A Second Look at Each Set: Heart Gold Soul Silver

by Pikkdogs ~ June 19th, 2011.

Hey all you OHKOers out there, this is Pikkdogs here with another article for you.  With the upcoming rotation on July 1st, all of the old decks will be replaced by new ones.  And we know which decks will see a lot of play, a lot of people are talking about decks like Reshiboar, Magneboar, Donphan, Feraligatr Prime, Gengar Prime, Donchamp, ZPS, etc… .  But, is that it?  Are those the only decks that will be popular at nationals, or have we missed something?

To make sure that we don’t miss a single card that can help us at Nationals, I will look at each set one by one, and try to find the most playable cards of each set.  Now I know these articles won’t be perfect, but I will try to leave no stone unturned in the search for the hidden gems of the HGSS-on format. I will not be reviewing any Baby Pokemon (except Cleffa) because I did an entire article them.

Set Introduction

Just to be wacky I will start with the oldest set in the format, Heart Gold and Soul Silver, hmmm…… that doesn’t seem very wacky, well okay so maybe its not wacky, but it does make sense.  HGSS is of course the base set in the HGSS series, it was released as a dual set in Japan, one was named “Heart Gold”, and the other “Soul Silver.”  But, us Westerners got the two sets combined as one, minus a couple of the cards.  HGSS is known as the set with some good trainers, and as the set that has some good Primes.  But, lets take a look at it to see what other treasures are inside, and if this set doesn’t have the card that will win you Nationals.

Been There, Done That

In this section we will profile commonly used Pokemon cards from the HGSS Set.

  1. Ninetales

What it does-It is a draw engine.  Discard 1 fire energy a turn, and draw 3 cards.  Its attack does 60 for 3 energies.

Why to play it– Helps consistency in any fire deck.  And with Emboar making fire decks popular, there are a lot of decks that can use this card.  Everyone likes a draw engine, it rarely is a bad thing.

Why not to play it–  Its not really needed.  Since BTS is gone and Rare Candy is weakened, you probably won’t be able to setup Ninetales until you are setup anyway, so its not needed.

2. Noctowl

What it does– Another draw engine, its Poke-Power lets you draw 1 card each turn.  Its attack does 40 damage for CCC, 80 if you and your opponent have an equal number of cards in hand.

Why to play it– Always nice to draw 1 card.  If you have extra room in your deck, Noctowl can always help consistency.

Why not to play it– As with Ninetails, you won’t be able to use Noctowl to help you setup anyway, so its not always needed.  Plus, 1 card is not a lot, you would like to draw a couple more.

3.  Slowking.

What it does– His Poke-Power “Second-Sight” lets you re-arrange the top 3 cards of either deck.  His attack does 30 for PC.

Why to play it– You could either play it just to be mean and disrupt your opponent, or you can run it in conjunction with Mime Jr.  Mime Jr. lets you put the top card of your opponent’s deck in the Lost Zone, and if the top card is a Pokemon, it will help decks that run Lost World.  It is a must play in a disruption or Lost World deck.

Why not to play it–  Lost World decks aren’t the best, and disruption decks don’t have the speed they used to.

4. Cleffa

What it does– Its a starter.  Its attack “eeeeek” lets you shuffle your hand into your deck and draw 6 cards and puts Cleffa to sleep.  Its Poke-Body protects Cleffa from damage when asleep.

Why to play it–  Its a really good starter, and its Poke-Body may help you stall for a turn or two.  If you do not play a lot of eveolutions in your deck, this is probably the best starter around.  Free retreat is always a great thing.

Why not to play it– It only has 30 HP and the whole sleep thing makes Cleffa inconsistent.  It also does not pair well with Donphan Prime.

5. Donphan Prime

What it is– A tanking main attacker.  You can hit 60 for 1 fighting energy, or 90 for 3 fighting energy.  All damage done to Donphan by attacks is also reduced by 20 thanks to his Poke-Body.

Why to play it- A tank that can hit for 1 energy is pretty great.  It is really hard to take down, and can hit for decent damage.  All that adds up to being a great main attacker.  Just pair him with the right partners and I don’t know why you shouldn’t win nats.

Why not to play it–  It can get OHKOed by most water Pokemon thanks to his weakness, and he has a high retreat cost.  Donphan also damages your own bench.

6. Feraligatr Prime    

What it is–  An energy accelerator.  You can attach water energies at will to any water Pokemon thanks to his “Rain Dance” Poke-Power.  He also has an attack that does 60 for 4 water energies, with the ability to do more damaged based on the  number of damage counters on the defending Pokemon.

Why to play it– Right now, you don’t play a water deck without Feraligatr Prime.  The ability to attach energies is pretty good.  He has a decent attack, but what is better is his weakness is to grass.

Why not to play it–  There is not really a great water attacker right now, besides possibly Samurott, which means playing 2 stage 2’s.  It is a good Pokemon, but there is not really a good list out there right now.

7.  Jumpluff

What it is– A main attacker that can do 10 damage for every Pokemon that is in play, for just 1 grass energy.  It has 90 HP and a free retreat cost.

Why to play it– It can attack for a lot of damage for just 1 energy.  It is a fun deck that can be paired with Mew Prime for a faster attack.

Why not to play it–  The deck is a little slow, and 90 HP is a little frail.  It seems like Jumpluff is like the guy who is like 35 years old, and all he cares about is drinking and thinking about the good times he had in high school and college.  All Jumpluff is thinking about is the good ole days with Claydol and Uxie.  Well, Claydol and Uxie are gone and Jumpluff needs to make due with draw engines that are not as good.

#8 Typhlosion Prime

What it is– Kind of an energy accelerator.  It puts 1 fire energy from the discard pile to one of your in play Pokemon.  It can attack for 70 for three energies, with both Pokemon discarding an energy.

Why to play it– If you play Ninetails, you might as well play Typhlosion instead of Emboar.  It preserves space in your deck for other cards, since you don’t have to run as many energy recovery cards.

Why not to play it– Emboar is flashier, and who doesn’t like something that sparkles.  Also, Ninetails isn’t played as much anymore.

Hidden Gems

This section will talk about Pokemon cards that are not talked about as much, but could just be the card you are looking for to give you the advantage at Nationals.

1.  Arcanine

What it is– A secondary attacker.  It can do 90 damage for 4 energies.  Its 110 HP is nice.

Why to play it– There are a lot of Emboar’s running around, so it won’t be hard to load up Arcanine.  90 damage is always nice.

Why not to play it– Most Emboar decks don’t need a secondary attacker.  If one is needed in desperation, Emboar can do 80 for 4, so there really is not the need for it right now.   

2. Azumarill

What is it– A stage 1 water Pokemon that can do 60 damage for WCC, it also paralyzes the defending Pokemon.

Why to play it–  It could be a Donphan and Reshiram counter.  You need 1 Plus Power to OHKO Reshiram and Donphan.

Why not to play it– It is a stage 1 Pokemon, so it takes a little while to setup.  And you need Plus Powers to get OHKOs. It is also vulnerable to revenge knock outs with just 60 HP.

3. Hitmontop

What it is– A basic fighting Pokemon with 60 HP. It can do 60 damage for FCC.

Why to play it– It is a good Zekrom counter if you run either fighting energies or Double Colorless Energies.  You just need 1 Plus Power to OHKO Zekrom and Magnezone Prime.  It doesn’t seem very hard to plug this into your deck to give you a better match-up against Zekrom and Magnezone.

Why not to play it–  Just like Azumaril, this card is Plus Power reliant.  If you don’t run already run Plus Powers, its hard to recommend this card.

4. Raichu

What it is– A secondary attacker.  It can do 100 damage for two electric energies.  It also has 90 HP and a free retreat.

Why to play it– Everyone loves Pikachu and Raichu, and everyone loves free retreat.  It also fits well into the ZPS deck, once Zekrom slows down, you can still be doing 100 with Raichu.

Why not to play it– Its a stage 1 and it only has 90 HP.  Even-though 100 damage is nice, its not something you can build around.

5. Exeggutor   

What it is– Either a main or secondary attacker.  A stage 1 Psychic Pokemon with 90 HP and a free retreat cost.  Its attack costs 1 psychic energy, and lets you flip a card for each energy attached to Exeggutor.

Why to play it– This seems like a good combo with Emboar.  Just load up a bunch of energies on Exeggutor, pray that you flip well, and hopefully do about 120 damage.

Why not to play it–  It is not consistent.  It relies on flipping coins, which is never a good thing.  The 90 HP also is not the best thing in the world.

6. Farfetch’d

What it is– A starter.  It has two attacks that require 1 energy.  The first lets you draw 2 cards, the send lets you do 20 damage and switch out Farfetch’d.

Why to play it– A decent starter, that can draw OHKO any baby Pokemon with just 1 Plus Power.  There may be other Pokemon that can be a good starter, or can OHKO babies, but this guy can do both.

Why not to play it– It relies on Plus Power for the knockout, and there are Pokemon like Relicanth that lets you draw 3 cards instead of 2.

7.   Feraligatr

What it is– A secondary attacker in a deck that already runs Feraligatr Prime. It can spread 20 damage for WCC, or 80 damage for WWCC.

Why to play it– If you play a deck with Feraligatr and want a decent attacker that is not weak to lightning, this guy is for you.  It is easy to splash into any Feraligatr Prime deck, so why not?

Why not to play it–  I’ll tell you why not, it doesn’t really add too much to the deck.  The Prime is already a decent secondary attacker, and is not weak to lightning.

8. Lapras

What it is– Lapras is a baby killer. For two water energies you can snipe for 30 HP.  This means that if your opponent has a Baby Pokemon on the bench, you can take it out, for an easy prize.

Why to play it– For some reason Lapras is weak to Steel Pokemon, that means that hitting for weakness is not likely.

Why not to play it– If you don’t play Feraligatr Prime, this card is pretty much worthless.  Also, it is worthless if your opponent does not play Babies, or did not drop it on the bench.  Its not a consistent prize, and it stinks to start with it.

9.  Hypno  

What it is– A Poke-Power that puts the defending Pokemon to sleep for a coin flip.  An attack that does 30 damage and snipes for 10 for PCC.

Why to play it– Really no reason right now, unless you wanna use Musharna, which I don’t know why you would.

Why not to play it–  Right now there is every reason in the world not to play it, but its a cool card so keep it in mind.

10. Sunflora

What it is– It has a Poke-Power that is like Poke-Ball, but it only works on Grass Pokemon.  The attack is really crappy and does 40 damage for GGC.

Why to play it– It is good for a Jumpluff deck or a Yanmega deck.  The ability to get a free Pokemon each turn is pretty good. If you run grass Pokemon, you must take a look at Sunflora.

Why not to play it– Cause nobody plays Grass, duh.

11.  Typhlosion

What it is– Its like a Stage 2 Reshiram.  Except instead of having the “Outrage” attack, it has an attack that does 50 for a fire energy and a colorless.

Why to play it– It is a really hard hitting card that can easily fit into any deck that runs Typhlosion Prime.  A really ferocious fire attacker.

Why not to play it– Do you really want a stage 2 Reshiram?  A basic one is better.

12. Delibird

What it is– Kind of a weird starter, that could be a recovery Pokemon.  Its attack called “Snowy Present” lets you draw 1 card for every water energy you have on the field, the attack costs 1 water energy.

Why to play it– Im not sure, Relicanth is a better water starter.  I guess Delibird only has a 1 retreat and is weak to Metal.  If during the middle of the game you have a lot of energy attached, but no main attacker, it would be very handy.  

Why not to play it–  Right now, Delibird is too situational to play.

13. Mantine

What it is– A starter for Water deck.  “Group Swim” is not what happens when all the old people get into the pool, its an attack that costs 1 water energy and lets you look for any water Pokemon in your deck and put it into your hand.

Why to play it– A very overlooked starter.  If you are playing a Water deck, especially one with Kyogre/Groudon Legend, this card could be very helpful.    I would test it in my deck if I had a water deck.

Why not to play it–  Relicanth might be your preferred starter because he lets you draw cards.

14. Metapod

What it is– A grass tech that gives all Grass Pokemon no weakness.

Why to play it–  If you are having trouble with Fire decks, which I would assume you would, Metapod is a quick fix.  It is something every grass deck should consider.

Why not to play it–  There is still nobody who plays grass.

15. The Unown’s    

What are they– Two Pokemon with two different Poke-Powers.  “Return” lets you return all energy cards from one Pokemon to your hand.  “Flash” lets you rearrange the top 5 cards of your deck.

Why to play it– Return is nice because it works well with Emboar and the Shuckle Promo, talk about a draw engine tha’ts twice as nice.  I’m sure you will find a combo for “Flash” eventually, right now I can’t think of one.

Why not to play it– If you start with them, you gotta waste  a Seeker on them to use them.  They are also unique to one or two decks.

16. Girafarig

What it is– It is starter that is a gopher for energies. His attack, “Show Off” lets you search for any 2 basic energies from your deck and put it in your hand, for just 1 energy.

Why to play it– If you don’t have the first turn Zekrom attack, then why not setup for it next turn with Girafarig?  It could work well in a ZPS deck or any deck that needs lots of energy fast.

Why not to play it– You are just basically using your attack and at least 1 spot in your deck for the ability to trade 1 energy for 2.  It may not be worth it.

17. Ampharos Prime   

What it is– An anti Emboar and Feraligatr card.  It puts 1 damage counter for each energy attached.  Its attack does 40 damage for LCC and lets you flip a coin.  If heads you do an extra 40, if tails you discard an energy attached to the active.

Why to play it–  It is a perfect counter to the meta.  Shuckle won’t last more than a turn or two with this guy around.  There is another Ampharos in this set that can do 80 damage for LCC, so at least you can have a decent attacker with an Ampharos line.  Ampharos will at least give Emboar trouble, if it can’t beat Emboar.

Why not to play it–  A low damage output and a weakness to Donphan are not the best things to have.  Even though it is a counter to Emboar, do you really wanna play every game with this card?

18. Blissey Prime

What it is– A healer.  “Blissful Nurse” lets you remove all damage counters on all of your Pokemon, you must also remove all energy cards attached to those Pokemon that were healed.  Its attack does 60 damage for CCC.

Why  to play it–  If you have a 1 energy attacker, just run Energy Retrieval, and you are set.  It makes 2HKOing something very hard to do.  If your attacker can take a hit, its nice to be able to heal him and have him take another hit.

Why not to play it-It only seems to pair up well with one Pokemon (Donphan Prime).  Chansey is not fun to start with.

19. HO-OH Legend

What it is– A secondary fire attacker.  For 4 fire energies you can do 100 damage.  It also has a Poke-Body that turns all energy attached to HO-OH to fire.

Why to play it–  It could work out well in a fire deck, if you play it the right way.  It also could be a fire attacker in a non fire deck, if you ever find a way to put 4 energies on it.   It also is one of only 2 Legend cards that do not give your opponent 2 prizes when its knocked out.

Why not to play it–  Three letters: R-D-L.

20. Lugia Legend  

What it is– I don’t know, maybe a primary attacker?  It can do an amazing 200 damage for FLE- but you must discard the energy required for the attack.  It has a Poke-Power that lets you attach any energy in the top 5 cards of your deck, when you lay Lugia down.

Why to play it– 200 damage aint too shabby.  If you can find a way to get three energies on the top of your deck by turn 3, I suggest you play Lugia Legend in your deck.  It can be a devastating Pokemon.

Why not to play it–  Its good for 1 knockout maybe.  Theoretically this Pokemon is amazing, in reality this card is like a piece of fine art, its pretty but what can you do with it?

Trainer Cards

Here is a look at the trainer cards from this set that aren’t talked about a lot.

1.  Copycat

What it is– Shuffle your hand into your deck and draw the same number of cards as your opponent currently has in his/her hand.

Why to play it– Works well with Yanmega Prime or Vileplume.  Its a pretty good hand refresher that does not deserve to get overlooked.  The best players seem to play this card.

Why not to play it– Its a little inconsistent for play in all decks.  It seems to only work well in a few decks.

Closing Remarks on HGSS

Wow that was a tough article to write.  This was a long article, but I hope it brought you up to speed on this set.  You should be prepared now to start thinking about some rogue decks.

Category: Card Discussion | Tags: , , , , ,
  • Gneguy

    For Hitmontop, you say you need 2 Pluspowers to 1HKO Magnezone prime, but Pluspower happens before weakness and resistance.

    Other than that, nice article!

    • Anonymous

      thats right, I knew that, just wasn’t thinking when writing.

      Thanks, will fix.  

  • Kurt Rosales

    Interesting to see a whole format like this, very interesting.

  • Bob

    Although I agree Grass may be weaker in this format, Jumpluff/Vileplume with Sunflora for speed could be a fun rouge. I wouldn’t go as far as to say no one will be playing grass.

    • Anonymous

      that deck rules, ive only lost with it a few times, even against some heavy meta match-ups.

  • Ed

    I like the idea for this article series!  It’s an interesting way to go back and reconsider things you might otherwise pass over.

  • Artinzahedi

    Typo: Blissey’s PokePower is called Blissful Nurse, not Nurse Call.
    Other than that great article

    • Anonymous

      Thanks, nurse call was the power on Blissey Pt.  I was change it, thanks. 

  • Andy Wieman

    I don’t understand why you keep saying stage 1 Pokemon “take a while to set up”. The whole game slowed down by a turn or two, so setting up stage 1 Pokemon isn’t slower than it needs to be. It’s just that they are u derpowered compared to stage 2’s.