Dark Disruption – How Many Cards Do You Have?

pokemon-paradijs.comSeveral months ago I started playing around with the idea of building a deck based on Umbreon Prime. Umbreon has a great first attack, “Moonlight Fang”, which makes it invulnerable to any Pokémon with Poké-Powers or Poké-Bodies

The main problem I soon found was that Umbreon is too easy to play around by Power/Body based decks. In addition, it gets absolutely flattened by decks like Gyarados, Machamp and Tyranitar.

I decided that Umbreon needed a stronger partner to work with it … and so the search began. I toyed with the idea of Mismagius for a time, and tested it a little, but found that running two types of Energy was just not working out.

Right about this time, I decided to add in a 4-4 Weavile line. As Umbreon was already a disruptive Pokémon, I felt that going with a disruption focus would be a good bet for this deck. Weavile has the Poké-Power “Claw Snag” that lets you look at your opponent’s hand when you evolve, and discard any one card.

At this point in the building process, I had a 4-4 Umbreon and 4-4 Weavile line with a variety of tech Pokémon. I was aiming for around 22-24 Pokémon, 10-12 Energy and the remaining cards as T/S/S.


With the addition of Supporters like Judge, Looker’s Investigation and Team Rocket’s Trickery, I was able to really mess with my opponent’s hand. What was missing was an attacker that could hit hard using D Energy (special or basic). I tried out Houndoom Prime, but found that it only worked well against Fighting Pokémon (doing 80 for 1D against Fighting Pokémon). Although its second attack does have a disruptive element (your opponent discards a card from their hand), the Fighting weakness really hurt, especially as Weavile and Umbreon are also weak to Fighting.

I went searching through the Dark Pokémon and came across Sharpedo TM (thanks Bebe’s Search). Sharpedo has two very interesting attacks. “Strip Bare” does 20 for 1D, and if you roll two heads your opponent discards their entire hand – now that is disruption. Even if you only hit double heads once a game, it can really hurt.

The second attack, “Rage”, does 50 for 1D, 2C with 10 extra damage for each damage counter already on Sharpedo. So depending on the situation, as Sharpedo has 90 HP, you could be hitting for as much as 130 in a single attack. Sharpedo’s Lightning weakness also gives it a better chance of standing up to Fighting decks. I know Luxray GL LV.X is a problem, but hopefully it can be swarmed by a combo of Sharpedo and Umbreon. Alternatively, there’s the potential to discard one or both or your opponent’s Luxray LV.Xs.


I started testing with a 2-2 line of Sharpedo, but found that I actually wanted Sharpedo out sooner and more often that Umbreon. I therefore switched to a 4-4 line of Sharpedo and dropped the original 4-4 Umbreon to a 2-2 line. Getting a Sharpedo active early game and having the opportunity to do “Strip Bare” two to three times gives a decent chance of hitting double heads at least once.

At the same time, evolving several Weaviles on the bench allows you to pick key cards from your opponent’s hand and discard them. Combine those effects with a few well placed Team Rocket’s Trickery (you draw two cards, your opponent discards one card of their choice) and your opponent can soon find themselves playing with little or no hand.

If your opponent does manage to recover (like top decking an Uxie or Professor Oak’s New Theory), Judge or Looker’s Investigation can keep them off balance. However, they will still be playing short of resources, as the cards are discarded, not shuffled back into their deck.

I am still in the testing stages of this deck, but have had enough success with it to believe it is a viable combination. I doubt it could be tier one this season. In the next format however, with Uxie most probably rotated out, I believe it will become much stronger. Only time will tell. At this point I am pretty happy with the concept. There seems to be a good balance between flippy and non flippy disruption effects. As far as matchups go, none would be overwhelmingly in favor of Dark Disruption. On the flip side, however, none are overwhelmingly against the deck.

A lot depends on how well you are able to disrupt your opponent’s hand. This will not only be down to luck, but also which cards you choose to discard with “Claw Snag”. It is almost always the best choice to discard a Supporter or Trainer, rather than a Pokémon (Uxie excepted). In this way you limit your opponent’s future draw/search power and make the rest of the game harder for them. Pokémon are much easier to recover from the discard pile than Trainers and Supporters, so discarding them is often only a short term gain.

Here is my current testing list. The four tech Pokémon slots could be filled my a number of different candidates. I do feel that it is important that all four be Basic Pokémon, in order to try and have a reasonable chance of starting a game with at least two Basics.

A Working List

Pokémon – 24

4-4 Weavile UD
4-4 Sharpedo TM
2-2 Umbreon Prime
4 Basic tech Pokémon

Trainers – 23

4 Team Rocket’s Trickery
3 Looker’s Investigation
2 Judge
1 Lost Remover
2 Technical Machine TS-2 (Devoluter)
2 Seeker
2 Professor Oak’s New Theory
2 Bebe’s Search
1 Cyrus’s Conspiracy
1 Twins
2 Pokémon Communication
1 Luxury Ball

Energy – 13

4 Special D
5 Basic Dark
2 Warp

For the tech Pokémon, there are a variety of candidates that might be used:

Uxie – searchable instant draw power

Smeargle CL – reasonable starter, draw power

Sableye SF – good starter, draw power

Spiritomb AR – good starter for evolving Sharpedo or Umbreon, locks Trainers when active, not effective for evolving Weavile, as Weavile must be played from your hand to use its Poké-power.

Ambipom GGarchomp C counter, Energy manipulation

Unown Q – will give Sharpedo and Umbreon free retreat

Mime Jr. – can send top card of opponent’s deck to Lost Zone with its attack

As far as T/S/S go, I tried using Cyrus’s Initiative. However, unless you are also running Sableye SF, you can’t really afford to use your one Supporter play a turn on Cyrus. Sableye could be a good play in this deck, and if it was used, Cyrus would also be good. I prefer to focus on getting a T2 Sharpedo attacking with “Strip Bare” however, so I am not running Sableye.

pokebeach.comI think all of the T/S/S are fairly self-explanatory except for Team Rocket’s Trickery. As your opponent gets to choose the card they discard, it is important to gauge the deck you are playing against. For any deck where the opponent actually wants to discard cards (e.g. Gyarados), its use will be very situational (like once they have 3 Magikarps in the discard pile). It is more effective against SP decks which run much tighter lists than evolution decks.

Ideally the starting Pokémon is Sneasel UD, who has 60 HP and free retreat. Hopefully, you will also start with a Carvanha on the bench and be able to get a T2 Sharpedo with 1 D Energy. You would then free retreat the Sneasel and begin attacking with “Strip Bare”. Attacking with for the next couple of turns with “Strip Bare”, you would then build up a bench of Weaviles and Sharpedos.

Weavile is not really used for an attacker unless you need to snipe the bench. Obviously, the deck you are playing against will decide whether or not you even try to get out the Umbreons. Against Gyarados, Machamp SF and other non Poké-Power/Poké-Body Pokémon, there is really not point.

For me, one of the best aspects of Pokémon is trying to build different and interesting decks. I think this deck fits that description. Ironically, a deck that started out with Umbreon as a key player has now become one where Umbreon has a much more limited role. Such is the nature of deck building.

Comments, suggestions and constructive criticisms are always welcome.

Reader Interactions

24 replies

  1. Jordan Baker

    I have a friend who has been playing something similar to this at our weekly tournaments and it has actually done pretty well against top tier decks played by some top tier players (this isn’t just a bunch of scrubs at a league). I would definitely recommend adding in some Mesprits and playing 4 seekers to continue using Mesprits and Weaviles.

    You’ll probably want to add in some Super Scoop Ups too.

  2. Anonymous

    Oh god, this with Mesprits would be insane imo. Maybe add some Unown DARK also to search out SP Darks, and some Expert Belts so that Sharpedo can hit for 50 in addition to the 25% chance of discarding your opponent’s entire hand.

  3. Anonymous

    its a nice deck idea. i toyed wiht it too. i thought about adding in a 1-1 slowking line to control both players top decks. also i ran 4 sableye. and iniative.

  4. Dakota Streck

    I really love the concept of your deck, very disruptive. I was wondering, how well do the Team Rocket’s Trickeries work for you? Is it really that beneficial to allow your opponent to choose the card that’s discarded (I read about where you talked about it in your article, but i’m still curious)?

    I know a lot of people have talked about adding in Power Lock. IMO, I would take out those cards to work toward Power Lock. It was a great article about a great deck!

    • Dave Hueglin  → Dakota

      Thanks Dakota,

      I think it is worth having them in for two reasons. The first reason is that you do get to draw two cards. That adds to your draw power at the same time that it reduces their hand. The second is that it can force your opponent to make some difficult decisions, that they sometimes regret later. I think anything that adds cards to their discard pile is a good thing. One way it partners well with Weavile is that when you evolve a Weavile and pick out the best card they have left, you get to see their hand and decide if it is worth playing the Team Rocket’s Trickery. As Ryan Graham alluded to, if you can’t seriously limit their hand, you are in for some real difficulties.

      I do think it would be worth adding in a Mesprit to have a limited Power lock ability, but also to be able to bait Power Sprays in the SP match-up. As it is now, if an SP player knows about this deck before hand, they would probably just discard their Power Sprays, except for maybe saving one to play against Uxie. As for adding more Mesprits, I would be a little worried that spreading the disruption to include Power lock would weaken the hand disruption element. I don’t think its a bad idea, but it does take the deck in a slightly different direction. I guess some intensive testing would determine which direction is the better one for the current meta-game.

  5. Ryan Graham

    I love this idea..but it just doesn’t hit hard enough. And if you don’t get a quick ‘strip bare’, you’re toast. Tinker around with it and see how consistent you can make it..but i played it for a little while and just couldn’t find the right combo.

    • Dave Hueglin  → Ryan

      Ryan, do you think it will do better next format, or always have the limited damage output be too much of a liability?

  6. Brian Le

    I’m definitely going to try this deck out. Its seems fun to play, and the cards to make it are pretty cheap. I also like how most of these cards are HS and on, so this deck will become stronger as time passes.

    I was looking at some cards that might go well with this deck, and I found persian HS–it’s scary how well this card fits into your deck’s strategy. First attack disrupts for one colorless (less potential than sharpedo, but it’s more consistent than cyrus’ initiative!), and second attack involves darkness energy and decent power. The only problem is the fighting weakness; if you can find a way around that problem, more power to this deck.

    • Dave Hueglin  → Brian

      I didn’t mention it in the article, but I did try Persian. I went with Sharpedo for four reasons. 1. As you mentioned, Persian has Fighting weakness – so you have no Pokemon in the deck without Fighting weakness. 2. Sharpedo has the potential to hit for more damage with “Rage”, and “Strip Bare” does some damage if you whiff on the flips, whereas it’s a wasted attack with Persian if you get 3 tails. 3. It is just really painful to have to put a Special Dark on Persian when you don’t have any regular Dark Energy in your hand. 4. Kind of related to point 2 – DCE is really wasted on Persian, so you need two Energy drops to do 60 damage. Sharpedo with two Energy drops (1 Special Dark and 1 DCE) can do 60+ (depending on how much damage is on Sharpedo.

      I do love Persian and would like to be able to work it into a deck, but so far I have always been able to find a Pokemon that seemed to work better for me.

  7. Dave Hueglin

    Thanks for the feedback everyone.

    Jordan, Mesprit is definitely worth testing out, especially if your friend is having success with it. I must admit, I had not thought about any kind of Power lock. Does your friend run into any problems with bench space? I know there is Seeker, but my experience is that Seeker can only be used sparingly when playing this deck. If your opponent managed to get an Uxie in play, or if they have retreated a Pokemon with high damage, you generally don’t want to play a Seeker. I did test 4 Seekers and found that the limitations I just mentioned meant that Seekers were often left unused. Does your friend run Psychic Energy, or does he just use Mesprit for the Power?

    Ryan, I agree 100% that this deck’s greatest weakness is damage output. Almost every game is pretty tight on prizes. It makes for some very good games, even when you don’t win. Definitely not everyone’s cup of tea though.

    kazambolt, Expert Belt is worth trying. I think it would have to be played very carefully, as Sharpedo can be OHKO’d by Luxray GL/GL Lv X using either “Trash Bolt” or “Flash Impact”, even with an Expert Belt. Ideally, you want them to hit Sharpedo once, without knocking it out, and then you can drop a DCE to do “Rage” for the +10 damage for each damage counter on Sharpedo. Luxray is undoubtedly this deck’s biggest problem. I see where you are going with Unown Dark, but I think the disadvantages of having it sitting on your bench would outweigh the advantage of getting the Special Dark.

        • arno  → Dave

          A very nice idea. I have put the deck together and made ​​some small adjustments. Among others a Ditto-TM and some super scoop ups.
          The deck is indeed very effective. My opponent is often in turn 3 left without cards, his pace completely disappears. Damage output is indeed a problem but of the 10 games 2 times this was a time consuming problem. So if you have made other adjustments please let me know.

          Thanks for posting your deck ideas

  8. Travis Yeary

    I recently put together a Steel / Dark deck to show the players at my league how fun the special energy is to use. The dark in the deck was Sharpedo (2-2 Energy Shark / Strip Bare) and the third time I used strip bare I got double heads. The game was completely downhill from there as my opponent had absolutely no resources and never top decked any drawing supporters. The attack is just awesomely disruptive. The coin flips are made up by the fact that the attack actually does damage, and it only costs one. Great potential in Sharpedo in the future

  9. Jonah Davids

    I really like the concept! I think it was a very creative concept, which shows a glimmer of potential.

    However, I think you should have grouped Uxie outside of the basic tech Pokemon. Uxie isn’t quite a tech as it is a staple. I also think the write out could have been padded out a bit more.

    Don’t let me stop you from writing more articles though! ;)

  10. Kyle

    you could put an anti-luxray. sharpedo’s hp is pretty low if you’re battling on a luxray. i think mankey sv or donphan is good.

  11. DevanteD

    This is a really funny story to me, because I’ve been experimenting with Weavile starting like December. I’ve only recently begun playing the TCG, and I needed an idea. So I thought of using Weavile for hand manipulation. The only thing hard about the deck idea was getting a good hitter.

    At first I only used Tyranitar (Stormfront) and used the discards as a stall to get him enough energy to kill, but it was too slow. Then my friend suggested both the Houndoom you speak of (Undaunted) and Houndoom Prime. I tried both, which were significantly faster, but were not all too reliable.

    However, I looked at a couple of recent cards and found a very fast sweeper. I now use Mightyena (Platinum) while packing Skuntank. The focus switches from lock to Mightyena now, but it allows me to control my opponent’s hand while prepping to kill.

    If you want, I could post a list. Just ask.

    • Dave Hueglin  → DevanteD

      I’d be interested in seeing your list. I have an old article on Mightyena, Skuntank and Muk (MightyMukTank), on this site. That was also a neat combo. Of course, if I rebuilt it now the T/S/S list would be quite different. Not having Moonlight Stadium would really hurt. However, Seeker would really help out when you retreat Mightyena to the bench after poison damage gets too high.

      • DevanteD  → Dave

        Redshark 3.80 Deck List
        Date: Wed Feb 16 20:59:54 2011

        Name: Desperado

        TOTAL CARDS: 60

        POKEMON: 23
        Level-Up: 1
        1 : Uxie LV.X, LA-146
        Stage 1: 7
        3 : Mightyena, PL-54
        4 : Weavile, UD-25
        Basic: 15
        3 : Poochyena, PL-86
        4 : Sneasel, UD-68
        2 : Sableye, SF-48
        2 : Mesprit, LA-34
        2 : Uxie, LA-43
        2 : Skuntank G, PL-94

        TRAINERS: 34
        Trainers: 13
        4 : VS Seeker, SV-140
        4 : Super Scoop Up, UL-83
        2 : Quick Ball, MT-114
        2 : Poke Radar, LA-133
        1 : Luxury Ball, SF-86
        Pokemon Tools: 3
        3 : Expert Belt, AR-87
        Supporters: 14
        2 : Team Rocket’s Trickery, UD-78
        2 : Professor Oak’s New Theory, GS-101
        4 : Judge, UL-78
        4 : Seeker, TM-88
        1 : Pokemon Collector, GS-97
        1 : Palmer’s Contribution, SV-139
        Stadiums: 4
        2 : Pokemon Contest Hall, RR-93
        2 : Broken Time-Space, PL-104

        ENERGY: 3
        Special Energy: 3
        3 : Darkness Energy (sp), UD-79

        It’s the current variant that works best for me, but I’d like to shift the focus towards hand control more so.

        • Dave Hueglin  → DevanteD

          This is a very interesting list – high risk – high reward. I am assuming you always want to have a Sableye start as the deck runs so little Energy. Have you tried running 4 Sableye to increase your chances of starting with it? You could, perhaps drop the two Poke-Radar, or Quick Ball. Another option is to put in 2 Honchkrow G, instead of the 2 extra Sableyes, so you can search for a Stadium (that attack costs no Energy). If you ran 2 Basic, 1 Special Dark instead of the 3 Special Dark, you could put in Cyrus’s Conspiracy to search for the Energy and your next Supporter.

          None of those suggestions shift the focus toward disruption however. Because your main focus now is Mightyena and no/low Energy attacking, I think it would be hard to increase disruption without messing up that important element. All I can think of is taking out some Trainers or Supporters and adding in 2 TS-2 Devoluters (really helps against Tank decks and Gyarados) and upping the Team Rocket’s Trickery to 4. As you do have Sableyes you could also try and find room for Cyrus’s Initiative. You could replace 2 of the Expert Belts with 2 Devoluters. I always find that using Expert Belt on 90hp Pokemon can be kind of risky – but then, that seems to be part of the play style of this deck. I mean that it a good way, not as a criticism. Hope these ideas may be of some help.

  12. Anonymous

    Hey bro, good idea but you need more work on it. I run a similar deck. I made it the day undaunted came out. Need SSU’s, BTS’s, and Warp points…. Just saying i have been playing my towns local tournaments and have been winning every week.

  13. Anonymous

    Hey bro, good idea but you need more work on it. I run a similar deck. I made it the day undaunted came out. Need SSU’s, BTS’s, and Warp points…. Just saying i have been playing my towns local tournaments and have been winning every week.

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