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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Phantom Forces Top 10

#1 Lysandre’s Trump Card 

Date Reviewed:
Nov. 13, 2014

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 4.17
Expanded: 4.07
Limited: 4.00

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being the worst. 
3 ... average.  
5 is the highest rating.

Back to the main COTD Page

Baby Mario
2010 UK National

#1 Lysandre’s Trump Card 

Well, well, well. This is going to be controversial. A lot of excellent players have said that this card isn’t very good. I had it at number 1 on my list, so I suppose I should try and explain why I think a Supporter that shuffles both players’ discard piles into their deck is the best card in Phantom Forces. 

First off, this is not a card that gets run in multiples. Those that choose to use it will very likely play only a single copy. That single copy does have the potential to have a huge impact on gameplay though. 

There are some decks where Lysandre’s Trump Card is an automatic inclusion. Something which involves spamming Hammers and Lasers, for example, or Trubbish Tool Drop decks which straight up lose if they get their Tools discarded by Startling Megaphone. Aside from that though, Lysandre’s Trump Card has the extremely useful function of getting back the stuff from your discard pile that you need. Stuff that is difficult (or impossible) to recover any other way (DCEs, ACE SPECs, Items). If you play recklessly and burn through your deck early; if you are forced to Juniper away a bunch of essential cards just to set up; if you have run out of the resources you need to win the game . . . then Lysandre’s Trump Card can come to the rescue. 

The usual argument against this card is that you are using your Supporter to give your opponent back their stuff, which they can then draw into with their own Supporter next turn. The thing is though, is that you wouldn’t play Lysandre’s Trump Card at all unless you either needed to, or it would give you the advantage to do so. If you simply cannot win without your DCEs, then the point that you are giving your opponent cards back is moot: you would lose anyway. The same applies if you were on the verge of losing by deck-out. Similarly, if you have more essential resources in the discard than your opponent (say after a blow-out first turn of Bicycles and Roller Skates), then you can use Lysandre’s Trump Card to benefit yourself more than your opponent. It’s not a card to be played recklessly, but then would you play an N if your opponent had two cards in hand and six Prizes left? Only if you absolutely 100% needed to. 

The bad side of Lysandre’s Trump Card is that it can simply be a crutch for those players with poor resource management. On the other hand, it can benefit legitimate strategies (such as Hammer spam), and is a hedge against those unfortunate ‘three Juniper’ opening hands (we’ve all had them). Those players who just use it to compensate for thoughtless play will most likely use it in a manner that benefits the opponent in any case. 

Lysandre’s Trump Card is a good counter to decks that like stuff in the discard pile (Bronzong needs Metal in there, Flareon needs Pokémon). It also has good synergy with Trainer Lock strategies (put a load of cards your opponent can’t use back in their deck). More generally, it’s a card that can save you games, or at least improve a bad situation . . . but only if used with care. 


Modifed: 4.25 (some decks love it, some players will use it. Some will think its trash)

Expanded: 3.5 (more recovery options here, especially Sableye)

Limited: 4 (deck out is a legit worry in a 40-card format)


(#1 Lysandre's Trump Card)


And now for our #1 card in the set! I'll be honest...I'm not sure how we've got it at #1. Lysandre's Trump Card is perhaps the one card on this list that people will either see the uses for it right away and praise it, and then there are people like me who look it and wonder what it can be used for. 


Lysandre's Trump Card is in all honesty a powerful card - it can return all the cards in BOTH players' discard piles back into the deck to be shuffled (save for any other Lysandre's Trump Card). My first thoughts with the card are that you could use it to get something out of the discard pile you didn't want there like a Pokemon  or a Supporter, the problem with that being you'd be doing the same for your opponent. Then again, maybe you want to return your opponent's cards back into the deck to keep them from using Bronzong or VS Seeker and abusing the discard pile for it.


So it has offensive and defensive capabilities, and because it is a Supporter technically you can use VS Seeker with it. In this way, Lysandre's Trump Card becomes a recyclable reset button, putting a bunch of cards back into both players' decks - but why would this be useful for you, I kept wondering? Two answers come to mind:


1) Like I said, you're probably using this to disrupt your opponent's usage of the discard pile through cards like Bronzong and VS Seeker, forcing things to be set back to the way they were before and removing all support they had for it, but more importantly


2) Your reset isn't a full reset.


Lysandre's Trump Card only affects the cards in the discard pile - you still have all the Pokemon in play, as well as the cards in your hands and any remaining Prize cards in play. In fact, depending on what Prize cards get used, you could be adding back MORE cards for your opponent to deal with, making it harder for them to draw what they need. If you're at an advantage against an opponent and it looks like they're getting the upper hand, Lysandre's Trump Card could conceivably turn things on their head and put the ball back in your court! Even a deck at a disadvantage can utilize Lysandre's Trump Card well - remove your opponent's advantage completely (and in Expanded you can punish their victorious streak with an N)!


Lysandre's Trump Card may not be absolutely perfect though - it could be a dead card in your hand until you decide on a good time to play it, and not every deck is fully reliant on the discard pile. Blastoise decks come to mind as a deck that'd benefit from having their discard pile reshuffled into the deck - it'll allow them to get their Energies back from Black Kyurem-EX or a KO'd Keldeo-EX! It's one of those cards that benefits some decks while crippling others - and it's because of its simple effect that it brings out such a controversial topic: is Lysandre's Trump Card a good card or a bad card?


Then again, with all the other Supporters you've got, you may not even have room for him to begin with.




Standard: 4/5 (I'd say its usage against the rising Metal Deck as well as its potential reviving of the Blastoise deck - my personal favorite - will probably allow this card to be run at least 1 or 2; combined with VS Seeker and Battle Compressor, it's no longer just a "Maybe I'll get it this game" kind of card)


Expanded: 4.5/5 (throw in the Eelektrik-Rayquaza-EX deck as one that gets crippled by this card)


Limited: 3/5 (I've no idea if the format would be fast enough to warrant its usage, even with Battle Compressor, Bronzong, and VS Seeker hanging around)


Arora Notealus: Lysandre may not have been the greatest villainous mind of our time, but at least he only looks really really goofy with his machines on.


Weekend Thought: Do you agree with our list? What's your opinion on the ever-controversial Lysandre's Trump Card?


At last the number one for our Top 10 Promising Picks of XY: Phantom Forces.  Our number one pick… might not have been if reprint cards were eligible for the Top 10 list.  Said list is compiled by Pojo, who received a Top 10 list created by each member of the review crew: Pojo averages them out to produce the master Top 10 list we use for the review order.  Also don’t forget, even though you can already use these on the PTCGO (and of course can use them in casual play), the official release date for this set in the U.S. was November 5th, so XY: Phantom Forces cards aren’t tournament legal until November 21st; however we’ll be scoring them as if they were.


Lysandre’s Trump Card (XY: Phantom Forces 99/119, 118/119) managed to top our list, to my surprise and delight… and still more surprise.  This is a Supporter that forces each player to shuffle his or her discard pile back into his or her deck… except for Lysandre’s Trump Card.  If the new “self referencing” guidelines that apply equally to Supporters as well as Pokémon, that means no matter how many copies of this card are in the discard pile, none of them are going back into the deck.  The thing is I literally just realized this right now; I’m a long time player so I’m used to the old self referencing rules, when instead of “this Pokémon” a card would just state its name and use different phrasing to refer to all cards with that name.  Of course, even if it can’t recycle itself, VS Seeker is a simple answer (and VS Seeker would get shuffled back alongside everything else).


Players seem divided over this card; some are shocked that something this potent exists (or at least disappointed) while others are wondering what all the fuss is about.  Among those I’ve noticed weighing in, I get the impression that besides those inclined to always hype or bash a card, those that have been playing the Pokémon TCG for at least a short while (in my book, that would be about five or more years) and/or have a few years of experience with other TCGs on top of those spent in the Pokémon TCG are among the ones that have high expectations from Lysandre’s Trump Card.  This is not a “scientific” observation: I haven’t been counting and I already know of some long time players that think Lysandre’s Trump Card is more “interesting” than useful or game relevant.  I also didn’t mention player skill or accomplishments: people good at winning tournaments are usually good at reading the deeper aspects of the game, but not always.


I am someone that thinks Lysandre’s Trump Card is ultimately too powerful, and I’ll explain why.  First, it pretty much kills mill decks; such decks aren’t really alive right now anyway and there have been very, very few that have been seen as competitive, so the loss isn’t likely to be felt except by those that wish this strategy was viable in the first place.  Unless we get an absurdly powerful mill effect, this is a fairly easy answer though a mill deck might get lucky and discard it (and any hope of retrieving it) before Lysandre’s Trump Card can be used in a worthwhile manner.


The second reason is that it is quite hard on effects that work based on cards in the discard pile. Our number three pick Battle Compressor helps to compensate but its basically the reason why cards like Bronzong (XY: Phantom Forces 61/119) can be our number two pick in the same list where Lysandre’s Trump Card is our number one: without Lysandre’s Trump Card discard based effects would be more powerful than they likely ever have been before.  Certain effects also are impacted far less: Bronzong is likely attaching Energy each turn and so even if the discard pile gets shuffled away, the Energy already in play is likely hitting the discard pile soon enough or else the Bronzong deck is in a very good place even without additional Energy… and a Battle Compressor gets three more Energy into the discard pile ASAP.  Night March is an attack found on three Pokémon this set - Joltik (XY: Phantom Forces 26/119), Lampent (XY: Phantom Forces 42/119) and Pumpkaboo (XY: Phantom Forces 44/119) that does 20 damage times the number of Pokémon with Night March on them that are in your discard pile.  Joltik can use the attack for [CC] and with a Dimension Valley so can Pumpkaboo.  While they are glass cannons, they can pretty easily ramp the damage to the point that OHKOs against 180 HP Pokémon-EX are possible.  Without Lysandre’s Trump Card this probably would have been a new, top performing deck but now?  Its relegated to “fun deck” status.


The third reason and perhaps the most important is that resource management is going to get even more out of whack for the Pokémon TCG.  Players can rip through their decks with total abandon, for better and worse, and not have to worry too much about what they are using up or tossing away as Lysandre’s Trump Card can get it all back in the deck to do it again (and with a VS Seeker, again and again as needed).  Maybe it is just because I’m not a good enough player, but I do have the periodic game that goes to time.  In a tournament setting I would expect this less as players are already incentivized to run “faster” decks and to shrewdly know when to scoop due to a bad set-up or situation because the time is better spent on a second and third game than trying to reverse a bad first one.  Still it happens, especially when someone digs for that one card they need to seal the win this turn… and they whiff.  Now unless you do deck out while doing it, that isn’t a concern.


Or at least significantly less of a concern.  Critics of Lysandre’s Trump Card do have one thing completely correct: giving up your Supporter usage for the turn is a major concern, especially as you are giving your opponent the same benefit.  What I believe most are failing to properly consider are when you should be playing it and what you should be running with it.  Again maybe it is because I’m not the greatest of player and when I watch a video of someone skilled playing, maybe I am just catching them making a bad play, but I find there are times when I don’t really want to use a draw Supporter.  Its usually late game (though sometimes mid-game), I’ve got pretty much everything I want in hand, and there’s just no sense depleting my deck at that point.  That’s when you hit the reset button on your discard pile.  You also have the choice, even if you’re deck is optimized for it, to not use Lysandre’s Trump Card if you can tell it will help your opponent more than yourself, the same way one does with N.


How do you make sure you’ve got the good timing what I just said requires?  You can’t guarantee it but you can make it quite probable with Battle Compressor and VS Seeker, two cards which should already be in most decks and probably beyond TecH levels.  If no one is bothering with Lysandre’s Trump Card, the two allow you to streamline your Supporters while also making use of potent TecH supporters that are normally a pain because they tend to not show up at the right time and end up hiding in your deck or getting prematurely discarded.  In fact, you are still going to do this even if everyone is running Lysandre’s Trump Card because its one of those Supporters you should be tossing.  If you’re running a deck that already favors Bicycle and/or Roller Skates, that also helps with the whole “I just used my Supporter for the turn on something that isn’t draw or search”. thing.  Battle Compressor in significant quantities (assuming you can make room) allows you to functionally recycle just the “good” stuff in your deck.  Odds are you won’t be able to ditch everything you’d rather not draw again, but if you’ve got two or three Battle Compressor (and especially if you max it out) you can come close.  If you’re opponent is already doing the same, either they have a deck that isn’t going to like Lysandre’s Trump Card or run it themselves, in which case having your own deck prepared to use it is the best defense.




Standard: 4.25/5 - A bit low considering I’m pretty much telling you that one copy should be a staple, but still the best card of the set and one that changes some fundamental aspects of how we play this game, especially at the higher levels.


Expanded: 4.25/5 - Same score, though I’ll add that here it also makes it even less likely Durant (BW: Noble Victories 83/101) is going to make a comeback.


Limited: 5/5 - Besides the nature of Limited being that you’ve got room for Trainers that are unlikely to be used most games and that you rarely will lack a Supporter usage you can spare that turn, it really is pretty helpful here.  Your opponent can’t rely on you having one and build his or her deck accordingly, so it should be somewhat of a surprise when it happens.  Get some of your best pulls back to use again.  Even +39 decks should make room; it is pretty unlikely you’ll risk decking out before your opponent KOs your lone big Basic or you take four Prizes, but stalling happens and again, you should have the room.


Summary: As you can tell, I’m quite impressed by this card.  I can still see people skipping it but they really shouldn’t.  When Lysandre (XY: Flashfire 90/106, 104/106) I didn’t expect it to do all that well (and was surprised when it was the Pojo crew’s top pick for XY: Flashfire) but in hindsight it was a completely accurate call.  I had Lysandre’s Trump Card as my number one pick for this set, and to my surprise that I wasn’t alone in thinking so highly of it.

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