Hello again Pokemon Crossroads readers, we will spotlight a deck using Starmie from Primal Clash! Starmie was overlooked by a large majority of players as another bulk uncommon, but in the right circumstances it could be a devastating sleeper hit.
Let’s look at the card’s makeup: Starmie is a Stage 1 Pokemon, with a Psychic typing and 90 HP. It has no retreat cost, and a weakness to Psychic while having no resistance. Right away, we notice a few things about Starmie that make up a great card: 90 HP means it is easily searchable by Level Ball, and no retreat cost means that you can switch between Starmie and your bench superfluously. While being a Stage 1 means that it must evolve to come into play, this results in a positive for Starmie: the ability to abuse the Eevee Evolution from Ancient Origins to attack as three different types.
The most important part about Starmie is its attack: Synchro Star. The base damage of Synchro Star is 10 damage, but if Starmie and the opponent’s active Pokemon have a matching number of energy attached, Starmie will deal 70 damage instead (+60). 70 damage may fall short of a lot of numbers, but thankfully for Starmie there are a number of cards that bolster such an attack incredibly well. First and foremost we have the ever-popular Muscle Band card, which increases an attack’s damage by 20, and the Stadium card Dimension Valley which can make the attack cost 0, requiring no energy attached. All of this works together to create a very interesting deck. Since Starmie can attack for no energy, a deck focused on attacking with Starmie can also be a deck that spends no space on energy cards. Since Starmie would attack for no energy, our opponent’s Pokemon should match our no energy, so our deck should focus on energy removal so that both Starmie and the defending Pokemon have no energy attached. This way, Starmie may attack for its maximum damage while giving us an “alternate” win condition and a very frustrated opponent!
Such a deck may look like this:
4 Staryu (PRC)
4 Starmie (PRC)
3 Eevee (AOR)
3 Jolteon (AOR)
2 Flareon (AOR)
2 Shaymin-EX (ROS)
4 Professor Sycamore (XY)
2 Professor Birch’s Observations (PRC)
3 Team Flare Grunt (XY)
2 Xerosic (PHF)
2 Lysandre (FLF)
1 Ace Trainer (AOR)
4 VS Seeker (PHF)
4 Crushing Hammer (KSS)
1 Enhanced Hammer (PHF)
4 Level Ball (AOR)
2 Ultra Ball (ROS)
4 Trainers’ Mail (ROS)
3 Muscle Band (XY)
2 Switch (XY)
4 Dimension Valley (PHF)
The core of an energy denial deck is four Crushing Hammer, with a smaller count of Enhanced Hammer. Additionally, Team Flare Grunt is almost certainly necessary for any energy denial decks so long as Seismitoad-EX is in the format. Additionally, Xerosic is a card that functions similarly to Enhanced Hammer, along with the benefits of being reused via VS Seeker and the option of targeting Tool cards. Once this core is complete, a generic consistency engine can be applied with Professor Sycamore and a number of Shaymin-EX to help smooth out the lower number of draw support cards in the Standard format. Shaymin-EX is not necessary to play any deck, but it is a very good option for many. Other cards that can be played effectively are Tierno, Roller Skates, or for shuffle and draw, Shauna and Professor Birch’s Observations.
When working with evolution decks, there need to be a high count of search cards to insure that you can successfully evolve, which leads to a high count of Level Ball and Ultra Ball. Level Ball can grab all of your Pokemon (except for Shaymin-EX) for no additional cost, so it is the favored ball here. A maximum count of Staryu and Starmie help us to have plenty in play and ready to fight, while a large Eevee evolution line helps to avoid having bad prizes. The evolution line for Eevee can be tailored to what you expect to play against, but the most effective evolution by far is Jolteon (currently). Jolteon allows your Stage 1 Pokemon to become Lightning type and additionally has no retreat cost, which helps to alleviate our opponents trying to use Lysandre to stall your deck. This could become a problem for the deck since we have limited resources for switching.
Flareon is a runner up for this deck, as it allows you to attack against popular EX cards such as Sceptile-EX and Aegislash-EX for weakness, though the latter will still resist Starmie which will make the attack fail to knock out Aegislash-EX without prior damage.
Vaporeon does not make the cut here, since I would believe that Fire decks give this deck a hard time to begin with, since they have heavy natural energy acceleration with Blacksmith, and are currently not a part of the projected Standard metagame. If Fire decks ever do make a splash Vaporeon may follow suit, but currently I would focus more heavily on Jolteon and Flareon since their types have more presence.
Four Dimension Valley is our “energy” for the deck, allowing Starmie to attack. It may be worth playing a small count of energy and/or a Bunnelby from Primal Clash to recycle your Stadiums, but with a maximum count you will often be set to win the “Stadium War”.
Lastly, the leftover slots allow us to do a number of things which I have chosen to use towards consistency cards in Trainers’ Mail. This helps us to find Dimension Valley more easily, but could also be used towards other draw support options.
Want to see this Starmie deck in action? Watch the video below by Team Fish Knuckles to watch a similar deck take the wins.