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Competitive Deck Spotlight: Garchomp/Altaria 09/02/2012

Posted by Gryphon in Pokemon TCG, TCG Strategy.

Welcome to our first Competitive Deck Spotlight! For our players planning on attending Battle Roads this month and Regionals next month, this series of articles will cover the top decks in the current format, as well as tips and strategies for what to expect at Modified-Constructed tournaments during this part of the championships season. The first deck to be covered in this series will be one that features pokemon from the new set, Dragons Exalted.

Deck: Garchomp/Altaria
AKA: FluffyChomp, Gartaria
Strategy: Acceleration/Sweeping


4 Garchomp (DRX #90)
3 Gabite (DRX #89)
4 Gible (DRX #87)
4 Altaria (DRX #84)
4 Swablu (DRX #104)
3 Emolga (DRX #45)

4 N
3 Professor Juniper
3 Bianca
4 Level Ball
4 Pokemon Catcher
3 Rare Candy
2 Random Receiver
2 Switch
2 Super Rod

7 Fighting Energy
4 Blend Energy WLFM

This is a deck with the potential for very quick setup, with the intent of doing as much damage as you can each turn, as early in the game as possible. Emolga’s Call for Family attack, if you can get one out on turn 1, will help you begin to prepare your bench with a couple of Gible and 2-3 Swablu. Getting a Gabite in play on turn 2 starts your Dragon search engine with its Dragon Call ability, which allows you to search your deck for a Dragon pokemon to add to your hand. You can use it to start bringing your Altarias into play, or to fish out a Garchomp for your Gible if you happen to have a Rare Candy in hand. Once you have a Garchomp out with a Fighting Energy attached, it can start doing massive damage with the help of the benched Altarias, each of which provide an extra 20 damage to Garchomp’s attacks with their Fight Song ability.

All three types of Supporters in this deck help to refresh your hand; don’t be afraid to discard a few pokemon with Juniper, since Super Rod lets you put them back into your deck. Since the main attacker, Garchomp, doesn’t need a lot of energy to attack, the energy count for this deck is fairly low. While Garchomp can do up to 140 damage with Mach Cut and a bench full of Altarias, attaching a Blend Energy WLFM allows it to do up to 180 damage with Dragonblade, knocking out the majority of EX pokemon in one blow.

Unlike most other popular decks in the format, Garchomp/Altaria doesn’t use any EX pokemon, meaning that your opponent will have to deal one KO per prize as long as you don’t run out of pokemon on your bench, or cards in your deck. It also doesn’t use any Tool cards, rendering any Tool Scrappers your opponent may be packing useless. Low retreat costs and the addition of Switch help you to counter your opponent’s Pokemon Catcher. Garchomp’s Mach Cut discards Special Energy from your opponent’s pokemon, weakening pokemon such as Mewtwo EX which often utilize Double Colorless. On the other hand, while Garchomp has an advantage over popular Dragon pokemon such as Hydreigon and Rayquaza, it is weak to their attacks in the same way; be careful when facing decks which include Dragon types. It is also important to try to set up as fast as possible, since most of the pokemon in this deck have low HP and are susceptible to getting KO’ed early in the game (“donked”) by powerful Basics. One more important pokemon to watch out for is DRX Garbodor; its ability, Garbotoxin, shuts off all other abilities once a Tool is attached to it, effectively cutting off Gabite’s draw power and Altaria’s attack boost. If Garbodor becomes a consistent problem, you may want to consider switching out some cards for Tool Scrappers. Other “tech” cards you may want to think about are Pokemon Communication, for more search power, and Max Potion, for helping your Garchomps last longer.

Tune in next time when we cover another popular competitive deck!



1. raznprince - 09/02/2012

Good deck analysis!

The potential problem with this deck is that with an Emolga in play, it is virtually impossible to consistently maximize damage with Garchomp. Your opponents will almost completely ignore attacking Emolga once you put it on the bench so exercise caution to not stuff your bench with Emolgas to avoid hampering your setup.

In the event that an Active Garchomp gets KO’d while you have 4 Altarias and an Emolga on the bench, you would incur a 2-3 turn handicap trying to set up another Garchomp. In this case, a good balance is having 2 Garchomps and Altarias in play although having more Garchomps in play will build a consistent damage stream for several turns while you supplement additional damage by setting up Altaria, and a well set-up field would make Garbodor’s ability remover less of an impact on your strategy.

Gryphon - 09/02/2012


Some other stuff I should probably mention in regards to this deck:

Even with Garchomp and Pokemon Catcher, it is one of the less expensive decks for new players to build. Some other popular decks in this format use cards that were big in last season’s championship decks and which veteran players may already own, but new players who will need to buy cards for their first tournament decks on a limited budget may find them costly to obtain.

Another plus for new players is that with a little practice in a casual playing environment, such as with friends or family or at League, this is a deck that isn’t very difficult to play. These are reasons why I would recommend this deck for those just getting into the competitive environment.

raznprince - 09/05/2012

For future posts, as you add more deck analyses to the blog, you can also start to get into comparison matchups between these decks and see how they play well and poorly against other specific decks.

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