As some of you may or may not know, Central California’s metagame currently has high counts of both trainer lock variants and of Gyarados variants. This deck is one that my girlfriend and I devised to have a fair matchup against both of these decks, while not costing a personal fortune.
What makes Vilegar such a strong deck? Sure, it has the combo of locking trainers and then hitting for damage based upon those trainers. But the second thorn in the side of opponents is “Fainting Spell.” One of the most loved and hated powers in the current format, Fainting Spell can force game outcomes to a coin flip.
pokebeach.comMost try to use “Set Up” from Uxie or “Flash Bite” from Crobat G to get around this power, but there is another option, one that is a tad more reliable. The answer is Ampharos from Platinum.
Its “Damage Bind” Poké-Body shuts down powers anywhere on the board when that Pokémon has any damage counters on it. And in order to Knock Out a Pokémon and trigger Fainting Spell, it obviously has to have damage counters on it. So with Ampharos on your side, you can just plow right through Gengar all day without any worries of Fainting Spell ruining your day.
The best part about this is that Ampharos isn’t required to deal the final hit, but simply needs to be in play. So you can use the heavy damage output of Lanturn Prime to easily kill even a belted Gengar in one hit, and not worry about Fainting Spell. But by themselves, Ampharos and Lanturn are not exactly strong contenders. But that brings me to the second half of this deck’s ideal matchups, Gyarados.
Gyarados has many things going for it: A quick setup time, an amazing damage output, and a +30 instead of X2 weakness with a high amount of HP to a type rarely used outside of Luxchomp. It also has amazing recovery options. Most counters to Gyarados either involve a teched devolutor, lost-zoning a Magikarp, or using Lucario GL + Flash Bite + Luxray GL LV.X.
But most of these options fail to one thing. The very next turn, they will take a revenge 1HKO. To properly take care of Gyarados, you need to be able to hit for 130-150 damage and survive a 110 damage counter-attack. The card combo that we went with in this deck is a rather overlooked and ignored Pokémon Prime card, Lanturn Prime.
Lanturn Prime is an electric type Pokémon that can also change to water type once per turn with its Poké-Power, Underwater Dive. In the Gyarados matchup, however, the power is useless. The attack, however, is not. For the cost of LCC, “Powerful Spark” does 40 damage plus 10 more for every energy attached on your side of the field. This means that you hit for a base of 70 damage, even if you use a DCE to power it instead.
Why is this important? We pair this card with everyone’s SP friend Lucario GL. For three energy in play on your field, Lanturn Prime will hit hard and KO the Gyarados player quite easily. (if they have belt and you don’t, then you’ll have to resort to using a Crobat G as well.) Of course, since you only have 110 hp, you’d get return KO’d under normal circumstances.
However, this deck thrives upon using Expert Belt. With a Belt, you can take a hit from even a belted ‘Dos. And if both parties are unbelted, you can take the 90 hit as well, returning the KO without a belt of your own. As a VERY important note, though, if you don’t have Lucario GL out, and a belted Lanturn (or using either Ampharos as an attacker), you will lose.
Another method of winning is if your opponent has too many Magikarp prized, and can’t Time Walk them out in time, or better, also has Azelf prized. Gyarados’s damage output is too much and too fast to breeze through like a Vilegar matchup.
The two of these cards have very little synergy going for them, right? Sure, they’re the same type, but is there really anything else pairing them? Why yes, yes there is. Ampharos PL has an attack named “Reflect Energy” that for the cost of LCC, does 70 damage and makes you move an energy card from Ampharos to one of your benched Pokémon. Normally, that would be a downside.
However, in this deck, it is a plus. In the early game, you set up the Ampharos first, denying your opponent the use of Powers with timely Crobat G drops to their benched Poké-Power users. Deny them their Uxie LV.X draws, their Regi-Moves, and their Fighting Tags, not to mention their “Healing Breath” and “Bright Look” Then, while stalling their setup, attach a DCE to Ampharos, then use Reflect Energy to drop lightning energy from Ampharos to the benched Lanturn.
Lanturn Prime is useful for several reasons, while it may look basic. The reason for high damage output is detailed below in the techs, and because of them, is rarely dealing less than 90 damage. The Underwater Dive Poké-Power, however, has more usefulness outside of simple type change.
Yes, it allows you to hit for weakness against Fire decks. Yes, it’s also a Poké-Power, and therefore susceptible to Power Spray. Use this to your full advantage, because the obvious choice of energy acceleration is this Poké-Power + Feraligatr Prime’s Rain Dance. If your opponent thinks you might have this combination, they’re more likely to Spray you, and wasting a Spray while you drop an Uxie right after. This will work once at the most, if at all, against an opponent.
pokebeach.comIf you’re lucky to be blessed with an opponent that has the brain of a sack of potatoes, then MAYBE it will work twice. And once you use the Bronzong G energy acceleration this deck uses (detailed and explained/justified further below), they’ll know what you’re doing, and only a fire SP deck will Spray this to deny you a type advantage. The main idea behind this idea is to hope to bait a Spray, and drop either an Uxie or Azelf right after testing the waters.
Note that any damage on Lanturn while Ampharos PL is out will kill Underwater Dive, so you’re better off using it on a benched Lanturn. Of course, this is now probably less reliable now against anyone who reads this article, if they bother to keep track of minor decks like this. SP players, please forget the last 10 lines of text.
Ampharos PL’s Damage Bind was already discussed, being most useful against Vilegar. Not mentioned above is also any time your opponent evolves or levels up a Pokémon that says “When you play (card) from your hand”. Two cards seen often are Garchomp C and Luxray GL.
If you snipe them with one of the many ways available before it’s leveled, the opponent can’t use that Poké-Power. And using a Poké-Turn to heal means they have to wait another turn. This strategy won’t win you a match, but it can help. But the attacks are also important, since it makes a great set-up attacker.
The ideal starting active Pokémon would be the Mareep from PL. Its first attack, Minor-Errand Running, uses no energy to search your deck for any basic energy and put it into your hand. The second attack, Expand, is best if you have a high chance of dying next turn, giving you a better chance at survival, and occasionally, with a belt, donking a water deck or two.
Use Minor Running-Errand as many times as you need, just make sure it doesn’t get Knocked Out. Evolve into the Flaaffy from HS. Its first attack can snipe anywhere, not only killing weakened Pokémon (special note to benched Spiritomb that used many Darkness Graces), but scouting for Pokémon that either have a Poké-Power, or will evolve into one that has one.
Once you get the Ampharos out, it will block multiple ones immediately. The Ampharos’s first attack brings things to a coin flip, and is not recommended unless you desperately need your opponent paralyzed and cannot guarantee a kill. Reflect Energy can power up an attacker on the bench, and the 70 base damage (90 if you belt, because this isn’t a bad attacker) isn’t much to complain about.
pokebeach.comOther cards included in this deck are helpful to your main idea. This deck runs a 2-2 line of Manectric PL, to serve as a free retreater (when your opponent plays warp point, you can see what your opponent does, then plan around it. If they send something like Smeargle out, you can use Manectric safely).
Also, while Manectric’s attacks are normally sub-par and have fairly low damage output, their secondary effects are perfect in this deck. Power Wave will hit any Pokémon with a Poké-Power for 30 damage, pairing with the Ampharos even better than Crobat G. Its well-known bench-shielding Poké-Body prevents damage to your own side, though a Dialga G LV.X will shut that down.
But even if there is, you’re mostly safe, because the only Poké-Powers on your side are Azelf, Uxie, Crobat G, and Lanturn’s little-used Underwater Dive. The former three will likely be picked up before damage kills them, and Lanturn can take several hits from it before health is a concern.
Fun note about this attack: Unown Q only has 30 HP, and it’s not uncommon to see one sitting on the bench in wait. Also, if your opponent is stuck with an active Spiritomb, and can’t Darkness Grace itself to death, use this attack to hit around it. (This may seem improbable and like it will never happen, but this strategy won a Cities match due to the opponent’s poor luck.)
Keep this idea in mind as soon as a Spiritomb-using player mumbles about lack of energy.) The second attack, Attract Current, is not only useful for setting up your side, it powers up Lanturn’s Powerful Spark. Manectric’s free Retreat Cost means that the instant a tank is brought up, Lanturn can be brought out to take it out before it crushes your bench shield.
Another handy card with great synergy to the lock aspect of this deck is the new Ampharos Prime. Ampharos Prime has a Poké-Body that has your opponent place one damage counter any time they attach an energy. This means any main attacker cards will be forced to either attach energy somehow else, or go without their Poké-Powers.
This also lessens the amount of times you will need to “Flash Bite”. However, due to the amount of low-energy decks, don’t rely on this for easy KOs. This is best used against tanks such as Steelix, Tyranitar, and Scizor, or any other deck using special energy, or if the opponent needs to attach energy to Uxie LV.X to retreat, if there’s no Unown Q attached.
This deck plays two Stadium cards. Broken Time-Space is used for SP matches and other basic decks, such as Gigas. Only one is used not only because of the use of Rare Candy, but the low number of Stage 2 Pokémon, and the fact that many other decks use it, and it’s easily abusable.
pokebeach.comOtherwise, Sunyshore City Gym is used to erase your weakness, as well as ignore resistance. This is very important to your Machamp matchup, and would otherwise be a sad auto-loss for you. However, if you use Lanturn’s Underwater Dive, it will not erase any water-type resistance despite the card being labeled as lightning.
Though its active fighting weakness doesn’t matter when it’s being used as a water type, because on your opponent’s turn, it’s a lightning type again, and therefore protected by Sunyshore City Gym.
Of note, using Lanturn’s Underwater Dive can allow you to benefit the healing abilities from an opponent’s stray Dawn Stadium, if you don’t need the lightning type advantage. Again, don’t rely on this, but keep it in mind against water or grass decks not using BTS.
One last oddity of this deck was a way to accelerate energy. Oddly enough, this combo I am about to describe works. Here goes. You use Bronzong G and Flint’s Willpower. I know, I know, it sounds clunky and wasteful and stupid. But it works. This deck often does not need a Supporter every turn.
There are only two Flint’s Willpower in the decklist, which may seem low for Supporter count, but this is because you won’t always need to use it. Often there’s one energy in your hand, and Supporters are affected by Poltergeist. Using this odd form of energy Acceleration means that you can place an energy on Bronzong G, and then Galactic Switch it wherever it is needed.
As a handy side-note, when you use Manectric’s Attract Current or Ampharos’s Reflect Energy, you can send an energy to Bronzong G when you’re done powering up the attackers, and keep Galactic Switch ready for use. And if you haven’t gotten Ampharos PL out and Bronzong G is dragged active, Galactic Switch dealing 20 damage to Bronzong can kill it in an emergency.
However, one important note is required. If you have Ampharos PL out, Galactic Switch will be locked out after using it once. However, if your Ampharos dies, this is a great way to quickly get out another one. (Lightning energy, switch to new Ampharos, attach DCE, boom.)
Also, DO NOT replace this for the obvious Rain Dance choice. Through very much testing, Feraligatr with Rain Dance was entirely useless unless you make this deck both lightning and water. There wasn’t room for any more attacking Pokémon unless you change the entire point of this deck.
Now for the list:
|Pokémon – 24||Trainers – 25
3 Pokémon Collector
|Energy – 11|
Before you go running to yell about the lack of Flower Shop Lady or Palmer’s Contribution, stay here and read a few more lines. You do NOT need to recover your Pokémon as frequently as in other decks. If you’ve lost so many Pokémon that you need to put them back into your deck, then you’ve already lost, and an FSL won’t help you any more than attacking with Azelf.
The high Pokémon count, and pure reason for using a 3-3 Lanturn line, is so you won’t need to recover a main attacker. Instead of shuffling them into your deck and trying to get them back, use the Rescue Energy, and use Fisherman to get energy back after a few of your Pokémon are gone.
A few other notes about this list. Warp Energy is good for having a Bronzong G stuck active, and if you aren’t able to Galactic Switch it to death. If you want to cut the Trainer count, you can remove Warp Point and add another Warp Energy.
More DCE can be added to power up Lanturn more quickly, or if you’d prefer to pay the Retreat Cost on an active Bronzong G. It’s also useful on Manectric if you need Attract Current and not Power Wave, or to use Attract Current to use Power Wave the next turn.
Cynthia’s Feelings is another personal choice that can be changed for a PONT or Copycat; against Vilegar, 4 cards might be better, or if you know a tank is about to die, hold it out and refresh for 8 along with a possibly revenge KO.
If they set up turn one, you lose. Otherwise, you have a great chance at keeping up, tanking with your Ampharos to get 1HKOs while taking 2HKOs. Use their Broken Time Space or your one copy to set up, and then replace it with Sunyshore at the right time.
Always drop a damage counter on their Regice, forcing them to SSU it to even be able to use Regi Move. Some great Gyarados players will probably tell me they can still easily win this matchup, and they’re probably right. However, against most of the opponents we tested against at Cities using this deck, we won a majority of the time. More detail about this deck specifically is above.
VS Vilegar: 70-30
Another matchup this deck is designed for. Ampharos shuts down Fainting Spell, and the deck plays a relatively low number of trainers in favor of more Supporters. Your trainers will be locked, but you should be able to tank damage while hitting the Gengar hard. This was discussed in much more detail above, as Gyarados was.
VS Machamp: 30-70
This matchup hurts, majorly. They hit you for weakness, can tank your damage output, and can heal much faster than you can. Your best bet here is to use your Sunyshore Gym, and keep it in play as much as possible. If you lock BTS, you can sometimes shut off “Fighting Tag” from the prime.
But if they use a Rare Candy, it’s game over. If your area has more Machamp, consider teching in some Miasma Valley. With a damage counter on them instantly upon playing Machop, even Rare Candy usage will not allow them to use Fighting Tag. Even then, though, this deck will struggle to keep pace.
VS Dialgachomp: 30-70
This is your other near-auto-loss. With DGX shutting down all your Bodies, most of your deck is rendered useless. And the only SP Poké-Body is on Lucario GL, and that turns their 2× weaknesses into 2× weaknesses. Entirely useless. If you’re super-lucky, you can get set up, but most likely, you’re going down. If your metagame has a lot of Dialgachomp, this is probably not the deck for you.
VS Luxchomp: 45-55
Surprisingly, this deck has some nice options against Luxchomp. So long as you can use Flash Bite to keep one damage counter on all Garchomp Cs in play, leveling up will deny them “Healing Breath” The same goes for “Bright Look.” However, Luxchomp is a deck based upon speed.
They will probably get set up before you can get your lock set up, and that is why this match is in their favor. Also, if they run a DGX tech, you might as well scoop.
VS Sablock: 50-50
This, like practically every other deck’s matchup to Sablock, depends entirely on how quickly your opponent gets the lock set up. If they get it fast, you lose. If they get it not quite as fast, you can win.
VS Charizard: 70-30
I know, I know, why are they thinking they stand a chance against Charizard? They can’t even hit him for weakness, right? Wrong. If you look way back above, I said that Lanturn Prime has a Poké-Power. “Underwater Dive” makes you the water type until the end of your turn.
Using this power in combination with Lucario GL gives you a fighting chance. Also, since this deck uses the Ninetales engine instead of a heavy Uxie Engine, you can shut down their main source of draw power. This matchup, if played right, will net you a win.
VS Gigas (Lockdown variant): 55-45
This variant of the deck is an easier matchup for you, surprisingly, since you use very few powers, their Mespirit drops will be useless. However, the constant Judge attacks will hurt. Try to stockpile energy on your Bronzong G to use where and when needed. Make sure to get out your quick Ampharos PL to shut off Sacrifice and deny them healing.
VS Gigas (Beatdown Variant): 50-50
The beatdown aspect will be hard to keep up with. Yes, as mentioned above, you will be able to shut down “Sacrifice.” However, they will still be hitting you hard and fast.
VS Magnegatr: 60:40
The advantage of “Rain Dance” is that it cannot be power sprayed. However, it can still be shut off with only one damage counter. Also, if you combo this with Ampharos Prime, they will be forced to severely hurt Feraligatr to even get a high enough damage output.
VS BlastGatr: 60-40
See above about the Feraligatr. Also, Blastoise UL is weak to electric, and Wash Out will be disabled with just one energy drop. Watch out, however, for Dawn Stadium. If you see this card, get out Ampharos Prime immediately and keep it alive. You don’t want them healing away Crobat drops and Power Wave spreading.
They will use the fighting type Arceus to plow through you. Sure, you can negate your weakness with Sunyshore Gym, but even then, they’ll rip you apart. Arceus decks have no Poké-Powers, so your entire locking aspect is useless here.
So there you have it. Two weeks or so of playtesting, as well as a City test run or two. We know this deck is not perfect, and only performs well in a certain metagame. However, that’s exactly the point of this deck. Playing to your meta is a good idea, and many people neglect to change their deck up in this regards.
Think this deck sucks? That’s fine; I did until it grew on me, too. Please, though, if you dislike the deck, I ask that you leave positive ideas on how to strengthen or otherwise “shore up” the idea.
Like this deck? Play it a bit, tell me how you find it to work, share your ideas. This deck is nowhere near top-tier, but as they say in the coding world, many eyes make flaws more obvious.