PokeBeachLanturn Prime is a card that has been the topic of much discussion ever since its release in HS Unleashed. Its Poké-Power, “Underwater Dive”, was the main attraction of the card, giving it the benefits of dual typing in a format where Delta Pokémon had long since passed. Its simplicity belies a lot of complex timing in when and how to use it – but it fills a role nothing else can.
Lanturn Prime’s stats are pretty solid for a Stage 1 – 110 HP and a 2 Retreat cost are average, and its only attack, “Powerful Spark”, deals 40 damage, plus 10 more for each energy attached to your Pokémon. This gives Lanturn 70 damage out of the gate (since the attack uses three energy itself), and more for the energy attached to your Pokémon.
Really, this attack is mediocre. 70 for a Lightning and a Double Colorless isn’t great, and it doesn’t do anything else useful. Decks that focus on Stage 1 Pokémon will rarely have enough energy in play to further power up Lanturn Prime. The attack really has to hit for weakness to be useful – which is really the niche Lanturn Prime fills, by being able to change types.
The biggest issue with Lanturn Prime is its weakness: Fighting. A big part of the benefit of being Water type is to counter Donphan Prime. The problem is, countering Donphan with Lanturn uses three energy, knocks out Donphan in one hit, then leaves Lanturn open to another Donphan coming up from the bench. Its 110 HP cannot take an “Earthquake” from Donphan, making it a bad trade even with the benefit of DCE.
The best way to make use of Lanturn is as a tech to finish a prize exchange in a deck that would otherwise be slowly ground down by Donphan.
PokeBeachBefore Tornadus, this deck would have been Zekrom, which would benefit enough from the OHKO to run either Lanturn or Yanmega. With Tornadus around, there is less reason to run Lanturn, but in a Donphan heavy meta, it can still be a very useful tech. Zekrom does not normally run any way to search out the evolution, so be sure to add cards like Pokémon Communication, as well. Note that in the mirror, Lanturn also provides another way to hit Tornadus for weakness.
Other competitive decks that run Rainbow and Double Colorless Energy can make use of Lanturn Prime in the same way, if they need to deal with Donphan. Rush aka Stage 1s without Yanmega can often have trouble in a Donphan vs Donphan race (such as a mirror match), and Lanturn also has the advantage of a one hit KO on Yanmega Prime.
70 Damage also knocks out Mew Prime; if you’re looking to hate Mew decks down, it can be a very powerful tech, being able to OHKO everything they have. Gothitelle players should consider one or two Lanturn Prime, just to remove the autoloss. They can already run Rainbow and Double Colorless Energy, and 110 HP makes for an acceptable damage sponge if the revenge damage is unneeded.
The BIGGEST reason to run Lanturn Prime is to break open the toolbox Vileplume/Reuniclus deck. Being able to hit Donphan, Suicune & Entei LEGEND, Reshiram, and even the rarely teched Tornadus for weakness means it’s hard to Damage Swap away. Weakness to Donphan still makes it a one use trick, unless it can be backed up by energy denial, such as Smoochum HS. Using these two Pokémon together can make the Vileplume player look for a Seeker to pick up the energy, and while he does, you can hopefully shred his Donphans with Lanturn Prime.
DEFENDER. That is really the first and last thing to be said. It makes Donphan, Reshiram, and Zekrom all go get a PlusPower if they want to KO it in one hit, and a double Defender drop puts it right out of reach. Zekrom builds without Defender should not consider Lanturn Prime at all.
PokeBeachRunning it against Trainer Lock, it stands best on its own – other techs should be run to further break the matchup, not support Lanturn. Rescue Energy is always a welcome card on an evolved Pokémon with a heavy Colorless attack cost, however.
Being able to recover your Lanturn in case your first attack on their Donphan supply failed is quite useful, as you get a second attempt to break their offence and regain control of the game by forcing them to promote a Pokémon like Blissey, Zekrom, or one of their key bench sitters. Donphan Prime can be a good partner for taking out the remaining Pokémon in a Vileplume deck.
Aside from its role against MewBox, where you’re primarily countering Yanmega (a job Zekrom and Thundurus also do well), there is very little Lanturn does that Basculin EP #24 does not. For a Water and a DCE, it hits every single one of the Pokémon above with the exceptions of Tornadus and Yanmega for weakness, and has a higher base damage for neutral hits.
It has 30 less HP, making it vulnerable to “Foul Play” KOs from Zoroark, small “Outrage” attacks from Zekrom, and Tornadus’ “Hurricane”, but being a basic, it is easier to search and just drop into play. Its other attack, Flail, has synergy with Donphan, as well.
I give Lanturn Prime a 3/5. Used correctly, it can be an excellent competitive card, though it has a lot of drawbacks. Its high energy cost makes it an investment, and its use must be timed carefully for it to have the most effect. Pokémon Catcher really hurts this kind of Pokémon, as it is difficult to time your attacks when your opponent can snag Lanturn from the bench.
Using it with, or against Trainer lock is a strong way to get around the Catcher problem, and most of the matchups here don’t involve Catcher for one reason or another. If you expect a lot of Catcher based decks, and don’t lock Trainers yourself, don’t run it. If you expect a lot of Vileplume and MewBox, and need something to break their offence, Lanturn Prime is a wonderful addition to your toolbox.