Scavenger – Mandibuzz/Kingdra Prime

pokebeach.comkn3ll_ here, with his first deck analysis! You’ve probably never heard of this one before, because it’s a kn3ll_ homebrew.

With the advent of the new format, and new set along with it, everyone is in a rush to develop lists to counter the three all-star decks: Reshiram, Zekrom, and Donchamp. Now, with help from Kuprin, I present to you: Scavenger.

My original idea for this deck was to snipe easy prizes off the bench and counter Donphan Prime. I also wanted to use Ampharos Prime, but that didn’t work out in the end. The deck started using Honchkrow UD 15’s Blindside, but I later realized that Mandibuzz has the same move for less energy and an impressive back-up attack. It resists Fighting, but has an unfortunate Lightning weakness (not that it matters, it has less than 120 HP).

To back up Mandibuzz, the deck uses four Kingdra Prime lines to place damage counters each turn. Mandibuzz also gets free hits on Donphan’s bench and can survive two Earthquakes. two Kingdra Primes can 1-shot a Donphan Prime with use of Spray splash.

I quickly realized the gaping weakness of the deck in form of the legendary Reshiram and Zekrom. Either one can hit harder and set up just as fast as Mandibuzz. Kuprin, who I can not thank enough, suggested running a Zoroark line to defend against the legendaries, and the list finally fell into place.

Without further ado…


Pokémon – 21

3 Vullaby BW
3 Mandibuzz BW
4 Horsea UL
3 Seadra UL
4 Kingdra Prime
2 Zorua BW
2 Zoroark BW

Trainers – 26

4 Pokémon Collector
2 Prof. Elm’s Training Method
4 Rare Candy
3 Prof. Oak’s New Theory
4 Pokémon Communication
3 PlusPower
3 Energy Search
3 Junk Arm

Energy – 13

4 Special D
3 Dark
3 W
3 Double Colorless


3-3 Mandibuzz – You probably won’t use more than this in one game. If you do, it’s over for you anyway. Snipe benched Pokémon using Blindside in conjunction with Kingdra Prime’s Poké-Power. Gengar Prime, Magnezone Prime, Blastoise UL, and Emboar 19 are both hit hard by Punishment. If at all possible, attach Special Darks to raise the damage output more.

4-3-4 Kingdra Prime – It is necessary to have so many, it’s a back-up attacker and main source of prizes. I’ve been able to get all four out only once, and the game was over very quickly after that. Using Spray Splash twice on Donphan lowers it to 1-shot range, and typically makes it very difficult for them to recover.

2-2 Zoroark – The counter to the powerful Reshiram and Zekrom. Using Foul Play with PlusPower or Special Darks allows it to 1-shot the massive Basics. However, most of the time you should have Kingdra on the bench and the Spray Splash damage makes up for the PlusPower or Special Dark.

4 Pokémon Collector – Always helpful to have, especially with Pokémon Communication.

2 Prof. Elm’s Training Method – By Kuprin’s suggestion I lowered the number from four to two, I saw that it isn’t worth a supporter if you could Collector and Communicate for three evolutions with the right cards. That doesn’t mean this doesn’t help, but four is too high.

4 Rare Candy – To get out Kingdra Prime faster. It’s important enough to run four, just for consistency, as Kingdra is what channels your damage output. Recover them with Junk Arms.

3 Prof. Oak’s New Theory – I don’t like making difficult decisions, so rather than use Juniper’s and wish I hadn’t done it two turns later, I’ll stick to good ol’ Oak for now.

4 Pokémon Communication – Just good cards for turning your cluttered hand into a godly one. May change if/when Trainer Lock is more popular.

3 PlusPower – Used by Zoroark to 1-shot Zekrom and Reshiram. With the expected popularity of the two, I don’t think I’ll regret it.

3 Energy Search – Formerly Interviewer’s Questions, Kuprin showed his distaste for the card and I immediately switched to these. I’d been screwed over by Interviewer’s too many times, and with such low attack costs there’s no real pressure to find more than one.

3 Junk Arm – Used to recover… well, anything you need. Perhaps I’ve got two Special Darks on my Zoroark and I want that Pokémon Communication back, and these PlusPowers are just clogging up my hand. Or I really don’t want to shuffle my hand into my deck, but I do really want that Rare Candy. Another good idea by Kuprin.

4 Special D Energy – You should always want to make your Dark Pokémon specially energetic.

3 D Energy – Basic to be found by Energy Search if I need it. Could be used to pay for Zoroark’s Nasty Plot.

3 W Energy – To pay for Dragon Steam. Can be searched out by Energy Search.

3 Double Colorless Energy – For Zoroark’s and Mandibuzz’s second attacks. Helpful, but not necessarily necessary.


Well, the deck started running Honchkrow and Ampharos, but it’s come a long way. I didn’t realize Mandibuzz had the attacks it did, but once I did realize I picked it up fast. Ampharos was to counter mass energy attachment, however, it’s just not needed with the addition of Zoroark and Mandibuzz. Mandibuzz’s Punishment will counter BlastGatr and, to a lesser degree, Magnezone; Zoroark shuts down ReshiBoar. Donphan doesn’t stand a chance between its Water weakness and constantly exposed bench.

Those were the main changes made to it, and I’m glad to see it develop into the list it is now. It’s quick, hits decently hard, and puts up a good fight against some of the best decks.

Small Breakdown of Matchups

Probable Win: Donphan, Blastgatr, Lostgar, Serperior, Tyranitar

50-50: Reshiboar, Magnezone, Scizor, Bearplume, Cincinno

Probable Loss: Zekrom, Steelix, Wailord

It has a good chance against any Stage 2 deck, thanks to Punishment and its ability to snipe off the bench. I believe this is probably the strongest deck I’ve engineered and would be honored if some of you were to test it and provide feedback. Until next time,


Reader Interactions

52 replies

  1. Martin Garcia

    I wanted to play kingdra prime since i heard the new rotation would make the game HGSS-on, but i was always looking for a good partner that could even the match ups against the dragons, that were otheriwse almost autolosses.

    I was thorn between lanturn prime and cinccino, but i will have to admit i never considered Zoroark, a really nice idea there, props to you, good sir.
    Still, which one do you think would be better between the cinchilla and the fox?

    If im not mistaken, the new ruling says zoroark doesnt have to discard fire energies, as long as he doesnt have them, right?

  2. apb58

    Playing a variant Using tyranitar to spread out damage, but I like the kingdra idea much better.

  3. BB2Si

    I really like this idea! It’s a great setup and excellent strategy. The only thing I would recommend is throwing in a couple Energy Exchanger since you are running multiple Energy types. It could be a crucial card that you happen to have in your hand at a time of needing a DCE, Special Darkness, or even just to get that basic Water Energy. Other than that, I’d say it’s a pretty good lineup. I may have to try it out sometime.

  4. Michael Gallaher

    It reminds me of Michael Massacre’s KingGar, using the spray splash to up the damage of shadow room and OHKO pixies. Nice idea.

  5. Lee

    I am testing a deck slightly similiar to this. I prefer Espeon UD (non prime) over Kingdra for damage counters, however, as you deal four in one turn (and take them off your own Pokemon). True, it may take up a turn, but Espeon is a stage one over Kingdra’s two.

    • Sam W  → Lee

      How do you get damage on your own Pokemon? Donphan? It seems slower to me, just because Rare Candy speeds up Kingdra a lot.

    • Anonymous  → Lee

      problem is you need damage on your pokemon first. and in a format of 1 shots it can be pretty hard. 

  6. eli moses

    I actually came up with this deck when i first saw the scans of the B/W set but i really like your list and thought this was a good list and a great analysis keep on writing dude :)

  7. someone

    Decent idea, better in theory than in practice, methinks. Unfortunately, a 90 HP main attacker in this format just gets absolutely wrecked. Zekrom/Magnezone/T-Tar/Reshiram/Cinccino/Blastoise all OHKO it. You’re only doing 60 or 70 damage a turn with a Stage 1 and one or two Stage 2s. Zoroark doesn’t help too much either in this department. There’s not going to be too many cheap bench sitters in this format, and if you focus on those, you’re going to end up just trading Mandibuzz for, say, Smeargle. Kingdra can’t be used to counter Reshiram, and fails against any deck running either the Emboar energy engine or the Ninetales draw engine. I like the idea, the deck just isn’t that good.

    • Anonymous  → someone

       the way the decks works is controlling the energy support. kill the squitrles or totodiles or buizels before they get evolved. if both the tepigs again reshiboar die then they cant bring emboar up you can rage then.

  8. Gabriel Brown

    I didn’t realize how much I liked Kingdra Prime until reading this article. I’ve heard the deck idea before and thought it was kind of silly, but seeing the pokemon lines you use makes me think the deck is pretty good.
    I think that the combination of those three pokemon lines actually covers a lot of the treats in the upcoming meta game. So yeah, cool deck strategy and I loved the article. Great job. =)

  9. Anonymous

    I like the originality, but this deck is not going to work out well for ya IMO. BlastGatr one shots it. T-Tar one shots it. Reshiboar one shots it. Mangezone on shots it.

    Needing four Stage 2’s on the bench and every attacker being an evolved Pokemon is a lot. There are more powerful Stage 2 decks that would be better, Magnezone (built in draw, infinite attack, etc), that are just as fast as this.

    I think the match-ups are a little too optimistic even in theory.

    • Manfred Lim  → Anonymous

      I’ve been playing Ttar for some time, and I must say Ttar (or any high-energy, stage 2s) will face difficulty against this deck because of Punishment from mandibuzz, and more importantly Zoroark. Swinging for megaton tail with 1 DCE is badass. The only situation when Ttar can sweep through is if I’ve more than one fully charged, which really depends on how the hand draws go because this deck is definitely faster.

      I like this deck :) will give it a spin!

  10. Sam Stevens

    “Probable Loss: Zekrom, Steelix, Wailord” … weakness to zekrom doesn’t matter as it OHKO’s anyway, but is there anyway to counter the other 2 without hurting consistency? only time will tell what the next top tiers will be but with the excellent snipe and stage 2 ko’ing power this could easily make it up there so long as it can address most potential problems

    • John  → Sam

      It will be counter by something call “other people’s deck”. The Wailrod has weakness to lighting and Steelix to fire. hmm…..has any legendaries with 130hp that have with those exact types and deal huge chunks of damage had been release? (turn off sarcasm mode). In other words, I doubt those decks will see as much play, so teching your deck for a strange match-up might not be wise. Kind of how the SPs didn’t choose to run a Mewtwo LV X counter sometimes.

      • Anonymous  → John

         DONT DISS WAILLORD!!!!!!!!!!! ive tested a waillord deck and it doesnt do too bad to zekrom. gatr can use a hydro crucnh after they bloth strike to KO and a swallow up KOs it after they blot strike. Waillord is a great deck with tons of potential.

  11. John

    I was hurting my head thinking who I could combine Mandibuzz with….so obvious.

    • Steven Nilsen  → John

      The Kingdra idea may have eluded you because 4 Kingdra will cost you $50.

      An alternative is the HGSS Gengar line. I’m not so sure there’s going to be that much easy snipe bait this format, but a hit from Gengar + Mandibuzz would get you to 90HP.

  12. chris frontiero

    Interesting idea. I love mandibuzz, maybe I can fit it into my dark disruption deck

  13. Jason Mcdoodlepenis

    Genius! It’s original ideas like this that make me glad SP is going to be out of the format. I think you should add donphan in as a tech to deal with zekrom, though.

  14. Caleb Cline

    50-50: Reshiboar, Magnezone, Scizor, Bearplume, Cincinno

    I honestly think you’re underestimating Reshiboar. It is definitely going to be running pluspowers, and will be able to OHKO kingdra with them, not that kingdra can really hit it that hard anyways with the lower damage do to fire. Mandibuzz will help keep you up in the game, but I’ve play tested with Reshiboar vs. Cincinno/Zoroark, and I would say it’s at least 55-45, in favor of Reshiboar. Not to say the zoroark doesn’t help, but I don’t think it brings you up to 50-50. Maybe like 40-60, or something in that area.

    • Sam W  → Caleb

      I don’t like throwing a lot of numbers that don’t make a whole lot of difference. I haven’t seen a Reshiram list that tips over 75% against Scavenger, so it’s 50-50 enough.

      • Anonymous  → Sam

        The difference between 50/50 and 60/40 is huge, much less 75/25.

        It could be a solid deck that gets some wins, but nit great.

        • Matthew Riddle  → Anonymous

          All these matchup ratios are stupid. The game has luck to it, there are plenty of different decklists for a single deck, and player skill makes a difference too. I think too many players use these ratios as a crutch to feel more secure. Just figure out the decks you have trouble with and try to figure out a way to improve the matchup. That is what I would recommend.

  15. wisconsinsquad

    Don’t mean to bring you down or anything, but a guy I know came up with this before Black and White Prereleases. Good article, though.

  16. Frank Donovan

    im not so sure that the pokemon count is balanced here – not enough recovery and all i can see Zoroark doing in this deck is searching. I just play tested against this and it didnt hold up that great. as for Reshiboar, there will be many decks that will counter it – and most of them will run a fighting base like Donphan or Lucario CL

    • Sam W  → Frank

      You aren’t using more than one energy card for any of your main attacks– I don’t think you’ll ever need to recover energy. Perhaps you didn’t understand, you aren’t supposed to use Zoroark for anything (not even searching) besides one-shotting Reshiram and Zekrom.

  17. Matthew Riddle

    I’d run 3 Kingdra Prime and 1 Kingdra UL non-prime. It could be your only decent water attacker against a Fire deck and it can abuse DCE. What’s cool about Kingdra’s attack is even if it’s going to be KO’d, you can choose to do +30 damage (80 total) and return the DCE back to your hand using the attack’s effect. Also, it has a cheap 1 water energy attack to snipe anything for 30, which may be able to finish off something Mandibuzz couldn’t finish off.

    I like the synergy, and I definitely think with some more work, this kind of deck is exactly what we should be expecting next season (or even at Nats/Worlds).

  18. thornxbl

    I’m going to be trying this deck out; so far I’ve enjoyed testing it against my brother’s ReshiBoar deck. Even when I lose, the games have been really fun (a few down to the wire)

  19. aura

    I would run Sneasel (Neo reprint) and, because of low HP, Black Belt.

  20. Michael Randolph

    I actually started toying with this a little while back as a possible solution to losing gengar in KingGar. Only allot of testing will tell if it can stand up to the new heavy hitters of the format but I think if constructed correctly it can definately wreck. Nice article sir!

  21. Michael Randolph

    I actually started toying with this a little while back as a possible solution to losing gengar in KingGar. Only allot of testing will tell if it can stand up to the new heavy hitters of the format but I think if constructed correctly it can definately wreck. Nice article sir!

  22. Michael Randolph

    I actually started toying with this a little while back as a possible solution to losing gengar in KingGar. Only allot of testing will tell if it can stand up to the new heavy hitters of the format but I think if constructed correctly it can definately wreck. Nice article sir!

  23. aura

     how about 2-2 Electivire TM? 50 to all your opponent’s pokemon with energy attached! With Reshiboar charging multiple Reshirams in 1-2 turns,you can use this till it’s gone and mandibuzz (and/or kingdra snipe) for the finish!

    • Anonymous  → Joe

       junk arm reuses pluspower. its basically a plyuspower can function as an other trainer already used.

  24. Dhanushka Kumarasing

    I’ve been testing this deck out and the main weakness I’ve found in it is that it is slow and sometimes I get stuck with several turns where I can’t do anything. Perhaps that is just weak playing on my part. In either case though, I’m going to swap in some Prof. Junipers and see if I can’t speed this up any. I’ll let you know how it goes. 

  25. Nicholas

    thisdeck won’t be around for much longer, the next set will bring chandlure, which does what kingdra does, but instead 1 counter it does 3 any way you like 

  26. Michael Magee

    I love this deck, but I am starting to think it needs more hand refreshment for you to get it out consistently game after game. Three professor oaks simply won’t be enough…

    Athough the pokemon line is already high and already endangered of being bait for mewgar, perhaps adding cleffa would help you keep your hand fresh mid to late game and/or save you from nasty opening hands. That or max out the oak line and look into copycat, emcees chatter,  etc.

    great premise, it just needs the polish of consistency to reach its full potential.

  27. tim h

    I disagree with your 50/50 matchup for reshiboar.

    Your only real chance is Zoroark at killing reshirams. Otherwise you can attack with kingdra… for 40… while he gets 6 prizes in 6 turns.

    That said, I think the deck is cool; and would work better with Absol Prime as a starter.

  28. Ben Goldberg

    I like the deck but if you want draw power take out a couple trainers and throw in 2 relicanths and 1 or 2 switch

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