Battle Video Series With Deck Analysis. Donphan/Machamp v.s. Reshiram/Typhlosion

by Misnos ~ June 7th, 2011.

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An Introduction:

Hey everyone, for the past month or so, my brother and I have been posting videos on YouTube so we can watch them as replays and share them with whoever may be interested. Over the past month we have learned a tremendous amount by reviewing our videos and watching for misplays or foregone opportunities that may have altered the course of a match. Some of our videos have gotten a little attention, and this surprised us both. But to make a not-so-long story even shorter, we now have the opportunity to compose written commentary in the form of articles here at We are very grateful for this prospect as we sense that we, along with our viewers can benefit more from an in-depth look at each game, rather than just a recap in video form. Combining both mediums will allow us to gain ultimate insight and offer a more well rounded look into each match. Machamp Prime

Misnos, as a moniker actually represents both of us (Kurt and Kyle) and while these articles may come from a first person point of view we are writing together, always interacting and debating amongst ourselves in order to supply the best product. A little about us first, I (Kurt) am an economics major and will be graduating within the next month, from there I will continue my education and attend law school, although where is not known yet. I have played Pokémon from base set, but first started collecting. I successfully collected Base through Neo Genesis. When I finally got serious about playing the TCG it was August of 2001, in September the tragedy of 9/11 occurred and I was not allowed to participate in the tournament I was going to attend, and lost interest from there. I never let my cards go, and always retained an affinity for Pokémon in general so it has been very easy for me to pick up where I left off so long ago, this time as a competitive player. I (Kyle) started playing Pokémon when I was about 4 years old, I learned to read from the cards my brother was collecting, and on the Game Boy games. I have grown up around the TCG, video games, and T.V show, Pokémon is part of my life. I am 17 years old and will be graduating high-school within the next few months. I plan to attend university and hope to become a M.D. I began playing Pokémon competitively one month before states this year. At the time I had no current cards and after reading online I built a Jumpluff deck due to its low cost. With little time to prepare and even less experience I went 5-3 at Florida states coming in 23 out of 157. After states, despite my relative success I chose to completely abandon Jumpluff and created a Donphan/Yanmega deck for Regionals and failed horribly. I dropped after I realized I could not top cut with such strong competition and went back to the drawing board. With the announcement of the new format, we both have a clean slate and have high hopes for the coming season.

A unique thing you will get with us is two very diverse and often opposing viewpoints within the same article. You will also see two unique play styles and vastly different outlooks on the game. We feel this best benefits you, the audience, but also aids us in review because we can feed off of each other and push one another to correct certain errors or  generally become better players.


From the onset of the proposed format change, we have been working hard to tailor certain archetypes to our play styles and to the meta game we feel will evolve. Each of us has picked a deck we feel will be most effective and tried to developed it to the best of our current abilities. Two of the decks we have chosen to test are Donphan Prime/Machamp Prime with a Noctowl draw engine, and Reshiram/Typhlosion Prime with Ninetales as a draw engine. Both decks play very differently to reflect our individual styles of play, but both are equally competitive in our hypothesized meta game.

Donphan/Machamp: (Kyle)

Donphan/Machamp offers an all around package, with a lightning fast early game using Donphan hitting turn 2 for 60 with the use of only 1 energy, and Machamp for the mid to late game with massive damage and an HP of equal stature. Donphan as noted is key to the start of a game, using Donphan you can begin to start putting pressure on your opponent turn 2. Donphan is also very hefty and can take a hit or two which will surely enable you to get Machamp ready by the time Donphan is about to be KO’d (More on this later). Donphan is not perfect and has its fair share of weaknesses, it has a substantial retreat cost of 4, and damages its own bench for every Earthquake. Donphan also has very low damage output compared to most main attackers after the initial turns. These weaknesses are actually the reason why Machamp is the ideal partner for Donphan.

Machamp is basically the opposite of Donphan, it is slow to set up, requires much more energy to attack, but has the potential to hit much harder and is not needed early game. Machamp is like Donphan’s big brother, in a brawl he will sit back and watch, but when needed will step in to handle things. Machamp plays this role perfectly, with his Fighting Tag Poke-Power, Machamp steps in from the bench while taking the fighting energy from Donphan to power his own attacks. This works wonderfully in two ways, first it negates Donphan’s enormous retreat cost allowing the elephant to reach the bench safely. Secondly Machamp’s main attack Champ Buster can utilize the damage Donphan did to the bench via Earthquake to further boost the damage output by 10 for each benched Pokémon with damage counters on them, allowing Champ Buster to do up to a ridiculous 150 damage. Another notable synergy between these two is the lack of a shared weakness. Donphan is weak to water types while Machamp is weak to psychic, making this deck difficult to tech against.  

The last piece to the puzzle is Noctowl, while it does not have the same importance as either Donphan or Machamp, it provides that extra something typically needed to make good decks great. With the limited draw power in the next format even the one extra card gained from Noctowl’s Second Sight Poke-Power can sometimes play an important role in games.

This deck caters more to the style of my brother, he is more methodical and calculated, and can be elusive. The combinations created by this deck play well with his personality and he typically runs the deck very efficiently. This deck also seems to have less risk, with the bulk of the Pokémon used. We find this deck to be very solid with little to no real weakness or true counters available.

Reshiram/Typhlosion: (Kurt)

The next deck we chose to focus on was Reshiram/Typhlosion with Ninetales. This combination may seem a little odd with the hype of Reshiram paired with Emboar, while I cannot discount the merits of that deck I believe that Reshiram/Typhlosion is more consistent late game therefore is superior. Reshiram and Typhlosion also pair better with Ninetales as you can reuse the energy discarded by Ninetales from Roast Reveal with Typhlosion’s Afterburner Poke-Power. If you believe that efficiency is key to win, it is hard to argue against this combination.

Reshiram being basic is great, although it does not necessarily mean extra speed early game. Typhlosion is still needed in order to maintain offense due to the discard text of Blue Flare. 120 damage turn after turn once set up is formidable and there are not many decks that can withstand that assault. Reshiram being basic does however give it excellent recovery wih the use of Revive, there are not many decks in the format that will be able to bounce back from a KO quite like Reshiram with Typhlosion. Once Revived, searched for via Dual Ball or Pokémon Collector, you can easily have another 130 HP, 120 damage output Pokémon ready to go in a single turn.

Typhlosion is the backbone of the deck and it functions in two very important ways. Obviously it acts as an energy recycler and energy accelerator all in a single Pokémon, but there is another function typically overlooked. Typhlosion is able to add damage to an already injured Reshiram allowing you to use Reshiram’s first attack (Outrage) for up to 140 damage with only two energy. This small and often insignificant capability can be of great use in many situations where you may not be able to add the third energy from your hand for a Blue Flare attack, or perhaps if you would like to use your attachment for another Reshiram. 

Ninetales, is a great supporting Pokémon despite it having a terrible attack and other stats, it shines in the area of draw. Once again, discarding an energy in order to use Roast Reveal only gives way for Typhlosion to Afterburner that same energy onto Reshiram. Drawing 3 cards for a null discard of a fire energy is amazing in a format with such little draw power.

This deck may be a little boring to play, it suffers from a robotic play style. When one thinks of robots they often imagine creatures that are near perfect but heartless, a fit description for this deck. It is extremely efficient and consistent like a machine, but playing it can become monotonous. Maybe with a unique tech, some level of excitement may arise, but adding anything would cause harm to the consistency and is not needed.

Final Thoughts and Conclusion:

We hope that sharing our play-test experiences with you will help you see things from a different point of view, or at the very least let you see into how someone else approaches the game. It is always a positive thing when you can obtain more information about whatever it is your doing, from making a simple decision to deciding what to play in your next big tournament. We hope that we have been able to offer you some useful info and will try to continue to do so. If you enjoy our videos and article please subscribe to our YouTube channel and be sure to check back here for many more articles to come. Happy play-testing and good luck!

Category: Battle Video, Card Discussion, Deck Discussion | Tags: , ,