Get Help from Pokémon in HS—Undaunted!
06 Oct, 2010
Check out some of the many ways you can build out your deck with recent Pokémon cards.
Creating a strong, single strategic focus for your Pokémon TCG deck is always a good idea. Decks such as the Leafeon and Scizor Prime decks are easy to create while being extraordinarily strong. But the rules of the Pokémon TCG demand that your deck contain 60 cards—no more, no less. After you have your handful of primary attackers and some Energy to get them going, what else do you need? Obviously, Supporter and Trainer cards are important for actions like searching your deck and getting the precise cards you need. You can also consider Stadium cards, if they fit into your master plan. However, you can also use specific Pokémon to help fill in the blanks of your deck, especially Pokémon that can be useful even when they don't attack or when they have attacks that don't require a particular type of Energy. Take a look at some of the interesting supportive Pokémon you'll find in the HS—Undaunted expansion, as well as how to incorporate them into your deck.
To Your Health
A big part of a winning strategy is keeping your own Pokémon healthy long enough for them to do their duty. To help out, the HS—Undaunted expansion presents a couple of useful techniques for healing your Pokémon. At the top of the list is Bellossom (1/90), whose Hustle Step Poké-Power lets you take one damage counter off of each of your Pokémon every single turn. If you frequently play against decks that like to spread damage around on your Bench, Bellossom quickly becomes your best friend. (Alternatively, check out Cherrim [HS—Unleashed, 28/95]. Its Sunny Heal Poké-Power removes one damage counter from your Active Pokémon per turn. While not as powerful as Bellossom, Cherrim is a little bit easier to play since it's a Stage 1 Pokémon.)
Another strategy is to put Togekiss (9/90) on your Bench for when you get into really dire straits. This Stage 2 Pokémon can heal all of your Pokémon completely with its Blessed Wings attack, but then Togekiss goes back into your deck, as do all of the cards attached to it. Because you have to remove Togekiss from play once you use its attack, you'll have to choose when to use this attack most wisely. Blessed Wings requires only 2 Colorless Energy to use, making it easy to find a home for Togekiss in pretty much any deck.
Serve and Protect
A variety of Pokémon can perform services for you to help you in battle. One favorite is Dodrio (11/90), a Stage 1 Pokémon that is easy to play. All Dodrio has to do is sit on your Bench and let its Retreat Aid Poké-Body do all the work. Retreat Aid makes the Retreat Cost of all your Pokémon 2 Energy less, meaning nearly all of your Pokémon suddenly have no Retreat Cost. Shuffle your Pokémon around as much as you want to take advantage of various Poké-Powers or to create the right type matchups, depending on the Defending Pokémon.
With Dodrio in play, Smeargle (8/90) becomes an interesting helper Pokémon, too. Smeargle's Portrait Poké-Power lets it use the effect of a Supporter card in your opponent's hand as its power. The trick is that Smeargle has to be your Active Pokémon. Dodrio makes it a lot easier to get Smeargle into the Active position or to retreat back onto your Bench. However, remember that you are allowed to retreat only once per turn; you'll need to find another method of making a different Pokémon Active (such as Super Scoop Up [HS—Unleashed, 83/95], for example).
If you're playing a deck that uses a lot of Grass Pokémon, be sure to include Vespiquen (23/90). This Pokémon's Defense Sign Poké-Body prevents all damage done to your Grass-type Benched Pokémon. You still have to be wary of Pokémon that can drag a Pokémon from your Bench into the Active spot, such as Honchkrow (15/90) and its Whirlwind attack; Vespiquen's Poké-Body can't prevent such actions. Still, completely shutting down your opponent's ability to attack your Bench can be an extraordinary defense, as long as you have the right line-up surrounding Vespiquen.
If you're having trouble getting Pokémon into play early in the game, check out Slowpoke (66/90). Its Rambunctious Party attack lets you look at the top 5 cards of your deck and play any Basic Pokémon you find there directly onto your Bench. (All other cards get shuffled back into your deck.) It's perhaps not the most efficient way to get Pokémon into play, but it costs only 1 Colorless Energy and you might just hit pay dirt early in the game.
Trouble in Mind
Sometimes it's not enough to just keep your Pokémon healthy or give your own team a hand. It's also a good idea to make it difficult for your opponent to carry out plans the way he or she wants. We already mentioned Honchkrow (15/90), which forces your opponent to swap in a Pokémon from the Bench with its Whirlwind attack. It requires 2 Colorless Energy to use, so you can slip it into virtually any deck and then force your opponent to deal with Retreat Costs and the like.
If you're looking for an even more disruptive force, Drifblim (12/90) takes the cake. Its Take Away attack forces both you and your opponent to shuffle your Active Pokémon into your decks, as well as all attached cards to those Pokémon. Both of you then have to choose a new Pokémon to bring off the Bench. Be careful—you have to choose which Pokémon to bring forward first, meaning your opponent will have an opportunity to select a proper matchup. If you're playing with Psychic Energy, consider using Drifblim's Balloon Tackle attack, too: it does 60 damage but 20 damage to Drifblim. That extra damage might not matter much if you can use Take Away on the next turn and pull Drifblim from action.
And then there's Vileplume (24/90). When Vileplume is in play, its Allergy Flower Poké-Body prevents all Trainer Cards from being played—by both you and your opponent. For Vileplume (or any card that affects both you and your opponent, such as Stadium cards), the key is to play it when it suits you best. Don't put Vileplume into play when you know you'll need to rely on Trainer cards shortly. And if you're going to use Vileplume, look for ways to improve your deck that sidestep the need for Trainer cards (such as many of the Pokémon in this article). Vileplume pairs well with Mismagius (19/90)—its Poltergeist attack does 30 damage times the number of Trainer, Supporter, and Stadium cards in your opponent's hand. The fewer Trainer cards your opponent can play, the more damage Mismagius can do!
When putting a deck together, look for ways Pokémon can help you, regardless of their type. There are many options out there for creating fun and tricky decks to help you win and help keep your opponent guessing at what you'll do next!
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