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Yu Yu Hakusho
Harry Potter
Vs. System

Otaku on the Pokémon Trading Card Game
Legacy Format Decks 
August 5, 2016

The following article is a companion piece to this one which explains the Legacy Format.  This is not an exhaustive list; I tried but there are many past decks I haven’t encountered yet in the Legacy Format.  That could mean they are no longer worth using, but between card scarcity and the lack of large scale tournaments it is quite plausible (if not likely) I just haven’t encountered certain decks.  So below is a brief, alphabetical list of the decks I either personally have run or encountered in the Legacy Format.  I will give a deck name and (as names can vary quite a bit) the key cards.  I will not include actual lists because frankly, I am not particularly skilled in deck building and as the metagame fluctuates, a good list can become a bad one.  Some of these decks very general archetypes; very different Pokémon can be used to build what is considered the same deck.  Others are the opposite extreme; a variation of another deck that did so well it worth recognizing as its own separate deck. 

With that being said not all of these are good decks!  As the title reads we are discussing popular decks, and relative to the Standard Format, obtaining HS-era and BW-era cards is tricky (if not difficult) on the PTCGO.  Certain rare cards can make or break a particular deck.  Any slower deck will usually want Tropical Beach, which is far more affordable (and available) than in the physical TCG, it is still difficult for some players (myself included) to obtain without treating the PTCGO like a job.  Others are as difficult to obtain as Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108, 106/108) in the PTCGO, or between it and Tropical Beach.  Certain decks can handle lacking such cards, while others cannot. 

·         Big Basics: The rebirth of the classic Haymaker deck from the earliest days of the game.  Several strong, Basic Pokémon that compliment each other are used in a deck.  Some smaller Basics with useful effects can be included, but Evolutions are not (see “Big Basics+” below).  Though not always the case, they usually have at least one low Energy cost attack, and are often Pokémon-EX.  The lack of Evolutions and reduced need for Energy allow more room for Trainer.  There is enough room that these decks do not have to choose between variety or reliability; there will be some Trainers just run as TecH, but many will be two, three, or even full four counts.  There are many variations on the Big Basics deck, some of which are listed below.  Notable Pokémon common to most Big Basic builds are Bouffalant (BW: Dragons Exalted 110/124), Landorus-EX, and Mewtwo-EX (BW: Next Destinies 54/99, 98/99; BW: Black Star Promos BW45; BW: Legendary Treasures 54/113).  Even these are not truly universal staples, though.  A proven deck.

·         Big Basics+: As with the Big Basics deck, but including some non-Basic supporting Pokémon that is just there to sit on the Bench.  The most successful of these uses Garbodor (BW: Dragons Exalted 54/124; BW: Plasma Freeze 119/116; BW: Legendary Treasures 68/113) as the rest of the deck will run few or no Abilities.  A proven deck, and in my experience better than the regular “Big Basics” version.

·         Dark.dec: Known by many names, this deck will focus on getting Darkrai-EX (BW: Dark Explorers 63/108, 107/108; BW: Black Star Promos BW46; BW: Legendary Treasures 88/113) up and attacking quickly using Dark Patch.  Usually Sableye (BW: Dark Explorers 62/108) is included as well to help spam key Items like Dark Patch.  Some variants include Garbodor and/or will focus on using Sableye with Items like Crushing Hammer, Enhanced Hammer, Hypnotoxic Laser, Lost Remover, and/or Pokémon Catcher to weaken an opponent before trying to attack for damage with Darkrai-EX.  In the past such variants would have been worthy of entirely separate entries; while Dark.decs are still a proven quantity, I am uncertain of the variants focusing more on Sableye.  The primary version is proven.

·         Deluge: Blastoise (BW: Boundaries Crossed 31/149; BW: Plasma Storm 137/135; BW: Plasma Blast 16/101) can accelerate massive amounts of basic Water Energy from your hand, and this is typically used to fuel the attacks of Pokémon like Black Kyurem-EX (BW: Plasma Storm 95/135), Keldeo-EX, and/or Suicune (BW: Plasma Blast 20/101).  Blastoise itself is also a decent attacker when you are in a pinch.  A proven deck, but better with Tropical Beach.

·         Devour: A mill deck built around Durant (BW: Noble Victories 83/101), with Alph Lithograph (HS: Triumphant FOUR) and Rotom (HS: Undaunted 20/90) in case something important is stuck in your Prizes, plus several cards to recycle Durant and/or disrupt your opponent’s field.  I have not encountered many people using this deck, but did build it myself.  Either I haven’t been able to find a good build or this deck is on the weak side.

·         Eels: Eelektrik (BW: Noble Victories 40/101) is used to repeatedly attach Lightning Energy from the discard pile to various big, Basic attackers.  Most will be Lightning Types but some will be off Type, usually with Colorless Energy requirements for most or all of their attack costs.  Typical generic attackers for this deck will include Mewtwo-EX (same version as in Big Basics), Raikou-EX, and Zekrom (Black & White 47/114, 114/114; BW: Black Star Promos BW005, BW24; BW: Next Destinies 50/99; BW: Legendary Treasures 51/113, 115/113).  A proven deck, though weaker than its variant in my experience (see “Rayeels”).

·         FluffyChomp: Altaria (BW: Dragons Exalted 84/124; BW: Black Star Promos BW48; BW: Boundaries Crossed 152/149) is used to up the damage from Garchomp (BW: Dragons Exalted 90/124; BW: Plasma Freeze 120/116; BW: Legendary Treasures 96/113).  Gabite (BW: Dragons Exalted 89/124) is essential for setting up all other Dragon Types.  A proven deck.

·         Mewbox: A Toolbox style deck using Mew (HS: Triumphant 97/102), a.k.a Mew Prime.  Relicanth (Call of Legends 69/95) and even Mew itself let you send your own Pokémon cards to the Lost Zone from hand or deck; though Mew Prime still needs to meet the Energy costs for the attacks, it can abuse attacks balanced for something that is not a smallish, Basic Pokémon.  I have not encountered it often, but I believe it to be a proven deck, based on encounters with it in the PTCGO Unlimited Format.

·         Newbie: Not an actual archetype, but for the PTCGO in general, a lot of people cannot wait to throw together something resembling an actual deck (usually an altered Theme Deck) and try it out in the Legacy, Expanded, or Standard Formats.  Dangerous because of underestimating them and cases of mistaken identity; certain real decks can easily be mistaken for a Newbie Deck, and of course many Newbie Decks are just woefully incomplete versions of real decks.  The issue is that you do not handle one the same as the other; even if you aren’t the type to become overconfident or unusually generous when facing these decks, the shrewd play against the proper version of a deck can be the opposite of what works against the Newbie version!

·         Plasma Beatdown:  The Team Plasma cards have a lot of support, so while many are used in non-Team Plasma decks, multiple archetypes are built around them specifically.  Colress Machine and/or Thundurus-EX (BW: Plasma Freeze 38/116, 110/116; BW: Black Star Promos BW81) provide Energy acceleration.  Team Plasma Ball provides custom search.  Shadow Triad can reclaim any Team Plasma card from the discard pile.  Deoxys-EX provides a damage boost.  There are even more options, though they are less generic.  Many strong Basic Pokémon have their own Plasma Beatdown deck, which is usually also a Big Basics deck.  See “TDK” and “Speed Lugia”.  The big danger in using these decks is that the Pokémon Tool Silver Mirror was created specifically to counter them… and works reasonably well at it.  Specific variants may be proven or not.

·         Quad Decks: A variant of the Big Basics deck, this one focuses on a minimal Pokémon count.  Originally it was just four copies of the same card (usually a Pokémon-EX), though later iterations would include one or two additional Pokémon to help when facing anti-Pokémon-EX effects.  Not proven, though let me stress that this is basically just a Big Basics deck that runs an extremely low (four to eight) Pokémon count.

·         Rayeels: Eelektrik (BW: Noble Victories 40/101) is used to fuel Rayquaza-EX (BW: Dragons Exalted 85/124, 123/124; BW: Black Star Promos BW47) from the discard pile.  Skyarrow Bridge and a spare attacker, or a switching effect (sometimes both for safety) are used to keep up the pressure, as Eelektrik can only attach Energy to Benched Pokémon.  This is a variant of the more general Eels decks, and will usually run some or all different attackers as Rayquaza-EX needs a source of [R] Energy in addition to large amounts of Lightning Energy; other popular off Type attackers for this deck are Victini (BW: Noble Victories 15/101) due to its “V-Create” attack and/or Rayquaza (BW: Dragons Exalted 128/124; BW: Dragon Vault 11/20) for its “Shred” attack.  Proven, though fluctuates with the metagame quite a bit.

·         Reshiphlosion: Reshiram (Black & White 26/114, 113/114; BW: Black Star Promos BW004, BW23; BW: Next Destinies 21/99; BW: Legendary Treasures 28/113, 114/113, RC22/RC25) backed up by Typhlosion (HeartGold/SoulSilver 110/123; HS: Black Star Promos HGSS09).  May use Ninetales (HeartGold/SoulSilver 7/123; Call of Legends 17/95) for added draw power, while Silver Bangle and either PlusPower or Hypnotoxic Laser with Virbank City Gym provide extra damage.  A little more metagame sensitive but proven.

·         Round: The “Round” attack is found on several Pokémon and is sort of the less successful version of Night March, probably because the Pokémon need to be in play to strengthen one another (instead of in your discard pile).  Seismitoad (BW: Noble Victories 24/101; BW: Legendary Treasures 42/113) is typically backed by its Stage 1 Palpitoad (BW: Noble Victories 23/101, BW: Legendary Treasures 41/113) and Meloetta-EX (BW: Legendary Treasures RC11/RC25, RC25/RC25).  This not a good deck, but it is a budget deck and as such attracts a lot of players just cutting their teeth on the Legacy Format or the PTCGO in general.

·         Shift Gear: Klinklang (Black & White 76/114) can be used in the typical Energy transfer deck.  There is a serious bonus of you stick to mostly Metal Types; you can include Klinklang (BW: Plasma Storm 90/135) to protect all of your Metal Types from damage done by the attacks of your opponent’s Pokémon-EX.  Proven but vulnerable to certain popular counters or other decks.

·         Speed Lugia: Lugia-EX (BW: Plasma Storm 108/135, 134/135; BW: Black Star Promos BW83; BW: Legendary Treasures 102/113) has an Ability that allows it to take an extra Prize when its attack KOs an opponent’s Pokémon through damage.  Using Double Colorless Energy plus some or all of the support listed under “Plasma Beatdown”, it may do this quite rapidly!  While Standard legal this deck was at times quite strong; I have not encountered it enough to know if it remains viable or is potentially strong in the Legacy Format.

·         TDK: Thundurus-EX [Plasma], Deoxys-EX, and Kyurem (BW: Plasma Freeze 31/116) for a particular Plasma Beatdown variant focused on setting up and streaming Kyurem [Plasma].  The deck will contain enough buffs that it can score OHKOs and even if it is OHKO’d, it is only a Basic worth a single Prize.  A proven deck I believe, but also not one I have run personally.

·         Tool Drop: Trubbish (BW: Plasma Storm 65/135) can hits harder the more Pokémon Tools are in play.  A careful selection of Tools, Sigilyph (BW: Plasma Blast 41/101) to hold up to four Tools at once, and Masquerain (BW: Plasma Blast 2/101) to bounce your own Tools back to hand during your turn.  Together you can tailor your assault to the specific situation.  I have not had much luck with it, but based on the results of others I believe this to be a proven deck (and my own list quite bad!).

·         Vilify: Weavile (BW: Plasma Freeze 66/116) can use its Vilify attack to discard Pokémon from your hand for more damage.  Exeggcute (BW: Plasma Freeze 4/116; BW: Plasma Blast 102/101) can add itself to your hand from the discard pile.  Throw in some of the excellent Darkness Type support and you get a fast, vicious assault.  Proven, and a former (if not current) top deck for the Legacy Format

·         VirGen: Genesect-EX (BW: Plasma Blast 11/101, 97/101) is the main attacker, with Celebi (HS: Triumphant 92/102) and/or Virizion-EX (BW: Plasma Blast 9/101, 96/101).  G Booster is used to deal with large threats or those with protective effects.  Skyarrow Bridge zeroes out the Retreat Cost of everything in the deck.  Junk Arm and Celebi (HS: Triumphant 92/102) bring this deck to a new level, and Virizion-EX is less important when you have Celebi Prime.  A classic build (like what was actually used in Standard) is either slightly below or just at the viable threshold; Junk Arm makes it flat out viable, and with Celebi Prime it may be the best deck in the format.






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