Deck Out with Durant!
05 Jan, 2012
Check out an up-and-coming Pokémon TCG deck that focuses on wiping out your opponent’s deck.
There are three ways to win a Pokémon TCG match: take all six of your Prize cards, leave your opponent with no Pokémon in play, or play until your opponent can't draw a card to start his or her turn. We spend tons of time thinking of strategic ways to win via the first two methods, and we take it for granted that the last method just sometimes happens.
However, in the Black & White—Noble Victories expansion, we see the rise in popularity of a deck designed expressly to force your opponent to not have any cards left to draw. The key card is the Metal-type Basic Pokémon Durant (Black & White—Noble Victories, 83/101): its Devour attack forces your opponent to discard the top card of his or her deck for each Durant you have in play. So, if you have four Durant in play, every time you attack with Devour, your opponent's deck gets four cards shorter. If you can hold out long enough, your opponent won't have any more cards and will "deck out," losing the game.
One of the most fascinating aspects of the Durant decks is the lack of any "Plan B"—you either make your opponent deck out or you concede. There aren't any heavy-hitting Pokémon to bring out in case the strategy fails. One exception is that some decks contain Cobalion (Black & White—Noble Victories, 84/101), whose Iron Breaker attack prevents the Defending Pokémon from attacking on the opponent's next turn. But even this strategy can work to stall your opponent until you get your Durant out. So, with such a small number of Pokémon in the deck, as well as Energy (Devour requires only one Metal Energy to use), you have plenty of space for Trainer cards to make sure you keep four Durant in play at all times.
Take a look at some of the cards you'll commonly see in this style of deck.
Obviously, to maximize the value of this deck, it will need to have four Durant. The fact that Durant is a Basic Pokémon is a huge factor: you can play them for effect as soon as you get them into your hand. To that end, one of the few Pokémon in the deck besides Durant is Pichu (HeartGold & SoulSilver, 28/116), whose Playground attack lets you and your opponent fill your Benches with Basic Pokémon directly from your decks. If you start with Pichu, you'll potentially be taking four cards off your opponent's deck by the second turn.
One potential pitfall in this plan is if one or more of your Durant is amongst your Prize cards. So, this deck also contains Rotom (HS—Undaunted, 20/91), whose Mischievous Trick Poké-Power lets you exchange the top card of your deck for a face-down Prize card. Rotom doesn't have to be your Active Pokémon for you to use Mischievous Trick, so you can do this as many times as you need to if more than one Durant is amongst your Prize cards. To make Rotom's job even easier, this variant of the deck also includes Alph Lithograph (HS—Triumphant, FOUR), which lets you look at all your Prize cards. With it, you'll know exactly which card to trade for.
And the last Pokémon card in this deck is... wait, that's it. It contains a total of six Pokémon, none of which are there to do damage. Burn cards off your opponent's deck as quickly as possible with Durant, and hope that you're fast enough that your opponent can't get the upper hand.
Most of the remaining cards are included simply to keep your Durant in play for as long as possible. To start with, the deck contains 4 Pokémon Catcher cards (BW—Emerging Powers, 95/98) to prevent your opponent from using a suitable attacker. Then, there are 4 Crushing Hammer cards (BW—Emerging Powers, 92/98) and 3 Lost Remover cards (Call of Legends, 80/95) to remove Special Energy from your opponent. And then there are 4 Eviolite (Black & White—Noble Victories, 91/101) Pokémon Tool cards and 4 Special Metal Energy (Call of Legends, 87/95) to give your Durant a little extra endurance.
Inevitably, however, your opponent will be able to Knock Out a Durant over the course of battle. Getting those Durant back into play quickly is vital. The deck contains 4 Revive (Black & White, 102/114) Trainer-Item cards to retrieve Knocked Out Durant, as well as 4 Junk Arm cards (HS—Triumphant, 87/103) to keep those Revive cards handy. Plus, it includes 3 Rescue Energy (HS—Triumphant, 90/103) to attach to your Durant—Rescue Energy puts the Pokémon back into your hand instead of into the discard pile when it gets Knocked Out, making it ready to put right back into play.
You may be tempted to dismiss this deck as a novelty or a gimmick because of its unconventional design. But don't be fooled—players are winning with this deck in Pokémon Leagues and tournaments everywhere. Not only should you try this deck out for yourself, but you should start thinking about ways to defeat this deck when you end up facing it!
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