Cynthia & Caitlin
– Cosmic Eclipse
November 13, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Tag Team Supporter cards are pretty unique that it features two characters, similarly to Pokémon having two or even three of them in a single card. Also, it has two effects, one that seems to be the primary effect and the other being an extra effect if you fulfill certain conditions. This kind of mechanic…only appears in one expansion, just like how XY Steam Siege is the only expansion that features Dual Types in the Expanded card pool. Hopefully Tag Team Supporters leaves an impression to be played.
Cynthia & Caitlyn is one of the two Tag Team Supporters that made into the countdown, with another one coming in tomorrow. You get to grab a Supporter card from your discard pile onto your hand, except this one. Additionally, if you discard a card from your hand, and you draw three cards afterward. This could be useful in Standard when there are no other cards that retrieve any Supporter cards (unless I missed something). However, Lapras’s Mermaid Call bring back a Supporter card, but the card in question is Misty’s Favor, so it’s not universal search from the discard. What would be nice is if you get to use another Supporter, except that you’ve already used one via this card! There are some workarounds:
-Play Lt. Surge’s Strategy first, followed by Cynthia & Caitlyn second, and whatever Supporter to your liking last.
-Expanded only tactic: Magnezone Plasma’s Dual Brains Ability lets you play 2 Supporters in one turn, and this ability doesn’t stack.
Those are some examples that I can think of. While you may need to play multiple Supporters in Standard, Expanded has VS Seeker that retrieves any Supporter card and it doesn’t use up your Supporter for your turn due to it being an item card even though item lock may be a concern. There isn’t much use besides recovering Supporters and it’s added draw power leaves much to be desired, but it could increase the damage output of Sylveon CEC’s Beloved Pulse, doing 160 damage for YCC instead of 80 if you played a Tag Team Supporter.
Our third-place finisher is Cynthia & Caitlin (SM – Cosmic Eclipse 189/236, 228/236), one of the new TAG TEAM Supporters I mentioned when we looked at Tag Call on Monday. So Cynthia & Caitlin can tap the support for but also have to deal with counters to Trainers (in general), Supporter cards (in general), and TAG TEAM cards (but not those only for TAG TEAM Pokémon). This is a good deal; while your Supporter-for-the-turn is important, decks have enough leeway that working in another or replacing something already being used is plausible, though not easy.
All TAG TEAM Supporters have two effects, which I’ll refer to as the primary and secondary. You decide whether you’re using just the first effect or both effects when you go to play a TAG TEAM Supporter, as well as paying any costs at that time. Then you perform the primary effect, followed by the secondary effect. So far, all secondary effects have come with a discard cost from hand, making it nice and obvious that you’ve chosen to use them. If you can’t use the primary effect but can use the secondary effect, you can still play a TAG TEAM card. The primary effect is not otherwise optional, however.
Cynthia & Caitlin’s primary effect is you add a Supporter from your discard pile into your hand, excluding copies of Cynthia & Caitlin or cards you discarded for the secondary effect. The secondary effect requires you discard a card from your hand to pay for it: remember, the discard happens before you perform the primary effect. After finishing the primary effect, you’ll then draw three cards. So the first effect is a nerfed VS Seeker or Lusamine, the latter is a worse version of TV Reporter. At a glance, that probably doesn’t seem too impressive.
It helps to remember that you’re getting these effects at the same time. You recycle a Supporter for future use while having the option to discard a card and draw three; two mediocre Supporter effects on the same turn, in one card, that was released alongside Item-based search that can grab it alongside another TAG TEAM card. It all adds up rather nicely. If you don’t need both effects, unless you absolutely only have room for one or the other, you should just use Lusamine (or even Pal Pad) for Supporter recycling and whatever draw Supporter suits your deck…
…but I believe Cynthia & Caitlin will become a common sight in Standard decks specifically because you can run one card to do the job of two, even if (individually) those other two cards do it better. I only have one Japanese tournament result to reference, the Tokyo Champion’s League held on September 22, and even then, I’ve only seen their Top 8… but half the decks ran two or three copies of Cynthia & Caitlin (and no copies of Lusamine). Their equivalent to Standard goes back to Sun & Moon, so it isn’t clear whether having access to more Supporters hurts or helps.
In Expanded, Cynthia & Caitlin are clearly outclassed by VS Seeker. Consider running it as a way to recycle Supporters that gets around Ability and Item lock, but I doubt you’ll often actually include it. I suppose if there is a deck already running Tag Call heavily to snag something else, Cynthia & Caitlin may also be worth running… but normally, you’ll need the space for VS Seeker. As for the Limited Format, it is a must-run and quite valuable. It won’t win you the game directly, but the chance to recycle one of the few Supporters you pulled and/or discarding one to draw three is great!
Cynthia & Caitlin take two underwhelming effects but combine them into something formidable… at least, once you also factor in Tag Call. This duo should also be a nice option for decks already utilizing Lt. Surge’s Strategy. I only had Cynthia & Caitlin as my 5th-place pick but I had Tag Call as my 2nd-place. If there was a way for us to effectively review Tag Call plus all TAG TEAM Supporters at once, I would have because together they’re just that impressive. Don’t worry, though, because our final two cards are pretty mind-blowing in their own right.
Now I know what you’re thinking: Caitlin’s not from Sinnoh, she’s from Unova! She’s a Unova Elite Four! And while you’re technically right, her first appearance was actually as head of the Battle Castle as early as Platinum, which takes place in Sinnoh. Of course there’s also the fact that she’s still head of the Battle Castle in HGSS cause the Battle Frontier exists in those games, but she still travels to Unova in order to develop her skills, meaning she’s not actually from Unova at all despite becoming one of the Elite Four. Not that that should have much of an impact on your ranking in the Elite Four – we’ve seen Kahunas like Hala in the spot and Gym Leaders like Koga, so why couldn’t a member be from outside of the region they serve in?
Cynthia & Caitlin is a Tag Team Supporter – one of many in this set – with the effect of putting a Supporter in your discard pile into your hand. There is a restriction on that though, since you can’t target another Cynthia & Caitlin to recycle, and you can’t put back the card you discarded with Cynthia & Caitlin back in your hand either. Why would you discard a card for them? Because of the second part of their effect, in which discarding a card lets you draw another 3 cards from your deck. Obviously if you discarded a card with a different Cynthia & Caitlin, you can add that back to your hand – it’s just a restriction on the card you’re discarding for their other effect so you don’t just get a “free” draw 3.
This is the most generically useful Tag Team Supporter out of all of them, and it has the lowest cost for its secondary effect. Being able to recycle any other Supporter is great, and being able to draw cards is great, even if it is just 3 of them. It’s like you’re combining two different Supporter effects into one card – like a TAG TEAM AHHHHHH I GET IT!! Searchable with Tag Call, works alongside Lt. Surge’s Strategy and can even get it back, they’re just a generally useful team for any deck.
Will every deck run this card? Probably, I don’t see much of a reason why not outside of you don’t like recovering Supporters cause that’s the only part of the card that really matters most of the time. Discarding a card to draw 3 is nice and all, but if we’re being honest you’re thinking of getting a Supporter back that you can, and that’s one of the biggest reasons to play these girls in the first place.
Standard: 4.5/5 (generally solid Supporter that’s got a lot of uses)
Expanded: 5/5 (naturally should find a home in an environment that loves its Supporters)
Limited: 5/5 (definitely a must-run here)
Arora Notealus: Cynthia & Caitlin managed to make it up to my #2 slot, with Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX ending up at #3 for me. Their utility was a big part of the reason I kept them high up on my list, even if they might end up not seeing that much play at all. Though I’m pretty sure getting a Supporter back continues to be a quintessential part of the competitive decklists around and about.
Next Time: Another unexpected duo arrives to smell ya later!
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