#9 Lt. Surge’s Strategy
– Unbroken Bonds
December 19, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Ninth-place in our countdown is Lt. Surge’s Strategy (SM – Unbroken Bonds 178/214; Hidden Fates 60/68), which we originally looked at here as the fifth best card of its set. Before we discuss how things went after that, let me state the effect for anyone who couldn’t make out the scan. Lt. Surge’s Strategy is a Trainer-Supporter you can only play when you have more Prizes in play than your opponent. Its effect lets you three total Supporter cards that turn, which includes itself (which has to be the first one played). It is worded that way so its effect cannot stack with itself. Supporters are designed with the idea that they are only a once-per-turn effect; using more than one-at-a-time can be amazing, even broken!
There are a few others ways to fudge this, but they’re no where near as good. In general, this is a handy card for your deck so long as you can make room for it and have at least decent chance of falling “behind” in Prizes. Why the quotation marks? This effect does not care about how damaged your Pokémon are, how good your field is, etc. so you can have fewer Prizes than your opponent but actually be in the worse position. Which gets us to Lt. Surge’s Strategy’s true calling: alternate win conditions, control decks in general, and slow decks in general. If a deck is slow at taking Prizes, or doesn’t try to take them at all, Lt. Surge’s Strategy becomes easier and easier to activate.
You’ll still need to get the Supporters to combo into hand, and we recently got a nifty trick to do that while also going down a Prize. Magneton (SM – Cosmic Eclipse 69/236) is one of the many new cards we’ll be looking at after this countdown, so I won’t go into a lot of detail. For now, just know that its Ability lets you KO it to search your deck for three Supporters (obvious combo is obvious). Oh, and what I’ve said is all about the Standard Format, because Lt. Surge’s Strategy is banned in Expanded. As for the Limited Format, unless you’ve only got one other Supporter and/or are running a Mulligan build, go for it.
Lt. Surge’s Strategy lets you break one of the fundamental rules of the game (playing more than one Supporter in a turn). It has conditions and restrictions placed on it to keep it from being blatantly broken… but it was still banned in Expanded. Lt. Surge’s Strategy is not something every deck must run, but it is something most decks wish they could run, several decks do run as a single for clutch plays, and which certain decks run in multiples because they are better suited to exploiting its conditions and effects. I had it as my sixth-place pick, but once again, there are several cards I had above and below it on my list of similar quality.
Whenever there’s a card that lets you bend the rules of the game, it naturally warrants a look. But then again, depending on your deck, sometimes bending the rules might or might not be necessary. Some might scream “broken” or some might dismiss it. Lt. Surge’s Strategy is one of those cards that lets you break one of the rules of the Pokémon TCG. Under normal circumstances you would only be able to play one Supporter card from your hand, he lets you play three Supporters in one turn if you’re behind on prizes. That’s assuming you played Lt. Surge’s Strategy so that you got two more opportunities to use other Supporter cards. Of course, you would need to have two other Supporter cards in your hand or otherwise this rule breaking effect won’t be of much use.
Lt Surge’s Strategy was released on Unbroken Bonds but didn’t get banned in Expanded until the day cards from Cosmic Eclipse became legal to use, that is November 15. That might be unfortunate; while you could’ve benefit with draw power and consistency search, others players may have a sinister side of pure disruption. Can you imagine the craziness of depleting a sizable hand from your opponent? You play Lt. Surge’s Strategy, then play Delinquent to discard your opponent’s stadium and discard three cards from their hand, play your own Supporter, then play Delinquent again to get rid of your Stadium and discard another three cards from your opponent’s hand. Yeah, thank goodness those two cards (Delinquent and Lt. Surge) are banned in Expanded! There’s Magnezone Plasma whose ability lets you play 2 Supporter cards, but as a Stage 2 that takes deck space and whose ability might be shut off or being dragged into the Active for a KO, Magnezone is doing almost no favors there.
As for Standard, there’s still couple Supporter cards that causes disruption such as Bellaba & Brycen-Man which could mill six cards from both players’ deck if you played two of them, so I don’t know how much of a concern that is. But besides disruption, I think Lt. Surge’s Strategy still has good general usage regardless of what deck you’re playing. Being banned from Expanded is almost a testament to how good he is, and if future cards benefit from having him around (if it was more disruptive cards), then he would also get the ban hammer there. Not yet, though.
Expanded: Banned (would be 4.5/5)
Well now why wouldn’t a card that lets you play 3 Supporters in one turn make it onto the list? There’s no reason for it not to!
Lt. Surge’s Strategy opened up a lot more than just a new game plan – it opened up a massive number of possibilities! Ideally you’re playing a group of Supporters that are powerful in their own right, so being able to play 3 of them in one turn is exactly the sort of thing that can break open a Supporter’s power. And if Lt. Surge’s Strategy’s inclusion in a few decks isn’t indicative of that, well then I don’t know what is!
Definitely deserving of its spot on the list, thanks to the Lightning Lieutenant! And not American…anymore…
Standard: 5/5 (absolutely a powerful card)
Expanded: 5/5 (playing multiple Supporters in a turn is definitely great)
Limited: 4/5 (though there are good Supporters here, there aren’t many to combo with)
Arora Notealus: You know speaking of Weaknesses, I know the Types in the game are pretty universal in what they’re weak to – Fire beats Grass, Grass beats Water, Water beats Fire, that all makes sense. But then you get into Ice Types are in Water, Bugs are in Grass, and don’t even get me started on Psychics with Poison and Ghost! And what about all those Pokemon with two Types? Or that work in different Energy from their Types like Quagsire or Abomasnow? That’s why I’m making my fourth wish to vary up the Type Weaknesses (and Resistances) of different Pokemon! I’m not saying every Fire Type should change from being weak to Water, but let’s live a little and make a couple weak to Fighting for the Rock/Ground-type flavor once in a while! Same with Metal being weak to Fire AND Fighting, or gee how many different things can the Ice-Types in Water be weak to aside from Metal? Maybe some Psychics weak to Grass cause of the Bug aspect? Just saying, we can do more than just the basics, and it’ll make games that would otherwise be blowouts MUCH more interesting! Although Lightning would be hard to work with, since Electric is only weak to Ground…
Next Time: Featuring the lair of extraordinary nothing!
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