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In an effort to explore the Pokemon TCG community, “Social Saturdays” strives to better explain or understand important aspects of the community's player base.


(Chansey's reaction upon seeing the entry for "Full Throttle")

SOCIAL SATURDAYS: ENCYCLOPEDIA HTANICA, Volume I

About Encyclopedia HTanica

There are certain terms and abbreviations in the Pokemon TCG community that are common knowledge. However,  to many newer players these are as good as an indecipherable foreign language. In this inaugural edition of Social Saturdays, we'll be defining some of those commonly used terms and abbreviations which define the "lingo" of Pokemon TCG. With very limited exception, we are avoiding placing player or card names as individual entries.

Encyclopedia HTanica is far from complete! Since this is a Patriarch-authored entry, we'll be hearing and evaluating future suggestions for terms that should be included in a future edition. So feel free to discuss on the boards or just message me.

THE LIST


6P: Short for SixPrizes, a competitive Pokemon TCG website focused primarily on premium subscriber content. Has a separate scans website called pkmncards.com.

Bad Deck Monday: a weekly stream/YouTube segment run by The Top Cut (see below) featuring a strange or unusual deck concept.

Battle Roads: Small local tournaments initially worth significant points, but scaled down over time.

Beach: Short for Pokebeach, a Pokemon website focused primarily on Pokemon TCG news. Has a premium subscriber program.

Bubble: To miss on a top cut by a single spot; also applies to swiss-only events where a person misses out on prizes due to opponent’s resistance.

City Championship (defunct): A smaller, area-wide event. Largely replaced by League Cups (see below).

CotD: Card of the Day, or discussions of single cards meant to produce new content for websites. Popularized by Pojo.com in the late 1990s, and still frequently used by websites like 60cards.

Day Two: The second day of play in a large event. Usually comprised of 32 players.

DCE: Double Colorless Energy

Donk: A lucky, fast win. Originally applied only to turn one wins, but has since been interpreted less rigidly.

Grinder (defunct): Last chance qualifier tournaments which granted top finishers entry into the Pokemon TCG World Championships from 2002-2014. As of writing, these are no longer held.

HeyFonte Classic (see Virbank City Gym): Facebook group organized in the early 2010s meant to offer a a hub for HeyTrainer and LaFonte users. Ultimately resulted in the siphoning of Pokegym users.

HeyFonte Modern (active): Facebook group organized in the mid-2010s meant to offer a competitive replacement or Virbank.

HT: HeyTrainer.org, of course!

LaFonte (mostly defunct): a private message board turned private Facebook group comprised of several successful Pokemon players and their friends.

League Challenge: A small local tournament worth marginal prizes and points. Also the spiritual successor to Battle Roads.

League Cup: A smaller, area-wide event. Also the spiritual successor to City Championships. Confusingly has the same acronym as League Challenges.

Mapping: The ability to narrow down the contents of Pokemon TCG booster packs in a sealed booster box based on a pattern. Highly controversial, but largely exaggerated in its seriousness and primarily used by goons for clickbait. The louder cousin to Scaling(see below).

Mid-season rotation: a special incident in June of 2011 when Play! Pokemon determined that a format rotation was necessary prior to the U.S. National Championships.

Modified: Refers to the modified-set formatting imposed by Play! Pokemon official events, excluding certain older sets from use. Currently divided into “Standard” (only the most recent sets) and “Expanded” (all sets beginning with Black and White).

OHKO: one-hit Knock Out.

OP: "Organized Play." Usually refers to the official Play! Pokemon, but can refer to local tournaments and alternate organized play such as ARG.

P!P: “Play! Pokemon,” the official event-organizing branch of The Pokemon Company International.

Poke-Dad/Poke-Mom: A parent of a competitive Pokemon Trading Card Game player -- usually in one of the younger age divisions. Associated with non-competitiveness, although the game has at least two very successful Poke-parents as players.

Pojo: A competitive hobby website, once famous for its Pokemon page.

Pokegym: Pokemon Message board run by Team Compendium. See also WizPOG and Psylum's.

Prof-it: A mostly-defunct YouTube channel for Pokemon TCG content. Has since been incorporated into a part of the larger Jwittz YouTube channel.

Psylum's Pokegym: The original incarnation of the Pokegym (see above).

Scaling: The use of a scale to determine the contents of Pokemon TCG booster packs. Highly controversial, with most suspiciously good pulls posts met with a hearty "weigh to go!"

Swiss: Preliminary rounds preceding a top cut which pair opponents of similar win-loss records against one-another. Sometimes functions as its own tournament

Tag Team: The Father-Son mascots of HeyTrainer.org.

TC/Team Compendium
: The group which makes and compiles rulings for the Pokemon Trading Card Game. Their rulings are considered authoritative in all official events. Considered quasi-official by Play! Pokemon, you can see the current and past rosters here.

Top Cut: The final remaining players in a tournament who are paired in single-elimination match play.

The Top Cut (defunct): A once-prominent Pokemon TCG streaming and live-casting group. Also the original premium content website. Not to be confused with a tournament’s top cut (see above).

Top Deck: To draw the exact card you need.

Virbank City Gym
: The modern incarnation of HeyFonte. Changed its name once the administration decided the page no longer reflected "HeyTrainer" or "LaFonte."

Whiff: To not draw into a crucial card you need.

WizPOG: "Wizards Pokegym," the official Pokemon Trading Card Game message board during the Wizards of the Coast days. See also Pokegym.



Posted by: on 2017-02-25 14:38:32 • Tags: Pokemon Encyclopedia Pokemon TCG encyclopedia CotD Card of the Day Pokemon Pokemon DCE Pokemon Donk Pokemon Grinder Pokemon HeyFonte Pokemon mapping Pokemon scaling Poke-dad



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We hope you've enjoyed our articles over these past two weeks! In the brief time we've been back, the HeyTrainer blog has highlighted format-changing cards, offered highly accurate recommendations for deck choices, and produced thorough deck profiles. The concept here is simple: advance the community, and offer premium content for free.

To be clear, we're going to keep on hammering away at this content, and it's only going to get better. However, the more assistance we receive, the more ambitious and expansive we can get. Therefore, we have a simple proposal to anyone reading this blog who currently subscribes to a premium article website:

If you find that the quality of our free content is higher than the quality of the content you pay for on your premium article website, then donate us half the cost of your subscription, and note which site you're immigrating from! So if you pay $10 a month to read stuff behind a paywall, but find that the general quality of our content is better, then consider clicking that "donate" button at the bottom of each blog entry and passing us $5. Believe us: That $5 goes a long way to maintain and improve the site, as well as create opportunities for its members and the community at large.

It's your call whether you'll keep your subscription and donate to us, cancel your membership and donate, or not donate at all. Either way, we'll still be here for you.

~HT


Posted by: on 2017-02-24 14:16:10 • Tags:



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“Ghetsis's Hidden Past” –The History Behind Ghetsis in Expanded, and Teching for the Future

By Drew Allen

            Hey, HeyTrainer readers. I’m Drew, and this is my first ever article here. I’ve been interested in taking up the “pen” in the Pokémon article community for a while, and I’m thankful John’s given me the opportunity. I’m super excited to share the cool history of this card, as well as a little bit of insight into teching as a whole. Without further ado, let's get into it.

GOING BACK

1. The “Birth” of Ghetsis: a Slow Start

            For the majority of its competitive life, Ghetsis has been thought to be (and for the most part was) a mediocre card. Those of you who started playing after BLW-PLS probably don’t remember, but the hype for this card before release was pretty crazy – think Decidueye GX hype, but for a Supporter. With so many strong Item cards in the format like Pokémon Catcher, Hypnotoxic Laser, Random Receiver, Ultra Ball, Dark Patch, and Rare Candy, this card made perfect sense. Having the ability to disrupt your opponent’s Items through denial, lock or otherwise, has always been strong. Plus, you get to draw for as many Items as they have? Unreal!
            However, back when Ghetsis just came out, the format was so heavily Supporter-based that a lot of the time you would Ghetsis for very few cards at the cost of setting up, and then your opponents would just Juniper or N themselves, set up their board, and win. Now you’re in a bit of a pickle, because instead of setting up yourself you just used your turn trying to disrupt your opponent to no avail. So for the time being the card was dead. Therefore, not many people played it.

2. An Impressive Showing

            That is, however, until Worlds later that year where Chase Moloney, a close personal friend and in my opinion one of the best players to ever touch the game, snagged an outstanding top sixteen finish with two copies of the card in his deck - his first year in Masters, nonetheless. How did such a card go from being mediocre, to being worth 2 spots in his list?

            It was all because of a very important shift in format. Long story short, Gothitelle/Accelgor gained Float Stone and became one of the strongest decks in the format, going on to win U.S. Nationals that year, so for Worlds a lot of players were thinking, “How do I beat this deck”? Paralysis is by far the strongest status effect in the Pokémon Trading Card Game, and combined with Item lock seemed unbeatable. That is, until people started to figure out that Keldeo EX’s Rush In can be combined with Float Stone, or Darkrai EX’s Dark Cloak to get a “Rush In Retreat” effect to get a fresh, non-Paralyzed attacker, and it was just as effective as it sounds. Darkrai now had a viable answer to Gothitelle, as well as being one of the strongest attackers in the format. In addition, not relying on Float Stone/Keldeo meant that missing both Tool Scrapper and Float Stone before Gothitelle hit the field didn’t mean the end of the world.

        So what does Ghetsis have to do with all this?  Flloat Stone/Keldeo, high Random Receiver counts, and Dark Patches made Darkrai vulnerable to Ghetsis. Chase then decided to play to beat those strong players in a mirror match with two Ghetsis, and with several mirror wins throughout the weekend, he proved that Ghetsis as a mirror tech performed effectively.

GHETSIS RESURECTION

1. The Texas Marathon Boys

            Fast-forward to winter 2014. Ghetsis had seen very little play for the past 6 months. However, players then found a reason to gather for one of the most grueling, fun, and potentially rewarding events of the year: the Texas Marathon. For those of you that aren’t familiar with it, the Texas marathon was a tournament series that happened once a year, with at least five City Championships over the span of one week. This of course meant you had an abundance of points to be earned, but also an abundance of top players gunning for those same points.

           Jeremy Jallen, Kevin Murphy, and of course Chase Moloney were all there ready to win some titles, and Ghetsis found his return. In Jeremy’s case, Ghetsis turned out to be a way to beat the Virizion/Genesect mirror. Holding onto your G-Booster, Energy Switches, and Tool Scrapper for just the right moment was how you went about winning this matchup,  but having them shuffled back into the deck was a huge detriment to your opponent. Thus, Ghetsis rejoined the ranks of the top tables.

          A good tech card helps against select matchups, including the mirror, while a GREAT tech card helps against everything.  The metagame for the Texas marathon was a combination of Genesect, Plasma, Darkrai, and Blastoise – all decks which struggle to Ghetsis.  As a group, the Texas Marathon Boys ended up winning four City Championship wins, with Jeremy and Kevin taking one each, and Chase taking two. Later that winter, Jeremy went 7-0 at a Regionals in the Genesect mirror, finishing at 8th losing to a completely unrelated autoloss matchup. 

        Unfortunately, Ghetsis for whatever reason fell off the face of the Earth yet again, and for a long time went underplayed in Standard and Expanded.

2. “Card’s Straight Broken”

            At this point we’ve gone through a bunch of the Ghetsis’s history, as well as the reasons for why we teched it. Now let’s talk about the season Ghetsis became a format-defining staple:

          Fast-forward: It's the Fall of 2015, and Ghetsis has been dead for over a year. This is mostly because of rotation, but I also think it's because it has seen no real reason to be played in Expanded...at least up to this point. Here I am in Houston with TJ Traquair  and long-time HeyTrainer forum member Kale Chalifoux, two of my best friends in the game. Houston Regionals is tomorrow, and we're figuring out what to play when TJ drops this spooky Seismitoad/Giratina/Musharna list on me. It looks awesome, and I’m always down to play something spooky. So we’re playing a few games in the lobby, testing against Yveltal, Night March, and the mirror. They’re all testing well…that is, until we start playing against Blastoise. The deck was too fast – what else was there for us to do? TJ and I are then racking our brains over this and I’m honestly thinking of just playing Yveltal with Hex Maniac instead of taking an autoloss to a deck that just won a World Championship earlier in August of 2015.

            Then Kale pipes up: “What about Ghetsis”?

            "Holy moly, Kale – that might work." On paper it destroys Blastoise, right? So we try it: 1 Jirachi EX for searching Supporters, 1 Computer Search…and 1 Ghetsis. It turns out that Ghetsis to Quaking Punch is awful for any Blastoise deck, not to mention the added help it gives in just about every other matchup. So we keep it low key, because there’s a ton of top players at this event, including Jason Klaczynski, Michael Pramawat, Azul Garcia, and John Kettler. So we all agree that nobody should be saying Ghetsis, and from here on out let it be known only as “The Boy”™.

            So we play a bunch more games with The Boy™, and he’s still just as good as we’d thought he’d be. I then remembered talking to Israel Sosa earlier that week about how he was going to be playing in California the same day we were playing in Houston. So I hit him up asking how he plans on dealing with Blastoise, assuming he was playing his signature Yveltal deck. He told me, “I’ll be playing Frozen City and Hex Maniac.”

            I then empower him with the knowledge and strength that is “The Boy” ™, at which Sosa goes nuts. We all then do great in Houston, while Sosa steamrolls his entire tournament in California. Ghetsis in turn starts steamrolling the entire globe, and thus, The Boy™ is born.

LOOKING AHEAD AT SUN AND MOON

Touching on teching

            I’d like to start off by saying that using critical thinking to analyze how some cards might be utilized as mirror techs – or otherwise – is something that’s good to practice whether you’ve been playing Pokemon since it started, or just picked it up last month. Honestly it’s kind of fun going through legal sets to see if there’s answers to specific problems a deck presents, and it’s a skill a lot of top players use. There are a lot of potential tech opportunities, but I’m going to talk about two big ones I’ve seen out of the latest Sun and Moon expansion:

Skarmory

            First off we have Skarmory, which for a DCE discards all special energy in play. Seems pretty good; however, a ton of our metagame right now is basic energy. Volcanion, Speed dark, Lurantis, M-Gardevoir, are all popular concepts that this card would be pretty useless against. Even the decks that run special energy like Vespiquen, Yveltal, and M-Rayquaza can play around it. However, there’s been talk of a Solgaleo/Dark/Giratina deck going around, and I think Skarmory has the potential to be a top tier against that in the right list.  So let’s say for example this deck gains some ground and becomes a part of the metagame, which I think is definitely a possibility. You’ve then decided to pick up this deck, but you expect a decent amount of others at your League Cup are also going to pick up the deck.

            Easy solution? One Skarmory. You simply let your opponent set up and use their GX attack before you, drop Skarmory with a DCE, Ultra Road it into the active and discard 5 (10) energy with one attack. Seems like a pretty decent tech in the right meta, and while Magaerna will probably see some play in the deck a well timed silent lab or hex maniac to discard 5 energy is a great tradeoff.  This is also to say nothing of how devastating Skarmory can be situationally against Darkrai/Giratina, which just won Anaheim Regionals.


 Tauros GX

            Another card which is already picking up steam in Standard, and will certainly be played in Expanded as many players' go-to GX is Tauros GX. A lot of top tier decks in Expanded run DCE, including Yveltal, Toad/Bats, and Night March. Something Toad Bats and Night March have in common is a poor Item Lock matchup, specifically to Trevenant XY. However, Tauros GX is a very effective counter to Trevenant: It attacks for one Energy, and easily revenge-kills Trevenants. Even under T1 Item lock your energy requirement is low, plus Rage and Horn Attack effectively counter Trevenant’s mediocre damage output on a singular Pokémon. In addition, if your opponent doesn’t have any other Phantumps on the board, using Mad Bull early can be a great option to potentially give youself a few turns without having to worry about being under Item lock.

            Tauros GX in general is good to have in your deck if you’re running DCE because being able to utilize such a strong GX Attack is an opportunity that’s tough to pass up. It may not be as splashable as Ghetsis, but it certainly has splashability in its own right. Tauros, like Ghetsis, can win tons of games by itself, in perhaps healthier ways than Ghetsis can be.

Ghetsis’s Bright Future

 

            As for The Boy ™ himself? I’m still personally playing it in every deck I run. Sableye/Garbodor has gained a lot of play, and as long as Yveltal/Maxie’s is a threat to your deck, you now have a way to win as early as the first turn. For players in general, I think Ghetsis will see tons of play in both Collinsville and Portland. It’s got a strong, bright future, and unless we see a format rotation in Expanded, it’ll stay around for a long time.

Posted by: on 2017-02-23 17:16:18 • Tags: Pokemon Ghetsis Ghetsis Plasma Freeze Ghetsis tech Pokemon card Ghetsis Ghetsis history



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“My Eye on Anaheim: Top 16 Masters Report with Decidueye/Vileplume”
Today’s tournament report is written with players of all skill levels in mind, as well as lay people who know nothing about Pokémon cards! Whether you’re here for the story or the strategy, I hope all of you who take the time to read this report enjoy it very much. Most of all, I hope it all makes sense!

Table of Contents:

--Part 2--
6. The Journey to Anaheim
7. The Tournament Report
8. Some Final Thoughts on the Deck, and Ideas Going into Collinsville
9. Conclusion

6. The Journey to Anaheim

For those unaware, my trip to Anaheim almost didn’t happen. I got an unfortunate notice from my airline that my flight had been CANCELLED due to historic rainfall and even flooding throughout much of Southern California. I queued myself up for the only standby flight option available, but knew this was a long shot. So while on the hunt for Chicken McNuggets (I get a strange craving for them every time I go to an airport), I stumbled upon my airline’s customer service counter. By chance there was a new option available: a one-stop flight going through Chicago and then to Los Angeles! I hopped on it almost immediately, and while it was certainly much longer and less comfortable than my original direct flight was intended to be, it was my only chance to play.

Thanks to my incredible friends Alec and Robby, I actually had a ride waiting for me at LAX! Things were all around coming up Milhouse, and my tournament was on.


This image is oddly appropriate for today’s entry

7. The Tournament Report

Round One: VS Volcanion

I played against a LOT of Volcanion decks1

Game One: I go first and miss the turn one Vileplume Item lock. However, his start isn’t particularly explosive either, and so I’m able to get out both a Decidueye GX and Vileplume by turn two. I then proceed to win what should be an otherwise unwinnable matchup in a relatively unconventional manner: I use Lysandre to force one of his three Retreat cost Volcanion EX into the active position, and slowly whittle down his energized Volcanion EX with Feather Arrow. This buys me time to set up a second Decidueye GX, and about six turns in, I’ve taken out both his Volcanion EX. It’s a very slow way to win, taking well over 30 minutes, but it gets the job done.

Game Two
: This game his start is much faster while mine is considerably slower, resulting in a quick early lead for him. I keep myself above water (above steam?) with my Lugia EX and Tauros GX, keeping his Volcanion EX in check. At about the mid-point marker in the game, where I just began to gain back control with my delayed start to Vileplume, time was called, and I won the match. (1-0)

Round Two: VS Volcanion

Game One: My opponent’s list had a couple neat variations which made it unique, including a tech Zoroark line and Hex Maniac. Unfortunately he seemed to struggle to get these out or get to play them at the right time, and had an awful opening start to boot. My start wasn’t too great either, with neither Supporters nor Shaymin EX outs, but fortunately I got out a turn one Decidueye GX. So then I improvised by using my Hollow Hunt GX on the first turn, grabbing back the two Trainers’ Mail I used to set up my Decidueye previously. Those Trainers’ Mail in turn nabbed me a Sycamore and a Level Ball, getting me out of the awful start and into a board with multiple Decidueye GX’s and a Vileplume. I won quickly from there.

Game Two: I go second yet again, and while my opponent’s start is – for the second time – much stronger, I draw into an incredible chain that lets me streamline all of my Stage Two Pokémon very early, again locking him out of the game. (2-0)

Round Three: VS Volcanion

Game One: Unlike the previous lists, this one ran a copy of Entei AOR (Combat Blaze), offering my opponent a viable non-EX attacking option against my deck. Unfortunately for him, I got the lock out and just benched him.

Game Two
: Our starts weren’t particularly bad this game, but his fast Entei, multiple successful Max Elixirs, and multiple Float Stones on multiple Volcanion EX’s turn one before my Vileplume lock made solving this game a real puzzle. I never at any point thought I was 100% out of it until the very last turn, and a couple whiffs on Lysandre or Energy for Steam Up could’ve kept me alive, but this was the only Volcanion game of the tournament where my opponent’s superior setup just overran me.

Game Three: In what might be one of my best hands of the tournament, I set up a combined two Decidueye and Vileplume on turn one, allowing me to blaze through his deck in record time. (3-0)

Rounds Four and Five: VS Volcanion

Unfortunately, it’s at this point where my memory gets incredibly fuzzy. I just found it so incredible that I would pair against this seemingly “bad” matchup five times in a row, systematically dismantling all of them. However, I won the first match in a similar manner to rounds one through three, and was only a turn off from winning the fifth match. The fourth list was pretty normal, while the fifth list had a couple fun Sun and Moon choices like Lillie. (4-0-1)

Round Six: VS Mega Ray


My only losses the entire weekend were to this ugly, overgrown Groundhog-Snake thing

Game One: This matchup was a big motivation behind my decision to run Jirachi, and the Jirachi was helpful in staving off his early start. However, due to a couple Forest of Giant Plants being prized, and being unable to draw my other two, my Vileplume lock took far too long to set up in order to stay ahead of my opponent. I sure was missing those Reserved Tickets!

Once I finally got my lock going, including a fat Dragonite EX out in the active, he already had an Olympia sitting in his hand to switch out! I conceded pretty quickly after that.

Game Two
: I drew a bad opening hand and got stomped! (4-1-1)

Round Seven: VS Turbo Darkrai

Game One: My heart sunk a bit when all I saw was a line of Decidueye GX, a second Rowlet, and some Energy. Fortunately, this was all that I needed to stay afloat in the game: His start wasn’t too incredible, and so my Decidueye GX became an incredible wall on the third turn. Its bulk in turn got me through the game

Game Two
: One aspect of his list which was relatively unique was the inclusion of two Hex Maniac. Their value really showed this game, as he was able to do a good job keeping me locked, and after a relatively long slug fest, he finally won.

Game Three: Unlike the past couple games, which were characterized with a slow start and Hex lock, I charged into my Stage Two lineups right away. I then played very quickly in my effort to draw six prizes before the clock expired. I can’t characterize my choices as optimal, especially with some questionable Feather Arrow targets, but I made it with less than a minute to spare.  (5-1-1)

Round Eight: VS Mega Mewtwo (Ross C.)


I decided to write this round before any other, and this description in particular because I think a couple of the interactions Ross and I had were incredibly fascinating.

First, I have a routine I offer every game to my opponents: I position myself to flip a coin, and then ask them if they want to call Heads, Tails, or in the air. He immediately asked if I’d be willing to do a roll of the die – something I normally wouldn’t do, but I went ahead and did anyways because I like Ross and have known him for a long time. I figured his motivation to ask for a die roll was based on past interactions, which I later confirmed by asking him. I then followed that up with, “Well, why didn’t you just call the flip in the air?”

At that point he simply said, “I didn’t hear you say that. But sure, that would’ve been fine.”

My takeaway: some flexibility in your early game routine (change randomizers or offer to flip in the air) is actually a really effective trust-building tool.


However, long live the coin master race

Second, Ross shuffles on his lap. This results in his deck going below the table, which is a serious problem because your cards should never go below the table. Again, I like Ross, have known him for forever, and have an immense respect for the quality of his game. However, I don’t care if you’re El Chapo Guzman or Mother Theresa: keeping your hand above the table is one of those ironclad rules of any card game. So I asked him multiple times to keep his deck above the table – something he complied with without any issue. The shoe was on the other foot, and he was willing to get a bit out of his comfort zone for the sake of respect.

My takeaway: respecting your opponent’s reasonable requests and maintaining trust makes asking for your own reasonable requests that much easier. 

So that was fun – a couple neat takeaways. Now let’s get back to the games…

Game One: Ross won the opening fli—errr…dice roll, and opted to go first. Normally this would put a lot of pressure on a list like mine because of the threat of early Garbodor, but fortunately his lines make it harder to get out that all-important early Trubbish with Float Stone. This meant I had no threat of losing my Abilities, and so Vileplume’s Item Lock came out with no real threat to it, alongside Decidueye a turn later. We then spent a very long time making trades of Decidueye swarms against Mewtwos, while I simultaneously put damage on his Shaymin EX on the bench. He was never able to hit me with too good of a Shrine of Memories/Damage Change combo, but he did save a Shaymin from certain death. Ultimately, however, a very well-timed, luckily-drawn Lugia EX with Double Colorless Energy gave me just the damage output I needed to Knock Out his final Mewtwo, and seal the game.

(Also, I’d like to note that while Espeon GX didn’t get a chance to make a difference, it very well could have thanks to its GX attack. Ross just didn’t have the Lysandre to bring up my no-Float Stone VIleplume into the active position.)

Game Two: He again went first, and again couldn’t get out a fast Garbodor, but the difference here was that his start was a lot more aggressive than the last game. I brought up a Tauros to attempt to keep his Mewtwo from going too out of control as I built up other attackers, but that hardly lasted long enough to make a difference. Although Decidueye still did a good job exchanging with his Mewtwos, it wasn’t enough to seal the game. So by top being called and the third turn before the match’s end, his Mega Mewtwo Knocked Out the last Pokémon he needed to tie up the match. (5-1-2)

Round Nine: VS Mega Gardevoir (Stefan Tabaco)

Game One: Going second, I got stuck on a first-turn Hex Maniac with a lone Oddish and a Sycamore in hand. However, Tauros GX is pretty good in this matchup, so I decided to position myself to get my Oddish out of the active position and into the Tauros. So I used Ultra Ball for Tauros, benched it, hoped for the best and…drew an entire turn one Vileplume under Ability lock, on top of a Float Stone and a Double Colorless Energy! I then immediately used Tauros GX to take control of the game while slowly building up my benched Decidueyes. He made a good comeback without much to work from, but he couldn’t come back when I had two Deidueye in play.

Game Two:
Although I had two Oddish prized, a dirty little secret to this deck is that you can play whole games without ever locking Items once. His start wasn’t too stellar, so Decidueye was able to carry the game unassisted at all by Vileplume. (6-1-2)

…And with that, I was on to day two! I at least made the cost of my trip back, and at 22nd seed could only go up from there.

Round Ten: VS Mega Ray (Michael)

Game One: I didn’t get any Stage Two Pokémon until turn three, but when I finally got out the heart of my deck, it was an unstoppable setup. Jirachi promo put in lots of work, slowing him down and knocking off Double Colorless Energy cards he would have no way to get back under item lock.

Game Two:
I drew an unplayable hand and lost.

Game Three: I drew another unplayable hand and lost again. (6-2-2)

Round Eleven: VS Turbo Darkrai (Joshua)

Game One: I drew incredibly and won to an unplayable hand.

Game Two
: I drew incredibly and won a somewhat dragged-out, but still mostly hard-to-play hand for my opponent. (7-2-2)

Round Twelve: VS Turbo Darkrai (Mark Garcia)

Game One: I drew incredibly and won to an unplayable hand.

Game Two: I drew incredibly and won to an unplayable hand.  

…Wow, those sure were some interactive games versus Turbo Darkrai, huh?!

Round Thirteen: VS Mega Mewtwo (Ryan Sabelhaus)

Game One: Unlike my series with Ross, this iteration of Mega Mewtwo was an exact copy of Igor Costa’s second place deck list from a few weeks back – think the list I posted last week, but with an extra Trainers’ Mail instead of a Tauros GX. As such, his Garbodor lock was much more reliable, getting out turn two. I flailed around a bit to see if I had a way out of it, but I just wasn’t drawing into my Energies to see light at the end of the tunnel. I scooped relatively quickly.

Game Two: In another moment of totally interactive gameplay, I…got out a turn two Vileplume, and he did not get a Garbodor out. It was a little bit more questionable due to his ability to Hex to open up attachment of Float Stone and Evolution into Garbodor. However, I sniped his only Trubbish before that could happen, and didn’t have too much trouble cruising to a win.

Game Three: At the beginning this game was looking a lot like game one, but I was able to get two damage counters on his Trubbish by the first turn. This made all the difference, as within several turns that later set me up for the perfect opportunity to Knock Out his Trubbish with a Razor Leaf. He also found himself in a horrible draw spot, stuck with two Double Colorless on a regular Mewtwo EX…with no way to evolve it. I seized on the chance and knocked it out. While he ultimately got out a Mega Mewtwo EX, the aggression paid off, and I was quickly getting into a spot where I could stick his benched Hoopa EX in the active position while tearing apart his bench. Unfortunately time was called and I knew there was no way on Earth I’d draw all my prizes in time, so I made the simple plays that guaranteed the tie. (8-2-3).

Round Fourteen: VS Vespiquen/Zoroark/Herdier (Dan Lynch)

Game One: I got out a quick lock, but not much in the attacking options. It worked out pretty well for me, but opened up the possibility for a comeback. He did just that with some big hits with Zoroark and Orangaru, but they cost nearly all of his Double Colorless attachments. Once the fourth energy was down, I had the game.

Game Two:
I found myself one card off of the turn one Vileplume, which set me back greatly for the rest of the game. I never did get Vileplume out past that point, and while my Decidueyes put up a lot of fight, and my Jirachi especially put in work, he always had the knock out in hand. I then, with multiple prizes left to his one, was dead on arrival.

Game Three: Without much time left, I capitalized on an explosive start and start Knocking Out his Pokémon very, very quickly. Unfortunately, he always seemed to have a Basic, and when time was called, I was – again – a turn off of winning an unlosable match. (8-2-4)

8. Some Final Thoughts on the Deck, and Ideas Going into Collinsville

So that was it – the end of Decidueye/Vileplume’s crazy Regionals run. In the process I played against some incredible players, beat some matchups which common knowledge, but fell just a bit short of continuing in the top eight. I really wanted to win this one, but I did finish well enough to justify continuing my season to more Regionals and traveling!

I wouldn’t have made too many changes to Decidueye – all of which were addressed above in the list discussion. For Collinsville and the Expanded format, Decidueye/Seismitoad is looking like a clear frontrunner. I also wouldn’t discount Decidueye/Vileplume either, especially because you get crucial cards like Jirachi EX, Computer Search, and Tool removal (eat that, Garbodor!). Of course your matchups change as well, which include Archeops Noble Victories: the prehistoric, Evolution-devastating bird monster.  Despite how big of a threat Archeops can be, it will practically have the same effect Garbodor had on me this Regional: clearly a concern, but nothing you can’t handle, and especially something you can beat or at least stalemate.

This Regionals inspired me to keep thinking outside of the box, so it’s entirely possible I’ll use something radically different should I go to Collinsville. Nevertheless, if Decidueye proved it can compete with the best in Standard, then it can surely handle a much friendlier Expanded format!

9. Conclusion

In the old days, tournament reports were concluded with “props” section. Since I’m no longer a 14 year-old kid, I feel less interested in “props” – I could go on and on about the things I like. Instead, let’s take this moment to highlight some people I owe a ton of gratitude to for helping me survive this torrential weekend:

--Robby and Alec, my friends and roommates this trip. In a 20-year storm they stuck around waiting to come pick me up, tested and theorymonned…and most importantly talked me out of M Beedrill EX, haha. Robby was also the sole person aside from random opponents on PTCGO who got a chance to see how powerful Decidueye can be against its supposed autoloss, Volcanion.

--The airline customer service rep who miraculously routed me through the only path possible to get to Anaheim.

--My girlfriend Yanet did a really good job keeping me relaxed the Friday before the tournament. Everything needed to go right for me to not only get that new flight, but get to it on time, and she really helped me get in the right mindset for that.

--Second City Gym, the tournament organizer, for being ready to refund my entry fee in case I couldn’t get on a flight. Good customer service experience for my first regional of the season!

--MTGDeals.com for having exactly what I needed to finish my deck.

--Luck! I’m a lucky, blessed person in more ways than one, including getting this golden opportunity to jumpstart my 2016-2017 competitive season.

 

Til next time,

~JK

 

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Posted by: on 2017-02-22 02:19:36 • Tags: Pokemon Anaheim Regional Championship Pokemon Decidueye Decidueye Vileplume Pokemon Card Touranment Report Decidueye GX



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“My Eye on Anaheim: Top 16 Masters Report with Decidueye/Vileplume”
Today’s tournament report is written with players of all skill levels in mind, as well as lay people who know nothing about Pokémon cards! Whether you’re here for the story or the strategy, I hope all of you who take the time to read this report enjoy it very much. Most of all, I hope it all makes sense!

Table of Contents:

--Part 1--
1. A (Re)introduction
2. A Sorta-Kinda Comeback, and Where We're at Today
3. The Importance of Anaheim
4. The Reasoning Behind Decidueye
5. The List: Analysis and Explanations

1. A (Re)introduction

My name is John Kettler, and I’m a life-long fan of the Pokémon Trading Card Game. I’ve been playing since this game first came out wayyyyy back in my childhood (“something-something you know you’re a 90’s kid when…”). I then became inspired by the online community to become competitive in 2003, when I made a name for myself as a player of unique, strange, and fun decks ,most of which I made on my own or with close teammates. Extended to our complete network, there were around two-three dozen of us spending the better part of 2003-2007 monopolizing the scholarship and travel awards available. 

Later I began college, and as such saw a slight but insignificant slip in my results. But while I stopped dominating events the way I once did, I stayed relevant through founding the site you’re now reading: HeyTrainer.org. Founded on the ideals of free speech and free dumb, HeyTrainer.org was a reaction to a community with very few good spaces for the adult players  – ironic, since at least 70% of the people who play Pokémon cards competitively are adults! Henceforth, I became less known for the playing, and better known as “Mr. HeyTrainer.”

However, we’re all three-dimensional people, so naturally our passions extend beyond any one particular thing. One such other great passion of mine is law – specifically areas with cutting-edge political questions such as immigration and family law. Finally (and most importantly), I’ve found myself in a serious relationship of three years! Thus, I balance a lot of things these days, and some of those things take priority over others. As much as I love Pokémon, I want to advance my career more than I want to play this game; and because we’re long distance, I will easily choose spending time with my girlfriend over playing Pokémon any day of the week.

The result was an erosion in my obsession for the game. Rather than stay well ahead of the curve as I once did, I began to lose my touch in both playing and deck building. Unlike older name players who aged like fine wine, I looked more like Casey at the Bat, putting up wildly inconsistent performances from 2012-2014. Some of this can be chalked up to the change of invitational structure, which emphasizes lots of tournament success over a few hot runs, but ultimately, not winning a National or World Championship falls squarely under your shoulders. I also neglected my poor brainchild HeyTrainer.org, which – although inspiring countless of the major Facebook groups which exist today – is now a Rocky Balboa in the Face(book) of countless Apollo Creeds.

2. A “Sorta-Kinda” Comeback, and Where We’re at Today

Starting with the middle of 2014 and continuing today, my tournament performances improved substantially. I started earning invites again, learned how to stress out less, became more honest with myself as a player, and found inspiration all over again. Johnny got his jam back, but there was one thing missing: a revived HeyTrainer!

Although I came dangerously close to closing this site for good, I decided that the forum once famous for its “anything goes” mindset needed to keep on existing for a new generation of players sick of the Facebook groups. I also saw a drop in quality of a lot of the “premium article” websites: places which charge players money to read articles meant to improve their performances at tournaments. Although notable exceptions exist for both, including but not limited to the HeyFonte Facebook page and the Pokebeach premium article program, I determined that our community has a void which desperately needs to be filled.

Therefore, the principal focus here is pretty simple: an increase in high-quality, free content for players, coupled with an unstoppable passion for this quirky card game of ours!

3. The Importance of Anaheim

Starting with the current season, the official organizing body for Pokémon tournaments – Play! Pokémon – increased the prize support of Regional Championships: prestigious events which represented the populations of several states or provinces. What once saw a prize of just a few boxes now sees a first place cash award of $5,000, as well as greater implications for multiple free trips across the world year-round! Unfortunately, all good things have a tradeoff, and the tradeoff this season was a severe cut in local tournaments, including individual State Championship event. The end result is that you now have a very hard time pursuing a competitive season outside of a few hours’ distance; otherwise, you won’t get the achievement points (Championship points) necessary to get free stuff. You also won’t have half a prayer to compete in the World Championships, the most prestigious and valuable tournament of the entire season!

Historically I love playing, but I also historically don’t like forking out tons of money to travel all over the world playing Pokémon. That’s why I have a harder time justifying tournament costs larger than the entry fee and a few bucks for gas.

A nice thing about living in Texas is that I never missed my local Regional Championship, meaning I had at least one good chance before the National and World Championships to test my mettle versus elite players in the real, non-online world. However, as mentioned earlier, I chose not to go to this year’s Regional Championship because it was scheduled the weekend of New Year’s. New Year’s was special for two reasons: it was my first time to celebrate a New Year in person with my girlfriend; and the First of January happens to be my mother’s birthday! For those reasons, it ultimately made more sense to skip the Regional entirely.

Don’t mistake prioritizing the important things in life for a lack of love for the game, though: I was still hungry for some good performances, and so the idea of flying to Anaheim for a Regional Championship came to be. I thought, “If I do well enough here, I can justify playing in more tournaments! If not, then let’s just roll the dice at the National Championship.”

4. The Reasoning Behind Decidueye

And thus, I decided that I should be perfectly willing to bet it on a new, risky concept out of Sun and Moon: Decidueye GX. The Pokémon Trading Card Game is mostly about getting Damage onto opposing Pokémon, and this card lets you put Damage in play…for free. You don’t even have to PAY anything!


Free and powerful...Sound familiar?

Well, other than that one little joke, I don’t need to spend much time telling you about the merits of Decidueye GX itself. That’s because I’ve already done it twice: once last week, and again the week before that. The purpose of this section, however, is to address why I risked my season on such an unconventional, new concept.

As mentioned above, this tournament was the bellwether for my entire season: If I did well, then I would play at more Regionals; if I did not do well, then I’d stake it all on Intercontinentals – a.k.a., the Artist Formerly Known as Nationals. So since my season’s path depended on this single Regional, I had much less pressure on me to play something safe. This freedom from safety in turn gave me the freedom to stick with what would otherwise be a very scary deck: After all, it’s a deck centered around getting at least two Stage Two Pokémon in play in a format full of Basics! How could that win games?!

Well, Basics can’t do nearly as much when all of their absurdly powerful Tools and Items aren’t there to assist them, right? Plus, the ability to deal Damage anywhere in the field combined with Item lock means you can even stick these powerful cards in unwinnable positions. Also, I uh…played a deck exactly like this at Nationals 2012, in an era even worse for Evolutions and better for Basics. And at that tournament I got 10th out of over a thousand people.

That memory suddenly put a lot more wind in my sail for Decidueye, so I knew it was an insane enough concept to work. All it needed was a good enough list…

5. The List: Analysis and Explanations

Here is the list I used, in all its crazy glory!

Does this look familiar? It should, because I spent a whole fourth of my last blog entry talking about Decidueye! As I mention in that article and in my Quick Search entry, my preferred way to run the list is Vileplume, and the changes to make the list I posted there to Vileplume were not that hard.

From the Vileplume-free list I posted, literally all you have to do is cut VS Seekers and Fighting Fury Belt. No giant mystery – just don’t run the stuff you either won’t use under Item lock, or won’t want to play before Item lock!

Let’s look at the choices in detail:

4-4-4 Decidueye GX line: Decidueye is your everything, so of course it makes sense to run a decent-sized line of it. However, I have multiple reasons for why I run a maximum count. First, the more pieces you run, the more likely you will get your free Damage faster and in numerous quantities. Second, Decidueye GX’s GX Attack, Hollow Hunt GX, is incredibly important in smoothing out every aspect of our deck, but you won’t be getting it out nearly as often and when you need it without four! Finally, I’m fairly convinced that without a 4-4-4 line, you don’t have nearly as many swarming options as needed to last a full game.

2-2-2 Vileplume line: At first I started with a 3-3-3 line, but was inspired by Andrew “Russian Charizard” Wamboldt’s Lurantis/Vileplume article to give 2-3-3 a try. I quickly became addicted to the greater space, so I then dropped it down all the way to 2-2-2, which was just the sweet spot needed in order to fit all the variety tech attackers I wanted, which will be discussed below.

1 Lugia EX: Of all the Big Basics you could pair with Decidueye GX, Lugia EX is the strongest. Its Aero Ball Attack puts immediate offensive pressure on your opponent in any situation, and Feather Arrows combined with its second Attack, Deep Hurricane, allows for incredibly high Damage caps to be reached. With some careful planning, it’s not unheard of to position a One-Hit Knockout against a Mega Pokémon through Deep Hurricane! Lugia EX was by far my favorite Basic tech of the weekend.

1 Tauros GX: While Lugia EX is a great offensive hitter, Tauros GX is great for revenge kills and defensive positioning. If the opponent attacks a Tauros GX with even a medium-sized attack, you’re suddenly putting nearly all of the format in range for a one-shot KO. While Tauros had its moments, I was longing for a second Lugia EX more often than not, especially in the Mega Mewtwo matchup.

1 Jirachi XY67: Jirachi made it in as the 60th card because of a theory process I went through on the airplane right to the event. Since I was torn between about half a dozen tech Attackers for only 2-4 spots total, I went down the line and considered exactly which matchup each helped out in the most. This theorizing led me to conclude that I had two blind spots: Mewtwo/Garbodor and Mega Rayquaza. To help alleviate both of those matchups, I decided to run promo Jirachi exclusively for its Stardust Attack. Not only do I discard their few-and-far-between Double Colorless Energies, but slow down a very fast, aggressive assault, buying me time to double my Feather Arrow output. Although Jirachi ultimately didn’t win me any of my four matches versus those decks in practice, I think it has the potential to turn both of those matchups in your favor. Perhaps the safer, cleaner play would be to run Meowth Fates Collide, which we’ll discuss in a bit.

3 Shaymin EX: Shaymin EX’s Set Up is the heart of nearly all draw power in the current format, and my deck is no exception. However, the difficult decision for me was whether I wanted to run three or four copies. A deck featuring Forest of Giant Plants for fast evolutions is about speed, so of course you would want a higher-than-average count of a card capable of getting your deck size below 30 on turn one. What I found in testing is that with the fourth Shaymin EX, I saw diminishing returns, to the point where its removal was hardly noticed.

4 Sycamore: I’ve seen many fast setup decks survive without a maximum count of Sycamore, but when you aren’t running any copies of VS Seeker to get them back, it’s essential to run as many as you can.

3 N: Hand replenishment is great, and hand disruption under Item lock is even better. What makes N particularly special in this deck however is its great synergy with Feather Arrow Knock outs. When your Opponent has a heavily damaged EX Pokémon with little health left, but is currently two prizes ahead of you, N lets you get the advantage of a bigger hand, score the Knock Out on the heavily damaged EX, and then maybe even score another KO with an Attack. This suddenly means that thanks to N, you get to create an even bigger comeback win than normal. 

2 Lysandre: While I felt fine with the above Supporter counts, running only two Lysandre copies was one of the toughest decisions I had to make. Part of having a solid lock with Decidueye GX and Vileplume includes having the wherewithal to bring up a high Retreat Cost Benched Pokémon and snipe the actual threats. For that reason, I actually ran three copies through the majority of my testing. I finally decided to bring it down to two because I was confident in Hollow Hunt GX getting back the used Lysandre copies, as well as to keep my Set Up Abilities from yielding fewer cards.

4 Ultra Ball: Gets anything; thins your hand out for stronger Set Up Abilities.

4 Trainers’ Mail: Your games are often made or broken on how fast you can fetch a Forest of Giant Plants.

3 Level Ball: The count on Level Ball was one of the most contested aspects of my list, but rarely because it wasn’t useful. Rather, I thought about all the other possibilities that could be obtained at the expense of this quick, dirty way to fetch every one of your pre-evolution cards. I came down as low as one in order to fit a nifty little idea (more on that later), but when that idea was ruled out, three Level Ball became my final choice: enough to fetch your lines consistently, but not so many they detract from your deck’s versatility.

2 Revitalizer: Revitalizer is an incredible way to fix bad Professor Sycamore discards, make your explosive starts even more explosive, or just help you get around games with bad prizes. I actually started out with three Revitalizer but cut it to two due largely in part to the desire to keep my Set Up draws from being clogged, but also because I determined that really careful playing foregoes any need for the third copy. It’s a large reason why I took my typical prize-searching process much more seriously: because I knew that while I had some slack in case something was prized or discarded, I didn’t have much!

2 Float Stone: Due to my confidence in maintaining Feather Arrow aggression regardless of what my Active was, I actually spent much of testing with one or even zero Float Stone. That meant if a Vileplume got brought into the Active position by Lysandre, I was totally ready for that. However, I determined that not running enough Float Stone copies made splashing in tech Basic attackers completely unfeasible, so keeping space for that many copies became a necessity.

4 Forest of Giant Plants: Save the rainforests; fight climate change!

4 Double Colorless Energy: Nothing special here – 4 DCE is just really good for everything including attacking, retreating, and getting Shaymins out of play. Hypothetically you could run fewer than a maximum count if you were only running Decidueye and Vileplume, especially since you have Hollow Hunt GX to get them back. However, the inclusion of the tech attackers all but forces you to have this many.

4 Grass Energy: Unlike running two copies of Revitalizer and Lysandre, there are many things that can happen outside of your control if you ran any less than four Grass Energy in this deck. Not running VS Seekers means you will constantly want to have access to Hollow Hunt GX, Decidueye swarms, or even the ability to pay Vileplume’s hefty three Retreat cost. Running fewer than four also risks putting otherwise easy matchups in the tossup column, like Greninja and Waterbox. Grass Weakness doesn’t mean anything if you can’t ever attack with Razor Leaf, right?!

Other Possibilities

Meowth, FTC: It does a clean 50 damage to anything in play as long as it has Damage on it already – pretty neat, huh? Combined with Decidueye GX however, it becomes an immediate OHKO threat to any small Basic, most import of which is Trubbish BKP. Most lists running Garbodor BKP and its Ability-locking Garbotoxin have to wait a turn before evolving their Trubbish, so a Meowth strike can prevent what could otherwise be a very ugly board situation.  I’ve actually switched it into my current list on the Pokémon Trading Card Game Online, and it’s working as well as I knew it could. The only downside is that I have nothing to tilt my Rayquaza matchup other than just getting set up first.

Trevenant EX, PRC: The only thing that can prevent locking a high Retreat cost Pokémon in the active position while you go to town on the rest of your opponent’s threats is a pesky Float Stone, or reduced Retreat cost via Float Stone. What better way to deal with both of those than a Pokémon which locks the active with Dark Forest, without any hope of Retreat beyond a Pokémon Ranger or Olympia? Trevenant EX is also great because it lets you work on killing two, possibly three different Pokémon all at once! That said, I think the list does a fine enough job keeping Pokémon locked as-is, and it’s not high up on the list of choices.

Beedrill EX, XY157:
Beedrill EX, unlike Meowth, is an unconditional way to rid yourself of a Tooled-up Garbodor while Vileplume is also in play. I like it almost as much as Meowth, especially because its second Attack can risk big damage for only two Energy, but the Meowth and Jirachi are both much more versatile in shoring up even matchups. It’s also a very vulnerable EX to potentially leave Active with as much as a DCE and Grass on it.

M Beedrill EX, XY158: This is my garbage gimmick idea. By Mega Evolving an already-included Beedrill EX, you now create an even more frightening lock via auto paralysis and quadruple poison, thus accelerating anything you had in mind. The idea is 100% untested, and thus gets no more respect from me than “crazy-awful 11th hour idea,” but actually could be a really scary deck I you could somehow fit it.

1-1 Raticate EVO: Rattata is another decent way to deal with Float Stoned Trubbish. However, my favorite theory was to put opponents in horrible positions with Raticate’s Crunch, discarding all Energy while you Feather Arrowed from the safety of the Bench. Shadowy Bite is also an incredible way to punish decks with lots of Special Energy.

X number of Celebi, XY93: Celebi is cool because it can augment Decidueye’s Feather Arrow Damage targets while offering what could be on a good flip the deck’s best stall wall via Leap through Time. I ultimately determined that because of how common Silent Lab, Garbodor, and Hex Maniac are, the last thing I needed was a copy of a card that had no hope of significantly improving any matchup past Gyarados AOR (which you shouldn’t have a problem against anyways).

2-4 Reserved Ticket: One of the wildest versions of this list that appeared to have some success was running copies of Reserved Ticket. Much of this deck’s problem is not drawing cards, but getting a copy of Forest of Giant Plants out into play. One solution I settled on was to run copies of Reserved Ticket, which despi
te relying on a flip increases your odds of rigging the top card with Forest. I ultimately settled on not running this for two reasons: first, I put a lot of premium on deck space dedicated to actual attackers; second, I wasn’t too keen on playing an Item that doesn’t actually thin your deck.

Posted by: on 2017-02-22 01:44:07 • Tags: Pokemon Anaheim Regional Championship Pokemon Decidueye Decidueye Vileplume Pokemon Card Touranment Report Decidueye GX



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Tomorrow I'll be posting a full-fledged tournament report for the deck I used to get Top 16 at Anaheim Regionals. However, I understand a lot of people were wanting to know more about my Decidueye/Vileplume deck. So here it is in all its crazy glory!

Does this look familiar? It should, because I spent a whole fourth of my last blog entry talking about Decidueye! As I mention in that article and in my Quick Search entry, my preferred way to run the list was Vileplume, and the changes to make the list I posted there to Vileplume were not that hard. From that list, literally all you have to do is cut VS Seekers and Fighting Fury Belt.

I'll be posting the list again in the tournament report, discussing choices and last calls, but for now I figure this'll give you guys something to chew on.

Posted by: on 2017-02-20 02:00:27 • Tags: Decidueye deck list Decidueye Vileplume deck list



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Tomorrow I'll be posting a full-fledged tournament report; however, I understand a lot of people had some intense curiosity in my Decidueye/Vileplume deck!

Does this look familiar? It should, because I spent a whole fourth of <a href="http://www.heytrainer.org/blog/posts/The_Elite_Four_of_Anaheim:_Four_Decks_Capable_of_Winning_it_All">my last blog entry</a> talking about Decidueye! As I mention in that article and in my Quick Search entry, my preferred way to run the list was Vileplume.

I'll be posting the list again in the tournament report, discussing choices and last calls, but for now I figure this'll give a lot of you guys something fun to stew over for future tournaments!

 

Posted by: on 2017-02-20 01:56:48 • Tags: Decidueye Vileplume deck list Decidueye deck list Decidueye



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Going to Anaheim’s Regional Championship and struggling to choose a deck? In this concise but hopefully illuminating read, we’re going to go through what I consider to be the four best overall choices for the upcoming Standard format Regional in Anaheim, California.

First, some housekeeping:

1. This is not a top X list, and I will not be ranking the decks in comparison to each other. I'm going to be unconventional because in this instance, I believe any one of the below deck choices has a great chance of winning on any given day. I even think a couple decks not included are also capable of pulling off the win, but in my mind these four are on a tier of their own.

2. To keep you guys from overthinking or feeling like you have to “read between the lines,” I’ve organized the decks in ABC order, based on the most prominent letter in their traditionally-recognized name. (E.G., Yveltal goes to the bottom; Grass goes closer to the top.)

3. Since this is a step beyond the typical "top X" list, I've given a four-star rating to each deck in numerous categories. Such categories include:

o   Safety: How likely is this deck going to yield you a good day? I define a “good day” here in generalized terms, e.g., if you’ll end up getting a cash prize.

o   Ease of use: Some decks are easier to play than others. And in a big Regional Championship with hundreds of opponents, misplays matter. I'm a big advocate of being prudent in your deck choice, and so whether you're newer, younger, or just really busy and haven't had time to learn this new set, I wanted to give you some recommendations on what might be the better play for you.

o   Personal preference: To make this blog the best it can be, we need to give you reliable, premium-quality content. But in order to do that, I need you to trust what I’m saying, and the best way to earn that trust is by sharing my exact feelings about all four decks listed. I have a clear favorite, a fallback, a deck I'd only use in specific circumstances, and a deck I won't even touch.

 

…And now, the choices!

Turbo Darkrai


Simple and safe

Why it's good: Although some decks explode, other decks explode consistently. Darkrai falls comfortably into category two, as it's an all-Basic deck capable of hitting amazingly efficient Damage counts in record time. EXP Share also does an incredible job at maintaing your momentum throughout the whole game, and never having to attach more than two Energy to an attacker is a huge advantage.

Safety: 3/4. It’s still very much a proven, powerful deck, and is still fresh off a great Regionals win. It’s also got several great matchups. Don’t ignore the bad matchups though, and virtually every new GX should be a cause for concern – yes, Incineroar GX included! Still, I think if you’re good enough and are ready to play up to 27 games in a single day, this’ll work fine for you.

Ease of use: 4/4. Darkrai is one of my biggest motivations for writing this article the way that I did. As with every deck, you need to make optimal plays with your Trainers, Darkrai is mostly a linear deck with linear choices. It’s great for a new or younger player, and it’s especially good for a semi-retired old school great. This is one of the main decks in Standard where you’re less concerned with perfect play, and more concerned with avoiding terrible misplays.

Personal preference: 1/4. Despite all its positive attributes, it’s not personally appealing to me at all. This is partially because it’s behind the curve on the metagame, but especially because ­it’s so linear. One of the most valuable ways to outplay someone is to have something unpredictable up your sleeve, and Darkrai just doesn’t scratch that itch.

(Also, since the very last thing I wrote before finishing this article was the "why it's good" section for Darkrai, I'm convinced I have som sort of inherent bias against the deck.)

Decidueye

Believe me, there are a LOT of other directions you can take this list! (...Also, why is Tauros a regular art now?)

Why it's good: Sun and Moon changed the game with its new-but-not-so-new choice to make both Basic and Evolution GX Pokemon. Chief among these absurdly powerful cards is Decidueye GX, a card I feel has gotten an insane amount of disrespect leading up to this tournament. First and foremost, this is my favorite Sun and Moon card! I’m a bit biased here, but I believe it’s for good reason. First, its Ability is the most efficient “free damage” in the Standard format: The longer a game draws out, the more devastating two to three Feather Arrows can be. Second, it’s beefy as sin, which is a rare trait to have for a Grass type. Third, its options for locking and/or teching Attackers supplies ample opportunities to handle its number one threat, Garbodor’s Ability-locking Garbotoxin. Finally, its GX Attack is hands-down the best resource recovery available in Standard.

(Want some last-minute ideas for your Decidueye list? Check out my Quick Search entry on Decidueye!)

Safety: 2/4. What comes with the territory of being a new card is the risk that you will collapse. It can hit some bad matchups, and needs a bunch of cards to set up in every variant.

Ease of use: 1/4. In principle this deck should be very easy: get a bunch of Owls into play and smash in your opponent’s face. However, it’s much more complicated than that, particularly because each of those Feather Arrows you announce is game-changing. Conversely, a single wrong Feather Arrow could lose you the game, and a poorly-played or poorly-timed Hollow Hunt GX Attack will stick out like a sore thumb. Finally, you need a great plan for best two out of three match play, or else you’ll be drawing and losing matches you should’ve won otherwise.

Personal preference: 4/4. Despite the risks and the difficulties, I’m absolutely in love with this card and its way to sweep games completely and utterly. It does have some glaring issues and matchups, but they’re mostly just players not settling on all the right list choices – myself included. Multiple Feather Arrows in play is format-changing: it can and will dominate games that should be completely unwinnable on paper. We haven’t seen something capable of such tempo manipulation in years, and so it definitely has a home in any format it’s legal in. I'm currently leaning towards a version of the above list with Vileplume, but I'm also enamored with the way the pictured list deals out, too.

Mega Mewtwo/Garbodor

Wait, isn't this just Igor Costa's list with the wrong Tauros?

Why it's good: It’s got incredible firepower, healing, and Ability lock! Mega Mewtwo’s always been good, but at every turn, Weakness has held it down badly. Be it due to Night March or Mega Gardevoir, this deck has struggled to take down anything sizeable in this Standard or the last. However, headed into Anaheim, all the hype is surrounding cards which conveniently don’t pose any imminent auto-win threat against Mewtwo. Furthermore, the counters to these decks (e.g., Volcanion) suffer against Mega Mewtwo because they can’t handle the strength of Psychic Infinity.

I think if any time is the best time for Mewtwo to take down a Regional, it’s Anaheim. It has hard losses Yveltal EX/Garbodor will never be exposed to (see below), but in many ways it’s a stronger version of Yveltal. So assuming we see a lot of players swarm to Yveltal as the “safe” play, Mewtwo may be a great meta call.

Safety: 3/4. See above reasons. It’s got some pretty incredible matchups and doesn’t fare poorly against the new Sun and Moon cards, but will always have glaring weaknesses to be exploited. 

Ease of us: 3/4. In my experience, Mega Mewtwo has a rhythm – that is, a set of very normal, scripted plays that hardly ever deviate. It’s also pretty simple to know where to attach, when to use what attack, and so on. Where it does deviate, however, is in how elite players handle bad matchups, or sticky situations. Whereas a Mega Gardevoir player who’s equally as talented as a Mega Mewtwo player will win most of their games, a skill discrepancy could easily expose the weaker Gardevoir player to a Mewtwo player, who by virtue of the deck will be very aggressive in seizing on those mistakes.

Personal preference: 3/4.  In investing, there are high risk investments, medium risk investments, and low risk investments. In other words, the greater the risk, the more money you’ll make. Now imagine the three decks I want to play as investments. Playing Decidueye can result in either an incredible tournament-tearing day or a crash-and-burn day – I see little in between. Playing Yveltal (discussed below) will probably result in a perfectly fine day one, but will undoubtedly result in a lot of grindy day two games that could easily be broken by a rough hand or two.

Then there’s Mewtwo, the medium risk guy that “may” have some solvency issues, but is still totally capable of making me a good chunk of change. This is where really knowing the California metagame would really help in making a decision, as it could help predict just how big your “risk” truly is.

Yveltal EX/Garbodor/Tauros GX

Okay, now we're just getting ridiculous with this whole wrong Tauros thing.

Why it's good: Except for a select few niche attackers, Yveltal has no bad matchups – none! Everything in the metagame is 100% workable, and even against those bad matchups, Yveltal’s unholy combination of versatility, power, and disruption makes even those bad matchups entirely winnable. Furthermore, Tauros GX closes up a lot of the holes the deck had previously, and supplies a ferocious attacker to handle formerly horrible matchups.

Safety: 4/4. If you’re a good player and have a good list, you have a great chance of walking away with some money, and there’s no way I imagine you finishing with a negative record.

Ease of use: 2/4. The first-level plays aren’t hard at all, but if you don’t have the skills to handle all of its intricate matchup interactions, then don’t play it.
Personal preference: 3/4. I have a long history of using Yveltal EX, trust its consistency and other positive aspects, and am open-minded about using it in a state I don’t play in. There’s a good chance I may fall back on this in case I suffer a crisis of faith in Decidueye.

 A Few Words for the Fallen

I said "fallen," not "Knocked Over"!

Of course, there are several decks not featured on my list. Chief among them is Mega Rayquaza, the high-sailing dragon God that deals untold amounts of damage to every EX south of 250 HP. I think common wisdom would take Decidueye off my elite four and replace it with Mega Rayquaza, but many of the metagame threats meant to target these new Sun and Moon Ability decks will inevitably hurt Rayquaza, too. Chief among them being sticking Garbodor in literally everything – who ever thought garbage could be so popular? Also, considering how common Parallel City is, it’s tough to see Rayquaza actually win the whole tournament.

For Greninja and Volcanion, I see it being much worse. Although in theory Volcanion should benefit from all the new, good Grass decks, it’s one of the worst decks to deal with Ability lock, which a plurality of decks will be packing. Greninja is even worse in coping with it, and now suffers the added “bonus” of having to contend with viable Grass decks.

Lurantis is a good card, but in testing it’s revealed itself to be fairly overrated. Chloroscythe GX is an incredible GX move though, and lists aren’t incapable of running a few surprises, so its time may come yet.

While I didn’t put it on my list, Vespiquen is a highly capable threat. Contrary to other premium article writers, I don’t think Sun and Moon added enough to change its composition too dramatically. However, it’s still great – just perhaps not safe the way the four listed decks are.

Finally, I think Water Box’s fate is pretty much left up in the hands of the meta. While a heavy-hitting Lapras GX is stellar against much of the “old” metagame, Water Box takes hard losses to every single Grass deck out there. And since Grass is monopolizing the hype, it’ll be a super-risky choice for Anaheim.

Conclusion

There are several decks I trust to be very good choices, but ultimately only four I identify as having a good enough chance of taking the whole thing. As with any deck choice, remember that it's a personal decision: You may want a surprise factor, something easy, or maybe something that'll just get you to day two easily. Whatever you do though, and whatever your goals may be, be sure it's a good choice for you!

Posted by: on 2017-02-16 12:52:05 • Tags: Pokemon Regional Championship Pokemon Standard Format 2017 Pokemon TCG Regionals



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Just a friendly reminder that HeyTrainer, through associated Youtube channel RogueTrainer, will be doing streams select Monday nights at 8:00 PM Eastern/7:00 PM Central Standard Time! Tonight's will be going LIVE in three hours, and we're excited to have you join!

Posted by: on 2017-02-13 17:13:38 • Tags: HeyTrainer stream HeyTrainer PTCGO RogueTrainer RogueTrainerTwitch RogueTrainer Pokemon



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INTRODUCTION

In the past, our blog coined a now commonly-used phrase called the "deck list dump": an article which provides users deck lists. As used here, the deck list dump's practical purpose was to provide users quality content on days in which we couldn't provide a more in-depth article such as yesterday's. That way, there's still a lot to learn even if the actual article writers here can't provide normal premium-level content.

In recent times, the term has taken on a more negative meaning, thanks to the rise of many premium content websites that exist just to regurgitate other people's content. At some point people DID pay specifically for deck lists, but nowadays they're quite literally a dime a dozen! That's why whenever we do a deck list dump, we'll focus on achieving the following:

1. Enough decks to make reading the article worthwhile;
2. Some minor explanation or analysis; and
3. Unique decks or a unique purpose behind the dump (example: today's dumping of Legacy format decks)

LEGACY LISTS

Despite being a frozen format, Legacy actually has a lot of untapped potential. That's because the people who play it are usually either inexperienced or nostalgia seekers, both of which are not actively seeking out new ideas. (There are also "Genters," or people who collude to get benefits in the VS ladder, but I don't include them because they aren't actively engaging with the cards or the format.)

Below are six ists which I've found decent amounts of success with:

Flareon

Concept Competitiveness: 7/10. Great versus Genesect/Virizion/Celebi, competitive with most other decks, but struggles at times.

Durant

Concept Competitiveness: 5/10. Struggles against all of the top decks, but has a hard cap to the amount of times its games takes. Also beats Plasma very handily.

This particular list could use Twins from Triumphant.

Donphan/Garbodor

Concept Competitiveness: 8/10. Amazing versus all of the top decks in Legacy, but will take very hard losses, including to anything Water.

Darkrai

Concept Competitiveness: 7/10. Darkrai as a concept will always be extremely powerful, but in all honesty this particular list is not very good. I've included it however as an option for how to build Darkrai even if you don't own the very expensive Junk Arm card.

RayEels

Concept Competitiveness: 9/10. Incredibly powerful, versatile, and has no bad matchups. Only thing keeping it from being a "10" is that it struggles a bit with Darkrai and select rogue from time to time.

Garchomp


Concept Competitiveness: 8/10. Extremely consistent, and exchanges very well with most of the format. The card pool from HeartGold/SoulSilver makes a big difference for this deck.

Posted by: on 2017-02-10 14:03:40 • Tags: Pokemon TCG Legacy Legacy Format PTCGO Legacy Deck List Dump



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Lunala GX Deck Profile



INTRODUCTION


Do you miss insanely bulky cards that are offensive as well? Do you want a concept capable of splashing in a wide variety of specialty niche attackers? Best of all, do you want tons of Healing on top of free prizes?

If so, then you may strongly consider playing Lunala GX the next chance you get!

In today’s deck profile, we’ll be looking at a Standard format list for Lunala GX. We’ll consider the general concept, the finer options, and the matchups. Of course we’ll also consider Lunala’s uncertain, but still very real place in the new metagame.

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS


1. Deck List
1.1 Deck Demonstration
2. Core Strategy
3. List Choices
4. Playing Options
5. Matchups

 

1. DECK LIST



Pokémon (16):

3 Cosmog SM 64
1 Cosmoem SM 65
3 Lunala GX SM 141
4 Wobbuffet GEN RC11
2 Hoopa STS 51
1 Hoopa EX AOR 89
1 Shaymin-EX ROS 77
1 Lugia-EX AOR 68

Trainers (35):

4 Trainers' Mail ROS 92
1 Skyla BKP 122
4 Rare Candy SM 129
1 Super Rod BKT 149
2 Lysandre AOR 78
4 Professor Sycamore BKP 107
2 Teammates PRC 141
3 N FAC 105
3 Float Stone BKT 137
4 Ultra Ball FAC 113
3 Max Potion BKP 103
4 VS Seeker PHF 109

Energy (9):

9 Psychic Energy


1.1 Deck Demonstration:


2. Core Strategy

Lunala GX’s Psychic Transfer lets you move Energy, deny Prizes, and heal damaged Pokémon with no downside.

3. List Choices

(Pokémon)


3-1-3 Lunala GX: In a format with such monstrously fast Basic attackers, Lunala is made or broken on how consistent every aspect of getting out your Stage Two can be. The starting point is of course with the line you dedicate, and here I’ve decided on a 3-1-3 for very important reasons…

3 Cosmog: Just enough to keep from being prized too often, but not too much to clog up your deck. In an average game, benching two by the first turn shouldn’t be too difficult.


1 Cosmoem
: This is a horrible card in its own right, but it’s necessary for two reasons. First, for all the situations where you can’t get out a turn two Lunala via Rare Candy (more on that in a moment), you still want a smooth transition in case you fail to draw into Rare Candy on the third turn. Cosmoem does that for us, hedging our line to set up at the latest on Turn Three (as the Poke-Gods intended).


3 Lunala GX
: The prizing logic is the same here as with Cosmog. But while the same urgency doesn’t exist to get two out into play immediately, you’ll still want two out eventually. This lets you juggle two Lunala as a viable offensive tactic, in spite of Moongeist Beam being a horrible attack with an equally horrible cost.

…And then there’s Lunar Fall GX, which is incredible. But more on that later.


4 Wobbuffet: Setting up a Stage Two line in a turbo format is tough, which is why we want to slow everyone down to our snail’s pace. Wobuffet’s attack also permits for the perfect one-two punch when combined with Lunala’s hideously inefficient first attack.

2 Hoopa STS: Non-EX Hoopa, a.k.a. “Ugly Muppet Baby, Model Violet” is valuable both for setting up future Knock Outs for your other attackers, as well as slugging through Shaymins or non-EX threats with Hyperspace Punch. Although it is decent versus Gyarados AOR, as well as its Steam Siege nemesis, Ugly Muppet Baby Red (Volcanion), Hoopa has been very underwhelming in testing, and is looking like it will see at least one copy cut. Most likely in favor of…


1 Lugia EX AOR
: Lugia EX AOR is a star attacker, taking full advantage of Lunala GX’s Psychic Transfer for big, oftentimes unanswered Damage. Deep Hurricane is also my deck’s sole answer to counter stadiums, and is a huge Damage source in its own right.


1 Hoopa EX AOR
: Unlike the vast majority of lists in Standard or Expanded, I’m actually running Hoopa EX for its own sake and less for Scoundrel Ring.  While Scoundrel Ring is indeed an excellent Ability, I'm using Hoopa EX as a surprise sniper to clean up for our mutant muppet baby pals, who in many instances would have dealt tiny but decisive amounts of Damage to, say, Shaymin EX's. This, like the count on Hoopa, is not quite as useful in practice as I would have liked, and so is subject to getting cut.


1 Shaymin EX ROS: Shaymin EX is still the best this game has in terms of Pokémon-based draw support. Although we’re hiding behind a wall of Wobbuffet, which shuts off your own non-Psychic based Abilities such as Set Up, I still run a single copy because when looping with Lunala GX or other attackers, you’ll oftentimes need some extra draw power to keep you afloat.

(Trainers)

4 Trainers’ Mail / 1 Skyla / 4 Rare Candy: Greninja and Vileplume have been the solely prominent Stage Two Pokémon in this Standard format, but you can’t build the vast majority of Stage Two decks like Greninja or Vileplume: You don’t have Frogadier’s Water Duplicates to skip a Stage, and you don’t have Forest of Giant Plants to get it all out by turn One.

So what’s the key principle to getting out a Stage Two line consistently? Simple:


RUN ENOUGH STUFF TO GET IT OUT!!!


I run the 3-1-3 line I do in order to get out Lunala GX consistently, and I run these nine cards to do the same. The game you’ll be playing is two-fold: get (and keep) Cosmog on the Bench; and then Rare Candy Cosmog into a Lunala GX by turn two. That’s also why I run a maximum count on Rare Candy, as well as five cards capable of getting me Rare Candy on second blush. The single copy of Skyla is particularly useful in smoothing over the difficulties you may otherwise encounter when trying to get Ultra Ball at the same time as Rare Candy.


Over time, you and I may decide that four Rare Candy is inefficient. Okay, that’s fine, but at this point in testing a new deck, the things you should do always come back to consistency! Four Rare Candy – and its support Trainers – is the key to doing that in a Stage Two deck.

2 Teammates: I run two Teammates on top of the above not just as the occasional way to fetch a turn Two Lunala, but as a great mid-game crutch to fetch either pieces of a second Lunala GX line, Max Potions and Energy, or a combination of the above. This is a set up deck, and while your perfect board begins with a single Lunala GX, it ends with multiple Lunala GX and lots of energy. Teammates helps move that along efficiently.

 

3 Max Potion: Max Potion means maximum healing in exchange for discarding Energy, which is incredible in a deck that moves Energy. I run three because in combination with the rest of the deck, it’s a high enough count to guarantee that I enjoy the benefit of healing, but not disrupt the rest of the deck.

3 Float Stone (and 0 Fighting Fury Belt!): It may seem strange that I don’t run Fighting Fury Belt (+40 HP) in a deck whose main objective is to tank and heal, but that is in part because I want space for lots of Float Stones. Several Float Stone copies means I can transition seamlessly from a Wobbuffet into a turn three attacker. It also means I can quickly move into a Wobbuffet turn one in case I didn’t start with it. One change I am strongly considering is to remove a single copy of both Max Potion and Float Stone to afford the space for Fighting Fury Belt.

 

(Energy)

9 Psychic: This is the minimum energy count I’ve allowed to make the deck work. Except in the rare instance where I need to have enough Energy for a big Aero Ball, I’ve never lacked for energy, and haven’t wanted to have more. That’s probably because of the strange Energy efficiency in this deck: Because you are constantly moving Psychic Energy, they go a longer way here.

0 Rainbow!  Lastly, I currently run zero Rainbow, or any differently-typed Attackers for that matter. This build is still in its beta stage, and I feel a format which runs so much Special Energy hate, Rainbow-typed tactics would be a dangerous metagame choice for now.

 

4. Playing Options

When to Lunar Fall with Lunala GX: I’m a firm believer that the more rigid a philosophy you have with when to execute this attack, the more games you’ll lose.

First off, remember that Lunar Fall GX is a conditional attack – that is, because it can only target non-GX Basic Pokémon, there’s no guarantee you can use it in the late game against a good player with the right deck. Your top target will without a doubt be a benched Shaymin EX in order to draw the last two Prizes you need to win the game, but the opponent might have already Sky Returned their Shaymin EX, returning it to the hand in anticipation of your impending, game-finishing Attack.

Second, the value in eliminating a big Attacker is much higher in the early game than in the late game, but it’s all very matchup-dependent. In Volcanion decks, for instance, the greatest threat to your Lunala is a Volcanion EX that can somehow overcome its 130 base Damage to OHKO a Lunala. The only way to do that is to get four Volcanion EX into play all at once, but with Lunar Fall GX threatening a Knock Out against those Volcanion EX at any time, how will they get up to that magic 250 HP count?

 When to Go Aggro: In this deck, there are aggressive games and conservative games. In the aggressive games, you wall behind Wobbuffet until you have three Energy in play for a good attack; in conservative games, you continue building your Energy and Attackers until a Wobbuffet gets Knocked Out, potentially triggering Teammates for even more resources and Attackers.

I’ve found that in a surprising number of games, you actually want to play aggressively. That’s because a Lunala GX will very rarely get Knocked Out with one hit after you start attacking, and so can transition seamlessly from a turn three Lunar Fall GX into a turn four Moongeist Beam. Also, in some matchups such as turbo Darkrai EX, you will really want to take the initiative before their board becomes too powerful to control.

 Best Practices with Energy Placement: Lunala GX may have its own unique bells and whistles, but Energy transfer decks are hardly new. Since Lunala GX has no Energy acceleration of its own without also including Max Elixir, you will generally want to spread out all of your extra Energy in places where your Opponent won’t or can’t target. That’s partially why getting a second Lunala GX into play is so helpful, and why I’m considering including Fighting Fury Belt in future versions of this deck.

Anticipating Hex Maniac: A well-timed Hex Maniac can ruin many of our plans discussed above, and punish a player for being aggressive. But that doesn’t devalue the benefits of taking any of the suggestions discussed, so rather than paralyze yourself with fear of losing your Abilities, just ask yourself two questions –

1. “What are the chances my opponent runs Hex Maniac?”
2. “If I for some reason lost access to Psychic Transfer next turn, would I be okay?

Engage yourself; actively consider the risk of your plays, as you would in any other scenario. But your interactions with Ability denial are just as important as your one-sided decisions with Psychic Transfer.

 Dealing with the Dank Jank Duo: Garbodor BKP and Alolan Muk SUM shut off all or some of your Abilities. These two gross, but cool and useful Psychic Types, a.k.a. the Jank Dank Duo, are a thorn on your side for different reasons.

Garbodor shuts off All Abilities, a game-killer for you if you’re not prepared. The current list also doesn’t run many efficient Psychic answers to kill Garbodor, so you’ll either need to find a new tech attacker, snipe Garbodor with Hoopa EX’s Hyperspace Fury, or make some clever bench-attacking plays with Ugly Muppet Baby Hoopa. Unfortunately you can’t charge into a Garbodor with Lunala GX itself when against Yveltal, because then you’ll face the ugly reality of Darkness Weakness when Yveltal EX Evil Balls you for a Knock Out.

Alolan Muk is a bit different. Rather than shut off your entire deck, it will shut off your Basic Abilities…which includes your Wobbuffet army That has some weird implications, but the biggest is that Power of Alchemy permits your Opponent to start using Evolved Pokémon’s Abilities again. Stacked Abilities therefore can get very strange, such as in the below example --

--Villeplume AOR shuts off your Items, BUT…
--Wobbuffet GEN shuts off your Opponent’s Vileplume, thereby triggering your Items again. BUT…
--Alolan Muk SUM shuts off your Wobbuffet, thereby reactivating the Item denial.

To be fair, situations like this will be very rare. But if you’re considering using this deck in the lead-up to Regionals, know that the concept of Vileplume with Alolan Muk has a lot of hype.

The normal answer to this issue is pretty simple, which is to not bother with Alolan Muk at all, and have faith in the construction of your list. Remember that we rely much less on the all-powerful Basic Pokémon Draw cards like Shaymin EX, so in most matchups we’ll just get carried by our own consistency. For the sole issue of Vileplume though, remember that both Vileplume and Alolan Muk have high Retreat costs, meaning you can Lysandre and kill one of them relatively slowly without consequence.

 5. Matchups

Although including percentage calculations is a traditional thing to do in matchup discussions, I don’t think it’s as helpful to the average player as a general term. There also comes to be a point when assigning a percentage has negative implications, such as an unrealistic probability. It is still a useful shorthand in my day-to-day talk with testing partners, so I wouldn’t discourage it for you either. However, I’ll only call matchups Very Favorable, Favorable, Even, Unfavorable, and Very Unfavorable.


Yveltal/Garbodor: Unfavorable. This is perhaps your worst matchup, and in many people’s minds will disqualify it as a choice for the first Regional of the season. Garbodor shuts you down; Yveltal EX can oftentimes OHKO a Lunala GX with only two Energy, and it’s hard to keep up the pace in the face of either of those! Lugia EX may be your saving grace against both, and your Wobbuffets can work wonders.

Turbo Darkrai: Unfavorable. Turbo Darkrai is perhaps far less unfavorable than Yveltal EX, especially if they don’t run a single copy of Yveltal EX to deal with Lunala GX. However, all Darkrai EX needs to reach Lunala GX’s max HP is half its Darkness Energy in play, which doesn’t take all that long However, Wobbuffet does an incredible job of grinding their otherwise endless onslaught to a halt. It also helps tremendously that Lunar Fall GX doesn’t trigger EXP. Share, which means that when you use your GX attack to KO a Darkrai…That energy is going away for good!

 

So we have two tough matchups against two historically popular decks – one on the downturn but historically known to make comebacks; and the other on the rise. Why on Earth, then, would Lunala GX be worth considering in the short term?

I’ll start by saying that this deck profile isn’t supposed to argue the deck’s playability in the instant moment, but give you a strong starting point with the deck in all aspects when you’re ready to start playing it. However, there can and will be realistic upcoming metagame scenarios where Dark is pushed out in favor of Volcanion and the fast Grass decks it presumably beats.


 “Various Grass decks”: Favorable. This is a broad category which will eventually deserve to be split into its various decks, but when I say this I think of the combined might of Vespiquen and/or Vileplume, as well as new Grass cards like Decidueye GX, Tsareena, and Lurantis GX. All of these Grass decks that depend heavily on Abilities are locked by Wobbuffet, and they all struggle to reach Lunala GX’s dreaded 250 HP mark.


Volcanion: Favorable. With the onslaught of Grass comes a return to players of Volcanion, which is a great format dynamic for Lunala to come in and surprise. As discussed above, Volcanion struggles really, really hard to reach that magic 250 HP mark as well, and it’s highly unlikely Volcanion will be making the list choices that would make quadruple Steam Up a reality. This ultimately results in being able to wall a very strong deck.

M Rayquaza: Favorable. Shutting off Abilities against a very Ability-driven deck is highly advantageous, but the most absurd aspect of this matchup is that M Rayquaza can’t OHKO Lunala GX! Well, not without aid of some damage addition card, but that’s a hard thing to include in an otherwise tight list. Unlike other games, the tech Basics mostly take a back seat to Lunala GX, which has a lot of openings to snipe Shaymin EX’s and perhaps even Lunar Fall GX a Rayquaza EX.

M Mewtwo/Garbodor: Even. Despite Garbodor shutting down your Abilities, Weakness goes a long way for you. Hoopa EX and the Ugly Muppet Babies are the leaders in this aspect, and Lugia EX can from time to time result in a surprising damage play. However, I wouldn’t count out M Mewtwo EX’s Ability to do absurd amounts of damage against what’s clearly a very hoggish deck.

M Gardevoir: ”Even.” This is the one matchup where I’m least convinced in my assessment, but all early indicates suggest it’s even. On one hand, Wobbuffet is especially crippling to this deck as it relies as much if not more on Abilities than M Rayquaza. On the other hand, a good M Gardevoir player will rarely leave openings for Lunar Fall GX, effectively making the attack worthless. This is actually a rare instance where Moongeist Beam’s secondary effect, the blocking of healing on the Defending Pokémon, to be incredibly useful, as it blocks their Fairy Drops.

Greninja: Unfavorable. I don’t like our chances against a deck that perpetually locks our Abilities, is above our normal Damage caps, outpaces our attackers, and rarely if ever offers up a viable target for Lunar Fall GX. As far as techs go, a Professor Kukui could be useful in letting Lunala reach Greninja’s 130 HP, or Lugia EX to reach Greninja BREAK’s 170 HP. Pokémon Ranger could also be incredible in fixing most of these problems; however, that would be yet another tech that could possibly drag down consistency. It’s also a big question of whether we want to bother with even beating this deck when there are so many good Grass options now!

 CONCLUSION

Lunala GX is one of the most underrated cards out of the new set. It is not only with one of the highest HP Pokémon in the game, but is a great support card
with an incredible, game-breaking GX attack. The skill cap here is quite high, and the matchups are so-so. Nevertheless, it’s an enjoyable deck with lots of future potential, and could even make a showing next week in the chaos that is Anaheim.

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--"WAY BACK WEDNESDAY"---
Highlighting HeyTrainer's Best Retro Articles

Tables of Contents

0. Introduction
1. Luxchomp (John Kettler)
2. Porydonk (Jason Wyndham)
3. "Staying Clean in a Dirty World" (Billy Kettler)
4. Pitfalls in Preparation (John Kettler)
5. 2011 National Champion's Report (Justin Sanchez)

 

Introduction

I'd be remiss without giving some sort of substantive update today and break our great track record so far! Fact is, reviving a blog which had otherwise been inactive for several years is easier said than done. However, We're committed to offering you the best original content for free, and to making HeyTrainer a bastion for the community.

The article title is misleading -- I won't be making this a weekly column. However, I know a lot of our previous articles have nuggets of wisdom, and especially a ton of history for those retro format buffs among you. Therefore, I've compiled links to the articles I feel will best help educate you today!

 

Pick #1: Luxchomp Part 2

Why it's relevant: To this day, new players are fascinated by old decks. Luxchomp is among the most dominant decks of the old school formats, to the point where everything everyone wrote about for months on end was Luxchomp! In this article is the list which proves just how absurd mirror became, as well as how nuanced the lists were.


Pick #2: PoryDonk

Why it's relevant: Unlike the above, this article is actually relevant to you right now. Why? Because nothing rotates in Unlimited, and Unlimited will never go away! There is always some Unlimited tournament somewhere, and the most historically renowned deck of the Unlimited format is the dreaded Porydonk. It's been several years since the article, and therefore I doubt the build is optimal. However, it is without any doubt in my mind sufficiently powerful to tear down Unlimited events.
 

 Pick #3: Pokemon Health: Staying Clean in a Dirty World

Why it's relevant: Everyone understands that card shops are generally dirty, nasty, filthy places. We also understand that Pokemon players are lacking in hygeine at times, as well. Drrtybylf guides the readers through some seriously good advice on how to cope.
 

Pick #4: Pitfalls in Preparation

Why it's relevant: This is so useful, it's a re-post of a re-post. In this article, I examine the pitfalls people suffer during last-minute prep.

I'm a long-time premium content author. Many of the  premium articles I've written for SixPrizes, Pokebeach, and 60cards have had a more abstract focus. The reasons I write articles like these are two-fold:

  1. I "teach a Trainer how to fish," which feels a lot more rewarding to me as someone who's been paid for Pokemon;
  2. I produce an article which has long-term or even timeless value to the player base;
  3. It's the easiest way to share my direct experiences and stories to the next generation of players.

"Pitfalls" may be short, but it's still one of my personal favorites. It also in a weird way helped me achieve greater accomplishments, because it forced me to take a good, hard look at what separated me from who I regarded as higher-tier players at the time.


Pick #5:
2011 Masters National Champion Report

Why it matters: This is the report from a former National Champion in a 1,000-person tournament -- it kinda speaks for itself! Also highlights the legendary "secret deck that never was," Magnezone/Yanmega.

 

 

For those reading Picks 1, 2, and 5, I hope you had an excellent blast from the past; and for those reading Picks 3 and 4, I hope you gathered something which will be immediately helpful for the upcoming Regional Championships!

 

---Patriarch

Posted by: on 2017-02-08 21:09:25 • Tags:



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From time to time, I and others will be doing columns discussing particular cards. Think of these as "card of the whenever," but with a lot more depth and substance. Today, we'll be going over my personal favorite new card out of the entire Sun and Moon expansion: Decidueye GX.
 

Let's hop straight into analysis:


Hunting the most dangerous game: your wallet!

 

Card Overview

 

-- Its HP effectively walls everything in the Standard and Expanded formats except for M Rayquaza EX, select Fire attackers, and extremely well-timed Evil Balls from Yveltal EX.

-- Taken by itself, Razor Leaf is actually a mediocre attack on something that yields two Prizes for a Knock Out. However, when combined with numerous Feather Arrows over.

-Hollow Hunt GX is a strong attack in either format, but its impact is especially felt in the Standard format, where resource replenishment isn't nearly as efficient.

--Ah yes, how could I ignore the entire reason you're running this card: FEATHER ARROW!!!

 

So good, you'll get it in ink.

 

Line Considerations

How many Decidueye GX do you want in play in order  to reap stacked benefits from Feather Arrow? Theoretically, anything more than one. This means that I would advise against tech or small splash lines of Decidueye  -- either go big (at least 3 Rowlet, 2 Dartrix, 2 Decidueye GX) or run none at all. That's in large part because it takes so much before you start seeing the dividends pay off from Decidueye. To start a single Feather Arrow chain "on time" (by turn one or two), you will ALWAYS need 1 Rowlett, 1 Dartrix, 1 Decidueye GX, and 1 Forest of Giant Plants. Add in any search cards you may have used to find the aforementioned pieces, and you're easily looking at having invested 10% of your entire deck in a single effect. A good, gamebreaking effect, but a single effect nonetheless.

However, from a perspective of resource management, it's just more efficient to have a deck utilizing more than a single Decidueye per game. For example, getting out that first Decidueye may have taken 10% of your deck, but because of cards like Battle Compressor and Revitalizer, you can seriously cut down your overall "cost," saving a lot more to close out the game with a fully dedicated, 3-3-3 or 4-4-4 Decidueye deck.

Also, consider your Decidueye line from a metagame perspective. In Standard, Olympia and Pokemon Center Lady are both very popular; and in Expanded, both AZ and Scoop Up Cyclone see a ton of play. In the face of menaces like these, what on Earth is your gimpy single Decidueye going to do?

(Remember, the Ability is called Feather Arrow -- not "Feather Mosquito Bite." If you're gonna play Decidueye, go all the way in!)

 

Standard Options

Vileplume -- Running Decidueye GX with Item lock at first blush is the most stable, long-term approach to the deck. Although you are playing two thick Stage Two lines in the same deck, it's efficient to run the two together because you can Turbo-evolve both with a Forest of Giant Plants in play, and you can fetch missing pieces of either line with Revitalizer. Vileplume is also a natural partner to Decidueye because the Feather Arrow Ability is complimentary and indeed devastating as part of a lock strategy. To best illustrate this concept, let's take a look at a deck with an above-average count of switching options:

--Two Switch
--Two Float Stone
--One Escape Rope
--One Olympia
--Four VS Seeker to get back Olympia

I don't have to tell you how many of those options are starved the moment a Vileplume hits the board. This means that with as little as a single Decidueye and a well-timed Lysandre, you could win the game outright if your opponent has a vulnerable benched Pokemon. How's that for a Lock deck?!

 

Vespiquen --  Another option is to run the deck with Vespiquen, which has many of the same deck consctruction advantages to being paired with Decidueye GX that Vileplume does. While Vespiquen may lack the lock potential that Vileplume does, and while it won't be stealing nearly as many games, Vespiquen offers us our one and only way of getting a full attacker into play.

Big Basic Attackers  -- A third idea which I've found interest in is pairing Decidueye GX with big neutral attackers like Tauros GX. This is in theory very similar to the Vespiquen approach, only a bit more space-efficient, slightly less offensive, and much more defensive. It's also by far the most cost-efficient way to run a dedicated Decidueye GX list, and may have the best shot at beating imposing Mega decks such as Rayquaza and Gardevoir. (Remember that Rayquaza can one-shot your Owls!).

What are some good Big Basic attackers aside from Tauros?

--Lugia EX: With Feather Arrows, your potentially gimpy Aero Balls are now at or above keeping up with Yveltal EX's Evil Balls. Also, Deep Hurricane aided with enough Feather Arrows can one-shot almost any Mega evolution.

--Trevenant EX: Offers a soft lock option similar to the above strategy discussed with Vileplume, only with Retreat block via Dark Forest. Very good in setting up clever plays where you keep an Active locked while slowly whittling away or evne Knocking Out Benched Pokemon.

--Celebi XY93: Theta Stop protects Celebi from opposing Feather Arrows; Sparkle Motion is great at getting odd-numbered Pokemon in range for Decidueye such as Shaymin EX, and a Heads on Leap Through Time can function as a wall in a pinch when you can't afford to give up a prize in close games.

 

Expanded Options

All of the above for standard -- Remember that all of the above are respectable ways to run Decidueye in Expanded as well as Standard. I think with Battle Compressor, Decidueye/Vespiquen can become a lot more deadly so long as you have a way to cope with Archeops (or otherwise KO it really quickly).

Other than Mewtwo EX, not that many tech options emerge. However, some interesting variations with big Basics at the heart of the deck emerge:

Seismitoad EX  -- The theory here is essentially the same as with the Vileplume variants, only a lot more space-efficient.  For three spaces over 6-9, cutting Vileplume dashes your hopes for a turn one obliteration in exchange for a smoother, more streamlined game. It's also much more hopeful to cope with Archeops when you have a well-timed Seismitoad that could theoretically Lysandre it up and then subsequently attack a few times.

As one last note for this variant, I am struggling to decide whether I want to include Hypnotoxic lasers or not. I'm strongly leaning against it for consistency's sake, but if you are on the boards and have a separate take, leave me a line!

Virizion/Genesect -- This is an untested gimmick, but I like the theory behind it because the deck is fully functional without Decidueye. Muscle Band/Emerald Slash is by itself enough to defeat an Archeops, and by that point you can lay waste to your opponent with a brutal combination of Megalo Cannon and well-placed Feather Arrows. You also see a lot of that all-important Grass synergy through Revitalizer. My one major concern is that this is likely to be highly inconsistent. You also might be much better off by pairing Virizion EX/Genesect EX with Lurantis GX, which seems to be a much more natural partner for those two.

 

Virgen/Lurantis -- La Ménage à Lurantrois for another day???

 

Conclusion

I hope this in-depth review of Decidueye GX got your creative juices flowing. It's an incredible card, and while I don't blame you for being scared of Volcanion and Garbodor, it would be a fantastic choice for the upcoming Anaheim, CA Regional Championship. It would also be a great choice for the Collinsville, IL Regional Championship, despite being in a totally separate format.

 

It's been five years since the last time I've preordered a card -- Darkrai EX from Dark Explorers to be precise, which went on to win Worlds three times. I don't think Decidueye will be pulling off something crazy like that, but there is very rarely such a "wow" card as this.

Good luck, everyone!

Posted by: on 2017-02-06 12:50:27 • Tags: Decidueye GX Lurantis GX Pokemon Card of the Day Quick Search Pokemon Quick Search Decidueye Pokemon Sun and Moon Pokemon Trading Card Game Pokemon TCG Grass Pokemon



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From time to time, I and others will be doing columns discussing particular cards. Think of these as "card of the whenever," but with a lot more depth and substance. Today, we'll be going over my personal favorite new card out of the entire Sun and Moon expansion: Decidueye GX.
 

Let's hop straight into analysis:


Hunting the most dangerous game: your wallet!

 

Card Overview

 

-- Its HP effectively walls everything in the Standard and Expanded formats except for M Rayquaza EX, select FIre attackers, and extremely well-timed Evil Balls from Yveltal EX.

-- Taken by itself, Razor Leaf is actually a mediocre attack on something that yields two Prizes for a Knock Out. However, when combined with numerous Feather Arrows over.

-Hollow Hunt GX is a strong attack in either format, but its impact is especially felt in the Standard format, where resource replenishment isn't nearly as efficient.

--Ah yes, how could I ignore the entire reason you're running this card: FEATHER ARROW!!!

 

So good, you'll get it in ink.

 

Line Considerations

How many Decidueye GX do you want in play in order  to reap stacked benefits from Feather Arrow? Theoretically, anything more than one. This means that I would advise against tech or small splash lines of Decidueye  -- either go big (at least 3 Rowlet, 2 Dartrix, 2 Decidueye GX) or run none at all. That's in large part because it takes so much before you start seeing the dividends pay off from Decidueye. To start a single Feather Arrow chain "on time" (by turn one or two), you will ALWAYS need 1 Rowlett, 1 Dartrix, 1 Decidueye GX, and 1 Forest of Giant Plants. Add in any search cards you may have used to find the aforementioned pieces, and you're easily looking at having invested 10% of your entire deck in a single effect. A good, gamebreaking effect, but a single effect nonetheless.

However, from a perspective of resource management, it's just more efficient to have a deck utilizing more than a single Decidueye per game. For example, getting out that first Decidueye may have taken 10% of your deck, but because of cards like Battle Compressor and Revitalizer, you can seriously cut down your overall "cost," saving a lot more to close out the game with a fully dedicated, 3-3-3 or 4-4-4 Decidueye deck.

Also, consider your Decidueye line from a metagame perspective. In Standard, Olympia and Pokemon Center Lady are both very popular; and in Expanded, both AZ and Scoop Up Cyclone see a ton of play. In the face of menaces like these, what on Earth is your gimpy single Decidueye going to do?

(Remember, the Ability is called Feather Arrow -- not "Feather Mosquito Bite." If you're gonna play Decidueye, go all the way in!)

 

Standard Options

Vileplume -- Running Decidueye GX with Item lock at first blush is the most stable, long-term approach to the deck. Although you are playing two thick Stage Two lines in the same deck, it's efficient to run the two together because you can Turbo-evolve both with a Forest of Giant Plants in play, and you can fetch missing pieces of either line with Revitalizer. Vileplume is also a natural partner to Decidueye because the Feather Arrow Ability is complimentary and indeed devastating as part of a lock strategy. To best illustrate this concept, let's take a look at a deck with an above-average count of switching options:

--Two Switch
--Two Float Stone
--One Escape Rope
--One Olympia
--Four VS Seeker to get back Olympia

I don't have to tell you how many of those options are starved the moment a Vileplume hits the board. This means that with as little as a single Decidueye and a well-timed Lysandre, you could win the game outright if your opponent has a vulnerable benched Pokemon. How's that for a Lock deck?!

 

Vespiquen --  Another option is to run the deck with Vespiquen, which has many of the same deck consctruction advantages to being paired with Decidueye GX that Vileplume does. While Vespiquen may lack the lock potential that Vileplume does, and while it won't be stealing nearly as many games, Vespiquen offers us our one and only way of getting a full attacker into play.

Big Basic Attackers  -- A third idea which I've found interest in is pairing Decidueye GX with big neutral attackers like Tauros GX. This is in theory very similar to the Vespiquen approach, only a bit more space-efficient, slightly less offensive, and much more defensive. It's also by far the most cost-efficient way to run a dedicated Decidueye GX list, and may have the best shot at beating imposing Mega decks such as Rayquaza and Gardevoir. (Remember that Rayquaza can one-shot your Owls!).

What are some good Big Basic attackers aside from Tauros?

--Lugia EX: With Feather Arrows, your potentially gimpy Aero Balls are now at or above keeping up with Yveltal EX's Evil Balls. Also, Deep Hurricane aided with enough Feather Arrows can one-shot almost any Mega evolution.

--Trevenant EX: Offers a soft lock option similar to the above strategy discussed with Vileplume, only with Retreat block via Dark Forest. Very good in setting up clever plays where you keep an Active locked while slowly whittling away or evne Knocking Out Benched Pokemon.

--Celebi XY93: Theta Stop protects Celebi from opposing Feather Arrows; Sparkle Motion is great at getting odd-numbered Pokemon in range for Decidueye such as Shaymin EX, and a Heads on Leap Through Time can function as a wall in a pinch when you can't afford to give up a prize in close games.

 

Expanded Options

All of the above for standard -- Remember that all of the above are respectable ways to run Decidueye in Expanded as well as Standard. I think with Battle Compressor, Decidueye/Vespiquen can become a lot more deadly so long as you have a way to cope with Archeops (or otherwise KO it really quickly).

Other than Mewtwo EX, not that many tech options emerge. However, some interesting variations with big Basics at the heart of the deck emerge:

Seismitoad EX  -- The theory here is essentially the same as with the Vileplume variants, only a lot more space-efficient.  For three spaces over 6-9, cutting Vileplume dashes your hopes for a turn one obliteration in exchange for a smoother, more streamlined game. It's also much more hopeful to cope with Archeops when you have a well-timed Seismitoad that could theoretically Lysandre it up and then subsequently attack a few times.

As one last note for this variant, I am struggling to decide whether I want to include Hypnotoxic lasers or not. I'm strongly leaning against it for consistency's sake, but if you are on the boards and have a separate take, leave me a line!

Virizion/Genesect -- This is an untested gimmick, but I like the theory behind it because the deck is fully functional without Decidueye. Muscle Band/Emerald Slash is by itself enough to defeat an Archeops, and by that point you can lay waste to your opponent with a brutal combination of Megalo Cannon and well-placed Feather Arrows. You also see a lot of that all-important Grass synergy through Revitalizer. My one major concern is that this is likely to be highly inconsistent. You also might be much better off by pairing Virizion EX/Genesect EX with Lurantis GX, which seems to be a much more natural partner for those two.

 

Virgen/Lurantis -- La Ménage à Lurantrois for another day???

 

Conclusion

I hope this in-depth review of Decidueye GX got your creative juices flowing. It's an incredible card, and while I don't blame you for being scared of Volcanion and Garbodor, it would be a fantastic choice for the upcoming Anaheim, CA Regional Championship. It would also be a great choice for the Collinsville, IL Regional Championship, despite being in a totally separate format.

 

It's been five years since the last time I've preordered a card -- Darkrai EX from Dark Explorers to be precise, which went on to win Worlds three times. I don't think Decidueye will be pulling off something crazy like that, but there is very rarely such a "wow" card as this.

Good luck, everyone!

Posted by: on 2017-02-06 04:54:45 • Tags: Decidueye GX Lurantis GX Pokemon Card of the Day Quick Search Pokemon Quick Search Decidueye Pokemon Sun and Moon Pokemon Trading Card Game Pokemon TCG Grass Pokemon



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It’s Super Bowl Sunday (well, technically Monday as of posting), and I had a unique opportunity to attend Alternate Reality Games’ (“ARG’s”) Texas “Pokemon TCG State Championship” in Houston! Since the Super Bowl was actually IN the city of Houston on the very same day, it was quite a trek for me to drive from my end of town to the event venue. However, I’ve been very intrigued by what ARG has to offer as a new source of organized play for Pokemon.


On Supporting Alternate Organized Play, and Why I Fought the Super Bowl to Attend ARG States

Before I go too far into this report, let me preface that as of writing, I have no affiliation with ARG. My only financial incentives to write this article extend to ads and the glorious DONATE button…the latter of which I promise not to plug too often, but is definitely worth considering if you enjoyed the article!

Anyways, I like the concept of alternate organized play (“OP”) because alternate options are healthy for the game’s growth.

1.       First, and perhaps most importantly, Play! Pokemon is pretty much just Regionals and up now, so there's a huge gap in the season that needs to be filled for people who can't go to the 15-some locations. Alternate organized play means that locals whose seasons begin and end at League have an increased chance for something big and exciting to be accessible.

2.       Second, actions taken in alternate OP can encourage the official OP to improve. I know a lot of players have voiced frustration about the length of Regional Championships, and can totally relate to that frustration. Most ARG events appear to have sidestepped this issue completely by having shorter preliminary rounds, and reserving the much longer best-two-of-three matches for top cut.

3.       Alternate OP can be a lot more imaginative than main OP. Whereas a standard form of organized play always has to appeal to more standard sensibilities, alternate OP can create absurd situations such as “high-roller” entry fees of $100 and first place prizes as big or bigger than Regionals. If higher stakes aren’t your thing, alternate OP also opens up the possibility for new formats. Ever wanted to play a “draft World Championship” in a game which routinely disrespects and ignores draft? Maybe you’d like a respectable event for Legacy, the Pokemon Trading Card Game Online-exclusive format which to my knowledge has still not had a major tournament in real life? With dedicated business and groups groups like ARG, these dreams can become reality.


Those are some convincing reasons to go, huh? However, it gets complicated, especially when the prizes don’t look all that appetizing. The advertised breakdown for this particular tournament was as follows:

“Prizing:

1st Place: Gold ARG State Chamionship Logo Medal, Champion Playmat, ARG Invitational Invite, ARG State Championship Lapel Pin, and current sealed Booster Packs.
2nd Place: Exclusive Top 8 Playmat, ARG Invitational Invite, ARG State Championship Lapel Pin, and current sealed Booster Packs.
3rd/4th Place: Exclusive Top 8 Playmat, ARG Invitational Invite, ARG State Championship Lapel Pin, and current sealed Booster Packs.
5th-8th Place: Exclusive Top 8 Playmat, ARG Invitational Invite, ARG State Championship Lapel Pin, and current sealed Boosters.
9th-16th Place: ARG State Championship Lapel Pin

**If 32+ players attend the event 9th-16th Place will receive Invitational Invites**

*Extra door prizes*

Booster Pack Prize Payout which is based on attendance.

8 to 18 Players: 1st 16 Packs, 2nd 8 Packs, 3rd/4th 4 Packs, 5th to 8th 2 Packs
19 to 36 Players: 1st 30 Packs, 2nd 15 Packs, 3rd to 4th 6 Packs, 5th to 8th 3 Packs
37 to + Players: 1st 60 Packs, 2nd 30 Packs, 3rd/4th 12 Packs, 5th-8th 6 Packs & 9th-16th 3 Packs.”

 

Prizing – For our attendance, first place got a box and a trophy. That actually isn’t so bad, and neither is second, but everyone third and below really didn’t get that much. For alternate OP like this, it’s awkward trying to balance the prizes, since small outfits like ARG don’t have nearly the resources and soft benefits that Nintendo or The Pokemon Company International does. What costs Play! Pokemon not much more than production and shipping to dole out as prizes costs companies no less than $60 or $70 to appropriate.

Top eight also got some cool mats pins, and a medal. I’m not sure what of this stuff is actually desirable to the players, but I’m sure these exist primarily to promote the ARG brand. Personally I would’ve been happy with cash or more packs where possible, but it is what it is.

Invitational Invites – Apparently there is an “ARG Invitational” happening from August 11th-13th of this year in Oaks, Pennsylvania. Since Pokemon TCG Worlds is held in August each year, there is  a virtual if not absolute scheduling conflict, meaning many of the best competitors in the ARG circuit won’t even show up if they wanted to. This might be due to ARG wanting to run Pokemon alongside all of their other events, meaning that Pokemon’s inaugural first year won’t cost so much for them. However, the ARG invitational gives players without a worlds invite something competitive and exciting to do that weekend, which is always good for the game!

As an advertising award meant to add “value” to these qualifier events, however, I’m not sure if they do much. All I can say is that it’s a good thing ARG posts the invite list online, because there’s a high chance I’ll lose this advertisement I got.


$25 entry – okay, hold the phone…that’s REALLY expensive! I’m not sure how much it costs to make all those play mats, and who’s footing the bill for the ARG “kit,” but on paper, that’s a mediocre minimum payout. To be fair, the great store which actually ran this event opted to increase everyone’s pack payout considerably. However, I can’t help but think that if a more generous pack distribution was advertised by both ARG and the store, then attendance would have gone up.

“Preparations”

My overall approach was…not to prepare. This was going to be a low-stakes tournament no matter how you look at it, and it was the end of this leg of Standard (Primal Clash-Evolutions). All the same, I messed around with a couple weird Giratina variants. The one which I came closest to using was the following:



The idea here is to counter as much of the metagame all at once. You have Zygarde for Darkrai EX; Giratina EX for Vespiquen; Spinda for Gyarados; Garbodor for Volcanion and Greninja; careful Faded Town shenanigans against Mewtwo and Gardevoir; and then a whole host of attrition strategies involving your attackers for other matchups. To handle the latest onslaught of Volcanion lists running Pokemon Catcher, I opted for a 3-2 Garbodor line and a Super Rod, ensuring that I can have as many as four Garbodor out in a single game.


However, as effective as this deck turned out to be in the few games of testing I played, I lost interest when accepting that I’d rather not end up in a situation where I burned my $25 entry fee in a local tournament for no payoff! And that’s actually an interesting point I’d like to study at some point: the impact an entry fee or other softer expenses have on deck choice.  

 

In the end, I went with trusty Yveltal. I’ve been using it since it first came out, and it’s single-handedly earned me almost all of my Championship Points from both this season and the last. So why not break it out one last time?


 

If this list looks familiar, then you’ve probably seen something identical to what’s been played by Azul Garcia Griego, Jimmy Pendarivs, or Michael Pramawat to win their major events. The sole oddball inclusion is Lugia EX. It has the same HP, Resistance, and Weakness as Yveltal EX, and a slightly weaker first attack; however, its Deep Hurricane is incredibly useful. First, it offers me a way to reach higher damage ceilings that I can’t against low-energy threats, primarily Greninjas and Darkrai EX. Second, its secondary effect of discarding a Stadium gives me a tertiary way to rid the field of unfriendly Stadium cards.

Other techs I’ve included to make the Lugia even more dangerous include Giovanni’s Scheme (+20 damage) or Absol ROS (moving three Damage Counters from a previously damaged Pokemon to a vulnerable active). I included neither, which worked against me in a metagame which would turn out to be so heavy in Darkrai, but the deck works just fine.

The Tournament

Most of these ARG tournaments nationwide have been fairly small affairs, and this one was no different. Since this particular ARG had to compete with the Super Bowl, only 21 players total attended. Still, it was a good mix of people in the Houston area, as well as some people from Dallas – four hours away for those unfamiliar with the geography here in Texas.

I took a headcount of the entire field, and here was the divide:

7 Turbo Darkrai variants
3 Yveltal EX/Garbodor decks
2 M Gardevoir
2 Volcanion
2 Greninja
1 M Mewtwo
1 Damage Change Mewtwo EX/Fighting Fury Belt
1 Giratina/Metal techs (!!!)
1 M Scizor
1 M Rayquaza/Jolteon


At this point I was thinking, “Man, I should have used my Zygarde garbage.” Too bad, so bad! When you run decks like Yveltal EX, you are hedging your bets against heavy fluctuations in the metagame. The plus side to always running decks like these is that you are rarely not in contention for winning the whole thing; the down side is that you can frequently find yourself in situations where you are the underdog against every single deck you play against. Obviously it didn’t pan out that way, but I look at this field and think I have a bad matchup against no fewer than 12 of these players. To that extent, I think any high finish was an overperformance  on my part.

So, how did I finish? Read on to find out!

 

Round One: VS M Scizor

Both of us had slow starts, as I was stuck with a Lugia EX turn two Aero Ball against his regular Scizor EX. He drew out of his rut first, using Hoopa’s Scoundrel Ring to set up his M Scizor and bench, but the small amounts of damage with the Lugia EX paid off, as it allowed me to take complete control of the game with Yveltal Breakthrough. After Knocking Out his M Scizor EX, I forced the Hoopa into the active position, and locked him out of the game for the last four prizes, killing the active Hoopa and a benched EX at the same time. (1-0)

Round Two: VS Turbo Darkrai

I drew poorly and got steamrolled! While my first couple of turns were not bad enough to get me benched, there was no way I would be able to come back when he already had nine Darkness Energy on the board. (1-1)


Round Three: VS Volcanion

It seems like every single piece of luck went my way this game. His first turn resulted in a Professor Sycamore which discarded four Fire Energy from his hand. Additionally, both of his attempts to use Pokemon Catcher to bring up my Trubbish or Garbodor with a Float Stone yielded Tails-fails results. Finally, on top of no Abilities, I caught him on a brutal Delinquent play to discard his entire hand. This advance in resources gave me the time I needed to build up a couple very big, dangerous Yveltal EX’s, and I Knocked out his Volcanion EX’s with little problem. (2-1)


Round Four: VS M Gardevoir

M Gardevoir is one of those matchups that should on paper be too brutally difficult for Yveltal to even hope to compete in, yet in practice is actually very winnable. It’s a very methodical process where you chip away at only their attackers with Yveltal Breakthrough, and then close out with a heavily loaded Yveltal EX or Lugia EX. Multiple things can go against you when doing this, particularly well-timed Lysandres or Hawlucha Steam Siege plays to get keep Fright Night from shutting off Gardevoir’s Spirit Links.

However…none of that went against me at all this game. The moment I got out Fright Night via Yveltal Breakthrough, it’s as if the game grinded to a halt on his end. So I then turned my “methodical process” into a “methodical KO-everything-in-sight process”: I Lysandred up a vulnerable Hoopa EX on the bench, and would somehow find myself drawing all six of my Prizes with careful Pitch-Black Spears. Eventually I learned that almost ALL of his switching cards were prized – talk about bad luck! (3-1)


Round Five: VS  M Mewtwo

I offered an intentional draw in order to make top eight….which he accepted! (3-1-1)

 

I finished 5th overall in Standings, but because we were cutting to a top eight, I still had a chance to play for the win…not to mention more packs!


Top Eight: VS Mirror

                He ran a mirror list with a much larger emphasis on Yveltal EX, and less on the non-EX attackers. This worked out in my favor, as the whole tempo of the match became favorable for me. In both games, I took great care to spreading as much damage on his side of the board as possible before committing to an Evil Ball or Aero Ball attacker. I also guessed correctly he ran at least one between Olympia (Switch and Heal 30) or Pokemon Center Lady (Heal 6), so I took as many chances as I could to add damage to his EXs beyond these multiples. It paid off big time, as I would frequently find myself in spots where my decision play a Fighting Fury Belt on Yveltal GEN allowed me to Oblivion Wing for an extra ten damage turn one on a Pokemon I guessed would be Olympia’d, only to pay off around turn 10 to win me the game.

                Both games more or less played out in this manner, though my Enhanced Hammers were of course huge in keeping his Yveltals under control.


Top Four: VS Turbo Darkrai

Game One – Despite being a completely different Darkrai player, my hand dealt out in a very similar manner to the one in Round Two. While my slow start this game was a bit better, repeated whiffs on Max Elixir coupled with not drawing into Energy pulled me further and further behind. I finally got an Yveltal EX into play and attacking, but it was quickly Knocked Out the next turn.

Game Two – He made the best out of a relatively weak hand, using a combination of two Lysandres and two Escape Ropes to keep my Yveltal Breakthrough from destroying his Yveltal EX tech and Darkrai EX. However, I reversed fortunes this game by being able to set up two “Ball” attackers with little difficulty, and mowed through his EXs with little trouble. He did not get close to an OHKO this game!

Game Three – My heart sinks to see my opening hand: Trubbish, three Max Elixir, a Float Stone, a Super Rod, and a Darkness! Although I top-decked a Professor Sycamore, I regrettably only drew into more unplayable garbage (pun intended), to the point where I had zero playable cards before benching my Shaymin EX! Meanwhile, Christian got out a turn two Darkrai EX dealing big damage, and I got benched by turn three.

I’m not sure if he ended up winning; however, it was an all-Darkrai finals, meaning there’s little guess as to what won.

Prizes and Conclusion


Omg your invited, guyz!

 

Pictured above is what I got for finishing third. While I still definitely have some reservations about that $25 price tag, my day out in ARG-land was fun, and got me some packs of the latest set…of which I owned none until today. The store was smart to increase the prize pool across the board, and they were really great hosts. I’m looking forward to their upcoming League Challenges and League Cups, which as I understand should have a much better prize payout than ARG!

Posted by: on 2017-02-06 02:41:15 • Tags: ARG Pokemon Pokemon cards Pokemon Trading Card Game Pokemon ARG



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Posted by: on 2017-02-03 17:41:31 • Tags:



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Posted by: on 2017-02-03 00:11:07 • Tags:



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Here are two Youtube videos from HeyTrainer users who successfully made the final four in two separate state championship tournaments in March!


First, here is a video from Adam B., A.K.A. "Adamisclassy," which includes his Oklahoma and Arkansas tournament reports:


Next up is a video from Robert E./Jirachi, detailing his final four finish in Alabama:

 

Caution: PG-13 language

Congratulations to both on such solid showings this season!

Posted by: on 2012-04-02 22:43:50 • Tags:



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Palace Rules! Summer Carnival Cup Report


By ThatFakeSnake

 

Hey Trainers,

I've brought to you a translation of a report fresh (as of writing) from the PTCG blog (ptcg.creatures.co.jp). This is a report on a very interesting format used in a recent tournament in Japan: DP-BW, which I believe is unprecedented in Organized Play history. Since the competition was set in a casual setting, intending for both pro players and casual players to mix, it was not strictly what they consider a "premier event". However, I hope with the event's popularity ,Japan might have more of such events...And for international players to pick up on this format, too. This might let TPCi have a new alternative format for tournaments if this becomes popular enough. After all, we would all like a use for our old cards, don't we?



-Start of article-

"

This time, let us report on the Summer Carnival Cup (Hall of Fame Rules) which took place in the Summer Carnival that ended in August.


Writing this report is Satou-san!


 

Firstly, a simple explanation of the palace rules:

 

It is a format that is DP-on to the BW series. Because there are broken combos and cards in such a format, a "hall of fame points" system was put in place according to their game breaking power.

 

Simply put, there is a restricted list. Each card may have 1-4 points and a 60card deck can only have 4 points worth of cards.



 

A look at the list of cards and their points: http://www.pokemon-card.com/howto/dendo/

 

What kind of decks will be made and what will be prevelant in such a format? Let's find out immediately.

 

    * First Palace Rules Tournament

1st place with 12 straight wins: Gothitelle/Reuniclus/Azelf LvX

Palace Points: 1x Azelf LA (2 points) 1x Claydol GE(2 points)


2nd place with 8 straight wins: Gothitelle/Reuniclus/Azelf LvX [Translator note: The player was ex-world champ, Yuta]

Palace Points: 1x Azelf LA (2 points) 1x Claydol GE(2 points)

 
3rd place with 6 straight wins: Gothitelle/Reuniclus/Dusknoir/Nidoqueen

Palace Points: 2x Claydol GE (2 points each)

 

On this day, the decks known as "Gothniclus," which use Gothitelle and Reuniclus as their core strategy, took all top spots.

 

To ask why Gothniclus monopolized the top three, the answer would be largely due to Spiritomb AR:



 

With Spiritomb, your opponent will be unable to use their trainers from the start of the game to the end. Thus, achieving a complete "trainer lock" (as it is known) is highly likely. What's more, you can evolve your Pokemon while you lock, enabling a consistent set-up every game.

 

With Azelf LvX and Expert belt, knocking out a Gothitelle is extremely hard, enabling this deck to take the sucessive wins to come out top in this tournement.

 

    * 2nd Palace Rules Tournament

Based on the results of the first tournament, anti-gothniclus decks increased and the results totally changed. First let us look at the results:

 

1st place with 8 straight wins: Zekrom/Tornadus/Pachirisu/Shaymin/Electivire

Palace points: 1 x Uxie LA (3 points) 1x Crobat G (1 point)

 
2nd place with 6 straight wins: Zekrom Tornadus Pachirisu Shaymin Contest Hall

Palace points: 1 x Uxie LA (3 points) 1x Crobat G (1 point)

 
3rd place with 5 straight wins: Magnezone Zekrom Palkia LvX Dialga LvX Vileplume

Palace points: 1x Uxie LA (3 points) 1x Claydol GE (1 point)

 

Chandelure/Vileplume was a popular anti-metagame deck to counter Gothniclus. Locking trainer cards, placing additional damage with Chandelure's ability, and placing special conditions with Chandelure's attack, this control-type deck saw much play.

 

Furthermore, cards like Buck's Training and Crobat G which saw little play at first were placed into decks to allow players to place more damage on their opponents.

 

An outstanding tech which came into play because of trainer lock was Contest Hall, which allowed the player to attach tools to their pokemon even under lock.

 

At this event, the resulting metagame were the above decks. However, after the release of Psycho Drive and Hail Blizzard, a new era of EX will begin. I think it will bring forth huge changes to the playing environment so I look forward to the decks which we will see the next time a Palace Rules tournament is held

!"


-End of article-


I believe most of you should be quite impressed with the creativity of Japanese players when it comes to deck-building. Contest Hall to counter Goth is something similar to SP using it against Dialga and Tomb-starts back in the MD-UD format. I was quite amused at the rogue that came in at 3rd place, which is really crazy. Dialga LvX?! Goes to show how not all decks need to conform to conventional standards to win. I believe that if this format were to even see casual play in the states and elsewhere, we would probably see an even larger variety of decks coming out.


As a bonus for those who have read everything, I have Yuta's decklist as a reference for you to brainstorm more Hall of Fame rules decks!

Pokemon (25):

3 Gothita
3 Gothorita EP
3 Gothitelle EP
2 Reuniclus BW
2 Duosion BW
3 Solosis BW
1 Claydol GE
2 Baltoy SV
1 Azelf LvX
1Azelf LA
1 Shuppet PL
3Spiritomb AR

Trainers (25):

4 Junk Arm
3 Felicitiy's Drawing
3Cheren
4 Roseanne's Research
2Bebe's Search
1Palmer's Contribution
2Moonlight Stadium
2Max Potion
2Expert Belt
2Pokemon Catcher

Energy (10):

9 Psychic
1 Double Colourless Energy

Posted by: ThatFakeSnake on 2011-09-22 00:13:23 • Tags: Summer Carnival Cup Palace Rules Pokemon TCG Japan Satou-san Gothitelle Gothiclus Gothitelle/Reuniclus



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EMERGING POWERS ZEKROM (feat. Thundurus and Tornadus)

By HeyTrainer

 

No explanations; no nothing...Except a really fun Zekrom list with Emerging Powers tweaks!!!

 

Pokemon (12):

3 Zekrom BW
2 Tornadus EP
2 Pachirisu CL
2 Shaymin UL
1 Thundurus EP
1 [Shiny] Raikou Call of Legends
1 Cleffa HS

Trainers/Supporters/Stadiums (31):

4 Pokemon Collector
4 Bianca/Professor Juniper
4 Cheren
4 Junk Arm
3 Pluspower
3 Defender
3 Dual Ball
3 Pokemon Catcher
1 Energy Retrieval
1 Energy Search
1 Revive

Energy (17):

13 Lightning
4 Double Colorless

 

...Eh, I lied. Let's talk about some of the weirder aspects of this list:

*2 Tornadus is to offer us an energy-conserving attacker, as well as a useful challenger to Donphan - our greatest opponent. Even against lists running Ruins of Alph, Tornadus can stall just long enough to save you in most instances (having Ruins of Alph "and" two Pluspower is quite rare for a Donphan variant)
*1 Thundurus is to give you a self-reliant attacker in mid-game situations where Judge has wrecked your hand, and you have no other recourse.
*1 Raikou is to offer you another mid-level attacker capable of setting up Outrage damage on Zekroms; just use Raikou's attack to hit it!

*Bianca may be a good option to recover from Judge, so consider it as an alternative to Juniper or Sage.

Posted by: HeyTrainer on 2011-09-04 00:56:36 • Tags: Zekrom Shiny Raikou ZPS Tornadus EP Thundurus EP Emerging Powers



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The Pokemon Stock Market



Part 1: Establishing Value



Intro

In the dark crevices of society, there lurks a hidden, shady underground: one that goes untaxed, unregulated, and un-acknowledged. It involves the trafficking of exotic creatures; it leads to long-term friendships; and it can even result in cold wars that would make Nikita Khruschev tremble in terror.

It is...The Pokemon Stock Market.

Many "un"s adequately describe Pokemon buying, trading, and selling, but unfortunately, "understood" is not always one of them. For that reason, I aim to educate new and old players alike on Pokemon card deals, their intricacies, and what it means for you in the long run.

Today, our topic is buying and selling cards for reasonable prices.


Standards for Buying and Selling


At league, tournaments, and the wild west of the internet, people are always making money deals involving cards - a rather telling thing about our community, since it realistically amounts to just trading one form of physically worthless paper for another form, no matter which end you're on. I've witnessed some extraordinary deals in the past: deals that have been major wins for both ends, but also many uneven exchanges. Thus, I deem it necessary to advise you on how to not find yourself caught up in a bad deal.

Since the hard physical value of a tiny piece of cardboard is less than a cent, the one real way to go about determining a grounded secondary value in these cards is to study the secondary market itself. This can be done in a number of ways, but I feel my following strategy will be optimal for helping you get an idea of what to value cards at.

The lynchpin in my strategy is not sticking to one absolute value to a card; rather I will use a RANGE of values for cards. This is because cards mean different things to people, and because different segments of the market are willing to pay only so much of their money. So whether we view cards as cherished collectibles, a form of currency, or something in the middle, it's important to keep in mind that who you're dealing with may not hold the exact same philosophy as you do.

The Copper Standard: Low-End Value


As a rule of thumb, this is the end of the scale most often represented by hobby shops, and is the lowest you should value cards at.  Since Troll and Toad  (sporadically referenced henceforth as "TnT") is fairly reputable, and has earned a reputation in the community for offering respectable deals, I felt like it'd be useful to reference their buy list prices as our main basis for a low-end exchange:

http://www.trollandtoad.com/buyingview.php?buylistid=9

Having sold mass amounts of cards for a variety of prices, I feel like this is a respectable bulk asking price: it accounts for shipping costs in its calculation, and stays moderately competitive with inflation. Keep in mind, though, that you shouldn't treat these exact totals as gospel, since these asking prices have shipping in mind (they don't pay it for you). Therefore,it might not be 100% valid to use this as a bargaining chip when dealing bulk in person.

The Gold Standard: High-End Value


If you'd like the HIGH end on cards, then simply go to www.trollandtoad.com , and then search for the name of a card that you're interested in. While there is plenty of room to debate how accurate these prices for the upper range are, Troll and Toad is a professional hobby business, so it is in their best interest to make mountains of money off of you. For that reason, it also makes sense to use a reputable hobby shop as some measure for more expensive prices. This is NOT meant to suggest that Troll and Toad has the highest prices; simply that their prices are the highest when within reason

However, don't take TnT as infallible, since you have at least three things to account for:

1) If a card's playability is about to shoot through the roof, and its pricing on TnT is dirt cheap, then it may be in your best interest to attach a higher value to it! For example, Cleffa HGSS was virtually worthless on many of the collectible sites before HeartGold/SoulSilver-on's announcement, but since then, it has indeed "shot through the roof."

2) If a card is out of stock, then there is a good chance that the price listed is not useful for negotiating trades/sales/purchases. Intuition would lead you to believe that the actual price should be higher, and for the most part you'd be correct; however, keep in mind that this is not always the case. For instance, if an online hobby shop circa 1999 had shadowed, unlimited base Charizard listed for $50.00 and never got in new stock, would that reflect its actual 2011 value? (For your information, it's typically seen sold at a minimum of $3.00 and a maximum of $15.00-$20.00 as of writing this.)

3) If the card is extremely rare, then the asking price could be too unrealistic. For example, card shops have been known to have copies of World Championship trophy cards on sale for thousands of dollars, but how many people are willing to pay that much? So few that you can't even respectably call it a "high end price" with a straight face, because it's in a class of its own.

The Silver Standard: Ebay Completed Auctions


Finally, the most reliable AVERAGE value (sporadically referenced as "true value," since it is usually what I operate on unless I'm playing vendor for a day) for a card is not found on Troll and Toad at all; instead, let's look at completed listings on Ebay over the past two weeks. This may seem challenging to do, but if you get the hang of it, then you can have a really solid understanding of how much a card ought to go for.

Do keep in mind a few pitfalls you may encounter while trying to discover a true market value:

1) There aren't enough samples to go off of! Usually you'll want at least three auctions to establish an average price, but sometimes there won't be that many. Should this situation arise, you can handle it in a variety of ways:

A) Stick with the sample size you have. Sometimes 1-2 auctions as a data set is fine, especially for rarer cards. However, be prepared to not get nearly as much for your cards.

B) Increase your range from a couple weeks to a few weeks, or even start looking back as far as months. For many in-rotation cards, recent data is key, but for out-of-rotation cards, it's not quite as important.

2) Oftentimes, some aspect about the auction may lead to the card selling for more or less than it should: its description could be poor, the picture may not accurately reflect the listing, etc. Additionally, cards are often sold in bulk over the internet, which will lead to every card selling for less than it's - on "average" - worth.

3) Additionally, some aspect about the seller may distort the end price of an auction. Usually this just amounts to a poor feedback score, but it can also tie in to the user having no feedback, or to the user not having sold Pokemon before (this third point is negligible).

Final Thoughts


It may seem tough sometimes to figure out how to deal in a market that's based solely on secondary values, but this guide should point you in the right direction. Just remember to use your best judgment, and I'm sure you'll do great in your next deal!

Until next time,


-HeyTrainer


[Fun Fact: as of writing, an ounce of first edition English Charizard cards from Base Set sells for a higher price than an ounce of gold!!!]
 


(This gold Burger King Charizard, on the other hand, is worth less...Much, much less.)


Today's post was written by the HeyTrainer.org staff. If you liked this article and would like to read more of its kind, then please consider donating to /blog in the lower-left corner of the page!

Posted by: HeyTrainer on 2011-08-24 17:13:34 • Tags: pokemon stock market pokemon card buying pokemon card selling pokemon card trading gold charizard troll and toad pokemon pokemon ebay completed listings



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IWrestleSmoochums's LCQ/Worlds/HeyTrainer Open Report

By Kevin "Alex2k" K.

 

Hey guys. In case you don't know me, my name is Kevin Kobayashi. I am in the masters division and this was my first full year playing the game (which means more than 6 tournaments, including 1 states, 1 regionals, and 1 worlds). My last accomplishment was 6th place at FL regionals, and since then, I had been testing the HGSS format for some time.

The flights were incredibly full and we had a slim chance of making it. We missed the first four flights from FLL to ATL, and we were there for 5 hours. The last flight was 2 minutes away and very full, so Jon and I packed our stuff, disappointed, and began to walk out of the airport until they called Jon's name on the intercom. The problem is we were standby and I was always first priority on the list, while Jon was not (and we had to fly together). We ran up and somehow made it on the plane. We were incredibly excited, and didn't even know if we would make it through ATL to San Diego. The ATL to San Diego flight had 1 spot on it, so we had to bend the rules and I let Jon go on the plane, risking it all: he made it, but I may not. So I waited 5 hours at the airport. There is 1 seat open, and I am number 3. Somehow, miraculously, both people whiff the flight and I make it to San Diego. It was destiny.

Going into worlds, I had tested what I considered the "best" decks. I played a lot of Reshiram/Typhlosion, trying various techs (including Lost Remover, Potion, and 1-0-1 Samurott). I decided that if I was going to try and grind in, I would have to play a deck that had a distinct advantage going into sudden death. I found a japanese Donphan/Yanmega list and started toying around with it, making changes and what not. The deck grew on me, and I loved it. It was incredibly consistent and beat Stage 1's, Yanmega/Magnezone, and the other top decks. It had a weaker Rehsiram/Typhlosion and RDL matchup, but other than that, it was a good choice. I knew I would be going into worlds with Donphan/Yanmega, so I sleeved it up and brought it along.

When I arrived in San Diego on Thursday, I met up with Larry, Danny, Jon, Thoy, and Harrison. We went out to eat and then went to the open play room at the Hilton. I played about 10 games with Bianchi, which really helped me out. I knew that my Reshiram/Typhlosion matchup was bad, but he murdered me. After playing Pooka and supporter droughting, my deck had officially crapped out on me. I knew that it needed a change, but what? Things were missing, and needed to be changed.

The morning before the grinder, I saw Justin Masotti playing around with stage 1's. I was wondering if that's what I was looking for. I changed the lines around and threw in 2-2 Zoroark, 2 Rescue energy, and 3 Double Colorless energy. I played it a little more and I knew that it was gonna be solid. As we went off to get in line for the grinder, it was 500 people long. So we waited for quite awhile. While in line, I talked to a canadian player named Murray. He was raving about Pokegear 3.0 and how a single copy would make my deck much better. I liked the sound of it so I removed a Pokemon Reversal, and added it. When Jon passed me his binder, about 3 minutes before we registered, I opened his binder and right in the middle was a Manaphy. I had never liked the idea of Manaphy, but it wasn't going to give up a prize like Cleffa, and it had free retreat as well. I removed a Pluspower and added it in.

Without testing my new deck, I walked into the second largest tournament of the year, the LCQ Grinder, 2011.

Pokemon 18

3 Phanpy
3 Donphan
3 Yanma
3 Yanmega
2 Zorua
2 Zoroark
1 Tyrogue
1 Manaphy

Trainers 31

4 Pokemon Collector
4 Junk Arm
4 Pokemon Communication
4 Prof. Oak's New Theory
3 Prof. Juniper
3 Judge
3 Pokemon Reversal
2 Pluspower
1 Switch
1 Copycat
1 Pokegear 3.0
1 Potion

Energy 11

6 Fighting
3 Double Colorless
2 Rescue

I wasn't so sure of the list, I hadn't tested it, but I didn't expect to do much at the grinder anyways. The questionable cards are all the 1 of's, but they ended up helping me quite a bit. I was so close to dropping Tyrogue as well.

Round 1 vs Bye

1-0

(Good, maybe I can win my next round if I try hard enough!)

Round 2 vs ?? (Stage 1's)

Game 1: I start with a solid hand, and go second. He misses the first attachment, and whiffs on his Dual Ball. I collector for 2 Yanma and a Phanpy, attach a fighting energy to Phanpy, and pass. He attaches to a Phanpy after getting a heads on Dual Ball, attaches, and passes. I get out 2 Yanmega, a Donphan, Judge, and KO his active Phanpy. He can't keep up, and scoops to game 2.

Game 2: he goes first and gets a double heads on Dual Ball. I start Manaphy and Deep Sea Swirl to set up. He gets out a Yanmega and KO's my Manaphy. I promote Donphan with no bench and start Earthquaking. The reason why I decided to bench nothing was because since I run Potion, I can just heal all the damage off and he cannot take any easy prizes. I had 2 Junk Arm in hand as well. I tanked all the damage off, finally dropped a Yanma (once I had 3 energy on my Donphan), attacked. Next turn I evolved into Yanmega, switched into it, and started setting up KOs for my Donphan. 2 turns later, I picked everything off for the win.

2-0

(Ok, but that's not that great. There's still a lot of rounds to go)

Round 3 vs Anthony Q (Mew/Crobat/Cinccino)

Game 1: He gets a godstart going first, and after a 5 minute turn of drawing cards he sees off a Crobat Prime. I think up a startegy on the fly and can't do much. My hand is terrible with no support and I have an active Phanpy, dang! I am forced to scoop this one after 2 more turns of dead draw.

Game 2: I get an incredible start to his Mew. T2 Donphan, Yanmega, Yanmega, with potion, Junk Arm, and great hand support. I roll him in 7 turns.

Game 3: He starts Zubat going first to my Yanma/Phanpy. He swings for 10 and I am trying to keep my composure with a dead hand. If I lose this game, i'm finished! I topdeck a Manaphy, bench it, retreat Yanma, attach a Rescue to Manaphy, and Deep Sea Swirl into pure gold. Yanmega, Donphan, Fighting, Juniper, Switch. Now I am looking good! He evolved into Golbat, and locked my active Manaphy. I switch out, evolve, and Juniper. From there, I drop a pluspower, match his hand, and take the KO on Golbat. The game comes down to a very complicated turn. I have an active Manaphy with a benched Zoroark with no energy, and he has a Tyrogue on his bench. I have to drag up the Tyrogue, rip a DCE off of a 10 card deck with Juniper, and then hit the reversal heads. Juniper for 7....DCE. Junk Arm for Pokemon Reversal...heads, attach DCE, and take the final prize. Incredible game, Anthony!

3-0

(Close game and I played well, but misplays almost cost me the game. Regardless, i'm not making it in so it doesn't matter)

Round 4 vs Lutz W (Reshiphlosion)

Game 1: The nightmare comes true as I face my first Reshiphlosion of the tournament. I g first but can't do anything but watch my active Yanma shudder. Lutz starts with a Pokemon Collector, and attaches to Reshiram. I am forced to topdeck and use Juniper, discarding a Donphan, Zoroark, DCE, and other goodies, I then bench a Yanma and a Zorua. He uses a Sage's and rips 2 Typhlosion. From here, he decimates my little dragonfly. I am struggling but look ok. Evolve into Zoroark, attach DCE, can't find a pluspower but send up Yanma to stall. He plays down a Reversal, hits heads, and I scoop to game 2.

Game 2: I get a T2 Donphan, Judge away his god hand, and he dead draws as I set up 2 Zoroark, 3 Donphan, and roll him. I hit 3 reversals in a row to kill 3/4 of his Cyndaquils, and then I reversal up a Reshiram with 3 energy, drop a pluspower, and KO it with Zoroark. He scoops for time.

Game 3: It goes into sudden death and Lutz goes first. He starts Cleffa and 2 Reshiram to myactive Phanpy and benched Phanpy. His cleffa retreats into Reshiram and I get the T2 Donphan, play a Pokemon Reversal, and hit heads to take the prize. He needs to return the KO to stay in the game, but fails to do so after a Juniper for 7 only gets him 1 Pluspower. Great games.

4-0

(Wow, I play ZPS next which should be easy, but he could donk me twice or I could draw dead, eh regardless i'm not making worlds so...)

Round 5 vs ?? (ZPS)

Game 1: 2 Donphan turn 2 with 2 benched Zorua. He starts Shaymin and sponges my Donphan for awhile. He can't really do too much to Donphan with Zekrom though, due to potion and I am running super hot. I reversal KO 2 Zekrom and he hits 1/4 Reversals.

Game 2: I start Yanma and get FTKO'd by Zekrom, DCE, Pluspower.

Game 3: He once again starts Shaymin to my Zorua. He drops Ruins of Alph (which hurts him just as much as it hurts me), and stalls with Shaymin. Phanpy --> Donphan --> Pluspower --> fighting --> KO. He hits me with Tyrogue and I potion it off to prevent the Zekrom KO. He continually wakes up on his turn, and falls asleep on mine . He finally KOs my Donphan with Zekrom and I return the KO with Zoroark. Eventually he loses steam and is about to deck. He scoops to my active Donphan. Great build, nice guy.

5-0

(Wow...could it be? 1 more round or 2 more rounds? How did I just win my top 64 match?) :eek:

Round 6 vs Aaron W (Stage 1's/Absol)

Game 1: I start Tyrogue and go first, with Junk Arm and Pluspower. He flips Yanma and I get my first donk in this format.

Game 2: He goes first and starts Absol. He spreads as I have to Collector. He gets out a Zoroark and KOs my Tyrogue active, and stays awake. He has a 3 card hand and 2 benched Yanma with a smile on his face, so I can assume he has something along the lines of 2 Yanmega and a Juniper or something of the sort. I bring up my Donphan with an energy attached, Judge, and watch his mouth drop 50 feet, lol. I keep board control as he draws dead and he scoops.

6-0

(I walk out of the play area and take a bunch of deep breaths. All my friends are telling me that they're letting in a top 16, I can believe it to an extent but don't want to, because if I get my hopes up and lose i'll be crushed. I sit and pray for awhile, get a cup of water, and just focus. I know whoever wins between Elton and Jimmy O Brien plays me, and they're both playing Typhlosion/Reshiram, my worst matchup :nonono:)

Round 7 vs Elton J (Reshiphlosion)

As I sit across from my opponent, my heart is beating a mile a minute. My palms are sweating, and I can't hear anything but my heart beating out of my chest. As we begin to set up I draw my 7...Zorua, DCE, Communication, Pluspower, Junk Arm, PONT, Fighting. I win the flip and as we are about to flip over our cards, the head judge makes an announcement. (BTW, he started Cleffa, lol)

"Attention top 16, we have an announcement to make. It has been a long day for you, players, and it has also been a very long day for the staff. Half of you will not make it tonight through this tournament, which is unfortunate because you all will be playing TOMORROW IN THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS. I can't even understand what he had just said, so I sink in my chair preparring for a game until I see people jumping up and the crowd cheering. I hear my friends screaming "IWS!" I stand up and am almost in tears I am so happy. I walk in line to recieve my swag bag and remember what it felt like to beat the elite four as a child in Pokemon Blue. This was that feeling multiplied by a cheering crowd.

Day 2

My deck choice for worlds stayed the same. ALthough I did expect Reshiphlosion, I also expected Magneboar, Reshiboar, Stage 1's, and Yanmega/Magnezne varients. I had a great advantage vs all the decks besides Reshiphlosion.

Round 1 vs Mexican National Champion (?) (Reshiboar)

This game is quite ridiculous. Before it starts, I flip heads and go first. He grabs my coin and flips it 4 times. The first 3 times he got heads, and he was close to calling a judge to call me for a bad randomizer. I'm already a bit nervous since it is my first worlds as well. He starts Pignite to my Tyrogue and we both begin to set up. He singes turn 1 and it's a tails. I collector for Zorua, Phanpy, Yanma and attach a DCE to Zorua. He fails 2 Reversal flips and benches 2 Reshiram. I can't seem to hit a Reversal either and we both just set up. Eventually I Reversal up the Emboar and snipe around it for a good 5 turns.I set up KOs and then Donphan comes in. I take out his Emboar and he was forced to Juniper his other Emboar the first turn of the game, so no more Emboar for him! The game is tied at 1-1 prizes and I reversal KO his Bouffalant, but it's too bad my Manaphy has 50 and there's nothing else I can do or else I lose the game the next turn. I remember using potion 2 times and him sighing each time :thumb:

Sudden Death: We both draw pass for 5 turns straight and use Cleffa and Manaphy. I can't flip a Reversal heads for my life but finally hit one to drag up his Cleffa and KO it with Donphan. Close game, good sport.

1-0

(Just saying, winning your first match at worlds is really awesome)

Round 2 vs Glenn V (Yanmega/Magnezone)

He had grinded in as well and we both were just happy to be there. I see what he starts with an have the game in hand T2, but he judges it away! I still get a PONT off the judge and set up. HAt a huge point in the game he has an active Yanma to my active Donphan. I play a Pluspower, and flip 4 Pokemon Reversal (with 2 Junk Arm), trying to drag up his Magnezone with 1 energy on it. Glenn has a 1 card hand and a grimace on his face. Well, I hit 4 tails in a row. Next turn he magnetic draws for 2 more Yanma, a horsea, and Junipers away the rest. The next turn after he drops 2 Yanmega and blows up my Donphan. It gets down to 1-1 prizes but I have no way to win :(. I scoop.

1-1

(I honestly feel that if I was to win that game, I would have done much better at worlds, just my thoughts. 4 Reversal tails...*sigh*)

Round 3 vs Lia (Rainbowgym) (Reshiphlosion)

Another Reshiram variant. She starts T1 with a Pokemon Collector and attaches to Reshiram, and my hand is just depressing. 2 Yanma, phanpy, no energy, no supporter, 2 pokemon comm, 1 junk arm. I can't hit a supporter until T3 , and it's a Pokemon Collector, She gets up 3 Typhlosion and I finally am hitting Zoroark but her set up just overpowers mine. There was no way I could win this match if my life was at stake. I hit no reversals anyways.

1-2

(Not my fault)

Round 4 vs ?? (Reshiphlosion)

Right when the game starts she calls a judge because some of my prizes are bent (when they're played for awhile it happens). She said that they are "foils" and my deck is marked. The judge tells her that they are not after viewing them and she feels bad after that and I am kinda annoyed. I once again go second and am in the same situation that I was in the previous round. I just don't set up until late game and she already has 2 prizes. I reversal up Emboar but can't KO it before she switches and KOs my Yanmega. After that she calls me on saying Linear attack when I am talking to myself, and gets the call. I scoop up my cards, say have a nice day, and walk away from the table. She feels super bad and after the whole ordeal i'm a bit tilted but i'm still glad that i'm playing. BTW, I hit 1 reversal out of 4 once again. 25%. To make matters worse, my Manaphy that I desperately needed T2 was prized.

1-3

(My deck didn't set up again, it doesn't want to play anymore)

Round 5 vs ?? (Reshiphlosion)

This game I decide that if I lose, i'm dropping. I wanted to get to 4-3 so that I could at least have a decent record. I get a rockin start T1 and reversal up 2 Cyndaquil for KOs. I keep the eraly game pressure like the deck is supposed to do and I win in style with a Zoroark KO.

2-3

(Little late to wanna play, huh Zoroark?)

Round 6 vs Alessandro C (Yanmega/Magnezone/Kingdra/Jirachi)

As I look down my table, I see Yuta, Jayson Harry, Pooka, and Alssandro. How are all these top players at the lower tables? (Food for thought). Anyway, this was probably the greatest game I had played all day. I was playing up. I wouldn't make top 32, but I wanted to beat a guy who did last year. We both get solid starts and I take the first prize with Donphan. He keeps my Donphan switching to Yanmega to attack due to him setting up a Kingdra. He then has a baby coma with Cleffa for about 8 turns. When he wakes up, I ask him if I fall asleep if I attack with Zoroark on Cleffa. The judge isn't legally allowed to tell me, but Alessandro is cool with it and he tells me I do. Thanks! So I attack, and get a new hand. 2 turns later I retreat, only to notice that I only have a fighting energy on my Cleffa..which means I attacked without the proper energy and shuffled my hand back into my deck. Alessandro says we can work things out but I snag the match slip, circle loss, aologize for what I had done to him for ruining the game, and lift the slip into the air :frown:. I feel bad for ruining the game for both of us, but he grabs the slip from my hand. It's too late and the judge takes it, but Alessandro says "WAIT". Is it possible for us to continue playing?

My heart lights up. That's one of the nicest things and after all the rules lawyering I got hit with, it really made me feel good about the whole tournament. We play it out and share some laughs. He actually ends up winning with Jirachi the last turn of the game, I try to get a Junk Arm to heal potion off of my Pokemon but I whiff and he gets the game. Classy, classy player. Thanks for that. :biggrin:

2-4

(I feel great)

So I drop because my deck is just tired, i'm tired, wiped out completely. I am so glad that I got to experience this whole tournament, but even though it hurts to go 2-4 at the main event, Matt Souerby (son_of_apollo) got 20th with the same deck, so I don't feel to bad. I got incredible luck to make it through the grinder, and I got bad luck at worlds via matchups and reversal flips. No regrets. I had the most fun I have ever had through any summer and I am so glad that I got to experience it with all of my good friends. I will remember my first worlds experience forever and it will always be a happy memory no matter what, but I do plan to come to worlds 2012 with a fire inside, i'm coming for it all!

The HT Highlander tournament was at 9 PM that night and I decided to play.

Pokemon 12
1 Tepig
1 Tepig
1 Pignite
1 Pignite
1 Emboar "bad boar"
1 Emboar
1 Pansear
1 Simisear
1 Zekrom
1 Reshiram
1 Vulpix
1 Ninetails

Trainers 16
1 Cheerleader's Cheer
1 Emcee's Chatter
1 Sage's Training
1 Dual Ball
1 Pokegear 3.0
1 Prof. Oaks New Theory
1 Judge
1 Copycat
1 Twins
1 Juniper
1 Pluspower
1 Pokemon Communication
1 Junk Arm
1 Potion
1 Switch
1 Pokemon Collector

Energy 12
11 Fire
1 DCE

Round 1 vs ?? (Fast basics)

She starts sawk to my Cleffa and I start to set up. T2 I have a ninetails, Emboar, and reshiram online and just sweep her away. She brings up Throh but I just bring up Zekrom, take the damage, switch to cleffa, then outrage for the win. There was nothing she could really do.

1-0

Round 2 vs REW (Reshiboar/RDL)

This game was pretty fast. I got my stuff out and so did he. He drops RDL and i'm worried that I can't take it out. I save all my components for the bad boar for 150 in my hand but he judges me to crap. I snag a Juniper todeck, drop it all and KO RDL which gives me the game. He is shocked lol, but I love REW.

2-0

Round 3 vs Jon

He is playing Samurott and gets it out T2. I'm like darn it but I keep the Zekrom online and ready to go with a DCE. The game comes down to him using Pokemon Circulator to knockout my benched junk because they are all puny. Great game.

2-1

Round 4 vs Bye

3-1

Round 5 vs Champ

He just sets up super fast with Pachi drop for 2, Zekrom and Shaymin and i'm like...wow, how'd you fit all of that? He wins pretty easily and i'm like Q.Q.

I took 4th place with Reshiboar/Simisear and Jon also got top 4 with Samurott. It was a lot of fun and I pulled 2 shinies from my packs, and got 2 "best" base set Hitmonchan and a Slowking prime just for getting top 4! Jon pulled a Pachirisu. To fit into the car afterwards, we have a 4 seater with 7 people. Jon goes in the trunk and Mitch gets lost for almost an hour, it was really, really fun. We went out to eat as well and it was awesome, sushi at Nobu was expensive but definately worth it.

Sunday, Justin, Mitch and I went out to the Brazilian steak house and sat for 2 hours stuffing our faces. I mustve gained 10 lbs and I felt amazing. Watching the VGC tournament was pretty cool as well, congrats to Ray for the great performance and entertainment, and the top 2 matches for the TCG were stellar as well. I was full the whole day and at night I hung out with the whole Team R/Top cut crew. It was a lot of fun and overall an awesome experience. I hope that I will be able to make it to Hawaii for next year's championships.

Props:
Jon Viveros. Without you, I wouldn't be here bro.
Choking out Thoy
Philly Cheese Steaks
Brazilian Steak houses <3
Nobu sushi
Meeting tons of cool people (Magnechu, Jay Harry, Brit, Igor, Pram, Crim, Robby, Pooka, Kenny, Cetra, Sami, Yacine, Tom Hall, Bolt, Curran, Frank Diaz, Andrew Murray, Snowglobes, Adrian, and so many more)
Justin Masotti
Team Takahashi
Murray for the random help with adding a Pokegear, you helped me make it through with that single card.
Manaphy, I believe.
Catching the "snitch" (Frankie diaz where you at?)
Potion, you are so evil >:)
Signed Sandiles
Top 4 HT Highlander
Swag bag
In N out
Grafton, gratz buddy, top 4 is awesome!
J Wittz, an incredible performance!
Eeveelover, I would never have gotten a picture with minccino without you!
CALI LIFE

Slops:

Rules lawyers
Matchups
Pokemon Reversal
Emerging Powers, why are you so bad?
17 years old = no bueno
Standby flights

Posted by: Kevin K. on 2011-08-16 22:34:01 • Tags: highlander singleton pokemon 2011 worlds iwrestlesmoochums kevin k pokemon stage 1's heytrainer open



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Popular Decks You Should NOT Run at the Last Chance Qualifier

By HeyTrainer

 

Sad to not have any updates from /blog in a while? I am too, which is why I'm posting this short shpeel on a topic that's dear and dear to me: the Last Chance Qualifier!

Intro -   Arguably more important than figuring out "the play" for an event is deciding on the anti-play; or in other words, that one deck you simply will not touch with a 49.5 foot pole. You're well familiar with several of these big names: Kingdra/Yanmega; Donphan/Machamp; Lostgar. But the sad truth is that these popular decks generally don't have what it takes to survive a big top cut tournament. Whether it's due to their matchups, their overall ineffectiveness, or their riskiness, I have decided to discourage any of you playing in the Last Chance Qualifier from using these.

[Note: this post does not assume that your decks are running fantastic, life-saving techs. In the event that you are, please disregard this article; however, for those 95% of you who aren't running silver bullets, it's wise to consider the following if you haven't made up your mind yet...]
 

#1: Kingdra/Yanmega (Kingmega)

 

Why it's popular: In a format where big attacks are everything, Kingmega's strategy deviates from the norm, opting to superbly dismantle setups with free damage every turn (Kingdra's Spray Splash), efficient attacks (Yanmega), and surprising tacitcs (Jirachi's Time Hollow). This build definitely rewards good playing, and under the right strategic mind, it's actually pretty potent.

Beyond that, Kingmega is well-liked by many players because in a format full of Yanmega variants, this has by far the strongest Target Attack out of them all.

Why it's bad for the Last Chance Qualifier: unless you have a silver bullet tech, then Zekrom will likely eat you alive. Consider, if you will, the very real threat of Zekrom against an average list of this deck...

1) It has few to no good Yanmega Prime snipe targets;
2) It's attacking by the first or second turn usually;
3) Everything you run is either brittle or x2 Lightning weak; and
4) Jirachi has no solid Time Hollow targets, seeing as how they run few to no evolutions.

Why is it such an issue in the grinder as opposed to the main event?

1) Unlike Worlds, whcih is run with a swiss and top cut, the LCQ is run with single elimination matches ONLY...Meaning that if you see Zekrom once, you'll most likely be finished;
2) Out of the many competitors in the LCQ, several will be relatives, friends, and other part-timers who don't play the game competitively. For msot of these people, they'll just want to run simple, easy decks, and you don't get much simpler than Zekrom.
3) Zekrom has a proven track record of success in Japan, Mexico, and Canada.  In my opinion, it's a safe bet that the top tier foreign competitors without invites will mostly be bringing these decks.


Kingmega has respectable matchups against Typhlosion, Donphan, and Yanmega/Magnezone, which make it an effective deck in a highly competitive environment such as Worlds. Unfortunately, this strength does not carry over to the Last Chane Qualifier, where - in the course of seven rounds, you're quite likely to go up against Zekrom.

#2: Donphan/Machamp (Donchamp)

Why it's popular:   For the record, I don't think that this deck is good...At all. I won't go into detail on why it's bad just yet, but if my thoughts are correct, then what makes a bad deck popular?

*It has obvious synergy (use bench damage to your advantage for Machamp Prime's Champ Buster), and obvious synergy decks are historically more popular than they should be (e.g., Gengar SF/Nidoqueen RR, Zapdos ex FRLG/Voltorb HL/Electrike DX).

*Machamp Prime and Donphan Prime are two historically competitive cards out of the most recent tournament season, so if people are struggling for ideas, then they will naturally huddle to something familiar.

*Machamp Prime and Donphan Prime haave a soft form of weakness coverage by virtue of them being weak to two different types: Psychic and Water, respectively.

*It's a relatively simple deck to function with...Not necessarily an easy deck to win seven matches in a row with, but simple.

Why it's bad for the Last chance Qualifier:    Most importantly, its setup is easily dismantled by Yanmega Prime, the most popular attacker in the format. In a great many situations, even the most consistent Donchamp lists will be stuck with a damaged Machop prior to evolution. Yanmega exploits this via Target Attack or Pokemon Reversal/Sonicboom, thus destroying your beautifully synergetic combo by taking out a crucial player in your match. Obvious retorts include "but what if he gets tails on Reversal?" or the more popular "what if I have two Machops in play?" However, both of these are solved by the simple counter-argument of "what if they don't hit tails on Reversal, and/or what if you have only one Machop and/or Phanpy in play?" The answer, nine times out of ten, is that you lose miserably.

Furthermore, you have a very difficult setup to secure with relatively few resources to do it with. Even if your list runs eight draw cards and a 1-0-1 Magnezone Prime tech, the odds are not good that you will be able to get that powerhouse Machamp Prime going...Especially against a swarm of Pokemon Reversals, Pokemon Circulators, and more.

#3: Gengar Prime/Lost World (Lostgar)



Why it's popular:  For starters, it holds great promise for winning faster than a great majority of the field; that is, if you successfully start Hurling into Darkness from the second turn-onward, you could win the game as early as turn five (approximately six Lost Zoned Pokémon from turns 2-4, and then the Lost World announcement after that). More importantly though, it circumvents the vast majority of issues that make this format annoying: its reliance on baby flips going your way is substantially less dramatic than it is with other builds, and Hurl into Darkness lets you get around the necessity of the prize war, thus making the opening coin flip far less significant.

Above all, Lostgar's method of winning is an alternate, fun, and effective diversion from what the rest of the field has to offer. So for players who are staking it all on the line at the LCQ, this looks like an attractive choice.

Why it's bad for the Last Chance Qualifier: This is by far the most painful deck to put up on this list of three, seeing as how Lostgar has been a pet deck of mine for months (Google "Lostgar deck list" and you'll see an old /blog result pop up almost instantly). However, I must do what I must...

First and foremost, your deck's win condition relies entirely on your opponent to have the right cards at the right time, which is effectively a major gamble in an event that requires consistency in order to succeed. What if your opponent Junk Arms away a healthy chunk of his or her Pokemon before you get a chance to Hurl into Darkness? Or what if you whiff on Hurl into Darkness or Spiritomb TM's Spooky Whirlpool even once? Worst of all, what if your opponent doesn't even run more than a dozen or so Pokemon to begin with (Zekrom)? The sad answer in all of those cases is that you lose.

Secondly, OHKOs are brutal to Gengar Prime, and as the metagame stands right now, most popular decks run some reasonable OHKO option (Magnezone and Dragons, for instance). This applies even more so to Mew Prime variants, which heavily rely on an attacker that gets one-shotted by Yanmega, which is - as previously stated - the most popular attacker in the format.
 

Conclusion - I know it's not always the best course of action to discourage people from playing certain decks, but in this instance, I feel that my best way to help you is subtract certain deck choices from your eleventh hour equation. After all, subtracting a negative yields a positive result, and that positive result might just be a Worlds invite!


Today's post was written by the HeyTrainer.org staff. If you liked this article and would like to read more of its kind, then please consider donating to /blog!


(Image credits go to PokemanDan.com and an unknown Deviant Artist)

Posted by: HeyTrainer on 2011-08-05 19:51:38 • Tags: Pokemon last chance qualifier Pokemon grinder kingdra yanmega donphan machamp lostgar



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THE TOP CUT EPISODE 7
(feat. J. Zee Kay)




Can YOU make it?
 

Check out yesterday's awesome top cut episode, featuring none other than the glorious leader of the HeyTrainer.org nation, JK himself! Watch it here:

http://thetopcut.net/shows/seven.php

While I whole-heartedly encourage you to watch the episode in full, in case you're not interested or don't have the time, then here's a brief summary of the topics touched upon:

*TheTopCut staff and Kettler talk about the LCQ, what should be big, and what "the play" is. Most of the predictions center around Yanmega/Magnezone, Donphan, and Typhlosion, and the five panel members diverge on what they would go with. Furthermore, Kettler offers some sage advice on grinder preparation, including:

1) Suggestions on how to build endurance for the event;

2) A recommendation to test using ONLY match play; and

3) To not use Lostgar (  even though Lostgar is my baby :(  )

*They then discuss ELO, endemic dropping to preserve rating points, and possible alternatives. Everyone unanimously agrees that some sort of Pro Point ("Play! Point" per Kettler) -focused system is the way to go.  Also included are several ways to keep ELO in-tact, such as not rotating the system every year, as well as skill-based modifiers.

*Finally, the conclude with several user questions. Fun times!

 

So that's that. Not sure what's on tab for next week, but we're going to have some really exciting stuff in store for you all, so be prepared for some great pieces.

 

-HeyTrainer

Posted by: HeyTrainer on 2011-07-30 00:48:33 • Tags: pokemon thetopcut heytrainer heytrainer.org thetopcut episode 7 Kettler



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Five Things to Do in San Diego:
a 2011 Pokemon World Championship Run-Down


By Martin Moreno, Chief of the Internal Affairs Department

 


All right, so it has come to my attention that several of you will be visiting Planet Martin (San Diego) for the World Championship events. However, since a vacation shouldn't be entirely about Pokemon, here are a few awesome places you need to see during your stay here.
 

1) Greasy Taco Shops




      Southern California's specialty is ridiculously unhealthy (yet authentic) Mexican food LAYERED with ingredients. On Carne Asada Chips, Nachos, and even Burritos, you get all the good stuff. You can look to get Sour Cream, Guacomole, cheese, beans, etc and it is to die for. If you don't know, Carne Asada is strips of beef that is marinated and combined with all the said ingredients to provide your mouth with the best experience since having Andrew Murray in it.

Carne Asada Nachos/Fries range around 8 bucks.
Carne Asada Burritos usually fetch at only 5 bucks.


2) The Coronado Bridge



You may recall seeing the Coronado bridge in the movie Anchorman. Some call it the crown jewel of San Diego, next to Martin Moreno of course. It's a beautiful bridge and an interesting fact is all over the sides of it you can see postings for suicide hotlines for obvious reasons. So if any of you lose the first round of Last Chance Qualifier, this might be your next/last stop.


3) The Waley House


For you thrill seakers, we have the Waley house, a building that has been featured on multiple ghost hunting television shows, and remains a popular tourist destination. As the story goes, some guy who owned it was hung on the property grounds. Needless to say, his spirit got pretty pissed off about it, and so he has tortured the family there for over 50 years. I have had the pleasure of seeing it; unfortunately, though, I did not see any ghosts.

(On the plus side, the fat, butt-chinned tour guide flirted with me, so I got my money's worth.)

Price of admission: $10.00

4) La Jolla Shores


Located in the more financially-blessed area in San Diego is La Jolla Shores, the most beautiful beach California has to offer. I have many memories of driving women here and instantly getting action, because the view is just too breath taking. But beyond that, it's simply a fun place to be overall, and before every World Championship here in California, I would take time to lay on the sand, clear my mind, and gett in the zone for the next day. A must-see, for sure.

WARNING: the women will NOT talk to you if you look like scum. Just play it smooth, and probably don't mention Pokemon. It's also a good idea to make up a story to keep them interested (e.g., say that you're the nephew of a wealthy oil tycoon).


5) Fashion Valley Mall




Have you ever wanted to go out and buy more designer Sunglasses, and just didn't want to waste all that beautiful sunshine being indoors? I know this has happened to me when I've been out of state; however, this is NOT an issue at Fashion Valley Mall. Conveniently located near Mission Beach, Fashion Valley Mall sports many of your favorite shop, such as: Sunglass Hut; Gucci; Neman Marcus; Abercrombie; Pac Sun; and so much more. EVERYTHING is outdoors, and so you can enjoy the scenery while fulfilling all of your superficial, materialistic needs.

 


So that's it, guys. Granted, these five activities do not give full justice to what San Diego has to offer, but I figured you'd like a starting point to think about before visiting the most beautiful city in the country.

-Martin

Posted by: Martin on 2011-07-25 17:43:16 • Tags: Five things to do in San Diego Pokemon Worlds 2011 2011 Pokemon World Championship HeyTrainer Internal Affairs 2006 Pokemon National Champion HeyTrainer



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The Bracketeer: Masters Top Cuts in the US, Canada, and Mexico

By Jason "Jade" W.

 

With many thanks from the communities of SixPrizes, HeyTrainer, Pokegym, TheTopCut, and the passerbys on my Facebook, the brackets for Top 16 Canadian Nationals, Top 32 Mexican Nationals, and - the largest of all -Top 128 United States Nationals have been put up!

(The brackets can be viewed here:  http://xtreme.net46.net/tc2011.html )

The top decks shown from US Top 128 brackets:

  • Yanmega/Magnezone/Kingdra variants (45)
  • Reshiram/Typhlosion (13)
  • Magnezone/Emboar (12)
  • Donphan/Reshiram/Zekrom (10)
  • Yanmega/Vileplume variants (10)
  • Yanmega/Donphan variants (10)
  • Reshiram/Emboar (7)
  • Gengar Prime variants (5)
  • Zekrom/Pachirisu/Shaymin (4)
  • Donphan/Machamp (2)
  • Yanmega/Zoroark (2)
  • Other decks (8)

Quite a great number of variety, eh?

Shoutouts to the following rogues for impressive and creative showing:

  1. Tyranitar/Serperior, played by James A.
  2. Samurott/Donphan, played by Nikki F.
  3. Sharpedo/Cinccino, played by Justin W.
  4. Yanmega/Roserade/Sunflora/Vileplume/Ursaring, played by Carlos and Xander P.
  5. Ambipom/Weavile, played by Alaric M-B.
     

For Worlds, if I were you to prepare, make sure you test against the following:

  1. Yanmega with combinations of either Magnezone/Pachirisu, Kingdra/Jirachi, or both.
  2. Reshiram/Typhlosion
  3. Yanmega/Vileplume with various techs such as Mew/Muk/Jumpluff, Sunflora, Roserade, Ursaring, etc.
  4. Yanmega/Donphan/Zoroark
  5. Donphan/Reshiram/Zekrom
  6. Magnezone/Emboar

… as well as those random rogues, combinations and such!

Remember: this is Worlds, and unexpected things could happen! Look back to last year, when the Japanese ran Warp Energies and Professor Oak’s New Theory in their Luxchomps, or even the Team Magma decks back in 2004!
 

See you in San Diego, if you do make it!

~Mew Jadester (Jason Windham)

Posted by: Jade on 2011-07-20 13:57:34 • Tags: SixPrizes HeyTrainer Pokegym TheTopCut Pokemon Canadian Nationals Pokemon Mexican Nationals Pokemon Nationals



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SKELETONS IN THE CLOSET: MAGNEZONE PRIME/YANMEGA PRIME SKELETON

By HeyTrainer

Ever since Justin's fearless Nationals win, all the hype has centered around the "Megazone" deck used to win. But for those of you not familiar with how a proper Magnezone Prime/Yanmega Prime build should look, here's a starting point...Something many of us in the game like to call a "skeleton list."

[Note: for those unaware of what a "skeleton" is, it's basically just a partially-complete deck list with the core essentials.]

Pokemon (14):

3 Magnemite TM
1 Magneton TM
3 Magnezone Prime
3 Yanma TM
3 Yanmega Prime
1 Cleffa HS

Trainers/Stadiums/Supporters (21):

3 Copycat
3 Judge
3 Pokemon Collector
3 Junk Arm
4 Pokemon Communication
4 Rare Candy
1 Switch

Energy (10):

10 lightning

OPEN SPOTS (15):

15 Open spots! You can use these for anything you want!


This is not too explanatory of a post: you have many decisions you need to make on your own, such as card quantities, techs, and additional attackers. However, this should point you in the right direction if you were confused earlier. Best of luck at the LCQ, Worlds, and the 2011-2012 tournament season!

 

 

Did you like today's post? If so, then consider donating to /blog!

Posted by: HeyTrainer on 2011-07-19 20:34:35 • Tags: Magnezone Prime Yanmega Prime Megazone megajudge pokemon skeleton deck list



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2011 Nationals Reports, Part Two: A Not-So Detailed (Yet Nevertheless AWESOME) First Place Report

By Justin "Blisseyrocks" S.

      I felt like those of you who don't read the forums would be quite interested to see this gem of a report. It may not be very detailed (as Justin disclaims); however, it's definitely one of the most interesting accounts from the event, and offers a great perspective on the HeartGold/SoulSilver on format. Enjoy!

-HeyTrainer



"So before I get into a report, I want to thank everyone I met this weekend for giving me the best weekend of my life. Without you guys, I would undoubtably not be in the position I'm sitting in right now. ILYGUISE! <3

So monday morning I get a call from my boy Jorge saying,"...what are you doing this weekend?" From then on, I knew I was attending U.S. Nationals. I scream for joy, run to my mom asking her for money, and quickly dart back to my room to pack. I'm going to fastforward to the pre tourney, because there is WAY too many funny, jumbled memories to tell you guys about regarding the drive up to Indianapolis.

Anyways, I was determined to do well at this nationals, so I tell Orion Craig and Jorge Ramirez that no matter what crazy deck idea I come up with, a good deck will be my play. After going x-3 bubble out both years, I was crazy determined.

Zach, a GREAT senior player from Florida comes into our room to testplay and whips out Yanmega Prime/Magnezone Prime, which was a very odd-looking deck. It seemed to keep up with everything we thew at it, though, and it had something I LOVED: consistency. Decks love to crap out on me, but this one, I felt, would not.  So at 2:00 AM on Friday, I say, "GUYS, I'M PLAYING YANMEGAZONE! NIGHT." I then built it and fell asleep.

I Woke up early in the morning, got down to the convention center before Jorge and Orion, and felt GREAT about this. Eventually rosters and pairings go up, aaaand...

ROUND 1- Yanmegazone vs Donchamp

I win the coin flip, and he flips over Cleffa. I Communication for Tyrogue, and offer the hand shake with an active Yanma to Free Flight into a Mischievous Punch KO.

(Ironically enough, the guy was talking about how good Tyrogue is right before this happened.)

1-0

Round 2-Yanmegazone vs RDLBOAR

I setup MUCH faster than him in this match, hit a couple key Reversals, and there's just nothing he can do.

2-0

Round 3-Yanmegazone vs Yanmegazone

I go first with a STELLAR hand, and that's usually all my deck needs to win the mirror match. By the time he took his 2nd prize, I took my last.

3-0

Round 4-Yanmegazone vs Zekrom

He flips over Pachirisu going first, and I'm like, "crap!!!!!!" Zekrom always has a good advantage vs me going first, and while he got out a bunch of stuff, there was no Shaymin. Eventually the game became really close, but Zekrom seemed to run out of resources to win the game...And that's exactly what happened: it Didn't have the resources to take the last prize on a clean Magnezone.

4-0

Round 5-Yanmegazone vs Donmegacinno

I start with lone Cleffa and lose the flip; he flips over Tyrogue, GG.

4-1

Round 6-Yanmegazone vs Reshiphlosion

I start off so bad, mulliganning about 6 times with no Judge or Copycat in hand...I smell a loss!
He got a bunch of stuff setup, but suprisingly the game came down to him having to double pluspower bouffalant to take the last prize, winning 0-1 in prizes left.

4-2

I'm feeling rocky about the last two losses, but I know I'll do well.


Day TWO

Round 7-Yanmegazone vs Megaturn

I setup WAYYYYY too fast with, like, turn two double Zone/double 'Mega, and she cannot recover.

5-2

Round 8-Yanmegazone vs Yanmegazone

My start is pretty sick, especially to his mediocre start. I have a good advantage throoughout the couple turns the game lasted before he scoops.

6-2

Round 9-Yanmegazone vs Megaphan

He starts Cleffa, and I just Pokemon Collector for Tyrogue.

7-2

I rip my deck, find out im 28th seed, and wait for 128 pairings.

TOP 128 - Yanmegazone vs Mew/Vileplume

Game 1- I start misplaying for some reason by asking hand size AFTER I played cards down. I lose in a close game.

I was SO mad at myself, but at least I knew to be more careful in the next game...

Game 2- A different story: the prize tradeoff just isnt fair, and so I win.

Game 3- He Copycats into all of his attackers, meaning he can't use See Off. I win shortly thereafter.

8-2

TOP 64 - Yanmegazone vs Yanmegazone

This is one of the matches I barely remembered. All I know is that I won game 1, lost game 2, and won game 3 - it's all very blurry right now.

9-2

I start talking to Martin M (Nationals winner 2006), who seems to be cheering me on. This was quite inspirtational!

Top 32 - Yanmegazone vs Emboarzone

Game 1- He starts cleffa; I get tyrogue.

Game 2- He started off super poorly, while I had a great hand. There's not much else I can say, really.

10-2

DAY THREE

Top 16 - Yanmegazone vs Mewplume

Game 1- This was a close game, but Yanmega is just unfair against any Vileplume variant.

Game 2- See Game 1.

11-2

Top 8 - Yanmegazone vs Yanmegazone

Game 1- I won in a game where he tried mounting a comeback, but it was too late.

game 2- I started with Magnemite, but he went first, dropping Pachi with energy, and then Copycats for second energy, along with the win.

Game 3- He starts Cleffa; I grab Tyrogue.

12-2

Top 4 - Yanmegazone vs Megaking

Game 1- He completely wiped the floor with me due to him going first. Great start.

Game 2- He scooped mid game to save time, I guess.

Game 3- He scooped when he realizeed that I had the last prize.

13-2

FINALS - Yanmegazone vs Donphan/Yanmega Prime/Zoroark

Game 1- He hit a key Reversal coin flip to kill my double energied Magnezone Prime.

Game 2- I topdecked Pokemon Circulator to kill his benched Donphan.

[Editor's note: I think Kyle also whiffed some game-winning flips near the end of the game. Not sure if Justin did, but I do remember that.]

Game 3- He started Zorua versus my LONE Yanma, going first. He dropped Pluspower, Junk Armed for it back, Professor Oak's New Theoried, benched a Pokemon, dropped Double Colorless Energy on Zorua, and then flipped for Lunge to WIN THE GAME.....TAILS! THE DREAM IS ALIVE!

I quickly drew my card, Collectored, and then started setting up. As the game went on, time was eventually called with the prize count 6-5 in his favor. I as able to take a prize to even the count, while he wasn't. He knew he had to put Tyrogue to sleep in order to prevent him from losing the game by time: this worked for him, as he flipped tails to activate Sweet Sleeping Face. I was thinking to myself that he MIGHT have a Judge in hand, so I grabbed my own Tyrogue: if he woke up and I remained asleep, then I would remain safe. So I attacked, and in between turns...I flipped tails, and SO DID HE! YES!!!

He is forced to pass...And how do we flip? He got heads to wake up...AND I DID TOO!!! The last turn, I ended by attacking with Mischievous Punch, and just like that, I became the United States National Champion.  I jumped up out of excitement, but since I felt like that may have seemed unsportsmanlike , I was SURE to shake Kyle's hand, congratulating him for placing in the top three of Nationals for three years in a row.

The crowd was jumping on me, and the Pokemon representatives were trying to talk to me...All of that excitement. But after all of it was over, I could barely grasp that I had just won the Masters Division National title.

PROPS

ORION, JORGE AND ZACH FOR THE TESTING GROUP

All the people who have supported me over the years. You guys got me here!

SLOPS

*LOSING THE SOFTBALL GAME BEFORE THE TOURNAMENT!

~Blisseyrocks"
 

Posted by: Blisseyrocks on 2011-07-14 19:37:29 • Tags: 2011 Pokemon Nationals Pokemon National Championship Magnezone Prime Yanmega Prime Justin Sanchez Dylan Lefavour Kyle Sucevich HeyTrainer.org never gonna give you up blisseyrocks



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2011 Nationals Reports, Part One: The Defeat of Our Glorious Leader


By HeyTrainer
 

This is a "baby" tournament report for those of you guys interested. I used Yanmega Prime/Magnezone Prime:

Round 1: vs Feraligatr Prime/Kyogre-Groudon Legend. Interesting deck, but it didn't setup, and got run through fairly quickly.

[1-0]

(I went second)

Round 2: vs Zekrom/Pachirisu/Shaymin. 0/9 flips on Reversal/Junk Arm/SSU sealed the deal against me - both my opponent and I were amazed that it happened that way, but she was a great sport no matter what happened, and it was a fun game. (I lost via deck-out, actually, due to having to get rid of Zekrom one too many times with Magnezones, and two too many energy remaining in my last three prizes. Plus, due to my horrendous late game top decks and prizes, I was literally unable to Insight to start KO'ing for the win!) [1-1]

(I went second)

Round 3: vs Yanmega Prime/Magnezone Prime mirror. I whiffed the attachment on my Magnemite on T1, so he got way too much of a jump on me. I made it a six prize/five prize game, but that wasn't enough. However, I think the only reason I was ever "in" this in the first place was becaue he went an appaling 0/8 on Pokemon Reversal flips.

It later turned out that this fellah was a friend of the one and only "Monster of the Lake," as well as a poster on HT! [1-2]

(I went second, which made the whiffed attach even harder!)

Round 4: vs Emboar/Magnezone

He looked like he was getting off to a decent start, but unfortunately, his two Tepig were prized, so the deck lost quickly. Sorry, man. [2-2]

(I went second)

Round 5: Mew/Yanmega/Vileplume/techs

A relatively bearable matchup made even easier due to a god start on my part, and mediocre draws on my part. He also got some ridiculous draws, such as two Jumpluff HS/one Umbreon UD off of a Copycat. [3-2]

(I went first)

Round 6: vs Kingdra/Yanmega

He Eeeeeeek'd turn one, which was later responded to with my option to gambit with a Tyrogue KO, thus sending us both wayyyyy back on setup. As expected, this worked out heavily in my favor, since he had a Yanmega/Judge waiting the next turn, and any setup attempt made would have just been disrupted. He looked to be gaining board control, but thanks to some good flips on Thundershock, I was actually able to KO his Yanmega, and regain the lead. Eventually I got out a 'Zone Prime to his complete lack of a setup, and benched him about four prizes in. [4-2]

(I went second)

Round 7: vs Reshiram/Typhlosion Prime/Ninetales

He started Reshiram to my Yanma, and we both worked on setup. However, my setup wasn't fast enough to his, and so despite a close game, he was able to edge me out 6-4. No taking away any credit from him, though, since he played excellently. However, he got out very quick Ninetales/Typhlo (turn two I think?), so if I went first, it would have been very different due to a probable Reversal kill on the Vulpix + Judging away the doable elements in his hand.[4-3]

By the way, this was against yet another HT member: colts!

(I went second)

Round 8: vs Mewgar

I know every lostgar variant backwards and forwards, so alongside my great start and going first, this was an easy win that I've tested into oblivion. His draws were poor, though. [5-3]

(I went first)

Round 9: vs Magneboar

For the first time all tournament, I flipped heads like nobody's business, and got a very decisive win against a decent matchup. Since he had three Magnemites out by turn one and one ton/one zone by T2, my approach by default became one centered around Tepig kills. This worked like a charm, as I was able to send him into a grinding halt by T5-T6, and slowly but surely secured the win. [6-3]

(I went first)

Now, some brief commentary:

The State of the Format

*When played on a big stage, HGSS-on has quite a bit to it that I find appealing; however, going first is so monstrously unfair for most decks, it's unreal. Out of my three losses, I feel like at least two would have been won had I gone first; and for my round nine win, going second could have turned things around completely. The results of my testing have been pretty much confirmed by my experience at Nats. I can't have too many grapes, though: it was a fun event, and a very fun weekend overall. (Plus, my rating actually went up after going 6-3 for a change!)


HT's Performance

*I am absolutely amazed at how well HeyTrainer players performed! Although the glorious leader of the nation was felled, there were several long-time board members at all levels of the Masters top cut, from top 128 all the way up to first! It was also very cool to see both Jayson H. and Justin S. reppin' the shirt in the final four: Jayson's been a friend for a while, so it was great to see him do so spectacularly; and as for Justin, he not only graciously accepted the offer to rep HT with a shirt, but even seemed a bit excited about doing it! In Martin (Head of Internal Affairs) said to me over the phone, "this is the best thing that could have happened for HeyTrainer next to you winning." While I don't know how absolute that may be, I _do_ know that three HT shirts in the top four of Nationals over the past two years definitely shows that this website's forum has the highest average player skill level out of just about anywhere. This is definitely the place to be right now.

[We'd also like to congratulate our friends at thetopcut.net for a stellar showing of their own. Great job, guys, and major props to Kyle "Pooka" S. for another legendary top cut run!]


What's next for HeyTrainer.org?

With all that cheering for our most successful members this Nationals season, that leaves one question unanswered: what's next for the site?


1) More consistent /blog posts. That's why you're seeing this report today!
2) As previously mentioned, Butlerforhire and I are working on a collaborative effort to study the entire history of competitive Pokemon TCG. However, I'm currently looking to get every former and current Masters U.S. Nats winner on board with the project in meaningful ways, ranging from interviews to full-out playthroughs of their winning lists.
3) More donate button requests! The one thing that I would eventually like to give to our best and most consistent contributors is some sort of incentive for all their hard work. So even if it's a dollar or a grand, if you see an article that you like, then click that baby! I plan to be very transparent with this process too, so this is most likely not going to make me a Pokemon mogul. ;]
4) More fun stuff on the forums, such as a more frequent CotD
5) Revitalization of our site image, including a new site banner, and more Chinpokomon lovin'.

So that's that from me for now. So until the next Nationals report...Take it easy!

~J "HT" K

Posted by: HeyTrainer on 2011-07-12 13:18:07 • Tags: 2011 Pokemon Nationals Pokemon National Championship Magnezone Prime Yanmega Prime Justin Sanchez Jayson Harry HeyTrainer.org history of pokemon tcg video killed the radio star



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CINCINNO.DEC
[Plus Exciting HeyTrainer-related News!]



By John ("HeyTrainer" )
 

Pokemon (22):

4 Mincinno BW
4 Cincinno BW
4 Porygon
2 Porygon2
4 Porygon-Z
3 Cleffa HS
1 Tyrogue HS

Trainers/Supporters (27):

7 Combination of Sage's Training/Cheerleader's Cheer/Emcee's Chatter/Professor Juniper
4 Pokemon Collector
4 Pokemon Communication
4 Rare Candy
3 Pluspower
3 Pokemon Reversal
1 Energy Exchanger
1 Revive

Energy (11):

4 Double Colorless
3 Rescue
2 Rainbow
2 Lightning

 

Baasically, your strategy here is to attack with Cincinnos whilst simultaneously loading up Porygon-Zs on the bench, recycling your Pokemon Reversals and Pluspowers indefinitely. That way, you'll have a constantly reliable way to get high-HP Magnezones, Reshirams, etc within KO range. Occasionally flips may turn agaisnt you, but this ought to give you the ability to crank out many Pluspowers a turn.


The energy may look a little unusual; however, Energy Exchanger does a nice job of holding it all together. DCE's have obvious applicability to both Cincinno and Porygon, while Rescue helps recycle Cincinnos from certain death. As for Rainbow, its purpose here is simply to correct Suspicious Beam Beta's negative consequences, while Lightning is just a way to counter Scizor Prime decks. Heck, you could even potentially run Pachirisu, Shaymin, Super Scoop Ups, and a higher Lightning count!

 

So there's another take on Cincinno - hopefully this helps move the card into truly competitive territory.

 

 

...Anyways, BIG news!


Alex F. (Butlerforhire) and I are working on preliminary plans to write up a "History of Pokemon TCG"  series for after Nationals. I'm not sure how frequent it will be, but it ought to be a fun series for everyone. We'll be starting at Base Set, and then ending with the pre-nats competitive season. This is bound to be an amazing read for everyone who plays, collects, or just has a relative in the game, so stay tuned!


(Since this is epic news, and since the Entralink theme is epic, what could have possibly been a better picture choice than this?!)

Posted by: HeyTrainer on 2011-06-17 16:16:05 • Tags: Cincinno Porygon-Z Suspicious Beam Beta History of Pokemon TCG



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ZOROARK TECH DECK LIST

By HeyTrainer

 

        For the rest of the week, we'll be talking about two very different - yet somewhat related - subjects: an experimental "zoroark tech" rogue for the HeartGold/SoulSilver-on format, and...N, from Pokemon Black and White. /blog is going to be all over the place for the rest of the week, and is actually going to dedicate more time to the video game as opposed to the TCG (come Thursday, anyways). However, I believe it should be a fun read given the nature of Heytrainer.org's audience (yes, it's still a PG blog, but strangeness will ensue).

So let's get on with the "technical" first part of this "technical" two-part article: Zoroark Tech.

1. Zoroark Tech

So there's this guy...His name is N.

He uses a lot of really good Pokemon in his final battle against you, the player, in Pokemon Black/White, and - surprise-surprise - Zoroark is one of them! Since Zoroark the trading card just happens to be as powerful as its in-game counterpart, I felt like doing a gimmicky write-up on a not-so gimmicky deck I've been messing with for the past few days...

Pokemon (22):

4 Zorua BW
4 Zoroark BW
4 Sneasel "Neo Genesis"
4 Weavile UD
2 Eevee UD
2 Umbreon UD
1 Cleffa HS
1 Tyrogue HS


Trainers/Stadiums/Supporters (25):

4 Pluspower
4 Pokemon Communication
4 Junk Arm
4 Pokemon Collector
4 Professor Juniper
3 Judge
1 Revive
1 Energy Exchanger


Energy (13):

5 Darkness [basic]
4 Darkness [special]
4 Double Colorless
 

Shortly after writing up this list, I investigated the forums to double check for similar concepts, and sure enough, I found a deck very similar to this one: Jayson H's ("Jayson's") very intriguing Cincinno lock deck. Assuming you have access to the board, I'll let you look that up for yourselves, but this deck's purpose isn't solely disruption; rather, its purpose is fast beats from the get-go, with disruption as only a side article. Feel free to compare and contrast the two decks, as there's much left to be discovered about this format. Nevertheless, I really like this so far, and feel it might just have a shot at going far in this format.

Your main strategy here is to get aggressive REALLY early: if you start with Sneasel, then try to dump your Pluspowers/Darkness for a fast Fury Swipes, and then try to follow it up with a Beat Up the next turn. Alternatively, if you start Zorua, then your goal may be to aim for a quick donk via Lunge, and then set yourself up for some really good Foul Play action later on in the game. Heck, you may even aim for the early KO via Tyrogue, but no matter which path you take, be sure to apply pressure early  - turn two is the latest you want to be KO'ing something!

Since the format is full of massive HP attackers, our Beat Ups and Foul Plays need to be hitting for more damage than as advertised on the text of the card. For this reason, I run an almost unprecedented count of damage-adders: 4 Darkness special, 4 Pluspower, and 4 Junk Arm. With this, you can pull some absolutely absurd early game shenanigans, included but not limited to donking a Reshiram or Zekrom. (Yes, it's actually possible with this list!)

My good friend Rokman has been messing around with possible techs for a "secret deck that shall not be named," and one of them was the MD-on star, Umbreon UD. Although Abilities taking over the roles of Poke-Powers and Poke-Bodies severely diminishes the usefulness of this card,  I decided to include it in this list for a couple matchups. The biggest ones, of course, are Magnezone/Emboar and Donphan/Machamp, in which you'd effectively shut off the primary attackers of BOTH decks, thus requiring them to rely on very awkward tactics to win...Or, ideally, still lose.

Some of the more questionable elements in my list are the tech Energy Exchanger and tech Revive, but when you actually play the deck out, you'll quickly realize: 1) hwo desperately this deck needs to hit its special energy cards; and 2) how gimpy 12 basics can be in a deck that operates most effectively with a full bench. Right now I'm running one of each, but as testing progresses, I may actually add in multiples of one or both.

Lastly, a few playing hints to remember:

A) Sometimes you have to be very careful about when to evolve into Weavile, because every time you do, you're losing the deck's most reliable attacker!
B) Unlike most decks, you generally don't have to think too hard on whether or not to discard your hand for Professor Juniper. So unless you have something appalling such as three unplayable Zoroark, then fire away!
C) Generally, you'll want to save your DCE's exclusively for Zoroark, and your Special Darks exclusively for Sneasel. However, weird situations call for weird measures, so you may have to stockpile Special Darkness on a Zoroark, or drop a DCE first turn on Sneasel in order to Fury Swipes for the win.

 

Well that's it for now. Tune in next time for a VERY special /blog post that's all about N, the antagonist of Pokemon Black/White. It's sure to be an entertaining read, so enjoy!

P.S.  We've removed ads! If you'd like to show your support to the site, then feel free to click on the "Donate" button below.

Posted by: HeyTrainer on 2011-06-07 18:18:13 • Tags: Zoroark BW Sneasel Neo Genesis Sneasel UD Umbreon UD N is a creepy manchild



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THE BAD FORMAT: JUST HOW BAD IS IT?




(Yes, that is in fact Sableye Stormfront smoking a cigar while wearing a top hat)
 


Well guys, it's been a long, long time; however, I'm back, and this time it's for seriouses.

A week and a half ago, I had the pleasure to judge a North Dallas, Texas area Spring Battle Road event, and let me tell you: it was a blast. While actually playing this game is where I derive the majority of my enjoyment with this franchise, judging gives you an awesome opportunity to step back, and be what I call "the spectator that makes a difference": a quiet observer of the game's action when it is legitimate, and an assertive defender of the game's spirit when there is illegitimacy at play.

So let's start dissecting this event some, shall we?

METAGAME

As bit of a preface, let me say that I am a hardcore metagame fiend: I love to find out what people are playing, and especially what wins in certain areas. Battle Roads are normally considered the "casual" events of the tournament season, so it's tough to really gleam a competitive picture of things. Here in Texas, though, Battle Roads have well-above average attendance, with at least 35 people per event. Of the three events that I've been, to most populous attendance for the Masters Division alone has been roughly 28 people...Wow!

This event wasn't quite as large, but it still had a great turnout: 17 in Masters, 7 in Seniors, and 9 in Juniors. And of the 17 Masters, I can tell you just about every single deck that was played. There were the following:

"Dark"
Mime Jr./Absol G LV.X
Yanmega
Garchomp C/Zoroark
Emboar/Forretress
Donphan
Jumpluff/Cincinno
Jumpluff
Serperior
Weavile/Toxitank (unusual SP choice)
2 Gyarados
Luxray GL/ERL
Vespiquen
Emboar/Reshiram
Emboar/Magnezone Prime

So that's 16/17, with only one somewhat uncertain deck.

Analysis of the field

Of the attendees, none used the dreaded "Sabledonk" deck; however, many of them played all of the cards to pull it off, and even more were running at least 4 Sableye SF or 4 Spiritomb AR in their decks.

One thing that may jump out to you is the number and diversity of the Emboar decks being played. This is always going to happen in every metagame for small tournaments: whatever's newest will garner the attention of the most players. For the casual "fun" environment of Battle Roads, this makes even more sense: people want to try something competitive, yet also want to experiment.  Interestingly, the only one of these decks to actually do well was the most generic build of all: Emboar/Reshiram.

Why was there not more SP, you may wonder? Well, I've got two hypotheses:

1) The new rules accelerate decks like Gyarados, Donphan, Jumpluff, and Emboar to levels that SP just can't keep up with. Furthermore, Sabledonk and Uxie donk are now more loaded than ever.

2) SP just isn't that much fun to use for a lot of people! Again, people want to be entertained at these events - not bored to tears by Luxchomp mirrors.

So what ended up T4'ing?

Len D. (Gyarados)   VS   Ricky S. (Emboar/Reshiram)

Michael F. (Jumpluff)   VS   Demarcus R. (Donphan Prime)

Regrettably, the games in the cut were not too exciting: Len manhandled his type advantage for four games in a row, and the three games between Michael and Demarcus in the top four were just blowouts on one end or the other.

Conclusion

So the Battle Road was enjoyable to judge in, and most likely enjoyable to play in. Furthermore, the deck diversity was most certainly there, and - sans the finals - the games were great. So why is MD-on still bad, you may ask? Simple: because even with Sabledonk’s inferiority and the variety of Battle Roads, the MD-BW format unhealthily discourages players from playing the game to its fullest.

In the olden days of Haymaker, this game was known by its top tier competitors as “Trainermon” due to how much more the Trainers moved the game than the actual Pokémon, which were often ruined by powerhouses such as Energy Removal.

Ironically, we are now faced with a dilemma where almost every viable deck either runs maximum trainer lock potential; or failing that, maximum donk potential. In essence, these two aspects of the metagame ruin the spirit of the TCG by either depriving players of their right to “play” this game at all, or by depriving them the privilege of playing a major component of the game itself (trainers).

So as fun as these Battle Roads have been for me, I am more than eager to see these old cards go, and move on to the new format. Adios, MD-on!

 

Tune in next time to Part Two, which will deal with my first experience as a player during the 2011 Spring Battle Road season.

 

Posted by: HeyTrainer on 2011-06-03 00:34:25 • Tags: Spring Battle Road Sableye Stormfront Pokemon Black and White Emboar/Reshiram Jumpluff Cincinno Gyarados Sabledonk



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2011 Southern Plains Regional Report (First Place)

By Alex F. ("Butlerforhire")

The Deck

In a departure from the way I usually approach a season, I have been running Vilegar since the first weekend of States (and I also ran it for 2 of my last 4 Cities). I normally dislike running the same deck from event to event for a number of reasons, such as the increased odds of being teched against, the possibility of the metagame unexpectedly shifting and leaving me a bit behind, and the desire to test different top-tier decks under the intense pressure of a high-level event so that come National, I have experience with several options.


 I have stuck with Vilegar because it has good matchups against most of the format and, like Dialgachomp, it has very few outright autolosses, especially when techs are factored in (and as you’ll see from the report, I do run some matchup-correcting or clinching techs). I am also very comfortable with the deck and I am addicted to the feeling of safety it gives me in a format with so many chances to get donked. With an abundance of Basics, 8 of which block trainers from the outset, and the ability to lock trainers for the remainder of the game, I don’t feel vulnerable going into many games. The amount of options available to the deck are also a huge draw for me; contrary to what some people mistakenly believe, Vilegar is not an autopilot deck that simply repeats the “draw, attach, Poltergeist, wait for the Fainting Spell flip, Rescue and BTS Gengar back down” pattern. My report contains proof of that.



 I’ll end the intro with some background on the way the techs in my list have changed since States. For week one, I ran Mewtwo, Froslass GL and Gengar Prime. I didn’t use the Prime much that day so I dropped it for week 2 and experimented with a Cursegar instead, which was not a good choice as it did even less than the Prime had done the week prior. I just liked the idea of having a back-up attacker that could do reliable damage, spread, and hide behind things (good in matchups like Magnezone, potentially, which I had lost to in top 16). I still used Froslass GL and Mewtwo, both of which had won me games in OK and continued to do so in TX. Froslass in particular was an MVP, allowing me to lock several Bronzongs, Regices, and a Giratina over the course of both events. For Regional, I kept Froslass and dropped Mewtwo, with the rationale being that I already had a positive SP matchup (barring Dialgachomp, which negated Mewtwo’s usefulness anyway unless I could lock in Level Down before it got KOed). I debated between running Blissey PL and Shedinja SV in its place. Blissey is great in any matchup that doesn’t involve the opponent consistently netting OHKOs (e.g. Mew, Magnezone) and especially useful in mirror. It also lets me discard extraneous Spiritombs, Vileplume line components, Pokémon Collectors, etc. so that whenever I use (or am hit by) shuffle draw, I’m not putting those unneeded cards back into the deck and redrawing them. However, as good as Blissey is, it doesn’t fix any bad or potentially difficult matchups aside from mirror; Shedinja, while a much more specialized card, does. Those matchups include, but are not limited to, Steelix, Magnezone, Mew, Donphan, Scizor, and Yanmega. Because I loved the idea of giving the aforementioned decks either a hard time or a straight autoloss all with a grand total of 2 cards, I ended up running Shedinja. Spike Wound’s synergy with Cursed Drop and Shadow Room was an additional draw.
In the end, I went with this list:

Butlergar

Pokémon  (28):


4 Spiritomb AR
4 Gastly SF
2 Haunter SF
1 Haunter TM
2 Gengar SF
1 Gengar TM
1 Gengar lv. X AR
2 Uxie LA
1 Azelf LA
1 Unown Q MD
2 Oddish LA (Psychic)
2 Gloom LA (Psychic)
2 Vileplume UD
1 Nincada SV
1 Shedinja SV
1 Froslass GL RR

Trainers/Stadiums/Supporters (20):


4 Pokémon  Collector
4 Bebe’s Search
3 Looker’s Investigation
3 Broken Time-Space
2 Seeker
1 Judge
1 Copycat
1 Twins
1 Palmer’s Contribution

Energy (12):


7 Psychic
3 Rescue
2 Warp

The Event

The number of Masters was somewhere over the 200 mark, giving us 8 rounds of swiss and a top cut of 32. We were playing the event out over 2 days, with day 1 devoted to swiss and the first two rounds of top cut. Of course John K./Heytrainer was in attendance looking to defend his title, along with a number of other past Regional winners and/or esteemed players such as Martin Moreno and Brent Siebenkittel. A few Floridians—Ryan Vergel and Chris Bianchi that I know of, maybe more—and a New Yorker (?!), Christian Ortiz, surprisingly also showed up.

Round 1: Donphan/Machamp with Regirock—Nikkei F.

Right away I was up against a deck that Shedinja could almost singlehandedly shut down. Even though this is a good matchup anyway due to trainer lock, weakness and Earthquake’s self-damaging drawback, I decided to abandon the usual Poltergeist strategy and lock him with Shedinja. I got out Vileplume first, giving up a Spiritomb to a turn 2 Donphan in the process, and then brought out Shedinja to begin Spike Wounding his bench of 4 with Earthquake damage. I had the Shedinja Quicked so I could alternate between it and Gengar whenever I needed to place counters on fresh  Pokémon that my opponent benched, such as Machop (which was of course going to become the Machoke/SF Machamp which could KO Shedinja). At one point I gave up Gengar Prime to a fully-powered Machamp Prime doing Champ Buster for something between 130-150. This Machamp was met by a Poltergeist OHKO. On the bright side for my opponent, he was now able to use Regirock to discard trainers for 4 turns. I didn’t care about his trainer count though with Shedinja back in the active spot, walling and Spike Wounding. Due to his inability to get a Machoke or SF Machamp out, Shedinja never died. My opponent helped me out by damaging his own bench a few more times with Earthquake against a Gengar lv. X I brought up to Shadow Room when there was no threat of a KO on it; on his last turn, he KOed his own Regirock and Uxie lv. X and set up another Pixie for the Shadow Room that would be my final prize.

1-0


Round 2: Steelix Prime/Metagross SV with Steelix SF


My opponent had clear penny sleeves and the demeanor of someone who did not play competitively (e.g. he did not know what a lot of my cards did—tried to play trainers under Vileplume, unfamiliar with Shadow Room—and he ran subpar Supporters like Professor Oak’s Visit, Team Rocket’s Trickery (?) and Interviewer’s Questions). I figured that as such, this would be a simple game. This impression was reinforced when I saw I was playing against another deck that runs off Bodies. I repeated my process from round 1 and got out Vileplume and Shedinja immediately. I thought I had the game for a while as my opponent kept evolving right through his stage 1s and draw-attach-passing to me due to Shedinja’s invincibility. Then during one game-shifting turn he unexpectedly benched an Onix, Bebe’sed for the SF Steelix and got it down immediately thanks to my own BTS. I knew I had lost my advantage right then. Once it had 2-3 energy on it, he retreated his active Steelix Prime and started spreading. My bench was a bit overextended and weak, with only one spot for Gengar, I believe, and due to Metagross lowering the HP of everything by 20, he was able to get several prizes with that Steelix, including a Shedinja that I fortunately had a Rescue attached to, before I could KO it. By the time Steelix finally went down, my opponent only had a few prizes left and was able to get that number down to 1 with Steelix Prime. I still had 3 and time was called, leaving me unable to tie the game up. If time wasn’t called, my opponent would have been locked permanently with Shedinja, barring a Palmer’s or a surprise drop of some other non-Body attacker, and decked out (he only had about 5 cards left in his deck). Disappointing end to a game I thought I had won from the outset.

1-1


Round 3: Leafeon/Arcanine HGSS/Tangrowth CoL


No disrespect intended to my opponent, but this basically appeared to be a theme deck with a few good cards in it such as Uxie and Pokémon Communication. I assume his strategy was to get Leafeon lv. X out and attach two energy per turn to Tangrowth to deal big damage with Grind, although I never actually saw any Leafeon. I am not sure how Arcanine factors in. Like my opponent from round 2, he did not know what a lot of cards did, including his own (ie. he thought Psychic Restore let you place Uxie on top of the deck. Haha—how broken that would be). I got out a quick Vileplume and Gengar and sniped off an Eevee that I thought may be the precursor to Umbreon and from there it was Poltergeisting for OHKOs until I could Seeker him into a bench out.

2-1


At this point I feel lame for losing to a random deck played by a beginner, beating a random deck played by a beginner, and getting a lucky round 1 matchup. I wanted some “hard wins.”

Round 4: Charizard


My opponent opened with Charmander and nothing else and used Call for Friends to get a Vulpix. I had Spiritomb and began developing Vileplume. On his next turn he Collectored for a 2nd Vulpix, Charmander and Uxie or Cyndaquil, I believe, and began setting up his bench. He ended with another Call for Friends. Vileplume eventually put him into a bad situation—huge hand due to Ninetales (which I Shadow Roomed away after a few turns), no chance to drop any of his trainers, no way to get more than one Charizard into play after I KOed one Charmeleon and one manually-evolved Charizard (I assume he ran 4-2-4), and two Pixies (Uxie and Azelf) clogging his bench. Typhlosion never came out. At the end of the game we were joking about how he could still “Beat” me with Cyndaquil. A desperate PONT on his last turn gave him nothing but a new hand of trainers and I took my last prize with Poltergeist.

3-1


Round 5: Luxchomp—Andy Meier


My opponent was Andy Meier, one of the best players in the state of Texas. He has been running/top cutting/winning with Luxchomp and nothing else since last season and I know that he knows the deck inside and out plays a legitimate list. As confident as I am in the Luxchomp versus Vilegar matchup, I realize I am likely in for one of those hard games I had been craving.

    I Darkness Graced into a Gloom on my 2nd turn, with a Haunter holding 2 Psychic energy sitting beside it on my bench. Andy was able to Bright Look the Gloom up, Premier Ball for an Uxie lv. X, and Zen Blade it for the KO. Before he attacked me, though, he took the opportunity to play trainers to get his only Garchomp C lv. X out of the deck with SP Radar and Poketurned his Luxray GL lv. X. On my turn, I promoted Haunter, evolved to the Prime, Seekered to force him to return a Garchomp C to his hand, attached a 3rd psychic, and Hurled away Luxray GL lv. X, Garchomp C lv. X and Garchomp C, eliciting a groan from Andy. That crippled him a great deal, especially since now he would be unable to Dragon Rush or Healing Breath all game. I forget how he responded on his turn, but I know I was able to Cursed Drop to 2 Uxies and an Azelf before I lost my Prime. 

    Unfortunately for me, I couldn’t get Vileplume out; I believe my 2nd Oddish was prized. Andy also fell on hard times, never drawing into a Cyrus. I was able to take advantage of his poor hand and eventually locked an Azelf active for several turns with Froslass GL. During this time, I was Shadow Rooming his bench, KOing a Luxray GL lv. X, I believe. I eventually used Compound Pain to leave Azelf with 10 HP and set the 2 Uxies I had Cursed Dropped earlier up for KOs on my next attack. I did that, and a bit later time was called with us both at 2 prizes, I believe. He promoted Luxray and leveled up (thanks to Aaron’s), Bright Looking a damaged Spiritomb that he thought he could KO with Snap Attack from a benched Ambipom G. However, he needed to Poketurn his Luxray to do that (it had an Energy Gain he needed to attach to the Ambipom), and of course he couldn’t Poketurn with Spiritomb active. Andy’s plan was to KO the Spiritomb via Snap Attack and then Bright Look again to bring up something else for the game on his next turn, but that lack of Poketurn ability which he overlooked let me take the win (I believe I just Poltergeisted twice in a row).

4-1


Round 6: Luxchomp—Miguel Escutia


My opponent top 4ed TX State with the same deck. I had played against his Gyarados list twice earlier in the season and knew he was a solid player. Before this event had even begun, Miguel had approached me with his Senior brother’s Vilegar list to get some advice since he knew I had a lot of experience with the deck. In our discussion, I ended up revealing a few of my deck’s secrets, such as Shedinja replacing Mewtwo, although I wasn’t really concerned at his extra knowledge since Shedinja doesn’t do much to SP anyway.


    I don’t remember most of the specifics of this game. I do remember that I got set up without much issue and eventually used Froslass GL to bring up a Bronzong G, which allowed me to do enough damage to his bench with Shadow Room to put me ahead before he was able to free himself from the lock. Between that and several huge Poltergeists, I took all six prizes before time was called.

5-1


Round 7: Luxchomp—Travis Madaris


Travis is a player from my area. His list ran at least 2 Weavile G, one of which he was able to use to OHKO a Gengar lv. X many turns into the game. For most of the turns prior to this, he was forced to draw-pass due to a hand full of nothing but Pokémon and locked trainers. I got heads on Fainting Spell to take down that Weavile G (although I also had another Gengar waiting to Poltergeist it if I had gotten tails) and that left him without anything to hit me with. He tried to delay me from getting my sixth prize by Bright Looking an energyless, Q-less Vileplume, but I had the Warp energy for game.

6-1


Round 8: Sablelock with Blaziken FB—Aaron Harris/Nekizalb


This was my first time seeing Nekizalb in real life. I didn’t realize that he was a Master; I had read reports and posts from him on Pokegym/Heytrainer since he was a Senior and never noticed his graduation into the upper division.


    He did not open with Sableye, giving me time to get set up before he could disrupt me. I got Vileplume out as well as Gengar and began Poltergeisting for OHKOs. He Luring Flamed Vileplume at one point only to be met with a Warp + Poltergeist KO. He had to repeatedly sacrifice things to me in order to try and get something going in his hand and on the bench. On the last turn of the game, he KOed my Gengar with Target Attack and I got heads on Fainting Spell to take my last prize (although as in the case with the previous round, I had another Poltergeist waiting if I had gotten tails).

7-1


I ended up as 5th seed going into the cut.

Top 32: Gyarados—Casey Burks


Casey is a player who, like me, played long ago and eventually came back; this was only his second event of the season. I had played him during the last round of swiss at TX State and he had been running the same deck. In that game, I got down 2 prizes in the beginning as he set up perfectly with Smeargle and then took over with a surprise Froslass GL, bringing his Regice active where it remained for the rest of the game as I methodically set up 4 Pokémon with Powers on his full bench to be KOed in one massive Compound Pain, followed by three more turns of Shadow Room x 2 and a final Compound Pain for my last two prizes. I say all that to let you know that he knew about my Froslass, which usually seals the win against Gyarados, so there would be no element of surprise there. However, even without Froslass, the matchup against a trainer-heavy Gyarados list like his (and most others out there) is already very positive, so I wasn’t concerned.

Game one: I donked his Magikarp with Hoodwink on my first turn via BTS.

Game two: Casey opened with Magikarp again but wasn’t donkable, so I took my time getting completely set up with double Spiritomb to prevent Regice from temporarily breaking the trainer lock. He set up a Gyarados on his bench with the initial Magikarp still active, not foreseeing the Prime’s Cursed Drop to put it in the Lost Zone. Following a Tail Revenge for 30, I brought out Regice with Froslass and proceeded to get prizes off of his bench while he failed to top deck Warp energy. Once the Gyarados (with Rescue, by the way) was within range for a Cursed Drop KO, I sent it and the Magikarp beneath it to the Lost Zone. He never got Regice out of the active spot and I took the remainder of my prizes from his bench.

8-1


Top 16: Luxchomp—Alec Noah


I had also played Alec during swiss at TX State, winning that game in spite of his Dialga G tech. I was glad to discover he wasn’t running it this time.

Game one: I don’t remember the specifics of the game. I do know I got set up fine and took a lead that led to Alec scooping after 15-20 minutes.

Game two: I believe I had to play catch-up here, either losing an Oddish/Gloom/Vileplume early and sacrificing Spiritombs to get the other out, or just not being able to get Vileplume out at all until later than usual. Eventually once I did get a Vileplume to stick, I took control of the board. I remember one two-turn sequence where I first hit a fresh Luxray GL lv. X for 90 with Poltergeist and then top-decked either a Bebe’s or the lv. X on my next turn, allowing me to Level Down for a prize and OHKO a 2nd Luxray GL lv. X with a Poltergeist for 120. At the end of the game, all of Alec’s level Xs were in the discard pile and he couldn’t do anything to stop the constant OHKOs which netted me 6 prizes.

9-1


Top 8: Luxchomp—Len Deuel

 
Len had beaten an obnoxious Uxie donk player who snuck into the cut in his top 16 game, which in my opinion catapults Len into the realm of heroes.

Game one: Speaking of Uxie donk, I opened with Spiritomb to Len’s lone Unown Q, going 2nd. He wasn’t able to get any other basics out via topdecking and I was able to get my own Q plus Uxie out to bench him immediately.

Game two: Here, I walked into a bizarre revenge donk. Len opened with Smeargle while I had Spiritomb and Oddish. I had no Supporters other than Seeker and Twins. On my turn, I dropped a BTS and evolved into Gloom and then Darkness Graced into Vileplume, knowing Len would Portrait my Seeker to put Vileplume in my hand but not being concerned about it because my Spiritomb had only 1 damage counter on it and I didn’t think he could deal 50 to me with anything in the absence of trainers. Unfortunately I overlooked the double Flash Bite that he was allowed to do with the aid of my own Seeker, which was followed up by a DCE-ed Luxray GL using Bite to supply the final 30 damage to donk Spiritomb.

Game three: This game started off badly for me. I lost an Oddish to a turn 2 or 3 Bright Look and had to spend time and Spiritombs getting my other Oddish into Vileplume. Meanwhile, Len had gotten set up well, with access to both of his essential lv. Xs and possibly an Uxie lv. X as well. When he had 2 prizes left, I was able to turn the game around with a Sleep Inducer on his Bronzong G, which allowed me to begin Shadow Rooming threats off his bench unopposed. He eventually KOed himself with Galactic Switch. Before he did, though, I used Looker’s on him to put back a Garchomp and a Luxray level X. He drew into the Garchomp and sniped my Froslass for his 5th prize. I responded with an OHKO via Poltergeist. I was very concerned that he would eventually draw into his Luxray GL lv. X and Bright Look a Spiritomb with 50 damage on it to win; he had a Luxray GL with 2 lightning on his bench. Fortunately for me, he had already burned both of his Bebe’s and only ran a single Luxray GL lv. X, rendering his odds of getting it back out slim.


He resorted to promoting a Smeargle in the hopes of Portraiting a Bebe’s of mine to retrieve it, but I had none. I did have Seeker, which he used, allowing me to pick up my damaged Spiritomb while he returned a Toxicroak G with a psychic energy on it. I still had 2 Uxies down (as well as Vileplume), so I wasn’t safe from the Bright Look threat yet. I made a misplay by not using the Seeker on one of my Uxies and then Restoring the other to clear my field of targets (Vileplume wasn’t a target; I had Warp energy and it couldn’t be KOed in one hit by anything on his field). I also neglected to go for the Poltergeist KO on the Smeargle because I wanted Len to waste an energy retreating it, disallowing the Trash Bolt option should he get lucky and top deck the Luxray GL lv. X following my KO. Because of my two misplays, Len got to use the Seeker again, this time picking up Crobat G. I was sure he had the Luxray and was about to win by retreating, Bright Looking my remaining Uxie, Flash Biting and then Flash Impacting, but he did not have the lv. X and I nearly collapsed in relief. On my turn I finally used my own Seeker to return my last Uxie and Poltergeisted the Smeargle, revealing enough trainers and supporters to get me an OHKO on anything Len brought up for my final prize.

10-1


Top 4: Luxchomp with Dialga G—Amalio O.


I had never played or spoken to Amalio before, but I did know him as the guy who gave a player from my area 21 prizes with DPL at my first City championship of the season. I think that qualifies as legendary.

Game one: He smartly got out a quick Dialga G lv. X, neutralizing Vileplume, and attacked me with it, eventually running headfirst into Fainting Spell. A heads would have put him in a bad position—no energy on board, trainer lock reinstated—but I got tails instead. After a while I was able to Poltergeist it for enough damage to net me a KO with Shadow Room once he benched it (he had held on to some trainers/supporters because if he had dropped them all down to negate Poltergeist, he would have had little to work with). Before I could take Dialga out, though, he made a nice play involving Warp energy, Bright Look and Zen Blade to KO Vileplume, freeing him of the need to have Dialga in play. Because the Vileplume wasn’t equipped with a Rescue energy, it left the field and the trainer lock was off. I was able to stay in the game due to his evaporation of resources and the sturdiness/disruption of Gengar lv. X. I believe I also used Froslass in this game to stall him out at his last prize while I tried to get my last 1-2. He was ultimately unable to get the lv. X he needed to pick something off my bench and I took a close game.

Game two: Game one took most of the time for the round—about 55 minutes—so my goal in game two was simply to prevent him from taking 4 prizes. This approach seemed like it was not going to work when, after a few turns, I had already given up 2 Spiritomb and he had once again gotten a quick Dialga G lv. X out. The Dialga G was all he had going for him though, with a supporter/energy drought hurting his board development. He took a chance with Fainting Spell for the 2nd time; on this occasion I got the heads I needed.

In the absence of Time Crystal, Vileplume took its toll. After KOing my Gengar, the prize count was 5-4. He had a Garchomp and Luxray benched as well as Ambipom, which he used to try and stall with Tail Code while he built up Garchomp. I got Gengar Prime into play and, assuming he had Garchomp C lv. X in his (large) hand, Hurled. He did have it, and my decision ended up saving me. Amalio then began setting up a Luxray, Cyrus’ed for a Bebe’s and moved the only energy on Gengar over to an Azelf. I Seekered a Spiritomb with an energy (Tail Coded earlier) to remove the only target on my field that could be killed solely by Flash Impact and reattached the energy to the Prime, Hurling again to take away the Crobat G which was his only shot at taking a 4th prize (Bright Look plus Flash Bite plus Flash Impact on a Pixie/Frolass GL). Time was called somewhere in this sequence of turns and he was unable to take the 4th prize that would have led to sudden death, giving me the game and the series.

11-1


Top 2: Luxchomp with Dialga G—Michael Weldon/Rokman


Last year I was an unintentional accomplice in the creation of Rokman’s HOUSTON NIGHTMARE, and this year I am tangled up with him in the HOUSTON DREAM. (Everyone should go read Rokman’s Regional report from last year to understand what I am talking about when I reference the Houston Nightmare.) As Rokman said in his own report from this year, both of us wanted this title a great deal. I didn’t care about the trip to National as I knew I had enough points to be invited to World—I just wanted to win Regional.

Game one: This was a strange game. I remember Rokman burned his entire hand down at one point after getting Dialga G lv. X out to KO my Unown Q via Flash Bite (Junk Arm was involved). Somehow his hand got replenished—Uxie lv. X was part of it, and I may have used Seeker to let him pick up Uxie—but his board remained underdeveloped. I had a crucial (lucky) turn where I used Level Down on Dialga G, Judged, and then hit the level X I had just made him shuffle back in via Hurl into Darkness. Even if I hadn’t hit anything with the attack, I think I had him in a bad situation anyway with Level Down and the hand disruption. He scooped either right after the Dialga was Hurled or a few turns later.

Game two: I had a great opening—Gastly, Oddish, Uxie all on turn one—but I ran into an unexpected Chatter lock which forced me to start the process of KOing myself with Darkness Grace. Meanwhile, Rokman was building his hand high with Cyrus, Sprays, etc. and energizing a Dialga on the bench. He had gotten a Bebe’s with one of the Cyrus and when my Spiritomb was left with 10 HP, he broke the Chatter lock, searched out Dialga G lv. X, and Deafened for the KO. I had been building up a huge hand of my own during the 5 turns of Darkness Gracing; because I had not been playing Supporters or energy, Rokman assumed my hand was terrible, although in actuality I was holding on to a Looker’s and a Gengar lv. X for when Spiritomb was KOed. On my turn I promoted a SF Gengar, leveled up, used Looker’s to flush away his Sprays, and successfully Leveled Down. He got the level X back out a few turns later but then allowed me to Hurl it away for the 2nd game in a row after Poketurning it. He scooped shortly thereafter.

12-1



Although our games weren’t the greatest, Rokman was a gracious sport and had a good attitude throughout the series. I can actually say the same about all of my opponents from Swiss through  top cut; everyone was polite and friendly and I saw no hostility or rudeness. I appreciated the positive atmosphere that permeated the event and I’m already looking forward to next year.
 

Posted by: Butlerforhire on 2011-04-29 16:04:27 • Tags:



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(Is this worse than Call of Legends? Probably not, but it's a lot more fun.)

 

So I hear you like Magnezone/Regirock?

If you do, then you...Probably won't like this deck much: it's just a strange thing I threw together on the spur of the moment at league. However, it's a ton of fun, and has a lot of options. ;)

Warning (if you haven't gotten the hint yet): this deck may or may not be horrible. For all you netdeckers and lurkers out there...Be cautious about this one. ;)


Pokemon (31):

3 Cyndaquil HGSS
3 Quilava HGSS
3 Typhlosion Prime
2 Oddish LA (psy)
2 Gloom LA (psy)
2 Vileplume UD
3 Spiritomb AR
1 Chatot MD
1 Uxie LA
1 Azelf LA
1 Vulpix PL (secret holo)
1 Ninetales HGSS
1 Magnemite TM
1 Magneton TM
1 Magnezone Prime
1 Deoxys/Rayquaza LEGEND (Top)
1 Deoxys/Rayquaza LEGEND (Bottom)
1 Entei/Raikou LEGEND (Top)
1 Entei/Raikou LEGEND (Bottom)
1 Unown Q MD


Trainers/Stadiums/Supporters (13):


4 Bebe's Search
4 Pokemon Collector
2 Broken Time-Space
1 Looker's
1 Judge
1 Copycat

Energy (16):


10 Fire
4 Lightning
2 Warp

First off, let me go on record and say that running two different legends...Is horrible. Absolutely, positively horrid. But ANYWAYS...

Your primary strategy here is to usually begin a game swarming Typhlosions (plus the Plume lock), followed by late game KOs from Magnezone Prime and whatever legend you run. In the ten or so games that I've played with this deck, Rayquaza/Deoxys LEGEND has been far, far more useful than Entei/Raikou LEGEND, but on the other hand, I haven't had many opportunities to do the Thunder Fall "nuke" (KO'ing three of more of your opponent's Pokemon).

Three Spiritomb may be weird, and...You may be right. However, in order to fit all of these crazy things (seriously, a 1-1-1 Magnezone and 1-1 Ninetales?!), something had to give. If I were to play this, I would probably work my hardest to up the Spiritomb to four. Not right now, though, since this is my way to unwind from the inevitable "Sabledonk" fest (assuming there are no bans, restrictions, or mid-season rotations).

Although this is a very fun deck, I honestly would not use this in a premier event as-is. However, a more viable alternative could be focusing on just the Typhlosion, Magnezone, and Ninetales. It deals out just as comfortably as Magnerock does, and yet it provides a nice secondary attacker to the 'Zone.

Have fun, guys! Hopefully we can hook y'all up with some more stellar tournament reports.

Posted by: HeyTrainer on 2011-04-21 00:50:50 • Tags:



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The Houston Dream: Second Place Southern Plains Regionals 2011 Report

By Michael “Rokman” Weldon
 

 

First of all, be glad I’m even writing this article and not something for my site (rokmanfilms.com), which has been neglected for almost a week! Since that’s all I’ve been doing for this year (just moved from tumblr to blogger) beside working, I haven’t had time this season to really get down to testing (which is like 100+ appr games a week usually).

Regardless, this entire season I’ve been tweaking the same LuxChomp list. And I’m super confident with it and every tech imaginable… Here’s what I played in Houston:

Pokémon (21):

3 Garchomp C
1 Garchomp C lv.x
2 Luxray GL
1 Luxray GL lv.x
1 Dialga G
1 Dialga G lv.x
2 Uxie
1 Uxie lv.x
1 Ambipom G
1 Bronzong G
1 Crobat G
1 Dragonite FB
1 Lucario GL
1 Toxicroak G promo
1 Azelf
1 Chatot
1 Unown Q

Trainers/Stadiums/Supporters (28):

4 Cyrus’s Conspiracy
4 Pokémon Collector
2 Bebe’s Search
1 Aaron’s Collection
1 Seeker
1 Twins
3 Poké Turn
3 Energy Gain
3 Power Spray
2 SP-radar
2 Premier Ball
1 Junk Arm
1 VS Seeker

Energy (11):

4 Double Colorless energy
2 Warp energy
3 Lightning energy
1 Psychic energy
1 Metal energy (basic)


Before the Tournament


I made arrangements (so that I don’t have to rely on people who abandon other people in Houston at 4 AM...), and rode down with Team Hooters: myself, Justin S., JJ D., David W., and Casey B!), and the rest of my Wednesday league. Represent!

The night before the tournament, I was thinking about taking out Mewtwo lv.x because it only net me a single win at States, and lost me another. Between Mewtwo, Dialga, and Honchkrow, John K. recommended Dialga G LV.X. Although it was "the worst of the three versus Gyarados," he claimed it to be the most well-rounded of them. With this advice, as well as my own hunches, I went with it.


(Casey, about to get pummeled by Justin)


After many shenanigans, including the above (and even a rap session on the way down), we reach our hotel and stay up almost all night talking and debating about life, the universe, and everything. Eventually, we had to stop talking about things that actually matter so we can get some sleep for a Pokémon event. Ha.

Once we were actually at the tournament, I was really surprised by the players who showed up! Christian O. (New York), Ryan V. and Chris B. (Florida) all came out of state to our Regionals! Awesome! In attendance were also the regulars who are just as good, John K. and Martin M. I have never had the opportunity to play Ryan V. of Florida so literally right before the tournament started, I told Team Hooters I wanted to play Ryan really badly. Pairings go up…

Round 1 – Ryan V. (Lostgar)

- When the match started, he opened with Gastly. At first I thought he was running Vilegar so I opened towards a Dialga. Very early he thinks about his Pokémon for Communication and starts to show a Lost Gengar and I totally sink in my chair, it isn’t Vilegar!
- So, he spooky whirlpools my hand and hurls. The 6 cards I drew were a beautiful hand with no Pokémon.
- I return by committing to a Garchomp for Dragon rush and retreat, play gain/DCE, setup and then get Cyrus for a SP-radar, use the radar, Chomp X is prized! I felt like an idiot because I was so sure he was in the deck! Now that I think about it, I saw it in my very first opening hand, which I had to mulligan away.
- I have to make a huge decision after that epic fail, I’m up by one prize (I drew the Chomp X!) from some trash and have to choose, he can either portrait for a twins and see I have the chomp or let him setup huge, or let him spooky whirlpool me. Obviously I had to spray the Smeargle, which he responded with a Spooky Whirlpool, sending the Chomp away!
- After the full 30 minutes, He’s got 5 of my Pokémon in the lost zone and time is called on his turn (which is turn 0). He has to get a rare candy to play down the last Lost gengar he has to win, he sets up twice to draw 8, whiffs…. Because he has to use turn 1 in the +3 to declare himself the winner. So, after he realizes he can’t do it, he scoops! And he checks his next two cards, BOTH rare candies! Ugh, great game, barely snuck it. I think I could have gone up and Deafened to stop him from dropping the Lost World though, can’t remember my field.
- Turns out, Dialga X won me this game anyway. The whole time, I had a Bronzong G hovering at 40,60, and 80 hp, which is a KO from Cursed Droplets and Gengar’s body sends it to the lost zone. If he could have done that, he would have won for sure.
1-0

Round 2 – Josh S. (Gengar/Kingdra)

- I open with Dialga, AGAIN! And I am not sure what he is playing because he starts with Gastly and I think it’s a vilegar just like I did last round! Once I have the Dialga X on the bench I watch him get out two Kingdra’s and I feel a lot better, it’s just Gengar/Kingdra.
- It’s entirely one sided since I end up Azelf Locking Up one of his Pokémon and spraying his Spray splash three turns in a row so he can’t draw a prize to get out of a trash hand he got from Judge. He continues to draw trash until I sweep the board .
- Come to find out he plays mewtwo lv.x but never got it out since I had Dialga X benched the whole game! Already, Dialga has won me two! Ha!
2-0

Round 3 –Nikkolas (Gyarados)

- Really terrible start, just a Luxray and a DCE, nothing else of note. I attack for a cheap prize on Magikarp (he has another benched) hoping to draw anything useful.
- He Mentors (Regice, Karp, Uxie), regimoves 2 karps, Plays some trainers including Junk Arm, sets up huge, plays BTS and Gyarados, donked.
2-1

Round 4 – Chris B. (Lostgar)

- So, turns out I’m playing the other awesome Floridian running Lostgar. I start off so terribly, open Dragonite FB with no supporters. I go first and draw a COLLECTOR, yes!
- On his first turn, he spooky whirlpools and gets a Gengar, uses hurl, nabs Garchomp Lv.X! How can I win this now?!
- He sneaks another Pokémon in the lost zone while I draw a few prizes. We go back and forth for a bit until he plays spooky whirlpool again, this time getting THREE POKÉMON, he can only remove two though. So, I burn everything and setup for 6 new cards, all great stuff, 0 Pokémon!
- Time is running short and I know I have to protect my hand, he already has lost world out. So, I play it safe at the end. Time is called on his turn, and he is in the same spot Ryan V was. He has to pull something off but also whiffs on it after some big draws. He ends up scooping as well.
3-1

Round 5 – Christian O. (Magnarock)

- Awesome! I have now played all the major players that were really out-of-state. I played Christian in a pickup game before, but never in a tournament. I wanted to win so I can say I defended Texas even if I don’t top cut!
- I start off SO TERRIBLY. I literally draw pass for the first good to 4-6 turns. I have a hand full of trainers, shut down by a Spiritomb! All that is playable is a Twins, so I’m patiently waiting for his KO.
- Once he Kos me with a Magnazone (finally, no more lock), I twins for a Toxicroak G promo and a Cyrus! And Finally get the ball rolling! After the KO, he TOPDECKS Sunnyshore gym, ugh, sorry man!
- When the game begins to wind down, I have 3 prizes remaining to his 4, he is becoming energy drought with nothing in the discard and everything that was on the field in the lost zone, it’s mostly over and I take board control.
4-1

Round 6 – Oliver F. (Vile-Lostgar/Palkia G)

- I get a garbage start… He has drawn 2 prizes and lost world 4 Pokémon before I even have an energy to attack (which I had to twins to get!)
- He wins with Lost World because I haven’t had a spray for his Palkia G all game!
- It was very valuable to play Oliver in swiss because I end up having an epic top cut match against him later.
4-2


Round 7 – Miguel E. (LuxChomp)

- I get a similar start as last round and draw complete trash. I don’t have anything to do, no supporters, no energy, nothing.
- After this loss, I’m really discouraged. I know a couple 5-3’s will slide in, but I’m not sure all my losses will maintain a good record. We’ll just have to see…
4-3

Round 8 – Steve M. (Magnarock/Vileplume)

- Since I am 4-3, I have to win here and hope for good resistance to make it in. I’ve actually played Steve, a really nice and great player, at Texas States a couple weeks prior and pretty much know his list.
- I start the game with Dialga G, use Azelf and see three DCEs prized, so I’ll be able to get them after each KO and have plenty of resource.
- I end up using warp energy and leaving the Dialga on the bench when I see him Pokémon Communication an Oddish away, I didn’t know he ran Vileplume in his list! Thank god I ran Dialga and got him on the bench!
- He gets a decent roll going but he expert belts a Magnazone without a Sunnyshore Gym out, and Toxicroak KOs him. That’s when I pretty much won the game.
5-3

Top 32
1) Jordan B (Vilegar)
32) Henry B. (Luxchomp)

16) Amalio O. (Luxchomp)
17 Jose E. (Magnerock)

8) Paul W. III (Luxchomp)
25) Rudy (Dialgachomp/Luxray)

9) Michael S. (Jumpluff)
24) Kaitlyn W. (Gyarados)

4) Chris P. (Regigigas)
29) Len D (Luxchomp)

13) Caleb C. (Luxchomp)
20) Andrew G. (Uxie)

5) Alex F. (Vilegar)
28) Casey B. (Gyarados)

12) Alec N. (Luxchomp)
21) Dana L. (Honchkrow/Garchomp)

2) Austin B. (Luxchomp)
31) Josh H (Gyarados)

15) Brent S. (Blazechomp)
18) Matt L. (Vilegar)

7) Travis M. (Luxchomp)
26) Randall H. (Gengar/Gliscor)

10) Aaron H. (Chen Lock)
23) Joe G. (Tangrowth)

3) Adam G. (Magnerock)
30) Michael W/Rokman (Luxchomp)

14) David W. (Sablelock)
19) James D. (Vilegar)

6) Oliver F. (Vile-lostgar)
27) Miguel E. (Luxchomp)

11) Dale L. (BLG)
22) Nikkei F. (Machamp/Donphan)

Take a look at all the Team Hooters players who made the cut! I’d like to just say, the Wednesday league in Haltom City probably has the highest top cut % of any league in the world. We only have like 5-8 players at this league each week, and 4 of us top cut!  ( BTW, we're called Team Hooters because that's were we eat after league ;) )

I'm also very proud of the Watauga League players(right next door to Haltom League) players for doing so well! You guys did awesome!

Top 32 vs. Adam G. (Magnarock)

Game 1

- I've known Adam a long time and enjoyed playing him. He has placed third at every Regionals the past like 3 years. So, he was wanting to break the curse! We actually had a great time playing, it wasn't too serious because we would both be happy with either playing winning.
- I get an incredible start and gain board control almost instantly. I think after a couple crucial sprays and on every Judge I would draw a Cyrus or a bebe for an uxie, he had lost all hope in that game.
5-3 (1-0)

Game 2

- This time he starts with a Regirock and is repeating to me, "How did you get so good at this game?" and we're both laughing. Unfortunately since he had a bad start against my average one, I gain board control and ride it out the entire match. He did get a very early Sunnyshore out to protect from toxicroak, but I didn't even need it.
- His first two judges didn't do anything to me, because I drew out of it, but his last one was crippling, but it was far too late for him to mount a comeback.
6-3 (2-0)

The match next to me, which was David W. vs JJ D., they were goofing off too, just having a good time since they are both Team Hooters players.

Top 16
1) Jordan B (Vilegar)
16) Amalio O. (Luxchomp)

8) Paul W. III (Luxchomp)
24) Kaitlynn W.(Gyarados)

29) Len D (Luxchomp)
20) Andrew G. (Uxie)

5) Alex F. (Vilegar)
12) Alec N. (Luxchomp)

31) Josh H (Gyarados)
15) Brent S. (Blazechomp)

26) Randall H. (Gengar/Gliscor)
10) Aaron H. (Chen Lock)

30) Michael W/Rokman (Luxchomp)
14) David W. (Sablelock)

6) Oliver F. (Vile-lostgar)
22) Nikkei F. (Machamp/Donphan)

Of course Team Hooters is way too good for Pokémon, and we are forced to knock each other out... I'm still really proud of our crew for doing so well! ;)

What's really funny is that there was a long break between Top 32 and Top 16...This is when the fatigue began to really set in. So, in my top 16 match against David, neither of us were actually upbeat or goofing around because we were both pretty tired. We didn't say anything besides the cards and occasionally say something sarcastic.

Top 16 vs. David W. (Sablelock)

Game 1

- I actually made the list for David W. months ago, and since we all play and hang out together, I've seen the progress of his list and know it card for card, as he does mine.
- The match is pretty short, only lasting around 10 minutes. He opens with a Cyrus Initiative, hitting both! Unfortunately my opening hand was very solid and he couldn't cripple me. After I draw into everything in a few turns, he has to go for a huge Chip-off from Purugly to try and slow me down, but he doesn't get it.

6-3 (1-0)

Game 2

- My opening hand is really bad. I have only 1 cyrus Conspiracy to try and dodge his initiative and get a board going, but he chooses to Impersonate collector over the initiative, he said his hand had nothing in it. I don't really know how bad his hand is, but I have a feeling it was infinitely better than mine.
- Since he didn't kill my Cyrus, I'm able to get a decent setup going and get board control, again he is forced to go purugly, but it's too late in the match and my hand is far too good.
- Still, I'm really proud of David W. because this is his first Pokémon season and he is top cutting the biggest Regionals in the nation and made it to top 16! Way to go, bro!
7-3 (2-0)

After top 16, day one is over. I was handed a piece of paper with instructions on how to get to the venue for top 8 matches, I didn't really think about putting the address in or anything to see how far it is, everyone was pretty tired. 4/5 of the car on the way back to the hotel all top cut and it was only me going into day 2. I was actually going to stay up and party with Ryan V. and Martin M. but Martin never texted me back - it was pretty late when I got out of my top cut matches and I hear he was already partying it up. So, the guys in our crew stayed up partying/playing Call of Duty while I passed out, ready for tomorrow.

My top 8 match was against Oliver F. and since I saw most of his list, I knew what I was getting into. It's hard to prepare for because I can go Dialga lv.x, use sprays to protect it from Level Down, while I try to keep my bench small so Palkia doesn't get me. Or, I can go straight for the cheap kills without using trainers, fill my bench up, and use the sprays for Palkia. So, really, he is countering whatever I do, it just comes down to opening hands really.

So, I wake up (on my own) at 8 AM, take a shower and head down for some breakfast. Turns out, the place was 45 minutes AWAY and if I had woken up any later, I could have been late! After I get the other guys up and they eat breakfast, we head on over to the best comic book store I've ever seen for top 8...

Top 8
16) Amalio O. from DFW, TX (Luxchomp)
24) Kaitlyn W. from LA (Gyarados)

29) Len D from DFW, TX (Luxchomp)
5) Alex F. from Killeen, TX (Vilegar)

31) Josh H from DFW, TX (Gyarados)
10) Aaron H. from LA (Chen Lock)

30) Michael W/Rokman from DFW, TX (Luxchomp)
6) Oliver F. from DFW, TX (Vile-lostgar)

So, the top cut is a pretty standard cut. 4 SP, 2 Vilegar, and 2 Gyarados... I feel like my list has the potential to win against any of the other decks in the cut and I feel very confident, but I know it won't be easy...

Top 8 vs. Oliver F. (Vile-Lostgar)

Game 1

- This game is so terrible I have no idea what was going on. Within like 15 minutes, he's got Garchomp lv.x, Luxray lv.x Unown Q, and Bronzong G in the lost world. I'm just flabbergasted and scoop. I didn't take any notes because I forgot to and can't remember how this atrocity took place.
- But... I find out he isn't running Gengar lv.x!!!
6-3 (0-1)

Game 2

- Before the match I'm pretty discouraged, but once I see my hand and realize the potential to donk him and have 1 match left with like 45 minutes remaining, I feel a lot better.
- His hand is terrible and I get the donk!
6-3 (1-1)

Game 3

- So, this is it. I have a really bad hand to his great start. Since he has Spiritomb active, I can't get the trainers out of my hand for a fat setup. So, on my second turn, I have to setup for 1... COLLECTOR! Yes! With this collector I'm able to get a decent board and get a Dialga out.
- He isn't able to hurl anything and gambles one turn to see my hand. He didn't hit anything and wasted his turn. That misplay is super crucial because I'm about to make an unbelievable misplay...
- Once I get my Dialga lv.x on the field, I can finally play my trainers. This turn lasts a good 6 minutes as I burn everything away (He hasn't poltergiested yet and if he did it would be a good 300 damage lol). I use 2 Poké turns and a junk arm-Pokéturn on a garchomp on my bench and keep playing it back down. I do some other stuff, throwing out trainers with Sp Radar for no Pokémon (because he can lost remove it) and then I look at my field and hand. I've got a garchomp in my hand that I scooped up like fifty times and can Dragon rush this turn with another garchomp on my bench, alright. SO, I bebe's for a chomp lv.x and promote the garchomp on my bench, attach gain, and DCE and level up. NOPE! The garchomp on my bench was the one I was Pokéturning the whole time! I thought I had 2 down, but I only had one! What an IDIOT!
- So, he goes. And I know he will just hurl the chomp lv.x in my hand. But... he retreats? I guess he had nothing in his hand and if he let me KO his lost gengar, he'd have been in a really bad spot. So he let's me keep the chomp lv.x? Okay... He decides to keep using lock up on my crobat. But, if he KO's it, I can twins huge (and he knows it, he saw it with a Hurl at the beginning of the game). We're tied on prizes at this point.
- I've got 3 sprays in my hand ready for level downs and palkia. I feel really good. But, I'm in a tough spot, I have nothing to attack with for a cheap KO on his active. I guess I can setup for one and see what I get. BASIC METAL! I can second strike with Dialga, yes!
- Time is called on his turn. I've got 2 prizes remaining to his 3. I have nothing in my lost zone. He shadow rooms a random Pokémon to tie it up.
- I go, have nothing in my hand for poltergiests or lost worlding and I decide to hit his Fainting spell gengar for a solid amount, he is 30 or 40 from being KO'd if I remember correctly.
- He goes, retreats the gengar and uses psychic restore.
- On turn 3, before I even draw, I call it like I see it and say it'll come down to a flip. Only after the match did I realize, even if he hits the heads on fainting spell, all he has left is Lost gengar with no energy. While I've got a Dialga X and Luxray safe on the bench. So, I end up Dragon rushing his benched fainting spell and he hits tails. That's it. Great game Oliver, really proud of you, man! Also, glad you're out of the Hospital ;)
8-3 (2-1)

A lot of people didn't think I could pull that one out after that terrible misplay. But, looks like lucky topdecks prevailed.

Top 4
16) Amalio O. from DFW, TX (Luxchomp w/Dialga)
5) Alex F. from Killeen, TX (Vilegar)

31) Josh H from DFW, TX (Gyarados)
30) Michael W/Rokman from DFW, TX (Luxchomp w/Dialga)

I'd like to say I think it's pretty cool Josh and I both made top 4 even though we were 30th and 31st seed!

Top 4 vs. Josh H. (Gyarados)

Game 1

- This game is really, really one sided. He plays down a karp with a belt (he knows my Lux is prized) and sets up huge, He really gets the ball going and has to judge, hoping to send my collector away (Luxray lv.x is prized and I need to azelf to get it) and hope I can't bright look the karp up.
- He judges and I draw pretty good. I remember the hand, it was DCE, Gain, Cyrus, and like Seeker. I TOPDECK an Uxie play the DCE on Luxray, gain on random thing (didn't have Garchomp out obviously), and setup for 5. He says, "wow, if you draw the collector" right before I actually draw the collector. After I get the azelf, timewalk a Luxray out, and bright look his belted karp, it was pretty much over.
 I've got sick board control and am dominating the match. He goes for a Pokémon Reversal, and he really needed to hit it to try for a comeback, but missed.
- After a solid 20 minutes, I win by taking 6 prizes to his 1.
8-3 (1-0)

Game 2

- We both have silly openers, his Regice to my Bronzong. Of course, his is much worse. About turn three, we both say out loud what we think I'm going to do. It seemed like the right idea to dragon rush his magikarp (w/ rescue) and just kill it, leaving his Regice stuck active. But then I think for a second, he doesn't have trainers in his discard to use junk arm (to discard karps) and if he doesn't have regice, he can't regimove karps in there either! So, I just trash bolt his Regice.
- The match continues like last round because he can't get karps in there to hit me with damage. He ends up drawing his first prize after I've drawn like 5.
- (He ended up going 0 for 3 Super Scoop Ups and 0 for 1 Pokémon Reversal in our best of 3. Flip cards are bad, children!)
9-3 (2-0)

Finals
5) Alex F. from Killeen, TX (Vilegar)
30) Michael W/Rokman from DFW, TX (Luxchomp w/Dialga)

Well, this is it Rokman. You've come all this way and have a chance to win the biggest Regionals in the nation. You've got the deck to do it. You know the matchup. You can win this.


And I really did want to. I'd be in the league with John K. and Martin M., previous winners of this Regionals. But Alex wanted it just as bad as I did. Plus, neither of us cared THAT much about the prizes - we just want the title of FIRST! He doesn't care about the trip that much because he wants to skip Nationals (he went like 12-1 on the day) and protect his rating for a world invite, so it was pride on the line, and nothing more.

Finals vs. Alex F. (Vilegar)

Game 1

- We've been talking all day about our matches, I knew he ran a Froslass, a tech 1-1 Shedinja, 1 Gengar Prime, and max Looker's. He basically runs lockgar, not really focusing on prizes with poltergiest or lost world. I knew I'd have a hard time beating him because he is easily the best Vilegar player, performing very well at both states this year, OK and TX. Anyways...

- He gets a really great start. Like a turn 2 Vileplume and Gengar...
- I really don't remember the matches turn for turn, but I know he pretty much dominated my hands with Looker's and would snag my Dialga lv.x with Lost Gengar. He would level down it, Looker's me, I would freaking DRAW it, and then he would just go for a random hurl and get it. He claims I gave it away with my face, but I was pretty focused and didn't react to the draws.
- After he got my Dialga away, I was just joking around and making goofy remarks for like 10 turns. A couple of times I had the judges and spectators laughing. That was nice at least, hahaha. Eventually I scoop to save time.

9-3 (0-1)

Game 2

- I have a chance for a donk, but he gets another ridiculously perfect start.
- And I really had a chance to win this, I open with a solid chatter lock on his spiritomb (he put a warp on a gengar randomly) and began setting up my board, getting sprays ready, without drawing too many trainers, and working on getting Dialga lv.x powered up.
- Eventually he gets enough damage on the spiritomb to kill it's self by Darkness Gracing.
- After all those turns of just using Darkness Grace, he never played a psychic energy or a supporter. He claims he was bluffing a bad hand, but I don't think he was.
- He promotes his Gengar. Looker's my hand away. Levels up. Levels DOWN Dialga X. Plays a psychic on Gengar.... And then just completely dominates me for the rest of this game. After I've used all my Cyrus conspiracy he Looker's me again. I draw trash and realize time is ticking down, there's no way I can come back in this game, I joke for a few turns before I unfortunately and slightly frustratingly scoop.
9-4 (0-2)

I'm really happy for Alex F. (which is Butlerforhire online, give him some props for owning me in top/winning the tournament) and I wish him the best of luck at Nationals if he goes and Worlds if he makes it.



(Me, with my prizes!)

 

Props on the tournament
- Team Hooters for almost everybody in it topcutting
- DFW players for doing so good
- Everybody, including Judges and Staff
- The comic book store
- Meeting Ryan V. and Chris B. from FL
- Kettler's singing in the deck check line
- Austin C. getting donked by a Swallow up from a Wailord.

Slops on the tournament
- Not partying with Martin M. and Ryan V.
- Team Hooters having to play each other in top.
- Don't think I'll ever be at a finals table in a Regionals again. I required too much luck to get there. :(




(Team Hooters being adults and playing with Pokémon figurines.)

-Rokman

Posted by: Rokman on 2011-04-19 18:53:55 • Tags:



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SixPrizes Underground LEAKS

By HeyTrainer
 


As many of you know, I write frequently for SixPrizes.com's paid "Underground" section. It's been a great way to earn some pocket change, and -without a doubt - it's one of the most surefire ways to blaze a trail in the Pokemon TCG community.

However, it's been tough getting second to Fulop in so many writer polls; and it's too much pressure always having to play second fiddle to such a great player. Likewise, the community upstart, Jwittz, has done a number on my results multiple times, and I'm beginning to feel that my writing is underappreciated.

Perhaps it's premature, or perhaps immature, but I have decided to leak the first two weeks of May's articles (we write well in advance of the due date, and never turn our articles in the day of). Hopefully Adam, my fellow staff members, and all of the subscribers can forgive me for this breach of trust; however, I can't help this any longer, and so I've decided to hook you up.



Let's start with Fulop. He hasn't written many deck articles, but one that's been close to his heart as of late is an edited Mewperior:

Mewperior (5/3/2011)
*1

By Chris Fulop

"We walk the streets alone
Hearts and hands both left empty
We're battered to the ground
Left cold to beg for mercy
We choke on our despair
No arms open to take us
We've been thrown to the wolves
But We're still standing
We are the distant beacons
We are the guiding light
We flicker in this darkness
To illuminate the night

So will you take my hand
To lead you through this nightmare
We're running for our lives
Our lungs still barely breathing
We are the last alive
Our hearts still barely beating
We won't let this world put out this dying flame.
We stare at these horrors
Wide eyed and never blinking
We live this daily grind
Our will and nerve unbreaking
Were left to fend for our own
With our morale unbending
This fire burns inside us
Unwilling to extinquish
We raise our fists in anger
Demanding revolution

We are the distant beacons
We are the guiding light
We flicker in this darkness
To illuminate the night
So will you take my hand
To lead you through this nightmare
We're running for our lives
Our lungs still barely breathing
We are the last alive
Our hearts still barely beating
We won't let this world put out this dying flame.

We are lost with no direction
Yet we run full steam ahead
We don't know where we are going
We don't know where we'll end
All we're left with is each other
Don't let that slip away
Please take my hand.


Of course, Josh "Jwittz" W. has many articles that are high in demand due to his popular "Prof-it" show. Since he has become established as a Sablelock expert of sorts, countless people have been hounding him for his opinion on just _how_ broken the deck will become when the new Black and White rules are implemented. This is his opinion on the matter:



The Impact of Black and White (5/5/2011)
*2

By Josh W.

"      The dominant cinema situates black characters primarily for the pleasure of white spectators. To illustrate this point, one may note how black characters in contemporary Hollywood films are made less threatening to whites either by white domestication of black customs and culture—a process of decrination and isolation—or by stories in which blacks are depicted as playing by the rules of white society and losing” (Diawara 894).

      Put in the perspective of the black spectator, much of what Diawara asserts about Hollywood cinema is true: the black spectator is forced to identify with a white hero, while viewing his or her own race as criminal (894). However, when this is put into perspective of films from the Blaxploitation genre—films directly marketed toward black audience—the lines are blurred. These films (often Hollywood funded) deal with much more powerful and dynamic black characters playing lead roles, thus giving the black spectator a role model that they can identify with. However, these films also draw heavily on stereotype, which in its own way damages the black spectator’s perception, and perpetuates these stereotypes for a white audience.
In this essay, I will show that in two of the first Blaxploitation films produced, the 1971 Shaft and the 1972 Super Fly (directed by Gordon Parks and his son, Gordon Parks Jr. respectively) attempt (but do not always succeed) to deal with a black spectator through separate means. Shaft attempts to create a modern-day black “superhero” for blacks to identify with through the cool and suave Shaft, while Super Fly uses the powerful but conflicted Priest in an attempt to create a sympathetic tone for the plight of black freedom.

      Despite that these films were directed by father and son, one year apart, their plots bear little resemblance to each other, besides starring a hip black protagonist. In Shaft, an independent, cool, and handsome detective with the same name deals with both the police and local black gangs to recover a crime boss’s daughter. Effectively acting as the “black James Bond”, Shaft plays by his own rules, has a large ego, and deals with several sexual escapades along the way. Super Fly, on the other hand, deals with the successful drug dealer Priest, who finds himself questioning his own lifestyle. Priest constantly strives to leave his life of thrills and luxury to “get out of the game” and live a normal life. While still a powerful character, Priest suffers a constant burden and stress that he strives to lift throughout the film.

      The tone of each film is instantly distinguishable through its introduction. Shaft opens with a pan over New York City’s busy streets at a top down angle, and as the funky bass riff from the movie’s titular theme begins, we see Shaft emerge—complete in a stylish brown leather jacket. The camera focuses on his face for a brief moment, then follows him from the high angle once again as he casually strolls through heavy traffic, hands in pockets. The tone for Shaft (both the character and film) is set by Issac Hayes’ theme: it begins with a narrator asking “Who’s the private dick that’s a sex machine to all the chicks?” immediately answered by a chorus of females responding “Shaft!”. Within the film’s opening minutes, the black audience is given a character that is cool, uncaring, well dressed, and attractive. This is a character that the male black audience wants to be, and that a female black audience wants to swoon over. By setting and character alone, this Blaxploitation film offers the black spectator something they rarely received in the 1970s: a hero.

      Super Fly’s introduction, on the other hand, paints a different picture. We’re given the same high angle over a street corner, but this time over a clearly less wealthy and run-down neighborhood. Two fairly ragged drug dealers shuffle down the streets in the cold, with piles of garbage visible against each building. While the film does contain an upbeat titular theme as well, it instead opts to open with Curtis Mayfield’s “Little Child Runnin Wild”, which depicts a character that “never smiles”, is “all alone”, who “didn’t have to be here”. Only after this initial introduction do we meet Priest, the main character: with a blank expression, he snorts cocaine off of a cross necklace while sitting naked next to one of his girlfriends. Despite his obvious life of luxury and his sexual prowess, his attitude is cold and tired. Immediately after scolding a few dealers that work under him, we then switch to an upbeat theme as Priest drives by in an expensive car. However, after immediately succeeding the dreary introduction, the happy moment feels false—very much in line with Priest’s perception of his own life. Through this introduction, the black spectator is given a different kind of protagonist, one they can sympathize with. They immediately identify their own color-based struggles with Priest’s, and allow Priest to act as a symbol of black redemption.

      Both films take the tone set by the introduction and amplify it over the course of the film. Just as Shaft’s introduction paints him out to be cool, the rest of the film glorifies simply how cool he is. Shaft’s position as a detective gives him an air of power and authority that the black spectator isn’t used to. Shaft constantly forces those he works with and those seeking his skills to play by his rules—including the white Lieutenant Vic, Shaft’s working partner. The camera is constantly panning over Shaft’s face and body—using both low angles to increase his apparent size and prominence, and also eye line matches with female characters to reveal him as an object of desire. Shaft’s own name is an obvious phallic pun to stand in for sexual strength, and this is constantly emphasized as Shaft beds multiple women of multiple races. Even in his love scene with Dee, it is his own body that dominates the screen, with his back and buttocks as the prevalent image.

      While Shaft briefly mentions a rough past by joking to Dee that he “was born poor and born black”, and by reminiscing to Ben of times where they fought together for black freedom, his character is more of an emphasis on success than a symbol of the struggle. His image is that of a flawless individual that overcame his struggle to the point where it carries no burden on him any longer—he serves as the perfect symbol of desirability for the black spectator. If Shaft is the symbol of success after the struggle, then Priest is a symbol for the struggle itself. While he attempts to hold the “cool factor” that Shaft contains externally, his internal struggle is constantly apparent. Despite his dreams of living a normal life, he is constantly brought down by most of his comrades, claiming that drug dealing is “the only game the man left him to play”, and that it was “what he was born to do”. Prince has all of the things that Shaft has—money, respect, and women, yet he is discontent with the means and lifestyle that he goes through to achieve them.

      While women are attracted to Shaft like magnets, Prince seems to be too caught up in his own struggle to give in to his sexual magnetism. In fact, the only time he makes love on camera is when his girlfriend Georgia offers to “help him share the weight” of his troubles. This love scene, lasting nearly 3 full minutes, features a focus on both partners’ bodies—revealing Priest as a much less dominant and more dependent character than Shaft. Just as Shaft stands in to the black spectator as a symbol for sexual prowess and strength, Priest gives the black spectator a symbol of pain and redemption. Both the cross that he wears throughout the film, and his religiously grounded name “Priest” are reminiscent of Jesus Christ. Priest’s “Christ-like” struggle offers the black spectator a figure that they can respect through his suffering and ultimate redemption.

      Both films offer characters and scenarios for the black spectator to identify with, but there are still moments in both films that present white racism, creating moments of confusion that relate to Diuwara’s thesis of white power in dominant cinema. While Shaft is an ultimate figure of respect and power, he has to work for white men in order to get the position that he has. While he does undermine most of the white authority around him, he also interestingly undermines the black men around him as well. Despite his apparent history with Ben and his black militants, he constantly talks down to Ben, often simply using him and his men for extra firepower in completing his own mission. There is also a staggering amount of black on black violence between Bumpy’s mob and Ben’s militants, further creating confusion for the black spectator as to which side within this self-conflict that they are supposed to support. The film also plays into common stereotypes of blacks, including street dialect and foul language. While Shaft himself is a black man that gatherers respect from people of all kinds, the film’s background and situations make the perception of black people much more ambiguous.

      Super Fly’s message is also one that leaves a mixed message about race. Prince’s struggle is one that is mixed between different race relations. The reason that he is inferior and struggling is because of “the man”—or white authority pushing on the freedom of black men. In the scene where Prince talks with Georgia about his plans to leave the game, we see him gazing through a fence at white children playing with sleds. While the film aims to draw on this feeling of inferiority to relate with the black spectator, the fact that it establishes inferiority in the first place gives off a confusing message. Like Shaft, Priest also seems to care less about black militants fighting for freedom. When a group approaches him and asks him for money, he exclaims for them to “go sing your marching song somewhere else”. He tells them that until they raise arms and are willing to fight with guns that he’ll have no part in their movement. This moment is strange in that while the militants swear that “we’ll see you again”, they’re never seen or referred to again. This moment, like the one in Shaft, reveals Super Fly to be most effective to the black audience as a character study revealing a strong black man in his struggle. However, once again, it remains confusing and alienating in its depiction of the African American people.

Both Parks and Parks Jr. created films that aimed to put Hollywood movies in the perspective of black characters to appeal to a black audience. However, while both films create different protagonists that a black spectator can relate to, the presence of white racism and black weakness that Diawara refers to is still present. "



Now I'd like to share a very special article. 2008 National Champion Gino Lombardi is no stranger to the Pokemon community: with his stellar performances that season, coupled with his larger-than-life character, it's no surprise that he's one of the most well-known figures in this game. However, his play-testing group, "Team Underground," took considerable offense at SixPrizes calling its paid section "Underground."

To settle the matter, Gino and Adam agreed on a compromise: a personal invite to join the SixPrizes Underground staff, but at two times the cost of regular writers. Here is his first article for the site...

Expert Strategies (5/10/2011)
*3

By Gino L./James W.

"Representing the REAL team underground
Not the six prizes UNDERGROUND.
The REAL team underground
You know, like the 2008 national champion, Gino Lombardi?
or runner-up Jay Hung-Rung?
or runner-up Darrell M.?
OR like the 2010 1st place National Champ, Con Le?

All Underground players right there. The REAL Underground!
Not this SixPrizes pay-for Underground bite off.
C’mon man, you gonna steal my Pokemon team's name?!
and use it to pay for your BILLS?!

What about PREMIUM? What about MASTER TRAINER?
You know I aint no j-wittz or something but Kettler put me up to this...

I flip a coin, I cut the deck
I got a god hand
It's a wrap, cut the check
Plus the top deck
and my bench set
and I'm looking
he ain't even got a bench yet
So what's the play
I'm attaching to my active
and you know that I'm attacking
I'm taking prizes after every knockout
He takes no prizes all he gets is KNOCKED out
I play to win
I shake his hand
Then I check the pairings and I play again
I flip again, God Hand again
Flip the starter over, they like NOT AGAIN
I'm like yes again, once again
Im gonna WIN no stopping him
I went rogue for the win I'm a classic
and I'm UNDERGROUND you can’t stand it!

*4"



Lastly, here's my article on "advanced mind games"...It's pretty self-explanatory, so you can read it for yourself!



Advanced Mind Games
(5/12/2011)  *5

By John K.

"Sally forth:

They have venomous tongues, the whole lot of them…But yours? It contains anti-bodies – remedies that result in a praiseworthy cure. Unfortunately for you, they don’t like you, because snakes need some kind of defense in their arsenal to be uninhibited; otherwise, they would feel vulnerable to more than just the mongoose. They can’t let themselves feel lower to you, so they will respond to your cures with more poison. Yes, the king cobras are in denial: by assuming that your cure won’t push through, and by assuming that more poison is best, their fall will be that much greater. So keep offering your cure – they’ll give in eventually, even if violence occurs between now and then.

You can try to be like liars. It is possible for those of your kind to wear ridiculous cow suits to blend in with the herd. Unfortunately for you, though, you’ve the inclination to do things overzealously: you eat rich, green grass as if it were death incarnate; you cringe as you drink water from the smelly slop; and your “moo” is not guttural enough. As a result, you will be spotted immediately. It is natural to bow to your instincts alone, and – believe me – mooing ain’t one of them. Either way, they will realize that unlikes are unlike; you aren’t like them. You are not a member of the herd, for you lack the instinct to sense coming storms, and you lack the inclination to deep down into the slop.

It is these moments where your decision becomes clear: stop trying to be like them. If you are not livestock, then you will be unable to act like livestock without some hint of revealing parody in your heart, and thus must stick to your own path, whatever that may be. Whenever you try to lie, it is against your nature, and it is against your instincts. It projects miserably, and your disrespect for the cattle lain to slaughter shines through in your tone. You are clearly superior to them, but cast aside the mocking attitude; otherwise, you will not even be tolerated. It is egregious to insult a creature while it is in misery, and even if they don’t realize it yet, they certainly are miserable. Compassion may be a tough thing to hold, but for now, settle with being estranged, and cling to a hatred of hate.

You’ve asked a question: “what’s an F sharp?” Unfortunately for you, your pupils dilate, your eyes water, and that once-confident baritone goes flatter than a beginning bandsman in junior high school. Answer this with head-on embracement of your body language: it tells a better story than you do, so why not let it do the talking?

It turns out that the others all feared being strewn on a platter as much or more as you did, and so they dared not let their quirks consume them. Furthermore, some even snickered…The same ones who were as void of knowledge as you were!

Their cherishing of you is never tantamount to the filling of that void, however. Though you may be lost, lonely, and uncertain in your early days, recognize that from that void, a bright, shining star can be born. And from that sacrifice, more can grow, and discover their own rights.

You are now the sun in this world: song, poem, and story are dedicated to your nurturing powers. Unfortunately for you, intimacy incinerates anything that dares come close, and chars everything just outside. They “want” to cling to an ideal of truth, and as a result no longer advocate straying from your example. “Honesty’s the best policy,” your parents would espouse. “Lying is a sin,” said the pastor.

But from their safe distance away, these feeble people became too complacent. And so they quietly uttered a simple regret: “why can’t I be like you?” Desperate, they stared into your being.

You blinded them. And so never again would they look: by being exposed to your shining example prematurely, their capacity to comprehend was burnt away. Your example with these mongrels was set too soon, and so you must give up on them. Let the creatures gradually work themselves into your direction – give them hints, and give them hope. As it stands now, though, you are stuck in solitude.

Maybe you aren’t so different from them at times, so don’t get arrogant. Your name can be Apollo, Garuda, Ra, or some long-lost string of syllables that start with a “Q” and end with an “L.” It doesn’t matter, for as honest as you are, and as glorious of an example as you may be, there are blemishes in that record, and you’ve led others off of cliffs. It is therefore your obligation, Mister or Miss Truth, to make amends when you do “not” tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth (so help you God). Abide by these commandments three, bestowed upon a stone slab:

If you should lie, then you may admit to it. Brace yourself for more hatred from the snakes and the cattle. “You wretched man! You have defanged and mocked us…Be gone with you!” the serpents jeered. Why should they treat you as something exceptional, anyways? Now you are just as much of a creature as they are by admitting your fault, but – worse yet – you are still alone. Once again, the only way to move on is to endure it.

If you should lie or deceive, but are unable to find strength to admit it, then work to make your lie a reality. When you try, you are the God of this world – the God that puts anything you were taught in Sunday school to shame. Sure, your declarations of independence once started out as gross exaggerations, but they are met by will. You say you make six figures a year? You say you can bang anything you want? Accept only the “figures” you mean, be they monetary or skating techniques. And if by “bang” you meant your head on the desk, then yeah…But that probably doesn’t include attractive Swedish models.

This you can grow out of. Sometimes, little spouts of venom are actually useful defenses for your dreams. It is right after the lie when you must catch yourself, and then consider why you said what you did. When it is willed from a dream, act to make that dream reality, and never look back. This is when your omnipotence and omniscience – your ascent to Godhood and glory – become evident, and this is when the plebeians follow behind.

If you should lie or deceive, are unable to find strength to admit to it, and are either unable or unwilling to make your lie a reality, then protect the abstract ideal of your untruth – the hopes for the future aren’t lost forever, kid. People may know well that you, the 400 pound man who works at the grocery store, wasn’t a United States astronaut, but what they also know is that you wanted them to believe that ludicrous statement. What is it that you wanted, Mr. Omniscient? Did you want to go into outer space, or did you just want to break out of that miserable nine-to-five rigmarole? Or maybe it was a desperate stretch for respect. Do you get enough of it in the daily routine?

As a final warning: a great number of people are disgusting, so don’t stoop down to their level just to gain their affection. It might sound tiring to hear this by now, but the only ones worth giving a care over are those who would be happy with you no matter how successful you were. Just because your fabrication-tempered shield was broken doesn’t mean that all is lost, because there are shields of justice for that lie.

If you should lie or deceive, are unable to find strength to admit to it, are either unable or unwilling to make your lie a reality, and cannot protect the abstract ideal of your untruth, then your lie was an unqualified waste to begin with. Throw it in the garbage can – spare the recycle bin, because this is going to the dump. They are marks on your permanent record, and the larger your file gets, the more certain it is that you are an untouchable (but for all of the right reasons to consider someone as such). What is it when you declare love from the “bottom of the heart,” yet you know you will never mean it? If it is ever found out, then you have infected the object of your abuse with a contagion that will eat away at his or her flesh until there is only bone left. Then, others will see you not as a mere outcast of nature – they will view you as abhorrent to its very foundation. You will be treated like the leper you are, and you will be subject to abuse, scorn, and eternal damnation.

Remember: your lies are tiny evils that accumulate over time, and will come back in full force to harm the world. Those poor, far-off people thousands of miles away will walk on the trash mound that you made for them, founded knee-deep in fetid excrement, infected syringes, and wasteful vanity. However, people are nasty, so you don’t need to care about them…Right?

What of the animals, though? Fish will get caught in your six-pack rings, suffocate, and die a most agonizing, ghastly demise. Bees, with their regular sources of pollen already devastated, will use the devilishly sweet leavings of your cola can lies to make Beelzebub honey, founded in phosphoric acid, unnatural coloring, and high fructose corn syrup galore. Then, you will finally get your just desserts: a plate of sweet treats, made using the best of your own nastiness. Because they are unsalvageable pollutants that are caused by mankind, they are the worst of their kind, and it is these mistruths that your mama meant when she said, “honesty is the best policy.”

If you should twist your tongue on all the conditionals tied to lying, then don’t feel bad, because that comes naturally when going against the truth. So take a deep breath, and recollect yourself.

    It is a lonely road to tell the truth; it is a lonely road to hit rock-bottom, as well. Perhaps it is best summed up as just that: a lonely road, no matter how you cut it. But everyone is just as isolated as you are – cast aside for their strong morality or their strong amorality, for they too are the snake opponents, the cowsuit cretins, the bandsmen, astronauts, Gods, and even the lepers. But not all at once: their dualistic natures, just like yours, will branch off into no less than three separate duels, and there is always an internal struggle.

In response to this dilemma, the Arabs said, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” When you are at odds with a particular truth or falsity, find someone who is also in your position; find someone who is also alone. It is here where you’ll make a stand; here, where you will stave off the threats; and here, where you’ll make the most real friends you can ever hope to have. Whether you speak or not, this connection will establish a truth that cannot be broken, and a bond that is unshakable.
So sally forth, friend. Advance in the eyes of those who are worth it, seize what you desire, and evoke the truth proudly. "


For the greater knowledge of the Pokemon community, this leak was necessary. Although I may suffer incredulous insults for the next several months, especially from paying members, I'm sure even my dissenters will learn to appreciate what's been done this day.

'Til next time,

-HeyTrainer











*1 -Real Title: "Beacon"
*2 - Real Title: "The Parks’ Blaxploitations: Two Attempts to Appeal to the Black Spectator"
*3 - Real Title: "The Real Team Underground"
*4 -  "Props to Muk Man aka James Wilson for the lyrics. O yeah he's on TEAM UNDERGROUND not SIX PRIZES Underground. UGHHHHHH!!! " Also edited by John K.
*5 - Real Title: "How to Tell the Truth (in a World of Untruth)"

Posted by: HeyTrainer on 2011-04-01 17:16:19 • Tags:



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With State/Province/Territory Championships complete, I thought it was interesting to see Machamp bubbling up to the top of plenty event results. Scraping the Pocket Monster Gymnasium's "What Won S/P/T's?" thread yields evidence as to why this deck, as a focus, machamp troll face has trouble, but somehow managed to sneak into the top cut of many state events.

Here are some factors that have contributed to the deck's renewed success:

  • SP Is Rampant
    Machamp SF's "Take Out" is a logical counter to the prevalence of all-basic decks. Most everyone is playing Luxchomp, Dialgachomp, or DLC; because, well, along with DCE, da Chomp and Luxray are the most broken cards in the format. These guys beat everything most of the time.

  • Luxray GL Lv.X costs $80
    Upon flipping over my Machop during round four of the Texas state championships, one of the few Machamp players surrounding me pointed out that it had become the poor man's Luxchomp. That is to say, if you can't afford to play Luxchomp, why not try to smash Luxray skulls?

  • Affordability=Increased Density=Success
    As the cheap, anti-SP alternative, more players were likely to run the deck in general, which led to a higher number sliding past all of its terrible matchups. Plus, a stupendous showing for Luxchomp during S/T/P WK1 added logical weight to this countermon rationale.

  • Speed Kills
    Even though most Machamp builds have terrible -- or at least rough Vilegar, Gyarados, Steelix and Yanmega matchups, it is possible for the muscleman to win any game against any deck. Turn one Machamp is still a serious force to be reckoned with.

  • machampac resurrection More Options
    Machamp Prime makes it possible to dish out big, consistent damage; which has always been the finicky side of Machamp SF. This is also what has led many a competitive player to opt for various skill plays rather than steroidal coin flips. Yes, with Machamp Prime and SF together, you can devour basics AND hit for a guaranteed 100.

Historical Context
At the beginning of last year, Machamp SF was quite good -- dare I say, broken -- against SP. With Unown G rotating out of the format, "Take Out" appeared unstoppable. Looking back, it's hard to believe that even more broken combos would come to pass.

Looking Ahead
Despite many horrible matchups, Machamp's brutish speed, simplicity and improved damage output will make it a factor at the upcoming larger events. Along with increased Luxchomp density, I think we can expect even more 'roids moving into regionals; which should enable it to slide past ghosts, dragons, et cetera and into even more cuts, where it may just stomp SP.

Posted by: drrtybylf on 2011-03-29 14:10:41 • Tags: Machamp 2011 State Championships 2011 Regionals Luxchomp Machamp SF Machamp Prime



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With Oklahoma in the books, I was primed to do better than a 5-2 bubble; I had learned from my past miscalculations. Texas States is a title I haven’t held since 2008, so I was eager to reclaim it. My deck? Luxchomp yet again.

The Report

Round 1: VS Rob M./Papa Mash (Mega Judge)

I began with a lone Lucario GL to his 70 HP Yanma Supreme Victors. His start wasn’t too stellar, as he was forced go first, and was stuck just drawing and passing with it. Sensing a prime opportunity for the donk, I used my Pokemon Collector…Only to find that the two most crucial elements to it, Ambipom G and Unown Q, were prized. However, I still made the attempt at it by including Azelf in my Collector. My logic behind doing this was two-fold: it made the turn one win possible if I actually did hit one of the three Poke Turns, and even if I didn’t, I would have extremely invaluable knowledge against a Judge-heavy matchup.

Although my subsequent Set Up for four whiffed the FTKO by a card, I did get the opportunity to Call into a Luxray GL and Garchomp C, thereby assuring that I had Power Spray available. This hurt him significantly the next turn, as I was able to Spray his Unown Q, thus preventing him from retreating for Spiritomb to Darkness Grace a recently-fetched Magnemite into Magneton. From here, I Bright Looked up the Mite, killed it, and gained a huge edge (he ran only two Magnemite, with the other being prized).  From here on out, he made attempts on my Pokemon’s lives with Yanmega Prime, but healing and weakness kept me safe. (1-0)

Round 2: VS (Drapion/Honchkrow SV)

I was initially worried to see yet another Spiritomb staring me down, but was relieved to see it coupled with a variety sans Vileplume. Right away, Chatot was working its magic; as it drew me a glorious nine card hand by the second turn of the game, and I never looked back from there. (2-0) 

Round 3: VS Robert O. (Gyarados)

Going first, I started with Chatot and Unown Q to his Magikarp. With a fairly weak hand, I opted to Mimic for seven (he had mulliganed once against me before the game started). After I did this, he…Used Sea Spray. Given this nice piece of luck, I promptly met this with a Luxray GL and DCE, Biting for the game. (3-0)

Round 4: VS Daryl T. (Donphan Prime)

Daryl’s one of the strongest “Poke Dads” in the Dallas area, and father to Jacob, who’s one of the best Seniors  in the country. Both of them have an enormous level of intuition for the game, and it’s always a pleasure to talk and play against them. Last year, however, Daryl’s Gengar/Spiritomb did a number on me, and so I was seeking a little bit of vengeance. Once again, I was stuck against yet another poor matchup; however, since I’ve tested extensively against a list just like this one, I knew just about every trick it could pull off.

As for the game itself, Daryl started two Phanpies, attached to the active, and passed. My Chatot start, while a pleasant sight, gave me no comfort: I had no supporters, and only one other Pokemon. So, benching the Crobat G in my hand, I quickly bit the Phanpy, and mimicked for seven (I mulliganed a couple times). The next turn, he did several things, not the least of which being a Mesprit Psychic Bind and Earthquake. The next turn, which a still struggling hand, I: benched a Garchomp C; Cyrus’s Conspiracy’d for an SP Radar, Psychic, and Twins; fetched another Garchomp, attached the energy and an Gain to a newly-active Crobat G, and Toxic Fanged him, hoping to whittle down his Donphan. Through all this, I had an Uxie sitting in my hand, but unfortunately couldn’t use it because of the Psychic Bind. Likewise, my hand was clogged full of cards I couldn’t readily drop down.

His third turn, Daryl doube Flash Bit my Chatot, attached an Expert Belt to Donphan, attached a third consecutive fighting, and used Heavy Impact for a knock-out, putting him two prizes ahead. At this point, I made perhaps one of the biggest gambles I’ve ever made : rather than bench my Uxie and Set Up for zero, I decided to risk him having the Seeker for the bench game, and fetched Aaron’s/Garchomp C LV.X with my Twins (I had a steady supply of DCE in my hand). The situation had really gotten that desperate, and I knew that if I did not draw well off of the Uxie one or two turns down the line, then he would steamroll me anyways.

My gamble paid off, but not because he didn’t have the card; rather, he did¸ but laid down a Bebe’s instead, and about mid-way through his search, gave me one of those classic “d’oh!” looks. After dropping at third prize to him, I was able to Aaron’s for the Psychic and Crobat, triple Flash Bite his active thanks to two Poke Turn, and snipe a benched guy to instantly tie him up (via DCE/Junk Arm for Energy Gain), and leave him with a one energy Donphan. My memory might be failing me with that precise exchange, but I feel this was more or less the “gist” of how things went down.

From here, he tried to find ways to whittle me down, but I was able to repeat the Crobat G Toxic Fang trick, and once again wear down the elephant. Although he did get another shot at a Heavy Impact KO on the Bat via a singular Flash Bite, KO’ing the second Donphan was much easier. Thanks in part to a couple good draws, and thanks in part to a bit of an energy drought on his part, I scored two consecutive KO’s on two separate bench targets, and won this nailbiter of a game.  (4-0)

Round 5: VS Mark A. (Luxchomp/Mewtwo)

He goes first, and is stuck Claw Swiping a Luxray GL for 30. This is met with an immediate colorless attacker exchange via an Energy Gained Earthquake, and he is immediately put into the high pressure zone. At this point, he Collectors into a scary set of cards: GarchompC, Dragonite FB, and…Mewtwo MD. The second turn, I chose my KO to be Mewtw, which opened the window for his Draggy to score a KO on me, but not without an immediate Garchomp response thereafter. With his two major mirror counters sacked, and his third unable to Snap Attack, I promptly rushed him three times in four turns to win the game. (5-0)

Round 6: VS Alex F. (Vilegar/Mewtwo)

My stomach began to turn inside of itself, as I was welcomed to a warm and fuzzy Bronzong G start to his Spiritomb. Luckily, I was going second, had a DCE to attach to my Bronzong, and was able to engineer a Cyrus/Collector chain. This let me get three crucial cards: Q for Quick; Luxray GL, to set up an inevitable Bright Look; and Chatot MD, which instantly reset my hand. Seeing as how my hand was clogged with six Trainers, I was further reassured about my tweak from the weekend before.
Meanwhile, things aren’t going so hot for Alex, as he was stuck with a draw-pass on the Tomb turn one, and with somewhat of an energy drought. When he finally got Vileplume setup, I  answered it with a Bright Look/Zen Blade KO (I had promoted it active a turn prior, which explains why I was able to do this legally). Note that the reason why I chose not to go for the Mewtwo was because I felt that, unlike my prior match, I could eventually beat the Mewtwo LV.X with Bright Look/Seeker. Plus, if I let this opportunity slip past me, he likely would’ve pummeled me on the virtue of the Vilegar matchup anyways.

Either way, this held up, as I was able to KO the regular Mewtwo the next turn by retreating the Uxie LV.X for a second regular Luxray GL, Poke Turning the benched one, Bright Looking for Mewtwo, Junk Arm/Poke Turning my new Luxray GL LV.X back into the Uxie, and then Zen Blade for a KO. Unfortunately, he had a Rescue attached, so I had to get through it yet again. Eying my ten card hand, Alex was quick to Poltergeist me, but was distraught to find only one Supporter: my Seeker, which I now felt comfortable revealing. Prior to this, he attached yet another Rescue Energy to the revived Mewtwo, but I once again responded with a retreat/Bright Look/Poke Turn/Zen Blade, allowing my Uxie to finally die. For the third time, I killed his Mewtwo – this go-around with a Flash Bite/Dragon Rush, and with no hard counter or Vileplume left on the board, the game quickly concluded in my favor. (6-0)

While his setup may have been somewhat poor at the beginning, Alex is one of those great players who can go a good game of “I-know-that-you-know-that-I-know,” and keep you on edge the whole time.

Round 7: VS Miguel E. (Luxchomp/Honchkrow)

After a couple mulligans on my part, I was disappointed to see him going first with a Smeargle.
Basically this whole game was just a very tight duel of colorless attackers. Unfortunately, his stellar start over my less-than-stellar one gave him a couple extra windows of opportunity to not miss beats, and so he always had the response to whatever I did. Even the strength of Junk Arm wasn’t enough to salvage this match. (6-1)

Round 8: VS Michael S. (Jumpluff)

After a draw-and-pass sequence on his part, I knocked out his lone Unown Q on my first turn of the game with Claw Swipe. (7-1)
Yeah, it may not be glorious, but I’ll take the fortune of having two quick wins in a long, eight-round event like this. It would’ve been nice to see what his variant was like, though, as I’m always curious about how to revive the Pluffers.

After some time, I found out that Billy edged past 2006 Masters Nats winner Martin M. in a do-or-die eighth round, landing him a 6-2 record to join me in top cut. After a while, standings were posted, and we had the bracket look like this…



Seeing as how most of our NCAA brackets are busted by now, I’m not going to bore you guys with bracketology. However, I could tell almost immediately that whoever from my side of the bracket emerged victorious would be stuck playing against 16th Seed Rudy’s Dialgachomp. Since Dana has historically had poor luck against Vilegar, I had him pegged to not take out Shep, which would thus trigger a hypothetical scenario where Rudy plays against nothing but Vilegar until top two. While my prediction may have been a bit off (I had Billy losing in T8 and myself losing in T16), Rudy met my expectations.
This was a good sign for us on the other side of things, however, seeing as how Luxchomp has a decent matchup against Dialgachomp.


Oh well…Onto the cut!

Top 16: VS Jarvis L. (Jumpluff/Yanmega Prime/Magnezone Prime)

Game One – Six prizes in four turns…Ouch! I was shocked at how fast the game went, but it is certainly testament to how quickly Luxchomp can dismantle something if it just doesn’t get out, as well as testament to how brutally it can score KOs on low HP Pokemon.

Game Two – I started Garchomp, coupled with a benched Luxray. He made a fairly quick jump on me thanks to a turn two Yanmega Prime, as well as a somewhat nasty Judge to disrupt my setup. Luckily, though, he Judged me into my one Twins, so recovery after the initial prize draw on his part was a piece of cake. (Win, 8-1)
All in all, Jarvis was really cool throughout this fit of bad luck; he didn’t see a Jumpluff hit the board in either game, and as a former Jumpluff player myself, I know how frustrating that can be. Furthermore, I’d like to congratulate him for a very interesting Pluff variant

Top 8: VS Paul W. III (Luxchomp/Honchkrow)

Game one –He had a very bad hand, and so after three KO’s, scooped immediately.

Game two – This situation was more or less the reverse for me, the core difference being that my hand was somewhat more playable than his in game one (access to Garchomp C LV.X and Chatot). Regrettably, though, I couldn’t possibly go for the snipe, or else I would have walked into a probable benching two turns later. Therefore, I went for the massive Chatot Mimic…Which grabbed me nothing. My setup collapsed from there, and all hopes I had were dashed by his timely Spray on my Azelf, which – had it gone through – would’ve given me access to crucial mirror counters.
Game three –  Early on, I was placed in the undesirable predicament of choosing between risking an Ambipom G response to my unprotected Garchomp C LV.X Dragon Rush; or to simply refrain from promoting the Garchomp, and permanently fall back on the Garchomp exchange without any Cyrus or Twins to bail me out (this time I had Collector, but nothing else). Since it was a could-win versus no-win scenario at play, I went with the former, and sure enough, he had the Ambipom response without having to fetch the pieces with Cyrus (Q’s Quick, the Ambipom itself, theEnergy Gain, and the Energy). My setup promptly collapsed, and due to him hitting critical Power Sprays at each juncture, this became another one of those mirror matches where one player’s board just overwhelms the other. (Loss, 8-2)

Aftermath

I felt somewhat upset with myself after this top eight loss; I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it seems like I could’ve played one of those last two games a shade better. Regardless, Paul is a great player, a great sportsman, and someone who was due for a big win like this. Plus, he’s one of the few players you can genuinely joke around with in a match – a rare trait.

He would later go on to fulfill my prediction, and beat Rudy in the finals (I originally had Miguel beating Rudy due to his swiss win over me, but they were running the same list more or less). As previously mentioned, my brother went on to earn a medal from this event, getting 4th in a competitive field of worlds qualifiers and nationals winners. However, we were really angling for the dual Kettler finals, and are thus headed back to the drawing board for Regionals.  
 

Posted by: HeyTrainer on 2011-03-25 15:51:40 • Tags:



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Oklahoma State Championship Report


      Going into Oklahoma, I had three choices, Luxchomp, Dialga, and Lostgar. While it’s certainly a good deck, and very easy to use in a metagame where nobody knows how to counter it, Lostgar should not be used unless you’re confident in your ability to play QUICKLY! Since I was not, I knew that I couldn’t play it. As for Dialgachomp, while it too is a good deck, it too felt inappropriate, but not because of my timed skill with the deck; rather it was because my Gyarados matchup was so weak. So, with Dialgachomp and Lostgar eliminated, and no interest at all in running Vilegar, I was left with my one tried-and-true this season: Luxchomp.
Oklahoma States, despite not being in Texas, was a very competitive event with several past Worlds qualifiers, in addition to top placers at Nats and Worlds (Martin Moreno, Austin Baggs, Kyle St. Charles, et al.). Aside from that, the field was sizable, with 84 Masters, seven rounds, and a cut to the top sixteen. The breakdown was about what I expected: a fourth or more SP; some Vilegar; very few Lostgar; more than average amounts of Gyarados; and plenty of less common decks (Magnezone, Machamp, Steelix, Tyranitar). It was a balanced metagame with several points to hit, and I felt like I mostly got all of them. However, it’s the event itself that decides these things, and my judgment began with round one…

Round One: VS Blaziken “Chen” Lock

     I started lone Mewtwo versus his Garchomp C – certainly not a bad start, but it gives me no “read” for what sort of mirror I’m up against. Given this, I decided to make my first turn as well-rounded as possible, getting a decent bench of mirror attackers (Call for Garchomp and Luxray) , while also opening up access to the turn two Mewtwo LV.X. But although my board looked promising, he proceeded to Pokemon Collector (choosing Crobat G, Garchomp C, and Ambipom G), attach to the active ‘Chomp, retreat into his newly-played Sableye, and then Impersonate into one of the worst Judges ever used against me. I drew…
Toxicroak G Promo; Dragonite FB; Power Spray; Crobat G;

     And for the next eight turns, I would not draw a single “out,” instead hitting a variety of useless Pokemon, Energy, and Galactic Inventions…All the while sitting there with a non-leveled Mewtwo. Since he made several suboptimal stall tactics (Swticheroo, Tail Code) in place of actually attacking me, I remained intact with a small glimmer of hope the whole time. However, time was eventually called, 4-6 his favor in prizes. (0-1)
If I had more time, then I could have actually walled with Mewtwo LV.X – even against his 2-2 Honchkrow. The way he managed his resources gave me just enough windows to achieve a non-regulation win, but unfortunately, we play timed games in Pokemon.
This was a very painful ordeal – much more so than even a first turn knock-out. Nevertheless, a loss is a loss, and you shouldn’t let it upset you. Save neurotic over-analysis until after the event!

Round Two: Shenandoah M. (Toxicroak/Donphan/Gliscor)

    Due to Toxicroak dealing 60 and poison to me by the second turn, she was able to apply very early pressure. Nevertheless, though, this deck had a weak core concept, so once my setup finally stabilized, I never looked back for an instant, using basic strategies to outdo each of her major cards: abuse Uxie and Uxie LV.X against the Croak; Toxic Fang against the Donphan Prime; and of snipe the Gliscors, which I lack the clearest answer to. There isn’t much to say beyond that. (1-1)

Round Three: Dana L. (Garchomp C/Honchkrow SV)

    Going first, I started with a lone Uxie, plus a 20 damage Psychic Restore. I was then promptly met with a first turn knockout via Dana’s two Flash Bites and 50 damage Claw Swipe. (1-2)

To get FTKO’d when running sixteen basics and three Call Energy is something unlikely, to say the least, but it happens occasionally. But as I said earlier, just take these losses in stride, and don’t let them get to you.

Round Four: Dylan (Speedgar/Starmie)

        I had a powerful start going second, which included a strong bench support setup, a draw into Power Spray, and an early KO on his active Staryu. He never really got out, and I benched him by about turn four or five. (2-2)

Round Five: Matt F. (Vilegar)

      Matt and I are both yesteryear champions of this tournament, so it was interesting to play against him in a make-or-break context like this. His Vilegar was an extremely teched-out build: in addition to a 2-1-1 Stormfront/Prime/LV.X split, he ran, a 1-1 Blissey and 1-1 Blaziken FB LV.X. It essentially looked like a list that was shell-shocked by the Georgia Marathon, which featured all of those techs. In addition, he ran a tech Lost World: a potentially useful contingency plan, but not good enough to justify the space in my opinion.

     Anyways, he started fairly strong, getting out a turn two Vileplume with a Haunter. I, on the other hand, started a fairly weak hand to his Spiritomb start, but a top deck into Bebe’s Search opened up the possibility for an eventual Uxie LV.X Zen Blade on that Vileplume. What really made the difference, however, was Matt whiffing energy attachments for two turns in a row, which made a crucial difference in my planning for Poltergeist (i.e., a lack of a necessity to overextend to avoid it).
From there on out, I kept inching closer and closer to the win. My Mewtwo LV.X actually came in hand later on, as it proved to be a potent attacker when my resources were mostly spent. Eventually time was called, with prizes 2-4 in my favor, with one more to come. (3-2)
While he was angling for the Lost World gimmick near the end, he would have been at least a turn short of achieving it before I drew my last prize.

Round Six: Jorel K. (Steelix)
   

      Steelix is normally a very difficult matchup, but if you get a fast jump on them, then nothing should stop you. This conformed perfectly to this game, as I did a turn one Claw Swipe on Smeargle for 30, followed up with a prompt turn two snipe on his benched Onix for 90 (Dragon Rush plus Crobat G). He would later Collector into two Onix to prevent me from depriving his board any longer, but this early edge was too much to handle. He got out a late Steelix, but I won this game 6-0 in prizes. (4-2)

Round Seven: Jeff H. (Luxchomp)
    

    After a strange day versus an even weirder variety of decks, my event was finally capped off with the mirror match I was so hungry to play all day. Essentially, I got a turn two Mewtwo LV.X, started attacking with it by the fourth turn, and never lost my lead. The primary “playing” in this game was simply me trying to wipe out any resources for counters, and him trying to bait me into a Seeker against my Mewtwo LV.X. Unfortunately, both were futile efforts, as it turned out his Darkness Energy was for a Weavile G instead of a Honchkrow SV, and I didn’t walk into his bait. (5-2)

 

As anyone who's been looking around would know, I I didn’t finish first or second; instead, I inished a nice, cozy…



17th.

Yes, 17th. I bubbled, and my hopes for the win, dashed. Still, I had a great time at the event, and likely averted a rating/ranking loss in the top cut (both of my opponents were using Mewtwo LV.X in their lists).

As for what cut, here's an awesome bracket that Jade made for my corresponding SixPrizes article...Check it out!

 

 

'Til next time, y'all!


-Juan

Posted by: HeyTrainer on 2011-03-18 19:59:32 • Tags:



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       While this article may have originally been written with Nationals in mind, its principles and purpose are still every bit relevant today - especially since tomorrow is the start of S/P/T in the United States! I hope you all do your best, and put up some great fights for the titles you want. :)

 

Pitfalls to Avoid at U.S. Nationals States/Provincials/Territorials



An Impromptu Article by HeyTrainer
 



"      So...You've been testing for weeks on end, have purchased countless cards (or in some of our cases, borrowed), and pretty much know the metagame inside and out. However, there's just one itsy, bitsy little problem:

      You haven't been testing for or with the 1,200+ people who stand in your way to become national champ, so many of them are going to inevitably switch things up due to their whims.

 (Keep that word,"whims," in mind, because it highlights the whole theme of this article. Webster defines "whims" as "...capricious or eccentric and often sudden ideas or turns of the mind"...Ignoring the fact that these guys just used at least one relatively big piece of diction to describe a mid-level piece, the point is this: PEOPLE ARE LOOSE CANNONS!)

      This brief article will be discussing the relationship between two major ideas in each subpoint: first, what kinds of whims develop at large events; and second, how to avoid the common mistakes that occur due to your own whims.

Pre-Tournament Hype:
This is without a doubt the number one killer of players at large events like States, U.S. Regionals, Nationals, or Worlds, and is often the reason why elite players mess up. Resultant whims of pre-tourney hype include increased anxiety, the playing of new techs, or even the playing of new decks altogether. Pre-tourney hype is NOT limited to the things listed already, and may include many of the below in some way as well. Also, pre-tournament hype is not necessarily bad; it can actually give you valuable intel on the metagame you didn't have before, and inspire you to make a final deck choice if you're up in the air.

      Remedies: do your best at reading the tea leaves, and have the wisdom to not rush into a bad decision. If you know the cards excellently, know how to play them well, and feel ready to jump into a risky last-second decision, then do it; however, if you don't, then FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DO NOT JUMP ON THE BANDWAGON!!! IT WILL CARRY YOU TO A RAPE HOUSE WHERE YOU WILL BE REPEATEDLY RAPED BY NAZI RAPISTS, SO DONOT DO IT!!!

      Example of a well-calculated risk: Jay Hornung, Sami Sekkoum, et al, Worlds 2009. In what was a very last second decision, Jay and many other players decided to run Flychamp at Worlds, thus severely altering the metagame. However, few to none of these players outright bombed, and many saw some great success.

      Example of not rushing into a bad decision: Stephen Silvestro, Nationals and Worlds 2009. Despite a metagame full of bizarre developments, situations, and upheaval, Steve Silvestro's T32 at Nats and 1st at Worlds are not a result of what he did, so much as what he didn't do. In my opinion, the greatest reason why Luxdrill won Worlds was because its controller had the patience and confidence to see his deck through, no matter what pre-tournament hype came his way.

      Example of neither: me, Nationals 2009. Up until the last day before the tournament, I had been heavily testing a straight Luxray GL LV.X build (with Sunyshore and Toxitank) that had many positive matchups. Unfortunately, I let the pre-tournament hype convince me to go...Luxape with Dialga and Ditto. Needless to say, the build was horrendously random, horrendously inconsistent, and horrendously...Horrible. And all of this was because I didn't feel comfortable about my matchup with Luxape itself! The best decision in hindsight would have been to simply take the loss to Luxape, and settle with amazing matchups vs Flygon, Machamp , Gengar, and DPL.


Zany Placeholders:
sometimes, for whatever reason, a person is forced to downgrade because he or she cannot access the optimal tech, or feels an inexplicable inspiration of the scrub kind.

      Remedies: Usually when these inspirations occur, players are better served with something more generally useful in those slots, such as some universally decent tech, consistency, or the sort. So if you get caught trending towards this, then simply

Example if you're missing the optimal card: running Rampardos GL instead of Toxicroak G promo.

Example of ill planning: running Ditto LA where it shouldn't be ran. Highly specialized techs often don't deserve a place in a list if the justification isn't strong enough.

Example if you're just being crazy: running a 1-0-1 Jumpluff line in a Donphan deck; running over excessive splash line counts, such as 2-1-2 Dusknoir DP. Good luck with THAT!

[This is where the original impromptu article ended.]"


   I might add more sage advice for Regionals, but the bottom line is: don't screw yourself over! You've been playing all season for this moment, so don't chuck everything out the window due to a few whims here or there - march boldly on your path to become StateChampion!

Posted by: HeyTrainer on 2011-03-11 16:15:58 • Tags: Pokemon pitfall pokemon pitfalls pokemon states pokemon states 2011



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(It's Tangrowth time...)

Apparently, this has been advertised as my "secret deck." I suppose you could have called it that at one point, but due to all of its losses in testing, as well it being, well....Tangrowth, it's worthwhile to declassify it.

Your duty, should you choose to test this deck, is to advance it past where I got it. It has great potential to be powerful against any non-fire deck, and tanks just like Steelix; however, it also hits much, much harder, capable of doing 100 by the second turn.


[WARNING: THE FOLLOWING DECK MAY SUCK. PROCEED WITH CAUTION!]

Pokemon (16):

4 Tangela Call of Legends
3 Tangrowth Call of Legends
1 Tangrowth LV.X AR
3 Unown R
3 Uxie
1 Mesprit LA
1 Crobat G

Trainers/Stadiums/Supporters (29):

4 Pokemon Collector
4 Bebe's Search
4 Expert Belt
4 Junk Arm
4 Moomoo Milk
4 Life Herb
4 Poke Drawer+
1 Pokemon Rescue
1 Luxury Ball

Energy (14):

10 Grass
4 Double Colorless

 

The strategy is brutally simple: Ideally do a turn one Nutritional Support with Tangela, drop a DCE and Expert Belt, evolve, and then Grind for 100. You should then Grind your way to victory, drawing a prize a turn with (hopefully) no trouble.

*The matchup against SP would ideally be a win through virtue of tanking. Unfortunately, though, their higher level of consistency, ability to play fire, and ability to donk leave you for one (or six) too many losses.

So do  you have hope versus it? Yes, but only if: A) you're playing against a variant that historically doesn't run fire, such as pure Luxchomp, Dialgachomp, and Palkia/Lucario; B) they whiff a quick KO on you.

*Lostgar and Vilegar, however, are much different stories. The "base" build I run could easily run a counter to Vileplume, and as is, it annihilates turbo Lostgar by virtue of being able to discard all of its Pokemon other than a lone Tangrowth.

*No testing yet against Gyarados, Machamp, etc, and I don't plan on it. However, if you find a way to make this attacker better, then I would be very happy to learn about it, as well as open up testing again.

 


This is a very fun, easy deck, and if you're at a complete loss for what to give a new player, then let them use this, Kingdra, or Donphan.

 

Happy testing! T-minus four days...

Posted by: HeyTrainer on 2011-03-08 17:39:16 • Tags:



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Sorry for the long hiatus, guys. Between disillusionment with the "profibility" element of /blog, and an onslaught of homework assignments, I've been unable to update this at all, let alone regularly.

However, I've come to the conclusion that HeyTrainer is - and always will be - most appropriate as a pro bono service, meant for the common good of trainers everywhere. I'm very proud of this site, and hope to use it to bring the best free content in the competitive TCG world.

/end emotional rant of justice.

Anywayas, this is the week prior to states, so we aim to give you some very, very strong material to work with. Today, we'll be featuring Alex Fields's (Butlerforhire's) expert Luxchomp analysis on the lostgar matchup.

One last thing: if you like /blog, then be sure to "Like" us on Facebook (see bottom of post).

Luxchomp Versus Lostgar

By Alex F.


"     

Counters to Lostgar

      Although it is far from necessary to do so, the easiest way to beat Lostgar is to tech a dark attacker into your list that is capable of OHKOing Gengar Prime. Here are the best and most popular options to consider for those who want to take this route:

- Weavile G: Team Attack deals 140 damage to Gengar if you have a full bench of nothing but SP Pokemon (10 base + 10 more for each of your 6 SPs=70x2=140). It also does 120 if you have an Uxie or Azelf on the bench in place of the desired 5th SP, meaning you are only a Flash Bite away from the OHKO in that scenario.

      Free retreat and Call for Family make Weavile a great starter if you have the opportunity to open with it, or a good bail-out card if your opening is subpar and you can Collector/Radar for it to get your bench developed. The drawback to Weavile is its reliance on an SP-filled bench, which can be bad mainly because you can’t have two Pixies in play at the same time and still do enough damage for an OHKO. This is especially going to matter if you have a bad start and need to use Set Up twice, or if something important is prized, especially if that card is Weavile itself. An easy solution to this problem of a Pixie-heavy bench is to simply return Pixies to your hand when your opponent uses Seeker and let them be Lost Zoned, freeing up your bench so that it can be refilled entirely with SPs. Once you have that full SP bench, you just need to replace whatever your opponent is able to Seeker+Hurl every turn that it happens and continue issuing OHKOs.

      One advantage that Weavile G has over its dark tech competition is that it only requires 1 card to be added to the deck (assuming that the required dark energy is simply substituted in place of a preexisting energy).

-Absol G lv. X: Dark Slugger does 120 for cheap and allows you to discard a Pokemon in your hand that you were unable to get rid of during your turn, denying your opponent a Hurl into Darkness target. All you need to get the OHKO is a Flash Bite. With 100 HP, your opponent is going to have to spend 3 turns trying to KO you (which you can of course negate with Healing Breath or Poketurn). Darkness Send is usually not going to be anything but an incidental perk, but of course there is always the chance that it will remove something important such as a part of the Gengar line or a Seeker/VS Seeker/Lost World (removing the latter could win you the game immediately if your opponent is only running 2 and the other is prized).

      There are a few drawbacks to Absol G. One is that you must always have a Pokemon on hand to discard. This can be problematic because you don’t want to use a Pokemon Collector to stock up on discard fodder; if you do, you will be giving your opponent free Hurl targets, negating the benefit of being able to discard with your attack and also giving your opponent help in beating the very clock you put them on with your OHKO ability. Another drawback is that Absol G lv. X can get stuck in your hand and Hurled away (ie. if you open with it, especially going first; draw it from the prizes; draw into it after a Spooky Whirlpool), canceling your plans entirely.

      Side note: If you run Absol G, be aware of how good Doom News is against tank decks like Steelix Prime. If the opponent can’t get the Pokemon you hit with it out of the active spot on his next turn, it will automatically be KOed. Against a Pokemon like Steelix Prime that has a huge 4 retreat, the only option your opponent will often have to prevent the automatic KO is to use a Switch/Warp Point/Warp energy.

-Honchkrow SV: Riot will do 160 with a full bench of Basics behind it before you even factor in your opponent’s own benched Basics. Unlike in Weavile’s case, you can drop Uxie and Azelf freely without diminishing your damage output—on the contrary, you raise it-- which is a definite plus. You also need no damage modifiers whatsoever to get the KO, another big plus. Honchkrow’s biggest weakness is that it is a stage 1, meaning you will usually have to Cyrus for a Bebe’s in order to get it out. Being incompatible with Energy Gain and requiring 3 energy to attack are also inconveniences, although your ability to OHKO Gengars once you do get the card into play and energized should make the extra effort worthwhile. DCE compatibility makes up for Riot’s cost a bit; you also have Bronzong G for acceleration.

      Like Absol G lv. X, Honchkrow stands the chance of being Hurled away before you can get it into play. It is also harder to get back into your hand than Absol G lv. X is if you are forced to send it back to the deck with an SP Radar/Bebe’s and it cannot be healed via Poketurn/Healing Breath. Your opponent will still need 3 turns to KO it though with most lists, during which time you should be able to achieve 3 OHKOs.

      Side note: Honchkrow is the most well-rounded choice of dark tech against the metagame because in addition to KOing Gengars, it functions as a solid Mewtwo counter, can deal big damage to Machamp without taking much in return, and is capable of either OHKOing or putting massive damage on anything else you are having a hard time KOing (such as Dialga G lv. X or Regigigas lv. X). Darkness Restore can also disrupt Gyarados if you ever catch the opponent with bench space, or simply allow you to get more cheap KOs with Bright Look/Dragon Rush against any deck by reviving low-HP Pokemon that you already KOed. Even Murkrow SV can be useful in certain matchups with Switcheroo, allowing you to make unexpected plays like moving an Expert Belt from an active attacker to something weak on the bench like Azelf that can then be Dragon Rushed for two prizes, or discarding an Energy Gain from an SP by moving it to a Pixie.

Advanced Strategy: Countering the Counters

      If your opponent runs Exploud or Azelf lv. X to remove Gengar’s weakness, you have several options. If he/she is running Azelf, you only have to Dragon Rush+Flash Bite it to remove it from play and reinstate weakness. If you’re dealing with Exploud, you can Bright Look it and either set it up for a 2HKO or simply take the time to Dragon Rush around it, forcing your opponent to drop an Unown Q and then waste an energy to retreat it every time you bring it back up with Bright Look. If your opponent already played a Q on something else, you should Dragon Rush that first after bringing Exploud up so that your opponent can’t Seeker that Pokemon and have access to the Q again for use on Exploud. This will force your opponent to devote 2 energy to get Exploud to the bench, and Gengar can’t afford the energy or the turn losses, especially if you repeatedly harass with Bright Look.

      If you aren’t running a dark tech, you won’t be OHKOing Gengar and, due to Seeker, you often won’t even be 2HKOing it. Considering this, you should focus on KOing every easy target your opponent has in play first—Pixies, Spiritomb, Mr.Mime, Palkia G, Gastly, Haunter, etc.. It is better to expend resources such as DCEs on sure prizes than on attempted 2HKOs that get blocked.

      Once you’ve gotten all the easy prizes available, you can start trying to 2HKO Gengars. A positive consequence of leaving Gengar alone for a while is that—assuming you’ve managed your hand smartly and kept it free of Pokemon—you will frequently force your opponent to use Seekers in order to get anything Lost Zoned while Gengar is undamaged. This means that when you do turn your attention to Gengar, your opponent’s supply of Seekers will not be at full stock and you will have to worry about Gengar being healed less.

      Since Hurl into Darkness depends on you having Pokemon in your hand to Lost Zone, you obviously need to keep Pokemon out of your hand whenever possible, even if this means using an SP Radar or Bebe’s Search to put something back into the deck and then failing the search or getting a Basic out that you can immediately bench. Don’t let an important level X linger in your hand at any point because you run the risk of permanently losing it. If you run Junk Arm, use that to get rid of Pokemon when necessary. You can also use Azelf to scout out your prizes so that you don’t blindly pick up Pokemon after each KO and unnecessarily set your opponent up for a lucrative Hurl into Darkness.

      If you are able to keep your hand free of Pokemon, you force your opponent to continually use Seeker or get lucky with Spiritomb in order to successfully Hurl into Darkness. (Cursed Drop is a non-issue on anything but Pixies due to Poketurn and Healing Breath; you can also Psychic Restore Uxies out of play if they do get targeted.) You can’t control whether or not your opponent is drawing into Seeker (or VS Seeker, Twins, Pokedrawer+ to search out Seeker, Junk Arm to reuse VS Seeker to get Seeker, etc..), but there is always the chance that your opponent will stall out and not have access to it for a turn or more, during which time you can successfully 2HKO a Gengar and lose nothing to the Lost Zone. You also have the ability to stop Spooky Whirlpool with Power Spray and preserve your Pokemon-free hand.

      If your opponent does have consistent access to Seeker, however, and/or you are not able to keep your hand free of Pokemon, you stand a fair chance of losing 6 Pokemon to the Lost Zone before you can deal with a swarm of 130 HP, colorless-resistant Gengars.

     If your opponent is running a tech Machamp line, you can be caught off guard and lose a main attacker or two (and if your opponent does run it, he/she will be especially eager to use it to respond to Weavile G/Absol G lv. X). Fortunately, Machamp isn’t as devastating here as it usually is since a.) your opponent will likely only be running one of it and b.) your opponent will have no other attack power once Machamp is gone. In fact, getting Machamp into play and using Take Out for 1-2 turns may even hurt your opponent in the long run, since he/she will have “wasted” time doing something that did not aid in the fulfillment of his/her win condition.

      If you run Dialga G and your opponent has not yet played his/her Lost World down after Lost Zoning 6 Pokemon, you can keep it out of play with Deafen and force your opponent to try to KO you with Cursed Drop (or tech Machamp) while you wait for time to be called. This scenario is not likely though since Gengar players will generally assume that Luxchomp runs no stadiums and freely play down Lost World if they draw into it. You could also lose your Dialga G to a teched Machamp and be unable to sustain the Deafen lock.

      Miscellaneous additional tips:
- Don't put the recoil damage from Flash Impact on anything that would be in range of a KO from Cursed Drop.
- Bench useless, expendable Pokemon like Lucario GL as Seeker+Hurl sacrifices.   "

 

Thanks for the very powerful analysis, Alex! Here's what we have on tab for the rest of the week...


TUESDAY: Deck List Dump (Tangrowth)
WEDNESDAY: TBD
THURSDAY: Deck I for sure will not use at States
FRIDAY: Tournament Pitfalls, and How to Avoid Them

In addition to this, I plan to post my Oklahoma State Championship report either next week, or the week after. I'll have to see with SixPrizes if it's feasible (I plan to post an underground-exclusive version); however, I think it should be workable.

As for Texas States, unless SixPrizes wants to give me a third article slot for the month (highly unlikely), then I plan to post a FULL-BLOWN report for this event.

 

/Blog is back. And this time, it's more glorious than ever.

Posted by: Butlerforhire on 2011-03-07 18:04:08 • Tags:



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Howdy doody, trainers. Today we have a return to another article posted in our forum: "Lost Gatos," by Seth P.


Why am I returning to this article? Because Mew Prime is still in the metagame, and could surprise some of you come states. Granted, you Dialga players will have it easy versus most variants, but for everyone else, it'll be crucial to know about it.

(mew.dec ; mew.dek)

"

Opening thoughts

With the beginning of this season the road to finding a new competitive deck has been a long and hard one. I have tested everything from Magnezone to Absol/Gengar. Nothing proving useful I turned to Mew Prime. I love the idea of the deck I went from everywhere from play Mew/Absol to Mew/Gengar. Finally messing around with Mew Prime we came up with a skeleton for what grew to be a great deck I began to get more and more in the Mewperior thing. Watching a few threads of the Pokegym I came to realize people are running the deck in the wrong direction. Instead of stacking your deck with so many energy people needed to instead focus on consistency and utilizing the energy you have already discarded. I found the deck works better if you focus more on always having a Mew instead of discarding as many energy cards as possible.


Why Los Gatos?

Because people fear what they don’t understand, and most people don’t speak Spanish.

The Deck


Pokemon: 20

4 Mew (Triumphant 97/102)
2 Rhyperior Lv.X (Legends Awaken 145/146)
2 Delcatty (Platinum 4/127)
2 Skitty (Platinum 93/127)
1 Drifblim (Undaunted 12/90)
1 Drifloon (Undaunted 46/90)
2 Smeargle (Undaunted 8/90)
2 Uxie (Legends Awaken 43/146)
2 Unown Q (majestic Dawn 49/100)
1 Mesprit (Legends Awaken 34/146)
1 Dialga (Platinum 5/127)

Trainer: 20

4 Pokemon Collector
4 Judge
3 Seeker
3 Pokemon Reversal
1 Pokemon Communication
1 Luxury Ball
2 Pokemon Rescue
2 Snowpoint Temple

Energy: 20

4 Rescue Energy
2 Warp Energy
2 Double Colorless Energy
12 Psychic Energy

The Cards


Pokemon


Mew Prime- When some people look at this card the first thing they notice is the HP and x2 weakness to psychic, yes its only 60 but when you OHKO any card in the format it is irrelevant. He is your main attacker and the reason people will fear you. The ability to hit 2-3 energy while copying Hard Crush is surefire way for a quick victory. Mew’s attack itself is not so glorious for doing much of anything but it is still needed. Instead you focus on the ability to copy other pokemon’s attacks from the Lost Zone, most notably, Rhyperior Lv. X’s Hard Crush. The card has other benefits as well, boasting free retreat and the ability to recover faster than any other deck in the format thanks to Rescue Energy and Pokemon Rescue (mentioned later). While Mew’s See Off attack isn’t what Mew uses most, it’s crucial in getting your Rhyperior Lv. X into the Lost Zone in a timely manner (hopefully on your first turn), allowing you to abuse Mew’s Lost Link PokeBody for the rest of the game.


Rhyperior Lv. X - I know some may be asking, “Why are you running a Lv. X without the stage 2 or any of the stages underneath it?!” The answer is simple; we only use it for Hard Crush after Mew Prime uses “See Off” to send Rhyperior Lv. X to the Lost Zone. This is where the card shines. Mew being able to copy Hard Crush allows for a better and faster use of the attack without having to set up a Stage 2-Level Up card to use it.

Delcatty – This card is severely overlooked by many people wanting to play Mew Prime with Rhyperior Lv. X. This card is the reason you can do a consistent 100 damage every turn. The Poke-Power Power Circulation allows you to put 2 energies on the top of your deck, giving you a guaranteed 100 damage with Hard Crush. Delcatty’s attack Power Heal is also a useful utility in the deck. Since you are stacking damage on it anyways with Power Circulation, its damage scales perfect for things you don’t want to waste a Hard Crush on saving you precious energy in your deck as well as providing a decent Garchomp C counter.

Skitty- ¡Un lindo gato!

Drifblim- This is your Dialga G Lv. X Counter. Use a Pokemon Reversal and then send it back to their deck easy enough. In games that are not against a Dialga G player this is a great card to KO things like Uxie, Sableye, Azelf, and spiritomb without wasting a Hard Crush.

Drifloon- Drifloon doesn’t contribute much of anything to this deck except evolving to Drifblim. Its Pull attack can be useful sometime if you need to stall a turn.

Smeargle- Smeargle is downright an amazing card in this deck. His Poke-Power Portrait is such a revolutionary ability in the entire format itself. Giving you the ability to either recover or setup faster than your opponent. The best cards to hit for you are Cyrus’s Conspiracy, Pokemon Collector, and Seeker. These 3 cards allow you to establish a lock again with Mesprit using Seeker or searching for a seeker yourself with a Cryrus’s Conpiracy. Getting to use a Pokemon Collector will allow you to establish field dominance earlier in the game.

Uxie- This is used like in every other deck. Setup is one of the best draw utilities we have available to us in this format. Its attack Psychic Restore is also a great way to pull a cheap knockout and go back under your deck so that you use its power again.

Unown Q- Unown Q is used to give your Delcattys, Smeargles, and Pixies free retreat. That’s really all you need to say about this card. J

Mesprit- Mesprit adds a flavor of surprise to the deck. Learning when to play this card ripping the ability to use crucial Poke-Powers can win you games. Combo this card with Seeker to keep locking your opponent or lock them at key points in the game. His attack can also be very useful hitting for 70 after a Judge.

Dialga- This card is all about his Poke-Power Reverse Time. It will give you the ability to put 3 Energy or Pokemon back on top of your deck to pull the big much needed KO on things like a Gyrados.


Trainer/Support/Stadium


Pokemon Collector- Pokemon Collector is used to setup you can search out almost any Pokemon in your deck with this card.

Judge- Judge is one of your biggest disruption cards next to Mesprit in the deck. It can destroy your opponents hand and stop them from holding things in their hand that could hurt you. It’s also a good move to hold one in your hand if they have a Smeargle in play with the chance they will judge themselves.

Seeker- This card will allow you to keep a sustainable lock with Mesprit or pick up Dialga again for a big attack. It can also be beneficial to use this to pick up a damaged Delcatty so it doesn’t get sniped off your bench since you damage yourself with its Poke-Power.

Pokemon Reversal- The sole purpose for this card is to pull up the Pokemon on your opponent’s bench so they can’t get a comeback rolling. When playing Dialga G the only time you use these are when he/she benches a new Dialga G.

Pokemon Communication- This is used to search out for a Delcatty or Drifblim. It can also be used to put a Rhyperior Lv. X back in your deck if you start with it in your hand.

Luxury Ball- Same as Pokemon Communication except you don’t need a Pokemon card in your hand in-order to use it.

Pokemon Rescue-This card is used to get either your Dialga or Mews back from the Discard simple as that.

Snowpoint Temple- The only stadium in your deck, this gives you the ability to dispose of Broken Time Spaces while giving your Mews that extra bit of survivability.


Energy


Rescue Energy- Due to Mew not needing energy to attack this card is a great recovery card enabling 1 Mew Prime to turn into 2. It’s also a useful attachment to Delcatty in case it gets sniped on your bench.

Warp Energy- This is for the occasional Dialga start or if it gets bright looked or in some way brought to the active. I love using this card on Smeargle so I can retreat a Mew, Portrait, then warp it back to the bench.

Double Colorless Energy- This is mainly used to help power the Drifblim or Delcatty quicker.

Psychic Energy- Use this power up other Pokemon on your bench if you feel they will be needed. Otherwise this is your main source of damage.


The Strategy


I wish I could say this deck is just Lost Zone Rhyperior Lv. X and use Hard Crush via Mew’s Lost Link Poke-Body but alas it is not. This deck is based on a quick recovery with Rescue energy and a no energy attacker with a sustainable source of damage. Half of playing the deck is knowing when and when not to Hard Crush. If you can obtain a KO from another Pokemon’s attacks then do so, saving the energy in your deck for a bigger threat. If you think hard Crushing 6 Turns in a row taking 6 prizes will win you the game you are wrong. You need to keep up a steady flow of disruption with your Mesprit and Judges and one hitting the few things they are able to get out.

A brief recap of the strategy and key points:

1. Don’t Hard Crush unless it is the only way you can get the KO.
2. Play your Mesprit smart learn to watch for when it will hurt them the most.
3. Delcatty is a great attacker as well as Garchomp C Counter.
4. No matter what anyone tells you. You always have the faster recovery.
5. If you have the ability to put 5 energy cards on top of your deck for your last prize. DO IT!!!


Matchups


Los Gatos vs. LuxChomp 50/50- These games can be nerve racking. The key to winning this game is timing your Mesprit drops so they can’t bright look something and KO it. Your primary target in this matchup is Garchomp. Everything can one hit you so go after the thing that will be going after your bench. A lot of this comes down to the player.

Los Gatos vs. Machamp 80/20- You should almost never lose this matchup yes they one hit all your basic for one energy but they are a stage 2 and you are a basic that hits them for weakness for no energy. Setup a Delcatty and keep putting 2 energy on top for cheap knock outs. 2 Energy can KO their entire deck.

Los Gatos vs. GengarPlume 60/40- You have a slight advantage here due to your speed and their lack of damage output. Try and keep your hand with zero trainers in here and they can’t touch a mew. Fainting Spell can be a pain here but as in your other matchups they are a stage 2 and you are a basic with a no energy cost attack.

Los Gatos vs. Gyrados 50/50- Judges can win you this matchup if your opponent isn’t smart with their plays. The best way to win here is Mesprit drops and when they do Regi Move you send up something like an Uxie that you don’t care about. Only play Snowpoints in this game when they have a BTS out denying them fast recovery.

Los Gatos vs. DaChomp 10/90- Unless you get lucky this game will make you want to die. Your best chance is getting a quick disruption and KOing their Dialga Gs before they can level up. Or using a Reversal on the Dialga G lv. X Sitting on their bench and using Drifblim’s Take Away to put it back in your deck giving you a turn or two of taking prizes with mew.

Conclusion


If you’ve made it this far thank you for reading. This deck is still on its long road to being great. I want to put a shout out to Austino for helping with this and all the hours of testing we have put into it. Thanks to my wonderful and beautiful Fiance Catherine for supplying me with beverages while in production and putting up with the late nights of play testing.  "

Posted by: Aggronblaster on 2011-02-23 14:58:03 • Tags: mew.dec mew.dek Mew Prime Deck List Delcatty Platinum Mew Triumphant Mewperior Rhyperior Lv.X



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Jimmy took the time to show us all a very interesting take on draft. This time, it's a live opening of packs/strategy on the picks.

 

Enjoy!


Posted by: ChaosJim on 2011-02-17 16:30:59 • Tags: HeyTrainer Hey Trainer Pokemon Jimmy O'Brien ChaosJim Call of Legends draft trading cards tcg



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(How things should be done)

Last Thursday, several of HeyTrainer's best players and most loyal posters gathered in an AOL Instant Messenger chat to discuss Call of Legends, and its impact (or lack thereof) on the State/Provincial/Territorial Championship metagame. What did they have to say? Well, here are smmaries of each major point addressed...


LOSTGAR:


Considering how talkative most of us are, we didn't really develop a consensus on the optimal way to play the deck. I suggested the turbo bild briefly, while Monster of the lake proposed that it should be run with a slim Machamp line. The overwhelming majority, though, said that Lostgar should not be played with Palkia. Nothing was addressed about turbo lists or Mew Prime, but Palkia was most heavily opposed to.


MACHAMP


    Theoretically, Machamp's usage should rise due to less Vilegar and Gyarados, and more SP/Tyranitar (brought on by the greater Lostgar showing).

    However, one (i.e., "I") could argue that cities showed how mediocre this deck really was in the current format; it had several weak matchups, and even those that are believed to be "good" (SP) are surprisingly close. Plus, Lostgar might still be a horrid matchup. So all in all, the 'Champ is as hopeless as it's ever been.

GYARADOS:


     Inferred from the chat was the idea that Gyarados is hit hard by Call of Legends. Due to Lost Remover taking away Rescue Energies, Gengar Prime capable of Hurling away critical Magikarps and/or Gyaradoses, and a proliferation of good Luxchomp lists, Gyarados is hard-pressed to win.

Still, MotL mentioned a bild featuring Old Amber, Mesprit, Seekers, and Cyclone as one that held great promise to beat down the generally dubious LostGar match.

[I intend to discuss this take on Gyarados in a future Deck List Dump]

LOST REMOVER


Ryan V. "ryanvergel" was quick to note that "...the most effective use of special energy is sniping with chomp." This in turn denies Lost Remover "its most important target."

And as a result, it isn't as good as it could be. It is, however, good against Gyarados, Garchomp SV, Dialga, Steelix, and Tyranitar, and when combined, that makes up a potentially sizable portion of the field.


NEW DECKS
:

The following were all ideas -serious or joking - suggested from new Call of Legends cards:

-Magnezone Prime/Pachirisu Call of Legends (power hitting)
-Feraligatr Prime/Suicune
-Palkia G LV.X/Lucario
-Mime Jr./Absol G LV.X/Chatot G (deck removal)


WHAT'S THE PLAY?
!


What are the top three decks that constitute our current tier one?

Each of the following decks were suggested [in no particular order]:::

Gengar, Gyarados Tyranitar, Dialgachomp, Luxchomp, Sableye

While I'm really not sure about Tyranitar being in the same league as any of these other decks, it is most certainly underrated. As for the other five, they definitely hold claim to "best in format."

Speaking of...What IS the best deck in the format? Not many people felt brave enough to make claims, but those who did heartily said "Luxchomp." User Shadow Aurion also mentioned the following on Gengar: "...[it isn't] going to flop, but I don't think it's going to be as oppressively strong  as some people predicted either."


We don't know what the future has in store, but either way, it should be more interesting than Cities!

'Til next time,

-HT
 

Posted by: HeyTrainer on 2011-02-16 23:26:16 • Tags: Gengar Gyarados Tyranitar Dialgachomp Luxchomp Sableye squaretable pokemon heytrainer



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Today, Emre ("Monster of the Lake") steps in to show us an alternative take on Luxchomp, the most popular (and - very arguably  - only) deck in a relatively stale format.

If you want a deeper explanation on Chomp, then check out the current literature on the deck. This is just a list, and nothing more.

"

    Pokémon (20):

            2 Luxray GL
            2 Luxray GL LV.X
            2 Garchomp C
            2 Garchomp C LV.X
            2 Uxie L.55 LA
            1 Uxie LV.X
            1 Azelf L.55 LA
            1 Smeargle UD
            1 Unown Q MD
            1 Ambipom G
            1 Bronzong G PT
            1 Crobat G PT
            1 Dragonite FB
            1 Lucario GL
            1 Toxicroak G L45

    Trainers/Supporters (29):

            1 Expert Belt
            2 Junk Arm
            1 Pokémon Rescue
            1 Premier Ball
            3 TG's Invention Energy Gain
            4 TG's Invention Power Spray
            4 TG's Invention Poké Turn
            2 TG's Invention SP Radar
            1 VS Seeker
            1 Aaron's Collection
            1 Bebe's Search
            4 Cyrus's Conspiracy
            3 Pokémon Collector
            1 Twins
   
    Energy (11):


            1 Psychic Energy
            3 Lightning Energy
            3 Call Energy
            4 Double Colorless Energy   "

 

Expert Belt/Twins: serving Gyarados's lunch since 1999.
 


  (Gimme the Belt...Yeahhhhhh, that's it. Right on the *NOT SAFE FOR WORK*)

 

Tomorrow, I'll be reviewing HeyTrainer's Call of Legends discussion. Check it out!

Posted by: MotL on 2011-02-15 19:03:38 • Tags:



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Much in the spirit of my Palkia build is the third - and probably strongest - of the lists: the turbo build. This has been floating around for a while, and I know of several people who've advanced the techiness beyond this basic version; however, this should help get you started.

(Tuuuuuurbo! Too bad Gengar isn't on this box art.)


Pokemon (22):

4 Gastly SF
2 Haunter SF
1 Haunter TM
4 Gengar Prime
4 Unown R LA
3 Uxie LA
1 Azelf LA
1 Spiritomb AR
1 Spiritomb TM
1 Unown Q MD

Trainers/Stadiums/Supporters (31):

4 Junk Arm
4 Poke Drawer+
4 Pokedex Handy 910s
4 Pokemon Collector
3 Seeker
3 Broken Time-Space
2 Lost World
2 Pokemon Communication
2 Luxury Ball
2 VS Seeker
1 Rare Candy


Energy (7):

7 Psychic

[NOTE: the energy should likely be increased to at least 8 or 9 - I feel uneasy with this count at the moment. Palmer's might also be an appropriate "8th energy"]

[NOTE: Mesprit and Mr. Mime would both be interesting, and maybe even necessary additions to the list.]


Advantage/s: The list is obviously fast. Through Poke Drawer, Dex, Unown R's, and Junk Arm to bind them all together, pulling out a first or second turn Gengar Prime suddenly gets a lot easier. Although running only three Seeker seems suspect in a turbo list that requires Seeker to be played over and over again, Junk Arm helps alleviate this by means of VS Seeker, ultimately giving you a maximum of _nine_ uses.

Disadvantage/s: with nineteen trainers and zero Bebe's, one could say that this deck is heavily vulnerable to Spiritomb Arceus locks. However, this shouldn't be too big of a problem, as the number one most popular Spiritomb deck, Vilegar, should be a very comfortable win for you.

 

Posted by: HeyTrainer on 2011-02-14 17:39:55 • Tags: Gengar Gengar Prime Lost World Call of Legends Call of Legends Lost World Mew Prime Lost World Call of Legends Palkia G LV.X Poke-Drawer+ Hurl Into Darkness Lost Link Pokemon HeyTrainer /blog palkia g palkia g lv.x lostgar palkia lostgar palkia g



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Much in the spirit of my Palkia build is the third - and probably strongest - of the lists: the turbo build. This has been floating around for a while, and I know of several people who've advanced the techiness beyond this basic version; however, this should help get you started.

(Tuuuuuurbo! Too bad Gengar isn't on this box art.)


Pokemon (22):

4 Gastly SF
2 Haunter SF
1 Haunter TM
4 Gengar Prime
4 Unown R LA
3 Uxie LA
1 Azelf LA
1 Spiritomb AR
1 Spiritomb TM
1 Unown Q MD

Trainers/Stadiums/Supporters (31):

4 Junk Arm
4 Poke Drawer+
4 Pokedex Handy 910s
4 Pokemon Collector
3 Seeker
3 Broken Time-Space
2 Lost World
2 Pokemon Communication
2 Luxury Ball
2 VS Seeker
1 Rare Candy


Energy (7):

7 Psychic

[NOTE: the energy should likely be increased to at least 8 or 9 - I feel uneasy with this count at the moment. Palmer's might also be an appropriate "8th energy"]

[NOTE: Mesprit and Mr. Mime would both be interesting, and maybe even necessary additions to the list.]


Advantage/s: The list is obviously fast. Through Poke Drawer, Dex, Unown R's, and Junk Arm to bind them all together, pulling out a first or second turn Gengar Prime suddenly gets a lot easier. Although running only three Seeker seems suspect in a turbo list that requires Seeker to be played over and over again, Junk Arm helps alleviate this by means of VS Seeker, ultimately giving you a maximum of _nine_ uses.

Disadvantage/s: with nineteen trainers and zero Bebe's, one could say that this deck is heavily vulnerable to Spiritomb Arceus locks. However, this shouldn't be too big of a problem, as the number one most popular Spiritomb deck, Vilegar, should be a very comfortable win for you.

 

Posted by: HeyTrainer on 2011-02-14 17:39:12 • Tags: Gengar Gengar Prime Lost World Call of Legends Call of Legends Lost World Mew Prime Lost World Call of Legends Palkia G LV.X Poke-Drawer+ Hurl Into Darkness Lost Link Pokemon HeyTrainer /blog palkia g palkia g lv.x lostgar palkia lostgar palkia g



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Deck List Dump: Lostgar (Lost World/Gengar Prime with Palkia G LV.X)

I'm not thrilled about Palkia, but here's what I have at the moment -

[WARNING: NOT TESTED MUCH TEST IT YOURSELF FIX AS NEEDED ETCETC]


(New challenger appears!)


Pokemon (24):

4 Gastly SF
4 Haunter (3 SF/1 Triumphant)
4 Gengar Prime
3 Uxie LA
2 Spiritomb AR
2 Spiritomb TM
1 Palkia G
1 Palkia G LV.X
1 Azelf LA
1 Mesprit LA
1 Unown Q MD

Trainers/Stadiums/Supporters (24):

4 Pokemon Collector
4 Bebe's Search
4 Seeker
3 Broken Time-Space
2 Lost World
2 Twins
2 VS Seeker (or 3 Twins/4 Broken Time-Space or a 13th energy perhaps)
1 Palmer's Contribution
1 Pokemon Communication
1 Luxury Ball

Energy (12):

8 Psychic
2 Warp
2 Rainbow
 

(For Rare Candy, cut:

- 1 to 2 Haunter
-VS Seekers?
-Basics you don't like :P)

 

Pros: running Palkia helps correct your potential bench issues, and also gives you a contingency plan to Lost Zone things in case Gengar Prime isn't as fast as you'd like.

*Running multiples of Spiritomb TM - a crucial card in netting yoru Hurl Into Darkness targets - is also a good plan in my opinion. Spiritomb Arceus also helps out a ton in this regard.

Cons: ...And on that note, I should mention that this list is fairly slow relative to some of the other ones I've seen floating around lately. You  might want to fit some Rare Candies in, as suggested above.

Also, you might encounter a couple issues with not running Gengar LV.X; however, running four Gengar Prime also makes it much easier to start Lost Zoning ASAP, so mess around with it.


In my third and probably final Deck List Dump of LostGar, I'll be revealing my take on a turbo list (which is so far my favorite variant).

 

Best of luck in testing for states, everybody! As I said, don't take my word alone, because this is just a starting point.

 

Posted by: HeyTrainer on 2011-02-11 15:44:19 • Tags: Gengar Gengar Prime Lost World Call of Legends Call of Legends Lost World Mew Prime Lost World Call of Legends Palkia G LV.X Poke-Drawer+ Hurl Into Darkness Lost Link Pokemon HeyTrainer /blog palkia g palkia g lv.x lostgar palkia lostgar palkia g



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With the "Ten in '10" series concluded, let's take a step back and see what the big news was in 2009! I made several references to this article, so it helps put the previous article arc in context.


Not too many shiny pictures today, since this whole article was posted on the forums, and it'd be a pain to plug them all in since I have a finance exam soon. Either way, happy reading!


 "2009's Top Ten Most Significant Events"

"After consulting about half a dozen of Heytrainer.org's most loyal members through all stages of the planning process, I have determined a list of what I personally consider to be the top ten most crucial events that have occurred in the competitive Pokemon TCG community this year; in other words, the community's most "significant" events (per the title).

Thanks go out to the following people, whose ideas and suggestions supplemented my own: Adam Y., Josh B., Ryan V.

#10: The Jwittz Video Collection

Why it mattered: So, you may be wondering...Why is a Youtube video series making such an impact on the community?

Well, "Jwittz," aslo known as Josh Wittenkeller, has taken the first great step to linking new media to the technologically-outdated Pokemon TCG community. The game which we know and love is now reaching a wider audience via Youtube, and Jwittz's videos are the trailblazer in that effort through insightful, entertaining commentary. I have no doubt that Josh's work is inevitably going to help build the game, as well as its base.

Furthermore, these videos are part of a larger force at work: the triumvirate of organizations that are radically redefining the face of the Pokemon TCG, which - when combined - are easily the biggest influence of 2009. Jwittz's videos are currently the smallest-reaching of these three organizations, but the series's potential is awesome, and the likelihood of copycats in the future is VERY high. Expect great things from the Jwittz video collection.

#9: The Pokegym "Mod Squad"

Why it mattered: The premier public web forum of the Pokemon TCG, Pokegym, has maintained incredible influence in the community for years, even obtaining pseudo-"official" status thanks to Team Compendium's administration. With this in mind, it of course makes sense that any sweeping new reforms here would impact the playing and collecting communities.

As we all know, administration and staff set the tone for any forum, and 'Gym is no exception. Thanks to a slew of brand new moderators, they have now expanded beyond belief, and are taking on new, interesting goals for the site: Card of the Day is now easily the most improved section of the site, and user interaction is now at its highest since the 256 person Iron Chef competition.

But with this swarm of staff come mixed messages, inconsistencies, and a decisive range in quality. Although the administration attempts to make it clear what they desire of their new moderators, their various styles can and already have led to confusing and occasionally frustrating the Pokemon TCG community.

However, even with these very obvious growing pains, it will ultimately be for the better of the community at large. As previously mentioned, CotD has something for everyone, and the ongoing anniversary contests would be impossible in their current form without the hard work of the newest members of their crew.

#8: Michael Lieisk's Departure from POP

Why it mattered: I'm not gonna spend too much time on this write-up, but I will say that whenever a head honcho of Pokemon Organized Play shifts outside of the TCG, it's a big deal.

What are the implications now that Dan Brandt is in his spot? Or how about those for the new area he's in - the Video games? Can we read into this as integration of the two?

Only time will tell...

#7: The Worlds Victory of Stephen Silvestro



(Okay, I lied...There is this one picture, but it's awesome!)

Why it mattered: World Champions come and go in every competitive format, so why does this particular win matter so much?

You could say that this is the most "rogue" deck to win since Queendom. You could say that it's a touching portrayal of the bond between father and son.

And Heck, that picture looks pretty darn silly.

But in terms of community impact, this is the second most important win since Yamato, who alone was responsible for the "Japan Mystique" that held a firm grip on the US until Worlds 2006. Because of Silvestro's win, Florida is now well-established as the hardest metagame in the entire world. Although you "could" still make some case for the Midwest or the Great Lakes as being the toughest regions in the US, this argument seems to be put to rest with Jason Klaczynski currently competing in Florida, as well as the Georgia Marathon drawing people from all over.

However, what was our catalyst for all this hyper-intensified FL glory?

A win with Raybees. That's what. Congrats to Steve, and best of luck to him this season - your victory certainly made an impact on the community, bringing to FL the most prestige it's ever received.

#6: Return to Paradise (Worlds 2010 in Hawaii)

Are we surprised to see the 2010 Pokemon World Championships in Hawaii? Not really, because we saw it there for the TMB and in 2007; however, we ARE surprised to see it headed back so soon!

Once again, the community (especially the American community) will not see their season culminate in a bloody LCQ battle or a contested battle to see who becomes the new World Champ, but instead...A battle to see who becomes the _National Champ_.

However, there is a bigger bit of news less related to Hawaii that is even more surprising to the community...Which we will discuss in #4.

#5: The Founding of HeyTrainer.org


For my core audience, I hardly believe you need much of an explanation. But for the rest of you at home, I urge you to have a sit-down with papa, because it's about to be story time with your rotten uncle Johnny K...And story time with me gets awful dirty.

Yes, the first of the top five biggest developments in the Pokemon TCG community this year is none other than HeyTrainer.org, run by none other than...Yours truly.

Why it mattered: The second in what I've called the "great triumvirate" of the Pokemon TCG online community, Heytrainer.org is perhaps the most revolutionary of the three. It may not be the most well-known or crucial, but it is easily the most transformational. In a community stereotyped as fandom of a children's card game, it only seems natural that an overwhelming number of the Pokemon TCG websites out there feature some moderate to heavy degree of censorship.

Well, for months and months, my brother and I talked about our woes in what this community lacked: recognition of the 15+ as the REAL force behind this game's organized play, a place for legitimate deck discussion, a place where moderators wouldn't be up our ***es over every teeny thing, and, above all, a place where honesty could reign supreme. There is a long-lasting myth that Pokemon TCG is a "kiddie card game" - one that is perpetuated by the prevailing attitudes, censors, and overwhelming hegemony of parent-child tag teams. In fact, that is the very reason why "Tag Team!" is our image: because it represents our perversion of this false belief, which ultimately ends up being a sobering dose of reality.


Considering this context, Heytrainer.org easily made the top five list because it IS a big change in the way business is done, it IS already making people talk, and it is already well on its way to becoming one of the top sites in the game. Hell, ask several good players, and without batting an eyelash they will tell you that this place, known far and wide for its bad posters in the RTC, is - surprisingly - a distinctly better resource for deck fixes and initial lists than Pokegym or Pokebeach. The fanbase is so loyal that they "swear" by how awesome our article quality is...Even though this top ten list is the first official article in this site's history. (We're that good.)

Yes, Heytrainer.org is a mover and a shaker, but it hasn't happened without significant controversy: there has been a lot of in-the-open hating over this site that has earned me no love from any of the top dogs in the online community, and lord knows the dirty little names I've been called behind my back in circles I played a direct role in aiding/saving...But that's another story for another day.

Regardless of the challenges, the turmoil, and the hate we will inevitably get, we must be honest and admit that this is an experiment in controlled chaos...This site is a risk that I am willing to take, and for the sake of free speech, free membership, and free dumb, I hope to make this community a force to be reckoned with. I am already very proud of my work here, and I feel that if I push just a little harder, HeyTrainer.org will long outlive my involvement with the game.

I can't in good conscience put it at #1, but I certainly see it ultimately outlasting everything else on this list as the years go by.

#4: “Trouble in Paradise” (POP server/worlds/nats info issues)



(Bad Photoshopping is bad, but we love it anyways.)

Why it mattered: Once we found out that Worlds would be in Hawaii again, excitement rose to a fever pitch. "Will I go to Hawaii again?" "If I get an invite without a trip, will I go?" "How many are they going to give out: 128 like last year, or 64 like the previous time in Hawaii?"

Hold your horses though, you uber-competitive players you, because there's one small, insignificant problem...

Nothing's been released on invites, trips, or anything of the sort.

For thousands of players every year, competing in Worlds is the biggest prize they could hope to receive; however, by leaving the competitive community totally in the dark, you have a lack of confidence in POP for being so slow to announce things, an excess of confusion, and a never-ending supply of controversy.

POP tries to silence the concerns of the players, the parents, etc. with a "we will release the information publicly when we're able to." Individuals who have less of a competitive stake in the game are also perfectly content, usually claiming that either A) the information will come when it comes, so sit down and shut up, or B) people who are complaining are "in it for the prizes," and don't care about Spirit of the Game!

Rubbish, because there's another side of this that hits the casual player hard: the frequent downtime and crashing of the website. Now I'm no professional in web management, nor would I claim to be, but the professionals I surround myself with unanimously say that this is due to ineptitude. It's ineptitude at some level that led to confusion with leagues, entering in events, etc, and - needless to say - that doesn't produce confidence.

Does POP have a fantastic history with its player base? Yes, it does, and I'd never deny that. However, this community recognizes that organized play is not a charity, but a marketing tool, and thus expects better of it.

Oh and P.S.

"Where the Hell is Nats?"
~One of our loyal board members

#2: SixPrizes.com


Why it mattered: Rounding out the "triumvirate" is Sixprizes.com, the current crown jewel of the 2009 Pokemon TCG online movement.

In early July, while many players were preparing for the Grinder or Worlds, Adam Capriola and his associates were quietly working on what would be a major new twist on the "Thetopcut.com" concept of the previous year: a blog format website with a major emphasis on strategy, deck building, and tournament reporting.

Sixprizes is now very big, and is doing a great job of reaching out to all sorts of players: new and old, pro and casual, and former and current! Its staff has worked very hard at "getting out the word," and as a result, is covering every major social networking site with their logo.

But perhaps Sixprize's biggest contribution to the Pokemon TCG community is that it set in motion several major new trends in Pokemon sites:

-An emphasis on quality strategy.
-The beginning of what's a shift away from Pokegym and Pokebeach. These two sites are now much less llikely to be recommended to a beginner than they were even a year ago.
-A more "Japanese" style of Pokemon community organization. Message boards are distinctly less of a Japanese phenomenon, whereas tournament/strategy blogging are.

Furthermore, Sixprizes is without a doubt inspiration for other major new sites, as well as the new community standard in PG-rated quality.

Things are changing majorly, but I can confidently say that without Sixprizes.com, this change might not have happened at all.

#1: Tournament Rule Changes


Why it mattered: What defines us as a community is the fact that we all like to play the Pokemon Trading Card Game, usually at a competitive level. With this in mind, it makes sense that if there are huge changes to the way things are done, then there will be a huge impact. Originally I considered placing many of these things on the list as their own separate categories, but I then realized that it’s really all the same thing: sweeping, revolutionary reform to the way we participate in Pokemon Organized Play.

First and foremost, you can’t play whole decks of foreign cards anymore, and by this time next year, you won’t be able to use any _at all_! Many of those who use Japanese cards occasionally (myself included) find it disappointing that we will no longer be able to use these cards, as they look gorgeous, are cool to show off to your friends, and are made of higher quality material than their English counterparts. However, others cheered for their removal, as Japanese cards have been a pain for PTOs, judges, and the less-experienced players who don’t want to be hassled with their opponents’ translations under timed environments.

Secondly, we saw – for the first time in the American game'’s history – no format rotation at all; rather, we are carrying on the same DP-on of last year! Although many of these cards are now outclassed, access to the game at a competitive level is much easier due to these 2+ year old cards being legal. In addition to that, mastering this format has been easier for the old veterans who are well aware of what staple cards (Roseanne’s Research, Bebe’s Search, Call Energy, Claydol, Unown G, etc) do. This decision was well-received by the community, and for good reason.

The combined impact of these two decisions alone should already be enough to put “Tournament Rule Changes” at #1, but then there are the slew of tiny revisions: meta-rulings on dice and Azelf LA’s Time Walk Poke-Power are interesting new change. In addition, carryovers from 2008 ,such as the increase in time limit, have done an enormous amount of good for Spirit of the Game…After all, how can somebody stall or rush if time limits actually allow for complete games, even in a best-of-three setting?

2009 was a major, major year for event rules, and while many of these decisions have been criticized by players, judges, PTO, and even Pokemon Organized Play itself, I can confidently say that this has been an excellent year for improving the way this game is played on a competitive level. So in spite of all the tumultuous issues that have occurred, the Pokemon TCG community is in a strong position going into 2010."

 

Thanks for checking out a great little piece of Pokemon Trading Card Game history today. Tune in tomorrow when I briefly review another LostGar variant.

Posted by: HeyTrainer on 2011-02-09 17:44:11 • Tags: pokemon evolution pokemon lack pokemon stagnation heytrainer sixprizes foundation pokemon 2010 world championship yuta komatsuda professor oak's new theory call energy dialga g lv.x luxchomp majestic dawn gyarados gengar stormfront arceus triumphant pokemon vogue pokemon indianapolis sixprizes underground sixprizes lost world lost world call of legends lost world pokemon pokemon san diego pokemon world championship san diego 2009 pokemon world championships 2011 pokemon world championships disco dan is the man with the plan Georgia Marathon Georgia Marathon pokemon New jersey marathon pokemon ontario marathon pokemon pokemon trading card game time rules 30+3 30+3 time rules Stephen Silvestro Michael Liesik Azelf Cleffa Pokemon Hawaii Pokemon Trading Card Game history



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Links to previous parts of this article arc...

*Ten in '10: 2010's Most Significant Events (Part 1/6)
*Ten in '10: 2010's Most Significant Events (Part 2/6)
*Ten in '10: 2010's Most Significant Events (Part 3/6)
*Ten in '10: 2010's Most Significant Events (Part 4/6)
*Ten in '10: 2010's Most Significant Events (Part 5/6)

That little bit of house-keeping aside...Let's finish this thing up!

 

#1: Play! Pokemon: Rebranding With a Bumpy Start



(Play! Pokemon: similar enough to evoke familiar ideas...But dissimilar enough to avoid copyright infringement claims.)


 For the first time since its inception, Pokemon Organized Play decided to completely revamp its image: the generic OP logos were out, and the NEW image was in! However, what does this entail? We don't know exactly what...But so far, it hasn't been thrilling.


This post is less about the mere rebranding; rather, it's about precisely what I alluded to how mediocre 2010 was in general...So hence, the word "rebranding" will be deined loosely.  But what about that disappointment for 2010? Well, let me offer a callback to my three summarizing words mentioned in Part 1...They were:

Evolutioin; lack; and stagnation.

The previously-listed events of 2010 before this one generally signify "evolution," but many of you reading this article likely feel that organized play's support is beginning to suffer from "lack and stagnation," and with good cause. As a long-time competitor and volunteer of organized play, I'm least enthused about this game's competitive side than I have ever been. While my general involvement increases (as this blog is testament to), I find premier events far less entertaining or desirable than good old-fashioned league, which doesn't even need official support to exist!

So what's at the root of this?

For starters, communication between Play! Pokemon and its player base has been inexcusably bad. First, the year was greeted with a still massively-buggy website (which is still slow); second, we dealt with  extremely late notice on where the 2010 National Championships would be; and third, the ratings and rankings were down for _over four months_. Occasional website issues are certainy understandable, but not receiving Nationals information until States caused numerous problems for the players, and as for the ratings/rankings...Four months...Really?


If all of this poor communication wasn't enough, then consider our American releases in 2010:

*Heart Gold/Soul Silver
*Unleashed
*Undaunted
*Triumphant

Although those last three sets had a few notable cards, they've otherwise been absurdly mediocre releases. And Heart Gold/Soul Silver, while certainly a good set, was good for all of the wrong reasons...Namely, Double Colorless Energy. Considering how good SP was already at that point, why on Earth did Pokemon Card Laboratories re-release this monstrosity of the old era? I can't really answer that, but its negative side effect was an unhealthy United States metagame, and an overall horrible year for sets anywhere outside of Japan (not Play! Pokemon's fault, but it is certainly a bump in the road).

Unexciting sets, and no communication...What's in store for 2011?

So far, not much: our most recently released set, which held great promise to include several exciting new reprints from years and seasons gone by, instead turned out to be one of the worst sets in the history of the Pokemon Trading Card Game's history; and while we know a thing or two about ratings, we still don't even have an official invite structure announcement!

While I cannot claim to know what the general word on the street is, I have heard several complaints about where things are headed. Erik Nance, last season's runner-up at the 2010 U.S. National Championship, claimed that this has been "the worst season of Pokemon since I started playing [five years ago]." Chad Harris, an equally known player, as well as former State and Regional Champion of California, predicted that "...we will look back on 2010 [as] being perhaps the worst year in [P!P's] history."

Given a mediocre 2010, and a poor start to 2011, what could breathe more life into this system - this game - of ours?

Black and White.

Yes, with the new video games, things could turn around with a reinvigorated league system, new incentive for the powers at be to invest more in Play! Pokemon, and a good set containing no stupid re-releases (we don't know how good the Gust of Wind quasi-reprint will be in our metagame). These have great implications vis-a-vis the metagame and communication, so here's to hoping.

But right now, it's just: evolution; lack; stagnation. Hopefully we hear more of the first word, and less of the other two.

Pessimism? No, just realism with a dash of optimism. Either way, happy playing!

Posted by: HeyTrainer on 2011-02-08 23:10:23 • Tags: pokemon evolution pokemon lack pokemon stagnation heytrainer sixprizes foundation pokemon 2010 world championship yuta komatsuda professor oak's new theory call energy dialga g lv.x luxchomp majestic dawn gyarados gengar stormfront arceus triumphant pokemon vogue pokemon indianapolis sixprizes underground sixprizes lost world lost world call of legends lost world pokemon pokemon san diego pokemon world championship san diego 2009 pokemon world championships 2011 pokemon world championships disco dan is the man with the plan Georgia Marathon Georgia Marathon pokemon New jersey marathon pokemon ontario marathon pokemon pokemon trading card game time rules 30+3 30+3 time rules



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Moving closer and closer to the conclusion of "Ten in '10," we have two vital issues to consider: the change in time; and the change in City Championships.


#3: *The Change in Time Rules…Again

(This is a silly, nonsensical picture that has nothing to do with the topic at hand...But I figured you'd like it anyways, so I went and ran with it.)


        After a long time, 2009-2010 gave us a time system that apparently worked: swiss rounds decided in 40 minute games, which brought stalling to a standstill; and top cut rounds decided with a "four prizes must be pulled in game two for it to count" clause, which - while imperfect - kept decks from achieving cheap wins against bad matchups. All was good in the world of the competitive player...That is...

Until they changed it back, that is.

Yes, for reasons unknown to me, Play! Pokemon changed the rules "again": 40 minute matches were exchanged with 30+"3," where time is called, followed by three last turns before a result is decided on; and the aforementioned clause involving four prizes was completely eliminated. While the 30+3 is generally no big deal, the top cut rule has changed the way people play, and the deck choices that they make.

Don't believe me? If not, then consider the following example: Player A's Vileplume/Gengar deck is up against Player B's Gyarados deck. Player A's list is unquestionably good against Gyarados in almost any untimed match, but it's quick to fall down a prize or two versus it in most games.

Due to no fault of Player A's, he/she wins game one with little time on the clock left for game two. Given this, Player B's Gyarados proceeds to establish a 1-2 prize lead even after the +3, and brings the game into a sudden death...Which he or she also wins by the same mean.

So, in essence, we have a match won by a player who drew a grand total of 2-3 prizes, and no full games. Sounds good? Not by my book! Granted, you could still have the same thing happen during the 4-prize era last format (5-6 prizes between game two and sudden death), but it wasn't nearly as bad. As a result, the field is _not_ what it could, or should, be in many regards: either due to players wanting a more reasonable chance to win, or due to players using top cut-weak decks dropping for a calculated gain in premier rating.

("60 minutes+3" was so on the short list of titles for this program)


#2: The Advent of Pokemon TCG Marathons

(Again, not quite the same sort of "marathon," but they're still pretty cool guys.)

Why it mattered: for a very long time, City Championships - a major element of the Pokemon TCG premier tournament season - were viewed as minor, one-day events. While they were very useful in displaying a "preview" of sorts for who might do well in the season, these tournaments were never considered more than just small, fun events...Something akin to modern day Battle Roads, but with juicy prizes.

However, thanks to a couple of industrious Premier Tournament Organizers in Georgia, that conception has been shattered. By stringing together all of their City Championships in a row over the holiday season, rather than staggering them across several weekends for a two month period, they laid the groundwork for an efficient, new model of running these events. For the competitive player, though, this was far more valuable due to the increased opportunity to do well at several of these tournaments in a row, thus greatly increaseing his/her premier rating, which has since 2006 become a crucial tool in achieving invites to the World Championships.

Because of this efficiency, and because of the great incentive, Greg and Gary's tournaments finally caught national attention at the beginning of 2010, when anyone with a My Pokemon account could see the great impact that these events had on people's ratings, with at least one player achieving enough points to already assure his invite to the World Championships. Given this, many players this season found themselves inspired to make the trek down to Georgia during late 2010, and as a result, several of the current, post-Cities Top 40 were individuals who attended the marathons.

Recognizing the value of this model, several areas, such as Ontario and New Jersey, have adapted Georgia's plan: either as a full-blown marathon, or as a "mini-thon" of sorts. Is this a trend in the way Cities will be organized nationwide? Perhaps, but I think the biggest implication of all is the proliferation of hyper-competitive fields at relatively low levels of earning. Without a doubt, it'll be interesting to see if more City Championships ascend to the State/Regional-esque tier that the Georgia events did, but the fact that these events are no longer "little" is quite telling.

All in all, 2010 was an extremely significant year for Cities, with marathons leading the way. Congrats to the PTOs of Georgia, New Jersey, and Ontario for revolutioninzing the way we please this game!



(Who would've thought that Georgia would become so crucial to the Pokemon TCG scene?)

Posted by: HeyTrainer on 2011-02-09 11:00:48 • Tags: pokemon evolution pokemon lack pokemon stagnation heytrainer sixprizes foundation pokemon 2010 world championship yuta komatsuda professor oak's new theory call energy dialga g lv.x luxchomp majestic dawn gyarados gengar stormfront arceus triumphant pokemon vogue pokemon indianapolis sixprizes underground sixprizes lost world lost world call of legends lost world pokemon pokemon san diego pokemon world championship san diego 2009 pokemon world championships 2011 pokemon world championships disco dan is the man with the plan Georgia Marathon Georgia Marathon pokemon New jersey marathon pokemon ontario marathon pokemon pokemon trading card game time rules 30+3 30+3 time rules



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In a very special edition of "Deck List Dump," we here are HeyTrainer look to solve the condundrum of LostGar (Gengar Prime Triumphant/Lost World Call of Legends). If you check out the corresponding forum thread, you'll realize one thing, and that's that very few people have consensus on the deck!

So, what to do about this little issue? Well, for the next few segments of Deck List Dump, I will be posting nothing BUT LostGar (the supposed new tier one deck), as well as my comments on the strengths and weaknesses of each variant. Today, we'll be examining the first known variant of any success: Gengar Prime/Mew Prime, which has seen a ton of play in Japan.

(If my Stormfront cousin eats childrens' brains, then don't I eat their souls?)

 

Now, the biggest question that should be on your mind is, "why do we have no standard on how to build this deck yet?"

Simple: the successful lists in Japan all had Claydol (Great Encounters) and Roseanne's Research (Secret Wonders) accessible to them. With Claydol, consistency was guaranteed against even the dreaded SP, and with Roseanne, you could be relatively sure that you had access to much-needed energy. Unfortunately, though, those two great cards have been rotated out of our modified format. With neither of those, we arrive at a bit of a conundrum on how to make it the best deck we can.

Since our Modified format is in a completely different context, here is what I would envision a Gengar Prime/Mew Prime for Majestic Dawn-on Modified to look like...

[WARNING: THE BELOW LIST IS LARGELY UNTESTED!]

Pokemon (23):

4 Mew Prime
4 Gastly SF
2 Haunter SF
1 Haunter TM
3 Gengar Prime
1 Gengar Prime LV.X
1 Mr. Mime CoL
1Spiritomb TM
2 Uxie LA
2 Mesprit LA
1 Azelf LA
1 Unown Q MD

Trainers/Stadiums/Supporters (28):

4 Pokemon Collector
4 Seeker
4 Poke Drawer+
4 Broken Time-Space (or 4 Rare Candy? Or Something else?)
3 Lost World
3 Bebe's Search
2 Junk Arm
2 VS Seeker
1 Luxury Ball
1 Pokemon Communication

Energy (9):


9 Psychic

 

The strategy is pretty basic: ideally start with Mew Prime, See Off a Gengar Prime, and by the second turn, you should be able to Lost Link Hurl Into Darkness, which - in time  - should get you your much-desired Lost World win condition.


*Mr. Mime is for revealing your opponents hand, so you can optimize your chances of success for Hurl.

*Spiritomb Tirumphant is to force them into more Pokemon for Hurl targets. The reason why we don't run Giratina is because it draws LESS, and because THEY choose how much they draw!

*Mesprit is to help maintain a long, reliable Trainer lock. Thanks to Junk Arm, VS Seeker, and Seeker, you can use this power up to ten times in a single game.

*Seeker not only picks up your Mesprits/damaged guys, but also forces a Pokemon from the opponent's bench to his/her hand. As a result, you'll usually have some sort of Hurl target, thus making this card a must-of in every Lostgar variant.


***Strengths: since Mew Prime is a basic, it's much easier to setup, and as a result, allows you the chance to very quickly start Hurling from the second turn-onward, and perhaps for more than one Pokemon!

***Weaknesses: a big problem with this variant is that, without the aforementioned cards, it ends up becoming much more brittle. Furthermore, you have a lot of easily-KO'd, low-HP Basics to rely on, which allows for even more vulnerability to the super-speedy SP variants of this format.

 

(...Am I really a good choice right now?)

 

The list may be imperfect, and may be far from tested, but it should be a pretty reasonable starting point for anyone interested in LostGar For the next edition of Deck List Dump, I'll be posting a variant with Palkia G LV.X. Stay tuned, and be sure to tell your friends about /blog!


-HeyTrainer

Posted by: HeyTrainer on 2011-02-03 19:44:39 • Tags: Gengar Gengar Prime Lost World Call of Legends Call of Legends Lost World Mew Prime Lost World Call of Legends Palkia G LV.X Poke-Drawer+ Hurl Into Darkness Lost Link Pokemon HeyTrainer /blog ZEHAHAHA



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Today will be a baby post for the "Ten in '10" series: although I have more than one entry done, I felt that, since I am still largely unsure on what order to place the final three, it would be best to stew over it for a while. For now, though, here is what I felt to be a very important new evolution from last season...Pokemon videos!


#4: Rise of Pokemon TCG Videos
 


Why it mattered: if video analysis and discussion were interesting novelties back in 2009, then they quickly reached a fever-pitch in 2010.


For those of you who have read my "2009's Top Ten Most Significant Events" series, you should recognize Jwittz from the list: back then, his series was just starting out, but heytrainer.org made many accurate predictions about its fate. From 12/26/2009, I said the following:

"Jwittz's videos are currently the smallest-reaching of these three organizations [(SixPrizes, HeyTrainer, Jwittz)], but the series's potential is awesome, and the likelihood of copycats in the future is VERY high. Expect great things from the Jwittz video collection."


And great things have arrived, my friends: with over 2,500 subscribers, and nearly 400,000 upload views, Josh W.'s Pokemon TCG webisodes are definitely in a very comfy spot. Also, per my prediction, copycat efforts have also been in full swing, and while most have fallen flat on their face, the "PokemanDan" series proved itself to be a worthy friendly rival to the Wittz brand. They are on par with one-another in many ways, but offer two different, yet great perspectives on the game: one is smack-dab in the middle of Competitivesville, USA; and the other is smack-dab in the middle of the UK.

What will become of Pokemon Youtubing? We don't know yet; however, its hopes look high. So I'll look into my Larry Sabato-esque crystal ball, and make another set of predictions:

*Josh's series will remain popular, and continue to rise in popularity; but, at some point, it will stabilize, and begin to follow a more linear model of fandom.
*Some new series will take the title for #1 most popular. Because the YouTube viewer market is super-fickle, some dumb, less thoughtful video series could win out over "Prof it!" for some memetic quality.


So that's what direction I see a newly-rising portion of the Pokemon community heading into! Thanks for reading, y'all.

P.S. PokemonDan  may not be the end of the copycatting! As alluded to in previous posts on the HeyTrainer forum, Drrtybyl and I may be producing our very own Pokemon TCG video: the "Rogue Twins" featurette series.

Posted by: HeyTrainer on 2011-02-02 12:45:00 • Tags: pokemon evolution pokemon lack pokemon stagnation heytrainer sixprizes foundation pokemon 2010 world championship yuta komatsuda professor oak's new theory call energy dialga g lv.x luxchomp majestic dawn gyarados gengar stormfront arceus triumphant pokemon vogue pokemon indianapolis sixprizes underground sixprizes lost world lost world call of legends lost world pokemon pokemon san diego pokemon world championship san diego 2009 pokemon world championships 2011 pokemon world championships disco dan is the man with the plan



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For today, here are sixth and fifth most significant events of 2010, as determined by HeyTrainer.org staff. In case you haven't read them yet, here are links to the other posts from this article arc...

#s 9 and 10: Ten in '10: 2010's Most Significant Events (Part 1/5)
#s 7 and 8: Ten in '10: 2010's Most Significant Events (Part 2/5)

If you haven't read the first two parts, I'd suggest that you do. However, if you'd like to jump straight into #6, then by all means, feel free to!

 

 

 

 

 

#6: The Japanese Release of Lost World

(...Well, I did say the "Japanese" release.)

[Translation: "Once during each player's turn, if that player's opponent has 6 or more Pokemon in the Lost Zone, the player may choose to win the game."]



Why it mattered: for two very concise, yet simple reasons...

First, it had us scared out of our wits for the entirety of the year...But for no good reason at all. Since an English language Lost World never actually saw the light of day in the United States for 2010, we were effectively scared crap-less...For no good reason at all. Overall, this is a great lesson in what happens when our expectations aren't met.

Second, from our far-off observer status, we saw how one card was capable of OBLITERATING the Japanese metagame. Despite the fact that both of Lostgar's runs have occurred in formats different from ours (run #1: Diamond and Pearl-on format; run #2: Heart Gold/Soul Silver-on format), it outright annihilated in both, with Worlds winner Yuta Komatsuda going over forty games undefeated in his home territory with the deck. While the deck lost Claydol, the heart and soul of its speed, Lostgar in a no-sp format still proves to be a potent threat.

However, can Lostgar (Gengar Prime [Triumphant]/Lost World) stand the test of a format that's not only SP-dominated, but plagued with a disgustingly unfavorable time scenario? Only time (and testing) will tell.

 


#5: Worlds moving back to San diego

(Does this remind you of anything?)


Why it mattered:
with this decision, San Diego has officially become the most frequented location to the World Championship. Because of this decision, I see several significant, long-term things happening...

1) Worlds will be held at fewer different locations. This is a mixed bag...On one hand, if San Diego is a foreseeable Worlds location for every odd-numbered year from here on out, then  it makes planning for the event easier. Therefore, it is cheaper for all parties involved, which is very, very good. But on the other hand, it means less variety, which essentially equates to an added West Coast advantage. This concern, however, is mitigated by the fact that the West Coast is severely disadvantaged with respect to U.S. Nationals every year.

2) This is a continuation of what appears to be Play! Pokemon's sweet deal with Hilton, so wherever Worlds '12 is, expect it to be at some sort of Hilton. 

3) Given point #2, and given the fact that we came back to Hawaii awful early last season, does that mean that Hawaii will be held every even-numbered year? Only time will tell, but I predict this to be the case...Big PR gambit if this is so, but it could very well pay off.

For all of these implications, and much more, the Worlds return to San Diego justifiably comes in at #5.

 

Posted by: HeyTrainer on 2011-02-01 13:19:11 • Tags: pokemon evolution pokemon lack pokemon stagnation heytrainer sixprizes foundation pokemon 2010 world championship yuta komatsuda professor oak's new theory call energy dialga g lv.x luxchomp majestic dawn gyarados gengar stormfront arceus triumphant pokemon vogue pokemon indianapolis sixprizes underground sixprizes lost world lost world call of legends lost world pokemon pokemon san diego pokemon world championship san diego 2009 pokemon world championships 2011 pokemon world championships disco dan is the man with the plan



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In this first installment of Staying Clean we'll focus on an element of the Pokémon tournament experience that sends most women (well, mostly girls) running -- the tournament venue restroom -- and what you can do to help yourself and others stay clean and safe.

Let's face it -- card and comic shop restrooms are utterly disgusting dirtholes.

The factors that contribute to their universal filth are as follows:
1. The store's proprietor is typically the janitor.
Comic Shop Restroom Most card and comic shop owners are into cards and/or comics [and not cleaning restrooms]. While most of these dudes wouldn't mind if a rented space was altogether restroom-less, the reality is that builders typically slip one into every strip mall cube. The shop owner didn't give this any thought at the outset of his business plan, and generally isn't too picky himself when it comes to the state of public facilities he uses: all he cares is  that they exist. In addition, most card shops operate on a shoestring budget in a brutally tough business, so regular janitorial services are out of the question.* Even the rarer-than-Pidgeot's-teeth card shops with daily janitorial services aren't geared to handle the likes of Pokémon tournament restroom traffic, which is akin to concert, fast food restaurant, or gas station levels.
*If you can point us to a card or comic shop that has a contract with a daily janitorial service, we will offer up a limited edition HeyTrainer holographic DIGLETT.

CLEAN IT UP! Earn your Junior Janitorette Gym Badge and leave the restroom as clean as possible. This means always throw away trash, flush used toilet paper, utilize any available air freshener, and do not pee on the walls.

2. Card shops have one restroom.
Not two. This means that men, women, boys, girls and others Comic Shop Restroomare all using the same toilet and sink for numbers "one" and "two," which puts additional strain on the overall state of restroom cleanliness.

3. The high volume of people moving through card shops and their use of these intrinsically unsanitary restroom facilities is inevitable.
Professor Abraham Rowan's (ナナカマド博士) hierarchical pyramid of Pokémon Trainer needs tells us that Pokémon TCG Trainers actually require only a few things to survive.

What Rowan's  (ナナカマド博士) theory tells us is that, as Pokémon Trainers advance, they are destined to use the Card Shop's restroom, no matter what.
Rowan's Hierarchy of Pokémon Trainer Needs

CLEAN IT UP!
Seek out alternate restroom facilities in the vicinity of the event before deck check.* This will reduce the amount of intense strain on [and inside] the venue's restroom. Other trainers will thank you and so will the shop owner.
*Try to buy something at your alternate restroom location so the neighboring shop proprietors don't view "the Pokémon people" as jerks, or worse yet -- deny you future use of their public restroom facilities.

4. These same people are typically unclean.
What Rowan's  (ナナカマド博士) Pyramid also suggests is that Pokémon TCG Trainers do not require showering, oral hygiene, or deodorant -- yet do engage in bodily excretion.

CLEAN IT UP!
Try to relieve your digestive system of solids in the morning before the event in order to avoid putting unnecessary strain on the facilities. Take a shower before the tournament.

Now that you know why card shop restrooms are always so dirty, we can focus more directly on etiquette:
-Avoid the need at the top of Rowan's pyramid: take it somewhere else if you're in a bind. This will prevent odor from radiating throughout the venue, which will likely be noticed by all, since it is typically already a packed, filthy dirthole. Other Trainers might not say anything, but they're grimacing for a reason when you exit the WC, leaving the door wide open.
-Alert the proprietor if the facilities need attention. This will help maintain the toilet's usability. This can also help prevent expensive plumbing fees and will save other Trainers from the unwelcome surprise you've just encountered.
-Wash your hands before returning to train. Always use soap: this prevents the spread of bacteria among Trainers, as well as the spread of bodily excretion onto our precious Pokémon trading cards. If there is no soap, then FIND SOME! Even if it makes you late for the round, cleanliness is next to Godliness...Which, in turn, means that cleanliness is the penultimate way to honor SotG ("Spirit of the Game")
 
Conclusion
Comic Shop Restroom
As alluded to at the outset of this piece, one of the main factors that turns women away from the Pokémon TCG are the filthy restrooms at card and comic shops. If you are interested in improving the male to female ratio in the Pokémon TCG player base, consider cleaning it up. Dirty restrooms contribute to the spread of illness, as well as the spread of feces and urine onto our beloved Pokémon cards, and detract from general tournament enjoyability.   

Till next time, STAY SAFE AND CLEAN IT UP!
 

Posted by: Drrtybylf on 2011-01-31 09:42:55 • Tags: Pokémon Hygiene Restrooms Tournaments Clean Toilet Rowan ナナカマド博士



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