Table of Contents

Introduction

In February 2010, the HeartGold SoulSilver set made its US debut, joining the Diamond & Pearl and Platinum sets in competitive play. While previous sets following new video games had developed a tendency to introduce new rules and mechanics, HeartGold SoulSilver went in the opposite direction, instead undoing some of the changes that had been made to the game over the years. Weakness, which in 2007 was changed to +10, +20, or +30 for most Pokémon, reverted to a universal ×2, and the 2-on-2 format, introduced in 2003 at EX Ruby & Sapphire, earned an overdue retirement, ending the need for cards to make confusing references to multiple Active Pokémon.

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A popular Prime Pokémon

Level X Pokémon were also retired in HeartGold SoulSilver, making way for new Prime Pokémon. “Prime Pokémon” can almost be considered an informal term, as they functioned like any other Pokémon, the only difference being a gold-printed name and a shiny silver border surrounding their card art. (Most of these Pokémon were very good, though!)

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Ho-oh LEGEND from the HeartGold SoulSilver set. (This is two cards!)

The only truly new concept introduced in HeartGold SoulSilver was Pokémon-LEGEND. Pokémon-LEGEND required two separate cards (a top half and bottom half) to be simultaneously played, creating a powerful Pokémon with high HP and strong attacks. While players and collectors alike admired the beauty of these cards, few Pokémon-LEGEND saw much competitive play.

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Pokémon Collector remains one of the best Supporters the game has ever seen

In terms of cards that did see competitive play, the strongest cards in HeartGold SoulSilver (and the 4 HS-themed expansions that followed) were no doubt the Supporters. HeartGold Soulsilver’s Pokémon Collector became an immediate inclusion in all tournament-worthy decks, as did Professor Oak’s New Theory, which offered twins-triumphant-89players a new hand of six cards. Twins, which you’ll read about below, debuted in the fourth HS set, Triumphant, and single-handedly enabled new strategies and decks. As for the sets’ most noteworthy Pokémon, few Pokémon from the HS sets saw immediate success. It wasn’t until a mid-season rotation in 2011 that they made their splash in competitive play. Let’s look at how it happened.

2010–2011: A Mid-Season Rotation

Majestic DawnBlack & WhiteHeartGold SoulSilverBlack & White
majestic-dawn-symbol platinum-symbol rising-rivals-symbol supreme-victors-symbol arceus-symbol heartgold-soulsilver-symbol unleashed-symbol undaunted-symbol triumphant-symbolcall-of-legends-symbol black-and-white-symbol

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Vileplume was one of the few HS cards that posed a threat to SP decks

The 2010–2011 season began as a Diamond & Pearl: Majestic Dawn-On format that included the first three HS sets. By February 2011, the final two HS sets (Triumphant and Call of Legends) had joined the format, yet most tournament-winning decks continued to resemble the same ones that had been dominating since 2009.  While several HS Supporters and HeartGold SoulSilver‘s Double Colorless Energy made their way into decks, the Pokémon remained nearly unchanged, with SP decks, like Luxchomp, remaining dominant.

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Sableye’s Overeager would be overpowered in a format with no Turn 1 restrictions

Things changed in April 2011 following the release of the Black & White set, which brought not just an entire new generation of Pokémon, but some new rules, too. The most notable of these was there would no longer be any restrictions on the player playing first. (Starting in Diamond & Pearl, the player playing first could not play any Trainers, Supporters, or Stadiums on their first turn.) Recognizing this change would make Stormfront Sableye overpowered, TPCi opted to rotate out the remaining Diamond & Pearl and Platinum sets in July 2011, creating a HeartGold SoulSilver-On format just in time for the US National Championships. This mid-season rotation, the first of its kind, drastically altered the format, paving the way for Prime Pokémon of the HeartGold SoulSilver sets to team up with powerful new Pokémon from Black & White:

Typhlosion Prime gained a reliable partner to take advantage of its Afterburner Poké-Power: Reshiram.

Magnezone Prime, one of the few Prime Pokémon that had seen some play before the mid-season rotation, was paired with Black & White‘s Emboar, which allowed it to deliver massive Lost Burn attacks.

yanmega-triumphant-98Magnezone was also paired with Yanmega Prime, which became one of the strongest Pokémon in the format following the rotation of Luxray GL LV.X. Magnezone’s Magnetic Draw made it easy for a player to match their opponent’s hand size, activating Yanmega’s Insight Poké-Body. Justin Sanchez’s Yanmega/Magnezone deck would end up winning the Masters Division at the 2011 US National Championships, defeating Kyle Sucevich’s Stage-1 mashup of Yanmega Prime, Donphan Prime, and Black & White Zoroark. Their nail-biting Sudden Death match drew a crowd that watched Sucevich’s Zorua miss a game-winning Lunge on the first turn, followed by a tense back-and-forth exchange of more missed coin flips. Eventually, it was Sanchez that got the flip he needed to win, knocking out Sucevich’s Tyrogue with his own Tyrogue.

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Kyle Sucevich (top) and Justin Sanchez in the Finals, US Nationals 2011

As for the World Championships, the Masters Division was won by David Cohen’s (US) Magnezone/Emboar deck, but the deck that drew all the attention belonged to Runner-Up Ross Cawthon (US). Cawthon’s “The Truth” deck used Black & White Reuniclus to keep high-HP Pokémon, like Donphan Prime, healthy and attacking each turn, but the deck also had some neat tricks: it could use Damage Swap to move damage to Zekrom, boosting its Outrage attack, or even move damage to knock out its own Pokémon, activating Twins. All of this happened while Undaunted Vileplume prevented the opponent from playing Trainers (like Pokémon Reversal) that could break this powerful set-up. Cawthon’s brilliant deck caught competitors off-guard, but was unfortunately slow to set up, leaving him nearly helpless when time expired in the Finals, forcing a Sudden Death Game 3.

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David Cohen (left) and Ross Cawthon in the Masters Division Finals at Worlds 2011

David Cohen’s Twinboar: Deck List

🥇 1st Place, Worlds 2011 (Masters Division)

Pokémon (19) Trainers / Supporters / Stadiums (26) Energy (15)
3x Magnemite
1x Magneton
3x Magnezone (Prime)
3x Tepig
1x Pignite
2x Emboar
2x Reshiram
2x Cleffa
1x Rayquaza & Deoxys-LEGEND (top)
1x Rayquaza & Deoxys-LEGEND (bottom)
4x Pokémon Collector
3x Professor Oak’s New Theory
3x Twins
1x Fisherman4x Pokémon Communication
4x Rare Candy
3x Junk Arm
2x Energy Retrieval
2x Switch
9x Fire Energy
4x Lightning Energy
2x Rescue Energy

Ross Cawthon’s The Truth: Deck List

🥈 Finalist, Worlds 2011 (Masters Division)

Pokémon (27) Trainers / Supporters / Stadiums (22) Energy (11)
3x Oddish
2x Gloom
2x Vileplume
3x Solosis
2x Duosion
2x Reuniclus
2x Phanpy
2x Donphan (Prime)
2x Zekrom
2x Pichu
1x Chansey
1x Blissey (Prime)
1x Cleffa
1x Suicune & Entei-LEGEND (top)
1x Suicune & Entei-LEGEND (bottom)
1x Tropical Beach

4x Twins
4x Sage’s Training
3x Pokémon Collector
2x Seeker
1x Copycat
1x Professor Oak’s New Theory

3x Pokémon Communication
3x Rare Candy

4x Rainbow Energy
4x Double Colorless Energy
2x Fighting Energy
1x Fire Energy

One of my favorite things about the Pokémon TCG is no matter how much a format has been played, and no matter how many players have played it, it’s always possible a powerful deck is still waiting to be discovered. Cawthon’s deck is a perfect example of this (so is Shintaro Ito’s M Audino deck at Worlds 2016). Had Cawthon not showed up at Worlds with his ingenious deck, 2011 could be summarized as a format revolving around three Prime Pokémon: Typhlosion, Magnezone, and Yanmega. Cawthon’s deck not only changed history, but continued to influence next season’s format, where it remained one of the best decks—at least initially.

2011–2012: Pokémon-EX Take Over

HeartGold SoulSilverDark Explorers
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Double Colorless Energy allowed Mewtwo-EX to easily unleash massive X Ball attacks

Though the 2011–2012 season would retain the HeartGold SoulSilver-On format, the Prime Pokémon that were the stars of the previous season began to be overshadowed and replaced by strong new Pokémon from the subsequent Black & White expansions. Black & White: Emerging Powers and especially Black & White: Noble Victories brought a variety of strong new Pokémon and decks to the game, but this diversity was short-lived, coming to an abrupt end at Black & White: Next Destinies, which introduced Pokémon-EX to the format. Mewtwo-EX, and later, Darkrai-EX, both became the focus of fast and aggressive decks that smashed the slower decks that had come about only months earlier. Players were forced to return most of their beloved Prime Pokémon to their binders, as Mewtwo-EX and Darkrai-EX continued their domination all the way to the World Championships, often paired together in the same deck. I won’t go into too much detail about the 2011–2012 season because although the format was HeartGold SoulSilver-On, it hardly felt like a HeartGold SoulSilver format, as nearly all winning decks focused on Pokémon from the Black & White sets. The following year, no one was surprised to see TPCi rotate out all five HS sets, making the Black & White-On format official.

Playing the HeartGold SoulSilver Format

Though the HS sets spent their time in competitive play mixed with the Diamond & Pearl and Platinum sets, and later the Black & White sets, I recommend playing them amongst themselves in their own separate format. The five-set HeartGold SoulSilverCall of Legends format (HS format for short) never existed as an official competitive format, but offers players the opportunity to play with a large variety of HS Pokémon, including those that didn’t quite make the cut in 2010 through 2012. In the HS format, evolved Pokémon dominate and Pokémon with unique attacks and abilities become the center of decks that are both capable of winning and also fun to play.

The HS format is composed of five sets, plus promotional cards:

  • heartgold-soulsilver-symbol HeartGold SoulSilver
  • unleashed-symbol Unleashed
  • undaunted-symbol Undaunted
  • triumphant-symbol Triumphant
  • call-of-legends-symbol Call of Legends
  • promo-symbol HGSS Promotional Cards (HGSS01–HGSS025)
  • victory-medal-hs Victory Medal Promotional Card

HS Format: Key Cards

Before we get to the deck lists, let’s take a look at some of the most common cards you’ll encounter in the HS format.

Supporters

The HS sets contain a total of 15 Supporters. These seven see the most play.

  • Pokémon Collector is the Supporter decks rely on to get their Basic Pokémon in play, and is great on the first turn of the game.
  • Professor Elm’s Training Method ensures you can search out the multiple Evolved Pokémon decks require to function.
  • Professor Oak’s New Theory is an upgraded version Professor Oak’s Research (which drew 5 cards), offering players a more dependable 6.
  • Twins allows decks that fall behind to pull off impressive comebacks by searching out any two cards. If a player expects to remain down in prizes, they can even search for a second Twins to use on the following turn. Twins works especially well in decks that aim to win without drawing prizes.
  • Sage’s Training helps decks dig for important Trainers, like Rare Candy, and works best in decks that can benefit from discarding certain cards.
  • Judge gives you to a chance to disrupt your opponent by putting their hand at only 4 cards, and is particularly effective early in the game. Since it affects both players, though, it will often backfire!
  • Copycat generally ends up being a weaker version of Oak’s New Theory, but fits into specific decks that either force the opponent to hold cards, or aim to match the opponent’s hand size.

Trainers

The HS format offers a few solid Trainers (remember, it wasn’t until Black & White that they would be called Items) to supplement your Supporters, helping decks function smoothly and consistently.

  • Pokémon Communication will be maxed out in all your HS decks, as it allows you to search out your Evolved Pokémon without spending your Supporter for the turn.
  • Rare Candy, which could still be played on the first turn a Pokémon was put into play, allows Stage 2 decks to set up quickly.
  • Pokémon Reversal offers decks a way to disrupt their opponent’s board. Since many decks in the HS format require multiple Pokémon to function, they are particularly vulnerable to this card.
  • Junk Arm allows players to recycle their best Trainers, and also thin their deck of useless cards.

Cleffa

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Had the game kept with tradition, there’d only be six e’s in Cleffa’s attack.

A remake of the iconic Neo Genesis Baby Pokémon, HeartGold SoulSilver Cleffa draws one less card, but thanks to its Zero Energy Eeeeeeek, can easily attack on the first turn. Cleffa is an automatic inclusion in any deck whose Basic Pokémon don’t have a 2+ retreat cost (unless the deck can’t afford to give up the bench spot). Since it can easily be retrieved by Pokémon Collector, you won’t need to play more than one, but don’t let that understate its importance in decks.

HS Decks

Below are 11 of my favorite decks from the HS format. You’ll notice all 11 rely heavily on Prime Pokémon. Underneath the decks you’ll find everything you need to know to play your first HS-format games.

Gengar

🏆 Top Deck  🌠 Iconic Deck  🐣 Suitable for Beginners  🤡 Fun to Play

gengar-deck-hgss.jpg

Pokémon (20) Trainers / Supporters / Stadiums (26) Energy (14)
4x Gastly
2x Haunter
4x Gengar (Prime)
2x Spiritomb
1x Oddish
1x Vileplume
1x Mime Jr.
1x Mr. Mime
1x Smeargle
1x Cleffa
1x Jirachi
1x Shaymin
2x Lost World

4x Pokémon Collector
4x Twins
4x Professor Oak’s New Theory
4x Seeker

4x Pokémon Communication
4x Rare Candy

12x Psychic Energy
2x Rescue Energy

You’ll rarely draw prizes with this deck, as you’re always aiming to win by getting six of your opponent’s Pokémon into the Lost Zone and then claiming victory with Lost World. Gengar’s Hurl into Darkness attack is the main way you’ll accomplish this, but you can be sure your opponent won’t make it easy on you, doing everything they can to get Pokémon out of their hand. Spiritomb’s Spooky Whirlpool gives you an opportunity to replenish their hand with Pokémon, while Seeker leaves them no choice but to!

Tip: Aim to evolve to Vileplume against decks that play Junk Arm, preventing your opponent from discarding Pokémon.

Lanturn/Feraligatr

🐣 Suitable for Beginners  🤡 Fun to Play

lanturn-deck-hs

Pokémon (18) Trainers / Supporters / Stadiums (25) Energy (17)
4x Chinchou
4x Lanturn (Prime)
3x Totodile
1x Croconaw
3x Feraligatr (Prime)
2x Cleffa
1x Smeargle
1x Burned Tower

4x Pokémon Collector
4x Professor Oak’s New Theory
3x Professor Elm’s Training Method
2x Fisherman
2x Interviewer’s Questions

4x Pokémon Communication
3x Rare Candy
2x Pokémon Reversal

11x Water Energy
4x Lightning Energy
2x Double Colorless Energy

Feraligatr’s Rain Dance allows you to flood your board with Water Energy, fueling massive Powerful Spark attacks from Lanturn. Thanks to Lanturn’s Underwater Dive, Feraligatr can also quickly power up Lanturn itself.

Leafeon/Roserade/Houndoom

🤡 Fun to Play

leafeon-deck-hs

Pokémon (20) Trainers / Supporters / Stadiums (25) Energy (15)
4x Eevee
3x Leafeon
1x Espeon (Prime)
2x Roselia
2x Roserade
2x Houndour
2x Houndoom (Prime)
1x Venonat
1x Venomoth
1x Cleffa
1x Celebi (Prime)
4x Pokémon Collector
4x Professor Oak’s New Theory
4x Professor Elm’s Training Method
1x Twins
1x Seeker4x Pokémon Communication
3x Pokémon Reversal
2x Pokégear
2x Energy Exchanger
6x Grass Energy
1x Psychic Energy
4x Rainbow Energy
3x Rescue Energy
1x Double Colorless Energy

Using Roserade’s Energy Signal, you can inflict Special Conditions—two at once with Rainbow Energy!—on your opponent’s Active Pokémon, setting up Leafeon for an easy 100-damage Miasma Wind attack. Add Houndoom Prime’s Fire Breath to the mix, and Miasma Wind’s damage grows to an impressive 150. As the game draws to an end, you’ll often be left with a Roserade loaded with Energy, offering a perfect opportunity to use its Power Blow attack.

Tip: Use Roserade’s Energy Signal to confuse an asleep Baby Pokémon, allowing you to disable Sweet Sleeping Face and KO it.

Magmortar/Typhlosion

🐣 Suitable for Beginners

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Pokémon (24) Trainers / Supporters / Stadiums (22) Energy (14)
4x Cyndaquil
2x Quilava
4x Typhlosion (Prime)
4x Magmar
4x Magmortar
2x Vulpix
2x Ninetales
1x Pichu
1x Cleffa
2x Burned Tower

4x Pokémon Collector
4x Twins
3x Sage’s Training
2x Flower Shop Lady

4x Pokémon Communication
3x Rare Candy

14x Fire Energy

Typhlosion / Magmortar is the only deck in the HS format that aims to win solely by decking out your opponent. Ninetales’ Roast Reveal and Sage’s Training allow you to put Fire Energy in the discard pile, setting up Typhlosion’s Afterburner to fuel Magmortar’s Top Burner attack. You’ll repeat this attack as each Magmortar goes down, aiming to deplete your opponent’s deck just before they can draw their sixth prize.

Magnezone/Pachirisu

🐣 Suitable for Beginners  🤡 Fun to Play

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Pokémon (18) Trainers / Supporters / Stadiums (19) Energy (23)
4x Magnemite
1x Magneton
4x Magnezone (Prime)
4x Pachirisu
2x Voltorb
2x Electrode
1x Cleffa
4x Pokémon Collector
4x Judge
3x Twins4x Rare Candy
4x Pokémon Communication
23x Lightning Energy

With 23 Lightning Energy, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to make use of Pachirisu’s Self Generation Poké-Power, fueling Magnezone’s Lost Burn attack. Electrode’s Energymite offers an additional way to get Lightning Energy in play, ensuring you don’t run out of Energy after unleashing a massive Lost Burn. Judge helps the deck remain disruptive as it delivers these blistering attacks, while Magnezone’s Magnetic Draw keeps this disruption one-sided.

Tip: Use Electrode’s Energymite to activate Twins.

Machamp/Donphan

🐣 Suitable for Beginners

machamp-deck-hgss.jpg

Pokémon (18) Trainers / Supporters / Stadiums (26) Energy (16)
4x Machop
4x Machoke
4x Machamp (Prime)
4x Phanpy
2x Donphan (Prime)
4x Pokémon Collector
4x Professor Oak’s New Theory
4x Professor Elm’s Training Method
3x Copycat4x Pokémon Communication
4x Pokémon Reversal
3x Pokégear
9x Fighting Energy
4x Double Colorless Energy
3x Rainbow Energy

You’ll want to Bench as many Pokémon as possible before attacking with Donphan’s Earthquake, maximizing the damage potential of Machamp’s Champ Buster. Once you’ve got Machamp going, you can use Fighting Tag to switch between them, keeping the damaged ones safe on the Bench.

Tip: Use Rainbow Energy to damage a Benched Pokémon, increasing Champ Buster’s damage.

Meganium/Roserade/Blissey

🤡 Fun to Play

meganium-deck-hgss.jpg

Pokémon (20) Trainers / Supporters / Stadiums (24) Energy (16)
3x Chikorita
3x Bayleef
3x Meganium (Prime)
2x Chansey
2x Blissey (Prime)
2x Roselia
2x Roserade
1x Cleffa
1x Smeargle
1x Celebi (Prime)
4x Pokémon Collector
4x Professor Oak’s New Theory
4x Professor Elm’s Training Method
1x Twins
1x Flower Shop Lady
1x Seeker4x Pokémon Communication
3x Pokégear
1x PlusPower
1x Switch
11x Grass Energy
4x Rainbow Energy
1x Double Colorless Energy

Meganium’s Leaf Trans lets you move your Grass and Rainbow Energy freely, allowing you to preserve all of it when healing your Pokémon with Blissey’s Blissful Nurse. Since you’re free to move your Energy as you please, you might as well take advantage of Roserade’s Energy Signal, leaving your opponent’s Active Pokémon confused—sometimes poisoned, too—before moving the Energy to your desired attacker.

Tip: Use Seeker to return Rainbow Energy to your hand, allowing you to re-use it for Roserade’s Energy Signal.

Typhlosion/Rayquaza & Deoxys-LEGEND

🏆 Top Deck  🐣 Suitable for Beginners

typhlosion-deck-hgss.jpg

Pokémon (19) Trainers / Supporters / Stadiums (23) Energy (18)
4x Cyndaquil
2x Quilava
4x Typhlosion (Prime)
2x Vulpix
2x Ninetales
2x Rayquaza & Deoxys-LEGEND (top)
2x Rayquaza & Deoxys-LEGEND (bottom)
1x Cleffa
2x Burned Tower

4x Pokémon Collector
4x Professor Elm’s Training Method
3x Sage’s Training
2x Flower Shop Lady

4x Pokémon Communication
4x Rare Candy

15x Fire Energy
3x Lightning Energy

Ninetales is the perfect partner for Typhlosion Prime, feeding the discard pile for Typhlosion’s Afterburner while simultaneously helping you draw through your deck. Though Typhlosion can be a solid attacker, you’ll want to keep it on the Bench, where it can safely power up Rayquaza & Deoxys-LEGEND. If your opponent can’t immediately one-hit KO this powerful Pokémon, you will quickly draw six prize cards!

Vileplume/Yanmega

🏆 Top Deck  🤹‍♂️ Difficult to Play

vileplume-deck-hgss.jpg

Pokémon (24) Trainers / Supporters / Stadiums (27) Energy (9)
4x Yanma
4x Yanmega (Prime)
3x Oddish
1x Gloom
2x Vileplume
1x Bellossom
2x Sunkern
2x Sunflora
2x Mew (Prime)
1x Cleffa
1x Aipom
1x Muk
4x Pokémon Collector
3x Copycat
3x Judge
3x Professor Oak’s New Theory
3x Sage’s Training
3x Twins4x Pokémon Communication
4x Rare Candy
5x Psychic Energy
3x Rescue Energy
1x Rainbow Energy

With Sunflora’s Sunshine Grace, you can continue to easily build attackers (typically Yanmega) through Vileplume’s Allergy Flower, while your opponent will likely struggle. After you’ve got Yanmega out, Sunshine Grace can assist Yanmega’s Insight, ensuring you keep the attacks coming. For added disruption, you can use Mew Prime to See Off Muk, then use Sludge Drag to strand Pokémon active.

Tip: If you ever catch your opponent with an active Magnezone Prime that has only one Energy attached to it, use Aipom’s Tail Code to strip away this Energy (and repeat if your opponent re-attaches). This will strand Magnezone active, allowing you to repeatedly attack your opponent’s Bench with Yanmega’s Linear Attack.

Yanmega/Magnezone

🏆 Top Deck  🌠 Iconic Deck

yanmega-magnezone-deck-hgss.jpg

Pokémon (19) Trainers / Supporters / Stadiums (28) Energy (13)
4x Yanma
4x Yanmega (Prime)
3x Magnemite
1x Magneton
3x Magnezone (Prime)
1x Horsea
1x Kingdra (Prime)
1x Cleffa
1x Tyrogue
4x Pokémon Collector
4x Professor Oak’s New Theory
3x Judge
3x Sage’s Training4x Rare Candy
4x Pokémon Communication
3x Junk Arm
2x Pokémon Reversal
1x Switch
11x Lightning Energy
2x Rainbow Energy

Magnezone’s Magnetic Draw keeps your hand full, making it easy to match hand sizes and activate Yanmega’s Insight. With Yanmega attacking for free, your Energy attachments can go towards preparing massive Lost Burn attacks from Magnezone to draw your final prize cards.

Tip: Use Kingdra’s Spray Splash to weaken your opponent’s Benched Pokémon, allowing Yanmega to score one-hit KOs with Linear Attack.

Yanmega/Weavile

🤡 Fun to Play

weavile-deck-hgss

Pokémon (20) Trainers / Supporters / Stadiums (31) Energy (9)
4x Yanma
4x Yanmega (Prime)
4x Sneasel
4x Weavile
2x Slowpoke
2x Slowking
4x Pokémon Collector
4x Judge
4x Professor Oak’s New Theory
3x Copycat
3x Professor Elm’s Training Method4x Pokémon Communication
4x Super Scoop Up
3x Junk Arm
2x Lost Remover
5x Grass Energy
3x Rescue Energy
1x Rainbow Energy

The lethal combination of Judge and Weavile’s Claw Snag will leave your opponent struggling to set up, while a useful blend of Trainers and Supporters allow you to easily match your opponent’s depleted hand size and activate Yanmega’s Insight. Once you’ve gotten your opponent in a bad spot, Slowking’s Second Sight can keep their best draws out of reach, ensuring an easy victory.

HS Rules

All retro formats have a few rules that are different from more recent formats. Below are the unique rules of the HS era that you’ll need to know to play the HS format:

  • The player who wins the opening coin flip plays first, and cannot play any Trainer, Supporter, or Stadium cards on their first turn.
  • Pokémon-LEGEND are considered Pokémon, but they are not Basic Pokémon, nor Evolved, regardless of whether they are in play or not. (You can retrieve half of a Pokémon-LEGEND with Pokémon Communication, but not with Pokémon Collector.) Since they are not Basic Pokémon, they cannot be played as one of your starting Pokémon during setup.
  • Trainers, Supporters, and Stadiums remain three separate types of cards, as they were during the Diamond & Pearl and Platinum sets. (This continued until Black & White, though Japan reverted back earlier at HeartGold SoulSilver.) As an example, Junk Arm, which allows a player to return a Trainer card from their discard pile to their hand, cannot be used to recover a Supporter or Stadium card.
  • Rare Candy can be used on a Basic Pokémon that was just put into play that turn, including a player’s first turn. (That is assuming they played second, of course, as remember that the player playing first cannot use any Trainer, Supporter or Stadium cards.)

Acquiring HS Cards

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One of the eight famous “Silhouette” Energy cards from the HGSS set

Cards from the HeartGold SoulSilver sets are among the least expensive in the game, with the exception being the cherished silhouette Basic Energy cards that players still use in decks to this day. Only cards that were reprinted and are now legal in Standard or Expanded are costly to obtain, but most Prime Pokémon can be purchased for less than the price of a booster pack.

While Call of Legends did contain some secret rare Pokémon, none of them are worth including in a deck, helping keep the cost of constructing decks down.

Black & White

black-white-booster-reshiramThe HeartGold SoulSilver sets mark the final chapter on Pokémon’s timeline before entering the Black & White sets that begin today’s Expanded format. Black & White continued in the direction of the HeartGold SoulSilver sets by simplifying more rules, while still creating fun and skill-based formats.


Diamond & Pearl/Platinum | HeartGold SoulSilver | Black & White