The Searching Shiitake – Shiinotic in Standard

So, some of you on PokeBeach may know that I adore the topic of this article. I honestly feel like Shiinotic from the new Sun and Moon Base Set is one of the coolest things to come to us in a long time because of the timing that TPCi decided to produce the card. If it was created during a format without Forest of Giant Plants and Vileplume, which we will be talking heavily about both of those cards today, I don’t think I would have looked at Shiinotic a second time. Because we are in a Format with a bunch of extremely good Stage 2 Grass Types, however, I feel like I really should take the time to voice my opinion about just how amazing Shiinotic is for these kinds of strategies. I have decided to pick a whopping four different Stage 2 Lines to talk about as well as a few extra cards that I feel are, at a minimum, decent for any of these potential decks. So, let’s get in to this whole thing!

First, I will be nice enough to post the important part about Shiinotic and why he is so good right now:

Ability: Illuminate

Once during your turn (before you attack), you may search your deck for a [G] Pokemon, and put it into your hand. Then, shuffle your deck.

Yup. This is it. This is what makes Shiinotic so great. Try not to be overwhelmed by its complicated text, for it may destroy your cognitive functions. Jokes aside, this allows Shiinotic to be a Grass Pokemon searcher every single turn Per Shiinotic. If any of you remember the old FluffyChomp deck back in the Black and White Meta, you’ll know that this is simply the Grass version of Gabite DRX. The main difference to note is that Gabite was part of the Garchomp line, but was also an extremely important tool to the deck, since he could also search for Altaria DRX. Shiinotic, while the final form of its line, does the exact same thing. So why is it so special in comparison?

Dragons don’t have a Forest of Giant Plants-esque Stadium.

This sole reason this is so important to note because this means any Stage Pokemon you search can immediately Evolve with Forest of Giant Plants out (I’ll be using the abbreviation ‘FoGP’ from this point out). Because of that, we can start looking at multiple combos and shenanigans that can make life very, very difficult for our Opponents.

Now, let’s look at some of the wonderful Stage 2 Lines we can abuse with Shiinotic itself.

1. Vileplume AOR
This was literally the first thing I thought of when I looked at Shiinotic. Vileplume Item Lock is already a thing in Pokemon TCG and all Shiinotic does is make it much more consistent (as if that’s a bad thing). Shiinotic also does something that the deck could not do before: Easily set up another Vileplume during the Item Lock. This is something I feel is going to be game-changing in the upcoming months simply because with FoGP, you can almost consistently Turn 1 Vileplume and then proceed to gather piece after piece after piece while your Opponent is stuck attempting to scale or play aggressively. If you think about it, it’s like playing FluffyChomp, but instead of Energy Locking someone, you’re being a giant bully. The other major thing to note is that because this can consistently play out, running scaling cards like Lugia EX or Tauros GX becomes very, very easy. After all, Shiinotic and Vileplume have no real need for Energy, so you can simply tech whatever you want. If you really desire, you can even play it in the already established Wall deck with Glaceon and Jolteon (or Regice if you prefer to stay in one Energy type) and simply lock your Opponent faster than before.

Granted, the strategy is not without its flaws. First and foremost, if you fail to obtain the Item Lock quickly (though, that really should not be an issue), Garbodor still shuts you down very hard. Secondly, and in my honest opinion much more likely, Hex Maniac can prove to be a major problem. After all, the Crazy Cat Lady simply does not care about Mushrooms (even if she does look like she’s on them) and can proceed to stop Shiinotic from doing anything on your next turn as well, which is quite the pain. Luckily, she takes a Supporter slot for that turn, which is good for you. Finally, keep in mind that Shiinotic, much like Vileplume, has an awful Retreat Cost. This means Lysandre is going to slap you around a few times if you are not careful. Still, the answer can be solved with an early Float Stone if you desire to run them or Olympia, who is a very good Supporter in my opinion.

2. Yanmega BREAK
Everyone loves the Bug and Shiinotic only makes it better. Yanmega BREAK has a history of either hitting extremely hard quickly, bricking, or setting up just to get stomped by Garbodor. Since we can’t do much to GraboLock as a general rule, we get the next best thing: More consistency. That’s what Shiinotic provides for this deck (and any of the mentioned strategies), but for Yanmega BREAK, it is extremely important. Being able to play things like Judge and still consistently set up Yanmega BREAK lines is absolutely insane to me and honestly makes me feel like this could be the Aggressive Deck of the Format (next to Golduck BREAK). Need a Yanmega? Shiinotic has you covered. Want to tech in Virizion as a Revenge Killer? Shiinotic can go find it. Got hit by a painful N? No problem because Shiinotic can get you back up to par while also thinning your deck. Need a Forest of Giant Plants? Play Trainers’ Mail or Skyla. Sorry, Shiinotic doesn’t do Trainer Cards.

Still, I feel that consistency adds a natual element of speed to decks, which is what makes Shiinotic so good as a partner to Yanmega BREAK. It’s nice enough that you already attack for free and then to be able to essentially loop your Bugs over and over via Search and things like Brock’s Grit seems really good to me. That said, with Garbodor/Hex Maniac being a thing, it could turn out to not be as good as intended. Then again, those two cards shut down a lot, anyway.

3. Lurantis GX

Note: Lurantis GX is a Stage 1, not a Stage 2.

Yeah, This was going to be a topic. As we know, Lurantis GX hits like a train. Flower Supply is insanely good for a single Grass Energy, it can heal itself and do 120 damage, and its GX attack is scaling on steroids. So, how do you make this any better? Make it so that you consistently have Lurantis lines on the board, of course! This is probably my second favorite card to talk about when it comes to Shiinotic pairings (the first is obviously Vileplume) because this is the one I feel is going to be the most prominent when it comes to the Meta. You can immediately set up Lurantis with FoGP, search for it via Ultra Ball/Shiinotic, accelerate it with its own attack, then smack someone in the face and laugh at them as they struggle to do anything. Plus, it’s not nearly as vulnerable to Garbodor as the other strategies previously mentioned are. In my opinion, that’s what makes it the most competitive. Well, that and its ability to be self-sustaining. That might be something I should note. Maybe.

So then, if GarboLock isn’t a true weakness, what is? Well, the deck still has problems with Weakness damage. I feel like Incineroar GX and/or Volcanion EX are still going to be things and unless people decide to play my Primarina GX idea out (please do), that may be another major contender this Meta. Also, while Lurantis GX is really good at setting itself up, it still needs to set up. Still, with Shiinotic helping with consistency, that does make the problem smaller. Finally, if you really think about it, its GX attack only needs 5 Grass Energy to Knock Out everything in the game (glad Wailord EX is weak to Grass or this would not be the case) and since it can accelerate Grass Energy on to itself, this is not an impossible task. Still, with the way the Meta likes to shift, we will see if faster decks can overwhelm this strategy. That said, if you are looking to play a Competitive Grass Deck, I would highly recommend this as your starting base.

4. Decidueye GX
I figured I would mention this because I know someone, somewhere, would complain to me if I did not. This plays out along the same lines as Yanmega BREAK in the sense that Shiinotic sets it up, it does really nice things, and you proceed to hope that they aren’t going to GarboLock you. The major difference, however, is that Decidueye does a lot of its damage via its Ability, which is essentially a Sniper. The best thing about Shiinotic being a partner for Decidueye GX specifically is the fact that you are able to set up multiple Decidueyes, meaning you are able to put multiple amounts of extra damage on to your Opponent’s Pokemon. This is very good when it comes to playing against aggressive, Non-EX decks that need to take time to Evolve. That said, Decidueye itself doesn’t exactly hit for the best damage in the world. One would have to keep this in mind when playing this kind of strategy because you really do have to rely more or less on the abilities of your Pokemon to carry you, which is not necessarily the smartest way to go about the game. Still, it is not to say that Decidueye GX is not good nor that it doesn’t have a place. In Expanded, for example, I feel that the Owl is a great partner with Exeggutor PLS. Being able to stop Supporters while doing extra damage and searching for everything via Shiinotic sounds like a fun time to me. Also, Decidueye has a pretty decent GX move, being able to grab 3 of any card from your Discard Pile to your hand. I am almost certain someone could find a strategy that uses that as at least a secondary strategy, maybe with Hammers or something. Still, for now, the Meta is young and hip and so we will see if this Bird can soar.

Now, there are a couple cards I want to mention that are Non-Line oriented that I feel Shiinotic partners with very well. The first is Trevenant EX. With the Format changing, the addition of Nest Ball, and the addition of Shiinotic, I feel like Trevenant EX can be an extremely good attacker in something like the previously mentioned Decidueye GX deck. After all, if you scale Trevenant, start placing residual damage on to your Opponent’s Pokemon with Decidueye, then continously search things out with Shiinotic, you eventually get to a point where Trevenant Knocks Out everything in one shot. This is very good, especially if you are able to catch an early momentum shift, in which case it could simply spell out “Game Over” for your opponent. Plus, Trevenant has a really cool attack that stops your Opponent’s Active Pokemon from Retreating, kind of like Ninetales EVO. This is great because there are times that you can simply Lysandre something and use it over and over until your Opponent decks out (I’ve been known for doing this with Lysandre).
The other card I would like to mention is Virizion AOR. I did mention the Deer earlier, but I wanted to emphasize that it is one of the best (and only) options Grass Decks currently have to Basic Grass Pokemon. Granted, while Virizion is pretty average initially, it does act as a great Revenge Killer in certain situations (I.E. Shiinotic was Lysandre’d). Being able to hit for 120 damage off of only two Grass Energy is quite nice. Finally, its first attack allows you to add two Pokemon from your Discard Pile to your hand, which is noteworthy in itself.

Well folks, that’s about all I can think of right now when it comes to the Shroom. I honestly feel that the card is going to make a strong impact when it comes to the Meta, at least in some regards. I am also sure that there are more strategies to discuss, but I will leave that for another time. Thank you all for reading this and I hope you enjoyed this article!

Take care everyone and always remember to keep the High Tide on the Flipside!

…also, the Falcons blew it. I’m still not happy about that. :l

-Asmer

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