Donphan/Mesprit – Lock and Rock

As many of you know from my State Championship report, I have been running a Donphan Prime deck, with a unique partner, Mesprit from Legends Awakened. When I posted the aforementioned report, there were several requests for me to release the list. Well, I’ll give you that, and a little more.

4 : Phanpy, SW-98
4 : Donphan (Prime), GS-107
2 : Nidoran +, RR-71
1 : Nidorina, RR-73
2 : Nidoqueen, RR-30
2 : Baltoy, GE-60
2 : Claydol, GE-15
3 : Mesprit, LA-34
1 : Uxie, LA-43
1 : Unown G, GE-57
1 : Unown Q, MD-49
Trainers: 16
2 : Pokémon Communication, GS-98
1 : Warp Point, MD-88
4 : Poké Drawer +, SF-89
1 : Night Maintenance, OP8-9
1 : Switch, GS-102
2 : Rare Candy, OP8-10
4 : Super Scoop Up, MD-87
1 : Luxury Ball, SF-86
Supporters: 9
3 : Roseanne’s Research, OP8-11
1 : Copycat, GS-90
3 : Bebe’s Search, RR-89
2 : Pokémon Collector, GS-97
Pokémon Tools: 2
2 : Expert Belt, AR-87
Stadiums: 2
2 : Broken Time-Space, PL-104
Special Energy: 1
1 : Multi, MT-118
Basic Energy: 7
7 : F, GS-120

Now, what’s the “little bit more” part? I’m going to do an analysis on the major cards on the deck.

Phanpy –

I’m playing the Phanpy from Secret Wonders. It’s really not that much better than the HGSS one, but I really enjoy the lower Retreat Cost, in case you have to get out of a hairy situation.

Donphan Prime

I’m sure you’ve heard all about this card, but I’ll refresh your memory. Dropping 60 for only one energy is the main reason people play it, but I have come to love his “Heavy Impact” attack. With an Expert Belt, and three energy, you can get the knockout on any card in a mainstream LuxChomp deck, Cursegar deck, or Sableye lock (provided they don’t have an Expert Belt attached themselves). The “Exoskeleton” Poké-Body is the straw that breaks the camel’s back and puts Donphan over the top. Combining that with Nidoqueen and Expert Belt, you can truly give your opponents a hard time getting the knockout.

Nidoqueen –

There are several benefits to having Nidoqueen in the deck. Most importantly, it negates the side effect of Donphan’s “Earthquake” attack. Also, it makes it much harder for Donphan to be Knocked Out, reducing the number of damage counters by 10 between every turn. One of the lesser known uses for Nidoqueen is for attacking Pokémon with Psychic Weakness, i.e. every Pokémon in a PLOX deck. If you stockpile a few Fighting Energy on a Nidoqueen, then drop the Multi and Expert Belt in the same turn, you can easily do 150 to a Gallade with an Expert Belt attached for 2 easy prizes.

Mesprit –

Mesprit is one of the most surprising cards in the deck. If you use it right, you can catch your opponent off guard, and drop it right before you Knock Out their main attacker, limiting their chances to recover during their next turn. My favorite way to use it is to get consecutive “Psychic Binds” on the first two or three turns of the game, disabling your opponent’s setup, and making the game easy to win.

Unown Q –

One of the main problems I had when I first ran this deck was bench space. Unown Q successfully put an end to that problem. I can have a bench of Claydol, Nidoqueen, Uxie, and two Mesprit, and still be able to get an active Donphan that is able to attack the turn after my opponent knocks my old active one out.

If you can’t think of a good deck to play at Battle Roads or Nationals, or just want a new deck to test out, feel free to give this one a try. It can be surprising for your opponents to see, and it really does very well. You can modify it to your own liking; in fact, I would suggest you do just that. Changing the deck around makes it seem more personal, and makes you more likely to remember the quantity of the cards in the deck.

No matter how you decide to play it, I do recommend running a few test runs with the deck. It takes a few rounds of experimenting before you can play it just right, and you don’t want to go into a tournament without knowing exactly what you’re doing. Whatever you do decide to play in the future, good luck, and remember, having fun is even more important than winning!

Reader Interactions

15 replies

  1. L M

    Have you tried using the Azelf from Mysterious Treasures? It's “Downer Material” Poke-Body could go a long way in slowing down SP's and possibly Gengar Hit and Run, since they would have to attach an energy to Spiritomb to use “Darkness Grace.”

  2. Michael Randolph

    Donphan is such a beast, especially when you power lock them and have nidoqueen to heal. I can see why you did so well with this deck.

  3. Ed Mandy

    This is pretty interesting. I do wonder why you run only 1 Multi Energy, though. If you used all your Roseanne's on energy, it would still only get you 6. To me that suggests that you don't need 7 basics, and really, you're not going to Roseanne for 2 energy 3 times. Multi Energy doesn't really have a drawback for you, does it? I'd think you could replace one or two Fighting with the Multi just to have a better chance of using it on Queen when you might need to.

    Do you find Switch to be useful in any situation that Warp Point would be worse? Warp Point just seems generally better in my experience.

    I like the deck. Thanks for posting the list.

  4. Zachary Slater

    Azelf really helps this deck out since you're already using it's counterparts. Try 1 Azelf MT and severely cripple SPs (although, not as much as before since DCE is out now :)

  5. Karol Nowak

    Ahhh, so you finally posted that Donphan lock decklist. Well, I must say, this is actually quite a nice list. I do in fact like it actually.

    Now for a suggestion to improve the deck. First of all, I would really take Azelf MT into consideration. Since you are running Mesprits and Uxies, Azelf MT really comes into mind. If you can get out a Mesprit and a Uxie, Azelf MT can cripple SP decks thanks to its body. No SP can really counter it except Dialga G, but still, this card can really help you guarantee a win against something like Luxchomp (many Luxchomp builds don't run Dialga G these days).

    Still, I really do like that Donphan lock list. I might likely playtest this deck to see how it works. It sure is interesting all right.

  6. shuppetgirl

    Interesting, I have been using a Donphan/Nidoqueen deck as well, I really like the idea of the Mesprit in it, will give it a try, thanks for the list!

  7. Brandon Bittinger

    I don't think he needs to, the deck already screws with Sp and owns it anyway it would just be wasting space.

  8. Zachary Slater

    Ever read Crobat G's attack? Crobat G is surprisngly the best counter to Donphan in SP decks. It really messes with Donphan as long as you can Power Spray their Claydol. In theory, it doesn't sound that great, but try it out and it works wonders.

  9. Adam Capriola

    +1 on this, Crobat is the best counter for SP decks against Donphan (along
    with Dialga I guess but Crobat is easier).

  10. Ed Mandy

    I see where you're coming from with the Multi. I was thinking more for Nidoqueen or whatnot, but it makes sense if you're trying to get to Heavy Impact ASAP. I do wonder how lucky you have to be to get that single Multi just when you'd like to use Queen.

    If your main concern is SP, then I can see where Switch could help. Do you have plans to mod the deck for UL?

  11. ESP

    The reason I only play one Multi Energy is that you can only play one on a Pokemon or they both become useless to this deck. If I have a hand with a Multi, and two Fighting, I can put them all on Donphan and use Heavy Impact after a few turns. If one, or even two of those fighting were Multi also, there goes my chances of using Heavy Impact, or possibly of even attacking at all. That's why I only play one Multi.

    Switch isn't a whole lot better than Warp Point, but it gives me a second option in games where I have a large hand. It works well when, say, a Luxray GL LV. X uses Bright Look to bring up my Claydol, but then doesn't attack. I can use Switch, send up Donphan, and OHKO Luxray for only 1 Energy. If I had used a Warp Point, my opponent could bring up Crobat G when I'm trying to bring up Donphan, and I'd have to have 3 energy and an Expert Belt to get the knockout.

    thanks for reading :D

  12. ESP

    For all of you guys who want me to try out Azelf MT:

    Azelf would be a good tech, but I think that it would be of minimal impact. I have only lost to one type of SP deck more than a time or two, and that's Dialga/Chomp (which generally disables Azelf anyways). Also, one of the main concerns with this deck is bench space. In most games, my bench consists of Claydol, Uxie, 2 Mesprit (1 with Unown Q), and 1 Nidoqueen. This is already cramped enough, and Azelf would just have no spot.

    Thanks for the suggestion though! Thanks for reading :D

  13. ESP

    This is true. Crobat G is one of the cards this deck has a hard time against. The only chance I have is if I have a fully built Donphan with 3 Energy and an Expert Belt for the one shot early, and the turn after I have the chance to use a Switch/Mesprit (w/ Unown Q) combo. Nidoqueen also helps this, but it's not easy.

  14. ESP

    Usually, I don't need the Nidoqueen until late in the game, so I'll have run though almost all of my deck at that point. I also make sure I'm not relying on the Nidoqueen knockout, and I usually just like to have it as a luxury.

    I don't see anything that's worth adding to this deck in UL at the moment, but as BRs start, I might.

  15. Perry Going

    thats why luxphan doesnt have a problem with crobat…2 warps and 2 switch easier to get out of it and plus lux X and crobat has free retreat

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