I often browse through my collection of currently legal cards, looking for Pokémon with interesting features. Once I find a card that peaks my interest, that card becomes my “core” Pokémon. The next step is to decide how a deck can best be built around that “core”. This can often be discerned in one of two ways.
pokebeach.comYou can look for other Pokémon that have some kind of natural synergy with your “core” Pokémon. An example of this kind of synergy would be Gengar SF and Vileplume UD. Gengar’s “Poltergeist” attack benefits from your opponent having as many T/S/S in their hand as possible. Vileplume’s Poké-Body complements that attack by preventing your opponent from playing any Trainer cards. Once you find these complimentary partners, everything else in the deck should be added in to maximize their combined effect.
Alternately, you might put your “core” Pokémon into a certain deck category – you decide that it will best be played as a “Tank”, “Donk”, “Disruption”, “Lock” or some other “type”. Again, once you decide on your deck “type”, everything you add to the deck should be geared toward achieving that goal. Nidoking Triumphant is a good example of this idea. Nidoking is clearly made for a “Tank” deck. Therefore, other cards in a Nidoking deck should be focused on making it the biggest, baddest “Tank” of all time.
I say everything should be geared toward achieving your goal, with only one caveat. Most people would agree that a deck needs to be as consistent as possible in achieving it’s goal. So, some cards are added simply to achieve better consistency. Uxie’s ability to provide extra draw power is a good example of this principle.
pokegym.netThe newest “core” Pokémon I have found is Leafeon UD. Leafeon UD is a Stage 1 Pokémon with a modest 90hp. The feature that peaked my interest was Leafeon’s first attack “Miasma Wind”. For one C Energy, “Miasma Wind” will do 50 damage times the number of Special Conditions affecting the Defending Pokémon.
A Pokémon can be affected by up to three Special Conditions simultaneously: Poison, Burn and any one of Confusion, Sleep or Paralysis. A best case scenario: 150 damage for 1 C Energy. More realistically – 100 damage for 1C is still pretty amazing. Even 50 damage for 1C is not too shabby.
The question then became – how do I get the Defending Pokémon to be affected by two Special Conditions, on my turn, while Leafeon is my Active Pokémon? Amazingly, I was able to find two different ways to do it with two different Pokémon!
Contestant number one, weighing in at 149.9 lbs – Magmortar SV. Using its Poké-Power “Evolutionary Flame”, when you evolve to Magmortar, you may choose to have your opponent’s Active Pokémon become Burned and Confused.
Candidate number two, weighing in at an insubstantial 32 lbs – Roserade UL. With Roserade’s “Energy Signal” Poké-Power, whenever you attach a G Energy, you may choose to have the opponent’s Active Pokémon become Confused. If you attach a P Energy, you may choose to have the opponent’s Active Pokémon become Poisoned. However – if you attach a Rainbow Energy – you get both effects simultaneously. Roserade does take 10 damage each time a Rainbow Energy is attached, but that is an acceptable side effect.
My Working List
|Pokémon – 23
4-4 Leafeon UD
4-4 Magmortar SV
3-3 Roserade UL
1 Uxie LA
|Trainers – 23
2 Bebe’s Search
2 Pokémon Communication
3 Prof. Elm’s Training Method
3 Professor Oak’s New Theory
2 Professor Oak’s Visit
2 Interviewer’s Questions
1 Luxury Ball
1 Expert Belt
|Energy – 14
pokebeach.comThe strategy here is to try and get Leafeon Active with one Energy attached, while each turn doing one of the following: evolving a Magmortar on your bench, or attaching a Rainbow Energy to a Roserade on your bench. You can then attack the Defending Pokémon for 100 damage.
Because you only need one Energy drop on Leafeon, you can easily set up a back-up Leafeon on your bench with one Energy. When that is done, or if you can’t get a second Leafeon going for some reason, you can use additional Energy drops to begin powering up either Magmortar or Roserade. Both of them are reasonably good secondary attackers.
Magmortar can snipe the bench for 30 damage using “Fire Arrow”. It can also do a kind of “TAG TEAM” attack using “Flame Ball”. Let’s say you have an Active Magmortar powered up with 1F, 1 DCE, and another on the bench. Because “Flame Ball” only hits for 60, you are unlikely to KO the Defending Pokémon. So you will attack, do 60 damage and Magmortar will be hit by your opponent’s attack on their turn. At 110 hp, it is probable that Magmortar will not get 1HKO’d. But you won’t want to leave him in the Active Spot for a second turn.
That is where the text of “Flame Ball” comes into play. When you do the attack, you can move an attached R Energy to one of your benched Pokémon. If, when you attack, you move the R Energy back to a benched Magmortar, you can discard the DCE of the Active (but damaged) Magmortar next turn and retreat, drop a DCE on the benched Magmortar and bring it up to use “Flame Ball”. Before attacking, you can Seeker the damaged Magmortar and get ready for another “Evolutionary Flame”. With some luck, you may be able to pull of a surprise KO that your opponent wasn’t expecting.
pokebeach.comRoserade is less useful, in my opinion, than Magmortar. It does have the advantage that you can use a single Roserade to add 2 Special Conditions, two turns in a row. Two Rainbow Energy drops will reduce its hp by 20, however, making it more vulnerable to being sniped. Roserade’s attack “Power Blow” may also be of some use if you have had time to power him up with some Energy. Given that Leafeon will only need the one Energy drop, this may be easily achievable. Two DCE drops will have Roserade hitting for 80 damage, as its attack does 20 damage times the number of Energy attached.
That pretty much explains the strategy of the deck. On the occasions that you are not able to get any Special Conditions onto the defending Pokémon using Magmortar or Roserade, you can still use Leafeon’s second attack “Soothing Scent”, which does 30 damage and the Defending Pokémon is now Asleep.
Finding the right balance of Trainers, Supporters and Stadiums is often a challenge and requires extensive testing. In addition, the play style of a player will affect the choice of cards that go into the list. Some players prefer Trainer lines that achieve the highest possible safe consistency (mostly Supporters). Others prefer speed consistency (many Trainers), taking the risk of getting Trainer locked. Still others may go for offensive or defensive bonuses with cards such as Expert Belt, PlusPower or Defender. Finally, there are cards which can be added in to disrupt your opponent’s play (e.g. Power Spray, Judge).
There are Stadium cards that fit into all of these categories. The most important thing when considering Stadiums is that they can potentially help your opponent as much, or more, as they help you.
The T/S/S list above tries to achieve a balance between draw power (Professor Oak’s New Theory and Visit) and specific search (Bebe’s Search, Pokémon Communication, and Professor Elm’s Training Method). I know Professor Elm is not often run, but I think it works well in a deck that runs three types of Stage One. Although it cannot search for Basics like Bebe’s, the advantage of Elm over Bebe’s is that you do not have to put a card back into your deck.
Oak’s Visit is also another seldom used card, but it nets two cards and does not require you to shuffle your hand in. I have often run Volkner’s Philosophy for a similar purpose. If you are running Interviewer’s Questions, though, you can end up with six cards in your hand quite easily, and that pretty much negates the value of Volkner’s. I have included Interviewer’s Questions because it is important to be able to draw into the Rainbow Energy and the DCE.
Seeker will allow the reuse of Magmortar and Uxie for their Powers. Judge provides a good combo of hand refresh and disruption, while Twins can help you recover from an early set-back. I have included one Expert Belt. That is mainly for times when you would need to be sure of 1HKOing a dangerous Pokémon that has more than 100 hp (Garchomp C LV.X and Luxray GL LV.X, in particular). Of course, any Pokémon not Knocked Out will still hopefully be affected by Special Conditions from either Magmortar or Roserade.
I didn’t find any Stadiums that I felt would would significantly help this deck without running the risk of giving an even greater benefit to my opponent. If I were to include a Stadium, Broken Time Space would be the card of choice. Having the ability to Seeker Magmortar back into my hand and then place it right back down would give extra flexibility in adding the two Special Conditions needed for Leafeon to hit for 100 damage. It is definitely on my list of things to test out.
How does it match up?
Unfortunately, none of the current Tier One decks are weak to Grass. Leafeon is resistant to Water, but a belted Gyarados with 3 Magikarps in the discard pile will still be able to 1HKO it. A times two weakness to Fire also makes Leafeon a target for Blaziken FB. A look at the numbers, however, reveals that “Vapor Kick” is still out of 1HKO range, making “Jet Shoot” a necessity for a 1HKO. As for Magmortar: Dialga G, Steelix, Scizor Prime and Jumpluff are the only big name Pokémon that are weak to Fire. Double weakness to water also makes Magmortar an easy target for Gyarados. All in all, this deck does not gain too many benefits with type, weakness, or resistance.
pokebeach.comLet’s review some more difficulties this deck would face. First off, Steelix Prime completely shuts down the main strategy of the deck, as it cannot be affected by Special Conditions. In this case, you would at at least be able to power up the Magmortars and hit for double damage. That would still take two attacks with “Flame Ball”, unless you were able to attach the Expert Belt. Fortunately, Steelix cannot 1HKO Magmortar.
A much bigger problem in the current metagame is any of the major SP decks. Power Spraying either Magmortar’s or Roserade’s Powers will reduce Leafeon to attacking for 30 damage and Sleep. In addition, Poké-Turn will easily get SPs out of any Special Conditions they might be afflicted with.
Your best bet here is to try and get early KOs (100 for 1 on T2, T3 and maybe T4 is definitely possible), before the opponent can fill their bench and use Spray. Of course, one Pokémon Collector puts an end to that. The next factor then becomes outlasting the Sprays. With 4 Magmortars, 4 Rainbow Energy and 3 Seekers, there is the potential to try and inflict Double Special Conditions up to 11 times.
Finally, in a similar way to Power-Spray, Mesprit really messes with the strategy of the deck. Your response would be the same as when playing against Power-Spray.
So, with that many factors working against the deck – is it a viable deck for tournaments? In the short term I would say no. There is just too much potential for Power lock right now. Looking ahead to the next format gives a much brighter picture. In all likelihood, next season will see Power-Spray, Poké-Turn and Mesprit all disappear from the format. In contrast, this deck will, most probably, only lose Uxie and Luxury Ball. Without knowing everything that will come out in the new Black and White sets, it’s hard to tell how well it would do next year. Despite this, I am pretty confident that it will become a more powerful deck that it currently is.
As for now, I’m going to continue testing. It’s a fun and challenging deck that suits my play style. While I doubt I would take it to States/Provincials or Regionals, I’d definitely consider running it for Spring Battle Roads.
Thoughts, comments and constructive criticism are always welcome.