Old School Pokémon Blackout Theme Deck
“Leave your rivals in the dark as you destroy their Energy with the fighting and Water Pokémon in the Blackout deck!”
The Blackout Theme Deck is another theme deck that doesn’t necessarily live up to its claims of stripping Energy from your opponent until you start to customize the deck. Straight out of the box, it’s more than competent, but you really want to make changes to it as soon as possible, swapping out the Fighting Pokémon for water types to focus your type advantage and get as much bang for your buck from the Energy that you have in play. The inclusion of Machop and Machoke might make you want to deviate towards including a Machamp for some raw power and the Pokémon Power, Strike Back, but doing so wouldn’t get quite the same results as the recommended replacements. But we’ll get to that soon enough; for now, let’s have a look at what’s included in the Blackout Theme Deck by default.
12 x Water Energy
3 x Staryu
4 x Squirtle
2 x Wartortle
16 x Fighting Energy
4 x Machop
2 x Machoke
3 x Onix
3 x Sandshrew
1 x Hitmonchan
2 x Farfetch’d
4 x Energy Removal
1 x Super Energy Removal
1 x Gust of Wind
1 x Pluspower
1 x Professor Oak
With the deck already having the potential to greatly frustrate your opponent, let’s have a look at which cards really stand out and shine in the Blackout:
Super Energy Removal – Super Energy Removal is a powerful card, requiring a little sacrifice on your own end in order to gain significant disruption on your opponent’s side. However, when played alongside a Pokémon like Base Set Blastoise, the loss of Energy Cards on your side isn’t much of a problem as long as you’ve got some in your hand. A simple and effective strategy, it will have your opponent milling through their energy cards at a 2:1 ratio when compared to yourself.
Hitmonchan – Hitmonchan has always been a reliable card of choice, with a high HP of 70 and packing the Jab, which does 20 damage for a single Fighting Energy, Hitmonchan is reliable in the early game for being able to outlast weaker low level Pokémon, but can also be built up on the bench to bring the Special Punch into play. When coupled with the 4 Energy Removal in the deck, it’s simple enough to prevent your opponent from striking back as you hammer them with repeated Special Punches for 40 damage a pop.
Wartortle – Wartortle is hardy, and like Hitmonchan, it can put out 40 damage for three Energy. However, where Wartortle’s true potential lies is in the ability to become the rightly feared Blastoise. This will rely on some deck customization of course, but even without Blastoise, Wartortle is still another 40 damage Pokémon with Bite and the ability to negate all incoming damage on a coin toss with Withdraw. Having been built up from Squirtle, it’s easy to underestimate Wartortle, but if luck is on your side, it’s arguably more useful than the above mentioned Hitmonchan.
According to the back of the Blackout box, “The goal of the Blackout deck is to eliminate your opponent’s Energy Cards so that his or her Pokémon are helpless, and then to defeat them with your own Pokémon. To Improve your deck, you’ll need to collect some more Pokémon cards! The deck’s Pokémon can be made more powerful by adding some more evolved pokémon (Starmie and Blastoise). The Energy Card destruction theme is supported by adding Dragonair and another Super Energy Removal.”
2 Fighting Energy
1 Gust of Wind
2 Water Energy
1 Super Energy Removal
When it comes to deck customization, I find myself wholly in agreement with the additions and removals mentioned above. Blastoise, in particular, brings some real flavor to this deck, as you watch your opponent bleed Energy Cards while you continue to stack up and build your Water Pokémon with Blastoise’s Rain Dance Pokémon Power. Hydro Pump shouldn’t be underestimated either, coming in at a flat 40 damage and being able to grow to 60 damage with the addition of two extra Water Energy. The inclusion of Dragonair is also a very good move. With four colorless Energy attached, it can perform the Hyper Beam attack. It only hits for a mere 20 damage, but it forces the opponent to discard an Energy Card every time they are hit. Couple this with the 4 Energy Removal and 1 Super Energy Removal in the Blackout Theme Deck by default, and you can easily deplete your opponent’s energy reserves with ease.
At the end of the day, the Blackout Theme Deck is in the middle of the road straight out of the box. It isn’t particularly powerful, but it does have the ability to ruin your opponent’s activations with crippling Energy depletion. Where it truly shines is in the customization stage, where you can truly double down on growing your own Energy reserves while destroying your opponents with every passing turn. A great deck for collectors thanks to the sealed holographic Hitmonchan, and a great deck for WOTC-era players because of its solid foundation, the Blackout Theme Deck is a classic.