Break on Through – HGSS on Deck Building, Decklists, and Metagame Analysis

It feels good to be free.

Don’t get me wrong, our current format has been very well to me. After enough trial and error, I finally found the deck that I can truly can say I know forward and back.

This season alone Sablock took me to a 45-10 record, and netted me a Battle Roads Win, a City Championship Medal, 2 2nd Places at States (are they going to send those medals ever?), a 5th Place at Regionals, and my first appearance in the top 10 world ratings. With this much success, you’d wonder why I’d ever want a rotation.

Aside from the obvious Black and White rules + Sableye dynamic, I’m just bored. I’ve probably logged upwards of 1000 games with the deck, if you include last season. I’m at the point where I just can’t learn anything more about the deck, and it would no longer be beneficial for me to try anything else.

In fact, I didn’t change a single card in my deck from States to Regionals, and I only playtested around 10 games in this format—all of them being against Magnezone. I’ve played all the matchups into the ground, and games just start to feel like autopilot for me.

From a skill-based standpoint, this is great—I find myself plotting moves out 3+ turns in advance, and nothing surprises me anymore. But from a player’s standpoint, the game just isn’t nearly as fun.

I’m supposed to be the top of my game, but only had the encouragement to play 10 games between major events. Instead, I’ve probably been playing 100+ in 2 possible future formats: RR-On, and HGSS-On. Now that the possibility of rotation has finally been revealed, I couldn’t be happier.

pokemon-paradijs.com

Not only do I get to experience the time and effort that it takes to perfect a deck once again, but I feel like my time spend practicing will help put me (and you) a small step ahead while others are just dipping their feet into the waters of a new format.

First things first, many have been discussing whether or not HGSS mid-season will even happen. After all, we’re not really sure what criteria Pokémon is looking for in determining if rotation is the right thing to do. Are they looking at number of Sabledonk wins? Number of people donked before getting to draw? Drop in attendance? Should we stack tournaments with Sabledonk to guarantee a rotation?

There are a lot of factors to consider, but in my honest opinion, I think Pokémon has this rotation planned 100%. The only thing that prevents them from announcing it right now is that it would cause MUCH more panic and rage from newer players. Now, giving the players a month to prepare and sell off/trade older cards diffuses that situation.

Also, imagine the opposite! Imagine if they now decide “MD-On for US Nationals/Worlds”. It’d induce more anger than ever, and the backlash would be terrible. I can only imagine the rotation for US/Worlds happening no matter what.

So let’s assume that we’re getting HGSS-On. Let’s also assume that you, like me, either A) are fed up with the current format and want to know what’s in store for the future (you poor non-US players that won’t get a rotation) or B) you’re planning on skipping the atrocious Black and White + MD-On Battle Roads and want to get ahead for Nationals/Worlds right away.

If you chose A or B, I’m sure you’d also love to hear how my testing has gone so far! I’ve done lots of work, you’ve paid for the material, and I’m happy to share with you everything I’ve uncovered so far:

First Things First: Universal Search/Draw

In this section, I’ll go over the best (and worst) Trainer, Supporter, and Pokémon setup cards in the HGSS-On format. This is something that many players are going to struggle with: just because it worked last season doesn’t mean that it will work this season.

With only a month until Nationals, many players will fail to perfect their basic Trainer/Supporter engines in time to have an optimal start. While my knowledge so far isn’t directly from the Pokémon Gods, I HAVE tested many engines so far, and here is my diagnosis:

Supporters:

Pokémon Collector

pokemon-paradijs.comI might shock a lot of you by saying that this card, the definitive search staple in our current format, might not be needed in several top-tier decks. Even in Zekrom, a heavy-basic deck, I’ve found it to be a hand-clogger. Why?

Pokémon Collector does help you set up. However, it no longer promotes both setup and draw at the same time. We’re used to using Collector to obtain both 2 basics and an Uxie—using leading to both the ability to search out 3 cards (already a +2 card advantage) and then also chain into Uxie’s “Set Up” (usually a +2 or further advantage in itself).

In the end, playing one Pokémon Collector can mean seeing upwards of 7, 8, or more cards when you combine the basics and the setup. Now, when you play Collector, you just grab the 3 basics.

Seeing 3 new cards just doesn’t have the same power that straight draw Supporters have, and in my testing so far, I’ve found that you’re better off using Trainers for your search needs, and Supporters for your draw needs.

Test it yourself and see if either A) Collector fills your hand or B) you don’t miss Collector after you drop it completely. I’m still early in on perfecting engines for decks so far, but I still haven’t made up my mind on this one.

Professor Juniper

pokegym.netThis card, on the other hand, is the real deal. Remember that exhilarating feeling of “Setup for 7”? You empty your hand, and then reach for your deck and rifle out 7 brand new cards as if it was your starting hand. It’s a rush. This card is that rush in the form of a supporter.

What’s great about it is no matter how big or small your hand it, Juniper will always grab for that next 7. In a relatively speedless format, Juniper creates speed, and seems to be the number one card I wish I had in my hand at any given time.

Many people worry things like “well what if I discard (important card x)”? From my experience, the card you discard almost never matters. If you can’t set up faster than your opponent, you can’t remain competitive. Dumping your hand to see a brand new hand to work with is almost always worth it.

I’ve had games testing against Mikey, one of our other writers, where he has discarded great cards in his hand (such as 4 fire, one half of RDL, and Emboar), only to hit everything by moving deeper into the deck on that turn.

I can understand the occasional build not being able to function if it relies on several stage 2 lines, but I still highly recommend it so far.

Professor Oak’s New Theory/Copycat

pokemon-paradijs.comEvery successful deck I’ve run or run into so far in HGSS on has at least 2+ copies of one of these, or a combination of the two. They both offer very similar effects, so I’m grouping them together.

Copycat CAN be better than Oak in the chance that the opponent is running Ninetales or Engineer’s Adjustments, which both fill the hand of cards quickly. Copycat is also useful in conjunction with Yanmega Prime, a card I’ll talk about later.

Oak offers the consistent 6 cards every time, which places it on average (taking all other decks into consideration) drawing slightly more often than Copycat in my testing.

Both of these cards are useful depending on the cards that you run, and I recommend trying to fit in at least the 2 copies of one in your deck. If you don’t have a self-sustaining engine, fitting in even more of these is recommended.

Remember, you no longer (for the most part) have ANY kind of search/draw like Uxie used to provide. Having the reliable supporter drop for 5, 6, or more cards is crucial in retaining speed over your opponent. These cards are no Juniper, but they’re close seconds.

Twins

pokegym.netThis is a card that I can’t really lay total judgment on, but currently I don’t like it. While decks will certainly run techs for certain situations, it’s going to be a lot harder to justify 1-of copies of techs that can’t be reused (for example, trainers can be re-used with junk arm).

Because of this, I’d much rather run 2/3 copies of something and play a Juniper/Oak/Copycat than fish out 2 cards instead.

Most of the time, when you’re down in prizes, it means that your opponent is up against you in their resources/hand size. Most of the time, I’ve found that increasing my hand size is much more desirable than pulling cards out of my deck when trying to make a “comeback”. As I’ve said, I need to test Twins more, but currently I’m not crazy about it.

Professor Elm

Another card that I feel is pretty outclassed by Trainers and the draw Supporters. If you’re already running 4 Pokémon Communication in your deck, I would recommend filling your deck with draw Supporters before considering a search supporter like this one.

Engineer’s Adjustments/Sage’s Training

Another short analysis of these two. Obviously outclassed by the “big three” draw supporters, these cards definitely don’t qualify for being “universal”. However, they MIGHT be useful in decks that need energy in the discard or don’t mind it, such as Steelix.

Judge

Not really a “draw” Supporter per se, Judge still has its place in the format due to one energy attackers, or even 0 energy attackers (Yanmega)! If you can get a quick enough setup, dropping Judge on any deck that doesn’t set up on the first turn could be deadly.

You leave them needing to hit one of their draw Supporters right away, and if they miss they could be in topdeck mode very quickly. For this reason, the draw Supporters gain another advantage over search Supporters.

Trainers:

Dual Ball

pokegym.netIn my testing, Dual Ball is one of the best search Trainers available, and I find myself running 3-4 copies in every deck that I build in order to compensate for the cutting of Collectors in each deck that I run. Dual Ball is a fantastic quick Trainer for search purposes, and being re-usable with Junk Arm is another big plus for ANY Trainer card used over a Supporter.

Pokémon Communication

Another all-star card that should see 2+ copies in every deck, probably 4 copies in any deck with evolutions. Communication provides instant search (as long as you have an extra pokemon in hand!) that can’t really be matched elsewhere.

Combine that with the fact that you can get all your searching done before using any draw Supporters, and it becomes another staple.

Junk Arm

I’ll save the long-winded description for this one, but I’ve found junk arm to be an AMAZING card in HGSS-On. First, it allows you to re-use any search Trainer that you run. It also acts as a perfect utility for replaying any Trainer tech (we’ll get to those throughout) that you run—allowing you to run less of multiple techs, and just use 4 Junk Arm as your utility card.

Discarding 2 extra cards also often doesn’t hurt nearly as much as it used to, especially right before a Juniper where you would have discarded everything in your hand anyway.

Victory Medal

From what I’ve gathered, Victory Medal WILL be playable for next years format. I haven’t tested it whatsoever, but I feel like something should be said about our format’s ONLY draw Trainer (Item). It’s definitely interesting, but I don’t know what deck could justify playing it.

It works great as a compliment to the turbo Trainer draw engines as past, but honestly I find Victory Medal to be the weakest of the three draw trainers (Poké Drawer and Pokédex Handy 909is included), and I’m not sure if it’ll ever make much of an impact. I still need to test it, but I thought it was at least worth mentioning.

Universal Pokémon Draw/Search:

Cleffa

pokegym.netWhile it’s definitely a nerfed version of the god-tier Neo version, it’s still plenty useful in our HGSS format. While 30 HP seems very low, not many decks can hit for 30 damage turn 1, and being donked shouldn’t be something that you really need to worry about anymore.

Cleffa offers the advantage of not having to require energy at all to start working—either to attack or retreat. His attack gives you a free PONT, which can be a great consistency save in the case of a bad hand. His Body, which can be random, CAN still be useful.

Flipping tails might mean sleep, but it also means that Cleffa will be a wall for a turn, giving your deck time to set up while preventing prizes as well. Cleffa is my personal favorite consistency Pokémon right now, and I recommend trying him out.

Smeargle

Smeargle’s Portrait ability is the only one that allows you to set up consistency without wasting your attack for the turn. However, because he requires a retreat that can no longer be supplemented with Unown Q, you’ll probably still end up falling the same turn behind that Cleffa would have. Smeargle also runs the same risk he always has had—you might not net a Supporter off “Portrait” at all.

With Smeargle, you also have to be wary of Juniper now. If you have key cards or expendable cards in your hand, you’ll have to make sure to use all of your resources before you decide to Portrait. If you blindly Portrait into a Juniper, you might end up having to trash your valuable hand away. However, playing things smart, netting an extra Juniper on your turn (before it even ends, unlike Cleffa) could be a HUGE advantage.

Manaphy

pokemon-paradijs.comWorks exactly like Cleffa, but you draw one less card, need an energy, and don’t have to deal with the possibility of sleep. Personally, I’ve found him to be just inferior to Cleffa, but if the 30 HP and sleep flips turns you off from Cleffa, give Manaphy a shot.

So now that we’ve established (well, re-established, seeing as many writers introducing HGSS-On will be talking about the same subjects) the basic cards that can be options for every deck, it’s time to start looking at different playable decks and their individual builds themselves.

I’ve debated several different ways to talk about decks. From my testing, I already have a clear idea what the best decks in the format are “tier 1”. To me, it makes the most sense to introduce the “decks to beat” first before going into detail of everything else. So, what are the decks to beat?

Top Tier

Ironically, the two Black and White Legendaries. Zekrom and Reshiram. Well, sort of. While both of these cards are extremely good (130 HP basics that can one shot almost the entire format with PlusPower while having built-in engines is just crazy), neither one of them are the only attacker in their respective decks.

However, because they’re both very strong cards, this is how their deck names are going to be identified. Let’s start with Zekrom.

Zekromega.dec

Pokémon – 17

4 Zekrom BLW
3 Pachirisu CL
2 Shaymin UL
2 Cleffa HS
3 Yanma TM
3 Yanmega Prime

Trainers – 28

4 Professor Juniper
2 Judge
3 Copycat
2 Pokémon Collector

4 Dual Ball
2 Pokémon Communication
3 PlusPower
3 Junk Arm
2 Pokémon Reversal
3 Super Scoop Up

Energy – 15

15 L

zekrom-black-white-blw-47pokemon-paradijs.comThis is the list of Zekrom that I’ve been developing. The deck’s strategy is as follows: get 2 energy down on Pahirisu CL with his power, one on Zekrom, and use Shaymin UL to move everything to Zekrom and KO all in one turn.

This gives you the chance to win on turn one by setting up all at once, but I’ve found this is usually only possible in combination with an energy full hand with dual ball and Juniper. Still, having the option is definitely not something to scoff at.

While this setup is the focal point of many eager players out there, it alone isn’t enough to give you at least a winnable matchup across the field (I’m looking at you, Donphan/Machamp).

The Yanmega gives you the ability to give Fighting decks a run for their money. Donphan struggles the most—he can’t one shot, or even two shot you with Earthquake, and in the process spreads his own bench to give you easy snipe attacks.

Combined with SSU for healing, you can at the very least make the Fighting matchup 50-50, and that percentage keeps going up with more practice. Yanmega also allows you to disrupt with Judge, which alone will dismantle some decks before they get a chance to set up.

While I could go far into detail on this deck and list and choices that I made, I’ll leave that to the comments section and other writers as they explore the format more. However, Zekrom/Yanmega is tier 1 in my testing due to its incredible early game speed and its ability to deal with every deck pretty well. Now, onto Reshiram:

Emboareshirayquazzadeoxsys.dec

(Okay, that name might not catch on :P)

Pokémon – 20

3 Tepig BLW 16
2 Pignite BLW 17
2 Emboar BLW 20
2 Reshiram BLW
2 Cleffa HS
1 Pichu HS
2 Vulpix HS
2 Ninetales HS
2-2 Rayquaza & Deoxys LEGEND

Trainers – 26

4 Professor Juniper
3 Professor Oak’s New Theory

4 Dual Ball
3 Pokémon Communication
3 Energy Retrieval
4 Junk Arm
2 Rare Candy
1 Switch
2 PlusPower

Energy – 14

11 R
3 L

89_90_Rayquaza_Deoxys_LEGENDThis deck might look like a mess right now, but trust me, it’s lethal. The design is based heavily on Mikey’s own in my testing with him, so he gets all the credit here. The deck’s focus is to use Emboar to abuse attachments on your two attackers, RDL and Reshiram. Ninetales provides consistent draw that most decks can’t match.

As with the attackers, you might be wondering how the deck can escape with only running 4 total. This is a question that I’m sure Mikey himself could answer much better than I in a future article (hint hint), however what I’ve found in experience is that the Rayquazza/Deoxys Legend alone is all it takes to win a game.

If you can use the Reshiram to take 2 Prizes, taking 4 with RDL is a cinch. RDL one shots about everything in the format with access to PlusPower, and it also is very hard to 1-shot itself, due to having mostly unused weaknesses (Colorless and Psychic).

With Energy Retrieval and heavy draw, setting up RDL for 2, or even 3 turns straight for a full game all on his own isn’t unfathomable at all.

Reshiram runs a little slower than Zekrom, but it hits extremely heavily by turn 2-3, and never stops after that. The RDL allows you to fall behind before sweeping immediately, and is very hard to counter without having your deck run risk against other popular decks.

While many of you might be scratching your heads at the lists you see, you have to remember that both me and Mikey have been teching and refining our lists for a while. It might help you to start with a very basic unteched list full of Supporters first before you cut away the “training wheels”.

However, I can assure you that Zekrom and Reshiram are very strong and hard to beat decks, and will definitely be swarming all over a HGSS format.

So instead of proposing ways to beat these two decks, I’m just going to use them as a careful reminder when discussing whether a deck can be successful or not.

Instead of discussing decks randomly, I’ve decided to group everything else by their type, which could help give you a better perspective in a certain type of deck and its specific support. It sounds confusing, but let’s just run with it:

Fighting

pokemon-paradijs.comFighting Pokémon gain no advantages due to their type specifically, but their type alone gives you a great start by abusing the weakness of Zekrom, Cinccino, Tyranitar, and Magnezone. Most builds for fighting are going to be Donphan/Machamp.

The deck is constantly raved about online, and even if it isn’t THE tier 1 deck like everyone is ranting, that still doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare for it.

Donphan Prime hits fast at 60 for 1 energy with no needed acceleration, and his resistance/Body makes him a strong tank vs. everything except Water. His one energy requirement makes him possibly splashable in those daring to go rogue and counter Zekrom, too.

Machamp works well in combination with Donphan, in that you can use Fighting Tag at any time to swap in from the bench and built yourself immediately. It also has strong synergy in his attack with Donphans—Earthquake damages your own bench and powers Champ Prime to 1-shot anything your opponent has for 3 energy with a DCE.

Fighting Tag also has great synergy with Smeargle, allowing you to switch in without having to waste an energy on Smeargle to retreat him. Finally, he supports Donphan by having a second (and completely unused until next year) weakness in Psychic, meaning that you won’t roll over at the sight of a competent water deck.

The only problem Fighting has in general is speed. You don’t have any Emboar/Pachirisu gimmick to get all of those energy in play—you have to do them one at a time. While Machamp switching in and out can help preserve energy, just one 1HKO from RDL could set your deck really far back.

Fighting decks are definitely competent, and probably at the top of tier two, but their disadvantage in speed sets them a little behind the very best.

Grass

pokemon-paradijs.comFor starters, let’s look at Grass’s two exclusive engine cards: Sunflora and Tropius.

Tropius is definitely an interesting look that most players don’t really consider. For one energy (and one Retreat Cost so it all works out) you can flip two coins, and put a Grass Pokémon in your hand for each heads.

While I’m not entirely sure such a starter could replace the usefulness of Cleffa, having the option to search out basics and evolutions with one starter is interesting.

Sunflora on the other hand has been successful in my testing. Its Pokémon Power allows you to simply grab a Grass Pokémon from your deck. This makes for a solid search engine and a good deck thinning engine as well.

It’s a shame that Grass Pokémon can’t stand too strongly on their own because I really like the dynamic of using Sunflora to set up instead of several Trainers, giving you more room to tech other things.

As far as decks, there are 2 ½ I can think of—Jumpluff, Serperior, and Yanmega.

Jumpluff on its own just isn’t the deck that it used to be. Stage 2 Pokémon have a huge decline in speed due to the nerfing of Rare Candy, and this drop in speed really prevents Jumpluff from competing against the full field.

Jumpluff (and all Grass Pokémon for that matter) suffers the most in that it just can’t muster a 1HKO very easily against a clean Zekrom and Reshiram.

It’s also just a lot harder to set up 5 benched Pokémon now that Pokémon Collector no longer creates both filling your bench and filling your hand at the same time. The one thing ‘Pluff DOES have going for him is a strong Donphan matchup, but that’s about it.

pokegym.netSerperior suffers the same fundamental problem of Grass—can’t hit heavy enough. The stackable healing is GREAT, but when your damage output is stuck at just 60 damage a pop, you just can’t accomplish much.

Reshiram and Zekrom + PlusPower one shot you consistently, and having to set up multiple energies and stages to be effective just isn’t a sound strategy. Serperior needs himself a good partner, but unfortunately this format just doesn’t allow for it to happen.

When the biggest deck can hit 150 turn after turn, healing just doesn’t have a place.

Yanmega is the ½ deck because he’s so darn splashable, but can’t really hold up on his own. In a format where Fighting decks are so big, splashing in amounts of Yanmega + Copycat + Judge is usually all you need to turn Fighting into a strategically winnable game.

He requires no energy or special engine to function, and can perform a lot on his own. 70 damage isn’t bad to hit for alone, and can set up a 2 shot pretty easily with any partner, including itself.

The 40 snipe attack is also useful in a lot of matchups, either where basic Pokémon have low HP (dead Cleffa!), or when your opponent moves to the bench in an attempt to save a knockout.

Also very nice is that both Yanma TM and Yanmega Prime have free retreat—making their use never disruptive to your deck’s main strategy. If you find that your deck has trouble with Donphan, Yanmega should be your go-to guy.

Lightning

Aside from already listed tech Pachirisu in Zekrom is Magnezone. Zone has a great built-in draw engine, but suffers needing to be set up as a stage 2, as well as needing heavy energy and energy acceleration to set up. The Fighting weakness also hurts, putting you at just a PlusPower away from being 1HKO’d by Donphan.

How can we deal with Donphan? Maybe in some form of a mega-Judge deck with Yanmega? Or partnering up with another strong non-Fighting attacker and using Magnezone for his draw power and as a secondary attacker? I haven’t worked with ‘Zone much due to my obsession with Zekrom, but it’s definitely worth exploring.

Water

pokemon-paradijs.comWhile Water doesn’t really gain its own special draw or search engine. Sure, you could claim that Delibird is “unique” to water, but I just don’t see it really (oh god I’m sorry for this one) making a splash.

However, the one card that could make Delibird work is also the strongest Water-specific acceleration card—Feraligatr Prime. A card that we can now refer to as “the non-broken water version of Emboar”, Gatr still gives Water decks a means of fast setup when they need several energy.

Unfortunately, there aren’t many Water decks that need this kind of energy. Gatr himself doesn’t hit very heavy, and while he isn’t weak to Zekrom, he’s still 1-shot range for RDL.

The one that I can think that could work well is Lanturn Prime—which doesn’t need many energy to one-hit most fire Pokémon, and could possibly hit very heavy with enough energy in play.

The only problem is that at 110 HP, he’s vulnerable to Donphan (although being able to turn Water makes this matchup closer), and still suffers against the RDL factor by not being able to return the 1HKO without an insane amount of energy in play.

Unfortunately, Gatr just doesn’t have the same support Emboar has right now. If it wasn’t for the awful weakness, Gatr could be using a legend of its own in Kyogre Groudon, as decking is actually a viable strategy after several Junipers. Sadly, he’s just too open to Zekrom to ever work out in this format.

pokegym.netThe only Water Pokémon that could potentially work in this format in my eyes is surprisingly Samurott. Not because he’s a particularly impressive Pokémon (he isn’t), but because he functions on mostly C energy.

Even without Water energy he 1-shots most fire Pokémon, he forces RDL to need a PlusPower to break through him, and with the Colorless cost he opens himself to anti-Zekrom and anti-RDL techs. The DCE lends itself to Boufallant/Cinccino to counter RDL, and you could easily fit in a heavier Donphan/Fighting energy line too.

Sure, having to set up 2+ energy and a Stage 2 is really slow, but it’s the only way I can see Water as a type working to actively counter Emboar & Friends shenanigans.

Unfortunately, Kingdra Prime actually suffers a lot under this format. Because he no longer has his LA counterpart, he’s really weak against Fire. Stage 2 decks are already put at a pretty bad disadvantage, but also limiting Kingdra to 20 damage against any deck that benches a Fire almost defeats his chances as a deck entirely.

Water in general, while seemingly strong against the popular Fire decks, suffers both having no fast workable options, as well as a large weakness against Zekrom.

Metal

pokegym.netMetal has the obvious starter of Skarmory. With the ability to use Trainers/Supporters on turn 1, generating that Special M Energy through Skarmory’s attack is pretty easy to set up.

Unfortunately for Metal, they get wiped pretty quickly to Fire without any real chance to tech against it. This alone could discourage its play pretty quickly. However, Steelix + several healing trainers (including the buffed Potion) could actually give Zekrom some trouble.

Scizor, while able to hit heavy, has low enough hp to get KO’d by Zekrom still, also loses the advantage of his Body with less decks playing DCE, and the loss of Call Energy.

Metal is another deck that will get ruined in a National metagame. Alone, Steelix can put up a great fight versus every deck BUT Fire. Unfortunately, I see Fire being too big to dodge at Nationals/Worlds, and the lack of a decent Water counter will prevent Metal from being able to reach tier 1.

Dark

pokemon-paradijs.com

Dark, as far as I’m concerned, has only one deck to work with, and that is Tyranitar. I’m going to put Zoruark in a different category, but I’ll get to him soon. T-Tar is the only deck that I can see withstanding a RDL hit with his massive 160 HP and Psychic resistance.

The only problem is that he sets up pretty slow—only being able to hit heavy by turn 3 at minimum. You have the one energy spread option, but hitting your own Pokémon (Pupitar and Larvitar are Fighting, not Dark) puts you in possible 1HKO range from heavy hitters in the future.

Being Dark actually does provide ONE advantage—being able to hit for Darkness weakness with only 2 energy on Gengar Prime with Power Claw. This makes the Gengar Prime matchup almost un-loseable. While we haven’t talked about him yet, Gengar Prime is no pushover, and scraping a win against it is definitely something you shouldn’t overlook.

There’s also the big risk of the unfortunate Fighting weakness. While you’re safe from a Donphan 1HKO—giving them the option to hit you for 120 on one energy is a matchup you probably won’t win.

T-Tar has one thing that no other type really has—resistance to RDL 1HKOs. Unfortunately, he still struggles with what most decks do—poor speed and poor weakness.

Psychic

pokegym.netSpeaking of Gengar Prime, he’s currently the only Psychic Pokémon worth mentioning at all. Gengar has the utility of the starter Mew prime—which can throw a Gengar Prime in the Lost Zone and start working by turn 2 to throw Pokémon in the Lost Zone.

Gengar doesn’t lose much from the rotation, and can set up very quickly using both Mew and normal setup behind your Mews. It’s a definite contender with no straight up auto-loss outside of T-Tar.

Juniper definitely hurts though—being able to discard Pokémon from your hand could prevent your potential Hurl targets. It also suffers versus Speed Zekrom + PlusPower, which runs a low count of Pokémon as well as the ability to consistently pump out 1HKOs.

The Reshiram matchup all comes down to how fast you disrupt versus how fast they set up. If they get Emboar + RDL out, it’s all over—he still hits through Gengar and you have no means of stopping them.

However, with the high Pokémon count, it’s very possible for you to pick their hand off early and take the game.

Gengar Prime is another deck at the top of tier 2—it still retains speed and doesn’t suffer an auto-loss vs. the other biggest decks.

Colorless

pokegym.netLast but not least is Colorless, a category which I’ve lumped to handle all DCE compatible attackers. This includes Cinccino, Zoroark, and Bouffalant.

Cinccino, for CC, hits for 20× the amount of benched Pokémon that you have on your side of the field. This means a fairly fast 100 damage for 1 energy. While not enough to 1HKO any major deck or legendary, it’s still heavy fast damage, and also a clear-cut way of 1HKO-ing RDL.

Zoroark, also for CC, can use any attack on your opponent’s Pokémon. This can lead to plenty of interesting scenarios in the mirror, including needing one PlusPower to return KO any Zekrom/Reshiram, and the instant 1HKO on RDL.

Also, in a strange ruling that makes Zoroark NOT like Fossil Clefable, you DON’T have to discard energy that you don’t have—meaning with a DCE you can freely attack RDL and Reshiram without any discards at all.

Bouffalant hits for 90 damage on CC as a revenge attack, which is perfect for KOing a Zekrom after his attack, or RDL. Granted, he’s an awful starter, but it’s worth looking at!

Both of these Pokémon obviously suffer low HP, and a common weakness—Fighting. So why not splash a Yanmega Prime in there, too? A 3-3, 3-3, 3-3 of these 2 stage 1 Pokémon doesn’t sound like a terrible deck at all—it’s definitely something I want to work with in the future.

And that’s my first glance at the HGSS-On format so far. I know that I , like a lot of you, have a long way to go. However, I hope that my experience so far will help you craft a lot of new ideas, and start getting an idea for how our format is going to develop for Nationals.

Even if your Nationals won’t be HGSS-On, I’m sure plenty of you will want to get a leg up on next year’s format, and I encourage you to try it out if you’re bored with MD-On like me. It feels good to have a little bit of freedom in testing before the metagame becomes defined by just a small handful of decks again.


…and that will conclude this Unlocked Underground article.

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