Card Comebacks – Cards With Strengthened (and Weakened) Power in the HS-On Format

Hey guys! It’s Dane here, and I figured that it was time to be a Drifblim and “Drift Away” from the CoTD’s for a while (bad pun :P). But don’t worry; this isn’t a -7 rated rogue deck analysis. This is an article about the cards that have finally made an impact on our format after being horrible in years past (or vice versa).

Strengthened Cards

pokebeach.comThe first card I would like to talk about is Energy Search. This card has been in pretty much every format since the beginning of the Pokémon TCG, yet it was only (sometimes) used early on. In the HS-On format, there are no TSS cards that can search your deck for energy.

For example, there’s no more Cyrus’s Conspiracy which has been the Energy-Go-To guy. And he even helped and got you a Supporter and a TGI, as well. In the new format, Girafarig could possibly help, but that would take up your attack for the turn.

There’s also Unown DARK, but he’d only help in Darkness decks. In this format, we don’t have Double Rainbow Energy, Claydol, Uxie, or Cyrus’s Conspiracy. So if you want energy quickly, you’d now run Energy Search; it is definitely a viable card that helps a lot.

Another card that’s making a HUGE comeback is Switch. It was used in the early days, but then it was forgotten. It was replaced by cards such as Warp Point, Warp Energy, and (as in the 2007-2008 format) Gardevoir LV.X’s “Teleportation” Poké-Power.

First off, many powerful Pokémon in the past couple formats had a one (or even free) Retreat Cost, so it wasn’t really needed in the first place. Then Vileplume and Spiritomb entered the format and deleted the use of Switch once and for all. But in the new format, almost all good attackers (Reshiram, Zekrom, Donphan Prime, Machamp Prime, Emboar, etc.) have high Retreat Costs, so Switch is needed. Good thing Spiritomb’s getting rotated, huh?

pokebeach.comThe next card is Cleffa. Originally released in Neo Genesis, Cleffa has an amazing attack called “Eeeek”, which tells you to shuffle your hand into your deck and draw 6 cards (the original text said 7).

Though it originally needed an energy to attack, HeartGold & SoulSilver gave it a zero-energy cost, which is pretty sweet. The idea is to use all the cards that you need, and then get rid of the useless cards replace it with a brand-new hand.

With the Black & White rules, it makes it even stronger, as your can burn through all your Trainers, then refresh. It was also given a body called “Sweet Sleeping Face”; as long as this Pokémon is asleep, prevent all damage from attacks done to it.

Since they edited the attack to put it to sleep, this works out perfectly. It wasn’t used last season because it only has 30 HP. But in the new format, very few Pokémon can do 30 damage on the first turn. But even if they can, they might not even be able to damage Cleffa at all because of his Poké-body.

Yet another card is Dual Ball. Dual Ball was popular when it first came out in Expedition, and even more so in Delta Species. It was in almost every Top 4 Deck at Worlds 2006. When it got released in Unleashed, however, people didn’t use it, because they had the much more reliable Pokémon Collector to grab their Basics.

pokebeach.comIf they really wanted to grab their Basics with a Trainer, they could use Great Ball (when it still searched for a single Basic, not with the Master Ball eratta). It’s used in Sabledonk, but that doesn’t really count (for Spring BR use only).

But in the HS-On format, it’s used much more as we don’t have the easiest search engine as we did before (no Bebe’s Search, no Luxury Ball, no Claydol, no Uxie, etc.), and Supporters are needed to get the harder-to-get cards, such as Evolutions.

The final strengthened card is none other than Professor Elm’s Training Method. It was very popular when it first came out because during that format, it was pretty hard to get your evolutions out.

But when it was re-released in HeartGold & SoulSilver, no one used it because they had Bebe’s Search, which could search for any Pokémon, Luxury Ball, which could also search for any Pokémon, and Pokémon Communication, which was used because it was a Trainer so you don’t have to waste your Supporter for the turn (plus it could also get any Pokémon).

However with the rotating of Bebe’s Search and Luxury Ball, Evolutions are much harder to get out, hence the new found use of Professor Elm.

Weakened Cards

Pokémon Collector last format was used to grab two Basics and a Uxie. This way you can, for example, get your Luxray GL, and Garchomp C, and then be able to draw into other important cards with Uxie’s “Set Up”.

Now that Uxie is gone, you can get 3 important Basics that you need, but you’re not going to be able to draw into other important cards. I’m not saying that Pokémon Collector is now suddenly horrible, but it’s power is definitely weakened.

Double Colorless Energy (DCE) was the all-star of many decks last format (LuxChomp, DialgaChomp, Sablelock, [Insert Pokémon Name Here]Chomp, etc.). But in the new format, there’s not many good Pokémon that need DCE. Sure, there’s Bouffalant, but you’re not gonna focus a deck around him, right?

DCE could be added there as a tech, but only one or two, not a full set. The only possible deck that will always use in is Cinccino, but that’s (from what I’ve heard) only a Tier Two deck. All in all, DCE is still useable, but definitely not in the Best-Card-In-Format status anymore (Emboar took that spot up :P).

Well, well. Looks like Pokémon Company International crashed the set up party by changing the text of one of the most powerful set-up cards in the format: Rare Candy. Rare Candy was the all-star of many decks from the moment it was released until the Black & White rules set in.

It used to be that you can drop a basic, use Rare Candy, and then have a Stage 2 right away. But nooo, they just had to make it that you have to wait a turn to use Rare Candy. Oh hooray.

So those are some strengthened (and weakened) cards that I thought should deserve some attention. If you think of any others, please comment below and I’ll ask Adam to edit them in for me. :) Thanks for reading, and I’ll see ya next time. Bye!

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Reader Interactions

26 replies

  1. Dave Wilson

    What do you think about junk arm? Looks like the card is set to be a staple in a lot of decks in the next format, specifically variants that are heavily trainer-based (i.e., Dual Ball instead of Collector, heavy Pokemon Communication line instead of Elm, great for recovering rare candies if you need to Juniper, Pluspower, etc.). It’s really great to drop a couple cards you don’t need in the late game to get another energy retrieval back or a Pluspower in a pinch.

    • Dan W  → Dave

       Junk Arm has probably gained power with the new PlusPower ruling. It was probably more useful last format than it will be in this format because you could re-use TGI’s, Expert Belt etc. but it not completely weakened. Though I think this format will use a lot more Supporters than Items unlike the MD-on format, so Junk Arm won’t see as much play.

  2. Emil lumen

    I like this.
    Strengthen cards: Potion Stantler (call for family) Has a built in collector but it benches instead. Minum ( same reason as stantler)

    Weaken cards: Copycat (with uxie gone, your opponent wont have a big hand except for ninetales users) Twins (with no spiritomb to give your opponent the first knock out its mostly use in lostworld or certain other decks?) Great ball (since it was changed to act like master ball, which was kinda not necessary, cause now we don’t have the unique great ball card anymore)

    Double colorless is just an energy and is always going to be here, its lost some decks but its still used in the same decks that use them before.

    • Tyler Odom  → Emil

      I actually think Twins Gained from the format change. Yes, with no spiritomb, you can’t give them the first prize to start using this card. But wait, Cleffa is used now, and has less HP needed for it to be killed. This makes it an easy first prize card, giving you a chance to use Twins. Cleffa is has more use in different decks then Spiritombs did, making it boost Twins effectiveness.

      • Emil lumen  → Tyler

        Not everyone uses cleffa like they (ab)used spiritomb in rogue decks, trainerlocks, etc. Cleffa is okay i guess, but not everyone plays cleffa, there’s still stantler too. So if cleffa is REALLY good then i think Twins is gonna stay the same as it was then. 

      • Jorge Davila  → Tyler

        NO…that made no sense whats so dont gain anything from cleffa just a new hand
        But wait..what if you already have a good had..then that card is useless twins has always been good..especially frm spiritomb

        • Tyler Odom  → Jorge

          “.you dont gain anything from cleffa just a new hand”

          and in HGSS-ON, lots of decks will be using this to run through their decks faster…. Think you’re Underrating Cleffa to much…

        • Jorge Davila  → Tyler

          no they won’t…so far i haven’t seen anyone with cleffa yet..

          and most of the time,when ppl shuffle their hands for new one’s that hand ends up being worse.

          im pretty sure if ppl wanna be fast they ain’t gonna run that and waste a turn..i think your overrating cleffa to much

        • Tyler Odom  → Jorge

          did i forget to mention HGSS-ON? course no one will play cleffa in decks right now with Sabledonk still out there. Well, unless the deck is for the next format…. My friend uses Cleffa in his Reshiboar deck fix’d for next format, and came in 2nd at his Battle Roads, losing to the donk.

        • Jorge Davila  → Tyler

          you did..but i think that it would slow many ppl down..
          Because what if you done have twins when it gets knocked out?
          Their would have been no reason for putting it out there…to me cleffa is going to be dumb

  3. Anonymous

    Energy Search isn’t the only ENergy Searching card; Interviewer’s Questions can.

    • Matthew Zwicker  → Anonymous

      Technically, Interviewer’s Questions doesn’t guarantee you an energy- however, it would be highly unlikely that you didn’t get an energy on 8 consecutive cards, especially if you’re running a high count. It’s also a supporter, which isn’t as flexible as a trainer.

       I don’t like energy search that much because like Travis said, you could just add an extra energy to your deck- it’s pretty well the same thing. However, you could Junk Arm for a previously used energy search in order to guarantee yourself an energy but again, you’d probably want to Junk Arm for something different. Anyways, I’m off on a tangent now…

  4. Travis Yeary

    I think you can make this into a small series of articles. There are many other cards that you could go into detail about such as Sages Training, Engineers, Pichu, Circulator, Reversal and so on. I like your writing style, you should drift away from COtD more often.

    Although there is one card in there that I have always thought, and still think is a waste of cardboard and ink, and that’s energy search. I see it valuable in some decks that run many types of basic energy, but why not just replace the energy search with a basic energy? It’s the exact same thing but without wasting time to search the deck.

    • Adam Capriola  → Travis

      People used to use Energy Search in Dark Slowking decks just to help thin cards. I dunno if it was really that good or not, but it did see some play in an “ok” deck.

    • Julian Silva  → Travis

      Probably the only good thing about Energy Search is that it can be re-used with Junk Arm and help thin a deck and discard any unneeded cards in your hand.

      But even as a deck thinning card I still won’t run it in any of my decks. It really isn’t worth it.

  5. tim h

    I think the deck that will run energy search will be magneboar. Since they run junk arm, its easy for them to get energy search when they need it – and it can be essential for pulling out your 1 lightning energy (out of 2-3) for RDL. I would almost always put an energy in over it, though. 

  6. Jorge Davila

    How is DCE gonna go down?..that makes no sense.It can still be used in many decks, other then just cinccino

    It could still be used in reshiram and zekrom
    Also what if you don’t run emboar? Not everyone will run that just saying my thoughts out here..

    It could also be used in zorark, it needs a DCE  and blastoise

  7. Anonymous

    I think Pokemon Collector is much stronger (not weaker) in the new format.  In the old format, you could use Bebe’s or Pokemon Communication to get a Uxie, then “Set Up” to hopefully get more Pokemon you need; or with Sableye you could play another supporter, then Impersonate a Collector. So to get going quickly in the new format, Pokemon Collector is stonger and much more important in your opening hand than it was previously.  You admit that Dual Ball (which gets you an average of 1 basic) is stronger now, so how is Pokemon Collector (which gets you 3 basics) weaker?

    And I think that Pokegear is one of the most-strengthened cards in the new format, but many people don’t seem to realize it yet.

    • Dan W  → Anonymous

      Pokégear is amazing in this format. I tested 2 in my Serperior/Reuniclus and it speeds up the deck so much. Definitely overlooked and IMO, one of the best Trainer / Item cards we have at the moment.

    • Emil lumen  → Anonymous

      Pokemon collector is weakened because with spiritomb gone, you can use a lot of trainers in your deck now, and many people rather run dual balls and use like 2 per turn, and be able to oak or juniper for a new hand after benching, and you can junk arm dual ball, so pokemon collector is strong but if i cant get uxie and set up then i rather save it for an oak or juniper. Oh and stantler is another good reason why collector is weaken.
      Poke-gear is really nice, how many would you play in a deck like 2-3?

        • Emil lumen  → theo

          Miss plume is still out there (mismagius/vileplume) but its gonna take 2-3 turns before that plume comes out same with the goth but she’s easy to take care off cause shes gonna have to be active to lock trainers, So im not too worried, i dunno about you. 
          With pkmn catcher, just bring out the gloom or oddish before it becomes a vileplume.

        • theo Seeds  → Emil

          “and that goth pokemon coming out”

          vileplume can also be a tech in pretty much anything, and don’t forget Victrebell is still in the format. And Gothitelle or whatever it is is going to be big (if PP doesn’t hold it till November or February like Lost Link Cards)

  8. David Griggs

    It’s been said before, but I’m going to echo the comments prior with my own input.

    Energy Search is basically the same as drawing a basic energy with the exception that you can Junk Arm it. The only thing that it is good for is thinning your deck, something that’s not used as much in Pokemon as it is in other card games. While it does provide a bit of support in multicolor decks, not many have surfaced in the new format. While I think this will change as we play more, I don’t see Energy Search finding its way into many decks.

    Pokemon Collector hasn’t been weakened with the rotation. Pokemon based hand refresh has been weakened. While you could say that Collector used to be so powerful because it could search for multiple basics and give you a full hand, that was not the main purpose of the card. The main purpose is fast and effective setup. And I think it definitely accomplishes that task still. Besides, we still have pokemon based hand refresh in the form of Cleffa. And that’s searchable with Collector! >_<

    Lastly, DCE has always been a broken card. Getting two energy for the cost of one is amazing and there are still plenty of pokemon who can benefit from it. Take for example, Emboar 19. The non-ability one. The wording on his attack Flare Blitz benefits so well from a DCE that it's not even funny. Plus, you have a range of pokemon who can attack for just one DCE, Bouffalant, Cincinno, and Zoroark to name a few. In addition, the only pokemon common between the decks you listed was Garchomp Lv. X. It's kind of silly to say that a card has weakened because it's only useful with a few pokemon now but then only give one pokemon as the reason for why it was so strong before.

    Don't get me wrong, I loved the article and it's gotten me thinking about some interesting ideas for the next format. I simply think that some of the points are exaggerated.

  9. theo Seeds

    viable cards that still use DCE

    Ursaring Prime
    Theme deck Emboar
    I’m sure there’s more

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