Emperor of the Meta
Once part of a popular deck back in 2007-2008, this Pokémon is making its comeback in the upcoming BW-on format. After being nearly neglected during HGSS-on, this Pokemon will benefit from the slower format and the decrease of Zekeels. It’s fast, it’s consistent, it’s strong, it’s Empoleon!
A remake of the HGSS Jumpluff, Empoleon sports a high HP, a great attack, and an amazing ability. It broke the ice in a few Spring Battle Roads during HGSS-on, proving it had potential, but wasn’t a tier 1 deck just yet. However, the new format is just around the corner and this star is about to shine.
Empoleon variants are based around having a lot Pokémon in play, preferably a lot Empoleons. It takes quick prizes with Attack Command and completely run through your opponent, both early and late game. Its ability, Diving Draw, makes it even easier to swarm Empoleons, and draw into needed supporters, trainers, or energies. Diving Draw also helps get rid of unneeded cards.
Popular Empoleon Variants Include:
-Empoleon/Terrakion NV. This variant is most commonly used because Empoleon usually has an unfavorable matchup against Zekeels, but with Terrakion, not only does this deck put loads of pressure on your opponent, but now you can stop them from scrapping your Empoleons with an Eviolited Zekrom. Terrakion is the best pair with Empoleon in my opinion, because not only is it a great attacker for solid damage and revenge prizes, but it stops Darkrai EXs, Zekroms, Regigigas EXs, Zekrom EXs, Raikou EX, and can 2HKO nearly all of the other EXs. However, Tornadus EX challenges Terrakion with its high HP and resistance so watch out.
-Empoleon/Accelgor DE. This variant doesn't focus on Empoleon as much of an attacker, though it can obviously double as one, but as a draw support. Empoleon can thin your deck and help you hit the consistent Deck and Cover, a truly annoying and threatening thing to do. The lock can be kept up for quite a while, and with an added Musharna NXD you could have your opponent drawing and passing each turn. This deck has gotten its fair share of hype, gaining recognition as the second best Empoleon variant, but it has problems with Raikou EX because they can OHKO Empoleons and snipe out your Accelgors quickly.
-Empoleon/Roserade DRX. This variant is used for speed, swarm, flexibility, and consistency. With Roserade from DRX, you can get a pinch Pokémon Catcher, Rare Candy, Supporter, Empoleon, Switch, etc. to win you the game or simply to put you farther ahead in the prize trade. However, this deck has a worse Zekeels matchup than Empoleon/Terrakion, but with its ability to swarm multiple Empoleons turn 2 or 3, it isn’t a variant that should be ignored.
- Empoleon/Landorus EX Landorus EX has been hyped ever since the Japanese scans of it came out, and there is no reason it shouldn't have been. With the ability to take quick KOs, resist Kos with Max Potion, and draw into needed cards with Diving Draw, Empoleon/Landorus EX is one of the most, if not the most popular Empoleon variant around. It very fast, with the ability to hit Kos on Tynamos, Deino NV, and set up KOs beginning from Turn 1. Not only that, but Landorus EX has great typing. It can easily lay a smack down on Darkrais and Raikous with Land Judgement and Hammerhead. It also has the ability to OHKO Hydreigons, Klingklangs, Blastoises, etc. Empoleon/Landorus is definitally a variant to test, test against, or watch out for, because its speed, prize denial, and damage output could leave you in the dust.
-Empoleon/Dusknoir BC With the release of Boundaries Crossed, new variants of Empoleon decks appeared, namely Empoleon/Dusknoir. Empoleon/Dusknoir is a deck that requires skill and thought, as to where to move damage with Sinister Hand, and how much damage you should move. Empoleon can let out consistent treams of damage, and with Dusknoir, that damage is basically going anywhere. Add in Max Potion or Landorus EX, and knockouts could be coming out of nowhere everywhere. This deck has gotten its fair share of placements at Cities, and is not a variant that should be looked down upon.
Empoleon is such a versatile card that it can be paired with nearly anything, from Ninetails DRX to Musharna NXD. I chose the three that I thought would be most the popular and playable.
Since Empoleon/Terrakion is the most played variant, it will be the one that we will discuss.
Sample List for Empoleon/Terrakion:
2 or 3 Terrakion
4 Rare Candy
4 Pokémon Catcher
2 or 3 Ultra Ball/Pokémon Communication
3 Level Ball
3 Energy Switch/EXP Share
1 Super Rod
1 Computer Search
Depending on your amount of Terrakion, you could run Energy counts such as:
4 WLFM Blend/Fighting
This is a preference list, from either you want Energy Switch or EXP share, the amount of Terrakion you want, and if you want Blend or Fighting. Lets take a deeper look inside why the list is the way it is.
You can find the staples here. I will be explaining the not so common cards, and this link will help you if you need to learn about staples and what-not.
Emolga- This was a match made in heaven for Empoleon. Not only is it a perfect set-up card to fill your bench, it can knock out Swablus with a WLFM Blend Energy and has free retreat. This card also has a pretty high HP for a non-legendary basic.
Level Ball- You gotta have some way to get Piplups out right? Level Ball is a great card in this deck because it can search out Emolga, Piplup, and Prinplup, all necessary cards to set up.
Terrakion- Our revenge killer and Zekeels and Darkrai variant counter. This card can take easy KOs without being KOd back, which is amazing. It also hits a huge part of the meta for weakness.
Energy Switch/EXP Share- The choice of which you like is up to you but both of them serve the same purpose, charging up Terrakion. I personally like Energy Switch more because it can surprise your opponent, can't be Tool Scrappered away, and you can use more than one per turn. However, EXP share is more reliable because you need Energy Switch in hand for it to work and for EXP share you don't need multiple Energy in play.
Switch- This card is necessary, especially in the Terrakion variant. Terrakion has a heavy 4 retreat, and if they Pokémon Catcher it to the active and you don't play switch, you are in a bad situation. It also helps in getting out of Paralysis lock, which can really annoy your opponent.
Ultra Ball/Pokémon Communication- These cards are for searching out my Empoleons and Terrakions. You need these for speed and getting Empoleons out as fast as possible.
Rare Candy- A staple in any Stage 2 deck, Rare Candy gives this deck consistency and speed. Now you can easily get out an Empoleon out Turn 2 and start attacking from there.
Skyla- Skyla searches you deck for a Trainer card. Any trainer card. This Gym Leader can assist you in getting a supporter, a Rare Candy, a pinch Catcher, a Switch, or anything to get a T2 Empoleon swarm ready and going. It is amazing in Stage 2 decks like this and will be played.
Techs You Can Include:
- Virizion NV
Arguably one of the best starters in BW-on, Virizion can find a place in this deck if you're not so fond of Emolga. Showing off an awesome HP for a basic and a bearable retreat, its attack, Double Draw can allow you to set up and draw into cards you need. If your adventurous, you could use this as a secondary attacker. It can Leaf Wallop Tynamos and other weak basics to take quick and easy KOs if your not fully set up T2. This card could also work as a counter to the mirror match as it can OHKO most of the pokemon in Empoleon/Terrakion and it has a resistance to Empoleon. Definitely a tech to consider.
- Max Potion
This card could fit right in to Empoleon/Terrakion if the player is willing enough to include it. When you have lots of damage on an Empoleon, Max Potion allows you to avoid being KO'd by healing it off then being able to attach again. The synergy between Empoleon's low energy attack and Max Potion is great and worth considering, as it may save you during the game.
- Mew EX
One big problem Empoleon has is trying to fight off a Mewtwo with 6+ energy. Mew EX solves this problem easily. With the aid of the aforementioned Energy Switch, Mew EX could come out of nowhere and Revenge KO their Mewtwo with its ability to copy X Ball or even simpler, Attack Command. The problem with this tech is that it is easily, and I mean EASILY, KO'd by non-EX Pokemon like Zekrom and Garchomp, so play it down strategically in order to not lose 2 prizes.
- Terrakion EX
I've seen Terrakion EXs in Empoleon/Terrakion many times and let me tell you, it is a great attacker and energy accelerator. With a bulky 180 HP and uncommon weakness, this card can take out most Pokémon in the metagame in 1 to 2 hits. It may sound like such a great card at first but you must know when to play it. It takes 3 turns to set up its second attack, and by that time you could have easily taken some prizes with Empoleon. It's a great card, but it has its downsides. I prefer the normal Terrakion because really, Empoleon doesn't need energy acceleration. The regular Terrakion also doesn't give off 2 prizes.
- Rayquaza SR
One of the cards getting tons of hype is back in Empoleon! Usually seen in other decks, Rayquaza SR could fit in perfectly in Empoleon, as it can donk, take Tynamo KOs, Gible KOs, Swablu KOs, Deino (Dragon Type) KOs, and it is easily compatible with WLFM Blend Energy. Using Rayquaza is a risky move though, not only does starting with it stink if you can't donk or KO, but its heavy retreat could be susceptible to Catcher stalling. It also can discard necessary resources and aid in decking you out.
- Giant Cape
Empoleon has a pretty high HP, but if you ever want it to be even higher, this is the card for you. As a tool, Giant Cape gets your HP up to 160. That's a lot of HP, but it isn't always necessary to have that much. It does help against Accelgor, as they no longer have the KO going into their turn. It can be easily Tool Scrappered and really doesn't help often, but it sure can help in some situations.
- Rescue Scarf
The "twin" to Rescue Energy, Rescue Scarf can boost consistency and allow you to get Empoleons and benched Pokémon back very easily. If you play do Rescue Scarf, don't rely on it too much, or you could be Tool Scrappered and possibly lose an Empoleon that you thought you were going to get back. Rescue Scarf is definitely a card to consider teching.
- Tool Scrapper
Tool Scrapper has one use and one use only- Scrapping tools. It can help in many situations, from thwarting a Garbodor to removing an Eviolite to KO something. I definitely suggest putting it in, as it doesn't have many down sides and helps in many matchups.
One of the lesser techs, Milotic DRX can be used to search out 3 of ANY card in your deck. Amazing right? Wrong! While you can use this card, it takes at least a 2-2 line to set it up, that's four card spaces that could go to speed or consistency. It is also completely pointless if your opponent plays an N during their next turn. If it were a basic, it would be an amazing tech but right now, only the adventurous souls would dare to risk using this card.
If you want a quick spreader, Stunfisk is the way to go. It can OHKO Tynamos T1, allowing a donk, and can set up KOs. It is essentially a double pluspower. Its second attack could be used as a lock to annoy Hydreigons, Sableyes, Altarias, Emolgas, Darkrais etc, to stall your opponent and prevent them from setting up. It has a hefty 3 retreat though, so it is very easy to Catcher stall.
This money munching behemoth can be an inclusion to Empoleon, especially variants that run Energy Switch. With higher HP than Mew EX, this counter to other Mewtwos could win you 3 prizes before being KOd after a late game N.
Rocky Helmet? Why would anyone include that in Empoleon? Well I'll tell you why: It helps. Garchomp has to work around attacking you, as if they hit you they may be KOing themself after you attack command them for 120. Its a double pluspower and could be a potential thing to watch out for. It assists in KOing EXs, either with Terrakion or Empoleon, because Eviolites set you back a little. Just consider using this. Its ability to annoy and test your opponents playing ability is nearly unmatched.
The feared Landorus is back in its Therian form, ready to help out Empoleon and seize the meta. Like Stunfisk, this 180 HP genie can snipe out your opponents Dark Deinos and Tynamos, set up KOs, and get you early game KOs that could start from T1. While having an unfavorable weakness to Keldeo EX and Empoleon mirror, it has a great resistance and typing and benefits from Max Potion very well. It does, however, have 3 retreat, which is a lot. One of its lesser pros that could be used in Empoleon is the fact that it can OHKO many pokemon in the format with its second attack.
Garchomp Altaria- Slightly Favorable to Favorable
You could argue that Garchomp KOs Empoleon each turn, but Empoleon can also KO an Altaria each turn. Empoleon has Terrakion as a backup attacker, which can 2 Shot Garchomp and gets two shotted in return (if you managed to KO the Altarias). They can get many Altarias, so be careful of straying away from the Garchomps to try to take out every Altaria. The matchup is all about speed and Empoleon has to get set up the fastest in order to KO Altarias and win. Not to mention that Emolga can KO Swablus if you run WLFM Blend.
Terrakion EX Variants- Slightly Unfavorable to Slightly Favorable
You have a faster deck and can two shot their Terrakion EX. However, they have the ability to play of a small bench, making your damage out put around 80 or 90 if you have a full bench. Tool Scrapper is a great card in this matchup, allowing you to remove pesky EXP Shares, Eviolites, and the occasional Rescue Scarf. Terrakion provides a solid attacker as well. A late game Tool Scrapper and N could put Terrakion EX in a pickle. The one huge thing that makes this slightly unfavorable is Mewtwo EX. With Terrakion EX, they can abuse Potion to make it live longer and accelerate countless energies onto a Mewtwo. From there, they can run through your Empoleons. This is a matchup in which a Mew EX would help a lot.
Hydreigon Variants- Slightly Favorably to Favorable
If they are playing Darkrai, and most variants will, Terrakion is a star in this matchup. It has the ability to OHKO Darkrais and Sableyes, which could easily put you ahead in the prize trade. Hydreigon tends to be a problem though, as it can still abuse Max Potion and can run through every Pokémon in your deck. Sableyes can endlessly Catcher your Terrakions, so make sure never to put down more than you need. Other than that, you should feel fine going into this matchup, as Empoleon has the speed and weakness advantage to beat it.
Mirror (Empoleon Variants)- Even
Of course its even, you're both running the same deck. As far as I'm concerned, there are no "techs" that help you in the mirror match. Try to attack as early as possible and KO their attempts to get Empoleons out. If you run into Aerodactyl, KO them before the Empoleons can start KOing you, because they have an extra boost that you don't. Terrakion is great for KOing the small Pokémon like Piplup, Prinplup, Emolga, and even Aerodactyl, and it supports an even 2 Hit KO trade with Empoleon. If you run Virizion and the energy to use Leaf Wallop, go for it. With resistance to Empoleon and hitting Terrakion for weakness, this set up attacker could act as a hero in the mirror matchup.
Accelgor Variants- Slightly Unfavorable - Unfavorable
With 4 Switch, you have a great matchup vs. the pesky ninja. However, Gothitelle tends to give you problems, so you have to KO them early. Also, Empoleon has the magic 70 multiple HP, which means that Accelgor KOs it with poison going into their turn. You have to out-speed, outplay, and get some luck to win this matchup. If they don't play trainer lock however, you can win the matchup easily, just don't waste Switches early.
Eels Variants- Favorable
Empoleon can out-speed this deck, especially in BW-on. With Terrakion, you can KO their Zekrom EXs, Raikou EXs, and Zekroms. Mewtwo tends to give you problems, but you can 2 shot it with Empoleon or 1 shot it with Mew EX. Usually, they have to work off of a big bench, so that benefits you as well. As long as you can get a fast start, KO their Eels, and set up Terrakion, you shouldn't have a hard time.
Garbodor Varients- Slightly Unfavorable to Favorable
Sure, they lock your ability, but how much does that really affect you? If you run supporters, this matchup shouldn't be a problem. Just KO their attackers, because going after Garbodor is pointless because you don't need your ability. The matchup you should watch out for is Garbodor/Terrakion. Terrakion with Eviolite can run through an Empoleon before getting KOd, which causes for an even prize trade. That matchup is Slightly Unfavorable to Favorable because a smart player will play off of a small bench while a dumb one will keep benching Terrakions, Trubbishes, etc. Max Potion is the card to need in this matchup.
Overall, Empoleon, though it's a penguin, could soar to new heights in the BW-on format. Having a high HP, a great attack, and an awesome ability are only some of the things that make it the great deck it is. It has great matchups across the board and has the potential to tear up the metagame. Expect to see this at tournaments, because if you're not prepared, you could be left with a frostbite.