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Recursive Scavenger (TCG)

The Recursive Scavenger Deck is a PsychicColorless type deck found in the Pokémon Trading Card Game Fossil Expansion Player's Guide. The deck is classified as one of the tournament winning decks, containing more rare cards and strategy than other easy-to-build decks.


CONCEPTS: The purpose of "Recursive Scavenger" is to beat your opponent by forcing them to run out of cards. Like all good stalling decks, "Recursive Scavenger" doesn't waste time with offensive Pokémon. Everything piled into this deck is designed to "deck" your opponent: From Wall Pokémon like Mr. Mime and Chansey to defensive Trainer cards like Scoop Up and Pokémon Center. Even the normally offensive Energy Removals are included as part of a defensive strategy. This deck can get a little boring to play at times because every successful game will go to the very end of each player's deck. Preferably the opponent reaches the end of their deck before you!

TIPS FOR PLAYING: The biggest combo in this deck is Slowpoke + Energy Removal. If you're able to get Gastly out in front early and receive plenty of Psychic energy in your draws, you should be able to play Energy Removal every single turn and completely stall your opponent without energy for attack. Play Energy Removal onto your opponent's active Pokémon, then use Slowpoke's Scavenge attack to retrieve the just-played Energy Removal card to your hand. You're all set for your next round of "attack"! Since your opponent is limited to only playing one energy card per turn, and this combo should allow you to play Energy Removal every turn, this can be a near guaranteed lock to stall your opponent out.

Gastly is included to make sure that your deck has plenty of energy cards to feed up Slowpoke's Scavenge attack. Use Gastly's Energy Conversion attack move when your relentless Energy Removal barrage has created a dead-spot in the game. Hopefully your opponent is without any energy cards in hand and is desperately drawing each turn looking for one. Keep restocking your hand with energy cards using Gastly until your opponent makes a move. Gastly may end up taking one for the team and fainting, but advance Slowpoke once again to keep the Energy Removal beat-down on.

Mr. Mime is included for its obvious stall benefits and not primarily for its attack Invisible Wall can literally shut down some bigger decks without a small enough attack move to get under the Wall. This is best played later in the game after your opponent has already evolved into monsters with large attacks. Also included to support the recursive Energy Removal theme are a few Recycle trainer cards and Scoop Ups. A lucky con flip and Recycle can yield the same result as Slowpoke's Scavenge; and Scoop Up will rescue a damaged Slowpoke, Chansey or Mr. Mime from action.

Impostor Professor Oak is included and best used in a stall deck when the opponent's has very few cards in hand. Since Impostor Oak does not require them to discard their existing hand (it requires them to shuffle their hand into their deck instead), you can only use Impostor Oak to best advantage if they are holding fewer than 7 cards. The next effect if played correctly should be a decrease to the size of their draw pile. You are giving your opponent card advantage here, but "Recursive Scavenger's" Energy Removal game control should make that advantage negligible.

PITFALLS: Mono-Psychic decks can give "Recursive Scavenger" the most problems. Slowpoke is the key monster in this deck and its weakness to Psychic can be a major thorn in your side. Even with playing Energy Removal every single turn, your opponent will always have at least one attack with one energy card available. Typically they will play one energy card onto their active Pokémon and attack. You definitely will be in position to get rid of that energy card on your following turn, but if their attacker is a Psychic Pokémon with an attack requiring only one energy, double damage can put Slowpoke in the discard pile pretty quickly. Make sure that you make use of your Pokémon Centers and Scoop Ups to limit the number of Prize cards your opponent is able to take.

Rain Dance decks, when played correctly, can hurt just about every other deck in existence (including "Recursive Scavenger"). Luckily, most Rain Dance decks lack small attack moves and tend to use up all their energy in a few key turns. Use Mr. Mime to front against anything in a Rain Dance deck (like Blastoise, Dewgong, Gyarados, etc.) that can't get under the Invisible Wall, and use Chansey to stall against the few monsters that have small attacks (like an underpowered Lapras or a Seel). This would be an opportune time to use Chansey's Double-edge to remove these dangerous attacks with "small" moves from the game, so that Mr. Mime can get back in and guarantee zero damage from the bigger opponents.

Deck list

Quantity Card Type Rarity
Gastly Psychic Uncommon
Slowpoke Psychic Uncommon
Chansey Colorless Rare
Mr. Mime Psychic Rare
Gambler T Common
Bill T Common
Computer Search T Rare
Impostor Professor Oak T Rare
Scoop Up T Rare
Recycle T Common
Pokémon Center T Uncommon
Energy Removal T Common
24× Psychic Energy Psychic E Common

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