Something Like “Colin’s Corner”, But Better #1: Machamp’s Last Stand

pokemon-paradijs.comIt’s hard to believe Machamp SF has been around just shy of two years. From the moment it was released, it raised eyebrows from fans and foes alike. Its controversial “Take Out” attack was unprecedented at the time, and still is. “Hurricane Punch” also became one of the most efficient “Flip X Coins for X Damage” attacks out there. Not only that, but its beastly 130 HP and its situational-yet-effective Level X was icing on top of an already creatine-pumped, ‘roid rage-inducing cake. This card has helped define the last two formats, kept SP in check, and has done a fantastic job of balancing out the format.

So what’s the problem been?

It has never won anything important because “Hurricane Punch” is the worst attack of all time. Ever. I’m pretty sure there is a microscopic text box below “Hurricane Punch” that states: “If you Leveled Up Machamp and need to hit one stinkin’ heads to Knock Out Toxicroak G, or two heads to KO anything else, your turn ends now.”

A Look Back at Machamp

The bottom line is that flippy stuff never works out for you when you need it to, and therein lies Machamp’s Achilles heel- it can beat SP, but just about nothing else.


Sure, (Roid) “Rage” has huge damage potential, but at the expensive cost of FFCC. And, with that pesky +30 Psychic Weakness, it was relatively hard to keep alive long enough to “Rage” even once.

Machamp X“No Guard” is the PokéBody on his corresponding Level X, acting as a +60 PlusPower on both sides of the table. While this was a good option to have in Machamp decks, it’s always been a little awkward with his attacks. “Take Out” would kill a Pokémon SP anyway, and now maxes out at 100, which is too low to guarantee a 1HKO on the rest of the format. “Hurricane Punch” will ultimately fail you, and your opponent will laugh as you hand him a +60 PlusPower and an easy KO.

Why Machamp Underperformed

We quickly realized that straight Machamp doesn’t really work. So we called up his workout buddies: Flygon, Nidoqueen, Kingdra, Donphan, etc. These variants saw generous play at CC’s, and SPT’s, but didn’t even seem to be in the ring at Nationals and Worlds. Instead, Machamp was forced to play the dirty, dirty role of the “1-0-1 Tech”. Nobody LIKES being a 1-0-1 tech, especially, a 4-fisted, muscle-bound boxing bully like Machamp. Do you think Nidoqueen doesn’t have trouble performing intimately? Dusknoir now roams the streets of L.A. shouting “DARK PALM” and other obscenities in a raspy squawk. Folks say Alakazam just sits there with a vacant stare. Be that as it may, Machamp fulfilled the role admirably, helping to bring several builds to top tables at Worlds.

The loss of Claydol after Worlds was another huge burden for Machamp. “Straight ‘Champ” lists now had to run the Turbo Engine of 4 Dex, 4 Drawer, 4 Unown R, 4 Rescue, 3-1 Uxie and even… Night Teleporter. Although these builds worked to an extent, they had the same fundamental problems the original Machamp had. It couldn’t beat any competitive Stage 1 or Stage 2 archetypes, and since it was so cram-packed with garbage trainers and “quick draw” techs that his friends Flygon and Kingdra and corresponding energy could no longer fit without sacrificing consistency.

Adding insult to injury, Trainer Lock became a bigger fad with Undaunted’s Vileplume. A Garchomp C opening to a Machop may have seemed scary for Garchomp C, but a Machop opening to a Spiritomb was just as scary. Gengar SF made a huge comeback in the very same deck, and its Psychic typing fended off the threat of Machamp for the most part, letting SP sail to victory and the title of almost all of 2010’s Autumn Battle Roads.

Machamp- The Comeback Kid?

Let’s fast forward to today. Machamp is in an awkward place. It beats the Top 2 SP decks easily, has an unfavorable/even matchup against most of the Top 10, and has a near auto-loss to the 3rd best deck VileGar. Is Machamp down for the count? Can anything help our 4-fisted friend?

pokegym.netNEWS FLASH: On Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010, exactly 2 years after its release, Machamp gets some support from HGSS:Triumphant in the form of Machamp Prime.

Machamp Prime is what the deck really needed all this time. Here are a few things that it brings to the ring as a TAG TEAMmate with Machamp SF:

No Baggage – Since he comes from the evo-line you are already using, there is no need to tech your deck with another line of Pokémon.

Fulfills Damage Shortcomings – We simply cannot ask Machamp SF to do consistently dish out 60 damage, as sad as that sounds. However, Machamp Prime can do 60 damage consistently with “Crushing Punch”. The same attack can also strip away energies like Double Colorless, Special Metal and Special Dark, thereby providing incredible disruption potential.

Surprise Attack – Thanks to his Poké-Power “Fighting Tag”, you can accelerate energy onto him in one turn. Catching your opponent off guard is always a good thing.

Zen Blade Survivial – Uxie X plus a ‘Bat Drop with Lucario GL was Machamp’s worst nightmare but no more. Although still a threat, it now takes a whole lot more to take down with its massive 150HP.

Kill Anything – “Champ Buster” is that brutal damage attack that he’s always needed. Analogous to “Rage” in most ways, but its base damage is better, and it is easier to actually use in a game (see “Surprise Attack” section above).

Liability – In the past, in order to do lethal amounts of damage, you would have to commit “Level Up Suicide”. Now, you can be lethal without the Level X liability. The chances of staying alive after using “Champ Buster” are much improved.


I like reading perspective lists and I know many other readers do too, but please keep in mind that this is teched-out and adjusted to my personal play style, and may not be what is best for you.

Pokémon: 194 Machop SF
2 Machoke TM
3 Machamp SF
1 Machamp Prime
3 Uxie LA
1 Uxie LV.X LA
2 Ditto LA
1 Smeargle UD
1 Unown Q MD
1 Regice LA
T/S/S: 284 Pokémon Collector
4 Bebe’s Search
3 Pokémon Communication
4 Rare Candy
4 PokéDrawer +
4 Pokédex Handi910is
1 Luxury Ball
3 Broken Time Space
1 Palmer’s Contributution
Energy: 134 Rainbow
3 Double Colorless
2 Warp
4 F

As you can see, this list features the “VileGar Destruction Package”. Two Ditto ensure Gengar dies without relying on Machamp, and Regice can send Spiritomb to the bench and break the early trainer lock and can use its Poké Power to discard “Poltergeist” fuel. Smeargle and Unown Q progress the game under a Trainer Lock, and Warp Energy is used in situations like when Regice is active or ti get the most out of Smeargle and Uxie X.

Beyond that, this list is fairly standard. 4/4/3 Collector/Bebe’s/Communication for optimal consistency. 3-1 Uxie with 4 Dex, 4 Drawer, and 4 Candy to sustain the supercharged speed the deck has always worked best with. I chose 3-1 Machamp SF-TM, but that can easily shift to 2/2 depending on your meta or testing results. Four Rainbow increases Ditto’s potential and gives you 7 Energy compatible with a T-2 “Take Out”. It is also a decent way to add damage to “Champ Buster” in a pinch, or throughout the game.

There’s plenty of room to adjust. It might be a good idea to add 1-1 Drifblim UD and an Azelf to deal with Scizor Prime if that has been popping up in your area. Drop the Regice and Dittos completely if VileGar becomes a moot point. You can also start experimenting with the fun, new Supporters in Triumphant. Seeker and Twins could both be great in here if you are unhappy with the trainer engine and want to try something different.


pokebeach.comLuxChomp: Favorable

This deck is made to beat LuxChomp. Keep Machamps swarming and just keep saying “Take Out”. Don’t bench Regice in this matchup and watch out for multiple Uxie X/Premier Ball shenanigans. Save Palmer’s for when you can use it to the most effect. SP may be able to fend off three Machamp, but not four. You can add some pressure by attaching to Ditto to relieve stress from Machamp.

DialgaChomp: Favorable/Even
Again, swarm Machamp and keep saying “Take Out”. But beware- early Power Spray and/or Deafen Lock can really hurt. Smeargle should help if you are in a tight spot.

GengarVileplume: Favorable/Even

If they open with two Spiritombs, you are going to have a tougher game. Collector for Smeargle, Unown Q, and Ditto. Try to set up as much as possible with “Portrait”. Once you have two Ditto and Regice discarding your Trainers, you should cinch it. If they open with one Spiritomb, Collector for Uxie, Ditto, and Regice. “Regimove” Spiritomb to the bench, “Set Up” and start going off with your trainer engine. Again, Ditto will be key in this game.

Regigigas: Favorable

Mesprit Lock can hurt, but your trainers should be able to get you out of it. Again, Smeargle wins. And Machamp is going to “Take Out” for a 1HKO every time, not to mention the prizes they sacrfice, so it should be a piece of cake.


It really depends on who gets the first Trainer turn. Usually whoever takes the lead will keep the lead, barring some very lucky/unlucky uses of “Hurricane Punch”. Uxie X + DCE will help to an extent, and Machamp Prime can sweep Machamp SF if you manage to set it up.

Kindgra/Donphan: Unfavorable/Unfavorable

This probably one of Machamp’s worst matchups. They can simply do more damage than Machamp at the same speed. Ditto can help relieve some pressure in both matches, attacking for one energy, and Machamp Prime can 1HKO either one with three or four damaged Pokémon on the bench. It’s going to be an uphill battle, but Machamp Prime is what gives it a fighting chance.

pokebeach.comGyarados: Very Unfavorable
Ouch. The truth hurts sometimes. If Gyarados becomes huge in your area, turn your ‘Champ line into 2/2, or even 1/3 SF/TR. Gyarados’ resistance makes Machamp SF a joke, but Machamp Prime can actually 1HKO it with a fully damaged bench. If you have some strange vengeance against Gyarados and MUST destroy it, do consider adding the “Total Gyarados Destruction Pack”. Find room for 4 Magikarp, and since this list already runs the Ditto and the Regice, it’s relatively easy to give Gyarados a piece of his own medicine and “Tail Revenge” right back at him. It also relieves pressure from Machamp Prime and is absolutely “LOLZ” worthy.

Combee: Unfavorable

Again, fighting resistance really hurts and makes “Hurricane Punch” a joke. The fact that it can be swarmed and charged up in one turn makes Vespiqueen a real threat. Their Trainer engine is just as fast as yours and their damage output is way better. Like Gyarados, look to Machamp Prime for this one. If Combee is big in your area, consider a 1-1 Mismagius line for discarding Memory Berries.

Final Thoughts

I could conclude by saying something cliche like, “Only time will tell if Machamp Prime is what Machamp needed to really RAISE the bar…”. But the fact is, Machamp works, and it always has to some extent. It just hasn’t worked well enough. But, Machamp Prime IS what it was missing.

Unlike Mohammed Ali, who never should have fought that one last, tragic fight, this is Machamp’s chance to shine- perhaps his last chance. And fortunately for the game, he’s going down swinging.

Reader Interactions

36 replies

    • Martin Garcia  → Colton

      He WAS running 3/1 machamp SF-TR.
      Great article Colin, an excellent read. I hate machamp like no other pokemon (well, probably i hate spiritomb as much) which is proof of how good he is. With the new set coming now, machamp may finally be a tier 1 deck, so as an SP player its a good thing to know how it works, and how to counter it, as you said, SP may be able to beat 3 champ, but 4 is a completely different matter.
      Keep up the good work

  1. Anonymous

    For real, Colin is pro. My personal list is a bit different, but the insight is good.

    Personally, I like the concept of 2 Machamp prime for constant switching with the power and healing with Seeker, but in general I think you nailed a lot of the usability of the prime down.

    I hate hurricane punch so much. Were you there at Jimmy’s shop when I lost to Andy W in top 4 at cities? Game 1 I had like a 4 prize lead, got QUAD TAILS on a hurricane punch for the win when I needed 2 heads and missed energies for the rest of the game to lose. Game 2 I whiffed on a strong willed flip for the game as well. I’m glad I’ve since moved to Sablock builds, because now I don’t have to worry about flipping. . . wait. . .

  2. Anonymous

    What do you think about 1-1 Umbreon + 1 Ditto as anti-Vilegar tech (instead of 2 Dittos + Regice, if find Regice can be really a pain if you start with it) ? You can add 2 Looker’s that help for Gyarados matchup. It’s surely less effective than teching 4 Magikarp but also more versatile.

    • Colin Peterik  → Anonymous

      1-1 Umbreon is only good in the VileGar match and therefor isn’t as versatile as Ditto. Umbreon is insanely easy to play around, while Ditto wins the Vilegar match, helps immensely against Jumpluff, copies “Darkness Grace” and “Impersonate” and puts a load of pressure on Garchomp C. Also I did include the 2 Warp Energy for Regice in case he is dragged active or pops up in your opening hand.

  3. Rocket Prof

    i’m leaning towards maybe 2 twins to help my build out too… i just think there’ll be some cheap ko’s and that’ll give me the chance to make a big turn around… and maybe unown p… maybe…

    fantastic article though bro, it was a good read!

  4. Peter Bae

    Have you thought of making a Machamp Prime deck using Spiritomb? because Regice won’t help you at all once VileGar puts down 2 Spiritomb in play, which i’m sure many players do now against many stage 2 decks as a lot of speed stage 2 runs regice for spiritomb counter. I was thinking about Spiritomb/Machamp Prime deck using 4 Spiritomb, 2/2 Machamp SF/TR line and the usual Uxies, Azelf, Unown Q etc. it is a bit slower than the speedy, but I believe it is much safer with the fact that you are using spiritomb yourself, so low trainer count, and Machamp does take a bit to set up anyways, despite using DCE

  5. Joshua Pikka

    lol I was almost on the floor when I read your paragraph about not being able to get 1 heads with hurricane punch. Its so true.

    I had an active ditto with two energies, and the opponent had a machamp with 11 damage counters. I just had to hit one heads with hurricane punch. And wouldn’t you know it I hit tails, tails, tails, and oh thats right tails.

    Good article, Im not sure how your deck will hold up, you have a lot of energy in there. The deck looks kinda weird but Im sure with some testing you can get the deck tight.

    I also like donphan prime/ machamps.

  6. eli moses

    Nice article Colin way to hit a home run, but here is a huge flaw if your running staright machamp, you run the Lv.x If your runing donphan then you run 2 prime and two sf, i suggest regirock with stark mountain, plus donphan prime, very consistent ill be posting my listt on the forums soon, great article

  7. George

    Good article, nice insights. Only time will tell if the ‘Champ will become relevant again.

  8. Anonymous

    I gave this another read and realized I skipped the part about ex-101 techs. Colin Peterik–the ultimate pokemon-based lol

  9. Garrett Williamson

    Hurricane=No no. My friend once flipped ALL TAILS on 2 Hurricane punches. Fail right? I like Machamp and deffinately will be happy to pull one from my box.

  10. Stephen Liao

    Sorry to be nit-picky, but why do you exclude important matchups such as Jumpluff, and Straight ‘Champ while including trivial one’s like Regigigas and COMBEE?

    • Clinton Chan  → Stephen

      Since when did Jumpluff became an important or relevant matchup, and he did mention the mirror which is very similar to straight Machamp anyway.

    • Colin Peterik  → Stephen

      I mentioned Ditto’s ability to help you in the Jumpluff matchup, and Gigas is anything but trivial.

  11. thomas clip

    I thought Triumphant was going to come out on November 3rd. 2nd is fine with me anyway! :)

    Great article!

  12. Tony

    Hey- really nice article! It was fun doing some of the editing on it.

    I really like the idea of Stage 2 decks running 4 Spiritomb and 4 Call Energy, but you would have to adjust some of your trainer/energy lines.

    I would also swap out most of the trainers and run a more Supporter-heavy line and also include 2-3 Seekers which to me are an absolute MUST, especially with the ability to tag out and then heal the damaged Machamp on the bench. I also think 2 Expert Belts are really important too. I don’t know if I would worry too much about the Gengar matchup, especially if you run a spiritomb/less trainer build, but 1 Ditto should work wonders. Plus, you could damage a Gengar and then finish it off with a Uxie “Psychic Restore” attack and avoid Feinting Spell.

    • Colin Peterik  → Tony

      Well yeah, if you go the ‘Tomb route then you obviously need to amend the T/S/S lines. That version sounds solid as well.

  13. Adam Capriola

    This is so well written… I want to frame it or something. Great stuff Colin!!

  14. Jak Stewart-Armstead

    Quality article

    Gigas match up is much more relevant than the Pluff one, and the Combee stuff just adds some humour

    Nice list too

Leave a Reply

You are logged out. Register. Log in.