– Sword & Shield
March 19, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Time for another Throwback with a semi-complicated history that was reprinted in Sword & Shield! We’ll start with what they all have in common: Lum Berry has always been a Pokémon Tool, a Trainer-Item. Yes, it actually predates the term “Item”, but it functioned as one long before we had a clear, concise term for it. As a Tool, its biggest problem back in the day was competing with other Tools for deck-space, though Windstorm (Field Blower by another name) did release while Lum Berry was legal, and didn’t help it out.
Lum Berry was first released as EX – Ruby & Sapphire 84/109 (June 18, 2003) with a reprint as EX – Emerald 78/106 (May 9, 2005). At this time, its effect stated that, between turns, if the Pokémon was affected by any Special Conditions, they were all removed and Lum Berry was discarded. While you controlled when you attached Lum Berry, its activation was “automatic”. You were able to decide when effects on your Pokémon would resolve between turns, so if you needed Lum Berry to go first, last, or whenever, you did have that much control.
On January 9, 2020, an erratum was issued for Lum Berry. You can see the official announcement here, unless you’re reading this far enough into the future its been taken down. The errata means you can still use either of the two older releases of Lum Berry, but instead of their actual wording, you use the new wording which is… mostly the same! All that changed it when Lum Berry triggers; not it is at the end of each turn, instead of the Pokémon Checkup (between turns).
Lum Berry (Sword & Shield 168/202) already matches the errata, naturally. As a general solution for Special Conditions, it ain’t thrilling. You’re just saving yourself Poison or Burn damage – at the cost of using a better Tool – versus using the various other common solutions to Special Conditions, like using Switch to do-si-do with a free-retreater. Escape Board – another Tool – makes retreating in general, as well as out of Special Conditions, easier. If it is an option, you could evolve, use bounce effects, or a different Special Condition solution… but you may not even need to as they aren’t super common and don’t always matter.
What about with self-inflicted Special Conditions? That sounds important enough to just run Galarian Rapidash instead. There may have been some decks that used Lum Berry well in the past, or its slightly different predecessor, Miracle Berry (Neo Genesis 94/111), which released back on December 16, 2000… but I doubt it. I did a quick search through the Worlds Championship decks from the years when Lum Berry was originally legal, and found nothing. The only place to enjoy Lum Berry right now is in the Limited Format. Special Conditions tend to be more effective here, and harder to conventionally treat.
This card almost has enough use to have earned 2-out-of-5 scores in Standard and Expanded, but Special Conditions themselves vary between being serious threats to incidental ones, depending on the metagame. I think we’re in one of the periods when they aren’t that threatening, which means minimal scores. It isn’t a good answer to Special Conditions, but it is an answer.
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