very specific kinds of cards. Other cards allow them to search certain parts of their deck for any card, or a particular type of card.

In fact, there are so many different types of search cards that it is often difficult to keep track of all of them. Trying to optimize a deck without a detailed knowledge of the cards available can lead to missed opportunities for success.

One great resource for acquiring a better knowledge of cards is BebesSearch.com. You can define a wide variety of criteria by which to sort and look at cards.

Bebe’s does have some limitations, however. It’s hard to do a detailed comparison of cards once you have selected the initial search criteria. You are left with having to open up the view of each card and read the text, one card at a time.

It seemed like a good idea to do a more detailed comparison, so I decided to sort the T/S/S cards (and a few specialized Energy cards) into categories, based on their primary function in the game. After inputting the cards and their characteristics into a spreadsheet, the following categories made the most sense to me: search, draw, refresh, add (damage, HP, attacks), attach other cards, disrupt, attack, evolve, heal, move, recover, reduce (damage, resistance, Retreat Cost), look, shuffle and win.

So let’s take a look at the available search cards. There are currently 47 cards that allow a player to search for another card or cards. The table below gives a summary of their most important characteristics.

Expanded View

Download Link

Notes: D = Stadium, E = Energy, M = Technical Machine, { } = may happen, SC = Special Conditions

So what does it all mean?


Many experienced players have pretty much memorized all of the available T/S/S cards. They basically have this table in their head. For newer players trying to refine a competitive deck, I hope this table will allow them to easily compare the different types of search cards available.

Players will note that there is usually a Trainer and a Supporter that have a very similar search function. Probably the best known example of this is Pokémon Communication and Bebe’s Search. Both can search the entire deck for any 1 Pokémon.

Both require you to put a card from your hand on the top of your deck. Bebe’s lets you choose any card, while Pokémon Communication requires you to have a Pokémon in your hand. Being a Supporter, however, means if you play it, you can play no other Supporter that turn.

In contrast, playing Pokémon Communication does not affect you ability to play a Supporter. SP decks also have the benefit of SP Radar, which has the advantages of Bebe’s in allowing you to choose any card, but can still be Trainer locked.

How many of each type of card you put in a deck will depend on your assessment of factors such as : the amount of Trainer lock in your meta, the speed you want your deck to run at, and the requirement for the deck to run other Supporters (e.g. Cyrus’s Conspiracy in SP, Engineer’s Adjustments in an Energy draw/discard deck).

If your meta is full of Vileplumes (or you are running Vileplume), you might want to reduce the Trainer line in favor of a Supporter line with similar abilities. Alternately, if you facing a lot of Gengars using “Poltergeist”, you may want more Trainers, so you don’t get stuck with a hand full of Supporters you can’t get ride of. Of course, Vilegar (Gengar and Vileplume) forces you to try and counter both of these challenges at the same time.

pokebeach.comAnother factor to be considered is where the card, that is searched for, “goes”. Need to get Energy back into your hand, or just back into your deck? Burned Tower, Energy Restore, Fisherman, and Conductive Quarry and Aaron’s Collection can each recover Energy cards from the discard pile and put them into your hand. Each card has specific advantages and disadvantages that may or may not suit your deck.

Hopefully, the two examples given above will provide some ideas on how this resource can be used. Of course, it is important to remember that there are also Pokémon that are able to use attacks or Poké-Powers to search for other cards.

I felt that, for a variety of reasons, they should be left out of this comparison.

The creation of this table was primarily a way for me to become more familiar with the search cards available in the current format, and to allow an easy way to compare them.

I have created similar tables for each of the categories that were listed at the beginning of the article. If 6P readers feel these would be useful to the community, I would be more than happy to add further articles.

Reader Interactions

6 replies

  1. Tweed Moore

    Very imformative for newbies and useful for the experienced! Thanks. I think the site needs more from you!

  2. Bebes Search

    Good ideas! Will try to incorporate as many of them as possible in next version of the Pokedex.

    • Dave Hueglin  → Bebes

      Glad to hear it. I will hopefully be posting some other spreadsheets to go with the other categories of T/S/S that I made. Most use the same column titles with just a few differences depending on the category.

  3. Dave Hueglin

    I just realized that there was one card left off the list because I had categorized it under the Draw category

    Poké Drawer – Play 2, search for any 2 cards, Play 1 draw 1 card

  4. pokejav

    Any chance of updating this article/list for the HGSS-on format?

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