Harnessing the Power of Aspertia City Gym

Hello again, this time I thought I’d touch on a deck that hasn’t been as hyped as some others have been. More of an idea rather than a deck, Aspertia City Gym shows a lot of promise with some of the heavy hitting Colorless Pokémon in the game.

While the idea of having an extra 20 HP seems underwhelming theoretically, in practice this is a game changing mechanic for Colorless Pokémon.

trollandtoad.comI believe Aspertia City Gym is a dynamic card in the format for a number of reasons. Namely, the lack of counter Stadiums being played, the ease with which one can find the card from the deck, its specific synergy with the relevant Colorless Pokémon in the format, and its potency in the context of other Item cards in the format.

Now, more so than ever, finding so called “magic numbers” is a huge theme in this format. The idea that one can find 1HKO’s by prepping a benched Pokémon with small damage from Night Spear and Hammerhead is what keeps cards like Darkrai and Landorus in the top tier.

The reason I bring this up is that generally, players try to steer away from dealing more damage than necessary. While efficient and prudent at face value, this very common approach toward finding perfect one and two hit knock outs can be easily interrupted by decks with Aspertia City Gym.

Many of the reasons for why this kind of precision play is damped by Aspertia have to do with the cards that are associated with this deck, so I’ll move onto the specifics of the deck now.

Table of Contents

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Key Pokémon

As far as Pokémon go, here are the usual suspects for a deck trying to make the best use of Aspertia City Gym.

Tornadus EX

pokemon-paradijs.comA card not unfamiliar to the spotlight, Tornadus EX saw a lot of play during the early parts of spring Battle Roads last season with Darkrai EX. While most players switched from Tornadus to Mewtwo in their Darkrai decks for the later tournaments of the season, Tornadus still saw some play as a tech against Terrakion.

Today, Tornadus boasts the same advantages in the general metagame as it did last season. Its high HP and Resistance to Fighting are what make this otherwise average EX card quite above average.

Up until now, Tornadus decks have been kept at bay by the fact that Eels decks have been an important part of the format since the card’s release. But, recently, with the introduction of Landorus-EX to the format, the popularity of Eels decks has been dramatically reduced, and with good reason.

Tornadus EX no longer has to worry about being 1HKO’d by a Raikou-EX or Zekrom anymore, because people are too afraid to play Tynamo. This shift in the format is extremely beneficial for Tornadus for two reasons.

The first being the idea that nothing in the game can reach the 210 damage necessary to Knock Out an Eviolited Tornadus in one hit apart from Zekrom, which has diminished in play greatly.

The second, more important reason, is that Landorus found itself being played in almost every tier one deck in the game. Landorus/Darkrai, Landorus/Tornadus, Landorus/, Landorus/Mewtwo/Terakkion are a few examples. If any deck is playing Fighting Energy, you’ll find at least one Landorus on the deck list for sure.

While Landorus’s first attack is usually an incredible attack, getting 60 damage from one Energy, it is reduced to only 40, sometimes 30 damage when facing a Tornadus or a Tornadus with an Eviolite.

Usually, Hammerhead is the attack that puts pressure on an opponent to start thinking about ways to deal with the first Landorus, but a Tornadus start prevents that early damage overload.

Even as it relates to Landorus’s second attack, Tornadus can take up to 3 attacks from Land’s Judgement without the discard, and even if they do discard, they still need to pull the attack off a second time to clear a Tornadus off the field.

In other words, Landorus has no way to efficiently remove Tornadus as a threat, especially when Eviolite, Aspertia, and Potion are factors.

The last thing that makes Tornadus the star of any Aspertia based deck are its attacks. Because Blow Though already makes great use of having a Stadium in play, it justifies a high Skyla count as well as Roserade in most cases.

While 100 is a low max damage for an EX to have, being able to do so for only three Energies keeps things quick and efficient.

This low output is a nonissue because of how fast it is able to deal this kind of damage, and also because Tornadus’s partners can usually pick up the slack. Honestly, in any Aspertia City Gym based deck, Tornadus is the only card you absolutely have to include in a high quantity; otherwise, the deck will lack synergy and more than likely fall apart.

Bouffalant DRX

pokemon-paradijs.comThis is another card that came out of the woodworks to find perfect synergy with Aspertia City Gym. Most people would steer clear of this card because of its slightly high Energy cost, and its underwhelming damage output against non-EX Pokémon, but it’s definitely worth taking another look at.

At face value, the only redeeming feature of this card is its Ability, which seems more like a gimmick than a game changing attribute. In reality, Bouffer is just one of the many reasons this card is another must in any Aspertia deck.

The thing that many people underplay is that Bouffalant deals 120 damage to every EX. When considering that number in practical application, there are no EXs able to take 2 hits from this attack (apart from Tornadus with Eviolite and Aspertia). Now on the other side of the coin, how many EXs can return the same kind of damage efficiency back to the Bouffalant?

EX and Landorus-EX are the only Pokémon relevant to the format that are able to 1HKO Bouffalant; all the rest need two attacks.

Rayquaza requires 2 or, in the case of either Aspertia or Eviolite, 3 Energy to get the 1HKO, which is above average for just 1 Prize.

So now that it has been established that most EXs in the game have to trade two shots with Bouffalant, it becomes apparent that Bouffalant is one of the most efficient attackers this deck has available. For two Energies, this Pokémon can trade with Tornadus, Darkrai, Mewtwo, Raikou, and any other EX Pokémon that might pop up locally.

Another one of Bouffalant’s important characteristics is that it can hardly be touched on the bench for the most part. Because it reduces 20 from all attacks, Darkrai and Landorus players will usually veer from putting 10 on a non-EX as opposed to 30 on another Pokémon, even if Bouffalant is a bigger threat in most instances.

Really, the thing that keeps this card as a top contender for this deck is the idea that Bouffer combined with Eviolite and 120 HP make this card almost impossible to deal with without losing on the Prize trade.

Bouffalant is a very important component of this deck, just not in high quantities because of how bad a starter it is when compared to Tornadus.

Regigigas-EX

pokemon-paradijs.comRegigigas is a card that has never really seen much play apart from the occasional tech in CMT back at Regionals of last year for Durant. The first thing I will say of Regigigas is that its Fighting Weakness really holds it back.

While it shares this flaw with Bouffalant, because Bouffalant only gives up 1 Prize it remains acceptable, whereas Regigigas is virtually useless against Landorus.

A lot of the time you’ll find yourself Junipering or Ultra Balling away this card in any Landorus matchup, and because Landorus is very prominent nowadays, Regigigas is often discard fodder.

However, while this card carries with it some baggage, it also possesses some impressive stats. 200 HP with Aspertia on the table, and an attack that deals damage for each counter on it, means this guy can clear almost anything off the table in one hit if you do the math right.

Its first attack is great for getting rid of the Basics and Stage Ones you’ll find in , Hydreigon, Eels, and any decks playing Roserade. With an Eviolite, it doesn’t even have to take the recoil damage which keeps this guy swinging for 80 a turn for 2-3 Energy.

The real idea behind Regigigas is that it can deal a huge amount of damage.

Much like the Mewtwo/Shaymin combo from last season, having access to a Pokémon that can clear off a big threat in one hit at a critical point in the game, like right before a big N, is a huge advantage. For that reason, Darkrai/Mewtwo wound up being superior to Darkrai/Tornadus.

pokemon-paradijs.comSo what you’d like to see from Regigigas is it dropping 80 damage as long as it can, and then, using Potions to control damage, come back later and trade with an EX right before it gets Knocked Out.

This way, you’re virtually getting a free 80, 160, 240, etc damage before trading evenly on Prizes. This free damage can be really important to set up knock outs for Tornadus and Bouffalant later on.

What makes Regigigas playable in this deck is that the deck already plays Potions, Max Potion, and even Gold Potion, and because being able to control exactly how much damage is on Regigigas at a time is very important, it ties into the deck well.

Be very wary with this card though, I would recommend against playing more than one in the deck, and if there are any signs of fighting coming from your opponent, discard this card as fast as possible, and definitely do not bench it.

Ways to Play Aspertia City Gym

Now I’ll break down a few different ways of playing Aspertia. I’ll narrow down to three decks, because I believe these are the three best ways of making the most of your Colorless Pokémon. I’ll start off with the Darkrai version and here’s a sample list.

With Darkrai EX

Pokémon – 9

1 Roselia DRX 12
1 Roserade DRX 15

3 Darknessrai-EX

2 Tornadus-EX DEX
1 Mewtwo-EX
1 Bouffalant DRX

Trainers – 38

4 Professor Juniper
4 N

3 Skyla
2 Bianca

 

4 Dark Patch
4 Ultra Ball
4 Pokémon Catcher
3 Eviolite
3 Energy Switch

3 Potion
1 Max Potion
1 Gold Potion

 

2 Aspertia City Gym

Energy – 13

9 Darkness
4 Double Colorless

pokemon-paradijs.comThis version of the Aspertia deck is probably the most unique because it has built in Energy acceleration, which the other version do not. There are a few reasons Darkrai has a place in this deck, at the forefront is its ability to use Dark Patch.

Not only does this mean that Tornadus and Bouffalant can potentially be powered up in one turn without any Energy on the board through Energy Switch, but it also means that a player can focus on using all of their Energy drops for the turn on the Colorless Pokémon, because the Darkrai will eventually power itself up over the course of time.

This is extremely beneficial because Tornadus’s other partners will take up Energy attachments for the turn, whereas Darkrai is essentially attacking for free. Another inherent benefit the Darkrai variant provides is its type coverage.

While Darkrai’s Weakness to Fighting is usually a problem against Landorus, Tornadus’s Resistance covers it, forcing the opponent to have a Catcher each time they choose to invest Energy in Landorus, or risk attacking for very little damage.

It’s this same principle that guided this deck to so many wins last season, when Terrakion was just as popular as Landorus is now. Now I’ll go into the card choices for this deck, and why this list is so tight along with some cards I’d like to fit.

Gold Potion

trollandtoad.comI’ll start with probably the most controversial card on this list, Gold Potion. It seems like a no brainer in every deck to play Computer Search over Gold Potion because they’re the only two ACE SPECs in the game and Computer Search’s effect is one of the most potent of all time.

Here, however, I have to say that Gold Potion is the more effective choice and here’s why. If you look at the rest of the list, there is undoubtedly a theme of healing.

With 3 Potion, 3 Eviolite, 2 Aspertia City Gym, and 1 Max Potion, it’s no secret that keeping your Pokémon on the field for as long as possible is the goal of this deck.

While keeping up with the “theme” of a deck is usually more of a gimmick than a strategy, in this deck I strongly believe that Gold Potion can swing things around in a big way.

Regardless of what damage is being dealt, save 1-shots, Gold Potion can wipe away an entire attack.

That means that for most part, attacks intended for a two or 3-shot are usually completely cancelled. Because this card is so rarely used, opponents will often be unprepared for this kind of damage healing, and even if they do see it coming, they’ll be expecting all of the Energy to be discarded because of the popularity of Max Potion.

Skyla being able to search it is also a huge factor in why I choose this over Computer Search. Having easy access to this effect is a huge advantage because there will really important situation during which this card will change the game.

Early on, searching for this card can keep Energy on the field until you’ve got enough on the board to last a while. Midgame, it can change the momentum of the game, possibly ending the game early and unexpectedly.

Late game, it can be the difference between a win and a loss after all four of your opponent’s Catchers are in the discard pile.

If I haven’t convinced you on this card, give it a shot and I’m sure you’ll find that it can really create opportunities that are not available with Computer Search.

Roserade

I’m a big fan of Roserade personally, and in this deck, it seems all too obvious to include in the final list being that all of the conditions are perfect.

Generally, Roserade is a card I only feel comfortable with playing when Darkrai is involved, because paying a Retreat Cost, or wasting a Switch each turn can be a real set back early game.

With Darkrai, being able to attach, retreat, then Energy Switch and save the Energy is very important to keep up with Energy drops early game. Ever since the end of Battle Roads this card has been growing in popularity, mainly in decks intending to do quick damage, namely, decks with Darkrai or Terrakion.

pokemon-paradijs.com

In this deck, Roserade shines for a few reasons. Due to the high number of items in the deck, as well as the lack of Computer Search, this deck needs something to get it off the ground early. Roserade is that something. The versatility this card presents is what keeps me coming back time and time again.

Late game, searching for a Max Potion or Gold Potion, because of their low quantity can completely change the game. I think the advantages of Roserade are pretty obvious so I’ll keep this one short. The real reason for my write up on this card is to explain the importance of having Darkrai in the deck with it.

That is not to say that Roserade is bad in decks without Darkrai, but in an Aspertia deck, where there is no Energy acceleration apart from Darkrai, keeping Energy on the board early is too important to risk having to retreat with one early on.

Another reason is the bad numbers it gives when thinking about Prize management. Because you play non-EX attackers, having a Roserade on the bench means that if your opponent ever reaches an odd number of prizes, Roserade is an easy knockout in a game where they might otherwise need to draw “seven” Prizes.

With Fighting Pokémon

The following list is a sample for a Fighting heavy version of the deck. As you might expect, it’s got Landorus-EX and Terrakion, as well as an extra Mewtwo. This version of the deck is meant to try to get good matchups across the top-decks in the game.

Darkrai and Eels are covered by Landorus and Terrakion, and while it’s a weak counter, Mewtwo tries to keep Blastoise in check as best it can. Here’s a sample.

Pokémon – 10

2 Tornadus-EX DEX

2 Landorus-EX
2 Mewtwo-EX
2 Bouffalant DRX
1 Terrakion BCR
1 Regigigas-EX

Trainers – 38

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
2 Bianca

3 Skyla

 

4 Ultra Ball
4 Pokémon Catcher

4 Switch
2 Eviolite
2 Energy Switch

2 Potion
2 PlusPower
1 Max Potion
1 Gold Potion

 

3 Aspertia City Gym

Energy – 12

8 Fighting
4 Double Colorless

PlusPower

pokemon-paradijs.comPlusPower finds its way onto this list because of its great synergy with both Mewtwo and Terrakion. While some would argue that Tool Scrapper has the same effect as PlusPower, with the added ability to remove Exp. Shares and turn off Garbodor, I still favor PlusPower for many reasons.

The most important benefit to keep in mind while deciding between PlusPower and Tool Scrapper is the advantage PlusPower gives in the Mewtwo war.

While this deck does feature 4 Energy Switch, making it easier to find a Mewtwo return KO out of nowhere, the problem with doing so is the loss of Energy thereafter. If you need to put 3 Energy onto each Mewtwo to keep up with your opponent’s Mewtwos, you’ll run out of Energy first because most decks have ways to accelerate Energy, while yours doesn’t.

Apart from its Energy reserving ability in the Mewtwo war, PlusPower can also cook up some other magic numbers for this deck. Less importantly, because ’s HP is odd, Mewtwo needs one less Energy to 1HKO it with a PlusPower.

For Terrakion, the value of PlusPower matches the value of Tool Scrapper, but I believe there will be in game situations where PlusPower does more. Another up side to PlusPower is that you can discard them before a Bianca, or to thin your deck before late game N’s.

If the situation arises where your opponent has no Tools on the board at the same time you have Tool Scrapper in hand, the card will stay in the deck the whole game, and inevitably end up in the hand you get when you’re N’d to 2 in the closing turns of the game.

3rd Aspertia City Gym

pokemon.wikia.comIn this list, as opposed to the first, I opted into playing a 3rd Stadium for a few reasons. The main reason for this change is the lack of Roserade.

Because there is one fewer way to search for the Stadium in this list, it seems fitting to include a third copy of this core card. A second reason to justify this card choice is the higher number of Tornadus EXs.

While Stadiums usually aren’t seen as consistency cards, having 3-of this Stadium turns Tornadus EX into a good starter. The difference between having Roserade to search it, and having an extra copy of the card, is the first turn.

Increasing odds of dealing 60 damage turn one makes Tornadus a favorable start, turning the number of good starters from 2 to 4.

The only downside to playing three of the same Stadium is how dead they can be late game, but with all the ways to discard it later on, this seems like a nonissue. This card’s early game implications, paired with its crucial importance to the deck, makes playing three of this card an easy choice in the absence of a Roserade line or Computer Search.

With Ho-Oh EX

The third adaptation of this deck is by far the shakiest, but when it works, it is by far the most potent. A lot of players have started to see the value in Ho-Oh EX, and with good reason.

The instant Energy acceleration it can provide at almost any stage in the game, combine with its type versatility, makes it a card to consider in almost any deck.

Because Ho-Oh pulls back 3 different types of Energy, it is making many players consider playing a wide range of types in their decks. The discovery of Ho-Oh’s potential coincides perfectly with how the last few sets have impacted the game.

With all of the new search introduced, like Roserade, Skyla, and Computer Search, finding specific Energy in the deck is no longer a problem. Here’s a list for Aspertia with Ho-Oh.

Pokémon – 10

2 Tornadus-EX DEX
2 Mewtwo-EX

1 Landorus-EX
1 Bouffalant DRX
1 Ho-Oh-EX
1 Terrakion BCR
1 Shaymin-EX NXD
1 Sigilyph DRX

Trainers – 39

4 Professor Juniper
4 N

3 Skyla
2 Bianca

 

4 Pokémon Catcher
4 Energy Switch

4 Switch

3 Ultra Ball

2 Potion

2 Eviolite
2 PlusPower
1 Energy Search
1 Max Potion
1 Gold Potion

 

2 Aspertia City Gym

Energy – 11

4 Fighting
4 Double Colorless
2 Grass
1 Psychic

Shaymin EX

pokemon-paradijs.comShaymin is the biggest reason for Ho-Oh to be in this deck. Its late game potential and the fact that its Grass type makes it a huge figure in this format. Being able to Knock Out Keldeo, Blastoise, Terrakion, and even Terrakion-EX after only 2 Prizes for only 2 Energy, it’s no wonder this card can swing the game at any point.

The format is such that if a player sees a Grass Energy hit the table, they immediately have to start worrying about a Shaymin/Energy Switch coming through and flipping the game. While this deck isn’t the best at cloaking the Shaymin before it attacks because Ho-Oh takes Energy from the discard, it still gets the job done.

There really isn’t much a Blastoise/Keldeo deck can do to do prevent it, so Shaymin doesn’t lose any of its thunder in that matchup. The only thing to really keep in mind with Shaymin is its low HP.

Most of the time, Shaymin will get Knocked Out in one hit, so make sure that when you decide to use it for a big Knock Out, that you’re getting at least 2 Prizes to even the Prize trade, and prepare for it to be Knocked Out, because in most cases 110 isn’t hard to hit.

The only thing redeeming about Shaymin’s stats is that its Resistance to Fighting means that in some cases it can survive one attack from a Terrakion, or a Terrakion-EX. Coincidentally, the circumstance during which Shaymin is at its best is usually when you’ll have the means to attack with it.

Some players would worry about how Shaymin is only at its best late game, but for this deck, that is a non-issue. Because Shaymin is at its best late game, and because Ho-Oh takes a while to bring Energy back into play, a lot of the time, the turn you’ll look to attack with Shaymin will coincide with the turn you decide to use Rebirth.

In other words, Ho-Oh’s late game acceleration fits perfectly with a surprise Revenge Blast from Shaymin in the end game.

In this deck specifically, Shaymin covers the problems this deck might encounter with Blastoise. While Mewtwo can hold the deck back late game if you get an early lead, I believe Shaymin makes the matchup decisively favorable for this deck.

Sigilyph

pokemon-paradijs.comThis card has been on the minds of many players since it came out after Worlds. While there haven’t been many opportunities to play this card to its full potential because of its high Energy cost to low HP ratio, Ho-Oh makes that possible now, and people are taking notice.

There are even some decks featuring this card in higher quantities, even if it seems like more of a tech a first glance. I’ve only included one in this list mostly because of the limited space available, but I think this card can cause a lot of decks problems as a 2 or 3-of.

With Junk Arm gone, having a Pokémon stay active is far more likely, and even in a format where everyone plays four Catcher, spending one each turn means that later, there will be fewer Catchers to worry about. The other and more apparent reason for Sigilyph is that it can end games as soon as it hits the board.

Many fast Basic decks play only 1 Terrakion as a Darkrai and Sigilyph counter. Apart from Bouffalant, Terrakion, and Sableye to an extent, there aren’t many non-EXs being played in these kinds of decks. This has huge implications for later in a tournament, when you have a better idea of what each player has in their decks going into cut.

For example, if you know a player in cut is only playing one answer to Sigilyph, it makes it much easier to find a win condition, because you can spend the entire game looking to Knock Out their Sigilyph answer, and can eventually win by sitting a lone Sigilyph.

This card does not have any real in game application other than the potential to swing a game after all the Catchers are gone, but it still finds itself on the final list because of how popular EXs are in the game right now.

I’d highly recommend introducing this card to your metagame if it hasn’t been already, because if people aren’t prepared for it, you can find yourself in a pretty great spot at your next event.

Concluding Notes

pokemon-paradijs.comI just want to leave you guys with a few more notes to make yourselves more successful with an Aspertia City Gym deck. Some things that didn’t fit in up in the deck list analyses are this deck and how it relates to Tropical Beach.

Now, with all the Stage Two decks – apart from Empoleon – playing Tropical Beach to get an early game advantage through Skyla, it makes sticking an Aspertia in play much more difficult.

This is something that has developed as Cities have progressed, and Beach is more popular than ever. I do not believe this makes the deck any worse, but it certainly means that the Aspertia player needs to be more cautious with when they play down their stadium.

If the Blastoise or Hydreigon player plays their Beach as planned, early on, there shouldn’t be too much to worry about because it can be countered, and usually there won’t be a second Beach to follow. When it gets tricky is when you see Squirtles or Deinos but they haven’t played a Beach yet.

The only real way to make sure you get to keep the Aspertia advantage is to be more conservative when deciding whether or not to discard it with an Ultra Ball or a Juniper.

Most of the time, discarding the second Aspertia is a no brainer, but keep in mind that you might find yourself in a tough situation if they counter it and you have no way to replace it again.

Another note is that Tornadus EPO is not a bad idea to add into this deck. While I wouldn’t play more than one of it, its Resistance to Fighting makes it a great attacker against Landorus decks.

If Eels is big in your area, I think this is another card to keep your binder, the reason being that because Bouffalant is so strong in this deck, you don’t want to give your opponent two non-EXs to Knock Out, when you can make them draw “seven” Prizes instead.

The reason I didn’t cover this card in the top of the article is because it’s a pretty face value card. If you can find a Double Colorless, it can be a great starter, and it serves a niche purpose against Fighting decks. Apart from that, the card is rather uninteresting, and it’s really up to the style of the player as to whether or not this card makes the cut.

Another thing I’d like to clarify is my opinion on Roserade. I want to be clear that Roserade is an incredible card. The only reason it did not find a place in the Ho-Oh list is due to space restriction. As with any deck including Ho-Oh, space is very tight, and sometimes you have to take a chance on consistency to have an appropriate amount of potency.

In the Landorus list however, I do not believe Roserade is warranted for the reasons I stated in the original write up. Ho-Oh’s Rebirth and Dark Patch are the things that would make me play Roserade, because between the Energy acceleration and Switch, there is enough to keep the flow of the game steady.

I’d like to end by saying that if you can find room to play Roserade in the Landorus version, it is by no means a bad idea either. While I don’t believe the burden it brings to the deck is worth 2 spots in this deck, Le Parfum is still a strong power, and you could easily find yourself being successful with it in the deck.

Just note though, apart from being conservative with switches, Roserade can be a huge liability as a 6th prize if your opponent has Knocked Out a Bouffalant or a regular Tornadus already.

cardshark.com

The last thing I’d like to touch on is how Colorless Pokémon in the format affect this deck’s performance. As Aspertia begins to grow in popularity, and you find yourself on the other end of the table, Bouffalant can be a huge swing.

Getting the advantages provided by Aspertia while not having to devote spots to it in your own deck makes your deck 62 cards, effectively. The same principle applied last season when people began going lower and lower on Skyarrow Bridge knowing that other Darkrai, Eel, and Celebi decks would play it down for both players.

Keep in mind that Bouffalant is great in a lot matchups, which means that throwing one into your deck not only helps you across the board, but will give you a huge advantage if you happen to come across someone playing Aspertia.

Mike


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