Heytrainer Squaretable Discussion

(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,


Retro Article: “2009’s Top Ten Most Significant Events”

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 itÂ’s really all the same thing: sweeping, revolutionary reform to the way we participate in Pokemon Organized Play.

First and foremost, you canÂ’t play whole decks of foreign cards anymore, and by this time next year, you wonÂ’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 donÂ’t want to be hassled with their opponentsÂ’ 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.

Ten in ’10: 2010’s Most Significant Events (Part 5/6)

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?)

Ten in ’10: 2010’s Most Significant Events (Part 6/6)

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!

Ten in ’10: 2010’s Most Significant Events (Part 4/6)

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.

Ten in ’10: 2010’s Most Significant Events (Part 3/6)

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.


Deck List Dump: Palkia Lock




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,


Ten in ’10: 2010’s Most Significant Events (Part 2/6)

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…

Ten in ’10: 2010’s Most Significant Events (Part 1/6)

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?)

Deck List Dump: Turbo Kingdra

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.