with Jason Klaczynski
January 11, 2010
The Top Cards in Modified
After about 10 City
Championships, I feel I've gained a good read on our current
modified format. What are the top cards in modified? It
should be no surprise that SP cards are dominating modified.
The best cards that aren't SP are the ones that counter SP.
Top 10 Pokémon
#10 Unown G (Great Encounters)
A great counter to Gengar's (Stormfront) Shadow Room attack,
Machamp's (Stormfront) Take Out attack, a way to protect
your own Gengar from some tricks around Fainting Spell, and
overall useful against an endless list of special conditions
and tricks decks have, Unown G is a staple in every modified
deck - most stage two decks should run two.
#9 Toxicroak G (Promo)
Poison Revenge is such a sick option for SP decks because
you can be left with nothing in play and still respond for a
one energy 60+Poison using Energy Gain. Fighting type is
great against Luxray LV X (Rising Rivals). After using its
attack for a KO, it can only do 20, but its Leap Away Poké-Power
is an easy way to get it out of the active position.
#8 Gengar (Stormfront)
There are a dozen tricks to play around Fainting Spell:
using poison/burn to KO, placing damage counters with your
own Gengar's Shadow Room attack, using Crobat G's Flash Bite
Poké-Power etc. However, you can use Nidoqueen (RR), Blissey
(PL) and Unown G (GE) to make it more difficult for your
opponent to play around it. When your opponent cannot play
around Fainting Spell, Gengar becomes ridiculously powerful.
A single Fainting Spell heads is usually going to win you
the game. Shadow Room is a great attack in this Poké-Power
#7 Relicanth (Supreme Victors)
In a format filled with Pokémon Tools (Energy Gain, Expert
Belt, Unown G, Unown Q) and stadiums, Relicanth has what is
the best one-energy attack in the history of the Pokémon
card game: Grand Swell. A single Roseanne's Research can
catch someone off-guard for a game-winning 60, 90, sometimes
120 to anything.
#6 Spiritomb (Arceus)
In a format dominated by SP decks, one Pokémon has
rebalanced the playing field. Opening with Spiritomb can
devastate many SP decks; disabling them from playing SP
Radar and Energy Gain can slow them down 2+ turns.
Meanwhile, Darkness Grace allows you evolve your Pokémon and
Keystone Seal stops your Claydol's Cosmic Power from being
Power Sprayed. But don't think of Spiritomb as only anti SP
card; it's great against slowing down fast stage two decks
by taking away their Rare Candy (Great Encounters) option.
#5 Garchomp C LV X (Supreme Victors)
Garchomp C LV. X has so many things going for it. The fact
that it is colorless makes it fit easily into any SP deck.
It's free retreat makes its Healing Breath Poké-Power even
stronger, since you can promote it after a KO, level-up, and
easily retreat. And lastly, its attack is devastating
against any deck. Having the option to KO a benched Claydol
can put any stage two deck in a tough spot. The attack is
also strong against other SP decks which run several 80 HP
basics (Luxray GL, Blaziken FB, Skuntank G, Crobat G,
#4 Luxray GL LV X (Rising Rivals)
Bright Look is simply too good. How good is it? It's good
enough that people (including defending Masters World
Champion Steve Silvestro) will occasionally add a 1-1 Luxray
LV X to their decks even without lightning energy to attack,
simply for its power. In SP decks, going first with a Luxray
is a huge threat, because anything benched is subject to an
easy Bright Look & Flash Impact KO via Cyrus's Conspiracy
for Energy Gain/SP Radar. One weakness (quite literally) of
Luxray LV X is its fighting weakness, which makes it an easy
target for Toxicroak G (Promo) and Relicanth (Supreme
#3 Claydol (Great Encounters)
Since its debut in 2008, Claydol has changed the modified
format. It adds an element of consistency to every deck.
Simply put, if you are not playing an SP Deck, you almost
always need to devote 4 spots to a 2/2 Claydol line. Some
decks may occasionally run an even heavier line. Just how
good is Claydol? Many players play it in their SP decks,
despite the lack of synergy it has with the rest of their
Pokémon. The card is simply that good.
#2 Uxie (Legends Awakened)
Just like Claydol, Uxie fits into all stage two decks. What
makes it even better, though? It is the only Pokémon in
modified that belongs in literally every deck. Uxie is an
easily accessible card (Roseanne's Research/Bebe's
Search/Luxury Ball can all access it so you can use Uxie's
Set Up Poké-Power) that can turn an awful opening hand into
a hand with options. Its Psychic Restore attack is a useful
out to avoid Gengar's (Stormfront) Fainting Spell Poké-Power.
Lastly, it also allows SP decks to replenish their hands
when a simple Cyrus's Conspiracy isn't enough to keep your
#1 Crobat G (Platinum)
Poké Turn transforms Crobat G into a ridiculous card that
makes Pokémon unpredictable. Pokémon that would otherwise be
30 HP away from a KO can be KO'd reasonably easily by the
plethora of Poké Turns and Cyrus's Conspiracy that access
them. Even stage two decks like Kingdra (Legends Awakened)
and Gengar (Stormfront) run Crobat & Poké Turns to put
things within one-hit KO range. Pokémon is a game won by one
hit knock outs. Crobat G gets you those OHKO's.
Noteworthy: Bronzong G (Platinum),
Kingdra (Legends Awakened), Gyarados (Stormfront), Dialga G
& Dialga G LV X (Platinum), Azelf (Legends Awakened)
Top 5 Supporters
#1 Roseanne's Research (Secret Wonders)
Every deck in modified runs four. SP decks can use it to
fetch any basic and energy, but also because Cyrus's
Conspiracy cannot get them Uxie to use its Set Up Poké-Power.
#2 Cyrus's Conspiracy (Platinum)
In general, SP decks are in a favorable position against
most decks when they get to play a Cyrus's Conspiracy on
their first supporter turn. You get your choice of an early
Power Spray, Energy Gain or SP Radar, an energy, and then
another Cyrus to keep your options open, and usually repeat.
It can also fetch Poké Turn, which is typically more useful
mid to lategame.
#3 Bebe's Search (Mysterious
Treasures, Secret Wonders, Rising Rivals)
Not just any basic, but any evolution. It helps get your
Claydol, which you want out ASAP to help develop your board.
Non-SP decks always run 4 to maximize consistency. SP decks
can run 1 or 2 to help play around Spiritomb's (Areceus)
Keystone Seal Poké-Body or Dialga G's (Platinum) Deafen
#4 Cynthia's Feelings (Legends
Cynthia's Feelings can save you in tough spots when you are
without a Claydol or your Claydol has just been knocked out.
It is also useful against decks that are able to
consistently stop Poké-Powers, since you cannot use
Claydol's Cosmic Power. It fits best in stage two decks; SP
decks often opt to play 0 or 1 because Cyrus's Conspiracy is
so much more powerful, and can always fetch the Cynthia's if
#5 Aaron's Collection (Rising
Getting your SP Pokémon, including level X's straight back
to your hand can help you win what would otherwise be a
difficult endgame spot for an SP deck. Get back a Luxray GL
and Luxray GL LV X (Rising Rivals) for a game-winning Bright
Look, or a Garchomp LV X (Supreme Victors) for the final
Dragon Rush KO.
#1 Broken Time Space (Stormfront)
Broken Time Space allows stage two decks to be quick. Not
only that, but it offers a neat trick with Super Scoop Up
since you can pick up a stage two Pokémon to remove its
damage and immediately re-evolve it back to a stage two.
#2 Snowpoint Temple (Legends Awakened)
Snowpoint Temple is a great stadium for SP Decks, since they
run all basics and will benefit most from it. Dialga G LV X
in particular works best since it becomes very difficult to
KO with 120 HP, special metal energies, and an additional
#3 Moonlight Stadium (Great Encounters)
Moonlight Stadium is particularly strong in Gengar/Spiritomb
decks because it allows you to use your Gengar (Areceus) to
attack with Shadow Skip, promoting Spiritomb (Areceus) or
Mr. Mime (Mysterious Treasures), two Pokémon with a retreat
cost of one. Moonlight Stadium allows you to retreat next
turn without wasting energy, attack with Gengar, and repeat
#4 Galactic HQ (Platinum)
A good choice for just about any SP deck, and works well
with Dialga G's (Platinum) Second Strike attack.
#5 Conductive Quarry (Stormfront)
Yet another card particularly useful with Dialga G LV X
(Platinum), Conductive Quarry is the only option to get
special metals back from your discard in SP decks.
Top 5 Trainers
Four of the top five trainers are SP trainers. What makes
them so good? They're just too good. These kind of trainers
don't exist for normal Pokémon - and they are easily
accessible with Cyrus's Conspiracy (Platinum).
#1 Poké Turn (Platinum)
If you can't OHKO SP Pokémon, you are going to lose. SP
Pokémon attack for one-two energy with energy gain, and if
you fall short of a OHKO, your opponent will Poké Turn and
make your attacks a waste of time. Poké Turn allows you to
re-use some of the best Poké-Powers in the game: Crobat G's
Flash Bite, Garchomp C LX X's Healing Breath, and Luxray LV
X's Bright Look.
#2 Energy Gain (Platinum)
Energy Gain allows SP decks to be devastatingly fast. Just
like Poké Turn, you can use Cyrus's Conspiracy to easily
access an Energy Gain on your first turn (if you are not
#3 SP Radar (Rising Rivals)
Before SP Radar, SP decks were a little less consistent.
Since its release, Cyrus's Conspiracy (Platinum) can now
also work like a Bebe's Search, fetching an SP Radar to then
fetch any SP Pokémon.
#4 Luxury Ball (Stormfront)
Every non-SP deck might as well run one, some decks
(especially ones that can discard cards) run more than one
just for the consistency. Being able to fetch any Pokémon
without wasting your supporter lets you develop your Pokémon
#5 Power Spray (Platinum)
Power Spray can win games. Sometimes early by stopping
a crucial Uxie Set Up Poké-Power, sometimes late by stopping
a Garchomp C LV X's (Supreme Victors) Healing Breath, a
Crobat G's (Platinum) Flash Bite, or just about anything.
Stage two or stage one level X Pokémon that have one-time
come into play powers, like Gliscor LV X (Legends Awakened)
are devastated by Power Spray.
Noteworthy: Rare Candy (Great Encounters), Super Scoop Up
(Diamond & Pearl, Majestic Dawn), Expert Belt (Arceus)