Pokemon Competing Decks

By: Brian Hsieh

Battle Roads is currently in effect and many decks have been showcased. Some decks have performed well but there are certain matchups that are to be considered when you face an opponent. Decks that have shown their muscle earlier on have been lacking against some strategies featured with the newer cards in the Emerging Powers set.

ZPS (Zekrom, Pachirisu, Shaymin) has a strong presence in tournaments. Battle Roads featured an abundant number of users running this deck, teching in Tornadus for a ZTPS suited name. This deck is focused on gathering energy with Tornadus and Pachirisu and sending it to Zekrom’s way through the use of Shaymin or Tornadus’s attack effect. This deck is simple to build and use. It is also very fast and effective against most decks. However, if it runs into a Trainer lock deck like Vileplume or Gothitelle, it’s almost an automatic scoop each time due to its dependence on Trainer cards.. Its main threat after lock is Donphan Dragons, which is another good reason for Tornadus’s inclusion (fighting resistance).

Other decks that continue to appear are Yanmega Magnezone. This deck trumps many decks that focus on locking due to its constant sniping ability to disrupt evolution with Yanmega. Yanmega’s free retreat is also a big issue for Beartic decks. Magnezone can also KO a Gothitelle wall, which would hurt anyone’s Gothitelle setup. What this deck fails to counter is everything else. ZTPS has full use of Zekrom to deliver damage. Since all Pokemon in ZTPS are basic, they have higher HP than others that need an evolution, which takes away the whole powerful sniping ability of Yanmega. Zekrom is also featured in Donphan Dragons, which is bad considering how Yanmega and Magnezone are weak against electric and fighting types respectively.

Although I haven’t had any personal contact with MewBox, I’ve heard it works well against Gothitelle. MewBox features many different Pokemon that Mew Prime can just throw into the Lost Zone to use its power. Most notable Pokemon used are Jumpluff and Muk. Mew can attack with one Rainbow Energy for a maximum of one hundred twenty with Jumpluff or drag opponent’s Pokemon with Muk onto the active battlefield. Teching a Vileplume helps Mewbox from opponents using Switch or any Trainers that would hurt Mew’s potential. I believe this deck doesn’t run into much trouble besides the common fact that Mew only has sixty HP and can be KO’ed rather easily. If everything is setup fast then I believe it will be a tough deck to beat with the right techs. The people using these decks have lost a couple games just due to slower builds.

Donphan Dragons has a strong presence that shouldn’t be ignored. It works well and fast to knock out many Pokemon to get fast prizes. The problem with Donphan Dragons is the Twins engine. Against opponents knowing they will go down a prize card due to slower builds, a Twins gets them the two cards needed to stop Donphan and the usually teched Yanmega Prime. With my own Gothitelle deck, I managed to beat the Donphan deck just because it slowed down while my deck sped up. There aren’t many other decks that can step up to this deck, except maybe a mirror, in which a Basculin is teched in to stop an opponent’s Donphan.
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Redmond, WA Battle Road Report

By Kenny Wisdom

So, after having done pretty mediocre over the course of this Battle Road season (always 3-2ing), I decided that I was going to try and go with what I thought was the most “sure thing” deck: Zekrom. I feel like Reshiram/Typhlosion is the best deck, but it loses to trainer lock pretty handidly. Zekrom, on the other hand, is good vs. pretty much everything, except for Reshiram/Typhlosion. This format is all about luck and match-ups, so I felt like I would just go with Zekrom and take my losses to Reshiram/Typhlosion.

I knew there would be some of The Truth there (aka Ross Cawthon’s secret 2011 2nd place Worlds deck aka Donphan/Suicine & Entei Legend/Vileplume/Reuniclus/Pichu/Zekrom/Twins), so I decided I’d go with the “Yamato” version of Zekrom, which sacrifices a bit of the Zekrom donk capability to have better match-ups against the field with Lanturn and Yanmega. I can’t reveal the exact list I played here as it was my teams list and not just my own, but it’s not really that hard to figure out, particularly if you pay attention to the details in my matches.

I picked up my “daughter” Amelia Bottemiller on the way, and off we were. We got there, I borrowed the cards I needed, we got registered, and sat down for our pairings. We learned that the tournament had 32 Masters division players, meaning that we would have 5 rounds, a top 4 cut, and 3rd and 4th would each get one Pro Point. Without further ado…

Round 1: ??? w/ Donphan/Machamp

I get an early lead, almost getting the donk if not for a lucky Cleffa flip on his part. The game then evens out a little bit, with me only being up by a prize or two. Unfortunately, he doesn’t know that Lanturn’s power allows him to switch to Water type, meaning that he can one shot Donphan. The game degrades after that and I’m able to take quick prizes utlizing Zekrom and Pokemon Catcher.


Round 2: Jaron Deacon w/ Gothitelle

I start Zekrom to his Solosis, and because Jaron and I are friends, decide to mess with him a little bit. Because Zekrom can win on the first turn (going first) very easily, particularly if your opponent starts with a 30 HP basic like Solosis, he is sweating and thinks I have the turn one kill. I keep telling him to calm down and re-assuring him that I can’t win, and after a little bit of thought, play a Pokemon Collector for 2 Yanma and a Chinchou. I think for a second, play all of them on my bench, and attach a double colorless energy to my active Zekrom. I then go into the think tank for a little bit more, before deciding Jaron had had enough, and playing a Pachirisu and activiting it’s Poke Power, and then playing a Shaymin and activiting it’s Poke Power to get the two energy from Pachi attached to Zekrom, and Bolt Strike for game. GG.
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Reuniclus Review

By Jack Snell

At first glance we have a Stage 2 Psychic Pokemon with a seemingly awful 90HP, one Ability and a single attack. So the HP is what instantly stands out at you as being terrible. Having just 90HP puts it in an easy OHKO range from a lot of Pokemon in the format and the pre-evolutions only bear 30 and 60HP respectively, making them prime targets for Catcher + Reshiram/Mew/Cincinno/Donphan/Zekrom etc. = KO.

However, this Pokemon did feature in a deck that came 2nd at Worlds this year so it really can’t be that bad, but let’s have a look at what its main feature is first.

Reuniclus’ Ability is called ‘Damage Swap’ and simply allows you to move any damage on any of your Pokemon to another of your Pokemon as much as you like during your turn. This may not sound like much in a OHKO kind of format we are in at the moment, but pairing with the likes of Vileplume and Zekrom as Ross Cawthon did at Worlds made sure that no KOs were taken. By using this very unique ability, Ross was able to move around the damage onto big HP Pokemon such as Zekrom and keep the opponent from taking KOs while he could attack for massive damage with ‘Outrage’. The inclusion of Vileplume meant that no PlusPower was used to topple 130HP Zekrom and cards like Rare Candy, Pokemon Communication and Catcher were locked as well, making it really difficult for his opponents to set up.

So the Ability is good, but that’s pretty much where it stops for Reuniclus having another use in the format since its attack really isn’t anything special. ‘Psywave’ for 3 Psychic Energy does 30 damage, which is appalling to be honest and the small print only reads that it does 10 extra damage for each energy attached to the defending Pokemon. This attack is just plain bad. If there were some kind of Double Colourless compatibility in here then it might be okay against a very limited list of Pokemon, but it has three Psychic which will take you 3 turns to set up for the same amount of damage Tyrogue does for 0 energy. I don’t see any use for this attack at all in competitive play, so it’s a good job that the ability has a ton of potential.
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Top 3 Of Emerging Powers: Playability

By Kenny Wisdom

Kenny Wisdom here again, with a breakdown of the top 3 most tournament playable cards from our new Pokemon Black and White set, Emerging Powers. To be completely honest, there’s not a whole lot to love in this set, but there are still a few good, metagame shifting cards that need to be mentioned, so I’ll break them down here. I’ll probably either write longer reviews of each card and/or switch to a top 5 format for further sets (particularly Noble Victories, as that looks like a fantastic set) as there will certainly be more to talk about, usually. Without further ado…

#3: Tornadus/Thundurus

These cards (at least Tornadus) are pretty essential in new Zekrom builds. Zekrom was always a deck with a lot of potential, but that had two main problems. The first of which being that it was kind of an “all or nothing” sort of deck, where if you didn’t hit the combo early and keep it going consistently you basically had nothing. You didn’t really have a back-up plan, nor did the deck play any secondary attackers (besides Yanmega sometimes). You either got the combo off early or you lost the game, period.

The second problem was it’s softness vs. Donphan. Not only does Donphan hit you for weakness, but being a S1 that requires one energy and a plus power to OHKO you while you require 3 energy to swing into it for 80 damage was pretty ridiculous against you. Thundurus solves the first problem by being a mostly-reliable way of doing a turn 2 80, which is nothing to scoff at. Additionally, Tornadus solves the Donphan problem (sort of) by being resistant to it. The Zekrom deck still isn’t amazing in my opinion, but it went from decent/good to solidly good, perhaps very good. The best thing about these cards is that Zekrom isn’t even the only thing they’re good in, so the potentially is pretty endless here. Definitely some of the most interesting cards from this set, and personally the two that I think will be the most widely used as this format shapes up and for as long as this set is legal.

#2: Gothitelle

Probably my favorite card in the set, it’s proven itself to be a winner already. Think of it as a Vileplume from Undaunted, except for you can still play trainers, while your opponent can’t, and it’s a much better attacker that has some synergy with Reuniclus, Twins, and Pichu (aka the Ross/Team X-Files engine from the 2011 Pokemon World Championship). Another ridiculously good card that’s going to be used for as long as it’s legal in the format. Much like Tornadus/Thundurus, Gothitelle is such an interesting card that although it is very good in combination with Reuniclus, it’s not the only thing it’s going to be good with. It has so much potential and the fact that it’s going to be legal for another two+ years is only to it’s advantage. The downside of this card when compared to something like Vileplume is that you have to focus on it as an attacker and can’t just slap it in with a basic engine like you could with Vileplume, but I don’t think that’ll prove to be too much of a problem and ultimately may even help it out to an extent. With Plume you have to build around it completely by playing very little trainers, or even sometimes completely omitting them. Having to attack with Gothitelle is a very even trade-off for not having to build around Vileplume.
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Pokemon Beartic Review

By Jack Snell

Hey y’all, hows it going, Jack Snell here and today Ill be reviewing the much hyped card from Emerging Powers, Beartic #30.

Let’s start with some stats. Beartic is a Stage-1 Water-type Pokemon that evolves from Cubchoo (the adorable pokemon with a water droplet on its snout). It has 130 HP, which is incredibly high considering it’s a Stage 1 Pokemon. This is also great for Beartic as big attacks like Reshiram’s Blue Flare, Zekrom’s Bolt Strike will leave it with 10 HP, (as no attack does exactly 130 damage), which forces the opponent to use a Plus Power or two to finish Beartic off, if they wish, in one turn. Vileplume is therefore a great partner for Beartic, preventing the opponent one shotting Beartic by locking them out of Pluspowers, preventing the, using Switch to escape the attack lock and preventing them using other crucial trainers like Catcher, Communication and Rare Candy. It has a x2 Metal weakness which is great; you don’t see too many metal-type decks nowadays, with the prevalence of fire decks, and Beartic isn’t weak to the usual Electric type for Water-types, so it’s a great card to be played now. It has no resistance, which isn’t too much of a surprise. However, a drawback would be its three colourless energy retreat cost which is massive and almost never payable.

Now its attacks – it’s first attack, Sheer Cold, needs WCC to use; so I think it’s safe to say that Beartic is Double Colourless Energy compatible. ;D It does a sub standard 50 damage, but prevents the defending Pokemon from attacking the next turn. Personally, that’s great! They will be forced to retreat, evolve, or devolve in order to even touch Beartic the next turn. Now; evolving and devolving are pretty rare, so that means retreat, consuming valuable energy. If you can combine Beartic with Catcher or Vileplume you can effectively lock your opponent and this attack is what attracted all the hype.

Its second attack, Icicle Crash, needs WWCC, so once again, DCE can be used. It does a measly 80 damage (well, measly considering how much energy is required for this attack). It provides a OHKO to Donphan Prime which is weak to water-types as well as Reshiram, Typhlosion Prime and Emboar, therefore being a great counter to many popular cards in the format right now.

The artwork is cool if a little generic. Its a tad simplistic and nothing like the stunning Beartic artwork we are due to get in Psycho Drive/Hail Blizzard.

Overall, I give Beartic a solid 8/10. It pairs best with Vileplume and Reuniclus in a Ross type engine and provides a difficult to break lockdown. The HP and weakness make it a real tank but unfortunately so do the high attack and retreat costs, which prevent the arctic bear from hitting top marks.


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Twins: Staple Or Situational?

By: Brian Hsieh

Twins is a supporter card released in the Heartgold Soulsilver: Triumphant set. With the release of Seeker as well in this set, Triumphant was one of those packs to get when it was released. Still fresh in the TCG format, Twins has become known as a great card in the right situation. Some even go as far as to call it a staple. While it has its obvious advantages of searching for any two cards you want, even if it’s another Twins to run a Twins engine, it must be played when a player is behind on prize cards.

Faster decks tend to ignore Twins while slower set up decks seem to pile them in. Finding it in a Yanmega/Magnezone deck or a Zekrom/Pachirisu/Shaymin deck seems highly unlikely, as those decks attack fast and consistently without the use of the Twins engine. Decks like Lostgar and any deck holding two stage two lines should highly consider a couple Twins to be safe.

Twins can take a losing game and turn it around in the blink of an eye. If you’re waiting on one card to complete your setup and are sending out basics as cannon fodder while you wait for your dream card, Twins adds another way to mill that card out. It works wonders at the start of the game too, if you are first to lose your Pokemon due to a slower setup. A perfect example would be when I was versing someone who decided to knock out my Solosis. Right after that, I drew a Twins and got to work, running a nice Twins engine while getting the cards I needed in order to come back with a nice Gothitelle trainer lock. Finishing it up with a Reuniclus and Zekrom on the bench, my field was set up and free from harm from any of his Pokemon, as he did not run any Psychic Pokemon, Magnezones, or Bad Emboars to knock me out in one hit. Another example would be when I was versing a rogue deck. Both of us had a good enough setup, but we both had Twins. I stalled long enough to actually use mine, as he started on the offensive. I eventually won that matchup with the same lock previously mentioned, as I was able to get the cards I needed to complete the great hand I already had.

Twins can also be a dead draw. When you want to finish the game as fast as you can and you have a comfortable lead, you want to draw the card that seals the deal. Instead, Twins appears. What works wonders can lead to dismay as you are one Energy away from taking the win, while your opponent might use a Twins himself and get the card necessary to have a setup that can dwarf yours at the moment. Just because one has less prize cards, doesn’t mean he has his field completely set up. Twins can also be relied on a bit much. If a player sets his sights on constantly being behind, he could end up losing before he even draws a single Twins. With Supporters like Judge constantly ruining hands, it could also disrupt any Twins engine a player had in mind. It also hurts hard when one player brings in two Supporters to his hand and gets hit with a Judge, causing the search to be in vain.
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Stalling The Game With Cute Pokemon

By: Pokay G

As of fall 2011, baby Pokemon like Pichu, Cleffa and Tyrogue are the most played cute pocket monsters in the trading card game. All these cute critters are great for stalling the game so that the player can successfully get set up and become ready to destroy their opponent. Stage 2 Pokemon need time to evolve (without a Rare Candy). There are high risks, but great rewards for each of them. Let’s explore the strengths of putting these cute babies into a deck.

Cleffa is great at stalling the game because its PokeBody allows it to prevent all damage from attacks as long as it is asleep. It has an attack called “Eeeeek” that lets the player shuffle his or her hand into the deck and then draw six cards. No energy cards are required to use this attack. This can help the player to quickly get the cards needed to set up the bench. Before attacking with Cleffa, it’s important to place Pokemon on the bench and use any necessary trainer and supporter cards. After attacking, a whole new set of cards becomes available.

The downside to this strategy is the player must flip a coin after every turn to see if Cleffa wakes up. If it does wake up on the opponent’s turn, it will probably get knocked out since it only has 30 HP. It can also stop working if the player wants to use “Eeeeek” on his turn, but Cleffa didn’t wake up.

Tyrogue can also prolong the game with its Mischievous Punch attack. It does 30 damage to the opponent and does not have energy cost. How it successfully stalls the game is through its PokeBody. As long as Tyrogue is asleep, the opponent cannot do any damage to it. Mischievous Punch instantly puts Tyrogue asleep. The same risks of falling asleep still apply, but the cool thing is that you can now deal damage to your opponent while stalling the game. Unfortunately, it also has a low 30 HP.

Pichu has an attack that allows both the player and the opponent to search their decks for up to five basic Pokemon and place them on their respective benches. It works great for an electric deck that has Magnezone or Zekrom in it. This attack also puts Pichu asleep and it has the Sweet Sleeping Face PokeBody, as well. Using Pichu is a great way to avoid using the Pokemon Collector supporter card, but the downside is that it helps the opponent get set up, too.
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Pokemon Worlds is over!

By Pokay G

Pokemon World Championships 2011 is over and now the game has changed again because the new Emerging Powers set was released in America on August 31, 2011. Now, we are coming into the fall and that means Battle Roads! Here is a list of the most expected decks people are going to play this autumn. Yanmega Magnazone, Stage 1s, Magnaboar, Vileplume decks such as the one that Ross took to Worlds and got second place, and last, but not least, Mew variants. Of course, these decks are not all that is going to be played, but most of them are highly anticipated to do well. For those preparing for Battle Roads, here’s a look at why these decks work so well and perform what they are made to do.

Yanmega Magnazone or Megazone is the deck that was so hyped about from USA to Sweden to Japan. Lots of players made top cut at the 2011 World Competition with this deck. Thanks to Yanmega’s PokeBody, this card lets the player have free attack cost. This is huge. Anyone can play Yanmega and never need to attach any energy cards to him. To make this deck work, use the Judge card to make both players shuffle their hands into their decks and draw four cards. Both players will then have an even number of cards in their hand. Another option is to use Copy Cat to shuffle your hand into your deck and draw as many cards as your opponent. Copy Cat could be bad if the opposing player has only a few cards on hand, but it will usually give you draw power.

Magnazone is a good card, because if you don’t need energy to attack with Yanmega you can use Magnazone’s attack, Lost Burn. This attack costs two energy to use, but it lets you send energy cards you have in play into the Lost Zone. Plus, it does 50 damage times the number of energy placed in the Lost Zone. Its PokeBody lets you draw until you have six cards in your hand, giving you even more draw power.

If you like Magnazone, but aren’t crazy about Yanmega, and would like a more consistent deck that wins games quickly, think about putting Emboar into the mix to create the MagnaBoar or Magnazone Emboar deck. The Black and White base set was the first to feature Tepig and its evolutionary forms. In Stage 2, fans say it is “broken” in the coolest sense because as long as the player has fire energy in hand, he or she can attach multiple fire energy cards per turn. This ability is called Inferno Fandango. It’s a really amazing deck and will probably see a lot of play at Battle Roads.
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Pokemon Set Rotation

By: Brian Hsieh

During the span a card is legally able to be played in the TCG game, its price goes up depending on how good the card is. Many have featured a heavy rise in price from Uxie Lv X to Luxray GL Lv X. In this new format, Yanmega Primes have topped the price lists of most card gaming web stores. What has become of the deck cards that once created such a spark in prices?

Luxray GL Lv X has gone down a third of its price. The rotation out hurt its price due to the fact that it isn’t a more favorable card than the likes of Charizard and it won’t be sought out by players anymore due to the fact that it can’t be played anymore. Uxie takes the same hit, dropping its price dramatically as everyone just wanted to get rid of their “useless” cards. Leafeon Lv X is still going strong, only dropping in price slightly due to its Eeveelution line popularity.

How do some cards like Wailord ex, Lugia ex, and Charizard ex gain popularity and price raises? Well, once a set is rotated out, there’s no reason to print that set anymore. That’s where collectors come in. It’s easier to collect a set that was just rotated out, as many players just get rid of them. This causes stores to be fully stocked with that card, allowing the price to drop and collectors will end up flocking to purchase those cards. Once the stock dries up, the card’s price begins to rise a bit more. Lugia and Charizard have faced this situation before, but since they are very popular among the Pokemon fanbase, everyone wants one. Ultra Rare Charizards have always been expensive, with none dropping below double digits.

Collectors end up prizing the ultra rare cards for their rarity and also because they are out of print. Maybe Luxray GL Lv X will grow in price as the years go by, or, like some Pokemon that are unpopular, fall into the extremely cheap range. I’ve also noticed that mint ultra rare deck cards will be harder to find once rotated out, as players tend to care little of their cards value after rotation. They rarely treat the card with care that a collector would; only using the card to strengthen their deck and tossing it aside for future builds. This is quite frustrating if you’re both a collector and a player.

I have mentioned Luxray GL Lv X quite a few times due to the fact that it was featured in Rising Rivals. As a player and collector, I kept sets from Platinum on as I believed that was where they would stop the rotation. Little did I know, the whole Platinum set all the way to Arceus was rotated out. This left many players, who were holding on to Luxray for something good in the future, without any real trade bait. I was one of those players, holding on to countless Broken Time Space cards while waiting for a good chance to sell them off when they were pricey. I’ve missed my opportunity and am now left with over ten cards that aren’t worth anything until reprinted in the future. Uxie was a different story though, as it was so close to the end of its rotation that players saw it coming, trading big for cards in return. I’ve realized this pattern, and since I don’t run a Yanmega deck, might as well trade or sell my Yanmega Prime while it’s still a hot card. Once it gets rotated out, I’ll be able to pick it up for a much cheaper price. I suggest the same for any other collector willing to part with their Yanmega at the moment.


Pokemon Gothitelle Review

By Jack Snell

Hey everyone Jack Snell here, welcome to my review of one of the most hyped cards from Emerging Powers, Gothitelle:

At first glance we have a Stage 2, Psychic type Pokemon with a mediocre 130HP, a single Ability and a lone attack. Now these stats sound quite average at first, but with Battle Roads already underway the card is involved in a very powerful and hyped deck.

Let’s start with the Ability called ‘Magic Room’. This Ability states that while Gothitelle is in your active spot, your opponent cannot play any Trainer cards from his or her hand, which means that this is the second Pokemon to be able to provide Trainer-lock in the form of an Ability/Poke Body. What separates this Pokemon from the likes of Vileplume is that it blocks the opponent from playing trainers, but you are free to play as many trainers as you like including all the big ones right now like Rare Candy, Pokemon Communication and Pokemon Catcher. This means that you are able evolve weak basics on the bench without the fear of them being Catchered up and KOd before they evolve.

This kind of lock is obviously going to hurt the opponent a ton while you can freely play your game as normal, which is a definite upside from Vileplume, but the difference is that Vileplume can happily sit there on the bench whilst Gothitelle must be active. This means we need Gothitelle to have a respectable attack to be playable and to stay alive as long as possible which is where Reuniclus comes in.

The basic idea of the deck is that Gothitelle stays active, sits there locking the opponent and since it has the magic HP of 130, not much is going to be able to OHKO it effectively under the lock, only Mew Prime, Magnezone Prime, Badboar, RDL come to mind. That means that Reuniclus can assist by moving the damage the opponent is trying to pile onto Gothitelle and remove it from play by using cards such as Max Potion, Seeker and even through Blissey Prime’s Blissful Nurse. This deck is a very effective lock deck in this format, but it does have its weak points, namely its sluggish setup, matchups against Vileplume decks and against anything that can KO Gothitelle in one hit.
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