Cynthia - Ultra Prism
Cynthia – Ultra Prism

#1 Cynthia
– SM Ultra Prism

Date Reviewed:
February 16, 2018

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 4.75
Expanded: 4.58
Limited: 5.00
Theme: 5.00

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.

Reviews Below:


Oh like you didn’t expect Cynthia of all cards to make any lower than #1.

Cynthia is a Supporter that has a simple effect – you shuffle your hand back into the deck and then draw 6 cards. That’s it. It’s probably no surprise why this card is good – you get to draw 6 cards, refreshing your hand in the process, and you could even thin your deck out a little. It’s likely to be a must-have Supporter, especially in light of Sycamore most likely leaving us in the next rotation.

Cynthia is also hands-down the best Supporter card we’ve got in the Sun & Moon era – compared with Kukui, Mars, Pokemon Rancher, Lillie, Hau, and Hala, she’s the only one who draws the most cards consistently (Lillie and Hala having conditions to draw all the cards they can draw, and the rest just drawing less cards overall, albeit with different effects). She’s one to have her cake and eat it too, and that’s something a lot of SM draw Supporters can’t all say they have.

Any downsides? Well I guess you won’t be able to play this and a copy of Guzma or Acerola or Sycamore that you draw into, but that’s to be expected of Supporters, right? Honestly it’d be a disservice to yourself not to run a few copies of this in most of your decks. Especially since for the most part, there aren’t as many recovery or acceleration options to have Sycamore feed off of.


Standard: 5/5 (definitely a major Supporter for the current format)

Expanded: 4.5/5 (while Standard might have fewer Supporters to benefit off of, Expanded has a LOT to work with, and Cynthia isn’t the best option in every deck)

Limited: 5/5 (but in Limited, again, she’s a must-run)

Arora Notealus: So now we’ve had Cynthia the champion show up, with Steven showing up a few sets ago in the midst of the XY era (notably in the midst of the ORAS sets), and we had Iris a few more sets before that as well. That leaves the only remaining Champions without their own dedicated Supporter card as Diantha from the Kalos region, Alder from Unova prior to Iris, and Lance from the GSC/HGSS days. Course we won’t get a Champion card from Alola here, since technically…the only Champion is you! Although they could do something really clever with that…

Weekend Thought: Ultra Prism’s looking like a prime set! What’re your thoughts on the set as a whole? What’re some of your favorite cards from the set? Do you agree with our list, or would you put some cards on and take others off? What cards do you look forward to us talking about in the weeks to come, and are you already looking forward to the next set? I don’t think there’s even been that much announced for it…well, maybe aside from Ultra Necrozma…


Note: Yesterday’s review for Glaceon-GX is now up; my apoglogies for the delay.

Cynthia (SM – Ultra Prism 119/156, 148/156) is the best card in this set, according to our countdown. She’s a Supporter that has you shuffle your hand into your deck and then draw six cards. This should sound familiar, as this is just Professor Oak’s New Theory by a new name… and if you’ve experienced a format where that card was legal, you probably already understand why Cynthia took first place. The last Standard Format where Professor Oak’s New Theory was legal alongside N and Professor Juniper was the 2011-2012 Format. By its end, it consisted of HeartGold SoulSilver through BW – Dark Explorers. The three also coexist in the Legacy Format. In either place, the typical trend is that people run all three. Exactly how many of each varies from deck to deck, but the combined total isn’t likely to drop below nine with a 4-3-2 split that can have any card in any position. Often, it will be a 4-3-3, 4-4-3, or even 4-4-4 count.

What worked back then doesn’t always work now; we’ve got errata, power creep, and rule revisions that have happened. What hasn’t changed is that our premier, Supporter-based draw power means we must choose between having both players shuffle-and-draw or just yourself discard and draw. This makes it very difficult to cultivate a good hand… or at least one you’ll hold onto for more than a turn or two. Cynthia won’t do anything to protect you from an opponent’s N, Peeking Red Card, etc. but she gives you an out to a healthy hand size without having to worry about the Prize count, worry about helping your opponent, or worry about throwing away resources you can’t do without.

In the end, this is why, even before we have major tournament results, I am certain Cynthia will be run as At least a two-per-deck staple. In some builds, it will be as simple as replacing one (but only one) copy each of N and Professor Sycamore with a Cynthia. Decks that have never liked the drawbacks of those two cards will make sure that Cynthia is their four-copy draw Supporter. Maybe one out of the handful of decks that favor Cynthia will drop one or the other staple draw cards entirely, and even prove competitive, but I’m not holding my breath. For Expanded, she’s still a staple, but unless your deck favors here, one will probably suffice, and very few will max her out… or maybe many will max her out and N and Professor Sycamore will suddenly become singles in typical deck builds. Again, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for the latter to happen.  The future, though, the future looks bright for Cynthia.  She’s the best draw Supporter we’ve received during the Sun & Moon era, and may be the best draw Supporter ever printed because yes, a stable shuffle-and-draw-six is just barely enough to rival N and Professor Juniper/Sycamore.  Barring new releases or reprints of older ones, she’ll become the best draw card in Standard come next September.  Even now, she’s kind of already got her own deck.  You see, the new Garchomp (SM – Ultra Prism 99/156) has a 100-for-[FCC] attack that becomes a 200-for-[FCC] attack if you played a copy of Cynthia the turn you use that attack (via the attack’s own effect text).  There is also Lucario (SM – Black Star Promos SM95; SM – Ultra Prism 67/156), which doesn’t specifically reference Cynthia, but does have an Ability that only works if you have a Garchomp in play.  Said Ability is a once-per-turn deck search for any card.  So if you were worried about having a Cynthia for the turn…

Unless you bizarrely get a regular and reverse holo Cynthia in each of your packs, any copies of her in the Limited Format you pull, you run, and you very obviously benefit.  You can get two copies of Cynthia from the “Mach Strike” Theme Deck, and even less surprising than anywhere else, she’s great in the PTCGO Theme Format because her deck may be the new best deck to run (three or four others rival it).  What makes it nice for those wanting to build a Cynthia focused deck on the cheap is that Mach Strike doesn’t just contain Cynthia, but a 3-2-2 Garchomp line and a 2-1 Lucario line!

Cynthia making all five of our individual top 10 lists should come as no surprise; even her topping it shouldn’t seem odd, but she earned 96 voting points, which means she topped four of the five lists, and still did well on the last one.  She’s got the cards to support her.  The historical precedence to support her.  The future to support her.  She’s even got fans of her character to support her!  No, really, that matters; while it doesn’t guarantee her longevity, it doesn’t hurt it either.  In fact, there isn’t much the designers could do to make Cynthia better without making her obviously broken, let alone overly powerful, hence how I’ve scored her card (below).  She only loses points due to the level of competition.


Standard: 4.75/5
Expanded: 4.5/5
Limited: 5/5
Theme: 5/5


Cynthia, the Sinnoh League Champion, makes an appearance in the Sun & Moon Ultra Prism expansion while being the best card of the set. Her latest appearance before this card is Cynthia’s Guidance from Platinum Supreme Victors with the same Ken Sugimori art. She lets you shuffle your hand into your deck and draw six cards. Does that effect ring a bell to the players? Depends on how long they played the TCG. For Standard and Expanded players, it is better than Shauna since Cynthia nets one more card. But for veteran players, this card has an identical effect with another much older card.

And that is Professor Oak’s New Theory from HeartGold & SoulSilver Base Set released in Febuary 2010!

I remember opening the Growth Clash Theme Deck to open the contents of my favorite Johto starter Pokemon and found one copy of Professor Oak’s New Theory in the process. My deck back then consists of old school cards like Bill and a Professor Oak Base Set. I quickly burned through my deck in many games without Professor Oak’s New Theory. I was worried about decking out. Professor Oak’s New Theory solved two problems: I don’t worry about decking out and I get to save resources instead of dumping your hand via Base Set Oak.

Then couple years later, I got invited to the group of competitive players who are discussing about the Modified format. They said that the format cuts older expansions every September to keep the game fresh. One of them looked at my deck, and 90% weren’t Modified legal, including Professor Oak’s New Theory! Other alternatives during the time were N and Colress. N draws cards based on how many prizes you have left (both players must do this), which makes it as good early game. Colress draws cards based on the amount of Benched Pokemon from both players. There wasn’t a constant reliable shuffle based draw at the moment.

Then XY gave Shauna, which is weaker than Professor Oak’s New Theory, but nets you five cards, which is still enough to work with. Then in XY Ancient Origins came with Ace Trainer, which works like Professor Oak’s New Theory but when you’re behind on prizes, and your opponent’s hand size gets shuffled down to three. Also, the reprint of Judge in XY BreakThrough did provide a consistent amount of draw without relying on other variables.

Then Sun and Moon series came in with two shuffle based draws, Ilima and Wicke. Ilima is coin flip reliant. Both players shuffle their hand into their deck and flip a coin. If heads, you draw six cards, if tails, you draw three cards. Same goes for the opponent. Wicke also shuffles both player’s hands and draw cards equal to the amount of cards you previously had before shuffling it. We have yet to have a reliable shuffle based draw in this series.

Until Cynthia came in on the Ultra Prism set.

I surfed around PokeBeach every morning for news and at one point, I saw the translations of what Cynthia does. I thought I was dreaming, but eventually the effect was real. I can imagine every player being very excited about this card: doubling herself as a fan favorite character and a very good reliable effect that we haven’t seen for a long time. Now that effect is back and is usable in all formats. Standard and Expanded? Use Cynthia! Unlimited? Use either Professor Oak’s New Theory or Cynthia! Legacy? Use Professor Oak’s New Theory!

There is a little fun tie-in to the animation and games such that Garchomp’s Royal Blades attack will add 100 more damage if you played Cynthia during your turn. That makes 100 for FCC become 200 for FCC! Add in possibly Choice Band and Devoured Field, and you’ll almost OHKO anything in the game. Of course, that assumes you can use Cynthia every turn to generate that effect constantly. Add in Lucario whose ability lets you search your deck for a card when you have Garchomp in play (it stacks), and you’ll have a deck that actually doesn’t need Tapu Lele-GX because you already got great consistency. Standard and Expanded will welcome her with open arms!

In Limited, this is a must run as a reliable shuffle based draw. Cynthia also appears in one of the four Evolution packs as a single copy along with the 3-2-2 Garchomp line. This could get your deck going already! She also appears in the Mach Strike Theme Deck with two copies and that also comes with Garchomp and Lucario. So if you bought two of these Mach Strike Theme Decks, you would have a full playset ready to be used in a competitive level!

Standard: 4.75/5
Expanded: 4.75/5
Limited: 5/5
Theme: 5/5

Conclusion: Cynthia doesn’t care if Professor Sycamore and N are giving her fierce competition. She could be run in a full four count for Garchomp/Lucario decks or even as a loose staple in other decks for when they are about to win the game but don’t want to use N or Sycamore. If you want to read more about Professor Oak’s New Theory, it has been the subject of two reviews.

P.S. to Aroramage: Diantha was revealed today at PokeBeach.

Need you in the morning to start the coffee pot
Need you in the afternoon to fan me when I’m hot
Need you in the evening when supper time is through
What I’m really tryin’ to say is I can’t get enough of you
Get along home, Cindy Cindy
Get along home, Cindy Cindy
Get along home, Cindy Cindy
I’ll marry you some day.
Cindy (UP 148) shines at the top of our list of the top ten cards out of the Ultra Prism expansion set.  Like the lyrics from the Appalachian folk tune up above state, “What I’m really tryin’ to say is I can’t get enough of you.”  I don’t know about you all, but I’ve got four in my deck for Collinsville tomorrow.  And with Pal Pad, I can reach down into my discard and bring two of her back up if needed.
I really don’t have much to say about this card, I’ll let the other guys speak to how good it’s been in a different incarnation in the past.  All I know is that this is a great card and will help alleviate the blow of losing Professor Sycamore at the end of August …although it’s my suspicion that something will come out in May that will make Sycamore completely obsolete… I have no proof, no knowledge of anything, all I know is that last year cards came out that made Lysandre and Shaymin completely disposable, it’s my guess that Pokemon will produce something equally as novel as those were… but again that’s just my guess.

Standard: 4.5 out of 5

Alright I know it’s too much to ask for draw and shuffle 7, but that would have given it it a 5 out of 5 for me.  Still, 4 Sycamore, 4 Cynthia, and a Pal Pad and I’m set for draw support tomorrow!

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