Strength in Numbers
18 Mar, 2010
Learn how to improve your game by paying attention to the number of cards in your hand, the Pokémon in play, and the Energy in use.
The Pokémon TCG: HeartGold & SoulSilver expansion presents several game-winning strategies that focus on the size of your Bench and of your hand. Some of these strategies deal with the excellent Trainer and Energy cards that were discussed in the previous strategy article. We suggest you familiarize yourself with those cards first before diving into this strategy discussion!
Build a Bigger Bench
With the Pokémon Collector (97/123), you can quickly add Basic Pokémon to your hand, which of course makes it easier to add them to your Bench. But once they’re on your Bench, how can you put them to work? Check out Jumpluff’s (6/123) Mass Attack, which does 10 damage times the number of all the Pokémon in play (including your opponent’s). This attack has plenty of potential—if both you and your opponent have full Benches, Mass Attack delivers a whopping 120 damage! You could also use Pichu’s (28/123) Playground attack, which skips the middle step of adding the Pokémon to your hand and sends Pokémon straight from your deck to your Bench. However, Pichu then becomes Asleep, which means it can’t retreat so you can’t make Jumpluff Active to do its damage next turn. If Pichu doesn’t wake up on the next turn, one workaround is to have the Trainer card Full Heal (93/123) in your hand, which will remove Pichu’s Special Condition. Or you can use the Trainer card Switch (102/123) to swap Pichu out for Jumpluff. If you have room for a few of these Trainer cards, it’s a good option, but from a deck-building standpoint it’s less economical.
By combining the Supporter card Copycat (90/123) with Noctowl (8/123), you can make the most of Noctowl’s Extrasensory attack. It does an additional 40 damage for a total of 80 if you and your opponent have the same number of cards in your hands...which is exactly what Copycat ensures. Extrasensory also requires three Colorless Energy, a perfect candidate for the Double Colorless Energy card (103/123) in the HeartGold & SoulSilver expansion. Another way of maximizing Noctowl’s Extrasensory attack is with Jynx’s (69/123) Mimic attack, which does the exact same thing as Copycat. You might find using a Pokémon instead of a Supporter card to do the set-up work a little less flexible, but on the other hand, Jynx can cause its own havoc with its Lick attack until you’re ready to deploy Noctowl.
After improving your game by getting more Pokémon on your Bench and having the right cards in your hand, the next way that big numbers can help you is by the amount of Energy you have in play. The HeartGold & SoulSilver expansion has two Special Energy cards that come in handy with several Pokémon. First, have Exeggutor (18/123) use its first attack, Energy Absorption, to retrieve a Double Colorless Energy card and a Rainbow Energy card (104/123) from your discard pile. Then, it can use Big Eggsplosion to do 40 damage for each Energy attached to it. Thus, without even needing a Psychic Energy (the usual requirement for Big Eggsplosion), you have the potential to do phenomenal damage very quickly! There are also plenty of other cards with powerful attacks that have steep Energy requirements: Gyarados’s (4/123) Hyper Beam attack, Donphan’s (40/123) Double Spin attack, and Arcanine’s (1/123) Fire Mane attack all require four Energy, including at least two Colorless Energy. There’s no better way to get those attacks ready than with Double Colorless Energy!
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