With various cards getting lots of hype, and certain decks being considered for BDIF already, I figured it might be a good time to explore the “weaker” parts of any new format, that is, finding “counters” to each major deck/Pokémon of the new meta. With HGSS on, hitting for weakness is a HUGE deal, as various stage one Pokémon can get 1HKO revenge kills for little investment, so long as they hit the type advantage.
I’ll be going by type. Not the type of the Pokémon, but the type that Pokémon are weak to.
First is Psychic type. The two Pokémon weak to Psychic that have been seen in any discussion so far are RDL (Rayquaza & Deoxys LEGEND) and Machamp Prime. RDL clocks in at 140 HP, and has a x2 weakness to Psychic. This means a Psychic type attacker must deal 70 damage to 1HKO it (for 2 Prizes, at that).
RDL has no “good” Psychic type counter, so we’ll touch on normal types than can kill it later. As for Machamp Prime, the answer is Xatu UL. For a single Psychic energy, the psychic bird will do 80 damage x2 weakness for 160 and a 1HKO.
This, of course, assumes the Prime is using “Champ Buster” to attack with. If it only has three energy, you simply add a PlusPower.
Now for the Darkness type. Major attacking Pokémon weak to Dark are Gengar Prime, and… well, really, that’s about it, unless we see some Mismagious/Vileplume running around. A Darkness type that can do 70 damage is the ideal. We have several options for that. Mandibuzz’s second attack will easily 1HKO the Gengar.
Umbreon is a much less useful option, as it’ll take a Special Dark and hitting heads on the second attack. Drapion TM will 1HKO for DDCC, but that’s an investment of three energy. Tyranitar can 1HKO, but requires a heavy stage 2 line and a lot of investment.
Houndoom Prime is a decent option, for DDC it does 70 damage, and it has a Poké-Power that can help other matchups by burning your opponent, denying them their Poké-Powers (such as Blastoise) Scrafty does it for DDC. Umbreon Prime can do 70 for one Special Dark and another eeveelution in play, but that’s alot of space, again.
Liepard can do it for a single Special D Energy. So the best choice here is probably either 1-1 Houndoom Prime or 1-1 Liepard. An honorable mention goes to Absol Prime, who can 1-shot it for DC, but putting a Pokémon into the Lost Zone helps your opponent too much.
Next up is hitting for a Grass weakness. Not many Pokémon are weak to grass. The notable one is Feraligatr Prime, which WILL see some play. Yanmega would be the first thought of many, however, “Sonicboom” has the unfortunate wording that you do not apply weakness.
However, for free, you can still do 80 (40×2) to 2HKO the ‘Gatr while only taking 60 damage yourself. And to be honest, that’s the best grass has, really. Grass attackers have very low damage outputs, so short of teching in large stage two grass lines, there’s nothing better than Yanmega Prime, or just hitting ‘Gatr with your beefy main attacker.
Next up is hitting for Fighting weakness. Cards weak to fighting include Zekirom, Magnezone Prime, Lanturn Prime, Ampharos Prime, Smeargle, Stantler, Mr. “Do the Wave”, and the Affro Buffalo. There is one card that everyone thinks of instantly. That, of course, is Donphan Prime.
For one Fighting energy, it hits for 60 damage, enough to 1HKO many Lightning/Normal types. Marowak TM, for the cost of CC (meaning it’s DCE compatible, and requires no teched energy types) has you flip two coins, and it does 60 damage for each heads.
That means, on average, you’re doing the same amount of damage as Donphan, but without the self-damage to your bench. Both are valid options.
Hitting for Water weakness is an interesting one. The target Pokémon that are weak to water are Donphan, Emboar, Reshiram, and Typhlosion. Each of these has a very high amount of HP, so it is very important to hit for a large amount of damage, preferably enough to 1HKO.
The issue, however, is that water attacks that have high damage outputs are very costly, usually costing two or three Water energy paired with some Colorless. For this reason, the currently “best bets” are ones that 2HKO. Those options are Swanna BW, Lanturn Prime, Red Gyarados (HGSS secret rare), Octillery paired with a resistant card, or Suicune & Entei LEGEND.
The best bet, in my opinion, is the Red Gyarados. It has a high Retreat Cost, but being able to do large amounts of damage for a single C energy is very valuable. Next set, we’re expected to get Beartic, which will serve as the water counter of choice for most.
What about Lightning weakness? Cards weak to electric include 90% of the water metagame (excluding Feraligatr), Yanmega Prime, Mandibuzz, Honchkrow, and most other flying types. There are several options to hit for this weakness. Lanturn Prime, Zekrom, Electivire, Ampharos (non-Prime), and Zebstrika all serve as valid options.
If your deck runs Rare Candy, Ampharos might be the best option, as the first attack serves to accelerate your energy attachments while still putting out a nice amount of damage, too.
Now for Fire weakness. See: Entire Grass metagame excluding Yanmega Prime, and most Metal types. This one really needs little discussion, as pretty much any stage 1, stage 2, or “medium to high power” Fire basic can 1HKO everything Grass typed, and Metal types fold to Fire quickly as well. Reshiram, for example, can be splashed into darn near everything.
Normal type is an interesting weakness, with only one major metagame card possessing this weakness. We talked about it above, of course, I am talking about Rayquaza & Deoxys LEGEND.
For this card, your best bet is either Mr. Affro Buffalo (Bouffalant BW #91) or Mr. “Do the Wave” (Cinccino BW). Both will get the revenge 1HKO, assuming your bench is full, or assuming you got KO’d last turn.
Hitting for Metal weakness is not really valid to our metagame, as there are no major players that are weak to metal. On the off-chance that you for some reason need to hit for metal weakness, Scizor (both Prime and non-Prime) are safe bets, needing little investment for high damage.
And there you have it folks, the most-talked-about techs to fight each type. Next time, I’ll be back with techs for various other situations, like board control, and type support.
~Zackary “Cabd” Ayello
Here are a few observations I made:
1: Xatu still doesn’t OHKO Machamp (if Machamp had 3 energies attached) with a PlusPower as it does 70. 70 x 2 = 140. Machamp has 150
2: For Dark, you forgot Absol Prime as a good tech. Sure it can throw your own Pokemon into the Lost Zone making it easier for Gengar to achieve it’s goal. I don’t know what other techs beside Mime Jr. Gengar might play to help put Pokemon in the Lost Zone, but in this format it’ll be hard to set up Stage 2 after Stage 2 after Stage 2. So while your OHKO Gengars, they might not be able to keep up with putting Pokemon in the Lost Zone. Even Mime Jr. gets OHKO by anything really, so you can retreat your Absol and KO the Mime Jr. with anything else to not have to use Vicious Claws again. . Definitely something that needs to be tested in this new format.
3: Umbreon also 2HKO Gengars with a Sp. Dark. Umbreon Prime can still OHKO with a PlusPower and a Sp. Dark as well, so you don’t need to another Eeveelution in play. But Mandibuzz is probably your best bet as it would only require 2 energy, assuming your running DCE, and still does enough initial damage OHKO the Mime Jr. If played in a spread deck it can also snipe around the Mime Jr. if the baby goes to sleep. With Mandibuzz’s resistance it can also be helpful in other matchups as well. Donphan 3HKO it, barring PlusPowers. Against Machamp it still do 100 and possibly take a hit or two if Machamp is stuggling at either getting energy or having any damage counters on it’s side of the field.
4: For water attackers you forgot the regular Kingdra. For WCC it can do 80, only restriction is that you have to put an energy attached to it back into your hand. Which has it’s cons and pros. Cons, if your only teching it as a 1-0-1 or 1-1-1 line since you have to keep putting the energy back in your hand, you can’t keep powering up your main attacker. So once it gets KOed you might not have something to attack with. This is a big might as with the pro side to this, since your returning an energy back to your hand, most likely a DCE, you will still have that available to attach to your next Pokemon, barring it gets Judged away. If you see that your Kingdra is about to get KOed and you really don’t want to waste the energy drop on it you can still snipe anything for 30. Seeing as Cleffa is going to be popular, if your opponent already has it in play you can op to snipe that and take an extra prize before it goes down. So after analyzing these pros and cons I asked myself this question, can you really consider this is as a counter productive play as you are simply trading an energy drop for KOs? And the answer was no.
The kingdra is a valid option, especially in decks running the prime for extra damage, nice find. However, the nice thing about that Machamp situation, is that, with few exceptions, they’ll almost always have at least one damage counter from “Earthquake” self damage. I’ve yet to see any “straight machamp” decks that have decent early-game options.
Nice article! x2 weakness is such a huge part of the metagame strategy, and it’s important to manage your own deck’s weaknesses or exploit those of your opponents. It’ll be interesting to see how things change as new sets are added.
For grass weakness, don’t forget about leafeon.
As a splash-able tech, leafeon only does 30 damage. You have to have a special condition inducer to go with him to do any significant damage.
One thing to note that, although Yanmega’s sonicboom states don’t apply resistance or weakness, there are no pokemon in the current format that resist grass.
The only pokemon that have ever resisted grass are (correct me if I’m wrong) steelix EX and Lati@s:disqus
That said, you could just list metapod from HG/SS.
This article is great. I really like the Red Gyarados idea for Donphan It can 2HKO it assuming you get just one heads and it has resistance! Xatu also seems like a great Machamp counter… I wish Azelf was still here!!!!!!
You mention Steel at the end. Beartic is weak to Steel, and in my opinion will see a lot of play. Although Reshiboar will definitely be out there and hindering Steel decks, I think cards like Feraligatr, Kingdra, Lanturn, Blastoise, Floatzel, and Samurott will make water decks and Beartic somewhat popular and therefore Scizor and Steelix decks more viable.
Indeed. This article is meant for HGSS-BLW, as the title suggests, though. We’re also getting that new basculin that might be a great water tech, but it’s in the next set, which won’t be here until after worlds.
You should also have mentioned Hitmonchan and Hitmontop as Fighting-type weakness plays. Both are basics. Hitmonchan’s Sky Uppercut does 30 for FC (x2 is 60), Hitmontop does a potential 60 for C with 3 heads. 2nd attack is Close Combat, FCC for 60 damage. Both are 1-energy retreats. `Chan with 70 HP is a little sturdier than `Top with 60 HP.
If we’re talking Techs as counters.
The magic number, however, in this format, is either 130, or 70 with a type match. 60 is one too little, and the other fighting types do it better. Also, assuming 3 heads is crazy, you’ll average 30 (well technically 20 and 40) each time, which is not that great.
I was also thinking about taking out some of the staple starters like Stantler and Smeargle. Both have 70 HP and could be KOed with Sky Uppercut and Plus Power. Disrupting set-up will be important in the coming format.
First and foremost, I love this article. :-) Anyway, I agree – Grass-type decks lack powerful attackers. In general, Grass-type decks best the other types in both healing and tanking at the cost of damage output. Having a Weakness to Fire-type Pokémon isn’t going to help, especially when it’s being speculated that Fire-type decks would be popular next season. I personally love Grass-type Pokémon, but realistically speaking, I don’t think they’re going to see good play in an HGSS-on format.