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Much Ultra, Such Beast! - Top 5 Cards from Pokémon Sun & Moon: Crimson Invasion

Hot off the heels of the exciting Shining Legends mini-expansion that's just been released, Pokémon hit us with another bunch of shiny new cards in the form of our Autumn set, Crimson Invasion!

Featuring the iconic Ultra Beast legendary Pokémon from the Sun and Moon games for the first time, and a bunch of cool new trainers and other Pokémon, this set both excites and disappoints in equal measures.

Although it features potentially two new exciting decks archetypes, in comparison to the previous two main expansions, Guardians Rising and Burning Shadows, Crimson Invasion as a whole feels underwhelming with many of the GX Pokémon especially failing to hit the mark.

Despite this caveat there is still plenty of potential for this set, especially in two of the titular Ultra Beast Pokémon, and in some of the trainer cards.

What makes this set extra interesting is that it is legal for tournament play on the first day of competition at the European International Championships (ExCeL Centre, London, November 17-19), meaning any number of new cards from Crimson Invasion could spring a surprise and go on a good run over the weekend!

Without further delay, here are my Top 5 cards from Sun and Moon: Crimson Invasion!

5 - Counter Catcher

I absolutely love the design of this card and Counter Energy (see below). Thinking more carefully about taking prizes in the early game and/or punishing your opponent for taking an early prize definitely adds an extra layer of complexity to our already highly tactical card game.

Despite this probably not going to see much play in many decks at the moment, outside potentially Greninja and Xerneas BREAK, the potential for being able to use Guzma without the drawback of using up your Supporter for the turn, is huge.

With those two decks due to rotate (99% most likely based on previous rotations) this September, I look forward to seeing what other one-prize attackers emerge over the next few expansions. I expect many of them will want to take full advantage of Counter Catcher.

4 - Registeel

Weighing in at a hefty 130hp, and having two incredibly potential attacks, it's not hard to see why Fairy deck players might be re-considering their options ahead of the International Championships in three weeks!

Having the “Oblivion Wing” energy accelerating attack as a start is extremely useful, but combining it with the 90 damage 2nd attack that can one-hit knockout a Gardevoir GX with a Choice Band attached to Registeel, AND with potential huge synergy with Silvally GX (see below), makes this one card definitely to consider sooner rather than later.

3 - Counter Energy

The second of our shiny new Counter cards is definitely one that will be considered in many new and yet-to-be-released decks and archetypes, and gives the potential for some huge swing turns when behind on prize cards.

One example springs to mind could be in Darkrai EX and Raichu GX decks. Once behind on prizes, if this is attached to a Pokémon (Yveltal from Shining Legends or Raikou from Breakthrough perhaps!) you are increasing your damage output by 40 from your main attackers just from a single energy attachment!

Also in a Raichu GX or similar Lightning deck, you could use the Electrode (Evolutions) ability to put yourself behind on prizes to activiate Counter Energy, effectively meaning you are attaching a whopping four energy's that turn!

These are just small examples but I see Counter Energy to be considered a lot in many decks that require multiple energy attachments, and utilise strong non-GX/EX attackers.

2 - Buzzwole GX

Introducing the most hyped and talked about card from the set, weighing in at 190HP with the big muscles in the red corner, it'ssss Buzzwole GX!!!

Landorus EX was a similar big basic and saw a lot of play when it was released in Boundaries Crossed a few years ago, so it's not to see why Buzzwole GX is receiving a lot of attention.

It's first attack being able to do 30 damage to a benched Pokémon is huge in our current metagame with Stage 2 decks, as it softens them up for a potential Espeon EX devolve later in the game, knocking them out.

Combined with a Strong Energy and Choice Band, Jet Punch will also be doing 80 damage against EX/GXs and coming close to knocking out Drampa GX and Zoroark GX (weakness), both of which see play in tournament decks at the moment.

The second two attacks are both solid, and combined with Max Elixir and Fighting Fury Belt, Buzzwole GX is a potential wrecking machine, and will definitely be one many are looking at for Europe Internationals next month.

Our friends at Ace Trainer Australia have come up with some awesome Buzzwole GX decks that are definitely worth considering, including a spicy Decidueye GX list. Check them out here.

1 - Silvally GX

It was close for me whether Buzzwole GX or Silvally GX took the top spot on my countdown, but I feel the all-around potential and the use of the Silvally Memory Cards in the future just edges it for the hero of Crimson Invasion.

To start with Type: Null which Sylvally GX evolves from has 110HP which puts it ahead of a lot of other Stage 1-focused decks, meaning you are less likely to fall behind in the early game.

Silvally GX itself has a hefty 210HP and the wonderful ability that gives all your basic Pokémon free retreat, making it a potential great partner with the likes of Drampa GX, Necrozma GX, and the new Registeel from Crimson Invasion.

Adding the Memory Card items that give Silvally GX different typing to hit Pokémon for weakness, means that he will find his way in to many decks as a counter to popular decks that dominate the format at the time. Currently we except Zoroark GX and Drampa GX to be popular at the International Championships, so the Fighting Memory Card from Crimson Invasion could be a great inclusion in any Silvally GX deck.

On top of all this it has a solid energy accelerating first attack and a potentially 250-hitting GX attack, Silvally GX really is the star of Crimson Invasion in more ways than one.

Honorable Mentions from Crimson Invasion!

Kartana GX is effectively a searchable Enhanced Hammer (Ultra Ball) with an incredibly relevant typing that could help against our current Fairy-heavy meta. The GX could also be a devastating late-game attack for any decks that utilise Rainbow Energy, stealing the last prize from a tight game.

Lusamine offers slower and disruption-based decks a further option for the late game. Although I can't imagine many would use it to retrieve Stadiums, being able to get back important Supporters like Guzma can be crucial, and could see some play in the future if we see more mill/disruption decks.

Peeking Red Card is another interesting card for mill/disruption decks. I would prefer to play this over the normal Red Card as being able to choose which one you discard from your opponent could be hugely disruptive, especially if you stop their Tapu Lele GX/Brigette combo or remove their only draw Supporter on their first turn of the game. 

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Stephen Kent ~ PlaySkape Games