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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Lillie
- Sun & Moon

Date Reviewed:
March 31, 2017

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3
Expanded: 2.75
Limited: 4.25

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being horrible.  3 ... average.  5 is awesome.

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

Ever looked over at your old collection of cards from the B&W and XY eras, come across a Bianca or a Shauna and wondered, "Man wouldn't it be great if these were better?" 

Enter Lillie, a new draw Supporter based on that female character in the games that follows you around the region! In a nutshell, Lillie is simple - when you play her, you draw until you have 6 cards in hand. Sounds simple enough, in fact it sounds exactly like Bianca. But there is one little catch to her, and that's what makes her unique! If it happens to be your first turn, you don't get to draw until you have 6 cards - you draw until you've got 8 cards instead! How neat is that?

Well...admittedly, it's novel. The current problem that Lillie faces is the competition from another well-known draw supporter, Professor Sycamore. And considering the latest reprint of Sycamore comes from Steam Siege, he's going to be relevant for at least the next year - past the next rotation for sure. So she probably won't be run in high quantities until we stop getting a "discard everything and draw 7" Professor Oak-style of Supporter. But I'd keep her in mind, cause considering that she could end up in your opening hand frequently enough, she might end up netting you more than Sycamore ever could.

...but then she'll just be a good draw up to 6, which depending on what format and what's printed, she might be okay. 

Rating 

Standard: 3/5 (she's pretty good for right now, just outclassed) 

Expanded: 2.5/5 (and don't even get me started on the EXPANDED list of draw supporters) 

Limited: 4.5/5 (seriously you'd think that there would be an archetype alone for Draw Supporters) 

Arora Notealus: I wonder what that would look like? You get a Pokemon, use its Ability to grab a Supporter that lets you draw cards out of your deck, you use the Supporter, and then the attack does damage based on how much is drawn? That'd be a funky thing to see, wouldn't it? I wonder if they would be able to implement such a thing... 

Weekend Thought: What're your thoughts on this week's cards? Do you believe in the power of Eeveelution? Or maybe you've got your own take to Ribombee's Ability? Perhaps there's some use to gain out of it! And what of Gigalith's powers? Think there will come a time when he'll be really good, or is he just too clunky? Would you run Lillie over Sycamore or even at all in your deck? I know you'd run DCE if you could!


Otaku

We end this week with Lillie (Sun & Moon 122/149, 147/149), a Supporter that allows you to draw until you have six cards in hand unless it is your first turn, in which case you may draw until you have eight cards in hand.  Trainers are usually among the most potent cards in the game but aren’t as easy to search out or recycle as Pokémon or basic Energy cards.  There are some pieces of general Trainer support like Trainers’ Mail (a card which sees play in many decks) and one or two general anti-Trainer effects (but none currently legal are worth using).  Most of what will affect how we use and evaluate this card, however, comes from it being a Supporter, a class of Trainer that you may use only once per turn.  Yes, anyone not new to the game already knew that but as with all of my rambling reminders, it isn’t just that obsessive need to state the obvious, but how easy it is to know a fact without applying it.  You’ve only got so many slots in your typical deck you can allow for your Supporters, and even in Standard, we’ve got many more we want to run than we have the capacity to include.  Even running four VS Seeker, making room for enough Supporters (and at the correct individual counts) to have one worth using each turn is a key part of building a good deck. 

The primary draw Supporter cards for Standard play continue to be N and Professor Sycamore; few decks can afford to skip either, even if they are trying to rely mostly on one or the other, VS Seeker, and other draw/search effects for setup and field maintenance.  Yet, with each new set, we hopefully look for something to join them, because discarding your hand can sometimes be crippling and often at least a little bit of a drawback, and N can be too unpredictable due to it varying with the remaining Prize count and potentially helping your opponent as much or more than yourself.  It isn’t quite as bad in Expanded, as there we have Colress and some more deck-specific options, but in Standard play, we’ve been trying and make stuff like Ace Trainer, Judge, Professor Birch’s Observations, or Shauna work.  While handy at times, none of these are on par with N and Professor Sycamore, and it really hurts decks that need to build up a combo (including Evolutions) in hand.  Which brings us back to Lillie. 

The effect on Lillie isn’t completely new.  Apart from her first turn bonus draw, Lillie matches up to Bianca, and Bianca shares everything but her name with Professor Birch (a Supporter only legal for Unlimited play).  We also have Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108, 106/108); while it is an Ability that you can only trigger once, when you Bench this Pokémon from hand, its “Setup” allows you to draw until you have six cards in hand.  Players gave Bianca a try; both right away when she first released back in BW: Emerging Powers, and while she had a tiny bit of initial success, she’s pretty much been a non-entity since the release of N one set later in BW: Noble Victories.  With Lillie, Bianca is now totally obsolete; hypothetically, someone could try to create a deck where eight cards with the shared aspect of their effect would be worthwhile, but given the struggle to justify including even a single Bianca over the years, “hypothetical” was me being charitable.  On the other hand, Shaymin-EX has become such a major factor most decks want to run at least one, but this is expressly because you can use it in addition to your Supporter for the turn (or additional copies of itself). 

At best, Lillie (outside of your first turn), Bianca, and Shaymin-EX can only draw six cards for you… which isn’t always as good as it sounds.  It isn’t the amount that is the issue, but the condition; if you have a zero card hand, enabling you to draw six cards, wouldn’t you rather have had a Professor Sycamore available to draw seven?  In fact, with a zero card hand, you still net six new cards with N.  We’ll address the first turn situation in a bit, but first, let us consider how Lillie compares to what is perhaps the most fundamental of currently legal Supporters; the draw three card.  While I don’t recommend using Cheren, Hau, or Tierno for competitive play, as they simply draw cards (no other effect), they give us the baseline for pricing Supporter based draw power.  Generally speaking, trading one card for one card is more or less “fair” in a TCG; not always, but in the Pokémon TCG right now, there are definitely some speedy decks that would consider it for thinning purposes.  So when you use one of the draw-three Supporters, you net two cards.  This provides a pretty decent measuring stick to use on Lillie.  Still not worrying about first turn, if you have Lillie and at least six other cards in hand, you cannot even play her.  If you have Lillie and four or more cards in hand, then she has a lower yield than the draw-three Supporters, while Lillie plus three only equals them.  I began this paragraph pointing out that with an empty hand, you’ve got a better option, so you really need to have just one or two cards in hand for Lillie to be the best.  At least before we consider her overall performance. 

Now for the first turn business.  Lillie has at least the potential to be one of the best first turn Supporter plays; empty your hand, draw eight cards.  If you get your hand down to one card, and it is not one card you want to discard, then she is as good or better than Professor Sycamore.  Being better or worse than N isn’t as easy to predict; I’ve had opponent’s wreck me by using N first turn; I may have taken six cards, sometimes more than I had before the N because I’d Benched additional Pokémon or my opponent had some mulligans, but I either drew dead or significantly disadvantaged hands.  On your first turn, Lillie outdoes or at least equals the draw-three crowd until you are stuck with a hand of five or more cards.  This really is good, except there is a problem; what can you do to improve your odds of utilizing Lillie (and utilizing her well) on your first turn?  The more copies you run, the more you may have to rely on her on later turns, but if you run just one Lillie, you either have to luck into her first turn or burn some valuable resources to search her out.  Due to the current pace of the game, you can usually assume your deck lends itself to playing down your hand, so I don’t expect her to be bad, just not optimal.  I mean, if you can regularly lower your hand down to zero, one, or two cards then Oranguru might be a better deal if it doesn’t clash elsewhere; smaller yield, but reusable (individually, and in multiples). 

I have not been able to test Lillie first hand, one part due to falling behind everywhere the other part due to the PTCGO feeling more like a chore than recreation; when I’ve got downtime, I’m doing things other than playing on it.  Make of that what you will.  For now, I think Lillie is not the best choice for Standard play, but she isn’t “bad”; even “mediocre” sounds too harsh, but “adequate” sounds a bit too positive because she isn’t really that either.  In the end, let us go with “suboptimal”; it isn’t that she can’t do the job, but that other cards do it significantly better.  The only reason she doesn’t fare it better in Expanded, I suspect, is because of even more competition for space and more elaborate combos that could clutter up your hand.  This is the Format where you’ve got Battle Compressor (followed by a VS Seeker) or Jirachi-EX to ensure a single Lillie shows up to play first turn.  Yet, we aren’t seeing the winning players do that (unless it is in the most recent results I have not yet read, of course).  For Limited and Theme Deck play, Lillie may perform a bit worse, but ends up being more valuable; it is much easier to end up with a cluttered hand here, but all draw power is at a premium. 

We aren’t done yet.  Lillie may have her day, and soon.  I don’t just mean how Standard may eventually see cards like N and Professor Sycamore rotate out, leaving a yawning gap for her to fill.  Rather, in Japan, they now have Tapu Lele-GX, and if translations are correct, then she possesses an Ability functionally identical to that of Jirachi-EX, but her HP is 170 and she’s got a solid looking attack.  As long as the Ability is correct (even if nothing else is), it seems like she’s be must-run for most decks, and now you’ve got a way to add Lillie to hand first turn in Standard play. 

Ratings 

Standard: 3/5 
Expanded:
3/5 
Limited:
4/5 
Theme:
4/5 

Summary 

I’ve had people telling me Lillie should be in every deck, but I just don’t see it.  At least, not yet.  She’s nice first turn, but a little lacking the rest of the game, at least when you’ve got alternatives.  Some decks may be able to use her well enough already to justify her inclusion, and anything that isn’t prone to a cluttered hand should probably test with her just to be sure. 

Since I’m behind, I still haven’t finished my review of Lapras-GX, which the crew looked at two weeks ago today.  With five voting points, Lapras-GX would have taken 14th place if our countdown for the top cards of Sun & Moon had been long enough.  It missed the tie for 12th and 13th place by two points.  While I did review Shiinotic last Tuesday, in my haste I forgot to mention that it was our 15th place finisher with four voting points.  Lillie tied with Skarmory (Sun & Moon 88/149), as each earned three voting points.  As they each appeared on one of the others’ lists but not my own, I broke the tie based on my own opinion at the time.  So Skarmory took 16th place while Lillie only got 17th.  As of right now, I’d give it to Lillie, and her long-term use looks the most secure.  18th place took secured two voting points and could be one of the cards that makes Skarmory useful enough that my original decision looks good…


21times

Lillie (Sun & Moon, 147/149) is a brand new, never before seen draw support card.  Lillie allows you to draw cards from your deck until you have six cards in your hand.  However, if you are fortunate enough to have Lillie in your opening hand, you may draw cards until you have eight in your hand.  Under the right circumstances, with the right deck, Lillie will provide fantastic draw support without having to either discard or reshuffle cards back into your deck.  However, when used in the wrong deck, it could consistently give you very little or even no draw support.

I did a study on Lillie shortly after it first came out of Sun & Moon.  I wanted to track exactly how many cards Lillie was giving me and which decks had the best card draws from her as well.  Below are the results of that analysis:

Deck_average cards drawn_number of times Lillie was played

Damage Change Mewtwo_7_2

Decidueye Vileplume_6.5_8

Vespiquen_5.5_2

Decidueye Tauros_5.35_40

Lurantis_5.33_3

Rainbow Road_5_5

Darkrai Porygon_5_2

Raichu Ampharos_5_3

Growlith Froslass Volcanion_5_2

Ho-Oh_4.66_3

Garchomp_4.66_3

Darkrai Dragonair_4.57_45

Tauros Hammers_4.5_16

Decidueye Meowstic_4.5_6

Weakness Box_4.14_7

Exploud_4_1

Decidueye Gengar_4_3

Sudowoodo_4_1

Medicham_3.64_14

Diancie 2_3.62_8

Xerneas Break Dragonair_3_7

Greninja_2.5_2

Grand Total_4.67_183

 

To put it in a nutshell, Lillie works best in decks with many “insta play” cards.  You can see it did consistently very well in Grass decks almost solely because of Forest of Giant Plants (Ancient Origins, 74/98).  Generally speaking, in non Grass decks that have to hold cards (evolutions decks), Lillie fares much worse than in the big basic decks.  I would say that the benchmark is at least four cards per draw.  If you can average four cards per draw, you should probably play Lillie in your deck.  The closer you get to three cards, however, the closer you get to a card like Hau (Sun & Moon, 120/149), which most of us consider to be an inferior draw supporter.  If your deck averages less than three cards, you definitely shouldn’t use Lillie – but I would draw the line at four cards because even at, say, three and a half, that means there are a number of times when you’re only getting one or two cards.

I like playing it in my Grass decks, it’s definitely a staple, but even still I will almost always choose Professor Sycamore (Steam Siege, 114/114) over it if I have both in my hand.  This is where the problem with Lillie lies – let’s say you have both Lillie and Sycamore in your hand at the same time, and your hand is full of cards that you don’t want to discard (sound familiar?  Seems to happen to me a lot!).  If you use Sycamore, you get seven new cards, but you have to discard several cards that may be invaluable to you later in the game.  However, if you use Lillie, but your hand is full of cards, granted you don’t have to discard any cards, but you might only get one or two cards in your draw.  Likewise, if you have only Lillie and Sycamore in your hand, unless it’s your first turn, you’re going to use the Sycamore over the Lillie every time.  Therefore, while Lillie can potentially provide better support than N (Fates Collide, 105/124) or Professor Birch’s Observations (Primal Clash, 159/160), Professor Sycamore still reigns supreme as the best draw supporter in the game.

Rating

Standard: 3 out of 5

Summary

I would highly recommend that you try Lillie as an alternative to N or Birch or whatever draw supporter you are currently using (except for Sycamore).  Track it over twenty or twenty-five plays and see how many cards it draws for you.  If you get an average of at least four or even five cards a draw (I got 6.5 out of Decidueye Vileplume and 5.35 out of Decidueye Tauros), it’s definitely better than N or Birch  because you don’t have to reshuffle.  If your average is around three (or less), I’d definitely recommend passing on Lillie.


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