Winning Conditions – Hindering Draw Power

So you’re at a tournament and your first game is about to begin. You flip your cards at the start of the game, and you notice your opponent starts with, let’s say, a Luxray GL, Infernape 4, and a Baltoy. Crap. You’re now facing one the best decks that’s going to circle Worlds this year. Your opponent has a smile on his/her face as they have a very good start so it seems. (Stealing Adam’s Honchkrow G combo) You go first, set up a darkness energy on your and use Honcho’s Command for, a Random Stadium and an Energy Gain. Your opponent places an energy and Bebe’s Search for a Claydol. Now your turn…you Roseanne’s Research for an Energy and a Crobat G…Flash Bite for 10 on Baltoy then Energy Gain on Honchkrow and BAM! There goes your opponents’ Baltoy. You look at your opponent’s face…now they have “Crap” written all over their face.

Another scenario…One of your RR Beedrills was just KO’d. Okay…that stinks, so you Night Maintenance it back into your deck, but you have no means of searching for it. You filter down your hand to 1 card and you say “Cosmic Power” and your opponent plays Power Spray… once again…“Crap.” You’ve got absolutely nothing and you can’t draw.

Claydol, this amazing card has become an ESSENTIAL part of any deck in this format. With the ability to have a constant flow of draw power, Claydol just makes the game faster. But what if your sad Baltoy (or Claydol already) has been KO’d early game? Is that an automatic loss? No…but it will sure be a TOUGH battle to recover from. After playing a few games with Adam, he picked off my Baltoy fairly early in the game. At that point, it was a struggle to keep up, for I had no means of draw power and my Beedrills could not swarm fast enough, as Adam easily set up Gengars and proceeded to an easy win. Most decks cannot function properly without a Claydol in play. Without it, decks are just ridiculously slow, for that 1 draw per turn just isn’t enough when your opponent has a Claydol of their own in play.

So what have people done? People have centered their decks with KOing Claydols. For example, does a whopping 60 damage to Pokémon with Powers. With the help of Crobat G and a PokéTurn or Miasma Valley, Claydol is a goner. Although people have put in Unown G to stop Gengar’s Claydol onslaught, but still, I believe getting rid of an opponent’s Claydol early game SEVERELY turns the tides of battle in your favor, for once a Claydol is gone, your opponent can only draw 1 card per turn, and most likely your opponent will set up sacrifices to frantically try to get another Claydol in play. Sure there are a couple of cards that help with draw power, for example, LA Uxie with Set Up, or the old Speed Stadium, but Uxie can only do it once, and Speed Stadium isn’t as good with the chance of a first flip tails (and your opponent can use it too).

So early Claydol KO? A great strategy. Hindering your opponent’s draw power and severely slowing them down? With that on your plate, you’ve got yourself either an easy win or at least a chance to get ahead and picking off a few prizes before your opponent gets rolling.

Questions, Comments, Concerns? Let’s hear it! I’m hoping for a bunch of discussion. Thanks for reading!

Reader Interactions

69 replies

  1. Drew Stillwell

    SO true. At least half of the decks in this metagame almost specialize in either bringing up a claydol or ko’ing it from the bench (or in Legos’ case, locking it and then sniping it). If you can do that, you have a huge advantage over your opponent.

    Drawpower is detrimental to a decks’ success, so it only makes sense that a prime target of attack would be said drawing power. Nice article, I couldn’t agree more.

  2. Noah

    nice article man i totally agree. claydols… last pokemon you expect to ruin your game lol. keep up the good work!

  3. Noah

    nice article man i totally agree. claydols… last pokemon you expect to ruin your game lol. keep up the good work!

  4. Dave Hueglin

    Another great article Qua.

    Does anyone use Aerodactyl MD for its Primal Claw – place 2 damage counters any time a Pokemon uses a Power? That would put a bit of a kink in Claydol. I know the one disadvantage is that its hard to search for Old Amber, so Aerodactyl can be unreliable in setting up.

    Are there any grass Pokemon that can do an Invite and Strike type of attack like Zangoose – then Claydol can be hit for his weakness?

    nardd – I think you mean: Lack of Drawpower is detrimental to a deck’s success …

    • Mike Qua  → Dave

      Thank you Dave :D

      I saw a few Aerodactyl MD at Regionals and BR but they did poorly for the same reason you said, searching for Old Amber…some people teched in 4 Farfetch’d SF but…I don’t think they did very well, they wasted too many turns just setting up I ended up dragon pumping them to death. Sadly those sad wins were mainly my only wins lol

      Palkia Lv.X’s Restructure could pose as useful in bringing that Claydol out…

  5. Dave Hueglin

    Another great article Qua.

    Does anyone use Aerodactyl MD for its Primal Claw – place 2 damage counters any time a Pokemon uses a Power? That would put a bit of a kink in Claydol. I know the one disadvantage is that its hard to search for Old Amber, so Aerodactyl can be unreliable in setting up.

    Are there any grass Pokemon that can do an Invite and Strike type of attack like Zangoose – then Claydol can be hit for his weakness?

    nardd – I think you mean: Lack of Drawpower is detrimental to a deck’s success …

    • Mike Qua  → Dave

      Thank you Dave :D

      I saw a few Aerodactyl MD at Regionals and BR but they did poorly for the same reason you said, searching for Old Amber…some people teched in 4 Farfetch’d SF but…I don’t think they did very well, they wasted too many turns just setting up I ended up dragon pumping them to death. Sadly those sad wins were mainly my only wins lol

      Palkia Lv.X’s Restructure could pose as useful in bringing that Claydol out…

  6. Joshua Hall

    Qua, all that you said is true, and decks are going to have to do more than simply popping in a few Unown G’s, especially with cards like Relicanth making the Claydol’s death even swifter. There are, though, a few options.

    One, run the deck with a 3/3 Claydol line. If Kingdra and Machamp do it, why not all decks? Yes, it takes up bench space, but the bonuses of having 2 Claydols out is tremendous. Not only is the death of one not that big of a deal, but Power Spray is rendered useless, as your opponent will most likely not want to waste 2 of them in a turn, that is IF they have 2. 3/3 Claydol may just be the way to go.

    Also, decks may have to start running more pure draw cards like Felicity’s as in the days of old. Before Claydol and Pokepower drawers, almost all decks had to run lines like 4 Copycat/4 Steven’s Advice or more to keep up the draw. Now that Claydol is an easy target, trying to fit 3-4 spots for some pure draw, (drawing cards from your deck, not shuffle cards like Wager), might be a good idea. Cynthia is a decent option, but like I said, it is almost always better to play pure draw rather than shuffle draw.

  7. Drew Stillwell

    SO true. At least half of the decks in this metagame almost specialize in either bringing up a claydol or ko’ing it from the bench (or in Legos’ case, locking it and then sniping it). If you can do that, you have a huge advantage over your opponent.

    Drawpower is detrimental to a decks’ success, so it only makes sense that a prime target of attack would be said drawing power. Nice article, I couldn’t agree more.

  8. Carlos Pantoja

    nice strategy I have battled against one of those decks, I actually took out the bsltoy before it evolved

  9. Carlos Pantoja

    nice strategy I have battled against one of those decks, I actually took out the bsltoy before it evolved

  10. Carlos Pantoja

    nice strategy I have battled against one of those decks, I actually took out the bsltoy before it evolved

  11. To compensate for this, most decks run at least 1 uxie/chatot, BTS to allow for an instant claydol replacement, and things like cynthia’s and volkner’s to counter the claydol counters. If you don’t run enough draw to supliment claydol, then yes, this strategy will almost always kill you. However, if you invest in your draw trainers (boy have people become spoiled because of draw pokemon. :/), you will not fall victim to this.

  12. Joshua Hall

    Qua, all that you said is true, and decks are going to have to do more than simply popping in a few Unown G’s, especially with cards like Relicanth making the Claydol’s death even swifter. There are, though, a few options.

    One, run the deck with a 3/3 Claydol line. If Kingdra and Machamp do it, why not all decks? Yes, it takes up bench space, but the bonuses of having 2 Claydols out is tremendous. Not only is the death of one not that big of a deal, but Power Spray is rendered useless, as your opponent will most likely not want to waste 2 of them in a turn, that is IF they have 2. 3/3 Claydol may just be the way to go.

    Also, decks may have to start running more pure draw cards like Felicity’s as in the days of old. Before Claydol and Pokepower drawers, almost all decks had to run lines like 4 Copycat/4 Steven’s Advice or more to keep up the draw. Now that Claydol is an easy target, trying to fit 3-4 spots for some pure draw, (drawing cards from your deck, not shuffle cards like Wager), might be a good idea. Cynthia is a decent option, but like I said, it is almost always better to play pure draw rather than shuffle draw.

  13. Joe Hahn

    I’ve never been a fan of Claydol; its useful and all, but I’d just rather use uxies, trainers or supporters for draw power. You’ll probably need to use roseannes or bebes to get your Claydol out, they take up bench space that is essential is some decks, and now there are an increasing amount of ways to stop or pick off Claydols. I’d like to be using my pokemon searching cards for the main pokemon in my decks instead of using them to set up Claydols, and add in like 4 draw power trainers or supporters instead of a 2/2 claydol line lets say.

    And yes Dave, Cradily from legend’s is grass and his first attack is like invite and strike for 30, but I don’t think you’d want to tech a stage 2 that evolves from a fossil to pick off Claydols.

    Hey Qua, I bet you were expecting this from me sooner or later.

    •  → Joe

      Uxie is a one time deal and can be sprayed, leaving you with a sitting duck for alot of decks (70 hp basic<<80 hp stage 1). And there are several ways to get out claydol (open with it, bebe's, luxury ball, draw into it with other draw, ect.). As for bench space, I don't see any deck ever needing 6 spaces and being consistant. And those methods of picking off claydol work even better on uxie and your key hitters (in thier basic and stage 1 forms). I doubt there is really any way for a stage 2 deck to be consistant without using claydol (uxie can be enough for basic decks and okay for stage 1 decks). As for replacement for claydol, there really is no draw cards in this format, which is its issue. There is no steven's advice. There is no copy cat. There is no holon scientist. Cynthia's feelings is as close as well have, but you should never play 4 of them and they really compliment claydol, rather than replace it. If your claydol is countered, you have that extra buffer to not only allow you to hit multiple key cards (which most decks need to do turn after turn), but to also shuffle your deck to get back those cards on the bottom faster and possibly regain claydol back (if your facing an anti-dol deck, you want to have a nm in hand just in case something really bad happens). I do agree that there should always be some draw to suppliment claydol, whether it be uxie, chatot, cynthia's, rowan's, pokedrawer+, pokedex, or any other decent draw card. But I seriously doubt that there is any way to realisitically replace claydol (though something like dodrio is a decent idea to try, though very limited).

    •  → Joe

      Hey Joe :D I figured so much! We’re always open to input. Claydol is still useful but I’m agreeing that many people, including myself, have become too reliant on Claydol when it dies… I lose.

  14. Brian Jessing

    To compensate for this, most decks run at least 1 uxie/chatot, BTS to allow for an instant claydol replacement, and things like cynthia’s and volkner’s to counter the claydol counters. If you don’t run enough draw to supliment claydol, then yes, this strategy will almost always kill you. However, if you invest in your draw trainers (boy have people become spoiled because of draw pokemon. :/), you will not fall victim to this.

  15. Brian Jessing

    To compensate for this, most decks run at least 1 uxie/chatot, BTS to allow for an instant claydol replacement, and things like cynthia’s and volkner’s to counter the claydol counters. If you don’t run enough draw to supliment claydol, then yes, this strategy will almost always kill you. However, if you invest in your draw trainers (boy have people become spoiled because of draw pokemon. :/), you will not fall victim to this.

  16. Dave Hueglin

    Thanks for the info about Cradily Joe. I agree it would definitely not be worth running a Cradily line just to take out Claydols. Cradily looks interesting though. I guess with Poketurns, Switches, Warp Points and the low retreat cost of a lot of Pokemon, he could never really make it as a main attacker; by trying to control which defenders were in the active position.

    Has anyone ever tried running Cradily in a deck?

  17. Dave Hueglin

    Thanks for the info about Cradily Joe. I agree it would definitely not be worth running a Cradily line just to take out Claydols. Cradily looks interesting though. I guess with Poketurns, Switches, Warp Points and the low retreat cost of a lot of Pokemon, he could never really make it as a main attacker; by trying to control which defenders were in the active position.

    Has anyone ever tried running Cradily in a deck?

  18. Dave Hueglin

    Thanks for the info about Cradily Joe. I agree it would definitely not be worth running a Cradily line just to take out Claydols. Cradily looks interesting though. I guess with Poketurns, Switches, Warp Points and the low retreat cost of a lot of Pokemon, he could never really make it as a main attacker; by trying to control which defenders were in the active position.

    Has anyone ever tried running Cradily in a deck?

  19. Joe Hahn

    I’ve never been a fan of Claydol; its useful and all, but I’d just rather use uxies, trainers or supporters for draw power. You’ll probably need to use roseannes or bebes to get your Claydol out, they take up bench space that is essential is some decks, and now there are an increasing amount of ways to stop or pick off Claydols. I’d like to be using my pokemon searching cards for the main pokemon in my decks instead of using them to set up Claydols, and add in like 4 draw power trainers or supporters instead of a 2/2 claydol line lets say.

    And yes Dave, Cradily from legend’s is grass and his first attack is like invite and strike for 30, but I don’t think you’d want to tech a stage 2 that evolves from a fossil to pick off Claydols.

    Hey Qua, I bet you were expecting this from me sooner or later.

  20. Joe Hahn

    I’ve never been a fan of Claydol; its useful and all, but I’d just rather use uxies, trainers or supporters for draw power. You’ll probably need to use roseannes or bebes to get your Claydol out, they take up bench space that is essential is some decks, and now there are an increasing amount of ways to stop or pick off Claydols. I’d like to be using my pokemon searching cards for the main pokemon in my decks instead of using them to set up Claydols, and add in like 4 draw power trainers or supporters instead of a 2/2 claydol line lets say.

    And yes Dave, Cradily from legend’s is grass and his first attack is like invite and strike for 30, but I don’t think you’d want to tech a stage 2 that evolves from a fossil to pick off Claydols.

    Hey Qua, I bet you were expecting this from me sooner or later.

    • Brian Jessing  → Joe

      Uxie is a one time deal and can be sprayed, leaving you with a sitting duck for alot of decks (70 hp basic<<80 hp stage 1). And there are several ways to get out claydol (open with it, bebe's, luxury ball, draw into it with other draw, ect.). As for bench space, I don't see any deck ever needing 6 spaces and being consistant. And those methods of picking off claydol work even better on uxie and your key hitters (in thier basic and stage 1 forms). I doubt there is really any way for a stage 2 deck to be consistant without using claydol (uxie can be enough for basic decks and okay for stage 1 decks). As for replacement for claydol, there really is no draw cards in this format, which is its issue. There is no steven's advice. There is no copy cat. There is no holon scientist. Cynthia's feelings is as close as well have, but you should never play 4 of them and they really compliment claydol, rather than replace it. If your claydol is countered, you have that extra buffer to not only allow you to hit multiple key cards (which most decks need to do turn after turn), but to also shuffle your deck to get back those cards on the bottom faster and possibly regain claydol back (if your facing an anti-dol deck, you want to have a nm in hand just in case something really bad happens). I do agree that there should always be some draw to suppliment claydol, whether it be uxie, chatot, cynthia's, rowan's, pokedrawer+, pokedex, or any other decent draw card. But I seriously doubt that there is any way to realisitically replace claydol (though something like dodrio is a decent idea to try, though very limited).

    • Brian Jessing  → Joe

      Uxie is a one time deal and can be sprayed, leaving you with a sitting duck for alot of decks (70 hp basic<<80 hp stage 1). And there are several ways to get out claydol (open with it, bebe's, luxury ball, draw into it with other draw, ect.). As for bench space, I don't see any deck ever needing 6 spaces and being consistant. And those methods of picking off claydol work even better on uxie and your key hitters (in thier basic and stage 1 forms). I doubt there is really any way for a stage 2 deck to be consistant without using claydol (uxie can be enough for basic decks and okay for stage 1 decks). As for replacement for claydol, there really is no draw cards in this format, which is its issue. There is no steven's advice. There is no copy cat. There is no holon scientist. Cynthia's feelings is as close as well have, but you should never play 4 of them and they really compliment claydol, rather than replace it. If your claydol is countered, you have that extra buffer to not only allow you to hit multiple key cards (which most decks need to do turn after turn), but to also shuffle your deck to get back those cards on the bottom faster and possibly regain claydol back (if your facing an anti-dol deck, you want to have a nm in hand just in case something really bad happens). I do agree that there should always be some draw to suppliment claydol, whether it be uxie, chatot, cynthia's, rowan's, pokedrawer+, pokedex, or any other decent draw card. But I seriously doubt that there is any way to realisitically replace claydol (though something like dodrio is a decent idea to try, though very limited).

    • Mike Qua  → Joe

      Hey Joe :D I figured so much! We’re always open to input. Claydol is still useful but I’m agreeing that many people, including myself, have become too reliant on Claydol when it dies… I lose.

    • Mike Qua  → Joe

      Hey Joe :D I figured so much! We’re always open to input. Claydol is still useful but I’m agreeing that many people, including myself, have become too reliant on Claydol when it dies… I lose.

  21. Adam Capriola

    What’s up Joe!!!!!!!

    Thanks for posting dude. I figured you were gonna retort the whole pro-Claydol movement sooner or later. Like Brian said, there are many reasons to use it right now, mostly being that there aren’t many good supporters like there were in the past.

    BTW, Uxie is going to take up a bench spot too, and if it gets Sprayed like Brian mentioned, then it just took up a bench spot. At least Claydol can use its Pokemon Power turn after turn.

  22. Adam Capriola

    What’s up Joe!!!!!!!

    Thanks for posting dude. I figured you were gonna retort the whole pro-Claydol movement sooner or later. Like Brian said, there are many reasons to use it right now, mostly being that there aren’t many good supporters like there were in the past.

    BTW, Uxie is going to take up a bench spot too, and if it gets Sprayed like Brian mentioned, then it just took up a bench spot. At least Claydol can use its Pokemon Power turn after turn.

  23. Adam Capriola

    What’s up Joe!!!!!!!

    Thanks for posting dude. I figured you were gonna retort the whole pro-Claydol movement sooner or later. Like Brian said, there are many reasons to use it right now, mostly being that there aren’t many good supporters like there were in the past.

    BTW, Uxie is going to take up a bench spot too, and if it gets Sprayed like Brian mentioned, then it just took up a bench spot. At least Claydol can use its Pokemon Power turn after turn.

  24. Dave Hueglin

    As Power Spray only works in an SP deck, I am wondering what percentage of games in a tournament you would expect to be playing against an SP deck. Any ideas? Sure you need to be ready to play around Power Spray, but it won’t be there every game.

    • Mike Qua  → Dave

      At my local league, there are roughly 15 of us that play…and only 3 of us do not play Luxray… D:

      I play Beedrill, 1 person plays Flygon/Machamp, 1 person plays Mother Gengar, the rest are Lux/Ape, Lux/Alakazam, Lux/Gallade…and a bunch of other variants… >_< looks like I'm getting plenty of Luxray practice hahaha

    • Mike Qua  → Dave

      At my local league, there are roughly 15 of us that play…and only 3 of us do not play Luxray… D:

      I play Beedrill, 1 person plays Flygon/Machamp, 1 person plays Mother Gengar, the rest are Lux/Ape, Lux/Alakazam, Lux/Gallade…and a bunch of other variants… >_< looks like I'm getting plenty of Luxray practice hahaha

  25. Dave Hueglin

    As Power Spray only works in an SP deck, I am wondering what percentage of games in a tournament you would expect to be playing against an SP deck. Any ideas? Sure you need to be ready to play around Power Spray, but it won’t be there every game.

  26. Dave Hueglin

    As Power Spray only works in an SP deck, I am wondering what percentage of games in a tournament you would expect to be playing against an SP deck. Any ideas? Sure you need to be ready to play around Power Spray, but it won’t be there every game.

    • Mike Qua  → Dave

      At my local league, there are roughly 15 of us that play…and only 3 of us do not play Luxray… D:

      I play Beedrill, 1 person plays Flygon/Machamp, 1 person plays Mother Gengar, the rest are Lux/Ape, Lux/Alakazam, Lux/Gallade…and a bunch of other variants… >_< looks like I'm getting plenty of Luxray practice hahaha

  27. Adam Capriola

    I would say over 50%, maybe more. I didn’t play at Nationals, so I don’t know what the percentage was like there, but maybe someone who went can give us a better estimate. :)

  28. Adam Capriola

    I would say over 50%, maybe more. I didn’t play at Nationals, so I don’t know what the percentage was like there, but maybe someone who went can give us a better estimate. :)

  29. Adam Capriola

    I would say over 50%, maybe more. I didn’t play at Nationals, so I don’t know what the percentage was like there, but maybe someone who went can give us a better estimate. :)

  30. Dave Hueglin

    You can clear Uxie from the Bench by making him active and using Psychic Restore though.

    • Joshua Hall  → Dave

      Psychic Restore is okay, but you’re still putting up another pokemon that the opponent will get a free hit on.

    • Joshua Hall  → Dave

      Psychic Restore is okay, but you’re still putting up another pokemon that the opponent will get a free hit on.

  31. Dave Hueglin

    You can clear Uxie from the Bench by making him active and using Psychic Restore though.

  32. You can clear Uxie from the Bench by making him active and using Psychic Restore though.

    • Joshua Hall  → Dave

      Psychic Restore is okay, but you’re still putting up another pokemon that the opponent will get a free hit on.

  33. Kyle Morris

    It’s funny because Lux is so popular people consider not running claydol because of it. I think Lux is an amazing card and I think Cyrus is a great substitute for it. I think SP will be pretty dominate for quite sometime even with Relicanth out and gengar getting a lv.x. Claydol will slowly see less play and eventually be replaced by uxie(making gengar slightly better). The next couple of seasons will be interesting.

  34. bendingspoons1

    Guys just because sp has cyrus that doesn’t mean take out claydol from sp decks and run 2 uxie. In fact kyle and I ran just a 1/1 claydol line and that might have been better at a 2/2, if anything up the count to a 2/2 and luxray will have trouble killing both baltoy’s.

  35. bendingspoons1

    Guys just because sp has cyrus that doesn’t mean take out claydol from sp decks and run 2 uxie. In fact kyle and I ran just a 1/1 claydol line and that might have been better at a 2/2, if anything up the count to a 2/2 and luxray will have trouble killing both baltoy’s.

  36. Kyle Morris

    It’s funny because Lux is so popular people consider not running claydol because of it. I think Lux is an amazing card and I think Cyrus is a great substitute for it. I think SP will be pretty dominate for quite sometime even with Relicanth out and gengar getting a lv.x. Claydol will slowly see less play and eventually be replaced by uxie(making gengar slightly better). The next couple of seasons will be interesting.

  37. Adam Capriola

    Nice post Kyle. I think Blaziken FB is also going to make people reconsider it, depending on its popularity.

  38. alex d

    I hate Pokemon-based draw. It makes it impossible to run a deck without Powers.

  39. alex d

    I hate Pokemon-based draw. It makes it impossible to run a deck without Powers.

  40. alex d

    I hate Pokemon-based draw. It makes it impossible to run a deck without Powers.

  41. PokePockets

    Great Article. I have recently built an SP toolbox with one of the main focuses being Honchkrow G. It is awesome as it can hinder any early set up. It was probably my favorite SP pokemon coming out of PT and I am just a fan of Honchkrow in general, haha.

  42. PokePockets

    Great Article. I have recently built an SP toolbox with one of the main focuses being Honchkrow G. It is awesome as it can hinder any early set up. It was probably my favorite SP pokemon coming out of PT and I am just a fan of Honchkrow in general, haha.

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