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Haymaker (TCG)

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Haymaker
HitmonchanBaseSet7.jpg
ElectabuzzBaseSet20.jpg
Hitmonchan and Electabuzz
Types used FightingLightningGrass
Major cards Hitmonchan, Electabuzz, Scyther
Era 1999-2001

The Haymaker deck archetype was a strong competitor in the early days of the Pokémon Trading Card Game. It was overused due to its ability to often win the game before the opponent could even get their strategy together.

Strategy

As one of the earliest deck archetypes, Haymaker took advantage of useful Trainer cards and Basic Pokémon from Base Set and Jungle to set up quickly and strike hard quickly. The classic trio of Pokémon in Haymaker decks include Hitmonchan, Electabuzz, and Scyther. All are Basic Pokémon with 70HP, allowing them to be played straight from the hand and soak up damage early in the game. All have good damage to Energy cost ratios, with Hitmonchan able to deal 20 damage for Fighting, and Electabuzz able to deal 10 damage and potentially inflict Paralysis for Lightning.

Trainer cards also factored heavily in Haymaker decks. Cards such as Bill, Professor Oak, and Computer Search allowed cards to be drawn and quickly populate the Bench. PlusPower gave extra power to attacks, while Energy Removal and Super Energy Removal could disrupt the opponent's strategy. Item Finder was also useful in recycling Trainer cards.

Key Cards

  • Hitmonchan - Hitmonchan could use its Jab attack on turn 1 for 20 damage. Its second attack, Special Punch, could deal 40 damage for three Energy.
  • Electabuzz - The ability to Paralyze with Thundershock on turn 1 allowed Electabuzz to set up for Thunderpunch on turn 2, with the possibility of dealing 40 damage.
  • Scyther - With the addition of Double Colorless Energy, Scyther could deal a consistent 30 damage from turn 2 with its Slash attack. In a deck using Grass Energy, players could set up a Slash attack dealing 60 damage on turn 2 by using Swords Dance on turn 1. It also featured a Retreat Cost of 0.
  • PlusPower - Provides an additional 10 damage to a Pokémon's attack. Coupled with a Scyther that used Swords Dance on a previous turn, this would allow it to deal 70 damage the following turn.
  • Energy Removal and Super Energy Removal - Allows the player to discard Energy from opposing Pokémon and thus slow them down.
  • Bill, Professor Oak, and Computer Search - Provides the deck's drawing support, and allows the player to quickly fill the Bench with Basic Pokémon, and get the Energy required for them quickly. The ability to search for any card in the player's deck with Computer Search is useful for planning ahead or reacting to changes in the game.
  • Gust of Wind - Gives the player field control by allowing them to choose what Pokémon their opponent has active.
  • Double Colorless Energy - A staple in many early decks due to its ability to provide two Energy at once. It is useful in setting up more powerful attacks, in this case Scyther, but also allows Hitmonchan and Electabuzz to Retreat quickly, if necessary.

Typical deck list

The deck list appearing below is not official, and being that this is merely an archetype, a player may wish to change any part of this deck when building his or her own version.

Quantity Card Type Rarity
Hitmonchan Fighting Rare Holo
Electabuzz Lightning Rare
Scyther Grass Rare Holo
PlusPower T Uncommon
Energy Removal T Common
Super Energy Removal T Rare
Gust of Wind T Common
Professor Oak T Uncommon
Bill T Common
Item Finder T Rare
Computer Search T Rare
Double Colorless Energy Colorless E Uncommon
10× Fighting Energy Fighting E
Lightning Energy Lightning E

Possible tech cards

The following cards are often used in Haymaker in place of certain cards included in the above list.

  • Mewtwo - A solid choice with 70HP and the ability to deal 40 damage for PsychicPsychicColorless. So long as there is Energy in the discard pile, its Energy Absorption attack allows Mewtwo to set up quickly allowing players to choose up to 2 Energy cards from there.
  • Magmar - Good for stalling the opponent with its Smokescreen attack and 70HP, while its stronger attack, Smog, provides the opportunity to Poison the opposing Pokémon.
  • Energy Search - Coupled with decks containing a few Grass Energy, this would allow the player to search for it and set up Scyther for a double-power Slash attack. Also potentially useful in finding Energy for Hitmonchan's Special Punch.
  • Lass - In a deck where any Trainer cards will be used up relatively quickly, Lass can be used to disrupt the opponent's strategy with little to no impact on the players'.

Restriction

The Haymaker deck, being comprised mostly of cards made in the first few sets of the TCG, was one of the first to be essentially, but not explicitly, banned from play as the cards were taken out of Pokémon Organized Play. Due to its loss, however, the TCG was allowed to grow, and new strategies were eventually able to take root.

Hitmonchan, Electabuzz, and Scyther were all reprinted as Retro cards in the Platinum expansion, allowing them to be played in the Modified format during the latter part of the 2008-2009 season, and throughout the 2009-2010 season.

Project TCG logo.png This article is part of Project TCG, a Bulbapedia project that aims to report on every aspect of the Pokémon Trading Card Game.