Tech of the Week: Potion

Welcome back to Tech of the Week! Each week we’ll be looking at at interesting cards that may be effective in the current metagame. If you missed last week’s TotW, I covered both Drifblim from Plasma Blast and Dragons Exalted.

For this week’s segment, we’ll be taking a look at a card that’s been around since Base Set, Potion.


Of course, back in the day, Potion removed only two damage counters. When Black & White was released, the card was changed to remove three damage counters instead. (Clearly they had to make it remove extra damage to keep up with the power creep!) Before the change, Potion was seen rarely in competitive play, but some people were crazy enough to use it. After the change, we saw it featured in more decks, particularly in the 2012 World Championships to heal off damage from Darkrai EX’s Night Spear. However, the card saw very little play in the 2012-13 season.

Right now it seems like there’s an opportunity for Potion to see play once again. Currently the metagame has shifted away from the big one-hit KOs and back towards setting up damage for later KOs. In particular, Darkrai EX’s popularity has opened the door for our most basic Item card to make a comeback. If you think about it, Night Spear is an attack that won’t take down many Pokémon in one hit. Instead, it aims to take down multiple at once, using the 30 damage to the bench to its maximum potential. Often times it relies on perfect math to do so. For example, a scenario we see often is a Night Spear that deals 30 damage to a Thundurus EX. Then, a Dark Claw, Virbank City Gym, and Hypnotoxic Laser will add up to a 140 damage Night Spear, finishing off the Thundurus. What if you removed that 30 damage? Now your Thundurus survives!

If Darkrai were the only deck going for two-hit KOs, this may be reason alone to run Potion. After the Klaczynski Open, Darkrai/Garbodor has shown itself to be one of, if not the strongest deck right now. But other decks also function similarly. Plasma decks often rely on small damage to set up for later KOs, whether it’s through Thundurus EX’s Raiden Knuckle or Kyurem’s Frost Spear. Virizion/Genesect does the same, doing small damage with Virizion EX’s Emerald Slash or the bench damage from Genesect EX’s Megalo Cannon. Even residual damage from Hypnotoxic Laser can end up being the difference between a Pokémon surviving and being Knocked Out.

On the other hand, if Blastoise decks are popular, a card like Potion becomes almost worthless. Since they focus on OHKOs with Keldeo EX and Black Kyurem EX, you’ll never have a chance to heal damage off in the first place. If the metagame shifts back towards those kinds of decks, then Potion isn’t worth playing. But that’s what makes it a tech card. In certain cases, it can win you the game. In others, you’ll be wondering why it’s in your deck.

Of course, the alternative (and more popular choice) is Max Potion. The obvious advantage is that you remove all damage, not just 30. But the drawback is you have to discard all of your Energy! Sometimes you just can’t afford that. If you’re playing a deck that can replenish Energy quickly, perhaps Max Potion is the way to go. Otherwise, Potion may be better! It all depends on the deck you’re using.

So is Potion worth the space in your deck? A lot of the time, the game is decided by just 10 damage. If you can deny your opponent just one KO, that can be the difference between winning and losing. Certainly Potion isn’t the best card ever, but it can do just enough to alter the outcome of a game. Let me know down in the comments what you think! Thanks for reading.

17 responses to “Tech of the Week: Potion”

  1. daniel lynch

    i think it has potential but i think audino is better becasue it’s like you said you just need to heal 10 damage to mess up the math for your opponent

    1. riot

      You can’t open up with Potion tho.

      1. vLEWISx

        Hip bump?

  2. FlareStarfire

    A thought regarding this concept; 10 damage can and does swing a game at times. It makes me wonder if Champion’s Festival then is as “bad” as we thought; it acts as both a counter gym and will consistently tick down the 20s and 30s left over from attacks if you fill up your bench. Granted that leaves you open to Absol, but Absol can be traded with since it only has 100 HP….

    I think this is a very valid concept and will catch a few wins for the saavy.

    1. Kyle Sucevich

      I actually don’t think Champions Festival is bad in the right circumstances. However, it is not easily accessible for most players, so I chose to cover Potion instead. I think just about everyone has a Potion or 30 sitting around.

      1. FlareStarfire

        Very true. Either way, thanks for the tips. :)

      2. skyshaymin49

        or 40… or 50… etc.

  3. Carl Scheu

    brings back some good memories of nats :) actually me and my group actually called my nats deck potion.dec b/c that’s all I ever did lol 😛

  4. Martin Payne

    This is interesting even though I believe Max Potion is better most of the time. That being said since Darkrai lost Energy Switch Max Potion is almost totally useless in Darkrai decks (it used to be fantastic in states format to combat Landorus snipe damage while being able to move off 1 or 2 energy to power up another Dakrai while completely healing another) regular Potion may have some utility.

  5. C-Dub

    The problem with potion though is that its still just not justifiable to include as a card in a 60 card deck. Its not a bad card and it certainly can help in the right situations, but overall it just isn’t worth it. You’re better off using that space for a card that will help out in much more situations.

    Why use a few slots to heal off 30 when broken laserbank is wreaking havoc on your HP for that same amount IN BETWEEN turns. I liked your logic back before plasma storm was out because you didn’t have this or black kyurem hitting for 200. Perhaps when a few of these overpowered cards are out of the format, potion will show up in decks again because it can be strategically used.

    1. owilson2

      your calling a card bad just because of laserbank? potion is great for messing with the math just to keep you alive another turn. i ran 2 in the list i won new england regionals with and that was when laserbank was at its height in popularity.

      1. C-Dub

        I am indeed calling it bad because of another broken card. I’m not saying that it can’t be good in the right situation….but there are other cards than those two out of your 60 in the deck that could have probably done you more good. Potion was played in some decks (along with gold potion) before plasma storm came out……so what happened? If you’re trying to tell me that its drop in usage isn’t because of laserbank and other big hitters…then tell me why nobody plays it? I haven’t seen a solid list for any top tier deck using. Why? Because people realize that healing 30 does such a minimal amount compared to the value of other cards that can be in your deck.

        1. Kyle Sucevich

          Well, the reason Potion would be come viable again is that the cards that made it weak are starting to become less popular. With the focus shifting back to small damage to set up for KOs (Night Spear, Frost Spear, Megalo Cannon), you have opportunities to mess up your opponent’s math.

        2. vLEWISx

          Laserbank has nothing to do with potions being bad, in fact it gives you more reasons to run it. Btw his post clearly has nothing to do with these other big hitters you’re talking about. True these big hitters are the reason why potion saw so much less play but now we have DarkGarb and Virizion/Genesect which will hurt Blastoise’s popularity. Sure it will still be around but there will be less so the only deck that really is going for 200 is Virizion/Genesect and they need the ace spec to do so. Now there are more decks going for 2hkos on EXs, potion will mess up their math.

          1. C-Dub

            I completely disagree with laserbank having nothing to do with potions being bad. I do agree with what you and kyle are saying about the game shifting back to smaller damage and 2 hit KO’s to set up plays.

          2. vLEWISx

            Fair enough, but this is how I see it. Your opponent drops laser and virbank to set up for a KO on your pokemon. You drop a potion and heal all that 30 damage off and you Rush in/retreat or switch/retreat or whatever. Then you attack with your pokemon, which will survive that extra turn.

          3. C-Dub

            Because I have a keldeo with float stone/switch at all times? Ok. If only it worked so perfectly like you just described would potion be a wonderful card to have in a situation like this. But more times than not, the 30 dmg in between turns adds up so much that using 1/60th of your deck to heal 30 just has a minimal impact in the game. Potion truly is a much better card when you arn’t going up against laserbank and you are disrupting their math that they are doing with night spears/frost spears, ect..