With the National Championship fast approaching in the United States, I took the time recently to go over the available card pool one more time to make sure there weren’t any cards or combinations of cards that I was overlooking that could be used to build the winning deck. I didn’t really find any cards that I overlooked that I felt could be used in a deck for Nationals, but one card did catch my interest – Persian HS.
As most people at my league probably know by now, I like to play with some more experimental decks from time to time, trying to unlock any secrets of the format that might have been overlooked. Some examples are my Tyranitar Truth deck for Fall Regionals, Tyranitar Prime/Kyurem NVI/Cobalion NVI Truth and Kyurem NVI/Zekrom BLW/Eelektrik NVI decks for City Championships and the beloved Cinccino NXD/Hypno HS deck. (Major props to Austin S, whoever you are, for winning a Battle Roads in a competitive Florida meta game with the deck!) The deck that I’m going to describe in this article definitely falls into the weird and out there category of decks.
Persian has always been one of my favorite generation one Pokémon. It’s known as the classy cat Pokémon and is the Top Cat in Team Rocket, being Giovanni’s favorite and most beloved Pokémon. After getting in enough games playing the deck, it’s clear that this deck isn’t anything top tier, but it’s still a solid deck that can give most decks in the format a lot of trouble. It may not be the best deck in the format, but it sure is one of the classiest, only being outclassed by Empoleon decks. (That penguin sure is classy.)
- Persian/Weavile Deck List
- Math for Sharpen Claws
- Prey and Predators
- Persian’s Prey
- Persian’s Predators
Pokémon – 17
2 Darkrai EX
Trainers – 33
4 Junk Arm
Energy – 10
10 Darkness – Basic
As you can probably tell, this deck is centered around disrupting your opponent. It has common disruption Pokémon like Weavile and Sableye, and staple disruption trainer cards in Crushing Hammer and Lost Remover. While most players probably know what these cards do, they’re probably still at a complete loss at what the star of our deck does, so without further ado, let’s take a look at our star, Persian.
Pokemon ParadijsPersian is a Stage 1 Colorless Pokémon with 80 HP and a Weakness to Fighting. Its first attack, Sharpen Claws, costs C and says, “Flip 3 coins. For each heads, discard a card from your opponent’s hand without looking.” Its second attack, Sneaky Attack, does 30 damage, plus 30 more damage if Persian has a Darkness Energy attached to it.
The first attack is where our main interest in Persian lies. This deck is purely a disruption deck, and Sharpen Claws is one of the better disruption attacks in the game, giving you a chance to discard up to three of your opponent’s cards from their hand, something that could completely cripple their setup with a turn 2 Sharpen Claws, which isn’t too hard to do with Persian being a Stage 1 Pokémon and its attack only costing one Energy.
Its second attack is decent as well. It’s strong enough to knockout Tynamo, Celebi Prime, Oddish UD, Victini, Vanillite, Sneasel, among others. Sometimes your opponent will just dead draw on their first turn of the game giving you a chance to win it on turn 2 by knocking out their only Pokémon with Sneaky Attack.
Meowth is Persian’s pre-evolution. It is also a Colorless Pokémon, it has 60 HP, and also shares a Weakness to Fighting. Its first attack, Pay Day, does 10 damage for C and allows you to draw a card. Its second attack, Dig Claws, does 20 damage for CC. I chose this version of Meowth over the other legal Meowth cards because of its Pay Day attack.
Being able to draw an extra card to start the game is a nice little consistency booster to start the game and it gives the bonus of also doing 10 damage, which can setup knockouts for later in the game.
Most players are probably familiar with Weavile by now, as it’s been in rotation for awhile now and has seen a pickup of play during Spring Battle Roads, being featured in the Darkrai/Weavile/Sableye deck and the Zoroark DEX/Weavile/Darkrai deck.
The main purpose of Weavile in this deck is to provide added disruption. Its Poké-Power, Claw Snag, allows you to discard a card from your opponent’s hand of your choosing when you evolve into Weavile. This is great for discarding cards key to your opponents deck like Vileplume UD or Eelektrik NVI, teched Energy (Fighting for Terrakion is popular right now), or Supporters to slow your opponent down.
Claw Snag pairs well with Persian’s attack of Sharpen Claws. If your opponent leaves their hand in the same order that it was during your Claw Snag, you can memorize what cards your opponent has in their hands and knowingly discard the cards you want from your opponent’s hand. This can simply be combated by your opponent shuffling their hand around after the Claw Snag, but against opponents who are not wise to the trickery of this deck you can leave them thinking you have the psychic ability of a Kadabra as you discard all of their key cards with Sharpen Claws.
Additionally, if your opponent has a dead hand after you Claw Snag and there is nothing worth discarding in their hand, you could decide to use Persian’s Sneaky Attack to take a knock out for the turn.
Weavile also has a decent attack in Feint Attack, which allows you to snipe for 30 damage for DC. The attack ignores Weakness, Resistance, Poké-Powers, Poké-Bodies, or any other effects on that Pokémon, which means that you can attack for 30 damage onto a Pokémon with an Eviolite attached. The card also has free retreat, so it’s the perfect card to place active after you’re opponent knocks out one of your Pokémon.
Your pre-evolution to Weavile is actually a fairly strong card in its own right. Sneasel also has free retreat, a Psychic Resistance and a Fighting Weakness. Its first attack, Fury Swipes, costs C and says, “Flip 3 coins. This attack does 10 damage times the number of heads.” Its second attack, Beat Up, is even stronger. It costs DD, and says, “Flip a coin for each of your Pokémon in play. This attack does 20 damage times the number of heads.”
These attacks aren’t the strongest attacks ever, but if you start with your Dark Claw in hand and your opponent starts with an active Tynamo, Pichu, or Oddish, it’s usually a good idea to attach that to Sneasel and just go for the donk. If you for some reason are able to get a turn one dark patch to setup Beat Up, that’s even better as Beat Up is a fairly strong attack that can be very effective in taking out low HP Pokémon in the early game.
Sneasel isn’t the strongest attacker ever, and you won’t attack with it very often, but it’s good to know what the card does in case you end up in a position in which you can utilize it to your advantage.
Pokemon ParadijsThis is the main attacker in this deck. Unlike most decks that include Darkrai, this deck isn’t focused on getting out a fast Darkrai to attack early. The way you want to play this deck is by disrupting your opponents setup and getting rid of their resources and Energy before you clean up the mess with Darkrai. Darkrai’s Ability also gives everything in this deck free retreat, which is always a nice benefit of playing Darkrai.
Darkrai’s attack, Night Spear, costs DDC and does 90 damage plus 30 to one of your opponent’s benched Pokémon. Once you’re opponent is dry of resources, the attack is more than strong enough to run through most of your opponent’s deck.
Included in the deck are two Dark Patch, which should help you speed up the process of powering up Darkrai. You’re not overly concerned with getting an early Darkrai with this deck, so two Dark Patch should suffice.
A single copy of Sableye was too good not to run in this deck. You already run Crushing Hammer and Lost Remover in hefty counts, so including Sableye in the deck gives you an autowin against Klinklang EX and Six Corner variants, and a very favorable matchup against anything without Energy acceleration.
When you’re playing a deck that depends on coin flips, you have to run Victini NVI. Its Victory Star Ability allows you to re-flip coin flips on your attacks. The main purpose of Victini is to maximize your probability of discarding 2 or 3 cards from your opponent’s hand with Sharpen Claws. However, Victini also works well with Sneasel’s Fury Swipes and Beat Up attacks and Sableye’s Confuse Ray.
These are two of the more important cards in your decks. The purpose of these cards is to remove Energy from your opponent’s Pokémon. Crushing Hammer allows you to flip a coin and if heads, discard an Energy from the Defending Pokémon. Lost Remover allows you to place a Special Energy card attached to one of your opponent’s Pokémon into the Lost Zone.
Lost Remover is absolutely the right play in this deck over Enhanced Hammer. Placing Energy in the Lost Zone instead of the discard prevents you from falling victim to shenanigans such as Steelix Prime, Klinklang EPO, and Recycle. Lost Remover is also a much cooler and better named card than Enhanced Hammer, so these factors should outweigh any contributions Enhanced Hammer makes to the feng shui of the deck.
There are a couple of cards that I thought would be good in this deck and played around in this deck in the early building stages of the deck that ended up getting cut from the deck as I did more and more playtesting.
Pokemon ParadijsAs this is a disruption deck, Hooligans Jim & Cas was one of the first cards I decided to try out in this deck. The card reads, “Flip a coin. If heads, choose 3 random cards from your opponent’s hand. Your opponent reveals those cards and shuffles them into his or her deck. This card would be good if it was an Item card, but as a Supporter, spending your Supporter for your turn on a 50/50 coin flip isn’t very good.
The deck introduced another problem for this deck, and that was one of consistency. Playing this card forced me to run Pokégear 3. instead of Random Receiver, and after just a few games playing with the card again the bad memories of whiffing on a Pokégear 3. were back in full force. By cutting this card from the deck, I was able to play Random Receiver, making the deck more consistent.
When I had Smeargle in this deck, I was running through my resources to quickly, placing me on the edge of decking out in the majority of my games. This deck sets up just fine without Smeargle and using Smeargle to end up on the verge of decking out almost every game isn’t a very good game state to continually end up in.
When you’re playing a deck that depends on coin flips, I think it’s very important to understand the probability of your coin flips giving you the desired result. A deck like Cinccino/Hypno works because you’re Cinccino is going to survive your opponent’s turn roughly 69 percent of the time. Vanilluxe works because you’re only going to get quad tails 6.3 percent of the time. The probabilities of these decks are favorable, which in turns allows these decks to work favorably.
However, a deck based around Darmanitan NXD won’t be very successful as the probabilities aren’t in its favor for dealing enough damage consistently enough to keep up with the other Pokémon in this format. A deck like Sharpedo TM doesn’t work because you only get the desired effect 44 percent of the time, so the probability of that deck working is unfavorable.
Rule 1 of Playing a Flip Deck – Only play a flip deck on the condition: May the odds ever be in your favor.
smplyskool.caNow moving onto this deck in specifically. The way I play the deck is with the goal of discarding at least 2 cards with Sharpen Claws. For a single Sharpen Claws attack, your probabilities are:
0 Heads – 12.5 percent
1 Heads – 37.5 percent
2 Heads – 37.5 percent
3 Heads – 12.5 percent
So at its base, Sharpen Claws has an 87.5 percent chance of discarding at least one card, a 50 percent chance of discarding at least two cards, and a 12.5 percent chance of discarding three cards and also a 12.5 percent chance of discarding nothing. That attack is alright, but nothing to build a deck around.
If you pair it with Victory Star however, the attack starts to pick up some power. As stated before, my goal when using this attack is to discard at least two cards, so if I flip either 0 or 1 heads on the first set of flips, I am going to then use Victory Star to re-flip for the attack. When Victory Star is taken into account, the probabilities work out to:
0 Heads – 6.25 percent
1 Heads – 18.75 percent
2 Heads – 56.25 percent
3 Heads – 18.75 percent
This means that with Victini, Sharpen Claws will discard at least one card 93.75 percent of the time, at least two cards 75 percent of the time, and three cards 18.75 percent of the time. You only have a 6.25 percent chance of not discarding anything from your opponent’s hand. The odds are in this decks favor, which gives it a chance to work.
Since this is just a for fun deck and this format is so diverse with so many different decks, I feel laboring through various matchups is a bit unnecessary. Instead, I feel it would be more appropriate to take a look at the types of decks and cards that this deck can take advantage of and what decks and cards can give this deck a hard time.
The Persian is a natural born predator. Some of its common prey involve decks that rely on Special Energy, manual Energy attachments, and evolved Pokémon.
Just like the Darkrai variant dubbed as “Hammer Time,” this deck has an almost auto win matchup against decks like Six Corners or Klinklang EX that depend solely on Special Energy to function. You play Sableye, 4 Crushing Hammer, and 2 Lost Remover.
If you end up playing against one of these decks, try to find your Lost Removers as quick as possible, and then continually play them throughout the game with Sableye’s Junk Hunt attack while you setup a Darkrai on your bench to start attacking your opponent’s Pokémon after their field is dry of Energy.
Again, just like Hammer Time before it, this deck has a very favorable matchup against decks that lack Energy acceleration. In these matchups you want to find your Crushing Hammers as quickly as possible and then continually recycle them using Sableye’s Junk Hunt attack.
Sometimes you will get double tails and fail to take an Energy off your opponent’s Pokémon for the turn, but for the most part you should be able to prevent your opponent from attacking in most games, and should then be able to setup your Darkrai to finish off any remaining threats on your opponent’s field.
This deck does a really good job disrupting the setup of decks that depend on evolving their Pokémon, doubly so if those Pokémon are Stage 2 decks.
The most common Stage 2 decks in the format right now run Vileplume UD. In games where your opponent doesn’t go first and gets a turn 2 Vileplume, you should be able to disrupt them and prevent them from ever getting a Vileplume setup in most of the rest of your games against Vileplume decks.
With Weavile’s Claw Snag Poké-Body, you’re able to look at your opponents hand and discard any Vileplume, Rare Candy, Twins, or other Supporters you see in your opponent’s hand. With Persian’s Sharpen Claw, you can discard additional resources other than what you Claw Snagged, which could mean additional Vileplume, Rare Candy, Twins, or other Supporters headed to your opponent’s discard pile.
From there, Persian’s Sneaky Attack does 60 damage, which is good to start picking off Oddish when you know it will take your opponent a lucky top deck to get the Vileplume out the next turn. After the Vileplume threat is eliminated, you just work on removing any remaining Energy from your opponent’s field and then take knockouts on the rest of your opponent’s Pokémon with Darkrai EX.
This deck has near auto win matchups against Six Corners and Klinklang EX variants. It should have very favorable matchups against Quad Terrakion NVI, Quad Groudon EX, Darkrai/Mismagius CL/Vileplume, Vanilluxe NVI/Victini/Vileplume, and the Truth. It’s matchups should be slightly favorable against Landorus NVI/Terrakion, Troll, and Accelgor DEX variants.
Unfortunately, not everything in the format is for Persian’s feasting. There are a few cards in the format that give this deck trouble and help to nullify the cards disruption.
Pokemon ParadijsThis card can give this deck a lot of trouble if your opponent manages to get one setup. Excadrill is a fighting type Stage 1 Pokémon. Its attack Dig Uppercut costs FF and does 50 damage. Being a fighting type Pokémon, it hits everything except Sableye and Victini for weakness. It ohko’s Sneasel, Weavile, Meowth, and Persian – as well as Victini with a PlusPower.
Its attack also allows your opponent to take a card from their discard pile and put it into their hand, which allows your opponent to negate the damage of your Sharpen Claws and Claw Snags.
This card is generally a good counter to disruption. If I get rid of all the Supporters from their hands between Claw Snag and Sharpen Claws, but am stuck with a Supporter in my hand, my opponent can use Smeargle’s Portrait Poké-Power to use my Supporter and get out of their dead hand.
Empoleon is a threat to this deck for a couple of reasons. First of all, he is the one Pokémon that can make a serious challenge to Persian for the title of classiest Pokémon. That alone makes these two natural enemies, and in the card game their two respective decks actually interact to give the two Pokémon a compelling rivalry.
In favor of Persian is its deck’s disruption between itself and Weavile. Empoleon is a Stage 2 deck, which allows you to discard valuable resources for your opponent setting up their Empoleon. Persian’s Sneaky Attack is powerful enough to OHKO Piplups, which is pretty good for a turn 2 attack if you Claw Snag and see your opponent has nothing going for them.
However, Empoleon is the Stage 2 that can best deal with this deck’s disruption. Once Empoleon gets setup, its Ability, Diving Draw, gives Empoleon built in draw, allowing them to get out of any bad hands you stick them with. Additionally, Attack Command only costs a single Energy, so Energy disruption isn’t really a viable strategy against Empoleon.
I’ve included a Dark Claw in the deck specifically for this matchup. If you can do the two prizes in two turns thing with Darkrai’s Night Spear, you usually win the matchup. If not, than the Empoleon player will be able to relentlessly use Diving Draw to setup multiple Empoleon and eventually take the game from you.
Pokemon ParadijsIn general, Energy acceleration isn’t going to be the largest problem in the world for this deck. It’s annoying, but it doesn’t break the deck. Most Energy acceleration comes from evolution Pokémon. Keeping cards like Typhlosion Prime, Feraligatr Prime, and Emboar BLW 20 from setting up isn’t too hard. You have a lot of control over your opponents hand with Persian and Weavile, so you’re able to discard the evolution cards and Rare Candy that they need to evolve.
Eelektrik gives you a bit more trouble, as it’s a Stage 1, but it’s manageable. You can discard Eelektrik from your opponent’s hand using Claw Snag or Sharpen Claws, and you can use Persian’s Sneaky Attack to take out Tynamo before they can evolve them into an Eelektrik. If you can limit the amount of Eelektrik your opponent gets out to one or none, you should be in solid shape. If your opponent is able to get out multiple Eelektrik however, they will demolish you with their stream of powerful attackers.
Celebi Prime is easy to deal with because of the restrictions on it. It’s a once a turn Energy acceleration that needs an Energy in hand in order toaccelerate with Celebi in the active spot. The deck that it’s played in is also one of the most hand reliant decks in the format.
So even with a little quick Energy acceleration, a Lost Remover, Crushing Hammer, Claw Snag, and a Sharpen Claws could be enough to cripple CMT for a few turns while you further setup. CMT of course could get a powerful turn one attacker and overpower your deck if you whiff on any needed resources when they get a fast setup.
The biggest threat to this deck in terms of Energy acceleration is Dark Patch. The deck allows your opponent to power up a Darkrai EX in just a single turn – and once Darkrai is setup, it ohko’s everything in your deck except your own Darkrai EX. The decks Dark Patch is played in also tend to play Smeargle, so against Darkrai decks, your opponent has the ability to play Supporters that you have in hand to counter you discarding their own Supporters, and then they also have the ability to power up their attackers in one turn.
Matchups that can be considered about even are the Celebi/Mewtwo/Tornadus and Empoleon matchups. Zekrom/Eelektrik matchups are slightly unfavorable. It has unfavorable matchups against all Darkrai variants and Zoroark/Weavile decks. It has a very unfavorable matchup against Excadrill variants.
This deck isn’t one that is going to break the format or anything. It has unfavorable matchups against the two most popular decks in the format in Darkrai and Zekrom/Eelektrik, although it does have the potential to beat them both. If you enjoy playing decks that give you control over your opponent’s board position and hand, then this is agood deck choice for you.
The deck isn’t good enough to be a serious threat to win anything bigger than a Battle Roads (which just finished up this past weekend), but the deck is loads of fun to play. (At least for the person piloting the deck, might not be quite as fun for their opponent).
It’s a little late in Persian HS’s life cycle, but at least now Persian can say that it got a chance to star in its own deck before it got pushed out of the modified format. Heart Gold and Soul Silver block sets (as well as Call of Legends) will rotate out of the format in September, so Persian HS is on its last life. In a few months we will be left with just one legal Persian, Persian NXD, which is a largely unspectacular card.
The card might find some niche in the format with a Nasty Plot attack for C and Ace Spec trainers being introduced into the format, but I would venture to guess the card will be highly unplayable. Hopefully in one of the upcoming sets we get a playable Persian to replace Persian HS.
After rotation we will have three legal Meowth to only one legal Persian. One of the Meowths is even a Secret Rare card (Meowth BLW). Even with all the glitz and glam that TPCi has shown to Meowth while shunning Persian, none of these Meowth’s are good enough to even share a litter box with Persian HS. Sorry Meowth, but Persian is still the Top Cat.