“Deterrence is the art of producing in the mind of the enemy… the fear to attack. And so, because of the automated and irrevocable decision making process which rules out human meddling, the Donphan machine is terrifying. It’s simple to understand. And completely credible, and convincing.” -Quote Edited
Hey guys and welcome back to my exhaustive list and review of the Pokémon Primes that will likely have a noticeable impact next season, finishing up with the Undaunted and Triumphant sets.
Be sure to check out part one if you haven’t seen it yet.
pokebeach.comEspeon Prime has a mediocre 100 HP for a Stage One, one Retreat Cost, and a predictable weakness to Psychic. His strength lies in his “Evolution Memories” Poké-Body, which allows him to use the attacks of any of your Eevee-lutions in play as his own, provided you have the requisite energy to do so.
That means you can choose from as many as three of the following, all of which are included in the Undaunted set: Jolteon, Flareon, Leafeon, Umbreon, Espeon, and Vaporeon. Jolteon, Vaporeon and Flareon probably won’t see play together, since their main attack requires two of an energy and one colorless, making it hard to mix types.
Flareon makes you discard, leaving him a better partner for Typhlosion or Emboar. This leaves us with Espeon, Umbreon and Leafeon. None of them are really all that great with each other, and most just aren’t that great on their own.
Espeon’s Poké-Body would be great if there were some decent attacks to go with it, but then why wouldn’t you just run those cards in the first place instead of by proxy?
The only decent combination I could see would be to combo him with Umbreon Prime to get type diversity and his decent Evoblast attack.
Houndoom has decent stats, 110 HP, low retreat, and resistance to psychic doesn’t hurt, but that x2 weakness to Fighting is not going to be helpful at all in the next format. His expensive attack is really only worth it if you can get Special Darks on him, but then when he gets KO’d the energy go with him.
Houndoom is likely better on the bench, working well with status decks like Leafeon. You have to flip a coin to burn the defending pokemon, giving you a 50% chance of increasing Leafeon’s damage output by 50, and a 25% chance of adding an additional 20 damage before your opponent’s next turn.
Houndoom’s low Retreat Cost will also be helpful when Pokémon Catcher is released, since it’s possible he could be dragged out, but I’m not sure he’ll be able to use it with 110 HP being well within much of the metagame’s 1HKO territory.
Houndoom is a support Pokémon, and will likely be only as good as what he is supporting. Leafeon could be a solid fit for him, but only time will tell how viable a special condition deck with a 90 HP attacker is.
pokebeach.comRaichu has predictable stats: 100 HP, one Retreat Cost, x2 weakness to fighting, and a resistance to steel. The resistance would be great due to Steelix Prime and Scizor being around, but the likely ubiquity of fire decks in the next format will probably render his resistance moot.
Raichu does have two interesting things about him though: first of all, he’s on of the few Pokémon in the HGSS-on format that can hit for 120 before weakness and without a multiplier (see: Leafeon or Tangrowth).
This of course comes at a cost, and a steep one at that: you have to discard all energy attached to Raichu. Really the only way to get around this is to drop a Pachirisu for energy acceleration and then move them to Raichu using his second strength: “Voltage Increase”.
This would allow you to still attach your energy for the turn, thus paying for another attack, but being able to get three energy in one turn is a bit of a challenge that would require not only a heavy energy line but a lot of draw power.
Personally, I think Raichu could almost as good or better than Zekrom (no need for Pachirisu, better consistency) if you could set up a consistent combo, but the 100 HP is just not enough in the next format.
Scizor is all-around mediocre with his stats but the text of the card is where he really shines. His “Red Armor” Poké-Body prevents ALL effects of attacks done to him, including damage, by any Pokémon with special energy attached to them.
In the HGSS-on format, this means DCE, Special Darkness energy, Special Metal energy, Rescue Energy and Rainbow energy. Last format had special energies seeing a lot of play, and although we don’t have things like Call Energy or Warp Energy anymore, the most important ones have stayed.
Still, most of what looks like top tier material in the format doesn’t require (and most decklists don’t seem to run) a lot of special energy, meaning his Red Armor will be much easier to get around. Lastly, his Metal Scissors attack does 30 + 20 for each M Energy attached to him, though I find it pretty useless to attach more than two or three most of the time.
The right combo with Klingklang from Black/White might also help keep this guy around longer (especially when Max Revive comes out) but I think Steelix would probably be a better option if you are going to run Metal at all. He might be slower, but he’ll probably stay out a lot longer.
pokebeach.comWhat can I say, this guy is a cheap Uxie LV.X through and through. Does that mean he’ll make an impact in the next format with Uxie being cycled out? Likely not. First, let’s see why he’s worse than Uxie. Slowking evolves from Slowpoke, whose utility depends on which one you choose.
Personally, I like the rambunctious party one which can net you some benched basics T1, but even that can’t compare with the ability to refresh your hand for as many as 7 cards (Uxie).
Two Retreat Cost is not flattering, although you could always use switch (though I prefer not to throw switch in just to move a support Pokémon around on a rare occasion). His “Opponent’s Choice” is much like Uxie’s Trade Off Poké-Power, although as the name suggests, your opponent gets to choose which card you get, and that makes all of the difference.
With Uxie LV.X at least you get to choose, allowing you to take the better card and also keeping you from revealing the contents of your deck to your opponent unnecessarily.
This card also only gets worse with the rotation, since you can’t retrieve the contents of the bottom of your deck anymore with Underground Expedition or possibly Dusk Ball if a Pokémon is sent down there. Finally, “Super Psybolt” costs an extra P Energy to do the same amount of damage as Zen Blade, but you are allowed to use it again next turn unlike our friend the Knowledge Pokémon.
However, paying three for 60 really isn’t all that great unless you need to hit for weakness in a tight spot, but do you really want to sink a DCE on Slowking and leave him out there with 100 HP and a Retreat Cost of two? He might be fun for league play but that’s about it.
Umbreon has similar stats to Houndoom above, minus 10 HP. What he does have over his canine counterpart however is an attack that can hit for as much as 90 on turn 2 (doubtful as this is) just using basic darkness energy and a double colorless.
“Evoblast” will always do at least 60 base damage, since Umbreon himself counts toward its + 10 modifier, but can do as much as 90 if you have more Umbreon/Jolteon/etc. on you bench.
Honestly, the best way to play this guy is probably with more Umbreon, including another Prime and the regular one for his “Moonlight Fang”. One other possibility is to throw in an Espeon Prime or two to hit for Psychic weakness, allowing you to counter Machamp (but sadly not Donphan) Prime and diversify your strengths/weaknesses.
The fact remains that Umbreon only has 100 HP, but if he can avoid a 1HKO, he does have a built-in Super Scoop Up which is pretty nifty, something he shares only with Promo Toxicroak G.
Sadly, much like the other Eevee-lutions, he just isn’t really powerful enough nor does he have the lasting power to command a position in any deck.
pokebeach.comFinally, we are on to the Triumphant set Primes. We start with Absol, a dark type disaster Pokémon that has what seems to be the traditional stats for Dark Prime Pokémon, albeit with slightly less HP due to his status as a basic Pokémon.
Absol is useful for his “Eye of Disaster” Poké-Body, although he has to be active in order for it to work. Also, the Poké-Body is really only useful for the first couple of turns, after which the marginal utility of keeping Absol active drops precipitously.
Probably the best way to go about using this guy is to have him as your starting Pokémon, and use Vicious Claw T2 to catapult one of the Pokémon in your hand into the Lost Zone for Mew or Lucario to utilize later one.
Obviously you have to be careful about this since it could bite you in the behind if you end up playing a LostGar or MewGar deck, but his Vicious Claw attack helps to serve as a 1HKO machine on both Mew and Gengar Prime.
Ultimately, other than mowing through Gengars and possibly annoying your opponent early in the game, I just don’t see much use for him right now.
Celebi has the Lowest HP of all Prime Pokémon, clocking in at a total 60, and has the worst possible weakness for the next format. However, there is some hope for him with his Time Circle attack: for a Grass, Psychic, and Colorless you can do 30 damage, but also prevent all damage done by your opponents Stage 1 or 2 Pokémon next turn.
This puts the effect on the opponent, ensuring that even if they evolve their Pokémon or switch them out, the effect will remain. While this probably won’t be a help against fire type decks (Reshiram/RDL) this will stop a Donphan/Machamp deck in their tracks.
Question is, where do you go from there? I guess “Time Circle” could stall for a while, allowing you to use ‘Forest Breath’ to accelerate one of your Pokémon’s attacks on the bench (Tangrowth?), but once Pokémon Catcher is released this strategy goes right down the toilet.
Fortunately, Celebi is a grass type and combos well with Vileplume! Still, that strategy is highly hypothetical and I think Celebi is probably best as a starter for energy acceleration early game, and definitely one of the best starters for grass type decks.
pokebeach.comNope. Not even once. Kids, just say no to Energymite. I’ve tried this guy in Zekrom, LostGar, etc., and it’s just not worth nuking the top seven and a prize for a short and temporary burst of energy acceleration (maybe).
It might be fun to play in Leagues but I can’t really take him seriously at the moment in a competitive environment. I really hope someone proves me wrong on this though since I have a ton of these things.
Gengar is my favorite Pokémon, and I feel like Gengar Prime really does him justice. Catastrophe is great tool, allowing you to Lost Zone any Pokémon that gets Knocked Out on Gengar’s watch, although this will likely be limited to basics or baby types and only when the opponent’s hand doesn’t have anything to be Hurled into Darkness.
Unfortunately for Gengar, stage 2’s are a lot slower in the next format, making it harder for him to Lost Zone Pokémon quickly since the first few turns are the most opportune to catch your opponent off-guard and disrupt their strategy.
I’ve tried using Smeargle for help with setup but found that he was still too slow/unreliable (especially without Unown Q). Trying Mew for quicker Lost Zoning tended to work, although it often made Gengar useless except for that first turn See Off attack.
So, as sad as it is to admit, my LostGar build right now actually focuses on Mews/Revives and some other junk to LZ Pokémon quickly since, let’s face it, Lost Zone decks don’t often take prizes so the best defense is to Lost Zone their attackers before they hit the table.
What can I say other than Machamp is a straight beast. Fighting type is going to be popular in the next format and he is one of the reasons why. 150 HP is one of the highest in the game, and he hits hard too.
Crushing Punch does 60 damage but is pretty expensive; still, it can be paid for with a F Energy and a DCE, and comes with the added benefit of being able to discard a special energy card attached to the defending Pokémon.
His second attack is where he really shines, though: 100 damage + 10 for each Pokémon on your bench with damage counters on them. Combo that with Donphan Prime’s Earthquake, which does 10 damage to your entire bench, and you can be hitting for as much as 150 before Weakness/Resistance, enough to 1HKO just about any Pokémon.
Just like Crushing Punch, Champ Buster is pretty expensive but is also payable with a DCE. Lastly, his Fighting Tag Poké-Power allows you to switch him out (probably with Donphan or another Machamp) to the Active Spot while taking all of your last active’s energy with him.
If it’s possible to keep this up as you get more Machamp on your bench, you can ensure a revolving door of Machamps ready to hit for 100+ damage.
Magnezone is losing one of his best friends soon: Regirock. Still, he has a chance to shine in the next format, combining nicely with Pachirisu from CoL to feed his “Lost Burn” attack or, if you like smashing more than one stage 2 in your deck, Emboar.
Additionally, Magnezone’s “Magnetic Draw” Poké-Power is a helpful draw engine in any deck if you can suffer trying to get him out in the first place. 140 HP also ensures he’ll be around for a while, although once again Fighting weakness may come back to haunt him.
If you decide to run Magnezone I would throw a couple Switch in though, since he can be a pain to retreat if he gets dragged out and you don’t want/aren’t ready to use Lost Burn.
Personally, as often as I say I don’t like using more than one stage 2, Magnezone/Emboar is a match made in heaven, and can really smash faces for a ton of damage as well as having built in draw power.
pokebeach.comMew is pretty popular at the moment with MewPerior and LostGar decks, and will likely see some play in the next format as well. One likely build is MewCario, an Absol/Mew/Lucario build that Lost Zones its own Pokémon quickly and then hits for 30 + 20 for each of your own Pokémon in the Lost Zone with Lucario CoL’s “Dimension Sphere” attack.
However, much like Leafeon and some other great attackers, his low HP is a concern, and I’m not certain how great of an idea it is to Lost Zone your own Pokémon with LostGar players still waiting for an opportunity to shine.
Speaking of, Mew is a great alternative to playing a stage 2 Gengar, although again his HP is a concern. However, if you can Lost Zone their main attackers quickly and start with a good lead of Lost Zone’d Pokémon before your opponent takes their first prize (all of which is possible with a good start) you could have a solid chance of victory.
The fact that he is a basic also allows you to Revive him and slap a Psychic energy all in one turn, making it easy to keep the Mew Machine going consistently.
Everyone’s talking about Yanmega, mostly for his Fighting resistance (to defend against Donphan) and his ability to attack quickly and retreat for free. 110 HP is also pretty nice, and I’m not so sure we should be worried about his weakness to Lighting type, since I don’t believe it will take off right away in this next format (other than Magnezone).
Even with the weakness, we aren’t talking about a main attacker here, since 70 damage just isn’t all that much and his Insight Poké-Body requires you have as many cards in your hand as your opponent (which often requires a judge/copycat and can keep you from playing important cards).
Instead Yanmega can be a very splashable tech in a lot of decks, although most people are talking about throwing him in Zekrom builds as a Donphan Defense.
However, I don’t see him as a good enough tech against Donphan, since it will still take three attacks to KO him, which is plenty of time for them to get out a Machamp or set up a return KO.
pokebeach.comFinally we can return to the Pokémon I had been saving for the end: Donphan. He’s also in the name of this article and for very good reason. First, Donphan commands respect with his solid 120 HP, and to make matters worse his “Exoskeleton” Poké-Body ensures that no matter what type you are you will be hitting for 20 less.
God forbid you are electric, since Donphan will further deduct 20 damage from your attack with his resistance to Lightning. Donphan’s weakness to Water isn’t seen as a real threat at the moment with water types still missing a certain je ne sais quoi.
Donphan can also Earthquake for 60 with one energy, an attack that is just ridiculously fast and reliable, and will often hit for x2 with all of the fighting weakness to be had at the moment.
His attack supposedly makes you pay by taking 10 to the face of every benched Pokémon you have, although if you have more Donphan on the bench this can be mitigated by their own Exoskeleton Poké-Bodies.
“Heavy Impact” is an okay attack but I wouldn’t use it, since Donphan is best combined with our buddy Machamp Prime who not only bypasses Donphan’s MASSIVE Retreat Cost, but also exploits the 10 damage you just did to your entire bench.
Just like that, Donphan’s few weaknesses have also become strengths. With a combo like that the only thing Donphan/Machamp players have to fear is Water or Psychic weakness which, as I’ve discussed before, just isn’t a threat right now. Even if they were, your deck would only be weak to one at a time, leaving you options to attack with.
This is why Donphan was saved for the end: the guy really has no exploitable weaknesses right now. He has de facto resistance to all Pokémon, type resistance to Lightning, can start smashing faces T2 (often for x2), has a solid 120 HP, and his few bad points are exploitable by the same Pokémon who just happens to combo perfectly with him.
There are a lot of great cards and archetypes in the upcoming format but as far as Primes go, I think Donphan has the most promise for the next season. Thanks for reading!