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.