Friday, October 7, 2011

Max Potion - Part 1

Hello and welcome back to The Deck Out!

Today’s blog is about my favorite trainer card – Max Potion – and how to make it playable going rogue. This will be a 2 part article and the second article will be in my next update. In this blog update I focus on how to build a working Donphan deck around Max Potion.


4x Phanpy(CL)
4x Donphan Prime
2x Manaphy


3x Dual Ball
1x Pokegear 3.0.
2x Judge
4x Cheren
4x Sage’s Training
3x Professor Oak’s New Theory
1x Professor Elm’s Training Method
2x Pokémon Communication
3x Max Potion
4x Pokémon Catcher
4x Junk Arm
1x SSU
1x Energy Retrival
1x Lost Remover
1x Crushing Hammer
2x PlusPower
2x Defender


9x Fighting
2x Rescue Energy


This deck’s strategy revolves around the combo Donphan/Max Potion. Donphan is a great partner for Max Potion because it can hit hard with 1 energy and it isn’t easily OHKOble. The deck idea is to get T2 Donphan every game and start Catchering easy prizes and disturb your opponent’s set up with Earthquake. This deck is all about speed so your main priority in every game should be getting the T2 Donphan.
After getting T2 Donphan begins the tricky part. You have to Catcher just the right things. I’ll get into match-ups later but let’s just say that you try to destroy their deck’s main idea. There are trainers like Catcher, Crushing Hammer, Lost Remover and Judge, which are helping to achieve this goal. While attacking, you try to use Max Potion every time it seems like your Donphan is about to get KOed. After you have run out of Max Potions/Junk Arms you can just start attacking with Donphans because practically you have 6 of them in your deck (4 Donphans and 2 Rescue Energies.

Card Choices

There is no such things as “obvious” card choices in this deck. It’s very techable on the trainer side and very simple on the Pokémon side. I will have to run card by card this deck so you get the whole idea of what is this deck trying to achieve and how.


The only thing that needs explanation about this evolution line is Phanpy because it should be obvious that I run 4-4 Donphan because it’s my only attacker in the deck. The Call of Legends Phanpy fits this deck better because I want an undamaged Donphan when starting to attack. The Poké-Body of Phanpy(CL) helps me to get rid of the unnecessary bench damage from Earthquake and that way I can evolve Phanpys into Donphan unharmed.


First I thought I wouldn’t be running any basic Pokémons but the Phanpys but noticed soon enough that I would be mulliganing far too many times with only 4 basics. Manaphy is a great starter because it attack with Colorless and has a free retreat. I didn’t want to play Cleffa here because the chance of opening with a lone Cleffa in this deck would be huge and they would be KOed very soon with Earthquake. Manaphy has 60 HP so it isn’t that easily KOed by Earthquake damage.

Straght Draw – Cheren – Sage’s Training

This deck needs straight draw because it pretty much wants everything from the deck – energies, trainers, even Pokémons. Only 2 cards that may be “meaningless” after the first turn are the 2 Manahpys. Cheren is the best straight fraw card we have because it has no drawbacks. Draw 3 cards, it works.

I thought about Sage’s very much in this deck. This deck doesn’t want to discard any cards from the deck but it can discard cards because of Energy Retrieval and Junk Arm. Some trainers are even better of in the discard pile than in your hand so after Shuffle & Draw card you are able to get them with Junk Arms. I also thought of Juniper first. But the problem with Juniper is that it’s just too hardcore discarding in the beginning of the game if you have an ok hand but need just 1 card. Sage’s is good when trying to find the one last needed card.

Shuffle & Draw – Judge – PONT

This deck has no bad cards so hand refresh is always welcome. PONT is there to give you some Shuffle & Draw and since it’s the best Shuffle & Draw card in this format it was an obvious choice (Copycat usually gets too few cards). Judge is simply for disturbing your opponent’s set-up. This deck can get a huge profit if your opponent draw passes in just one turn. This one turn can be crucial in winning the game and because of the huge amount of draw cards in this deck; Judge shouldn’t disturb your game that much.

Other draw cards – Communication – PETM – Dual Ball – Pokegear 3.0.

I have praised Pokegear before and will praise it even more. For this kind of deck it’s more than perfect. This deck has many supporters so it won’t whiff a supporter that often. This deck also plays Judge so you can recover with Junk Arm if you happen to draw a supporterless hand from Judge. There is no reason not to run at least 1 Pokegear in this deck.

Dual Ball’s meaning is self-explanatory – it’s there to search for some Phanpys. This deck doesn’t want to use Supporter for searching Basic Pokémon because it needs to be fast. That’s why Dual Ball is the only real choice for this deck.

Pokémon Communication seems weird here. Why I’m not running 4 of them as usual? The reason for this is the low amount of Pokémon in this deck. If you ran 4 Communications in this deck, you would end up having Pokémon Communications in your hand, without a Pokémon many times during a game. This deck plays the Pokémons to the bench as soon as they hit the hand so you won’t have time for Communicating Pokémons around. There are 2 Communications, however, because it’s such a good card. If you happen to have it in your opening hand, you’re guaranteed to have T2 Donphan.

PETM is the last “draw card”. It seems weird to run PETMs in a deck running only 1 stage1 but, in fact it’s very wise. PETM is like a Pokémon Communication for this deck with the exception that you can use PETM if you don’t have Pokémon in your hand. PETMs are needed for this deck to get 4-6 Donphans to the play – you can’t rely on shuffle&draw and straight draw cards for that. Of course PETM has its downsides because it’s a supporter but still it’s the best you can do in this deck.


The heart and soul of this deck and the whole article. Max Potion is one of my favorite cards because it gives metagame some versatility and it gave me some new ideas as soon as I saw it. The only problem with Max Potion is that, it’s easily countered. Any trainer locking thing (Gothitelle and Vileplume) destroys the deck’s whole idea but I decided not to care about it. In this format is so much versatility that you must to live with bad match-ups. It’s impossible to build a perfect deck.

Max Potion works well with cards that have huge HP and can hit with 1 energy. As I said before, Donphan Prime is a perfect of a card like that.The best thing about Donphan, however, is that its weakness is almost non-existent in the present format. That and Donphan’s resistance makes it almost impossible to OHKO at the moment.

This deck doesn’t play 4 Max Potions because you can’t be using Max Potion ALL the time. You can give your opponent 5 prizes so you don’t have to use 1 Donphan all the time. Max Potions just help you to cope some more turns. You also want an energy attachment to Phanpy so when you play down Phanpy and are hitting with Earthquake, you can’t use Max Potion that turn. Since you have Max Potion you must also be careful while playing Rescue Energies – don’t Max Potion them away!

Junk Arm – Pokémon Catcher

Catcher is as important as Max Potion in this deck. In fact, the list has 4 of them so you may think, they’re even more vital for the strategy than the Max Potions. I would say Max Potion and Catcher have an equal importance in this deck. Your goal is to Catcher from T2 to T6, EVERY TURN if your opponent doesn’t bring a good to kill Pokémon as an active and saves you from Catchering.

If we think about Catcher and Max Potion, this deck looks like a lot of Luxchomp. Its goal is to take cheap prizes early game and somehow manage the late game while doing bench damage to itself and healing in the between. I didn’t notice it before but it’s true – I just don’t know if it’s a good thing…

Junk Arm is a natural add to this deck. This deck lives and dies with Trainers so you want to use trainer as much as possible every turn. Junk Arm is a perfect card for this. With that you can use Catcher, Max Potion and Pokegear whenever you need. It gives you more versatility for tech trainers as we will now see. 

Tech Trainers

The reason I wanted to build this deck was because of this section. This deck has so much space in the trainer section that I could fit my every favorite disturbing trainer easily in the deck list.

Lost Remover and Crushing Hammer are in the deck list for the same reason – to slow down your opponent. Lost Zoning this like DCE or discarding energies from Magnezone can dramatically slow them down. This deck needs so much everything that I decided to go with 1-1 of both because you can use them with Junk Arm if you really need them. They both are great teches and might come in handy in situations that are unimaginable.

Super Scoop Up is in the deck because it’s a 4th Max Potion + Switch at the same time. Of course it requires heads but it’s only a small set back since its effect would be great in a Donphan deck. Super Scoop Up is also the unexpected card in your deck because if your opponent starts counting your Junk Arms and Max Potions from discard pile, you can mess his counting by playing SSU. This deck doesn’t play Switch (even though it maybe should) so SSU is a must card here.

Energy Retrieval is a must and obvious tech card. You discard energies with Max Potion and get them back with Energy Retrieval. I thought first that I would like to play Energy Returner in this deck but decided for Energy Retrieval because it was Junk Armable and could be used in many situations.

Defender and PlusPower are counterparts of each other and they both work well in this deck. Defender adds some more durability for Donphan so it’s impossible to OHKO. Pluspowers adds the magic 10 damage, which will help you OHKO things with Earthquake. This way, you can OHKO undamaged things like Magnezone Prime, Tepig, Zekrom etc. with only one earthquake. PlusPower is a great in any “low” damage decks (60 is considered low in this format) so it’s a perfect fit for this deck.


9 fighting energies, because you need them all the time, but only 1 at a time. The Rescue energies are – as already stated – getting back Donphan when KOed. The tricky part is to play Rescue energy to a Donphan that will be KOed. This is tricky because your opponent can use Catcher and try to KO something else. The problem with Rescue energy also comes when you get the Donphan line back to hand. If your opponent has any idea how to play, he will Catcher your Phanpy as soon as you play it again on the bench and get an easy prize. You have to figure out preventing this.

Problem officer?

Yes. As mentioned this deck has problems with trainer locks. But there must be some other problems too right? I’ll get into the problems of this deck.

Trainer lock

As I said before, the whole deck will stop once the trainer lock is played. Vileplume variants can be won if they don’t run Reuniclus but Gothitelle/Reuncilus is an autoloss. That is unless you’re able to just outdamage then. The only way to outdamage Gothitelle is to start very aggressive by destroying their Gothitas or Zekrom/Reshiram. Don’t even try to hit Solosis unless they have only 1 in play. The great thing about killing Digimons or Gothorita is that it will be harder for them to move damage. Zekrom kill could be VERY big in the early game.

Against trainer lock, you must focus on your set-up. Use all your trainers all the time, when you still have the chance. After Gothitelle is in play, you won’t be able to use trainers in the rest of the game. With Rescues and decent set-up you’re able to attack with 6 Donphans so you must be sure to divide your energies wisely. You only have 9 of them so play them wisely!

Big hitters

By heavy-hitting I mean cards that can OHKO Donphan. If they can OHKO you, you have no chance in winning them because your deck relies on Max Potion. There aren’t many of OHKOers in the format but if you face them, you’re probably screwed. Donphan’s worst nemesis is Samurott(BW) which can OHKO Donphan with DCE and any energy because of the weakness. Samurott isn’ t  that popular but there is always the possibility. The other card is Rayquaza&Deoxys LEGEND. It can easily OHKO your Donphans and get 2 prizes! And you won’t be able to OHKO them back. If you’re facing a deck playing RDL, you must destroy their set-up (they’re probably running Emboar) and not concentrate on RDL. Once their energy acceleration and draw engines are gone, you can start attacking RDL.


It’s funny. In fact, this deck has problems with Catcher in the late game. That’s because you don’t want to give away easy prizes and if your opponent is able to Catcher late game Phanpy from your bench, he/she gets an easy prize. You don’t want that to happen so you must prepare for the Catcher, by Catchering a Pokémon that is unable to hit during your opponent’s next turn. Remember not to KO the Pokémon you Catchered!

Slow Set-up

This deck is not the forgiving type. You either go T2 (or in the emergency situations T3) and unless you go T2 or T3, you will automatically lose the game (unless your opponent has a horrid start). If this list doesn’t work for you, try to fix it first so that it gets a T2 every game. After you have managed T2 Donphan in 98% of the games, you can start putting in teches. The set-up is everything with this deck so If you don’t manage to set-up, you don’t manage to win.



Slightly Favorable
Stage1 variants


Slighly Unfavorable

Trainer lock/Reuniclus

As for good match-ups, Zekrom can’t OHKO you and you get easy prizes from everywhere. It’s very difficult for them so this might be a very good choice in the current metagame. Stage1 is slightly favorable because you out-Donphan them. If they play fighting weak things like Cinccino and Zoroark you can get easy OHKOs with Catcher.  Magneboar is probably slightly favorable because you can OHKO them Magnezones and stop drawing and OHKOing. You must be aware of RDL threat in this match-up.

As for unfavorable, Reshiplosion can Outdamage you with Reshiram or outrun your energies with Typhlosion if they play smart. Trainer lock/Damage moving decks are beyond your chances. The only way you can win these decks, is for them to get a totally horrifying start.


Hope you enjoyed the read and try this deck out. It’s different from the mainstream decks what I have seen and I think it has great potential in a certain metagame that isn’t prepared for it. Please leave comments and feedback! Thanks for reading.

// Be back to The Deck Out next Tuesday for Max Potion part 2!


  1. I disagree with ZPST being a slightly favorable match-up. Sure you can catcher and pluspower their Zekrom and Pachirisu, but Tornadus and catcher wreck this deck. Tornadus 2 shots Donphan while you 3 shot them without heavy impact, which takes 3 energy. That means max potion every turn or play defender, which they can catcher around, and ZPST has every chance of getting a catcher as this deck does.

    Also, you are still going to mulligan a lot even with 6 basics instead of 4, and that will increase the chance of ZPST getting a turn 1, which if that happens, you lose if you don't get more basics on your bench turn one and that is impossible if the ZPST goes first. Both Tornadus and Zekrom can 1 shot Phanpy and Manaphy, and chances are you will not start with more than 1 basic in your first 7 cards. That makes this deck one of the easiest decks for ZPST to donk.

    I still enjoy all of your articles, so keep up the good work. :)

  2. The above comment right here is why this blog is so good. It gives complete, understandable, well-reasoned articles with just that tiny error-margin which can promote discussion at it's finest.

    When all the obvious trolling is absent, when the article is so understandable that everyone from the very beginning player to a worlds-level expert can find useful information from it, and when such an insightful commentators are present, I think we have something great going on here.

    With that being said, trying to work on featured article after I get to hit a tournament with something crazy again. Don't expect anything as well-thought out or consistent, rather look forward for more of that rogue-madness I'm used to do. :)

    GG Esa!

  3. Anonymous: I just don't like counting donks into the match-up because they're only occasional games. Tornadus is a very big problem but it's easy to get around with Catchers. It's true that you will have to kill about 2 Tornadus per game but it's still manageable if you use your resources correctly.

    Thanks for your thoughts!

    Dennis Hawk: Thank you very much for the compliments, I'll try to keep up the good work. I'm sure there are many people - including me - that are eagerly waiting for your article!

  4. decks with crobat prime techs are also very brutal against this deck

  5. Anonymous: Indeed, but fortunately not many decks are running Crobat Prime. Also, the previously mentioned Ruins of Alph helps a lot against Crobat Prime as well.


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