The Secrets Behind Seeker

Hello, SixPrizes! My name is Tom Hall. I’m from the UK, and I have been playing the Pokémon TCG for about 4 years now. I recently achieved Top 32 in the 2010 Pokémon World Championships in Hawaii and had a great time in the process. I hope you enjoy reading my articles and maybe learn a thing or two from them.

With the release of HS: Triumphant we see the release of the much anticipated “Seeker.” This card has the ability to change the metagame as well as alter how players think out in-game strategy.

seeker-triumphant-tm-88The text on the card reads as follows:

“Each player returns 1-of his or her Benched Pokémon and all cards attached to it to his or her hand. (You return your cards first.)”

Seeker is a card that may well change the course of a game, turning bleak defeat into a close win.

In this article I am going to talk about the card used in various capacities in order to achieve different results.

I. Maintaining Attackers
II. Recycling Resources
III. A Disruptive Tool
IV. Giving Light to New Strategies

I. Maintaining Attackers

In this SP dominated format, Seeker increases the playability of Stage 1 & Stage 2 decks in combination with Broken-Time Space (Platinum), by allowing a player to return a damaged attacker (and all cards attached to it) back to their hand. This allows for evolution decks to maintain a steady offensive without giving out easy prizes.

Here are a few examples of the decks I can see seeker taking full advantage of in an offensive capacity:

1. Kingdra
Kingdra is one of the few decks that still run Super Scoop Up, and with the addition of Seeker, the Seahorse Pokémon is even more of a force to be reckoned with.

Due to Kingdra’s low energy requirement of only one water energy for 60 damage, playing a Seeker isn’t going to inconvenience you by not being able to attack, unlike more energy dependent decks.
Kingdra also utilizes Expert Belt extremely well, turning it into a 150 HP tank swinging for 80 damage for one energy. This in combination with Broken Time-Space/SSU/Seeker makes it extremely difficult to Knock Out.

2. Gyarados
This deck saw a lull in popularity after rotation due to the loss of Claydol (GE) and Felicity’s Drawing (GE), making the already unfavourable matchup against Lux-chomp even more difficult to win.

gyarados-stormfront-sf-19pokemon-paradijs.comHowever, with the release of HS: Triumphant, Gyarados has a new lease of life. As well as the obvious synergy with Junk Arm and Rescue Energy, Gyarados thrives on the use of Seeker in combination with Warp Energy & Broken Time-Space.

The combo works by attaching a Warp Energy to an injured Gyarados and promoting a free retreat Pokémon (Luxray LV.X/Floatzel LV.X/Crobat G), playing a Seeker on the said Gyarados and then laying it back down straight away due to the effect of Broken Time-Space. The result is a fully healed Gyarados swinging for 90 damage a turn, (110 with Expert Belt) as well as having the Warp Energy returned back to your hand in order to do it again with another Seeker later on.

3. Donphan
Much like Kingdra, Donphan has low energy requirements for relatively high yield in damage dealt. The elephant swings for 60 for only 1 Fighting energy, a 3 energy attack for 90 and a handy Poké-Body that reduces damage done to it by 20. In combination with Warp Point/Switch + BTS + Seeker, a highly damaged Donphan can be refreshed in order to maintain a steady string of Earthquakes/Heavy Impacts.

4. SP Variants
Seeker may be seen as an inferior Poké Turn in SP decks, but I beg to differ as I see it as another means of recovering injured attackers. The fact that Seeker can be retrieved via Cyrus’s Conspiracy makes it a worthy addition to the SP toolbox as it can be searched out consistently and used as a fifth Poké Turn when resources are running low during the late game phase.

II. Recycling Resources

There’s nothing worse than an over clogged bench in Pokémon. Want to lay down that Machop > Rare Candy > Machamp, but have 5 Pokémon on your bench? A massive inconvenience in the past, but Seeker changes that entirely!

Seeker allows Pokémon that have served their purpose as a means of draw (Uxie), or prize searching (Azelf) to be put back out of play and safely out of the category of an “easy prize” for your opponent.

Crobat G, a staple in practically every SP deck has now been made even more splashable in non – SP based builds with the release of Seeker. Flash Bite can now be used and reused effectively, aiding you in reaching that extra 10 damage you need to KO your opponent’s active Pokémon.

Another benefit of Seeker is that if you open with either of the aforementioned cards it’s still possible to use their Poké-Power by scooping it up and placing it back down with Seeker later on in the game in order to maintain hand size, grab that crucial card from your prizes, or add damage to change the game!

III. A Disruptive Tool

This is where Seeker comes into its element. There are so many situations in which this card can be played in order to hinder your opponent, as well as aid you on your way to victory. Here are some noteworthy examples:

gengar-prime-triumphant-tm-941. Gengar Prime
Possibly the most hyped card leading up to HS: Triumphant’s release has been cut down to size due to Pokémon USA not releasing “Lost World” in this latest set.

However, not all hope is lost. In combination with Seeker, Gengar Prime has the ability to disrupt your opponent to such a degree that they won’t have the resources to win the game!

By playing Seeker to return a Pokémon from their bench to their hand and then putting it into the Lost Zone with Gengar Prime’s “Hurl into Darkness” attack you can heavily disadvantage your opposition. Usually your opponent will select an irrelevant Pokémon, such as an Azelf or Uxie, as its purpose has already been served by using their coming into play Powers. However, as you keep attacking with Gengar Prime + Seeker, your opponent will find it harder and harder not to lose valuable resources and have them placed in the Lost Zone.

This in combination with Judge or Spiritomb (TT), by forcing your opponent to draw four or six is a great way of snagging useful Pokémon out of their hand and limiting their setup. Not only does the Seeker guarantee you to put a Pokémon in the Lost Zone if they have a benched Pokémon, it allows you to re-use Spiritomb to force your opponent to re-draw 6 cards to fuel your “Hurl into Darkness” attack.

2. Mesprit (LA)
Mesprit’s “Psychic Bind” Poké-Power is a hugely disruptive Power, which has the capability to lock down your opponent by hindering their setup (Uxie LA) as well as blocking Poké-Powers that would allow your adversary to gain a huge advantage as well as control of the game. Examples of this would be Luxray GL LV.X’s “Bright Look” Poké-Power, Garchomp C LV.X’s “Healing Breath” or even Gengar LV.X’s “Level Down”.

With Seeker’s introduction to the format, it can be possible to maintain a relatively constant power lock with Mesprit. It’s easily splashable too if you already run 4 Seeker, and a tech to be considered in a great deal of decks.

3. Weavile (UD)
Seeing your opponent’s hand is distinct advantage in Pokémon, as being able to see the strategy that they are about to implement can allow you to ready a counter for it, or disrupt their execution of said strategy.
This is where Weavile comes in. His coming into play Poké-Power “Claw Snag” discards a card of your choice from your opponent’s hand. Before Seeker, it was more difficult to recycle Weavile in order to reuse the Power (the only realistic option being Super Scoop Up). However, now, in combination with Broken Time-Space & Seeker, Weavile is a means of constantly disrupting your opponent’s hand.

It seems as if Seeker was made to go with this card as it forces your opponent to scoop up a Pokémon also. By playing the Weavile back down and using his Poké-Power, they have to think twice about picking up that heavily damaged Stage 2 attacker or highly useful Poké-Power Pokémon (Uxie), as you can just discard that crucial Pokémon when it goes back to their hand.

4. Giratina (PL – “Let Loose”)
giratina-platinum-pl-9This card has seen intermittent play during its lifetime in the format, mainly seen in lock decks such as Gardevoir/Gallade and Sablock last year.

By using Giratina’s Poké-Power “Let Loose,” it forces you and your opponent to shuffle their hand into their deck and draw 4 cards (effectively a “Judge” that you can Pokémon Collector for). This is a great way to cripple his/her setup and take an early offensive.

The downsides to Giratina were that it clogged up your bench after playing it, had a below average attack and was a target that your opponent could gust up from the bench and leave active. The fact that Giratina has a Retreat Cost of 3 makes it a pain to retreat and gives your opponent the opportunity to recover from the earlier “Let Loose.”

Seeker enables you to bring Giratina back to your hand after the initial disruption caused by its Poké-Power and re-use it again to shuffle away the Pokémon your opponent just returned to their hand as a result of Seeker. This isn’t always the best play, as getting Giratina out of play is probably more desirable if your opponent draws dead after the “Let Loose”, but it’s always good to have the option to.

5. Vileplume (UD)
Debatably the best card to come from the HS: Undaunted expansion, Vileplume locks Trainers for both players. One of the downsides to Vileplume before the release of Seeker is that it would limit the cards in you could use in your deck. As a result, decks using the card were forced to use a more Supporter based setup engine, which not only slowed down your opponent’s momentum, but your own as well.

However, with the advent of the Seeker in combination with Broken Time Space, the player can control when he wants to use trainers during his or her turn while re-instating a Trainer lock on the opponent during their turn.

6. Ditto (TM)
Ditto is a slightly more obscure as well as situational means of disrupting your opponent. The main strategy is to play down Ditto before using Seeker in order to force them to discard one of their Benched Pokémon (if they have 5 on their bench) due to its “Dittobolic” Poké-Body. Your opponent will most likely discard a Pokémon that has served its purpose (e.g. Uxie or Azelf), which will then allow you to play Seeker and force them to return a Pokémon that they would have preferred to keep on the field.

Although a tenuous disruptive use for Seeker, I feel that it deserves an honourable mention.

IV. Giving Light to New Strategies

So far I’ve only talked about Seeker as a means of supporting your Pokémon, but this is only scratching the surface with regard to how influential this card is on the in-game strategy as a whole.

1. Aids Donking/Benching Your Opponent Out
In Pokémon, one of the most frustrating things to happen to you is to be donked on the first turn of the game. Most players breathe a sigh of relief when they open with 2 basic Pokémon. However, Seeker actually has the ability to aid in a first turn win, even if your opponent has 2 Basic Pokémon.
Example: Your opponent goes first, draws a card, attaches energy to one of their Pokémon and passes. On your turn, play Seeker, returning their only benched Pokémon, and taking a cheeky win Turn 1.

tyranitar-prime-unleashed-ul-882. Forces Your Opponent to Overextend
The last thing your opponent wants to happen is to have to return a Pokémon in their hand that they’d rather have on the field, such as a beefy stage 2 attacker with multiple energies on it (E.g. Tyranitar Prime Machamp/Steelix Prime).

Seeker forces your opponent to bench near useless Pokémon in order to protect their main attackers. This is something you should take full advantage of. Decks that utilize Luxray GL LV.X , Pokémon Reversals or Pokémon who snipe the bench (Garchomp C LV.X/Drfitblim FB) can pick of these “weak links” to take quick and easy prizes.

3. Using Your Opponent’s Seeker Against Them
Smeargle (UD) has a very intriguing Poké-Power in the form of “Portrait”. In the instance that your opponent has a Seeker in their hand you can take full advantage of it by being able to scoop up cards such as Uxie to increase your ability to set up. This also inconveniences your opponent if you were then to drop your own Seeker, effectively gusting two of their Pokémon out of play and back to his/her hand. Smeargle + Unown Q (MD) has huge potential to cause heavy disruption to your opponent’s side, while allowing you maintain a strong offensive by being able to switch out Smeargle easily.

4. Discourage Your Opponents From Using Their Own Seekers
By keeping a reusable threat on your bench, your opponent will reconsider their actions with regard to using their Seeker, as it would put them at a distinct disadvantage or allow you to recover from a difficult position.

Examples of such a threat would be:

Uxie (LA)
Keeping Uxie on your bench and retaining a relatively small hand size (3-4 cards) will act as an indirect threat for your opponent, as playing the Seeker may result in you drawing cards that could be extremely advantageous to your current position.

Mesprit (LA)
Mesprit poses a substantial threat even after its initial inconvenience of stopping Poké-Powers. By having the pixie remain on your bench, you are hindering your opponent’s ability to utilise their Poké-Powers against you if they choose to play Seeker.

uxie-legends-awakened-la-43pokemon-paradijs.comWeavile (UD) + Broken Time Space
Playing Weavile as a threat is potentially devastating to your opponent. Having cards constantly discarded from their hand is demoralizing as well as frustrating for them as they watch while their key strategic elements are sent to the discard pile.

Luxray GL LV.X
This is a fairly straightforward strategy. Play a Luxray GL on your bench as well as keeping the Luxray GL LV.X there in order to keep up a “Bright Look” Poké-Power whenever your opponent plays a Seeker. This helps take cheap and fast prizes with Luxray GL LV.X, which will definitely deter your opponent from playing down their Seeker.

Blissey Prime + Broken Time-Space
This is a truly interesting threat to have on your bench when playing against a deck that runs Seeker. Although not to be run in every deck, Blissey may have her place in decks such as Gyarados or Kingdra that run very few energy. The last thing that your opponent wants is for you to heal your field with Blissey Prime’s “Blissful Nurse” Poké-Power, at the minor cost of discarding energy you can just re-attach the following turn. This is a massive deterrent for them to play down Seeker.

In Summary

Seeker is an extremely versatile card that has the ability to be used in a wealth of combinations to achieve very different results.

In theory, Seeker tends to benefit the player who’s already in the stronger position, which is usually the person playing it. This is due to the fact that they time when they play it in order to maximize their advantage, while minimizing the benefits for the other player.

One important thing to remember is to not misplay Seeker into giving your opponent an advantage/allow them to recover from a disadvantageous position (e.g. returning an Uxie to their hand so that they can draw 7 the next turn).

I’m certain that Seeker will become and remain a near staple in many decks, as well as comboing with a great deal more cards arising from the release of future sets.

I hope that this article has given you an insight into the depth that Seeker adds to the Pokémon TCG, and look forward to writing many more articles in the near future!

Until next time,

Tom H.

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