Our 2nd deck that we are going to look at this winter is a break from our Mega-themed series that Gym Leader Joel is working on. Under other circumstances, we would have shelved this one to look at later. There are a couple of reasons that we just could not do that. One is that this is the 1st submission from one of our trainers at the Gym. In our years of existence, we have had quite the interesting mix of original creations from our trainers. Some are good attempts at an idea that is just too hard to pull off. Some have surprised us at how well they work. At any rate, we have not featured any of those decks here… mainly because we never thought of doing so. This brings us to the 2nd reason we are deviating from our Mega articles… this submission was just too cool not to share.
Before we look at the deck, we want to say a few words about its creator. Ian MacFarlane has been playing pokemon at the Gym for several years now. Ian is a strong reminder for the Gym Leaders about why we started playing the TCG. When a new set of cards is released, Ian puts his mind to work, creating a new deck either exclusively from the set or in combination with cards from the set before. Whether or not Ian looks at the myriad of decks sites that all hash and re-hash the same decks over and over is unknown to us. What is known, is that Ian builds what he wants and plays what he wants. Win or lose, he just enjoys playing the game with his friends.
Despite his light-hearted approach to the TCG, Ian comes up with some very tricky decks. Here’s an example of what Ian comes up with. When Steam Siege came out, he built a deck that somehow revolved around Ampharos and Amoonguss from that set. We don’t what the exact goal of the deck was, as it including “Crushing Hammers” and a mash up of other trainer cards that Joel does not remember at this point. What Joel does remember was that he lost to it twice at league, once by a slow and painful death and once by decking out trying to play around it. While losing these games, Joel remembers thinking “This is insane!” as the deck attempted to drive him insane. Therefore, any further creations of Ian’s featured here will fall into its own category, dubbed, “Ian’s Insanity”. We’ve discussed it with Ian and he understands that there is no pressure to come up with lists for us. However, whenever he comes up with one he wishes to share, it is always welcome here.
Now with all of that being said, on to today’s deck, one that we call “Creepy Persian”, which is in reference to the featured pokemon, not some weird guy from Afghanistan. Let’s look at Ian’s list and if you don’t see the magic of this deck at 1st glance, we’ll get into what made this deck so tough to beat.
- 3 – Meowth (FCO 74)
- 3 – Persian (GEN 54)
- 4 – Gastly (BKT 58)
- 2 – Haunter (BKT 59)
- 4 – Gengar (BKT 60)
- 2 – Lysandre
- 2 – Level Ball
- 3 – Bursting Balloon
- 3 – Rare Candy
- 3 – Professor Sycamore
- 2 – Super Rod
- 1 – Tierno
- 2 -Ultra Ball
- 3 – Pokemon Catcher
- 3 – N
- 3 – VS Seeker
- 2 – Brigette
- 2 – Team Magma’s Secret Base
- 2 – Eco Arm
- 11 – Psychic Energy
While some of Ian’s decks get a little complicated, the goal of this one is actually quite streamlined and simple. Simply put, if you get 3 damage counters on an opponent’s pokemon, Gengar can be used to knock it out, no matter the remaining HP or other conditions in play. Gengar‘s attack is not hard to power up, as “Creep Show” only requires 2 energy cards. Gengar also sports a free retreat cost, which only adds to its versatility, as it can always be sent up at the beginning of a turn in which you are unsure of your next play. Its other attack, “Sinister Fog” is not great, but can aid getting the required 3 damage counters for “Creep Show”.
The star of the deck is one of those pokemon that players often shy away from or overlook because of that dreaded coin flip that dwells in its attack. Persian is one of the only cards that we’ve seen that sports the attack, “Fake Out”, which is probably the most commonly used lead move in the pokemon VG. We doubt if the card creators had any intentions of a Persian/Gengar combination, but it seems as if they were made for each other. Not only does Persian place the needed 3 damage counters (30 damage) on your opponent’s Active pokemon, but it also potentially locks it in that spot for Gengar to finish off. With a coin flip of “heads”, the Defending pokemon is also “Paralyzed”. The beauty of the “Paralyzed” condition in this format is that most players rely on the item card, “Float Stone”, as their method to retreat the pokemon in their deck. Unless you play the card “Switch” or “Olympia”, or have Zoroark (“Stand In” ability) in your deck, you cannot escape for 1 turn once you are affected by the special condition “Paralyzed”. While the coin flip is the only unattractive feature of the “Fake Out” attack, it still serves it purpose if you do not hit a “heads”. The 30 damage from “Fake Out” leaves you opponent vulnerable to the “Creep Show” KO on the next turn.
The other pokemon worth mentioning in this deck is Haunter, the Stage 1 in the Gengar line. Haunter sports the ability, “Gothic Fear”, which comes into play when you evolve Gastly to Haunter. You may choose to leave both Active pokemon “Confused”, which can come in handy when you need to slow down your opponent while you set up your gang of Persian and Gengar. “Gothic Fear” can be activated from the Bench or the Active spot, which makes it a pretty handy back-up weapon. If your “Confused” opponent attacks and flips “tails”, they take those all important 3 damage counters as well.
As you can see from Ian’s list, he included a mix of other cards to complicate an opponent’s strategy, especially once they realize how easily Gengar can take them out. The combination of the “Bursting Balloon” item cards and the “Team Magma” stadium cards make keeping damage counters off your key attackers very difficult. The stadium (20 damage) and “Balloon” (60 damage) alone can sometimes set up KO’s from Persian’s “Fake Out”, especially against non-EX decks, as the total of 110 damage is nothing to sneeze at for 1 energy. The other part of the list that jumps out at us is the hyper-aggressive 3 “Catcher”, 2 “Lysandre” counts. If you are short on ways to retreat, you may find yourself at the mercy of the Creepy Persian.
This deck gave everyone fits at the 1st League Challenge Ian brought it to. Gym Leader Joel squeaked by it (and won the challenge) with a Zygarde EX/Zoroark build of his (one of his favorites at the moment). Zoroark allowed him to break out of the Special Condition and escape from the Catcher/Lysandre onslaught. Joel rode Zygarde’s “Cell Storm” as it allowed him to constantly heal Zygarde and keep it out of the range of Gengar. If not for that fortuitous deck choice, Ian would have likely taken the Challenge. The ability to heal is the only Achilles’ heel for Creepy Persian. The most mainstream deck that do this at the moment are Greninja decks, however any Water-type or Lightning-type deck that uses the “Rough Seas” stadium will likely dismantle the Persian/Gengar combination.
We at the Gym tend to favor consistency over variety. As you can see, the list has a lot of variety, leaving a tight line of draw-support cards. Gym Leader Joel has tinkered with this list a little in the PTCGO. Joel swapped the tools and stadiums for a line of “Float Stone” and “Exp Share” and maxed out the line of Persian, making it THE method for setting up KO’s. We are not including our list, as this article is about Ian’s. Now that you’ve seen the deck, like Joel, you can mess around with the idea and take it in multiple directions. Joel’s streamlined version is one of his favorites to play online at the moment.
We hope you enjoyed this 1st look at “Ian’s Insanity”. We make no promises on his next offering and we will only share any of his ideas that he approves. We think that now that you see the way Ian thinks, you will be as intrigued as we are to see any deck that he creates. In our efforts to do our own thing in the current TCG world where there are more deck sites than decks to talk about, we know very well that attempts at original ideas fail as often as they succeed. We also know that the act of trying to make that original idea work is is far more enjoyable than just sitting down and playing someone’s list that just won Regionals. We feel pretty comfortable is saying this as well… if you want to gain a new understanding of the word “original”, come by the Gym sometime and play a game or 2 with Ian. See you at the Gym!