Crimson Invasion Set Review

It’s only been a few weeks since we received the latest Pokemon TCG Expansion, Shining Legends, a special expansion release, but now we get the fourth main expansion of the Sun and Moon set block with Crimson Invasion, which introduces Ultra Beast Pokemon into the format, which at least for now, are no different than any other GX Pokemon.

The set has 124 cards in total, with 111 main set cards and then 13 secret rare cards.

For this review, I will use the following 5 point rating scale.

1/5 = Bad
2/5 = Some competitive potential
3/5 = Good competitive potential
4/5 = Very good, will see play.
5/5 = Star card. Will see lots of play.

Table of Contents

To find a specific card, go to the card index. Otherwise you can use the category links to jump to a specific category or you can scroll down and read the article in its entirety.

Grass Pokemon

Kakuna

This type of Stage 1 spam attack that fills your bench with a given Stage 1 seems to be an evolution mechanic that Pokemon really likes and is willing to put on various other Pokemon. As we’ve seen from Greninja decks, attacks like Multiply are very effective for helping to setup a field of Stage 2 Pokemon.

The primary problem with Kakuna compared to Frogadier is that Kakuna arguably doesn’t have a good Pokemon to evolve into while Frogadier gets to evolve into one of the best attributed Pokemon in the game in Greninja BKP.

With that said, this is the Kakuna to have. If there ever is a strong Beedrill or Beedrill GX card printed, this will almost certainly be the Kakuna you will be playing.

Verdict: 3/5

-Go to Card Index-

Beedrill

Attacks that paralyze the opponent’s Pokemon are always worth a look, but Beedrill’s Sudden Sting attack seems far too situational to be useful.

The best potential I see for this card is using Sudden Sting in conjunction with Choice Band and Virbank City Gym in Expanded, and then maybe a Seviper. This could be used to setup a Pokemon to be OHKO’s on the next turn with Sharp Sting.

This seems far too convoluted to be successful. It needs a a large combo of cards to even pull something off that might not be good enough, and that’s before taking into account that there are plenty of available counters available to get around Status Conditions, in particular a soft counter in Guzma that is played in nearly every deck.

Verdict: 1/5

-Go to Card Index-

Karrablast

Karrablast’s Shell On Ability provides a cool engine that players can put together for their Escavalier decks to rush Escavalier into play on the first turn of the game and which essentially uses any Shelmet that such a deck plays as an Evosoda specifically for evolving into Escavalier.

As far as I can tell, all of the Escavalier cards are very bad, so this card won’t see play any time soon. However, if a good Escavalier or Escavalier GX is to be released, this will probably be the Karrablast you will want to play.

Verdict: 2/5

-Go to Card Index-

Gogoat

Gogoat is a weird card that acts as a hate card to Grass Pokemon, but whose attack is too weak, even when its damage is boosted by its Sap Sipper Ability, to do the right amounts of damage to properly knock out GX Grass Pokemon. At [G][C][C] attack cost, Horn Leech is also difficult to power up.

Gogoat needs to go go into your bulk pile. (Your now very worthless bulk pile)

Verdict: 1/5

-Go to Card Index-

Fire Pokemon

Alolan Marowak

Dance of Flames is one of the best free attacks in the game and is a very cool design space for the Pokemon TCG. As cool and strong as this attack is, I’m not sold that Alolan Marowak will actually be able to carve its place into the meta. If it was Basic it would obviously see play, but as a Stage 1 its competitive potential begins looking a little sketchy.

My best prediction would be is that it’s a card that breaks into the meta in a couple of formats, but never as part of one of the top decks and only in something that is a fringe contender. The reason I can’t see this card being part of a mainstay meta deck is because it’s too situational, as against decks that keep the amount of Energy attached to their Pokemon low, then this card is less effective.

One cool thing about Alolan Marowak compared to other acceleration Pokemon such as mini Yveltal is that its attack cost is free, which means that you can use your attachment for turn to progress your board state in regards to Pokemon that will attack for damage and not have to sink an Energy onto the Pokemon you’re using to accelerate. The free attack cost makes it so that you actually get an Energy advantage, regardless of situation (assuming your opponent has 1 Energy in play).

Almost every deck has Energy in play in some count, and some decks will have multiple Energy in play which makes this a potentially very strong attack.

At the current moment, mini Volcanion is probably a better and more consistent form of Fire acceleration in Standard, but it should rotate at the end of the year, so Alolan Marowak could become the best Fire acceleration after rotation in the summer.

Verdict: 2/5

-Go to Card Index-

Water Pokemon

Starmie

I’m trying to think of situations where an Ability like Escape would be good, and there aren’t really many situations. I could see it being played for its Ability, similar to how Lopunny was played in Weavile decks PLF decks in the past.

This of course would be worse than Lopunny in Expanded Weavile PLF decks as Lopunny goes to hand, while Starmie goes into the deck making it so that you would have to use a Supporter to draw into the Staryu or Starmie to discard it with Vilify.

Seeing an Ability like this simply leaves you scratching your head wondering why they printed it, but ultimately there probably isn’t a reason, they printed it just because they felt like doing it and didn’t have a better idea, and so I think this is a useless Ability and this card won’t make it to competitive play.

Verdict: 1/5

-Go to Card Index-

Magikarp

This Magikarp will likely be the go to Magikarp for any Gyarados or Gyarados GX deck moving forward. (Although there could be a decent case for using Magikarp EVO in Gyarados GX, partnering the two with Shining Celebi to use Magikarp’s “Flail” attack while being evolved into Gyarados GX).

What makes this the premier Magikarp is the Submerge Ability which prevents damage done to Magikarp on the bench. This will prevent your opponent from being able to take knockouts on your benched Magikarp with Pokemon such as Buzzwole GX, Latios SHG, and Tapu Koko SM30. Spread and snipe seem to be on the rise, so having a Magikarp that can’t be sniped on the bench is a solid asset for any Gyarados deck in Standard format.

In Expanded, this Magikarp will work great in the Gyarados AOR deck. This deck puts 2 damage counters on each Magikarp with Team Magma’s Secret Base, making the deck super vulnerable to a single Tapu Koko spread. Submerge will give this deck a layer of protection against Flying Flip, which should help make it more competitive than it otherwise would be.

Verdict: 3/5

-Go to Card Index-

Gyarados GX

Speaking of Gyarados, we get a new Gyarados card in the form of Gyarados GX in this set. The card is a bit odd to say the least with a mash of attacks that have no real synergy with each other.

70 for three Energy with Waterfall on a Stage 1 isn’t great when we have Basic Pokemon like Drampa GX that hit more for the same amount of Energy.

The primary reason that you would play Gyarados GX is for its Draconic Disaster attack, which has the same damage output and effect as Primal Groudon EX’s Gaia Volcano. You have more options to power Gyarados GX’s attack up, being able to use Aqua Patch and Double Colorless Energy to power it up, but it does cost 1 more Energy than Gaia Volcano and with all that Energy on it, you are going to be getting hit hard by Gardevoir GX in both formats and Yveltal EX in Expanded.

The attack also may be underpowered at this point. As you don’t have have to worry about Spirit Link shenanigans you can use Choice Band to boost it up to 230 damage, which should be good for most decks, but if we creep into a range where 240 or 250 HP Pokemon are seeing play, then this attack will be falling short of damage unless you play Professor Kukui to boost the damage further. (I don’t think it will be feasible to make a consistent Gyarados GX list that sets up while playing a heavy Kukui count).

Dread Storm GX removes an Energy from each of the opponent’s Pokemon, which probably isn’t very good against most decks in the format as lots of decks tend to have Energy on only a few Pokemon at one time.

As mentioned earlier, there is a combo of Gyarados GX with Shining Celebi and Magikarp EVO, but with as much spread and snipe as will be in format with Latios and Buzzwole GX, playing anything other than the Magikarp in this set is probably setting yourself up for a frustrating auto loss against decks playing those cards.

Verdict: 1/5

-Go to Card Index-

Milotic

As seen by recent success of players using Tapu Fini GX and Sylveon GX for their GX attacks in tournaments, attacks that take Pokemon off the opponent’s field can be super disruptive to an opponent’s board setup and can swing games.

However, I don’t think Milotic will see as much success as these cards have. As a Stage 1, it takes more space to tech into a deck. Costing a [W] Energy makes it only playable in decks playing either Water or Rainbow Energy. It has a 30 HP Basic that can be easily picked off by one of these many sniping Pokemon that are prevalent in the format. It also requires damage counters being on that Pokemon, so you also need to previously do damage through attack, or set up some other card (such as Decidueye GX) to even set off the combo.

I think there are too many requirements that players need to meet to make use of this card for it to see successful play.

Verdict: 1/5

-Go to Card Index-

Regice

While Stage 2 Pokemon have made a comeback into the format in the forms of decks like Gardevoir GX and Metagross GX, they’re still only part of the meta, so it’s difficult to build properly to disrupt enough of the meta for a deck built around a card like this to be effective.

Tapu Lele GX is also played in nearly every Stage 2 deck, giving all of these decks an easy out to a card such as this. There is a small chance that a future rotation thrusts this card into a format without Tapu Lele GX (Shining Legends or Crimson Invasion-on is a very realistic rotation possibility as this set marks the beginning of the Ultra Beast era of sets).

It also needs Regirock in play for the Ability to trigger, meaning it’s conditional and also that there will always be a gust target in play to work around the Ability. If Regirock gets knocked out, then you need to get one back into play, otherwise a Stage 2 can just go ahead and knockout the Regice, so this card probably will never serve more than as a minor annoyance to Stage 2 decks that they’re easily able to maneuver around.

Verdict: 1/5

-Go to Card Index-

Lightning Pokemon

Alolan Raichu

Alolan Raichu isn’t a super strong attacker, but with an all Colorless attack cost it does stand a (small) chance to be teched into decks. The three Energy cost is problematic, but there may be some way to accelerate it in some decks that may need to tech against a Lightning weak deck in the future.

The free retreat with Surge Surfer when a Stadium Card in play is solid, but not quite as good as it was in formats prior to Field Blower being released where Stadium Cards were in play almost every turn of the game.

My best guess is that this card never sees play in a competitive deck, so it’s probably safe to let this one surf into your bulk pile.

Verdict: 1/5

-Go to Card Index-

Alolan Golem GX

Alolan Golem GX is one of the more interestingly designed cards in the set. The logical part of my brain tells me this card is trash and won’t see play, but the creative part of my brain tells me this card is going to defy the odds and find it’s way into something.

Unfortunately, this card does 50 damage to itself with Super Electromagnetic Tackle, but I’m not sure how game breaking that will be for the card as it will have 200 HP left after such an attack, so the opponent would need to be able to hit that to make effective use of the recoil damage. One issue that you could have is not being able to attack with Super Electromagnetic Tackle again without knocking yourself out, but that could be played around by playing some type of healing effect.

Dealing out 200 damage, Super Electromagnetic Tackle can be used to OHKO every relevant meta Pokemon right now with a Choice Band.

Heavy Rock GX is a rock solid GX attack. If used at the right time, this attack can totally be used to create checkmate situations or be used to inch ahead in a prize trade. This GX attack is the thing that most interests me about this card and the thing that makes me want to start trying it out as a 1-0-1 tech in a Magnezone deck or try to build some type of Raikou pairing with this card. Preventing the opponent from playing a card from their hand during their turn is a super powerful effect.

Verdict: 2/5

-Go to Card Index-

Psychic Pokemon

Gengar

Ability based damage is traditionally strong, and while I’m sure this Gengar card would be okay, it’s simply outclassed by Decidueye GX so I don’t think this card will ever see play, despite having an otherwise pretty solid Ability.

The only situation where Gengar can become better than Decidueye GX is against a deck like Gardevoir GX if you can force them to make multiple attachments per a turn to get multiple uses out of the Ability. However, in all other situations Gengar will be worse as Decidueye GX is pro-active damage while Gengar’s Gnawing Curse damage is reactive to the opponent doing something, so that opens up room for the opponent playing around it.

Decidueye GX is a GX Pokemon that gives up 2 prizes when it’s knocked out, but as a bench sitter with 240 HP, you don’t really need to worry about it being knocked out against anything that doesn’t hit for Fire weakness.

If this card ends up in a format without Decidueye GX, it may see play, but in any format where it exist alongside Decidueye GX, I will be shocked if it sees play.

Verdict: 2/5

-Go to Card Index-

Mismagius

Mismagius comes with the Chaos Wheel attack that Giratina EX had which has some players excited, but it’s really not the same attack as it only does 30 damage while Giratina EX did 100 damage.

While we’ve had decks that only do 30 base damage see success in the past (see Seismitoad EX/Quaking Punch), this type of attack at 100 damage already saw less play than Quaking Punch for 30 damage, so it’s hard to see this attack being relevant at 30 damage, especially headed into a format with few decks built solely around Special Energy.

Verdict: 1/5

-Go to Card Index-

Chimecho

This card isn’t anything you build a deck around, but it has some small potential of being able to be an annoying tech against decks heavily built around Ability. It can put in some serious stalling against decks that are based around Abilities.

For example, against Gardevoir GX, if you use Bell of Silence, from that turn on they can’t play Tapu Lele GX, Gardevoir GX, Gallade BKT, Eevee SUM, or Octillery BKT from their hand which can be quite disruptive. While they could use Brigette to get an Eevee into play to start getting a Sylveon GX powered up to knock out the Chimecho, they might not always be able to make such a play.

For example, think about games where they whiff the turn 1 Brigette. If you hit them with the turn 2 Chimecho and they’re no longer able to play Tapu Lele GX from hand to use Wonder Tag, they may not be able to find Brigette in a timely manner to get that Eevee into play, at which point your deck could be so far setup that you won’t lose the game.

There also exists the possibility that decks develop that are entirely Ability based that fail to function against this card.

I’m not sold that this card will actually work effectively ever, but I think it’s just good enough to stash away in your binder just in case a meta develops that this card can exploit. I don’t think it will actually work, but it will be so cheap that it will cost you pretty much nothing to stash one of these.

Verdict: 1/5

-Go to Card Index-

Gourgeist

Gourgeist jumps out as the potential next non-EX Pokemon deck to make a splash into the format, but I’m not sure if it’s possible to actually build an effective deck around its Pumpkin Bomb attack, there just may be too much that needs to be in play to pull off the combo.

I think you would realistically need to play around 20 Pokemon Tools to build an effective deck around this concept and I’m not sure if it is feasible to play that many Tool cards and have a consistent deck.

Gourgeist would be able to OHKO everything in format except for Metal Pokemon (that resist Psychic) with 240 HP or more (so Metagross GX and Solgaleo GX). Being able to OHKO other Pokemon unconditionally has traditionally been strong, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Gourgeist find its way to relevancy….then again, the combined potential of losing games from running out of resources or losing games to hands bricking with a bunch of Tools in them may limit its competitive potential some.

There is an Oranguru in this set which can recover Tools, but its Fixer of the Forest attack requires a Psychic Energy, so I don’t think it will fit in with Gourgeist as you presumably would only want to play 4 DCE in Gourgeist.

Verdict: 3/5

-Go to Card Index-

Nihilego GX

I think that Nihilego GX will most likely see its most play for its Empty Light Ability, which leaves opponent’s Pokemon both Confused and Poisoned when you play Nihilego GX from your hand to the bench.

With that said, I’m not sure this type of Ability has too great of an application. The best use that I can think of in Standard right now is that it will give decks playing Darkrai GX something easy to use to put a Special Condition on the opponent’s active Pokemon to activate the effect of Dead End GX, which helps make Darkrai GX a little bit more viable in Standard format.

Lock Up probably won’t see much action as an attack as it requires a 3 Psychic Energy. I think the only deck that would realistically be powering up anything with that attack cost is a Metagross GX variant that is built around using Psychic Energy and Psychic attackers, something that doesn’t currently exist.

These theoretical Metagross GX decks could also use Nihilego’s Symbiont GX to add two cards to the opponent’s prize cards. Against anything that can’t OHKO a Nihilego GX, this can be used to put yourself at a great advantage in the prize trade. Against decks that can OHKO it, this can still be good as you can use it to essentially stall the game a turn, which can allow you to get an extra turn to find the resource you need to win the game that you didn’t already have. Lastly, it can be used to win games by decking an opponent out, or prizing a resource that they may have needed to close out the game.

Ultimately, this card has a very narrow range of use, but its effects can be strong if conditions are right, so it may end up seeing competitive play.

Verdict: 2/5

-Go to Card Index-

Fighting Pokemon

Regirock

I don’t think you would ever play this card for its attack and would solely use it for its Rock Peak Growl Ability to boost the damage of Registeel’s attacks. The Registeel in this set is pretty solid, so it has decent potential to see play, so Regirock might end up in some decks if it makes sense to play it to hit certain extra damage numbers.

Regirock won’t necessarily even see play in decks with Registeel, however, as there won’t be any reason to run it if that extra damage for the attack doesn’t matter.

Verdict: 2/5

-Go to Card Index-

Buzzwole GX

This is one of the most loved cards from this set, as the card is very similar to Landorus EX from Boundaries Crossed, but with a second attack is arguably better than Landorus EX’s Lands Judgment attack.

The most noticeable similarity is that Buzzwole GX’s Jet Punch is a clone of Landorus EX’s Hammerhead attack, doing 30 damage to the active and 30 damage to a benched Pokemon. With Strong Energy in format still, you can do 50 + 30, or 60 + 30 with Fighting Fury Belt. I think you would typically play Fighting Fury Belt instead of Choice Band with Buzzwole GX as your preferred Tool card, as it opens up the possibility of taking OHKO’s on 60 HP pre-evolutions.

I think Buzzwole GX will likely be a card that disappoints. Landorus EX already rarely sees play in Expanded, and Buzzwole GX is worse positioned because of its Psychic weakness making it Night March and Trashalanche fodder. Drampa GX/Garbodor has been the second most popular deck in Standard so far this season, so it will also suffer playing against Trashalanche in that format. Espeon GX, which is played in everyone’s Drampa GX/Garbodor decks will also OHKO it with a Choice Band as long as Buzzwole GX has any Energy attached.

While Buzzwole GX is technically a better card than Landorus EX, I think it’s worse relative to format. With HP on other Pokemon going up, the 30 + 30 is slightly worse in the current formats compared to when Landorus EX was released. Additionally, back in the day, using Lands Judgment for 150 (and then 170 or 190 with Muscle Band / Strong Energy) typically meant you were taking a OHKO. Using Knuckle Impact against something like a Gardevoir GX usually won’t be taking a OHKO for you, and even then it would probably be difficult to even get enough Energy attached to use the attack.

I also really dislike its GX attack, which is strong early in the game, but weakens as the game goes on. This is unfortunate, as I would think the late game would be the time where you would want to pop off for a big OHKO, not in the early turns of the game.

Buzzwole GX has some small potential with the spread and de-evolve with Espeon EX strategy which has been seeing play, but with this strategy becoming so common, I think Mr. Mime is about to be going into most of the setup decks. While Buzzwole GX can use Pokemon such as Garbodor BKP and Alolan Muk SUM to shutoff Mr. Mime’s Bench Barrier, if players are forced to play such cards in order to play Buzzwole GX, players will be limited in the types of decks that can fit it in.

Verdict: 2/5

-Go to Card Index-

Darkness Pokemon

Hydreigon

Hydreigon’s Weed Out Ability is a pretty cool one as it can allow you to discard liabilities from your bench as well as discard cards like Nihilego GX, Marshadow SHG, among others with come into play Abilities and then re-use them after putting them back into the deck with cards like Super Rod, similar to how M Gardevoir GX was able to do such things.

However, Hydreigon is a Stage 2 Pokemon and as cool as the Ability is, I don’t think the Ability is good enough to warrant setting up a Stage 2 with a poor attack.

Verdict: 1/5

-Go to Card Index-

Guzzlord GX

I think it’s easy to dismiss Guzzlord GX, but I actually think that it has strong potential in Expanded Darkness decks. I think it can find its way into both Yveltal and Turbo Darkrai decks.

I took a look at my Expanded Yveltal EX deck in August, and I think Guzzlord GX could fit in nicely with this concept. With Scramble Switch in the list, it probably isn’t too difficult to transition out of something like an Yveltal EX or Darkrai GX into a Guzzlord GX.

Once attacking, Guzzlord GX is an absolute beast. Its Tyrannical Hole attack does 180 damage, which can be boosted to higher damage numbers with Muscle Band and LaserBank. Additionally, at 210 HP, this thing is going to be hard to take down for some decks, so if timed right, you can probably get multiple of these attacks off. In Fighting Fury Belt Yveltal builds, it has 250 HP, which means that almost nothing is going to bring it down.

Its Glutton GX attack is very powerful too. It can take 3 prizes on a non-EX/GX Pokemon, so any stray pre-evolutions are at risk of giving up 3 prize cards. If you knockout a GX or EX Pokemon, you get four prize cards, which can lead to a game ending very quickly.

Glutton GX is probably too difficult to setup in a Yveltal deck, as it requires all the Energy to be Darkness, but Turbo Darkrai decks may have a little bit easier time powering it up as they play only Darkness Energy and both Dark Patch and Max Elixir for acceleration, but even then, it may be too difficult to power up.

Outside of Expanded Yveltal, I think it also fits nicely in any theoretical Energy Trans decks, such as Aromatisse XY or Lunala GX. In those decks, you could move all of your Energy over to Guzzlord GX to use its attacks at the right time.

I think Guzzlord GX’s attack costs are probably a little bit too high for it to make the final cut in most players’ lists. It’s disappointing that Glutton GX didn’t get the same [D][D][D][C][C] attack cost as Tyrannical Hole. If it did, I think it would have been very easy to play in Yveltal EX decks and utilize both of its attacks as part of your strategy. However, with Glutton GX requiring all Darkness Energy it’s probably too difficult to setup, which hurts it’s viability some in Yveltal decks, although it may still be worth it just for Tyrannical Hole, which is a very strong attack.

Verdict: 2/5

-Go to Card Index-

Metal Pokemon

Mawile

Mawile is worth noting as it is a Basic Pokemon that can use Call for Family for 2 Pokemon, making it the 2nd such Pokemon in Standard format. It is also a better option than the other currently Standard legal one, Corsola, as Mawile has a Colorless 2nd attack that can be used to OHKO a Ralts or be annoying against anything else by possibly discarding their Energy.

It’s been awhile since Call for Family mattered (last time I can think of is Emolga during the 2012-2013 season), but as we lose Brigette in rotation next summer and lose a lot of our powerful draw Supporters we could potentially see a return to using a setup Pokemon like this, so it’s probably worth stowing some Mawile away in your binder.

Verdict: 2/5

-Go to Card Index-

Registeel

In Shining Legends we received Raikou as a Lightning type Oblivion Wing Yveltal clone and now in Crimson Invasion we get Registeel as a clone for Metal.

I’m not sure if there is a great Metal Pokemon to pair the card with right now, but I could see a Metal package being put together for Colorless Pokemon such as Drampa GX and Sylvally GX (reviewed below).

In the current format, Registeel is pretty solid with Gardevoir GX’s dominance. It can OHKO a Ralts with Turbo Arm (although Gardevoir players may switch to the Psychic BKT Ralts which isn’t weak to Metal) and it can help power up Metal type Pokemon to be used to counter fully evolved Gardevoir GXs.

Verdict: 3/5

-Go to Card Index-

Kartana GX

I think the primary reason to play Kartana GX would be for its GX attack, which lets you take a prize. This is a very powerful effect and has the potential to be good both in the early stages of the game and in the late stages of the game.

Using it early in the game, such as on turn 1 is a little detrimental as it means you will be getting N’d to 5 cards very early on. However, by expending your GX attack at the start of the game, you could build an engine around using Hala early and often, which could be good for a deck like Metagross GX as Hala is the strongest shuffle and draw Supporter in format after you’ve used a GX attack.

In the late stages of the game, taking the prize can be great. There are these weird games in Pokemon where you knockout a setup Pokemon, such as Alolan Vulpix, and then knock out two EX or GX Pokemon and go down to 1 prize left. At this point, the opponent usually promotes another EX or GX Pokemon to force a 7 prize game, and if done well, it can be done without having any one prize Pokemon in play to Guzma or Counter Catcher up to win.

With Kartana GX, you can not care at all what is on your opponent’s field and just take that last prize card with Blade GX.

I think it would be foolish to play Kartana GX for its Ability as you can play Enhanced Hammer for the same effect. However, if you play Rainbow Energy or Metal Energy already, and the GX attack is live for the deck to use, I think I would throw in a copy of Kartana GX over Enhanced Hammer.

I’m not sure that Gale Blade will be used too often as an attack, but with Gale Blade the potential exists for you to attack with Kartana GX, take a hit, and then send it back into the deck to avoid having it knocked out. This could be useful against decks that don’t OHKO, such as Golisopod GX, in some situations.

Verdict: 3/5

-Go to Card Index-

Fairy Pokemon

Xerneas

This only made it into the article to prevent the Fairy section from being empty. Lead is a solid setup attack, but not a good enough setup attack that you would play Xerneas in a deck where you weren’t using it for other purposes.

As Xerneas’ other attack, Bright Horns is both weak and costly you would never want to play Xerneas for other reasons.

Verdict: 1/5

-Go to Card Index-

Dragon Pokemon

Alolan Exeggutor GX

Alolan Exeggutor is definitely a contender for worst Pokemon GX card released. Having a snipe attack that scales in damage is very cool, but it takes way too many Energy to start sniping for significant damage amounts.

Efficiency is the undoing of Alolan Exeggutor GX. All of its attacks take way too much Energy for what you’re getting out of them leaving the card with very poor Damage to Energy ratios.

Verdict: 1/5

-Go to Card Index-

Colorless Pokemon

Miltank

Milank’s Moomoo Malt Ability is one of the strongest healing Abilities that I’ve ever seen, being able to heal 90 damage for each attachment you make to a Pokemon from your hand when Miltank is active.

The card can easily be made active by promoting it at the beginning of your turn after a knockout, as well as through cards like Switch and Guzma. It can then be retreated to the bench with a Float Stone.

The most hyped use for the card is to play it in Gardevoir GX decks. As Gardevoir GX is able to accelerate Energy from its hand with Secret Spring, you can easily heal off 180 or even 270 (220 practically) damage with Moomoo Malt.

I think it has a bit of general utility beyond decks that accelerate from the hand though. For example, there are many game situations where you’re playing a deck, you’re powering something up, and then it gets hit by an attack of some kind, and you just leave an Energy on it as a sunk cost and set up something else without damage on it that won’t be at risk of being knocked out. Now with Miltank, you could potentially keep attaching to that Pokemon to finish setting it up while also healing it off, making it more difficult for the opponent to knock out.

I don’t think Miltank will be the easiest card to figure out which decks and what metas it is worth playing in, but healing 90 damage is such a significant amount I just can’t see this card not finding a home somewhere.

Verdict: 3/5

-Go to Card Index-

Altaria

Altaria’s Draco Melody is a neat attack that lets you break Evolution rules for Dragon type Pokemon by allowing you to play any Dragon Pokemon straight from your deck to your bench. I don’t think a successful deck will be able to be built around this, however, as Altaria is a Stage 1 so it can’t be used on turn 1 and the attack is on a coin flip, making it inconsistent, even if you were to play Fliptini.

Verdict: 1/5

-Go to Card Index-

Regigigas

Regigigas has the most HP of any Basic non-EX/GX Pokemon in the history of the Pokemon Trading Card Game. Despite its massive HP for a Basic, this card won’t see play. It only does 160 damage for 5 Energy, which is short of where you would want it, and it can’t attack unless all three of Regirock, Regice, and Registeel are on your bench making it conditional and hard to even setup for the attack.

Verdict: 1/5

-Go to Card Index-

Silvally GX

Silvally GX is the Pokemon card in the set with the most potential of becoming its own archetype and I think ultimately it will be successful in doing so. Pokemon clearly wants it to be a thing with all the support they’ve given it, and when Pokemon intends for something to be a thing, it usually ends up being a thing.

The primary attack you will be using with Silvally GX is its Turbo Drive attack, which does 120 damage and then attaches a Basic Energy card from your discard pile to one of your Pokemon. This attack reminds many players of M Manectric EX’s Turbo Bolt attack, but it’s a little bit worse as that attack accelerated two Basic Energy.

However, Silvally GX has higher potential compared to M Manectric EX as a deck because the attack cost for Turbo Drive is completely Colorless, which makes it much easier to pick a Pokemon type that you want to build a package in the deck around while having the deck flow consistently. Using M Manectric EX with non-Lightning types was always okay, but slightly inconsistent because of the mixing of different Energy types.  Being Colorless even opens up Silvally GX to re-create this mixing of different Energy types, but this time getting two different types of Pokemon in the deck aimed to counter your otherwise weaker matchups.

The rest of the basic package around Silvally GX is solid. Its Gyro Unit Ability removes the retreat cost for Basic Pokemon, which is a nice little add on, and its Rebel GX attack, which is the same GX attack as Lycanroc GX is very good and will be capable of taking an easy OHKO against most decks. Lastly, its Basic Pokemon, Type: Null has 110 HP which is very good for a pre-evolution.

The advanced package around Silvally GX makes the card even better. It has these Tool cards that are coming out which change its type. These cards are Fighting Memory, Psychic Memory, Lightning Memory, and Fire Memory. Fighting Memory and Psychic Memory will be in Crimson Invasion and the other two will come out at a later date. It’s possible that more types will come out in the future as well, expanding Silvally GX’s potential.

On the most basic level, these cards will change its type allowing it to hit for Weakness against these types. On a more advanced level, you can use these cards to take advantage of any support cards for these types. For example, in Expanded format you would be able to use a Psychic Memory to be able to take advantage of Dimension Valley to attack for [C][C] instead of [C][C][C].

I don’t think you would play all of these cards in the same deck, but would rather pick and choose which ones you want for a given tournament based on the current meta. I think you would take a multi faceted approach to what you choose to counter with these cards, as well as whatever support Pokemon you throw in.

This is the Pokemon GX that I’m most excited for in this set. The versatility and available support for this card is top notch so I expect it to find its way into the competitive meta.

Verdict: 5/5

-Go to Card Index-

Supporter Cards

Gladion

Gladion is one of the more controversial cards in the set, with some players exalting it for its greatness while others considering it bulk pile fodder. I think this card is neither a staple or trash, but rather a niche card that will be solid in certain decks.

I think this card will find a home in decks in which prizing certain cards can be of great detriment to their strategy. A deck, such as Durant NVI in Expanded, for example, isn’t at peak effectiveness if a Durant is prized, so it can use Gladion to pull the prized Durant out of the prizes so you can get your maximum Devour of 4 off.

In Standard, I think it could find a home in Greninja BREAK. If you notice that a Frogadier is prized, you can use Gladion to search your prizes for a Frogadier on turn 2 and then use Water Duplicates for the maximum amount.

To successfully pull off Gladion plays at the right time, I think decks using it will need to be playing some way to search it out, with the most common methods to do that being Tapu Lele GX or Jirachi EX, but I could see something like Talonflame STS or Battle Compressor/VS Seeker combo being used to find it.

Verdict: 2/5

-Go to Card Index-

Lusamine

I don’t think Lusamine will see much play, but it does have strong potential in decks that are built around utilizing Stadium Cards for their strategy. These decks are most prevalent in Expanded (Primal Groudon EX, M Rayquaza EX, etc.), so I would expect it to see most play there where it’s probably at it’s best as it can be timed properly with VS Seeker.

Being able to get a Supporter for your next turn, or being able to get a 2nd Stadium is also solid.

I think this card will be at its best in Primal Groudon EX. Once you’re setup, sometimes the only thing you need to find is Stadium cards, and Lusamine can be used to guarantee one for that turn.

I don’t think it will see wide spread play, but it definitely has some potential in the right few decks.

Verdict: 2/5

-Go to Card Index-

Item Cards

Counter Catcher

A few years ago, the OG Pokemon Catcher was one of the strongest Items in the format, being able to bring up one of the opponent’s benched Pokemon with no conditions needing to be met to play the card. This was so good that they ended up giving the card an errata to make it conditional on the result of a coin flip. Since then, we’ve seen the effect re-introduced in Supporter form (Lysandre & Guzma), as well as an Item that could be played under certain conditions. (Mega Catcher)

Counter Catcher is one of these conditional Item cards, being able to be played on the condition that you’re trailing in prize cards.

I think this card is strong, but it won’t really fit into every deck. Counter Catcher will be naturally more effective for decks that tend to fall behind in games, so it will probably be more effective in setup decks like Gardevoir GX or Metagross GX that take a few turns to get setup rather than something like Volcanion EX which will usually go up on prizes early.

When conceptualizing this card, I think in most decks where I would use it, it would be either a 1 or 2 of and I can’t really foresee playing it in larger numbers than that, since you can’t play it every turn of the game.

I think it will also probably be strong in decks playing Skyla as a core part of the build, such as something like John Roberts’ Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu GX deck. If you have Counter Catcher in your build, you can use Skyla into a game winning gust effect.

I know the card has been hated some as it’s a card that you can’t use every turn of the game, but that’s true of plenty of other cards that have seen competitive success. Teammates, for example, can only be played after a knockout was taken, but it’s been able to be in US National and NAIC winning lists.

In addition to its general use, the card will especially shine in decks that focus on alternative win conditions, such as Durant and Sableye/Garbodor in Expanded. These decks naturally will go down on prizes as they’re not focused on taking prizes, so they will be able to make good use of this card.

Verdict: 4/5

-Go to Card Index-

Peeking Red Card

When I first read this card, I was pretty dismissive of it, but I think it actually could be a pretty effective disruption card if timed right.

Typically, when a player works there hand down to 1 or 2 cards in hand, one of those last cards that will still be in their hand will be a Supporter card to give them draw for their next turn. If you time a use of Peeking Red Card on these turns when the opponent goes down to 1-2 cards with only a Supporter in hand and then send a small hand back into a large deck there should be a good probability of leaving them without a draw Supporter for their next turn.

It’s very difficult to tell how good this card may end up being given the format it enters with lots of draw Abilities. With cards such as Zoroark GX, Octillery BKT, and Oranguru SUM seeing lots of play, it may be tough to stick someone with a bad hand when they have so much extra draw beyond their Supporters. However, decks playing Garbodor could definitely make use of this card without having to worry about the opponent using draw Abilities to get out of any bad hand you catch them with.

Verdict: 2/5

-Go to Card Index-

Tool Cards

Dashing Pouch

I don’t think Dashing Pouch will have too great of a general utility in decks as you generally won’t be able to do too much with the Energy that would go back into your hand as you can only attach one Energy per a turn, and in most hands you tend to have Energy already.

Where I could see this card having some utility is in decks like Magnezone or Gardevoir GX that are able to play multiple Energy cards down from their hand thanks to their Abilities. I don’t think it really belongs in either deck as they have better Tool cards to play (like Choice Band), but this would be the type of concept where it could probably find its best success with.

I don’t think it really has a home now, but after some rotations this card has some minor potential of being useful.

Verdict: 2/5

-Go to Card Index-

Stadium Cards

Devoured Field

Devoured Field is very similar to the Stadium Card Reverse Valley that boosted the damage output of your Darkness Pokemon by +10 damage. I think the card is of equal strength of Reverse Valley for Darkness Pokemon, and which card you play will depend on the meta.

In metas where there are lots of Metal Pokemon, you will want to play Devoured Field to avoid reducing attack damage by 10 against such decks. In metas with lots of Dragon Pokemon, you may want to go with Reverse Valley to avoid giving Dragon Pokemon a +10 boost on their attacks.

As we’ve seen by Reverse Valley with Darkness Pokemon, it won’t always be played in every Darkness deck, but the +10 damage can matter enough that it does end up seeing play in some of them. For example, optimal Standard Rainbow Road lists should be playing Reverse Valley to boost Bisharp’s damage output by +10 so that it can OHKO a Gardevoir GX when it has Choice Band attached. With a card like this, you can find these little situations where 10 damage matters and use it to get that 10 damage.

One thing that is immediately noticeable is that Shining Rayquaza hits for 220 damage with a Choice Band. That can become 230 damage with Devoured Field, which just so happens to be the perfect amount of damage to OHKO a Gardevoir GX.

Make sure to pick up a set of these as it will surely find its way into a variety of decks over the next few years.

Verdict: 3/5

-Go to Card Index-

Sea of Nothingness

It is difficult to see this card finding a place in any relevant deck. This is such a specific interaction that it’s hard to see this card being worth playing in any deck ever.

Once a field is setup, players are no longer evolving their Pokemon, so this card is providing no effect. Against anything that doesn’t evolve, this card has no effect. These Special Conditions also can still be played around by other counter cards such as Switch and Guzma.

Verdict: 1/5

-Go to Card Index-

Energy Cards

Counter Energy

The last card in the set to review is the second “counter” card in the set, and that is Counter Energy. This is a hard card to make sense of exactly how it will be played, but the effect of the card is certainly obviously powerful that it should see play.

The card is very restrictive in how it can be used, with EX and GX Pokemon being unable to use it for its full effect, and it only working for its full effect when you have more prize cards left than the opponent.

I think this restrictiveness will cause this card to end up not seeing a ton of play. This needs to be used, for the most part, as a supplemental Energy powering strategy and not your sole one, as if you rely too much on it, your opponent can use that to outplay you, knowing that you’re dependent on going behind on prizes to attack.

The card will probably be at its strongest, just like Counter Catcher, in decks that pursue alternate win conditions other than prize cards.

As it provides Energy of every type, it can theoretically be used to counter a poor matchup for you by letting you tech in a Pokemon that can hit whatever is giving you issues for Weakness. I’m not so sure that this will actually be effective though, as it seems inconsistent, and it does rely on your being behind on prizes and losing the game, and if said deck has an otherwise good matchup, and is ahead in a game, then it probably can close out the game for the win most of the time, even with your counter.

A cool interaction for the card is in Expanded with Mew FCO and Dimension Valley. With Dimension Valley in play, Mew FCO can use Counter Energy to use any three Energy attack that has at least one Colorless Energy in the attack cost.

I am very unsure about whether this card will actually end up seeing play or not, and I don’t really have a good read in any direction. I think the effect is undeniably strong, but it may be too restrictive to see much play.

Verdict: 3/5

-Go to Card Index-

Conclusion

Crimson Invasion is definitely the weakest set in the Sun and Moon set block to be released thus far, but it is still a set with some interesting cards and it should do enough to shake up what I think is a pretty stale Standard meta.

One thing to watch out for in the future is the Pokemon with the designation Ultra Beast. Nothing may come of it, but they’ve clearly given them this special designation so it is possible that these cards get some type of support in the future that makes them better.

Card Index

Pokemon:

Kakuna | Beedrill | Karrablast | Gogoat | Alolan Marowak | Starmie | Magikarp | Gyarados GX | Milotic | Regice | Alolan Raichu | Alolan Golem GX | Gengar | Mismagius | Chimecho | Gourgeist | Nihilego GX | Regirock | Buzzwole GX | Hydreigon | Guzzlord GX | Mawile | Registeel | Kartana GX | Xerneas | Alolan Exeggutor GX | Miltank | Altaria | Regigigas | Silvally GX

Trainers:

Gladion | Lusamine | Counter Catcher | Peeking Red Card | Dashing Pouch | Devoured Field | Sea of Nothingness

Energy: 

Counter Energy

7 thoughts on “Crimson Invasion Set Review

  1. Overall fantastic and thoughtful analysis! Totally agree with you on the likes of Guzzlord-GX, Counter Catcher, and Nihilego-GX. Though I do believe you majorly underrated Buzzwole-GX and majorly overrated Silvally-GX!

  2. I’ve seen some pairing of the Exeggutor GX with the Venusaur from Shining Legends to help with the energy cost.
    Being able to confuse your opponent and still do 120+ damage for only 2 energy is pretty strong to set up knockouts and force your opponent to get that pokemon out of active.

  3. He does not know anything about the pokemon tcg. I have been to 2 world championships (and made top 32 once), and ii disagree with alot of this

Leave a Reply