Lacks-Chomp: Deckbuilding for the HeartGold / SoulSilver-on Format

Before we progress any further into this article, let me introduce four “lists” to you:

List #1: Four Cyrus’s Conspiracy

List #2: Four Spiritomb

List #3: Mix of Sableye and/or Smeargle

List #4: A combination of the above

pokemon-paradijs.comOdds are, this is how you played decks last format. Even before the threat of Black-and-White rules, if you did not play your deck with any of the above, then the overwhelming odds suggested that you would lose your tournament. And badly.

For this reason alone, we should be greatly pleased about this prospective format rotation. Put simply, it not only saved us from having to cope with SP over and over again, or obnoxious “Item” lock via Vilegar, or from sickeningly broken zero energy, 110 damage attacks; it saved us from ourselves.

Yes, the absurd brokenness of the format, coupled with our nearly insatiable appetite to win helped create one of the game’s stalest formats in history, as well as the greatest barrier to rogue entry in ages. So yes, this is most certainly cause for celebration.

However, the only problem about recovering from a stale format so soon is that the player base has to exercise while on stiff muscles. And since we’ve been leading a shockingly sedentary lifestyle for the past two and a half years, it’s going to take a lot more to get the blood flowing than just sit leisurely walks, gut lifts, and Dance Dance Revolution.

Yes, my friends…It’s going to take some work.

In this article, I have a few pretty basic goals in mind: to analyze and describe all of your newest consistency tools not named “Cyrus”; to walk you through the construction of a deck using the resources listed above (or not); and then to close out with a couple finished products.

So let’s get into this brave new world of ours, and discover what it has to offer.

The Tools of the Trade

By now, I’m sure you guys have been hearing hype about all sorts of emergent decks: Zekrom, Tyranitar, Reshiram, Cincinno, and Donphan are just some of the names being thrown around.

This article isn’t necessarily about any of those; instead, we’re going to be talking about the wide array of options you’ll have to choose from to build _any_ deck this format.

Also, we won’t be talking too much about the merits of Potion, or whether or not to run PlusPower in a deck . The chief concern you should have when building a brand new deck is consistency.

Can you get it out in time? Can you keep it going from start to finish? Can you recover from a bad hand, or from a disruption of your hand?

That is my purpose in writing this article: helping you guys test this unprecedented format.

So given all that, let’s take a look…

Pokémon: What to Do (or Not!)

Unlike the Majestic Dawn-on format, which placed almost no emphasis on using Pokémon to set up your field, this format is likely going to place a great deal of importance on which Pokémon – if any – you use.

Listed below are three types of setup Pokémon: “starters,” “partners,” and “crutches.” All of these names are intuitive, but let’s just review what all these cards do. Are you going to see some things you would have never expected? Maybe, but that’s just part of exploring all options.

Starters: Your preferred Basic Pokémon to open with (definitively, this is always a Basic Pokémon). Usually run in a quantity of four; occasionally run with one or two of another card to supplement its effect.

pokegym.netClassic examples: Cleffa (Neo Genesis), Dunsparce (Sandstorm), Jirachi (Deoxys), Holon’s Castform (Holon Phantoms), Sableye (Stormfront), Spiritomb (Arceus)

Partners: Pokémon that are capable of setting you up in the early game, and maintaining your game throughout.

Classic Examples: Delcatty (Ruby/Sapphire), Pidgeot (Fire Red/Leaf Green), Magcargo (Deoxys), Nidoqueen Delta (Dragon Frontiers)

Crutches: Helps iron out weak hands, or helps strong hands grab that one card to become “perfect.” Usually Basic Pokémon, and usually played in tech quantities (1-of).

Classic Examples: Any of the above-listed “starters,” Chatot (Majestic Dawn), Aipom (Deoxys) with Magcargo (Deoxys), Smeargle (Undaunted)

Now that we’ve had a reminder of what purposes non-attacking Pokémon may serve for your deck building purposes, let’s take a look at almost every possible option this format has to offer!

Ninetales (#7 HGSS – Partner): Anyone who’s played Charizard is very familiar with this card, but with the advent of the new format, everybody else may be in for a bit of a shock. With the ability to draw three for the cost of a single R Energy, Ninetales gives Fire decks a strong edge in the upcoming format, and is one of the most obvious options to boost consistency.

With its raw draw power, I would highly recommend this card (and any good deck capable of abusing it) for the new format. However, do be aware that Ninetales’s type limits its uses to mainly just Fire, Colorless, and (maybe) Lightning deck options.

Noctowl (#8 HGSS – Partner): I’ve seen limited use of this card so far, and I hope that it stays that way. Although the right to draw one extra card per turn is unconditional (i.e., you don’t have to do anything for it other than put Noctowl into play), this is – in most decks – a horrible option. I would wholeheartedly recommend running something with more “oomf” over this guy, such as Magnezone Prime.

pokegym.netCleffa (HeartGold/SoulSilver + Call of Legends – Crutch): A major reason why few players were caught dead running “Baby” Pokémon during DP-on and MD-on is because they have horrifyingly-low HP. And in any format where quick wins are prevalent, you’re essentially giving up a free prize to every single competitive deck.

Well, one surprising consequence of an early format rotation is that these cards, once held down by Crobat G and others, will now suddenly gain much greater strength, both as starters and as crutches.

Although you can play this card as a full-blown starter, its 30 HP is still cause for concern, so I would suggest that you only run a copy of one. That way, it can help shore up consistency in a pinch.

Pichu (HeartGold/SoulSilver – Starter): Like Cleffa, Pichu benefits from the would-be rotation of Crobat G/Poké Turn.

Due to the huge edge “Let’s Play!” gives your opponent in a setup-based format, I am very uneasy about recommending this card. Nevertheless, I could certainly see it working decently in a Jumpluff or Cincinno deck.

Plus, if your opponent has already played a Pokémon Collector on his or her first turn, then you’re really not giving them much of an advantage via “Let’s Play!” anyway.

Sunflora (HeartGold/Soul Silver – Partner): HGSS-on brings us a slower format, and with a slower format comes a greater opportunity for the normally slow, setup-based Grass decks to thrive. Although Emboar’s popularity may prove to get in the way of this otherwise Grass-favorable condition, it still ought to prosper more than it did under the thumb of SP, and Sunflora will be there the whole way.

However, I’ve seen several Grass decks function just fine over the years without this card, so you might only want to run your Sunflora in a 1-1 quantity (if at all).

Delibird /Heracross/Mantine (quasi-setup): When reviewing the whole format, I found several cards that followed a trend. See, cards such as the aforementioned masquerade as setup cards, but have some particularly crippling aspect that make them unplayable in almost every deck. What on Earth could make these cards weak starters/crutches/whatever?

pokegym.netWell, one of the most important aspects of a good consistency card in general is that it has some level of immediate usefulness. Heracross is normally a poor “starter” until the second turn, when you have a bench full of Grass Pokémon; and due to the constant loss of prizes via retreating and KO exchanges, Delibird may go several turns into the game before being useful. Some cards, such as Mantine, stay consistently unreliable due to its slowness!

Above all, a good rule of thumb to keep in mind about these types of attacks is that if they aren’t helping you win the game in the long run, then they just aren’t worth it.

I could certainly see a use for Heracross as a starter someday, or Delibird as a late-game consistency crutch for Feraligatr…But as it stands, any card that looks, smells, and feels like these should be avoided.

Jynx (crutch): Chatot MD’s “Mimic” returns in the form of some strange woman-thing. But is this anywhere near as good of a card?

Long answer made short? No, it isn’t. Due to a one energy retreat, a relatively “expensive” cost to Mimic, and a less useful secondary attack, Jynx will be far less quick to fill the role of Chatot. Furthermore, this is not a power lock format by any means, so the overall usefulness of a “shuffle your hand and draw X cards” effect becomes less useful.

Still, Mimic as a whole is a decent thing to have, and at the very least, this card is better than Manaphy Unleashed (which I won’t bore you with).

Minun/Stantler/other “bench loaders”: like Pichu, there are several cards capable of filling your bench early game, only without the disadvantages of low HP and filling your opponent’s bench. Whereas older formats have a rich history of “bench-loaders” like these, the rise of solid Supporter cards (Holon Mentor, Roseanne’s Research, Pokémon Collector) has heavily negated their usefulness.

My advice when considering these is to take a long, hard look at your deck in question, and then decide whether you’d want to supplement your deck with these already-weakened Pokémon. Your answer should probably be “no” in most cases.

Farfetch’d/Ledian/Relicanth/other “raw drawers” (starters): Unlike Delibird or Heracross, these cards draw you absolute amounts at the expense of both your energy and attack.

At the moment, I don’t see myself outright recommending any of these, except maybe Relicanth. Although Lost Zoning a resource away is cause for concern, an otherwise unconditional three cards for one energy is at least minimally decent.

Smeargle (crutch): As I will discuss below, draw Supporters will become extremely popular…And the more popular Supporters are, the more popular this card will be.

It was already a good card this format, but is it going to get better for HGSS-on? Worse? Nobody knows yet, but tread cautiously when you use it; otherwise, you might discard a really good hand by Portraiting a Professor Juniper, or – like MD-on – walk into a Judge blindly.

Slowking Prime (partner): With the look and “feel” of Uxie LV.X, you might be tempted to run this. However, resist the temptation – this card is just as bad as last format, and because you’re giving the opponent the choice at what you get, it’s actually even worse than Noctowl!

Magnezone Prime (partner with attacker potential): Although Magnetic Draw caps at six cards, it’s actually one of the best options for maintain consistency this format. In addition, Magnezone Prime is the definitive “anti-Judge,” and is one of the strongest attackers in the game right now.

There are a lot of solid reasons why Magnezone rose to the top during States and Regionals, and I’m sure its impact will not be completely lost come Nationals and Worlds.

Zoroark (partner with attacker potential): Most people are raving about Zoroark due to its fantastic second attack, but in the right deck, its first attack can do a great deal to set up primary attackers. Guys like Tyranitar Prime require a very specific set of cards that are difficult to search out, such as Special Darkness or Double Colorless. With Zoroark, that becomes much easier.

(Besides, being able to 1-shot Reshirams and Zekroms isn’t too bad!)

-The Big Picture-

Ninetales, Magnezone Prime, Zoroark, and Smeargle are all going to play a major role this coming July. Other cards, such as those listed, may stand a chance at having limited uses, but might not see that much play.

The Trainers/Supporters

(Note: I’m not going to go into detail about most non-setup cards like Rare Candy or Super Scoop Up here. I’ll save analysis of that for the next section.)

Now that we’ve gone over the assortment of Pokémon you can use to set up, let’s consider the non-Pokémon cards you may consider packing. Despite my considerable discussion of Pokémon partners, starters, and crutches, it’s actually the Trainers and Supporters that will drive the HGSS-on environment the most.

After all, who’s going to win games without a proper Trainer/Supporter engine?

Furthermore, I feel that it’s essential to comprehend just what a format shift means for the way we build decks. Draw cards, which played a small role this format (and an even smaller role during the days of Claydol!), are going to see a surge in play. There is a strong possibility that these will help define HGSS-on, and in turn the way you play games.

Since we haven’t yet reached the point of actual deck construction, I’m not going to make recommendations on which “tools” to use; rather, we’re going to take a look at how their usefulness in the deck building equation is impacted by the new format. I’ll also elaborate on what they may do in the new metagame, and what the implications of other popular Supporter/Trainer cards may be on their usefulness.

So, here are your options…Choose wisely.

Professor Juniper: This is the one card that everybody’s been talking about, and for good reason. The premise is so simple, it requires almost no clarification; yet, the decision of how many to run, if to run it at all, should weigh heavily in your mind.

I’m going to go on record right now and say that this is going to be an absolute staple in almost every deck. When you run the same list with and without Professor Juniper, you begin to recognize a true difference in speed, ability to recover, and overall setup.

However, I disagree with those who believe that every deck needs a full play set: you’ll find what works for you best, based on your deck’s individual needs. Therefore, running four may not be as optimal as, say, three or two.

I highly recommend this card, though. All it takes to benefit from its huge gains is occasionally good intuition as to whether or not you should give up the rare tough discard here or there.

Copycat: I’m somewhat torn on Copycat’s universality this format. On one and, Juniper, Ninetales, and a general emphasis on draw should help raise its expected utility; on the other hand, the rotation of Uxie will undoubtedly starve it.

But beggars can’t be choosers, and Copycat is a great mainstay. Just don’t be afraid of removing it for more reliable picks.

Pokégear 3.0: Conventionally-speaking, this card was terrible throughout DP-on and MD-on. Roughly 90% of the time, Cyrus’s Conspiracy would have been a statistically superior play in non-SP decks, and even in decks where you needed to chain Cyrus, the odds of hitting it weren’t high enough to justify wasting a space.

This format, however, could be quite a bit different. If you’re running a deck that desperately needs a first turn Pokémon Collector, and for some reason Pokémon Communication isn’t enough to curb that need, then this might be a useful play. Beyond this, the more likely use is to help grab late-game Seekers and Judges.

All in all, however, I see it being just as useless in HGSS-on as it is now, so avoid Pokégear 3.0 in most cases.

Pokémon Collector: I still think you should run four per deck in most lists, but keep in mind that a format without Uxie, Azelf, Mesprit, or Chatot makes it instantly less useful.

The fact is that you aren’t going to experience the immediate satisfaction you would have otherwise felt in a Majestic Dawn-to-Black and White format. For that reason, some decks could more easily justify running less than four without too much trouble.

Pokémon Communication: Contrary to what some have said, I have a feeling that this card will become extraordinarily important in HGSS-on. Nearly every competitive deck in the current format has played a minimum three Bebe’s/SP Radar/Luxury Ball/Pokémon Communication, and now that we’re losing three of those, life won’t be just the same.

Decks running multiple Pokémon Communication tend to have a strong speed edge, and in a slower format such as this one, this card will help you tremendously. Definitely a staple play for many months to come.

Professor Elm’s Training Method: If you’ve been testing the format much yet, then you’ll probably agree that this card just isn’t as good as Bebe’s Search, and it’s arguably much worse now than it’s been in past formats. Thus, you’ll likely feel the inclination to run more Pokémon Communications than Elm’s. Be wary of relying solely on Communications, though, or else Vileplume may kick you in the teeth.

For that reason, as well as the eventual threat of Gothitelle (post-Worlds release), it may be advisable to run a mix of the two, rather than just one over the other. This will likely come down to what type of deck you’re running, and especially what type of consistency Pokémon you run, but all I can say right now is that it isn’t a decision that should be set in stone.

Professor Oak’s New Theory: General consensus generally treats deciding between PONT and Copycat as a preference, where some players appreciate the reliability, and others embrace the potential for high yield. Well, now that you can play Supporters on the first turn of the game going first, it seems that early game weakness of Copycat has been neutralized.

To illustrate this example, think about how the loss of Uxie, Azelf, Chatot, and Unown Q will decrease the overall average number of Pokémon run in a deck. Fewer opening Pokémon means more cards in the opponent’s hand, and more card in the opponent’s hand means a higher-quality Copycat. Sounds good, right?

Dual Ball/Poké Ball: In years past, when “turbo” engines as we currently know them did not exist, this fringe engine would often take their place. The concept was that with less supporter-based search, one could focus more on A) playing powerful draw cards; and B) thinning the deck to increase one’s odds of drawing crucial, unsearchable cards.

With this draw-emphasized format, this engine might see a comeback in the form of Dual Balls/Poké Balls/Communications, but in general, these “Ball” cards tend to be far more inferior to their counterparts in the Supporter world.

Food for thought in case you want to try something faster in a slower format, so keep it in the back of your mind…Just in case.

Engineer’s Adjustments: One card (two if you include the energy) for four is not a raw deal at all, but In all decks beyond Magnerock, Engineer’s Adjustments did not have a place in the competitive metagame.

Put simply, I’m concerned that this card has even less of a place in the upcoming format. This could be especially true since it has to compete with the less conditional, FAR more powerful Professor Juniper for deck space. In almost all games where I’ve played a Juniper, I was glad that I had this in place of Engineer.

Judge: Yet another card that gets a big question mark placed on it due to an uncertain interaction with Juniper. Is its shabbiness as pure draw supplemented by better chances of hitting good draw? Is its superiority as a lock card muddled by the opponent’s increased odds of drawing into an automatic hand reset?

Honestly, it’s really going to be no different during HGSS-on than it has been in our current format. Add in the fact that Juniper is a generally worse “out” option than Uxie is against hand disruption (uses up your Supporter/uses valuable resources), and Judge should still be very useful.

I don’t know if you can lock players out of the game the way you could during the earlier phases of this 2010-2011 season, but the odds should still be there!

Junk Arm: One of two quasi-consistency cards I have listed in this article. The reason why I have this listed here is because last format, you could make great use of this for fetching back key cards like Communication or SP Radar; or, alternatively, it could help fetch Poké Drawer +’s, or even just help thin your hand before an Uxie Set Up play.

I feel like in most decks this format, Junk Arm just doesn’t cut it when it comes to supplementing a set up. However, don’t be quick to discredit its strong ability to thin hands for Magnetic Draw, or to just dump useless late game Pokémon Collectors from your hand. Heck, it could even play a pivotal role in the aforementioned Ball engine!

Sage’s Training: I believe that almost any use of Sage’s will be nullified by the option to run to run Professor Juniper. Although there is a greater “emotional impact” of seeing your hand immediately discarded by the latter, the truth is that Sage is netting you two cards at the somewhat permanent expense of three. Does this help thin your deck? Yes, absolutely…But at what cost?

If you’re deciding between the two, then I would rely on Juniper first. Sage’s uses in MD-on have been situational, whereas a surefire way to “reset” a bad hand is almost always a good option in any format throughout the game’s history.

Seeker: While Seeker has gained power through new support abilities like Reuniclus’s Damage Swap, its usefulness as a consistency booster has largely subsided. Gone are the days of grabbing Uxies for huge gain, and “in” are the days of using the card for its most intended purposes: balanced bounce-back, as well as heal.

Team Rocket’s Trickery: You may be thinking you’re real clever if you were to run this card for HGSS-on…If you do, then I highly advise you reconsider your concept of “cleverness.” Put simply, drawing two cards for a Supporter is baaaaaad, so you need one heck of a reason to justify it! Starving your opponent of resources is always a nice prospect, but when it’s of their choosing…Well, think again.

So please, don’t play tricks – just win the game.

Twins: One of the more interesting effects of the new Black and White rules is their decreased strength of Twins as a card. Majestic Dawn-Call of Legends was a FAST format, and even come-from-behind Twins plays usually involved a fast reaction, such as the fetching of a Broken Time-Space to get out a fast Vileplume. In other interactions, like the SP mirror, Twins could just help turn the tide by offering the lagging player a means by which to pull ahead in the possession of resources. In other words, the strength of any come-from-behind card is greatly reflected by the format it exists in.

With HGSS-on imminent, Twins is not always going to lead to immediate gains: no Broken Time-Space, no violent SP mirror, and a defanged Rare Candy are all reasons for this. But this does not mean that Twins isn’t a great card; on the contrary, it could very well be the key to slower Stage Two decks (Magnezone, Tyranitar, Serperior, Feraligatr) outdoing faster decks that usually beat them to the punch on hits (Donphan, Yanmega, Reshiram, Zekrom). So by all means, do not exclude Twins from your equation!

Research Record/Pokédex: Very few decks seem to justify the lack of immediacy felt by these two cards. Maybe Magnezone, Ninetales, or other constant draw cards are effective on that front, but as just a regular old throw-in? No.

Between the two, however, I would recommend Research Record. Although you get to look at one less card, eliminating bad cards from your inevitable top decks is a much greater advantage to have than just the right to look at five cards.

In Pokémon, the time value of cards is much more often present-loaded than future-loaded, so Research Record is the superior play.

So you’ve got your fill of all these cards…Now, what to do with them?

Building the Deck

Honestly, the aforementioned stuff was the hardest hurdle to leap. When you think about it, it’s actually quite challenging to accurately play-test the viability of certain setup cards!

Now that we’ve got that down, though, let’s follow a pretty simple step-by-step procedure to get us going on HGSS-on decks. Some of this may be seem basic to you, but within the framework of a wild new format, it doesn’t hurt to have some basis to work off of. Likewise, you may notice that this is generalized beyond this format, and could just as easily apply to any other old format.

[Note: to best follow my logic, and to best get the seemingly arbitrary numbers I’m placing into the lists, you might find it useful to compare and contrast this process to my article “Pillars of Playtesting,” which illustrates decklist evolution in place of decklist creation.]

Step 1: Choose a Focus!

One of the core fundamentals to deck building in any card game is to start with a focus. This usually takes the form of one Pokémon card that interests you, or even a whole group of Pokémon cards that share some great strength in common (SP Toolbox).

Regardless of what you make your focus, at least be acutely aware of what you want it to be: don’t overdo things!

In this format alone, I’ve seen one player attempt to build a Tyranitar Prime/Houndoom/Umbreon/Honchkrow deck…Can you possibly hope to discern a focus in that? I can’t!

To serve as an example of a better starting point than that, let’s just make our focus…Tyranitar Prime. It’s a historically powerful card, extremely sturdy, a bearable typing, and a competitive metagame play. Feel free to follow along with the same card, or perhaps apply the logic at work here with another focus of your own.

Pokémon – 12

4 Larvitar UL 51
4 Pupitar UL 39
4 Tyranitar Prime

Trainers – 0


Energy – 14

4 Double Colorless
4 Special D
6 D

Step 2: Trade Tactics for Strategy: Add to Your Focus

Wait…Tyranitar Prime isn’t a strategy in and of itself?”

pokemon-paradijs.comWell, not always. As good of a card as Tyranitar Prime may be, it’s very difficult to make it a strategy of its own. So for now, we consider this card a tactic: just one device to a greater whole. In this format, you can scarcely justify “get a Tyranitar out and pummel things” as your master plan.

Since some cards can’t work so easily on their own, I decided to include a line of Serperior. Due to its healing ability, its supplementary attacker strength, and its alternate type, it makes for a great synergetic ally.

Consequently, you’ll want to include trainers that help augment your focus. So whenever you’re adding Rare Candies to Stage Two decks, healing cards to tank decks, or the sort…That’s the second stage of deck building at work.

So let’s use both of these in here: Rare Candies, Switches, and Seekers. Even though Rare candy is a worse card due to the errata, setting up two Stage 2 Pokémon (or more) would be very difficult with any less than zero. This is an amount that you can revisit at a later time in case you don’t find it to be effective, but for now, four is there to stay.

As for Seeker and Switch? Those cards will be in quantities of two each. Normally it would probably be more until the third or fourth step, but I already know in advance that I’ll be realistically pulling off one major “heal” a game, so it wouldn’t be worth it to overdo things, and get in the way of consistency.

Now our deck looks like this…

Pokémon – 16

4 Larvitar UL 51
3 Pupitar UL 39 (one less to ease the Rare Candy space cost)
4 Tyranitar Prime
2 Snivy BLW 1
1 Servine BLW 3
2 Serperior BLW 6

Trainers – 8

4 Rare Candy
2 Switch
2 Seeker

Energy – 14

4 Double Colorless
4 Special D
6 D

Step 3: Implement Your Consistency Engine

Normally, the massive challenge here – the almost overwhelming challenge – is to construct the engine. But as previously mentioned, we’ve already done this earlier in the article! So now it’s just a matter of deciding on what best fits your focus…Easier said than done, but doable.

The key here is to not necessarily choose your Pokémon before Trainers/Supporters, but instead let the two processes play off of each other. For example, running a Ninetales might give you more incentive to run more Collector/Communication; or, conversely, running a wider variety of setup Supporters (e.g., Elm’s Method, Twins, Collector, and Juniper all in the same deck) may encourage you to run a consistency crutch.

In our example decklist, we’re going to have to pay careful attention to the fact that we’re running two Stage Two Pokémon – a historically difficult thing for successful decks to do without the right engine. As a result, we’re going to select all of the following…

Chosen partner: this deck has a lot of specific needs, so in order to meet those needs, we’ll be running Zoroark. Its Nasty Plot is a great way to orchestrate Switch/Seeker heal plays, recover with Juniper, and plan long term for major come-from-behind plays.

To make this partner most effective, I will be running a 3-3 line (yet another number that may eventually be revisited, but for now, it’s my preferred count).

Chosen crutch: Zoroark is a great way to setup two stage two Pokémon, and a 3-3 line of it is even better…But there will be some turns where your setup is just mercilessly clunky. To alleviate this issue, we’ll be running a crutch in our example list.

Tyranitar is somewhat of an energy hog, so my choice here is Smeargle. It may be a gamble in some instances, but in other scenarios, where you’re just having no luck getting setup, Portrait is a superb, zero energy way to get back into the game.

Trainer Engine: for the most part, this is going to be a regular Trainer setup, but with maximum counts of Pokémon Collector and Pokémon Communication.

Also, we will be running Twins in here. As I said earlier about Zoroark, there is a good chance we’ll be falling behind early with this deck, so the option to Nasty Plot “and” Twins could be crucial to setting up an indestructible Tyranitar swarm.

Lastly, we’ll be running three Professor Juniper. As I explained earlier, it’s a great card, although not necessary in a quantity of four. This deck has too many valuable resources to get discarded away, and Zoroark/Twins can fetch your Junipers if absolutely necessary.

Given all that, we’re just about done with the deck…

Pokémon – 23

4 Larvitar UL 51
3 Pupitar UL 39
4 Tyranitar Prime
2 Snivy BLW 1
1 Servine BLW 3
2 Serperior BLW 6
3 Zorua BLW
3 Zoroark BLW
1 Smeargle UD

Trainers – 21

4 Rare Candy
4 Pokémon Communication
4 Pokémon Collector
3 Professor Juniper
2 Twins
2 Seeker
2 Switch

Energy – 14

4 Double Colorless
4 Special D
3 D
3 Rainbow

Step 4: Add the Finer Points

Here’s where you fill out your remaining spots (if any) with tech cards and extra tactical options. Since we’re up to 58 cards, this is going to be really easy. Shaymin UL will tie together the Switch/Seeker play that helps Tyranitar tank, as well as help segway a Zoroark Nasty Plotter into a fully-powered Ttar.

Also, supplementing the Communications will be a Prof. Elm’s Training Method – a fifth evolution searcher, and a way to get around Vileplume’s Allergy Flower.

That said, here’s the completed list!

Pokémon – 24

4 Larvitar UL 51
3 Pupitar UL 39
4 Tyranitar Prime
2 Snivy BLW 1
1 Servine BLW 3
2 Serperior BLW 6
3 Zorua BLW
3 Zoroark BLW
1 Shaymin UL
1 Smeargle UD

Trainers – 22

4 Rare Candy
4 Pokémon Communication
4 Pokémon Collector
3 Professor Juniper
2 Twins
2 Seeker
2 Switch
1 Professor Elm’s Training Method

Energy – 14

4 Double Colorless
4 Special D
3 D
3 Rainbow

Step 5: Decklist Evolution

So there you have it: the full deck building process! But just because you’ve completed the decklist doesn’t mean that you’re done revising it. As I explained in the Pillars article, improving the deck to your preferences and metagame is an ongoing process, and ought to be until just before tournament day.

Conclusion, and Thoughts on the Metagame

As one final word of caution, just because I used a step-by-step process to build this Tyranitar deck doesn’t mean that I treated the process rigidly. Good deck building requires some degree of flexibility, or else you may fall for the same tried-and-true misconceptions that everybody else does. However, structure is still important to keep things on track, so having some internalized plan certainly helps.

pokegym.netSo, what decks do I see rising to the top? In no order…

In short, I think there’s a ton of variety in the format right now. Although I personally haven’t had very good results with the Zekrom “turbo” deck (Zekrom/Pachirisu CL/Shaymin UL), it’s still on my radar due to the great success I’ve heard it’s had.

Either way, this is sure to be a crazy format, and a lot of fun for everyone. Best of luck!

…and that will conclude this Unlocked Underground article.

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