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In the post, 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)


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:


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


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.


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


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.


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.


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


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.



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



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


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.


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:


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.



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!


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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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)



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!



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???



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???



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:


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.


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
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


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:


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,


[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


(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.


(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!


(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.


(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.


(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.


(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.


(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.


(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.


(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.


(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.


(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:


(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

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.


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.


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.


Round 4 vs Bye


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.

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!


Rules lawyers
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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(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:


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.



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.


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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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


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!


"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.)


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.


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.


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.


Round 5-Yanmegazone vs Donmegacinno

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


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.


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


Round 7-Yanmegazone vs Megaturn

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


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.


Round 9-Yanmegazone vs Megaphan

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


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.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.



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




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.


(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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[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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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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(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?


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:

Mime Jr./Absol G LV.X
Garchomp C/Zoroark
Weavile/Toxitank (unusual SP choice)
2 Gyarados
Luxray GL/ERL
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.


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:


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.


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.


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.


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.


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).


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.


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.


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).


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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…

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.

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)

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.)


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)

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)

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)

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!


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,


*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)


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…


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!


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.


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)
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


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.


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.


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!!!


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.


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.



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...


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.


    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.


     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]


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.


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 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,


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 -


(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

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...


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!


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

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.

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")
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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Today, we’re going to take a bit of an aside here with Jimmy O’Brien. Jimmy O’B, a.k.a. ChaosJim, is a well-known player in the New Jersey area, notable for his 4th Place finish at the 2008 World Championship, as well as his >1800 post-Cities rating for the current season. However, he’s also known for professing a great interest in alternate formats: be it unlimited, limited, half-deck, or extended-modified, he’s always considering the options.

For this post, he’ll be discussing draft. So sit down, grab some popcorn…And maybe grab a box of Pokemon cards, too.





By Jimmy O'Brien

"A lot of people only play Pokémon events with sealed packs at prereleases, and even at those, several choose to not draft. Organized play doesn’t reward being good at drafting: there are no upper-level premier events that involve this format, and no added prize incentive to excel at Prerelease events, so it sort of makes sense. However, opening a box by drafting it can be a lot more fun than just sitting alone in your basement, alphabetizing the rares as you go.

I’ll try to cover a few different drafting topics as time goes by until something else demands my attention, but assuming you and your friends want to draft (or you want to host a draft as a TO or league leader), the first decision is: which set you want to draft. Right now, I like drafting Undaunted.

Undaunted won’t always be a good set to draft. So why do I like it right now?

1)    Duplicates of Pokémon. There are two different Eevees and all of its evolutions. There are two different Houndours and two Houndooms, there are two Honchkrows and two Murkrows.
2)    Consistency Trainers. Sage’s Training happens to be a gigantic asset in draft. Team Rocket’s Trickery is better than it is in constructed. Legend Box and Energy Exchanger have their place but aren’t top picks.
3)    Set-up Pokémon. Mawile is good in general, has some nice synergy with Burned Tower. Misdreavus has Erika as an attack. Eevee, Oddish, Slowpoke, and Togepi are also better than nothing even if they’re clearly not superstars.
4)    Solid Uncommon Stage 1s. The Eeveeloutions are alright, very consistent. Muk, Raichu, and even Slowbro are pretty good for draft.
5)    Valuable Rares. I’ll admit, Undaunted falls a little short here. Smeargle is gigantic though, Vileplume sees play, and Umbreon and Scizor Prime round things out. Admittedly could be a lot better, but if this is the main reason you draft a set, you don’t need to be reading this article, you need to be looking over set lists.

So, given the above, it definitely serves as a crash course in how to potentially draft a good deck in Undaunted. It also - hopefully - gives you an insight into what makes an enjoyable draft: cards in a set that give you decks that do things. Every set will have the big Stage Twos that can win games, but I don’t enjoy games that turn into, “I got my stage 2 out, you didn’t…Lose now!”

( Unless I’m the one with the stage 2. )

HGSS has the same redeeming qualities for drafting I’ve listed above, except that they’re found in a different balance. The HGSS consistency trainers have a lot more value outside the draft, and the duplicates of top evolutions is a lot more important than the solid stage 1 uncommons.

Next time, I’ll take a look at some of the cards mentioned above, explain why it is I like them, and try to draw some parallels between them and cards in other sets."


Thanks for that submission, bud!

In other news, Call of Legends is looking to be pretty bad for us competitive modified players; however, is it bad for draft? Given all of the massive basics, I have a feeling that this could be the case.

Posted by: HeyTrainer (written by Jimmy O Brien) on 2011-01-29 16:35:14 • Tags:

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As mentioned in our last entry, Roland A. (a.k.a., "fffuuuu") submitted an excellent Gyarados article. Since it is a very lengthy, dense read, I decided to split it up into two parts:

*Part 1: a sample deck list with card explanations
*Part 2: other options, and match-up explanations

I have also sought out Austin B/Austino (Gyarados pro and author of the previous "retro" post),and he is interested in writing a response article, discussing his radically different philosophy on the deck.




By Roland A. ("fffuuuu")

Other Options


So that takes us through all the card choices used in the sample list. But what are some other options for a Gyarados deck to play?
(Note that I’m not including different counts of cards in this section – Deck choices like playing 2 Mesprit, more Seeker etc. won’t be in this section – it is for entirely different cards altogether)

*Luxray GL Lv X – Bright Look can be a very powerful tool in Gyarados decks, allowing you to take easy prizes and/or disruptive KO’s. Due to Gyarados’s  high retreat cost, you’ll usually only level up after a Warp Energy, or after a KO. It’s a strong card in the Gyarados mirror match where it allows you to take easy prizes rather than hitting an opposing Gyarados (which will most likely be healed). Gusting is very good against SP in general, especially Luxchomp, although Luxray is a big Power Spray target, especially as Bright Look can’t be used twice in one turn (unless you’re running a 2-1 or 2-2 line, which would be very unusual).

*Dialga G Lv X – A card that is only really useful against Vileplume decks, mostly Gengar/Vileplume. Time Crystal shuts off Vileplume (and to a lesser extent, Spiritomb as well) which allows you to play all of your trainer cards again. Unfortunately, it is a Level Down Target, so it’s not that easy to simply use Warp Energy to get it to the bench and have it sitting there the whole game. Usually, you will level it up, play all the trainers you need, then Poke Turn it back to your hand, and bench Dialga G again, and rinse and repeat when necessary. This helps because it allows you to play all of your trainer cards which can be useful for anything from healing (SSU) to extra damage (Poke Turn) to search cards (Luxury Ball), but it also allows you to reduce your trainer count for Poltergeist.

Despite Vileplume being the main reason for Dialga G Lv X being a possible tech, it can also shut off Poke-Bodies such as mew prime's Lost Link, effectively crushing Mewperior decks and Time Crystal can also shut off Scizor Prime's Poke-Body too. But as a general rule, Vileplume would be the main reason for Dialga G Lv X's inclusion.

*Ditto LA – Ditto is a very specific tech:  it gives Gyarados a much stronger mirror match-up because its Poke-body, Ditto DNA, allows you to have 4 Magikarp in the discard pile and copy the opposing Gyarados’s Tail Revenge for 120 damage, scoring easier KOs. Ditto even keeps the active Pokemon’s HP, can use Rescue Energy ,and be recovered by Pokemon Rescue and Combee just like Magikarp, which means Ditto alone can OHKO several Gyarados. If you are going to play Ditto, watch out for your opponent triple-Flash Biting your Ditto, then sending up a Magikarp or Unown Q, meaning Ditto has 30 HP and is KO’d.

*Blissey Prime HS – While not particularly popular, or an outright amazing/match-up winning tech, Blissey Prime can be a very useful in giving you a free heal on Gyarados, as well as any other Pokemon that may have been damaged (which generally isn’t too useful). A nice bonus is that you can Seeker up Blissey instead of having to find a Warp Energy/Warp Point to get Gyarados to the bench to heal; the downside, though, is that Blissey can be Psychic Binded, and any Rescue Energy on Gyarados will be discarded if you want to heal, so make sure you play intelligently.

Another less obvious use for Blissey prime is to act as a sponge for Warp Point (and similar powers like Infernape 4 Lv X’s Intimidating Roar). While Gyarados has great HP, the deck usually has a bench littered with low HP Pokemon, and as such, Blissey Prime is good against the mirror match, where Warp Points are very strong cards as they usually allow an OHKO on a weaker benched Pokemon.

*Uxie Lv X LA – A card that can be fit in relatively easily, Uxie Lv X helps give the deck additional drawmid-to-late game.  While not absolutely necessary, Uxie Lv X can give Gyarados a slight card advantage which can win close games, especially match-ups like the mirror where it’s a real war of attrition.

*Pokemon Reversal – While flippy, Pokemon Reversal can win games by getting easy and/or disruptive prizes. It is especially strong in Gyarados’s Luxchomp match-up because it allows Gyarados to either OHKO Lucario GL, which may mean that Luxray GL Lv. X can never OHKO a Gyarados. It also allows the Gyarados player to KO a benched Luxray GL that the Luxchomp player may be building up .
All in all, this Junk Arm-able card, if well-timed, can pave the way for amazing comebacks.

*Poke Blower + - In a similar vein to Pokemon Reversal, Poke Blower + allows you to gust up a benched Pokemon of your opponent’s, but instead of a single flip, you need 2 Poke Blower for a guarantee. On average, this makes it slightly weaker, but the guarantee helps somewhat, as Junk Arm makes it easier to re-use. Another good effect of Poke Blower is that you can play just 1 down, and, on a flip, get the equivalent of a Flash Bite. If you’re 10 shy of a KO, this can be a nice bonus.

So which one to play? In my opinion, if you have 4 slots to devote to either card, Poke Blower + is better, but any less and Pokemon Reversal becomes the superior option, simply because you need 2 Poke Blower + at a time to get full usage out of it.

*Skunktank G PL – Skunktank G is, in my opinion, a very underrated and underused tech in Gyarados. It can act as an extra 10 damage, but also allows you bypass the effects of Fainting Spell and Rescue Energy relatively easily. It’s not hard to get around poisoning yourself either, with Warp Energy, or using it after a KO (when you promote a Pokemon, poison, then retreat) or use it after SSU’s Gyarados. Solid card, better for lists with 4 BTS though.

*Volkner’s Philosophy – Volkner’s is probably the most popular draw Supporter in Gyarados decks, due to its ability to discard Magikarps as well as draw cards. In terms of its raw drawpower strength, it is generally inferior to cards like Copycat but the fact that it can also discard Magikarps (especially through Impersonate) makes it a very legitimate option to even run 2 or more of in your deck.

*Cynthia’s Feelings – Yet another draw Supporter, Cynthia’s is obviously best used after a KO. While a good card, often Gyarados decks can “tank’ and heal and can go several turns without giving up a KO (especially in the mirror match) which means Cynthia might have to wait to be played until a Pokemon of yours does get KO’d, which can make it slightly inferior to other options.

*Judge – Generally a one-of card, it can be a nice disruption card that your opponent will rarely expect. Judge can also hurt your own set-up, so make sure the odds are in your favor of recovering better than your opponent.

*Looker’s Investigation – Similar to Judge, with more flexibility. Since you can either shuffle in yours or your opponents, and get to see your opponent’s hand before doing so, it’s usually the better card and is not as prone to backfiring like Judge is.

*Twins – Yet another one-of Supporter, Twins is particularly useful for searching specific, otherwise-unsearchable cards out of your deck. It is not suggested to run Twins in lists that also run Poke Drawer +.

*Black Belt – In a similar vein to Twins, Black Belt is usually a 1-of card in Gyarados and can only be used when behind on prizes. Fortunately, Black belt’s strong effect makes up for it. An extra 40 damage can mean unexpected OHKO’s on Pokemon like Expert Belted Luxray GL Lv X’s (an issue for Gyarados decks due to them being difficult to KO) and opposing Gyarados’, especially Belted ones.

If I have missed any techs that you have played or seen played and you think warrant a spot in Gyarados lists, please let me know.

[HT EDIT: Commenting is currently unavailable, so please redirect any feedback to fffuuuu here: http://heytrainer.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=2420]


*Luxchomp: The most successful deck for City Championships, Luxchomp is a very close match-up for Gyarados. Usually, Luxchomp will get a prize or two ahead, but Gyarados is very capable of coming back. A Tail Revenge for 90 is 20 off KO’ing a Luxray GL Lv X and Garchomp C Lv X, so either two Crobat G’s or Expert Belt allows you to OHKO. Luxchomps will usually try to take the first KO with Garchomp c Lv X, preferring to save their Luxray GL Lv X’s for mid-to-late game.

From there on, the match-up becomes a trade in prizes and resources. Make sure you can always recover Gyarados and always attempt to get a prize a turn. It can get tricky, but like all match-ups, this is an especially important one to think a few turns ahead.

Mesprit helps enormously against Luxchomp: an Expert Belted Gyarados, along with Psychic Bind, makes it impossible for your opponent’s Luxray GL Lv X to OHKO your Gyarados, and can be re-used with SSU and Seeker (Mesprit getting Sprayed is also an issue – stock up on those SSU/Seeker/Junk Arms). This can turn the tables around and can win a close game. Your opponent will try to use Dragon Rush for an easy prize on turns that they are Psychic Binded.

Another thing to watch out for is the Expert Belted Luxray GL Lv X. This can be very difficult to OHKO and can OHKO Gyarados’ regardless of Psychic Bind. Most lists don’t run Expert Belt, and even then it can be hard to get out for your opponent, but if you ever find yourself staring down an Expert Belted Luxray GL Lv X, it can be difficult. OHKO’ing it is obviously the first priority but sometimes that can’t be done, especially if your opponent has stocked up on Power Sprays. Depending on the prize count, it’s possible to use Regi Move and/or Warp Point to take easier KO’s around it but that doesn’t work if you’re behind in prizes. If you know your opponent runs Expert Belt and especially if you forsee them being able to Belt a Luxray X, try to stockpile ways to re-use Flash Bite in your hand, along with Expert Belt, to OHKO it.

Gusting cards like Pokemon Reversal, should you run them, help a lot in this match-up as well. Just make sure you use your resources wisely and probability is your friend here (as it is in Pokemon in general).

*Gengar/Vileplume: Vileplume is an absolute pain for any Gyarados deck because it prevents crucial trainer cards from being played like Luxury Ball, Super Scoop Up, Pokemon Rescue, etc.
Gyarados is a faster deck than Genplume is, even under an early trainer lock, so generally Gyarados will get the first 1-2 prizes, then will start having to deal with Gengars.

Fainting Spell is difficult to get around. It’s possible to hit for 90, then Flash Bite twice (either with two Crobat G’s or 1 Crobat G and a Seeker) but this can be prevented by a timely Level Up into a Gengar Lv X, messing with the damage calculations. Another possible option is to attach to an Uxie the turn you hit for 90 with Gyarados, so you can Warp Energy Gyarados to the bench and Psychic Restore Uxie under for the KO, avoiding Fainting Spell, but this is generally very hard to pull off. Because it’s difficult to avoid Fainting Spell, often you’ll have to go straight into it, meaning flips often determine the outcome of this match-up.

In terms of what Gengar’s attacks can do to you, Poltergeist is a weapon and needs to immediately be kept in check by using Regice to discard any excess trainer cards from your hand (unless you’re playing Dialga G Lv X in which case you should save them so you can use them after a level Up. Even then though, discarding some trainers is often the correct play). Once you do this, Gengar will have trouble KO’ing Gyarados without Fainting Spell and will usually attempt to take its prizes by Shadow Rooming your bench.
Luckily, all of the bench sitters with Poke-Powers have more than 60 HP, so against most lists they will have to Shadow Room a benched target twice to get a KO. Because of this, Seeker helps tremendously in denying prizes.

Recovering Gyarados is difficult because Pokemon Rescue cannot be used under a trainer lock and Rescue Energy is often bypassed due to Fainting Spell KO’ing Gyarados. This is the match-up where you will use Combee and 2-3 of your Gyarados. Combee can be Seeker’d up as well to re-use Honey.

This match-up depends a lot on techs, too. If the Gyarados player runs either Dialga G Lv X or Skunktank G they should tilt the match-up in their favor but otherwise it’s a very tight struggle with the slight favor going to the Gengar/Vileplume player. Not only Gyarados’ techs affect the game, but Gengar’s do as well. Any gusting tech like Zangoose or Froslass GL can bring up Regice, allowing the Gengar player to snipe around it and cause you real trouble if you can’t find a Warp Energy. Additionally, if the Gengar player plays Crobat G they can get OHKO’s with Shadow Room with relative ease, making the prize trade favorable to them (and every time you play a Seeker, they get to pick it back up to play it again for another OHKO on any 70 HP Pokemon with a Poke-power).

These games will usually start off with Gyarados taking the first 1-2 prizes, then both decks two-shotting each other with Gyarados being able to Seeker to avoid some KO’s but the Gengar player picking up some extra ones with Fainting Spell. Any KO’s the Gyarados player gets by hitting for 90, then double Flash Biting also help tremendously. However, Gyarados has a slight issue in terms of recovery and can stall out for a turn or two while it needs to search out and recover Combee while also searching out another Gyarados (often done with the aid of Sableye).

There’s also the issue of Gyarados being a lot stronger in matchplay games, which can give the deck a slight edge in topcut games due to Gengar/Vileplume’s slow speed.

[HT EDIT - to elaborate on this point, keep in mind the rules in match play: if time+3 is called during game two, then whoever is ahead in prizes that game is declared its winner. What I interpret fffuuuu to be hinting at is a situation that pans out where, due to little fault of either player, Vilegar wins game one of a 2/3 match with little time on the clock left for game two. Gyarados then proceeds to establish a 1-2 prize lead, drags it past the “+3” turns, and brings the game into a sudden death, which he/she also wins due to its stellar match play.

So in essence, Gyarados can win an entire top cut match with a grand total of 2-3 prizes, and no full games. Chew on that for a bit…]

*Mirror: Obviously Gyarados isn't exempt from playing against itself in tournaments, which isn't unlikely due to its popularity.
As for the match-up, it’s usually a slugfest, with one deck taking the early KO, then oftenm a few OHKO’s with Belted Tail Revenges here or there, but the game will usually go into a steady “Hit for 90, heal Gyarados, hit for 90, heal Gyarados” etc. phase. The more times you can OHKO your opponent (either with Flash Bites, Skunktank G, etc.), the more times you can heal with SSU and Seeker, and the more times you can take cheap prizes (Warp Point, Reversal etc.) will almost certainly determine the winner.

It’s not a particularly complicated: Mesprit can be an interesting card in the mirror to slow the opponent’s game early on by preventing Regi Move, Set Up and Time Walk and in theory you could get a good 2-3 prize lead by re-using Mesprit if your opponent’s hand isn’t strong enough. But as a general rule, this match-up doesn’t have too many complicated dynamics to it; it’s basically just a prize trade.

*Dialga/Garchomp: Dialgachomp is generally an easier match-up than Luxchomp is: Dialga G Lv X cannot OHKO Gyarados 99% of the time, so you can Warp/Seeker or SSU the damage off usually. Regice plays an important role also, in switching out a tanked Dialga G Lv X that you may not be otherwise able to KO for an easier prize. Like Luxchomp, Dialgachomp will use Garchomp C Lv X to get easy Dragon Rush OHKO’s off your bench as well.

Lists that run Skunktank G and Stadiums are generally harder to beat, as poison can bypass Rescue Energy and the Stadiums counter BTS. Without another BTS, you won’t be able to effectively heal or recover Gyarados and they can generally bypass Rescue Energy as well (or remove the energy with Remove Lost) so against lists that run Stadiums, try not to discard any excess BTS because each because nearly every copy is important. Gyarados lists with 4 Broken Time-Space will find it easier than ones with 3 in this match-up.
If everything goes right for Gyarados, the prize trade works out in your favor. The main issue is if you get stuck without a BTS (which also means that even if you recover Magikarp, as soon as you play it down it will get Dragon Rushed).

It’s a generally favorable match-up, but a good Dialgachomp player will often be able to exploit your mistakes, so play carefully.

*Machamp: Machamp isn’t as popular as the aforementioned decks, which means it’s difficult to acknowledge a “universal’ list.
All Machamp decks will run Machamp SF and will usually get 1-2 prizes ahead with Take Out, although, it’s possible for Gyarados to take the first prize as well. Due to Machamp’s heavy reliance on Uxie’s Set Up it’s possible to stall their set-up for consecutive turns while you start taking prizes.

If you can OHKO Machamp SF, do so. They will generally follow up with Machamp Prime which is nearly impossible to OHKO, so it’s better to use your extra-damage resources OHKO’ing their early Machamp SF.

Once their early SF Machamp goes down, most Machamp builds will try to get out two Machamp Primes and rotate between them with Fighting Tag while healing with Seeker. Fortunately for Gyarados, they are incredibly unlikely to ever score an OHKO on you, so both decks should 2HKO each other. Gyarados has more healing and can use Mesprit to prevent the Machamp player’s Fighting Tag, meaning unless they want to retreat it, it’s stuck active and will be KO’d.

Another thing to consider is Gyarados is easier to recover than Machamp Prime (most Machamp decklists don’t play many recovery cards, either) so all of this means Gyarados is a strong favorite over Machamp, although builds vary and it’s difficult to pin down any specific list or strategy.


Overall, Gyarados is a consistent, reasonably fast, high damaging deck with a lot of healing options and room to tech certain cards. It was the 2nd most successful deck for City Championships for good reason – It’s really good!

So here ends the article! Thanks go to Jason and Johnathon for giving input on the article and for their extensive knowledge on the deck, as well as playtesting.

Thanks for reading and don’t be afraid to give Gyarados a shot at your next tournament! Happy testing everybody!

Posted by: HeyTrainer (written by fffuuuu) on 2011-01-28 16:38:02 • Tags: Gyarados Austino Pokemon Pokemon trading card game ptcg gdos junk arm volkner volkner's philosophy heytrainer ht hey trainer heytrainer.org heytrainer.com fffuuuu call of legends triumphant junk arm seeker warp point warp energy

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As mentioned in our last entry, Roland A. (a.k.a., "fffuuuu") submitted an excellent Gyarados article. Since it is a very lengthy, dense read, I decided to split it up into two parts:

*Part 1: a sample deck list with card explanations
*Part 2: other options, and match-up explanations

I have also sought out Austin B/Austino (Gyarados pro and author of the previous "retro" post),and he is interested in writing a response article, discussing his radically different philosophy on the deck.




By Roland A./"fffuuuu"

At the turn of the new season, the format changed to Majestic Dawn-On, and Gyarados seemed to be nearly dead. With the loss of Felicity’s Drawing, the deck had a great trouble with consistency and speed.

However, help was to come in the next set: Triumphant, which provided the deck with all the new tools that would give it success. Junk Arm, Seeker and Rescue Energy made Gyarados faster, more versatile and offered many healing and recovery options and with the start of City Championships the deck became top tier. With the relative speed, high damage output, high HP and gross amounts of ways the deck had to heal off damage, the deck thrived and, with the almost-complete data we have of CC wins, was the second most successful deck, behind Luxchomp.

Throughout this article I will be explaining the deck’s fundamental strategy and key cards, providing advice on match-ups, and suggesting options for specific techs.

Basic Overview of Strategy

No matter what your Gyarados list looks like, it will have the same fundamental strategy. The deck aims to discard 3 Magikarps and hit for a base damage of 90 with Gyarados’ Tail Revenge attack, all for no energy. How does it do that? By utilizing Junk Arms, Pokemon Collector, Regice, Sableye and Smeargle, the deck will usually start hitting for 90 on Turn 2-3. If it can get set up fast enough, doing 60 damage is also acceptable to KO opponent’s low-HP Basic Pokemon early on.

What happens when your Gyarados gets damaged? Cards like Super Scoop Up (SSU) and the Warp Energy/Seeker combo are important ways to heal your Gyarados when it gets damaged. The specific counts of these cards vary from list to list – I’ve seen lists with no Seeker, and lists with no SSU. And it is up to you on what you play, and how many of each card you play, as these counts depend on personal preference and metagame. Either way, healing Gyarados is a fundamental aspect of the deck.

But if you’ve got 3 Magikarp in the discard pile and one Gyarados in play, what happens when your Gyarados gets KO’d? There are 3 main ways to prevent or recover from this: Rescue Energy, Pokemon Rescue and Combee SF. These cards all allow you to at least recover your 4th Magikarp back, so you can play down a Broken Time-Space and evolve right back to Gyarados, and start hitting again, for no energy. While Gyarados is a deck that cannot swarm, it does have a speedy recovery system to compensate.

Sample List, along with overview of specific cards

Pokemon – 20
4 Magikarp Stormfront ("SF")
3 Gyarados SF
3 Sableye SF
1 Smeargle Undaunted ("UD")
2 Uxie Legends Awakened ("LA")
1 Azelf LA
1 Mesprit LA
1 Combee SF
1 Regice LA
1 Unown Q Majestic Dawn ("MD")
2 Crobat G Platinum ("PL")

Trainers/Supporters/Stadiums – 34
4 Pokemon Collector
4 Junk Arm
4 Broken Time-Space
2 Luxury Ball
1 Pokemon Communication
1 Bebe’s Search
1 Copycat
4 Poke Drawer+
4 Super Scoop Up
3 Seeker
2 Expert Belt
1 Team Galactic’s Invention G-105 Poke Turn
1 Warp Point
1 VS Seeker
1 Pokemon Rescue

Energy – 6
3 Warp
3 Rescue


4 Magikarp SF – Magikarp has to be one of the worst basics in the game. With 30 HP and no particuarly strong attacks to make up for it, Magikarp is a Turn 1 win waiting to happen. Magikarp’s 30 HP is especially bad because if you don’t draw into a Broken Time-Space, you’ll need to play it down on the bench to evolve to Gyarados next turn, where it can be easily KO’d thanks to its low HP, either by Crobat G/Poke Turns or Bright Look. Mesprit can help with preventing your Magikarp KO’d this way in some situations, but always be careful.

The Stormfront one is widely considered the best due to its Sea Spray attack. When you can’t retreat to a Sableye/Smeargle, or attack with Gyarados (which is almost always when you open with Magikarp going first, which happens to be the situation you’re most likely to get donked in), it can be decent to draw cards, which averages at a bit under 1 heads. Essentially though, Magikarps are just there to be discarded, although one will have to be used to evolve into a Gyarados.

3 Gyarados SF – The real powerhouse of the deck, Gyarados clocks in at a whopping 130 HP, which is amazing for a Stage 1 card. Gyarados’ high HP, along with Expert Belt allows the deck to “tank” with SSU’s and Warp Energy/Seeker. Tail Revenge is the only attack which is actually useable in a conventional Gyarados deck, but it is incredibly strong. For no energy, with 3 Magikarps in the discard pile, it can deal a base of 90 damage. With Regice and Junk Arms, Magikarps can be discarded with relative ease. However, since you’ll want 3 Magikarps in the discard pile to hit for maximum damage, and one under Gyarados, the 4th Magikarp will need to be recovered.

Gyarados has a Lightning Weakness, which is probably one of the worst in the format due to the prominence of Luxray GL Lv X. However, it is only +30, so for Luxray GL to OHKO Gyarados, it will need a Lucario GL on the bench. Since Luxray GL is really the only popular card that exploits the Weakness, I’ll just talk more about it in the match-up section. Gyarados has a useful Fighting Resistance, which gives the deck a favorable Machamp match-up:  Machamp SF will do negligible damage to Gyarados, and Machamp Prime will find it nearly impossible to OHKO a Gyarados in one hit, allowing you the chance to Seeker or SSU the damage off. Gyarados’s 3 Retreat cost is not ideal, and is the reason the deck plays Warp Energy, so that Gyarados can get to the bench to be Seeker’d up.

Why 3 Gyarados and not 4? Ever since Rescue Energy came out, 3 has been the universally accepted play, due to the fact that Rescue Energy, the deck’s main form of recovery, gets back both your Magikarp and your Gyarados, so you don’t need that many Gyarados. Of course, it’s nice to have some for back-up, in case you can’t get a Rescue Energy on Gyarados before it gets KO’d. In that case, Pokemon Rescue or Combee will get back your Magikarp, and then another Gyarados can be used to evolve into.

3 Sableye SF – Sableye is an incredibly useful card to assist set-up and is played solely for its Impersonate attack. Opening with a Sableye allows you to use a Pokemon Collector Turn 1 to get Magikarps, Regice, Unown Q, Uxie or anything else you may immediately need.

The fact that you are forced to go first if you open with it is arguably a detriment, as it increases your opponent’s chances of getting a first turn KO, which, even if they don’t bench you out and “donk” you, is still a bad thing as it allows them to take an early prize. However, a good example of how going first can be a good thing is against an SP deck such as Luxray/Garchomp. Most SP decks can only realistically get KO’s on Turn 2, the earliest turn they can level up their SP basics. With Sableye’s 60 HP, colorless resistance and the fact that if you open with it you are going first, it is incredibly unlikely for a Luxchomp deck to get a first turn KO, which means if your set up is strong enough, you can possibly get the first prize on Turn 2, or if your set-up is slightly weaker, on Turn 3, meaning the opposing player will only get 0-1 early prize cards respectively, which is important in such a close match-up.

4 Sableye could be played to maximize your odds of opening with it, and that is of course an option. Remember, this list is just a sample list and all of your card counts can be played around with a lot – Gyarados is a very malleable deck.

1 Smeargle UD – Smeargle is used for its Poke-Power Portrait, which basically lets you use a Supporter in your opponent’s hand. This obviously helps with set up, both early-game and later on. Generally this card will have an Unown Q attached to it, allowing you to promote it after a KO, or a Warp Energy (often followed by a Seeker) and get a use of its Power, then retreat to Gyarados to attack. Another overlooked usage of this card to see what’s in your opponent’s hand. This can influence your decisions in-game, especially when to use Mesprit’s Psychic Bind or not.

A large proportion of Gyarados lists run a higher Smeargle count over Sableye (such as 3 Smeargle/1 Sableye or 4 Smeargle/1 Sableye). The reasoning is that if you Portrait your opponent’s Pokemon Collector, some Gyarados builds can absolutely “go off” and even hit for 90/110 damage Turn 1. Of course, these builds almost always run 1 Sableye as well, so even if you can’t “go off”, you can still Impersonate that turn, as well as your Portrait.

So why play more Sableye than Smeargle? It is definitely a preference thing, but I prefer the slightly slower, more consistent and reliable high Sableye count, but others prefer the high-risk, high-reward Smeargle. It also depends on what your list looks like: if it’s designed for maximum speed and consistency, then a higher Smeargle count is probably a better option. Another thing to consider is the odds of Portraiting a good supporter on Turn 1. Most decks run 3-4 Pokemon Collector, undoubtedly the best Supporter you can use Portrait on early game. Off an average of 6-7 cards, your odds of Portraiting it turn 1 are approximately 30-40% respectively. Every other time, you’ll usually be playing a Supporter that’s less helpful. Remember though, every list varies and there’s really no right or wrong as to what you play.

2 Uxie LA – Uxie is a card used in virtually every deck, and for good reason. Its Set-Up Poke-Power allows decks to be fast and to draw into crucial cards, and Gyarados is no exception. Some lists even run 3, but generally 2 is the best count due to bench space constraints. Psychic Restore can be a good attack in some situations, such as bypassing Gengar’s Fainting Spell attack, but it generally won’t be used too much. Uxie’s power can be re-used with SSU and Seeker if necessary, which is a very nice bonus.

1 Azelf LA – Gyarados is a deck that absolutely needs this, simply for the fact that the deck cannot afford to have any Magikarps sitting in the prizes, in order to achieve Tail Revenge’s full damage output.

One thing people need to be aware of before using Azelf is not to give away to your opponent that something important is prized. Example: You open Sableye, go first and Impersonate, only to find that 2 of your Magikarps are prized. You explicitly complain that several Magikarps are prized and Impersonate. Your opponent then drops a Mesprit on you and prevents you from using Time Walk, severely limiting your ability to do anything.

It sounds like an extreme example, but I have seen and heard of plenty of players giving away too much information of their prize cards which then subsequently gets punished. Power Spray is also another application of this point. If you have a Magikarp prized, don’t tell them, then Azelf, realizing they “know” (unless we’re going to get into a whole bluffing situation, but let’s just assume they know you’re trustworthy) you prized a Magikarp, subsequently get Sprayed.

If your prizes are terrible enough to warrant multiple uses of Time Walk, Azelf can be re-used by SSU and Seeker. Just remember: don’t make it obvious to your opponent about your situation. That’s not to say Azelf is just for Magikarp though, as Time Walk can allow you access to any of the one-of cards Gyarados decks play, like Regice, Combee and Unown Q, or even cards you have multiple of like Uxie and Gyarados.

Another use for Azelf is to map out your prizes. This is especially valid now that notes are allowed to be taken on which of your prize cards are where. The difference between nabbing an excess BTS and a clutch SSU out of your prizes can change the game, so don’t waste your opportunity to make sure you know which prizes of where, regardless of your method (just remember, be sure to do it in a timely manner!).

1 Mesprit LA – This is an interesting tech card that is played in most Gyarados builds for a variety of reasons. Psychic Bind is a very potent power, and can be incredibly disruptive when timed right. It can slow down the opponent’s set up early-game by preventing Set Up, Time Walk, QUICK, Portrait etc. but it can also prevent important Poke-powers mid-game like Flash Bite, preventing OHKO’s on Gyarados, so Gyarados can subsequently be healed. This strategy is especially important in the Luxchomp match-up, making an Expert Belted Gyarados unable to be OHKO’d by Luxray GL Lv X, even with Trash Bolt and Lucario GL.

Mesprit plays an important role in Gyarados’s Luxchomp match-up, as well as being a great disruptive card early on in the game, and is re-usable through SSU and Seeker.

1 Combee SF –Combee’s use lies in its Ability “Honey”, allowing you to recover your 4th Magikarp from the discard and follow up with an evolution to Gyarados. It recovers Magikarp in spite of trainer-prevention (mainly Vileplume Undaunted, and also works as an easily searchable way of recovering Magikarp.

1 Regice LA – Mainly a card used for discarding Magikarps, Regice can be Collector’d for, discarding two Magikarps at a time. This allows Gyarados to have a speedy set up in case you can’t draw into a Junk Arm, or to be used in conjunction with Junk Arm to discard 3 Magikarps in one turn.

Regice also has other uses, such as switching out a Spiritomb, or disrupt setups. Regice can also discard useless trainer cards from your hand against Vileplume decks, especially to limit the damage output of attacks like Gengar’s Poltergeist.

It has a very large retreat cost, which means that it can be dragged up in certain match-ups (Luxray GL LV.X Bright Look, Blaziken FB Luring Flame, Froslass GL, etc). Warp Energy and Warp Point are ways to get Regice out of the active spot so it’s not stuck there while your opponent snipes around it.

1 Unown Q MD –QUICK allows you to freely retreat Smeargles, Sableyes and many other basics in your deck. Unown Q does have a downside though: its 30 HP, which can lead to it being donked even if your opponent goes first ( Uxie + energy or a Luxray GL/Garchomp C + DCE). But despite this, Unown Q generally helps the flexibility and speed of the deck in general by not having to waste an energy attachment (An issue, since most Gyarados builds play six or less).

Here is a good video of Unown Q in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qYCC...eature=channel

2 Crobat G PL –The ability to get 10, 20, 30 or even more damage from nowhere with Crobat G’s “Flash Bite”/Poke Turn/SSU/Seeker is incredible, and leads to unexpected OHKO’s. Unlike a lot of other “tech” cards played in Gyarados, Crobat G isn’t even a bad starter, thanks to its free Retreat and 80 HP. Flash Bite can even be used to get around effects and Poke-Powers like Rescue Energy and Fainting Spell. Overall, Crobat G is a very strong addition to Gyarados decks.


4 Pokemon Collector – Pokemon Collector is vital to the speed and consistency of Gyarados: letting you grab any 3 basic Pokemon allows the deck to get all the Magikarp it needs for immediate discard with other cards. It is also useful mid-to-late game as well, grabbing basics you might need like Crobat G, Mesprit, Combee and so forth (not to say those cards can’t be used early-game too).

4 is the universally “correct” number because you always want to have it in your opening hand. Pokemon Collector, being a Supporter obviously, can be used with Impersonate.

4 Junk Arm – Junk Arm lets you discard any two cards (most likely Magikarps) immediately, without even having to use a Supporter, while letting you re-use any of the trainers in your deck, such as SSU, Poke Drawer + and Pokemon Rescue, etc. Unfortunately, it’s necessary to have a Trainer card in the discard pile to use Junk Arm, but with the high amount of Trainers played, it’s not such a big issue.

4 Broken Time-Space – Broken Time-Space (“BTS”) allows you to immediately evolve Magikarp straight to Gyarados. For early-game speed, healing, and recovery,  four are in this build because it’s essential to have, even if that 1 BTS will last the rest of the game (which it will against most match-ups). Some lists can get away with 3, especially with the Poke Drawer +, but it can be a bit of a risk.

2 Luxury Ball – Luxury Ball is usually a one-of in most decks, but 2 are run here because the excess copy can be discarded. Luxury Ball is almost always better than Pokemon Communication, but 2 is probably the max that would be considered, due to the fact it can’t be used if one is already in your discard pile.

1 Pokemon Communication – This card acts as a sort of “3rd search” Trainer, but since you can use it whenever, it takes the spot of the 3rd Luxury Ball. Shuffling in useless Pokemon can be useful though, to get more cards from Uxie’s Set Up.

1 Bebe’s Search – If Luxury Ball and Pokemon Communication do basically the same thing as Bebe’s Search while being trainers, then why run Bebe’s Search at all? Basically, it helps with trainer lock, but still helps the deck’s overall consistency somewhat and can be Impersonated regardless of the situation. Some lists run 2, in case your 1 Bebe’s is prized or if you opponent plays a Lookers/Judge once you Impersonate, but due to space constraints, only 1 is run here.

1 Copycat – This card will probably be sticking out like a sore thumb to most readers, but it’s a solid draw supporter, and 1 or 2 draw supporters is never a bad idea in Gyarados.

Why having a draw supporter is good: Any draw supporter you run 1-2 (or even more) of can be Impersonated with Sableye should you have a bad hand. They can also be re-used with VS Seeker, which can in turn be re-used by Junk Arm. More than that, though, draw supporters can allow you to draw into cards that you couldn’t otherwise get. It also takes some “pressure” off SSU and Seeker, so you don’t have to “waste” them re-using Uxie’s Set Up and can use them for other Poke-Powers. That said though, many Gyarados lists run fine without any draw supporters, but they can be a nice inclusion.

Why Copycat over all the other options: On average, Copycat is netting you more cards than the other draw in our format at the moment. Some legitimate options include, but aren’t limited to:
• Volkner’s Philosophy
• Cynthia’s Feelings
• Judge/Looker’s Investigation (more about disruption than raw drawpower but are still good options)
Again, like all deck choices, what draw supporter(s) you play, should you play any, come down to preference and metagame.

4 Poke Drawer + - Poke Drawer + is a card that helps consistency, especially midgame, by being able to search out any 2 cards in your deck if you have two copies of it in your hand. This is especially good at getting otherwise unsearchable cards like Rescue Energy, Seeker etc. and has great synergy with Junk Arm. It can also be played one at a time to draw 1 card, which can be OK if you’ve got a bad hand to get you a shot at drawing into something decent or to draw into a certain card you really need, but the main reason you’ll ever want to play only 1 at a time is if you need a trainer card in the discard pile to allow Junk Arm to be played. Most times you’ll want to save a copy in case you get a 2nd.

Poke Drawer + is an overall great trainer, but another less obvious effect of playing it is that it allows the Gyarados player to cut back on certain cards they run. Example: While some lists might run 3 Expert Belt to help draw into it, if you run 4 Poke Drawer, you can easily get away with 2. Poke Drawer also works well with 1-of cards in general. In this list - VS Seeker, Pokemon Rescue and Poke Turn especially.

4 Super Scoop Up (“SSU”) - its main use is for scooping up a damaged Gyarados, but it can be used to re-use Uxie, Azelf, Crobat G, or any other coming-into-play Poke-Power (or Item, like Combee’s Honey). SSU can be Junk Arm’d and is very good with Mesprit, especially when you’re trying to use it enough times to get past Power Spray.

3 Seeker – In a similar vein to SSU, Seeker is useful in picking up your damaged Gyarados/ reactivate coming-into-play powers. Unlike SSU, it only works on your benched Pokemon, lets your opponent pick up a benched Pokemon , and is a Supporter card; but the fact Seeker doesn’t make you have to flip makes it a very strong card. The Warp Energy (or Warp Point)/Seeker combo is a surefire way of healing your Gyarados.

Seeker counts vary between Gyarados lists, and with VS Seeker, I feel that 3 is a good number, but it really depends on the rest of your decklist, your metagame and your personal preferences so there really isn’t a “wrong” Seeker count.

2 Expert Belt – Expert Belt is a great card which has synergy with the high amount of cards that can scoop a damaged Gyarados back up. Play it down on your Gyarados to increase its damage output and increase its HP, then when it gets damaged, just Warp/Seeker or SSU. Once you run out of healing cards, you don’t have to play it down on Gyarados again so you don’t have to risk the extra prize card when Gyarados gets KO’d.

2 Expert Belt is almost certainly the right amount in any Gyarados that runs Poke Drawer + or even Twins. In 99% of games, 2 Expert Belts is all you’ll need, and considering it can be Junk Arm’d as well, in most lists 2 is the correct amount.

1 Poke Turn – Poke Turn is an interesting card for Gyarados lists. When Triumphant came out, most lists were playing 3-4, but as City Championships progressed, more and more people started cutting their Poke Turn counts and some even getting rid of them altogether for other cards that they considered better. Poke Turn is, predictably, for re-using Crobat G’s Poke-Power Flash Bite or for just scooping up Crobat G to play something else in its spot, or even to remove damage from a Crobat G by scooping it up. But just how useful is that extra 10 damage? That’s up for the player making the list to decide.

So why 1 Poke Turn in this list? The idea is that it can be searched out with Poke Drawer + and re-used with Junk Arm so it’s a nice 1-of card in this deck. While I didn’t feel it was useful enough to justify 3-4 slots in this particular build, it can be occasionally very useful.

1 Warp Point – Warp Point falls into a similar category as Poke Turn, being a nice 1-of trainer card which can be searched out with Poke Drawer + and also be Junk Arm’d. Warp Point is a useful card in its own right, while acting as a switch card (good for getting Gyarados to the bench to Seeker, getting Sableye out of the active spot, getting Regice out of the active spot etc.) while also being able to take cheap prizes. It can be disruptive early on in the game if your opponent hasn’t got a Pokemon to send up to “sacrifice” and sometimes Warp Points can net you disruptive KO’s on Pokemon your opponent didn’t want to lose, but a lot of times when you play this card it’s just going to get you an easy prize, which is a good thing.

1 VS Seeker – VS Seeker can act as another of any one of your supporters (once they’ve been played) and can also be Junk Arm’d. It’s not impossible to use 5-6 Seekers a game because of this and it generally allows flexibility. 2 is a nice play, but only 1 is played here due to space constraints.

1 Pokemon Rescue – Yet another 1-of Junk Arm-able trainer card, Pokemon Rescue performs a different role to the others in this deck. It is used for getting back Magikarp once your Gyarados gets KO’d. One could argue that a 4th Rescue Energy does the same thing but better, but in some situations Pokemon Rescue is superior (if they have bypassed Rescue Energy’s effect in some way, or if they were able to KO Gyarados before you could draw into a Rescue Energy – Pokemon Rescue can be used after your Gyarados is KO’d) and it can also be re-used with Junk Arm, hence the 3-1 Rescue Energy/Pokemon Rescue split in this particular build.


3 Warp Energy – Warp Energy is a card primarily used to get Gyarados back to the bench to Seeker up, but can also be used to get cards like Sableye, Smeargle and Regice out of the active spot. Only 3 are run due to space constraints and because once you get the Warp Energy/Seeker combo, you can just re-use the same Warp Energy over and over again.

3 Rescue Energy – Used to recover both Magikarp and Gyarados when KO’d. If Gyarados is KO’d with anything other than damage, Gyarados will be discarded, so watch out. Usually, the only ways the opponent can do that is through Flash Bites, which means they aren’t OHKO’ing so you can often scoop Gyarados up, but it can happen.
It doesn’t have to be used on just Gyarados though. In some match-ups you might even want to attach it to your Regice. It can even be used for retreating if necessary, although not desirable.


Posted by: HeyTrainer (written by fffuuuu) on 2011-01-28 16:07:46 • Tags: Gyarados Austino Pokemon Pokemon trading card game ptcg gdos junk arm volkner volkner's philosophy heytrainer ht hey trainer heytrainer.org heytrainer.com fffuuuu call of legends triumphant junk arm seeker warp point warp energy

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Sorry for not posting an update yesterday: we have many good things in store from here on out, and, due to a combination of league, procrastination, and a paper to write, I was unable to update. There were no Deck List Dumps I felt comfortable giving out, either because they were redundant with current material, soon-to-be redundant with imminent material within the next few days, or just plain not worth showing (Wailord is at least a fun deck idea to use at league, as well as to plan ahead for - I'm sure none of you were interested in my Apprentice list entitled "SP Vomit.dec"). 

Now, for my musing...

Is it weird that I find it easier to write over 4,500 words on Pokemon in a single article (my latest 6P Underground article, located at http://www.sixprizes.com/tips-and-strategy/bracing-32k-tips-maximizing-season/)...Than just 1,200 words on Political Science? Now keep in mind, I love both to death...But it is unfortunate that I currently don't have the same zeal for a academics/a good grade that I do for Pokemon/$ USD. I'm usually no slouch with this stuff: my GPR is great; I'm soon to graduate from a great university; and, up until this semester, I've been top tier with all my studying, etc. So what is it?

Can't be my prof...The dude's too unbelievably awesome.

Can't be my lack of aptitude for the material, because I've been studying the United States court systems for the past two years...



Perhaps it's just a mix of senioritis and the urge to train?

I think so, folks. I think so.

So that's just what's going on right now. Expect the following within the next few days/week or so:

*The continuation of my article arc on the top ten events in the Pokemon TCG community of 2010 (Ten in '10);
*The start of a new article arc on tournament cleanliness, by Drrty Byl;
*A new article (perhaps a new article arc) on draft, by Jimmy O'Brien;
*A new article, by Roland/fffuuuu from the boards; and
*Thoughts, feelings, and analysis of the new set: Call of Legends.

/blog: the lighter, fluffier side of the HeyTrainer coin.


Posted by: HeyTrainer on 2011-01-27 07:22:58 • Tags:

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Here at HeyTrainer, if we post something that holds a relatively high probability of being less than stellar, shaky, or just outright trash, we feel it's our obligation to inform you of this. Hence, we're quick to warn you on MANY things, including those aforementioned in yesterday's Palkia article.


(If it's an abomination, we here at /blog will be the first to tell you...No Skitty-Wailord spawn in these parts!)


Today, however, you should be afraid...Very afraid.

Warning: this deck list is not just rogue...It's super rogue.

Warning: this deck list is largely untested, and was made mainly just to challenge the notion that it's impossible to build the deck.

Warning: try beating Luxchomp consistently...Just try it! (But it does do better than you'd think.)

Pokémon (21):

3 Wailmer SV
3 Wailord TM
2 Totodile HS
2 Croconaw HS
2 Feraligatr Prime
4 Spiritomb AR
2 Uxie LA
1 Mesprit LA
1 Unown Q MD
1 Crobat G PL

    Trainers/Stadiums/Supporters (22):

4 Seeker
4 Bebe’s Search
4 Pokémon Collector
3 Broken Time-Space
2 Pokémon Communication
2 Expert Belt
2 Cynthia's Feelings
1 Luxury Ball

      Energy (17):

14 Water
3 Warp

Warp/Seeker works really nice when the subject of your deck is a 180 HP behemoth. For added fun, if you feel your consistency isn't that bad, consider running Super Scoop Ups, too!

Posted by: HeyTrainer on 2011-01-25 17:53:28 • Tags: Wailord Pokemon Feraligatr Skitty wailord on skitty action wailord-on-skitty action whats wailord doing to your children? tune in to the 9 o'clock news to find out anti-tags tagalong disco

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Pokemon (18):

3 Palkia G PL
1 Palkia G LV.X PL
3 Uxie LA
1 Uxie LV.X
4 Mesprit LA
1 Crobat G PL
1 Azelf LA
1 Unown Q MD
1 Bronzong G PL
1 Lucario GL RR
1 Toxicroak G PR

Trainers/Stadiums/Supporters (30):

4 Cyrus's Conspiracy
4 Pokemon Collector
4 Energy Gain
4 Poke Turn
4 Super Scoop Up
3 Seeker
2 SP Radar
2 Power Spray
1 Premier Ball
1 Pokemon Communication
1 Aaron's Collection

Energy (12):

5 Water
4 Call
2 SP
1 Psychic

(Is that it? Is that Palkia G?!)
[I don't think it is...Damn...]

The idea is pretty simple: use Mesprit's Psychic Bind to repeatedly assure a power lock for the whole game by means of Super Scoop Up and Seeker. The list could definitely use some hand disruption to make things extra cooler: Giratina PL, Judge, and/or Looker's Investigation are all awesome choices.

This is definitely atypical for SP, and - as qualified - could very well be terrible beyond belief. However, it's pretty easy to make tweaks to make this a more standard SP. It may take some work to do it, but you can feasibly fit 3-1 garchomp, 4 Double Colorless Energy, and an Ambipom G and/or Dragonite FB to make things work.

Also, to accommodate for your presumably horrid Lostgar (Gengar Prime Triumphant/Lost World Call of Legends) matchup, you might consider running Absol G LV.X, Chatot G, and a Lost World or three of your own.

(There...That's better.)

'Til next time,


Posted by: Heytrainer on 2011-01-24 23:01:48 • Tags: Kingdra Prime Heytrainer Pokemon Luxchomp Dialga Kingdra Kingdra LA Spray Splash Poke-Power Pokemon Unleashed Palkia Palkia G Palkia G LV.X pokemon blue eyes white dragon holy trinity

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Just started exercising the media arm a bit today, what with the new facebook group and all. Hopefully, there'll be more "get out the word" attempts within the next few days. Other than that, no big updates today, but expect some pretty interesting new articles within the next few days, including the next part or two of the "ten in '10" series. If you're new, be sure to RSS us : it's the fastest, easiest way to get updates on the site!

Until next time...


Posted by: Heytrainer on 2011-01-23 18:10:37 • Tags:

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Carrying on with our "Ten in '10" series, here are the next two in my list of top ten events for the Pokemon TCG community this season...

#8: U.S. Nationals Moving Back to Indianapolis

(...Why are we all sitting Indian Style in Indianapolis?)

Apologies for the disgusting pun - just thought I'd bring that to your attention.

Why it mattered: After U.S. Nationals vacating the Origins Game Convention, the event's uncertainty was left up in the air. In 2009 we saw it in the (poor) location of downtown St. Louis, Missouri; and in 2010, we saw it arrive in Indianapolis, although not without a long wait.

This year, after much positive feedback, Play! Pokemon was pleased to quickly announce Nationals would - again - be in Indianapolis, Indiana. Does this mean that Nats's new "permanent" location will be this city? Only time will tell...

#7: Sixprizes Underground 

(What, you mean it's NOT free?!)

      Why it mattered: Unlike the other two leading trading card games, Magic and Yu-Gi-Oh, high-quality Pokemon Trading Card Game information is unusually scarce, and consistent quality is even scarcer. As a result, many new, independent organizations sought to remedy this void in the community, including SixPrizes.com (ranked as the second most significant event of 2009 by me), HeyTrainer.org (ranked fourth), and Jwittz's youtube videos (ranked tenth).

However, the great challenge faced by any community older than a year is keeping its content fresh and strong. Since the youtube market was relatively untapped, Josh W. didn't have to do much work at all to keep things fresh; however, Sixprizes and HeyTrainer faced this issue in spades. The latter's answer - our answer - was this blog, which seeks to offer an extremely consistent stream of high-quality content, which doesn't require filtering through a message board. SixPrizes's answer?

"Underground": the first Pokemon TCG pay site in over two years. For $15/month, you can read content written by some of the best and/or most recognizable names in the community, including yours truly. From the latest cutting-edge lists, to more long-term principles, the staff is well equipped to make this a worthwhile service...

...For those who want to pay. The preceding pay site, thetopcut.com, charged its members a mere $5/month, which was considered well below peoples' "pain threshold." But is $15 per month worth it? Many of the site's subscribers swear by Underground, but several others...Not so much.

Regardless of whether it's a product worth buying (I hope you buy it, because I get paid more if you do!), the fact of the matter is that it is catching attention, and has revived a previously untapped element in the card community. Whether it will remain is unknown...

Posted by: Heytrainer on 2011-01-22 20:36:21 • 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

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A fairly popular article on my site last year was the "2009's Top Ten Most Signifcant Events" series, where I discussed ten major moments in the Pokemon TCG community.

Now that 2010 has been a thing of the past for three weeks, and now that we have /blog, I think that it's time to offer up a sequel to that segment...On the perfect platform!

In formulating this list, the main problem I had was that we didn't really have much in the way of new developments? What we did have, however, could be summarized in three words:

Evolution; lack; and stagnation.

What came about last year (HeyTrainer, Sixprizes, youtube videos) has built on its foundation; evolution.

Much of what we needed or wanted, we don't have; lack.

And some things have just stayed the same; they've remained stagnant.


So without further ado, I bring you...Numbers 10 and 9 of "The Top Ten of '10."

#10: The Undefeated Worlds Victory of Yuta Komatsuda



(An undefeated win is all well and good, but...Why on Earth is he using those horrid Garchomp sleeves?)

Why it Mattered: In order to understand how important this victory is, let’s look at the past nationalities of each Worlds winner in the Masters division…

2004: Japanese
2005: American
2006: American
2007: Finnish
2008: American
2009: American
2010: Japanese


What happened the last time a Japanese player won Worlds? Simple: due to the lack of contact between Japanese and non-Japanese players, champ Tsuguyoshi Yamato – and his country – achieved
a status of unrivaled mystique. However, thanks in large part to American dominance, Japan’s momentum and relevance to the competitive field have eroded…Until now, that is.

Not since then has there been so much curiosity and interest in the decks that Japanese play, the formats they use, and all other pieces of information that are, for 362.25 days of the year, less relevant to us than information on our “own” metagames and communities.

Now, let’s consider the records of World Champions…

2004: 12-0
2005: 11-2
2006: 11-2
2007: 8-2
2008: 10-2
2009: 10-2
2010: 12-0

While almost no one would contest the validity and value of a Worlds win, nearly everyone would agree that it usually takes some record blemishes to get that title. So when someone emerges victorious from the world’s toughest event with NO losses, the community better take notice.

So what was interesting about Yuta’s list? Here are a couple of the points I raised in my very first /blog article:

The playing of Professor Oak’s New Theory
*No Call
*1-1 Dialga G LV.X

of these were common in lists before Yuta’s win, but after the fact, we’ve seen a huge change in the way that SP lists look. Since SP is at the forefront of the 2010-2011 metagame right now, anything that radically affects SP cannot be ignored.

For these two reasons, Yuta’s undefeated win was major in 2010, as well as vital in setting the stage for 2011.


 #9: Metagame Stagnation

 (Remember us?)

Why it mattered: Due to the expanded card pool, many of the decks that have been good for season after season…Are still good.

What does this mean for newer cards? Simple: they’re not as good! It sure does suck when literally every new deck is held to the “does it beat Luxchomp, Gyarados, and Vilegar?” standard…Every one of them! As a result, whole sets – sans their new Trainer and Supporter cards – become lost. Even worse, that blasphemous triumvirate of Pokemon archetypes has been at the top of the field since States 2010! While that may be troubling in some ways, the deeper implications of the new Modified format are that people can actually leave the game for prolonged periods of time, come back, and still have some reasonable hope for success at events. Whether such an advantage outweighs the disadvantages is up to you, but both are crucial to keep in mind.



(Once rogue; now vogue)

The only things that kill top decks these days are format rotation, and power inflation. I’m afraid that Pokemon Card Laboratory is moving too slowly in the former, and too quickly in the latter. For these troubling reasons, I made this #9 on my list of major events.


(I’ve been eating little childrens’ brains since 2008. That isn’t too long, is it?)

Posted by: Heytrainer on 2011-01-22 18:00:09 • 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

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(Is this image big enough to give you a seizure? I hope so!)


Today, we'll be visiting yet another absurdly broken deck for the Unlimited format: Porygon 2 GE. Like Crobat G spam, this deck is capable of winning on the first turn with relative ease. Below, you will find heytrainer.org/forum member Jade's deck list, as well as some of his elaboration on the strategy:

"Deck List Dump: Unlimited Porygon2/Seeker Spam

Pokemon (20):
4 Jirachi DX
4 Unown R
3 Uxie LA
2 Porygon2 GE
2 Porygon GE
1 Azelf LA
1 Rotom UD
1 Ditto RG
1 Drifblim UD
1 Drifloon MD

Trainers/Stadiums/Supporters (39):
4 Computer Search
4 Item Finder
4 Pokedex Handy910is
4 Pokedrawer+
4 Pokemon Communication
4 Quick Ball
4 Super Scoop Up
4 Seeker
2 Broken Time Space
1 Luxury Ball
1 Mr Fuji
1 Pokemon Retriever
1 VS Seeker
1 Windstorm

Energy (1):
1 Boost Energy

Quick Strategy: Spam Seeker by using Porygon2 GE's Download Pokepower to remove an Opponent's Benched Pokemon as well as picking up your own Porygon2 GE to reuse the Download PokePower to keep the chain going. Once you have got rid of the Opponent's bench, use Drifblim UD's Take Away attack to seal the game win.

There is a few noticable game combinations:
Rotom UD & Azelf MT.
In Modified, you usually do not find the right consistency to sacrifice a bench space just for Rotom and get the cards right away in a pinch, hence why Alph Lithograph is better in that area. However in Unlimited, you have far more consistency and can clear a bench space if you need to play down Rotom for the Mischeavious Trick PokePower. It worked wonders after using Azelf LA's Time Work PokePower, and if you notice a key card like Boost Energy, or a VS Seeker being prized - this is your opportunity to locate it and switch the topdeck with, and can draw right away by many draw cards such as Pokedex Handy910is, Pokedrawer+, and Unown R.

Uxie LA, Professor Oak:
You may see why I do not run Professor Oak, it is all due to the mass versatility of Uxie LA with cards like Scoop Up and Seeker. Normally in a game, you would use the Seeker in the Supporter slot for picking up a Uxie, and reserve most of the remaining Seekers for chaining Porygon2's Download Pokepower while saving the 5th (usually last) Seeker to pick up Uxie instead of Porygon2 GE to draw more cards, as well as using 4 Scoop Up mainly for reusing Uxie LA's Set Up Pokepowers.

The 60th card slot in the deck, mainly to counter the deck's biggest blockage - Unown G. Yep, that's right, if someone attached Unown G to their Active Pokemon, that would prevent you from Take Away a win - hence the reason for this card. Alternatively, you could go for Gust of Wind...Or even Warp Point...

This post was brought to you by the one, and the only Jade (with input from Heytrainer himself)."

Posted by: Heytrainer; written by Jade on 2011-01-20 18:00:25 • Tags: Porygon 2 donk porydonk pokemon unlimited pokemon jade

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A fun little list that I considered using very early in my testing for Cities, but ultimately dropped.

Pokemon (18):

4 Horsea LA
3 Seadra LA
4 Kingdra Prime (or 3 Kingdra Prime/1 Kingdra LA)
2 Crobat G
2 Uxie LA
1 Azelf LA
1 Mesprit LA
1 Unown Q MD

Trainers (34):

4 Pokemon Collector
4 Broken Time-Space
4 Junk Arm
3 Seeker
3 Super Scoop Up
3 Pokemon Communication
3 Team Galactic's Invention G-105 Poke Turn
3 Bebe's Search
3 Rare Candy
2 Expert Belt
1 VS Seeker
1 Luxury Ball

Energy (8):

8 Water

The gist of Kingdra? It's essentially Gyarados, only better against certain stage two decks (perhaps Vilegar), equally good against Dialgachomp or Sablelock, and worse versus Luxchomp. Our goal with this list is to give us more options with spamming Kingdra Prime's "Spray Splash" than ever before: with Seeker, VS Seeker, Junk Arms, and the Super Scoop Ups/Poke Turns, your ability to deal "free" damage is rivaled by almost no other deck.

This build is a bit inconsistent mid-game due to no backup recovery draw (i.e., Cynthia's Feelings, Copycat, or Professor Oak's New Theory). Therefore, you may want to consider cutting something..."What?" is the big question, though.

Posted by: Heytrainer on 2011-01-19 03:15:08 • Tags: Kingdra Prime Heytrainer Pokemon Luxchomp Dialga Kingdra Kingdra LA Spray Splash Poke-Power Pokemon Unleashed

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Not quite as retro as the last retro article, but still up there...However, keep in mind that Gyarados was abandoned for a brief period during Battle Roads, so the context that this was written in is radically different than what we have now.

There's a great deal of PTCG literature on Gyarados, but I feel that this was great for the time, and has many suggestions/ideas that are applicable today...The only difference is that you have to include 4 Junk Arm.

-By Austin Baggs

(Originally submitted on 10/4/2010)

"Yes, the angry dragon/eel/fish is STILL here and kickin’ (or splashing, rather)! Over the past few weeks of going through old tournament reports and decklists, I remembered how well Gyarados has treated me every time I’ve played it. However, I had a small issue with the deck concerning the recent rotation. The exclusion of Claydol (GE), Night Maintenance, and Felicity’s Drawing were something of a hindrance to the efficiency of the deck. Sure, there are cards like Uxie and Volkner’s Philosophy that could fill in, but would it work? Some….no, MANY have completely written of Gyarados until Junk Arm and Rescue Energy are released. While I agreed with the assumptions that the deck won’t work without felicity’s/claydol for a while, I quickly found that the deck can still fully function without them, but THRIVES in a format with trainer lock where using supporters is required as well as a pokemon that can FISH (har har, puns) them out of your deck.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “What are you going to do against Vileplume, scrub? Good luck winning when you can’t play SSU, Communications, Poketurns, and most importantly, your rescues, which Gyarados hinges on.” This is a very valid argument for not running the deck, but the key to victory lies in Dialga G Lv. X. Yeah, DGX as some call it gives Gyarados the edge it needs in a meta full of trainer locks whether it’s from Spiritombs or Vileplumes. I initially thought Floatzel GL Lv. X was a more solid play, not requiring me to run recovery cards, but G’dos is also about NOT being KO’d (thanks to super scoop ups), and another pokemon with Lightning weakness is no fun. When you combine the 1-1 DGX along with 3 warp energy, you can get it out relatively quickly and continue your beatdown on some of the most played decks in the format right now. While it doesn’t help the SP matchup in the slightest, you should be able to do well against them anyway, considering you OHKO them while they are typically forced to take cheap prizes around gyarados as well as the occasional Trash Bolt/Lucario OHKO. The SP matchup hasn’t really changed as much post rotation, I’d put it at an even 50-50 because so much of the matchup depends on who can keep up the stream of KO’s as well as the use of Expert Belt on G’dos’ side of the field. Regimove also plays a huge factor, allowing Gyarados to take a prize nearly every turn, barring Power Sprays.

I was also asked to discuss the relevance and efficiency of Volkner’s Philosophy as a Felicity’s Drawing substitute. Yes, Volkner is a moody guy, nowhere nearly as cheerful as Felicity, and he makes it clear that he doesn’t care that you can only discard one Magikarp with his “Philosophy”. Aside from the 1 card discard, Volkner’s can do wonders for the deck. Judge is a commonly played card right now, and getting rid of G’dos’ large hand for a measly 4 can suck, especially when holding onto those recovery cards you need. Volkner’s can not only get rid of a trash card from your hand, but also let you keep the good cards while drawing until you have 6, which is pretty good for not having claydol. The other reason it still works is because you need 3 magikarp in the discard. Regice can take care of 2 while Volkner’s drops the 3rd, still getting the same amount of discard *required* to set up, but not necessarily drawing as many cards mid-late game as Felicity’s would.

One last note before posting the list is the importance of Warp Energy. Between Bright Looks, Luring Flames, Sleep Inducers (Froslass GL), Reversals, and starting with Regice or Dialga G X, Warp Energy has saved my bacon several times. It can also be used to get out of a Status Condition such as Paralysis, Poison, Sleep, Confusion, etc. It also comes in handy when getting Gyarados back to the bench so that you can Psychic Restore back into the deck for late-game Set Up. The main reason it’s so essential in the current list is really to get your DGX to the bench safely after you level up, though.

4 Magikarp
3 Gyarados
4 Sableye
1-1 Dialga G X
1 Regice
2 Crobat G
2 Uxie
1 Azelf

4 Pokemon Collector
4 Volkner’s Philosophy
3 Bebe’s Search
2 Cynthia’s Feelings
4 Super Scoop Up
4 Poketurn
4 Pokemon Rescue
2 Pokemon Communication
2 Expert Belt
1 Luxury Ball
1 VS Seeker
3 Broken Time Space

4 Darkness Energy (Special)
3 Warp Energy

Battle Road:
Tom Bean, TX
5 Rounds / Top 4

Round 1: Shuppet
He starts off by Fading out 30 to my sableye, promoting his uxie, with regice benched on his side. I impersonate and start setting up, by turn 2 I was swinging with Gyarados for 80 via 2 karps in discard + expert belt and took the game on turn 4.

Round 2: Machamp
I’m not one for making excuses, but I think I was destined to lose this one. I open Sableye to his Machop. I bench Azelf and Time Walk to find 2 Magikarp and Regice having a little pity-party in my prizes, great…He pulls T1 Machamp while I flail (yeaaaah puns) around with 1 Magikarp in the discard smacking him for 50 thanks to expert belt. He levels up, KO’s my G’dos, and even though I manage to take 3 prizes, he hits a Warp Point for the game.

Round 3: Jumpluff/Vileplume/Sunflora
He gets set up quickly thanks to Spiritombs and Sunfloras, but I start abusing Sableye’s ability to set up thanks to supporters and continually Regimove out of Tombs until I have DGX benched and Gyarados swinging for 90+ for OHKO’s. He hits an energy drought 5 turns in and I swept from there out.

Round 4: Tech.dec (Garchomp C, Drifblim FB, Umbreon, Mewtwo)
His deck was completely teched out to consistently beat Gengar, SP, and Vileplumes, but not Gyarados. I had a T1 gyarados swinging for 60 for a while. (I kept the other ‘Karp and a G’dos in my hand for when my current one died from poison to ensure I could still keep a Gyarados out). Once I had the next one swinging for 90+ I swept the rest of the game.

Round 5: Garchomp Box
His deck was a straightforward Garchomp -6 turn/6 prize-rush deck. He starts first with Ambipom G/DCE Snap Attack on my Crobat G start. I collector for Sableye + Crobat G, attach SP Dark and Expert Belt to Sableye, Flash Bite his Ambipom G, and OverconfiDONK.

Top 4: Kingdra/Tomb
Game 1: We go down to 1-1 prizes where my well placed Flash Bites win me the game

Game 2: I take a huge prize lead and Flash Bites + Expert Belt OHKO’s on his Kingdras are too much for him.

Top 2: Blaziken FB/Garchomp C
Game 1: Within the first 2 turns, he Jet Shoots my Sableye, but I pull off a Gyarados with one ‘Karp in the discard via Volkner’s followed by a Flash Bite for a crucial return KO out of nowhere. I set up from there on out as we trade prizes. He knows I run Warp Energy, so he avoids relying on Luring Flame. We go down to 1-1 prizes back and forth until he knows I can Regimove for my last prize and we go to game 2.

Game 2: I get a faster (full) set up and take a small prize lead but he manages to catch up and make it a close game. He used all 4 Power Sprays to keep me from double Flash Bite-ing his Garchomp C X down to 90 HP since I couldn’t hit an expert belt to save my life. I had to Regimove each turn to take prizes, allowing him to Dragon Rush 4 times in a row. Eventually, his sprays ran out and I hit the 90 HP to KO his Chomp C X taking us down to 1-1 prizes again. He uses Set Up for 5, but whiffs his 2nd Chomp C X (which would give him the win), so he promotes Blaziken FB, attaches a Fire energy and Luring Flames up my Regice. I reveal my Warp Energy and I take the win.

Tulsa, OK
5 Rounds, Top 4 cut

I play the same list as before -1 Cynthia's Feelings / +1 Judge.

Round 1: Michael - Kingdra/Gengar
I set up while he takes a couple cheap prizes via Spray Splash/Shadow Room. I eventually get setup and catch up in prizes while avoiding Fainting Spell. He started to run into an energy drought as well as prize issues and I take the win.

Round 2: Taylor - Gyarados
We both set up well with him hitting full setup within 2 turns without sableye, which was pretty sick, but he hits a crucial Reversal on my belted Crobat G to pretty much seal the game after we traded prizes for a while. GG man!

Round 3: Tyler - LuxChomp
He starts bronzong call to my sableye as we both start to set up. He gets some solid plays in, but lack of Lucario as well as needed Sprays clinched the game in my favor. I got a few real nice OHKO's and a couple SSU's to seal the victory. Sorry we had to play, duuuuude.

Round 4: Savannah - Machamp/Donphan
Not much to this match. She opens with Uxie to my lone Magikarp. She passes, I topdeck regice/collector for 2 karp and a Crobat G, drop my hand size, flashbite, and pull the T1 gyarados Tail Revenge for 60 and donk. We play two more (2/3) and she donks me the second game and I take game 3.

Round 5: ?? - LuxChomp
He opens with his Dialga G tech and starts to set up but can't hit a Cyrus for a while, but unfortunately for me, he was able to bright look my Regice for 4-5 turns while we both sat there hoping to topdeck something, lol. After a few turns, we both go back to actually playing/trading prizes. He hits a few big KO's but I manage to keep up the prize trade and take my last two prizes via Flashbites on benched Garchomp C X/OHKO on Dialga G X thanks to tail revenge + e-belt + SSU on a crobat G.

Top 4: Chris - Dialga/Luxray/Garchomp SP
G1) He runs alllll over me with sprays/bright look KO's/Galactic's HQ spam. I took 2 prizes to his 6 iirc.
G2) I actually get to set up, but have to deal with poison structure/Galactic's HQ seeing as I can't hit a BTS for the life of me. T2 I impersonate a Judge that really throws him off, giving me a turn or two to set up. We trade prizes for a while with him having a 2 prize lead until I hit a huge SSU to keep me in the game. Time is called and he knows I can take my last two prizes within the time limit so we head to Sudden Death!
SD) We set out one prize each, and fortunately for me, he doesn't start with luxray or garchomp, and I started with sableye. I get the T2 Gyarados and manage to take the prize thanks to volkner's netting me and expert belt.

Top 2: Taylor - Gyarados
G1) I get T1 Overconfident on his magikarp, he promotes again and starts to mount a set up, so I do as well. I Impersonate a collector and realize that a magikarp, azelf, and 2 rescues are prized....I get up one gyarados that he manages to OHKO and I scoop knowing I won't be able to take a prize.
G2) We both start to set up smoothly when I happened to score a KO T2 with my g'dos to his sableye, then smack his gyarados for 90 followed by an overconfident KO which he return KO's with his Gyarados. The next turn, I flashbite 4x and OHKO his gyarados and he can't keep up by then. It ended up pretty close.
G3) This game definitely went more in my favor as I got a solid T1 gyarados hitting for 60 and played my belts very carefully. I ended up being able to draw into most of what I needed and OHKO'd a gyarados, to which he had to stall a turn or two which gave me a 2 prize lead. He played a solid game; it's always fun to play Taylor.

It was a great tournament and I was glad to see 5 rounds with a full Top Cut for a BR both events. Feel free to discuss your thoughts on the deck, criticism is always welcome when rational. Hopefully the article can at least put to rest some of the speculation regarding Gyarados’ viability, but I certainly wouldn’t expect that these results are completely typical across the board for everyone."

Posted by: Heytrainer (written by Austino) on 2011-01-18 18:40:40 • Tags: Gyarados Austino Pokemon Pokemon trading card game ptcg gdos junk arm volkner volkner's philosophy heytrainer ht hey trainer heytrainer.org heytrainer.com

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Headed back to school today, so no elaboration or explanation...Just enjoy it for all it's worth.

Pokemon (14):

4 Spiritomb AR
4 Crobat G PL
1 Uxie LA
1 Jolteon * HP
1 Duskull SF (secret holo)
1 Pidgey RG
1 Holon's Magnemite
1 Unown Q MD

Trainers/Stadiums/Supporters (46):

4 Professor Oak
4 Scoop Up
4 Super Scoop Up
4  Team Galactic's Invention G-105 Poke Turn
4 Computer Search
4 Poke-Drawer+
4 Junk Arm
4 Item Finder
4 Erika
4 Mr. Fuji
4 Pokemon Collector
1 Seeker
1 Alph Lithograph FOUR

Energy (0):


Strategy is pretty simple: spam a million Crobat G "Flash Bite" damage counters until you've won. Between Scoop Up, SSU, Item Finder, Junk Arm, Mr. Fuji, Poke Turn, and Seeker, you get an extra 250 damage available to you in addition to the fifty you started with via Jolteon and Crobat G.

Many of the tweaks in here are very, very metagame oriented, so proceed with caution.

For more variety, consider running a tech Zapdos MD. I used to run a Zapdos "decK" for unlimited pickup games at Worlds 2007 and Worlds 2008, but that deck is largely inferior to this due to the constant flipping you have to do (i.e., the risk you put yourself at). However, it could still be decent as a 1- of for situations where you've got lots of Pokemon to deal with (as a rule of thumb, Zapdos MD is statistically "better" whenever your opponent has three or more Pokemon in play...But it's not worth the risk unless they've got four or more).

P.S. Today's post was brought to you by...Some random people who make aluminum house decks:

Posted by: HeyTrainer on 2011-01-17 13:26:48 • Tags: Pokemon unlimited pokemon trading card game type 1 jolteon* Jolteon * Jolteon Crobat Crobat G Galactic heytrainer deck list dump decklist dump

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No updates today?

Well...Not quite:

Posted by: HeyTrainer on 2011-01-17 01:07:17 • Tags: Pokemon potato

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As promised from my last entry, I will conclude the City Championship report arc with a few seemingly miscellaneous, yet totally-relevant issues…

#1: Why Did I Drop Out of My Last City Championship?

    Reason #1: Ratings. For those who aren’t aware, one of the major battlegrounds to determine World Championship invites is the ELO ratings and rankings system. Essentially, the premise behind it is that if you win games, then your rating goes up; if you lose games, your rating goes down. The catch, however, is that the higher your rating gets, the harder it is to earn points: you are given less for playing low-rated players. While this system makes a great deal of sense in a game of pure skill, it is imperfect in a game such as Pokemon, where luck can and will be a huge factor. Many, such as Ian F. (“NoPoke”), have proposed a ‘Bayesian luck modifier’ to accommodate this luck variance, which has recently picked up some steam in the community.

    However, the true issue with ELO is not its direction application to a luck-based game; instead, it’s due to its consequences. Since it’s possible to lose very big points even when making top cut, players have been known to “drop” from events, either upon swiss’s conclusion, or even earlier. My drop, motivated by ratings, was based for all of the following sub-reasons…

*High-risk/low gain. Had I taken losses in the top eight or even top four, my gains on the day would have completely evaporated. This was not the case at any prior event I had played, where my rating had not achieved a high enough status to warrant such drops.

* The round one bye watered down my rating gain relative to my record on the day. Even at “5-1,” the reality was that all I had were five rated matches, which was a big reason why the “high-risk” point became an issue.

*I had to stop the bleeding. I felt throughout much of the day that my playing was not as sharp as it should have been, and – given the shaky side effects I had from my Ambien the night before – I was certain that I’d have trouble with a top cut. Furthermore, I’ve been constantly complaining about the issues in my list, which I felt would have ultimately caught up with me in top four or top two.

    Reason #2: I didn’t want to play anymore for that day. For many of us competitive players, it’s easy to get too wrapped up into things, but at the end of the day, you play the game for fun, and you don’t play it when you don’t see prospect of fun. I simply wasn’t thrilled with the idea of playing for what could’ve been at least three more hours, having to switch venues away from the library it was being held at, fighting the rat race for a title I definitely didn’t need, and – most importantly – losing the rest of my afternoon.

 Also, with Cameron and Alex F. in the top cut, I was eager to maybe see one of them take the title after our rivalries this season. While that didn’t happen, I would have been an immediate barrier to Alex’s shots of pulling off the win, as I was to be paired with him in top eight had I not dropped.

    Would it have been cool to pull off a fifth win in a row? Yes. Was it possible to do it? Most certainly, especially in hindsight…But did it really matter?

No, not really. Say what you will, but I think that between this and the ratings, I had some rock-solid reasons to not play anymore. These two, in addition to emergencies, constitute the main reasons why people ever really drop from events, or why they don’t attend them at all.
With just five tournaments, I stand at an extremely comfortable 1777 ELO. Unfortunately, Play! Pokemon’s rankings are unavailable, but by conservative estimates, that puts me in the top thirty-ranked North American players. Granted, that isn’t enough by itself to achieve a Worlds invite, but all it takes at this point is a solid showing at States, Regionals, Nationals, or a combination of the three.

#2: What was the Metagame like?

As I said in my previous post, I was able to find out the main contents of 34 of 37 decks from the event. They were:
Luxchomp x5
Vilegar x4
Gyarados x3
Tyranitar Prime x3
“Speed Gengar” x2
Scizor x2
Steelix x2
Donphan x2
Magnezone x2
Shuppet donk
“Random dark deck”
“Random water deck”
 (Unaccounted for x3)

Think the metagame for this event looks really spread out? So do I.

Between the “big four” (Luxchomp, Dialgachomp, Vilegar, Gyarados), we saw somewhat-reasonable representation. However, one could easily make the claim that these four decks were underrepresented: considering that Dialgachomp was the darling of last week’s Cities all over the country, and considering that Luxchomp is the winningest deck of the whole season, it’s somewhat wild that they were only played in quantities of one and five, respectively. Most shocking to me this whole season is how unpopular the former is in the Dallas area…In a field of fifty (Plano), only two people used it, and in a field of forty (Dallas), only I did! But yeah, take it however you will that only a third of the field was the big four: do you think this was a good thing, or a bad thing?

Regarding the other duplicate decks, we see some surprises. The “speed Gengars” were basically more classic versions of Gengar, featuring Crobat G, Poke Turn, Mewtwos, and Nidoqueen to go for aggressive kills. Also represented were two Scizor decks, two Steelix decks (one of which directly inspired by the marathon), and…Three Tyranitar? I didn’t see that coming at all, but when you think about it, it makes some sense if players are wanting to go “rogue,” yet still want an easy Vilegar game. Assuming you can get your SP matchup down, this thing can be pretty nice to use. Last of all, we had some surprise amounts of Donphan and Magnezone, which I don’t feel I can really explain. Given all of the Gengar, the one Dialgachomp, the Steelix, the Scizor, and even some of those rogue decks I listed at the bottom, Donphan just didn’t seem like a good play at all.

Last of all, we have some of the zany rogue decks. I don’t think I need to explain the “random” decks too much – they’re just prolific among new players, are a step above theme decks, and barring the best events, always going to show up in some quantity. The Blazechomp seemed like it had certain advantages in a metagame like this, but didn’t look like too great of a choice compared to Luxchomp, Dialgachomp, or even some Sableye variant. Charizard, Vespiqueen, Shuppet donk, and Mamoswine…Have their own issues.

But that Kyogre deck? That was my brother, who deliberately wanted to use something rogue for this event. While it didn’t go so well for him, sometimes you do things not because it’s the optimal move; sometimes you do them because they’ll maximize your interest in the game. And while I did my best to discourage him from playing it, sometimes you just have to cede when a man’s just trying to have fun with his critters. That's what the game is about, after all.

Here were the top nine decks in the field, both before and after my drop…First, the “after” seeding:

Top Eight:

1st Seed: Cameron H. (Luxchomp/ERL) VS 8th: Chris (Blazechomp)
4th:  Ron (Vilegar) VS 5th: Michael (Tyranitar)
2nd Seed: Robert O. (Gyarados) VS 7th: Matt S. (Vilegar)
3rd: Desmond E. (Luxchomp) VS 6th: Alex F. (Steelix)

Top Four:

1st Seed: Cameron H. (Luxchomp/ERL) VS 5th Seed: Michael (Tyranitar)
2nd Seed: Robert O. (Gyarados) VS 3rd Seed: Desmond E. (Luxchomp)


5th Michael (Tyranitar) VS 3rd Desmond (Luxchomp)

Some commentary:

*I’m obviously not surprised at all about Cameron and Alex doing well: they’ve succeeded all season, so it doesn’t surprise me a bit that their decks – no matter what they’d play – would make it into cut.

*Thanks to finally choosing a deck that works for him, Robert has gone from a low success season to two consecutive top cuts. By relinquishing rogue, and instead playing a very solid Gyarados list (feat. Black Belt and other slick plays), he was actually able to survive against his rough Vilegar matchup.

*While I predicted Luxchomp taking the event after I left, I was surprised to see that Desmond’s did instead of Cameron’s. What’s in his list, and what carried him to the end? That I can’t tell you: I haven’t  played against him yet this season.

*With better bracket placement, I feel like Ron’s 2-1 Mewtwo would have carried him to some very easy wins against any of the SP that cut. Could he have won the whole thing? Perhaps, but all I know is that getting Tyranitar Prime in the first round of cut is about the worst thing that could have happened to him.

*Perhaps the biggest thing that surprised me was Michael’s rebound after losing to me. If I recall correctly, he took a loss right after that game, and then won every game until the finals of the whole tournament…And with a Tyranitar Prime deck? WOW!

*Matt Shepherd, who’s been trying to get back into the game lately, saw his first top cot since he started back up at Tom Bean. His list is good, and he’s even taken down a well-known name in the process (Martin), but one thing or another has led him to just not quite getting there. Today changed things for him, though.

*And last up is Chris, whose unorthodox Blazechomp build would have bubbled had I not dropped. Perhaps due to his Looker’s and colorless techs, he was able to bring Cameron to a third game, but ultimately, he couldn’t get past Cam.

The ultimate upset for this event was Cameron losing to the Tyranitar, which ought to get steamrolled by Luxchomp in most games. However, Michael’s high draw and search counts helped him persevere and destroy.

Now, my decision to drop severely screwed up the natural order of things. Had I been a 4-2 with high resistance, it wouldn’t have been quite as bad…But because I was second seed, it shifted the whole bracket (sans Cameron) up a spot, thus radically changing the matchups. Here’s what would have been had I not dropped:

Universe B

1st Seed: Cameron H. (Luxchomp/ERL) VS 8th: Matt S. (Vilegar)

4th: Desmond E. (Luxchomp) VS 5th: Ron (Vilegar)

2nd Seed: John K. (Dialgachomp) VS 7th: Alex F. (Steelix)

3rd: Robert O. (Gyarados) VS 6th Michael (Tyranitar)

Alex and I both knew that I had the edge in our would-be matchup…But that definitely didn’t mean that I had a decisive edge for the next cut round after that. My prediction is that Robert would have beaten me in top four…Which, given his past tournaments, would have meant a rating nosebleed. From there, it would have been a toss-up; however, I get the vibe that Vilegar would have won the whole event, given the fact that it has several  natural advantages versus Gyarados (sans time), as well as the 2-1 Mewtwo factor. If Desmond did not run a counter, then I feel this is definitely what would have happened, and so – despite the time disadvantage Vilegar is constantly put at – he would have persevered for a legitimate win in the event.

#3: Ultimately, What Went Right (and Wrong) for Cities?

As previously stated, I went a 31-4 record: an absurd count to go by any means, and a number that could even defy variance.
So first, I’ll start with some of the things that went well:

*I used reliable decks. I had the urge to use some pretty far-out decks, but in the end, I “cratered,” going back to SP every time. At the moment, I’m not comfortable with how any other deck plays out, and so feel almost obliged to stick with SP. This opinion may very well change come States, what with the arrival of Lost World and all, but for this period of the season…Consistency was the way to go, and SP is what brought it.

*I made a successful deck switch halfway through cities in order to account for the changing metagame. While the end result of my two lists were far from anything that could be considered “perfect,” my  life became so much easier when it was Dialga doing the dirty work for some matchups in place of Luxray GL and Garchomp C.

*Simply put, I got lucky. Every tournament I used Luxchomp, I – without fail – had at least one game every event where I would go  up against the grass deck of the week, which tends to have a very, very rough game against Luxchomp (my opponent in Tom Bean admitted this quite openly). And even if my Dialga switch was a good metagame choice, the fact that I was pairing against Yanmega and Tyranitar so much prove just how much of a lucksack I can be. Some of my play-testing friends would be very quick to decry these matchups as “soft,” and they may be right on the mark.

*I definitely made some good plays across these five tournaments, and knew my SP mirror match very well by this point. Regardless of where you're playing, if you don't know your SP matchup, then you're going to sink fast.

However, I can’t possibly keep patting myself on the back…After all, I did lose four games, and let three potential wins slip away due to convincing myself to drop. Let’s consider where I could have improved upon:

*Regarding my swiss loss at College Station, TX, with Luxchomp (read Part 2): while Double Power Spray is a terrible situation to get stuck against, I admittedly could have made one or two tweaks to my list at this event that would have made it better. The extra Crobat G was entirely unnecessary, and could have easily been  a 4th Call Energy, a 3rd Power Spray, or something better that would have advanced my mirror hopes.

(Moral of the story: every space is crucial, so make them all count.)

*Regarding my swiss loss at Tom Bean…There’s nothing reasonable I could have done for that at all. When you run four Call Energy and fifteen basics, it is beyond absurd to get first-turned by an opposing Garchomp C.
(Moral of the story: don’t get worked up – you’re bound to lose some games for less-than-desirable reasons that are largely out of your control.)

 *Regarding my swiss loss at Plano, I should have been on plans within plans within plans in order to recover that match. (specifically, one of my decisions for Aaron’s Collection was very sub-par). Had I done that, I probably would have won even in spite of the horrid hand. A slightly different deck tweak would have been sufficient, as well.

(Moral of the story: even seemingly “minor” misplays can make a world’s difference. If you want to improve, then you need to consider where all you went wrong, and how much you can improve it. The tighter your playing is, the further you’ll advance/ There are MANY players I know who are too proud to admit that they make mistakes…And because they’re too proud to admit it, they’ll never get what they want done in this game. So please, don’t be this player, and start being open about your mistakes to people instead of saying “oh, I got unlucky.”)

*For the Dallas tournament, I should have just run Luxchomp with 1-1 Dialga…Seriously, that’s all I needed to do in order to win this event. While some fringe matchups (Donphan) would have become worse for me, it would have been at the gain of greater consistency, a probable win against Cameron H., and wins in every match of the top cut. I felt that good about Luxchomp in hindsight, but it was still valuable insight to see what a different take on Dialga could do.

(Moral of the story: if your purpose is to win, then play the deck that you know gives you the best shot at it; if you want to learn something new or have fun, then feel free to get outside of your comfort zone, even if it’s just a little – i.e., switching SP variants.)

 So while I did some things right, I also did some things wrong, too - it's natural, and it's human. However, in spite of this, at least one loss was outside of my control for the most part, so I was deliberately leading my more careful readers on when I suggested I could have turned 31-4 into a 38-0...Sorry! 


In Conclusion...

  I’d like to thank everyone for reading this entry, and I’d ESPECIALLY like to thank everyone who read this entire tournament report arc from the beginning. Next time, I intend to shift gears into less dense, more concise discussions, so If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear about them on the boards. We have a busy month ahead of us...

‘Til next time,


Posted by: HeyTrainer on 2011-01-16 01:29:54 • Tags: Pokemon Luxchomp HeyTrainer Tag Team Picasso Touch luxray garchomp luxray gl garchomp c pokemon organized play play! pokemon pokemon city championships pokemon league pokemon texas Drifblim Dialga Team Galactic Dialgachomp city championship pokemon city championship pokemon trading card game for game boy video killed the radio star ELO ratings rankings intentional drop ranking invites 2011 pokemon trading card game world championship decks misplays improvement lrn2play

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Event Date: 01/08/2011

Location: Dallas, TX​

    Given how much luck it took to win the Plano tournament, and given how unhappy I was with the list, I knew that it was time to mix things up a bit. While the end product had many issues of its own to contend with, it was arguably more playable in several ways.

     While conversing with Chad H. (“Scizor”), he introduced to me a very unusual list for Dialgachomp, featuring five stadiums, no Call Energy, and only eight draw/search Supporter cards. I don’t know how seriously he and Worlds runner-up Mike Pram (“SHPanda) were taking this list due to its appalling prima facie – “at first glance” – consistency, but I decided to incorporate some of the more interesting elements into my own build.

Pokemon (19):

2 Dialga G
1 Dialga G LV.X
2 Uxie LA
1 Uxie LV.X
3 Garchomp C
1 Garchomp C LV.X
1 Toxicroak G Promo
1 Dragonite FB
1 Ambipom G
1 Unown Q
1 Crobat G
1 Bronzong G
1 Azelf LA
1 Skuntank G
1 Lucario GL

Trainers/Stadiums/Supporters (29):

4 Cyrus’s Conspiracy
4 Pokemon Collector
4 Poke Turn
3 Energy Gain
2 SP Radar
2 Bebe’s Search
2 Snowpoint Temple
1 Miasma Valley
1 Aaron's
1 Premier Ball
1 Pokemon Communication
1 Energy exchanger
1 Junk arm
1 Twins
1 Expert Belt

Energy (12):

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

What Worked – Stadiums and Skuntank worked, that’s what! Having stadiums most certainly helped, but the question is…Which Stadium is the best? While I can’t answer that definitively, I’ll list off the reasons why I used the ones that I did, and some of the advantages to other Stadiums…

*Snowpoint Temple: since a major focus of the Dialgachomp deck is to “tank” Dialga G LV.X, giving it an extra 20 HP is extremely helpful. It also gives you the option to play the SP mirror entirely differently, giving Dragonite FB a new lease on life with proper timing (no Earthquake-responses are nice). I ran two because I figured that tanking Dialga would be my biggest asset on the day, so an extra 20 HP buffer seemed extremely useful.

*Miasma Valley: one of the more unusual options of Pram’s/Chad’s, this card functions as a way to spread counters in appropriate matchups. Nice to get out-of-range attackers such as Machamp and Gyarados prematurely within-range during the mid game! I decided to run one of these to round out my stadiums for this reason, but also because I knew I’d be needing to bump Snowpoint in case it stopped being useful.

As for the Stadium I didn’t play…

*Pokemon Contest Hall: the quintessential Stadium for SP, this card is a way to boost consistency and activate Skuntank, but also a mean by which to get out all of your major attackers with their tools. A lucky heads on Contest Hall is also useful because it’s an easy way to get Expert Belt on your dialga, as well as a way to get Energy Gain attackers in play through Vileplume trainer lock (assuming you can’t access your Dialga G LV.X Time Crystal for some reason).

In hindsight, I should have just bit the bullet and ran three of these, as is done in the typical build. While Snowpoint and Miasma have their uses, I’m beginning to consider the value of Contest Hall as the ultimate selling point for a list not flexible enough to include Call Energy.

Since my Pokemon felt just high enough to justify it even past bad hands, I decided to make the switch from Luxury Ball to Pokemon Communication. This worked wonders, and I feel content running it in any SP build with 19 or more Pokes.

Last of all, I fit in Lucario GL! While Machamp didn’t factor in at all during the day, this thing definitely would’ve tilted it for me on top of everything else. Plus, it stood to be a gross attacker in my Tyranitar Prime matchup in case my Dialga G and Toxicroak G both broke down.

What Didn’t – while it’s definitely not hard to play around, I’ve become addicted to running Call Energy in any list that it makes sense in. Since my build ran zero Power Spray, though, I felt less of a need to force them in. Although Yuta Komatsuda could win one of the toughest World Championships ever undefeated with a no Call Energy list, shaky starts just don’t vibe well!

Oh yeah, zero Power Spray was beyond lame in the mirror, as not having a say to what your opponent does with his or her Set Ups, Galactic Switches, and Bright Looks will most certainly put a nail in your coffin against a well-oiled build. Also, the exclusion of Staraptor FB LV.X was a pity, as it’s a truly amazing card in Stadium-Dialgachomp lists.

With that all in mind, let’s see how it faired on the day…

[Note: due to this post being fairly late, I’ll be brief – and therefore fairly anticlimactic – about the matches. Some dogs needed me to play with them, and for dogs, I gladly sacrifice my hopes and dreams for /blog. ]

Round 1: BYE

Thirty seven masters, and I get the bye? I never thought I’d say this, but as a player caught in the rat race of ratings and rankings, I was actually disappointed that I got a freebie.  Call me an arrogant kung-fu guy or whatever, but if a free win is causing “anyone” to feel anything less than ecstatic, then you know something is wrong with your (Play! Pokemon’s) system.

Win (1-0)

Round 2: VS Tyler (Tyranitar Prime/tech Houndoom)

Cool tech…Apparently he runs a 1-1/1 Houndoom/Prime line to do the following: against SP’s Toxicroak G Promos and Lucario GLs, use the regular Houndoom from Undaunted to score some amazing surprise-KOs; and for every other matchup, make knock-outs more accessible with the occasional lucky string of flips on burn. While I can’t say I’m a big fan of the latter, I very much like the idea of using the normal Houndoom, since SP is bound to use those cards against you.

Fortunately, I had heard about this tech the week before, and so I was able to adjust accordingly; that is, I held off on benching Lucario GL or Toxicroak G Promo prematurely, and just settled for tearing his setup apart with Dialga G and Skuntank G’s Poison Structure. I fortunately never had to whip out either of my fighting attackers, but they were there just in case…

Win (“2-0”)

Round 3: VS Michael (Tyranitar Prime/tech Honchkrow SV)

Wow…So at Plano, I got two Yanmega in a row, and in Dallas, I got two Tyranitar in a row? I can just imagine Robin saying, in as campy a voice as possible:

“Holy matchups, Batman – you’re one lucky SoB!”

Yes I am, Robin. Yes I am…

Admittedly, Tyler from the previously round had a somewhat sub-par start; however, with his ample supply of draw, Michael never really missed a beat with his Tyranitars, while I had to play some serious catch-up. But, by the glory of Toxicroak G Promo and Lucario, this was made into a fairly decisive win for me. As expected, his Honchkrow SV never once factored into the game, and even when he tried to start attacking with it, I was quick to Garchomp C LV.X snipe it.

Win (“3-0”)

Round 4: VS Ron (Vilegar)

Much like my sixth round game against Amalio the weekend before, I started absolutely horrid against Ron: 4 basics and no Supporters. Fortunately for me, though, he didn’t have a Spiritomb Arceus start, and so my setup wasn’t impeded too horribly. I was forced to aggressively Time Crystal a bit earlier than I would’ve liked, but it was all for the best.

The details are fuzzy, but long story short, I ended up securing a very safe timed win by replacing my Snowpoint Temple with Miasma Valley at the right time. Also, he ran a very interesting set of techs: 1 Froslass GL, which is very useful at disrupting the opponent while he/she is under Trainer lock; and 2-1 Mewtwo LV.X, which tends to be the ultimate “screw you, buddy!” to decks featuring SP without a counter.

Win (“4-0”)

Round 5: VS Cameron H. (Luxchomp/ERL)

More or less, he had the edge on me in our exchange the whole game due to some energy whiffs, as well as too many powers (read: all) being allowed to break through. This naturally gave him a decisive edge, and for the decisions I made in today’s list, it was well due for me to suffer. One thing that gave me some notable trouble, though, was that – despite some very thorough shuffling – I somehow began this game with two of my three Stadium cards. While Stadiums can do nice things to tilt matches when you need them to, when you’re in desperate need of a Set Up, they’re actually beyond horrid to have…Ugh.

After I fell behind enough, he saw the opportunity to Thunder Fall in the late game, and seized the win.

Loss (“4-1”)

Today was his day to shine against me though, especially since I had beaten Cameron out of the finals the past two weekends. I felt like many tweaks to his build (Twins/Dragonite FB) were smart plays that were well ahead of the national metagame, with the Twins having particularly nice synergy in orchestrating a game-winning Thunder Fall. However, his list made one very suspect move: three (3) Poke Turn instead of four (4), on account of the logic that it’s not needed. While this may sound very absurd to you guys, in the Junk Arm era, I find it totally acceptable for players to do this: you’re practically getting the use of four (or more) Turns a game, and so can therefore justify cutting one if it means more space. However, the issue about his list with me was that he ran zero Junk Arm, therefore nullifying that argument. Without Junk Arm, I ultimately felt like the decision was unjustified.
So if anyone tries this move, be sure to play Junk Arm in your list. I’ve found direct play-testing success with it, and Nats winner Chris F., who’s extensively tested it himself, thinks such a move is “fine” as long as it’s tempered by the Junk Arms.

Round 6: VS Chris (Blazechomp)

…And speaking of people named Chris, here’s another one. Long story short, I surprised the heck out of him by turning a useless Skuntank G start into an immediate edge-out in the mirror by the second turn, took firm control of it until he played a Looker’s, gave up some momentum, and then finally regained it in time for the last three turns on the clock. It was 2-4 by then, and I felt confident in my ability to take the last two, so it seemed pretty decisive. Thanks 3-1 Garchomp/Draggy/Ambipom!
Oh yeah…and I started with two stadiums. Again. My, what skilled cutters this state has, hah.

Win (“5-1”)

    Despite all of these games seeming like they went par for the course, the fact of the matter is that I was seeing my Dialga crashing and burning. And badly…Like, “worse than the Hindenburg”-badly. So what’s a guy to do?
He drops from the tournament. That’s what.

And on that note…I’ll leave today’s lengthy entry on a bit of a cliff-hanger. Tomorrow (technically today), I’ll discuss all of the following topics to close out my City Championship report series/arc:

*An examination of all of the reasons why I dropped from this event. When I do drop, I usually have many good reasons for doing so, seeing as how I’ve only dropped from three tournaments since I started playing competitively back in 2003.

*A detailed examination of this event’s metagame, which I was able to gather absurdly-accurate information on (34/37 of the decks are 100% verified and confirmed).

*An incisive, honest discussion of why I think I did so well during the 2010-2011 City Championship season, and what I could have done to turn 31-4 into 38-0.

*Some nice, cliché closing line that’ll make you cry out of sheer happiness.
Within the next few days, I also plan on writing a couple “gaiden” (Google it) reports on events that I didn’t attend.

Posted by: Heytrainer on 2011-01-15 03:23:31 • Tags: Pokemon Luxchomp HeyTrainer Tag Team Picasso Touch luxray garchomp luxray gl garchomp c pokemon organized play play! pokemon pokemon city championships pokemon league pokemon texas Drifblim Dialga Team Galactic Dialgachomp city championship pokemon city championship pokemon trading card game for game boy video killed the radio star

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12/31/2010: Plano, TX​

With the two week interim between Tom Bean and Plano, I felt a metagame shift coming on.

“There’s no way people would let a Luxchomp without a Mewtwo counter go unchecked for that long, is there?” said I. Granted, that isn’t enough of a reason to switch to Dialgachomp, since you could just as easily play Luxchomp with a 1-1 Dialga and be just fine. But to thicken the plot, I had been hearing about several successful decks emerging from the Georgia marathon: Alex B’s unique take on Regigigas; Jim R’s zany Yanmega/Magnezone rogue; and Guy B’s Steelix Prime were all making a notable splash. While few players are as connected with up-to-date metagame info as I am, I felt that between the 50+ Masters who would be attending this event, at least a couple of them would play something inspired by the ‘thon.

Originally walking into this event, I was going to play a very typical Dialgachomp with Skuntank, Staraptor FB LV.X, and Pokemon Fan Clubs…But when I looked around at my metagame, I noticed that it was just SP, and lots of it. However, I was surprised to find that Vilegar had also picked up serious steam since my last tournament, and since any variation on Dialgachomp has a superb matchup against that deck, I felt set in my ways.
However, given the heavy showing of SP, and given how you ought to beat Vilegar regardless of running Skuntank G, I felt safe in cutting those half a dozen cards for a few mirror-savvy things, such as the Ambipom/Dragonite pair and the Looker’s.
Before we move on to my list, I’d like to give you a few fair warnings…Since I don’t like the idea of sending anyone off with a deck that may not (read: “probably won’t”) do well for you at a future event, it’s vital to give some disclaimers. I’ve seen countless articles try claim goodness in builds as terrible as tweaked theme decks, so for my sake and yours, let’s list a few things off…


Pokemon (17):

2 Dialga G
1 Dialga G LV.X
2 Uxie LA
1 Uxie LV.X
3 Garchomp C
1 Garchomp C LV.X
1 Toxicroak G Promo
1 Dragonite FB
1 Ambipom G
1 Unown Q
1 Crobat G
1 Bronzong G
1 Azelf LA

Trainers/Stadiums/Supporters (29):

4 Cyrus’s Conspiracy
4 Pokemon Collector
4 Poke Turn
3 Energy Gain
2 SP Radar
2 Bebe’s Search
1 Aaron's Collection
1 Looker’s Investigation
1 Premier Ball
1 Luxury Ball
1 Energy exchanger
1 Junk arm
1 Twins
1 Technical Machine TS-2
1 Expert Belt
1 Power Spray

Energy (14):

4 Double Colorless
3 Metal (special)
3 Call
2 Metal (basic)
1 Psychic
1 Warp

(In order to include a 1-1 Staraptor FB LV.X, 1 Skuntank G, and any 3 Stadiums of your choice, you’ll have to make some rough edits. Some lists I’ve seen scrap single copies such as Junk Arm, and others scrap their Call Energy entirely. Regardless, it’s going to be rough.)

What Worked: for starters, I had MANY options to combo, string plays, etc…Since my all-time favorite decks play a lot of single cards, this jived with my style, and so I felt like all of the moves were natural.

As you can see, it’s also very pumped up to deal with mirror. Twins and Energy Exchanger are both great for SP mirror, and actually make more sense in a Dialga list than Luxchomp, which is more prone to fall behind in some matchups. Due to these two cards, I was easily able to tank up on Special Metals, and heal as I pleased.

What didn’t: Many, many, many things. Without a Lucario, or without a Toxicroak G Platinum, it has a negative Machamp matchup, and without stadiums and Skuntank G, it has a negative matchup against most Gyarados lists. Since Gyarados is a solid tier one deck, and since Machamp is a constantly-played tier two, a list such as this one was obviously a HUGE gamble. Granted, the Technical Machine-TS 2 is a saving grace in each of those games, but not enough of one to save you consistently.

Some of the single copies were not good choices: one Power Spray was risky beyond belief, and I think it showed in my game against Amalio, which could’ve been tilted in my favor by even the slightest tweak to my list. As for the one Warp Energy, that too was a waste, and could’ve easily been a 4th Call, 2nd Power Spray, Lucario GL, 4th Special metal, or anything else…Good.

Basically, this build suffered from being caught in limbo between Luxchomp and conventional Dialgachomp. While that played in my favor throughout the event, this list is easily a couple cards off of how to properly play such a deck.

If I knew then what I do now, here are the following tweaks I would make to a Luxchomp-wannabe Dialgachomp list:

-1 Technical Machine TS-2 (still helpful in some matchups, though)
-1 Warp Energy
-1 Bebe’s Search

+1 Uxie LA
+1 Lucario GL
+1 Power Spray or Call

With these tweaks, you’re giving up on Gyarados in exchange for a solid Machamp, as well as a better mirror. In my metagame, that would have been a sound play.

Regarding the uncertainty on Call: I’ve found Energy Exchanger to be sufficient in acting as your faux-fourth call in a pinch when going second, and going first, it doesn’t make that much of a difference in your starting percentiles to justify playing the forth. Hence, I make the third tweak be Power Spray “or” Call, with heavy favoritism towards the second Power Spray. For more faux-Luxchompy goodness, you may even want to find space for a third Power Spray!

That’s enough about the list…Now onto the matches. With over 50 people, we were bound to have a long day, with six rounds of swiss and a top eight cut. Yikes…

Round 1: VS Cade K. (Donphan/Yanmega Primes)

My first round of the tournament, and I’m already thankful for making the switch, as what could have been a contentious game with Luxchomp was instead turned into an auto win for Dialgachomp. All I needed to do to assure a game in my favor was to just tank Dialga G with Special Metals, keep a Power Spray/Junk Arm in hand for any moment where he could pull a surprise KO on me, and Poke Turn up a seriously-damaged attacker. Most importantly, though, is keeping Time Crystal in play at all cost, which shuts off both Yanmega Prime’s Insight and Donphan Prime’s Exoskeleton.
Due to his energy lineup, he was left with virtually no options against me, and so Dialga was able to charge into a very solid 6-0/6-1 victory on prizes.

Win (1-0)

As I walked towards the next round pairings, I was beyond shocked to see my round two pairing: Demarcus, who I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt was playing…Yanmega. Yes, you read that right: a Dialgachomp got two Yanmegas in a row. Given that there were only about 3 Yanmega decks in the whole field, the odds of this were beyond absurd. However, you take good fortune as it comes…

Round 2: VS Demarcus R. (Yanmega Prime)

Due to his list being much more focused, as well as my start being less than stellar, he was able to assert a furious charge against me with an early Yanmega; however, once my board began to stabilize, and I could finally access a Dialga G LV.X, things turned around very quickly. While he used cards such as Judge and Giratina to disrupt me, SP’s attackers are just too powerful, and I was able to find several adequate targets for Dragon Rush sniping this match (due to circumstance, I was unable to really ever “tank” a Dialga until later on).

Win (2-0)

Round 3: VS Demetre F. (Machamp/Prime)

I suppose it’s fair that, after getting two Yanmega Prime variants in a row, I pair against a bad matchup in the form of Machamp. However, he mulliganed at least three times, which gave me a good idea of what his deck list consisted of: standard fare for a Machamp SF/Prime list, but an unusual card that stuck out to me was Ruins of Alph. It does make some sense to run as a Gyarados counter, but for me and every other SP player there, it was a wasted slot.

Anyways, he went first, Machop to my Bronzong G. After attaching and benching an Uxie for Set Up, he hit me for ten, and I took the time needed to build a bench, ready for an imminent Machamp KO. This much happened, but – perhaps fearing a Lucario/Uxie LV.X response I didn’t have – he opted to exert the resources to go for a turn two Machamp Prime KO instead of one with Machamp SF, which he had access to. Given this, I setup a play to catch back up involving a hit for 50 followed up with a couple Flash Bites and a Technical Machine TS-2 the next turn (via Twins)…But he just Judged my hand away. However, the 50 hit was just enough to make the x2 weak Machamp Prime vulnerable to a clean KO from Uxie LV.X anyways, and so he was left to struggle from there. I think after this he Looker’s Investigation’d for five cards, only to be a single one off of the response Machamp. After sniping his Machop, and after drawing one more prize, he scooped from there, as he had no way to keep up with my rate of knock-outs.

Win (3-0)

Round 4: VS Cameron H. (Luxchomp/ERL)

This game, Cameron went first with a Luxray GL, opting to just draw and pass with no other options. Although playing hard for it, I somehow whiffed on the DCE or Energy Exchanger necessary to score the first turn knockout with Dragonite FB; however, this energy whiff, as well as my initial jump on setup, were enough to give me a decisive early edge in our tried-and-true mirror exchange. I believe that he had whiffed some sort of attachment a few turns after this as well, which made things even harder to recover. Although I never fell behind on prizes, making Twins useless, I felt like the Dragonite/Ambipom combo, as well as the Energy Exchanger, were extremely useful in helping me edge out SP mirror. I can only imagine what Staraptor FB LV.X must be thinking some games…Hah.

Win (4-0)

Round 5: VS Josh H. (Gyarados/Mew Prime)

Gyarados/Mew is currently the second-most popular variant on Mew Prime, and for good reason, as a 120 damage Tail Revenge is very, very useful. However, in the Dialgachomp matchup, all those Mews and Psychic Energy generally become useless in the face of Time Crystal. That’s just what happened, and so he was starved of one of his most crucial elements of the deck.
Still, he was able to function with just Gyarados, and so he put up his fight that way. However, my snipes helped put me too far in the lead, as well as my tanking Dialga G LV.X for good measure. Between these two, Josh was hard-pressed to ever edge me out of the win.

Win (5-0)

Round 6: VS Amalio O. (Luxchomp/Mewtwo)

While I was glad with being assured top cut, I didn’t like the prospect of starting a mirror game with Dialga G…Or with no Supporters…Or with nothing good in my prizes, either (Azelf yielded junk). To make matters worse, a turn one Toxic Fang from Crobat G made tanking against him null, so I just tried to aim for a quick KO via my own Crobat G’s Flash Bite, a Poke Turn to reuse it, and a second strike. I got this, and it helped me wiggle out of a losing game, but no luck. Eventually I drew into a Twins while behind, which was enormous in helping me get back into this match; unfortunately, though, he always seemed to have everything he needed for a response.
A rather strange play of his helped give me a shot at victory, though: a Mewtwo LV.X promotion, which was easily parried by Dialga G LV.X and its Time Crystal. While I, by the grace of 3-1 Garchomp and several other happenstance things, got this game down to 1-1 prizes, he eventually had the Bright Look response on one of my cheap guys near the end for a final knock-out, and the end of a very good game.

Loss (5-1)

The above was about the only match on the other (aside from the Machamp one) where I felt like a Luxchomp/1-1 dialga would’ve been the more optimal play. But yes, it most certainly would have…However, I also get the vibe that this game was cost through either some sub-optimal play or a sub-optimal deck decision. Be it a slight shift in resource conservation, or the inclusion of a second Power Spray, I feel as if "anything" could have turned the tide in my favor this game...But oh well: live and learn.

Anyways, here’s everything that cut:

1st Seed Amalio (Luxchomp/Mewtwo) VS 8th Seed Cameron (Luxchomp/ERL)
4th Seed Ron (Vilegar) VS 5th Seed Dana (Garchomp C/Honchkrow SV)
2nd Seed Me (Dialgachomp) VS 7th Seed Cade (Donphan/Yanmega Primes)
3rd Seed Josh (Gyarados/Mew Prime) VS 6th Seed Robert (Gyarados)

Unlike many of the past City Championships I have either played in or heard about, this field was very diverse, as were the decks that succeeded: there were only two duplicates (Luxchomp/Gyarados), and even their lists were noticeably different from one-another.

Top Eight: Cade K. (Donphan/Yanmega Prime)

Games One and Two –  by the mercy of good fortune, I hit my absolute best matchup out of every deck in top cut, and so I approached it much the same way I did in my swiss match against Cade. The only difference was that there was one window of opportunity for him to claim some board control, but he didn’t hit the Expert Belt to pull it off. That immediately-proceeding turn, I sealed up all holes in my iron-tight Dialga defense, and won as comfortably as I did previously.
Yeah…I have a feeling Cade didn’t expect anybody to be playing Dialgachomp today…But I have his word he’s made the list better against Dialgachomp since, so I look forward to a potential rematch in the future. :P

Win (6-1)

Top Four: Josh H. (Gyarados/Mew Prime)

Game One – My hand this game was looking awesome enough to cruise me directly into the top two…However, there was only one problem:
Josh plays Judge.

And he also just happened to not play it against me in our swiss match, which made it a total surprise to me here in cut. This alone was rough enough, but the fact that I drew an unplayable hand as a result was murder. Thus, for the rest of the game, I would go without playing a single supporter…Horrid? Yeah, you bet.

However, by the glory of something, I was able to hang on for dear life, scoring little chump knock-outs whenever I could. So, despite not getting to play Supporters, I “did” bring myself down to two prizes thanks to Dragon Rush, Dialga attacking, and a Technical Machine TS-2 kill.

Games Two and Three -  Unlike the last game, these were much like the swiss match. His Judges made things scary for me once or twice, but unlike the first game, I was able to pull off a quick Azelf to gather vital intelligence on what to draw so that I could get out of my rut. Time was called deep into game three, but I was well on my way to winning it (I believe I was three prizes up after the “+3” turns).

Win (7-1)

Finals: Cameron H. (Luxchomp/ERL)

Game One – despite starting with a lone Azelf and no other benched Pokemon – horrid vis-à-vis his Garchomp with other basics – I was able to rapidly edge him out with my colorless basic advantage. Miraculously, I got the situation turned around so hard, he felt it necessary to save time…Prudent on his part, sure, but surprising nonetheless.

Game Two – once again, I started weirdly with Dialga G; however, I was able to make this work in my favor, as Deafen kept his equally weird starter, Bronzong G, stuck in the active position. This allowed for a rare Second Strike KO being good in the mirror, triggered through either my own Flash Bite or his Galactic Switch – I don’t remember. From here, I started playing the exchange regularly, and we kept very close the entire match. Eventually, due to me topping off his setup with Looker’s Investigation, I was able to edge further ahead. Unfortunately, I was a resource or two off of nabbing my last prize, so he was given the window of opportunity to set up a very slick Roserade GL play…However, I finally hit what I needed to get out of the active position, and snipe for the last prize.

Win (8-1)

Unfortunately, I didn’t take the time to report on the unabridged metagame of this event. Due to there being over 50 players, and due to Dialgachomp requiring me to play long, drawn-out games at every step of the event, I was really left without any other option.

I hope you got something out of this report. While this Dialgachomp is far from perfect (haha), it should give you a variety of ideas to chew on, and to maybe incorporate into your own list come States/Provincials/Territorials. Tomorrow, I’ll be posting my fifth and final report, which again features Dialgachomp...Only this next time, it'll actually have Stadiums.

Posted by: Heytrainer on 2011-01-13 22:36:47 • Tags: Pokemon Luxchomp HeyTrainer Tag Team Picasso Touch luxray garchomp luxray gl garchomp c pokemon organized play play! pokemon pokemon city championships pokemon league pokemon texas Drifblim Dialga Team Galactic Dialgachomp

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I've been writing a lot of Luxchomp tournament reports lately, but the only problem is that I don't do much guiding as to what plays are ideal, what plays are not ideal, etc. In order to help iron this out, I decided to post an article written by 2010 Worlds Qualifier Alex Fields, a.k.a. Butlerforhire. While the content located herein pertains to the Diamond and Pearl-on format, you'll find that it is very much relevant even today.

(Originally posted 6/22/2010)

"Luxchomp Strategies"

By Alex Fields

"Although Nationals is just a couple days away, Alex Fields (butlerforhire) wrote an excellent Luxchomp analysis I wanted to share with all of you. So if you're still unsure about what you want to play, or how best to prepare for Nats's most popular deck, then this article will help you in many, many ways.

Luxray GL/Garchomp C

This is the reigning titan of the current format and has been for the majority of the season. Every single player from all three age divisions needs to be well-educated on how this deck works if he or she expects to do well at National and/or World. The deck has been strong ever since it debuted with the release of Supreme Victors, although the re-release of DCE-- Garchomp C lv. X's fuel of choice-- has elevated it into an overpowering position over much of the format.

For this article I will begin by explaining how the deck works and then move on to an analysis of its match-ups and finally how to play against it. I will be writing from the perspective of one who is using Luxray/Garchomp, not playing against it.

The deck wins because it abuses virtually every trick that can be abused in this game and has an incredibly wide arsenal of weapons at its disposal throughout the game. Here is a breakdown of what makes the deck so effective:

- Both of the primary Pokemon can attack anything your opponent has in play-- Bright Look brings your chosen target active and Dragon Rush snipes as you see fit. Nothing is ever safe for your opponent or out of reach for you.

- Garchomp C, Luxray GL, and Ambipom G can all donk on the first turn with the aid of DCE and, if going second, Energy Gain and Flash Bite (s).

- The TGIs allow you to: shrug off damage with Poketurn and reuse your game-winning Powers, negate whichever of your opponent's Powers you choose with Power Spray, accelerate your attacks with Energy Gain, and search out whatever SP Pokemon you want-- including lv. X cards-- with SP Radar.

- Cyrus' Conspiracy hooks you up with any of those TGIs as well as the energy you need to attack and the Supporter of your choosing, generally another Cyrus to keep the flow of TGIs, energy, and options going.

- Garchomp C lv. X's Healing Breath forces your opponent to OHKO you or often end up wasting turns doing damage that will just get removed with this broken Power. It also cleans up messy Flash Impact recoil damage.

- Crobat G and Toxicroak G can both poison; in certain match-ups, this is a big deal, particularly Donphan (which is otherwise often un-winnable once set up, barring specific tech-work against it such as Frost Rotom or Quagsire GL).

- Bright Look gives you constant control of what your opponent has in the active position. You override his or her choice of an active Pokemon every time you level up. There are all kinds of broken tactical advantages that this gives you; an entire article could be written solely about Bright Look abuse.

- Ambipom G can move your opponent's energy around and possibly remove it from play if you target something to transfer the energy to with an Unown G on it/something like Mewtwo lv. X that can't be affected by you.

- Crobat G lets you rain down a damage counter anywhere you want, which is amazing when that single damage counter nets you a KO you otherwise would not have gotten. With Poketurn, you can bridge all kinds of damage gaps standing between your attack and a KO.

- Bronzong G lets you move your energy around, allowing you to: not fall behind in energy drops when you Poketurn something energized, execute surprise attacks that your opponent didn't think you'd be able to power up that turn, conserve energy if you are about to suffer a KO, etc..

- Lucario GL makes all Pokemon in play double weak, which still matters-- even though double-weakness is back for everything in the HGSS block-- because prevalent pre-HGSS Pokemon like Gyarados and sometimes Flygon/Garchomp/Kingdra/Machamp are only +30 weak with huge HP. With their weakness modified to double, you can get important OHKOs on them.

Primary strategy in most match-ups:

- Eliminate Claydol either before it comes into play by Bright Looking Baltoy and KOing it or after it has come into play with Dragon Rush
- Deny Uxie's Set Up with Power Spray
- Alternate between Luxray and Garchomp to take out whatever your opponent attempts to (or does) develop
- Deny your opponent prizes with Poketurn and Healing Breath

The ideal start of the deck varies from match-up to match-up. Sometimes, an opening Garchomp C with DCE is very strong, while other times you want the Luxray GL start so you can be primed for a turn 2 level up and Bright Look. Still other times you will be thankful to open with Amibpom G and DCE against your opponent's low-HP Basic.

Going first, Call energy is often desired to get you set up and take away any risk of being donked; it can also give you the opportunity to Power Spray your opponent on their next turn by giving you a total of at least 3 SP Pokemon in play.

Going second, you can play Energy Gain and will often want to attack right away even if you do have Call in hand; Garchomp C can do a respectable 50 if you have the DCE and the Energy Gain, for example. You can also play Roseanne's Research or Pokemon Collector to provide you with the set up that Call would without sacrificing your chance to attack.

Match-up Analyses:


This is one of the deck's few unfavorable match-ups. Donphan's Body is especially effective against you because your damage output is relatively low-- with an Expert Belt attached to Donphan, you need to Dragon Rush it twice AND hit it with 2 Flash Bites in order to get a KO. Meanwhile, your opponent can SSU the Donphan or heal it with Blissey(PL or HGSS)/Nidoqueen/Pokehealer.

Luxray is rendered largely impotent as it is OHKOed by Donphan for a single energy and also only hits it for 20 with Flash Impact after resistance and Exoskeleton are factored in; for these reasons, it will remain out of the action in the match-up aside from the occasional Bright Look, which will typically be used to grab a prize on something that isn't Donphan at the end of the game to seal the win or to bring up a bench sitter like Claydol or Regirock so that Garchomp can snipe comfortably for a turn or two.

The opponent will often get a quick active Donphan into play using Earthquake while powering another Donphan on the bench for Heavy Impact. With Expert Belt, that second Donphan is able to OHKO every card in Luxray/Garchomp, which is problematic.

The best way to play against Donphan in the absence of a direct counter capable of OHKOing it such as Frost Rotom is to use Crobat G as both an attacker and a buffer. With Fighting resistance, you require the opponent to Belt and use Heavy Impact while you can begin double-Poisoning them for a single energy (and Energy Gain). The idea is to Toxic Fang, take your hit from Earthquake, retreat for Garchomp C, level up and heal everything on your side, and then Dragon Rush it. As long as they have remained Poisoned and aren't Belted, you will be KOing it (3 rounds of Poison for 20 and 60 damage from Dragon Rush); even if they are Belted, Flash Bite can be used to make up the difference (Donphan should already have a damage counter on it from the Flash Bite you used when you brought Crobat G into play so all you need is one Poketurn or a second Crobat G to bridge the gap caused by Expert Belt).

You can also take the route of teching specifically against Donphan with a Water-type attacker. There are a number of options to choose from, but the best is Quagsire GL. It does not OHKO Donphan but it can provide the same function as Garchomp C lv. X by getting the KO immediately after you Toxic Fang it, running away to the safety of the bench while that same Crobat G (that should have been Poketurned after taking a hit from Earthquake/non-Belted Heavy Impact) comes active as a buffer.

If your opponent ever gives you the chance to KO a Phanphy (typically via Dragon Rush, although you might also be able to Bright Look + Poison Revenge, etc.), you should generally take it. Don't expect your opponent to bench a Phanphy they can't immediately evolve often, though-- with BTS or Rare Candy there will often not be a Phanphy hitting the bench that does not become a Donphan in the same turn. Take advantage of the rare occurrence when it arises. Also take as many of your prizes off of benched Uxies/Claydols/Relincanths etc. as you safely can. Sometimes it is okay to sacrifice Luxray GL lv. X to grab prizes off of these Pokemon, particularly if you only need a KO or two to end the game.

Summary of tips against Donphan:- Attack with Crobat G and Garchomp C as a tag team
- Don't attack with Luxray until the end of the game, and never use it directly against Donphan
- Take any easy KOs you can on Pokemon other than Donphan


This match-up is the main reason that Lucario GL is included in the deck; getting it out is a priority here and thus it should be one of the first cards you Call or Roseanne's/Collector for.

The goal is to be able to OHKO Gyarados while either avoiding the OHKO in return or having the means on hand (Aaron's is searchable and easy to grab in advance) to resurrect a Luxray GL lv. X immediately after that KO does come. Gyarados is only able to OHKO a fresh Luxray GL lv. X with damage modifiers, usually in the form of Expert Belt or two Flash Bites (or two PlusPower, although they are less common). You can't avoid the Expert Belt, although you can take advantage of its presence by making sure you have an Aaron's, a Crobat G and a back-up Luxray ready to Trash Bolt for 2 prizes on your turn. The Flash Bites, fortunately, are avoidable with Power Spray; Flash Bite is the main Power that you will be Spraying here.

In addition to setting up Luxray to OHKO Gyarados, you should also set up Garchomp C lv. X to take as many easy prizes off of your opponent's low-HP-filled bench as possible while also providing a full heal for Luxray after it has been hit with Tail Revenge. Virtually every supporting Pokemon in the deck aside from Regice is OHKOed by Dragon Rush. For Gyarados to be able to OHKO you, they will once again need damage modification. The supply of Flash Bites will eventually run out between attempts to OHKO both Garchomp and Luxray, and Belt makes them give up two prizes while only gaining one, so you should be able to take 6 prizes before they do through your ability to maintain a steady stream of OHKOs.

If your opponent drops an Azelf before you have seen all 4 Magikarp and you have the means to Power Spray it, do so because you are likely cutting off access to one (or possibly more) Magikarp that is stuck in the prizes. If you can reduce Tail Revenge to 60 base damage, you have essentially already won-- you will never be OHKOed and you will always be able to OHKO their Gyarados as well as their entire bench.

If your opponent benches Regice, you should Bright Look it up and Dragon Rush around it for easy prizes for as long as possible. Your opponent will be forced to waste SSUs or Warp energy on it due to its high retreat cost and the deck's low energy count. You might eventually be able to lock it active and either win the game on time or take your remaining prizes from the bench.

Although Regice is a liability for the opponent once you target it with Bright Look, its Power can lead to Gyarados taking easy prizes off of your bench- while your opponent may not be able to OHKO your active Luxray or Garchomp lv. X, nothing on your bench aside from another Luxray or Garchomp lv. X can withstand 90 damage.

You can tech in a Looker's Investigation or a Judge in order to push the match-up further in your favor. The deck needs to keep its hand large and well-stocked with Pokemon Rescue and back-up Gyarados in order to keep attacking, and having a 10+ card hand full of those crucial pieces reduced to 4 or 5 random cards right before you KO his or her Gyarados is usually crippling.

Summary of tips against Gyarados:

- Get Lucario GL in play so you can OHKO Gyarados

- Deny OHKOs/bait out an Expert Belt you can make your opponent pay for by Spraying Flash Bites

- Take prizes with Garchomp from the opponent's bench

Kingdra Prime:

This match-up is lopsided in Luxray/Garchomp's favor due to Kingdra Prime's double weakness to Luxray combined with Kingdra's difficulty in dealing 110 damage. Although Kingdra can OHKO Luxray GL lv. X or Garchomp C lv. X with a bit of effort, such as a Belt and 3 Spray Splashes/Flash Bites, it will be a relatively rare occurrence-- Power Spray's ability to negate a crucial Flash Bite or Spray Splash lowers the odds of a OHKO even further-- whereas your type advantage and damage output lets you OHKO Kingdras with ease. If your opponent does pull off a OHKO, they will almost always be Belted and since you have the means to return the OHKO for two prizes, he or she will usually suffer more than you do.

You should focus early on crippling the opponent's set up in the usual way through Dragon Rushing Claydol and Spraying Uxie. If the opponent cannot Cosmic Power, the amount of Kingdra Prime that come into play will be low and you will have even less of a chance of getting OHKOed by a swarm of Spray Splashing/Belted Kingdras.

Perhaps more importantly, cutting off the opponent's draw power should also make it harder for them to access the Luxray counter that most lists will run, such as Donphan Prime or Machamp. If you do have to deal with one of these counters, don't panic- most lists won't run more than 1 line of the counter of choice and you can KO it with the same tricks you would use if you were playing against it in its own deck.

Poketurn and Healing Breath render Spray Splash a non-issue as long as it isn't aiding a OHKO. Other decks have to worry about the damage being spread across their field because it is permanent, but you do not have to share that concern because you have two unstoppable ways to negate it.

One way that Kingdra might pose a problem is if it goes off on turn 1 and is able to OHKO your opening Basic; 80 damage is much easier to do than 110. You might also get hit by Judge and find yourself unable to access your lv. Xs, which would generally mean a loss.

On the other side of this, you can donk Horsea and Baltoy with ease-- Luxray GL with a DCE is a Flash Bite away from OHKOing LA Horsea and Garchomp C with DCE and Energy Gain OHKOs both Horsea and Baltoy.

Summary of tips against Kingdra Prime:
- Take the OHKOs on Kingdras
- Dragon Rush Claydols
- Avoid Spray Splash abuse via Poketurns/Healing Breath

Palkia G/Garchomp C:

Luxray GL lv. X OHKOs the central Pokemon of the deck, Palkia G lv. X, which gives you a huge natural advantage. However, the threat of a counter-KO from Toxicroak G keeps you in check. Azelf MT is also used to add C to all of your attack costs, which combined with the constant Power-locking from Mesprit/Power Spray that the deck is founded upon and the threat of Hydro Shot and Dragon Rush on anything you try to develop makes the game more difficult for you than simply "Flash Impact every Palkia G in play for the win."

If you can take out Azelf MT with Dragon Rush without losing your Garchomp to your opponent's own on his or her next turn, you should generally do it to keep Downer Material from crippling you throughout the game. Once you start suffering KOs on your over-energized Pokemon and have to sit there and essentially pass a few turns for lack of energy on the field, you will allow the opponent to take control and keep you in a position where you are playing from behind permanently, which you clearly do not want.

Take any KOs on Toxicroak G that you can get. Your opponent might keep that card in hand along with a Psychic and an Energy Gain for the "surprise" drop-- really it is just to keep you from getting any hits on it before it attacks since no good player should be "surprised" by it at this point-- and if so, you will just have to capitalize when it does hit the field. The best way to KO Toxicroak G is with Uxie lv. X-- Dragon Rush plus Flash Bite is unreliable since you can be Power Sprayed or locked by Mesprit and come up 10 damage short.

The very presence of Luxray should keep Palkia on the bench for the majority of the game unless there is no threat of Flash Impact/Trash Bolt during a given turn (which can be arranged with Azelf MT). The absence of Palkia in action is nice for you because it means you will only have to deal with Garchomp C and the occasional Toxicroak G/Uxie lv. X as attacking forces. You should attempt to counter the Garchomp C with Ambipom G or your own Garchomp C just as you would in a mirror match.

If you run 2-2 Luxray or have an Aaron's/Premier Ball in hand, you can go ahead and target the Palkia G lv. X and suffer the Toxicroak G retaliation sometimes to your benefit, especially if you also have the means to OHKO that Toxicroak G lined up. Just do not give up a Luxray GL lv. X when you don't have a way to get another one out immediately or if you will fall into the Downer Material deficit as soon as you are revenge KOed.

Summary of tips against Palkia G/Garchomp C:
- KO Azelf MT with Dragon Rush as soon as you safely can
- Do not recklessly KO Pokemon with Luxray GL lv. X because you will get OHKOed back by Toxicroak G
- Orchestrate OHKOs on Toxicroak G whenever possible
- Abuse weakness when it is safe to do so


This is one of those match-ups that becomes harder and harder the more that the opponent is allowed to develop.

Most builds will run Spiritomb, which you will always struggle against. You are in good shape if you open with Luxray and DCE and can quickly KO Spiritomb before it gets several Darkness Grace attacks off/acts as a wall and Power Spray-blocker for the opponent for several turns. If you happen to draw into one of your lv. Xs, you are in even better shape, and if not, you need to grab Bebe's with Cyrus' immediately so that you can get them. One problem with fetching Bebe's via Cyrus' is that you are susceptible to getting hit with Judge before you get the chance to use the Bebe's. There is no counter to this; you just have to deal with it if it happens and hope for a good 4 cards

If your opponent begins relying on your Cyrus' to fetch Judge with Telepass (after Spiritomb has left and you are being attacked with Gardevoir/Gallade), you can stop it, although you won't know what your opponent is going to do with their Telepass until after you let them use it. Thus, you should consider the game state before you decide whether to Spray Cosmic Power or Telepass; if you fear having a Judge searched out and used against you, Spray Telepass.

If your opponent opens with something other than Spiritomb, it is wise to assume that he or she does run it and will be attempting to get it active against you as soon as possible. Thus, you should use the trainers you can during that window when you aren't Keystone Seal locked-- get lv. Xs with SP Radar a turn early, drop Energy Gains, and so forth.

Most lists will run 1 or 2 Mesprit to lock you out of Powers the turn (s) before they begin using Psychic Lock. With Spiritomb active, you can't Spray Psychic Bind and have even less of a window to try to get an important Bright Look off. Some lists also run Azelf MT as well, so be wary of it. Not being able to use trainers, not being able to use Powers, having your hand reduced to a random 4 cards, and having your attack costs all raised by C will almost certainly guarantee a loss for you, so use everything at your disposal to avoid falling completely into this hole.

Psychic Lock strips you of Powers, and your deck runs on them-- this is obviously bad for you. Even worse, you will not be able to build up a huge hand full of options due to the aforementioned Judge, which the deck will often run between 2-4 of. You can expect Judge to be used against you with even more frequency than Gardevoir uses it against other decks-- due to your own Cyrus' and Telepass, it can be searched out. You also rely on hand-stacking-- via Cyrus'-- more than most decks and are thus a better target for hand disruption.

Gallade is another potent threat against you, being able to OHKO every card in your deck with Psychic Cut. Against Luxray, it doesn't even need to flip any prizes over to do so. As devastating as Psychic Cut can be against you, you can view the assault from Gallade as a cloud with a silver lining since it will give you the opportunity to use Powers and get back into the game.

The best way to approach the match-up- although with Spiritomb, Mesprit and Judge disrupting you it isn't always possible-- is to get hits in on Gardevoirs and Gallades before they can hit you with Bright Look and Dragon Rush so that when they do strike, you will only have to attack once more to KO them. Because both Pokemon attack for 3 energy, it will take your opponent at least two turns to prime the next Gardevoir or Gallade, and in that time you can do the same thing-- hit them before they can hit you and keep them a step behind the whole game. Most of the time, they will not have either Pokemon powered up until turn 3, and even then they may not be able to attack you due to the lack of Moonlight stadium or Unown Q to retreat their active Spiritomb. If you can immediately Cyrus' for a Bebe's and get Luxray GL lv. X into play, you can not only attack your opponent before he or she is ready, you can also play your TGIs.

If you run Uxie lv. X, you have the opportunity to OHKO Gardevoir and Gallade with Lucario GL in play (Gallade requires a Flash Bite). The downside to using Uxie lv. X to attack is that it will get return-KOed by Psychic Lock. You can also use a Mewtwo counter like Mismagius effectively here, either stripping the opposing Gardevoir of an Expert Belt/however many tools you want to get rid of on your side and dealing decent damage or using Horror Chant to hit for 70 while returning a charged Gardevoir/Gallade to your opponent's hand.

Mewtwo fits into Gardevoir easily and is impossible to OHKO if your opponent uses Psychic Lock or Psychic Bind the turn before they level up-- you can't Flash Bite it and you can't Bright Look it, so you will be dealing with Mewtwo lv. X. If your opponent benches it before they lock your Powers, try to OHKO it as usual or begin setting up your counter.

If you play Judge or Looker's in your list, do not use it in this match-up unless you are in dire straits and absolutely need the hand refresh to remain in the game. Otherwise you will be getting your hand disrupted potentially every turn that a Gardevoir remains in play.

If you run Chatot, you may be able to win the game with Chatter against Spiritomb. Warp energy is uncommon here, but you may see Unown G. If your opponent's bench is already full and they have no way to KO the Spiritomb with Darkness Grace damage, go for the lock.

Summary of tips against Gardevoir:
- Hit Gardevoir and Gallade before they hit you whenever you can arrange it
- Be careful with your Cyrus' chaining because you will eventually be hit with Judge
- Try to abuse psychic weakness with Uxie lv. X and/or your Mewtwo counter
- Relish any chance you get to use Powers, such as after an attack by Gallade
- If your opponent doesn't open with Spiritomb, use as many trainers as you can before they bring it active
- Spray Telepass more than Cosmic Power

Curse Gengar

Out of all the decks in the format, this is the one that can cause you the most trouble if it fully sets up.

The goal of your opponent will be to keep you from playing trainers for as long as possible with Spiritomb, which does not go away after the first few turns as it does in most other set up decks which use it. Gengar AR will Shadow Skip and switch out to Spiritomb repeatedly, letting you take prizes on them while keeping Gengar safe on the bench. With Expert Belt, Shadow Skip does 80 damage, which is a big deal considering Gengar lv. X's Level Down and your inability to play Poketurn with Spiritomb active.

If your active Luxray or Garchomp lv. X is targeted by Level Down and you can't block it with Power Spray-- whether it is due to Spiritomb or simply having none in hand-- you will lose your de-leveled Pokemon to a Belted Shadow Skip. You can also be hit with a Belted Shadow Skip first and then get Leveled Down for an instant KO on your opponent's next turn with no chance to use Poketurn due to Spiritomb. Both of these scenarios are bad and difficult to avoid.

You can also anticipate having your hand disrupted with Judge or Looker's Investigation (or maybe a combination of both).

The way to win this match-up is to disrupt the hit-and-run strategy that the deck depends upon to succeed. Bright Look and Dragon Rush let you do this, although because of Spiritomb and Level Down you will have a hard time maintaining the control. Bright Looking Claydol-- especially if they have already dropped what is likely their lone Unown Q on Spiritomb-- and sniping Gengar is one of the best plays you can make here. Poketurning your level Xs when you are not attacking with them can also be wise because then you only have to fear Judge/Looker's and not the once-per-turn Level Down. For example, if you do Bright Look Claydol and have Garchomp C lv. X waiting, you can Poketurn the Luxray GL lv. X up so that you can repeat the process once the Claydol ends up back on the bench.

Keep in mind that Gengar resists Garchomp. With 160 HP once leveled up and Belted, you KO it with 2 Dragon Rushes-- but only if it is on the bench. This shouldn't be an issue since it runs to the bench every turn anyway, but there may be a time when you need to break the Spiritomb lock and are tempted to bring up Gengar over something like Claydol thinking you can still 2HKO it with Dragon Rush. Don't make this mistake.

Bright Look is also your way around Keystone Seal, so take advantage of the break in the trainer lock whenever you are able to send a Spiritomb to the bench-- drop Energy Gains, use SP Radars, etc..

If your opponent gets SF Gengar in play and threatens to use it over Cursegar, manage your trainers as well as you can-- it will be harder under Spiritomb lock. Fortunately, if you are attacked by SF Gengar, you will have the chance to play as many trainers as you want afterward because Spiritomb will not be in the active position.

Because the deck is psychic, it can easily run Mewtwo lv. X, so be wary of the possibility for its appearance when you go into the match-up. If you run Mismagius as a counter, you're in luck on two fronts because you will find that it has another, non-Mewtwo-related use here: sending charged Gengars back to your opponent's hand with Horror Chant. If you can pull this off, you will set your opponent back 3 turns and also open them up to the vulnerable position of having to bench and attach to a Gastly that you can snipe or bring active with Bright Look. If you run Belt AND Mismagius, you can even OHKO Mewtwo at the same time that you send back the Gengar to your opponent's hand-- you'll now be doing 120 to the Mewtwo with Horror Chant. You can just discard the Expert Belt later with Crash Chant if your opponent threatens to KO you so that you don't give up the 2 prizes.

If you run Chatot, you may be able to win the game with Chatter against Spiritomb, but you probably won't be so lucky since most lists will run 1-2 Warp energy/Unown G. If you see that your opponent has already played a Warp energy or two or their (likely) one Unown G, you might be free to secure the lock.

Summary of tips against Cursegar:

- Bright Look around Spiritomb; bring up Claydol whenever you can so you have time to snipe Gengar freely/play your trainers/disrupt their energy drops
- Do not let Gengar sit safely on the bench; bring it active or snipe it with Dragon Rush
- Get Mismagius out even if there is no Mewtwo in sight so you have the Horror Chant disruption option
- Power Spray any Level Down that you have the chance to

Here is an analysis of the Jumpluff match-up:


Jumpluff becomes a troublesome match-up when your opponent is able to set up a volatile field of Claydol(s) and Jumpluffs and score OHKOs on your lv. Xs, which is not difficult-- with a full bench on their side, 3 Pokemon on yours (2 benched and 1 active) and an Expert Belt/2 Flash Bites, 110 damage is being dealt for a single energy. If you have 4 Pokemon on your bench, Mass Attack is already starting at 110. Playing with a small bench hurts you because it limits your options-- you are going to be paying for your Uxie/Azelf drops, for playing Bronzong G down, for trying to set up 2 L