Pokémon TCG Crimson Invasion Set Review

Hello ATGN readers! It’s Jack again with a review for the new set for Pokémon Sun and Moon – Crimson Invasion.

During the lead up to the new set we have seen several different decks take over the competition, such as Gardevoir, Volcanion, Golisopod/Garbodor and Ninetales. These decks have proceeded to define competitive Pokémon until this new set became tournament legal.

Overall, the set is very lacklustre. However, there are a few hidden gems, some of which will make an impact now, while others will of shake up the metagame in the future.

Instead of going through the entire set one by one, I will instead go through my personal top five cards in the set with a few honourable mentions. So without further ado, I will go into my personal list for the best cards out of Crimson Invasion.

Honourable mentions

Counter Catcher

Counter Catcher is not a card which will see play in every competitive deck, but it will be amazing in decks that will give up early prizes. The only competitive deck which will consistently fall behind in prizes is the Greninja Break deck which can attack the bench anyway through the Giant Water Shrunken ability. Overall, counter Catcher is a card which has potential, but it won’t see an extreme amount of play right now.


Lusamine is interesting. It’s the only trainer card in the current standard format which can be used to specifically recover supporter cards. Lusamine is also a supporter card which makes it slow. Another issue with this card is that your supporter can be shuffled back into your deck with N. N is played as a four-of in every competitive deck.

You can use it to recover stadium cards, but it simply isn’t enough to justify using your supporter for the turn. However, when N rotates, Lusamine could see play in decks that aim to chain supporters like Acerola. Or it could be used to increase a decks outs to win by recovering more Guzmas. Right now, I cannot justify playing Lusamine over another copy of a supporter or stadium. For that reason, Lusamine isn’t in the top 5, but still gets a mention.


Gladion is very like a highly played card of formats past, Azelf from Diamond and Pearl, Legends Awakened. The difference is that Azelf is triggered through an ability while Gladion is a supporter, and Azelf doesn’t require you to shuffle your prizes which allows you to take whatever prizes you want without giving your opponent the information of what is in your hand.

Gladion forces you to shuffle your prizes which doesn’t allow you to take whatever prize you want, unlike Azelf. One thing that Gladion does have over Azelf is that it enables you to recover every prize instead of just Pokémon which would enable decks to easily assemble puzzle of time pairs or grab a much-needed tech for any specific match-up. Overall, if a deck really needs all four copies of a card or cannot handle prizing one of many tech cards, then Gladion would be a decent inclusion. But at the moment it is a very slow and risky card without Vs. Seeker.


Gorgeist isn’t a card which will be in a top tier deck, but it will see some experimentation. I could see it taking a similar place in the format to what Vespiquen had, that being a small, one prize attacker. Unlike Vespiquen, it will be very difficult to stream Gorgeist because of the requirement to discard the tools. That said, this card is still worth consideration; if a way to recover tools was reintroduced into the format – such as an Eco Arm reprint – then Gorgeist could see play as a contender in tournaments.

Now that the honourable mentions are finished, let’s go onto the top 5.

5 – Counter Energy

Counter Energy takes the number five spot in this set because of its inherent potential as a comeback mechanic. The ability to provide two energies of any type from one attachment is very, very good. On the other hand, it is balanced by its restrictions.

One way to play this card which I haven’t heard anybody talk about is using it in a slow control deck which will typically fall behind, but none of those currently exist in Pokémon.

While this might not be the best card right now, when a deck comes around that can use it, Counter Energy will carry that deck to being a top contender.

4 – Kartana GX

Kartana isn’t a card which will star in its own deck, but it is card that will always be worth consideration in any deck which plays Rainbow or Metal Energy. The ability is extremely useful right now, with Double Colourless being played in every deck as well as Rainbow or Strong Energy seeing play over multiple decks.

Its first attack is underwhelming, but its GX attack is incredibly strong for closing out games. It can also be used to escape the seven-prize game. Overall, Kartana GX will see play in decks which play Rainbow or Metal Energy, but Kartana won’t see play further from there.

3 – Registeel

This is a very similar card to ones we’ve seen in the past such as Raikou, Yveltal and Volcanion. Registeel, however, is a metal type which is the best type to be in Pokémon right now because of the sheer dominance of Gardevoir GX. Registeel can knock out a Ralts in one hit while accelerating energy. It can also two-shot a Gardevoir with a choice band, which is nothing to sniff at.

Registeel could spawn a new deck which would consist of metal attackers to deal with every situation, such as Genesect-EX, Ceelesteela-GX and Kartana-GX. Overall, Registeel will see play in many decks as long as Gardevoir is a top tier card.

2 – Silvally GX

Silvally GX is an incredible card. The ability could make it see play in certain decks such as Volcanion without even considering its two attacks. The first attack does 120 damage and accelerates a basic energy onto a benched Pokémon which could be used as a key setup attack. On the other hand, the GX attack can be used to take key knockouts. The restriction of damage scaling based on the opponents benched Pokémon can be considered negligible. This is because, right now, Pokémon is played as a game where the aim is to set up as many attackers as possible. Silvally comes in and then takes a key knockout on anything on your opponent’s board.

This is without mentioning the fighting and psychic memories which are also in this set. These give Silvally the ability to hit fighting and psychic weakness, which allows it to take easy one hit knockouts on Zoroark GX, Drampa GX and Espeon GX.

Overall, Silvally GX will, like Registeel, spawn its own ‘toolbox’ style archetype. This would aim to provide a counter to every top tier deck in the format.

1 – Buzzwole GX

If you have ever seen the card Landorus EX, then this card should seem very familiar. They both share the same attack, a 30/30 split to the active and bench. Though, Buzzwole will be making a major splash in the metagame right now. All the attackers in this current format deal damage and have HP in multiples of 30. This makes Buzzwole infinitely better than all the current spread attackers because of that extra 10 damage. Buzzwole also takes advantage of strong energy, which allows it to hit a 60/30 spread with a Fighting Fury Belt. Adding a Choice Band would allow it to hit 80/30 split to GX Pokémon. This would set up several knockouts for a myriad of backup attackers.

Overall, Buzzwole GX is, without a doubt, the best card in Crimson Invasion. It will see the most play out of any card in the set because of the sheer power of the Jet Punch attack.


Box opening

Finally, for those interested in hearing my and fellow writer Anthony’s opinions on several other cards in the set, or just looking to see what to expect if you open a booster box, the video below shows us opening a box of Crimson Invasion and talking about the cards we pull.

The box was provided courtesy of Banter Toys & Collectables.

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