Carl’s Cache – The 61ers (not 49ers..)

Hello, and welcome to another article in Carl’s Cache. Today I will be covering another “off the wall” topic, this one I got the idea from my previous CoTD, the 61st cards.

First, I have to describe what a 61st card is:

61st card: A card that is generally accepted as a decent/good card, but since in the Pokémon TCG we are limited to a maximum of 60 cards per deck, we often have to cut cards we’d like to include. Not because they are bad cards, but because they are just not good enough, and we make the “agonizing” decision to not run this card. In some cases we regret not playing it, but in others we don’t.

Today I will be doing a top 10 list of the 61st cards in our current format, then some that may become 61st cards in the future and why. Now, note that this list is VERY subjective. I tried to put cards that weren’t used as much at the top, and the ones that are used are at the bottom, but some of these cards are just “better.”

All I ask is that when critiquing this article that the actual order of the cards isn’t a major factor because it is highly subjective and very dependent on the player(s) writing or discussing the article.

Also, you will probably notice the very LOW frequency of Pokémon on this list, that is because with the limited draw it is difficult to fit techs in, and be able to easily access them, causing them to not be considered much, whereas last format, you could splash in a Dragonite FB, Ambipom G, Weavile G, and Dialga G LV.X easily into a LuxChomp build.

The 61st Cards of Today

Honorable Mention – Alph Lithograph 4

pokebeach.comYou cannot really have a list like this without including Alph Lithograph 4 because it really fits the definition very well; it’s a card that is “decent,” but almost never used.

The only Alph that has ever been hyped, it came out when we still had Azelf in format, and was immediately seen as the solution to the “prize” problem, even though you don’t get any cards. It hasn’t been used much because if you use this card you actually HURT your consistency.

It would be better to just run another copy of a particular card you are worried about being prized, and since it is both unsearchable and doesn’t net you a card, people have stayed away from it.

Now, you would think that there would still be the “prize” problem in this format, and I don’t believe it is true. People have just been running thicker lines; instead of a 1-1 line, some are running 2-2, thus taking out an extra to still have consistency. However with Emerging Powers coming out I do see there being a combo for this card that may just be good, and for BRs, worth testing out.

Alph Lithograph 4 pairs very well with another not used as much card, Rotom UD. Rotom UD’s power lets you switch the top card of your deck with a Prize card of your choice, meaning you would look at your prizes, then use Rotom’s power to switch the top card of your deck with it.

pokebeach.comYou still have to draw the top card of your deck to gain access to it, but with some low-risk draw cards, that are splashable into most decks, coming out in Cheren and Bianca, it might worth looking at that engine. Before, you could only use Professor Juniper, a potentially high resource taking card, or Magnezone Prime, whose decks usually have no space for techs like this, to get the use of it.

However, with Cheren and Bianca coming out, you have low risk, easily splashable draw to use with him.

Rotom also has an okay attack which does 20 for each energy on a Pokémon, however with Catcher, high attack cost Pokémon will probably see less play, and his 60 HP lets him survive a Linear Attack and 1 Spray Splash, which is important if those two stay as top dogs in the format. Therefore, in short I had to include this card, which may or may not be good soon.

Next on the list, is a personal favorite of mine:

I will be honest, I do love this card in many decks, and I always find myself cutting it for one reason or the other, which again, makes it a true #61 card. I have also written a CotD on the card, and instead of reiterating what I have said several times (in my Zekrom article and I’m still wondering how someone else is the Zekrom guy…), I will just link you to the CoTD.

9. PokéGear 3.0

pokebeach.comThis is a card that received some minor hype when it was released; it is a high-risk consistency builder.

The defenders of the card say it gives you a bigger hand to work with to get, 14 cards to get a Supporter card, which in this format is key to getting a good start, especially if you go second or if you do not have a Pokémon Collector.

The problem with the card is that if you whiff, you essentially wasted a deck spot that could have gone to a Sage’s Training etc. I.E. another Supporter card that would just let you draw cards.

This, in my opinion is a solid card that depending on how many Supporters you run may or may not be justifiable in a list. If you run a low count, it might be better to just add draw Supporters than these guys, however if you run a high count, it might be better to cut 1 or 2, then add in these guys.

I know that someone will do the math and figure out the odds of it working in particular decks (I am waiting for him to come out), especially once Xtranceiver hits here and you have to determine which is better for your list. It definitely warrants testing; I have seen it be good and bad in decks, so I wish you luck in figuring this card out.

8. Twins

pokebeach.comBefore Worlds, I would’ve had this card in the top three, maybe even number one, it would’ve been pretty high on this list for States/Regionals as well, but at Worlds this card became mainstream, and because of that it might not be a true 61st card anymore. However, I do not know and do not want to be hated on for not including it.

Basically the thought behind using this card is that in this format in particular, if you don’t go first you usually won’t take the first prize, so why not capitalize on that and then get any two cards, catch up and hope to mount a comeback. The same thought process was applied for the card at States/Regionals for LuxChomp mirror matches.

Except it was going first that hurt, you would use Call Energy, but sacrifice a prize, and then get your DCEs with Twins. That’s the simple explanation. With that deck there was a lot more you could do with that scenario, but that’s an “easy” way to explain it. It was also used to start Cyrus chains as well.

Now, the problem with the card is that it will not fit well into many decks, mainly high-speed decks such as Zekrom, or decks that NEED to get the first prize to gain control. So for those decks it is not always used, however most people are adding it, in case their Cleffa is KO’d, or if they go second and are simply a turn behind on evolutions or draw. Expect this card to be in most decks for BRs.

7. Defender

This card is another card that is seeing a rise in play, with some many decks just hitting the “exact” KO numbers. This can save a Pokémon for another turn or cause a person to waste energy, especially with cards like Max Potion now available.

It can be helpful in wasting an opponent’s turn, and at coming back, via your opponent not getting a prize. This card is especially useful in mirror matches, and with its new wording, it can be Junk Armed and stacked, making it more versatile. I recommend testing this card out if you have one or two extra spots in your deck.

6. Dual Ball

pokebeach.comThis is a card that I am also fond of; it is the Trainer equivalent to Pokémon Collector. It lets you flip two coins, and for each heads, you get a basic, meaning it allows you to play a Supporter and still potentially fill up your bench with what you need if you get fortunate flips (or have Junk Arm available).

Unfortunately, its inconsistency has lost its spots in many decks, especially decks that put the player on a “clock” (aka MagneBoar, once it is setup, if not messed with, you know what turn you will lose on, etc.).

However in the EP format, speed will be essential, and this card might be “faster” than Collector, and get some more play. I’d do some serious testing before judging this card, but it might just work, and with Zekrom we have already seen the card have some success.

5. Victory Medal

In most formats, other than in extremely weird decks, this guy would not be mentioned, and would show how truly pointless Battle Roads are: “Yay, I won, and I got 4 packs that I pulled nothing in and a card that I can’t use. Great, and this drive cost me 15 bucks in gas money….”

I think you get the point, but in a format where our Draw Cards are substantial (Juniper, Sage’s, Cheren, Bianca, PONT, even Judge )and our actual search is limited, this card is getting a second look, and that’s because it is a deck-thinning card.

If you draw the card, you play it immediately, and while you might get nothing, 75% of the time you at least get to draw a card, without using any resources. If you flip two heads you get any card from your deck, which could be a key Trainer, a basic energy (oh I do miss Cyrus’s Conspiracy), or even a Supporter card to play right after you use it. Whatever it is, it thins your deck, and it could be the card that gets you VICTORY.

4. Black Belt

pokebeach.comThis is a card, that my friend used very effectively in his Gyarados build during Battle Roads during the spring (it was great for mirror), but we are not talking about that format. It however does the same thing in this one: it helps you hit magic numbers.

In a LOT of games, you will find yourself down, especially in mirrors, and just having the incapacity to deal a 1HKO, and that is what this card does. It does 40 more damage and in most cases gets you a KO. This is very applicable in Yanmega mirror matches, where once you fall behind it is very hard to catch up, and this card is the perfect card to let you back into the game.

Granted, it is a Supporter, and that is the only reason I feel that it is not a universal tech, and it probably never will be. But that is a perfect definition of #61 card, and that’s why it is so high on my list. In my next article I actually intend to go over him more in-depth, but for now I’ll leave you with a nice teaser.

3. Rescue Energy

Again, another card that was commonly used last year, and while it lost its primary partner, Broken Time-Space, it can still work wonderfully. Now, I know some will be confused when I say its primary partner was BTS, but let me explain it to you; it was used in two decks:

VileGar and Gyarados: Two very different decks, one relied on speed, consistency, and recovery, while the other relied on Trainer lock, and then hitting with Gengar. The common factor however, was both needed recovery. With BTS they could easily recover their Pokémon and just play them the next turn and attack with them.

(I just wanted to clarify that before I go on.)

Right now, for me, it is a card that can function as two cards, taking up only one space. I’ll explain what I mean: instead of running a 4th copy of a card, we’ll say Yanmega Prime, and then another copy of another evolution, we’ll say Donphan, I can run a Rescue Energy and have “both” of them in my deck at higher counts, provided I get one of them out. This allows you to maximize deck space. In my opinion the reason it isn’t widely used is because it’s not searchable.

I also think something that this card should be considered is a cost-saving card. This card in most ways is as good as another copy of a Pokémon (we’ll say Yanmega Prime), while being about 40 dollars cheaper. That argument may be lost on some, but for some players, like myself who can only get their hands on 3 easily, it definitely helps fill that void. On top of that, I have had good testing results with it, so it can do both things at once, and both of them well.

2. Research Record

This card’s text is long, but for Magic guys it’s pretty simple – Scry 4 (yes I feel smart for finally somewhat learning that game), but it lets you look through the top 4 cards of your deck, and ones you don’t like just get thrown to the bottom. It is a digging card, but does not have a great splashable partner, yet.

Again, Cheren and Bianca could be the key to allowing this card to dig more effectively. Essentially at the max going through 7 to 10 cards, can be a way to hit the draw you need, and since it is Junk Armable you can go through a fair amount of your deck in one turn, get the cards you need on top, then use Cheren or Bianca.

The card also works great with Magnezone Prime and even Noctowl; they let you draw a card(s) for their power, but just aren’t splashable due a hefty Retreat Cost on one, and an easy KO on the other, but this card does have partners, and therefore great potential.

1. Lost Remover

Lost Removerpokebeach.comI will be honest, this guy is number one because he’s:

a) From Call of Legends, and the set needs some good rep other than Pachirisu.

b) He has a reputation for being a #61 card, from the MD-CoL and MD-BW formats.

When first released it was a great mirror match tech for LuxChomp, and popularized by Kenny Wisdom and his off the wall approach to DialgaChomp. What it does is mess up your opponent’s energy drops, and pretty mightily since the energies cannot be recovered. It worked especially well in Gyarados mirrors, since it hurt their recovery substantially (Rescue Energy) and was key for Team Taco Bell doing well at BRs in mirrors. People just do not prepare for this card.

The same holds true today as Zoroark/Cinccino abuse DCE, Yanmega, among other things can abuse Rescue Energy, and nobody, as of yet has run Lost Remover to mess all of those guys yet. It is usually thought of, but the fact that in some matches, it is just a dead-draw, it is not used.

However, with the projected rise of Rescue, overall, it could see some more play, and be a deadly card to watch out for in mirror matches especially.

Well, that was the easy part; now onto to projecting the future. These cards are in no order, excessively hard to gauge them, especially since the Metagame has literally done a complete flip-flop last year because of ONE tournament, so now onto…

The 61st Cards of the Future

Pichu: A card that has already been popularized by the “Ross deck,” it had seen no play since its initial release, being partnered with Jumpluff, and since that combo ultimately failed it has been in the closet for a while.

But, with Ross using the card to success, there’s no doubt people will try it in other decks. Maybe use it, maybe not, but to say it doesn’t have potential to be on this list, fairly soon albeit, I’ve got to put it up here.

Cleffa/Tyrogue: This selection is going to turn some heads, but I do have some logic for them. One, they are listed together because they are forever intertwined, and two, people are starting to get tired of these guys.

There is, what I call, a “baby” metagame, meaning the number of babies in decks is shifting, and will continue for a while, unless we get some consistent draw. At Nationals, almost everyone ran THREE baby Pokémon, two Cleffa and one Tyrogue, but then at Worlds, people used Manaphy causing the Cleffa count to fall, and the Tyrogue count to fall as well. People will try to predict how many babies people will use, and then use what line they feel is best.

For example, if at the 1st weekend of BR’s, most people use two Cleffa, and zero Tyrogue, next week you would naturally fear Tyrogue being more popular, and either switch to a lower Cleffa count, or run a Tyrogue of your own to counter it. This is why they both might not be included in some lists, and thus loosely qualify as #61 cards.

Crush Hammer/Max Potion: The grouping of these two may seem weird at first, but at their core, their only goal is the same: Make your opponent waste a turn. Crushing Hammer does it on a flip, costing your opponent an energy attachment, which will put them a turn behind, and Max Potion heals all the damage off of your Pokémon, at the cost of energy attached to it, removing damage and causing your opponent to waste an attack.

pokebeach.comI find Max Potion to be the more useful of the two, since it is a guarantee, and is just amazing for Yanmega Mirror matches, which could be quite frequent at BRs. Crushing Hammer has its place somewhere; I do not know where yet, but it is definitely something to watch out for.

Tornadus: For this card, I am going to cope out, we have two CotDs on him (albeit one has received a ton of criticism), but I will let those authors get the credit for explaining what he does. The reason he is #61 is because you love him or you hate him (as indicated by the comments).

Some will stand by this guy through thick and thin, and others will be skeptical. However, let’s face it; Donphan will be popular with Catcher in format, and if he somewhat counters it, people will test him, and may or may not use him.

Weavile: This is the only Stage One Pokémon on either of these lists, but for good reason: Claw Snag is great. Its been receiving some hype lately, due to its success in Canada, and usage at USA Nationals in some top cutting decks, basically it disrupts your opponents’ hand, and with the somewhat minimal draw we have, it really can mess up a game plan.

He is splashable, especially if you are just using him to gain a slight upper hand in mirror matches, which I think will be key for BRs, and his attack can also 1HKO Baby Pokémon through sleep, which is just amazingly useful.

Bianca/Cheren: Another grouping and pretty simple; they are both draw cards. Bianca lets you draw up to six, and might not be used because people could consider it a worse version of Magnezone Prime. Cheren, in my opinion is great; just draw 3 cards. It’s a great deck thinner, makes it easy to match big hand sizes, and is splashable with literally no drawbacks. Some people will stand by the “Old Guard” of Juniper, PONT, and Copycat, while others will change quickly.

Professor Elm’s Training Method: This person has not been used, period. However, with Gothitelle, and no great ways to get around Trainer lock, he might be played over his Trainer counterpart Pokémon Communication because he does not care about Trainer lock. It is an overall worse card, but if your area is high on the Ross deck and Gothitelle, playing him could pay dividends.

Tropical Beach: The last card on this list, and another one that is getting hype because of the Ross deck, and it is a Stadium card. It works like Uxie LA’s Poké-Power (draw until you have 7 cards in your hand), except your turn ends. It is a Stadium, so it can be played through Trainer lock, and is a general consistency booster, especially when your hand is huge.

I also think it could potentially serve, for some, as an alternative to Cleffa. You could use Pokémon Collector, get your basics, and instead of getting a Cleffa and using Eeeeeeek, you can just draw until you have seven, and if you have a good hand, not shuffle it in, and not give up a free prize later.

Another note, when the deadly N card (Rocket’s Admin. reprint) finally hits the USA, it may be even more mainstream. I would try to pick up one or two, while you have a chance, because you might just want to use these.

Well, that’s the end of my 61st cards. I have some CotD’s planned, but with school starting up, it’s a lot harder to find time to write, but hopefully that won’t affect quality as much as it will quantity. I hope you enjoy this article, and that it helps you in some small way, CYA at BRs. :)

Reader Interactions

17 replies

  1. Anonymous

    Lost Removal is simply EPIC, not only because of rescue, but mostly because of the popularity of DCE as well. 

    I ran 2 in DonChamp with a couple of Junk Arms (for Reversals, Candies, Pkmn Comm, etc) and it super screwed people, especially in the mirror. 

    It’s also epic against deck that run Zoroark techs, as well as the ever present attack ‘Boar tech (usually attaches one DCE).

  2. Anonymous

    Good article!

    Your Defender section is a little misleading though. It sounded to me like you said you could play Defender, discard it, Junk Arm for it, and play it again. I’m not sure if this is what you meant. That situation is incorrect. It is stackable, but it is not discarded until the end of your opponents following turn.

  3. bigottaf

    With catcher in format most decks play for speed and lack draw engine. Because of this, Pokegear 3.0 becomes way better. I am disappointed you put on here in the number 9 spot. It should easily take one of the top spots in this list if you even consider it a 61st card

  4. Ross Gilbert

    Nice article. I have SUCH a problem with 61st cards. Personally Lost Remover and Max Potion are the biggest ones at the moment. Also a 4th Catcher. I know 4 is what we want but you need consistency and options as well as Catcher and i just can’t find a card to drop for the 4th Catcher (or Lost Remover or Max Potion) without hurting consistency or ruining my options (and you gotta have options or else it’s all just luck).

    As for the “Zekrom Guy” debate, i think there are 2 people who may go by that title: The guy who won Canadian Nats and the guy who won Mexican Nats. It’s also not a name you can give yourself, someone else has to give it to ya ;)

    • Carl Scheu  → Ross

      I just said that as more of a sarcastic comment to be honest, just to see if I could get a lol out of any1. For me, I want to fit in Max Potion as well, but  nevery find space for it, very depressing tbh.

  5. tim h

    Overall a good article. 

    I do not think Dual Ball is a 61st card, though. I always run 2 collector 3 dual ball over 4 collector (0 dual ball). 

    I don’t really think Twins deserves to be a ’61st card’; it’s just that it needs to be used specifically to be used well. 

    Rescue Energy, Victory Medal and Energy Search – I agree with you there.

    Lost remover is a 61st card most of the time, but I find it to be staple in my decks – if you’re vsing a deck where they run mainly special energy, lost removed basically wins you the game.

  6. Jak Stewart-Armstead

    I thought Tamoo was the Zekrom guy?

    Anyway, this is a great concept for an article as everyone has experienced the 61st card problem.

    I think Twins is more or less staple in some decks, and a couple of your selections don’t work as ’61st’ card because you really need to run 3-4 in the first place (Dual Ball, Victory Medal). Lost Remover and Black Belt are really good picks though.

  7. samuel roach

    You forgot about Energy Exchanger. It’s a really good card that can search out Special Energy. You say that Rescue Energy can’t be searched for, THIS (Energy Exchanger) can do it. Just exchange it out for a energy in your hand, and presto!!

    Also, Great Ball from EP is a good 61 card. I know many people want to try it out in their decks, but can’t because of room issues. It’s a great speed card, just like dual ball. But if you wiff, you’ll fell like you could’ve added something better than that to your deck. I think It’s great for decks that run over 20 Pokemon.

    Dodrio is another card people are torn over. Should you run it, because you fear trainer lock, or should you just play switches. 1-1 will most likely get prized, and 2-2 takes up too much space. In high retreat cost decks, I think its worth it, if you play it right.

    I really like the article, and it’s about time someone did something on these cards that are left out.

  8. Simon Narode

    Twins has pretty much become a staple in Vileplume decks and many other slow decks, although I see why it’s in this article. I agree with Amphy that Energy Exchanger and Dodrio are good 61st cards, too.

  9. Kyle Lane

    Great! I agree on energy exchanger needing to be on the list, but it’s situational and doesn’t splash into most decks. 

  10. Carl Scheu

    I do want to note this-
    My next three cards were going to be Dodrio, Energy Exchanger and Great Ball, but I just couldn’t fit them in, and especially for Exchanger and Dodrio I found them to be highly situational, but that’s me. I tried to fit in as many as I could.
    Also, some of the cards(the dual ball/V.M.) in particular I was torn on including, I guess they aren’t 61 cards, but more of 61,62, and 63 cards, but they are definitely cards that aren’t thought about as much as they should be, Pokegear being low was simply b/c I really haven’t tinkered w/ it as much as I’d like to. Also I’m not sure if Dodrio would be a 61 card, the decks using him need him, while a lot of decks just don’t even need to think about him.
    thanks for all the comments guys, keep them coming.

    Also the Rescue Energy was an oversight, and I apologize, I thought i was missing something, but I think you get the idea that it can’t be directly searched for(you need a trainer and another energy to get it).

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