Lillie’s Poké Doll
– Cosmic Eclipse
November 28, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Lillie’s Poke Doll, as well as Robo Substitute from XY Phantom Forces, seems like a simple and straightforward card, but there are multiple ways to use them. Some of them could be simply used as general material while others has a strategy revolving this card. And it’s actually so good that a deck was based on swarming Lillie’s Poke Doll, and a particular deck by the name of “Doll Stall” made it into Day 2 of Latin American International Championships, which is impressive!
But before I go there, I’ve got to go over how this card works. It is treated as a 30 HP Colorless Pokemon. If this is your Active Pokemon, you may discard all cards attached to it and put this Poke Doll in the bottom of your deck. Also, this card cannot retreat (although you can switch it) and your opponent cannot take any prize cards when knocking out this Poke Doll. In isolation, this could help you buy a turn to devise your strategies before it eventually becomes too late. Your opponent would have to waste an attack for no gain, so you’re not really behind. Sure, your opponent may bring out your other Pokémon to the Active spot to finish it off for prizes, but that doesn’t really get rid of the problem; Lillie’s Poke Doll could come back to the Active spot. It’s not foolproof though. At 30 HP, it falls prey to spread or snipe attacks on the Bench. Any spread damage such as Kyurem’s Glaciate or Kingdra’s Mealstrom-GX effectively wipes out each and every single placeholder.
Ok, so back to the winning deck. Doll Stall is a deck that utilizes Lillie’s Poke Doll, as well as cards used to cycle through Poke Dolls so that it can be constantly used every turn, effectively prolonging the game because your opponent cannot take any prizes for it despite knocking out Poke Dolls turn after turn. And your opponent eventually decks out and lose. Florges from SM Forbidden Light has an ability that is a 50/50 shot of putting an item card from the discard pile to the top of your deck. Then Sawsbuck from SM Cosmic Eclipse has an ability that lets you draw a card, which pretty much is the exact same card that you’ve just recovered. That’s how you could stream Lillie’s Poke Doll. Munchlax from Unified Minds does almost the same thing Florges does, but it ends your turn. Mew from Unified Minds is there for Bench protection unless Espeon & Deoxys uses Cross Division to place damage counters, and it can even dispose at least three Poke Dolls, or all four if it has six energies attached to them. This deck ran little to no energy as well as a full four Jirachi in hopes of starting with one so that you can use Stellar Wish and hopefully grab a trainer card from it.
This really recent article from PokeBeach, despite me reading the limited version of the article, did improve my views about this card. Coupled with Robo Substitute in Expanded which could be used together with Lillie’s Poke Doll, and you could have up to eight placeholders to keep on swarming so that your opponents can’t take any prizes at all! Sure, you can’t use this as your starting Pokémon during setup and that item lock strategies keeps you from playing this Poke Doll from your hand, but problems aside, this has already made a deck that made it to day 2. I wouldn’t say that such strategies are unheard of; future releases of newer cards can help make such dream strategies realistic, and Florges/Sawsbuck made it possible despite the coin flip.
As a general usage, this could buy you a turn or two. Additionally, it was also used as a part of stall decks that was able to progress the tournament to day 2, so Poke Doll might have achieved its peak performance.
Lillie’s Poké Doll (SM – Cosmic Eclipse 197/236, 267/236) is a Trainer-Item with an effect that has you play it as if it were a 30 HP [C] Type Basic Pokémon. While Lillie’s Poké Doll is your Active Pokémon, you can discard all cards attached to it and bottom deck it, so long as it is your turn, before you’ve attacked or used any effects that end your turn upon resolution. Lillie’s Poké Doll can’t retreat, and it doesn’t give up any Prize cards when KO’d though it does count as a KO for other card effects. The stats as a Pokémon are almost literally minimal, with stuff like Weakness, Resistance, and Retreat Cost missing entirely.
Let’s clarify what the effect text actually means. Lillie’s Poké Doll only counts as a Basic Pokémon while it is in play, and like nearly all Trainers, you can only activate the effect that lets you play it to the field as a Pokémon during your turn. So no searching it out from your deck, recycling it from your discard pile, etc. with cards that only work on Pokémon. Though it cannot retreat, you can use a card effect like that of Switch to move a copy of Lillie’s Poké Doll from your Active position to your Bench. Something I originally got wrong in an earlier review, Lillie’s Poké Doll never gives up a Prize for being KO’d; even if another effect adds to how many Prizes are taken, Lillie’s Poké Ball continuously zeroes it out, like Float Stone does to Retreat Costs. Discarding Lillie’s Poké Doll via its effect won’t count as it being KO’d, but anything that would normally count as KOing a Pokémon still counts as Lillie’s Poké Doll being KO’d, and even though no Prizes are taken it will still count as a KO for Rosa (assuming the KO happened during your opponent’s previous turn).
Lillie’s Poké Doll forces your opponent to attack around it (if that is even an option) or else burn an attack scoring a KO that awards no Prizes. This could be useful for a variety of decks, but not enough to make Lillie’s Poké Doll a must-run or even a loose staple for most decks. Good thing it already has is own deck. “Doll Stall” was used by Ondrej Skubal to take 5th-place at the Sao Paulo Inernational Championship. Florges (SM – Forbidden Light 86/131) is used to recycle your Poké Dolls that do get KO’d. There is much more to it, like pointing out it sometimes is known by other names such as “Florges Dolls”, but you can learn more by just looking at the lists (others ran variants) over at Limitless.
The above describes Lillie’s Poké Doll in Standard; I don’t have any data for it in Expanded, but something similar may be possible, or perhaps it can find a role in various decks that need disposable Bench-fodder for other purposes. Robo Substitute Team Flare Gear was the go-to card for this purpose before now, but that is just Lillie’s Poké Doll by another name and without the nifty effect that places it on the bottom of your deck when you discard it via its own effect. For Limited Format play, this is a must-run… yeah, even in a +39 (or Mulligan) deck; you can’t play it during your open, but you may as well have it in case you’d benefit from being able to retreat into something… or maybe using its own effect to keep from decking out!
Lillie’s Poké Doll spawned a new archetype. I don’t know how long it will be effective, but coupled with its other uses, that’s good enough for a four-out-of-five. I’m sad it didn’t make our Top 11, as I had it as my 10th-place pick. If we’d started high enough, it would have been our 16th-place finisher. You may have noticed we skipped that one earlier this week; when not in an actual countdown, I like to consider reviewer needs, which led to us shuffling things around.
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