Quick Tips: Parrying Plasma Steel

klinklang plasma storm pls 90pokemon-paradijs.comLike it or not, Klinklang PLS will be widely played in March, and especially at the beginning of the month.

I think that Plasma Steel variants are bad. I might be wrong and maybe a genius found a way to make a great deck with Klinklang. But my opinion is that a deck that tries not to lose rather than to win can only be bad.

But even if you share my opinion, that PlasmaKlang is a bad deck, I still very much recommended to train against it, and if necessary, proceed with minor changes to your decklist. Because there will be always someone playing Klinklang, you should be prepared to play against it, especially in Swiss rounds.

Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war and then seek to win.

– Sun Tzu

After testing for more than one month, here are some tips and techs that you may want to test yourself before States and Spring Regionals.

Weaknesses of Plasma Steel

First of all, let’s have a look to the weaknesses of the deck. Because Klinklang only protects Metal type Pokémon, we can easily picture all its viable attackers:

As you can see, there are only a handful of viable Metal attackers, and they are not that great. We can deduce two common points shared between these Pokémon:

  1. They require at least 3 energies in order to do significant damage.
  2. They share (with the exception of Lucario) a common Fire Weakness.

What conclusions can we draw from this information?

We may say that Plasma Steel decks will very likely not do significant damage before turn 3, and streaming attackers will not be easy for them because of the lack of energy acceleration. If you KO their fully charged attacker before turn 5, you probably have the game in the pocket, even if they play Klinklang BLW. So the best way to stop Plasma Steel is to have an attacker able to do the job in 4 turns.

The Fire Weakness is another thing that we may exploit in order to accomplish the task. Lucario does not have Fire Weakness, but 100 HP and 3 energies make it an easy 1HKO or 2HKO for most of the counters at our disposal.

Nota bene that Cobalion-EX is very likely to be the main attacker, but Cobalion NVI and Registeel are also frequent attackers in Plasma Steel decks.

It is easy to be brave behind a castle wall.

– Welsh proverb

Counter Cards

Pokémon Catcher + Hypnotoxic Laser (+ Crushing Hammer + Enhanced Hammer)

hypnotoxic laser plasma storm pls 123pokemon-paradijs.comWhen you are playing Speed Darkrai or Hammertime, you will probably find Klinklang a difficult matchup, especially without preparation. One of the ways to preserve your chances against Plasma Steel is to use Sableye to Catcher Stall and Poison to death the Klinklang.

With such a huge Retreat Cost and the limitation of 4 Switches maximum (be aware of a surprise Scramble Switch), the opponent may end up stuck with this unwanted Pokémon in the Active Spot.

If you play Hammertime, the matchup may actually be very winnable because if they have no energies left, they can’t hurt you. Once they are powerless, you can slowly kill them with Confuse Ray and Poison, playing quickly enough in order to take the lead on the Prizes before time is called.

If you play Speed Darkrai you will not have an easy time. But if you setup your Darkrai on turn 2 and they don’t have Plasma Steel up, you may outspeed the deck and take the lead on Prizes, maybe even preventing Klinklang from hitting the field.

If you take 2 or 3 Prizes and then they do get Plasma Steel in play, you may even Catcher stall them and take 1 or 2 more Prizes. This might be enough, because Klinklang decks are slow and it can take a long time before they catch you on Prizes.

Giratina EX (+ Max Potion + Super Rod)

Darkrai EX / Hydreigon is probably the deck that has least problems against Klinklang decks, because it can tech Giratina EX easily. It was an already known tech against Sigilyph, and this tech works great against Plasma Steel as well. You can hit and heal more quickly and easily than can their attackers.

And if Ginatina is not enough, you will have your Hydreigon ready to 1HKO Klinklang as quickly as they came. Plasma Steel should not be a big deal if you play it.

Victini NVI 15 (+ Super Rod)

victini-noble-victories-nvi-15-no-watermarkpokemon-paradijs.comIf you have the ability to have a full bench quickly and easily, then Victini (Benchtini) is your best friend! For two energies, and assuming that your bench is full, you can 1HKO any Metal Pokémon.

I think that this tech fits well in Darkrai / Hydreigon, Blastoise variants, and Eelektrik variants. These decks often have their bench full and enough energy acceleration to make a Victini ready to strike in one turn.

Be sure to practice your Plasma Steel matchup! If you play Victini wrong… it might cost you the victory. It would be for example a mistake to put Victini on the bench if it cannot KO the opponent’s attacker that turn. What awaits you next turn is probably a Pokémon Catcher and Steel Bullet to the face for a KO.

The downside of Victini is the 70 HP. It is revenge killed by an eventual Keldeo (but if they play it, good for you because have two potential Prizes) or any powered up attacker. This is why you usually absolutely need the Super Rod in your deck.

I tested quite this tech quite a lot. It works absolutely great in RayEels. It turned my RayEels matchup against Klinklang to 80/20.

Moltres NXD (+ Super Rod + Energy Retrieval)

It was not my favorite card against Klinklang at first, but the more I look to Moltres, the more I think that it is a decent tech in Blastoise decks.

It fits perfect in my opinion in Blastoise/Keldeo/Black Kyurem, because it is not as easy as RayEels to have a full bench. It is true that Moltress attack discards a R Energy, but it is also true that your Blastoise probably relies on Energy Retrieval and can get it right back after an attack.

Moltres cannot be 1HKO by any opponent’s Metal main attacker! This is a very good thing because that means that you can take the risk to let it sit one turn on the bench while trying to get the right energies. And if you start on a game with Moltres, which would not be the best start, at least you cannot be donked.

Terrakion NVI + Bouffalant DRX (+ Exp. Share + Energy Switch + Hypnotoxic Laser)

terrakion-full-art-noble-victories-nvi-99-no-watermarkpokemon-paradijs.comThere is no hard counter in Big Basics decks against Plasma Steel. But actually that does not mean that it has a bad matchup. It is not rare to donk a Klink, as 60 HP is a magic number for Hammer Head or Blow Through and Hypnotoxic Laser.

Terrakion and Bouffalant might do the job for you too. With Retaliate + Hypnotoxic Laser, and then Land Crush you can 2HKO Cobalion-EX for 2 Prizes, and once they kill your Terrakion, a Retaliate or Gold Breaker might take a revenge kill.

With Exp. Share, Energy Switch, Hypnotoxic, and because you take 2 Prizes for a Cobalion-EX/Registeel-EX and they only take one for your Pokémon, you might take the lead on Prizes and win the game.

Be aware that Cobalion-EX’s 2nd attack bypasses Bouffalant’s Ability.


History tells us that there is no wall than cannot be breached. The great wall, Carthage, Constantinople, etc… No matter how big the wall is, there is always a good tech to achieve the victory.

Klinklang is not really a good deck, in my opinion. And once people know how to play against, I believe that it will be even more considered a bad deck. Now that you have some techs to fit in your deck, you have all the weapons now to improve your Klinklang matchup.

Reader Interactions

31 replies

  1. Jak Stewart-Armstead

    Agree with most of this.

    Kinklang is at its best when players don’t prepare for it.

  2. Brendan Duggan

    One thing that I’ve noticed about the Darkrai/Hydregion/Giratina match up is that if the Plasma Steel player ops for using Righteous Edge in order to discard all of your special energy. It can make this match up much more difficult. Any thoughts?

    • Jak Stewart-Armstead  → Brendan

      You’re doing minimal damage while trying to discard the Blends. If that’s the strategy, the Hydreigon player will just discard them anyway when they Dragonblast the Plasmaklangs and save the Basic Dark to use with Darkrai once all the Plasmaklangs are gone.

    • Joseph Lee  → Brendan

      Consider running a clutch Basic Psychic Energy card; it can’t be moved about but it can’t be be discarded with Enhanced Hammer or Righteous Edge and can be reclaimed with Super Rod and/or Energy Retrieval.

      If you don’t like that, consider running extra Blend Energy GRPD (or Prism Energy if relying on Giratina EX); the opponent’s set up is even slower than yours and a little more fragile.

      • Roarkiller Master  → Joseph

        Running a single psychic and retrieval is the way to go, extra blends don’t work. Most plasmaklangs run heavy cobalion EX AND are designed to stream klinklangs (since it’s target #1) so those blends are precious commodity.

        • Joseph Lee  → Caleb

          Yes, I just meant that Giratina EX and Darkrai EX can also make use of Prism Energy. Seems unlikely that Plasma Steel decks would be your only major concern, but if they were you could choose to run some Prism Energy to counter Righteous Edge discarding your Special Energy cards.

          It probably wasn’t a useful suggestion; I don’t think Dark Trance decks would have room for enough Special Energy cards to do more than max out Blend Energy GRPD, at least on top of the amount of basic Darkness Energy most would favor for making good use of Dark Patch, but I am not current with the deck.

        • Ole S  → Caleb

          Giratina EX doesn’t help much against Klinklang. I expect Max Potion to be played in Klinklang – since you don’t OHKO them, they can heal and discard your Blend NRGs. Last weekend I played Darkrai/Hydreigon and I used Giratina EX only one time in the tournament (I hit a Cobalion EX with Night Spear before Plasmaklang was there, then KOed it with Giratina next turn).

          Hydreigon and Sableye are your MVP against Klinklang. You have to KO their BW Klinklang to prevent healing and Energy shifting. After that, you can Catcher/Max Potion stall with Sableye or continue attacking with Hydreigon (depends on the situation).

          Klinklang’s limited damage output of 100dmg is just too low.

  3. Obro

    I hear tons of people telling me that they can just play around Klinklang. When I ask them what Klinklang counters they use they tend to to say ”None. It’s a bad deck, so I don’t expect facing it.”

    watch me use Klinklang during my next tournament

    Klinklang is not something you just ‘play around’. You have to build your deck with counters to handle it. The interesting thing is, that the more you prepare for Klinklang, the worse does your deck becomes against the general metagame field, meaning that you would have a worse chance of doing well in swiss, if you don’t meet these Klinklang decks.

    Eels, hydreigon and blastoise variants don’t have to give up many spaces to counter Klinklang, but what about the rest of the field? There’s still a lot of good matchups for Klinklang out there.
    Sableye, HTL, Bouffalant and Terrakion are usually not enough to take down my Klinklang variant.

    Klinklang is one of my favourite decks to play. The answer to whether it is good or bad depends on how big a part of the field uses proper counters.
    If it’s really going to be considered as bad as you say, people will play it less, making more and more people remove their counters for overall consistency, and suddenly Klinklang will strick back.

    • Joseph Lee  → Obro

      Remember that many decks naturally include Klinklang counters. I disagree with someone running a mono-Pokémon-EX deck (unless it is some sort of donk deck) and thinking they can ignore Plasma Steel decks; this is folly since even if all the naysayers are correct you are just begging for an early tournament Plasma Steel deck to give you a loss. Still, the format has long favored cards and tactics that can make things rough on a deck that (by modern standards) is slow to set-up.

    • Mark Hanson  → Obro

      I agree.

      Klinklang is not a deck you can beat 50/50 without a proper answer. Amongst the top tier decks, the only one that easily techs anything is RayEels with Benchtini. And even that is a tech designed to beat Klinklang! Otherwise RayEels would be content with a little Ray or something else occupying that slot.

      And of course, Benchtini doesn’t immediately work for every deck.

    • Rafaelkatsuya  → Obro

      If the deck is not adapted for the Klinklang matchup it has a very bad matchup for almost all deck. But only very little changes can turn arround the matchup 180°. The problem is that it is easy to counter Klinklang, but they have no way to stop the counters unless playing non-metal types Pokémon that would not be protected by Plasma Steel.

      My self I prefer having a spot for a Klinklang tech and not worry what if I play against.

    • Paul John Flores-Hiranyawongku  → Obro

      “Klinklang is one of my favourite decks to play. The answer to whether it
      is good or bad depends on how big a part of the field uses proper
      If it’s really going to be considered as bad as you say,
      people will play it less, making more and more people remove their
      counters for overall consistency, and suddenly Klinklang will strike

      I feel the same way about my version of Plasma Steel deck..

  4. kazambolt

    “With such a huge retreat cost and the limitation of 4 Switches maximum (be aware of a surprise Scramble Switch), the opponent may end up stuck with this unwanted Pokémon in the active position.”

    Except Escape Rope.

    • Rafaelkatsuya  → kazambolt

      I doubt that someone would play 4 switches plus 4 escape rope. That would make the deck even more inconsistant and the deck even more easier to outspeed. But if they do catcher stall in not an option. From experiance, players play 4 switch and that’s it.

      • Joseph Lee  → Rafaelkatsuya

        Doesn’t change that someone could do it.

        More radical would be Super Scoop Up; depending on the deck that can also get a stranded Active back to the Bench. Doubt it would work here, but this is Pokémon; that stupid, obvious thing no one would be crazy enough to do often is just that, but the exceptions usually end up winning.

        • Rafaelkatsuya  → Joseph

          Yeah everything is possible. Once I played a guy with a Darkrai and 4 switchs and lot because I assumed that he would nevet put more than 2. But 98% will never put more than 4 switch/escape rope. The deck is so slow and it is a Stage2 it requires a lot of more important card to make it consistent. The only suprise that might happend is if the opponent plays scrable switch or drowsing machine over computer search as both can be justified in the deck de pending on the list.

        • Joseph Lee  → Rafaelkatsuya

          Not everything is possible (at least while keeping things legal), and without the emphasis provided by “maximum” I probably would have kept quiet.

          The fact is that someone, due to personal card pool limitations and/or folly, actually has more than four or five options for change out cards. Few decks will exceed five, and it seems unlikely that those exceptions would be competitive. First few rounds that can be a dangerous assumption to make, though.

      • Gerardo Del Toro  → Rafaelkatsuya

        No one really said that people would play 4 Switches and 4 Escape Rope (too extreme of a suggestion). Escape Rope is only mentioned as a possible tech people might run as a “5th Switch”.

    • Roarkiller Master  → kazambolt

      Doesn’t need it. Shift gear allows either klinklang to KO Sableye, and as long as sableye is the only non-EX pkmn on the field, Klinklang doesn’t need to worry.

      As it is, it’s not that hard to actually stream klinklangs once you have the first one up. The darkrai matchup is actually closer to 50/50 than most people believe.

  5. Jake Dudzik

    I think klingklang is overhyped like garchomp altaria or keldeo blastoise. I think after the first week of states we will see if plasma klang is worth building and testing against. good article, also you forgot to include victini ex on gthe turns when your opponnet doesnt have a klingklang out. Victini ex can also donk klinks, metal exs, and normal cobalion with hynotoxic laser.

    • Ryan Moorhouse  → Jake

      How was Keldeo/Blastoise overhyped? It took the BDIF in BW-BCR. Nice article, I dont like Plasma Klinklang that much either, I see it as being too slow and a well timed Victini/Moltres can eat it alive.

      • Jake Dudzik  → Ryan

        what i mean by overhyped is when we see two cards in the same set come out, people will immediately build the deck. And i do agree keldeo blastoise was the bdif Blw-bcr, but things have changed.

  6. Nancy Herrera

    That’s true if its klingklang/attackers, but usually Durantklang can start milling in the first turn. And then its extremely satisfying (even a bit sad) when the fire pokemon get up..

  7. Chase Havoc

    It really doesnt matter what anybody thinks about the deck, the bottom line is that Klinklang will be played at states by someone who thinks it is a good deck, so the only logical thing to do is to tech against it and expect to play against it because if you dont it might be the only thing that stands in the way of you and your 1st place trophy!

  8. Straike Jet

    Nice article! In my opinion, Plasma Klang deck can be deadly sometimes to some decks with EX, such as Ho-Oh EX deck and maybe RayEels deck. It can give the players headache when playing.

  9. romain marcou

    i think you forgot Garbodor for counter Klinklang ^^.

  10. Micah Smyth

    Love the article! However, remember that Klinklang also has escape rope. Also while I share the opinion that Klinklang is bad, it can tech against these techs. Plasma frigate comes to mind, klinklang being a plasma pokemon and plasma energy can be manually attached.

  11. Chase Adelman

    Well first off, great report :) But one thing that gets me is when you talk about hypnotoxic stalling and the limitation on switches. I play PlasmaKlang and I play a 1-1 Darkrai-Keldeo tech for just that disadvantage. Well, over all, great report. Wish me luck at states for Cali!

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