I have always loved Houndoom. After having a look at the Legends Awaken card, I decided to build a deck around this not so beastly beast. So here is a deck idea that I have been playing around with. It’s probably not top tier, but I plan to try and make it the best possible deck it can be.
Let’s have a look at Houndoom LA. His first attack, “Burning Sensation”, does 20 damage for 1 Colourless Energy and will burn a Pokémon that is already damaged. His second attack, “Bright Flame”, will do 60 damage for 2 Fire Energy, but requires a flip: get heads and you have to discard both Fire Energies. So Houndoom seems to be a pretty weak attacker; and with only 80hp – he’s not exactly a tank either.
That’s where his Poké-Body comes into play. “Revenge Fang” states that if you have fewer benched Pokémon that your opponent, each of Houndoom’s attacks does 40 more damage. With that factored in, Houndoom is now doing 60 for 1C and 100 for 2F (with a chance of discarding both). Houndoom suddenly becomes a pretty quick and powerful attacker.
The key to making a deck work with Houndoom is to be able to manipulate your Bench so that you almost always have fewer Pokémon than your opponent. Here’s the Pokémon that accompany the hound in order to make him work at his best. All of these Pokémon have the ability to be discarded, or returned to your deck or hand, in order to allow you to control the size of your Bench.
Aipom/Ambipom from Majestic Dawn/Mysterious Treasures
Aipom has an attack called “Hand Trick” that does 20 damage and returns Aipom and all attached cards to your hand. The cost is 2C energy, but with Double Colourless in your deck, that becomes a one turn move. Evolve to Ambipom with an attached Memory Berry and you can now use “Hand Trick” to bring a damaged Ambipom back into your hand (removing any damage at the same time). With up to four PlusPowers in your hand, when you lay them down and do “Hand Trick”, you can do up to 60 damage and have all of the PlusPowers and the Double Colourless Energy back in your hand. If you also have Broken Time Space in play, the entire combo can be back on the Bench and ready to do the same attack the next turn. Of course, you would need to retreat or switch your Active Pokémon.
Ambipom has two of his own attacks that are very situational, but have the ability to be quite disruptive to the opponent. Both cost only 2C and so can be powered up in one turn with a Double Colourless Energy.
Played onto the Bench, Unown Q can be attached to a Pokémon as a Tool and allows the Pokémon to retreat for one less energy. As Houndoom requires only one energy to retreat, this effectively makes Houndoom into a free retreater.
Chanot G is a great starter for this deck. Not only does his Poké-Power disrupt your opponent’s set-up by allowing you to re-arrange his top four cards, but his no energy attack lets you search your own deck for a Trainer (like Memory Berry or Plus Power) and he goes back into your deck.
Almost everyone is familiar with Uxie’s uses. The added bonus with this deck being that, in addition to refreshing your hand, he can go back into your deck after his attack to reduce the size of your Bench.
That’s a list of the Pokémon that I have been working with in my deck. Other cards that could also be tried are:
Shuppet/Banette with Memory Berry (you would also need Psychic Energy)
Unown G to protect a Pokémon from non-damage effects of an attack
Unown R to discard as necessary and draw another card
Unown E to add an extra 10 hp to Houndoom
Here’s the full deck list I have been experimenting with:
| Pokémon – 21|
4-4 Houndoour/Houndoom LA
4-4 Aipom MD/Ambipom MT
1 Unown Q MD
2 Chatot G SV
2 Uxie LA
| T/S/S – 27|
1 Luxury Ball
2 Dusk Ball
2 Memory Berry
3 Super Scoop Up
2 Warp Point
3 Roseanne’s Research
3 Underground Expedition
2 Team Galactic’s Mars
1 Professor Rowan
2 Broken Time Space
| Energy – 12|
4 Double Colourless
8 Fire Energy
The choice of Trainers and Supporters is geared toward offense and disruption. Team Galactic’s Mars allows you to discard one of your opponent’s cards in addition to drawing two of your own. If you get these early and have an Ambipom in play, you can use his “Charity Tail” attack to force the opponent to discard a further two cards or take 80 damage.
The PlusPowers, Memory Berries and Broken Time Space have already been mentioned. Super Scoop Up is primarily to get damaged Houndooms out of trouble. The other cards are mostly to switch out Pokémon or for draw power. The only one I will single out is Underground Expedition. I really like this card because it allows you to choose any two cards (from the bottom four) and you do not have to show them to your opponent. You can secretly amass 3-4 PlusPowers in your hand and then use them at a key moment and catch your opponent unawares.
This deck works best by hitting early and hard. Houndoom is weak to Water. So, if your opponent is running Gyarados you are pretty much soggy toast. You have more of a chance against other water decks that require more time to set up. As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, I’m not too sure this deck has the staying power to stand up to the top decks – but it is lots of fun trying to take them down with these two unexpected Pokémon – Hounds and Apes!