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David Hochmann

Donphan - Hit and Run

What cards you can add to your Donphan deck before and after Phantom Forces.

11/11/2014 by David Hochmann

Hello 60card readers! In this article I will present the cards you can tech in a Donphan deck, how you can make your bad Match ups better and which advantages and problems there will be with Phantom Forces.

Donphan is a very strong card, it is a non ex Pokemon with the potential to 2HKO every Pokemon in the format, because of Strong Energy and Fighting Stadium. But that is not the reason why Donphan is that strong, the most important thing about the Donphan deck is the effect of Spinning Turn which switches your Donphan back to your bench. Well, this isn't that huge in the first place but the Pokemon you can put active after attacking are giving the deck it's kind of annoying character.

Table of Contents

1. Pokemon

2. Trainer

3. Phantom Forces Pros

4. Phantom Forces Cons

5. Conclusion

6. Expanded Format

The Pokemon


Donphan is a Stage 1 Pokemon which makes it slower than Basic Pokemon, but faster than Stage 2 Pokemon. Against Pyroar, the fact that Donphan is a Stage 1 Pokemon comes in handy, which gives Donphan an edge against thas deck. It's not just fast, because it is a Stage 1, the most important attack just needs 1 energy card, so you can easily charge it in 1 turn.
The attack switches Donphan with one of your benched Pokemon and deals 40 damage. This doesn't sound that strong, but it's not just Donphan itself that makes this deck so amazing, the deck gains its strength from some other additional cards, like Strong Energy, Fighting Stadium and the Pokemon you can switch your Donphan with.
I will explain these cards below.
In addition Donphan has a very nice second attack which can deal up to 180 damage, so you can win games with rushing or just finish the game with it.

Sigilyph and Suicune

With the Ability preventing all damage and effects of your opponent's Pokemon EX, Sigilyph and Suicune are very nice cards to put active. Especially against Virizion Genesect, these cards are extremely strong, because VirGen usually only runs Pokemon EX to attack with. Some VirGen decks have Raichu or rarely Beartic, but Raichu is weak to Donphan, so you should be able to get rid of it very easy and Beartic doesn't even OHKO Sigilyph and Suicune. Against the other decks, you can force your opponent to attack with a non EX Pokemon in a lot of situations, which often aren't able to KO them.
I can't say if Sigilyph or Suicune is better, the difference is that Suicune has one more retreat cost but 10 HP more. So when you whiff your Float Stone or switching card, you need to retreat for a DCE, while Sigilyph can use basic Fighting Energies as well. The +10 HP did make a difference some times, but not often enough for me to prefer Suicune. I saw some people running a single water energy to attack with Suicune, but I'd go for Sigilyph.

Outrage Dragons

While Sigilyph and Suicune block damage from your opponents Pokemon, the Outrage Dragons are just tanky, because they have 130HP, and when your opponent isn't able to OHKO them, you deal a nice damage for a DCE. In the first place these cards are for hitting your opponents Pokemon for weakness. With a Muscle Band attached to them you deal 40+ 10*(damage on the Pokemon) which means you can OHKO a Pokemon with 170 HP which is weak to you when you have 50 damage or more.
Let's take a look at the three Pokemon separately:


This is the most often played Outrage Dragon. Donphan is a Fighting Pokemon and Sigilyph uses an ability, so this deck has some Problems against Yveltal Garbodor. This is where Zekrom comes in play, which can OHKO Yveltal EX, but Yveltal EX needs a DCE, a Darkness Energy, a Muscle Band, a Hypnotoxic Laser and a Virbank City Gym to OHKO Zekrom. So your opponent won't have all of these cards every time you put Zekrom active. This can win you a turn or give you the possibility to OHKO Yveltal.


Reshiram is the less played Outrage Dragon, even though it's a fire type and can hit Virizion and Genesect for weakness. The reason why the most Donphan player decide to not run Rehiram is that Suicune and Sigilyph do a better job against VirGen. A lot VirGen started playing a Deoxys EX with Donphan becoming more and more popular, which makes it easy for them to OHKO your Reshiram. On the other hand, VirGen decks can just use Red Signal to KO something else, shoot 20 damage on Reshiram and KO it later with a Muscle Band.


Being a Water Type, it can hit Donphan and Landorus for weakness, which makes Kyurem being played some times. In the mirror match you can use it for knocking out Phanpys with a DCE and a Muscle Band or use Lysandre to get rid of the Donphans, when the Kyurem already got some damage. But there is another reason which Kyurem is very nice in the mirror match, because Donphan deals 40+20(for Muscle Band)+20(for Strong Energy)=80 damage which isn't enough to OHKO a Sigilyph, so Kyurem can help here often as well. Zekrom can't be used for that, because it is weak to Donphan.


Just like the Outrage Dragons it has 130 HP and it's a non EX Pokemon, which makes this card nice to have. But in addition to that it has a very cool ability, preventing your opponent from retreating his active Pokemon while Snorlax is active. This helps against one of the main problems Donphan has, you usually don't OHKO Pokemon and your opponent can just retreat them. Here is where Snorlax comes in play to prevent this.
But I personally don't run Snorlax, because you can't attack with it, you can only retreat it with a Float Stone (or 2 DCE, but you know no one would ever do this) and the ability doesn't help against Yveltal Garbodor.


To clear things up, this card is not played to put it active in the first place, but you can do so in some situations, because Hawlucha doesn't have any retreat cost. The reason why Hawlucha is played is because it can deal a huge amount of damage for just 1 energy. Against Pokemon EX it can deal up to 130 damage which is enough for the 2HKO pretty much every time. So you can use Hawlucha to get the damage you need for the second hit or you can rush your opponent when you don't have a Donphan in play.


Like I mentioned before, Yveltal is your worst enemy. Dedenne is a Lightning Pokemon which can deal a lot of damage for just one Energy card, so against Yveltal EX you deal 2*(30+20*opp. Energy) (30 because of Silver Bangle). To deal 170 damage your opponent needs to have 3 Energy cards attached to it. Even though you can't OHKO your opponents Yveltal EX (they usually attack with Y Cyclone most of the time) you can use Dedenne for the 2HKO. The first attack is nice as well, when you want to get Phanpys on your bench.


This card is very unpopular, because it is weak to Yveltal and it is a Stage 1 which costs additional space for the deck. Beside that it's a very nice card actually, you block your opponents Muscle Bands and Laser. It has Fighting resistance as well.


Just like Trevenant, this card didn't see a lot of play, because it's too difficult to set up, to fit in the deck, it's useless against Garbodor and Sigilyph does pretty much the same thing. I thought I should mention this, because it seems like a nice addition to deck, but it doesn’t really do his job.

Mewtwo EX and Seismitoad EX

These two mighty guys are playable in pretty much every deck which runs DCE and since Donphan is running DCE, you might think about playing one of these Pokemon. Mewtwo is actually much better than Seismitoad in this deck, because it can deal a lot of damage very easy and fast. Seismitoad can slow down your opponent, which is very nice in a lot of situations, but it's very rare that you can use it.

Landorus EX and Stunfisk

To explain why I mentioned these 2 Pokemon, let's take a look at the damage Spinning Turn deals.
40 (Base Damage)
20 or 30 (Muscle Band)
20 (Fighting Stadium)
20 (Strong Energy)
=100 or 110 maximum

Well, this is not exact true. In fact you can deal up to 170 damage with Spinning Turn, when you have 4 Strong Energy attached to you and against non EX Pokemon you can deal up to 140 damage with 4 Strong Energy. But this doesn't happens a lot of the time, because there is the risk of getting 'Lysandred'. Often you whiff the cards to deal additional damage, so at the beginning of the game you usually deal only 60 or 80 damage.

This is where Landorus and Stunfisk comes in play, they can snipe 30 or 20 damage to your opponents benched Pokemon (Fitghting Stadium got an errata). So when you attacked with Spinning turn 2 times, but only dealt 120 or 160 damage you still have the chance of Sniping it with these Pokemon. I used it most of the times to get some damage on non EX Pokemon, because I can't use Bangle or Fighting Stadium against them.

I tested Stunfisk and it was kinda cool, because it is a non EX Pokemon and you can attack with Rumble, but the fact that Landorus shoots 30 damage is the reason why I decided to run Landorus EX. Landorus can use Land's Judgment as well which is very nice.

Trainer Cards

Lysandre and Pokemon Catcher

Donphan needs to use Lysandre in order to get damaged Pokemon in the active spot again and knock them out. It's very useful to get some damage on your opponents hitter while your opponent charges them and you can get cards like Deoxys active to win a turn and knock them out.

Pokemon catcher does pretty much the same thing with a coin flip, but you can search it with Korrina or play it after using Juniper.


With Korrina being a very useful supporter card, you will find yourself in the situation that you just have the Korrina as a supporter in your hand. For this situations you should have the option to get a Bicycle out of your deck to draw some cards. Bicycle is a very strong card in the late game as well, when your opponent played N. Otherwise you can use the Bike to just draw some extra cards in the middle game after discarding some stuff through Ultra Ball.

Pal Pad

During this years World Championship I played Trevenant Accelgor without Dusknoir and was pedending on Lysandre as well. I runned 3 Lysandre, but had some problems with discarding it too often and I sometimes had not enough supporter cards in the late game, so I cuttet a Lysandre for a Pal Pad and it was extremely good. So I think Donphan is a very simalr deck and the Pal Pad should be considered here too. It can give you 2 Junipers back or the Lysandre you need depending on the situation and when you discard it in the early game it was as useless as the Lysandre would have been.

Silver Bangle and Muscle Band

Of course you need to add some damage to the 40 base damage Donphan does, but the question is if Muscle Band or Silver Bangle is more important. So let's take a look at some calcultaions:
40 (Base)
20 (Strong Energy or Fighting Stadium)
30 (Silver Bangle)
= 90
So with Silver Bangle instead of Muscle Band you deal 90 damage against Pokemon EX, but not 80 which is the perfect 2HKO. Against Yveltal EX you'll need the Fighting Stadium and Strong Energy for the 2HKO so you really want the Silver Bangle against your worst Match up. On the other hand against Yveltal non EX your Zekrom will get 30 damage which will be 100 damage with Silver Bangle, but 140 with Muscle Band.
There are a lot of situations actually where Muscle Band is better and a lot of situations where Silver Bangle is better so I just tried to fit 2 of each in my deck and it worked out very well. Depending on the meta game in you area more Silver Bangle would be better (with a lot of VirGen for example) and in a meta game with a lot of Donphan the Silver Bangle may not be the best way to go for. Nevertheless it is your choice, but I don't believe that you need more than 4 of these cards.

Float Stone, Switch and Escape Rope

Well, you switch Donphan to your bench every turn, so you have to retreat you active Pokemon a lot of times. To make this easy you need Float Stones, they can be used more often than Switches and you can attach them before you know which Pokemon you should retreat for. Your deck should definitely contain 3 or 4 Float Stone.

But of course Float Stones aren't perfect every time. Sometimes you have a Pokemon with an other Tool attached to it and you can't retreat it. You should never underestimate Laser Flips too. So you need at least 1 switching card, Switch is the better card in the most situation, because you want to get damage on your opponent's hitter. But against cards like Kyurem Nvi or against non EX Pokemon in VirGen the Escape Rope is very strong too, I really like having the option to use Rope and with Korrina you can always get the card of these 2 you need. For this reason I decided to run 1 Switch and 1 Escape Rope paired with 3 Float Stone.

Ultra Ball

Of course you need Ultra Ball in this deck, but it's interesting because you have Korrina which will get you most of the Pokemon most of the time. So in this deck you don't have to go for 4 Ultra Ball like you should in pretty much every other deck. Some very successful lists only played 2 Ultra Ball, but I like having 3. You should run 2 or 3. 4 is too much and 1 is not enough.

Sacred Ash

With Sacred Ash you can run a thin 3-3 Donphan line, because you have the option to shuffle them back. You can get important one off Pokemon back as well, for example Kyurem, Hawlucha or Landorus. With adding 1 Sacred Ash you can cutt some important things from a 2 off to a 1 off to get space for other important cards.

Computer Search or Dowsing Machine

This is a though question. Computer Search gives you a lot of consistency in the early and the middle game, but Dowsing Machine can let you use important resources like Lysandre, switching cards or Tools multiple times. With Korrina being one of your most important supporter, I always went for Computer Search, because you can get Strong Energy, DCEs and Supporter with it.

Here is my List:

I decided to not run more than 2 theoretical Lysandre, but I have Landorus EX.

Changes with Phantom Forces

Phantom Forces contains some nice cards which can be played in a Donphan deck, but it also gets some Problems.



This guy blocks Abilities, which will be useful against cards like Genesect EX or Celebi EX. In general it might help you in a lot of situations, the new Pyroar might become annoying as well and cards like Keldeo EX won't do anything against Wobuffet too. It has nice 110 HP and 2 retreat cost, which let you use a DCE when you whiffed the switching card.

Robo Substitute

A very strong card to put active, your opponent won't draw a prize and you can “retreat” it every time. I thought about running a deck like 4 of them to put active, this could be very strong.

VS Seeker

Pal Pad is so weak compared to VS Seeker. This card gets you 1 supporter from your discard pile back, which allows you to use theoretical 4 Lysandre, 8 Juniper and you have a wide spread pool of supporter cards you run as a 1 off. I think there are 2 ways to use this card, one of them is just running 2 VS Seeker of the extra supporter, but I would go for 4 VS Seeker 1 Battle Compressor and a Jirachi EX, to always have the supporter cards I need.

Lysandre's Trump Card

When I saw this card at the first time I wasn't sure what I should think about it, the games aren't long enough to build a deck around this card, and you usually have enough resources too. But Lysandre's Trump Card is a great way to get your Strong Energies and Substitute Robots back.

Battle Compressor

In pretty much every Match up there are these cards you will not ever use.

Battle Compressor lets you discard 3 cards from your deck, so you can discard cards like Sigilyph against Donphan, multiple Fighting Stadiums against VirGen and you will always find some cards you don't really need, which makes this card a very nice 1 off in my opinion. You can get your Supporter in the Discard Pile for using VS Seeker too.

Aegisalsh EX

Not to attack with, but Aegislash won't get any damage from Pokemon with a special Energy attached to them, which will help against Donphan, Night March and some other decks. I don't believe this card will become a staple in this deck, but It may be a nice Meta Call.


The fact that Head Ringer and Jamming Net won't do anything against you should not be unmentioned as well.
Cards like Mega Manectric are very dangerous, sou you will have a good Match Up, while Yveltal maybe will see less play with this card in the format.


Not everything in Phantom Forces went that good for Donphan here are the things you should fear the most.

Enhanced Hammer

Yeah, the E Hammer is back and Donphan will really struggle with this card, because it can just kill your DCEs and Strong Energys out of nothing. This is very annoying, but you only need 1 energy to attack with, so it shouldn't be a huge Problem. The most decks can only fit 2 E Hammer anyways so that it isn't going to stop you completely.

VS Seeker

With VS Seeker it's easier to get multiple Lysandre in 1 game, so it's easier to KO your Donphan for your opponent too, which is not what you want your opponent to do.

Night Marcher

The Donphan deck is trading non EX Pokemon for Pokemon EX, but Gourgeist with Celebi is way too strong for you to handle with. It can just bypass Wobuffet by using VS Seeker for Lysandre.

The Speed version of that deck with Mew should be easier to beat, but still it's very strong and can use Pumpkaboo and Joltic to trade non EX for non EX. There is no real tech you can use against this kind of deck, Lysandre's Trump Card won't stop them, because they only need like 1 or 2 rounds to get all the Pokemon in the Discard Pile again.

Aegislash EX

You can't use Strong Energy against that guy, and it deals tons of damage. With Lysandre for your Donphan you will struggle to keep up against it. I would definitely run a Professor's Letter with the new format to get your basic Fighting Energies consistent. But Hawlucha might make this favorable, because it can hit 100 damage without the Strong Energy.


Donphan will still be playable with the next Format, but you will have to build different kind of lists. With VS Seeker making it easier to Knock out your Donphan, you maybe have to make the deck faster and not run that many Pokemon to put active.

This is how I would play Donphan for the upcoming Regional and City Championships:

In the Expanded Format

I don't really believe this deck will be any good in Expanded format. Yveltal gets Dark Patch back, Nigh March gets Revive, and Plasma gets Prism Energy back. Pretty much every deck is faster or has more options in Expanded, but Donphan doesn't really seem to be better in Expanded.


I hope you could get some information or new ideas from my article. I would like you to give me feedback what I did good or what i can do better in the future.Thanks for reading and 'til the next time.

David "OverPowered" Hochmann

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