Bring in the Tanks: Tanking Pokemon in the TCG.

by Pikkdogs ~ March 4th, 2011.

Hey Everyone.  This is Pikkdogs here to talk about Tanks in the Pokemon TCG.  In military terms, a tank refers to a heavily armored, slow moving, and hard hitting vehicle.  In reference to the Pokemon TCG, a tank is a Pokemon card that has high HP, is usually slow to setup, and can deal a lot of damage.  This article is all about tanking Pokemon. 

Tanking Pokemon are pretty cool.  They can absorb a lot of damage and deal it right back to your opponent.  The problem is the fact that they are fairly slow and hard to evolve.

So what are some of the strategies that you can use with tanks?  Well, each tanking card is different, but for the most part you would want to get the tank out as fast as possible and then heal the tank.  Healing can be done with cards like Pokehealer +, MooMoo Milk, and Blissey Pt.

Currently in the game there are a lot of Pokemon who can be considered tanks.  Here is a profile of some of the more interesting ones.

Tank #1- Dialga G Lv. X

Description– Dialga G Lv. X is possibly the smallest yet most played tank.  It is a basic Lv. X, with 120 HP, a 2 retreat cost, a fire weakness, and a psychic resistance.  Its Poke-Body is called “Time Crystal” and it has the effect of turning off all non SP Poke-Bodies.  Its “Remove Lost” attack does 80 damage for MMCC and has a chance of putting energy attached to your oppoent’s Pokemon in the Lost Zone.

Although 120 HP is not usually enough to reach tank status in today’s game, the way this card is played makes it a tank.  First, players attach Special Metal energies to Dialga G.  For every Special Metal energy attached to Dialga G any attack done to Dialga G is reduced by 10.  These energies help Dialga G stay around longer, and when the damage counters pile up you just bring in Garchomp C Lv. X and use “Healing Breath” to heal all damage counters.  These things can make Dialga G quite a powerful tank.

Should it see play?– Oh yeah, Dialga G is a great card.  It combines disruption and tanking to make a good combo.  It is mostly used in SP decks like Dialgachomp, though has seen some play as a tech in Luxchomp and Gyarados.  With the SP engine it is perhaps the fastest tank out there, which makes it the  most playable tank.

Tank #2- Wailord SV or TM.

Description– When I think of tanks, I think of Wailord.  Ever since its first appearance in EX Ruby and Sapphire, Wailord has had the biggest HP in the format.  Having the best HP has never translated into being the best Pokemon, but it has made it one interesting card.  In the Great Encounters set Wailord had an amazing 200 HP.  But, in the Supreme Victors and Triumphant set Wailord only had 180 HP.  Each of the two cards in the current format have 1 attack that heals Wailord, and the other that can do some major damage. They both has a 4 retreat cost and a x2 lightning weakness.

The SV Wailord can heal 4 damage counters for CC with its “Rest” attack.  Its second attack is “Giant Wave” which does 100 damage for WWWCC.  The TM Wailord has the “Underwater Dive” attack which lets you flip 2 coins and heal 3 damage counters for each heads.  It’s “Swallow Up” attack does 50 damage for WWWC and can do 50 more if Wailord has more HP.                                                          

Both cards are fairly similar, but not that great.  To make them better you can add Feraligatr Prime, which has the “Raindance” Poke-Power, which lets you attach as many water energies to any water Pokemon that you like.  This means that you can do either “Giant Wave” or “Under Water Dive” faster.

Should it see play?-  Although I love Wailord, I just can’t recommend playing either of these cards right now.  Wailord is just too slow and its lightning weakness is just too hard to overcome.  But, the 180 HP is too nice to look over.  For right now keep Wailord in the back of your mind, maybe a good combo will come out in the new Black and White set.

Tank #3-Torterra Ul

Description– Around Nationals last year Torterra Ul was making some noise in Europe.  Torterra was used in conjunction with the Lv. X and Flygon Lv. X.  Flash forward a year later and the Lv. X is gone, Flygon is all but un-usable thanks to Garchomp C, and the Claydol Ge engine that the deck  used is rotated.  But, its still a good card, so lets look at it.

It has 140 HP, a fire weakness, and a 4 retreat cost.  Its best attack is called “Giga Drain” and does 40 damage and you get to remove an equal amount of damage counters that you did to the defending Pokemon.  That means the more damage you do, the more you heal.  And since doing a lot of damage and healing is great, there are techs you can use to increase both damage and healing.

Cherrim SF’s “Sunny Day” Poke-Body increases the amount of damage done to the defending Pokemon by 10 for each Cherrim you have in play.  If you have an expert belt and 4 Cherrims in play, you can to do 100 damage with “Giga Drain,” and then heal 10 damage counters.  You could also use Shaymin Lv.X Ground Forme and give Torterra 40 more HP thanks to its “Thankfullness” Pokebody.  That means with a belt, Shaymin, and 4 Cherrims you have 200 HP and are attacking and healing 100 HP each turn.

Should it see play?– Although there are lots of techs that can help it, Torterra is just too slow in the current format.  If properly setup this deck is unstoppable, but it is very hard to setup.  This tank is just not fast enough.  But, keep this card in the back of your mind, it could get a good tech card in the Black and White set to make it playable again.

Tank #4-Nidoking Tm

Description– Nidoking is a card that can become an unstoppable tank, but needs a lot of help.  He is another tank that seems just a little too slow for the format.  But his potential is so great that it can’t be ignored.

He is of course a stage 2 Fighting Pokemon with 140 HP, a 3 retreat cost, a water weakness, and a lightning resistance.  He has a Poke-Body called “Pheremone Stamina” which increases his HP by 20 for every Nidoqueen you have in play.  He has one attack, and its called “Venomous Horn.” This attack does 80 damage and poisons the defending Pokemon for FFCC.

Nidoking’s resistant is awesome, but he has a tough weakness for the current format.  “Pheremone Stamina” works excellently with Nidoquen RR’s “Maternal Comfort” Poke-Body, which heals away 1 damage counter between turns.  This means if you are able to get 3 Nidoquens’s on the bench, Nidoking will have 220 HP (with an expert belt) and will be healing 1 damage counter between turns.  The problem here is getting 4 stage 2 Pokemon in play.  Right now, its hard to get even 1 in play, 4 is un-thinkable.                                                         

Should it see play?– As mentioned, it is way too hard to get a lot of Stage 2 Pokemon in play.  It is just too slow to see any play.  But, just like Torterra and Wailord, this card is good enough that we should all keep it in mind.  Plus, Nidoking is a beloved Pokemon and will always be a fan favorite.

Tank #5- Steelix Prime

Description– Steelix Prime is one of the better tanks in the current format.  It first got attention at World’s last year when the Steelix deck made top cut and did a great job at the tourney.

Steelix is a stage 1 Steel Pokemon, with 140 HP, a fire weakness, a psychic weakness, and a 4 retreat cost.  It has the “Perfect Metal” Poke-Body which prevents him from being effected by a special condition.  Its first attack is called “Energy Stream” and can do 30 damage for CC, it also lets you attach an energy card and attach it to Steelix.  Its second attack is called “Gaia Crush” and does 100 damage for MMCCC, it also lets you discard any Stadium card in play if you choose.

The Steelix deck is actually a pretty good deck.  It isn’t Tier 1, but it might be tier 2.  It has a good shot at beating SP decks (as long as they don’t have Blaziken FB in the deck.)  If you can get a Steelix turn 2 and use “Energy Stream” to attach an energy, you could possibly be in line to “Gaia Crush” next turn.  One thing that is needed in this deck is an early expert belt.  It will give you more HP so you will be able to survive a big hit.  And, this deck is all about surviving a big hit.  If you can keep Steelix alive you can heal him next turn.  Most decks use Poke Healer + and Blissey Pt to heal a lot of damage counters on one turn.

Should it see play?– If you haven’t tried this deck, what are you waiting for?  It is a really fun deck that does work.  It is probably the best pure Tank in this list.  It has high HP and can hit for a lot.  It also can help get itself more energy.  This deck may not be the best, but it is good.  Unless there is a lot of fire in your metagame, this wouldn’t be a bad choice for States, if you still haven’t chosen a deck.

So there it is, a profile of some of the better tanks in the format.  There are many other tanks out there, and some good pseudo-tanks (like Ursaring Prime) but this a list of some of the most interesting ones. If you can think of some good tanks, please list them in the comment section so we can have a little discussion about them.

So long and thanks for all the fish!

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