VileTomb: The Trainer Lock Combo

This article is intended to show how Vileplume UD combined with Spiritomb AR can be an incredibly powerful trainer lock strategy.

The Big Idea

Both Vileplume and Spiritomb have the ability to block you from playing Trainer cards. Vileplume’s strength comes from its Poké-Body “Allergy Flower” which, while in play, does not allow either player to play Trainer. Spiritomb’s Poké-Body “Keystone Seal” has the same effect, but only when Spiritomb is in the Active Spot. The basic strategy is to start with Spiritomb and build Vileplume on the bench, thereby maintaining a trainer lock the entire game.

To run a VileTomb lock, you will most likely want to play 4 Spiritomb and at least a 1-1-1 Vileplume line. To help ensure a quick Spiritomb start, I recommend playing Call Energies and Pokémon Collectors.

So, What’s So Great About VileTomb?

What are the benefits of this strategy? Here are a few:

Benefit #1- Slow Down SP/High Trainer Decks

Can you imagine how you would feel trying to play an SP deck without being able to use your SP Radars, Power Sprays, Energy Gains, or Poké Turns? That’s exactly how your opponent will feel once you’ve got the VileTomb lock on. Or, if your opponent plays a trainer-heavy non-SP deck with cards like Pokémon Communication, Poké-Drawer and Poké-Radar, they will find themselves with a much slower deck with more limited set-up options. Another plus is making the new Legend Box trainer useless for anyone wanting to build around the Legend Pokémon.

Benefit #2- Time to Set Up

Without trainers, the game play definitely slows down, allowing you more time to get your Pokémon set up and evolved. The current metagame relies on quick set-ups, so the VileTomb lock helps even the odds considerably for slower evolution/setup decks.

Benefit #3- Maintain Sleep/Paralyze Special Conditions

With Warp Point and Switch out of commission, your opponent’s options to escape “locking” effects like sleep, no retreat, or paralyze are very limited and can leave you in a power position to control the tempo of the game. See recommended deck builds below for some ideas.

The Downside

Every deck strategy has its downsides and bad matchups. Here are a few for VileTomb:

Dialga G LV.X

A real risk to VileTomb is Dialga G LV.X as its Poké-Body shuts down all non-SP Poké-Bodies, including Allergy Flower and Keystone Seal. If you expect to face Dialga G often, then you may want to consider running a counter like Machamp SF or Blaziken FB LV.X.

Falling Behind and Playing Prize card Catch-up

Trying to get the lock on means you will likely spend your first few turns setting up the lock and not setting up your primary attacker, giving your opponent time to possibly get a few quick prizes. It may be challenging to make a comeback if your opponent gets too much of a Prize card lead, so just be sure that your main attacker can really do the job once your ready to shift from setup mode to full attack mode.


One strategy is to use Vileplume’s Basic and Stage 1 Pokémon to also set up Bellossom LA as your primary attacker. Bellossom’s “Blend Pollen” attack costs two energy and does 40 damage plus 20 more for each Vileplume and Bellossom you have in play, and a bonus coin flip for burn. Thus, you have an attack that could do 60-120 plus an additional 20 for burn.

pokemon-paradijs.comGengar SF

Gengar SF’s second attack, “Poltergeist”, does 30 damage times the number of trainer, supporter, and stadium cards in your opponent’s hand. With the trainer lock in effect, “Poltergeist” could do significant damage each turn since your opponent is stuck with unplayable trainers.

Also, Gengar evolves from Gastly whose “Pick Dark” attack for no energy also trainer locks your opponent for 1 turn, so playing this with Viletomb increases your chances of getting the trainer lock on sooner.

Paralyze/Sleep Lock (Gliscor/Magnezone/Parasect)

Another option is to use either Gliscor LV.X or Magnezone LV.X to keep a paralyze lock on your opponent without fear of Pokéturns, switches or warp points. I plan to play Magnezone LV.X with Vileplume this fall and utilize “Cyber Shock” to its full potential. The Gliscor lock has the downside of your opponent playing a hand disruption supporter like Looker’s Investigation, but it still may work well.

Another option would be to play Parasect SV with its “Hibernation Spore” attack to put a 2-coin flip sleep effect on your opponent’s active Pokémon. This may work well with VileTomb as it also uses Grass energy.

VileTomb Counters

For those of you facing Viletomb, you may be looking for a few counters. Here are some:

Dialga G LV.X

As noted above, Dialga LV.X can completely shut down Poké-Bodies, thereby eliminating the VileTomb threat.

pokemon-paradijs.comChatot MD

Chatot MD is a fantastic counter if used at the right time. It’s second attack, “Chatter”, does 20 damage but also prevents your opponent from retreating during his or her next turn. If your opponent has a Spiritomb active, the damage will be zero as Spiritomb has a -20 resistance to Chatot.

Thus, unless your opponent can somehow attack with Spiritomb or plays Warp Energy, the Spiritomb is potentially locked the entire game!


Outside of these 2 options, it is possible to take out Vileplume, but with 120 HP, it is difficult to 1HKO if it is on the bench. Using a sniper like Garchomp C LV.X or dragging Vileplume into the Active Spot are options but are not likely to KO Vileplume in 1 turn.

Another option is to shift from a more trainer-based deck build to a more supporter-heavy deck build, but this will definitely slow down your deck some.


VileTomb has a a chance to significantly impact the metagame and offer some playing options that were not available. I encourage everyone to try it out and see what you think. Whether you plan to use it or not, you had best prepare to see it as it should gain popularity. I’d love to hear some other ideas that you have about how to use the VileTomb lock. Good luck!

Reader Interactions

40 replies

  1. Matthew Riddle

    Bellossom LA was an interesting card last format, and I know of one friend that did decently with it at a battle road. Vileplume only makes the evolution line better and with Spiritomb added, I could see it being an interesting deck.

  2. chrataxe

    This is getting some hype….we'll have to see how it all plays out.

    But, I would like to point out, OHKO'ing Vileplume is relativity easy with DCE and Uxie X, 2 cards just about EVERYONE is going to be playing. Of course, this only works well with cards that allow an easy switch to the active, like Luxray or Pokemon Reversal, or even the new Muk, its a Psychic and allows you to switch the active with a benched and they are poisoned and confused and can hit Vileplume pretty good with weakness.

    Of course, I run Dialga G, lol, I so I don't sweat it. I didn't know this card was coming as I don't keep up with the japanese sets, but I had a feeling Drifblim FB was about to come veeeery popular. Drifblim FB is Psychic and snipes the bench and weakness counts when he hits the bench. It only does 80 to Vileplume with weakness, but has 120 HP late game, is SP, sets up quick, and probably won't be OHKO'ed in return, so I think it has some potential. With Vileplume and the lake trio sticking around, looks like my hunch may be correct…

  3. Alex Pike

    Rather than Gengar you could try the new Mismagius.

    Attacks with Poltergeist for the exact same cost and effect. Without being able to rare candy etc, it would be a faster play than finding out another stage 2.

  4. Slowdog

    Would you then run no trainers yourself (expecting to keep a trainer lock the entire game)?

  5. Tony

    There are definitely some risks to KO Vileplume if it is active; however, I think that most are going to keep it on the bench which makes it really difficult to KO, especially with 120 HP.

  6. Tony

    I wouldn't attack with Vileplume as it's not that great and you want to keep Vileplume in play as long as possible, so bringing it into the active position risks it being knocked out. Maybe as a last resort, but I would avoid using it as an attacker.

  7. Tony

    Great question! I have tested with Rare Candies and a few trainers which does help the initial setup, but the problem is that the trainers become hand garbage once you get Vileplume going. I have found that there seems to be 1-2 turns in which you can ideally play Trainers which is after retreating Spritomb or after Spiritomb is KOed and before Vileplume is set up. I'd love to hear some feedback from others on this subject.

  8. chrataxe

    That is why I put in the qualifier: ” Of course, this only works well with cards that allow an easy switch to the active, like Luxray or Pokemon Reversal, or even the new Muk.”

    And, that is also why I pointed out that Driblim FB snipes the bench and weakness counts on its snipe, and Driblim hits for Vileplume's weakness. Yeah, it will take 2 shots to take it down, but if the whole objective of the deck is to keep a trainer lock, an early KO of Vileplume means pretty much autoloss b/c 'tomb is easy to get around.

  9. PKMNPrime

    This was an amazing article. Me and my friends just yesterday were considering Vileplume strategies and how hard it's going to affect the current format, so it was a great surprise when I loaded 6P to see this article on here :)

    Very well written, and extremely informative. Good job.

  10. Kenny Phan

    Modern Age “Haymaker” might make a comeback… Haha I doubt it though. It would be funny if someone did build that archetype and just flat out own people…

  11. Adam Capriola

    I think Gengar is going to be one of the best partners for Vileplume because of the Lv.X… it makes Dialga G Lv.X pretty much a non-counter.

    Awesome article, this will be a relevant reading for quite a while. :)

  12. Dudedude22

    a good idea would be the new vespiquen. it protects grass bench pokemon, it has 10 more hp then manectric, its only good if your running a grass deck.

  13. John

    what if you were to run regice to discard those trainers and turn them into something useful after you get the lock started

  14. Garrett Williamson

    I think the Vespiquen from Undaunted would be a good tech. It protects all your benched grass pokemon and with it and Vileplum they would have to take out Vespiquen before taking out Vilplume which would lock your opponent longer. Thats just my opinion

  15. mewuk85

    This was one of the best articles yet. Thanks for the submission! The new cards are nice in all, but I yet to see something like Rosanne’s and night maintenance. I know we have collector and palmers. but those arnt even close…….I have a feeling that Jwittz is right about the format being slow and a little bland.

    What do you guys think?

  16. Wjfowjeof

    Oh, it definitely will, but keep in mind that the Dialga player can stockpile power spray specifically for the Level Down.

  17. eli moses

    i think of this as a fricking awsome strategy, run vileplume, spiritomb and cherrim Sf and you have a trainer locking beatdown deck. or if you want there so many combos it isnt funny ohh i cant wait till it comes out.

  18. Tony

    I think you are right that running a discard tech Pokemon is going to be helpful in many decks, including a VileTomb deck. However, I would probably choose another tech besides Regice due to its high attack/retreat cost. With the VileTomb lock on, your opponent could drag Regice up with a Blaziken FB Luring Flame or something like that and leave you in a tough spot.

  19. Tony

    I agree with you that there doesn't seem to be anything revolutionary in this set. I thought the Legendary Pokemon were a great idea, but they didn't get the same trainer/supporter back-up that the SP lines did. It'll be interesting to see what comes after the Legend series.

  20. Tony

    I agree- Vespiqueen is a great option with this deck as are several grass types like Sunflora HGSS and Metapod HGSS. Also, you could run the Vespiqueen from Stormfront which would be a great card to pull up if you are using Spiritomb to set up and it is knocked out.

  21. Tony

    Adam, I think you are right- it's such a great combo! The challenge is going to be finding an engine to run with it, but maybe uxie and lv x would work well. I see that as one of the main challenges for the Viletomb lock though- finding a way to keep your hand fresh. If only we had Claydol…

  22. Tony

    I'm honestly torn between Mismagius and Gengar. Like you note, it is so much quicker to set up a Stage 1, but Gengar has so many great advantages with Feinting Spell, Level X, and its Shadow Room attack.

  23. mewuk85

    Totally! The only thing I have liked about the legends is the art work. Primes are awesome, have the same strengths and powers like Lv.X but you can play them on your bench :)

    So after HG/SS I’m guessing it will be “Pokemon Black & White” cards?????

    Pokemon seem's to come out with cards when games come out.

  24. Poteet24

    Combo-ing Tomb and Plume will be more common I think then I want, but I think its going to only be ehh after BRs. Also Ghastly's attack is Pitch Dark, not Pick Dark

  25. tim h

    The gastly's attack is Pitch Dark, not pick dark; under the synergy section.

  26. tim h

    Also, Flygon Lv X would do well with spiritomb, being able to knock out stuff easily.

  27. mewuk85

    old vileplume 80hp new vileplume 120hp nice!!!! the old oddish 50 hp new 40hp…….. its BS…. IMO,,, Lol

  28. Chris Barrieau

    Epic. Wonderful. I love you. My Cursegar Deck is just about to get better. :D

  29. Tony

    yeah- go figure! I guess that way they figure you have to buy cards from both sets and keep spreading the joy

  30. Majik Gonzales

    ok i made a deck using this and to let u know i only tried it out on the Glisc/tomb deck so heres the list
    3. Oddish. UD
    2. Gloom. UD
    2. Vileplume. UD
    1. Nincada. LA
    1. Ninjask. cast-off shell
    1. Shedinja. marvel shell
    3. Cherubi. any
    3. Cherrim. 2 of them cloudy sky AR and 1 of them sunny heal UL
    3. Spiritomb. AR
    3. Unown Q. MD
    2. Mime Jr. SV
    1. Mr. Mime. MD
    3. Gastly. SF
    2. Haunter. SF
    2. Gengar. poltergeist
    2. Professor Oak’s Visit
    2. Bebe’s Search
    2. Palmer’s Contribution
    2. Engineer’s Adjustments
    1. Flower Shop Lady
    1. Cynthia’s Guidance
    1. Volkner’s Philosophy
    1. Marley’s Request
    1. Looker’s Investigation
    3. Multi
    7. Psychic
    7. Grass
    and if u have any new ideas plz tell me them cuzz i want to make this my best deck

  31. Tony

    wow- not quite sure where to start, but this deck list needs a lot of work. The main thing is to get more consistent- you need fewer choices in pokemon and supporters.

    If playing VileTomb with Gengar, I would suggest you go over to Pokegym and check out their decklists. Good luck!

  32. Majik Gonzales

    ok well see it works great i always win against ever deck but the only thing i figured out is u need something for cyclone energys they screw this deck up and if u play cyclone energys thats really bad but i put all the pokemon in there cuz u need some damage takers so the guy ur trying to load up doesnt die and u can start hiting hard for ur prize gain especialy if they have expert belt anything u can nail them in time and thnx for the advise

  33. John Rea

    A good card to put in this deck is Slowking HGSS when you get the trainer lock on, you can use Slowkings power.I mean they can’t play any trainers and you are giving them bad draws so I think it’s a good card to put in this deck list.

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