Now, I’ve been looking at the front page articles over the last little while. One thing has stood out to me, there has not been a proper Durant deck analysis. There is one article about playing against Durant. Durant has a little section in this article. But, there is not a dedicated article. So, let’s get to it.
Durant started out as a troll deck idea around the time of Noble Victories. The deck was fun, but it would struggle too much with certain decks that could OHKO Durants. People said things like, “You won’t be able to get multiple Eviolites and multiple Special Metal Energies into play.”
In spite of all that, the deck’s success in Europe prompted more people state-side to reconsider their opinions. (It is amazing how many times recently the “better American Pokémon minds” have been heavily influenced by Europeans and the Japanese. I love it.)
Let’s get to the core structure of the deck.
Pokémon – 5
Trainers – 16-23
4-7 Pokémon Search
Energy – 8-11
4 Special Metal Energy
That sets the core requirements of the deck at 31-40. This deck is one of the most flexible decks out there. Let’s talk about what cards can fill the core requirements.
Three cards can fill this role now.
Pokémon Collector: Collector lets you search for three Basic Pokémon and put them in your hand. Given that all the Pokémon in this deck are Basics, Collector is a great play. The only downside to this card is that it is a Supporter. Due to that, you cannot play another Supporter the same turn you play this.
Dual Ball: This Item card allows you to flip two coins. Then for each heads, you get to search for a Basic Pokémon and put it into your hand. We have a love/hate relationship with this card. It is great because it is an Item. That means that you can play multiple copies per turn and you can still play your Supporter for that turn. However, there are those pesky flips. There is always the chance of you hitting double tails when you desperately need another Pokémon.
Level Ball: All of the core Pokémon in this deck have less than 90 HP. So, this Item card is excellent. It allows you to search you deck for a Pokémon with 90 HP or less and put it into your hand. That is great because it is an Item and has the same advantages as Dual Ball. Even though you can are limited at one Pokémon for this card, the one Pokémon is guaranteed.
What is the play: Well, I absolutely love the consistency of Pokémon Collector and there is not a stronger play for the deck (or almost any deck) than a turn one Collector. Secondly, I absolutely love the guarantee that Level Ball brings.
In light of those considerations, I go with 7 Pokémon search cards: 4 Collector and 3 Level Ball.
These are normally referred to as the engine of a deck. They are what keep the deck moving. Here are the cards that can be played.
Twins: This card allows you to search your deck for any two cards and put those cards into your hand. The catch is that you must be behind in prizes. Well, that is very good in a deck that does not aim to take prizes.
N: This card makes both you and your opponent to shuffle your hands into the deck and then draw as many cards as you have prizes left. That means you will almost always be drawing 6 cards and your opponent will be drawing less. This card seems to be a great fit for Durant. However, your opponent will likely be hoarding cards in his hand. When you play this at the end of the game, you are letting your opponent shuffle a lot of cards back into his deck. It can buy your opponent another turn or two.
Professor Oak’s New Theory: This card allows you to shuffle your hand back into your deck and draw six cards. It is pretty vanilla and a great choice.
Victory Medal: If you are fortunate enough to have this card, it is a decent choice. It allows you to flip two coins. If one is heads, you get to draw a card. If both are heads you get to search your deck for any single card.
Pokégear 3.: This is the Swiss army knife card. It allows you to look at the top 7 cards of your deck, pick any Supporter in those cards, and put that Supporter in your hand. This is a great card to help with the turn one Collectors. It can also be reused with Junk Arm.
What is the play: There are several things to consider here. The main questions to consider is how many other Durant decks will you play against. This is a huge factor in the selection of cards. If you are playing against a lot of other Durants, Twins becomes less viable, Professor Juniper becomes less desirable, and Professor Oak’s New Theory becomes huge.
At this stage, my deck list looks like this:
Pokémon – 5
Trainers – 21
Energy – 8
4 Special Metal
This makes 34 cards. We still have 26 slots to fill. There are generally three other broad categories that can be used to fill these slots: recovery, game state disruption, alternative attacks.
There are several recovery options here.
Revive: This is the most simple recovery card out there. It lets you search your discard for a basic Pokémon and put it on your bench. By early to mid game, Durants will likely be OHKO’d. Revive is the optimal card to get those ants back. The main weakness to this card is that it is worthless against trainer lock decks.
Super Rod: This card lets you take any combination of three Pokémon and Basic Energy from your discard and put them into your deck. This works really well with the Pokémon search cards.
Flower Shop Lady: The main draw of this card is that it is a Supporter. If there are a lot of Trainer lock decks in your area, this card can keep you in the game. It allows you to take three Pokémon and three Basic Energy and shuffle them into the deck. This card also helps a lot in the mirror match.
Rescue Energy: In general, this is not a good inclusion because you want to use only relevant energy (with regards to attack costs). However, it works against Trainer lock.
What do I mean by game state disruption? I mean these are cards that mess with the state of the board. They might move Pokémon around or they might move energy around. Let’s look at some of the cards that can in this deck.
Lost Remover: This card allows you to select one Special Energy on the field and send it to the Lost Zone. We have already seen this card rise in popularity because decks like 6C and CoKE run a lot of Special Energy. Well, with practically all decks running EX Pokémon and those Pokémon needing Double Colorless Energy to function, Lost Remover becomes even more potent. This card will be included in the deck.
Crushing Hammer: This card allows you to flip a coin, if head you get to discard an energy attached to your opponent’s Pokémon. This is great for targeting Basic Energy. It does rely on a flip though.
Pokémon Catcher: This card allows you to switch your opponent’s active Pokémon with one of his benched Pokémon. It is great for dragging up a Pokémon with no energy attached and a big retreat cost.
Switch: This is the anti-Catcher. It is also the only defensive card on the list. Your opponent may try to drag up a benched Pokémon with no energy to stall you out. Switch allows you to get out of those undesirable situations.
Ditto TM: With the new Heatmor not being in Next Destinies, one of the best counters to Durant is V-Create Victini. You can play Ditto and limit your opponent’s bench space to four, then Victini cannot attack.
Seeker: One prevalent strategy to combat Durant is to play down one attacker. However, many times your opponent will not start with the one attacker he desires. If you opponent has two Pokémon on the field, you can Catcher the benched Pokémon and then Seeker up their attacker. It’s a fun trick.
What is the play: Special Energy are going to continue to rise in popularity. Basic Energy still has to be dealt with. There are plenty of Pokémon with high retreat costs to target with Catcher, but many people are running Switch and maybe Skyarrow Bridge to make the drag and stall tactic less appealing.
This category is where most of the Durant controversy is at. Do you play an alternative attacker? Some say yes, others say no. I will say that most of the Durant lists that did well in both the Florida and Chicago marathons did not run an attacker. However, you can attack with the deck without adding another Pokémon. Let’s take a look:
Cobalion NVI: This is the main alternative attacker for most people in Durant. It is resistant to Mewtwo EX. It can force many of the big retreat Pokémon to be stuck in the active. For MC it can do 20 + 20 for each energy attached to the defending Pokémon. Or for MMC it does 80 and the defending Pokémon cannot attack. If you do decided to play Cobalion, you should look into playing Exp. Share.
Prism Energy: Why is this card in this section? Well, the deck runs Rotom to get Durants out of the prizes. However, Rotom can also attack with Plasma Arrow. For L, Rotom deals 20 damage times the number of energy on your opponent’s Pokémon. This means that you can attack and KO Zekrom after two Bolt Strikes. You can do at least 80 to most EXs (setting up a two or three turn KO). It is always useful to have and energy to run for Plasma Arrow.
Black Belt: Black Belt is a Supporter that adds 40 damage to your Pokémon’s attacks when you are behind on prizes. This means that you can often set up a surprise Vice Grip for 70 damage. That could be enough to spring a surprise KO on stuff like Victini.
Smoochum HS: This little baby allows you to move your opponent’s energy around. If your opponent placed two Pokémon on the field, you can push the energy off one Pokémon onto another and then Catcher that one to stall.
Mime Jr. CL: This baby allows you to mill one card from your opponent’s deck and send it to the Lost Zone. It used to be considered a good starter for the deck. Now, it is something to likely pass up.
This brings the list to:
Pokémon – 5
Trainers – 36
Energy – 10
That brings the list up to 51 cards. We still have 8 slots to fill.
There are two cards that we have not talked about two staple cards in Durant.
Junk Arm: This cards allows you to discard two cards in your hand to retrieve one Item card from the discard. This card allows you to effectively have four more of any Item card in your deck. Running four copies is a near must in Durant.
Eviolite: With Durant you need to delay your opponent from taking prizes as much as possible. Eviolite is the exact card to accomplish this. A Durant with Eviolite and Special Metal Energy has an effective health of 100 HP. While there are certainly cards that can swing for 100 every turn, few cards can accomplish this without a support Pokémon set up. I play three Eviolites.
Now the list looks like this:
Pokémon – 5
Trainers – 43
Energy – 10
RomeertThat brings the list up to 58 cards. Thus, you have two slots to fill in. Those two slots can make or break a good Durant list. I would recommend looking into thicker lines of the pre-existing list. Possibly 2 more Eviolite, another Switch, 2 more Pokégear 3., and one more Level Ball. But, ultimately those slots are up to you.
Again, I am not going to go into great matchup details. We do not have a solid defined meta yet. I will say that Durant id very good to solid against Mewtwo EX bases decks (looking at you CMT), Magnezone decks, 6C, and The Truth.
I hope you have enjoyed this second deck analysis article. I hope that it has given you something to think about.
In summary, Durant is a great deck with solid matchups. It is also extremely cheap (a huge bonus). It will be a serious player for States.