Card of the Day – Donphan Prime (HeartGold SoulSilver HS 107)

Hey guys, I know I’ve been skimping out on the COTD request thread a bit lately. It’s because, when I write these reviews, I’m not looking at the thread, so I’m just picking ones off of the list I remember to be on there. (I’m still having internet problems.) However, I will be going back to it.

My current plan is to do something like this:
2-3 days a week. Something from the the newest set, which, right now, is Triumphant.
3-4 days a week. A card off the COTD request thread.
1-2 days a week. Writer’s Choice! :P

Okay, let’s get to the review! Today, I’m reviewing Donphan Prime from HeartGold & SoulSilver. When Donphan was released last format, I loved it. I was crazy about it the moment I saw it, knowing it was an amazing card with a great SP matchup. I believed it was the new Tier 1 deck.

pokemon-paradijs.comHowever, as the format went on, it seemed to see less and less play, which disappointed me. Is Donphan better this format? Does it have a better shot at the glory than it did last year? Let’s see.

Note: I know that a few Donphan/X decks made Top 32 at Worlds last year (props to them), but I mean, in general, it didn’t get that much glory.

First off, Donphan Prime is a Stage 1 Pokémon and a nice Fighting-type, hitting Luxray GL LV.X, among other cards, for weakness. Unfortunately, you will be resisted by Gyarados, which hurts. It has a x2 weakness to Water, which really hurts as Kingdra LA, Kingdra Prime, and Gyarados SF all hit for twice their normal damage. The Lightning resistance furthers pushes its use as an anti-Luxray GL card. The 4 Retreat Cost really hurts, making it necessary to run Warp Points (You’ll find out why Warp Energy isn’t a good call later).

Donphan’s Poké-Body, “Exoskeleton”, reduces all damage it takes (after Weakness and Resistance, sadly) by 20. This is an excellent Poké-Body, which, combined with its 120 HP, really helps Donphan tank a little bit (a full tank is Torterra LV.X with an Expert Belt, Nidoqueen RR healing, and Shaymin LV.X in play).

Donphan has two attacks. The worse of the two, “Heavy Impact”, does a vanilla 90 damage for the heavy (pun intended) cost of FFF, which isn’t terrible value, but won’t grant it much play. However, with an Expert Belt, you’re hitting the magic 110 damage to 1HKO a variety of Pokémon, which isn’t terrible, I guess.

Thankfully, Donphan’s first attack is much better. “Earthquake”, for the low cost of F, does an astounding 60 damage at the cost of 10 to each of your benched Pokémon. “Earthquake” is an incredibly fast attack with amazing value.

However, I think that a highly successful Donphan Prime deck is unlikely for a few reasons. The biggest thing standing in Donphan’s way is Gyarados; it will most likely be a top deck in the format and is a near auto-loss for Donphan. The only way you win this match is if you get the donk or if their deck doesn’t work like it’s supposed to, which most good players will be able to ensure that doesn’t happen.

But there is one deck that may be able to make use of Donphan, and that is Machamp. Donphan’s ability to damage your bench will be wanted so Machamp is able to hit for 130-170 damage, depending on how many benched Pokémon you have damaged and if an Expert Belt is attached.

Recommendation: Try it out as a 1-1 or 2-2 line in Machamp and see how it goes. I definitely will.

Rating: 3.25/5 (Time will tell if it has a shot in Machamp.)

Reader Interactions

9 replies

  1. Jonathan Wiley

    Me and my cousin have been testing, Machamphan and for a couple reasons we are running a 3-3 line of Donphan. Originally we ran a 2-2 line, but unlucky prizes occurred and we felt that he was such a great support for the deck that he was must get out asap. Also with playing Expert Belt he still has amazingly good Donk potential. And outside of that we had extra space in the deck and it isn’t nearly as clunky as one would think. But if your luck is a little better than ours and you are starving for deck space 2-2 should be just as good.

    Other than that, great article and easy to read. You’ve become one of my favorite article writers on this website.

  2. Matthew Tidman

    I love this as an attacker in a deck with Machamp Prime for two reasons. First, for one colorless it does 60, which is great on its own, but it does have that pesky drawback of putting 10 damage on each of the benched Pokemon. Thankfully Machamp Prime wants you to have damage on the benched Pokemon pokemon so its second attack does more damage. Second since it uses fighting, you can tank with it while setting up a Machamp Prime and then Fighting Tag the energy to Machamp to hit for major damage quickly. Sorry for stating the obvious, but that’s why I’d give the card a 4 out of 5. I expect to see a lot of it at cities.

  3. Perry Going

    with trainer lock in the format… this card isnt as good as it used to be. It relies on speed and the extra 20 with the belt. Also Gyarados is back in the format so it has another huge weakness.

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