Hey SixPrizes Nation! Well it has been a little while since my last deck analysis article. Hopefully, you have enjoyed my more journalistic articles since immediately prior to worlds.
Anyway, I am here to talk to you all about possibly my favorite deck at the moment: The Flower Garden. I am calling Ross Cawthon’s basic strategy The Flower Garden now. His deck has for the better part of two weeks been public knowledge. So, I do not think that there is anything wrong with me bringing the idea to you readers. However, Ross deserves all the credit in the world for being the architect of the deck.
Here is how the article is going to be broken down. First, I will give you the core strategy of Ross’ brilliant creation. Second, I will explain why I call this The Flower Garden. Third, I will expound upon all the tools at the deck’s disposal. Fourth, I will talk about the deck’s weakness. Finally, I will give you the list that I have been playing around with since Worlds. Let’s get going.
The Core Strategy
pokebeach.comI hope that most of you know by now that Ross’s deck ran Vileplume and Reuncilus. Vileplume is a stage two grass Pokémon with a relatively low 120 hp, a CC Retreat Cost, and a weak basic (40 hp Oddish). So, why is this card any good?
Well, it is the best option for Trainer-Item lock right now. Many people have started to believe in the purple candlestick, but I ultimately feel that its attack is too meager and the fact that it has to be active is too big of a drawback. Vileplume’s partner is Reuncilus. It is also a stage two Pokémon.
However, Reuncilus has an even lower 90 hp, a CC Retreat Cost, and a lackluster basic. This Pokémon is excessively fragile to ever be brought active. However, with Vileplume in play you can safely bring Reuncilus into play to utilize his Ability. His Ability allows you to move damage counters around your side of the board in any manner that you want. These two cards make the backbone of the core strategy.
The second most important part of the deck to understand is the engine. The term engine refers to the cards (Pokémon, Items, and Supporters) that allow the deck to set up. A full set up for this deck is having a Vileplume, Reuncilus, and the desired active Pokémon.
Now, the priority order of set up for this deck is Vileplume first, Reuncilus second, desired active third. I hope that many of you realize that setting up two Stage 2 Pokémon is likely a slow process. I also hope that you realize that you will almost always go down early in prizes (I will talk about this later in the strategy and weakness).
pokebeach.comActually, it is desirable to go down in prizes early with this deck because the main engine component for this deck is Twins. Twins allows you to search your deck for any two cards you desire in your opponent has more prizes that you. So, the way you accomplish going down in prizes is through utilizing baby Pokémon early in the game.
So, the second set of important cards for the engine is Pichu and Cleffa. Pichu is a baby with 30 hp that allows you to search your deck for as many basic Pokémon as you like and put them on your bench.
This allows you to sacrifice a baby to go down in prizes and it allows you to fill your bench with the basics that you need to set up your Stage Two Pokémon. Cleffa is another baby that allows you to get a new six card hand. This is useful in the early game to achieve your set up.
The last card that is vital to the engine is Sage’s Training. The reason why Sage’s is used over other supporters is that you get to hand pick the cards to use. This deck is actually the best toolbox in the game right now.
So you will have a lot of cards that you do not need for certain match-ups that you can discard and keep the cards that are useful. Sage’s Training will likely be challenged by Cheren. With Cheren, you will get to take the top three cards from your deck instead of hand picking two of the top five.
Moving beyond the engine, there is more to the deck that needs to be discussed. In the current format the key damage number is 120. This is the highest damage output by the more popular cards in the format (except for Magnezone). So, with Vileplume in play you opponent cannot use PlusPower to secure that extra ten to twenty damage to secure one hit knock outs against Pokémon with 130 or more hp.
pokebeach.comTherefore, if they cannot secure a 1HKO on your active you can move that damage off of your active onto the bench and allow the active to live to fight another turn. So the key point of this paragraph is that you need Pokémon with 130 hp or more to be the main attackers in the deck.
Finally, the last part to the deck is healing. There are two main healing options. Blissey Prime and Seeker. Blissey Prime allows you to heal all the damage off of a Pokémon in exchange for discarding all energy to that Pokémon.
If you have a high hp basic (Reshiram/Zekrom) on your bench that can just absorb damage swaps, you can heal it with Blissey Prime and then put it back down. You can also accomplish healing through Seeker. You can just move damage to the benched punching bag and then Seeker it up.
So, in summary the key to this deck is establishing Item lock, establishing damage manipulation, using a come from behind engine, and then having active Pokémon that are not easily one hit Knocked Out.
The Flower Garden?
Ok, so here in St. Louis, Missouri we have one of the best free Zoos in the country. There is a park that is bigger than Central Park in New York (Forrest Park). We also have the Missouri Botanical Garden. In the Botanical Garden there are many, many different types of plants. This is typical of most gardens, including home gardens.
So, even though Vileplume is the only plant in this deck (most likely), there are MANY other types of Pokémon. Therefore, I am calling it a Flower Garden.
What are the Tools Available to the Deck?
This deck, is one of the remaining true Pokémon toolbox decks in the format (the other one might be Megazord, aka stage ones). There are a lot of different Pokémon that can be utilized. However, in general it is best to have the Pokémon be basics or Stage Ones.
The deck locks itself out of Pokémon Communication, so, getting out more Stage Twos can be difficult. Also, you want to cover all the type match-ups or at least most of them. We will examine many of these options now.
Donphan Prime HS: The big elephant is one of the leading candidates for the deck. It has 120 hp and a Poké-Body that reduces damage by 20. So, it virtually has a whopping 140 hp. This is extremely high for a stage one. Donphan can also attack for a single energy.
For one Fighting Energy you can do 60 damage, but you do ten damage to all of your bench. However, with Reuncilus this is not a bad thing to have happen. You can manipulate the damage to your advantage with the next two Pokémon. Donphan easily two hit knock outs Magnezone due to weakness. Donphan can cover the type weakness against Lightning for the deck.
So, in favor of Donphan is that it is a stage one, it attacks for a single energy, it has a whopping 140 hp. On the down side Donphan has a CCC Retreat Cost. So, it can get stuck in the Active spot a little too often.
(Donphan is obviously the best idea for the Lightning matchup, but it can be expensive. So you could try Marowak, the new Fighting Bull thing from EP, or the Regular Donphan)
Zekrom BW: Zekrom is a 130 hp basic Pokémon. That is astounding. You are above the 120 damage mark. Also, Zekrom can use its first attack, Outrage, to great effect in the deck. For CC you get to do 20 damage plus 10 more for each damage counter on Zekrom.
pokebeach.comSo, you could load Zekrom up with 120 damage through Reuncilus and then attack for 140 damage. You can also use Rainbow Energy to power up Bolt Strike and attack for 120. This also puts 40 damage on your side of the board which can be a huge deal. It is often important to have damage on your side of the board to power up outrage.
This is more than enough to take out most of the popular Pokémon in the meta right now. Zekrom also covers your water and Yanmega type match-ups. So, in Zekrom’s favor is the extremely high hp, an attack that has great synergy with Reuncilus, and a relatively low Retreat Cost of CC. There really is not a down side to Zekrom.
Reshiram BW: Reshiram is another 130 hp basic Pokémon. It also has the same outrage attack as Zekrom. You can again us Rainbow Energy to power up Blue Flare, but you have to discard two Fire Energy. If you must use this attack you can, but without energy recovery it is not the wisest idea.
Dodrio UD: This Pokémon is a stage one with a mere 80 hp. However, when it is on your bench your active Pokémon’s Retreat Cost is reduced by CC. So, it essentially gives you free retreat during the game and it cannot be touched by Catcher. The only real threats are Muk and Liepard.
Beartic EP: This card is receiving a lot of hype. However, I feel that this deck is one of the few places it will truly shine. It is a stage one with 130 hp. It’s first attack for three energy makes it to where the defending Pokémon cannot attack during your opponent’s next turn. This allows you to lock your opponent’s turn or force him/her to retreat.
The attack only does 50 damage, but Beartic’s second attack does 80 for WWCC. Beartic is a water Pokémon that covers your type match-ups against Fire Pokémon (which are very popular right now) and Donphan. Beartic has a great weakness to metal types. It is unfortunately has a CCC Retreat Cost, so you will have to ditch one energy even with Dodrio.
Samurott BW: Samurott is one of two stage two Pokémon that will make this list. Samurott has 140 hp but has an Ability that reduces damage by 20. This gives it a virtual 160 hp. It also can do 70 damage for CCC, but for every water energy attached it does and additional ten damage.
The only reason why Samurott still warrants consideration with Beartic out, is that Samurott has a CC Retreat Cost. So, Dodrio allows it to retreat for free. Samurott can cover your Fire match-ups and your Donphan match-up.
Magnezone Prime TM: Magnezone Prime is a big 140 hp stage two. It’s Poké-Power allows you to draw until you have six cards in your hand. This could be useful early in the game, but late your hand is usually clogged so the power tends to be useless.
However, Lost Burn can virtually 1HKO anything in the format. It allows you to send as many energy cards as you like to the Lost Zone and do 50 damage times the number of energy cards you send. So, it can be used to take out the bigger than 140 hp Pokémon.
Pichu HS: Pichu is a baby Pokémon that for zero energy allows you to search your deck for as many basic Pokémon as you like and put them on your bench. This allows you to fill you bench quickly and then sacrifice Pichu to start the Twins engine.
Suicune & Entei Legend UL: This is a 160 hp Legend Pokémon. So, if it gets KOd you give up 2 Prizes. However, with 160 hp there are few Pokémon that can 1HKO it. However, SEL is a two type Pokémon. This means that if can cover both the fire/Donphan, grass (save Yanmega), and metal match-ups.
It can do 80 damage for three energy to the active or can snipe for 100 damage to the bench for three energy. This Pokémon is great (as in virtually unbeatable) against a straight Reshiram deck or Donphan deck. However, for me it is a bit too risky.
There are times when you have to work with what you can draw from the deck and it this is the only Pokémon you have anything that is Water or Lightning and can hit for 80 will give them 2 Prizes.
Blissey Prime HS: The is a 130 hp stage one Pokémon. It can attack for 60 damage with CCC energy. The best part is Blissey’s Poké-Power. When Blissey comes into play, you can choose one of your Pokémon and remove all damage from that Pokémon. You simply have to discard the energy from that Pokémon. This is great for that bench sitting punching bag.
Steelix or Steelix Prime UL: The regular Steelix has 120 hp and a fire weakness. For MCC you get to attack for 40 damage and damage received the next turn is reduced by 20. Then for MMCC you get to flip two coins and do 80 times the number of heads. The first attack is the useful one since it virtually gives Steelix 140 hp which is above the 120 magic number.
Steelix Prime has 140 hp and two attacks. The first attack for CC allows you to search your discard for ANY energy and attach it to Steelix. The second attack for a hefty MMCCC does 100 damage and discards a stadium. This Steelix is already above the 140 mark and provided a way to get the energy back that you have already used.
However, Steelix has a Retreat Cost of CCCC so, you will be discarding two energy even with Dodrio to retreat. However, if you are a patient person and you have burned a lot of your energies you could let Steelix tank and then recover 3-5 energies before retreating and playing Seeker to pick those energy back up. The trade off is possible.
Obviously if fire types stay very popular, Steelix will not be needed in this deck very often due to his fire weakness. However, if Beartic becomes popular (or anything other than fire) becomes popular (I’m looking at you Zekrom) you could use Steelix to great effect.
Gyarados HS/CL: This Pokémon is a stage one with 130 hp. It can be extremely fun to play with. It’s first attack does a measly 50 damage for WCC, but it’s second attack for WWCC does 80 damage and you discard an energy attached to the defending Pokémon.
The energy discard is one of the reasons why Typhlosion has at least temporarily won out over Emboar. Forcing you opponent to discard energy is a great thing to be able to do. This card can really mess with many decks and has the type advantage over fire and Donphan.
Zoroark BW: Zoroark is a stage one Pokémon with 100 hp. This is going to be one of three attacking options with less than 130 hp. Zoroark’s second attach can copy an opponent’s attack for just a CC. There are so many good attacks out there to copy that Zoroark definitely deserves some testing in this deck. It could use Yanmega’s snipe to take cheap prizes, Reshiram/Zekrom’s big attacks to get the return 1HKO, etc.
Ferrathorn EP: This Ferrathorn is a 90 hp metal Pokémon. That is both very low hp and a bad weakness. However, it could be useful as a Beartic counter or really if functions as a warp point for this deck. Its second attack does 60 damage for MCC. Then both you and your opponent switch out the active Pokémon for something from the bench.
What you could do, is bring Ferrathorn active, attack, and then switch it for something with more hp that will survive your opponent’s attack.
Muk UD: The final sub-130 hp attacker is Muk. Muk is a 100 hp stage one Pokémon. Muk’s first attack for P can drag up any Pokémon on your opponent’s field and poison them. This is like The Pokémon Catcher for the deck. Muk has already seen some play with Vilepume.
It can drag up the big Bench-sitters like Magnezone or Emboar and let them take poison damage. With out being able to use Switch, you opponent would either have to let the Pokémon get KOd or pay a hefty Retreat Cost.
Unown TM: This is the Unown from TM. The only reason why you would want to play this card is if your local Meta is status condition heavy. This will allow you to clear you Pokémon of those conditions and then can be reused with Seeker.
I should mention that Kyurem will also be a candidate for this deck whenever it comes out. It is another 130 hp basic that has the Outrage attack. It is simply a water type instead of fire or lightning.
The key to picking out your toolbox is knowing your local meta. At Worlds tyRam was a huge threat so Ross ran SEL. If Beartic is big in your area you play a Steelix or Ferrathorn. If Yanmega is king, you play Zekrom. If Zekrom or Magnezone is big you play Donphan. I hope that you get the idea.
Well those are what I feel are the best options to use as the Pokémon tools of the deck, let’s move onto the energy.
Double Colorless Energy: This card is a four copy must in the deck. I believe that nine of the previously mentioned attacking options can utilize DCE with at least CC included in their attack costs. Therefore, this is a must.
Rainbow Energy: This card is also a four copy must in the deck. You are playing a big time toolbox deck where nearly each Pokémon requires a single copy of a specific energy. This card provides that energy. Also, this card allow you to introduce ten damage to your side of the field.
Often times your opponent will catch onto the idea that you are using Outrage and will simply not attack unless they can secure the
1HKO. So, you need ways to put damage on your field to power outrage. This is one of those options.
There have been games where I have played all four down and then Seekered them back up after moving them around, and I did this process three times to get 120 damage on my field to be able to Outrage for 140 damage.
Basic Energy: Finally, whatever become your main Pokémon in this deck, you should include one or two basic energy of their type. So if you are playing a heavy Donphan version use Fighting Energy, if you are playing a Zekrom/Reshiram split then use one Lightning and one Fire Energy, and so on.
So Why Isn’t Everyone Playing This?
Well there are actually a few reasons why not a ton of people have picked up this deck.
First, it is a recent revelation to the mass public. Worlds in only two weeks behind us and the deck is still being digested by the public.
Second, the deck is very complicated. It is a rough deck for some people to pick up and play because you can make many, many mistakes to give away a game.
Third, it is a slow deck. I honestly feel that this is sort of like a turtle SP deck. It can cover any type advantage, it can search for specific cards out of the deck with relative ease, with Dodrio you have free retreat on most things, and you can abuse healing pickups with Seeker.
The difference is that this is SLOW. You will take more than the usual 20 minutes to play a game. This could be a problem in top cut situations where you are stuck with the third game going to time or being sudden death like what happened in the World Finals.
Fourth, this deck plays from behind. The major weakness of this deck is that it will always go down on prizes. Then you need to be able to start taking prizes almost every turn once you are ready to attack or else your opponent could slow play you to time. Also, this deck falls apart if you cannot get a Vileplume built. Now, you usually get the Vileplume, but every so often you might whiff and then you are in trouble.
Fifth, some people just hate locking decks. Not everyone can play the slow calculating style that is required in this deck. It happens.
Sixth, the deck can run out of steam against energy denial decks like Typhlosion and Gyarados.
Seventh, the deck can rely on getting damage on your side of the field. Often, once you opponent figures this out, he/she will simply sit on the prize lead and not attack unless they can secure the 1HKO. This can be very frustrating. To get around it you need to drop damage with Donphan, Rainbow Energy, and Zekrom’s Bolt Strike.
OK, so let’s look at a sample list. Now understand that this list is not perfect and that most lists should include Donphan. However, I did not have Donphan Primes when I was playing with this list. So, I built on that can operate without it.
|Pokémon – 27
2 Gloom UD
2 Reuncilus BLW
1 Oshawott BLW
1 Dewott BLW
1 Samurott BLW
1 Blissey Prime HS
|Trainers – 234 Twins
4 Sage’s Training
3 Rare Candy
1 Professor Oak’s New Theory
2 Pokémon Communication
2 Professor Elm’s Training Method
4 Pokémon Collector
|Energy – 104 Double Colorless
In the Pokémon lines you can see that obviously there is homage being paid to both Yanmega Prime and Pokémon Catcher. I have utilized (and Ross did) building the core lines of the deck (Vileplume and Reuncilus) in a 3-2-2 fashion. This allows you to lose up to two basics of each and still keep going. I opted for a 1-1-1 Samurott as the water tech.
pokemon-paradijs.comOnce you go behind on prizes you can simply use Twins to get one piece of the line and another Twins. Three turns later and you have a fresh Samurott and one Twins left to spare. I also really like the ability to free retreat, so I have been playing with Dodrio.
The Trainer counts are also fairly simple to understand. I have four Pokémon Collector for high search abilities. I have a 2/2 Pokémon Communication/ Professor Elm’s Training Method split to be able to search out the evolutions quickly. The only Items in the list are the two Communications and the three Rare Candy to allow for quick evolution into Vileplume.
The four Twins and four Sage’s Training were talked about earlier as the main search engine in the deck. I also should mention why we have Professor Oak’s New Theory and Copycat in the deck. Well, the main reason is to keep your self from decking out. At the end of the game you will have a huge hand because you will be holding a lot of stuff.
So, you keep yourself from decking out, you can use these to cards to return stuff to your deck. You could also use Judge, but these two cards could possibly be useful in the early game too. Judge would not be good early.
Finally, the energy is pretty simple. I have four Double Colorless Energy for the CC requirements of so many attacks. It also allows you to retreat anything early before you have Dodrio up. I have the four Rainbow Energy to both introduce damage to the field and to meet the specific energy requirements. I have a single copy of Fire and a single copy of Lightning Energy to make it easier to use Reshiram or Zekrom’s second attack.
Well after a very long winded article, I hope that you learned something. This deck is a ton of fun to play and it works. There are weakness to the deck, but every deck in this format will have bad weaknesses. There is no one deck that can have a 50/50 match-up against everything (cough*luxchomp/d-chomp/sablelock*cough).
I hope that you enjoyed my article. I hope that every time someone asks you where you got het deck idea, you tell them Ross Cawthon. Finally, I hope that this saves someone from randomly picking up Ross’ deck and getting creamed because you did not know how to play it. Until next time.