DrapionPlume… Is It A Contender?

Drapion got a little bit of talk during Battle Roads, and I played it with moderate success. In this article I’ll discuss how the deck works, some useful techs that could be added to the deck, and some important matchups. I’ll also provide some brief tournament reports and an analysis of how the new set affects the list I played.

I’ll be glad to answer questions you may have on the forums. Here’s the list I played during Battle Roads:

Pokémon – 28

3 Skorupi SF
3 Drapion SF
1 Drapion LV.X
2 Oddish UD
2 Gloom UD
2 Vileplume UD
3 Uxie LA
1 Uxie LV.X
4 Spiritomb AR
4 Unown R LA
2 Unown Q MD
1 Azelf LA

Trainers – 20

4 Pokémon Collector
4 Bebe’s Search
4 Judge
2 Palmer’s Contribution


1 Luxury Ball
1 Pokémon Communication


4 Broken Time-Space

Energy – 12

4 Double Colorless
4 Special D
2 D
2 Warp

drapion-stormfront-sf-15pokemon-paradijs.comThis deck relies on Drapion SF, a card that has never really seen much competitive play, though it is a pretty well balanced card. 110 HP for a Stage 1 is decent even though some other Stage 1s like Donphan or Gyarados have more. The LV.X will up you to 130 HP, which is at least respectable. The Psychic weakness isn’t great, but it’s only +20.

However, if your opponent is packing both Uxie LV.X and Lucario GL, you might be in for some trouble. The heavy Retreat Cost is pretty annoying, but you do have Warp Energy to help you out there. Unown Q can also help somewhat.

As for the attacks, they’re not too shabby. For no energy, you can deal 10 damage and the opponent is either paralyzed or can’t retreat next turn. The key there is that regardless of the coin flip outcome, they won’t be able to retreat. So if they’re poisoned, they’re really going to feel it. That brings me to Drapion’s second attack, which has a good chance of poisoning the defending Pokémon, while also dealing significant damage.

Yes it is flippy, but for only one Double Colorless Energy, it’s pretty cost efficient. This leads us to the third attack, which can reliably deal strong damage. It also discards all the Special Energy attached to the defending Pokémon, which can be devastating to a good number of decks. It does cost three Energy though, so it’s a pretty big commitment.

As for Drapion LV.X, there are a lot of important things going on here. He’s got a worse weakness and Retreat Cost, but 20 more HP than the non-X counterpart. The key to this card is his amazing Poké-Power, which is critical to the deck. On a flip, you can triple poison the defending Pokémon, even from the bench. Hiding your LV.X on the bench while poisoning the whole game is a really viable strategy because it combos nicely with “Scorpion Grapple.” If you can hit the triple poison heads, you can make sure they stay active long enough for that to be crippling, all for no energy.

Drapion LV.X also has a nice big attack. This attack is expensive needing four energy, or at least three with a Double Colorless Energy. It does have a nice effect though. It provides a bench sniping ability, which is lacking in the rest of the deck. It also has the whole “no retreat” theme going on. A very nice addition for when you have enough energy to use it.

The really crucial thing that made Drapion playable was the release of Vileplume. Drapion hates having the opponent Switch, Warp Point, or Super Scoop Up out of the poison lock, but ‘Plume turns all of these off. This is an important synergy. They are in a special condition lock and in a Trainer lock, and due to the Trainer lock they can’t get out of the special condition lock. Neat.

The rest of the deck is very standard. Spiritomb goes well with the Trainer lock theme. Uxie LV.X is nice with Double Colorless. This deck can use Warp Energy effectively, which is nice in a deck with ‘Plume. Special D Energy is nice for increasing damage output. The deck plays only a few non-Supporter Trainers because the Trainers will be unplayable most of the time.

Unown R is a nice consistency and speed booster. It works well with many of the Supporters in the deck. Pokémon Collector stays viable longer into the game with these guys around. They can help you recover from your own judge. They even make sure you get the most out of your Palmer’s Contribution. A lot of top players will have many varied views on Unown R, but I’m a fan of it.

And on to the reports! These are very brief, and are really just to give you the flavor of how the deck performs in a tournament. Also, remember that these were Battle Roads, a much different event than City Championships, with not only a less competitive setting, but a different format.

First Report

Round 1 vs Vileplume/Bellossom
drapion-lv.x-platinum-pl-123He needed to be a little more aggressive than he was. He let me play a comfortable game, rather than rushing me early. I doubt I could have kept up if he were to go on the offense, but because he waited, I won a relatively easy game.

Round 2 vs Danny Bryan w/ Luxray GL/Garchomp C/Dialga G
He had trouble throughout the game, between prizes and draws and what not. It wasn’t the easiest game, but it was another straightforward win. This was another game where I think my opponent could have been more aggressive. I think his lack of a good hand made him play more reservedly.

Round 3 vs Donphan/Nidoqueen
He gets out a turn one Donphan, mostly because I don’t start with Spiritomb and his deck is Trainer heavy. Mid-game, he sent active a Nidoqueen. He had no Psychic or Warp Energy in his deck, and I was up 4-5 on prizes, so I “Scorpion Grappled” until time was called. It was a nice little infinite loop, with Queen healing all the damage I dealt.

Round 4 vs Donphan
This deck played even more Trainers than the last, using Poké Healer + instead of Queen. This game, I did start with Spiritomb, making him unable to rush with Donphan turn one. After getting out a Plume, it was just a matter of turns before he couldn’t keep sending out ‘Phans.

Round 5 vs Dylan Bryan w/ Luxray GL/Garchomp C/Dialga G
We play a very close back and fourth game that goes to time. This event was the first time I dealt with the 30+3 rule, and I’m still not sure how I feel about it. I have a slim shot at that end of this, but can’t manage to draw the cards I need. The Judges throughout the game really hurt him: “You always had the judges at the right time.”

Top 4 vs Lux/Chomp/Dialga
We went all three games, but I managed to lose in a close third game. Really, he just managed to put Dialga on the bench, which is key. He did this in the two games he won, and used the rest of the deck to overwhelm me. I think he had a relatively small Dialga line, so getting it out quickly was unlikely, but that’s how the cards fall.

Second Report

Round 1 vs Water Deck
He was playing a pretty random Water deck. He had Blastoise and Empoleon SP. It really was a joke game. Any time you describe someone’s deck as “Water/Grass/Fire/etc Deck,” it’s probably bad.

Round 2 vs Evan Bennett w/ DialgaChomp
I win a pretty easy game. I would end up playing him in top four. I think he learned a lot about how to play against my deck from this game, and that would come back to bite me.

Round 3 vs Donphan
Another straightforward win, and at this point I’m starting to get really comfortable playing against Donphan decks. Decks that play a ton of Trainers, like Donphan, can’t deal with Vileplume keeping them from setting up multiple attackers. This would be made apparent during my next round.

Round 4 Machamp
skorupi-stormfront-sf-73This was the best game I played all game. He managed to get up 4 Prizes to my none early on. He got some good flips to my bad flips. I used a late Spiritomb to get Vileplume into play then barely get a Drapion out on a lucky topdeck. It was my second Drapion of the game, and turned out to be enough to win. He overextended by playing the Champ LV.X, and once it died Plume made it impossible to get out another Champ. A heart pounding win.

Round 5 vs Geoff Sauk w/ Sablelock
He missed getting the early lead that his deck needed to. Once I get a ‘Plume into play, things are pretty over. I end up winning 6-0 on prizes.

Round 6 vs Gliscor
I was prepared to make full use of my Warp Energies, and poisoning from the bench with the LV.X. His deck, however, didn’t work correctly. He never really had the right cards in his hand. If he had gotten them, a quick Judge would have wrecked him. This is a pretty bad matchup for Gliscor.

Top 4 vs Evan Bennett w/ DialgaChomp
This was the same player/list I played against in the second round. He does much better this match than last. I end up not seeing my judges these games. Judge is critical against SP decks especially after they burn all of their Cyrus’s Conspiracy.

New Ideas

The format really won’t change much with the new set’s release. Some lower caliber decks might make a resurgence, like Gyarados and Machamp, but overall, there doesn’t seem to be anything groundbreaking. That means that decks that everyone used during Battle Roads will most likely still be viable. That said, there are some nice Trainers in the new set, which might help this deck.

This would probably be the best card from the new set to add to the deck. You could pick up Vileplume, play non-supporter trainers and then replay the Vileplume via Broken Time-Space. With that build, you could play more non-supporter trainers. This is important because it would give you a better chance against Dialga once it shuts off Vleplume.

This wouldn’t be too bad in this deck. It is a fairly slow deck, and relies on Spiritomb to set up. That means that you are often losing at some point in the game. I’m not overly thrilled with it here, as I would be in a Regigigas deck or a deck using Lost World (if it ever gets released).

Junk Arm
This probably helps the deck most by existing outside the deck. It really isn’t a good play in the deck, but it encourages other players to play even more trainers. That can only help Vileplume based decks like this one.

Rescue Energy
This would be pretty good because you could bring back your Drapion LV.X. I’ve always had a little bit of a problem stringing those together, even with 2 Palmer’s. This deck can really make use of multiple C energy, so there isn’t really too much of a downside to playing Rescue. You’d have to move the energy counts around, and I’m not overly thrilled with this card, so it could end up missing cut.


Now I’d like to give you some tips on some the different matchups you’re likely to play. I won’t assign a number value to each matchup, as that doesn’t really help anyone, I’ll just provide the important info about each.

vileplume-undaunted-ud-24This matchup isn’t too bad, as they have a tough time getting out of a trainer lock. They can, of course, use Bright Look on Vileplume and then use Uxie X to ko it, but that is much easier said than done. The Judges help here. You should watch them use all their resources early, and then hit them with Judges at crucial times. Without Cyrus left, they’ll have a tough time recovering.

You lose to this. Decks with Dialga beat you. This is the key problem with this deck. Sure, you have a shot, but this is not a good one. They’ll break out of the lock with Diagla X, then overwhelm you as their deck is just better at that point. Your best bet is to hope they have a slow start and use that to get set up very fully. Also, if they can’t warp or retreat their Dialga G LV.X, you could ko it and give them a tough time. If you can use your Judges to play around them early, do so.

This is a pretty good matchup if you can make it out of the first couple turns. You play a lot of Supporters and other set up cards, so you’ll be hard to lock. Once you get out a Vileplume, you can overwhelm them, as they struggle with their high number of trainers. As with many decks, once you get out of the early lock, you can overwhelm them. This is usually easier said than done.

This is one of your easiest matchups, but it can still be tricky. You hit them for weakness and you have the big poison to get around Fainting Spell. You are weak to them too though, so watch out. You don’t really need to get out Vileplume, because they will. Your resources would be better spent swarming with Drapion. Even if they don’t get out Plume, neither player really has that many non-supporter trainers, so it’ll be ok.

Their early rush is the critical part of this matchup. If you start with Spiritomb, they’ll have a tough time getting out an early Donphan. After the first turn or two, you should be set up enough to deal with the elephant. Your Vileplume will be very effective here, as most ‘Phan lists run a lot of trainers. You can also use Drapion’s first attack to try to paralyze them and pick up a couple extra turns to set up. Your poison should be very strong here.

This matchup can be troublesome since the release of the new Machamp Prime. With his power, your opponent will be able to switch out of all of the special conditions you have them under. You can still have a chance because this deck often runs a high number of trainers trying to get out SF Machamp early. Instead, you have the early advantage. You’re probably best off trying swing for as much damage as possible rather than using special conditions.

Also, locking a Machamp Prime active and hoping the Trainer lock will stop them from getting another one out is viable.

spiritomb-arceus-ar-32Recently, Gyarados has become very popular with many decks relying on large numbers of Trainers. This really makes the format ripe for Drapion dominance. This matchup is excellent. Your Trainer lock will slow them down and mess with them throughout the game. You have a number of ways to stop them from getting out a series of attackers.

Your Trainer lock with Judge makes keeping recursion in their hand tough. Also, poison gets around Rescue Energy, which would normally be a problem. Watch out for high Warp Energy counts though, because those can really become a problem.

As you can see, many matchups are favorable just because of the high Trainer count that decks still play. This is also helps Gengar, another good matchup. Even with significant trainer counts in many decks Gengar is losing popularity, which further encourages the use of trainers. This all makes the format appealing for a rogue DrapionPlume deck.

Other Options & Techs

This card can be especially effective against a variety of decks because the trainer lock makes it even more difficult to play around Umbreon’s disruption. You are also playing all the right energy to make him work. Other players have been testing this out, but I’m not really a big fan. I think there are several other options I’d play before this.

Blaziken FB
This would require a significant alteration to the deck, primarily due to energy equipments. The disruptive first attack offers board control while furthering the special condition theme. This would also be a big help against DiaglaChomp. Unless they bring Dialga to the bench immediately after playing him, you can grab a KO. The threat of a powered up Blaziken FB LV.X on the bench might be enough to deter them from bringing out Dialga G LV.X. This lets your Trainer lock do its job, and helps your odds drastically.

I really like this tech. It helps all of your SP matchups and is very easy to fit into the deck. SP is enough of the format to warrant playing this card. The trainer lock means that your opponent won’t be able to Poké Turn out of the attack’s lock.

Big Daddy Krow
honchkrow-supreme-victors-sv-29This card can be surprisingly good in this deck. You play a high number of basics between Uxie and Unown R. He can be a strong attacker against SP with them powering up your attack for you. You can use his power to counter Gyarados which makes that matchup even better. You have the nice fighting resistance over Machamp too. Overall, this guy is a great metagame card, and with the energy requirements already covered in this deck, he is definitely an option.

Crobat G
The 10 damage that Crobat provides is so big in so many decks, and the same is true here. I’ve found myself 10 damage away from KOs numerous times. Also, the 10 damage could be well timed so that the defending Pokémon dies of poison on the way to your turn. Leaving you with a good tempo to attack.

In Conclusion

I think I’ve covered a lot of the basics on this deck. It’s definitely no “Bible on…”, but really, because it’s such an obscure and new deck, there really isn’t the information available yet for that. This should be a solid start, and put you ahead of the curve compared to the general community. You have a starter list to spring off of and you have some tournament reports to give a feel for how the deck performs against a pretty random field. I’ve also given an overview on possible inclusions to the deck both new and old.

Try this deck out, and see what you think of the matchups I’ve overviewed. Maybe this could make a nice surprise deck for your metagame!

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