#1 Erika’s Hospitality
– SM Team Up
February 15, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Our collective pick as the best card from SM – Team Up is Erika’s Hospitality (SM – Team Up 140/181; 174/181)! Twice I’ve done two massive, deep dive reviews for this card, and twice I’ve deleted them because I think there are only a few things we need to cover for Erika’s Hospitality to really understand her, how useful she is, where, when, and how to utilize her well. She’s a Trainer-Supporter that can only be played when your hand contains five cards or less. That is including her; not counting her, it would be four or fewer cards in hand. She draws one card for each of your opponent’s Pokémon, so if she can be used at all, that means between zero and six cards, or between zero and nine cards with Sky Field in Expanded. Running her well means remembering an older time, when cards like Steven’s Advice were not just good but great. It isn’t the exact same thing; the rules of the game aren’t even the exact same, let alone the card effects or cardpool.
You do not run Erika’s Hospitality as your main source of draw power. She’s a powerful supplement for it because you won’t control your opponent’s Bench size, at least in the vast majority of decks. I don’t know how long it will last, but I believe we’re entering a time when we’ll be going back to running three to five different draw Supporters but maybe only one of them will be maxed out, while the others will be run as singles or doubles or triples. Erika’s Hospitality will become one of the staple draw Supporters but some decks will skip it, and most are only going to run her as a single or a double. Not unlike Colress back in the day, you’ll use her when you need her specific style of draw power or when the yield is fantastic. Most of the time, you won’t be using Erika’s Hospitality over and over again; use her then next turn, use a shuffle-and-draw Supporter or a non-draw Supporter. If your deck is prone to cluttered hands it can’t afford to shuffle away or discard, Erika’s Hospitality won’t be a good fit. For most Standard decks, though, she’s a going to be good to great, for most Expanded decks, she’s a rival for that lone Colress we include to feed off of Sky Field decks, and the Limited Format is a place where almost any Supporter or draw power is worth running.
Erika’s Hospitality was my second-place pick from SM – Team Up. She isn’t going to spawn a new deck, but most decks are going to be including her as at least a single, even if few should consider maxing her out. That adds up in my book. Of course, this is Theorymon; by the time I successfully traded for three, I ran out of time to playtest… plus I have been running decks like Granbull (SM – Lost Thunder 138/214), which should not run Erika’s Hospitality.
…wait, really? This is it? This is the card that got everyone’s sense buzzing?
…apparently, I haven’t been paying attention, cause I missed something.
Erika’s Hospitality is a Supporter that you can only play when you have 4 or less cards in your hand, and then you draw a card for each Pokemon your opponent has in play. On average, I would expect you’re drawing 3 cards – 1 for your opponent’s Active Pokemon, plus 2 more sitting on the Bench. So you’re averaging about what would be these days known as a Hau.
…so uhh…am I missing something?
I won’t deny that yes, given the right environment and against the right decks, Erika’s Hospitality is a phenomenal card to have. If your opponent puts down a lot of Pokemon, you can draw upwards of 6 cards, which if Cynthia has anything to say about it, that’s a positive sign for sure. But that’s really dependent on the deck you’re facing. Like, really really dependent.
Obviously if a lot of decks are running around playing cards that come onto the Bench and just trigger or keep active some sort of Ability, then this card is great since those tend to be fairly Bench-heavy decks just out of necessity. The more Pokemon occupying their Bench, the better. You could even go so far in Expanded to use Target Whistle, purposefully putting Pokemon onto your opponent’s Bench to draw more cards from this! And that’s all fine and dandy too.
I’m just not entirely sold on this being “the best card of the set” material. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good Supporter for sure, though it’ll only realistically be drawing about, what, 3, maybe 4 cards? And there are Supporters already that draw that number of cards that may be seeing play for different reasons – literally, that’s Hala’s default effect, and that’s the weaker version of it! Yes, it does add more cards to your hand rather than shuffle stuff back like with Hala and Cynthia, meaning you’re less likely to be drawing the same cards anyway…but you’re usually playing those when you have so few cards to shuffle back anyway.
And by default, you have to have few cards to use Erika’s Hospitality anyway.
So as much as I appreciate Celadon City’s Gym Leader’s Hospitable Nature in a card, I’m just not as cemented on the idea of it being “the best”. It’s good, sure, but it’s reliant on your opponent, and I can’t imagine a card like that being something that’ll see long-term play.
Standard: 4/5 (I do think it’s solid enough to warrant being played here, but it’s hard to value it over similar draw Supporters that aren’t concerned about this)
Expanded: 3/5 (I expect it to be an option here, but nothing particularly special, given the overall abundance of Supporters already in the format; Sycamore, N, Colress, etc. all seem like better options compared with this card)
Limited: 5/5 (…it’s a draw card, why would you not run this here?)
Arora Notealus: Erika’s Hospitality seems to be the card that everyone agrees upon except me. I didn’t have this card on my list at all. Perhaps that’s me undervaluing the power of DRAW, which let’s face it, you can’t ever underestimate the power of DRAW, but I’m also not big on the fact that everyone else said this was the best card in the set. I’d be lying if I said I was one to talk, considering Ingo & Emmet – another DRAW Supporter – was what topped my own list. That could just be testament to draw cards in general, but eh, whatever floats your boat I guess.
Weekend Thought: Do you agree with our list? Are there cards you think should’ve been higher or lower? Anything not make the list that you think should’ve? What are some of the best cards you think the set has to offer? What’re your thoughts on the Tag Team GX mechanic? Is it worth all that Energy and those Prizes to put something like them down, or are we just in the early stages where we’ll see more powerful Pokemon Tag Team up?
At last, we get to the best card of the set: Erika’s Hospitality. I had her as my second place pick because I still think her effects aren’t as powerful as Ingo & Emmet, but it is what it is. You can play her if you have four or less cards in your hand. It used to be pretty confusing with the wording because they’re not sure if it’s counting this card or not. Or maybe that they’re trying to find a loophole to this wording…like if you had five cards in your hand before you play her, which makes it down to 4 cards. That’s not how it works!!! I’m pretty sure that if I had four cards in my hand , Erika’s Hospitality is one of the four cards. This wording should be pretty straightforward. Anyhow, once you played her, then you get to draw a card for each of your opponent’s Pokemon in play. This could range from bad to extraordinary. At worst, you draw 1 card; at her best, she draws six cards (or in Expanded, 9 cards, if Sky Field is in effect and your opponent has a full setup).
This is not a reliable card to use as your main draw power, hence why I didn’t have her as my number one, but at number two. While it’s not often that the Active Pokemon is the only Pokemon in their deck (looking at you Magikarp & Wailord GX), when your opponent didn’t see Erika coming and loads up lots of Benched Pokemon for the sake of ramping damage output of Riotous Beating, Total Command, and the like, then that’s where she really shines. She doesn’t discard your hand or shuffle your hand, so I guess that’s a safe card to use. Perhaps the safest straight draw without discards or shuffle is Cheren/Tierno/Hau, so Erika could be weaker than those three rivals. Unfortunately, I don’t think she would perform well in Expanded, where there are many other Supporters that draws a fixed amount of cards and not overly reliant on board position, despite Sky Field strengthening the effect of this card. Not saying you shouldn’t run her, but don’t rely heavily on her as the main draw power. She would be a must run in Limited, except that sometimes your opponent isn’t using a lot of Pokémon on play to make her draw power limited. Regardless, you would include her in your 40-card deck if you didn’t pull anything else.
Erika’s Hospitality is a safer Supporter that draws cards depending on how many Pokémon your opponent has in play, which is still not that reliable. Regardless, the overall countdown had her as the best card of the set, and this might be one of those cards that I would greatly underestimate the potential of this card, as it does remind me of an older card: Steven’s Advice.
Erika’s Hospitality (TEU 140) has really surprised me… at how bad it is. I remember initially seeing this card and rejoicing at the possibility of finally having a really good draw Supporter to pair with Cynthia. I would like to apologize to anyone who listened to my bad theorymon extolling the potential value of this card. And I should have known, I could easily have done testing against Lillie for this card, to see how it would measure up against a card that we commonly use in the meta today that would seem to function less effectively than Erika in a number of situations.
I was right some of the time: at times that Erika will draw one or two more cards than Lillie would have drawn. But the first six times I played it, Erika’s drew an average of one less card per play than if it had been a Lillie.
This is where Pokemon gets a little murky – this is very similar to N. There were absolutely times when N was a fantastic card and would be a phenomenal play – the problem is that those times were much fewer and farther between than most people thought they were. It’s the same with Erika’s: sometimes Erika’s is better than Lillie. If you have five or less cards in hand and Erika’s is one of those cards and your opponent has a full bench, Erika’s is WAY better than Lillie. And this happens a fair amount of times. The problem is, if you get Erika’s on turn one and are going first, it’s devastatingly bad. If you get Erika’s at the end of the game and your opponent only has a couple of Pokemon on the board, Erika’s is worse than Hau. And there are plenty of times in the middle of the game when you can’t necessarily get your hand size down to five cards without making plays that you don’t necessarily want to make.
Like I said, the first six times I played it, Erika’s was a net -6 cards compared to Lillie. The next three times I couldn’t play it because I had too many cards in hand. In each of these cases, Erika’s is a wash with Lillie – they’re both equally bad. I lost those three games because I couldn’t get draw support when I needed it. Not saying I would have won if those were T&L or Copycat, but I definitely lost because I couldn’t get any cards into my hand.
Now, part of this might be because I have stopped using Ultra Balls and replaced them with Pokemon Communication, and you might say that nine plays isn’t enough to objectively evaluate a card like this. But after losing three games because I couldn’t play the card, sorry that’s just to painful to me to consider running it as a four of. At this point, I would say that it’s a one or two of at most in my decks that include Dragonite so I can potentially grab Erika’s and use it at opportune times. But, unfortunately I’m very sad to say, Erika’s is a lot worse than I thought it was going to be, and serves as a good reminder that it’s easy to fall in love with the idea of something, to fall in love with what I want it to be and not what it actually is.
Standard: 2 out of 5
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