The Truth About Trainer Lock

by Pikkdogs ~ August 27th, 2010.

Hey everyone in Omar-Nation, this is Pikkdogs here with an informative strategy article.

As we know, after this month’s Worlds tournament, SP decks have become even more popular.  But since then the new Vileplume card has come out, some people think this will change the format.  The interweb has been abuzz lately with players talking about trainer lock.  There is two distinct camps, one saying that SP decks will endure past trainer locks easily, and others who have tested the matchup and don’t see a way for SP decks to continue.                                                                                                                                                                                          

While I don’t think I am qualified enough to settle the debate today, I will write an article for beginners about all aspects of trainer lock.  At the end of the article, I will add a little of what I have learned.  So without further interuption lets talk about trainer lock and highlight some of the cards that have started this controversy.

How does it work?

So what is trainer lock?  Well that is a very easy question, it involves not letting your opponent use any trainers.  That seems simple right, but it is something very important.  If you can maintain a trainer lock all game, you can possibly shut down all SP decks, Gyarados decks, and all speed decks that require trainers.  Trainer lock is nothing new to this format, Dialga G and Gastly Sf have been doing it for a year, but now with some new cards the trainer lock can be applied the entire game.  A new trainer lock deck that maintains a lock all game will usually start with Spiritomb Ar, and then set up Vileplume Ud.

Vileplume UD

This card is the card that makes trainer lock a real possibility.  This isn’t a card review, but I will break down some basic stats of the card.  It has 120 HP, is a stage 2 Grass Pokemon, with a 2 retreat. Its Poke-Body, “Allergy Flower,” prevents both players from playing any trainer card from his/her hand.

So whats good about it?  A trainer lock that works from the bench.  Whats bad about it?  It is a stage 2 so it will take a while to set up, it has a 2 retreat cost, and a bad attack.

Spiritomb Ar

Spiritomb Ar is a great card that lets you start a trainer lock from turn 1.  If Spirtomb is your active Pokemon, his Poke-Body “Keystone Seal” kicks in and no player can play any trainers.  It also has a good attack called “Darkness Grace” that lets you search your deck that directly evolves from a Pokemon on your bench and put it onto that card.

So whats good about it?  It lets you apply a trainer lock early and helps you set up.  Whats bad about it?  Its body only works from the active spot, it has a 1 retreat cost, has only 60 HP, you have to run 4 of them to have a decent chance of starting with it, and it can be “Chatterlocked” (locked into place with Chatot Md’s attack “Chatter”.)

Gastly-Haunter-Gengar SF                                                                                                                                                                        

This Pokemon line has often been combined with both Spiritomb Ar and Vileplume Ud to complete a trainer lock deck.  Gastly has an attack called “Pitch Dark” that doesn’t allow your opponent to play any trainers during his/her next turn.  So if you don’t start with Spirtomb, then Gastly is second best.  Haunter has an attacked called “Hoodwink” with does 30 damage for 1 Psychic Energy, and lets you put 3 trainer, stadium, or supporter cards from your opponents discard pile to their hand.  This attack powers up Gengar, who for PC can do 30 damage for each trainer, stadium, or supporter card in their hand.  This is important because you can take advantage of all the trainer cards that are clogging up your opponent’s hand.

So whats good about the Gengar Sf line?  It has synergy with the Viletomb combo and is a good heavy hitter in this deck.  So whats the drawback about the Genar line?  It takes up a lot of space because you are incapable of running any Rare Candies.

Dialga G Lv.X

Dialga G is going to see a lot of play early this year, that is because the Lv.X has the “Time Crystal” Poke-Body that turns off all non SP Poke-Bodies.  But it can also lock trainers itself with its “Deafen” attack.  But here we will talk about Dialga G Lv.X as a counter to the Viletomb trainer lock.  His Pokebody will turn all Poke-Bodies off, including those of Vileplume and Spiritomb.  So if Viletomb decks do not have a Dialga G X counter they will lose.

So whats good about Dialga G X.  As mentioned the Poke-Body shuts down this deck, and can fit into almost any SP deck, and other normal decks.  So whats the catch?  A Gengar Viletomb deck can use Gengar Lv.X’s Poke Power “Level Down” to get rid of Dialga G’s Lv.x.  Making a matchup between these two decks very exciting.

That takes care of the big names in the Trainer Lock debate, but here are some other names that I have used in this matchup

Gengar VileTomb Techs

The tech that I have tried in this deck the most is Crobat Prime.  Crobat Prime has an attack that can poison the defending Pokemon for 4 damage counters between turns, for just 1 psychic energies.  This makes it an ideal counter for Dialga G, since it has a Psychic resistance and a high retreat cost.  Another tech that I have yet to test, but am sure it will work, is Kingdra Prime.  In this deck I would not run any water energies to allow Kingdra to attack, but instead just his Poke-Power “Sea Spray.”  This power lets you place on damage counter on one of your opponents Pokemon each turn.  This means that with “Sea-Spray” Gengar can KO any Uxie, Mesprit, or Azelf in just one attack with “Shadow Room”.                                      

Anti-VileTomb Techs

One anti-VileTomb tech that I think has potential is Muk Ud.  Muk has an attack that lets you switch your opponent’s active Pokemon with one of their bench, the new Pokemon is now poisoned and burned.  His second attack costs PCC and does 50 damage plus 30 more if the defending Pokemon is effected by a special condition.  This is a good tech  because if you  Muk’s first attack on Vileplume, and your opponent is unable to retreat Vileplume, you will be able to knockout Vileplume for just 1 more DCE. Other techs for SP decks include an extra Bebe’s Search, to get Dialga G LV.X back after he was leveled down, and a 2-2 Dialga G Lv.x Line.  But be careful in teching your list out too much, or it will lose to other decks.

My Thoughts

So those are the basics of Trainer lock and the counter to it.  Most decks in this format run a lot of trainers, so locking them can be key.  The Gengar VileTomb deck can change the game by locking all other decks down.  But then again, perhaps Luchomp decks can counter them with just a simple 1-1 Dialga G Lv.x line.  This is what I found:

Just a disclaimer before I tell you about my testing, I did build an anti VileTomb Luxchomp deck, but I consider myself a bad SP player so this fact can skew the results.

Well in all my testings I have found that the Gengar VileTomb deck is one of the best in the current format.  No deck that I can think of can effectively counter the trainer lock.  Sp decks can snipe VileTomb, but it will take a long time thanks to the lack of Energy Gain.  SP decks can also use “Bright Look” and “Luring Flame” from Luxray Gl and Blaziken Fb (respectively) to bring Vileplume active.  But the Vileplume player can just attach an unown Q, attach an energy, then retreat for Gengar.  Dialga G Lv.X can also possibly cause Vileplume problems by turning off “Allergy Flower.”  In response  the VileTlume player can just use Judge or Lookers Investigation (to get rid of Power Sprays) and then use “Level Down”.

To me it seems like trainer lock decks will be very good, I don’t really see a way around them. I don’t consider myself a great player so I am probably wrong, but thats what all my testing has proven.  This conclusion is just my opionion, feel free to test the matchup and draw your own.

The only way that we will know the truth about the trainer lock debate is when the new season starts up again.

Besides Gengar, other trainer lock decks can use Mismagius Ud Bellossom LA or other Pokemon as main attackers.

So what do you guys think, can trainer lock decks really rule the format?  Or will Luxchomp still rule the day?

Category: Pokemon Education | Tags: , , ,
  • Ed

    Michael is just a much more positive guy than you. He probably doesn’t jump to negative conclusions about people as quickly as you.

    Though, when people are all out to get you (as I assume they are), you (Radu) are probably best served like acting like everyone is out to get you (since you’ve probably provoked them in the past).

    I assume you realize that your “no” comes off as a “If I say yes, I’ll be in trouble, so I’ll lie and say no.”

  • Ed

    Ahh, it’s the real Omar. Now, who’s word do I trust?

    The one that came from someone hiding their identity (posting as Omar)?

    The one that’s my trusted friend?

    The one that admits to trolling here and posting whatever he can to get a reaction?

  • Ed

    Also, I thought you’d make time to write something like, “The Top 10 Reasons Team Busty Is Better Than You.”

  • Anonymous

    I agree I could use improvement. I have written before that I am not an elite player, but I do have things to contribute to newer players.

    And as for me writing articles without much to say. You are right I do do that, but I have to. If not we would have like 1 new article a month, and how fun would that be.


    No point denying it, everybody already that matters already knows what i say is true. I mean if you wanna compare achievements im down… I mean do you really wanna open that flood gate. We can take my entire team into account too, like jake long and thomas because they both got more cred then your whole team put together, simply put we’re better. Dont be bitter i mean i could totally understand it if a mediocre player resorts to cheating to become a slightly better mediocre player.


    The fuck, if anyone is out to get me over pokemon then i seriously doubt they are people who i should be worried about. Also you can read what i say whoever you want but its a no. I suppose i could have just said no, but i wanted to point out the idiocy of that question while answering it.


    I you don’t understand why we are better than you now no amount of me telling you that i am better will change that. But I will write an article describing all the people in this world I want dead, and how i want it to happen. Under the condition that none of it would be censored


    Plus i have heard of/seen people cheating in way more ridiculous situations than that. Look up Emon Ghaneian for a good example. Now just because it doesn’t make sense to cheat in that situation doesn’t mean you weren’t desperate enough to do it, and hey look you’re not banned, it didn’t work but i could have been worse.


    I recall bill clinton came on and said something like that too, and pretty much the whole country trusted him. As did nixon. Face it why the fuck would he ever admit to it.

  • Ed

    How do they know it’s true? That’s been my point all along. Do you really assume that they just take your word as infallible?

    And sure. Open the “floodgate” if you want. It should be entertaining.

  • Ed

    I know how you write, so I can’t agree to a condition like that. I’m sure you’re already hiding behind that fact, though.

    Also, I think you’re confusing some things here. There’s a big difference between me understanding why someone is better and an article written for a public audience.

    I can understand why you’re better than me, and I can also understand why you’re worse than me. That’s one of the great things in life. I’m sure you’ve gone through this many a time with classmates of yours who think they’re better (looking, at sports, socially, etc.) than you, but in your mind, you know you’re smarter or whatever.

    The more interesting thing is to understand why you think you’re better. And as articles go, to see if others will respond with why they think you’re wrong (even if the response just in their mind).

  • Ed

    The idiocy shouldn’t have needed pointing, as it was built in to the question. Just because something looks like a trap doesn’t mean it’s the trap you thought it was.

    Yes, you could have just said “no,” but then you wouldn’t get to elevate yourself a bit by showcasing the idiocy of others.

    I am, however, glad to hear you say that it’s a no. Since we have this nice long record of all this silliness, it’s nice to have a no in that checkbox. I could follow this by now asking if you ever lie, but I think that would be an idiotic question.

  • Ed

    Actually, this sort of thing intrigues me, and that’s part of why I wanted an explanation of what you thought Omar did. Unfortunately, I have found little clear info about this Emon Ghaneian situation, and I read a fair bit. I wonder if there’s something conclusive anywhere, but I doubt it. It sounds like he was accused of cheating, partly because he suspected his opponent of cheating (and thus brought more judge attention to himself). Whether or not he was actually cheating is tough to tell from what I found. There was actually more information about the possibility of his opponent cheating, actually.

    So, yeah, it’s still interesting to read about, but it would be nice to get official word on how he cheated and why he was banned. Also, it sounds like his ban was for 2 years (ended in 2009). Is he back playing, now? Did he switch to M:TG or something else in the meantime?