Monday, January 2, 2012

Eye on Japan: Cinccino/Beartic w/ Rocky Helmet

Cinccino doesn't get any love from me
even though it'scute
Hello all The Deck Out readers!

Today’s deck analysis is about Japanese deck. I have gotten requests to review this deck so that’s the number one reason I’m analyzing this deck. I’m surprised that many of you were interested in this deck because I didn’t think it was that unique or even weird, it’s just one variant of stage1 decks, which are almost extinct at the moment. However, I think that there reason why people were interested in this deck is because it includes one of the most discussed cards from Noble Victories – Rocky Helmet. Is it really playable in a competitive level in this kind of deck? I’m here to give you an answer to that and many more questions.

I have gotten this article ready for some quite time already but the reason I release this so late is that I think it was more important to look at the true metagame decks. Who knows if this is going to be a metagame deck just like 6 corners or Cobalion/Kyurem/Electrode but I have my doubts about that.

First, the list.


4x Minccino
4x Cinccino
3x Cubchoo
3x Beartic
1x Cleffa
1x Tyrogue
= 16


4x Pokémon Collector
2x Pokegear 3.0.
3x Professor Juniper
4x Professor Oak’s New Theory
4x Pokémon Communication
3x PlusPower
3x Rocky Helmet
1x Revive
1x Switch
3x Pokémon Catcher
4x Junk Arm


4x Double Colorless Energy
2x Rescue Energy
6x Water Energy


If you’ve ever played stage1 deck with Cinccino you know what Cinccino does. It hits hard and fast. Cinccino stage1 variants were always my favorite stage1 deck variants. I have never that much liked stage1 decks because I don’t think they’re good enough to win tournaments - with or without Cinccino. So, Cinccino is used in the early game to gain the prize lead and you can attach Rocky Helmet to it if you count that it’s necessary. The beauty of Rocky Helmet is that you must be careful when playing it. It will go in vain if you don’t think carefully do you benefit of the extra 20 damage or not.

Beartic is the secondary attacker of this deck. It has high HP and “high” energy cost. High HP means 130 and “high” energy cost 3 or 2 if you have DCE. I’m not a Beartic fan and I think I’ll never be. In my opinion it has too big energy cost for this format. However, I must admit that I see synergy between Beartic and Rocky Helmet. When you get Beartic attacking, you make your opponent unable to attack. It means that your opponent has to use resources or retreating to be able to attack. Beartic’s damage isn’t big (50) but here Rocky Helmet comes in. Beartic 2HKOs even a Reshiram/Zekrom with the help of Rocky Helmet and 1 PlusPower. Beartic is very difficult to OHKO even without trainer lock because your opponent has to use resources if he/she wants to attack. Your opponent may have to use Junk Arm on Switch and that’s why he/she might not be able to use it on PlusPower. The longer Beartic with Rocky Helmet stands in the game, the more damage if will inflict to your opponent Pokémons. This deck has great synergy after all – quick weak attacker combined with big and slow attacker which can inflict extra damage with Rocky Helmet. Sounds promising.

Card explanations

The list is pretty basic because it’s a stage1 deck. In stage1 decks the draw cards are usually the same no matter which Pokémon you play in it.


As said earlier Cinccino is the quick T2 attacker. You use it to get hopefully ahead of prizes. Cinccino requires only 2 Colorless Energy to attack so it’s a very cheap attacker as well. However, usually you want just to attack DCE to it to get attacking as fast as possible. Cinccino’s basic form Minccino is also great. I would go with the Minccino that hits 30 damage if you flip heads. Cinccino’s mission in this deck is to make as much damage as possible in a short amount of time. Even though Minccino’s first attack is flippy it can cause a great deal of damage to your opponent’s Pokémon when it’s combined with PlusPowers and Junk Arms. It can also donk, which is always “nice”.


Beartic serves as a “tank” mid-game attacker. It’s a “tank” because it has 130 HP. 130 HP should be a lot but Reshiram and Zekrom can still OHKO it with only 1 PlusPower. When it comes to Rocky Helmet, you usually want to attach it to Beartic to get the most of it. Rocky Helmet is the better, the more times your opponent hits the Pokémon it’s attached to. Beartic has a much bigger chance of surviving 2 attacks than Cinccino which is too easy to OHKO.

If you attack with Beartic, you’re mostly using the first attack. The second attack requires 3-4 energy (Depending on if you have DCE or not) and hits only 80. It’s just not worth it. Beartic first attack hits only 50 damage but it’s playable because it makes the attacked Pokémon unable to attack. The attack forces your opponent to burn resources if he/she wants to attack with the same Pokémon. Beartic also has the great water type advantage. With only 1 PlusPower it’s probably going to OHKO a Reshiram because it’s already damaged from AfterBurners. Of course Eviolite can cause some problems but thanks to Rocky Helmet, you’re probably able to OHKO a Reshiram even with an Eviolite.

Also, immobile decks like Zekrom/Pachirisu/Shaymin and Trainer lock decks like Ross. dec have problems with Beartic because they aren’t always able to draw the Switch when they need to. This gives you time and sometimes even a free prize because they can’t afford retreating 2 retreat cost Zekroms unless. However, because Beartic is a tank, it’s pretty difficult to retreat. If you want to get Beartic you must use Switch for it because you can’t afford retreating with it. This deck needs all the energy it attaches on the field.


Even though I was tempted to play Manaphy in this (Water energy, yeah), I decided to go with Cleffa. Cleffa is simply put better than Manaphy. In this metagame it really doesn’t matter if you have 30 or 60 HP, everyone can still OHKO you. The great thing about Cleffa is that it needs no energy to attach so you can attach to your turn energy on to Minccino. That’s very important sometimes because you want to be hitting with Cinccino T2 in every game.


Deck, which has a lot of PlusPowers and Junk Arms – I just couldn’t resist. Nowadays people are still using Cleffas as their main starters so Tyrogue is able to donk them as well. This deck has 5 basic Pokémon which are able to hit for 30 on T1 – and that’s over half of the basics in the whole deck.

Pokémon Collector – Pokegear 3.0.

Not much to explain here. Cinccino needs a full bench in order to attack necessary damage. Four Collectors and 2 Pokegear just maximizes the consistency of this deck and they both are very important throughout the whole game because you need a T2 ready attacker and your bench full all the time.

Professor Juniper – Professor Oak’s New Theory

If you’ve ever ran a stage1 deck these both cards should be familiar to you. Juniper is a great card but sometimes it destroys your whole game. However, sometimes you just have to admit the risk because Juniper is a card that can’t be replaced in this deck. PONT is the best shuffle&draw in the format and it’s perfect in fast resource-burning decks like stage1s. You get almost a completely new hand for each PONT you use. It’s the best you can get.

Pokémon Communication

In order to get the T1, you need to maximize the trainer lines that support your strategy. Pokémon Communication is a great card on only in the early game but also in the late game when you’re low on basics. Communication can get you the Pokémon you need the most at any moment. It’s a must in every deck and this deck wants to play 4 of them.


This is one of the key cards if you want to succeed with stage1 decks. Stage1 decks aren’t that heavy hitting so they need help from PlusPower in order to OHKO the biggest Pokémons. Combined with Junk Arm and Rocky Helmet this deck is able to OHKO almost every Pokémon that this format has. PlusPower is also a great card for donking. As mentioned earlier this deck has a lot of basic Pokémon that hit T1 30. With PlusPowers and Junk Arms you’re usually able to OHKO any 50 HP Pokémon in T1 and either win the game instantly or get a prize lead.

Rocky Helmet

Now, this is the card that sparked everyone’s interest and the reason why I’m even reviewing this deck. Rocky Helmet is one of the cards that have caused a lot of discussion in the Pokémon community. Some people think it fits in every deck and some people think it’s completely unplayable. I belong between the haters and neutral side. I didn’t even include Rocky Helmet in my Impact Crater entry of Noble Victories. And why’s that? The reason why I think Rocky Helmet isn’t that good is once again Catcher. You can never be sure does the Rocky Helmet benefit you at all. Your opponent can time their attacking to the Pokémon that has Rocky Helmet with Catcher so that the extra damage doesn’t change anything. This is the same issue that many faced in the Luxchomp season. (I have a great idea of this deck but because of LuxChomp….) You know the rest of the story. Your opponent can outplay you too easily with Catcher.

In this deck Rocky Helmet isn’t all bad. As I said earlier Beartic is a “tank” that can get the most of Rocky Helmet because it isn’t always OHKOed. Beartic also makes your opponent to run out of with its attack thus making it more difficult to OHKO. Rocky Helmet is a make or break card in this deck, it can win you games but it can be unnecessary throughout the whole game. It all depends on how you attach them and how your opponent reacts to them.


You may have notices it that already but this deck runs only 9 basics. It’s a very low number for a deck that runs Cinccino because Cinccino requires a full bench in order to deal serious damage. Revive is here to help getting the bench full in every situation of the game. 1 is enough because the deck runs 4 Junk Arms and as you could see from the list – Rescue Energy.


As I said earlier, if you want to retreat with Beartic, you must do it with Switch. You can’t burn energy when retreating with Beartic so Switch is a must do this deck. If you find space, 2nd Switch wouldn’t be overkill. Switch is a card every deck in the format should find room for.  

Pokémon Catcher

Usually a stage1 decks want to run 4 Catchers because they are all about disrupting the opponent’s set-up with speed and Catchers. However, due the room issues this deck has because of Rocky Helmet 3 Catchers are enough. You can control the game pretty well with Beartic and 3 Catchers and you can also reuse them with Junk Arms anytime as well.

Junk Arm

The more I do deck analysis, the happier I’m with my Junk Arm-article.


This part is very important for this deck. You must have just the right energy for this in order to do well. First, we have DCE. 4 of them is a must and you would want to run 6 of them if it was possible. Both, Cinccino and Beartic can abuse DCE very well so 4 of them is a must. It helps you with speed, which is the most important thing in this format.

Second, we have Rescue Energy. As I said earlier, Rescue is here because the deck has so few basics. In order to keep hitting 100 with Cinccino you need a full bench and Rescue Energy helps you with this task quite a lot. You can run 2 or 3 Rescue Energy, depending on how many Water energy you want to run in the deck.

Water Energy is here because Beartic requires one Water Energy. 6 is a nice number, which is always enough and you can Beartic attacking whenever you need with it. 5 water energy is the minimum you want  to run in this deck .


As I said, the list I listed was pretty basic but I think that when it comes to stage1 decks consistency is what matters the most. This deck can’t have too many teches but there are some good options that can be considered in order to have better match-ups or consistency.

Energy Exchange Unit

This card is one of my personal favorites when it comes to stage1 decks. EEU is great in getting DCE to your hand whenever you need it and that’s why it fits every stage1 deck there is and plays Cinccino or Zoroark. It can be used for getting Rescue and even Water energy whenever you feel like it. It’s versatile, which is always a great thing when speaking of a tech card.

Zoroark (Foul Play)

Zoroark is a great card in any stage1 deck. The format is full of Pokémon that are afraid of Zoroark because it can OHKO them all. Zoroark would give this deck a bit more versatility for attacking and 1 more donker (Zorua’s Lunge).


I must admit that I haven’t done nearly enough testing with N yet in this deck. This deck may die because of N or it can win because of it. N is such an interesting card. This deck has good consistency but not that good that it can comeback from 1 or 2 card N without an extraordinary comeback. N is always a double-edged sword when it comes to decks that don’t run Magnezone.

Super Rod

This card can be used as a replacement for Revive. The reason why I decided to go for Reviver over Super Rod is because with Revive you can get the basic back in the same turn. It’s true that it’s possible with Super Rod as well but it happens every time with Revive. However, Super Rod can get back basic energy so if you opt to go with 5 or even 4 water energy, Super Rod may be a great play.

More into the deck

The thing about this stage1 decks is that this isn’t that versatile of a deck. This deck has 2 different attackers and there isn’t much of a variation in strategy. You have to set-up Cinccino fast and if you fail getting Cinccino up fast, you will probably just lose the game. This deck doesn’t stand a chance against legendary Digimons if you don’t get ahead in prize race. The reason why you want to attack in the early game with Cinccino is that Beartic isn’t good in the early game with low retreat Pokémon around. Beartic is the best in the late game against heavy stage2 Pokémons like Magnezone Prime and Gothitelle which really can’t think of retreating without Switch.

I said in one of my first articles ever that stage1 decks aren’t that good in this format and got even a little of hate about that. Now, looking back I would like to revive stage1 decks’ popularity but I’m pretty sure there is nothing anyone can do about it. Stage1 decks lack one very important thing – consistent firepower. This and all the other stage1 decks are able to win games only if they get ahead in prizes. Starting the game is more than important for these decks. This deck can be able to withstand sometimes two attacks thanks to Sheer Cold and Beartic’s 130HP but decks like Zekrom/Eelektrik will probably just crush this deck if you don’t get enough ahead with prizes.


Cinccino/Beartic wasn’t a real metagame deck in Japan and I don’t expect it to be a metagame deck in our metagame either. Heck, I wasn’t expecting Cobalion/Kyurem/Electrode deck getting all the hype it suddenly got. I was completely astonished how popular it got in the western community so quickly. So I may be wrong again. However, I think the main reason why Cinccino/Beartic won’t be metagame deck is that even though it has Rocky Helmet, which makes it “cool”, it still lacks something. I don’t expect Cinccino/Beartic to be a tier1 deck and it has its own issues in tier2 as well but it could easily settle itself there. However, if you feel like playing stage1 deck with a twist this is a right deck for you.

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment or ask any questions!


  1. not bad. i would perfer the old donphan/yanmega/zoroark stage 1 rush over this one though.

  2. great article tough I doubt the deck works. The strategy of the deck is from what I have understood to attack early game with cinccino ( so far evryrthing fine) and then use beartic with rocky helmet. So Rocky helmet works when you receive damage from an attack but you are attaching it to a pokemon that prevents the opponent from attacking?¿?¿!! That doesn t make any sense!!( Unless you use Beartic ´s other attack maybe...)

  3. I am really hoping to see some EX articles soon.

  4. Would cobalion not just destroy this deck?

    And rocky helmet would be used after they switch or retreat their active Pokemon that can't attack due to beartric.

  5. Yeah with Beartic STOPPING attacks, it henders Rocky Helmet useless, horrible synergy, great article

    And I am looking forward to seeing a EX article(preferably MewTwo EX variants)

  6. I really like this deck, Rocky Helmet allows a OHKO on Thundurus/Tornadus. Beartic is really good against Terrakion and Cincinno can hold its own against Chandelure. However I assume the deck would struggle against Reuniclus/Vileplume decks that run Cobalion and Special Metal Energy. Additionally Cobalion/Kyurem/Electrode is very hard because you can't OHKO a Kyurem that is spreading everywhere and if you Sheer Cold they Emergy Press. I cut a Tyrogue for a Bouffalant however I think Tyrogue is better because it amazes your opponent burn a Catcher to get around it.

  7. Hoping to revive Stage1s as well but so far no luck with a Cinc/Zoro/Yanmega variant I'm testing. Beartic could be an answer but how else can Stage1s come back from the dead? Lacks firepower and tends to run out of steam later on. It just needs a solid late game I think.

  8. Anonymous: Indeed, stage1 decks are just plain bad in this format. I also think that the old version of stage1 deck is better than this.

    Anonymous2: The synergy between Rocky Helmet and Beartic is once again in the resource burning. Sheer Cold gives your most opponent problems and they have to change their attacker. Then, Rocky Helmet damages the other attacker or the main attacker, depends if they retreated or used Switch. Nevertheless, this deck didn't work that well in the practice games.

    Anonymous3: Let's not get ahead of ourselves, shall we. I'll be doing my EX deck article just before the release of the first EX set once we have the scans of the new set and we know for sure what cards are they going to print in it. Thanks for the suggestion!

    Anonymous4: That's pretty much it. This deck folds imo also to many other cards.

    Heartgold22: Thanks, I'll try to get to the EXs article when it's time for them. I still have metagame decks left to analyze!

    Anonymous5: It may be that this deck might work in a certain meta (in such a diverse format like Japanese itä's possible) but I doubt it would survive western meta.

    Aaron: Stage1 really struggles with all the big OHKO hitters and trainer locks. Thankfully I can say that they'll make a come back during next few sets thanks to Dark Rush set but I'll get more on that in the Eye on Japan: Part 3.

    Thanks for comments everyone and feel free to comment more!

  9. @heartgold: Beartic does not entirely "stop" attacks - your opponent will still get around it either by switching, retreating, or hitting first. The point is the extra 20 will add to the the 50 your lock will set later on - allowing only one or two hits from Beartic rather than three or four.

    Thanks for the decklist, Esa. Being one of the people who requested it it was fun to read - my primary reason for the request was just my undying attempt to see if Beartic can work in anything - I have been testing with him for months and months now. This decklist was very similar to one I tested a while back. For me, it just didn't quite make the cut as you mentioned.

    One decklist that I did have surprising results with as far as Beartic/Rocky Helmet goes was a 4/4 Weavile, 4/4 Beartic deck with 4 Rocky Helmet. The deck had a LOT of hand refreshers and consistency so that while you would take away the opponents Pokemon Catcher/Switch with Weavile, you would set up multiple Beartics at once with Rocky Helmet forcing the opponent to have to choose from those as what they were up against (the weaviles would usually be Seeker'd or SSU'd). Anyway, that's all I got. Thanks again!

  10. -6 Beartic line +4 Cobalion +2 ??? HURRAY!

  11. Lee: Glad you liked it. Stage1s with Weavile can be very devastating. It has always been one of my favoire combos but at the moment format just doesn't have a place for that kind of decks. I'm pretty sure that Dark Rush - set will change things. Thanks for commenting!

    Fuzzy: Haha, that could work if Cobalion didn't need 3 Energy for attacking. The only reason Beartic is even semi-playable is that it can attack with DCE. You really don't have time attaching 3 energy from your hand to each of your Cobalions.


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