How to School the Competition – Testing Results

For my latest article, I decided to make a big write up of cards, techs, decks and strategies that I discovered through hours of vigorous testing. While certain parts of it may not benefit certain people (When I talk about Volkner’s Philosophy, if you’ve been using Gyarados for over a year and have had a lot of success with it, you probably already know all about Volkner’s Philosophy), but I think that everyone should get some advice on a lot of things/cards that they haven’t tried/played before.

I’ll keep the introduction short this time. Here’s a semi-long list of information about a wide variety of decks, cards, techs, strategies and ideas for the 2010-2011 format.

I’ll first start out with a more controversial suggestion that pertains to Regice. If you were to ask 100 Gyarados players about using Regice in the LuxChomp match up, at least 95 of them would tell you to use it once to discard Magicarp, then instantly scoop it up. Then, never play it again as your opponent will “Bright Look” it to death.

While the above statement would be correct, I have found that in some instances, it is beneficial to put down Regice, use its Poké-Power, “Regi Move,” to switch around your opponent’s active Pokémon. The most common situation where this would be a good move is if your opponent has a Garchomp C LV.X active and you have no way to 1HKO it, so you could switch it to their bench and KO something else. This is an especially good way to collect your final Prize card.

Volkner’s Philosophy in Gyarados
A lot of good players I know have played Gyarados a lot, a few of them have never abandoned it since its release. Almost all of them swear that playing at least three Volkner’s Philosophy is a good move. I tried it out in Gyarados and I wasn’t impressed. Most of the time, my hand was bigger than 6 cards, so it was useless. While I most certainly do not recommend playing four, I think really considering using one is a good move, but if you choose not to play any, don’t feel like you’re making a bad choice.

Absol Prime + Miasma Valley
While this was never taken super seriously (at least I hope not), some people suggested this as a way to counter Gyarados as they could never get a Gyarados in play because their Magicarp would always be KO’d. There are so many faults to this, it isn’t even funny. Regice to switch out Absol, BTS to discard Miasma Valley, Combee to get around it and some others I’m not thinking of. Definitely not a good idea.

Crobat Prime
What seems like a bad card is actually very powerful in a lot of matches. It’s pretty good against Machamp because it can do 60 for P with “Skill Dive” (only if the Machamp you target is active) along with a Fighting Resistance. Where it really nice, however, is against VileGar, where its “Severe Poison” attack will allow you to get around “Fainting Spell”. In addition, “Skill Dive” can 2HKO a lot of Bench-sitters, including Spiritomb, Uxie, Azelf and Smeargle (with Crobat G). The x2 Lightning Weakness really hurts, but the free Retreat Cost is a nice bonus.

Donphan Prime
I love this card. When it was first released, I really wanted to make a deck with this card. Badly. So badly, in fact, I refused to make any deck that didn’t involve Donphan in it for about a month. Eventually, I came to my senses and realized that this card isn’t perfect, but it is still a good card. Unfortunately, with the new format came an even tougher time for Donphan. The rise of Dialga G LV.X and the revival of Gyarados all but killed Donphan.

Ambipom TM
I know some players (both good, average and bad) who believe that Ambipom could be great in a sort of hand disruption deck. I, at least for now, don’t think its going to happen. I tried it in a sort of Sablelock with a 2-2 line of this along with a few other variations, but I didn’t achieve as much success as I like. As for it functioning as a Garchomp C counter, it worked okay, but Dragonite FB or Ambipom G works better IMO.

Dragonite FB vs Ambipom G
The great debate of which is a better SP/Garchomp C counter. My opinion? In LuxChomp, I prefer Dragonite FB because LuxChomp is a very flexible, fast deck that could really use an all around anti-SP card. As for DialgaChomp, I could go either way. I don’t like the fact of another high Retreat Cost Pokémon in the deck as it could cost you a Poké Turn or Warp Energy if you start with it or if it’s dragged active by “Bright Look/Pokémon Reversal.

In Sablelock, I think it varies on what type of list you’re using. If it is a list based 100% on disruption and speed, go with Ambipom G. However, if your version of the deck does have an okay mid-game, Dragonite FB could work.

Cynthia’s Feelings
Some say it’s very usable, some say it’s a waste of deck space. What do I think? It’s not a terrible card, but it’s inferior to Looker’s Investigation, Professor Oak’s New Theory, Copycat and Judge in their respective decks.

Arceus Decks
I definitely think this deck is more than playable, I have personally used and written an in-depth article on it. However, I do think it was both hurt and helped by Triumphant. It was hurt because Triumphant brought Machamp Prime, which means that you’ll see a lot more Machamp decks (It means Machamp SF, which can 1HKO any Arceus).

However, it did help because many players are going with a 2/2 Prime/SF split, so you will have a slightly easier time. Only slightly, unfortunately.

Arceus is, in my humble opinion, one of the best “Poor Man’s” decks, if not the best, out there. Even though you’ll need at least four expensive cards (To make a good variant, you’ll want at least 4 “Omniscient” Arceus LV.X. In addition, you may want one “Meteor Blast” or “Psychic Bolt” as well). In addition, you won’t need any expensive SP cards or Uxie LV.X.

Call Energy
In 2008 and 2009 formats, Call Energy saw a lot of play. The most notable decks to use it were GG/Plox and FlyChamp. However, now it is very uncommon for it to make it into a deck. Why? It’s because of the loss of Roseanne’s Research and the entrance of Pokémon Collector into the format. Before, you could use Call Energy to get the Basic Pokémon you need and use Roseanne’s Research to get an Energy and perhaps an Uxie.

Unfortunately, with Pokémon Collector, even though you get three cards, they must all be Basic Pokémon, which pretty much halted all play of Call Energy. Yes, I am aware that VileGar and some other decks still play it, but I’m talking about when it used to be widely played, which it isn’t any longer.

However, I now believe that Call Energy should be played once again because of Smeargle. Smeargle’s “Portrait” Poké-Power allows you to copy any Supporter in your opponent’s hand. Because of this, many Sablelock/Chenlock and Gyarados players have switched over to a 2/2 or 3/1 Smeargle/Sableye split.

Against most decks, this is an effective move as most players use a minimum of three, if not four, Pokémon Collectors. If you reduce your Pokémon Collector count to two or less, you’re really increasing your odds of them not getting their desired start, which is a very nice advantage. Changes like these to your decklists are ones that win you tournaments.

AMU (Azelf LV.X, Mesprit LV.X, Uxie LV.X)
I could be wrong now, but I don’t think so! It’s a jungle out there. -Monk Theme Song. I don’t think this is viable anymore as it’s just too slow and all of the Level Ups can be sniped relatively easily by Garchomp C LV.X.

Chatot MD
At first, I thought of this card as outdated and inferior to other Pokémon such as Smeargle, which can give you a larger advantage than Chatot can. I was both right and wrong. I was right in the aspect that Smeargle usually gave me a more useful effect than “Mimic”. However, I do not think it is inferior to Smeargle. Why? Because Chatot’s “Chatter” is a very nice card to use against Spiritomb as well as other high-retreat cards.

I found that Chatot is especially useful in LuxChomp. You can use “Bright Look” to drag up a Pokémon, then attach a Double Colorless Energy (which you’ll be playing in LuxChomp) to Chatot and lock it when you need it. It isn’t an amazing combination of cards, but it is an option when you’re short on resources and you need to stall. It is especially effective against decks that either play no Warp Energy or a low count, which a lot of decks are mistakenly doing nowadays.

Upper Energy
While Double Colorless Energy is obviously superior, this card can be used as a fifth DCE if necessary. While it won’t work on Garchomp C LV.X as it is a Level Up Pokémon, it works very nicely in Garchomp SV decks, which really need DCE to be fast.

Black Belt
I’ll keep it short, Twins is a much better come-from-behind Supporter. Getting any two cards you want is usually more beneficial than doing some extra damage. Perhaps one exception could be a Torterra deck, which heals itself equal to the amount of damage its attack does.

SP Energy
In the 2009 format, this card was very popular, with almost every SP Toolbox using one of this card. It is a Multi-type Energy without the restrictions of Multi Energy or the damage of Rainbow Energy. The downside was that it must be attached to an Pokémon SP, otherwise it only provides C. I haven’t seen a single list use this card for over a year (and I read A LOT of lists, everything from online forums to people emailing me decks they’d like help with).

I personally believe playing this card is a good move to use in LuxChomp as it can act as a L Energy for Luxray GL LV.X, a Psychic for Crobat G or Toxicroak, or a R Energy for Blaziken FB LV.X if you choose to tech it in (making the deck BLG) or for Dialga G LV.X (if you tech it in). I do not like it in DialgaChomp, however, as the deck already has such a tight Energy count with Special Metals, Normal Metals, Double Colorless, a Psychic, Warp Energies and perhaps Call Energies.

Dialga PL #5
I’m just going to pass over its attack because that isn’t why I tested this card. I gave this card a whirl because of its Poké-Power, “Reverse Time,” which lets you take three non-Level Up Pokémon in your discard pile and put them on top of your deck. It’s a great recovery card that works well in decks like Magnezone Prime, but can be used in any deck that uses Uxie or some other form of draw power.

I found that, while it isn’t a terrible effect, the three Retreat Cost hurt it more than “Reverse Time” helped. However, there could be some deck that can make use of this card, preferably one with Warp Energies/Seeker’s/SSU’s to make sure you can scoop it up.

Torterra Decks
Even though the loss of Claydol and Torterra LV.X hurt the deck, it still has a lot of potential. Usually a faster, more consistent list without unneeded techs is usually a good idea. Expert Belt is also a no-brainer for this deck. You could go with a Spiritomb or Celebi Prime based list, I personally prefer Spiritomb.

Blissey Prime
A great way to heal your low-energy attackers. I find that Blissey is especially useful in Gyarados decks as it won’t hurt you at all. In addition, it’s easy for you to reuse its Poké-Power with Seeker or Super Scoop Up. However, I see a lot of people play Blissey in decks that shouldn’t play it. For most decks, it just slows them down more than they help. In addition, it does have a sorta-high Retreat Cost of CC, so you’ll need to be careful with that.

Celebi Prime
A new card from Triumphant, Celebi Prime received a lot of hype as being a great way to really accelerate your Grass and Colorless decks. However, in my testing, even though it worked, it didn’t happen as much and as smoothly as I had thought and hoped.

Blissey PL
By most players, this card is limited to a card that isn’t terrible in Steelix lists. However, this card really worked well for me not only in Steelix decks, but in a number of other decks. In addition, since you’re able to discard a card, there are a number of ways you can abuse that as a way to help you or to hurt your opponent.

Perhaps the most common advantage of discarding a card that comes to mind is against VileGar, you can discard those Trainers that are clogging up your hand. It actually served as a very nice edge against VileGar, so I was presently surprised with that.

Rayquaza & Deoxys LEGEND
I found this card very interesting because of its ability to collect twice as many prizes when it KOs a Pokémon. I tested it along side Heatran LV.X as well as with Typhlosion Prime. I found that with Heatran LV.X, while it was a very powerful combo when it got going, it too long to get going. However, with Typhlosion, I am very surprised to say that I actually had a degree of success… against anything but Garchomp C LV.X. RDL just can’t keep up with Garchomp C LV.X’s ability to 1HKO it.

I quickly discovered a lot about the deck that in a short amount of time, which I was happy about, since I didn’t have to devote months of my life to researching this deck. Since the deck has trouble against the second most played card in the format (the first being Uxie LV.X), I obviously will not call my deck a complete success.

Because of this, I won’t be sharing the list that I used. Doing so would only lead people to model theirs after mine (if this is the first time you’re hearing about this deck, which I suspect it is). I will, however, provide all the information that I discovered during my testing in hopes of leading you in the right direction. I believe RDL and Typhlosion have a lot of potential together, but unfortunately, I don’t have the time to perfect the deck, so I will leave that to someone else.

-Spiritomb is your best starter Pokémon. With it, you can usually get a Typhlosion Prime in play before your opponent is fully set up. It’s also a good way to slow down SP decks, so hopefully you can get much further set up before the lock is broken.

-I have preached in every article that I have written that the Smeargle + Unown Q is an amazing combo that should be played in every deck. In this deck, they aren’t as useful as they are in a lot of decks, but they still work well. You can use Smeargle as a starter Pokémon, “Portrait” a Pokémon Collector and still get out a Spiritomb lock turn one. less than a 3-2-3 Typhlosion Prime line should be used as anything smaller makes you slightly more vulnerable to bad prizes. In addition, this card is your secondary attack, so it’s vital you can get it out consistently. In addition, you have a better chance of getting more than one in play, which takes the pressure off of having to attach an Energy onto RDL each turn as well.

-Playing a Garchomp C counter such as Dragonite FB helped a bit against Garchomp C so you could get the revenge KO. If you don’t know if you should go with Dragonite FB or Ambipom G, go with how many switching cards you play. If you’re using 3-4+, go with Dragonite FB, but if you’re playing 2 or less, Ambipom G may be a better fit. However, try both and see which works better. (Remember, Typhlosion can get Energy onto Dragonite FB/Ambipom G as well.

-Seeker was a good move to save those Prize cards from being taken as well as reusing Uxie and other put-in-play cards.

-While I didn’t do as much testing with it, I tried had used a 3-2-3 Typhlosion line, 3-2-3 Charizard line and a 2-2 RDL line and found that it worked a lot better with Charizard than without. It also gave you a lot better chance against Gyarados (Charizard’s Weakness) and Garchomp C LV.X (RDL’s Weakness). Overall, I suggest that you try out this variant.

-Sooner is better than later. If you can get off an attack with Rayquaza & Deoxys LEGEND, do it asap as it will allow you to collect 2 Prize cards, which will really help you out. There are a lot of reasons to attack asap and I can’t list each and everyone, but if you try out the deck, I think you’ll agree with me.

-A disruption based list that uses things such as Looker’s Investigation or Judge or something like that is a good idea as it gives you a much better chance against nearly every deck in the format.

Pokémon Contest Hall & Snowpoint Temple
If you’ve read my previous articles, you should already know how I feel about Pokémon Contest Hall, but in case if you don’t, here’s a quick recap: PCH is a great way to get both your Basic Pokémon SP as well as Energy Gain’s in play UNDER Trainer lock, which is huge.

In addition, it doesn’t help your opponent nearly as much because they usually have a very full bench. Be careful, about using this card in the SP mirror, however, it will allow your opponent to do the same and should only be used in extremely dire cases.

Snowpoint Temple is a card that was used quite a bit in 2009’s SP Toolbox, but really dropped in popularity soon after. Snowpoint Temple is a great way to increase your Basic Pokémon’s HP. However, it does the same for your opponent’s Basic Pokémon.

So, we’re left with two very underplayed Stadium cards that work in SP decks, but both hurt in the mirror. Which is better? I’d say Pokémon Contest Hall because Snowpoint Temple can hurt you in almost every match up because you make your opponent’s Uxie’s, Azelf’s, Smeargle’s, etc. have 90 HP, which forces you to use a Crobat G every time you want to “Dragon Rush” them for the KO. I won’t even mention the fact that you’re now forced to use a “Flash Bite” and two Poké Turn’s to 1HKO them with Luxray GL LV.X (oh wait, I guess I just did).

Spiritomb TM
A lot of people say this card is good in VileGar. Play it, give your opponent a nice hand full of Trainer cards, then “Poltergeist” them to smithereens. I tested this card out moderately and I’ll just say no. It doesn’t work nearly as well as you’d hope and only helps you in 1 in 12 games, which doesn’t warrant play in my book. In addition, a lot of matches you can’t even play it down due to lack of bench space. And before you say it, no, Seeker doesn’t fix that problem. Most of the time, when you use Seeker to free up a bench slot, you want to put an Uxie, Gastly or Crobat G in its spot, not this card.

Energy Switch
For the final bit of advice, I suggest trying out one Energy Switch in a lot of your decks. I’m sure you’re thinking “WTH just happened right now?” Well, I’m sure it surprises you, but I found that in a few non-SP decks (they get Bronzong G), this card actually helped out. It works the best in decks such as Machamp, Kingdra and other decks that can attack for two or less Energy.

Thanks for sticking around, I hope that you enjoyed reading about my Play-Testing Results and learned something that will help you on your path to become a Pokémon Master! Until next time,

-Dakota Streck

P.S. If you have any questions or comments, please post them below. I’ll be sure to respond as quickly as possible. If you have a question that you’d like to ask privately (I know some people are working on decks they don’t want the world to know about… yet) , feel free to email me at

Reader Interactions

20 replies

  1. Alexander DuPrey

    Very good Article, but as for RDL in Charizard…I would rather go with ERL it’s a bit easier to set up and it hits for G-Dos’s weakness. AND doesn’t take away from Charizards Fire formation. Also, Hitting all their Crobat Gs, Uxies, Azelfs, Mespirits and Smeargles for Prizes is too good to pass up. Other than that, Bravo on the article

  2. Kevin Cranberry Murphy

    Im sorry, but I disagree with so many things you had to say. Triumphant actually helped Arceus out way more than you said it did. Machamp Prime being release actually helped Arceus more than it hurt it. Machamp had already started to see more play, and Machamp prime lowering the amount of Champ SF out there makes the match up way more winnable for Arceus. Also about your RDL talk. As Blazechomp pointed out, Heatran does get back fire energy, but only to your Fire Pokemon. Read cards fully before testing them. It will save you a bunch of time. I also think that the best way to play RDL is with Sage’s Training with Jirachi RR as a starter, then Reverse Time Dialga, and Legend Box. Guarantees you a full Legend with energies. Also, the best partners for it would be ERL to cover more weaknesses, and Electivire FB Lv.X to get back your energy. Since RDL has so much HP, it can take a hit or two, expecially if you put out Azelf Lv.X because it gets rid of your weakness. Im surprised that you never even thought of mentioning Azelf. Its one of the most simple answers to your biggest counters. If your going to say, “Theyll just Flash Bite then Dragon Rush it.” Great, that gives you 2 more prize cards because that give you a turn of not having RDL getting knocked out, and then you can wipe the field with ERL.

  3. Poet Larsen

    Something I realized is that for heatran x his poke-power, or body I can’t remember, says that you can attach two energy from the discard pile to your active FIRE pokemon at the end of your turn.

  4. theo Seeds

    the other reason not to use tomb tm in vilegar is because you want to maintain a complete game trainer lock, and starting with this isn’t as good as ar tomb.

  5. Ryan Tur

    I think the more jarring issue with Pixies now is the fact that the MT pixies are gone. Without free retreat or an attack penalty on your opponent’s basics, you just can’t keep up consistently.

    Other than that, a lot of good and helpful insight here, thanks for that.

  6. Peter Bae

    Really good read! Agree with a lot of the things you said. Volkner’s is definately not as good in Gyarados as people thought including me. I actually think Gyarados itself isn’t as good of a deck as people believe. It could have been my decklist but I just feel uncomfortable playing it xD. Like you mentioned, Crobat Prime is actually VERY good…. Against Gyarados and other high retreat decks, it hurts. It forces your opponent to use their resources (warp energies and seeker) early on in the game just to heal their Gyarados or other high retreaters. Anyhow! A great read! :D

  7. Anthony Vyse Smith

    I swear by Chatot. Amazing card. My luxchomp was losing to a glistomb, so I teched in a single chatot which helped immensely.

    Although Pokemon Contest hall makes me wonder if it’d be worth dropping chatot and something else for a contest hall and a Honchkrow G

  8. George Derr

    Try running RDL with Ampharos with Acceleration Bolt. There is a local Senior running this deck with some success at Citys.

  9. Ron Routhier

    Awesome, Awesome article!! One of the best I’ve read on 6Prizes yet.

  10. Shi-ke Villanueva

    Pokemon Contest Hall was a card that I know that it will be great during it’s release but I did’nt enen thought that PCH will help you get a basic plus a tool under TRAINER LOCK! I mean the card that I knew that it will be great (mostly on SP decks) is EVEN MORE terrifying than it looks. Watch out! Garchomp C is fully powered! then spiritomb will be peeing in its pants as the snipe can happen anytime (provided with DCE of course).

    Energy switch is great for those decks that requires 4 or more energies. A great example is Machamp Prime and Gyarados in case you will want to have your opponent have energy droughts and its a perfect time to use dragon beat, then This might help spped up but Gyarados does not use Dragon beats so dont worry about what I just said. Well energy switch almost does not help on a Charizard deck coz Stark mountain is always on their side, ready to be use every turn. BTW, RDL is awesome and if you found a way to make this one competitive, then you are a better deck builder than I am. Anyways, I loved the article and it is informative for almost all experienced and those who are still starting out.

  11. L M

    The deck that I’ve seen utilize Energy Switch best was Donphan. It really helped with taking an energy off of a damaged elephant and getting a fresh one to do Heavy Impact faster. Especially right before you Seeker/Scoop Up the damaged Donphan!

  12. L M

    The deck that I’ve seen utilize Energy Switch best was Donphan. It really helped with taking an energy off of a damaged elephant and getting a fresh one to do Heavy Impact faster. Especially right before you Seeker/Scoop Up the damaged Donphan!

Leave a Reply

You are logged out. Register. Log in.