Most decks run an opening Pokemon, something that you send up in the game's beginning to try and get an edge on setting up your Pokemon. There are a number of good ones that are useful for many decks and strategies. Let's take a look at all of the ones worth running. Call Energy (Majestic Dawn) Hold on! This isn't a Pokemon! But yet it is a key tool in setting up your Pokemon. So for those die-hard Pachi fans, this is why it's better: It isn't usless in late game. Call energy can still be used as a :colorless energy, but with Pachi, you need 4 slots just to do something T1. The other great thing about call Energy is how any Pokemon can use it. You can send up your active of choice, and still get your baiscs. Now what card would be great if you had loads of basics? Hmm... Phione (Majestic Dawn) Phione is going to be like Pachirisu all over again. It has a HUGE advantage when you use it to set up, you can search for evolutions of your benched Pokemon and play them! Wish for Evolution, the amazing attack, is pretty much the equivlent of Celio and Rare Candy. These gives a huge adge for speed based decks. And Call energy becomes the icing on the cake. The ability to grab basics T1, and then start evolving them T2 onward is so good. We'll see a lot of them in play. Chatot (Majestic Dawn) This another good Pokemon to run. Let's look at why: The big lure is it acts as a Copycat. Shufle away your hand, and get as many cards as your opponent has. Oh yes, for a free energy cost. That's what makes it great. You can use no energy to get the cards you need, then retreat Chatot. The best attack and the retreat are free! Chatter, with a [C][C] energy cost won't see much use. But it can still be usefull, because it prevents retreating. This is a great tactic if your opponent is also using an opener. Claydol (Great Encounters) It may not be your first choice of an opener, but it's still a great card. The GE baltoy can act as a Copycat, allowing you to get Claydol and needed cards quickly. But the ideal place to have Claydol is safe on the bench, where you can use its power. Cosmic power lets you get 6 cards, for discarding 1 or 2 cards. This is great for getting energy and speeding things up. Rotom (Majestic Dawn) Her's another early game energy loader. For no energy cost, you can put 2 energy from your discard pile on your Pokemon. It's good, but here are the things preventing it from seeing major use: A: it takes enegy from the discard pile, so it can't start working right away and B: 20+ dark weakness is worse than most openers. In the meantime, I'll stick with useing Celebi. Furret (Secret Wonders) This is a very good card for complex decks. Keen eye is another energyless attack, one that lets you search your deck for any two cards! This gives players a huge advantage, and makes Furret good in almost any deck. 90 HP is pretty good, but then again, you have to evolve Sentret to get Furret, which some :fighting: decks can take advantage of. It's a risky thing, needing to eolve just to use the opener. Thi makes it only worthwhile running if nothing eltse realy fits. Furret's second attack, baton pass is only a small bonus. Unlike cards such as the previously discussed Smeargle, Furret's keen eye is not the sort of attack that you only want to use once or twice. Baton pass' only real use is to move any energy you placed on Furret (for lack of a better candidate) to your other Pokemon, and to switch while doing damage. You should only place energy on Furret is no other Pokemon that need energy are in play. Stanler (Secret Wonders) Stanler is the best of the three trainer searchers. Lead, yet another free attack, is the same as Chingling's inviting bell (get a supporter). Frighten horn does 20 damage and confuses unevolved Pokemon, for two energies. Always useful. Sometimes you may want to use it turn two, just for the confuse. I say Stanler is the best of the supporter searchers because of the HP and weakness. Stanler has 70 HP and a +20 :fighting: weakness, the best of the three. But, all three can be disrupted by things like team Galactic's wager, and Absol. A well constructed deck that uses Chingling, Mawile or Stanler does not have as many supporters, to prevent a jam-up of "once a turn" cards. They rely more on non-supporter trainer cards. Pachirisu (Great Encounters) Pachirisu has always been an overhyped card. It gets basics, and can act as a windstorm. That's it. Call for family is the attack that actualy makes Pachi worth running. Call for family lets you get 3 Pokemon and put them on the bench. It can easily prevent a turn 2 loss. Smash shot is Pachi's other attack. It does 10 damage, but the effect is what makes Pachi worth having over a trainer (just barely). The attack does 30 more damage if the defending Pokemon has a Pokemon tool, discard the Pokemon tool, and your opponent must discard any copies of that tool that were in their hand! That absolutly ruins any Cessation Crystal based strategy. That makes Pachi a good addition to any deck that totaly relies on lots of Poke-Powers. The HUGE thing with Pachi you want to watch out for is that you don't leave it up once it's done it's job. You don't want to have Pachi up, doing 10 damage while your opponent either snipes or builds up the bench. Pachi is good to get another build going, like Claydol, which is a very popular Pokemon to run, because of how many cards it can get. I recomend that any deck running Pachi has one other opener, for a backup plan. And Pachi is now outdated. With call energy, you can get basics, but call energy isn't usless on T2. Tauros (Crystal Guardians) is an alternative, with simmular uses. It can fill the bench, has a lousy attack, but can get rid of stadiums. Mawile (Crystal Guardians) Mawile is like Chingling, only better. Minning, a one :colorless attack let's you search your deck for a trainer card . What gives it the edge over Chingling (although to be fair, different decks may work better with Chingling, though I don't think so), is the 60 HP, more than the short lived Chingling. The 2x :fire: weakness on this does mean that fire decks do have an edge. Bite off isn't really that good. You need a metal energy and a colourless to do only 20 damage (30 more to exs, but let's face it, no one really uses them anymore). Chingling (Mysterious Treasures) The only merit of Chingling is the free attack, inviting bell (search your deck for a supporter card). But Chingling's lousy 40 HP and +10 sychic: weakness means it won't be around long. The only reason you'd choose Chingling for it's roll is if the deck also runs Chimecho. Absol (Great Encounters) Absol is another Pokemon like Sableye, but more popular. It is used more as a destructive Pokemon than most openers. The first attack, baleful wind is what makes it so good. Baleful wind lets you discard a card from your opponent's hand (without looking). If you choose any type of trainer card, you may discard another one. Raid, the second attack, is just as good. For a cost of 1 :dark:, the attack does only 10 damage, but changes to 40 if you played Absol that turn! If the dark energy is a special energy, you can do 10 more damage. Absol has been popular in Gardilade decks lately, and some Blissey decks (though it porobably won't ever replace Weavile in Blissey decks). Sableye (Crystal Guardians) Sableye is more so a tech opener than the others we've discussed so far. Excavate, Sableye's powr:, lets you look at the top card of your deck, and either put it back or discard it. Always useful, but be sure to add an extra night maintenance (or if you're lucky, Time-Space distortion), because you may find yourself discarding what you'll need later to find what you need now. Disable is what makes Sableye an opening tech card, instead of a sit-on-the-bench-tech. Disable does what it says. For 1 energy you may pick one of the opponent's attacks, which they may not use during their next turn, and it does 10 damage. That can stop Pokemon with only one attack (or only one attack charged) from attacking at all! Lapras (Great Encounters) This card only really works in water decks. Carry in does the same as a Castaway, a supporter, a Pokemon tool and a basic energy, for an attack cost of 1 :water:. The second attack won't see much use, a water and colourless for only 20 damage. Smeargle (Secret Wonders) Smeargle is a good Pokemon, sometimes found in decks that gathers lots of energy. However, it is only consistant in some decks. Most decks that once ran it now use Claydol (GE). What makes Smeargle good? The first attack, color pick. For no energy cost, you can search your deck for up to 3 basic energy cards. This is useful for getting the energies. Trace, Smeargle's second attack, is good as well. For only 1 :colorless energy, you may flip a coin, if heads, choose one of your opponents benched Pokemon's attacks. This attack copies everything except the energy cost! So it's also good for after it's served it's original purpose (no names mentioned, Pachirisu). With 70 HP and only +10 :fighting: weakness, Smeargle will defiantly have time to use trace. The joy of trace is that the biggest advantage your opponent can get if you leave the opener up too long is they can win by sniping. But with trace, that means Smeargle has a 50% chance of sniping back, if there isn't a better move available. Holon's Castform (Holon Phantoms) Here's a card that hasn't seen much use lately. However, it is a must in an all/mostly delta species deck. Holon's Castform is very useful because it can be an opening Pokemon or an energy. As an energy, it counts as two of anything, but you must return an from the Pokemon that you attached HC to, and put the energy in your hand. When played as a Pokemon, HC is no use in decks that don't run delta Pokemon. It's attack lets you draw the same number of cards as the nuber of delta species Pokemon you have in play, which is very bad if you are forced to play it as a Pokemon (eg; only basic in hand), in decks that don't run delta Pokemon. Almost every single d deck uses them to some degree. Spinda (Secret Wonders) Dish out is Spinda's first move. For one colorless, you draw a card from the top and bottom of the deck. The second move is good, if you can take advantage of it. Syncro punch does 10 damage, and 30 more if Spinda and the defending Pokemon have the same type of energy.