Durant – Battle Styles

Date Reviewed:  April 20, 2021

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 2.00
Expanded: 1.25

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.

Reviews Below:

vince avatar

Durant (SS Battle Styles 10/163) brings in something we haven’t seen in a very long time. A Basic Grass type with 90 HP, Fire weakness, and a retreat cost of one, it has two attacks. Vise Grip costs a single grass energy for 20 damage while Devour costs two energy and states for each Durant you have in play, you get to discard the top card of your opponent’s deck.

This second attack isn’t a new attack, as it is first seen on Durant (BW Noble Victories 83/101). It is a Basic Metal type with 70 HP, Fire weakness, Psychic resistance, and a retreat cost of 1. Devour costs M and does the same thing today’s card does while Vice Grip does 30 damage for CC. When this card was reviewed, several reviewers thought this was going to have a major impact in the format and they were mostly favorable. Durant provides another method of winning without having to Knock Out several Pokemon to get Prize cards; their goal was to make the opponent run out of cards in their deck, therefore being unable to draw a card and lose. With four Durant in play, you could discard as many as four cards from your opponent’s deck. Assuming your opponent doesn’t recover cards from the discard pile onto their deck, it would take roughly 10 turns to win – milling four cards plus your opponent’s Draw phase – assuming none of your Durant are prized. If they are, then 3 Durant means it’ll take 12 turns while having 2 Durant in play means it’ll take 16 turns, which is way too long. Both players start with 47 cards because they drew 7 cards as their opening hand and also placed the top 6 cards from their decks to the prize zone. An attack that can be powered up a turn is a wonderful trait, and even today’s card can still be powered up by Twin Energy.

As far as I’m concerned, Durant’s got an uphill battle to overcome. It’s a matter of time until either you empty out your opponent’s deck or that they manage to take six prizes before that happens. As such, the Durant player will do whatever that can to keep your opponent from taking prize cards. It could be lots of disruption cards on both your opponent’s side of the field or even their hand! Although searchable via Level Ball, lack of any damage reduction cards and its own 90 HP make today’s Durant not as durable as it once was, unlike the older Durant where it can benefit from Special Metal Energy and Eviolite. So I can’t see how today’s Durant will successfully accomplish this goal because the game is extremely fast paced. There’s still the chance that your opponent had an atrocious setup due to getting their crucial cards discarded and that could get you the win here or there.

Maybe one day a player would relieve the glory days of achieving one of the rare victory conditions.


Standard: 2

Expanded: 1.5

Durant mill did make a strong showing in City Championships 2011-2012, but with Heatmor (BW Dark Explorers) countering it as well as overall power creep made them vanish from the competitive scene. Still, Durant could very well make a nice budget deck in the current format assuming the players are good at deck construction.

Otaku Avatar

Durant (SW – Battle Styles 10/163) is a baseline Pokémon: no Rule Box, no name alterations, no Battle Style, nor any other such mechanical changes that would distinguish it from other baseline Durant cards.  It is a [G] Pokémon at a time when that is underwhelming.  They’re not useful for exploiting Weakness right now, but crash into Resistance frequently (SW-era Metal types).  There are Grass-specific counters available, but as usual, they’re overkill.  There are also some decent bits of Grass support, but they’re focused on aiding evolution, and Durant is a non-evolving Basic.  Being a Basic is otherwise the best; minimum time and card investment.

90 HP is one of those key thresholds; definitely low as easy to OHKO, it is still outside of the “super fragile” range.  What may prove super relevant here is that it is as large as Durant may have while remaining a legal target for Level Ball.  The HP means the Weakness is only likely to matter when a Fire attacker isn’t bringing their A-game; 50 to 80 damage become OHKOs, but anything higher already could do the deed.  Similarly, a lack of Resistance isn’t usually a problem, even if it is technically the worst.  The HP just means any Resistance that was present would likely matter less.  The Retreat Cost of [C] is good; low enough you can often afford it.  U-Turn Board can zero it out, and Air Balloon can as well (with [C] to spare).

Durant knows two attacks.  For [G], it can use “Vise Grip” to do 20 damage.  This is textbook filler; we’ve seen better, but we’ve also seen worse.  Its second attack is “Devour” priced at [CC].  Devour’s effect discards one card from the top of your opponent’s deck for each Pokémon you have in play named “Durant”.  Not that there are any name-variants for Durant, but the wording is such that a hypothetical Durant V would not count.  Currently, the most Devour can discard is four cards, and that requires you successfully have all copies of Durant that you’re allowed to play on the field, leaving only two Bench spaces to spare… or one, if using an attack copier while all four Durant chill on your Bench.

There is a significant chance that one or more of your Durant will be Prized, though retrieving them from your deck or recycling them from your discard pile shouldn’t be much of an issue.  Nor should fueling Devour, as the [CC] cost means Twin Energy, Welder, and various other forms of general Energy acceleration are compatible.  Pokémon requires a 60 card deck outside of Limited Format events.  However, you have to draw seven cards, then put six Prizes into play before the game even begins, leaving a person with a 47 card deck.  Even if they never did anything else to thin or replenish their deck, they have to draw a card at the beginning of each of their turns.

Realistically, even an opponent attempting to play conservatively will have to use some draw and search.  After all, the longer key cards remain in your opponent’s deck, the longer you have to mill them into the discard pile.  It is a Catch-22 situation, especially as raw draw power (unlike search effects) can still whiff, leaving you with a thinner deck but failing to get the cards you wanted.  While either player may use effects that replenish your opponent’s deck, it usually isn’t enough to compensate for your own restricted setup.  That doesn’t mean Devour is an autowin, though; taking six Prizes isn’t that hard… unless you can make it so.  Durant would likely need a decent chunk of search and recycling effects to do its thing, plus enough disruption to make it harder on your opponent.

This should sound familiar.  If you’re new or not the type to explore past formats, today’s Durant is recycled from an homage to Durant (BW – Noble Victories 83/101).  It is a baseline, Basic Metal Pokémon with 70 HP, [R] Weakness, [P] Resistance, Retreat Cost [C], and both Devour and Vise Grip.  Okay, technically it has “Vice Grip”; consult your dictionary if you want some insight into that change.  This older Durant could use Devour for [M] and Vice Grip for [CC], with the former having the same effect and the latter doing 30 instead of 20.  Being a Metal type was and still is better than being a Grass type, but adjusting for power creep, 90 HP may be the same size or even smaller than 70 HP!

Durant decks were quite strong shortly after Durant released, with many considering it to be the dominant archetype.  It was also the target of much disdain; critics complained it was the kind of deck that worked on autopilot; setup your field, then just keep attacking with Durant while recycling them and disrupting your opponent.  Unless luck intervened, such as with the coin flips of Crushing Hammer or the critical cards not being milled, you were a goner if Durant was opposite you at the table.  I wasn’t remotely active at this time, nor did I have the kind of data I can reference now.  Based on trying the deck myself (long after the fact), and reading up on it, a least some of this was just salt.  It was not a fun deck to face, it was not the most complicated of strategies, but you did need to know what you were doing.

Then it Durant decks died out.  I’m not 100% certain, but I believe it was Darkrai-EX (BW – Dark Explorers 63/108, 107/108; BW – Black Star Promos BW46; BW – Legendary Treasures88/113), or rather, Pokémon like it.  Decks there the main attacker could be quickly readied and taking KOs, sometimes on Turn 1 (Player 1’s first turn).  In the case of Darkrai, not only was it that fast, but its attacks did 90 to your opponent’s Active and 30 to the Bench.  While Durant had ways of reducing the damage it took, Darkrai-EX decks had ways of increasing their damage to the opposing Active a little, so it was often a wash.

Durant would eventually have everything it needed to counter these problems, but by then, new problems had emerged.  Durant faced a metagame of mostly OHKOs, and coming from decks that could deal with the disruption of cards like Crushing Hammer.  Getting back to the present, the Durant of today lacks a lot of what helped its predecessor.  It wishes it was a Metal type, and this was probably an intentional nerf as such a change could easily make Durant overpowered.  Risk trying to open with Lucario & Melmetal-GX to use its “Full Metal Wall-GX” attack for -30 damage, then use Metal Goggles for another -30.  Twin Energy and basic Metal Energy with Metal Saucer to pay for Devour.  Lana’s Fishing Rod for recycling Durant and Metal Goggles.

What you can actually do with  today’s Grass type Durant just isn’t as impressive.  Could it work, though?  Maybe.  No Metal Goggles, but we can use Cape of Toughness for +50 HP: 140 HP single Prize Basic isn’t too cost-effective a OHKO, and some of the time it will actually be a 2HKO.  Lana’s Fishing Rod is still here.  I didn’t mention them before, but we have Level Ball and Quick Ball for searching out Durant.  Turn 1 – or any turn when you don’t have to immediately prep Durant to attack – Capture Energy or Recycle Energy might help.

There is a good chunk of disruption still available in Standard.  We have Reset Stamp.  We still have Crushing Hammer.  We have Boss’s Orders Galar Mine/Wondrous Labyrinth {*} for trying to strand something up front that cannot attack back.  We have some decent hand disruption options as well, like Jessie & James with Weezing (Hidden Fates 29/68).  Old-school Devour Durant decks were still dead in Expanded when semi-regular Expanded tournaments were still a thing.  I don’t think today’s Durant has enough going for it that its predecessor didn’t to change that, but you could probably build a functional deck for it.  In both Formats, though, we don’t have a good way to deal with copies of Durant stranded in Prizes.  There are some tricks, but they’re either risky like Rotom Decks, or too costly like Gladion.  However, Peonia is on her way…


  • Standard: 2/5
  • Expanded: 1/5

Durant is trying to recapture something that power creep destroyed a while ago.  I could be low-balling it, and we’re about to see a Devour resurgence (infestation?).  Once Peonia releases, Durant will definitely be worth a second glance.  Durant (and other key cards) being stuck in your Prizes are the bane of a deck like this; Peonia lets you add three Prize cards to your hand, then place the same number of cards from your (freshly enlarged) hand back into your Prizes.


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