Hello everybody. I'm Rodrigo, bringing news about the Pokémon TCG and its vast media. And with the return of some decks from the Expanded/Expanded format, I will talk about one of the most annoying control decks in this format. Within the time of the Standard format in the era of Sun/Moon: Unbroken Bonds by the middle of the first half of 2019, when it was released, it already gave a headache to many, and now with new cards from the block Sword/ Shield, he was empowered with endless possibilities to sabotage the opponent's game. With you, Honchkrow-GX.
So, let's analyze his deck and understand how it works.
Honchkrow-GX: Control Deck
Honchkrow-GX: The “Mafia” Pokémon
Here we don't have common recursive Pokémon in the format like Dedenne-GX UNB 57, Lumineon V BRS 40 or Tapu Lele-GX GRI 60 (although it could have the Crobat V DAA 104, I decided not to put it), as there are already cards that can filter resources like Trainers' Mail ROS 92 to look for any Trainer, in addition to Pokégear 3.0 SSH 174 to search for Supporter type Trainers.
Here, the Murkrow SIT 106 from the Sword/Shield: Silver Tempest set comes in due to its first attack, in which it can search for other Murkrow to filter and place them right away in the game, avoiding the use of Quick Ball FST 237, Nest Ball SUM 123, Repeat Ball PRC 136, Level Ball BST 129 and even the Battle VIP Pass FST 225.
Therefore, the vital piece is to try to put the maximum of Murkrow SIT 106 to use the card Dusk Stone UNB 167 to accelerate the evolution as quickly as possible and start to lock the opponent with Honchkrow-GX UNB 109.
Good Starting Hands
In this simulation, we have most of the Murkrow to be able to put into play and already energized with a Double Colorless Energy and even with two Pokégear 3.0 to filter the deck and search for Judge or Professor's Research.
- Professor's Research BRS 147 serves to discard your hand and draw seven cards in a row. It's a great accelerator to your game.
- Judge FST 235 is used to shuffle your hand and the opponent's hand back to the deck, and then each one will draw up to four cards.
This is more to sabotage the opponent's hand and hinder them when they have a full hand (which must be played at the right time or opportune moments).
- Boss's Orders BRS 132 serves to pull a Pokémon from the opponent's Bench to create a knockout opportunity, or even, depending on the strategy, to pull some heavy Pokémon from the opponent with very high retreat cost and they don't have Switch to get it out of danger.
- Cyllene ASR 138 serves as a recycling of Trainers from the discard pile, if you hit the coins with “heads”, it is possible to pull essential cards such as VS Seeker ROS 110, Pal Pad SSH 172 and even Crushing Hammer SSH 159 to take energy from the opponent.
- Sidney FST 241 serves as a powerful control card: it serves to reveal the opponent's hand and discard a combination of two cards that are Trainer cards of the Tools type, Trainers of the Stadium type and special energies from their hand.
I particularly think it's more powerful than Flannery CRE 139, but it can also be an option in deck modification to put this card. It depends on the player's taste.
- Team Flare Grunt XY 129 is used to discard an Energy attached to the opponent's Active Pokémon.
- Pokémon Ranger STS 104 serves to nullify the effects of attacks from Pokémon in play (both yours and the opponent's).
This card counters Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX CEC 156's GX attack, which provides additional damage and more Prize cards for every Knockout your opponent's Pokémon perform, simply to sabotage this type of deck.
- Pokégear 3.0 SSH 174 is used to search the seven cards at the top of the deck for a Trainer card of the Supporter type and put it in your hand.
- Trainers' Mail ROS 92 is an item card that makes you search the top four cards of your deck for any Trainer-type card, choose one of them, reveal it to your opponent and put it in your hand, and then shuffle your deck.
In this search, the card serves to look for any Trainer card, but the ideal would be the Dusk Stone, to evolve your Murkrow as quickly as possible.
- Dusk Stone UNB 167 serves to search the deck for these Pokémon (Mismagius, Aegislash, Honchkrow, Chandelure), which can be up to GX, to evolve one of your Pokémon in play immediately (and you can use this card during your first turn when playing).
Basically, it has a “similar” effect to the first impression of Rare Candy in the Ruby/Sapphire: Emerald block: it speeds up evolution, streamlining your set-up.
- Crushing Hammer SSH 159 serves to discard an energy attached to one of the opponent's Pokémon, if it hits a “heads” on the coin during the requirement of the card's effect.
- Enhanced Hammer GRI 124 is used to discard a special Energy attached to one of the opponent's Pokémon.
In this case, it only works if you haven't evolved any of your Murkrow in time to use the ability of Honchkrow-GX, and, in that case, assuming you face an Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX CEC 156 to use Double Dragon Energy ROS 97 to apply your GX attack. Then it can delay the opponent, in this case, until it can evolve and lock them if they draw a second similar energy.
- Startling Megaphone FLF 97 is used to discard all Tool-type Trainer cards attached to all the opponent's Pokémon.
This is good for the start of the turn, if you haven't evolved any of your Murkrow in time to use Honchkrow-GX's ability in the meantime and the opponent has already started to assemble the set-up of tools. You can use this card to take these advantages.
- Dowsing Machine PLS 128 is the ACE SPEC of the deck, being extremely useful, as it has the function of recovering any Trainer from the discard pile, but of course, needing to fulfill the requirement of discarding two cards from your hand.
It is basically an improved "VS Seeker", but it serves to take any Trainer (from Supporters, Stadium, Item and Tool) than only Trainer of the Supporter type.
- VS Seeker ROS 110 is used to recover a Trainer Supporter card from the discard pile and put it in your hand.
It is an essential card for looping deck control effects like Sidney FST 241 and Team Flare Grunt XY 129, for example. It is vital to avoid as much as possible that it is discarded in an eventual use of the Professor's Research BRS 147 to draw cards, but we have the Dowsing Machine PLS 128, which can be considered virtually as a “a sort of VS Seeker” in your deck.
- Pal Pad SSH 172 is used to retrieve up to two Supporter-type Trainer cards from the discard pile to the deck.
This card can be combined with Cyllene ASR 138, which, hitting the two coins, you recover two Trainers cards from the discard and thus recycling the Pal Pad SSH 172 to recover the Supporter cards used and repeat the looping process.
- Energy Recycle System CES 128 has two choices, and you can only fulfill one of them:
1) You may put one basic energy from the discard pile into your hand.
2) You take up to three basic energies from the discard pile and return them to the deck this way.
- Special Charge STS 105 is used to rescue up to two special energies from the discard pile back to the deck.
In this case, it is precisely to rescue the Double Colorless Energy SUM 136, which are essential to accelerate Honchkrow-GX attacks.
- Silent Lab PRC 140 prevents basic Pokémon from using abilities, in this case, damaging opponents' decks that use recursive Pokémon like Oricorio-GX CEC 95, Dedenne-GX UNB 57, Jirachi-EX PLB 60, Lumineon V BRS 40, Tapu Lele-GX GRI 60, Eldegoss V RCL 19 and Crobat V DAA 104.
- Lost City LOR 161 is for certain cases in which you are about to knock out a key Pokémon or a bigger threat of the opponent that, if it is defeated, it will not go to the discard pile, but to the Lost Zone, cannot be recycled. But of course, it's a double-edged sword because just like the opponent, you can also suffer this setback.
- Lunatone PGO 34 and Solrock PGO 39 decks because if they play the stadium Silent Lab PRC 140 and evolved to Honchkrow-GX, its ability blocks any move of the opponent from trying to break the stadium, which Solrock PGO 39, Sun Energy, is nullified, and makes [Lunatone PGO 34]]'s damage increase too slowly.
- Control decks like Mewtwo-VUnion can be a struggle because it constantly heals and uses damage counters and starts to slowly break down your Pokémon. An addendum is perhaps that due to the deck having Silent Lab PRC 140, it locks the ability of Radiant Tsareena SIT 16 which is essential for healing and synergy, and if Mewtwo's deck don't take out your stadium, it will be a bit finicky to deal with.
- Decks that take Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX CEC 156 using their GX attack without using special energies.
It is a very disgusting deck for the opponent who is going to deal with it. Even if in this version of the deck the focus is more on resource control and the damage is low, its use is still considerable to be able to deplete the enemy's resources and make them fatigued over the course of the game. It's a good control deck, cheap and simple to build.
Did you like this deck? Would you make your list different? What do you think you would change to improve it? And if you've played with it, what was your experience? Your comments are welcome.
Until next time for a future article.