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Pojo's Pokemon Card of the Day

 

Alph Lithograph FOUR

HS Triumphant

Date Reviewed: Jan. 21, 2011

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 2.75
Limited: 3.50

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being the worst. 
3 ... average.  
5 is the highest rating.

Back to the main COTD Page

Combos With:

Baby Mario
2010 UK National
Seniors
Champion

Alph Lithograph FOUR (Triumphant)

 

The Alph Lithographs have been the secret rares of the HGSS block: hard to pull, and quite prettyful . . . sort of like Time-Space Distortion was in Mysterious Treasures, except that Time-Space Distortion was actually playable.

 

In a lot of ways, this is a good thing. If the Lithographs did something that was actually good (instead of having quirky effects like ‘shuffle your deck’), they would be extremely expensive and difficult to obtain for competitive players. As it is, collectors have had nice cards for their binder, and players haven’t had to worry about needing another $50 card for their deck.

 

Alph Lithograph FOUR is slightly different though. Its effect (‘look at your face down Prize cards’) means that it is being hyped as the potential replacement for Azelf LA when that card rotates out. Will it achieve the same near-staple status as Azelf though? A lot depends on the format. During the time Azelf has been available, the dominant decks have often relied to a certain extent on key copies of a single card (such as the LV X in Flygon decks) or been largely made up of a whole series of single copies (most SP decks). Decks like these can often depend on quick access to Pokémon that could very well be Prized. If a future rotation takes these types of decks out of the format, then a card that allows you to look at your Prizes could become much less important (though still, obviously, somewhat useful).

 

Then there is the issue of searchability. Azelf is easily brought out with Pokémon Collector, while Alph Lithograph is not usually searchable. This means that to stand the best chance of drawing  it early (when it’s most needed), a player would have to run multiple Lithographs, which I suspect they would be reluctant to do, especially as all subsequent copies would be a dead draw.

 

Despite this, there is one deck in which Alph Lithograph FOUR has already seen play: the notorious Quad Uxie donk. This has the ability to draw practically every card in the deck on the first Trainer turn and take multiple Prizes. Alph Lithograph actually makes sense here as (unlike Azelf) it can’t be Power Sprayed and doesn’t take up Bench space. Sure, it’s vulnerable to Trainer lock (for example from Spiritomb AR), but then a Trainer lock will completely shut down Uxie donk anyway (the deck plays 40+ Trainers!).

 

Aside from this one highly specialised deck, though, Azelf LA remains the superior card for now. In the future Alph Lithograph FOUR may well take its place as an inferior, less reliable substitute (perhaps in combination with Rotom UD, which allows you to swap a Prize card with the top card of your deck). For this reason, I would recommend that players get hold of a copy if they can for potential future use, especially as its value is only likely to increase after the rotation.

 

Rating

 

Modified: 2 (everything but Quad Uxie prefers Azelf)

Limited: 3 (an unlikely pull but . . . eh, it’s a Trainer that could come in handy)

 

Combos with

 

Rotom UD

conical 1/21/11: Alph Lithograph(FOUR)
 
I do believe that this is the first Alph Lithograph card reviewed on this site. There's plenty good reason for that; most of the others have mediocre effects. This one, well...
 
As you can see from pictures of the card, the text is in Unown letters. For those who can't read Unown(whoever those people are), it reads “LOOK AT ALL OF YOUR FACE DOWN PRIZE CARDS.” Also of note, in the art, the letters, A, X, O, and N have a 3D effect. I'm not sure if it means anything; there might be an anagram in there, but I don't see one, unless 'axon' is a word.
 
The effect, as shown above, is fairly simple. I can't say for certain, but I would assume that the recent Azelf LA ruling also applies to Alph Lithograph; presumably, you're allowed to take notes on your Prizes. Speaking of Azelf, Alph Lithograph is inferior to Azelf in pretty much every way, given that Azelf lets you get a Pokemon from your prizes in addition to looking at them. That said, some decks have a use for this card, notably the recent Uxie/Jirachi donk decks. Given that the deck's goal is to take mass KOs, it's handy to know what to grab out of prizes in advance.
 
I'm not sure what to make of this in Limited, though. Knowing your prizes is OK, I guess, and you could certainly do worse, but since there's also fewer prizes, knowing what card are prized has less benefit. That, and it's a Secret Rare, so you likely won't pull one. You should probably grab this in Draft, but chances are it won't be much use.
 
Modified: 2.75/5
Limited: 2.25/5

Otaku

Today look at Alph Lithograph Four from HS - Triumphant, a "Secret Rare" Trainer. I am already worried about reviewing it... I don't see "Four" actually in the name, but instead it looks like that is printed in Unown text on the bottom where the numbering for the set should be. Still, that's how the Compendium Lv.X names it, so for me it’s official.

Getting back to the card, I wish this had been a common, just so that Junk Arm would have been useful for Limited play. The actual effect is actually solid for a "normal" Trainer: you get to look at all your face down Prizes.  There is always a risk that something you need will end up stuck in your Prizes... after all it’s a tenth of your overall deck. Even if nothing especially vital is "Prized", rarely will every card in your Prizes be equally useful to you at the time you earn one.

Right now decks that have some important, key cards they simply cannot afford to have stuck in their Prizes run Azelf from Legends Awakened. When Azelf is Benched it lets you both look at your Prizes and exchange one card from your hand for one card from your Prizes, which is definitely more potent than Alph Lithograph Four. The caveat is you have to run a 70 HP Basic Psychic Pokémon that is Psychic Weak in a format where many decks run a card that can OHKO it with a Double Colorless Energy (Uxie Lv.X. X). Lock Up (the attack on Azelf) is only useful in a few key situations. As such, Azelf is not something every deck can afford to run. Alph Lithograph Four might end up being hard to obtain due to rarity, but once you do have it you should find it fairly easy to work a Trainer into your deck in terms of space. It won't be as easy to search out as Azelf or to recycle it, but you do have some options at least for either. So for decks that just want to/need to see what is in their Prizes, but aren't especially worried about all copies of a key card being Prized, this would probably be the superior choice.

Once Azelf rotates out, Alph Lithograph Four plus Rotom from HS - Undaunted is a possible replacement. It trades off being slower, taking up more space, and risking Prizing something just as good for being re-usable. If you can make room for multiple Alph Lithograph Four (or a way to recycle it) then a single Rotom can repeatedly filter out good cards from your Prizes and send them back to the deck while Alph Lithograph is used the first time to let you know which Prizes to pick and subsequently to make sure what you've exchanged is safe to leave in the Prizes. I haven't heard of anyone using it now, and I wouldn't expect them too: the loss in speed is fatal for the current environment.  This is a possibility for the next format, but even then it may just be too clunky to work, or be preemptively replaced by something in a future set before any such rotation even happens!

For Limited play, take it! You are often forced to run suboptimal Evolution Lines and non-Pokémon in small, unusual amounts, making it easy for those four Prize cards (still a tenth of your deck) to contain something really important. Finding out exactly what is Prized (and where) becomes a serious advantage, unless you don't draw Alph Lithograph Four until late game.

This actually has potential to see some play in Unlimited. You get to combine better draw power and a Trainer intensive format with the same usefulness of knowing exactly what is in your Prize cards. It should be pretty easy to draw or search Alph Lithograph out during your first few turns so as long as Trainers aren't being blocked by Chaos Gym or a Pokémon and it has all the advantages of Modified play without the major drawbacks. Additionally, I don't fancy Azelf in this format as much: despite what it gains in support how likely is snagging a single Pokémon going to be worth the hassle of Benching and then bouncing?  After all, Azelf is even less safe in this format: your opponent can block your Trainers without hurting their own quite easily!  Given that decks already running Scoop Up have better targets for it and you often will trash your own hand for cards like Professor Oak, that just seems like too much effort for too little gain. The only card I found that was similar is Here Comes Team Rocket!  It suffers because it was reprinted as a Supporter and it affects both players; too costly for Unlimited play.  Alph Lithograph Four is hardly a staple, but it is one of those cards you have to eliminate from your deck when building, that is to say it will often get bumped by something more important to your deck but when you have room, you'll happily run it and enjoy the effect.  If that sounds like to high of praise… it is Unlimited and the list of “cards to eliminate” is already the size of a deck.

Ratings

Modified: 3.25/5 - Not the best option, but a good one.

Limited: 5/5 - Equivalent to draw/search power.

 

Summary
Alph Lithograph Four appears to be a well made Trainer. It is just as good in Unlimited and Modified, but for different reasons. A Pokémon does the job better in Modified, and quite frankly that seems to be how Pokémon is meant to be: non-Pokémon need to have a useful effect but it can't be too powerful or they so easily become staples.

 

That’s right, its time for me to be selling more stuff on eBay.  I hit some snags and had to go a bit without listing any auctions, but now I really need money so I should be able to make time for them reliably again.  Right now we have what you might call an interesting “battle of the planets”… no not that show, my Transformers Unicron and my Darth Vader/Death Star Transformers/Star Wars toys!  Click here if you’re interested!

virusyosh

Happy Friday, Pojo viewers! Today we end our COTD week with a secret card from the HS Triumphant expansion that probably won't see much play right now, but may once the format rotates. Today's Card of the Day is Alph Lithograph FOUR.

The fourth Alph Lithograph is a Trainer card, with a relatively simple effect: You look at each of your face-down Prize cards. In the current Modified format, Azelf LA largely outclasses this card, as Azelf allows you to take a Pokemon from your Prizes and switch it with one in your hand with its Time Walk Poke-Power. However, the Alph Lithograph can't be Power Sprayed (but it can be Trainer locked), and doesn't take up a spot on the Bench, so it at least deserves a mention. This card may see some play after the September rotation, though, as Azelf will very likely be gone and many players like knowing what their Prizes are, especially since it has been ruled that you can take notes on them. So even though Alph Lithograph doesn't net you any card advantage on its own, knowing where that key card is in your Prizes could definitely make a difference between a win and a loss.

In Limited, this card is also pretty decent, as things you need tend to get prized here as well. An additional benefit of using it here is that Trainer lock is non-existent, so there's really no reason to not use it, even if you don't have anything interesting in your Prizes.

Modified: 3/5 I know this probably seems a bit high, but I think that this card could have a potential future, depending on how important it is to see where things are in your Prizes (combo decks like Gyarados come to mind). However, that being said, I could see it being difficult for this Lithograph to find a deck slot. Most players wouldn't want to run more than one, but another difference between this card and Azelf LA is that Azelf is easily searchable, whereas this card is not. Even still, Alph Lithograph could find some play post-rotation.

Limited: 4/5 Trainer cards are generally good to have in Limited, and this is no exception. While it doesn't do a whole lot on its own (though knowing your Prizes can be great), there really isn't any reason to not include this in your deck (unless you are saving it because it's a money card, or something).


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