pokebeach.comWhen HS: Unleashed came out, it seemed that many people were unimpressed with the set. In fact, people were quite upset with the set as a whole. Many slated Vileplume to change the entire metagame for Nationals and Worlds and expected Scizor to be a contender; however, they, along with a number of other great cards (e.g., Smeargle), were cut from the set.
Despite the disappointment, others flocked to powerhouses (Tyranitar Prime and Steelix Prime), hyped Primes (Kingdra and the previously cut Crobat), or the sparkly, new Legend pieces. No love was shown toward any of the other Pokémon in the set.
After some time, though, people began to see the potential behind the set’s prerelease promo, Blastoise. You could snipe anything for 100 damage with “Hydro Launcher”. Wow!
The only problem: it costs four energy.
The only solution: Feraligatr Prime.
Feraligatr Prime was still fairly new at that point, so I saw quite a few individuals tinkering with the idea. Setting up multiple Stage 2s was made easier then with the help of our good friend, Claydol. Unfortunately, Claydol soon saw its rotation and BlastGatr fell apart in the format. Then another non-holo rare from Unleashed, Floatzel, began to receive attention as a plausible partner for Blastoise, and Blastoise/Floatzel was born! The pair was (literally) made for one another! Not only that, but the deck was much speedier in comparison to BlastGatr.
Though fun and playable, however, the deck could not stand up to the test of the format, especially with Water’s nemesis, Luxray GL LV.X. The deck also found itself starved for energy whenever Floatzel’s “Water Acceleration” was Power Sprayed. Like many other decks, Blastoise never really had its day in the format due to SP.
Our New Format
In an HS-on format, though, there are no Power Sprays stopping “Water Acceleration”. There are no Luxray GL LV.X obliterating Blastoise. There are no Garchomp C LV.X sniping Floatzel. Hell, there aren’t even any decent Lightning Pokémon in general, barring Zekrom and Magnezone, which typically 1-shot everything anyway. Blastoise and Floatzel have finally found the time to make a splash!
|Pokémon – 19||Trainers – 244 Pokémon Collector
4 Pokémon Communication
3 Prof. Juniper
2 Prof. Elm’s Training Method
2 Prof. Oak’s New Theory
4 Rare Candy
|Energy – 1410 W
4 Double Colorless
The above list has three spaces that are open to personal preference. The list also seems quite standard, but extremely consistent and efficient. As with any deck, you should start with the most consistent build and cut cards from there.
Cleffa: Unappreciated when it was released, Cleffa is finally making a showing in a number of decks in the HS-on format. Its ability to refresh your hand for no energy is fantastic and comparable to Chatot MD, especially because Cleffa has free retreat. Once you have a fine hand of cards, you can simply retreat Cleffa and begin attacking!
Until then, though, just “Eeeeeeek” away and fall asleep, thereby preventing damage from opposing Pokémon. Hand refresh is awesome in a deck like this because you can play out your hand of Pokémon and energy, and then throw the leftovers back into the deck for a fresh six cards.
Buizel: Like most preevolutions, Buizel is mostly used to evolve into Floatzel. If it is stuck in the Active Spot, however, and you like to plan knockouts several turns in advance, Buizel’s “Muddy Water” does 10 to the defending Pokémon and 10 to a benched Pokémon.
This tiny bit of set up is perfect for later on when Blastoise needs to Knock Out something with 110 HP, such as Yanmega Prime.
Floatzel: Floatzel is Blastoise’s free retreating partner in crime. It has an expensive attack that you hopefully never have to use, but an awesome Poké-Power that allows you to attach one W Energy to it without taking up your attachment for the turn. While this does not seem like much, it allows Blastoise to function in a format that will, presumably, rely on energy acceleration. And, I mean, ya know, Floatzel’s “Water Acceleration” has acceleration in the name! Pfft. You cannot even get that official with “Inferno Fandango”!
Having one Floatzel out permits consecutive snipes from Blastoise as you attach to Blastoise for the turn and then accelerate the W Energy to Floatzel, which Blastoise moves to itself. Having two Floatzel out allows you to begin setting up another Blastoise while still maintaining the energy requirement to attack!
Squirtle: This Squirtle is lame, but it is the only one we have to work with in an HS-on format. Personally, I would rather have Base Set Squirtle in its place so there’s a chance of paralyzing the opponent. But no, we’re stuck with this. Oh well. At least its art matches the other Water-type Pokémon in the deck…
Wartortle: This guy is only in the deck if you are needing to manually evolve into Blastoise, because you have the Blastoise but no Rare Candy or you have the Rare Candy without the Blastoise, or, for some bizarre reason, you are being Item-locked. Unlike many intermediate evolutions, though, Wartortle is pretty decent: For one W Energy, you can snipe anything for 20. This is similar to “Muddy Water” as you can set up a Knock Out on a bulkier Pokémon. Wartortle can also do 50 damage to the defending Pokémon in a pinch. So, while it’s not the best card ever, it is not terrible like Squirtle.
Blastoise: Finally, we have our star Pokémon! Blastoise has a great 130 HP, great Poké-Power, and great attack. His Poké-Power, “Wash Out”, allows you to move W Energy from your benched Pokémon to your active. And, you know what, you can do that as many times as you’d like!
With Floatzel on the bench accelerating energy, Blastoise can easily power up its “Hydro Launcher” to snipe any opposing Pokémon on the field for 100 damage. This comes at a reasonable cost, though, which includes returning two W Energy to your hand; if anything, you are just conserving energy in case Blastoise is about to be Knocked Out!
100 snipe is nothing to scoff at either, and Black & White rules make it even better. A Pokémon must now be in play an entire turn before being eligible for evolution or Rare Candy. That means Blastoise can snipe any Tepig or Vulpix before it evolves into the broken Emboar or draw engine that is Ninetales, respectively.
Pokémon Collector: Blastoise/Floatzel is a deck that must set up properly in order to function; Pokémon Collector is the greatest insurance to a proper set up. Opening with or topdecking one of these guys on the first turn is incredible. It allows you to pull from your deck any combination of Basic Pokémon, so by the next turn you can have two Buizel and a Squirtle all ready to evolve. It also means you can grab Cleffa to refresh your hand in case of a bad Professor Juniper, Professor Oak’s New Theory, or Copycat.
Unfortunately, Pokémon Collector has certainly lost much of its power with the rotation of Uxie, and it shows in this deck, too. Mid- to late-game Pokémon Collector are dead-draw and usually end up as failed searches or Juniper fodder.
Pokémon Communication: This card became maxed out in nearly every deck because of the rotation, and such an increase is justified. The only way to currently search out Stage 1 and 2 cards is by Professor Elm’s Training Method and Pokémon Communication. The former, a Supporter, is subpar compared to the latter, an Item, because you can play as many Items as you darn well please. Communication also works well in conjunction with Collector as you can search out excess Basics and trade them for the real stars.
Professor Juniper: Personally, I have fallen in love with Professor Juniper. At first I was very wary about discarding my entire hand, but that has subsided for the most part. I initially only had one Juniper in the deck but have slowly added more, and I am currently contemplating adding a fourth. It’s that good, I assure you, especially in a deck that attaches multiple energy per turn.
Professor Juniper’s usefulness becomes obvious after trial and error. What I mean is that it takes a few bad discards (e.g., discarding Rare Candy, evolutions, etc.) before you learn when to and when not to play Juniper.
And, even after discarding useful Rare Candies or Wartortle, you begin to realize that they were necessary sacrifices to dig deeper into your deck. To win games your hand becomes the martyr and Juniper your savior.
Professor Elm’s Training Method: As previously mentioned, Professor Elm’s Training Method is a Supporter that searches out Stage 1 and Stage 2 cards. It is a fine card when you can use it, but there are usually better Supporters to use that turn. Nevertheless, when you want to ensure you get the Blastoise or Floatzel, just play Elm’s. Unfortunately, it will never be Bebe’s Search. Sorry, Professor.
Professor Oak’s New Theory (PONT): This deck possesses three generations worth of professors, and the third professor is Oak with his new theory. PONT allows you to shuffle your hand back into your deck and draw a fresh hand of six, akin to Cleffa, albeit a Supporter. In most cases, Professor Juniper is more handy than PONT, but PONT is great if you have a handful of evolutions that you cannot use just yet. Beyond what has already been said, there is not much else to say about this card.
Copycat: Like PONT, Copycat is a hand refresher in Supporter form. Just return your hand to your deck and mimic your opponent’s hand size. This card can yield huge hands if you are playing against decks with competent draw power, such as Ninetales.
I realize this and PONT means that there are four shuffle-draw Supporters in the deck and, while that may seem excessive, I would hate to rely on topdecks because of a lack of hand refresh. I’m sure you could cut one or two PONT and/or Copycat, but I would posit that you need at least two hand refreshers. The combination you choose will typically depend on individual playstyle. Clearly, I like to have options.
Switch: This deck runs a relatively heavy Switch count. I have found that Switch are pretty important in conservation of energy, as well as waking up those sleepy Cleffa so they can “Eeeeeeek” and continue to set up your bench and refresh your hand.
Switch also gets rid of any special conditions on Blastoise that may prevent it from using “Wash Out”. Most notably, using Switch and promoting Floatzel, who has free retreat, further promotes conservation of energy.
Rare Candy: Obviously, Rare Candy are a necessity in any Stage 2 deck, and Blastoise is no exception. This list runs four to increase the odds of drawing into it early game, as you want Blastoise out and sniping as soon as possible.
You will never use all four, so do not fear discarding one or even two with Professor Juniper. Unfortunately, Rare Candy have become “nerfed” (as everyone else calls it), so they will not be used as quickly as they have in previous formats.
W Energy: These worthless blue cards can be attached to Floatzel via “Water Acceleration” and manipulated by “Wash Out” to power up Blastoise’s “Hydro Launcher”. Derp.
Double Colorless Energy: These energy cards are worth a teensy bit more than W Energy, but for understandable reasons. They provide two C energy each, which is adequate enough to power up “Hydro Launcher”. You can attach one Double Colorless Energy to Blastoise and then use “Water Acceleration” to attach the W Energy to two Floatzel, thereafter permitting Blastoise to snipe! It’s pretty good.
The idea of the deck is to set up a quick Blastoise and at least one Floatzel so you can begin sniping for 100 each. This is best accomplished by means of Pokémon Collector. If you start with a Buizel active, you should Collector for another Buizel, Squirtle, and probably Cleffa; if you start with Squirtle, Collector for two Buizel and a Cleffa; if you start with Cleffa, Collector for two Buizel and a Squirtle.
Ideally, by having at least one Squirtle and two Buizel out, you can evolve freely the next turn and begin attaching copious amounts of energy. Cleffa is a good choice, too, because it allows you to refresh your hand if it does not accommodate the current game state.
By mid-game, you should have at least two Floatzel out for support, as well as another Blastoise prepared to take the active’s place. Likewise, it is good to have a benched Squirtle that is manually evolving or can be Candy’d into a Blastoise. This is also the time to hoard your Double Colorless Energy to attach to Blastoise.
While you have an attacking Blastoise, you should be sniping possible threats and taking cheap prizes on the opponent’s bench, as well as Knocking Out formidable active Pokémon, like Reshiram or Zoroark.
pokebeach.comLooking at the current list, there are three empty spaces that you can add in whatever. Currently, I have two Seeker and one Twins filling those spaces, but neither are truly needed. There are rarely any opportunities to heal damaged Pokémon on your bench, so Seeker’s only current use in this format is largely unneeded.
Not only that but it does not disrupt your opponent like it used to because, assuming they played a Collector the previous turn, your opponent can simply pick up a support Pokémon or non-evolving Basic, like Reshiram or Zekrom.
This deck also consistently sets up by or before turn three, so it is not slow enough to completely warrant the use of Twins. Theoretically, you could include several so that you can play Twins after a Cleffa is Knocked Out, but Cleffa usually survives all game because it cannot be damaged while asleep. Besides, Cleffa typically gives you everything you need anyway.
I initially ran two Junk Arm in my build but later took them out. After some consideration and others mentioning their compatibility with Professor Juniper, however, they should be added. They can grab Juniper’d Rare Candies or Pokémon Communication, and then, once you’ve cleaned out your hand, you can Juniper once more for an easy seven. I am not entirely sure why I took them out in the first place…
If you enjoy being on the wild side and flipping coins, consider adding Dual Ball to speed up the first couple of turns. They will set up your bench, like Collector does, and you can Junk Arm for more, all the while playing some other Supporter in your hand. PlusPower could be added, too, to ensure knock outs on active Pokémon with 110 HP.
In the first couple of playthroughs with this deck, I ran Flower Shop Lady for recovery. Like every other darn recovery card (e.g., Night Maintenance or Palmer’s Contribution), I always seemed to have it in my opening hand yet did not have it at the most inopportune times.
Also, in more cases than not, I would discard it with Professor Juniper, which immediately took away any chance of recovering my Pokémon or W Energy. I decided to cut it from my list, which forces me to make tighter and more conservative plays. But, just because it did not work me, that does not mean it won’t help you; try it out and see if you even need it.
Speaking of cards that I previously cut, Stantler originally had the place of Cleffa. While it set up evolutions for the next turn, my bench became clogged and Pokémon Collector were even more worthless. I also had no way to recover from a bad hand, which Cleffa now mediates.
Smeargle is another starter to try, but I have yet to test it. Compared to Cleffa, Smeargle cannot support the deck if the opponent lacks a Supporter in hand; it also wastes an energy to retreat and can be damaged more easily.
Aside from those considerations, you can just beef up the count of Trainers already present in the list. I would highly recommend that fourth Professor Juniper, like I mentioned earlier. Or you can increase the energy counts or run a different starter.
But these are just things to keep in mind to maintain consistency. Techs, such as Cinccino or Zoroark, that work with Double Colorless Energy could be easily splashed into the deck, but I would suggest boasting consistency first, especially in such a different environment with new things to consider in deckbuilding.
Some Final Words
Blastoise/Floatzel has finally found a format in which it can perform how it was designed. It is a quick deck that is difficult to take down by most decks when set up, and the ability to snipe supporting Pokémon can have deleterious effects on your opponent’s game plan. The deck is also much speedier than its previous conception as BlastGatr, which, for whatever reason, is still considered viable.
Because the format is so fresh, I have yet to thoroughly test Blastoise/Floatzel against every conceivably competitive deck possible. Theorymon dictates that it has a decent game against most though. This, however, does not apply to decks utilizing Zekrom or Magnezone, which are a danger to any deck because of the fast and massive damage output by Zekrom and the tank-destroying capability of Magnezone.
Nonetheless, I highly recommend you all at least try out a build for yourself. Take what I’ve said into consideration or don’t. I do not much care, but I think it is a deck that has been widely overlooked by all.
Thanks for reading!