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Paint the Town Red — Gedemer's Crimson Invasion Set Review

Caleb Gedemer

Set for a November 4th, 2017 release date, Crimson Invasion is coming to a storefront near you! Competitive Pokemon Trading Card Game players all over North America are ready to get their hands on the new Ultra Beast cards and put them into decks to test them out. In Japan these cards have been out for a little while now and have seen a lot of tournament success. Will that translate over to the rest of the world? First things first, though, it’s a good idea to identify which cards are best in the set and get a feel of what others might be thinking about them. As with any set, that’s what I’m here to help you out with!

All translations are credited to Bulbapedia here, here and here. Without this source this article would not be possible for me to write, so thank you to them! As always, the main content of this piece will be centered on the Standard format.

Before I get started, remember this article is hosted right on Dead Draw Gaming’s storefront. They have lots and lots of product and singles for you to purchase right from this site, including pre-order purchases for Crimson Invasion itself. Keep that in mind and if you like these articles. It would help them out tremendously if you would consider perusing their website to if they’ve got anything you're looking for. Now enough talk, without further ado, let’s break down this new set!

Crimson Invasion…

Alolan Marowak 012

Fire decks can gain a bit from this guy as he can restore your Energy supply after you can a few Fire Energy in your discard pile. However, as it is dependent on your opponent’s own Energy count, its degree of playability suffers a bit in that regard. I see it being especially solid against Gardevoir-GX decks. Fire decks usually already play Volcanion with Power Heater so you may not need more Energy recovery.

Starmie 016

This card is interesting, but not very good. Escape is a pretty cool Ability but I can’t really think of any practical use for it that would be productive. Spinning Attack is quite obviously a vanilla 40 damage, something that many other Pokemon can do that don’t see play. You could play it with the Reuniclus from Black & White as a way to infinitely loop damage healing, but I’m not sure what that would accomplish and it would require a lot of setup.

Gyarados-GX 018

Read this Magikarp, the one from Evolutions. Flail does 10 times the number of damage counters on it. On its own it’s horrible, however, with a huge Gyarados-GX above it might actually be quite solid. You need Shining Celebi with Time Recall though, but that’s not a problem at all. With 240 HP, and a mostly irrelevant Weakness, Gyarados-GX is going to be able to take a hit, in fact, many hits. Any deck that loads up on Energy you can punish with a Tapu Lele-GX and Energy Drive. You can even play Bodybuilding Dumbbells as well and make it even harder for your opponent to take Knockouts. I’m honestly thinking this deck might become a major archetype of some kind. In addition, it’s splashable in any deck with Rainbow Energy! All you need is a thin line and a Shining Celebi and you immediately have a beastly attacker than can swing for the fences.

Milotic 027

TLC is interesting, but requires you to have damage on the Pokemon you want to shuffle back into your opponent’s deck. In addition, the fact that Pokemon has to be on your opponent’s Bench makes this card hard to use effectively as well. If not for either of those requirements Milotic would be a strong disruption card to immediately eliminate a big threat (higher Evolution or large Energy cost).

Regice 028

Mew from Evolutions already has an Ability that stops damage from Evolved Pokemon which is actually better. Iceberg Shield requires Regirock to be in play as well which is an annoying requirement. Frost Smash is nothing special as there are better Water Pokemon to attack with if you’re looking for an attack cost like this one.

Gengar 038

Gnawing Curse is the only Ability of its kind in the Standard format right now. With many decks relying on larger numbers of Energy attachments, Gengar could be a viable strategy somewhere down the line. Some of the concerns I have with it though are that it’s a Stage 2, and some of your opponent’s Energy attachments will come before it comes out. Additionally, I can’t think of a great partner to put it with, as the 20 damage that’s inflicted on Pokemon that have energy attached to them isn’t a huge amount. Regardless, it’s a super cool Ability that’s pretty unique.

Mismagius 040

What is with the consistent reprint of Chaos Wheel attacks? Noivern-GX got the Giratina-EX treament.  Now Mismagius. Of the three cards, I think Mismagius is the strongest. It only requires a single Energy attachment and can get cracking right away. Most decks don’t rely on Special Energy as much in the Standard format anymore, so I don’t suspect this attack to be extremely overpowering or anything like that. Maybe it will see play in Garbodor decks!

Chimecho 043

This is another unheralded effect on a Pokemon in this set and one that seems quite strong in our current format. Bell of Silence can stop popular Pokemon like Gardevoir-GX from even being played from your opponent’s hand, as well as things like Tapu Lele-GX. I think this card will be pretty decent in Garbodor decks and maybe in some kind of lock deck in the future.

Gourgeist 045

I really like this card, as it seems like a really fun concept to play in the Standard format. Pumpkin Bomb can do 250 damage at the maximum, as you can’t get additional damage from Choice Band if you discard it. Damage output like this has been seen since the days of Night March and its dominance in the Standard format, so I’m excited to welcome a force like that back into the game. Decks that swing for one-hit Knockouts are exciting and fun to play, so I have high hopes for this card. I envision it in a deck that plays upwards to twenty Tool cards so that you can consistently draw them. Aside from that, you might be thinking that you’d struggle against Garbodor decks since you’re discarding Items but you should just trade equally with your opponent. If you’re playing against a Drampa-GX version and your opponent opts to use it, you can get ahead by taking it down for two Prizes. I’m really hyped about this deck.

Salazzle 047

Sylveon-GX has seen a lot of success with Magical Ribbon, so attacks like Nasty Plot are pretty sweet. The only tradeoff is that Sylveon-GX has the built in consistency of Eevee and Energy Evolution, whereas Salandit does no such thing. Severe Poison isn’t terrible either, but there are just better things to attack with in my opinion. I think this card is strong but won’t see any play.

Oranguru 048

Fixer of the Forest would be strong in Gourgeist decks. Eco Arm is out of Standard, so a Tool recovery option would be somewhat attractive. Aside from that it’s pretty bad; Zen Headbutt is garbage.

Nihilego-GX 049

Empty Light could see play as a damage booster, but I think it’s only viable in a deck with Zoroark from BREAKthrough. Stand In can remove the Special Conditions from your own Active Pokemon. With so many decks playing Zoroark-GX this card may very well fit right in! Lock Up and Symbiont GX are probably unusable as they take three Psychic Energy apiece and I’m pretty sure that a straight Psychic type with Max Elixir would not be a good idea right now with Garbodor running around. I haven't mentioned it yet, either, but this card is a big liability when you play it down.  Again, I don’t think it will see much play although it is a stronger card textually.

Regirock 053

Registeel is a little ways down on this piece but you probably can already guess that it’s Metal. That said, you can just use a Dhelmise from Guardians Rising to increase its damage output instead of this Regirock. I think that Dhelmise and Regirock are both quite even in a deck that uses Registeel, so I wouldn’t think too much of this card. Going from 30 to 40 damage isn’t too big of a climb, and still doesn’t set up a magic number or anything against a Gardevoir-GX.

Buzzwole-GX 057

This is the face of the whole set! Jet Punch for a single Fighting Energy can make things hard for your opponent to navigate and cause lots of trouble. Devolving concepts will obviously get a buff with this guy’s release since it can spread a little more damage than some of its predecessors. It’s compatible with Strong Energy as well which makes things a lot more cohesive. Unfortunately, its second and third attacks aren’t too viable.  However, if you find yourself with three Fighting on Buzzwole-GX, you’ll be able to do some massive damage. This card should be creating a few new archetypes, with Buzzwole-GX / Garbodor headlining the list in my opinion. With Jet Punch able to set up a ton of Knockouts for you, it’s never been a better time to be using Trashalanche.

Hydreigon 062

Weed Out is super cool, but I don’t see it getting played even still. There are plenty of nifty cards out there, that come at the cost of being a bigger liability than others, or simply take up too much Bench space. Things like Marshadow from Shining Legends and even the new Nihilego-GX come to mind. With a way to remove them from your Bench, and make room for other things, you can more effectively stream a strategy like that. At the price of being a Stage 2, though, I think there are just better things you can set up, so this awesome Ability will likely go to waste.

Guzzlord-GX 063

Eat Sloppily is a very fitting attack name and the only reason this card might ever see play. Its massive HP is super attractive, but its attacks come at a humongous cost. Glutton GX might be one of the best GX attacks ever, since you can take four Prizes in a single turn with it, but that five Darkness Energy cost is going to be a pain. In the Expanded format, Guzzlord-GX might be viable in Darkness decks playing both Dark Patch and Max Elixir, since it can be powered up a lot more easily. Big attacks get punished very easily by things like Tapu Lele-GX and its Energy Drive attack, so aside from a surprise factor randomly, this card is likely going to sit on the sidelines.

Registeel 068

This card is amazing. My friend Isaac Sharpe first brought it to my attention but I quickly dismissed him. This was a huge mistake because a day later I was beginning to like it more and more. Isaac was spot on in thinking that this card is a fantastic counter to Gardevoir-GX decks, since, with a Choice Band it can smack a Pokemon-EX/GX with Metal Weakness for 120 damage. With 130 HP, and Garbotoxin online, a Gardevoir-GX will struggle to take a Knockout on Registeel. Drampa-GX / Garbodor is the perfect deck to play this card in, since it can easily play Rainbow Energy, and include this awesome tech to improve a tougher matchup. As a bonus, Turbo Arm can attach a Psychic Energy (in the instance of a Garbodor deck) from your discard pile to something on your Bench. Iron Hand isn’t great, but sometimes only one solid attack is needed for a card to succeed. This card is a gem.

Kartana-GX 070

Slice Off has a lot of potential in disruption decks like Sableye in the Expanded format and maybe a deck like that could finally see play in the Standard format, too. Gale Blade is not very good, but Blade GX is something else. Just take a Prize? That’s pretty sweet and anything with Metal Energy or Rainbow Energy should instantly be playing this card. It’s a win condition!

Xerneas 073

Bright Horns is terrible, but Lead could see play somewhere down the line. Right now Tapu Lele-GX is too prominent for an attack finding a Supporter to be great, but when it rotates out, this Xerneas could be a good starter in a variety of decks.

Alolan Exeggutor-GX 074

I’ve seen too much hype for this card. It is obviously terrible! It’s seriously one of the worst cards in the set. Not only does it immediately take a loss to anything Fairy (Gardevoir-GX), Tropical Head is a nice idea, but bad attack. Double Dragon Energy is out of rotation and you’d need a ton of Energy to do meaningful damage anyways. Dragon Hammer is bad for its four Energy cost and its GX attack is nothing special. Leave this card at home.

Miltank 078

I read this card wrong at first, which caused me to believe it was super good. I thought it could be on your Bench and you could still heal a Pokemon with an Energy attachment! Since it has to be your Active Pokemon, any degree of playability that it had is gone. You would constantly need a Float Stone on it to promote up after your opponent knocked something out, or, burn a Guzma just to get it Active in the same way. This card is pretty bad and I’m bummed that Gardevoir-GX didn’t get a cool new card. This card seems super good in Expanded Blastoise decks, though, since Keldeo-EX has its Rush In Ability; food for thought!

Cincinno 086

You’re really going to need to beg for your opponent to allow you to put two cards from your discard pile into your hand. Who in their right mind would let you do such a thing? You’ll probably be doing 80 damage a lot with this card, which isn’t too shabby for a single Energy, but it’s not strong enough of an attack to be a viable concept, unfortunately. Stick to Heatmor from Burning Shadows if you want cards from your discard back.

Silvally-GX 090

I really like this card, but, it’s not going to be any good for a little while. It needs a good way to deal with Gardevoir-GX decks since Gallade is such a problem with Sensitive Blade being able to destroy Silvally-GX with ease. Gyro Unit is a sweet Ability, an added bonus for a card that is already solid. Turbo Drive is similar to M Manectric-EX from Phantom Forces, but it only attaches a single basic Energy to a Pokemon you have on your Bench. 120 damage is not too shabby when you have Memory Tool cards to change your preexisting type. Rebel GX is literally the exact same GX attack of Lycanroc-GX from Guardians Rising, which is annoying. Where’s the creativity at? It’s a good GX attack though, so I don’t have too big of a problem with it. In the Expanded format it’s worth noting that you can put a Psychic Memory on Silvally-GX and use Turbo Drive for just a single Double Colorless Energy with a Dimension Valley in play. This card is strong and will certainly be part of the format at some point.

Counter Catcher 091

Playing from behind is a cool mechanic and this card helps you pull a big comeback. Guzma is the only viable “gust” effect out there right now, so Counter Catcher can be a big swing in a game since it doesn’t take your use of a Supporter for the turn. This card is amazing in the Expanded format in Sableye decks. If you’re playing a deck that’s a bit slower this card is an instant addition.

Dash Pouch 092

I’m almost certain this card is better than Float Stone in Gardevoir-GX decks. You can pay a Retreat Cost of a Pokemon, head back to the Bench, all while getting the Energy back to your hand only to reattach them to a different Pokemon. I think this is especially strong when you want to move a Syvleon-GX to your Bench since you generally don’t need any Energy on it any more once you start attacking with Gardevoir-GX. The deck can more easily play Max Potion now, too, since you’ll be able to discard less Energy than you normally would. A cool thing you can do is overpay the Retreat Cost of Gardevoir-GX by discarding a Fairy Energy as well as a Double Colorless Energy, and get both Energy back to your hand, saving you more resources if you decide to play a Max Potion. This card on an Octillery isn’t the end of the world either, since you’re going to get the Double Colorless Energy back to your hand anyways if you have to attach one to Retreat it.

Devoured Field 093

This is just a bland card like Reverse Valley. It’s not “bad” by any means, but it’s not overwhelming strong either. It might see some fringe play somewhere down the line, but I can’t think of anything that instantly gets better because of this card, or really anything that would want to play it over a stronger Stadium card like Parallel City, for instance.

Fighting Memory 094

This card makes Silvally-GX Fighting which is pretty cool. Drampa-GX becomes very easy to knock out as well as other Fighting-weak Pokemon.

Gladion 095

This card is only really good in Sableye in the Expanded format. It could have use in the Standard format in the late game as a “consistency” card to grab something out of your discard pile, but, I’m not very convinced of that. You need to have a “good” card in your Prizes to begin with which is all a matter of luck. Without VS Seeker to get it back, if you happen to discard it, this card isn’t too great.

Lusamine 096

Primal Groudon-EX gets a lot out of this card and might be able to get back to its winning ways in the Expanded format. Getting back Stadium cards is a big part of what the deck needs to do to win games and being able to save Puzzle of Time uses to get back other cards will be a sigh of relief for the big boy. I’m excited to try that combination out, since I’m a bigger fan of the deck. You can even use VS Seeker to reuse it and ward off Delinquent plays that your opponent would normally spam at you.

Peeping Red Card 097

This card is cool, I guess? It’s better than Red Card, for sure, but still not very good. It will be extremely disruptive in situations where your opponent has one or two cards and you see his or her hand, as well as a draw Supporter. He or she might fall into a dead drawing rut and it might allow you to get back into a game.

Psychic Memory 098

Now Silvally-GX is Psychic! It becomes inherently stronger against things like Buzzwole-GX and Necrozma-GX.

Sea of Nothingness 099

This card is horrible, and even if you’re playing something that relies on Special Conditions, I don’t think it’s great. Your opponent can just play a Field Blower or another Stadium card to replace it. Better yet, he or she can just Retreat his or her Active Pokemon to the Bench and remove the Special Condition(s) altogether! The only way I could see this have some chance of viability would be with Nihilego-GX and the new Mismagius that I talked about a little earlier. Chances are, though, that it’s still garbage.

Counter Energy 100

This card is intriguing, but I’m not so sure how good it will be. In the past, Scramble Energy was a sick card, but the strategy of falling behind to use certain cards doesn’t always mean you’ll have a path to victory from there. Let’s say you wait until one of your Pokemon is knocked out so you can use a flavorful tech to take a one-hit Knockout on a Pokemon-EX/GX. Now you’re up by a Prize and you’ll have to wait some more to use another Counter Energy. I think this type of a strategy creates a weird situation where you’re quite weak to N. Either way, there will be a slew of fun, new options created with this card. Some of the new techs to think about include Cobalion STS, Keldeo SHL, Mimikyu GRI, Sudowoodo BKP, and Wobbuffet GEN.

Extras…

Celesteela-GX

As a Metal Pokemon, this card had a chance to be a viable counter to Gardevoir-GX, but it failed pretty badly at that. Rocket Fall can actually take a one-hit Knockout on a Gardevoir-GX with a Choice Band attached, but it will be easy for Gardevoir-GX to take a Knockout of its own in return. Moon Press takes way too many Energy and Blaster GX does too. 180 damage for four Energy is underpowered and the effect of viewing your Prizes is nothing game breaking. Celesteela-GX leaves a lot to be desired.

Pheomosa-GX

Why are effects to attack on the first turn created? I don’t get it personally. Fast Raid is only going to be good against Greninja BREAK decks, unless there’s something I’m missing, which is a big relief. Cruel Spike is pretty miserable as well. Beauty GX could have some mild playability, especially in a Tapu Bulu-GX deck, or something playing Rainbow Energy. If your opponent has taken more than four Prizes, you can dish out some serious damage and Choice Band helps too.

Shining Celebi

Time Recall is exactly the same Ability as Celebi-EX from Boundaries Crossed and as a non-EX/GX Pokemon, Shining Celebi is just better. Using the attacks of lower Stage Pokemon is nothing revolutionary, but, it’s a strong effect. Leaf Step is not good at all.

Xurkitree-GX

Aegislash-EX is back, this time as a Lightning thing. In the Standard format this card might be pretty solid since there won’t be many good ways to knock it out, without a Special Energy, in one hit. Gallade in Gardevoir-GX decks can still knock it out, though, it will just need two Fairy Energy. Rumbling Wires is a bad attack for the Energy cost, but Lightning GX is interesting. I think I would almost always rather use Blade GX from Kartana-GX because it gets you a Prize, but Lightning GX can strike an opponent off guard. You can even disrupt your opponent pretty badly with it if you pick a draw card and leave him or her without another out to one. This card is solid and most Rainbow Energy decks should be considering its use.

Overall…

This set, and the Promos alongside it, are a little underwhelming. When I think of the set I think “Buzzwole-GX, Gourgeist, Kartana-GX, Registeel, and Counter Energy”. Some other cards will see fringe play, but aside from that most everything else is a wash. I’ll still be picking most everything up, but I don’t think I’ll be playing with many of the cards I get. At any rate, it’s always fun to look at new sets and I’m glad to be able to share this article with you. Thanks for reading and good luck figuring out the new format!

~Caleb

Writing by Caleb Gedemer

Editing by Cory Koehler



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