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

Hey guys! It’s Dane again, and here I am with a sequel to my last article, as people gave me many more ideas that I feel that I should’ve included. So without further ado, let’s get started! :D

Strengthened Cards

Junk ArmI’d like to start off with a rusty piece of metal that we like to call Junk Arm. Last format, Junk Arm was used quite often, and was even a staple in Gyarados. But back then, we only really used 1 or 2 as a tech in your deck (sans G-Dos). But now, we all need a boost in consistency in our decks, so Trainers are used often.

Junk Arm let’s you reuse those Trainers, as well as getting rid of useless cards. Junk Arm is now a 3-or-4-of staple in almost every deck. Junk Arm has had a tremendous boost in power and popularity, and it deserves to be noticed.

Another strengthened card is Potion. With the text change, this card is much more useful. It’s still not very good, but it is now even more useful in Healix than it once was, and can even be added into metagame decks such as Zekrom, Reshiboar, Magneboar, DonChamp, and much, much more. It’s still not a staple in any deck, but Potion is now a card that can actually help.

A third card to add to our list is Stantler. With a much slower format, getting your Basics is even more important, as you want to set up as fast as possible. Stantler helps because his attack, Call for Family, costs a single energy and searches your deck for up to two basic Pokémon and place them on your bench. It is basically Call Energy; it even ends your turn like Call did. Last format, Stantler wasn’t used because there were much better options to start with (i.e. Smeargle, Sableye, etc). Nowadays, Stantler helps tremendously in setting up, so it definitely deserves to be here.

Sage’s Training. When I first saw it, I thought it was horrible. What if there are THREE or more cards that you need from the top of your deck. This card is pretty much USELESS. Well, I now stand corrected. Though it is not good enough to become a staple, it certainly helps now.

Part of the reason Junk Arm has been strengthened is because Turn 1 Trainer Lock is gone and because of Sage’s Training. You get the two un-retrievable cards that you need, and then get the other cards you need with Junk Arm, Revive, etc. It is SO much more useful than it once was.

Lastly, I’d like to mention Pokémon Reversal. It was such an amazing card when it originally came out in Expedition, and was amazing all the way through HeartGold & SoulSilver. But no one really used it when it came out in HS. Luxray GL LV.X’s Bright Look was much better, as it didn’t require a coin flip.

It was somewhat popular in Regionals 2011, but only in G-Dos. Now, pulling up high-retreat or low-HP is more important than ever. Of course Switch as rose in popularity, as I spoke about in my last article, but still, Reversal can completely destroy some decks. It is particularly useful in DonChamp and other Donphan variants.

Weakened Cards

Copycat is our first weakened card. It was useful when it originally came out, but now we have smaller hand sizes as Uxie is gone, Claydol is gone, Pokédex HANDY910is is gone, and many other draw cards are gone. The fact that more decks this season are Trainer-based also hurts this card, as people will be able to burn through their decks.

pokebeach.comThe only deck (it hasn’t proven Top Tier, though) that could use Copycat as a staple is Misplume (Mismagius/Vileplume), because it will lock your opponent’s many Trainers, and therefore making their hand large. It’s still a viable card, but it is much less useful than it once was.

One of last format’s popular starters has now fallen under then weakened category: Smeargle. In the HS-On format, there are two starters that people are talking about: Smeargle, and Cleffa. In the original Card Comebacks article, I put Cleffa under the Strengthened category, as it is the most popular.

Smeargle, as you can see, is put under the Weakened category.Why? Because Professor Oak Juniper was released, Smeargle could possibly put you into a horrible start. Although it still could possibly help you by grabbing a Collector or Elm’s, the threat of Juniper is dangerous, and therefore putting Cleffa as a higher rank starter.

Well, those are my strengthened and weakened cards for today. If you have any other cards you felt like I should include, comment below and I’ll put it into my 3rd article in the mini-series. Thanks for readin’, and I’ll see ya next time. Bye!!!

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Reader Interactions

15 replies

  1. Edgar F

    It’s rather weak, and honestly, Smeargle if played right is still VERY strong. You have to plan for hitting hand refresh, including Juniper or Judge, and play your hand and Portrait accordingly. It’s still in many cases better than Eek, and if you can use it alongside Eek, you have a guaranteed turn 2 setup.

  2. Anonymous

    i run smeargle in my reshiboar. it is my favorite starter for the deck. i tried cleffa but then id end of roast revealing and then eeking burning a fire energy(since i didnt use any of the drawn cards) or not having a collector and then burning a turn to get one. through ym tesitng ive only ahd the only option of juniper once. that was when my hand was only a fire energy. if you play your cards in the right order portrait is a lot less harmful. still can be harmful but most time my opponent has more then jsut a juniper.

  3. Mekkah

    I don’t really agree on some counts. Potion got “stronger” by all of 10 HP, but at the same time, healing in general became a much worse strategy and isn’t going to get any better any time soon due to the prevalence of OHKOs. The fact that the best tanks in the format (Steelix and other users of Special Metal) have a near autoloss to the best decks in the format (Emboar based decks) does not help them any. If anything, this card is even weaker.

    Stantler got some hype early, but right now everyone is on the Cleffa train, and rightfully so. Stantler just clogs your Bench and does little else for you. With perfectly fine alternatives that don’t use up your attack, such as Collector and Dual Ball, he’s just not very efficient. He is better than before by a little, but he is nowhere near Call Energy.

    As for Copycat, I don’t quite see what PokedexHandy has to do with hand sizes since it doesn’t result in a net gain or loss in hand size. I do agree with the overall conclusion, but I’m disappointed there’s no mention of Yanmega Prime’s (relatively) increased strength, and Yanmega feeds off Copycat to trigger Insight.

    • aura  → Mekkah

      Cleffa has problems too:
      1. What if you have a hand too good to get screamed away? You leave him to die?
      2.If you get heads after Eeeeking, 30 damage isn’t terribly hard to do.

      • Mekkah  → aura

        Cleffa has been argued to hell and back so I’m not going to be too elaborate here. But Cleffa’s problems, for me (and from what I can tell, almost everyone else), far outweigh its problems. If your hand is too good to Eek away, use its free retreat to put it on the bench.

  4. Jak Stewart-Armstead

    This article feels a little bit . . . short and not fully developed.

    The worst thing that happened to Smeargle was losing Unown Q. You can survive Portraiting Juniper (play out your hand before using the Power), but having to waste Energy drops or Switch every time? No thanks.

    PlusPower deserves a mention in Strengthened Cards, no?

    • Anonymous  → Jak

      What’s your thoughts on Smeargle in Donchamp? Fighting tag? Or maybe use one as a tech for late game recovery and set….

      • Jak Stewart-Armstead  → Anonymous

        Smeargle is probably better in Donchamp than anywhere else. You have Fighting Tag, the deck tends to run a few Switch/Junk Arm, and it’s somewhat dangerous to run Cleffa with Donphan for obvious reasons.

        I guess I wouldn’t be violently opposed to it.

    • David Griggs  → Jak

      This is a sequel article, so I can understand the length of it. But it definitely seems like it needed a bit more work before getting published.

      Also, I don’t see how Smeargle is worth playing in any deck but Machamp right now. Even in Machamp it’s a toss-up because it all depends on your opponent’s hand. While Juniper can be played around, supporters are now more situational then ever.

      And yes. Why isn’t PlusPower on either list? It’s the only way for Zekrom or Reshiram to OHKO in a mirror. It makes outrage KO a baby. It’s helpful in most decks. Not every deck, but definitely a deck that hits for 120 on average.

      • Mekkah  → David

        I don’t even like it in Machamp since it forces you to attach and Fighting Tag every time you want to Portrait without discarding Energy, and all of its other problems (not consistently hitting the Supporter you want) still apply. Give me a Cleffa or Phanpy start any day.

  5. Sean Parmley

    I agree with Mekkah.  Yanmega is popping up all over the place, in many different decks.  Copycat, and judge is a staple in those decks. 

    • Anonymous  → Sean

      dont forget reshiboar and reshiphlosion will have HUGE handsizes. in my testing sometimes i had used a copycat for 20! beat that juniper!

  6. Perry Going

    copycat if anything has gotten better. the reason being is so many people are running cleffa that most copycats will be a guarenteed 6. also you have the possibility of drawing alot more with copycat.

  7. Travis Yeary

    Going to be a lot of disagreement over Copycat. IMO it’s superior to both PONT and juniper in this format. With the ninetales, cleffa, and magnezone everywhere, the most common hand size at the end of a turn is 6. I’ve drawn hands from 13-16 against reshiboar as well.

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