So the big story associated with the release of Call of Legends (outside of how generally poor it was as a set for players) was the impending release of the stadium card Lost World. It had been hyped up as a major player in Japan, winning numerous events, and mechanically, the card reads incredibly busted. For the uninformed, here is Lost World:
Once during each player’s turn, if that player’s opponent has 6 or more Pokémon in the Lost Zone, the player may choose to win the game.
Needless to say, from a game play perspective, the card feels very much like cheating. All it requires is for you to force 6 different Pokémon into the opponent’s Lost Zone.
This is, theoretically, much easier than killing 6 Pokémon. You don’t discriminate with hit points. You don’t get stuck having to score 2, or 3 hit kills. You don’t have to worry about them healing their Pokémon. You simply send the card to the Lost Zone, and are done with it.
It effectively lets you bypass the concept of hit points entirely. Theoretically, you should be able to outrace the other players bid for 6 prizes rather comfortably.
Clearly, everyone’s first thought when reading this card was Gengar Prime. Coupled with an impressive 130 hit points, Gengar’s Poké-Body is synergistic but underwhelming and less practical than it may read. When it is active, whenever the a Pokémon your opponent controls is knocked out, it gets sent to the Lost World instead.
This means one of two things needs to happen. Either Gengar needs to score a kill with its “Cursed Drop” attack, or you need to “cheat” and use attacks which let you hit and run, enabling you to switch into Gengar Prime.
Cursed Drop costs 2 energy, a Psychic and a Colorless, and lets you place 4 damage counters, as desired, amongst your opponent’s Pokémon. This isn’t necessarily a bad attack, but it is one that fundamentally betrays the deck’s purpose.
The appeal and allure of a Lost World deck is that you get to cheat the system by theoretically getting a “kill” a turn, but Lost Zoning a Pokémon every turn. The second your game plan abandons that clock, you have to ask yourself: “Why am I going through all of the trouble to win in a contrived way if I’m not really outracing the conventional win condition?”
If you get to a point where you need to start using Cursed Drop to slowly place Pokémon in the Lost Zone, you are in trouble. The attack walks into Seekers, and Poké Turn, and any number of effects which offer to remove the damage done before there are any actual returns on the invested attack.
The big attack, on the other hand, is Gengar Prime’s “Hurl Into Darkness,” which, for a Psychic Energy, lets you look at your’s opponents hand and grab a Pokémon from it for every Psychic Energy attached to Gengar. You get to hurl those guys into Darkne…erm, the Lost Zone.
This not only helps you cherry pick key cards such as Level X cards, but obviously puts you closer to scoring the win off of your stadium card. This is generally going to be your best and fastest route to winning.
There are problems of course. Your opponent is going to see your plan, and they certainly aren’t going to sit there and let you enact it. Well, they could, but generally they will lose doing so. So how are they going to go about beating you?
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