– Crimson Invasion
November 22, 2017
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Lusamine (Crimson Invasion, 96/111) debuts in the Pokemon Trading Card Game in the Crimson Invasion expansion set. This Supporter card allows you to reach into your discard pile and put two of any combination of Supporters or Stadium cards back in your hand. Granted it’s using a Supporter to get a Supporter, but at least now we have a way to bring Supporter cards back into our hands, even if we will have to wait a turn to play them.
It’s not nearly as good as VS Seeker (Roaring Skies, 110/108), and I don’t think any of the top eight decks ran it. I had it as the number one card in the set, and I have greatly appreciated it in my decks. Granted if you get it early it becomes Ultra Ball (Sun & Moon, 135/149) or Professor Sycamore (Steam Siege, 114/114) fodder, but if you get it late, it’s awesome for grabbing a late game Guzma (Burning Shadows, 115/147) or Acerola (Burning Shadows, 112/147). I don’t think you want to play more than one of it in a deck, but I’m not playing any less.
Standard: 3 out of 5
If we’re rewriting our top ten, Lusamine definitely drops down the list. I think I was a little too enamored with the idea of being able to get Supporters back in hand again. It’s a good card, though, and if you haven’t really tried it, I’d recommend giving it a shot. I don’t think it’s a 61st card.
Our third place pick is Lusamine. She fetches your discard pile for 2 of any combination of Supporter and Stadium cards to your hand. Retrieving resources is good, but the design flaw is that you have just used your supporter for that turn, which is Lusamine. As for stadium cards, I guess it can serve the purpose of kicking out other stadium cards. Not too big of a deal though, since you can use other supporters on your next turn. Outside of Puzzle of Time and Vs Seeker, I don’t think any other cards besides Lusamine can retrieve Supporters and/or stadiums.
I don’t think I mentioned this, but you could abuse the Lusamine chain. That means you play Lusamine to get back a Lusamine and other Stadium or Supporter cards from the discard to your hand. That way, you can get back a stadium, ready to be used again while kicking out other stadiums. Sounds pretty insane!
Our thrilling third place pick is Lusamine (SM: Crimson Invasion 96/111, 110/111). As is so often the case, being a Trainer card – as opposed to a subcategory of Trainer – means little on its own; most effects that apply to all Trainer cards are either weak, deck specific, or less applicable in this instance. Being a legal target for Trainers’ Mail is nice, but that’s about it; beats having it countered by several different effects, though. Speaking of which, this is a Supporter; your Supporter usage for the turn is precious, even if there are times when it is better to skip it because the only Supporters you have available are best saved for later. Supporters have a powerful friend in VS Seeker, but that is for the Expanded Format, and we’ll discuss how that card both does and does not help Lusamine, but not quite yet. Lusamine must compete against all other Supporters to earn a place in your deck; you want enough of them in your deck that you’ll usually have something worth using each turn but you don’t want so many that they clutter up your hand due to their once-per-turn nature.
The actual effect of Lusamine is that she allows you to add either two Stadium cards, two Supporter cards, or a Stadium and a Supporter card from your discard pile to your hand. This is a potent effect, but it is not a fast one. If one or both cards were a Stadium, then you can indeed instantly play one down (saving the other for later, using it for discard fodder, etc. if you grabbed two). If you grab two Supporters, it is only to worry about the future; nothing in the Standard or Expanded Formats allows you to play three Supporters in a single turn. There is Magnezone (BW: Plasma Storm 46/135), with its “Dual Brain” Ability that allows you to play a second Supporter, but I don’t recall it ever meeting with any competitive success, and its Expanded-only. Now, why would you want to reuse a Supporter if you have to wait a turn? Simple; it has an effect you really need and its worth waiting a turn and risking your opponent messing with your hand. The Stadium side of things should not be ignored, either; they don’t have any easy way of being reclaimed from the discard pile. In both cases, remember the sheer amount of discard effects you’re likely to inflict upon yourself: Professor Sycamore and Ultra Ball are just the two almost universal, three or four count, examples.
Lusamine is not a replacement for VS Seeker in the Standard Format. I know many hoped she would be, but she isn’t. If it was as easy as being “similar but different” to VS Seeker, we’d all be maxing out Puzzle of Time right now, the Item you can play two copies of at once in order to reclaim any two cards from your discard pile. Most decks were maxing out VS Seeker, so running four Puzzle of Time should have worked, right? Nope; besides anti-Item effects, having to get two of the same Item in hand at once just wasn’t as fast or reliable as getting that VS Seeker. Well, Lusamine isn’t two cards, it is one card; having to wait a turn to use that next Supporter hurts her, though. It is easy to forget that Pal Pad released back in XY: Flashfire and few decks used it; sure, it didn’t add two Supporters to hand but shuffled them back into your deck, but it was also only an Item.
Lusamine might be the new-ish Scott. The who? Originally released as EX: Emerald 84/106, then reprinted as EX: Power Keepers 81/108, Scott was a Supporter that allowed you to add up to a total of three Stadium and/or Supporter cards from your deck to your hand. It didn’t look too impressive at first, even though most decks at the time were running supplementary draw and/or search in the form of Poké-Powers (a precursor to Abilities). Then, Stadium wars started to become more and more important, as well as getting the right Supporter in hand at the right time. Lusamine can’t do that, at least not in the same way; she only gets two cards, the cards come from the discard pile and not the deck, and… um… other than having Tapu Lele-GX to fetch our Supporters that same turn and general power/pacing creep, the rest actually lines up.
I haven’t been playing much Pokémon lately, but thanks to the European International Championships, I know Lusamine didn’t have much of a showing, and was absent from the Top 8 for the Masters Division. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that might be a mistake. Not for decks that already have a great way of recycling Stadium and/or Supporter cards; she probably isn’t necessary for Gardevoir-GX. I’m also not saying any deck needs four copies of Lusamine. Or three. A select few decks might want two if they really need to manipulate their Stadiums; two copies can be used over and over again with each other, after all. Standard Format decks in general, I think, should strongly consider one copy. In some cases, you can make room by simply reducing how many copies of a particular Supporter or Stadium card you run. Yes, you must also factor in how that affects drawing into said Supporter or Stadium card. For the Expanded Format, Lusamine is only for decks that really need to worry about their Stadium cards, really need to reuse Supporters while under Item lock, or both. While niche, such decks do exist; I’m mostly looking at Vileplume (XY: Ancient Origins 3/98) variants.
For the Limited Format, things get oddly complicated. You might think that, with a 40-card deck size, you couldn’t possibly have room for something that wasn’t vital, but remember you’re building that deck from whatever you pull in your allotted booster packs. Any packs from SM: Crimson Invasion, unfortunately, will only have Devoured Field, Gladion, Lusamine, Olivia, and Sea of Nothingness. Oivia is only available as a Full Art, so odds are low indeed of pulling her… plus you’d need to also pull and run multiple Pokémon-GX for recycling her to be useful. Gladion puts himself into your Prizes after use, so no sense recycling him. Lusamine can recycle other Lusamine, but that only makes sense if you really need to keep replaying your Stadium(s), assuming you have at least one Stadium card in your deck in the first place. The two in SM: Crimson Invasion are pretty specialized; the main reason to run them is to forcibly discard the other Stadium when facing a deck that can actually make use of it. So, she’s probably not useful… except a little over a year ago, TPCi started giving out an “Evolution” pack along with packs from the most recent expansion, at Pre-Releases. I haven’t been to a Pre-Release since before this change, so I don’t know if they’ve kept it up or not, but assuming they have, then this might give you a chance to capitalize upon Lusamine, as the ones I have seen included two Supporters. I also remembered that I am annoyed TPCi named something an “Evolution” pack when they had XY: Evolutions almost certainly planned and named by that point. If I hadn’t remembered which a specific website that discussed the Evolution pack contents, I would have had to go by memory.
Lusamine is not a replacement for VS Seeker, at least not in the sense most people hoped. She’s an amped up Pal Pad or a variant version of Scott, the former a card that never really saw success and the latter a relic of a bygone error. She’s insurance against a format where players often have to rip through their own decks, discarding a lot of cards they’d rather keep. She’s also great for decks that really, really need to manipulate Stadiums or spam a particular Supporter. This should sound familiar; good in specific decks but only so-so in general sounds like Gladion. As annoying as the Prize card mechanic can be, problems from premature discards is something that plagues me a lot more, so Lusamine edges out Gladion.
Lusamine made all six of our individual Top 10 lists, earning 40 voting points. As I’ve been saying, the top four are quite close on this list; she beat Kartana-GX by just two voting points, lost to tomorrow’s second place pick by only one, and lost to Friday’s first place finisher by only two… and my role in this was ranking Lusamine as my third place pick. By now, I realize I overrated her, though I do hope she’ll see a little more play in the future.