Hey there fellow PokeBeach readers, I’m Alex! I’ve been playing the Pokemon Trading Card Game since Base Set and I’ve never once stopped enjoying it for even a second! While I’m a Canadian player from the same region as our current World Champion, I’m no titleholder myself; unless there’s some sort of “Uses-The-Weirdest-Decks” honor, in which case, I may just be a contender!
Among the many deck building options in the game, I find nothing more fun than rogue decks. These are the lower tier decks that rely on unusual strategies and cards that aren’t typically used in the competitive environment. They can catch even seasoned players off guard and shake up the metagame itself.
I thought a good place to start would be my personal favorite, Crobat/Wobbuffet (Or Croba Fet, as I prefer to call it). I’ll break it down, expose its inner workings (scandalous!), give you some options when it comes to building the deck yourself and then we’ll talk about how to handle certain match-ups. First, the list itself:
3x VS Seeker
3x Muscle Band
3x Repeat Ball
2x Ultra Ball
1x Sacred Ash
How it Plays:
Wobuffet is the star of this deck and its primary attacker. He’s a Basic Pokemon with a nice, sturdy 110 HP- which means he’s more than capable of taking a hit. He has a nifty Ability as well – Wobbuffet’s Ability, Bide Barricade, shuts off the Abilities of all non-Psychic Pokemon as long as Wobbuffet is the Active Pokemon. Since he’s your main attacker, he’s going to be in the Active position a lot, so his Ability will be pretty relevant in most games. This shuts down some pretty prominent stuff, like Aromatisse‘s Fairy Transfer and Shaymin-EX‘s Set Up, just to name a few. Lucky for you, the only Pokemon with Abilities in this list (Golbat and Crobat) are Psychic-types, so they’re unaffected by Bide Barricade.
What really sets Wobbuffet apart is his unusual attack. For [P][C], Psychic Assault does 10 damage plus 10 more damage for every damage counter on the Defending Pokemon. So, he effectively doubles whatever damage is currently inflicted on his target (plus 10). Unfortunately, that also means Wobbuffet isn’t going to be doing much damage to anything that hasn’t been damaged yet, but that’s where his partners come in!
Zubat / Golbat / Crobat
These tricky bats are the support of the deck. For Zubat, I recommend using the Plasma Storm variation. It has 10 less HP than its Phantom Forces counterpart, but its Ability Free Flight gives it free retreat which will really come in handy- especially if you start with a Zubat and need to retreat it safely to the Bench during your opening turns.
Golbat and Crobat both feature a similar Ability. Golbat’s Sneaky Bite lets you put 2 damage counters on an opponent’s Pokemon when you put it into play. Crobat’s Surprise Bite works similarly, but has you place 3 damage counters instead. You want to use this Ability to put damage counters on whatever it is you’re attacking with Wobbuffet so that his Psychic Assault does more damage. Keep in mind, Sneaky/Surprise Bite are not limited to the Active Pokemon. They can be a great way to soften Pokemon that are likely to hit the Active spot next and also a good way to finish off weakened Pokemon who have retreated to the Bench. Nothing is safe from the bite.
Golbat and Crobat also feature a retreat cost of 0 and I recommend you always promote one of them whenever your opponent knocks out your Active Pokemon. Having your bats act as a “pivot” between KOs will allow you some flexibility in deciding what to attack with on your following turn.
Also worth a mention is Crobat’s attack, Skill Dive. It does 30 damage to any of your opponent’s Pokemon for [C]. So playing and then attacking with a Crobat can essentially net you a 60 damage snipe to something on your opponent’s Bench.
Miltank is your secondary attacker. Her Powerful Friends attack does a whopping 80 damage for a single Energy, provided you have a Stage 2 Pokemon in play. Considering this deck runs four Crobats, that shouldn’t be a hard feat to accomplish. Miltank is great for taking two-hit KOs on EXs or setting Wobbuffet up to do the same.
Keep in mind that Miltank does have a retreat cost of 2 however, so it’s good to have an exit plan in mind if you plan on attacking with Miltank. Burning the Energies to retreat should not be your first choice.
Super Scoop-Up / Scoop-Up Cyclone / AZ
The Scoop-Up cards are critical to this deck. You already have the ability to use 4 Sneaky Bites (80 damage) and 4 Surprise Bites (120 damage) in a game, but that isn’t always going to be easy to pull off and you may find yourself needing to do more damage than that. That’s where Scoop-Up-type cards come in handy! You can simply scoop a Golbat or Crobat you have in play, allowing you to replay them for additional Bites. Also, since Energy and Muscle Bands are in limited supply, you always have the option to attach them to one of your bats before playing a Juniper/Sycamore, knowing that you’ll probably be scooping that bat back up later (Keep in mind that you can’t use AZ for this purpose, however as he only scoops the Pokemon back to your hand- not the cards attached!).
In a pinch, your Scoop-Ups can also essentially work as a Switch if you need to get a Miltank or Wobbuffet out of the Active spot.
Dimension Valley is another card that really sets this list off. It lowers the attack cost of Psychic Pokemon by 1 Colorless Energy. The (attacking) Psychic Pokemon in this deck are Wobbuffet, who requires [P][C] to attack, and Golbat/Crobat, who require [C]. So as long as Dimension Valley is in play, Wobbuffet only needs a single Energy attached to use Psychic Assault and Golbat/Crobat can attack for free. Basically, your main attacker can be fully powered up and ready to go the same turn he’s played, which can lead to some deadly, unexpected comebacks.
Always be aware that this effect also applies to your opponent. Wobbuffet is weak against other Psychic types, so you don’t want to go giving them a huge advantage if you can help it.
Repeat Ball is a great tool for this deck and the one that will likely be most crucial to your setup. It allows you to grab any Pokemon from your deck, provided that you have currently a copy of that Pokemon in play. Obviously, in a deck where you run four sets of quadruplets, this is going to come in handy. A single Zubat can turn into many Zubats very quickly with Repeat Balls and the same goes for the other Pokemon in your deck. Keep in mind that when it comes to evolutions, only the topmost evolution currently in play applies to the effect of Repeat Ball, so if you have a single Zubat in play and want to grab another one, make sure to play this card before you evolve the Zubat currently in play.
This card also works great for setup purposes when used in conjunction with Pokémon Fan Club to get a lot of Pokemon out of your deck in one turn.
Sacred Ash is something of a backup card. I run Sacred Ash because I prefer not to use Lysandre’s Trump Card (for reasons I’ll get into momentarily). The purpose of having a card like this in your deck is obviously to recover any Pokemon you may lose that you would like to reuse, but it also allows you to be a little more reckless setting up during opening turns. As long as you know Sacred Ash is in your deck, it’s okay to play a turn 1 Juniper/Sycamore even when you have a Crobat in your hand. Having a good start is going to be crucial in certain matchups and Sacred Ash will help you to recover any discarded but crucial assets later on.
Other Options Worth Mentioning:
These are some other cards that certainly fit with the general strategy and could very well prove to be an asset to the deck. I have just chosen not to use them in my personal lists. It’s always a good idea to test different things and see what works best for you.
Jirachi-EX is a fantastic consistency card that finds a place in most decks, but I feel his uses are more limited here. For one, his Stellar Guidance Ability doesn’t activate if Wobbuffet is Active (which he will be, most of the time). The other issue is that he’s a Pokemon-EX. This deck thrives off the fact that it runs no EXs at all which makes it easier to maintain a Prize lead on EX-heavy decks. Of course, these problems can be mitigated by playing Jirachi after a Wobbuffet is Knocked Out (and your “bat pivot” is Active) and by using one of your many Scoop-Up type cards to remove Jirachi from the field. Personally, I didn’t feel it was useful nearly as often as it was a problem or simply a dead card in my hand so I began excluding it from my lists.
Lysandre’s Trump Card
This one’s really a tough call. By all means, it should be a great card for this deck, being able to recover not only any discarded Pokemon for reuse, but also all your Scoop-Ups. The problem I have with it is that’s it’s just too slow and clunky. Playing Lysandre’s Trump Card means not playing another Supporter that turn, which can mean a turn of no draw support or AZ. Playing a Trump Card early-to-mid-game also takes the Supporters out of your discard, severely limiting the usefulness of VS Seeker and costing you some flexibility. The only time I really feel it is appropriate to play a Trump Card is if you have truly exhausted every resource in your deck: if you have played every bat, Wobbuffet, and Scoop-Up in your deck. If someone hasn’t won the game by that point, something is seriously wrong. Trump Card seems less like a safeguard against reckless play and more of a last ditch effort that’s only really useful when it’s already too late.
Playing Mystery Energy serves one single purpose in this deck: giving Wobbuffet a free retreat. That can be useful for the situations where the Defending Pokemon has no damage counters on it and it’s more effective to attack with Miltank than Wobbuffet. The problem is, this deck runs on very little Energy, and I’d prefer those Energy not be so easy to dispose of. Enhanced Hammer and Xerosic both see plenty of play and both get rid of Special Energy immediately. The cost of being able to lose Energy so easily far outweighs the utility of Wobbuffet having a free retreat. At least in my opinion.
For the most part, Wobbuffet has pretty neutral matchups. Decks with hard-hitting Pokemon-EX will be able to get OHKOs fairly easily but they won’t be able to get the two-Prize knockouts Wobbuffet will be getting in return. Decks like Night March and the new Shedinja/Mew-EX that bench Pokemon with only 30 HP and rely on the Psychic-weak Mew-EX to attack will probably be this deck’s easiest matchups. Some other commonly used decks will be a little trickier however, so here are some general tips for tackling those:
The Seismitoad matchup relies a lot on speed and how quickly you can get set-up. Seismitoad will frequently be shutting off your Items, so you might not have access to Repeat/Ultra Ball for assembling the Bat Squad. An early Pokemon Fan Club can definitely help out with this. The real problem is Garbodor though. Taking away your Bats’ Abilities is going to severely limit your ability to deal damage. It’s best to try and get as much bat damage as you can in before Garbotoxin activates; once it does try to have Miltank at the ready. Provided that you can keep the Virbanks out of play with your Dimension Valleys, Miltank can go toe-to-toe with Seismitoad just fine. If you get a chance to play a Megaphone, make sure you use the turn to spread around as much bat damage as possible.
The Yveltal matchup plays very similar to the Seismitoad one. You still want to be fast, you still want to watch out for Garbodor. The difference here is that what Yveltal lacks in ability to stop you from playing Items, it makes up for by having a main attacker that can easily deal OHKO-level damage. You need to constantly be shooting for a two-hit KO on any active Yveltal. A single turn of not doing enough damage can swing the Prize trade in the Yveltal player’s favor and you do not want that to happen.
VS. M Rayquaza-EX
This deck archetype is still new but it’s become a pretty dominant force in the metagame fairly quickly. Having Wobbuffet Active at all times is going to be crucial. You don’t want to give your opponent the chance to use Shaymin-EX‘s Ability to draw more cards. This will also cause your opponent to be somewhat reluctant in benching those Shaymin, which will help mitigate some of Rayquaza’s damage potential. Attacking as much as possible and keeping your Dimension Valley in play are going to be the name of the game here.
Crobat/Wobbuffet in Expanded
In the Expanded format this deck plays largely the same way. However, thanks to an expanded Pokemon search engine, the deck plays much faster and more consistently. I won’t write out a full deck list as the list will look mostly the same. It’s just going to make use of two cards in particular: Level Ball and Pokémon Communication.
They serve as much better ways of grabbing Pokemon from your deck. Level Ball can grab any Zubat or Golbat and Pokemon Communication works double duty as both a way to get a Pokemon you need out of the deck, and a way to put one you don’t currently need back into the deck (thus saving it from being discarded through Juniper/Sycamore)
You’ll find that in Expanded, it’s even easier to overwhelm your opponent with damage thanks to a seemingly non-stop barrage of extra-bitey bats!
This deck is a ton of fun to play. It doesn’t rely heavily on expensive cards or big, shiny Pokemon-EX but it certainly does a decent job of defeating them. If you’re looking for a cheaper deck that will serve as a nice entry point into the competitive scene I think this deck would suffice. It’s by no means the kind of deck that plays itself, but as long as you keep your wits about you and make good use of all the tools at your disposal, you’ll be surprised by some of the things this deck can accomplish.
I hope you all enjoyed reading about this awesome deck and I hope even more that some of you are compelled to go out and try a list like this yourself! Don’t be afraid to experiment with things and see if you can find and even better way to play this deck that nobody else would even see coming. Creativity rules in this world! As far as quirky, but competitive decks go, this is barely the tip of the Slowpoke tail, so you can be certain I’ve got plenty more I’d love to talk about!
Until next time!
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