Deck Workshop: Chandelure/Leafeon/Samurott

by Ed ~ January 12th, 2012.

This one came to me a bit out of left field.  This guy named Rafal sent me an email, because he was excited about my OneHitKO.com Challenge.  The problem is that, because my final City Championship is in 2 days from now, I couldn’t really justify having him send me cards.  They probably wouldn’t even arrive in time.  I started discussing things with him about building decks on a budget and under other constraints, and it came up that him and his friends were finding themselves in a similar position.

Rafal himself was in a good position, because he had been able to trade and borrow into cards good enough to build a workable 6 Corners style deck.  He said that, other than a Cobalion and a second Kyurem, he’s got it pretty set already.

However, he has 2 friends that are finding it difficult to build a competitive deck.  He was able to send me one of the lists, so we’ll talk about that one here.  The other, by chance, is a Raichu Prime / Eelektrik deck, which I have personal experience with.  Maybe we’ll get to that deck at a later date.  For now, let’s talk about Chandelure/Leafeon/Samurott.

We should get straight to the decklist, and then we can discuss how this deck can be improved.  I’d like lots of comments on this article, so maybe we can help get this guy sorted out.  Remember that he’s on a budget, so stuff like “add 4 Catcher” might be useless.  I’ll try to get some info on what his restrictions are, but for now, just try to keep “cheap” in mind.

Pokemon Trainers Supporters/Stadiums Energy
4 Litwick 4 Rare Candy 2 Pokemon Collector 3 Double Colorless
2 Lampent NVI 59 3 Pokemon Communication 3 PONT 6 Psychic
3 Chandelure NVI 60 2 Switch 2 Cheren 6 Water
3 Oshawott 2 Rocky Helmet 2 PETM
2 Dewott
3 Samurott BLW 32
2 Eevee UD 48
2 Leafeon UD 17
2 Doduo UD 45
2 Dodrio UD 11
25 Pokemon 11 Trainers 9 Supporters/Stadiums 15 Energy

The idea behind this deck is fairly obvious, if you know the cards.  If not, click on the card names to see ’em.  Basically, you use Chandelure to build up damage each turn.  With Dodrio, you can realistically add 6 counters to your opponent’s Pokemon before attacking.  If you add a Switch in there, it could be 9 or a different attacker.  Chandelure’s attack will burn and confuse the opponent.

If that’s not enough, Leafeon’s Miasma Wind attack can, for 1 of any color, do 50x the number of conditions on the opposing Pokemon.  If Chandelure did his job the previous turn, Leafeon can do 100 for a single energy.  From what I gather, Samurott is there to type trump Fire, to tank when needed, and to build up a bunch of water energy and hit for huge damage later on.

This should give plenty of options, but there are problems here, so let’s get to the workshop portion.

The first obvious thing I see is the lack of trainers and supporters.  We only have 11 trainers, but even more obvious is the miniscule 9 supporters.  I see this sort of thing a lot with newer players, so it’s not surprising.  It’s just that the deck looks to me like it will be wildly inconsistent.

The heart of the trainer/supporter problem is probably the inclusion of 25 Pokemon.  I think this is okay if we’re looking at a trainer-lock deck.  In fact, that would be one of my suggestions.  If the deck could be modified to include Vileplume, then I think we can drop some trainers to add supporters.  Then, the strategy shifts to setting up a Vileplume ASAP and then moving to the Chandelure strategy.  Lists for this sort of deck are easily found.  Even our pals over at ProPokemon have a Chandelure/Vileplume List available.  I don’t think that’s worth discussing too much here.

Now, if we don’t want to switch to trainer-lock, what else can we do?  There are plenty of ideas, if we can swap out one Pokemon line for something else.

As it stands, the deck is running 2 Stage-2 lines, and 2 Stage-1 lines.  This seems like a lot to rely on.  Yeah, you don’t need to set all that up right away.  The focus is probably getting Chandelure ready and then working on the others while spreading, but why?  Dodrio goes well with Chandelure, so let’s look at the other 2 evolution lines.

Leafeon:

Leafeon is here, because his attack can do a lot of damage for a small cost if the conditions are right.  I agree that it seems to fit together well, but the question that we need to ask is, “Is this extra damage important?”

Let’s set the scene.  We’ll say that you’re unlucky, and you only have 1 Chandelure set up.  You can do 80 damage (30 from ability and 50 from attack).  On top of that, you will burn and confuse the opponent.  If you are still unlucky (with burn and confusion), you won’t add any more damage.  However, many opponents will take this opportunity to retreat (maybe Switch) their way out of the status, because it’s very risky to attack while confused.  So, on the downside, we’re talking 80 damage and them removing the status.

On the upside, even with just 1 Chandelure, you can get 80 damage from the ability+attack.  Then, burn could add 40 and confusion (if they attack) could add another 30.  That’s 150.

These 2 cases are both pretty extreme, but how does Leafeon factor in?  Well, in the first case, you did only 80, and then they removed the status.  Leafeon isn’t worth much here, so you’d probably use Chandelure again.

In the second case, there are still 2 conditions on the opposing Pokemon.  Leafeon can come up and hit for 100 for only 1 energy.  Even if you only get 1 burn damage, you already did 100 damage.  Cursed Shadow can add another 30 before attacking.  If 130 isn’t enough, I’m guessing you won’t need to do 100 more.  That will probably be overkill.

Leafeon seems cool when you’re doing the status condition thing, but I think it’s wasted.  At 90 HP it’s going to be more of a liability than an actual useful attacker.

Samurott:

Samurott is a pretty cool Pokemon.  He has an ability like a built-in Eviolite (or Donphan’s Exoskeleton).  That makes him hard to KO.  He can do massive amounts of damage at 70+10xwater.  If your meta has lots of fire Pokemon, Samurott can be a good call.

However, he’s the 2nd Stage2 Pokemon in the deck.  That alone makes him a liability.  This Stage2 deck is already running 4 Rare Candy, so Samurott isn’t going to be horrible.  I just don’t see him as a main line here.  The list has him as a 3-2-3 line.  I could see 1-1-1 or maybe 2-1-2.  I just can’t see running 3 Samurott.

I don’t think Fire is the biggest issue at the moment.  If you’re going to run a heavy type-trump line, I don’t see water being the best option.

Options:

The first thing that comes to my mind is a Pokemon that can combine the strengths of Leafeon and Samurott.  Leafeon’s strength is that it’s a Stage1 that can do 50-100 damage for a single energy.  (Well, let’s not mention the fact that it might be doing 0 for that single energy.  Whoops, I think I just mentioned it.)  One of Samurott’s strengths is that it can tank with it’s ability that reduces damage by 20.  To me, Donphan can do both of these things.  It can do 60 for 1, and its Exoskeleton can reduce damage.  That seems like a fair replacement.

On top of this, Donphan has way better type trumping in the current format, if you ask me.  There are so many Lightning Pokemon around the format at the moment.  The downfall of Donphan is that his retreat cost is prohibitive to the Chandelure strategy.  You’d have to crank up the Switch count if you added him.

Another replacement would be any of the recent BBPs with Eviolite.  Tornadus comes to mind, because he can use DCE, Eviolite, and will get free retreat from Dodrio.  Kyurem, Thundurus, Reshiram, Zekrom, etc. could all fit here.

Lanturn Prime isn’t a great tank, but he does have nice type trumping ability.  What others could work here.

I’m not saying that Leafeon and Samurott need removing.  I just think the deck is a bit clunky the way it is.  What if we dropped Samurott down to a 2-1-2 line.  That saves us 3 slots.  At least one of them needs to go toward Super Rod.

The deck has 0 draw Pokemon.  Either it needs Cleffa/Manaphy/Smeargle, or it needs more draw supporters.  Now, with the Dodrio, I think that Smeargle can be a good option.  He shouldn’t be too hard to get ahold of.  He’s not played much, and he was printed in 2 sets.

I’d still add more draw support, though.  Cheren is not bad, but PONT is better.  N, Copycat, and Judge are all options here.

Rocky Helmet is a very nice card.  When you can afford the space, it can make a nice addition to any deck.  That’s not the case here.  This deck needs Junk Arm, more draw support, Dual Ball, Catcher, Super Rod, Energy Retrieval, etc. before it adds something like Rocky Helmet.

Energy:

Without testing, I can’t say what sort of balance this deck needs.  What I can say is that it probably needs Rainbow Energy.  Yeah, it hurts slightly, but I think it’s worth the addition of consistency.  If you’re unable/unwilling to change the Pokemon lines, then maybe drop 2 of each basic energy for 4 Rainbow and test that.

Conclusion:

The main point is that I think the deck is a nifty idea.  The combo of adding status and then following with Leafeon is cool, but just doesn’t seem like it will work often enough to warrant all the space in the deck.  Tag teaming between Chandelure and Samurott could, however, be a viable strategy.  They don’t have as much synergy, but that may not be so important.  If it were me, I’d drop the Leafeon line altogether.  That would open up 4 slots.  Dropping Rocky Helmet would free up 2 more.

Adding at least 1 draw Pokemon like Smeargle or Cleffa would help consistency.  With the 5 remaining slots, I’d try adding 2 Dual Ball, 1 Super Rod, a 4th PONT, and a 3rd Cheren (assuming you can’t obtain N).

PETM, to me, isn’t great here, but to do away with it, you’d need to add even more draw supporters.  I think you could try up to 12 draw supporters if you were willing to drop Collector and PETM.  Then you’d want to max out Dual Ball and maybe add Great Ball.  I’ll probably talk more about this strategy in upcoming articles.

Switching some basics for Rainbow Energy would be my final suggestion.

I hoped that I would hear more about the available card pool before publishing this article, but let’s just roll with it like it is.  Maybe we’ll hear more about that later, and I can update the article and discuss stuff in the comment section below.  Keep in mind that I’m trying not to suggest major changes to high-priced cards.  If that were the case, I think we’d be maxing out the Collector ASAP.

Category: Deck Workshop | Tags: , ,
  • i would drop leafeon and samurott lines and water energy for sure -18…and add a 4-4 Yanmega(they cheap now!) with judges and copycats, change the DCE to rescue, add a cleffa or 2 and that still leaves 8 more slots to fill with supporters and trainers, +2 collector -2PETM +1 communication +3 junk arm, +3 Judge +3 Copycat -2 Cheren…just off the top of my head im sure TSS can be fixed better…I am a huge fan of rocky helmet so i’d keep it :)

    • Ed

      Thanks panfish.  Yanmega slipped my mind during my writeup.  It is definitely a good option.  It’s major drawback is it’s x2 weakness to lots of currently popular Pokemon, but it is definitely a nice Stage1.

      I hope the deck’s owner will chime in here.  I like speculating on options, but until we hear from him, we won’t know some of the motivation.  I mean, my article suggested dropping either or both of Leafeon or Samurott, but then it’s not really a Chandelure/Leafeon/Samurott deck anymore. 

      I don’t know if he’s open to changing so drastically or if he’d prefer to keep the same theme and just try to make it more consistent.  I just feel like it’s going to be hard to make this consistent with so many cards dedicated to Pokemon and Energy.

      Keep the ideas coming!  That’s what the article is for.

  • Zoroark is another card that’s not getting enough spotlight right now: it’s catchall hate, hitting Chandelure, Dragons, Cobalion, and SEL for “I win”.

    • Ed

      I agree, and I thought of it while writing the article, but I never mentioned it.  I just thought it wasn’t quite a drop-in replacement, since it kinda takes 2 energy to power up and it can’t really tank.  The upside, though, is that you could run an all-psy (and DCE) list that way.  I think it can be a nice option here!  Thanks, Riley.

      • No problem. If you’re running Samurott without 4 DCEs there’s already something wrong with your deck, so Zoroark’s an easy in.

  • Running less than 4 Collector isn’t an option here. I know they’re expensive, but you realistically can’t run a super-set-up deck like this without 4 Collector (or 3 Collector + 1 Pichu as cheaper alternative that can be just as effective).