Allister – Vivid Voltage
Date Reviewed: January 17, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Allister (SW – Vivid Voltage 146/185, 179/185, 192/185) is a Trainer-Supporter that lets you draw three cards, then has you discard up to three cards (minimum one). This is not a lot of draw power; you can get just as many cards without having to discard anything from your hand, by using Hop. Which should tell you that the cost of Allister is actually intended to be at least partially a bonus. Use it to discard up to the three exact cards you want from your hand, though you’ll always have to discard at least one, so it isn’t a better Hop. It is a better TV Reporter, but that doesn’t mean a lot: while TV Reporter was reprinted during the Sun & Moon era, it hasn’t been “good” since the mid-EX (Gen III) era.
If you need to discard specific cards from your hand, it could be handy. We have staples like Dedenne-GX, Professor’s Research, and Quick Ball. Dedenne-GX and Professor’s Research discard your entire hand, so you cannot carefully cultivate your hand and discard pile, but they also draw six and seven cards, respectively. If you do need more precise discarding from your hand, there is Quick Ball; you only discard one card for it, but you not only get to search your deck for any one Basic Pokémon, you don’t have to burn your Supporter for the turn, or Bench a 160 HP Basic Pokémon-GX.
Speaking of Benching Pokémon, that is another alternative to Allister for decks that really need to discard a lot of cards from hand, but with some measure of control. Duskull (SM – Cosmic Eclispe 83/236) and Galarian Meowth (SW – Rebel Clash 126/192) each have once during your turn Abilities that require you discard cards from your hand to Activate (three cards and two cards, respectively). Duskull’s “Spiritborne Evolution” Ability then has you search your deck for something that evolves from it, and play it directly onto Duskull, while Galarian Meowth’s “Evolution Roar” just searches the deck for something that evolves from it. However, as search effects, you’re allowed to fail them. So you can just use them turn after turn to discard cards from hand. If you can afford a Stage 1, there is Cinccino (Sword & Shield147/202; SW – Balck Star Promos SWSH009); its “Make Do” Ability lets you discard a card from hand to draw two cards from your deck, once during your turn.
There are many, many more ways to discard cards from your hand in this game, so Allister burning your Supporter, only to let you draw the three cards that aren’t enough to justify running Hop, is most disappointing. Maybe, once the next set rotation happens – most likely late August or early September – we’ll have few enough options that Allister will be needed. Probably not, though; the only thing I’ve mentioned today that does not survive that rotation is Dedenne-GX. There are many more decks in the Expanded Format that can benefit from “controlled discarding”… but they also have many, many better options. Unless we get some other effects that reference Allister (as a card), he’s got good reason to look so gloomy.
- Standard: 1/5
- Expanded: 1/5
Allister’s biggest problem is that the powers-that-be are unwilling to accept that Hop is underpowered. Hop’s simple “Draw 3 cards.” effect appears to serve as a kind of baseline for the power of draw supporters, so when he’s draw a card less than he would need to be “decent”, cards that seem to follow its lead fall well short. Allister is something of a flawed concept, anyway; Pokémon already makes it quite reasonable to discard the cards you need to discard from your hand. There is room for a card that lets you draw, and draw more due to discarding, but discarding one to three cards as a “bonus” effect doesn’t really work.
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