Kenny’s Wisdom: Battle Road Predictions + Pokémon Catcher Is Bad For The Game

Typically whenever a new tournament season starts (Autumn BRs, Cities, States, Regionals, Spring BRs, Nationals, Worlds), I do a “Face of the metagame” article. However, with the format for upcoming Spring BRs being completely stale right now, I couldn’t force myself to write an entire article dedicated to it. I’ll go over what I think will win and why, but I’ve been having far too much fun with HS-on to turn back now. Hope none of you mind!

Unfortunately I’m not going to be able to make a week one Battle Road. I have obligations on Saturday and I run league on Sunday (BRs aren’t enough to make me cancel a league session typically), however, I think I can still provide some decent input on the matter. Like I said, this isn’t going to be as long as my typical articles on the subject, so bear with me. Just gonna go over some bullet points…

Sableye and Spiritomb are the MVPs of BRs.

pokebeach.comThis is a given. Sableye becomes a ridiculously overpowered card (especially when combined with Uxie and Crobat G) with the BW ruleset, and what happens to counter Sableye? (and more importantly, the Sableye deck?) Spiritomb. If you’re attending any BRs this season, especially opening week ones, expect to be forced to play with and against ridiculous amount of Spiritomb and Sableye-based decks.

Even if there’s not a lot of hype for Sabledonk in your area, Gyarados uses Sableye and that deck get tons better, and there’s probably still a place for Sablelock decks to have some shine too. I expect most of the Spiritomb decks to be VileGar stuff, maybe some VileChamp mixed in there. Magnezone w/ Spiritomb also has a chance of doing well, I guess.

Sableye decks won’t win the majority of BRs.

Before I get into this, note that I’m saying they won’t win the majority. They’ll certainly win some, and I’m willing to bet that percentage will be pretty high. However, with Spiritomb-based decks being such a hard counter to Sabledonk, I don’t see how, in any region with decent players, Sableye is going to dominate.

It’ll win events early, and of course it has the chance of being Sableye-based decks, but I can’t see too many people getting through an entire tournament filled with Spiritomb decks based off of luck, especially considering some of the bigger BRs have 5 rounds and a top 4.

Despite all this, Sableye is still bad for the game.

I went over this in my last article, so I’m not going to repeat myself here too much, but: Sableye warps the metagame around it, forcing players to either play Sableye or Spiritomb (or both) as starters. Even if the deck doesn’t prove to be overpowered, that kind of command of the metagame is unhealthy for the game. That is all.

If you need quick points, play Sableye.

pokebeach.comMost of my friends who are on the verge of Qing for Worlds have decided to play Sableye for BRs, and with good reason. Although I said earlier that not many tournaments (especially those in tough areas) are going to be taken by Sableye, the truth is that you should be able to 2-0 donk your way to an invite if you have a good build.

You can even risk playing through the entire tournament if you have friends willing to scoop to you (and if you aren’t attending Nationals or otherwise can’t qualify through anything except the grinder, you should definitely scoop your friends in. Good friends etc).

It won’t be pretty, but gaining 2-3 points per event times 5 events or so can make the difference between top 40 and top 41.

If you want to win, don’t play HS-on decks.

After being unable to find the will to dismantle HS-on decks and subsequently build MD-BW decks, I thought that maybe just going in with an HS-on deck would be fine. I mean, the format isn’t that different, right? Wrong.

Between MD-BW players having access to Uxie and being able to Flash Bite your Cleffas to death, the HS-on decks have a very hard time winning. Add Spiritombs, Uxie lines, etc. to these decks and they get tons better and can withstand the field, but I wouldn’t recommend going straight HS-on unless you plan on circling a lot of Ls that day.

That’s all I’ve got as far as BR content goes. I’ll be attending a few, so if I do well expect to see some reports from me sometime within the next few weeks. Good luck at your events and let me know how you did!

Why Pokémon Catcher is bad for the game:
aka Pokémon Catcher

I don’t know how many of you have tested HS-on at all, but I have pretty extensively, and it’s a really neat format. There’s a decent variety of different decks and styles you can use, and the format is generally slower and more skill-based than MD-on.

It’s a lot more focused on consistency and deckbuilding, and is just a radically different format, from what we’ve been testing. I’m quite happy with the way this is turning out so far, however, there is one looming problem…

Pokémon Catcher.

I won’t go as far as to say that Catcher will ruin the format or take all the fun out of it or anything, but I think it’s going to damage it extensively. In the same way that some decks were completely unplayable last format because it “dies to Dragon Rush”, “gets Power Sprayed”, or “dies to Bright Look”, decks this format will be in a similar boat, becoming nearly completely unplayable because of the power of Catcher.

I spoke about how format warping Sableye was a few paragraphs above, and it’s really the same case here. Luckily Catcher goes into every deck and the inclusion of Catcher, unlike Sableye, doesn’t dictate the style of deck, but the general point is the same: Catcher warps the format around itself.

Take Donphan for instance. In MD-BW2, Donphan Prime decks have the power to KO almost any basic Pokémon (aside from Zekrom/Reshiram, LEGENDs, and other such things) on turn 2. I haven’t tested it extensively, but from goldfishing a few hands, this scenario…

  • My Turn 1: Open Phanpy, attach F, passes
  • Villian’s Turn 1: Open whatever, Collector for dudes, attach, Eek/Pass/etc.
  • My Turn 2: Evolve to Donphan, Catcher most important basic, EQ for KO


Is quite frequent. There are certainly arguments against this, I mean, you can always get double of your most important basic, and just Catchering and KOing basics doesn’t work after a while, so you’ll need some kind of back-up/late game plan, which will hurt your chances of getting Turn 2 Catcher, etc., etc.

While all of these are valid, the point still stands. The example above seems pretty ridiculous, and that’s only one deck. Who knows what other decks other (better) players will come up with to abuse Catcher, particularly now that you can essentially run 8 copes (4 Catcher + 4 Junk Arm), and use cards like Juniper to draw into them at a ridiculous rate.

All in all, I hope that I’m disproven, and that Catcher doesn’t sour what is an otherwise fantastic format. If you think I’m wrong and have testing results or theorymon examples to back it up, I would absolutely love to hear it. Here’s hoping…

Play To Win

– My YouTube Channel, Play To Win, has been updated with 2 best of three matches of Emboar/Reshiram vs. Zekrom/Pachirisu/Shaymin, as well as decklists for both. Check that out and please rate, comment, and subscribe at

– We’ll be uploading a best of three match (complete with decklists) of MewGar vs. Emboar/Magnezone soon too. We’re also planning on having a bunch of other stuff up soon, including more test matches, metagame analysis, deck techs, trade binders, and give aways. Remember to subscribe if you want to support us and keep up to date with the happenings of PTW.

– Speaking of, we’re in need of someone to help us design a background for your YT page. We wanna swag it out so that new viewers are more likely to take us seriously and subscribe, but neither of us have any experience in doing such things. Is there someone out there who can help? If so, please e-mail me at I can trade cards or help with your decklist or whatever you would like. :)– We also need suggestions for what YOU want to see. It’s important to us to give the fans what they want, so please leave a comment on our channel or e-mail me directly, or the channel itself ( with any suggestions or comments you may have. We’re doing all of this for you guys so we’re really interested to hear what you want from us. :D

Random Thoughts

– Has anyone seen the new SixPrizes t-shirt design that’s been posted on the Facebook page? If so, what do you think? I personally like the old “I Scoop” design better and still rock it regularly, but the new design is growing on me. Peep the FB page and Like it to see what’s up. :D

– My friends Tyler Ninomura and Isaiah Middleton have also started a YouTube channel that’s pretty dope at Peep game!

– Does anyone have Rayquaza/Deoxys LEGENDs for trade? I’m currently looking for a set of 2. I have cards, money, deck advice, relationship advice, baked goods, etc. Kenny got what you need babeh, just holler.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for this week. Join me next week as I teach you how to get digits at Pokémon tournaments. xoxo!

Reader Interactions

50 replies

    • Anonymous  → Steven

       Its not cheating “officially” unless compensation is offered, more just highly frowned upon.  But something that shouldn’t be done and won’t win you many friends.  

      • Kenny Wisdom  → Anonymous

         Scooping is not cheating at all. Conceding a match isn’t a form of cheating whatsoever, and I don’t appreciate being called a cheater.

        All I meant was that at this point, points are irrelevant for me, and they’re very relevant for David. Because of this, I would rather see my teammate succeed, more is at stake for him, etc.

        I didn’t mean to offend anyone, and I apologize of it’s frowned upon (not sure why that is though). It’s just how I feel. 

        • Anonymous  → Kenny

           The problem is resistance. You do not need the points, but the player you just beat might need you to win for a higher resistance. That higher resistance might land him/her in Top Cut with the chance to get more points.

          Yes, you might help out your friend, but you are not being fair to the other players at the events. That is why it is not socially acceptable.

        • Kenny Wisdom  → Anonymous

          I have no obligations to anyone when I enter a tournament. Concessions and dropping are totally within the rules. I can understand how some would be upset by getting beat and their opponent dropping (I’ve been there), but you can’t expect anyone to have any sort of obligation to you to NOT concede. It’s 100% within the rules. 

        • Anonymous  → Kenny

           First, I want to be clear. I am NOT calling this cheating. I understand that it is completely legal. I am NOT calling you a cheater.

          I do think that it is extremely poor form and is rightly frowned upon by MANY players.

        • Goodluckevan  → Kenny

          While you might think you’re just helping out a friend, what about the others around the country on the verge of an invite who aren’t getting free points scooped into their laps by their pals?  I’m on the cusp of an invite and played my friends 3 times today, and I would’ve never dreamed of letting them scoop to me. What’s the point of a Premier Rating if people are able to game the system by teaming up?

        • Kenny Wisdom  → Goodluckevan

          I don’t see how this is any different than anything else in the game. What if you’re on the verge of an invite and don’t have a good enough deck, or don’t have a car to get to events, or don’t have as many rounds as someone else? Someone else having an advantage (that is NOT against the rules in any way) is just the way the world, and this game works.

          I don’t mean to sound rude at all, like, I get where you guys are coming from, I just completely disagree.

          Thanks for reading and good luck getting the invite though. Hope to see you in SD. :)

        • jordan baker  → Kenny

          Technically scooping to a friend is regarded by many TO’s as collusion and grounds for banning from future tournaments.

        • Kenny Wisdom  → jordan

          I think those TOs are in the wrong, then.

          Quoting from the OP Rules & Resources:

          “Players may concede a match to their opponent if they wish, and judges should allow players the opportunity to offer a concession if time is called on an incomplete match but before the players sign their match slip. Once the match slip is signed by both players, the result of the match cannot be changed.

          If a player wishes to concede a match to his or her opponent, a judge or score runner must be called immediately and notified of the concession so that the result can be recorded appropriately.”

          It goes on to talk about bribery, which is “any form of compensation offered”, which is not what’s being talked about here. I’m talking about conceding a match out of kindness, not because they will pay you to concede or anything. It’s not against the rules whatsoever.

        • jordan baker  → Kenny

          I guess I don’t interpret this rule the same way you do. I think there is a big difference between scooping because a game is out of reach, or because you’re going to drop out of the tournament, and going into a tournament planning on scooping to a friend. A person could potentially “thin the field” by taking a group of friends who are all willing to scoop to them. I definitely think that this goes against the spirit of the game. 

          Seriously, if you can’t win a couple battle roads games against your friends you probably don’t deserve to qualify for worlds and it’s a shame that you might be unfairly taking the invite of a more deserving player that, oh I dunno, actually had to WIN GAMES for their rating.

      • Tyler Ninomura  → Anonymous

        Hmmm, it seems like its no different that IDing back in the day, albeit far more onesided. While it was argued that that was against the Spirit of the Game, I saw it more as finding a way to allow both you and your opponent to have a chance to continue competing in the tournament. Both are mutually consensual acts that allow for an outcome that benefits both players, without causing any sort of heartache/sour grapes whatsoever.

        The anti-scoop argument is also pretty faulty in my mind. That’s like trying to say everyone should never ever play a fun deck in their life because they HAVE to play to win. Now THAT’S against the spirit of the game.

        • Anonymous  → Tyler

           No you do not always have to “play to win.” You can take a fun deck if you want. BUT, everyone you play against will get to play against your fun deck. In the situation laid out, it is assumed that you have a competitive deck and have likely beaten other people with it. Then you shaft those people and their resistance by intentionally losing other games.

    • Steven Mason  → Steven

      I wasn’t referring to scooping because a game is out of reach, that is perfectly acceptable. What I’m getting at is this:

      Players A and B are playing, both good friends. Player B asks Player A to  scoop as they need points/whatever.

      That senario IS a form of cheating and it has always been.

  1. Anonymous

    i really hope catcher isn’t abused.. i hope it fails like lost gar did haha

    • Kenny Wisdom  → Anonymous

      I can’t see that happening. 4 Catcher now goes in every deck, probably with 4 Junk Arm too, heh.

      The one positive of Catcher is that it fits into every deck (unlike Luxray/Lost World, etc.) and is an uncommon, so it won’t be expensive.

      Thanks for reading! 

      • Dave Hueglin  → Kenny

        That’s a pretty big chunk of your deck that’s devoted to dragging Pokemon off the bench : 8 cards plus another 8 cards that you are planning to have spare as discards. Granted you may not need to actually use all 4 Junk Arms, but still, it’s not like you can take any deck and splash in 4 Catcher and 4 Junk Arm and still have it be consistent.

        I do think decks will need to focus more on filling their bench early so they can set-up even if a weak Pokemon gets dragged up. We still have Pokemon Collector for that.

  2. Anonymous

     I agree with you on catcher for sure. What I’ve found is that Pokemon Reversal is still a good and fair card in the HGSS on format. It’s still a powerful effect and junk-armable, but the 50-50 balances the risk. From what I’ve seen, most setup decks can beat the speed decks most (but not all) of the time behind a decent enough hand and a setup pokemon like Cleffa. However, with reversal, the speed decks can compete by knocking out that one big evolution and setting them back a turn or two due to the slow rare candy rule. 

    Every time I play my setup deck vs. my brother/girlfriend with their speed deck and they flip tails on reversal, all I can think about is how wrecked the format would be if all of those flips were heads. 

    • Emil lumen  → Anonymous

      Agree, If pokemon catcher was a supporter or had the same ruling as Luxury ball (Cant be use if you already have a pkmn catcher in your discard pile) then it would have been fair.

  3. Julian Chen

     I’m so glad there are people that agree with me. Pokemon Catcher AKA Gust of Wind is BAD for the game, making it even more of a brainless prize exchange rather than tactical switches and strategy. 

    There’s a reason why there was never a reprint of GOW in between the original base set till now. Most cards of the the same vein had fair drawbacks; Poke-Blower needs to be played in pairs, Reversal needs a flip, Double Gust hurts yourself as well, POW Hand Extension needs you to be down in prizes, and it goes on. 

    Getting to drag out any Pokemon on the bench for no draw back is just detrimental for the game, reducing the intellectual challenges and ruining the fun. Then again, the Pokemon Company has not done any good in improving, maintaining the game or even stopping it from deteriorating further.

    -No rotation? Rotation? Mid-season rotation? wat?
    -1 energy for 60. Yea that’s a good idea.
    -We like Gengar. Let’s make a Stadium that only Gengar uses.
    -Let’s make the game more luck based so whoever starts first has no disadvantage whatsoever!
    -We need to slow down the format. Moar Trainers. Oh yea, 1 energy for 120, that’s a good idea.
    -Special Conditions were useless in the format, and have never done well competitively. Let’s make it more useless by introducing ABILITIES, you can use them even with Special Conditions!
    -Confusing games are good, so discard your Supporter once you use it, you can only use one per turn though.
    -While we’re at it, let’s just rename the Trainers, Supporters and Stadiums. Cause ya know, we can.
    -Dialga & Palkia Legend: Increase your opponent’s prizes! Hey that’s sounds cool!
    -Let’s then make it useless by introducing two basic Pokemon with 130HP, both are DPL’s weakness, and have attacks that make Steelix Prime look like a wuss.

    • Anonymous  → Julian

      the discard supporter thing was because of VS seeker. but still i wonder how it gets revamped. i play a supporter. then i play VS seeker to get it back. i cant play another one so WTF was that for. 

  4. Anonymous

    Am I the only one that likes the idea of having Catcher? It makes it riskier to play bench-sitters (*cough*Emboar*cough*), and past the initial “ZOMG IT’S BROKEN” mass hysteria you’ll mostly see on Pokegym, people will learn to play around it. 

    • Kenny Wisdom  → Anonymous

      I don’t think it ruins the format or anything, but it’s bad for the game. Yours is a solid point though, we all enjoy the game for different reasons, and Catcher will certainly add a new dynamic to the game. 

  5. Kevin Stengle

    Yeah, scooping to your friends is definitely unsportsmanlike. I understand helping them get through the grinder, but even with friends you should be playing to win.
    Also, I agree with your thought on catcher. I’m seeing it as the first really overpowered card in the format :/

    • Kenny Wisdom  → Kevin

       I’m not really sure how it’s unsportsmanlike. It only affects our match, and it’s completely within my right to do so. Not seeing the issue here to be honest. Thanks for sharing your opinion though, I didn’t know that part of the article would be so controversial haha.

      Yeah, I agree completely about Catcher. =[

      Thanks for reading!

      • Anonymous  → Kenny

         Like I said up a couple posts, you match DOES NOT only effect you and your current opponent. The tournament software does not work like that.

        • Kenny Wisdom  → Anonymous

           Tournament software has nothing to do with this. I don’t enter a tournament with the obligation that everyone gets treated fairly and that I’ll play my heart out every game. I can concede and drop at any point, as long as no rules are being broken. Really not seeing the issue here.

        • Anonymous  → Kenny

           Yes, you are technically right. I do not think that it is cheating.

          However, earlier you said that, “I’m not really sure how it’s unsportsmanlike. It only affects our match,…”

          I was simply pointing out that your logic is faulty. Your scoop does not effect only you and your current opponent. Because of that FACT, it is widely considered poor form.

  6. Sam Stevens

     theres also pokemon reversal so 4 reversal + 4 catcher + 4 junk arm + porygon z/1 card drawing effect= continuable catching… with 2x weakness on all pokemon, a deck that runs every type + rainbow energy (used for porygon z to attack as well) can completely control the bench… with rare candy changed and no BTS basic’s become catcher bait… vileplume or gothitelle will become a must for any deck that wants to survive the catcher war, thus making the format consist of decks based on either those 2 and be stale 

    • Kenny Wisdom  → Sam

      I don’t think people will bother play Reversal tbh. Having 4 Catcher and 4 Junk Arms gives you 8 Catcher activations, which should be more than enough.

      Good points though, and thanks for reading! 

  7. Cobi

    I agree with you about Catcher being bad for the game.  It makes so many deck fall to it.  I’ve started realizing that when a format makes you choose between one style of play or another, it’s bad for the game.  Gardy/Gallde format, made you choose between GG or anti-GG.  SP format, made you choose between SP or SP counter, if any really.  Among others.  So Catcher will do the same, if there is going to be anything that actually counters it well enough to be worth playing.  If not then we might be a T2 format again, where the first person to be able to Catcher the opponent’s main Pokemon and having a counter for it’s weakness, will fair off better.

    As far as the Spiritomb vs. Sableye part, even if you play Spiritomb some players were thinking of running a counter to that.  Collector with Unown D, Crobat, and something to still disrupt that first turn like Let Loose Garatina.  So while they could be effective I still see Sableye winning almost just as much as we expected.  This ties in though with my previous observation of how formats can be ruined when they force players to have to choose between one style of play or another.

    This HGSS-BW1 format really seems very healthy.  I was talking to Zach Fisher the other day, a well respected player.  He mentioned to me that he has playtested this format a lot.  He gave me his choice for BDIF, but also mentioned that it still does have an auto-loss to what may be a popular deck in DonChamp, among having SOME consistency issues or being auto speed by some faster decks.  But on the upside of things, there seems to be a lot of variety in this format.  Hopefully it’ll stay that way after BW2 is released, if somehow a counter to Catcher is released or we can convince PTCI to errata or ban it.

    • Kenny Wisdom  → Cobi

       Completely agreed on basically everything you’re saying, fantastic comment!
      As far as banning Catcher, I don’t see it happening. If GG, LuxChomp, Sableye, etc. weren’t banned, I don’t see it happening. Not necessarily saying that it’s a bad idea, but I doubt POP would do something like that.

      Thanks for reading!

  8. Sebastian Hunter

    I’m gonna be weird and play Sablelock for BRs. I highly doubt I will win but maybe…

    I think the fact that it can lock and shut down Sabledonk and it can donk is good. I’ll just have to find out.

    Hope to see you at some BRs! I’ll be at the Lynnwood and Redmond BRs fo sure.

  9. theo Seeds

    legends don’t count as basics. but good article though.

  10. Sam Marshall-Smith

     Well, I just won a BR with Sabledonk, going 3-0. I beat Gengar/Dusknoir/Nidoqueen, Mother Gengar and Zekrom/Reshiram. So far I’m very happy with the deck and I know it can donk even if your against a deck with 4 ‘tomb 4 Pitch Dark Gastly and a 2-2 Mewtwo X line =D.

  11. Anonymous

    i agree with catcher definitely. i mean pokemon reversal is OK because its flippy. but a indefinite switch to one of you opponent’s benched by your choice. thats just plain broken. 

  12. Anonymous

    Putting the scooping thing aside:

    I do think that you are right on with everything else. Especially, Pokemon Catcher. It is going to be bad for the game. Say hello to Vileplume again. I guarantee that people are going to sacrifice a prize to set up Vileplume even without a Pokemon with Poltergeist as an attack.  

  13. Joshua Hall

    Other than Energy Removal and Professor Oak, Gust of Wind was the best card in the game.  They’ve reprinted Oak as a supporter (Juniper), and now GoW with no drawback (Catcher).  What the heck, put Energy Removal and Super Energy Removal back in the game, that’ll REALLY spice things up.

    Catcher is ridiculous right now, it’s pretty much a guaranteed prize every time you use it.  It’s going to be Vileplume or 4/4 Catcher/Junk Arm.  Yay for stale pokemon again.

  14. Curtis

     Gust of Wind happened to be one of my all time favorite cards. 

    Also, all my good decks are built HGSS-on. I was planning on running Reshibaor at BR.

  15. Emil lumen

    It can be good or bad. Good way you bring out sitters AKA feraligater and emboar that have ablity/pokepower or Bad way bringing up low pokemon and getting a cheap prize. Still hard to tell, but it’ll cause frustration.

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