– Dark Explorers
September 26, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Accelgor…..I remember this Pokémon, and it has caused mayhem when it came out. Accelgor’s rise to fame is its Deck & Cover attack, which costs CC for 50 damage and also makes the Defending Pokémon Poisoned and Paralyzed. You then have to put this Pokémon and all cards attached to it into your deck. Very, very few cards provides guaranteed Paralysis because most cards that inflict paralysis requires a coin flip or have any discard costs. Accelgor is no exception, as it has a drawback after using it. Perhaps the only card that can provide a sure-Fire way to cause Paralysis without repercussion is Articuno-EX from XY Plasma Storm, whose Frost Prison does 80 damage for WWCC and Paralyzes the Defending Pokemon if Articuno-EX has a Plasma Energy attached to it. Anyhow, as long as you can fetch out Accelgor via Level Ball with a Double Colorless Energy in hand and a Larvesta already in play, you can continue to cause paralysis every single turn.
Because of the nature of Deck & Cover, you’ll need another Pokémon to replace it or you will lose the game. But a better approach is to have Pokémon whose ability only works if the Pokémon is Active. It was used with Gothitelle from BW Emerging Powers, as it’s Magic Room prevents your opponent from playing any item cards from their hand. This creates a situation that not only that the Defending Pokémon can’t attack, but it also takes poison damage between turns, and also your opponent cannot even play Switch to get it out from the Active or even Full Heal to shake off all Special Conditions. No Supporter cards from the BW series enables switching. Limitless didn’t feature Accelgor/Gothitelle probably because the data probably won’t go too far. It only showed two decks in 2016 and 2017, featuring Accelgor/Wobbuffet. Wobbuffet from XY Phantom Forces also has an ability that works in the Active, and it makes all non-Psychic Pokémon have no abilities. Wobbuffet seems to be another solid lock as it means that the opponent cannot utilize Keldeo-EX’s Rush In to get it out of the way. But then, there were both item and Supporter cards that enables switching, so Deck & Cover’s power is diminishing. Not to mention that Virizion-EX’s Verdant Wind prevents Special Conditions from happening. For later cards, Slurpuff XY, Comfey GRI, and Cobalion-GX followed Virizion’s footsteps of status protections. And Guzma is another switch enabler after Olympia and followed by Tate & Lisa.
With increasing amount of cards that can counter Deck & Cover, Accelgor’s days are numbered. That’s not to say that Accelgor is lackluster, because an unprepared opponent can be defeated by such lock tactics if you can’t get your answer in time. I still think Accelgor/Gothitelle is still a better pairing than Wobbuffet.
Expanded: 2/5 (So many things can stop Deck & Cover)
Limited: 1.5/5 (I can’t see Deck & Cover perform well there. If that’s the only Pokémon you use, you will lose.)
Legacy: 3/5 (As long as you lock them before your opponent plays Keldeo and Float Stone, or if you’re not running against Virizion/Genesect, you’ll be fine).
Today’s Throwback Thursday is going up late, but we do have quite a good subject for you: Accelgor (BW – Dark Explorers 11/108). We’ll first discuss Accelgor in light of its original Standard Format-legal run; this began after its official release in BW – Dark Explorers on May 9, 2012, and ended with that set’s rotation on September 2, 2014, according to the dates provided by Bulbapedia. That means Accelgor was legal for the end of the 2012 Standard Format in addition to all of the 2013 and 2014 Standard Formats, remembering that we are currently in the 2020 Standard Format, even though it is 2019 as Standard Formats are named for the year when their World Championship took (or will take) place. As such, Accelgor was introduced when we Darkrai-EX (BW – Dark Explorers 63/108, 107/108; BW – Black Star Promos BW46; BW – Legendary Treasures 88/113) and left when Lysandre and Muscle Band were new things.
We’ve reviewed Accelgor twice before; shortly after it released, then as the 9th best card lost to rotation heading into the 2015 Standard Format (which meant the rotation actually happened in 2014). It is a [G] Type; during its Standard-legal run, this was sometimes handy for exploiting Weakness or support and sometimes not, but I recall it usually not being an issue. Being a Stage 1 was adequate; not as good as being a Basic but doding some anti-Basic effects during its time (I think…). 90 HP was easily OHKO’d during much of this time but Accelgor didn’t often have to worry about being attacked so that just meant it was a legal Level Ball target. On a related note, the [R] Weakness and lack of Resistance didn’t matter. The free Retreat Cost was great, for the usual reasons plus deck-specific ones.
Accelgor has two attacks, “Hammer In” plus “Deck and Cover”. Hammer In costs [G] to use and only does 20 damage; we’re not here because of it. Deck and Cover is the real deal, though it may not be obvious at first; it does 50 damage for [CC] while also leaving your opponent’s Active Paralyzed and Poisoned. Wait, there’s more! Deck and Cover then shuffles the Pokémon that attacked with it and all cards attached into your deck. If you can stream Deck and Cover and finesse the amount of damage being done, you can leave your opponent’s Active locked and Paralyzed the entire time. How easy was that during Accelgor’s time? Not very; both helping and hurting Accelgor were classic cards like Switch and Super Scoop Up, plus tricks to prevent Special Conditions, as well as Pokémon Catcher pre-errata to reliably control your opponent’s Active.
There were counters to the counters, however, so Accelgor became the cornerstone of some fearsome control/lock decks. Right away, Accelgor could partner with Vileplume (HS – Undaunted 24/90) to lock down Items. Note: Ross Cawthon made this Vileplume famous with a deck known as “The Truth” but it didn’t use Accelgor. You could build something similar with Accelgor, however. I simply don’t recall nor do I have the time to research and see if it was done. Known Bench-sitters for Accelgor were Dusknoir (BW – Boundaries Crossed 63/149; BW – Plasma Blast 104/101) and Flygon (BW – Boundaries Crossed 99/149; BW – Black Star Promos BW53), the former letting you move damage counters around on your opponent’s side of the field, the latter placing damage counters on your opponent’s Pokémon while it is Active and between turns.
A longtime partner to Accelgor was Mew. Which one? Originally it was Mew (HS – Triumphant 97/102) a.k.a. Mew Prime; its Poké-Body let it copy attacks from your Pokémon in the Lost Zone, and its attack let you search your deck for a Pokémon and send it to the Lost Zone. So if attacking with Basics wasn’t a problem, you just used Mew Prime. This was later replaced my Mew-EX, whose Ability let you copy attacks from your Benched Pokémon. Double Colorless Energy was important for attacking with either Accelgor, Mew Prime, or Mew-EX to spam Deck and Cover. Even if you only had one Double Colorless Energy available, it would constantly cycle back into your deck. This wasn’t important just for saving deck space, but because these decks had elaborate setups.
Mew-EX or Mew Prime were run in addition to at least one Stage 2 backer, and Accelgor itself was a Stage 1. Accelgor decks typically ripped through themselves, but still managed to function as stall/control because they were constantly recycling two or three cards. That these decks had so many moving pieces meant many decks would have a counter to them but Accelgor decks were often so tight they could handle a single small counter. Accelgor decks needed Abilities, Evolving, Items, and Special Energy all available and took two to three turns to get going. They didn’t like hand disruption, either, so almost every deck had at least a small chance if they could time a copy of N well… as Accelgor/Flygon/Dusknoir variants tried to take six Prizes in a single turn, this usually meant hanging onto N until late game, then hoping to bury your opponent’s Accelgor pieces in their deck.
Two Accelgor-variants actually performed well enough at World Championships to be released as Worlds Theme Decks. “American Gothic” was piloted by Ian Whiton to the semifinals of the Seniors division in 2013. The deck centered around an Accelgor partner I haven’t mentioned yet, Gothitelle (BW – Emerging Powers 47/98; BW – Legendary Treasures 72/113). Her “Magic Room” Ability prevents your opponent from playing Item cards while it is Active. You can find the list here; it is a fascinating read as the deck has many slim Evolution lines! At the 2014 World Championships, Trent Orndorff won the Senior Division with “Trevgor”. Trevenant (XY 55/146) is still competitive in Expanded on its own; replacing a Stage 2 with a Stage 1 in a similar deck made it much more reliable and thus potent. You can see his list here.
Accelgor’s biggest enemy was probably time limits, though. With a slow setup, complicated strategy, and many moving pieces it could be quite vexing to pull it all off within the time allowed by tournaments. I am always torn about decks like this. Technically, it takes a long time to win but the opposing player may be stuck doing nothing until that happens or hoping for luck to save them. Now… what about Accelgor in the present Format? I haven’t seen it in Expanded, but I’ve barely played that Format in months so that isn’t a surprise. We still lack recent Expanded results from a major event, but I don’t recall Accelgor showing up much there. All hope is not lost; Accelgor has most of the support it needs to rise again. In the Limited Format, it seems like a decent trick; don’t expect to pull it off turn after turn, but enjoy it for a quick hit-and-run before moving onto your next attacker.
In the Legacy Format, another I haven’t experienced for a while, it was part of some expensive – but potent! – lock decks. Accelgor may be at its best in Legacy. What if Accelgor were to be reprinted? It has lost so much, but also gained because there aren’t as many efficient ways of forcing its Bench-sitters or the next Accelgor in line to attack into your Active position. It has lost Double Colorless Energy but could spam Triple Acceleration Energy, seeing as Deck and Cover shuffles both Pokémon and Energy back into your deck before Triple Acceleration Energy discards itself. I guess the real question is whether or not there is a worthwhile Bench-sitter and/or alternate Active (to promote between Deck-and-Covers) worth running, as well as an effective means of getting the next Accelgor into the Active position.
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