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Creative Concepts: Spiritomb/Ribombee Control

Welcome to our first edition of Creative Concepts! These articles will be looking at decks that take creative combinations of cards and bring them together to form a potentially powerful deck. We discussed back in our Durant card spotlight how many people seemed to be not running as many cards that switched out their Pokemon. Included in this, we also noted how there were even fewer that played Switch, Tate & Liza, or Escape Rope. Talking to @LegallySarcastic and @LTDastrup on Twitter, I was presented with an incredible concept to abuse just this: Spiritomb and Ribombee control. How would this deck work? To discuss it, we need to take a look at the two main Pokemon used in the deck.

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First there is Spiritomb. As long as it is in the active, thanks to its ability Cursed Whirlpool, your opponent won't be able to retreat their Pokemon. There's plenty of ways to get around this however; everyone runs Guzma right? What if we made Guzma completely irrelevant? Ribombee's ability Mysterious Buzz makes it so Fairy Types (including itself) are unaffected by Supporter Cards. With a Spiritomb in the active and Ribombee only on the bench, Guzma can't do a thing. It can't switch out your Pokemon so they can't switch out their own. 

Of course there's other options right? We already mentioned how Switch, Tate and Liza, and Escape Rope are barely seen in decks. From our statistical analysis of day two decks in events, about 90% or more of most decks will only run a single copy of one of these cards in their deck. So, as long as you take the opponent and get out a Pokemon that can't attack in their deck at all, or has to charge up energy too much to attack, the opponent may only take a single prize the entire game. If they do, Ribombee has free retreat, simply play another Spiritomb and lock the opponent again.

There are other cards to consider that do have the ability to switch Pokemon, so let's give them some consideration.

  • Warp Energy SLG 70Custom Catcher: Currently we could barely find any decks that used it. There also has to be two copies in the opponent's hand at the same time to make this work, and once they're used they are gone. Not likely an issue.
  • Repel: When was the last time you saw a deck running Repel? Exactly.
  • Pokemon Catcher: It was also difficult to find decks other than budget decks that used this card. It also relies on a coin toss. Another card we likely don't need to worry much about.
  • Counter Catcher: Your deck takes no prizes, so this means nothing.
  • Switch Raft: In the incredible chance you ever saw this card it could get you. The chances of that happen though are astronomically low.
  • Acerola: Would work if the opponent could damage themselves as you wont be doing damage. If they have a way to reasonably do this, they could force switches. Not a huge issue.
  • Super Scoop Up: Another card we couldn't really find people using. It also takes a coin flip, so it's not reliable.
  • Warp Energy: When was the last deck you saw running Warp Energy? Was it our Hunter's Condition or Hazard Heaven? The main point here is that this isn't a card decks run outside of very special situations. 

That covers everything right? WRONG! We still have a LOT of Pokemon abilities! We are nothing but thorough so these can't be skipped. However we're going to do these differently. We're going to mention these all from giving you the least problems to the most problems. Let's get started because this is another long list!

  • Volcarona SLG 13Salamence CES 106: These are used in no meta decks, so you won't likely even need to worry. It also needs to be in the active, and you have many tools to stop that. 
  • Volcarona SLG 13: It's the same as Salamence in terms of not getting use. If someone did have it, the gusting ability would be worth noticing at least, and could be a problem.
  • Articuno-GX: This card can force a switch, but it's unlikely the opponent will have enough energy to really use it with all the tools you have to remove them.
  • Volcanion Prism Star: This one does show up in water decks, and it could be a pain for you. Still, you're removing energies from the opponent and even possibly from their hand. If they use them all to make you switch, they wont have enough to attack.
  • Lycanroc-GX: This one is still somewhat common and you'll have to watch out for it. It could cause legitimate issues, but remember: they only have so many to use before they run out of bench space.
  • Slaking CES 115: This card shuts down your entire strategy. Of course, unless they attack WITH the Slaking you're still doing okay, they'll only have so many switching options to other Pokemon for attacking otherwise and you can try to shut those down.
  • Decidueye-GX: If the opponent can get these set up on the bench, you'll be losing too many prizes to hold them down, and there's no real way to stop them.
  • Alolan Muk SUM 58: This one shuts the deck down HARD and unfortunately it's a lot more common thanks to Ditto Prism Star. It's got an ability, so there's no real way to shut it off. At this point you gotta just try and deny the opponent hard.

So now you know all the advantages, as well as the potential counters. What's the main strategy? It's simple; get a Pokemon in the active that can't attack easily (or at all, many deck have these) and then wait patiently! They likely lack the switching power to kill you more than once, so they slowly lose. That's it! In case you manage the trap incredibly early, we have Unown LOT 91 to win the day. Other than that, don't let the opponent breathe. Take their energy until they cry, move it to Pokemon that can't use it, do whatever you have to do. But enough talking about the ideas of this deck, let's finally show you our build!

A few notes for why we included some specific cards in the deck. Gladion is there to maybe grab the Unown if needed. Sky Pillar is there to try and help stop some spread damage shenanigans when they can manage them fast with a Double Colorless Energy attached as none of your Pokemon have high HP. We also have Eneporter which isn't that common, but can help avoid the same things at times, moving the Energy attached to a Pokemon that can't attack as it can't get onto the field. We also have Peeking Red Card which can be a very underatted hand disruption tool. You may be able to use it to get rid of the opponent's hand, or have a perfect idea of what is coming to deal with it. 

Now it's time to hear what you think! Does this creative concept have a chance to get some serious victories? Let us know in the comments below or tell me over on Twitter @LiteralGrill. Another special thanks to @LegallySarcastic and @LTDastrup for coming up with the concept and explaining it to me in general. Now as always, until next time stay lit trainers!

- Linnea 'LiteralGrill' Capps

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